Hi everybody, Welcome to Chicago, my town. Thanks for being here. So, let’s get right to it shall we . . . I just want to win. I’ve been at this for over 30 years; I’m sick of losing, I just want to win. We must believe, even with our eyes open, that we still can win. And we need to get real clear about what “winning” means.
We know that women are more loved, elicit more empathy, and that female safety and wellbeing are prioritized. It’s instinctual. Eliciting empathy is a female strategy based on women’s greater power to elicit empathy. It’s the power that raises only female concerns to the level of major societal concerns. As a strategy, “Victim” works for women, it does not work for men. We must believe that we, as men, are more respected, elicit more authority, and that male leadership is still longed for. We must believe that that too is instinctual. It is ancient and archetypal and we must believe that it runs deeper than the current rhetoric, deeper than the current misandry.
In short, we must break free of shame and believe in ourselves.
I’ll return to that, but first, I want to get very clear about what the problem is. In my view, the problem lies in the gender belief system. It is believing that “men have the power; women are the victims.” Moreover, if women are the victims, then men, the ones with the power, must be the victimizers. This: ManBad (over empowered oppressor/victimizer), WomanGood (“innocent” victim) gender paradigm is foundational to everything feminism is and everything feminism does. It’s supported by chivalry and it’s everywhere taught as known fact. We know how one-sided, false, and toxic that narrative is. I submit that it is the source of all our gender-political woes.
How so? Well, let’s examine the impact on men, on women, and on society.
On men: If what we Know is that men have the power, then we will want to punish and take power from ManBad (the over-empowered oppressor/victimizer). And we will want to reward and extra protect and advantage WomanGood (the innocent victim). Naturally. Of course. It’s not right for one faction of humanity to be granted the power while another faction of humanity is targeted as the victims. That’s wrong, and we would see that wrong corrected by counter measures—-feminism.
Belief guides action. Social workers, teachers, police officers, judges, legislators, politicians—professionals of every ilk—all who believe, will have living within them a tendency, an urge, an impulse to take power from ManBad, extra protect and advantage WomanGood. And because the MP/FV paradigm is omnipresent, that impulse is omnipresent. It lives in the family, the church, the school system, the work place, the government, the legislature, the courts, the military, the media. The cumulative effect, the sum total fallout of that omnipresent impulse is a world in which women rise/men decline. The result is a playing field so uneven, it could not be otherwise.
Meanwhile, what’s the effect on women? Well, if women are truly powerless, women are truly not responsible. If women ply no force of influence in the human system then women bear no responsibility for outcomes. So, it begins with a withhold of accountability, which is infantilizing. It is a withhold of respect—respect for women’s power, efficacy, and equal partnership. It’s drowning women in sympathy (“poor thing”), which is condescending, disrespectful and disempow¬ering. It is relentlessly telling women that they are the powerless victims in all things, which is enraging, defeating, emotionally self-fulfilling—and it is living a lie. It’s telling women that All Fault Is Male, which infuses poisonous self-righteousness. It’s telling women that a Boogey Man rapist hides behind every bush, which is terrifying. It’s telling women that their feminine essence equals subservient, doormat. It’s telling women that their legacy is “property and chattel.” And it’s telling women their biology only betrays them, low-prioritizing marriage, home, family, children; limiting women’s immersion within roles and realms in which many are at their happiest. Given all this falsehood and emotional bile, it’s no wonder that every measure of female happiness has plummeted in recent decades and, worldwide, the most feminist cultures produce the least happy women.
Finally, believing that “men have the power and women are the victims,” what’s the impact on society in general and male-female relations in particular? The harm is plain to see. It’s ever escalating inter-sex rage, rancor, resentment, victim and vengeance motives. It’s “heterophobia” in the form of #MeToo and “Rape Culture” and “toxic masculinity” and INCELS and millennials having less sex than any previous generation. It’s Japan’s plummeting birthrate. It’s female-initiated divorce, social isolation, suicide, single mothers and fatherlessness all risen to truly alarming levels. It’s vast damage to the social fabric and a concurrent rise in every social pathology that concerns us most in the world today.
The MP/FV paradigm is grossly one-sided, which is why it is false, which is why it is poisonous.
The good news? Feminism’s “men have the power/women are the victims” narrative being such a false and unmitigated disaster, creates the opportunity for us to present something better.
But what should that new narrative be? Should we present a “women have the power /men are the victims” narrative? Some will say yes; some will say that’s the narrative that fits the facts and nothing else is acceptable. Well, I guess that brings us back to where we started.
Me, I just want to win. And for men, working victim goes against instinct and that makes it a losing strategy. The only force on earth that can take down feminism is the General Public and it can do so simply by ceasing to support it. In this way, feminism can go the way of McCarthyism. Believing that communism posed a dire threat and believing that McCarthy and company were the ones to protect us from this threat made McCarthyism all powerful. But, for that very reason, when society no longer believed those two things, McCarthyism was dead. Believing that men have the power and believing that women are the victims are the beliefs that sustain feminism. When society no longer believes those two things, feminism is dead—no war, no bloodshed. You see, we don’t need to defeat feminism as much as we need to render it a toothless anachronism. But how do we get the general public on board with us? As I said before, I believe that human society still longs for male leadership, it’s instinctual. But, to lead well, men must lead wisely. To win the hearts and minds of society, the new narrative should contain a vision of the future, a future that promises de-escalation of the gender war and repair of the social fabric. It must ring positive and hopeful and constructive and sustainable. It should resonate with what our deepest intuition tells us is true.
I think that new narrative goes something like this:
The sexes are, and have always been, equal—not the same, but equal (the two ends of a balance beam need not be identical to weigh the same). Our human world is what it is as a result of a vast gender dance in which men and women—equal in number, evenly matched, possessing equal overall weaponry—are equal partners. Each through their own separate channels, the sexes ply an equal overall force of influence in the human system and are thus equally responsible for outcomes. The gen¬der system was co-created, ratified, engaged in, and maintained by Woman and Man in co-equal co-partnership . . . because, out of The Deal, each sex got what it wanted most.
For his particular brand of self-sacrifice, Man earned the lion’s share of the respect. For her particular brand of self-sacrifice, Woman earned the lion’s share of the love. The Deal was a contract. Each sex fulfilled its end and earned its rewards fair and square. There is nothing to begrudge and no basis for rage or revenge. Given that each sex is assigned a biology, role, and social conditioning at birth, neither sex has been any more empowered than the other to escape its concurrent fate. The enormous consequences and vast repercussions suffered by Woman for being less respected have been matched in full by the enormous consequences and vast repercussions suffered by Man for being less loved.
In short, it all balances out. I’ll say that again. In the benefits enjoyed and in the liabilities suffered, in the power and in the victimization, in the freedoms and the constraints, the joys, the sorrows, the good and the bad, light and shadow, It All Balances Out between Woman and Man—and it always has.
I don’t expect to live to see it, but that’s the gist of what should be taught in Gender Studies classrooms.
Now this balanced gender belief system might not be so hard a sell as we may think. First off, out there in the real world where people don’t give a shit about gender politics, on a purely intuitive level, these truths of balance ring true. It’s lived experience. And so, in a sense, this narrative isn’t telling anyone what they don’t already know. Also, it’s a message the general public, tired of the gender war, can embrace. It’s a message that feels positive and hopeful because, it is.
So, let us dare to dream. Let’s imagine we live in a world where the default assumption is that male power is matched by female power and female victimization is matched by male victimization. How would things be different? Well, gone are the beliefs that uniquely entitle females to their own unique “ism.” Within a balanced gender belief system, feminism is clearly revealed as “female-ism,” a special interest group that advocates for females and females only. Emma Watson’s HeForShe, she for she, everybody for she “solution” to gender issues, makes no sense. Punitive measures like the Man Tax or Affirmative Consent would never even reach consciousness. As we know, within a MP/FV, MB/WG belief system, judges judge accordingly resulting in men suffering an average 63 percent longer prison sentence for the same crime. But, within a balanced gender belief system, social workers, teachers, police officers, judges, legislators, politicians, professionals of every ilk, could be expected to do their jobs in a gender balanced way. Balance the gender belief system and we balance the one imbalance from which other imbalances derive.
Balance the gender belief system and it really would all balance out.
Alright, by now everybody’s head is swimming with “yea buts.” I know how “pie in the sky” all this may sound, but we need to at least think in terms of solutions. For these last few minutes I’ll offer a brief sketch of how this shift in the gender belief system might be accomplished. As I envision it, it begins with the men’s movement crafting open letters to feminists. Though these messages are addressed to feminism, our true intended audience is, of course, the general public. Here are three examples:
“Men comprise the vast majority of the homeless, the imprisoned, the murdered, the battlefield sufferers, the work-related fatalities, the parentally alienated, the suicides, and . . . on and on. Even so, we of the men’s movement are willing to call it even if you are. What do you say?”
Why can’t we be clever too? Note how provocative this message is. Also, the facts and truths of male victimization are presented, but the emphasis is on calling it even. Here’s another one:
“We of the men’s movement envision a transformation in gender politics and gender relations leading to a vital repair of the social fabric, if only we’d give up the contest for Most Powerless Victim, call it a draw, and focus on fairness, forgiveness, and negotiation. What do you say?”
Note how the emphasis is on our vision of the future and making the world a better place.
Here’s one more:
“We envision a way forward if only feminism would acknowledge Woman’s true role as equal partner in the human system, equally responsible for outcomes. What do you say?”
Here we face the challenge of conveying to a clueless world what FemalePower is, how it works, and what it’s comprised of. But the ace in our hand is legitimately accusing naysayers of sexism and misogyny for judging women too insubstantial to exert an equal overall force of influence upon the world.
If gender politics was a chess game, in my judgment, these moves lead to checkmate. These kinds of equalist messages, invitations, and challenges create impossible binds for the feminist movement. Over time such challenges can only bring out the worst in feminism, exposing it for what it is. Feminism has shamed the shit out of us; why not shame the shit out of it? No part of feminism is prepared to negotiate anything. Feminism cannot budge an inch, which is why feminism must break.
IABO is as provocative as any message we could send. Seems to me comedians and pundits would find it irresistible. Everyone would be compelled to take pock shots at it. It would be ridiculed to high heaven. Good. That’s how it goes viral and we along with it. If such messages get the public intrigued and engaged enough, public debate, something feminists abhor, may be forced upon them by popular demand. Over the long run, I believe IABO will prove bullet proof. After all, I ask you, men and women of the movement, what’s the catastrophe in calling it even?
For decades we’ve been relentlessly shot down by accusations of “whining.” It sucks, it’s not fair, it should not be that way. But “should” and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee. Me, I just want to win, and for men, “victim” is a losing strategy. But, if we presented the truths of FP/MV as the other half of gender reality, the truths that go on the other end of the balance beam, we, who seek only to call it even, cannot be dismissed as “whiners” or “victim mongers.” Moreover, it’s a message that can be spoken with strength. It’s a line in the sand, this far and no farther. No more Glass Escalators (Title IX, affirmative action, quotas, 1,027 female-centric organizations, etc.). Equal opportunity within an even playing field. From this place of strength and integrity, we extend our hand holding an Olive Branch. Feminism can only appear increasingly ugly slapping that hand away, refusing to compromise, accept accountability or give up the Victim Crown. By comparison, the men’s movement looks increasingly authoritative, magnanimous and peace seeking. And so, I envision something unprecedented happening—the press and the public hear our truths. We’ve created an appealing message within a positive, hopeful, balanced framework filled with solutions. And we’ve created a compelling drama that both the press and the public can get wrapped up in. All of which brings the general public, weary of the gender war, to our side.
I’ve been talking to men, but my dream is of an equalist movement comprised equally of men and women. Men and women willing to call it even. Women and men who realize that it was Woman and Man in equal partnership that got us into this mess, and only Woman and Man in equal partnership can get us out of this mess.
I’ll close with four claims: 1) This approach to gender politics is new; it is something the politicized men’s movement has never before been attempted. 2) IABO has blunt power as a sound bite and rallying cry. It’s bound to go viral. 3) I believe there’s a kind of “checkmate” built into it. It is a strategy that could not fail to produce results for us. And, 4) It is a leadership strategy that future generations of men can look back on with pride. As men, I say, let’s play to our strengths. When there’s a “crack in the dam,” we look to men to fix it. Gender politics is broken; let’s fix it. Let’s reach out with an appealing message that brings the multitude on board with us. Bring the multitude on board with us, and we win. And if we win with a new more evolved approach to gender politics and gender relations, then everybody wins.
And that’s what we mean by “winning.”