I hate the Gender War. It is possibly the most thoughtless, banal, and malignant thing in the Western world today. It is sadly also something that I get some exposure to every day on my social media feeds, in the Men’s issues forums I follow every day, and in working with wounded men as well. Every day I see gender warriors denigrating their fellow human beings over their sex, their ideology, their creed and their politics on hash-tags like #MasculinitySoFragile. I stay out of it because the participants are honestly not interested in someone whose guiding principles are positivity, empathy, and empowerment.
And that is the thing: nothing good can come out of it. No theory, no philosophy, no ideology, and no protest that is devoted to denigrating, accusing, and abusing large groups of people will ever accomplish something positive. They frame one group as the villains or oppressors, and the other as the victims and oppressed, and sees themselves as the revolutionaries that have to lash out and take power from the other. It makes peaceful dialogue impossible.
#IfIWereaBody #killallmen, #MasculinitySoFragile, #YesAllWomen, #NotAllMen, #SpankAFeminist… none of this is constructive. It is all adversarial, or baits people who are going to make it adversarial.
I don’t participate in them because all I want to say on any of them is the same thing: “Stop being a bunch of hateful, divisive, adversarial, spiteful, entitled brats! All of you. You aren’t solving anything!”
It also gives people a reason to double down on their ideologies – after you spend so much time shouting your ideology from the rooftops, and defending it in the trenches of the flame wars, it is hard to look at you own ideology with an open mind, a compassionate heart, or an objective eye… because if you start looking at what you are supporting, you will end up feeling like an asshole. Nobody likes that feeling – especially when they deserve it.
Because Feminism isn’t right. Nor is the MHRA. Nor are Traditionalists, MGTOW, Liberals, Conservatives, religious Fundamentalists. Not the Marxists, the Socialists, or the Anarcho-Capitalists. Not one of these ideologies as they exist today stands up to the slightest bit of scrutiny when you actually look at them through the lens of Logic, Reason, and Critical thought.
When I was a little boy I fell in love with four things: Dungeons and Dragons, Heavy Metal music, Video Games, and Philosophy.
I was told over and over again that liking the first three of those things made me evil and bad. I even wondered if I should believe the people saying it. After all, I even had a principal punish me for having D&D books at school as if that were an offense. People handed me tracts and spouted facts at me about all the ways I was damning myself to Hell, risking my sanity, making, myself less intelligent, or setting myself up to be a serial killer.
Thankfully, I had that fourth love: Philosophy, with its rules of Logic and Reason, and its structured methods of inquiry. It could see how painfully inconsistent, irrational, and self-serving their arguments were. And I could see that they were always coming out of a place of self-importance and insecurity: “You imagination games confuse me and make me feel uncreative. They also encourage you to ask questions, both of which make me uncomfortable. I will bully you with my religion and use it as an excuse as to why I don’t like your games that makes me seem righteous, rather than an asshole!”
While I have strayed once in awhile from using Logic as my guide in life. And the time I did that the most willfully was so that I could negotiate the ideas presented – and achieve a good grade in – the gender studies and literature classes I took in University. And I did find myself struggling, because there were ideas in there that made not one whit of sense if you looked at them with a critical eye and sought evidence. But I also was very good at applying feminist theory , and was very popular in those classes; it was rewarding to be a sharp male feminist in grades and respect, which made me feel like an asshole every time I actually thought long and hard about the ideas shared in class.
In the end, Logic won, for me. If you are versed in philosophy, it has to win. The use of your own reason, complemented by the evidence of science is the only way you can live a life that ethical, intelligent, and compatible with the realities of the world around you.
And when you look logically at the discourse we have around Gender and Politics these days, you mostly just shake your head and wonder hos so many people can have so little understanding or empathy. If more people stopped and really looked at what people were saying with a critical eye, rather than merely sharing it on facebook, the Gender War would collapse in a day.
And if you have compassion, you also realize that if we actually want to help Men or Women, and if we value having a just society, then the way to do it is to create services that lift them up and help them become more positive, proactive, creative, and healthy people. That means having people with a positive attitude who seek to empower and inspire first. And those services to work must be voluntary, private, and affordable.
Voluntary, because no one changes until they are ready to.
Private, because no one can speak their mind truly if they are worried that their will be legal repercussions or a record… and no government service should be without a record.
And Affordable, because it must be private, but it should be available to as many as possible.
And so that is what I am doing.
Positive, empathic, ethical, logical. That is what will actually make a difference in the end.