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Posts Tagged ‘men’s movement’

Many men’s rights activists already know the site Men’s News Daily. It was started in late 2001, inspired by the heroic sacrifice of many men, during and after the tragedy of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center’s in New York City. Many men gave it their all to fight fires and rescue people from under ruble. Many of them sadly perished also. Men’s News Daily’s creator Mike LaSalle wanted to pay homage to their memory in his own way. To give the country and the world a site to talk about men’s issues and to celebrate all the great contributions men make to our society. Nobility was its motivating factor, and it’s been a great ride. As of the 28th of August, Mr. LaSalle has announced his decision to retire the site.

I had first heard of the site from the then-current editor-in-chief Bernard Chapin, from his vlog “Chapin’s Inferno“. Mr. Chapin was where I first started hearing about men’s issues, and it’s fitting, I suppose, that I fist heard of Men’s News Daily from him too.

I wonder how the site will be remembered. It was not without it’s controversies. It was accused of infusing conservative politics into the men’s movement. This claim is not entirely unsubstantiated. In 2007, it was rated as one of the top 75 right of center websites by Right Wing News. On the other hand, it has had an extremely libertarian point of view for quite some time, in addition to some relatively new liberal talking points as well. Examples of this can be found in its anti-war articles and commentaries by Fred Reed such as “Thought on an Interview with General Stanley McChrystal“, “Feminist Marine Gets His Kicks Killing Male Chauvinists in Afghanistan“, and “When Glands Trump Minds: Battling Mohammedans with Yahoos and Rubes“. To quote Mr. Reed, “Perhaps the US should recognize that it has a second-rate military at phenomenal cost—an enormous, largely useless national codpiece. It is embarrassing.” Other examples of non-conservative thought include its anti-drugwar and pro-marijuana decriminalization articles and commentaries by Paul Elam, such as “Drugs, War, Money and Blood” and “When Your Kid Smokes Pot“. To quote Mr. Elam, “So the right has pretty much owned the war on drugs since. And for the efforts of these ‘keep the government off our back’ conservatives, they have given us the mammoth sized DEA, a thousand federal regulations, a rainbow coalition of busted heads, overflowing prisons, enough dead bodies to please Pol Pot, a meaningless Constitution and a bevy of government functionaries that are literally out of their minds with power.” To me, it seems that Men’s News Daily was politically diverse, more than anything else. I think that’s why it called itself a “Daily Dose of Counter-Theory”.

Despite the controversies, it played a part in many awareness campaigns about men suffering from domestic violence and about chances to confront misandry. It gave us opportunities to spread that awareness, by pointing out charities for abused men and boys. It reminded us about important days for us guys to remember, like the anniversary of the Titanic sinking and how the ships male passengers were massacred by sexist maritime policies. It celebrated the best inside each of us guys, by helping to sponsor International Men’s Day. For all it’s faults, I know I will remember the site well. In my book, it earned its self proclaimed title of the “Flagship of the Men’s movement”.

There is a Wikipedia article of the site to reference. It will be interesting to see if the article goes through changes, as the website falls out of common knowledge among men’s rights activists. It’s not yet clear to me if there are plans to keep archived versions of all the articles they wrote. I am aware, however, of one archive for the site, though it only has the articles from 2001-2004. It would seem wise to save any articles that you have enjoyed there, while you still can.

For making his amazing and long standing website, on behalf of the entire men’s movement, I thank you Mike LaSalle. May you be just as successful in all your future ventures. You’ve opened my eyes to so much.

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Recently, I wrote to Tim Baehr, who is the administrator of a website called Menletter. The nature of my message was to be a reply to a question he had posed to his readership about what they felt the men’s movement was. In short, I had answered that we are a civil rights movement. I have recently gotten a full reply to my message, in the form of a blog post to the Menletter website, called “Looking Back, Looking Around“.

I think it’s appropriate to respond in kind. As such, I’d like to start off by addressing the crux of our disagreement, which is whether men’s problems are internal or external in origin. Mr. Baehr is concerned that men may build an unhealthy victim mentality, if we focus on external discriminations, in lieu of internal emotional duresses or short comings. It must be acknowledged that men are victims. Until we come to terms with this, we can’t help ourselves. The first step is admitting our problems. For too long men have ignored what’s ailed them, because of external societal pressure. Males are told “boys don’t cry”, so we’re trained early on to hide our problems, even from ourselves. We’re told to not acknowledge our troubles by letting out tears or emotions. As a result, men become emotionally numb. Men do have emotional issues; but, they stem from repression from the outside world. It will only be when we recognize this, that we will realize that we can cry and express ourselves.

The same holds true for any other men’s issue. Again, I can’t emphasize enough that our problems are external in origin. Take a look at the draft, for example. The reason that’s there is because of Congress, not because of us. No amount of self examination will repeal the Selective Service Act. What will remedy it is a march on Washington or some such action. In my original message to Mr. Baehr, I said, “Our problems are external in origin, and our answer must be external too. The answer lies not within, but without.” It is political activism that will bring us equality under the law, and it is cultural activism that will bring men to reject society’s warped perceptions of us and its warped expectations on us.

The truth will set you free, and the truth is that males are victims of their society. It is not self destructive to recognize this, rather, it is seeing our predicament with clarity. The numbers should speak for themselves. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 60% of college students are female; but, no affirmative action exists for men. Every other group who doesn’t perform well in academics get’s support. The reason for this is that society cares about those groups, but the group it doesn’t care about is us. According to the American Psychiatric Association, women are 70.7% of nonreciprocal domestic violence perpetrators; but, no shelters exist for battered men. Only two states, California and West Virginia, have been forced to stop turning away men from domestic violence shelters; and, that was through legal action by way of discrimination suit, a external solution. Society doesn’t care, when men are beaten. According to the U.S. Department of Justice,  66.4 percent of men, or 2 in 3, will experience a physical assault in their lifetime. Yet, even with the extraordinary prevalence of men being hurt, no one cares that men are denied help from these shelters. 1 in 6 males have been sexually assaulted before they even reach adulthood; but, many states only define rape as forced penetration of a vagina, such as North Carolina, so men can’t even get the same justice as raped women can get in many areas of the country. In these areas the various Rape Shield Acts don’t even cover males. Society doesn’t care when males are raped and molested. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics, men are more likely to die of every major cause of death; but, no Office on Mens Health exists. A Office on Womens Health does exist though. Society doesn’t care when men are ill. According to the The Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, 80% of homicide victims are males; but, no Violence Against Men Act exists. A Violence Against Women Act does exist, though. And, this is just a small sampling of the statistics out there. Make no mistake, men are victims. If you think otherwise, I invite you to look at Arlington, the largest mass grave in the United States, filled to the brim with the bodies of dead boys who were forced to fight in war, and used as slave labor for the military.

Mr. Baehr fears that I am externalizing our problems; but, I fear that he is internalizing them. He quotes Pogo Possum, who said “We have met the enemy and he is us.” After this quotation, Mr. Baehr goes on to add that, “Men control, or potentially control, possible remedies to the rights issues that still face their male constituents today.” To this I must point out that most men are powerless, not powerful. No man can remedy our situation so easily. If we work together we can press for legal reform, but it will not be easy. Every right we fight for and every inch of ground we take will be hard won. Civil rights is an uphill battle, when people don’t care about you. To say that we men have the power to make these things magically happen or that we are the enemy is naive and blaming the victim.

So in summation, the realization of our victim-hood will not be detrimental. It will allow us to finally see things the way they are. With this new insight, we can effect change and move forward. Far from being damaging, this acknowledgement will let us begin the healing process by setting us on a better, more pragmatic, path, that factors into our courses in life that we need to care about ourselves. Imagine a world where boys do cry, and a world where people put a hand on their shoulder and ask how they can help.

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