Category Archives: misandry

The Invisible Blue Taboo — The Burden of Boys and Men

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This is what you get when you swallow the blue pill.

Most men live under an invisible blue taboo.  This powerful and cloaked prohibition discourages men in many ways, one of which is from letting anyone know if they might be feeling blue.  But it goes much deeper.  It’s not just about emotions, the blue taboo includes being needy or dependent in any way.  Men find themselves automatically avoiding any communication that might portray them as dependent or needy.  I have been watching this taboo for years and have marveled at men’s creativity in sidestepping this dilemma. Men have simply expressed their emotional pain and neediness in other ways.  Some use actions, some use inaction.  Most men have found  ways around this prohibition and feel just fine about it.  We should be good right?  Wrong.

The taboo also impacts women (and other men) by discouraging them from listening to the man’s emotional pain, his neediness or his dependency.  In my years of working with couples in therapy I have very rarely seen a woman who routinely listened to the emotional pain of her male partner.  Think purple polar bear.  Very rare.  Women do often claim that they want a man who is in touch with his feelings but if you scratch and sniff you find that this means that he should be in touch with HER feelings.  It is a rare women who can regularly sit with the man she loves and non-judgmentally hear him out on a feeling level.  Yes, women will claim that men give them no chance to do this, that they are cold and unfeeling, but  give her a chance in therapy to listen to his pain and what I have seen repeatedly is that she has a very hard time with this and often recoils.

Men have also found ways around not being heard in relationships.  Again, they turn towards their strength of action and their powerful ability to utilize solitude.  But that is not the end of this story.

The very same resistance to hearing men’s pain and men’s needs in relationship we can also see in our cultural structures. Just as a man’s emotional pain and neediness is taboo in relationship that same disinterest in men’s needs can be clearly seen in our culture.  It’s the same blue taboo just on a different octave. Take the family court.  How many times have you heard men clearly state that it was as if they were invisible.  When his ex complained to the judge she would get swift and helpful responses.  But when he voices what he needs he gets silence or worse yet, gets slammed for it.  This is the blue taboo playing out in the family courts.  Women’ needs are seen as a call to action and men’s needs are seen as his selfishness. In this arena, the blue taboo is deadly and there is no workaround for men.  They are sunk and no one sees it.  Only the men who are pummeled see it clearly. If these broken men try to explain this injustice the blue taboo works again to discourage anyone from really hearing their needs and injuries. So they had best not complain about it since that is, of course, taboo.  And we wonder why men commit suicide ten times as much as women following divorce?

blue-duct-tapeWe see the same blue taboo dynamic played out in our legislatures.  When women complain that  they are in need you see the legislators jump and jump high.  They are on a fast track to  a solution.  When men voice their needs what do you see?  You see shaming and turning away. Men’s needs are simply not heard. We have a multitude of laws to help women including the VAWA, rape shield laws, affirmative action, and many many more.  This is the blue taboo at work.  Men’s meeds are routinely ignored.  There is no workaround.  But men had better not complain…

We see the same thing in the media.  It fills its plate with women’s needs, women’s complaints, women’s feelings and on and on.  Do you see many articles about the needs of men?  Nope, there is that purple polar bear again. Feminism filled the welcoming media elite for 50 years.  It has literally become the default voice.  But what happens when men start voicing their needs?  Just look at the media reaction to the latest AVFM conference.  Men and women gathered to discuss the needs of men and boys and you know the rest.  Hit piece after hit piece. This is the blue taboo,  The needs of men are taboo.

One would think that our places of higher learning might not be so brainwashed by this taboo but anyone with eyes can see that our universities are about women and girls.  Women’s studies, women’s centers, women health, blah blah blah.  Ask for something for men and boys and you get a cold shoulder.  It went so far in Toronto that campus groups were banned if they were about the needs of men. This is the blue taboo.

So men are in a huge bind.  When men voice their needs they are routinely ignored both on a micro and macro level.  When they complain about this injustice they meet the same taboo.  They are ignored or shamed.  There is no way out. Be a man.  STFU.

At one time in human history this may have been a productive path.  For survival purposes we split up the roles with men doing the more dangerous work of providing and protecting and women the childbearing and child oriented tasks.  This arrangement obviously set up a scenario where women would ask for what they wanted/needed in order to maintain the family life.  There might be arguments over the details of this but the bottom line was the women would “ask for” and the men would then be responsible to get the provisions or the safety that women requested. His job of providing and protecting was directly related to her requests.  She got very practiced at asking for what she wants and voicing her needs.  Men got very practiced at providing for those needs and wants.  Note that this is a one way valve.  Women voice needs, men respond.  There was no corresponding flip side where women responded to men’s needs.

This may or may not be the origins of the blue taboo.  No matter where it came from we need to start dismantling it asap.  We have spent 50 years dismantling women’s sex roles but have yet to even have a look at men’s. This is yet another spin off of the blue taboo.  We work hard to change women’s restrictive roles but ignore those of men.  Blue taboo anyone? Focus on women and ignore the needs of men? Yup.  But how long can we afford to “empower” one half of the population while we continue to ignore the needs of the other half? Probably not much longer.  Let’s not let that happen.  Take that red pill.

 

Salon’s Misandry on Display re: the 1st International Men’s Issues Conference

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There was  a recent article on Salon.com about the 1st International Men’s Issues Conference.  The article was not so dissimilar to some other major publications who had an obvious strong bias against men and boys. It needs to be said that there were some very good articles that were much more accurate. An example is the USAToday piece.
This Salon article offered a paragraph about my part in the conference and I found it highly inaccurate. I thought I would take some time here to voice my side of things.  I have been interviewed by the mainstream media many times over the years including The New York Times, Washington Post, CBS Evening News, CNN, and even the NFL Channel and ESPN.  Each of these interviews was fair and accurate in their portrayal of the message I was trying to get across.  The Salon article however fails in that regard and the writer seems to have a bone to pick with men and boys.  Here’s the paragraph in question:

 

If one of the primary messages of the conferences was “feminists are bad,” the other was “men’s rights activists are good.” In the talk “Men’s Unique Way of Healing,” social worker Tom Golden covered every inch of the stage with his energetic pacing and pantomiming, opening the talk by holding his hands in the air and chanting, “Men are GOOD!” “How many of you have been told that you don’t know how to talk about your feelings?” Golden asked the crowd. His explanation: Men shouldn’t be expected to open up emotionally. They sit in a fishing boat all day without saying a word and then exit the boat as best friends. Michael Jordan emoted by crying for his late father after winning the championship. Men are “good” just the way they are, and need not bother with all of that “crying” and “talking about your feelings” stuff.

Okay.  So let’s take the very first part.  

 

opening the talk by holding his hands in the air and chanting, “Men are GOOD!””

 

​Now have a look at the very beginning of the youtube (about 2:40) and see if I hold my hands in the air and chant men are good:

 

So I hope you noticed my hands were behind my back and I said “men are good” exactly two times.  Not much of a chant. But why would he want to portray me like that?  My guess is that what I was saying went against the grain of his own belief system and he was trying to paint me as a fanatic of some sort.  Perhaps he was thinking… “men are good?  No, can’t be right.  Men are the problem!”  And when we don’t agree with someone and want to diminish their ethos what can we do?  Say they are chanting!  You know, who chants?  Mostly religious folks who are far from the mainstream and often seen as fanatics. The default population views “chanting” with great suspicion.  So let’s just paint Golden as a chanter!  LOL  Cheap.  Whatever happened to Woodward and Bernstein? This writer actually reminds me of what I might expect from a middle school student who had it in for the person they were writing about.

 

But it gets worse.  The article​ quotes me as saying “How many of you have been told that you don’t know how to talk about your feelings? Golden asked the crowd.” (the actual quote was “how many men in this audience have heard that? That you are not dealing with your feelings” – considerably different but close) But then goes on to say

 

“His explanation: Men shouldn’t be expected to open up emotionally.

 

Okay now this one gets me.  I have spent over 30 years sitting with men in deep emotional pain and have never said and will likely never say that men shouldn’t be expected to open up emotionally.  He has missed the entire thrust of the talk.  What I tried to say was that men have a very different way to open up and most people can’t even see it.

 

​The article says:

 

Men are “good” just the way they are, and need not bother with all of that “crying” and “talking about your feelings” stuff.“​

 

Yet another horrible interpretation.  What I have found and I hope what I said in the talk was that men have a different way to get at their emotions.  I never said anything about them not needing to bother with the crying etc.  The fact is that their actions and inactions will often move them to a place of tears.  They are just much less likely, for a wide variety of reasons, to do this in public.
​The question that arises in my mind is why would this reporter write such a biased and inaccurate piece when all of the rest of the interviews I have done over the years have been markedly different in accuracy?  I think it is a small jump to see that​ this was the first time that I had presented for AVFM in a public men’s issues setting.  My normal setting is with mental health professionals or with hospices.  In those settings people seem very receptive to the message but once you get associated with men’s issues you get slammed.  I think what we are dealing with is a culture and a writer who is so gynocentric and so threatened by hearing the idea that men have needs that he fails repeatedly to be able to see and discuss those needs.  He shuts down and attacks.  This is what people do when they are feeling threatened.  Be sure to read the rest of the article and you will see that his slant was not reserved just for me.  The entire conference seems to have gotten under his skin.
I wrote a comment for the online Salon article to try to clarify what I actually said but I think it is falling on deaf ears.  Read some of the comments and you will see Archie Bunker and worse. Archie was at least lovable.  If you can detach it can actually be fairly entertaining to read through them. This is a brainwashed group that is vehement that their brainwashing is the only way to see things and anyone voicing a different viewpoint is seen as an idiot who can’t get dates.  I mean really?  I will paste in the comment I made here.
Enough said.

Here’s the comment:

Thanks for including me in your article.  While I do appreciate being included I feel that you didn’t seem to portray the talk in an accurate manner.  I thought I would post here and offer the basics that you seem to have missed.  I would encourage everyone to have a look at the free video on youtube and judge for yourself the accuracy of this article.  http://youtu.be/h7yaH-DVbYQ?t=2m34s Here are the main points:


 You can’t say all men heal one way and all women heal another. It is much more complicated but it is fairly safe to talk about most men and that is what the talk considered as will this post.  

1. Most men will process their emotions in a way that is very different from the cultural default.  They will tend to use action, inaction, and honoring to do so.​

​2. Men do this for many reasons but the main reasons that were discussed in the talk were that a man’s emotional pain is taboo in our culture. The second reason of four was that men are expected to provide and protect and this expectation includes a powerful expectation that men avoid any form of dependency.  When men are seen as dependent they are often judged as not being “real men.” Men are not dumb enough to fall for that trap.

3. There are physical reasons for these differences starting with the large levels of testosterone that boys (and about 18% of girls) receive at about 2 months in utero.  We discussed the probable impact of this on the processing of emotions.  The work of Shelly Taylor (The Tending Instinct) showed us that when stressed, men and women have different paths to cope.  Men tend to fight or flight.  That is, they tend to connect their stress with action or inaction ​while women do something very different.  Taylor found that women will “tend and befriend.”  That is, women will move towards INTERACTION when stressed.  This contrasts with the men’s tendency to move towards action and/or inaction. This important bifurcation starts to help us understand our differences in processing emotions.

4. The talk then gave two examples of the way men heal.  We discussed Eric Clapton and the way he worked with his loss following the sudden death of his young son.  We also discussed Michael Jordan and his ways of coping following the murder of his father.

I have been working with men in emotional pain for over 30 years and having someone write that I said “Men shouldn’t be expected to open up emotionally” is pretty shocking and inaccurate.  I said nothing of the sort.  What I did say was that men have a very different way to process their emotions and we need to factor that in when we help them connect.  The material I presented was a summary of what usually takes 3-4 hours to get across. Many details were left out due to time. If you have any interest I have written two books on the topic, Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing, and the more recent kindle book “The Way Men Heal.”

Time Magazine Gets it Wrong – The 1st International Men’s Issues Conference

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“Crass ideological opponents”
“Paranoia and vitriol”
“Violent Internet histories”
“A palpable distaste for women”
These men laugh at rape jokes.
Describing a Saturday Night Live sketch as if it attacked our beliefswhen it addressed none of our beliefs at all
Mentioning mass murderer Elliot Rodger

These are things Jessica Roy used in describing the International Conference on Men’s Issues and its readers and editors in her Time magazine article.

She went as far as describing a point during the conference when she got the vapors and had to leave the building! Interesting that she doesn’t tell us what content gave her this vaporous experience, nor does she tell us when and if she returned.

Here’s the way her article starts:

I went to the conference in suburban Detroit expecting a group of feminist-hating Internet trolls; I found much more.

It is clear that Roy had very strong preconceived ideas about this conference prior to even setting foot in the venue. In other words, she was prejudiced. In her mind, she seems to have thought that these were her enemies, these were violent and vitriolic opponents who said things so vile that she had to leave the building. It’s little wonder that her article is desperately biased as she clings to her outdated, half-the-story ideological-feminist indoctrination.

Roy peppered the article with examples of how men are indeed in need of services at times but implied that the “paranoid” and “vitriolic” leadership was not doing a good job of getting them the help they need. Presumably, from her perspective, the conference also failed in that regard.

At some points during the article Roy related content from the conference and then immediately offered a refutation. In most good reporting, I have seen the reporter report what transpired and then, when it is an important point, seek out other expert opinions as a counterpoint to help the reader see both sides. In Roy’s case, most of the time she simply saw herself as the expert and worked to refute the claims of the conference speakers. This shows us clearly that this was personal to her; she wanted to refute what was being said. There was “her side” and then the side she was writing about. Her stance as a journalist was biased and far from neutral.

A very strong indicator of her defensiveness and brittle worldview:

Still, being surrounded by men who belly-laughed at rape jokes and pinned evil elements of human nature wholesale on women was emotionally taxing at best and self-destructive at worst. Once, during a particularly upsetting segment of the program, I had to excuse myself from the auditorium to seek refuge on the bug-filled bank of Lake St. Clair. I kept wondering why I had volunteered to fly 600 miles to attend the conference alone, to surround myself not just with crass ideological opponents, but with people with violent Internet histories who believed my very existence oppressed them. But to emerge on the other side of this with both my sanity and a worthwhile story, I would have to actually adopt a grain of their advice. I would have to stop feeling like a victim, and in turn cast aside all of the humiliating and unfair and devastating experiences I had collected as a woman.

Of course “belly-laughs at rape jokes” were hardly the norm for anyone there, and all evil elements of human nature were not pinned wholesale on women; women were just held to be as culpable as men by most of the presenters. And men must not experience humiliating and unfair and devastating experiences as men just because they couldn’t immediately rattle them off for her when prompted.

As an example of the distorted lens Roy sees things through, when Dr. Tara Palmatier showed a slide in a presentation on clinical narcissism, rather than trying to understand or to expand on what Dr. Palmatier was saying about it, Roy decided instead to try to disprove the assertions of Dr. Palmatier without discussion, by claiming it was about how attire causes rape. This is the work not of a journalist but of an ideologue trying to promote their own view of the world. Give them an alternative viewpoint and they go bonkers.

The question does arise: Why would Time magazine send a reporter who was so biased and closed-minded to cover this conference? Maybe like sending an “earth is the center of the universe” proponent to cover a Copernicus news conference. What would you expect from that? Then again, maybe Time doesn’t hire unbiased reporters anymore?

Time magazine is not the only culprit here. The Washington Post also sent a reporter who had strong biases and training that focused more on women’s issues and had left out men and boys. The article she wrote is not unlike Roy’s. It’s biased. Both were obviously steeped in the wrong-headed, half-truth feminist dogma that has been the default of the media for many years. If only either could have listened carefully to the presentations they might have seen the damage their thinking and writing has been doing. Compare either of these articles with this USA Today story on the conference. Note the contrast and that it lacks the bitter hatefulness seen in the other two.

My wife, who attended the conference and is sympathetic to the views expressed at the conference but who could not be described as an “activist,” read the Time magazine article and said, “It’s hard to believe that she related in the article the way she did. It is just bizarre … her perceptions of the situation, it’s way off base.”

I must wholeheartedly agree, having been there myself.

Now it’s your turn. All of the presentations at the conference are now online and linked below and free for viewing. Have a look and decide for yourself whether you agree with my wife or with Jessica Roy. I am betting strongly on my wife.

 

DAY ONE

Senator Ann Cools
Erin Pizzey
Tara Palmatier, PhD
Mike Buchanan
Fred Jones
Barbara Kay
Tom Golden
Paul Elam  

DAY TWO

Warren Farrell, PhD
Karen Straughan
Carnell Smith
Robert Franklin
Terrence Popp
Stefan Molyneux 
PANEL

The International Men’s Issues Conference 2014:  An Astounding Event

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If you missed the International Men’s Issues Conference in June of 2014 you missed an astounding event.  Lucky for you it is now online and viewable. (links at the end of this post ) The consistent theme that was heard repeatedly during the event was that the old narrative is woefully inadequate and is being replaced with a new one that improves the focus of compassion and choice to everyone, not just a select few. Exposing this old narrative came from almost each speaker and was described in a wide variety of ways.

I do hope that those who attacked this conference and unsuccessfully tried to shut it down by sending death threats to innocent people will take the time to listen to these presentations.  I think if they take the time to do this that they will find that the speakers all offer a similar message of wanting the best for all people, not just a select few.  They are truly humanitarians.  How could anyone want to shut down a humanitarian event?

I am reminded of a book I read many years ago.  It was a book on human evil by Scott Peck.  The title was People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil.  In it, Peck explained that evil was most often practiced by those who would attack others rather than deal with their own failings.  This sort of attack would then leave what Peck described as the hallmark of evil, it would leave a huge amount of chaos in its wake. Of course I won’t need to remind anyone that men’s issues consistently focus on events and problems where men and boys are facing huge amounts of chaos whether it is the family court traumas, the domestic violence industry, or some other misandrist avenue.

I couldn’t help but notice that the First International Men’s Issues Conference had a number of speakers addressing the idea of evil.  Sen Ann Cools, the first black female Senator in North America started off the conference by openly asking how anyone could actually believe the feminist narrative that has been thrust upon us all for the last 40 years.  Senator Cools told stories of her experience in the Canadian Senate that exposed the half truths and the gynocentric majority that turned their backs on the needs of men and boys. Erin Pizzey then gave a remarkable presentation about the plight of men and boys. She labelled what has been done to men and boys, particularly in the domestic violence arena as done by  “The Evil Empire.” Then Tara Palmatier, PhD eloquently and humorously pointed out the lopsided nature of acceptance of the narcissism of girls and women and the shame, blame, and lack of acceptance for boys and men on so many levels.  The conference started off with three women who very eloquently and powerfully labeled the state we are in and the impact this has on boys and men.  

crowd-end-sm-14The presentation where I learned the most was from Karen Straughan.  I would highly recommend you check it out.  I had been duped by the idea that feminism in the beginning was actually for equality.  Karen rid me of that notion.  She went into detail about the Seneca Falls Convention and showed clearly how the feminist narrative, even in the 19th century, was clearly blaming men for the ills of the world.

There were so many other presentations that were simply excellent.  I can honestly say there was not one presentation I heard that didn’t get an A. Barbara Kay did a great job in exposing the misandry in the media. Mike Buchanan brought to life the political reality and shared his experience in starting a political party in England to focus on boys and men.  Fred Jones inspired us in laying out what it takes to win a fight that may be stacked against you in the start. Golden did okay talking about men and their unique ways to process emotions and Paul talked about the importance of honoring our blue collar men and the fact that the world functions due to their often unappreciated efforts.

Warren Farrell started off day two with a ten point summation of the most important issues we need to address in order to find success.  As usual Warren is thinking ahead of the curve! Carnell Smith told the story of cupcake and had us all laughing and inspired to keep any eye peeled for the soul crushing impact of paternity fraud. Robert Franklin exposes the partnership of feminists and family court lawyers and their goals of keeping fathers out of families.  Terry Popp focused on the huge problem of suicide in the military and showed the excellent video Purple Heart’s Final Beat.  Then Stefan Molyneux spoke and began by looking at evil and how it starts and stops, moved to circumcision and then beyond. He really kept us all interested and laughing.

What a great group of presentations.  This conference was truly an astounding event. 

At this point day two is online on youtube.  The present video is a number of hours long and difficult to navigate and find the beginnings and ends of each section.  For your convenience the links below will take you to each presentation.

Introduction for Warren Farrell
Warren Farrell

Introduction for Karen Straughan
Karen Straughan

Introduction for Carnell Smith
Carnell Smith 

Introduction for Robert Franklin
Robert Franklin

Introduction for Terry Popp
Terry Popp 

Introduction for Stefan Molyneux
Stefan Molyneux

Presentation to the VFW

Panel

 

is Dear Abby Misandrist?

I burst out laughing when I read this Dear Abby:

 

abbyDEAR ABBY: I have been married to a wonderful man for 30 years. Our marriage may not be perfect, but it’s quite good.

My dilemma is this: My husband keeps track of every time we have sex and has a personal goal of 100 times a year. In 2013, he informed me that we’d had sex only 76 times, and that was not adequate for him. He was quite upset about it.

Do you think tracking your sex life is normal, and what do you think about a couple married for 30-plus years having sex 76 times in a year? Is that normal? Also, keep in mind that he travels for business and is gone about 60 days a year. — PRESSURED

DEAR PRESSURED: Your husband sounds like a college student who is striving to get 100 notches on his belt. Rather than obsess about the number of times you have had sex, the quality of the experience should be more important. Fifty GREAT times a year would be better than 100 so-so times, one would think. And no, I do not think your husband’s preoccupation is “normal” — whatever normal is these days.

Abby!  How could you?  Don’t you know that men like to keep count of things?  Actually women do too. Just imagine this man had earned 25% less last year then the year before. What would you say if the wife complained about him earning less and wanting him to earn more next year?  I bet you would give her a “you go girl!” and not complain about HER counting. I bet you would not call her immature and ABNORMAL. I bet you wouldn’t be a bit concerned about the quality of his expereince in earning less, only in the numbers.  But if the man starts counting things about the relationship and points out that they are 25% behind his goal you call him immature and abnormal.  tsk tsk tsk.  That puts you clearly in the sexist category now doesn’t it?  Is sex twice a week too much to ask?  Not according to Dr Phil who says that 68 times a year is the national average.  C’mon Abby, I think you need a course or two in men’s issues.  At this point you are only seeing things from her side and not his.