Why feminism has intensified the need for studying men
Feminism suggested that God might be a she but not that the devil might also be a she. Feminism articulated the shadow side of men and the light side of women. It neglected the shadow side of women and the light side of men. And neglected to acknowledge that each sex has both sides within each individual. When the issue of sexual harassment surfaced, then, we were told men don ’t "get it" when, in fact, neither sex "gets" it. Men don’t get women s fears of harassment that stem from the passive role; women don’t get men’s fears of sexual rejection that stem from the initiating role. Each sex is so preoccupied with its own vulnerability that neither sex "gets*’ the other s vulnerability
The difference? Feminism has taught women to sue men for sexual harassment or date rape when men initiate with the wrong person or with the wrong timing; no one has taught men to sue women for sexual trauma for saying "yes," then "no," then "yes," then "no." Feminism left women with three sexual options – their old role, the male role, and the victim role. Men were left with less than one option – they were still expected to initiate, but now, if they did it badly, they could go to jail. For an adolescent boy who barely knows what sex is, this is a scary half-option.
Feminism justified female "victim power" by convincing the world that we lived in a sexist, male-dominated, and patriarchal world. The Myth of Male Tower explains why the world was 6f-sexist, both male – and female – dominated, both patriarchal and matriarchal – each in different ways. It explains why patriarchy and male dominance doubled as code words for male disposability.
By the 1980s and 90s, feminism’s ability’ to articulate women’s light side and men’s shadow side led to women’s magazines, talk shows, self – improvement books, and TV specials all equating “progressive" with women as victims and men as victimizes but rarely with men as victims (of false accusations, emotional abuse, visitation deprivation. . . ) and women as victimizes. It was soon considered progressive to critique male legislates for making w’ar but not to credit them for making democracy. We saw TV specials titled Does the Man Next Door Molest Girls? but not Does the Man Next Door Save Girls? In our everyday lives we might see six fire fighters saving women, but no TV special tilled Men as Saviors points out that all six were men – or that firemen who save women’s lives are far more ubiquitous than men who jeopardize women’s lives.
To acknowledge the full truth was no longer considered progressive, but regressive. Women bought the books and the publishes pandered to women the way politicians pander to interest groups. Women became Women Who Love. . . and men became Men Who Hate. . . (women’s light side, men’s dark side). The pandering transformed a female strength – understanding relationships – into a female weakness: misunderstanding men.
In the past quarter century, feminism has been to the daily news what bacteria is to water – we consumed it without knowing it, both the good and the bad. From the male point of view, feminism turned the "battle of the sexes" into a "war in which only one side showed up.”1
Men have not been perfect listeners during the last quarter century as women articulated what they wanted, but men did listen enough to absorb dozens of new concepts (sex object, glass ceiling, palimony, the battered woman syndrome, deadbeat dads, the feminization of poverty), heard dozens of slogans focused on female concerns (a woman’s right to choose, equal pay for equal work, our bodies, our business), and to see their sexuality blamed for most everything (sexual harassment, sexual molestation, pornography, incest, rape, date rape).
Men not only listened but accepted as truth dozens of assumptions of discrimination against women (women are the victims of most violence; women’s health is neglected more than men’s, women are paid less for the same work, husbands batter wives more; men have more power, we’ve lived in a patriarchal, sexist, male-dominated world). Many men condemned these discriminations against women even as they accepted the necessity for discrimination against men (affirmative action for women; government-subsidized women’s commi. ssions in almost every state and county; women’s studies, women-only dubs; government programs for women, infants, and children. . . ).