Your Son, The Enemy

On The Good Men Project I was reading an article titled ‘It’s Not Easy To Raise Your Son To Be a Feminist’:

The real challenge is for us – the parents of boys who could live their lives resting on the privilege and power bestowed upon them for being men –to go out of our way to raise our sons to be feminists, too.

What I get from this here sentiment, is that the author feels obligated to teach her son that he is going to be given things he doesn’t deserve because he’s male. And these things he doesn’t deserve, given to him because he’s male, are the source of all the problems in society.

Kids aren’t very abstract thinkers. Translated into kid-ese this is “your maleness is bad.”

Surely teaching a child something that makes them despise an inherent part of themselves is Not Good?

What happens if her son’s experience of his maleness is powerlessness?

Let’s start at the beginning. What if the author had her son’s genitals cut? This is illegal to do to a girl, and there’s no point getting into an argument about comparison, any genital cutting of a girl is illegal, even those forms that remove considerably less tissue and nerves then the average male circumcision in the West.

What if he’s the unfortunate victim of DV and finds there are no services for men or that he can’t get out of an abusive situation safely because the cops are trained to suspect the man? What if he’s a victim of a female rapist (around one percent of men will be in a year) and he has no one to turn to because all literature regarding rape, most victim services, all rape advocacy is toxically gendered? What if he tries to press charges against her and is laughed at by the police?

Worse, what happens if his wife abuses his child and he has no recourse to protect the child because courts are routinely more lenient towards red flags in mothers then fathers? What if he never gets to see his kids again? Men only get sole custody in a bare fraction of cases; joint physical custody: a few percentage points more. And if he’s given visitation he has a 40% chance of never seeing his kids again after five years.

What if her son isn’t one of the men who scores big in the crapshoot of male achievement and instead rolls snake eyes: he ends up in the ugly professions (all male dominated) where safety is lax, work is hard, and injuries and death are common? What if he ends up homeless? The majority of the homeless, particularly the unsheltered homeless are men. As a related note the vast majority of government spending on social programs goes to women while the majority of taxes paid to the government comes from men.

All of these things he’s at a greater risk of experiencing because of the very maleness the author thinks gives him a gold ticket to privilege and power.

What privilege and what power exactly?

Update: TGMP has run this powerful article on a related subject, the experience of a young man who was raised by an abusive feminist mother: Overcoming Abuse and Becoming a Good Man.

26 thoughts on “Your Son, The Enemy

  1. I sometimes wonder why they go to all the trouble to construct these elaborate theories of why all social problems MUST be the fault of men, and laid exclusively at men’s doorstep.

    Isn’t it much simpler, and more constructive, to simply promote equality for everyone?

  2. Copyleft – Their goal isn’t equality. They want power and control.

  3. @ Evil Pundit

    “Copyleft – Their goal isn’t equality. They want power and control.”

    The problem I really have with this is two fold. First of all, she’s already convicted her sons of the grand sin of patriarchy prior to them having any influence on the world at all. Second of all, it will teach her sons that, regardless of how negative it is, they have more influence and control over their lives and other people’s lives then her daughter does. Once again she’s promoting a view that boys are potent and girls are impotent.

    I can just imagine the implied message, ‘daughter, if it weren’t for your brothers you could change the world to be a wonderful paradise!’

  4. When I was about five years old, my mother described to me in vivid detail about how she used to visualize cutting my throat with a razor to stop me from crying. When I was seven, my mother told me I was lying about the sexual abuse I experienced at the hands of a female babysitter. When I was 9, my mother handed me a wooden stick and told me to beat myself in the head with it until I fell unconscious. When I was 11, my mother threw me against the headboard of my bed, leaving a scar which exists to this day. Throughout this, my mother lectured me on a daily basis about “respecting women” and how I as a “dominant male” have it so easy. To this day, she denies that she ever did any of this to me. Furthermore, she claims that the hardships I experience as a man in society is “payback” for the alleged crimes of the patriarchy.

    This is what a feminist upbringing looks like.

  5. Thanks for talking about this. I always shudder when I read these articles about raising feminist sons, because they always involve the sort of crap you quoted. I hope to God neither of those boys are nerdy, or socially awkward, or bullied, or, God forbid, abused
    - if they are then subjecting them to feminist cant about how as boys they “could live their lives resting on the privilege and power bestowed upon them for being men” isn’t just a lie, it’s sadistic. I was within a hair’s breadth of suicide for most of my childhood, in no small part because of things done by women, and If I’d had a trusted authority figure- never mind my own mother- putting that in my head, on top what I was already dealing with, I’d probably be dead.

    Also, shame on her for announcing, on a public website read by thousands, that she loves and accepts her younger son for what he is while positively dripping with disdain and disappointment for her older son. I hope he never stumbles on this.

  6. TB: I parents like this don’t see their sons as human beings, but rather as raw materials to be molded into just the right shape. It’s very upsetting to watch.

    I imagine a Good Feminist Son would also be raised to hold doors open for girls, stand up when a lady enters the room and remain stoic in the face of pain. Some old-timey patriarchal things nevef go out of style.

  7. “Raise him to understand that he, too, can be anything, wear anything, and love anyone he wants to.”

    A lesson on how to raise children who never become adults.

    Sorry for my terse comments. I can only take GMP shit in small bursts. This woman seems like a terrible mother. I feel bad for her family.

  8. Watch the judgements there debaser. People can do terrible things without being terrible people.

    Kids aren’t pincushions to poke your dogmatic beliefs into… the primary directive of a parent is to raise an emotionally healthy child. If your belief system conflicts with this by whispering in your ear how you need to teach your child that he is bad bad bad for something he can’t help… chose your child’s well being over your beliefs!

  9. @Son of a feminist: You should write up your experiences and post it, or get someone like Typhonblue to put it in an article as a reply to the GMP one. Add a little balance to the dogma spewed.

  10. Typhonblue, re. comment at GMP. I wasn’t trying to get at you. But you’re a mom too aren’t you? This whole topic is just so dangerous. You said,

    “I’m not saying raising a boy to be feminist is child abuse. If it doesn’t include raising a boy to feel disproportionate guilt for something he has no responsibility for. Or raising a boy to be suspicious of his maleness.”

    Of course I knew that. I was worried others might not. But frankly what sort of feminism does not do both of those things? So it’s such a tough topic.

    Also I agree that @Son of a feminist should tell his story.

  11. @ DavidByron

    Don’t worry about it. ;) Internet communication is fraught with peril and I assumed it was likely you were either using the ‘general you’ or what have you. I just wanted to clarify my position.

  12. What i find scarey is that people will act but think they can do no wrong if they attach the correct label.

    “I am a Christian so doing x because of my religion means its ethical”
    “I am a feminist so doing x because of my feminism means its ethical”

    The first statement will be noticed quite quickly as wrong by most people. The second seems to slip past them a bit too easily in general.

  13. For the record I know terrible people who are good parents and I know good people who are terrible parents. I don’t even have to leave my own family to find them.

  14. Parenting is a skill like any other, but for some reason there’s no training available for it. People are expected to either “have it” or somehow “get it” if they don’t…. which obviously doesn’t work.

  15. “Parenting is a skill like any other, but for some reason there’s no training available for it. ”

    Not picking on you Copyleft, but this toxic little meme just will not die so I’m taking this opportunity to hack at it some more.

    Speaking English is a skill like any other, but for some reason there’s not training….

    Bullshit. You learn to speak from your parents. And that’s who you learn to parent from, for good or il. Mostly for good, and certainly better than you would learn in some approved course.

    Because that is the only other way, isn’t it? And who would be teaching all these parenting courses. SAll those self-congratulatory breed sows on the mommy blogs where you tend to see this meme? They make a show of being humble and having doubts, as a way of stroking each other. See, we’re concerned, we’re trying to improve always, unlike those others, those sub-standard parents who are off doing something else – working two jobs, actually spending time with their kids, whatever othert timewaters that are less cool than being one of the cool kids in this cozy circle……

  16. Personally, I propose that training in parenting be handled by professionals who have to pass a certification test. Leaving it up to individual families to “pass along their wisdom” presumes that they have some wisdom to pass in the first place.

  17. “Personally, I propose that training in parenting be handled by professionals who have to pass a certification test.”

    I work in the federal government. I used to be a teacher and still hold a certificate. Let’s just say that governemnt and certification are good for what they are good for. Licensing acupuncturists? Okay.

    Raising your kids is considered a fundamental human right. These days we have a scummunity of sentiment (and that is not a typo) that thinks that basic human rights like marriage should be subject approval of the government (as directed by them, of course). LOSE.

    And then of course there is the question of what standards of selection to use and who adminsters the process – who decides who is fit to to this kind of training. I would hope there would be some minimal moral standards – so, no Mormons, no Southern Baptists, no adherent of any religion or perversion of any religion I happen to dislike (just joking) or any other form of immorality unless it’s a type I happen to enjoy. Etc. As a start. Those are just categorical disqualifiers.

  18. I’m with Ginkgo. I’m completely opposed to the idea that all our interactions should be subject to government approval, and that certificates are a better indicator of quality than experience. Cerificates and credentials are, in most cases, only about avoiding being sued.

    Apart from anything else, gender feminism is so embedded in public social policy that you’d need to espouse patriarchy theory to get a certificate in parenting anyway.

  19. They’d force religion too, I think.

    Anyway some hospitals have parenting classes that you are “required” to attend when you have your first baby. I went to one and it was very simple and straightforward. There was no indoctrination going on. And granted this class was about newborns, not about how to raise your kids.

    I’ll add that the government already has the power to take your children away from you. Often times they abuse that power. I fucking hate the abuse of power….I’ll stop here before the rant builds up.

  20. What would really improve our parenting is the return of extended families. People were never meant to hot-house parent, particularly hot-house mother. This is a totally unnatural way to raise children and it shows.

  21. Well, I live in the South and am a strong supporter of public education. To me, government intervention is the only hope some of these kids have of being shown a world greater than their parents’ ignorance and bigotry and superstition.

    It makes sense to be wary of governmental intervention in adult citizens’ private lives… but it also makes sense to use government to intervene on behalf of minor citizens who would otherwise be brainwashed by their parents into becoming the next generation of brainless bigots.

  22. Extended families can be great, or they can be awful – take a look at family clans in rural Afghanistan, Pakistan, India for some examples. If the extended family is the way to go, we need to work on understanding which extended families are successful, and which aren’t. A scientific approach to parenting has been the ideal since Benjamin Spock, but grandparenting has been rather neglected.

    And it just isn’t given to everyone to have an extended family these days; what, if anything, can step in when there just isn’t an extended family to go to?

  23. Isn’t it nice that all this talk about extended families and such ignores the fact that we live in a hypercapitalist , international “free trade” economy that totally destroys family and heck, community formation? It’s a dog eat dog world where American workers often have to move hundreds or thousands of miles to find work or take two to three jobs as they are competing with slave laborers in China and prisoners in the US prison industrial complex, meanwhile automation gets more and more intelligent:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013162937.htm

    C’mon, people. This stuff doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We make it harder to form families for all but the affluent yet at the same time we make it easier and easier to break them up via legal process or financial necessity. Indeed, the crises in families will continue until our governments learn that
    A. Too much meddling can be bad
    B. Economies exist to serve people and countries not the other way around
    And someone would want to add MORE government to this?

  24. “Isn’t it nice that all this talk about extended families and such ignores the fact that we live in a hypercapitalist , international “free trade” economy that totally destroys family and heck, community formation?”

    This is a good point. Capitalism, or more specifically a specific kind of capitalism, is what has eroded the extended family away. That kind of capitalism is the kind that grows up under the rule of law and in a strong civil society, the kind that privileges the individualover the group – and it is privilege; there is nothing natural about the supremacy of the individual over the group or even of the individual’s independence from the group.

    There is another kind of capitalism that privileges connections over individual effort – crony capitalism. And of course the strongets and nmost trustworthy connections are kin bons. You se this in overseas Chinese capitalism. Another form is Japanese or Korean crony capitalism and there, even when the dominant structure is the corporation, those corporations function in a feudalistic, almost familial way.

    Which type is more naturally powerful, more evolutionarily adaptive? The kind that requires the most effort to restrain or restrict.

    Which kind is that? The one the laws are aimed at.

    How do we ascertain that? We look at the nature of the laws, the types of activities they target.

    What activities do the laws target? They target secrecy. They require transparency of reporting – of ingredients in food, of materials in clothing, of financial transactions, of past performance etc.

    Which type of capitalism is secretive? Crony capitalism.

    Do all laws and regulations have this aim? Hardly. Some are intended specifically to advantgae crony capitalism over individual enterprise.

    Why? Because one aspect of criony capitalism is penetration of government and manipulation of the legislative to it’s purposes.

    Only crony capitalism, not indivudual meritocratic capitlaism.? Yes generally because that penetration requires a high level of rganization.

    As long as you have a system of credit checks that is reliable, a system of contracts and contract enforcement and all the other things – police protection, fair employment laws and all that – that make it possible to trust and work with strangers, then you don’;t need cousins to protect you and take revenge if you get harmed, you don’t need uncles to find you work, you don’t need second cousins to finance your ventures. But it takes a lot of government to make that kind of capitalism possible, and that can fail.

  25. Clarence: “It’s a dog eat dog world where American workers often have to move hundreds or thousands of miles to find work or take two to three jobs as they are competing with slave laborers in China and prisoners in the US prison industrial complex, meanwhile automation gets more and more intelligent:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013162937.htm”

    The American worker is never going to be able to compete with labourers in China et al but one thing that can is a roboticised workforce. The link you provide shows that they are already getting advanced enough to take on more complex jobs (the related articles in the link also provide more examples, including stock trading), and if we are honest many jobs within companies can already be automated to a large degree. I believe that eventually we will see robots complex enough that they will be capable of doing most jobs, including that of CEO’s and maybe even government*.

    What does this mean for American workers? Corporate tax will have to increase, as salary costs decrease, to fund an expansion of the benefit/social system so the output of the economy, created by robots, is distributed evenly across the population (rather than the paltry benefits given out today) instead of being largely diverted to 1% of the population. But instead of seeing it as “scrounging off the state” it will possibly be seen as receiving a salary for having a robot do your job instead of you**, equivalent to using macros any smart workers already use to automate the tedious parts of their jobs. People will be free from wage slavery; free to develop themselves according to their interests and hobbies and spend time with their family and friends. Jobs which can’t be automated will be done for free, as a hobby, by those weird people who _enjoy_ work :), much like the volunteer fire service.

    * I for one would trust an advanced computer designed to make decisions in the best interests of the people over a politician any day. Benevolent Dictatorship is the best form of government by any standard, that’s one thing that makes the God meme so attractive.

    **Growing up in a poor community I knew several people who felt no shame collecting benefits after their factory job was replaced by a machine, and why should they. In effect all that happened was that they stopped working for a reduced salary which was now paid for through their former employers’ increased tax to the government rather than directly to the employee. (Any argument about them not contributing to the economy is unfair, as that is the fault of the CEO’s who replaced them and an economy which has never replaced those jobs, not the workers who were replaced. That argument will no-doubt disappear when automation hits the middle classes and creeps on the upper classes.)

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