Well, folks, I'm going to be on Glenn Sacks' radio show this Sunday. We'll be discussing the men's movement, and I expect things will get a bit fiery. For those who don't know him, Glenn is a fellow Angeleno, newspaper columnist and talk-show host. Glenn sent me this bit of info: For those who are outside of our radio stations'
coverage ranges, you can listen to the show live this Sunday (1/23/05) via our
station's excellent Internet stream at Listen Live.
You can call the show and join the discussion in progress at 1-800-439-4805 (lines open this Sunday from 5-6PM PST).
For those who are outside of our radio stations' coverage ranges, you can listen to the show live this Sunday (1/23/05) via our station's excellent Internet stream at Listen Live.
His Side with Glenn Sacks can be heard on
WSNR AM 620 in New York City and North-Eastern New Jersey, and on WWZN AM 1510
in Boston on Sundays at 10 PM EST. The show can also be heard in Southern
California on KTIE AM 590 at 5 PM PST
His Side with Glenn Sacks can be heard on WSNR AM 620 in New York City and North-Eastern New Jersey, and on WWZN AM 1510 in Boston on Sundays at 10 PM EST. The show can also be heard in Southern California on KTIE AM 590 at 5 PM PSTGlenn is a more moderate figure than some in the Men's Rights Movement. (To start with, he's civil, which immediately differentiates him from his hostile and bitter brethren who can be found at places like Manpower). That doesn't mean he doesn't take profoundly offensive positions! (A list of his columns may be found here). For example, Glenn supports Choice 4 Men, a movement which seeks to give men the right to evade responsibility for the children they help to conceive:
...when a woman forces a man to be responsible for a child only she wants, and when the state child-support apparatus takes a third or more of his income and jails him if he comes up short, isn't the government exercising control over his life? The "Choice for Men" movement seeks to give fathers the right to relinquish their parental rights and responsibilities within a month of learning of a pregnancy, just as mothers do when they choose to give their children up for adoption.
We might want to touch on that on Sunday.
What I'm really hoping to discuss with Glenn, however, is the notion of "men as victims." Men's rights advocates like to emphasize male powerlessness. Whether it be in marriage or custody battles, on campus or in the workplace, men's rights advocates claim that women have the "real" power. The legal system discriminates against men, and the broader culture humiliates and demeans them.
I'm not denying that many men today feel unhappy and overwhelmed. But they are wrong to blame women and the feminist movement for that discomfort. American men live in a patriarchal system that bestows tremendous, but often invisible, privilege upon them. The fact that men aren't aware of that privilege doesn't mean it isn't there! Men, after all, still control virtually every facet of power in our society. Our political, religious, economic and military leaders are overwhelmingly men.
On Sunday, I'm going to make the case that men's unhappiness is rooted not in women's power, but in their own failures to live up to the impossibly high expectations of our culture. One of my favorite pro-feminist writers, Allan Johnson, puts it this way in his superb The Gender Knot:
As with other aspects of patriarchal societies, the price men pay for gender privilege has mnore to do with their relationships with other men and the social institutions that men control than it does with women. It's easier and safer to project power and responsibility onto women, but, like so many paths of least resistance, it takes us away from the truth.
I'll have more to blog on this soon. In the meantime, tune in on Sunday and consider calling in.