This is written in reply to the article Three rules could make you a better man — and save your life by Stephen Marche, published today in the New York Post
Dear Stephen, you say in your piece that you have unsuccessfully tried to reach men with your writings on gender. As someone who has studied language and literature, you should be aware that communication is a two way street. If men are not interested in what you have to say on gender issues, it is very likely that what are you saying has no to relevance to them. This is where you should start listening to what men actually have to say.
But instead you are employing women to talk men into accepting whatever you think is good for them. I am honestly appalled by that. Women are not your pawns in the issues that you are experiencing with your fellow men. The last thing that a woman who worries about the men in her life needs is condescension for them. I am speechless when you mention the astronomically high male suicide rate and shortly thereafter call men ignorant and ask women to meet men with the very same attitude. Nobody has ever killed themselves out of ignorance. The will to live is the strongest instinct we have. As a trained lifeguard I advise you to not approach a drowning person when they panic but to wait until they have become unconscious or there will be two of you at the bottom of the sea. A person’s life has to be unbearable for them to overcome the strong instinct to live.
Swap the words ‘men’ and ‘women’ in your article and maybe it will become apparent to you that you would never call women ignorant and ask other men, who care about the women in their lives to put their ignorance in front of them. That would rightly be considered misogyny. I do not see such articles anywhere despite your claim of hordes of men who are treating women like garbage. The only times I ever feel devalued as a woman is when I am asked – sadly very often in the media – to call the men in my life ignorant and to look down on them. In fact, it pains me to hear the men in my life to be spoken about in this way. They are anything but ignorant. The men in my life are people who look out for me. They make an effort to make me laugh when I am feeling down. The men in my life are people I look up to. They are people I learn from. Not a day goes by on which I don’t feel inspired by them to aim higher and become a better version of myself. Men have always encouraged me to not give up when I was struggling to acquire some new skill. They have racked their brains to find ways of explaining the front crawl to me, that would get me to finally understand the movement that seemed incomprehensible to me. To be able to do so requires men to attentively observe the people they are interacting with. If men were, as you claim, ignorant and had their eyes closed to reality, we would be living in a very different world. When I hear people say that men lack empathy, I always wonder who they are talking about.
The only men that I have ever witnessed a lack of empathy in, are men who are on a crusade to save women. Not only are they ignorant to the daily struggles and achievements of their fellow men, they are also blind to how women feel about seeing their men put down like that. It pains me to read your article and others like it. And I am far from the only woman who feels this way. Historically, men have been the protectors and providers of women in a physical sense, but likewise women have always stood up to protect their men in the social sphere. And why would they not? Why would they stand by and watch their men be degraded and have their life blood sucked out of them?
There is a new generation of women standing up against this daily casual misandry in the media because women by nature want to raise their men up and see them live their full potential. Men have a lot to offer our society. We cannot continue losing them at the rate we currently do to depression and suicide. It is time we start listening to men and stop talking down to them. High time to end our ignorance when it comes to the lived experience of men.
Not an MRA post but might be a good laugh 🙂
I recently attended a conference where I learned about social stories, so I thought I’d share that knowledge:
Imagine yourself scrambling up a mounhill (in the UK heaps of sand and stones that are structured like mountains but do not have the required size). After you have just come up a very steep incline you suddenly see two chaps standing next to a car on there. Camera out – because proof or it wasn’t there. And before you know it you’re asking them how they’ve come up there in the care and what they’re doing up there with the car. None of that is a problem if you’re are up there with someone aged 10 or under. Because they would also want to know these things. But if you are there with someone over the age of 10 you now have a problem because for some reason people over the age of 10 do not seem to notice cars on top of mountains and seem to have no desire of finding out how they got there. So you now need to make up a story of why you needed to talk to these guys that makes sense to a person over the age of 10. A good social story in this case is: “I was trying to get us a lift down”. It’s a social story because it keeps the social fabric intact. 🙂
And then your social story becomes almost real as you watch them actually drive down the mountain – which looks like a looooooooot of fun – and you say to your friend over the age of 10: “We should have really hitched a ride with them.”
This isn’t actually where we came up, but every social story needs some drama 🙂
A little while ago there was a showing of a Pakistani film advertised at the university. I was obviously interested but very much less so after reading the synopsis. It was all the worst cliches about Pakistan put into a Cinderella story line. I was unsure if I should invest the time. I am glad I decided to go as I wanted to hear the commentary from the lecturer and reactions from the other students. It was also worth watching the film for the excellent cinematography. The images of Karachi sent me back to my short stay there. I could almost feel the pleasantly warm sea breeze. The actors were also doing a really good job. But they couldn’t hide the fact that the characters were flat and there to convey a political message: Women are awesome and men are horrible and no matter how nice they seem at first, all they ever want is oppress women.
The reactions from the students were not really surprising though still quite shocking considering that their degree is supposed to provide them with more knowledge about South Asia than the general population. They are supposed to be more aware of stereotypes, their origin and their effects. But instead the first student raised her arm and enthusiastically talked about how great it was that the film had shown [insert stereotype] and [insert stereotype] and also [insert stereotype that wasn’t even in the film]. The joy in her voice and the smile on her face while talking about how the man in the movie had limited the woman’s life was remarkable. She was denigrating half the population (and by extension the other half) of a country that, by the choice of her university degree, she claimed to care about and it was giving her the greatest pleasure. If this how the people in the Asian Studies department think how can we expect anything more from the general population. It was only a student from Georgia who criticized the stereotypical depiction of men and women.
The lecturer then said that this was actually a very poor film and mainly conveyed stereotypes. She didn’t say why she had selected it and the message certainly didn’t reach the last row where the young ladies where still more than happy that their stereotypes had been confirmed. Their worldview was the right and just one and by perpetuating it they would be making the world a better place. These are the moments when I am about to lose hope in humanity but instead I have begun to just be fascinated by these people who claim to want to make the world a better place by dehumanizing half the world’s population. It makes me wonder if we as humans will always need someone to hate. These days we preach acceptance of other countries and cultures but it is still more than acceptable to hate on the men from that other culture. Maybe that is a primal need to the human species?
I am still hoping that it can be overcome and that there will be peace among humans at some point in the future. 🙂