Understanding the Men’s Rights Movement hints that feminism’s war on men is a class-based issue tied to the relative safety of a middle-class man’s life.
I have been watching a fascinating documentary called The Red Pill. The filmmaker is Cassie Jaye, a young woman whose previous documentaries were Progressive in their orientation, whether looking at abstinence movements amongst conservatives, the virtues of gay adoption, or hunger in my own Marin County.
The Red Pill examines the men’s rights movement, which feminists view as an ugly, sexist, misogynistic, white-supremacist, homophobic backlash against women’s rights, black rights, and gay rights. (If you’re wondering about black and gay rights, it has to do with a seldom recognized facet of intersectionality. That movement doesn’t just say that women, and blacks, and gays, and Muslims must hang together. It also says that, if you run afoul of one victim group, you must be shamed as an enemy of all victim groups.)
Jaye started researching and filming her documentary operating under the belief that she would be doing an expose about really horrible men. To her surprise, though, she learned that the men aren’t horrible at all. They are hurting, and hurting badly.
Over and over the men to whom Jaye speaks (Warren Farrell, Dean Esmay, Harry Crouch, Fred Hayward, etc.), make the same points: Men don’t have privileges, they have burdens, and the numbers show it.
Unlike women, American men are overwhelmingly more likely than women to die in battle or on the job. They are more likely to commit suicide or to be homeless. They are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to go to college And as every insurance company knows, they don’t live as long as women do.
The bias against men gets very ugly when children are involved. In divorce cases, custody is always decided against them — although I will say that my experience is that young children, because of the birth and nursing experience, are closer to Mom. The bias is unreasoning, though, and decides against the Dad even if the mom is manifestly the less responsible, capable, loving parent.
If the men are not married, and the woman wants nothing to do with the genetic father, he has no rights — even if that means seeing his child get adopted by strangers. Conversely, if a woman claims a man fathered a child, even if the DNA proves she lied and even if she admits she lied, he’s on the hook for childcare payments.
Being a diligent filmmaker, Jaye speaks to feminists as well as to men’s rights activists. These feminists (both male and female) are very clear: men are just whining because they have to compete with women for jobs and positions in academia. No surprise there.
But here’s something interesting I noticed about the feminists (both male and female): They are all upper-middle-class. Given those economics, they’re living a very different life from that exposed by the men’s rights activists. The men’s jobs are safe: They do not go off to war. They do not have dangerous jobs, such as working on road crews, doing heavy labor in factories, stringing and repairing power lines, or running into burning buildings. Additionally, these are not the men who didn’t graduate from high school or never made it to college. Instead, they’re highly pedigreed and probably earn lots of money.
These men not only don’t die on the job, they get the benefits of overwhelmingly middle-class-lifestyle choices (no smoking, healthy eating, exercise) and middle-class medicine. They can afford to get their teeth cleaned twice a year, they see the doctor regularly about their blood pressure, and if they’re not feeling good, they get treated right away. On an actuarial table, they may still die younger than the women in their lives, but they are catching up.
In other words, middle class men, and especially upper middle class men, are not dying for the women. They are not supporting wife and children by putting their lives on the line every day. Their lifestyles improve their longevity, rather than taking it away.
The women in their lives, if they earn less, may have done so because they had choices: They chose more touchy-feely, liberal arts jobs with less earning potential, or they chose jobs with limited or flexible hours so they could stay home with the kids, or they chose to be a stay at home mom, all of which are choices available to them because their male partners are earning good livings as doctors, lawyers, academics, architects, investment bankers, etc. Of course, because they’re indoctrinated from high school on up in Third Wave Feminism, they think their choices are irrelevant to their earnings. As far as they’re concerned, it’s the patriarchy’s fault that they get paid less as a permanent associate in a law firm, who works a rigid 30 hour week, than the man who worked 80 hours a week to make partner, and still puts in a 60 hour week.
The unique middle-class dynamics mean that, when middle-class women look at their men (and this is true going back to the 1960s and the start of the Women’s Lib movement), they don’t see someone who is willing to die for them on a daily basis to keep the family going. Instead, they see someone who is just like them, except that he earns more money. Even if the mom is a stay-at-home mom (as was the case in the 1950s), the men seemed to have more choices because educated middle-class women were still forced into motherhood and house work). And really, that’s not fair, is it?
Nor does it matter to these women that periodic news stories reveal that, when push comes to shove, their middle-class men will go all atavistic and lizard brain and willingly die for their women. We know that, if a middle-class couple is walking down a New York Street and a thug with a knife approaches, the men will hide their women behind them or urge them to run to safety.
That’s a very rare occurrence, though, in middle-class (and upper-middle-class) life. Normally, the man and woman in a middle- to upper-middle-class couple face the same risks in life, but he gets better economic rewards. Moreover, he doesn’t have to deal with pregnancy, childbirth, and raising children. No wonder women are resentful.
So it is that, as with most Progressive movements in America, the vicious anti-male feminism we’re seeing now, one that demeans and destroys men, is a middle class product visited on working class people. It comes from women who don’t see their husbands daily suffering for them, and think it’s really unfair that they don’t suffer. Hence my post title: “What good are you if you won’t die for me?” In sum, the war on man is not only a feminist issue, it’s an extension of class warfare. (I’ve pointed out that same problem — the narrow middle class perspective — when it comes to Obamacare.)
It must rankle horribly for a soldier, or a road crew worker, or someone else who daily faces death or un-remunerated exhaustion for his wife and children, to see the popular culture deride them and their sons as toxic, deny them access to colleges, presupposed that they’re all rapists, deprive them of child rights, etc., all because middle class women think things aren’t fair.
As the mother of a boy, it rankles for me too. My son is certainly getting the benefit of the upper-middle-class upbringing we’re able to give him (and believe me, I am grateful), but he’s still going into a world that accuses men of being toxic and evil, and that asserts that the average college campus has a rape culture worse than an ISIS sex slave market, in part because “all men are rapists.” No wonder my son and his friends, all straight, prefer computer games and sports to women. The threat is so much less because the reality is that class warfare, especially when it originates in America’s powerful upper-middle-class, eventually destroys everything it touches.
By the way, even if you don’t or can’t watch the movie, you’ll probably find interesting Jaye’s interview with Dave Rubin:
Or, if you don’t have the time, here’s a shorter TEDex talk that Jaye did: