This article has to be the first of its kind I have ever seen. It is by Dominic Raab, MP in the UK and apparently a macsulist (or maybe just an anti-feminists). But, whatever he is, he is speaking out against anti-male discrimination in England, and he is the first representative in a major government to do so, as far as I am aware. For that at least he deserves a round of applause.

Now, some will call Raab an anti-feminist. That may be technically true, since he is speaking out against some aspects of feminism. But every ideology needs some criticism, and his seems fairly civil. So I may not agree with all his views (don’t know them all), but I approve of the effort!

I especially like the last bit:

We need consistent equality for men and women, an end to ‘soft’ feminist bigotry and support for hard-working families trying to juggle competing priorities in their hectic daily lives. Maybe it’s time men started burning their briefs, to put an end once and for all to what Emmeline Pankhurst used to call ‘the double standard of sex morals.’

Here here!

As an activist, one point of social concern I have often tried to bring up is the issue of equality in domestic violence. Besides the obvious and much needed factors of protecting victims, male or female, from violence, I feel that the current system of male-blaming reflects many larger problems with our society, making it an even bigger issue.

However, I’m not going to be preaching about DV today. All I want to do is share a fine and surprising piece on the BBC, which brings to the front many of the issues to do with domestic violence which men’s rights advocates try to make known.

The article speaks for itself, so please read it here.

Well, that’s it!

Feminism Is Dead!

Pack up the signs. Put away your banners. Shelve the AK-47s. The end is upon us.

Or at least that’s what some might think when reading this article on Slate about the state of working women in the Netherlands.

It seems that, despite the Netherlands being considered one of the most feminist (pro-woman) countries on Earth, less than 10% of Dutch women are employed full-time and there is an enormous wage gap.

Now, how does that mean feminism is dead, you ask?

Well, a recent study found that this gap in pay is not due to any discrimination. That’s right. Dutch women earn less because they knowingly, willingly and routinely choose to work less. Instead they spend their time with friends, family and hobbies.

What amazes me isn’t that the Dutch live this way. It’s that the Slate article endorses it.

the more time I spend in the Netherlands, the more I feel the pressure to be some sort of Superwoman recede. Which makes me think maybe we’d be better-off if we could relax and go Dutch.

(I won’t mention the fact that ‘Go Dutch’ is totally misused there. Look it up!)

Effectively, this article is saying that American women (and that means feminists) would be happier if they worked less and, by extension, allowed themselves to be provided for by a husband/partner.

Break out the cocktails, I smell an episode of Leave it to Beaver coming on!

Now, I know this isn’t a statement of change in policy by organized feminism, but still. To read such a thing in a mainstream magazine (and to mostly positive comments, it seems) is peculiar, at least.

Truth be told, I find the idea of this social model both frightening and offensive (just a little). Such a structure of male-provision and female-collection is a sign of one of the genders being very underhanded and manipulative (I won’t say which).

Dutch women (okay, I said which. Sue me.) are, in a modern world where it is far from expected, acting like 19th-century aristocratic leeches. They are quietly choosing to work only part-time while still watching their husbands work full-time jobs to support them (maybe why Dutch women live 4.4 years longer than their slav… I mean male counterparts). That’s just lazy. And un-equal.

Look at it this way: women in the Netherlands have equal rights. However, they aren’t contributing equally. The Netherlands has a very robust system of welfare (which women typically collect on more), yet here we are seeing that it is men who are doing most of the earning to pay the taxes which support that system.

These Dutch women are skimping out on supporting their nation, and yet they retain full political rights. How is that fair?

Now, some might say that it is just a matter of men choosing to also work less. And I think that is exactly what should be happening, but is it? I doubt that many of these Dutch women are saying to their husbands, “You should cut back at the office so you have more free time. If we need to, I’ll increase my hours to match yours.”

Nope. It lacks that ring of truth. Unless they want their economy to suffer, women will have to work more to let men work less.

If unchanged, this system of gender roles could quickly become extremely anti-male. Men and women would have equal rights, which means equal representation in government and business, and yet men would continue to carry the majority of earning responsibilities.Is that the direction America is headed? Will the wage gap widen as women pull back from full-time work? But if they shirk such responsibilities, would they be willing to give up any of the privileges they have gained over the last century? If not, how could it be justified?

Of course, such a system would have to actually favor men in politics. If so few women worked, even fewer would be able to afford to run for office. Does anyone actually want that? Fewer full-time women would also mean fewer female CEOs, scientists, college graduates, pretty much any top-level position. Unless quotas were put in place, as is already happening in some parts of the world, which could throws things even more out of balance.

Is this article really calling for the efforts of feminism to be undone? Or is it aiming toward a world where women don’t hold high positions but still exert control through their husbands, collecting on their efforts? That of course has the potential to back-fire and mutate into a misogynistic I Love Lucy nightmare.

What are women going to become? Equals, inferiors, or manipulative parasites?

My sister recently sent me a link to this article, which makes a good, fair point about discrimination, but which I think also deserves to be cross-examined.

The article is about a study of recommendation letters of persons applying for “junior faculty positions at a U.S. university”. Now, the article admits that it is very limited study, but it still seems to come to a clear conclusion: the character traits ascribed to women in their letters are not received as favorably as those given to men.

Primarily, this has to do with making women out to be “communal and emotive”, while men were more often described in terms of daring, aggression and leadership ability. What the study finds is that:

…being communal is not valued in academia. The more communal characteristics mentioned, the lower the evaluation of the candidate.

So what we find here is two-fold: first, we find that these letters continue to follow “traditional gender schemas”, such as women being empathetic while men are assertive. Second, this study finds that those traits associated with women are not wanted (in the academic world).

They go on to say:

This research not only has important implications for women in academia but also for women in management and leadership roles. A large body of research suggests that communality is not perceived to be congruent with leadership and managerial jobs.

And then that brings us to our big question.

Is it true that “subtle gender discrimination continues to be rampant”, as the article asserts, or is this simply an example of hiring practices?

First, let’s assume something I think we can all agree on: the people writing the letters are probably being (fairly) honest. Let’s say that these characteristics are accurate for these individuals.

Now let’s assume that it is true that communal skills aren’t important to these positions, but that more assertive and leadership traits are.

With those assumptions, we’ll re-examine the issue. Is this a case of discrimination, or just selective hiring? If a university wants bold candidates, is it discrimination to hire the applicants which show that trait, even though they are mostly men?

Let’s look at a reverse example: the human services and care sector. These sorts of jobs are dominated by women. Let’s imagine a board looking at job applications. They pick out those which show skill at communication and empathy, but those also happen to be overwhelmingly female. Is it discrimination to hire them over the men?

Are we to enforce gender equality, even if it means disregarding qualifications?

Now, I’m not saying that the study doesn’t indicate discrimination. I’m just saying I think it’s inappropriate to assume so, when it could just be a correlation between gender and skill-set. Accidental discrimination, as it were.

Whether or not they are truly natural, certain character traits are more common in men or women, just as people of different cultures behave differently. Favoring a skill which happens to be more common among a given group does not equal discrimination, provided that this skill is actually more valuable than others, and isn’t just being chosen to edge out the other groups.

In this case, is the solution to make the system more appreciative of women’s characteristics, even if they aren’t as useful, or to have women take on more of the traditionally male characteristics, even if it doesn’t come naturally to them?

While patrolling through the million-to-the-Nth RSS entries I read everyday, I came across this article on CNN, and it got me thinking.

Now, it was the headline which first caught my eye: How to raise the men we’d want to marry

That had me skeptical right from the start. I’ve seen many articles before about how women can ‘raise better men’. All are blatant attacks on both masculinity and fathers, putting all the blame for dysfunctional relationships on men, not women. But this piece isn’t actually about that. It is talking about the need to open things long considered feminine, primarily personality traits, to boys, to allow them to become more complete people, to allow them to not have to bear every burden and always look infallible.

Now, I agree that men, like women, have long been wrangled into a very narrow range of allowed behaviors, so I agree with the piece there. However, there is an additional layer which I must point out as a possible danger sign.

The first thing which set me worrying again was this:

Then we won’t worry about feminizing boys.

That is wrong right from the start. Feminizing boys certainly isn’t the answer. What is the issue is changing the gender-definition of various personality traits, not making boys more feminine while maintaining the current definition of femininity.

It’s a matter of disassociating certain behaviors from femininity, just as some things were disassociated from masculinity as women began doing them. You can’t make men act like women; you have to expand how men act to include what was once connected with women.

Then they go on:

I see these boys everywhere among my son’s friends. They have pals who are girls. They are friendly with their mothers. They like their mothers.

By now I had expected to hear some mention of fathers (you know, the husbands these women are raising), yet we continue to see the focus on mothers (and girls) solely. This begins to approach the core issue I want to discuss, but to understand you have to read this as well:

“My mother raised me and my brother and sister pretty much by herself,” he said. “My mother is a goddess.” No one snickered. It was a statement of fact.

I think that shows what is really being talked about here: women taking total control over the rearing of sons and raising them as they want them to be (Sounds an awful lot like the cliche of fathers giving their sons ‘tough love’ to ‘raise em tough’ like they were, which is, last time I checked, bad). The lack of any mention of fathers in the article shows this to be true. They should be talking about fathers also being involved in raising these ‘more complete sons’, but, as usual, dad is absent by maternal request (or decree).

But, I am not writing this piece to bash single mothers (the statistics do that enough). The reason I outline all this is to illustrate what seems to be a growing trend in the structure of western society, one I don’t think many people would be very willing to acknowledge.

All this seems to add up to the whole culture becoming feminine (at least in appearance). There isn’t anything inherently wrong with the removal of what was once called masculinity from our social order, except for one thing: We’ve seen all this before!

In the not so distant past, western society was misogynistic on a large scale. Femininity was scorned. Women were seen as physically weak, dumb and inept. For a woman to be respected, she had to abandon her femininity and act like a man. Then feminism came along to rebuild respect for the feminine, which was a good thing (goddess worship cults notwithstanding).

Look at that CNN article like this: they are talking about encouraging men to act more feminine, to be raised that way. Now, back up a half-century or so. Part of feminism was always to encourage women to take on the roles of men, to be the equals of males, to act more masculine.

However, it was never stated as such. Never was it said to be necessary to ‘masculinize’ women, even when that is what was being done. Never were women told to be ‘more of a man’ or to ‘take it like a man’, or to raise their daughters to be more masculine. No, even as women have transferred traditions and roles from men, they have fought, tooth and polished pink nail, to maintain their image of womanhood. Their mask of femininity, if you like. A big goal of feminism has always been to make women doing manly things still look ‘sexy’ and feminine.

And yet now we hear this talk of needing to feminize boys. Not to open up new options to them, but just to simply feminize them. To remove their masculine traits. It is almost as if, and I know this might sound crazy, but it is almost as if society doesn’t like masculinity anymore!

Mad, I know. After all, as I said, western society once greatly looked down upon femininity. How could anyone ever imagine that our culture would make a 180 and come to think, no, to believe that men are emotionally weak, dumb and inept. We could never come to live in a society where, to compete and be accepted, a man would have to abandon his masculinity and act like a woman.

That would be impossible!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an episode of the Ellen Show and a Hanes Socks commercial to watch.

Good day.

This article is a counter to this piece on BBC about women’s equality in Sweden. Feel free to read the two in either order, but know that the below piece is as factually correct as that on BBC. In other words, this isn’t made up (except from some of the names, which were fictionalized to demonstrate). Keep that in mind as you read.

Is Sweden the best place to be a man?

By Ayami Tyndall

Not a Swedish journalist

Is Sweden really one of the best places to be a man? That is the view of many men outside Sweden, as well as some of us who live here. But is it a myth or a reality?

Let’s face it, we are no longer topping the charts as we used to, when it comes to gender equality. Sweden has gone from the first position to fourth, according to the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index.

Nevertheless, we do stay in the top cluster with the other Nordic countries Iceland, Finland, and Norway.

However, Sweden still has a long way to go.

The latest edition of the report from Statistics Sweden, Women and Men in Sweden: Facts and figures, hints at various areas of concerns.

Both in education and in the labour market, the genders are not equally represented.

Men made up just 35% of higher education graduates in 2008/2009.

Swedish men still work more hours per week on average than women. And among those employed, 22% more men work full-time than women because society still expects men to be the primary breadwinner in a relationship and because many women still struggle with the idea of an at-home partner.

Shall I go on?

In Sweden both men and women are entitled to 480 days of parental leave but the latest Daddy Index, published by the Swedish Confederation for Professional Employees (TCO), a trade union umbrella group, shows that men use only one fifth of their allowance.

Recent studies in other European countries indicate that most men who do not take paternity leave wish to do so, but various social and employment constraints keep them from doing so.

The move towards both men and women have the chance to take equal parental leave is at a snail’s pace.

Equal opportunity

I can hear the incredulous gasps from men around the world who are not entitled to such generous parental allowance systems. So, yes, I accept that compared to other parts of the world, the parental allowance system does make Sweden a good country in which to be a man.

As does the government’s decision, taken in 1972, to make equal opportunities between the sexes a central political issue.

However, sometimes that policy can get twisted. The Danish sociology professor Gosta Esping-Anderson once wrote: “In Sweden, maximum female labour-force participation is a principle of social policy.” It is important to keep the focus on equal opportunity, not equal outcome.

In Sweden, society makes it possible for each and everyone to earn his or her own living.

Well-built systems of child care and geriatric care, gender-neutral parental insurance, generous school opening hours and – not the least – individual taxation, have all contributed to this.

And yes, Sweden does have one of the highest employment rates in the world for women. But if you bring out the magnifying glass, you’ll see that many women are working part-time in jobs which do not contribute greatly to the national or family economy.

According to the Statistics Sweden report, among blue-collar workers, the majority of full-time workers are men and men also take less sick leave than their female counterparts in every age category.

Earning loads on men increase even more when they choose to have children.

This reliance on fathers earning stops men from fully participating in their families.

There is an on-going discussion about how at home differences between the sexes can be counterbalanced by equal opportunities in the work force.

Swedish men – like men around the world – are often still blocked from playing a lead role on the family stage.

So, how to make gender equality work at home?

The government is already providing some tax relief to households for using services for cleaning, laundry and gardening, but should it do more?

Should the government provide more child care?

Or should it allocate parental leave equally between the father and mother and force them to use it?

The debate on this issue is intense in Sweden.

Unfinished business

Gordan Skiiman, leader of the Masculist Initiative party, claims that there is a political unwillingness in Sweden to see this debate in a wider societal context.

He wants politicians to see this imbalance as a profound societal conflict, which is the result of the power structure that has to be fought and corrected, just like human rights’ violations.

The mascuist political philosopher Sean Mauler Pokin once said that a fair society is a society in which men and women participate in more or less equal numbers in every sphere of life.

I would say that equality between the sexes should be the benchmark by which a society is judged as a good or bad place.

And in that sense I suppose you could say that Sweden is a fairly good place to be a man.

But more needs to be done. It’s still an unfinished business.

There you have it. All factually true, based off the same studies used by BBC, but with a different viewpoint. Is it fair to blame women for not working and earning as much as men, as I have written about here? Is it fair to blame men for not doing as much at home as women, as BBC has done in their piece?

Who is really at fault?

The Father’s Rights movement has long been something close to my heart. Although, it might be more accurate to say that I wish to see equality of parental rights and responsibilities, which therefor leads me to the Father’s Rights movement, since almost all of the parental injustice and bigotry in the west is directed at men.

Don’t believe me?

Well, I won’t go into the anti-dad nature of the legal system. Anyone can read far too much about that by looking up custody, adoption, domestic violence, child abuse laws, government aid, automatic parental rights, medical care, education, etc.

The list goes on.

However, I would like to share who I think might qualify as as the Poster-child (or maybe Pin-up Girl) of the whole anti-dad movement.

Here we have an article by one Robin Sax on MomLogic.com (you’ll appreciate the irony of that shortly). The article is about the contested adoption of the now three-year-old Grayson Vaughn/Wyrembek. It seems that shortly after Grayson was born, his birth mother handed him over to the Vaughns as adoptive parents. So, everyone was satisfied.

Oh, right. Except for the biological father, Benjamin Wyrembek, who has been contesting the adoption. It seems he has won, because the Ohio courts have ordered Grayson returned to his father by October 30.

Now, according to our dear Robin Sax, this course taken by the courts is proof that:

the adoption system is truly broken in America

Why, you ask?

A woman should have a valid alternative to either aborting her baby or being forced to raise a child she does not want. Adoption should be that valid alternative.

But some states will not recognize a mother’s right to place her child up for adoption. This leaves a woman with only the two alternatives: aborting or parenting.

Now, I’m not going to comment on the fact that that statement is plainly false, that all states allow adoption. I’m also not going to point out the other obvious option, which is leaving the child with its biological father. After all, if you’re willing to put it up for adoption, why not just leave it in the care of the father?

But I’m not going to comment on any of that.

Now I would like to jump ahead in the article a bit:

please know that I agree that fathers deserve rights (of course!)

Now, keep that statement in mind as you read these gems of egalitarianism:

Every mother has a right (and a responsibility) to develop a life plan for her unborn child.

But not dads, it seems. Why is that?

Because of her constitutional right to choose what to do with her body, no man should be able to object to this newborn adoption.

That’s one funny definition of ‘father’s rights’ you’ve got there, Robin. I wasn’t aware that rights over one’s own body extended to include all rights over one’s children. I guess that would mean mothers have total rights over children, which I believe would lead to the logical conclusion that men have no responsibility for them, just as they have no inherent responsibility for another adult.

There goes child support!

Any interference from a unwed father can be viewed as a violation of freedom of choice, a violation of privacy rights and of Due Process.

Oh, so that’s what marriage is for. It’s how men can claim rights of the children they father! I feel so enlightened!

Will this case end in tragedy on October 30 — the day the Ohio  Supreme Court has ordered the boy to be returned to his birth father (a total stranger) and be taken away from the only parents he has ever known?

And remind me, please, why is he a total stranger?

Oh, right.

While some people criticize the Vaughns, thousands of their supporters are in a fight against the clock to save Grayson from what experts have deemed “court-sanctioned child abuse”.

And kidnapping him from his father is…

Ah, right, due process of law.

How is custody of Baby Vaughn even an issue when his birth mother herself chose the Vaughns as parents, acknowledged her own inability to care for the child and expressed the belief that Benjamin Wyrembek is not fit to parent his child?

Note that it’s her belief that good old Benjamin is unfit. I guess she couldn’t prove it. But, according to Ms. Sax, she didn’t need to.

A woman must have the constitutionally protected right to place her newborn up for adoption

This is beginning to sound more and more like she’s talking about a piece of meat, which the mother can keep or throw away on a whim. I will say again, why not just leave the child with the father? We could call it the Maternal Right of Abandonment.

And, finally, this crowning jewel:

in this specific case, the woman’s rights trump

So much for equality being absolute! Where else do a woman’s rights trump? And where do a man’s rights trump a woman’s? But I may just be getting confused. After all, it seems to me that Ms. Sax here believes in this one core idea: children are the sole property of the woman who bears them. So I guess we can just cut dads out of the equation all together! I think I read once that primitive societies are believed by some to have been matriarchal and to have not known that men were involved in making babies. We can go back to that system! I’m sure it was great for everyone.

Agriculture and plumbing aren’t that great anyway, right?

But let’s not forget that Robin Sax isn’t all bad. After all:

I agree that fathers deserve rights (of course!)

Of course! They deserve them, but it seems they won’t be getting them.