Category Archives: brainwashing

Teen Violence — When Ideology Trumps Data ( 3 – Bias Against Men and Boys in Psychological Research)

The first project we will examine is a study on teen relationship violence from Great Britain.  The study consisted of both a written survey and subjective interviews of selected teens. The survey portion of the study was fairly conclusive in finding that teen relationship violence was experienced by both boys and girls. An “ad campaign” was created as a result of this work. Surprisingly, the ad campaign is designed to help only girls who were victims of teen relationship violence while focusing on boys only as perpetrators. This stunning neglect of male victims and female perpetrators is in stark contrast to the numbers of the research survey of this study which showed males to be victims of teen relationship violence and girls to be perpetrators. Let’s start at the beginning of the story when this issue first caught my attention.

A friend emailed me a link a couple of months ago to an article from Great Britain about teen violence. The friend was worried that the article was biased against boys. Here’s how it started:

  • Teenage boys were urged not to violently abuse their girlfriends in a new Government campaign launched today.
  • TV, radio, internet and poster ads will target young males aged 13 to 18 in an attempt to show the consequences of abusive relationships. It is part of a wider effort by ministers to cut domestic violence against both women and younger girls.
  • Research published last year by the NSPCC found a quarter of teenage girls said they had been physically abused by their boyfriends.
  • One in six said they had been pressured into sex and one in three said they had gone further sexually than they had wanted to.

I was a bit taken back by the article considering the recent research on teen violence which has been finding that relationship violence in teens is fairly symmetrical with both boys and girls being perpetrators and victims. This article was offering a very different perspective from the studies I had been seeing. It was clearly assuming that the girls were the primary victims and the boys the primary perpetrators which reflects an archaic and outdated stereotype about domestic violence. It made me wonder exactly what was happening. I read several more articles online about the ad campaign mentioned in the first article and was shocked to see that the focus of the campaign was indeed solely to help girls and to “teach” boys about not abusing their girlfriends.

In each of the articles there was a reference to the research findings that drove the ad campaign. I decided to go back to the source and see what the original research had found.

The original study was sponsored by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) of Great Britain and was in two parts. The first part was the “full report” and was a detailed 209 page research report explaining methodology, results, implications and conclusions. The next was the Executive Summary which was a 10 page summation of the findings of the full report. It was a quick read meant to give people the essence of the larger document. I read through the “full report” and then the executive summary. It was striking to me that the data in the full report actually showed that boys were victims of teen violence. The original news article I had read had mentioned that the research had found that 25% of girls said they had been physically abused by their boyfriends. What the news article omitted saying was that the same research had also found that 18% of boys had said that they had been physically abused by their girlfriends. This meant that this research found that almost half of the victims of teen relationship violence were boys! Somehow this important fact had been omitted from the news report.

There were plenty of other headlines that could have been drawn from the data of the full report that showed the boys to have been victims and the girls perpetrators but they were nowhere to be seen in any of the news articles. Here are a couple of examples of headlines that could be written from the data of the full report:

  • 25% of those reporting physically forcing their partners into having sexual intercourse were girls – Table 15 page 82 full report
  • Nearly three times as many girls reported using SEVERE violence in relationships. table 11 – page 75 full report
  • Over three times as many girls reported using partner violence in their relationships table 10 page 74 full report
  • Over 1/3 of those reporting being pressured into kissing, touching or something else were boys. table 6 page 66 full report–
  • Nearly half (42%) of the victims of teen relationship violence were boys 
Table 3 page 44 full report
  • Nearly one third of the victims of severe violence were boys
Table 4 page 45 full report
  • Twice as many girls reported physically forcing their partners into “kissing, touching, or something else” more than a few times. Table 13 page 82 full report

This is just a sampling of the sorts of findings in the full report. It is obvious that their survey clearly indicated that teen relationship violence was not gender based and both the victims and the perpetrators were both boys and girls. However, what I found after reading both the full report and the executive summary was that the full report had data that showed boys to be victims and girls to be perpetrators but the executive summary seemed to have considerably less information about male victims and female perpetrators. In fact the executive summary seemed to focus more on female victims and male perpetrators.

I found myself wondering how this transition could take place. Boys were shown to be victims in the original study, often not in as great a number as the girls but victims all the same. Generally the boys comprised about 25-42% of the victims. Certainly not the majority but also not a small number that could be ignored. But ignore them they did!

The NSPCC introduced this research to the media via a press release. We can see the same tendency of moving away from focusing on boys when looking at the words in the press release. What started in the full report as an apparently egalitarian look into teen relationship violence progressively looked less so in the Executive Summary and now with the press release it looks to have moved one more step towards focusing solely on girls. Here’s the opening of the press release. Note the focus on “girls only” in both the headline and the first paragraphs:

Teen girls abused by boyfriends warns NSPCC
Press releases
01 September 2009
A third of teenage girls in a relationship suffer unwanted sexual acts and a quarter physical violence, reveals new research(1) launched today (01 September 2009) by the NSPCC(2) and the University of Bristol(3).
The survey of 13 to 17-year-olds found that nearly nine out of ten girls had been in an intimate relationship. Of these, one in six said they had been pressured into sexual intercourse and 1 in 16 said they had been raped. Others had been pressured or forced to kiss or sexually touch.
A quarter of girls had suffered physical violence such as being slapped, punched, or beaten by their boyfriends.

Girls are highlighted repeatedly in the press release. If one only read the press release you might assume that the boys were incidental and that the girls were clearly the identified victims of teen relationship violence. The boys actually did get mentioned in one paragraph (one out of 18 paragraphs, eleven of which were about girls). Here it is:

Nearly nine out of ten boys also said they had been in a relationship. A smaller number reported pressure or violence from girls. (Only one in seventeen boys in a relationship reported being pressured or forced into sexual activity and almost one in five suffered physical violence in a relationship).

Note how the boys victimization is minimized with words like “a smaller number” and “only one in seventeen.” Keep in mind that the “smaller number” referred to in the second sentence was 18% versus 25% which had been the figure for girls. While 18 is smaller than 25, it is not that much smaller. Another important difference is that the girls 25% stat was mentioned in the opening sentence of the document (and indirectly in the headline) while the boys 18% stat was mentioned as an afterthought in parentheses. Yes, the boys percentage was smaller but it seems very obvious that this press release is trying to marginalize the victimization of boys.

Note that the press release mentions that one in 17 girls had been raped. This works out to about 5.8% of the females surveyed. What they don’t mention is that the same table in the full report that showed that 5.8% of girls were raped also showed that 3.3% of the boys were also raped. This stat never made it beyond the full report. The press release mentions the rape of girls but is completely silent on the shocking statistic that 3.3% of the boys were raped. The fact is that their data from the full report shows boys comprised over one third of the rape victims. Not a word about this.

It now seems easy to understand how the media articles focused so exclusively on girls and ignored the needs of boys. They likely only read the press release and maybe a part of the executive summary. The press release might very well have been the only document they read about the study and it clearly focused almost exclusively on girls while ignoring the needs of boys. How bad did it get in focusing on just girls? Here is a sampling of typical headlines from actual news articles on this research and ad campaign:
Many Girls’ Abused by Boyfriends
Third of teenage girls forced into sex, NSPCC survey finds
1 in 3 Teenage Girls Tell of Sexual Abuse by Their Boyfriends
Teen Girls Abused by Boyfriends Warns NSPCC

Almost every headline I found focused on girls as victims. I never found one headline that focused on boys. The articles would occasionally mention that boys were vulnerable but the main thrust was surely the girls vulnerability and victimhood.
The ad campaign is the real world response to the findings of this research using TV, radio, internet and poster ads in attempts to change behaviours of teen relationship violence. It is where the theoretical ends and the actual support and tax dollars begin. Inexplicably, the focus of the ad campaign is entirely on girls as victims of relationship violence while boys are seen as the problem and are taught to not abuse their girlfriends. Somehow the original research had shown that both boys and girls were victims of relationship violence and by the time we made our way to the media articles and then to the ad campaign we find that the original data is all but forgotten.
How did this happen?

The Full Report and then boys disappear

The full report offers an abundance of data that shows that boys are victims of teen partner violence but somehow the recommendations of both the full report and the executive summary seem to focus primarily on girls. Here’s a quick summary extrapolated from the full report:

According to their survey:

72% girls reported experiencing emotional violence
51% of boys reported emotional violence
BOYS WERE 41% of the victims of emotional violence in teen relationships

25% of girls experienced physical partner violence
18% of the boys experienced physical partner violence
BOYS WERE 42% of the victims of physical partner violence in teen relationships

31% of girls experienced sexual partner violence
16% of boys experienced sexual partner violence
BOYS WERE 34% of the victims of sexual partner violence in teen relationships.

So the boys ranged between 34-42% of the victims as recorded in the survey, The full report states this loud and clear in the data but then with the recommendations of both the full report and the executive summary and then the press release the boys seems to simply disappear. Why could that be? The researchers fail to explain fully the reasons for this but if you read between the lines you can find that they offer two reasons. The first is that the survey responses indicate that girls are more “impacted” by relationship violence than the boys. There is a question on the survey that asks about emotional reactions to the violence and the girls were much more likely to check the boxes that indicated they were scared/upset/humiliated. The boys were more likely to check boxes that said they were angry/annoyed or the box that said there was no effect on them. The researchers seem to have taken this difference and decided that since the girls were more “impacted” from the experience of violence that they should be the ones to get the attention and services. There are a number of places in the full report where this is implied. Here is one:

This research has demonstrated that a fundamental divide exists in relation to how girls and boys are affected by partner violence, and this divide needs to be a central component in the development of professional responses to this issue.

Just what does “professional responses to this issue” mean? They don’t say but we can only assume that they are suggesting that girls receive more attention and services due to their being more impacted by the violence. Considering the recommendations focus on girls and ignore the needs of boys I think the above assumption is a good one. I would be happy to be corrected on this assumption if I am incorrect.

The researchers seem willing to basically ignore their own substantial evidence that boys are victims of violence simply because the girls have a greater emotional reaction. Here’s another quote:

These findings are further elaborated on in the interview data where girls consistently described the harmful impact that the violence had on their welfare, often long term, while boy victims routinely stated they were unaffected or, at the very worst, annoyed. These results provide the wider context in which teenage partner violence needs to be viewed.

Let’s keep in mind that the above quoted interview data, which we will examine later, included only 62 hand-selected girls and 29 similarly selected boys. Importantly, only one of the 29 boys was a victim of non-reciprocal violence so making generalizations based on the interview data is likely unreliable especially considering the survey data was collected from over 1300 teens. Note also that by saying “the wider context in which teenage partner violence needs to be viewed” we can only assume the researchers are again suggesting that girls be given preference in services and aid. What we do know is that the data on violence against boys is ignored in the recommendation sections and also in the ad campaign. The following quote gives us a bit more clarity regarding the views of the researchers:

Intervention programmes need to reflect this fundamental difference by ensuring that the significant impact of violence on girls’ wellbeing is recognised and responded to, while enabling boys to recognise the implications of partner violence for their partners and themselves.

This statement clearly shows that the researchers believe that the girls should be treated differently and intervention programs need to “reflect” the difference that girls are more impacted by the violence.

But are girls more impacted? I am not so sure. Let’s start by looking at the actual question on the survey:

3 How did it make you feel when force was used against you? 

thought it was funny 
no effect

“If you don’t see it, it must not exist.”

The researchers stated that the answers to this question showed a big difference in boys and girls responses about the impact that the violence had on them. They don’t give the raw data about the responses and don’t offer the numbers each sex chose for each answer but they give us the summary saying that girls were much more “impacted.” There are very good reasons for that. This question is a set up since boys and girls will naturally answer it very differently. The creators of this question seem to fail to understand the hierarchical nature of boys and their strong natural reluctance to show any lack of independence. If the boys had checked “scared/frightened”, “humiliated” or “upset/unhappy” they would be admitting that they were less than independent. This is usually avoided while a choice such as “no effect” or “angry/annoyed” would be much more likely in order to maintain their image. As Warren Farrell would say “The weakness of men is the facade of strength: the strength of women is the facade of weakness.”
The men and boys are much more likely to choose a response that will portray them as strong. If this is correct it is easy to understand how boys’ responses might not accurately convey their degree of hurt or upset. It is very possible that the boys who checked the “no effect” box were just as impacted by the violence as their female counterparts. With these sorts of questions it leaves us simply not knowing. To suggest the direction of future services based on the responses to this question would be very risky and likely give very poor results.

I wonder if the researchers would think that a rape victim who claimed there there was no impact on her would not need support services? Would clinicians simply ignore her? No, I would bet they wouldn’t. If a group of domestic violence victims claimed that the violence had no impact on them would they quickly assume that group did not need support services? No. Then why would they dismiss the trauma of boys simply because they have marked a survey question differently and reported to be less upset? They would realize that people have very unique responses to trauma and that not having an immediate or verbal emotional reaction to a trauma does not in any way indicate that that person should be ignored. That is simply ridiculous.

Having worked with trauma victims for many years I know very well that some people will sometimes not even begin to feel the negative impact of a trauma for months and others for years. Restricting services for victims of trauma due to their response seeming to show less emotional impact is one of the zaniest ideas I have heard for some time. Denying services to a birth group for this reason seems to simply be bigoted.

Are the researchers biased against boys?

There are numerous indications, in addition to what has already been described, that the researchers have an anti-boy bias. There are the obvious dismissals of the survey data that shows boys to be victims of partner violence and the complete focus on girls as victims. But there are a number of more subtle clues in the study that seem to indicate a disdain for boys.

When they did mention boys as victims the report tended to minimize their experience. Here is a quote:

Boys’ experiences of violence
Little evidence existed to support the possibility that boys, although they were negatively affected by their partner’s violence, felt unable either to voice or to recognise their vulnerability. Boys minimised their own use of violence as “messing around”. Boys also reported the violence as mutual, although they often used disproportionate force compared to their female partners.

Rather than comment on the experience of the boys to violence the researchers focus on whether they could “give voice” to the negative affects of their partners violence. This seems to be a weak attempt to show that boys could indeed voice their concerns about being victims of violence and since they were able to voice that response they must not be “held back” by traditional masculinity from being able to express their vulnerability. The unspoken assumption seems to be that since they can voice the pain they are not holding back due to traditional masculinity and simply aren’t impacted by the violence. It just doesn’t matter while for the girls it really does matter. These seem to be distractions from the reality that the boys have been victimized. Reading the above paragraph will give the reader a sense of how the boys were treated differently in this study. Their pain was minimized and rationalized by claiming the were really not so impacted. The thrust is to say that boys do experience violence from their female partners but they aren’t so negatively impacted! They are able to voice or recognize their vulnerability. It is well known that men and boys will try to minimize any sort of hurt or injury and try to maintain an independent stance. This by no means indicates they are not impacted, it just means that will try to not let you know it. It is for this very reason that we need to take a different approach with boys who may be victimized but this study seems to prefer to simply ignore the pain of boys and focus just on the girls.

Messing Around

The quote above states that “Boys minimised their own use of violence as “messing around.” The full report affirms that boys label their own violence as “messing around” 56% of the time. This is given later in the recommendations section as a reason that boys should be taught about being aware of their violence. (see below) But what about the girls? When you see that boys are singled out for this perception of “messing around” you would think that the girls would not explain their own violence in that manner. Not in the Alice in Wonderland environment of this study. Actually by the researchers own numbers the girls labelled their own violence as “messing around” 43% of the time. Just 13% points below the boys. You would think that both boys and girls would need to learn about their own violence but somehow the only ones that need to learn are the boys! That is an anti-boy bias.

Here is the quote:

“However, although intervention programmes should ensure that the needs of both girls and boys are recognised, it is important that the wider experiences of girls remain a focus. In addition, boys’ minimisation of their own use of violence – by dismissing it as “messing around” and justifications based on mutual aggression – needs to be challenged.”

Why would the boys need to be challenged about this and the girls not? The boys said their violence was “messing around” 56% of the time and the girls said their violence was a slightly lower “messing around” 43% of the time. Clearly a strong bias in favor of girls and anti-boys.

The researchers went a step farther than just recommending that girls victimisation should be the focus. The researchers made the claim that boys lower scores on the impact question actually made them more dangerous to their female partners. Here is a quote:

If boys view the impact of their victimisation as negligible, they may also apply this understanding to their own actions. Thus, they may believe that their partners are also unaffected by their use of violence.

The implication here is that the boys ignorance/insensitivity of the impact of violence against them shows that they would be less than sensitive to their own violence used against a partner. I don’t believe that for a second considering almost every boy has had it drilled into their brains that they are never to hit a girl. Let’s use the same sort of reasoning but apply it instead to girls. According to the survey the girls suffer a much greater emotional impact from being victims of violence. Yet by the girls report, they use violence three times MORE in relationships than boys even though they know it’s negative impact and is hurtful. This would lead us to believe that girls are aware of the power to hurt others with violence and choose to do so far more often than boys. This doesn’t put the girls in a particularly good light now does it?

Thus, from these findings it seems conclusive that partner sexual violence
represents a problem for girls, while boys report being unaffected.

That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?

Boys are more violent! When the subjective trumps the objective

The survey was supposed to be the main source of data but in some ways the researchers seem to put much more stock in the subjective information they had obtained via the interviews. While the survey in the full report showed clearly that the girls were three times more likely to report using violence in relationship suddenly the researchers are exclaiming that there was a clear consensus from the girls that boys used physical violence in relationship more often than girls. Here’s the quote:

“There was a clear consensus within girls’ accounts that boys used physical violence in relationships more often than girls. This common understanding regarding the gendered nature of physical violence was reported by almost all girls, whether they themselves had experienced violence or not.”

This is from page 94 of the full report and shows the researchers evaluations of the girls interviews. The most glaring part of this is that the survey portion of the study showed clearly that girls were 3-6 times more likely to report being violent in relationships and yet the subjective data drawn from the interviews claims that there was a “common understanding regarding the gendered nature of physical violence” for “almost all girls” that “boys used physical violence in relationships more often than girls.” This is a huge discrepancy when one half of the study shows girls to report being much more inclined to be violent than the boys and the other half claiming that “boys used physical violence in relationship more often than girls.” This demands an explanation but there was little to be found. The closest the researchers come is to use the hackneyed claim that girls high rates of violence in relationships is due to their using violence as self defense. But if you look at the numbers this claim falls flat on its face. The facts are that 25% of the girls reported being violent in relationship compared to 8% of the boys. When you subtract the percentages of violence claimed to be in self defense from both boys (30%) and girls (44%) you find that 14% of girls were violent in relationship and 5.6% of the boys for reasons other than self defense. That’s nearly three times more girls than boys. (-30% of 8%= 5.6% and -44% of 25%= 14%) Not making this an important point in this research is very suspect. This difference is huge. Girls reported almost three times as often that they perpetrated violence in their relationships and yet there is a claim that almost all girls believed boys used “physical violence in relationship more often” and this leads us to the idea that girls are in need of services and boys in need of changing their behaviors? Baffling. Clearly misandry.

One partial explanation of this is shown in the following quote:

Only 6 per cent of boys, compared to a third of girls, claimed that they were negatively affected by the emotional violence they experienced. This gendered impact disparity upholds Stark’s (2007) contention that coercive control, which many of our components of emotional violence reflect, is made meaningful only when placed within a gendered power understanding of intimate violence. Thus, although girls had used emotional violence, without it being underpinned by other forms of inequality and power, their attempts were rendered largely ineffectual.

Incredibly, this section seems to be giving girls a pass for their emotional violence. The pattern continues: When girls are perpetrators they are given excuses, when boys are victims they are ignored and minimized.

Reporting oddities

When you look closely at the section about girls reporting more frequent perpetration of violence in relationship you notice something very odd.  Look at the following paragraph and note the researchers choice of words.  Note that girls “report” and boys “admit” (emphasis mine):

Page 74 More girls reported using physical violence against their partner than did boys; this represented a significant difference (x2 (1) = 60.804, p<.001). A quarter (n=148) of girls compared to 8 per cent (n=44) of boys stated that they had used some form of physical violence against their partner. Looking first at less severe physical violence (see table 10), the vast majority of girls (89 per cent) reporting the use of physical violence had used it once or a few times. Only a few (11 per cent) used it more frequently. Similarly, the small proportion of boys who admitted using physical violence also generally used it infrequently (83 per cent).

Perhaps the words “report” and “admit” have different meanings in Great Britain but here in the US they aren’t usually the same.  Report generally means to make a statement or announcement.  The word admit however has a different spin.  Often it has more to do with conceding or confessing.  One assumption from the wording the researchers  have chosen would be to think that they simply didn’t believe what the boys reported.  In other words they would only concede or admit to a certain amount of violence.  Basically, implying that they are not telling the entire story. This is of course conjecture on my part but it simply seems like more anti-boy bias.

The Interview Section

As was previously explained the research had both a quantitative section and qualitative section. The qualitative section consisted of semi-structured interviews which included the utilization of five vignettes. The vignettes were stories that were told to the participant and then the stories relevance was discussed as a part of the interview. The stated goals of the researchers was to use the quantitative survey to gain data and use the interviews to enhance their understanding.

The researchers claimed that they had problems in getting participants for the interviews in the manner they had originally planned so they switched mid-stream to a different approach described below:

“We therefore moved to a system whereby researchers observed which young people seemed to be engaging with the survey. They then asked those young people if they would like to take part in the interview stage.”

So they hand picked the interview participants based on their own subjective impression of whether the young person was “engaging with the survey.” This sounds to me to be a direct invitation to a very biased sample.  Then you find out that the choices they made of those who were “engaging in the survey” were 62 girls but only 29 boys.  You also find that of the 29 boys only one had experienced being a victim of non reciprocal violence in relationship! Makes you wonder about their ideas of “engaging in the survey.” Needless to say the boys section describing the interviews was only 22 pages long while the section about the girls was over 60 pages.  Even with such a short section for the boys most of the writing was about boys violence not their reaction to being victims of violence. Girls victimization was highlighted as was boys violence. Even in the section on boys as victims.

The Vignettes

When I first started looking at the issue of this survey I emailed the folks at NSPCC and asked for a copy of the original questionnaire and copies of the vignettes.  They were kind enough to email me both.  I had suspected that the vignettes would be slanted towards the girls and so I was not surprised to see that the stories were mostly about boys possessiveness, shouting, name calling, violence, and sexual pressuring.  Only one story of the five portrayed the female as the perpetrator and in that story the perpetrated act was very mild.  The girl (and her cronies) stole the boys cell phone, made unkind comments the next day and then apologized.  In the other vignettes we see boys being violent or pushing girls into sexual behaviors that they don’t want.  In one we see the girls using violence, but in self defense.  To the researchers credit the first three vignettes have questions following the story which ask if this sort of behavior might also exist in the opposite sex.  Inexplicably they omit that important question on the final two vignettes which focus on sexual demands.  This is highly suspect and leads one to guess that their ideological bias may have disallowed them to see boys as sexual victims and/or the girls as perpetrators.  Interestingly their data from the full report shows that girls freely admit to sexually pressuring their male boyfriends so this again leaves us wondering why they would avoid the question in the interview section.

Would the researchers tolerate a set of vignettes that showed 80% of the perpetrators to be female and the only male perpetrator was portrayed as having stolen a cell phone and then apologized? I would bet we would hear loud rants about inclusiveness and marginalization and they would be correct!  It seems to me that these vignettes seriously marginalized the boys in this survey and likely left them feeling misunderstood and left out since their situations were simply not portrayed, acknowledged or included.

I was thinking that an alternative to these five stories could have easily been to keep the five stories as is but for the girls tell the story with female victims and male perpetrators and for the boys  use the same stories but do the opposite and tell it from the boys perspective.  It would take a little bit of editing but I think it would have been much more effective and would have left both boys and girls with a sense that their side of the story was heard and understood to exist. Victims are much more likely to come forward when they see that their plight is acknowledged. Maybe a possibility would have been to use neutral names for all parties in the stories and therefore not even know the sex of the offender or victim!   Another option might have been to have six stories with three being male perpetrators and three being female perpetrators.  One story each for the three categories of violence.  I think any of the above would have been an improvement over what they used.

The fact that girls were portrayed in four of five vignettes more as victims and boys more as perpetrators and that any suggestion about girls perpetration of sexual pressuring was absent seems to be more evidence that the project has been impacted by an ideology that prefers to see women/girls as victims and men/boys as perpetrators.  If we allow this sort of bias to continue in our midst we are failing both our boys and our girls.   If we allow it to continue in social science research literature then we are surely in trouble.

Recommendation Section

Here’s a brief look at the recommendations section of the executive summary.  There is only one paragraph in the recommendation section that mentions boys.  Here it is:

Impact of teenage partner violence – the gender divide
The impact of partner violence is indisputably differentiated by gender; girl victims report much higher levels of negative impact than do boys. This is not to imply that boys’ experiences of victimisation should be ignored. It may be that boys minimise the impact of the violence due to the need to portray a certain form of masculinity. However, although intervention programmes should ensure that the needs of both girls and boys are recognised, it is important that the wider experiences of girls remain a focus. In addition, boys’ minimisation of their own use of violence – by dismissing it as “messing around” and justifications based on mutual aggression – needs to be challenged.

This paragraph is baffling. Let’s break it down. Here is the first section:

The impact of partner violence is indisputably differentiated by gender; girl victims report much higher levels of negative impact than do boys. This is not to imply that boys’ experiences of victimisation should be ignored.

It first makes a claim that partner violence is differentiated by gender and that girls are experience more negative impact, implying that boys should be ignored. Then they deny that they mean to ignore boys.

It may be that boys minimise the impact of the violence due to the need to portray a certain form of masculinity.

They offer a possibility for an explanation.

However, although intervention programmes should ensure that the needs of both girls and boys are recognised, it is important that the wider experiences of girls remain a focus

Then they ignore their own explanation and aver that the “wider experiences of girls” (whatever that means) should take precedence.

In addition, boys’ minimisation of their own use of violence – by dismissing it as “messing around” and justifications based on mutual aggression – needs to be challenged.

Then they finalize things by saying that the emphasis on boys should be their violence and especially their minimization of their own violence as has been previously discussed.

I find this paragraph to be very vague and unclear. I am guessing this is intentional since what they really want to say is likely girls are worthy victims and boys are not is hard for them to put into words since it would clearly leave them looking bigoted. Being vague and obfuscating is a much safer strategy and it still gets the job done! One thing is clear after reading it: The reader is sure that for whatever reasons, girls need to get the lions share of services and help and boys need to shape up!

Is the ideology of the researchers driving their focus on girls?

If you look at this from purely a marketing standpoint these researchers have accomplished a remarkable feat. They have been able to create a document that has been labelled a “study” which has found objective data and then made conclusions and recommendations that ignore their own data. They took it a step farther and got the conclusions and recommendations printed in a vast number of media articles which established to millions of viewers, listeners and readers that their “half-stories” were actually facts. Truly amazing when you think about it.

One can only assume that the researchers are aging feminists who are addicted to the outdated and disproven idea that domestic violence is simply dominated by males who batter and women who are victims. We have seen from the Straus article how grossly inaccurate that ideology has been and the extent to which its adherents would go to propagate such mis-information.

I have always thought that science was designed to gather data and then use that data to adjust your theory and ideology based on the new discoveries and information.  It seems to me in this case that rather than science being used to shift ones ideology it is the ideology that is governing science and determining which data should come forward and which not.  This is very dangerous ground for humanitarians and those who want the best for all victims.

In the case of this study it seems likely that the researchers had a pre-conceived idea that girls were victims and boys the perpetrators. When their own data didn’t affirm such stereotypical assumptions they strained to find a way to convert their data into a message that was harmonious with their pre-conceived ideas about violence (girls are worthy victims and boys are perpetrators). This was done by making the repeated claims that girls are more impacted by the violence and because of this the girls needed to be the focus of attention and services. This claim is hollow and anemic. Most any thinking person can look at that idea and see that because one group gets more upset by a problem that in itself should not negate some victims from getting services and attention.

There were so many parts of this study that seemed misandrist to me that I literally could have written another twenty or thirty pages. I will spare the reader such a burden and leave it to others to have a detailed look and make their own comments. Leave it to say that this study is a shining example of the evils of letting an ideology steer research and the resulting public services and the manner in which the general public is brainwashed by hearing only half the story.

I think that this study also shows the dangers involved in allowing ideological zealots a platform to intentionally mold public opinion to their own version of what is real. We need to use caution when accepting studies as being “scientific” and have a much finer net to discover which studies may be biased due to the ideological underpinnings of its authors. Frankly, any high school science student should be able to read this study and and explain clearly how it is lacking. Our media and our governments are sorely failing to do just that.


Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

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Brainwashing, Feminism and Men, Part 2


Part one went over the basics of brainwashing and began to look at some of the similarities that male feminists seem to share with those who were brainwashed by the Chinese.  We discussed how the parallels we were drawing were not precise and were general though striking and eye opening.  I think a similar situation can be seen when we turn to the similarities of the feminists with those who were doing the brainwashing, the communist Chinese.

We saw how the Chinese first depended on attacking the identity of the captives and added the prolonged use of guilt and shame.  This was all done within an environment where they (The Chinese) were held as infallible.  I think a good case can be made for some strong similarities existing in the way feminism has attacked men and boys.  It is a curious question why they would do so.  Let’s start there.

So why did feminism attack the identity of men?  Well, it’s pretty simple really.  Telling the truth that women suffered and faced discrimination due to rigid sex roles just wasn’t that sexy and the media and politicians would fail to be interested.  But, if you can find a bad guy, you know, someone to blame, then the ordeal becomes sexy and interests the press and those politicians knowing they need something to get re-elected. We will just blame men and claim they are the problem.  Hey, we could juice it up even more and call them oppressors!    

And that is just what they did.

They did this with the benefit of a gynocentric culture that has always jumped to attention when females claim they are tied to the tracks. If you don’t believe that just look at our laws.  Time and time again the laws protect women but less so men.  The Violence against WOMEN Act, Sexual Harassment Laws, Rape Shield laws, affirmative action, and on and on. The protecting is all for women and little for men.  Men are disposable.

It didn’t take long to find that the tactic of blaming men as oppressors was actually very effective and very lucrative.  The more they did it, the more media attention and funding they would get.  And no one complained!

Of course, the obvious truth was that women were restricted not by oppressive men but by rigid sex roles.  These roles had been the norm for many, many years and would likely still be in effect except that women became aware that their options were limited by their sex roles and they wanted more options in their lives.  

But didn’t women have options?  Yes, they had many options but simply not the same as they saw men getting. (of course men have never had the options that women had but they have yet to complain, you know, like not dying in wars, or getting to stay at home with the kids while someone else works and supports you, or actually getting compassion and emotional support) What many people don’t realize is that in 1960, prior to feminism, women were 32.3% of the workforce.  That’s right, one third of our workers were women. With all that our gynocentric government has done since then it is now at 47%.  That’s up only 15%.  Women had jobs and worked outside the home.  And how about college?  Again, what most don’t realize is that in 1960, prior to feminism, women received 35% of the college degrees. Does this sound like a group that is oppressed?  No.  Let’s compare them with a group that was oppressed.  Slaves.  Slaves were 0% of the workforce and 0% of the recipients of college degrees.  See the difference?  One group is limited by a rigid sex role and faces discrimination that keeps them out of some professions and some top positions etc and the other group is actually oppressed and forbidden to take part in society.  Huge difference. There is no comparison. Women have made gains in many areas including getting more jobs as professionals such as lawyers and doctors.  They have also surpassed men in obtaining college degrees.  In fact at this point women are getting more degrees than men at the same rate that men had gotten more degrees than women in 1970.  But guess what?  The 1970 figure for women is seen as a sign of discrimination/oppression against women while the 2010 figure for men is seen as a success for women! A part of that misandry is due to feminists and their cronies having gotten away with painting men as the problem and of course we simply don’t care so much about those who are the cause of the problem.  We ignore their pain and suffering.  Sound fair to you? Again, this is just more evidence of our living in a gynocentric world.

The attacks on men’s identity were basically a global false accusation. The feminists took the low road and falsely accused their own partners, the opposite sex, in order to get what they wanted.   These false accusations likely worked on the feminists in the same ways that we saw brainwashing work on the men who betrayed their own origins.  When we betray, we will tend to detach from that which we betray. The feminist betrayals of men likely moved them farther and farther into a detached position. We will also likely be more motivated to collect evidence that the betrayal was justified.  This may give us a clue about the extent the feminists have gone in betraying men. Could it be that the more the feminists betrayed men the more detached they became to men?

And what happens when someone is falsely accused?  The first thing the accused does is often deny that the attack is very important.  From their perspective they know that it is false, it is bogus.  They know it is untrue.  They figure that in a short period people will figure this out and all will be well. They trust that that common sense and compassion will prevail.  A part of this early denial is the minimization of the impact that such a false accusation can have.  It seems to me that this is just how men responded to the early false accusations.  They laughed it off and figured such nonsense would never have much impact.  They were wrong.  What is the worst thing about a false accusation?  It is almost impossible to disprove.  Individual men could say that they were not oppressors but there was no way for men to speak as a group and disprove the false accusations of these constant attacks.  And they started to spread.

So the feminists/women had made a choice:  Insure more stuff for women by attacking men’s identity and integrity.  They frankly seemed like naturals at this tactic.  Labeling men as every sort of bad meme one can imagine.  Men were pigs, men were rapists, men were greedy and unwilling to share with women, men were violent and bullied innocent women in relationship, men were insensitive, men were oversexed, men were testosterone poisoned, men never grew up and the list goes on and on.  Men were bad.  Bad. Bad. Bad.  Not some men, but men in general.  Just try and imagine someone saying similarly negative things about women as a group.  I bet you can’t even imagine it.

In order to maintain this lie of men oppressing women they needed to paint men as more and more terrible oppressors.  They proceeded to create oppressors at every street corner.  Men were oppressing women and keeping them from getting jobs, they were sexually harassing them on the job, men were oppressing women and keeping them tied to the home, men were oppressing women via domestic violence and beating them at home, men were oppressing women by raping them, by keeping them out of schools, by limiting their pay, by keeping them out of boardrooms and top jobs.  Men men men.  Bad guys.  This was drilled into the consciousness of a receptive and gullible public who cheered on the poor dears who had been so oppressed by these evil men. And the funding flowed. The agencies created. The bureaucracy begun. The American public loves an underdog and hates a bully and that is just how this fight was painted, the men were bullies and the women were underdogs. The American public still thinks this way to this day due to these lies.  

Bullies don’t deserve any special treatment.  In fact people tend to hold the attitude that bullies should pay for their bullying. Things like affirmative action might disadvantage men but they have been bullies/oppressors and have “had it all” for years.  The prevailing attitude is that now it is their turn to suffer. Add that to the fact that men are already seen as disposable and these things create a situation where men are much less likely to get any compassion and more likely to have people nod and accept that they experience disadvantage.  No compassion for them. 

This drill went on for years and as it progressed the media and academia picked up the bull horns and started to attack men just as it had been started by mostly feminists. This eventually expanded to nearly every sphere of American life.  The media, academia, the courts, the legislatures everyone had gotten in on the act of blaming men.  Now it was common for all of these factions to beat up on men.  No one cared.  Men were fair game. They were oppressors, they were egocentric bullies.  All things masculine were seen as a problem, all things feminine were seen as a solution.  The men were the oppressors and deserved it.  The fact that so many others were now carrying out the attacks on men’s identity relieved the feminists from having to do so. You rarely hear the men are pigs line or other degrading comments much any more but it is there. After years of attacks the entire culture has taken on the anti-male attitude. It is automatically assumed by most people and because of this it simply does not need to be voiced. The negative stereotype of men  has become a part of the cultural fabric. 

Along with the attacks on male identity came the guilt and shame. This could be seen in all of the name calling and identity attacks but was additionally related to attempts to demean both men and masculinity with blame for the problems of the world. This was not an attempt to make men feel guilty for a specific behavior or something they had done in their lives.  No.  It was more an attempt to have men BE guilty. To be and feel guilty simply for being male.    You were guilty not for something you had done, but for something you were.  You were male.  This is quite similar to the communist Chinese tactic of having their captives live in a world of shame and guilt over who they were not only what they had done. 

There were some places with a much higher density of male hate and contempt than others. Probably the area with the most hatred espoused was academia.  The women’s studies departments were run by radical feminists who voiced this message repeatedly.  Anyone who disagreed would face a great deal of hardship from the university administration. Accusations of misogyny were used as weapons.  Entire faculties started living in fear of appearing in any way to be anti-woman or being pro-male.  They were petrified and even to this day the people I know on college campuses are afraid of the gender politics of the feminists. Very few will speak up even a little in opposition to women and feminists. Everyone knows to stay silent and not draw attention to oneself.  These people have been known to be ruthless and consider themselves infallible. People live in fear of them. This of course is very similar to the Communist Chinese brainwashers. They routinely attack the identity of men, shame and guilt them as being misogynists and do so from a place of infallibility.  Two peas in a pod. 

I think that this high density of man hatred has been at least partly responsible for the lack of gender diversity in resources on today’s college campus.  Almost every place you look are more things for women but there is almost nothing for the men outside of huge mega-buck athletics that doesn’t really help the average guy.  Women’s Centers, women’s safety, women’s groups, women’s health. etc. 

The density of the male/masculinity hatred on campus must also mean that our college campuses are one of the more effective brainwashing centers. All those that pass through, both males and females, get indoctrinated into the anti-male stereotypes from their freshman introductory welcome workshops to their last day on campus.  It is little surprise that  on college campuses we tend to see more male feminists.

It also dawned on me why feminists are so quick to call males misogynists when they are simply talking about the needs of men.  I have noticed this for years that simply mentioning men’s needs will bring on an accusation of hating women.  They are very quick to point out that what is being said is misogynistic.  But why would simply voicing men’s needs be misogynistic?  Well, it can’t be, but what I have assumed over the years is that feminism has a very old habit of voicing the needs of women while at the same time attacking men as the problem.  Could it be that they are simply expecting the same hatefulness they have practiced for years to come back at them from those who start to voice the needs of men?  Seems like a possibility to me. 

Tremendous damage has been done to both men and boys and women and girls over the years. It is going to take a long time to start to shift these hateful attitudes.  Men and boys deserve both choice and compassion. At this point they are getting very little of either. 

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Brainwashing, Feminism and Men


For many years that I have been shocked and confused by the vehemence and persistence that feminists attack males and also male feminists attack men and masculinity. Both blame men for most ills in the world.  I have always scratched my head and wondered how they could get so vitriolic and juiced.  It has also confused me how the feminist males could be so self-deprecating.  Then I ran into the brainwashing material by Robert Lifton and it started to make some sense.  The male feminists are exhibiting very similar behaviors to the people that Lifton studied who had been brainwashed.  The feminists also seem to share some characteristics with the communist Chinese brainwashers.  The following article will give you a beginning knowledge of the work of Lifton and you can be the judge about drawing a connection between the two.  I am in no way totally convinced but it sure seems to be a likely connection worth discussion.  See what you think.

American psychiatrist Robert Lifton studied both western and Chinese citizens who had been through China’s brainwashing attempts in the early 1950’s.  This group had undergone a powerful psychological experience at the hands of their captors who had done their best to brainwash them. Lifton, who uses the term “thought reform” rather than brainwashing conducted interviews with many of those who were imprisoned and later released. Oftentimes the interviews took place very shortly after their release.  He averaged 15-20 hours of interview time with each of the 40 subjects.  He pulled together his ideas from this effort into a book, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, A Study of Chinese Brainwashing which was published in 1961. The book has become a classic and has been instrumental in our understanding of the Chinese attempts at brainwashing.  

Lifton’s basic outline of the essence of brainwashing has been used in a variety of areas outside the strict arena of brainwashing.  One is religious cults and their attempts at thought reform.  Another has been abusive relationships where the abuser seeks to “brainwash” his or her victim. In both these areas it could be argued that what transpired was technically not brainwashing, at least not in the exact same sense that Lifton observed. There were no chains and handcuffs, and no literal imprisonment.  However, the Lifton outline is extremely useful in exposing the path and structure of the extreme manipulation in both these areas.  The cult seeks to transform the member into a devoted and non-questioning adherent and will use a variety of methods to make this happen.  Similarly, the abusive person attempts to manipulate the abused person in numerous ways. Both the cults and the abusers have a common trait, they both start by attacking the identity of the subject. By attacking that person’s sense of self they soften the individual’s ability to maintain their personal view of the world.  This is clearly seen in the abusive relationship where the abused will often get to the point where they see the abuse as necessary and their own fault rather than an abusive act.

This idea of attacking the identity is actually Lifton’s first element of the thought reform process.  He describes the experience of a priest who was one of those he interviewed.  The priest told him in detail how the Chinese captors had hammered away at him that he was not really a father.  They told him he was living a lie. He was not really a father and not interested in the well being of people, he was instead an imperialist spy, who was greedy and only thinking of himself. When the priest would answer truthfully he would be rebuked and told he was lying.  He would be put in chains and handcuffed and made to stand for long highly painful periods.  Sometimes he was kept awake for long periods.  He was being taught that if he offers the wrong answer, no matter how truthful, he will face severe punishment. 

Lifton sees this first step as being crucial, and even a pre-requisite for all that is to follow.  Without the identity being “softened” many people will simply not shift away from their world views.  Damaging the identity in some way is imperative.  You can think of an abused person who is beaten on a regular basis.  This person has been told that the beatings are their fault, that they are the problem and if they weren’t so bad the beatings would never happen.  The abused person slowly loses sight of their own identity, and over time loses sight of even their own perspective.  They start to identify with the perspective of the abuser, and even side with the abuser.  If you communicate with an abused person like this you will hear those messages loud and clear, “This abuse is my fault.”  Following Liftons basic path they have swallowed the perspective of the abuser and their own identity has been significantly compromised.

The idea of brainwashing a cult member or an abused person are both taking Lifton’s ideas and applying them on a micro level, the level of an individual.  But what about applying these same ideas on a macro level?  I think there are some very interesting connections when applying Lifton’s ideas on a more global level.

One area I see where they can be easily applied is in connection with feminism and the obvious attacks on men’s identity.  Over the last 50 years men have experienced the most dramatic drop in loss of status of any group ever in our history. I cannot think of any group of a similar size (roughly half the population), going through such a contrast in labels.  Men in the 1950’s were seen as good, were seen as helpful, were seen as productive, were seen as those who made the world a safe place.  Since that time men’s identity has been attacked until in today’s world men are seen as anything but the above.  They are seen as the problem.  This is a huge turnaround and one piece of this has been the relentless attacks on men’s identity.  Just think of all of the phrases used by feminists and others, “Men Are Pigs” “All Men Are Rapists” “Men are Greedy” and on and on.  Men have been linked to causing wars, ruining the economy, being the source of violence, and just about every negative you can imagine.  Men’s stock has dropped in a huge way and a part of this drop has been the attacks on men’s identity.  These attacks started with feminists but so many others have now joined in including the media, the government, academia and even from the water cooler.  At this point, in 2014, men are now seen as the problem.

Like the Chinese captives and like an abused person, if you hammer away long enough at the identity you will start to have an impact.  We can see this today when we observe boys simply not wanting to grow up as male, boys who are enamored with the feminine and ashamed of their masculine. Indeed the default view of men and masculinity is very negative.  This sort of macro attack on men and masculinity does not have the personal and intimate impact of an individual repeatedly avering your lack of goodness as happened so often with the Chinese captors. Instead, it has the power of being global and accepted by not only individuals but by academia, the courts, the government and the people at large.  In some ways it reminds me of Lifton’s stories about the Chinese surrounding the individual being brainwashed with people who shouted at him for hours about how he was a spy, he was wrong, he was a liar, he was an imperialist and more.  Those interviewed spoke of the power of this technique of having no ally and being surrounded by people who all believe you were an “imperialist.”   Men and boys today are totally surrounded by negative feedback about men.  There is no place for them to turn that says a positive word about men.   They face a barrage of negative information about their sex from home, school, television, movies, the courts, the government and just about everyplace you can see. All have been convinced that the goodness of men is simply not prevalent and that there is basically something wrong with men. They, men,  are wrong, and wrong simply because they are male. This has got to have a powerful long term impact on every boy’s and man’s identity.

Lifton emphasized repeatedly that the attacks on the identity made by the Chinese captors were made from a group that was held to be infallible.  If any prisoner were to question any aspect of their captors, even a tiny issue, he would be punished severely and told clearly that the captors were infallible. In fact, the prisoners lived in an environment that demanded a respect for the infallibility of the captors. Just think of the abusive person expecting no questioning of their abuse.  They demanded that their perspective, the abuser’s perspective, was the only correct viewpoint and in essence that they were infallible.  The same can be seen in today’s feminism. /in some ways the adherents maintain that the doctrine of feminism is infallible. You can see this in action in the total intolerance of feminists to allow even discussion of men’s issues on college campus’s.  You can see it in the remarkably violent and caustic response to AVFM’s planned conference on men’s human rights.  The response includes death threats to innocent bystanders apparently because the topics don’t please them. (more on how men’s issues is a threat to feminism later)  I saw this sort of  totalism first hand while I was a part of the American Psychological Association’s Division 51 listserv for the study of men and masculinity.  Questioning of feminism was basically not a good strategy.  Only two people were banned from that group and both were active in questioning feminism.  The reason given for one man being banned was that he mentioned male victims of domestic violence too often.  It didn’t mesh with the feminist meme and had to go! Men were only the perps!  You can easily see this same sort of thing on feminist online forums.  Anyone who disagrees is immediately banned from being a part.  You can see this in the feminist attempts to silence people like Warren Farrell from speaking at a Canadian University blocking the entrances and pulling fire alarms. His message that drew such ire?  He was planning to talk about the needs of boys. This was somehow translated into being hateful toward women and misogynistic. We could list many more examples.  It seems clear that feminism has existed in an environment that disallows questioning and assumes its infallibility.   There is obvious intolerance for views that differ from their own.

So the stage is set with an infallible source who is attacking the identity.  What happens after that?

You must learn to feel GUILTY, and then BE GUILTY

With infallibility hammering away and identity starting to falter it brings on self doubt in large amounts.  This sets the stage for the very important element of inducing guilt and shame.  The captors did everything they could to force the person to take on blame for anything that might have happened to them in their lives.  This is repeated unmercifully. It is hammered home that the person (and their imperialistic way of life) is the real source of all their troubles.  They are to blame.  And the blame is related to their stupidity of going along with the imperialistic ways. (Can you hear the same meme that men have been stupid to follow their misogynistic ways of the patriarchy?)  Behind this is the implication that if they would only accept the infallible ways of their captors that all would be better.  Some of those who were imprisoned spent several years going through this sort of thing.  It is not hard to imagine that after years of identity dismantling and guilt inducement that the end result would be a very shaken person who assumed they were the problem and needed to find a way out.  Any way out.

The guilt starts to open them up to a negative part of their identity that is more accessible now due to the original identity having suffered fractures.  This puts the captive in touch with a part of himself that is indeed less than good.  One could even say that it puts him in touch with the evil within himself.  This of course, leaves him vulnerable to identifying more closely with this negative part of himself and this identification lowers his sense of integrity and forces him to question his own morality and goodness.  This is just what the Chinese want to happen.  Yes, they want them to feel guilty but the end product is not meant to produce an individual who feels badly about what he DID.  The end product is meant to produce an individual who feels bad about who he IS! They want him to know that he is an imperialist who is therefore responsible for the actions of all other imperialists.  You must learn to feel guilty, and then importantly, BE and ACT guilty.

Confessing is Surviving

Lifton says that a theme that was prevalent was that “only those who confess will survive.”  Confessing was something that the prisoners learned to do. In fact, confessing was one of the few ways that prisoners were able to ease their burden of punishments even though they totally disbelieved what they said.  At first, knowing that they were lying, they would give false confessions to try to please the captors and avoid painful chains and handcuffs.  Often times the Chinese would punish them for these early confessions claiming that they were lies with the implication that these confessions were not nearly strong enough and failed to match the crimes the Chinese were maintaining they had committed. Those that Lifton interviewed would speak of the impact of their false confessions. They said that each false confession tended to further break down their identity and their own world view. What began as a ploy to lessen punishments and  ingratiate themselves with the Chinese quickly bit them in the butt and left them confused about who they really were.  They started to see themselves as what the Chinese had been telling them, they saw themselves as liars.  This further confused the captives and left them reeling.  Lifton talks of how  the men became “lost in the labyrinth of their own false confessions.”  It became very confusing.

Slowly their confessions might be accepted just a bit.  As they were accepted the captive would strive to offer more confessions that might please the Chinese.  They quickly learned that the only way to maintain self esteem was by self-flagellation.  The more they blamed themselves and beat themselves up the more they would avoid severe punishments.  The drill became deprecate self and idealize the Chinese.

We can see this sort of thing in both the abused person and in male feminists.  When the abused person can tell the abuser that they know they are at fault for the beatings, this will obviously bring at least a temporary harmony and relief.  For male feminists, after hearing repeatedly that men are the problem, they find that the more they self-deprecate and distance themselves from all things masculine, the more the feminists will accept them.  Self esteem is now bolstered not by truth or creativity but by deprecating oneself.  You can see this sort of male self-deprecation on youtube repeatedly. These men go on and on about what awful beings they are, they are male.  It is not a pretty sight but it makes a bit of sense to me now knowing that this is a part of the brainwashing they have experienced.  They seem to expect that their self flagellation will bring them acceptance from their reformers.  The courser the hairshirt the better.  Their identity is now based on their own guilt.  Their esteem is now based on how much they distance themselves from anything masculine and apologize for having been masculine and therefore misogynist.   They have begun to not only feel guilty about their actions, but to BE guilty about their actions.  They have been misogynists, like all other men, and must atone.  But like the prisoners, each time they confess it has an additive impact on their own identity and their sense of who they are.

One of the things the Chinese captors would encourage was for a prisoner to turn against  his own people and blame them openly.  When doing this the prisoners were more likely to come into the good graces of their captors.  Those interviewed also spoke of the psychological impact of blaming their own group; even though the blaming was at first intentionally false, the end product was that they would feel less identified with their origins and more inclined to align with the Chinese.  When the person sees themselves as the problem, and publicly claims that their original group is the problem, this admission, even when false, tends to detach the accuser from their own group. These false accusations of their own group are basically betrayals. When a person betrays a group they are far less likely to identify with that group.  With each betrayal the thinner the attachment becomes.  They had become what the Chinese had accused them of at the beginning. They were liars.  Now the original accusations of the Chinese had been transformed into self accusations.  

Lifton’s work helps us to see that if the male feminists are anything like those brainwashed by the Chinese that self-flagellation and male bashing are probably important activities for them. Their self esteem and identity are tied to them. The more they do it, the more they are aligned with their “captors.”   Each time they openly blame men and masculinity for the ills of the world and blame themselves they likely lose a little bit more of their identity as men and take on a bit more identity as feminists.  It reminds me of the “Dear Woman” video on youtube where the men apologized to the women for all of the ills that masculinity had created.  That video makes a little more sense to me at this point knowing the dynamic of self deprecation and accusing one’s group. 

Just like the Chinese brainwashing victims we can see how the male feminists self-deprecation and volumes of hatefulness towards masculinity increase, it results in more detachment from being identified as male and more self-deprecation and male bashing.  This likely starts slowly but it is obvious that it can pick up steam and become a runaway self-deprecating and blaming train since it often gets positively re-enforced.  I have seen a few of those trains myself!

Just imagine for a minute that you were a male feminist and had gone through this process for years of blaming both yourself and your own sex for most of the world’s problems. You did this blaming over a long period of time and transformed  your identity from its original state into a new state that is built on a shaky feminist foundation. This new identity is somewhat brittle and has little room for areas of grey.  One would assume that it would be a fairly precarious perch that required more blaming to maintain. The more we blame the more we feel a bit of self righteous stability.  Now imagine that you run into someone  you know who is talking about men’s issues.  What does that do to you?  It likely throws you into chaos due to your precarious perch.  In order to maintain this adjusted identity you need to maintain the attitude that men and masculinity are indeed the problem.   If someone starts to claim that men have needs and have areas where they face hardship and discrimination that becomes very difficult to hear.  How could that be that the group that is responsible for the world’s ills have special needs? Does not compute.  When someone threatens that stance what does it do to you?  It’s not hard to imagine that it would get you very upset very quickly.  Tolerance for the target group having needs is likely very limited. You have much to protect and if men and masculinity have problems of their own that puts a hole in your ability to blame them for the worlds’s ills.  Men’s issues becomes a threat.

Here’s a quote from the Lifton book that tries to summarize the experience of those going through the brainwashing:

“Their situation was like that of a man taken suddenly from his ordinary routine and placed in a hospital for the criminally insane, where he is accused of a horrendous but vague crime which he is expected to recognize and confess; where his assertion of innocence is viewed as a symptom of his disease, as a paranoid delusion; and where every other inmate is wholly dedicated to the task of pressuring him into a confession and a “cure.””

This paragraph does a good job of summarizing the experiences that Lifton wrote about.  But does it also describe fairly well the experience of an unsuspecting  young man entering a woman’s studies class?  It sure seems like a good match to me as it describes his impossible situation and dilemma.

So drawing from Lifton’s material we can see that male feminists, in response to feminist pressure are likely to: 

1. Self-deprecate in order to prove their allegiance to the new captor which also detaches them from their original identity.  

2. Blame men and masculinity.  By betraying their own identity they further detach as they hope to ingratiate themselves.

3.  The blaming and self-deprecating make it very difficult to openly discuss the hardships and discrimination that men face. Try to imagine a southern white in the 1950’s trying to discuss the hardships and discrimination faced by southern blacks.  They would have a similarly difficult time.

But what about the Chinese brainwashers.  Are feminists in any way like them.  Let’s turn to that next in Part 2. 

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The Feminist Crusades: Making Myths and Building Bureaucracies

The Feminist CrusadesThe movie “The Princess Bride” is one of my favorites.  I mention it because when I was reading the book I am about to tell you about that movie kept coming into my consciousness.  Replete with male sacrifice, murder, damsels in distress, males receiving serious injury as a result of dedication and caring and on and on.  The one missing component that was present in the movie but not in this book was, um, “twoo wuv.” Sacrifice was expected but there was no return of love in response, no appreciation, only harsh judgement, complaints, blame, and an endless pit of requests for more than they had received.

The book is written by Frank S. Zepezauer, a male octogenarian and he writes in a way that struck me as being like a storyteller similar to the grandfather who relayed the story in The Princess Bride. This author sets the tone for the book with a basic plot that is applied to each chapter.  First create myths (often with a bogus and later discredited “study”), then appear to be tied to the tracks due to these myths, then garner all of the male rescue you can suck out of your mark.  The title “The Feminist Crusades: Making Myths and Building Bureaucracies” reflects this standard plot.  The intro offers this basic plot and then each remaining chapter goes into the details of how, who, and when the feminists created the myths and then proceeded to set up bureaucracies with the loot they had plundered with their inaccuracies and damseling.  He is very specific about who was spreading these myths, who was supporting them and names the bureaucracies that have been created.  At one point the author asks rhetorically how the feminists were able to get so much so fast and he states that it can be summed up in two words, “They lied.”  He backs this up repeatedly with the details of how the myths (lies) were born and how they gained traction through chivalry and cheerleading from the media to beat the band.  It is a bit overwhelming to see the massive wall of bureaucracy that has been created.

The book also offers a view into the counterpoint to the radical feminist myths that surfaced during their crusades.  There were often people who disagreed with their myths and spoke out publicly. Warren Farrell, Christina Hoff Sommers, Judith Kleinfeld are just a few of those he mentions that spoke out.  Sadly, each time a myth was being created the opposing voices were ignored while the media blindly promoted the feminist myths as fact.  He starts with the issue of health care for women and then moves to education, the workplace, sexual harassment, rape, DV and many others.  Each time he tells the story of just how the feminists created myths, promoted the myths, identified as victims of the myth and then applied pressure due to their being “tied to the tracks.”  Every man, or most every man can’t resist helping a woman tied to the tracks especially if the media is blaring this myth to the general public as if it is gospel. For politicians this is the sort of photo moment that they know will get them re-elected…even if they know it is not true.  And that my friends, is what happened.

Published in 2007 the book stands today as a wonderful archive of the years of feminist myth making offering a birds eye view of the step by step construction of the bureaucratic fortress we see today. It can be especially helpful to those who have an interest in these issues but were very young or not even alive during the times described in the book. You can find this as an ebook that costs only 3.99. The paperback is a little more pricey at 19.98.

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