31 December, 2006

Misunderstanding Patriarchy

Posted in Daran, Feminist Issues, Gender Issues, Patriarchy at 5:51 am by HughRistik

I just ran into an interesting essay by bell hooks entitled “Understanding Patriarchy”. hooks argues that patriarchy is damaging to men in ways that not only men themselves, but also feminists fail to recognize. hooks’ analysis makes some important points, but is also limited by some of her assumptions about what “patriarchy” is and about how men experience victimization in such societies.

I want to begin by stating my agreements with hooks. She writes, “like many visionary radical feminists I challenged the misguided notion, put forward by women who were simply fed up with male exploitation and oppression, that men were ‘the enemy.’ ” hooks continues:

I stressed that feminist advocates collude in the pain of men wounded by patriarchy when they falsely represent men as always and only powerful, as always and only gaining privileges from their blind obedi­ence to patriarchy. I emphasized that patriarchal ideology brainwashes men to believe that their domination of women is beneficial when it is not:

For a feminist to admit that other feminists take an unjustifiably adversarial stance towards men, and to challenge that stance in print, is a pleasant surprise. It’s even more unusual that hooks challenges feminists for exacerbating the suffering of men. Furthermore, she questions feminist overestimation of the benefits of patriarchy to men and the portrayal of men as patriarchal automatons. hooks is on a roll here. But soon we run into trouble:

Separatist ideology encourages women to ignore the negative impact of sexism on male personhood. It stresses polarization between the sexes. According to Joy justice, separatists believe that there are “two basic perspectives” on the issue of naming the victims of sexism: “There is the perspective that men oppress women. And there is the perspective that people are people, and we are all hurt by rigid sex roles.” . . . Both perspectives accurately describe our predica­ment. Men do oppress women. People are hurt by rigid sexist role patterns, These two realities coexist. Male oppression of women cannot be excused by the recognition that there are ways men are hurt by rigid sexist roles. Feminist activists should acknowledge that hurt, and work to change it—it exists. It does not erase or lessen male responsibility for supporting and perpetu­ating their power under patriarchy to exploit and oppress women in a manner far more grievous than the serious psychological stress and emo­tional pain caused by male conformity to rigid sexist role patterns.

hooks is correct that male oppression of women (which does exist) is not justified by the fact that males also suffer oppression. hooks also makes a startling assertion: that feminists should acknowledge the damage of gender roles to men, and work to change it. In short, hooks is arguing the feminists should not focus exclusively on the needs and interests of women. She also criticizes feminist separatism. This is awesome. Most feminists aren’t separatists, but it is rare that they are outspoken in criticizing separatism.

hooks is clearly thinking outside of the box of feminist ideology. Yet she keeps one one foot stuck in the box when she makes the standard feminist comparison between the suffering of men and the suffering of women and claims that women’s suffering is greater.

In Legalizing Misandry: From Public Shame to Systemic Discrimination Against Men, Nathanson and Young call this kind of attitude “comparative suffering,” the notion that the suffering of human beings can and should be quantified and measured against each other. My co-blogger Daran has noticed this attitude also, and he calls it the “odious comparison.”

Maybe women do suffer “more,” according to some (but what?) metric of comparison. Yet hooks has no business claiming this, as she does when she argues that men under patriarchy “exploit and oppress women in a manner far more grievous than the serious psychological stress and emotional pain caused by male conformity to rigid sexist role patterns.” Maybe hooks is right, maybe she is wrong. But how the hell does she know that female suffering is “far more grievous?” As a woman, hooks has never experienced male suffering, so she is really just conjecturing here. I have no problem with conjecturing; I think it is great, as long one recognizes that it is a conjecture, which hooks does not appear to do.

Does it make sense for hooks to even conjecture that women suffer more? Maybe, as long as this claim is stated more precisely. Does it mean that all women suffer “far more” from exploitation and oppression than all men suffer from psychological pain from gender roles? Or does it simply mean that women suffer more on average? If so, what is the overlap between the “distributions” of suffering? When talking about most gender differences, mainstream feminists like Michael Kimmel tell us that because of overlapping distributions, the similarities between the genders are more interesting that the differences. Not so, apparently, when the gender difference is in suffering.

Since gender roles are implicated in the death of men, it’s difficult to argue that the suffering men can experience due to gender roles is always more grievous than the oppression women suffer. (Unless the suffering of women is considered worse than the death of men.) For example, British teenager Joe Burns hung himself after being unable to lose his virginity. Arguably, the prescription of masculinity that men should lose their virginity motivated his suicide.

Perhaps men hurting themselves because of their gender roles is less common than many forms of female victimization, even though they can have similar maximum severity. Yet this formulation is not the argument hooks was making. hooks’ analysis does not reflect the existence of severe, if uncommon, forms of male self-victimization like suicide.

hooks depicts the damage to men under patriarchy as primarily psychological damage, caused by their dominance and repression of their own humanity (hook’s views may be more complex that this, but I am simply responding to what she writes in this essay). This is a good start in understanding male suffering, and many feminists don’t even get this far. But it doesn’t go anywhere near far enough.

Not only are men hurt by their own adherence to gender norms, they are also hurt by the gendered behavior of other men (which includes anything from bullying to sex-selective massacres of men). Furthermore, men also suffer oppression from women, though I believe that this type of oppression is less common. Finally, both men and women suffer oppression that doesn’t have an obvious agent, but is rather the consequence of social structures and institutions. More on why I consider men to be “oppressed” (if women are), and what “oppression” means in future posts.

Ultimately, hooks challenges some of the ideological excess of feminism, while staying mired in others. What is striking about her essay is that it does display real empathy for men; hooks doesn’t just pay lip service to male suffering to deflect criticism from feminism. Yet her adherence to certain feminist precepts makes her analysis incapable of accurately conceptualizing the sources and nature of men’s suffering. One of these is the conceptualization of “patriarchy,” which I will also discuss in future posts.

21 Comments

  1. [...] A Vocabulary for Feminist Criticism Filed under: Feminist Issues — Daran @ 9:48 am I was gratified to see my co-blogger on ‘Darain’ Man, Hugh Ristik, refer in his last post to the “Odious Comparison“, one of a several phrases I’ve coined to describe some of the objectionable aspects of feminism. Just as feminism has its own vocabulary, including such terms of art as “Patriarchy” and “Rape Culture”, so we Feminist Critics need a vocabulary of our own. Ideally each concept should be described by a memorable word or two word phrase. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. Some of these terms I have been using for a while; others, so far, have existed only in my head; still others I’ve coined even as I drafted this post. [...]

  2. NYMOM said,

    “…feminists should acknowledge the damage of gender roles to men, and work to change it. In short, hooks is arguing the feminists should not focus exclusively on the needs and interests of women…”

    Wouldn’t this be a little unfair, however, at least until a few generations of women have been empowered for some period????

    What other group is asked to do this btw????

    “Not only are men hurt by their own adherence to gender norms, they are also hurt by the gendered behavior of other men (which includes anything from bullying to sex-selective massacres of men).”

    Then is there some link between pro-feminist men and mens’ rights advocates???? In essense could pro-feminist men be another form of a mens rights’ advocates? I, myself have noted many similarities between these two groups which is why I ask.

    My last point: I happen to believe that many men still benefit from outmoded patriarchal behaviors, social norms, etc., otherwise they wouldn’t keep trying to perpetuate them.

    It’s almost like what has happened with the aristocrary of Europe since WW I(1918 or thereabout)…even though they lost all their power (responsibility) to the state/people, etc., they were allowed to keep certain of their income producing estates (wealth) plus the deference/respect (special treatment) compared to the average people…

    I mean look at that whole House of Lords business in England not to mention the Civil List for the royals. But that’s a small part of the picture. There are still royals all over Europe still benefitting indirectly from their families’ status as former heads of state.

    Some social historians have noted how practices that once benefitted societies last far past their useful expiration date…so you see places where dowry traditions for instance, (which once made sense) are still going on today in various forms.

    As in the west, where a bride’s family was expected to pay for the wedding which has now morphed into the bride (since women are marrying older today), paying for most of the expenses of a wedding…and believe me with the expense of a wedding today, you’ve spending your dowry on financing it…

    So that’s the sort of thing I’m talking about…where men, although on paper, may not still be favored but in reality many of their traditional privileges still exist.

    Hope this makes sense.

  3. curiousgyrl said,

    Its hard for me to reconcile Hooks place in the feminist canon with your assertion that she’s thinking outside the box. This version of feminism is one that I think is more widespread than you aknowldege.

    The other point that hooks (and other black feminists) make is that gender cant be analyzed in isolation–what the distribution of opression is depends on gender, race, age, and class= intersectionality. For instance., your example of men fighting in war is not just male, but classed, partially raced, and linked to age. The “wage gap” and the “job danger gap” are most clear among working class people, etc, etc.

  4. ballgame said,

    Excellent post, Hugh. I’m struggling with the whole notion of the ‘moral calculus’ behind claims that ‘our suffering is worse than yours’.

    In too many cases it seems to be motivated by the desire to maintain group cohesiveness and boundaries (i.e. exclude males) and group control over discourse than to serve any genuine utility in achieving social justice for people oppressed by gender.

  5. HughRistik said,

    Hi curiousgyrl, thanks for the input.

    Its hard for me to reconcile Hooks place in the feminist canon with your assertion that she’s thinking outside the box.

    Ok, I can think of examples both for and against what I think you saying:

    Not only are men hurt by their own adherence to gender norms, they are also hurt by the gendered behavior of other men (which includes anything from bullying to sex-selective massacres of men).

    I admit there are feminists who grant that men are hurt by other men’s adherence to gender norms (though I don’t consider this to go far enough in conceptualizing the oppression of men).

    I said:

    For a feminist to admit that other feminists take an unjustifiably adversarial stance towards men, and to challenge that stance in print, is a pleasant surprise. It’s even more unusual that hooks challenges feminists for exacerbating the suffering of men.

    Where are these other (published) feminists who (a) challenge an adversarial stance that some feminists take towards men, and (b) challenge feminists for exacerbating the suffering of men? Besides hooks, I know of two feminists who do (a), Martha Nussbaum and Caroline New, only one of which is well-known. Only New really does (b). Amp has sort of done (a) but only in connection with radical feminism. Would you say that Susan Faludi does either (a) or (b)? You see, I feel that I really shouldn’t have to hunt around for feminists with these views if they are really so common; in Daran’s terminology, I should be able to find birds in my garden, instead of having to travel 200 miles away to a nature preserve.

    You said:

    This version of feminism is one that I think is more widespread than you aknowldege.

    I would really like to believe you! I wonder how you would explain my perception that hooks is out of the box. If hooks-style feminism is so widespread, why am I not seeing it? I read feminists all the time. I have taken Feminist Studies 101 at a top university, and a mid-level course. I hang out with feminists. I read feminist blogs on at least a weekly basis.

    In real life, I would say that relatively more of the feminists I meet sound like hooks than in the blogosphere and in published work. The type of feminism I hear from you sounds a lot more like the feminism of a couple of my friends than like what I usually see in print. Perhaps more moderate feminists aren’t motivated so often to write blogs or books. But that could be why I don’t know they exist.

    Maybe I’m biased to think feminists are more extreme and uncompromising towards men than they actually are. Likewise, if hooks-style feminism is your type of feminism, and if you use yourself as the prototype of a feminist, could you be biased to believe that feminists in general are closer to your views than they actually are? I’m trying to throw out some of the many possibilities to explain our difference in perceptions.

    I think there is also a bias called pluralistic ignorance going on here. Pluralistic ignorance leads group members with dissenting views to think their views are atypical, and effectively silence themselves. I think pluralistic ignorance on the part of feminists, rather than large amounts of malice or sexism towards men, or lack of empathy, can explain why I don’t hear feminists professing views like hooks’, although they may secretly agree with her.

    During the first day of Feminist Studies 101, the professor asked for people to shout of words that were associated with feminism. One word shouted out was “male-bashing.” The professor said something like “yeah, that’s not really what feminism is about.” That was it. No explanation of why people might perceive feminism to bash men, even to argue against that perception. It doesn’t sound to me like she would agree with hooks that feminism has often portrayed men as “the enemy.” When I see a professor promoting a view that seems to exclude hooks’, then that’s one of the reasons I give a low estimate to the prevalence of views like hers in feminism; her trivialization of the idea of male-bashing in feminism would also encourage pluralistic ignorance on the part of feminists in the class about criticizing feminist rhetoric that is negative towards men.

    Something else I should point out: my argument isn’t so much that beliefs like hooks are rare in feminism (this may or may not be true). My complaint is that they aren’t voiced publically enough (if they were, I think I would be hearing them a lot more often). What I found so exceptional about hooks was not her version of feminism, but the fact that she was willing to put her neck out and criticize other types of feminism (for which hooks has been criticized back). So I suppose it is primarily talking outside the box, rather than thinking outside the feminist box, that I commend her for.

    Here’s the simple solution I see: feminists who have views like hooks should be more vocal about it, instead of being upset when outsiders lump them in with other feminists who they let speak for them. I try to hold myself to the same standard, which is why in my intro posts I mentioned that I have criticisms of the Men’s Rights Movement, so I can have a leg to stand on if people try to lump me in with extreme men’s rights activists later down the line.

  6. HughRistik said,

    Thanks, ballgame!

    Excellent post, Hugh. I’m struggling with the whole notion of the ‘moral calculus’ behind claims that ‘our suffering is worse than yours’.

    In too many cases it seems to be motivated by the desire to maintain group cohesiveness and boundaries (i.e. exclude males) and group control over discourse than to serve any genuine utility in achieving social justice for people oppressed by gender.

    I completely agree. I am also struggling with the idea of “comparative suffering,” and in what contexts, if any, it could be appropriate. I might do a post on this when I finish thinking it through.

  7. Daran said,

    Here’s the simple solution I see: feminists who have views like hooks should be more vocal about it, instead of being upset when outsiders lump them in with other feminists who they let speak for them.

    Exactly. This is precisely what the typicality discourse is about. If you allow others in your social group (or even in a social group to which you are perceived to belong, such as me and antifems) to say things which you do not agree with, but do not challenge it when they do, then you are as a practical matter allowing them to speak for you. Whether you agree that you are doing this is beside the point.

    I try to hold myself to the same standard, which is why in my intro posts I mentioned that I have criticisms of the Men’s Rights Movement, so I can have a leg to stand on if people try to lump me in with extreme men’s rights activists later down the line.

    You will have have to work long and hard to match the stunningly huge leg I have build up over the years on usenet. It’s even bigger than my penis. :-)

  8. curiousgyrl said,

    I think its partly that people with a more intersectional analysis than either radical feminists or liberal feminists are often concerned and vocal around issues other than typically ‘feminist’ ones–war, class oppression, community organizing. people like that often see feminsm as something that is necessarily incorporated intody to other issues, a broader politics. it think there are folks wiht similar politics who do mainly “feminist” work, but the big picture can get lost there too. I would include Susan Faludi in this category, yes. I would also include pretty much every prof i had in the gender studies dept at NYU.

    I basically see the shift from “women’s studies” to “gender studies” as part of this politics.That partly why I see your “gendersphere” as ill concieved– you’re missing the point that “gender” as something other than a gramatical description is a feminist issue and then defining the field of power in a way that then misunderstands feminism’s role in the ideological/political world as whole.

    My larger point is that I think there are probably some instances in which some feminisms creates and more in which some feminisms ignores the gender opression of men, but I dont think most of the oppression of men or even the gender oppression of men has its roots in feminism. When ya’ll argue the opposite, you’re throwing the baby of the basic feminist insight out with the bathwater of crappy politics.

  9. curiousgyrl said,

    this hooks essay is taught in every freshman gender studies 101 class at NYU as far as I know.

  10. HughRistik said,

    curiousgyrl said:

    My larger point is that I think there are probably some instances in which some feminisms creates and more in which some feminisms ignores the gender opression of men, but I dont think most of the oppression of men or even the gender oppression of men has its roots in feminism. When ya’ll argue the opposite, you’re throwing the baby of the basic feminist insight out with the bathwater of crappy politics.

    I think we are basically agreed here: our major disagreements in this area are matters of degree and emphasis. You agree that some feminisms ignore the gender oppression of men. This is the kind of acknowledgement I am looking for. (We may, however, disagree on the degree to which though feminisms ignore the gender oppression of men, or exactly which schools of feminism those are). I agree that most of the oppression of men does not have its roots in feminism, and I will be blogging about examples that do and examples that don’t. For example, massacres of men, like the Srebrenica massacre in Kosovo, cannot be chalked up to feminism. The attitudes towards men that made the massacre possible existed long before feminism, though I think the effect of feminism in general is to obscure those attitudes, sometimes even contribute to them, and make them harder to fight.

    When ya’ll argue the opposite, you’re throwing the baby of the basic feminist insight out with the bathwater of crappy politics.

    I do hope that I haven’t given them impression that the oppression of men has it’s roots in feminism; it definitely preceeded feminism. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as far as feminism is concerned, is one of my goals for my blogging (that’s why I tried to acknowledge my agreements with hooks, for example). Whether people think I succeed or not will probably depend on their perception of what the baby is.

    this hooks essay is taught in every freshman gender studies 101 class at NYU as far as I know.

    Awesome. This makes me kind of pissed that it wasn’t taught in the class I took.

  11. Daran said,

    I think its partly that people with a more intersectional analysis than either radical feminists or liberal feminists are often concerned and vocal around issues other than typically ‘feminist’ ones–war, class oppression, community organizing. people like that often see feminsm as something that is necessarily incorporated intody to other issues, a broader politics. it think there are folks wiht similar politics who do mainly “feminist” work, but the big picture can get lost there too. I would include Susan Faludi in this category, yes. I would also include pretty much every prof i had in the gender studies dept at NYU.

    Where are the birds in my garden? Its all very well talking about your gender studies profs, when I can’t speak to them. Nor can I get every book it is suggested I read. I can follow internet links, though. Where, on the internet, are there feminists talking about what I’m talking about. Dr. Adam Jones self-identifies as feminist, I don’t know that he’d be accepted as feminist by other feminists. Cathy young, and Wendy McElroy do sometimes, but they’re definitely not accepted. Who else? Show me the birds.

    I basically see the shift from “women’s studies” to “gender studies” as part of this politics.That partly why I see your “gendersphere” as ill concieved– you’re missing the point that “gender” as something other than a gramatical description is a feminist issue and then defining the field of power in a way that then misunderstands feminism’s role in the ideological/political world as whole.

    But I only see feminists talking about women, or if about men, it’s derisorily framed as “Patriarchy hurts men too”. Is not the gender-selective massacre of men an example of “gender-based violence”? Show me the feminists who don’t construct gender-based violence exclusively in terms of the kinds of violence that happen (or are perceived to happen) to women. Show me the birds.

  12. Daran said,

    For example, massacres of men, like the Srebrenica massacre in Kosovo, cannot be chalked up to feminism.

    Thanks for reminding me of that Essay. I’m very familiar with Srebrenica, but I’d forgotten about Zepa. Two years before the massacre, several thousand women and children were evacuated from Srebrenica. Men were explicitely excluded. In the official investigation into the massacre, guess what word was used to describe those evacuated.

    “Vulnerable”.

    Meaning who wasn’t considered to be vulnerable in the official investigation into the massacre?!

    And the UN hasn’t learned. It’s still declaring women to be “vulnerable” in Iraq in the same reports as it records male casualties at the 95% level

    The attitudes towards men that made the massacre possible existed long before feminism, though I think the effect of feminism in general is to obscure those attitudes, sometimes even contribute to them, and make them harder to fight.

    Sometimes?

    Sum up the following in two words:

    Iraqi Women’s Bodies are Battlefields for War Vendettas

    By Kavita N. Ramdas, Global Fund for Women.

    The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) recently issued a frightening report documenting the growing practice of public executions of women by Shia Militia. One of the report’s more grisly accounts was a story of a young woman dragged by a wire wound around her neck to a close-by football field and then hung to the goal post. They pierced her body with bullets. Her brother came running trying to defend his sister. He was also shot and killed. Sunni extremists are no better: OWFI members estimate that no less than 30 women are executed monthly for honor related reasons

    [...]

    Iraqi sectarian conflict has exacerbated violence against women, making women’s bodies the battlefields on which vendettas and threats are played out.

    I call it holocaust denial. What say you?

  13. Daran said,

    To be fair to the OWFI, their report was completely misrepresented. I’ll be blogging about this shortly.

  14. Daran said,

    OK, I just read bell hooks again.

    Definition of religion: The unshakable belief that of all the religious teachings given to children all over the world, the one my parents gave me is the correct description of God.

    Definition of Patriarchy: The unshakable belief that of all the different upbringings given to children the world over, the one my parents gave me is the correct description of society.

  15. HughRistik said,

    Daran said:

    I call it holocaust denial. What say you?

    I say “holocaust denial.” And my “sometimes” was a bit too charitable.

    [hooks'] Definition of Patriarchy: The unshakable belief that of all the different upbringings given to children the world over, the one my parents gave me is the correct description of society.

    I see what you mean: although hooks’ was beaten when her brother was not, I suspect that it is more common for sons to be beaten than daughters, which would have thrown a wrench in her analysis. We should try to find some figures on this.

    Ultimately, hooks’ essay is simply a more charitable and empathetic version of “Patriarchy Hurts Men Too” (PHMT). The main problem is, of course, her conceptualization of “patriarchy,” which I will discuss in a future post.

  16. NYMOM said,

    “The attitudes towards men that made the massacre possible existed long before feminism, though I think the effect of feminism in general is to obscure those attitudes, sometimes even contribute to them, and make them harder to fight.”

    Yes, I see. Men have been killing other men for eons but feminism has obscured and contributed to this…

    Well feminism has only been around for a handful of human history so what was your reasoning before this as to why men did this…

  17. NYMOM said,

    Actually I see the Hooks and the curiousgirls and many of what I call ‘gender neutralized feminists’ as being more dangerous to men.

    I believe they only advance this idea that adoption of their programs will make a better life for men because they wish your support. When I think much objective evidence shows that they have made life far worse for many men and women. Not better…

    There is a big difference in what early feminism was (and I proudly consider myself one of those old school feminist) and what it has morphed into today.

    You’ve playing with fire to think that men signing on to this gender neutralized view of humanity that latter day feminism has degenerated into will help your cause…which is to help make life better for men.

  18. Daran said,

    Actually I see the Hooks and the curiousgirls and many of what I call ‘gender neutralized feminists’ as being more dangerous to men.

    Hooks is just a more sophisticated version of “But Patriarchy Hurts Men Too”. She’s talking about us, not listening to us.

    Curiousgyrl is. She’s a Faludi-ist. She’s studying us. For all I know, she might even be Faludi.

    I believe they only advance this idea that adoption of their programs will make a better life for men because they wish your support. When I think much objective evidence shows that they have made life far worse for many men and women. Not better…

    Hooks appears to have some traction within the feminist movement, but like I said, she’s a PHMT-ist.

    From the reviews of Faludi I’ve read, the men she’s been speaking about, don’t appear to be impressed by her.

    Curiousgyrl has an interesting knack of talking without saying very much. That’s not to disparage her, by the way. It’s just her way of studying us. And that suits me just fine. I want to talk – I’m desparate, in fact, to be heard – and she’s willing to listen. Seems like a good deal to me.

    There is a big difference in what early feminism was (and I proudly consider myself one of those old school feminist) and what it has morphed into today.

    I realise that.

    You’ve playing with fire to think that men signing on to this gender neutralized view of humanity that latter day feminism has degenerated into will help your cause…which is to help make life better for men.

    You are mistaken. I want to make things better for everyone. I think WPO (Women’s Point-of-view Only) feminism and MPO masculism are both dead ends. I fight feminism, mainly, because it’s the hegemonic discourse, and I’ve already served my time bashing the idiot MRAs.

  19. Daran said,

    “The attitudes towards men that made the massacre possible existed long before feminism, though I think the effect of feminism in general is to obscure those attitudes, sometimes even contribute to them, and make them harder to fight.”

    Yes, I see. Men have been killing other men for eons but feminism has obscured and contributed to this…

    I’ve already pointed to an example of holocaust-denialist feminist literature, which I’m sure you’ll agree is nothing out of the ordinary for feminism today.

    Well feminism has only been around for a handful of human history so what was your reasoning before this as to why men did this…

    The problem with saying “men did this” is it treats men as a collective. Only a tiny minority of men have done this, and overwhelmingly its been men who have been the victims. So this collective framing blames the victims.

  20. NYMOM said,

    “You are mistaken. I want to make things better for everyone.”

    This is good…

    “The problem with saying “men did this” is it treats men as a collective. Only a tiny minority of men have done this, and overwhelmingly its been men who have been the victims. So this collective framing blames the victims.”

    I don’t know if this is true. Because even though most men weren’t Kings or even members of the ruling elites, most men supported Kings and these elites. That’s why they existed. As no social systems exists without the support of the majority of its male population…

    I mean you can see that in the Iliad (which was social history of a sort) and even with Caesar, Alexander the Great, even Hitler and Stalin…I mean let’s face it even the royal family of England, as useless as they are today, at one time their ancestors probably saved the English people from numerous foreign invasions and massacres…thus they still hold a sentimental place in the hearts of their people and this explains why they still have some support…although as time goes on this will probably fade as well…

    So it’s not entirely true that men as a whole are so open to manipulation and have no say in chosing their leadership.

    After all if you read the beginning of western democrary it was originally a right granted only to men who had fought in wars defending their cities (and most males except the disabled had to serve). It was felt they had risked all, so were the only ones deserving of any vote…and even Kings were originally chosen through a ‘vote’ of sorts. Alexander the Great had to be voted on to be king as his father (Phillip) did before him…they weren’t the only heirs. The soldiers were expected to gather in a square or something and the expectant king came outside and the soldiers lifted their lances or shields (I forget which) if they approved.

    Probably stabbed him to death or something if they didn’t…

    Who knows.

    But what you say isn’t the case that men have never had any say in their governance. So some responsibility must be accepted by men for the current state of the world. The good, the bad and everything in between…

  21. [...] is a repost of an article originally posted at DaRain Man. Comments older than Wednesdau 10 January 2007 were originally posted there. See this post for [...]


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