Prediction: Men's rights will appear on the political radar in an election cycle or two

by phil on Sunday May 10, 2009 9:28 PM

Social conservatism is still a powerful force in America, but in order for the movement to be viable politically, it can no longer be anti-gay or anti-abortion. Since the GOP is in trouble, maybe they'll innovate and make men's rights a new proxy for social conservatism.

What are men's rights?

In brief, they focus on father's rights in custody battles, biased domestic violence laws, and other issues (see wikipedia's entry on Men's rights). Interesting book titles include The War against Boys: How misguided feminism is harming our young men and The Myth of Male Power.

Who's talking about this?

While it's very likely you've never heard of the expression "men's rights" before, one of the most prominent political bloggers Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit makes a lot of references to men's issues. Also radio personalities Dr. Laura and Laura Ingrahm are liable to refer to men's rights indirectly, often because of their stance against feminism.

If there are women's studies, should there be men's studies?

Good question.

Judge recommends dismissing Hollander's case for men's studies:

Columbia further argued against the Title IX claim for the need to create a men's studies program, noting that many courses offered are male-centric to begin with. "Indeed, even the claim that Columbia offers no courses with 'male sensitive views'-let alone that it 'banishes' the male perspective-is simply rhetoric," the memorandum said. "Plaintiffs do not explain how a philosophy course on Kant and Nietzsche; an art history course on the male nude in western art; a history course on the American presidency since 1945; a classics course on Plato; an American Studies course on the Supreme Court; a music course on Beethoven; or an English course on Milton (or Shakespeare, or Beckett and Nabokov, or Pinter, or O'Neill, or Williams and Miller) fails to be male sensitive."

What's your personal take on men's rights?

I'm not sure if I welcome the movement, since it has a lot of elements that are anti-gay and anti-women. On the other hand, I believe that all grievances, especially systematic grievances of any kind, should be tackled head on, regardless of who the victim group is.

The people in men's groups, just like feminists, are motivated by having been the victim of injustice. For example:

Columbia's motion argued that Hollander staked his case "on his personal hostility to feminism," which has been brewing for years thanks to what he calls "an Edgar Allen Poe horror tale of a divorce."
Probably Hollander was treated unfairly and that at least partly has to do with biases inherent in the justice system.

Probably the reason we don't see men's studies courses is because of the social stigma men face in appearing as victims, especially the victims of women.

On the other hand, it's not like men haven't suffered in silence. You just have to overhear a group of aggrieved men say among each other, "never trust a ho," to know that they aren't quiet about it.

Why do you predict it will appear on the radar politically?

The GOP is in deep trouble, and so they're going to have innovate and find new issues. Social conservatism is still a powerful force in America, but in order for the movement to be viable politically, it can no longer be anti-gay or anti-abortion.

Also, this "self-reliance"/small-government aspect of the GOP may also just be untenable politically as well. As Rachel Maddow said, she cannot understand why you would trust any national candidate to reduce the size of government. It's like a paradox. My most vocal libertarian friend, for example, because he hates the government so much, simply didn't vote!

Instead, the GOP has to offer help to people and address some grievance. Maybe eight years ago, homosexuality was a viable grievance among heterosexual Republicans. Maybe now men's rights can become a new proxy for social conservatism.


Hiroki Saitou said on May 24, 2009 6:46 AM:

I like man's nakedness.

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