Equality means equality for everyone.
On today’s show I begin a three part interview with Dr. Warren Farrell mens’ movement leader. Before that, our regular news commentator and pundit Mark defends Denis Prager’s take on the politics of sex in marriage.
My conversation with Dr. Warren Farrell ended up being so engrossing that in order to cover all the topics we wished to explore we decided to go long. The discussion will be released in three parts, on today’s episode 2, episode 3 on January 30 and as one of two interview segments on episode 4. I hope you enjoy them all.
Dr. Warren Farrell is roundly regarded as a leading figure in the men’s movement, or better, the gender transition movement. His unique background and expertise give him a perfect vantage point from which to address men’s issues. Dr. Farrell has taught gender issues and psychology at several institutes, including Brooklyn College, Georgetown University, American University and the School of Medicine at the University of California at San Diego.
As a young graduate, Dr. Farrell was a major player in the feminist movement, especially in creating men’s groups across the US, then becoming the only man to be elected three times to the Board of Director of the National Organization for Women in New York City. Farrell was featured in media including the New York Times, the Today Show and the Phil Donahue Show, leading to his authorship of the pro-feminist book The Liberated Man.
As we discuss, in the late 80s, Farrell became increasingly convinced that feminism was rather one sided and that men’s issues were being neglected, leading to deep research on a variety of topics long taken for granted, and the publication of his landmark The Myth of Male Power, which touched on a diverse cross section of issues.
Farrell would go on to research each area in great depth, leading to the publication of 5 more books, including “Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say”, a couples communication book to address the rise in divorces, “Father and Child Reunion”, to address the issue of fatherless homes and present the optimal shared parenting solution, “Why Men Earn More” to address the pay gap, and “Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men” which, among other things, called for men’s studies in academia.
However, I think at this early stage in the production of the Pendulum Effect, since many of our listeners, perhaps being in a similar position to Dr. Farrell prior to his conversion, shall we say, to a more balanced perspective on gender, might appreciate a sort of broad primer to get a feel for the nature of the issues. I’ve therefore asked Dr. Farrell on the show today to speak on his groundbreaking book The Myth of Male Power.
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Links of Interest
Exciting news! Our Pendulum Effect podcast is in the top 10 social science shows on itunes, and listed under “New and Notable.” I think that’s quite something considering we have all of 1 episode up thus far. If you haven’t yet, visit Pendulum Effect where you can listen to the pilot episode and/or subscribe to the show. You can also find us on itunes and leave a review (good or bad).
One reason to subscribe would be the exciting guests we’ve lined up, which we could use your help with if you have any questions you would like us to ask. These include:
In this book I try to correct the information and to give an accurate picture of “where the boys are.” A review of the facts shows boys, not girls, on the weaker side of an educational gender gap. Boys, on average, are a year and a half behind girls in reading and writing; they are less committed to school and less likely to go to college
A look at the sex breakdown of the CDC[Centers for Disease Control]’s suicide satistics reveals that for males aged ten to fourteen, the suicide rate increased 71 percent between 1979 and 1988. Girls attempt suicide more than boys, but it is boys who actually kill themselves more often. In a typical year (1997), there were 4,493 suicides of young people between the ages of five and twenty-four: 701 females, 3,792 males.
Unscientific studies and their effects
At the very time the AAUW [American Association of University Women] was advertising its discovery that girls were subordinates in the schools, the Department of Education published the results of a massive survey showing just the opposite…Girls read more books. They outperform males on tests of artistic and musical ability…Conversely, more boys than girls are suspended from school. More are held back and more drop out. Boys are three times as likely as girls to be enrolled in special education programs and four times as likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder…
The historian Lynn Hunt, reviewing a history of women in western Europe, once remarked that “no one would write such a book about ‘the history of men'” – because “women” is the anomalous historical category and men as such don’t have to be explained. But neither masculinity nor feminity exists as a concept in itself. Each society has had its own specific definitions of manhood and what cultural values masculinity symbolizes. The fortitute to withstand pain, the ability to interpret a sacred text, the prowess with a special weapon, the willingness to seek revenge for a slight to family: each of these different local accents, often stressed in special rituals, constitues a particular culture’s style of masculinity. Social anthropologists try to define those styles and political activists often seek to change them. Defining masculinity itself, in other words, must interweave with defining masculinity in relation to a multitude of factors, including the context of war, which for so much of human history and in the vast majority of human cultures has been the prime place to fine oneself as a man
Ken Wiebe, fathers rights advocate with Fathers Canada: defending father’s rights, equal parenting and taking on a misandric family law system. When material from his website was used by the Status of Women’s Office as hate material, he initiated a suit against the government for defamation.
Dr. Charles Corry, President, Equal Justice Foundation, which deals with Families and Marriage, Domestic Violence against both men and women, the Courts & Civil Liberties, and Election issues.
If you have any questions you would like me to pose to these esteemed guests, send them to email@example.com. Also send ideas for topics or guests we might wish to contact.
A great example of why men need a birth control pill. An article in yesterday’s Toronto Star,is, in the words of one online commentator, proof that the pendulum, a metaphor I enjoy using, “has swung so far one way.” The family courts are horribly biased against fathers. Fathers are second parents when it comes to choosing custody solutions, but equal parents for the sake of their wallets. If you think the courts rule in the best interests of the child, consider the following excerpts from the article:
But after Anciolina asked for an increase in payments and a reduction in the time he spent with the children, Pasqualino demanded a DNA test.
Indeed, we’ll see how the courts side by default with mothers who want to keep every part of the father except his wallet as far away as possible. Best interest of the child?
When the results showed Pasqualino was not the father, he asked to be excused from paying child support and demanded he be reimbursed for tens of thousands of dollars that he had paid in the past.
This was not only ruled against, but Pasqualino is being forced to continue paying child support. How ironic that fathers can not get out of paying child support when the child is not theirs, while mothers in many jurisdictions in North America can fail to inform the father that he is a father, wait 18 years, then sue him for back custody payments. Fathers have no legal right to be with their children when they desperately want to even when the child is theirs if the mother claims it isn’t, while they can be forced to pay for a child that has been proven to not be theirs. Best interest of the child?
But according to van Rensburg [the judge], it should not be a question of whether he is the biological parent, but rather whether he was considered a parent by definition.
That’s one flexible definition! A mother can give a child away for adoption without informing the father and if he wants to claim the child he must not only show it is his biologically but that he had made every attempt to provide a physical home for the child (you can see how poorer fathers are unwanted). When a mother wishes to keep a child away from his biological father the courts create a stringent definition of “parent” that asks him to do everything up to building a house, but when a non-biological father wishes to be relieved of duty suddenly the definition required to keep him paying support is rather loose, after all for 4 years leading to the dispute the father in this article wasn’t even a joint parent, never mind in the same house. Is making it harder for a committed father to be a father while making it harder for an uninterested father to leave in the best interes of the child?
Because Anciolina can’t remember the affair, she claims she has no idea who the twins’ father is.
Precisely why we should – along with the other barrage of tests – conducted on newborn babies, also have a mandatory paternity test. If done at the time of birth, there is increased chance of identifying the actual father, rather then having a child pinned on the richest man the mother happened to have slept with around the right time period. The paternity test could be subsidized by the government using the money currently spent on genitally mutilating (or, if you’d prefer a euphemism, circumcising) half our baby boys. Then mothers would be required to inform the biological father within a certain legal time period. Fascist? Not anymore then a court forcing a father to change jobs to one that is more stressful and hence conducive to illness so that he can pay child support, then throwing him in jail if he defaults. Is a stressed out and sick father in the best interests of the child?
The judge concluded that the children should not suffer because of the parents’ wrongdoings.
It always comes down to the old “best interests of the child” protocol. At this point though, I must ask, what has any of this got to do with the best interests of the child? Whose interests would the courts be looking into if a father had been fraudulently tricking a woman into paying for a child for 16 years, potentially forcing her to switch to a more grueling job in the process, needlessly increasing the stress on her body. But then I suppose “my body, my choice” doesn’t quite count when we’re talking about a male body.
The Pendulum Effect pilot episode is now available! We managed somehow to actually meet the New Year deadline we set for ourselves! Thank you to all those involved in this new project.
Katie Kish is a longtime campus activist for science and secularism and hosts Renegade Radio, a nationally syndicated program dedicated to exploring controversial issues in religion, culture and society from an atheist’s point of view. Katie is the assistant director and field organizer for the Centre for Inquiry Ontario. She is completing her studies at York University in Toronto in Environmental Studies and Music.
On the inaugural episode of The Pendulum Effect Katie shares her experiences transitioning from traditional feminism to a more balanced equalism. She explains how she went from being the Coordinator of the Women’s Collective at the University of Victoria Radio Station and a regular blogger on women’s rights to blogging on everything from religion and the environment to health and local politics, with an eye to providing a new point of view.
You can get the latest show by:
Download: mp3 file
If you like the show, please leave us a review on itunes.
Following up on my well-commented post from December 27th on legitimizing domestic violence against men through mockery in what I jokingly referred to as the “high-culture” venues of comics, t-shirts, commercials, and greeting cards, I wanted to enlarge upon this by bringing examples of sexism and other forms of discrimination in mockery and in media.
To get started, since many readers of this blog came as a result of direct invitations from me, I happen to know many of you are atheists. So consider the following, taken from an old issue of the Readers’ Digest that I happened to come upon in a barber shop.
(At least the experience wasn’t as personally offensive as an earlier barber shop experience in which laughter met my request for a men’s hair style book, followed by my girlfriend who had finished before me being asked if she would rather wait to pay, the obvious presumption being that she would then not be the one paying. Please note that such “trivialities” are the sorts of complaints routinely heard by our “Human Rights Commissions”. But that experience is the topic of an earlier post on this blog).
Does this not offend or upset you? Do you not wish to write in an angry letter to the publishers, perhaps even threatening to retract your non-existent subscription to their publication? Do note that while the comics I referred to previously mocked violence these go nowhere near that far.
I want to make it quite clear that what I am not asking for is the censorship or banning of images, cartoons or words that offend me. What I am pointing out is how we can all feel deeply hurt by words and images and how unfairly inconsistent society responds to the complaints by certain favoured groups.
Consider the Women’s Media Center, allied with organizations receiving significant government funding like the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority and the National Council of Women Organizations. It exists to increase women’s stories and voices and act as a watchdog monitoring misogyny and sexism in the media through its project Sexism Watch. The organization was founded by renowned feminists like Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda and involves leading journalists, academics and foundation leaders. Clearly, it means business, stating:
Every day when women turn on the news, open the paper, or log on to the Internet, they see a world that, as shaped by the media, is missing something. What’s missing are the women: women reporters, women’s voices, and women stories.
With all that expertise and money, what is Sexism Watch up to? It’s making videos like this, which I saw poted on the blog Feministing recently:
The video includes clips from Harball’s Chris Matthews commenting in a complimentary manner on Hillary Clinton’s dress and appearance and saying things like “cosmetics tonight are very important.” What the video doesn’t include is how – in an example no less sexist – Clinton secured female votes during one emotional speech where she broke out in sobs. She also played the gender card herself when it was required, such as when she said
if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen…and I’m very comfortable in the kitchen
As CNN’s Glenn Beck shot back on his show, if someone had said to her
if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen…but I assume you’re comfortable in the kitchen
this would have been unacceptable. In fact, it would likely have become part of the Women’s Media Center clip scene. But it’s as a result of comments like these that women were always her base of support. It’s called hypocrisy. If you voted for Clinton cause she’s female you voted against Obama cause he’s male, and that’s called sexist.
On the flip side, there were few complaints about journalists frequently harping on Obama’s good looks, like the following (just watch the last minute as longer exposure to the View can be harmful to your intelligence):
or mockery about McCain as an “old man” like the following where MSNBC actually called in Michael Ian Black of comedy Central to make the most of this golden joke opportunity in a piece called “Old Man McCain is Out of Touch”.
Now granted McCain’s internet stupidity is important for voters to know, but this went way too far, especially when McCain was compared to “grandpa simpson” and when Black said things like
we’ll start [teaching him] with what he knows…the telegraph…
…you have to double click on the web browser…there’s not a lot of 72 year old men out there who can double click on anything..
Notice first the ageism and recall how McCain would later in the campaign shrug it off in self-deprecating good humour. Hilarious, yes, but had I the time and money of the Women’s Media Center I could turn all these clips easily found on youtube into a fairly impressive clip sequence of political misandry to rival their own.
Finally, it isn’t just women’s traditional roles that are mocked in political coverage. How about the way in which until quite recently male candidates who had not served in the military were routinely mocked as unmanly and unfit for being Commander-in-Chief. I suppose with female candidates who never know the burden of registering for the draft (a legal duty of every male US citizen when they turn 18) this has become less of an issue, although the fact that women can obtain the highest office in the US without such a burden yet male legal conscription remains should give us pause.
In any case, mocking women’s fashion seems somewhat trivial compared to mocking men who refuse to sacrifice their lives and thereby bullying other men into doing so.