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Monday, June 15, 2009

Man As a Second-class Citizen

Are men in America quickly becoming second-class citizens? From the office to the marital bed, millions of men say feminism has turned them into second-class citizens. Viewed less than providers for wives and children, many men no longer have that sense of self in a family unit. They no longer share their forebears' sense of entitlement. Here are some some examples of change.

(1) 52 per cent of men believe they have to live by women's rules, and a staggering 82 per cent feel they have lost their traditional male role in society.

(2) For most men, this loss of control means feeling undervalued, their voices and opinions unheard.

(3) For the first time in history a majority of American women are not living with a spouse.

(4) At the end of last year, a survey revealed that 39 per cent of women who work full-time earn more than their partner. That means 1.8 million women in full-time work across the country now earn more than their partners.

(5) Women now often out-perform men financially and especially educationally.

(6) Role reversal in society coincided with a fundamental shift in the nature of work itself, as Western countries changed from labor-based to knowledge-based economies, thus eliminating the need for brawn and physical strength.

(7) Indeed, the new demands of the workplace, requiring multi-tasking and human interaction, positively favoring women over men.

(8) The modern world, which often forces new mothers back into the workplace within weeks of giving birth, and which sees the business of raising children as somehow "second class" has meant that neither men nor women now take the same sort of pride in being moms and dads.

(9) Men are portrayed as stupid and inferior to women in movies, television shows and commercials.

(10) If a woman tells a joke that insults men it's "all in good fun," whereas if a man tells a joke that's insulting towards women, he's a sexist woman hater.

(11) If a man gets a woman pregnant and she keeps the child, she receives child support for 18 years even if that man doesn't want to be a father. If the woman decides to give the baby away, however, the man has little or no say in the matter.

(12) No longer can a woman ( a professional career woman or a lesbian) who wants a baby but not a man use men as free sperm donors. In effect these women are stealing babies from fathers. If they really want this they will have to buy their sperm from a sperm bank where men have signed away their paternal rights. This prevents the woman from seeking child support from a man, who didn’t know he was a father, when the woman has financial problems.

(13) If a man cheats on his wife, she can divorce him and take his children away, allowing him to see them only on weekends (if he's lucky). If a woman cheats on a man, her husband can divorce her, and she gets to keep the kids and allow him to so see them only on weekends (if he's lucky).

(14) (Even if positive) the legitimacy of men’s monopoly of political and institutional power has weakened dramatically, upsetting the lines of power for many men.

(15) (Even if positive) Public alternatives to heterosexuality have emerged, and new (more unisex) images of alternative masculine identity are evident.

If the new roles of women are to work, then society needs a constructive understanding in the ways it needs the strengths of men, without leaving the doors open for a neo-fascist interpretation for the breakdown of the family and a macho backlash to role reversal. To be male-positive is to believe that men can change, to support efforts at positive change, to recognise the positive aspects of masculinity, and to be oriented towards enhancing men’s lives.

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