The Equal Rights and Responsibilities Amendment
An Equal Rights and Responsibilities Amendment (ERRA) would outlaw male-only responsibility for draft registration; it would prevent men in the armed services from being required to enter combat (if needed) unless women were also required to enter combat (if needed); it would permit community property only in conjunction with community responsibility; it would give incentives to schools to educate females to be equally responsible for taking sexual initiatives and risking sexual rejection rather than lecturing only males on how not to do it wrong, it would replace discussions of sexual harassment in the workplace with discussions of how both sexes make sexual contact in the workplace.
An ERRA would allow affirmative action programs for recruitment and training of the underrepresented sex in a given profession, but not for the hiring of less qualified members of that sex; it would deprive congressional districts of AFDC funding if judges assigned the children to women more than 60 percent of the time in cases of contested custody; it would deprive universities of public monies as long as there were significantly more women’s studies courses than men’s studies courses; it would deprive TV stations of federal licensing if the FCC found a consistent pattern of male bashing or consistent attention to women’s issues and neglect of men’s Issues. The ERRA would mean a new era – an era of shared rights and shared responsibilities, meaning shared perspectives rather than opposite sexes.
But are men (and ideally women) motivated to make this happen?
What exactly does it take to make a movement?
Major movements have two core stimuli: (1) emotional rejection; and (2) economic hurt. When a large number of people feel emotionally rejected and economically hurt at the same moment in history, a revolution is in the making.
For example, when blacks were told to sit in the back of the bus, they experienced emotional rejection; when they also faced job discrimination, they experienced economic hurt When it happened to large numbers, it created political possibilities. We then had the bases for the civil rights movement.
Similarly, when millions of women simultaneously experienced divorce (emotional rejection) and job discrimination (economic hurt), we had the political, emotional, and economic bases on which to build the women’s movement.
Like women, men experience emotional rejection if they divorce; but unlike women, men are much more likely to be involuntarily deprived of their children, thus experiencing a double dose of emotional rejection. Many men feel unloved and unneeded by anyone after divorce, which is why men commit suicide more than women after they divorce. When, on top of this, men are told to pay money for what they’re deprived of (children and wife), they simultaneously experience economic hurt.
Fathers today are often being taxed for their children without equal representation in their children’s lives. They are experiencing their version of “taxation without representation.” It is the simultaneous experience of this by millions of fathers that creates the men’s movement’s political base; it is their emotional rejection that creates its emotional base, their economic hurt that creates its economic base. Which is why the next stage of the men s movement will be both political and activist.
If we ignore these men’s activists or dismiss them as crazy, angry, or bitter, we miss the life experience of millions of other fathers who are either too afraid to speak up or so busy producing money to support their “ex” and their children that they don’t have time to speak up. If we force these activists to become strident to be heard in the process of achieving equity, many of these men will be wasted, their children damaged, and upcoming generations will be provided with another distorted version of love. If, on the other hand, we hear men, we can minimize gender war and maximize gender love.
If this seems scary, don’t worry; it won’t happen overnight. We re not talking about just a priority shift but an evolutionary shift.