Today is father’s day and I didn’t plan on joining in with all the blogging madness that has swept across the internet. There have been several articles put out today vilifying fathers and men in general. This sentiment, vilifying fathers on fathers day has been seen offline as well. I read from someone earlier today that in his town there are people advocating that today should be entitled “single mother’s day” instead of father’s day.
On most of the main men’s rights websites you will find messages praising the necessity of fathers while speaking out against the many injustices fathers face in western societies. Most feminist websites are either keeping silent or, as usual, lashing out against fathers and men.
Of course there is always that space in-between the majority that most of the time goes unnoticed. The general understanding when dealing with political or ideological issues is that there are two sides to every coin. The rough ridges that make up the outer layer of a coin, the ideological view within the center is normally not given that much attention.
Today, I should rather say, tonight, that ridged view that lay between vilifying and praising men has caught my attention.
I recently learned of a blog created by a woman under the screen name, Ozymandias entitled; No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz? The “what about teh menz” phrase is a reference some feminists use when expressing their lack of concern for male issues. It is used to shut down and disenfranchise any advocacy for solutions to male issues within a feminist forum. However, here on Ozymandias’s blog, a blog I admit I have not explored much, the phrase seems to be a shot back at those who would trivialize male issues. That’s just my guess and I may be wrong, seeing as how Ozymandias identifies as a feminist but a recent article she has written entitled; Who cares about Men’s Rights? has sparked at bit of chatter on all sides of the spectrum in concerns to male and female issues.
However, that article is not the topic of this piece. A recent article written by a friend of Ozymandias, Dr. Mindbeam entitled; Father’s Day: Real Men caught my attention. The article is a tribute to the author’s father, something rarely seen this day and age. That I did not have any problems with. It was what came after the author’s appreciation for his father that caused me to sigh in dismay. I sighed because I was subjected yet again to another “real man” rant.
My father taught me what it means to be a real man.
- A real man takes care of and protects his family. He defends them, he does his best to keep them out of harm’s way, and he does what’s necessary to provide for them.
- A real man doesn’t hit women, or children, or other men, unless he’s defending himself or someone else.
- A real man takes responsibility for his actions. He admits when he’s done something wrong, and does his best to correct it.
- A real man doesn’t degrade women, or minorities, or anyone in a position of subjugation.
- A real man isn’t afraid to show his emotions. He says “I love you” to his children and his wife or girlfriend, and he allows himself to cry if he is distraught.
- A real man is a gentleman. He is considerate and polite to others.
- A real man maintains his strength and power internally with confidence. He doesn’t lash out at or try to dominate others to try to enforce it.
The first line of the apparent checklist on the traits required to be a “real man” is an interesting one. It is interesting because it is a perception that many anti-feminists, myself included, and MRAs have been trying to dispel for some time. Men are the default disposable body guards of women and children in every society on this planet. For every one man that turns to a life of crime there is always one thousand more that will stand up to stop him, be they professional protectors such as the police or average citizens who happen to hear a cry for help. However, while this is a trait that men posses, it is not a required trait a man must posses in order to be a “real man”.
The second line on the list of traits is wishful thinking at its best. But sadly it is not the way society views things. According to the general public, feminists, and even our highest seats in government office, the president and vice president, “real men” don’t hit women. Not even in self-defense. Men who defend themselves against women are branded as abusers and many times arrested. Still, while this trait is the best out of the list it is not a trait that defines a real man.
The third trait is a human trait, not a male trait and has nothing to do with being a real man.
The fourth trait is in no way a trait that pertains solely to men and the way it is worded leads one to think that the author is listing qualities he feels white men and only white men should uphold. Because of the larger number of white people in America as opposed to black people, I am a minority and according to this trait I would still be a real man if I decided to degrade white men who aren’t in “a position of subjugation”. This trait seems to ignore that men of all colors and social status can be degraded as well and the entire list seems to put women first when it comes to the importance of showing compassion and respect.
Trait five is the misguided stereotype in which people believe that men are forced and or indoctrinated into not showing their emotions. It is a stereotype I’ve seen repeated many times by feminists. What is ignored here is the idea that men are a bit more capable of dealing with stress and emotions than women. Also, the idea that men do not feel the need to continually repeat “i love you” and would rather show their love through their actions is also ignored. Needless to say, this is not a trait a man needs to be defined as a real man.
Trait six is meaningless when determining what a real man is. Everyone is expected to display some form of common courtesy.
The final trait on the list stems from an ideological viewpoint, which characterizes masculine traits such as aggression and dominance as bad things. Within this feminist ideology dominance is only thought of in terms of men dominating women either physically or emotionally. The desire to dominate can be used positively such as in sports or other forms of competition such as business.
While this list does contain some very admirable qualities these qualities are not required to be a real man.
Because there are no required qualities men need to be “real” men. I recently wrote an article, which I feel explains in great detail how the traits generally viewed within men are no longer seen as masculine traits and how criminal traits, branded as “toxic masulinity” have replaced them.
Men are men and that’s all there is to it. You cannot be “less of a man” or a “real man” simply because someone says you are and there are no traits or qualities needed to accomplish this. Listing qualities and requirements that pertain to manhood is simply another way of someone stating what they consider to be a good man and what that man needs to do to be worthy of the title in their eyes.
Men and women will never stop complaining about each other, however what I have seen from feminists, especially male feminists when it comes to masculinity is saddening. We are at the point where men like Michael Kimmel, who claim that all men need to have warning labels placed on their penises, are lauded as “experts” on masculinity. According to feminist men like Kimmel, young college men should be mandated to attend programs where they are told that because they are male, they are all potential rapists and must be taught how to avoid raping women.
While Michael Kimmel’s voice is heard by a much larger audience than an average guy I feel it is important to point out how far these damaging sentiments have spread. Here we have a man giving tribute to his father and in the same stroke laying out a list of qualities required to be a “real man”.
Now I understand that this list was taught to the author by his father and that’s fine. None of my business really, what a father teaches his son. However, where I take issue is the part where the author presents this list as a required guideline for all men. Especially when some of the traits listed are qualities that because of the sexism in our society, only men are obligated to uphold less they be branded cowards, dead beats, pigs, or abusers.
I realize the author may just be presenting this list as his personal feelings on what a real man should be and if that is the case there is nothing wrong with that. I would also point out that I agree with most of what is said after the list
Not the size of their muscles, the cars that they drive, how many women they’ve fucked, how much money they make, how many beers they can drink, how much meat they can eat, or how loudly they can shout.
Dr. Mindbeam is absolutely correct when he states that these are not qualities that define real men. Where I believe he is wrong is where he states that the qualities on his list are.
Feminism is about women. It always has been and always will be. Setting aside my personal objections with feminism, the ideological viewpoint of feminism stems from the views of women and a woman can not define a man, therefore, feminism will never be the authority on what makes a man a “real man”, not ever. Even though there are men within the feminist movement, these men speak from an ideological point of view created by women. So while these men can and should define manhood for themselves they cannot define manhood for all men from a feminist standpoint. An example of this is on the list written by Dr. Mindbeam. From the feminist ideological viewpoint, dominance is only viewed as a man inflicting physical and emotional violence and control over others. Men who do positive things with a desire to dominate their crafts, work, or fields of study are ignored.
Ozymandias claims to truly care about helping men and that is a very good thing. From what I read in her Who cares About Men’s Rights article she appears to have no respect or confidence in the men’s rights movement. While that is her choice it is in my opinion a bad one.
There are no set qualities men need to adhere to in order to be good men or “real men” except their own. Presuming to be the authority on and listing traits you feel all men should adhere to is a waste of time. Because most men are too proud to follow personality guidelines from someone else.