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October 10, 2006

Comments

Mermade

Hope you feel better, and that you'll be able to make it to class tomorrow! :-)

Hugo

Thanks, Merm. I expect to be back tomorrow. If not, I'll have a post up by 9:00AM announcing otherwise.

ballgame

anger is never a primary emotion; it is always a secondary response to deep and profound hurt.

I was taught that the four primary emotions are happiness, sadness, fear, and anger. I agree that the anger is stimulated by some kind of physical or psychic injury, but is that pain an 'emotion'? Wev.

And the source of that pain is not cruel women, or an unfair legal system, but the straitjacket of masculinity that allows men little opportunity to feel and to become fully human.

Taken literally as a blanket statement about reality, of course, your statement is false. In some cases the source of the pain certainly is cruel women; some mothers abuse their children in pretty horrifying ways. And there's no question that people can have their lives destroyed by an all-too-fallible legal system. But if your basic point is that men are societally oppressed in certain ways by gender, then I'd have to agree with you.

There is a lot that's laudible in Pat's article, at least on the surface. But if the notion is some kind of mental-health palliative approach which flips the responsibility of the problem solely back onto the man who's been victimized ("GOSH, I just need to LEARN how to handle my anger better!"*), the chance of this approach making any significant impact on our society's well-being is pretty remote. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that such an approach is worse than useless and is actually potentially quite harmful. I do like that Pat seems to acknowledge this to some extent when he says, "We need the support of the people in our lives, men and women." However, since one of the absolute fundamental prerequisites for men to be able to be fully human is to be fully respected regardless of how 'strong' they are, I have to question whether or not Pat really has a clue given that a third of the bullets on his web page's sidebar are "Strength Campaign," "Strength Mediaworks," "Show Your Strength," and "Men of Strength Club." Yup, no fear of the feminine there, nosireebob.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he's just engaged in erudite marketing to a particular demographic. But if we're going to make any headway against oppressive forces that drive men to 'kill themselves but take some people down with them first,' we're going to have to abandon incoherent ideologies that assert that men can't be oppressed by gender by definition. We're going to have to acknowledge the painful and destructive realities that many men are confronted with, and not assign responsibility for that pain to the person upon whom it's been inflicted.

It is 2006. How much headway have we made in America in even the most basic of issues that might fall into this category, the rights of males to their own bodily integrity and the elimination of MGM**? Not much. How many avowed feminists have even the most minimally open minds about understanding the potential gravity of the issue? Not many.

I'm not terribly optimistic.


*To be clear, I absolutely believe that there are individuals — both men and women — who can benefit tremendously by learning better ways of dealing with their anger. Those men who have been driven to violence, however, need more than a technique. They likely need the nurturing and supportive environment of intensive therapy to be able to connect to those traumatized parts of themselves and heal.

**Male Genital Mutilation, i.e. circumcision.

Hugo

Ballgame, you inspire me to write a post very soon about male circumcision. You aren't going to like it, I'm afraid.

Stentor

I had the opposite reaction to ballgame -- the article seemed to me to let violent men off the hook too much by making them into victims of the patriarchy.

On a lighter note, you had a bit of unfortunate line break placement in my screen resolution:
As I sit at the computer typing, clad only in my Black Watch [.......] flannel pajama bottoms

Kip Watson

Christianity distinguishes between anger and wrath, which I think is a useful distinction.

Although I continue to greatly admire the better practitioners of mental healing, I no longer see much insight in contemporary psychological doctrine - for example 'masculinity' and 'management strategies'.

Healing a wounded soul is a task on an entirely different plane from teaching a dog not to poop.

Toy Soldier

[T]he MRA contention is generally that that anger is righteous and justified, even if the violence that followed was unacceptable.

No, it is not. There is no need to attack pro-male adovocates to make your point.

And the source of that pain is not cruel women...

Read at face value, you appear to deny women can ever abuse, harm, or hurt males in a manner that would bring them pain. That is quite dismissive of male experiences of female violence.

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