Wednesday, May 22, 2013

So no real men then?

Paul Elam, a prominent men's rights activist, has posted the following advice to men. It's advice that deserves some criticism:
All your life you are told by others what it means to be a real man. And you are told how worthless you are if you don't measure up.

Just know this. Anyone, man or woman, sending you this message is trying to shame you into their service. They are manipulating you to carry their load, to take on their hardships; even to bleed and die for their cause...or their profit.

Don't buy the lie. No one but you can define you as a human being or measure your worth. Never trust anyone who puts an adjective in front of the word MAN.

The bit of this which is significantly true is that men shouldn't respond blindly to calls on their masculinity. That would, indeed, make men vulnerable to manipulation by vested interests. It would be a weakness rather than a strength.

But Elam's formulation is not a good one. It is revealing, for instance, that Elam writes "no one can define you as a human being" rather than "no one can define you as a man". He is suggesting that we define ourselves in abstracted terms as human beings rather than as men - an interesting position for someone claiming to lead a men's movement.

It's not surprising that Elam puts things this way. He seems to believe that concepts of masculinity have no real basis to them but are just made up so that some people can manipulate others. It's a similar position to that of radical feminists who claim that femininity is just an invention of the patriarchy designed to subordinate women to men.

It is not "empowering" to tell someone that the only possibility is to self-define. If masculinity (or personhood) has no meaning except that which I give to it, then it means that it is just made up and it loses greatly in significance.

The traditionalist position is that masculinity does exist as a kind of life principle; that this principle is expressed in the character of men; that it is possible for a community to recognise and to encourage ideal forms of masculinity; that men feel a positive sense of fulfilment the more they live through these ideals; and that masculinity creates a positive connection between identity, social role and higher values.

It is often in men's interests to be challenged to live up to ideals of masculinity. The difficulties that men have to meet in adult life aren't going away, so the strength of character that has traditionally been cultivated in men still needs to exist. Why deprive a younger generation of men of the culture of masculinity that will allow them to succeed in their adult lives?

26 comments:

  1. The problem with MRAs is that they are the male version of feminists in various in their ideology and have adopted all of the enemies' tactics and themes.

    While I think that masculinity is itself a real principle and a coherent one, the problem is that many modern women do use the words "real man", chivalry and such as a way to control men in their families, communities and society as a whole.

    Kind of like a woman crying fake tears to get her own way or to manipulate a man.

    It's another cause of a large number of bad apples outnumbering the few good apples.

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  2. "While I think that masculinity is itself a real principle and a coherent one, the problem is that many modern women do use the words "real man", chivalry and such as a way to control men in their families, communities and society as a whole."

    My wife is guilty of this. During an argument she identified 'real men' specifically as those who never do wrong to women and keep their promises (to their wives). I challenged her to express something positive about being a 'real man' that was not contingent on benefiting women, and she was stuck for an answer. I expressed concern about how this attitude may affect the raising of a future son and she seemed confused and frustrated by the question.

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  3. The trouble is that the MRAs moved to become "MHRAs", which basically mirrored feminism. The original idea that MRAs had was that the laws that are very skewed in the system should be fixed. That's reasonable enough, and people like Glenn Sacks and Fathers and Families and Stephen Baskerville and so on have done quite a bit of practical good in that area. However, apart from these organized lobbying groups, the internet MRA group has steadily moved leftward to become more of an offshoot of feminism than anything else, basically seeking to correct imbalances created by feminism not by getting rid of feminism per se, but by forcing feminist principles to their logical conclusion in terms of equality and so on. That's a huge blunder, and a significant course change from where MRAs were, say, 10 years ago.

    If you look at AVfM, you'll see that they now consider themselves men's HUMAN rights activists -- a subtle change, but one which accompanied the leftward drift as the group took on lefties who were disillusioned with feminism's hypocritical one-sidedness (but not with the idealized goals of it) and a lot of women. A lot of women.

    The end result is a movement that is, in effect, trying now to be a corrective to feminism rather than a counter to it -- to try to perfect it and hold it to its idealistic goals, and get rid of hypocrisies, rather than getting rid of the entire system altogether, or simply tinkering with laws that can be made less one-sided without huge social changes taking place (i.e., what the lobbying groups do).

    It's created a LOT of issues. Quite a few longtime MRAs like Factory and Bernard Chapin have publically denounced this change in direction and openly broke with Paul's approach and his site. Not that those guys are traditionalists, but they also are not guys who want feminism for men, which is kind of what it's morphed into at this point, at least at that particular site.

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  4. Brendan - ”…the internet MRA group has steadily moved leftward to become more of an offshoot of feminism than anything else…”

    Sadly, all too true.

    For years, I believed that the goal of the MRM and of MRA’s (Activists, Advocates, or, as in most cases, merely Adherents) was actually addressing the matters of law which skewed against men – indemnity for men victimized by paternity fraud, abolition of laws and judicial practices which allowed women to fraudulently employ the power of the state against men they wished to target (false claims of DV or sexual assault, often as tactical move WRT divorce/custody fights), presumed maternal primary child custody, etc. Essentially, I saw the goals of the old MRM as the righteous struggle against gynocentricly-driven tyranny.

    As such, I did view such issues as matters of human rights. And, even though I often felt that many like Glenn Sacks had a tendency to over-emphasize seemingly minor issues (like the incessant negative portrayals of men in TV commercials, etc.) which I felt only tended to detract from what I believed to be the primary goals, I still continue to support them. It simply became a view that they were devoted to fully equitable treatment of those of both genders.

    And, that’s likely why I hardly noticed the change of course Elam’s group took. I had always taken Elam to be largely no-partisan, but the others who’ve attached to his site do seem to be primarily leftists. Like Bernard Chapin, I find it difficult to understand how those who’s stated goal is legal protection for men against discriminatory laws and social conventions could align themselves with the political left and the (American) Democratic Party.

    Ronald Reagan famously stated, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me". I’m beginning to feel the same way about my position as an unapologetic MRA. I still believe in the righteousness of seeking to undue injustices, but I just don’t believe that gender-based injustices can be addressed by embracing the politics of the left. I can only imagine that the more they embrace “human rights”, the more irrelevant they will become vis-à-vis the issues pertaining primarily to men.


    alcestiseshtemoa - ”The problem with MRAs is that they are the male version of feminists in various in their ideology and have adopted all of the enemies' tactics and themes.”

    Not that long ago, I’d have vehemently disagreed. But, anymore, although your view is still fundamentally flawed (as pertaining to many, if not most, actual MRA’s), it does describe a large segment(as represented by the Elam’ites).

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  5. the internet MRA group has steadily moved leftward to become more of an offshoot of feminism than anything else, basically seeking to correct imbalances created by feminism not by getting rid of feminism per se, but by forcing feminist principles to their logical conclusion in terms of equality and so on.

    Is that really a problem? Making feminism live up to its own rhetoric is a MUCH more realistic and politically achievable goal than "getting rid of feminism per se" (which just ain't gonna happen).

    a movement that is, in effect, trying now to be a corrective to feminism rather than a counter to it -- to try to perfect it and hold it to its idealistic goals, and get rid of hypocrisies, rather than getting rid of the entire system altogether, or simply tinkering with laws that can be made less one-sided without huge social changes taking place

    Again, is this so bad?

    Seems to me the world will be a much better place if they succeed.

    And for a fact, if they succeed it will be precisely because they are NOT trying to "get rid of the entire system altogether".

    Last but not least, if they succeed it would be a huge win for you "trads" because more men would be attracted to marriage and fatherhood than driven away from it. That's what you want, right?

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  6. alces:
    "While I think that masculinity is itself a real principle and a coherent one, the problem is that many modern women do use the words "real man", chivalry and such as a way to control men in their families, communities and society as a whole."

    I always respond "Real men don't listen to silly women." That seems to work. >:)
    I agree with Mark that masculinity is a real thing. But I also agree: don't go along blindly with what other people tell you. Stop and think. A big part of being a 'real man' is taking responsibility for your own actions, and refusing to be manipulated or intimidated into doing the wrong thing. Act with honoour, but don't blindly follow appeals to your honour.

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  7. The way male activists have gone demonstrates the problem with most ideologies, which is that they tend to reflect only the interests of a small group of people, or they aim towards an uncompromising (and frequently unrealistic) world view. Many manosphere types demonstrate the former – it’s no longer simply about countering the lies of feminism, it’s about ensuring male victory in the gender war, and frequently about using tactics (principled or unprincipled) to manipulate women into sex.

    Traditionalism is the only ideology that successfully addresses what’s realistically needed for a functioning society – and for the benefit of all, not just for favoured groups. It’s also the only ideology with historical precedent that proves its effectiveness.

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  8. There are two types of activists:

    a) Those that work within the prevailing legal paradigm to affect change and must accept the reigning dogma (Paul).

    b) Those that work outside prevailing paradigm and want to affect change by changing the reigning dogma (Lenin, Islamists etc.)

    I don't blame Paul though, he is like the collaborators of WWII, sometimes you have to make the most of a bad lot.

    Personally though, I'd rather be a member of the resistance.

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  9. I don't like Elam's approach to men's rights. Having said that...

    I never heard anybody to say "real women do this or that". It seems that every woman is a real woman only by birthright. But everybody wants to define what is a real man.

    Every time I have heard "real men do X" or "masculinity is X", X is a thing that go against men's interests and who benefit the group of people who use this sentence (usually women). Every time. Its a technique for manipulation.

    Yes, maybe ancient societies where different. But we are living in Western society....

    Sorry, but I know I am a real man. I don't need anybody to tell me. As a real man, I don't give a damn about what others say about me.

    I will follow God and His commandments. AFAIK, no commandment is "Thou shalt be a real man": the expression does not appear in the Bible. God is the only one I admit the authority to qualify my masculinity.

    I won't follow people trying to get advantage from me by using a couple of silly words. They can call me fag, if they want. As if I gave a damn.

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  10. Paul is using the same tactics as feminists because that is what gets the job done. I wouldn't put too much stock into your philosophical differences with the man - he is trying to build a movement, and principles are not as high on the list as they were ten years ago. A decade, the men's movement was ideologically pure. Nothing happened, and no had ever heard of misandry. Paul struck out on something new, and now the movement has grown.

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  11. Traditionalism is the only ideology that successfully addresses what’s realistically needed for a functioning society – and for the benefit of all, not just for favoured groups.

    The word "successfully" in the first sentence is manifestly false. Traditionalism is not in any way successful. It has proven an abject failure in the face of the relentless advance of Leftism.

    As for what is "realistic", I guess time will tell if it is "realistic" to aspire to replace Leftism and feminism with traditionalism.

    It’s also the only ideology with historical precedent that proves its effectiveness.

    Obviously, Leftist historians would dispute that, as they would argue that "historical precedent" proves the injustice and oppressiveness etc. etc. of traditionalism. That aside, whether "historical precedent" has any application to 2013 conditions is dubious.

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  12. Is that really a problem? Making feminism live up to its own rhetoric is a MUCH more realistic and politically achievable goal than "getting rid of feminism per se" (which just ain't gonna happen).

    Trying to get feminism to stop being hypocritical is like trying to get your GF to stop being hypocritical by having a logical argument with her. It doesn't work, and it automatically puts you in her frame and accepts her basic assumptions. You start asking for things (feminist style "rights" to be applied to men) rather then telling them how its going to be.

    What you end up getting is a minority of intellectual feminists who will admit you are right in theory, but when it comes time to actually apply pressure and lobby government hardcore to change things they don't show any enthusiasm. The vast majority of women don't even respond to what amounts to begging inside their frame at all.

    What you don't need is a few women admitting you are right on the internet. What you need is to get laws changed and only forceful demands, grassroots energy, and a strong masculine frame that appeals to mainstream women at the hamster level will do that.

    Paul is using the same tactics as feminists because that is what gets the job done.

    Feminist tactics worked for feminist because they are women. Is there any reason to believe the same tactics will work for men? If you believe that men and women are the same (the liberal view) then yes. However, if you believe men and women are different there is no reason to believe feminine tactics will work for men.


    Nothing happened, and no had ever heard of misandry. Paul struck out on something new, and now the movement has grown.


    Outside of a couple of folks on the internet no one has heard of misandry. It's a term nobody takes seriously.

    Has the MRM actually had a significant legal success yet? Is no-fault divorce gone? Are women not getting alimony and the kids anymore? Have AA programs for women in school and work gone away? Are false rape accusers subject to the same penalties as rapists?

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  13. Without denying the essence of Mark's comment the problem with the "real man" tag is that real men are defined as being successful. If you're not successful you're not a "real man", and as such you can be legitimacy ignored. So when a man fails in his marriage (its not the women who'll wear the blame for this but the man) and is subsequently unfairly treated by the legal system his call for divorce equality can be ignored as coming from a failure, or not real man. As a result many men and women not subject to the same circumstances are reluctant to actively support such a cause.

    And this is where a man is vulnerable. In a relationship with a woman you'd better do what she says or else she'll leave and you'll be tagged as a not real man. "Realness" in practice can become subservience, or else self blame in instances of relationship failure. I've heard many men kick themselves after a relationship breakdown saying that they "stuffed up", although no obvious failing could be pointed to other than that they were personally less than 100% devoted or amazing. I've also shown many men shown their "realness" by wearing pink shirts or act out in other seemingly feminine ways to seek the support of women..

    We're in danger as men of allowing our desire to chase a title, "real man", and the consequential approval from women this brings, to result in us being passive in the face of sustained attack or alternatively to confuse the noble virtue of stoicism in the face of hardship with political inability to influence our surroundings

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  14. I would argue that most people have heard of misandry, but then again, how can we know? In the absence of a poll, that is my guess.

    But as for has the men's movement grown, I can only say that this is not something that will look like the women's movement. Men don't need to march in the streets, there will be no protests. But there will be men's centers on university campuses, and next year the first Male Studies courses will be offered at the University of South Australia. Today, a groundbreaking study was published which supports the notion that domestic violence is bilateral, not something men "do" to women. Those are victories to me. But if you're looking for men marching in the streets, that's not what this is about.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YKCZIz_hehE

    http://newmalestudies.com/OJS/index.php/nms/article/view/39/38

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  15. asdf: "Feminist tactics worked for feminist because they are women."
    -
    Feminist tactics worked because they were made to work by an unending flow of talented, intelligent, racially and ethnically cohesive radicals with good educations and awesome connections. They were far above their opposition, and still are. Having no stake in our collective survival but rather strong historical grievances against white, Christian civilization, they had no hesitation to theorize in the most radically destructive ways and to weaponize the reluctance of white, Western men to hurt and fight their women.

    (A restraint by the way which is not a universal male characteristic - other races, not much criticized by feminism, have less of this restraint and propensity to prefer romantic, companionate marriage.)

    This was escalation to a suicidal level for whites. It put white men on the horns of a dilemma: symmetrical war between the sexes, and destruction, or de-escalation and hope that the women back off, but in fact it turns out that path also led to destruction.

    Now, is this going to work for white Christian men, without such a talented, intelligent, highly ethnocentric and intense, aggressive, brilliantly connected elite pressing this time for the preservation of our families and our race and the restoration of our culture?

    Will it work without the ability to escalate to massive social destruction, because we're fighting within someone else's civilization and destroying them, not us?

    Will it work without the initial advantage of going to war against a demobilized enemy: a population of the opposite sex that has no thought of gender war and no willingness to fight one, and an ethnic / racial / religious non-opposition that accepts and trusts us? (An acceptance and trust that was not reciprocated.)

    No of course not.

    The Men's Rights Advocates' criticism that traditionalism in conditions designed to punish and exploit traditional masculinity is all gain and no pain is valid.

    The implication that they are going to deliver the goods instead is empty.

    By the way, I've known men who declared themselves fervent feminists, thinking that in this way, and with some brilliant rhetorical judo, they would wind up winners in the gender war and ahead of the curve intellectually, well equipped to talk down to less educated and un-reconstructed white men. I haven't seen any reward for this except divorces, effeteness and the contempt of their sons.

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  16. Jesse_7 (Thursday, 23 May 2013 3:35:00 pm AEST)... That's all true, unfortunately. Well said.

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  17. "Because of the nature of women" doesn't work as an explanation for the success of feminism, because feminism is only one of many movements all aiming to deconstruct white Christian men, and all enjoying success for the same reasons. They all get a favorable academic environment, they all get a favorable media environment, they all get funding, and so on. With these advantages, they all win.

    It's like a battle of desert tribes with horses and lances, but anyone who fights the White Guy Tribe also gets modern air support, with A-10 Warthogs. Guess who wins. With this advantage, the alphabet Gay, Lesbian etc. lobby can bully the straights, and does, regardless of disparities in numbers and the logic of who can make civilization work and who can't.

    Can you prosper by copying other groups? Of course you can. "Islamophobia" was cribbed from "homophobia" and has been getting a good run ever since.

    But you can only do it if you are intent on deconstructing the White Tribe so that it can never be a majority again. That is the signal to give you the academic, media etc. support that will get your memes out, validate your spokespersons and legitimate you.

    If you are the White Tribe and not a traitor trying to destroy your own kind, then "air supremacy" (or "airwaves supremacy") is against you, because you are the target.

    In these conditions, a lot of guys are going to get the idea: "I want that power on my side. I'll do whatever it takes to be acceptable to the people who bestow victory."

    This decision is a decision to sell out. There is no way around that.

    It's important to say this even if it is perceived as rude to mention it, because people don't understand this, and if you don't understand it the temptation to think you can finesse your way to "airwave supremacy" without selling out is very persuasive. That leads to a lot of traitors.

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  18. " A decade, the men's movement was ideologically pure. Nothing happened, and no had ever heard of misandry. Paul struck out on something new, and now the movement has grown."

    LOL!!! Yeah, we haven't seen this before....

    As a dirt-poor Jew once wrote, "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

    Or, of a more recent vintage. "The first rule of dealing with the Devil: Don't."

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  19. Can you prosper by copying other groups? Of course you can. "Islamophobia" was cribbed from "homophobia" and has been getting a good run ever since.

    Are Islamist acting like a victim group? Seems to be they are acting like Islamists (blowing things up, beating women, and acting as masculine as they fucking feel like). The response from the Cathedral is to give them all the protections of a western style victim group. Not because they act like victims, but precisely because they act strong. They didn't get respect by asking for it in a logical argument about hypocrisy. They got it by accepting their own frame and rejecting the west's frame.

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  20. Framing the fight against feminism as a war between the sexes is ludicrous. There is no feminism without support from power (invariably male). In addition, feminism proceeds from certain premises... premises which Paul Elam seems to endorse!

    A doctor can give you steroids for any old complaint and make the symptoms go away, but it doesn't fix the problem. You can use the methods of feminists to gain back a little decency and some token privileges but ultimately as long as you are on the same page ideologically you will be under their heels. MRA is slowly becoming de-legitimized in the common sphere, I could almost say rightly so. The prototypical internet/reddit MRA seems to be a frustrated, hateful young man with liberal or libertarian politics that makes pronouncements worse than radical feminists. There is a total disconnect from the "manosphere" who followed feminism to its logical conclusions towards real insight.

    Reject the frame of feminism, you become soiled by the methods you employ. Paul Elam is playing the shame game, the victim game. Shame is, in its proper place, a good thing for society. Shame men into being men, shame women into being women, we have done it for millenia and will continue to. Men will never succeed as another victim class. I had thought that these tactics were solely for subversive reasons before, to demonstrate the hypocrisy and flaws of feminist and related thought, but it seems they are quite serious. Equality is entropy, it is death.

    Keep on doing activism pragmatically, to help men who are truly suffering under the current system, but don't leave it at that. Turn around.

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  21. Are Islamist acting like a victim group? Seems to be they are acting like Islamists (blowing things up, beating women, and acting as masculine as they fucking feel like). The response from the Cathedral is to give them all the protections of a western style victim group. Not because they act like victims, but precisely because they act strong. They didn't get respect by asking for it in a logical argument about hypocrisy. They got it by accepting their own frame and rejecting the west's frame.

    They are taking a two-pronged approach. Good hajji, bad hajji. Bad hajji cuts off heads and burns cars. Good hajji talks tolerance and victim-speak, complains about islamophobia, and demands more immigration and more government benefits. The no-so-hidden message from good hajji is if we buy him off, he can restrain bad hajji.

    This game is not so different from the Martin Luther King Jr. approach in the 1960s -- "if you don't sppease me, I won't be able to stop the violent outbursts from the likes of Malcolm X."

    The Cathedral is not afraid of Muslims. The Cathedral embraces anyone who hates, and harms, lower-class whites.

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  22. there will be men's centers on university campuses, and next year the first Male Studies courses will be offered at the University of South Australia.

    Those "male studies" courses are usually run by man-hating feminists; their purpose is to "study" (i.e. denounce) male oppression.

    Trying to get feminism to stop being hypocritical is like trying to get your GF to stop being hypocritical by having a logical argument with her. It doesn't work, and it automatically puts you in her frame and accepts her basic assumptions.

    Rubbish. Calling her out on her bad behavior is the opposite of submitting to her frame and accepting her assumptions. (And calling her out is cost-free if you have no desire to have sex with her, which is certainly true if she's a shrill, ugly feminist.)

    Has the MRM actually had a significant legal success yet?

    LOLOL, is that the standard now? How many legal successes have "traditionalists" had? None that I'm aware of.

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  23. Good, relevant comment here:

    http://alphagameplan.blogspot.com/2013/05/nihilists-vs-civilizationists.html

    Nihilists vs Civilizationists



    It's been interesting to see the blog comments devolve into a sort of petty war between what appears to be some flavor of MGTOW on one hand and a loose alliance of pro-male married women and traditionalist men on the other. Based on some comments I've received from some leading Game bloggers, this dynamic has appeared on other blogs as well.

    To a certain extent, it is something that was always inevitable. To give one example, whereas Roissy and I obviously respect each other despite our different purposes, those who incline more towards his "fiddle while Rome burns" perspective are considerably less able to view those differences in the abstract than Roissy, while those who are more focused on saving civilization from itself, (or at least preserving the seeds of civilization as the fire sweeps through the forest), are considerably less able to view the fiddlers with the same sort of equanimity that I am.

    What both camps have in common is a diagnosis. Where they differ is the prescription. This is why they are not functional allies in the long term. Their immediate objectives and priorities have nothing in common and their perspectives are fundamentally different. However, it should be kept in mind that neither side created the problem to which both are reacting, and it should be recognized that both have important roles to play before the course plays itself out.

    It is the MGTOW who will ultimately destroy the Female Imperative society by removing its foundations. The traditionalists tend to allay the destructive effects of the irrational while the hedonists exacerbate them. This is why the MGTOW incorrectly tend to look on the traditionalists as white knights and useful idiots in the service of the Female Imperative. They erroneously conflate the traditionalists who are simply doing what they have always done with the feminized Church and the female-biased State.

    By withdrawing their services, their seed, their paternal support, and their economic surplus from the women and children of society, they render that society unsustainable. They are responding rationally to the disincentives which that society has presented them. Theirs is a perfectly legitimate response to a society gone mad. More than that, their response is a necessary one, it is part of the pendulum swing that is required before society can return to sanity and stability.

    However, the hedonistic, self-centered MGTOW will never be able to build anything lasting or replace the society which they quite rightly hate. They must rely upon the civilizationists to do that; without the traditionalists still stubbornly working, marrying, and having children despite all of the societal disincentives for doing so, there will be no eventual recovery from the chaotic, barbaric morass into which the equalitarian-corrupted West is rapidly sliding.

    This is why the accusations of lotus-eating on the one hand and white-knighting on the other are both misplaced and ill-considered. Both nihilists and civilizationists are necessary to the process of first destroying, and then replacing, FI society. One need not agree with the other to respect and understand his - or her - role in the necessary, desirable, and, I would argue, inevitable, process.

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