Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Myth of Modern Equality

One morning, one of our dogs accidentally nipped my mother’s finger, drawing a little blood. She shrieked and cried and did a little dance of pain and I know that, instinctively, that is how I would react at the same issue. Except that’s not how I react. I yell and shout and get angry, then am chastised for it.

Why do I react contrary to my nature? Because I have been trained. All through society, and even in my own home, I have been subjected to a form of social brainwashing that tells me I have to be aggressive. If I’m not, I’m shamed and made to feel subhuman, yet when I act on the programming society has given me, I’m chastised for being so angry and aggressive. It’s easier to have someone mad at you than to be made to think that you are less than a person, so men such as myself go along with the training.

This exact training leads to the violence and aggression that feminists insist proves the evil of men – violence and aggression, mind you, that may never have materialized if we, as boys, hadn’t been told that this is how we must behave. In essence, our culture creates us and then condemns us.

This is neither a sob story about the plight of men nor an indictment of the evils of women, however. It is instead a crusade in literary form, an act of dragging demons into the light where they may be seen for what they truly are.

Feminists point to history as the reason for their endless litany of grievances, yet this same history is what is causing the suffering of both men and women.

I will illuminate:

When humanity was still in its primate stage, each gender had its duty and behaved much like the apes of today: the males, being larger and stronger, protected their families from predators while the females nurtured the young.

However, we are no longer primitive apes simply looking for survival. We possess conscience, the ability to feel regret, understand others’ points of view, and form our own moral compass. We claim the greatest asset of all, the power of self-determination.

Self-determination allows us to be the people we want to be. A man can be a nurturer and a caregiver while a woman can be a fighter. Unfortunately, society and culture get in the way of this ability.

While religions such as Judaism, with its codified misogyny, might seem like the starting point of male dominance, historical context says otherwise. Considering that Judaism also has holy writ against bestiality, it seems less like turning women into possessions and more like ensuring that the tribe would continue. Since such rules would not exist if everyone wasn’t humping everything, it can be inferred that the Israelites might have ended up with a single man left to impregnate the entire tribe, resulting in catastrophic inbreeding and rapid extinction.

The alternative provided in the Torah is savage, yes, but remember that at the time humanity was most likely just as savage. As Mike Judge’s Idiocracy shows, if you’re dealing with people far less intelligent than yourself, it’s easier and oftentimes safer to just say that your knowledge is magic or your rules are holy law, rather than try to explain the reasoning.

However, this is not a study in religion. It just so happens that, as religion has a practically immutable place in human culture, religion must be addressed.

The true origin of male dominance in Western society lies with Aristotle. In his scientific observations, based on what information he could gather from investigating flowers, pinecones and other more easily dissected living things, Aristotle determined that the man implanted the baby into a woman, who then served as the incubator. He asserted, based on observations and theories that were at the time irrefutable, that the woman only served as the host to the child, and did not contribute to the child’s creation.

When the world’s smartest person, taught by the world’s smartest person, who was in turn again taught by the world’s smartest person, makes an assertion, it is widely accepted as law. As such, women were relegated to the secondary role in reproduction; however, with the Greek pantheon containing such powerful female figures as Athena and Demeter, this did not cause an immediate change. It did, however, lay the foundations for what was to come.

If Aristotle was the originator of male dominance, Constantine was the codifier. One of the reasons why the Roman Empire expanded so easily and remained stable was the limited intrusion of Roman culture upon the conquered. It was a slow and easy assimilation process that allowed defeated nations to retain much of their history and traditions.

This all changed with the establishment of Constantine’s Holy Roman Empire. Suddenly Christianity was the state religion, rigidly enforced. Anyone who’s played the children’s game “telephone” knows what happens when information gets spread around to those who don’t understand it, particularly when the actual source is jealously guarded. Through repeated partial interpretations, misunderstandings and politicking, women were now officially second-class citizens and possessions according to holy law.

But did Aristotle and Constantine know what would happen and plan for a male-dominated society, or was the result simply caused by the balance of power shifting?

Feminists love to paint all men with the wide brush of rapist, potential rapist, rape apologist, misogynist, and all sorts of other lovely words that demonize an entire gender, but is it truly the gender’s fault?

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, “Anyone can handle adversity. If you want to see someone’s true character, give them power.” I use gender-neutral pronouns for a reason: as of today, men are no more naturally aggressive than women. The cause of many crimes is the possession of power, or the perceived possession thereof.

The Japanese were widely known for their politeness, honor and strict code of conduct, yet during WWII the number of atrocities committed by Japanese troops – rape, looting, sexual abuse, degradation – was astonishing. Were these Japanese men always like that, somehow held at bay by the mere presence of Japanese women? A radical feminist might like to think so, but the truth is that when someone is given absolute power and a guarantee (real or perceived) of no consequences, they will often do horrible things.

Likewise, if the oppressed allow themselves to be consumed by hatred and the desire for vengeance, they will become the oppressors and their atrocities will be far worse than those perpetrated on them. My example, also drawing from WWII, is Germany. After being drawn into the first war through alliances and treaties and being forced to hold their own even after their allies fell, Germany was deemed a threat and picked apart. Their economy, their heritage, their homes and their happiness were systematically destroyed. It was in this despair that fascism took root and allowed WWII to commence.

So too is it with the feminist movement, which insists that all men are responsible for the crimes of a few, and that all men carry the crimes of the past with us. We in 2013 are to blame for the Middle Ages. It’s not the fault of the church, or of society as a whole, and of course it’s not the fault of the people of that time period. Men are compressed into a singularity: no matter where or when an atrocity was committed, each and every man shares responsibility.

Take a moment and look down at your fist. How many times have you dealt with someone who made you want to punch them, to beat them to a bloody pulp? How many times have you acted on those impulses? That is not only law at work; it is the human conscience. The brain can override the body, reason can triumph over animal instinct.

Why, then, do feminists claim that they want equality and then immediately insist that men are subhuman, that they cannot control their instincts in a manner in which humans are able?

I often say that, “stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason,” yet most are analyzed, proven false, and forgotten. Why, then, have the stereotypes of masculinity and femininity persisted for thousands of years, and why are we as a society complicit in the perpetuation of these blatant lies?

Male aggression does not come from being a man: it comes from being a man who is then taught that he must be aggressive, that he must be insensitive and refuse to show emotion, that he must never display pain and that any deviation from this list of rules means that he is no longer a person.

From infanthood, boys cry and fuss more than girls but are more often ignored. Even at that young of an age, he is presumed to be an angry and violent sort whose desires should not be indulged, while a girl who cries even a little is immediately attended to. Babies who are forced to cry themselves to sleep and whose pains and needs are ignored or discounted end up displaying symptoms in exact alignment with post-traumatic stress disorder. We are torturing our children – particularly our boys – from birth. Is it any wonder why so many men seem screwed-up?

And why are girls permitted to cry and protected when they do? This has been the state of the genders for centuries. During the Renaissance a woman could start crying at a man’s slightest actions and said man could be ejected from the manor or even challenged to a duel for insulting the woman. Women keep this power, as well as accumulating more, and yet men start at a disadvantage and only lose ground.

How about the illusion of male power? Men are automatically presumed by society, courts and police to be the ones in the position of power, so they are automatically guilty until proven innocent. Male victims of domestic violence are mocked, insulted, told that they are in fact the abusers, and all sorts of horrible things. As bad as female victims of rape suffer, they at least have support groups. Male victims of rape are emotionally abused by their peers and often refused aid on the grounds that a man supposedly can’t be raped. He must always secretly want it, even though it’s a patently obvious fact that involuntary erections can be caused by stimulation.

According to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, men constitute more than 53% of domestic and sexual violence victims. This doesn’t even include male rape victims, who weren’t even tallied. Of course, the actual numbers only appear buried in the CDC’s full report. The female numbers were the only ones publicized.

In essence, men are told that they are in power but then every facet of society shows them that they are not. The only men truly in power are the ultra-rich, and it is those men that feminism focuses on. They see only the top while attacking only the bottom, those men who have already been abused by the system.

Many women complaining about equal pay for equal work are convinced that this is some sort of conspiracy by men to keep women down. Seriously? Men have so little actual power as it is; are they really supposed to have the clout to ensure an international conspiracy?

I put forth this alternative: In the capitalist, corporate world, there are no men or women. There are only numbers: the cost, profit, reliability, et cetera. Women who get pregnant will not be able to work for several months, up to a year. Women suffering from particularly bad PMS or PMDD can be a detriment to workplace productivity. If a man sexually harasses a woman in the workplace, it is cheap and easy to sweep under the rug and costs almost nothing in terms of time or money. If a woman gets pregnant, she can no longer work and may not even return after birth. Is it any wonder that the faceless corporations, for whom there is only profit and human rights are a bad joke, prefer men over women?

And again, through the false perception of male power, the sexual harassment of men in the workplace is something funny or even good, a way of “sticking it” to other men who may have potentially wronged the woman, even if the man she harasses has no association with anything except for the fact that he has a penis.

Of course, this abuse of power is not limited to small gestures that amount to death by mosquito bites. In fact, let’s look back into history again. The next time a feminist tells you that a female government would abolish war, hand her a book on African history and resist the urge to slap her with it. Before European sailors discovered Africa, the vast majority of nations there were matriarchal. Not only did these female-led nations wage war, they took vast amounts of slaves and used them as sex toys, target practice and even currency.

Despite the modern depiction, Europeans never went into Africa to capture slaves. They bought slaves who’d already been captured. Tell me again how good and pure female-run governments are when the largest matriarchal nations in history not only dehumanized other men and women to the point that they were currency, but created enough of a market for their atrocities that they would wage wars exclusively to take more slaves for sale.

The reason that the African tribes changed from matriarchal to patriarchal (or, rather, patriarchal except in subservience to European men and women) was, again, power. The Europeans had guns and flotillas; the Africans had spears. They may have had the numbers and the advantage of home terrain, but when firearms and the economy are both in your opponent’s possession, you’re going to lose the war.

And that is exactly what has happened to the men of today. Only a small percentage of unbelievably wealthy – mostly white – men enjoy the supposedly universal “male privilege.” The rest are exploited by those men in power and persecuted by the subtly powerful feminist movement for the crimes of being how society forced them to be.

Ask a feminist why, if men were supposed to be in power, were African men treated as property and as subhuman chattel right alongside the women. The answer, and not the rhetorical sputum that will come from someone who lacks talking points to regurgitate, is simple: the hierarchy was not based around men; it was based around power. Men were simply lucky that a number of coincidences favored them.

Those coincidences no longer exist. Men are automatically expected to be bad; exploitation of men is discounted because it’s supposed to be a male fantasy and can’t possibly be negative; and whenever feminism makes an advancement it does its damndest to deny the same advancement to men. The canned reasoning is that men must already have such advantages, but the truth is that feminism is no longer about equality: feminism is now about making modern men pay for crimes in which they had no hand, and manufacturing new criminals and victims in order to keep the illusion consistent.

If we strip away all the rhetoric, the history, and the gender warfare, men and women are exactly equal in their propensity to do harm (emotional or physical) to others, to themselves, to both; or to do good for all. In order to truly move forward, we must ensure that both men and women are treated fairly, that they are no longer forced into gender roles and then either punished or rewarded by fiat.

All human beings have the right to self-determine. It’s time we exercised that right. A man shouldn’t be made to feel less than human for crying when he gets hurt. A woman shouldn’t be told that she must have enjoyed being raped since she got pregnant. Men must no longer be automatically assumed to be the bad guys. The sexual and domestic abuse of men cannot be the subject of ridicule; it must be treated just as seriously as if a woman were the victim.

We repeatedly assert that prejudice is an evil; why is prejudice against men portrayed as a virtue?

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