Saturday, January 10, 2015

Yes (but No) on Men's Issues

I've been pretty obvious in my campaign to raise awareness of men's issues, and I have to admit that I am pretty happy with what I've seen in reaction.  A lot of my friends tell me that they've never considered the points I bring up, and agree with me that something needs done.  And its not just with me and my friends.


In general, an awareness of men's issues is rising.  The unique problems faced by men and boys are being, at the very least, talked about more and more often in the public square without having someone start shouting about how men don't have issues and the only real issues are with women.  In addition, more and more people are realizing that there is something seriously wrong with modern feminism and that its time to try a different direction than what has been tried (and what has been failing) for the past 30 years or so.  This growth in awareness of men's issues isn't really surprising when you realize that there is a clear and logical basis for complaint about most of these issues, that "men's rights" isn't just code-word slang for "misogyny" no matter what the Tumblr feminists want you to believe, and that something really, really should be done about these problems.


Of course divorced fathers should get as much time with their children as the mothers get.  Of course men's health issues are just as important as women's health issues.  Of course male rape victims and male domestic violence victims should be treated with the same awareness and compassion as female victims.  Of course boys should be encouraged to pursue an education at least as much and as often as girls are.  Of course men should have equal access to birth control options as women.


But... unfortunately...  that's just about as far as it goes when it comes to actually doing anything about these issues.  Acknowledging that they exist.


When you stop talking about how these issues are problems, and start asking people what they are willing to do to correct these issues, a silence arises that is almost chilling.  Such discussions are invariably met with disappointing evasiveness from the rank and file.


You see, after that initial, vocal show of support, things get a little... problematic.


Nobody can argue with the logic that shows, clearly, that a particular men's issue is a problem.  Even those people who don't normally even consider that a campaign for men's rights is needed will agree, once the problem is explained, that yes, something definitely needs to be done about it.  People agree with this even if only so they don't look as foolish as someone who denies evolution or climate change.


So instead of openly disagreeing, these problem-deniers begin tacking on clauses and conditions to their agreement.  These pseudo-supporters will begin to add buts and ifs to their agreement.  Sure, they'll say, something needs to be done, but only in very specific ways.  In very specific, pro-feminist ways.


Take is idea of a paper abortion, for example.


A paper abortion would give a man the same right to knowingly terminate parental rights and responsibilities as women currently enjoy.  It would allow a man to disavow anything to do with an undesired child, just like the right to abortion does for a woman.  That's all.  It gives men the same freedom of choice in regards to becoming a parent that is currently enjoyed by all women in America.


When this issue is raised, most fair-minded people will agree that men shouldn't be forced into parenthood against their will.  What inevitably follows, though, is usually some variation of "... as long as it wouldn't allow men to duck out on their responsibilities."


And at that point, all meaningful conversation about the issue ends.  Reasonable discussion stops on a dime.


Most people, especially self-identified feminists, will politely agree that, yes, something needs to be done, and then will shut down the conversation with a tagged on condition that serves only to throw the issue into confusion and require finer and finer parsing of the legal details of just how such reform will be implemented.  Its a stalling tactic used solely to derail anything actually being done about an issue into an endless side argument on how something should be done.


This bureaucratic nonsense has left Family Law Reform languishing in stasis for years.  Most fair-minded people will agree that in today's court system, fathers get a raw deal in divorce and custody proceedings, and they will vocally agree that Family Law must be reformed, but they always agree with the addendum that the changes "shouldn't give custody to abusive fathers," even though its been pretty conclusively proven that less than 3% of all divorces involve domestic abuse, and that when it comes to child abuse, it is mothers who commit the majority of all child abuse in the United States (almost four times as many child abuse cases involve the mother as perpetrator as the fathers).


Whenever a reform of Family Law is broached in the public square, activists are cautioned to slow down and move carefully lest they overstep and put children at risk.  Again, this is a bureaucratic tactic meant to divert attention from a real problem and onto phantom problems like the dangers of giving children to illusory "abusive" fathers who do not truly exist.


For the record, the "real problem" is the fact that men are being treated unfairly by family courts, remember?


Its fear-mongering, and that's all.  But then, fear-mongering is the traditional defense feminism uses against men's rights.  They don't provide actual counter-arguments.  Just boogeymen hiding under the bed.  As in, "If you change this law, which everyone knows is unfair and discriminatory, the boogeyman will get you!"


If this is the best counter-argument to reform that organized feminism can come up with, then organized feminism's position is obviously paper thin.  There is no viable counter-argument, and so organized feminism has to resort to stalling tactics, and shaming tactics, and to slowing down progress with needless objections.  Its little more than the social reform version of filibustering.


Would a poorly written Paper Abortion law occasionally allow deadbeats to abuse the system?  It is possible.


Would a badly implemented Family Law system occasionally reward abusive fathers?  That is also possible.


My question in response is this:  So what?


The existence of the occasional asshole is no reason to refuse to install a Paper Abortion law that would assist those millions of men who aren't deadbeats, or to reform Family Law in such a way that it makes things fair for all those fathers who aren't abusive jackasses.  Repeatedly raising these false concerns does nothing but harm men who have done nothing to earn being harmed other than being born male.


Blocking social reform with cries of concern over the fallout of that reform is the traditional weapon of those too entrenched in their own privilege.  People who raise such quibbles may not openly oppose men’s rights, but they are not true supporters and will continue to drag their feet every step of the way.

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