Men have rights too.
January 9, 2002 4:56 AM   Subscribe

Men have rights too. Granted, a lot of the "pro-men" movement is whining saber-rattling by men upset by "feminists". But in some cases like accusations of abuse, divorce settlements, child support/custody and allegations of rape have we swung so far in favor of women that the system is no longer fair to either party?
posted by owillis (23 comments total)
"Only ugly women complain about double standards."
posted by Mach3avelli at 5:12 AM on January 9, 2002

Funny, M, but...ehhhh...

I'm a white male (like most of you) and I know I'm reaping the benefits of tradition. But it's also ULTRA-COMPETITIVE and I'm expected to perform well and double-standards just make it even harder.

I'd willingly give up whatever "extras"--like extra pay, or extra security, whatever, if it meant equality and I could get by being less competitive. But that also means equality in terms of what the FPP mentions, specifically child support and custody, and false accusations. I'd agree with the sentence "swung so far in favor of women".

Perhaps not in everything...but in those areas where women have special treatment, we've gone overboard.
posted by taumeson at 5:18 AM on January 9, 2002

owillis, you didn't link that 'allegations of rape', so here's an example of the 'rape shield law' working not only to shield the woman from unjust smearing, but also allowing her to conceal evidence that she is committing perjury. The site above is an advocacy site for the accused, but here are columnists from The Village Voice and Reason (strange bedfellows!) who agree with the concept.

Thanks to for the links.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 5:35 AM on January 9, 2002

I personally chunk male-bashers and female-bashers into the same group: bitter fools.
posted by Mach3avelli at 5:47 AM on January 9, 2002

The legal system has by far favored the mother, but even that is changing. It used to be that the woman was automatically given custody except in cases of extreme abuse or other circumstances, but judges have been giving custody to fathers as well lately, and it is even law in some states (I can vouch for New Jersey) that no preferential treatment will go to the mother simply because she is the mother as opposed to the father. I have physical custody (as opposed to full custody) of my son, whose mother we have not heard from since at least the summer (aside from bare-bones holiday cards). She had opportunities to take charge of her life and custody of our son, but the judge took into account my lifestyle and willingness, as opposed to hers, and didn't simply make me forfeit 80% of my salary to support a deadbeat.

Fathers' rights has long been an interest of mine, and it is a shame to see so many fathers kicked to the curb and denied access to their children (except, of course, in cases of abuse, etc.) I am glad that it has worked out for me, and the next step of mine is to go for full custody and for my wife to adopt the child that calls her "mommy," the only "mommy" he has really known.
posted by adampsyche at 5:53 AM on January 9, 2002

I personally chunk male-bashers and female-bashers into the same group: bitter fools.

I wholeheartedly agree. A sexist mentality is a sexist mentality. The same female coworkers who send me obnoxious emails about the "stupidity and childishness" of men (thinking I will somehow find this charming) will turn around and dish each other mercilessly, using all kids of misogynist terms to deride each other.

Similarly, it seems like the same system that has always put women in the workforces at a disadvantage is regularly putting men at a disadvantage in family and interpersonal matters. I see this as being part of the same problem.

Sexism teaches that women are the only ones capable of rearing children (at the same time that it teaches that men are the only ones fit to have real careers). Fathers are therefore deprived of their rights to their children, even in cases where the mother is utterly incompetent to care for them.

Here's another thing sexism would have us believe: "Boys will be boys, and we can't expect them to be able to control themselves." This simultaneously let's actual rapists off the hook in some situations, while incriminating men who never did a damn thing wrong in others. (And, incidentally, as the daughter, wife and friend to various good and wise men, I can't begin to express how disgusted I am with the whole notion that males have some inherent flaw that makes them helpless in the face of "feminine sexual power".)

To sum up, it's not boy against girls, folks, and it never was. It's ignorance and hate against tolerance and reason.
posted by Fenriss at 7:12 AM on January 9, 2002

The system is not fair, period. Why should this subset of cases be any different?
posted by rushmc at 7:22 AM on January 9, 2002

I, unfortunately, have always been presented with a rather insulting version of feminism: "enlightened" girls in high school who could interpret any given piece of literature as "I think this story is about how men are violent and women are not," or feminist collectives at my college which underscore their rejection of my half of the population by referring to themselves as the "Wom*n's Alliance."

I agree with Fenris. As long as one thinks in terms of a "gender divide," you will be controlled by and bound to that mindset. Equality can't arise from inequality, even if it favors the oppressed group -- as long as we recognize inequality as valid it will dominate us. Equal rights means equal rights for everyone, period.
posted by tweebiscuit at 7:31 AM on January 9, 2002

Equal rights means equal rights for everyone, period.

Absolutely. Also, Equal responsibilities for all, as well.

Apropos of nothing, I heard one of my bosses (a woman) once say this about the pay divide between men and women: "If women make 70% of what a man does, and I have a department made up of 50 men and 50 women, I would fire all the men, hire women at 70% of what the men were making, and cut my payroll by 15% overnight. The CFO would love me."

I can't find any logical holes in that argument, leading me to the believe that perhaps that particular statistic is a relic of the past, and good riddance. Equal pay for equal work, too!
posted by UncleFes at 7:46 AM on January 9, 2002

Stop bitching about men, says matriarch is an interesting article from a feminist.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 7:48 AM on January 9, 2002

Fwiw: I have custody of my son, after a bitter court trial some 12 years ago. "They" assumed I, a guy, would never get custody, due to my being a guy.

Further, I recieve child support and have - and this was some years ago as well - had Mom placed in jail for failure to pay child support (which we now receive regularly).

Both of the above events were the result of a series of courtroom visits, and oddles of meetings with lawyers.

And I live - and all this took place - in small-town Central Arkansas, USA. Further my situation is not nearly as unique today as it was a decade ago.

So, in response to the question, the traditional gender roles continue to fall away.
posted by Elvis at 8:32 AM on January 9, 2002

Maternal custody wasn't the norm until the 1920's - the idea of it didn't even exist until the mid 19th century, when women started staying home to care for children, and when the pendulum swung hard from all fathers retaining custody to nearly all mothers retaining custody, instead. 50 years later, the courts started considering the best interests of the child and more men starting petioning for custody of their children.

So women were favoured, legally, as custodians of their children for about 50 odd years, after hundreds of years of men automatically assuming custody of their children and now we are seeing a correction from both previous patterns, which first favoured men, and then favoured women, and now favours the better parent (ideally).
posted by kristin at 8:50 AM on January 9, 2002

Stop bitching about men, says matriarch

Seventeen cheers for Doris Lessing. I do wonder about the headline, tho... Several brands of feminists would have a bit of a problem with whoever put the word "bitching" into her mouth. (Word she actually used was "rubbishing".)
posted by ook at 9:51 AM on January 9, 2002

(in case it's not obvious, I have a bit of a problem with it too, but not for the obvious reasons. Ms. Lessing is just too dignified to use a word like that.)
posted by ook at 9:53 AM on January 9, 2002

perhaps that particular statistic is a relic of the past

from what I understand, that statistic is commonly misused or misunderstood - working women make 70% of what working men make, but not for the same work. However, there is a trend that when more women enter a profession, the salary starts to go down, so that "women's professions" tend to be underpaid. In some cases, this could be due to women caring less about how much they earn, or having a lower estimation of what they're worth, so that they don't push as hard for a higher salary.
posted by mdn at 10:19 AM on January 9, 2002

um, did anyone read the founder page on that site?

Myself I did nothing illegal under the law to get into this position. I had sexual relations with a woman with mutual consent.

this guy is complaining about being held financially responsible, when gee, all he did was have sex? oh my. He complains that she was promiscous, and had had kids and abortions starting at a young age....

give me a fucking break. This is not a site about gender equality. This guy has an axe to grind, and he should of thought of that before getting off.

my wife and i have a bumper sticker on our car that says "feminism is the radical idea that women are people", a bit of sarcasm one ever says anything to me if i'm driving, but when she is driving alone she gets catcalls and people yelling at her. Several weeks ago, two guys in a van harassed her, made lewd gestures, yelled out what they like to do to feminists, and then ran into the corvette in front of them because they weren't paying attention--i'm sure they think it was her fault. That story isn't at all relevant to this topic other than this:

Don't blame your mistakes on other people, which is what this guy is trying to do. Unwed mothers are the direct result of society? or guys who don't want to wear a condom? who think that taking a girl to an abortion clinic to fix things is the same as birth control? Any guys here ever convince a girl or coerce a girl to have sex without protection because it feels better or some other stupid reason? Do you think men are under less pressure than women in a sexual situation? Do guys have to deal with the stigma of saying No?

equality is great, but that website is the wrong way to discuss the issues IMO.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:47 AM on January 9, 2002 [1 favorite]

tph3ph17: you'll notice the guys had such courage of their convictions, that not one of them has their name on the site.
posted by lescour at 11:44 AM on January 9, 2002

I just came across the site by happenstance, so please don't assume I endorse them or their methods. Evidenced by some of the response here, we shouldn't let these guys (they may be yahoos) cloud a real issue.
posted by owillis at 11:57 AM on January 9, 2002

Yeah, owillis, they have already clouded the issue. From what I've seen on the net, when I saw the first link I knew it would contain a few things: (1) men should maybe have some say in whether a woman has an abortion (2) in the event a man doesn't want to "have" a child and the woman does he should have no legal responsibility for the child. That's what all that "family planning choices for men" code means. They're totally nutty.

Of course, these are political views that I don't recall seeing anywhere other than on the web, so maybe it's not so bad.
posted by Wood at 2:03 PM on January 9, 2002 [1 favorite]

One of the more amusing things I've discovered in the last week is that you can't rape a man in Georgia without executing some sodomy. Regular sex is not rape, even if he's opposed.

OCGA 16-6-1 defines rape as something a person does against a female.
posted by dwivian at 3:31 PM on January 9, 2002

kristin: Maternal custody wasn't the norm until the 1920's - the idea of it didn't even exist until the mid 19th century, when women started staying home to care for children...

Who was taking care of the children during the 18th century?
posted by bingo at 6:06 PM on January 9, 2002

In the 18th century? Extended family, paid servants, slaves, or a second wife who filled in for a biological mother who died in childbirth.

To understand the origins of our current system of caring for the children of unread parents, check out "The Revolt of Modern Youth," written back in the '20s by Judge Lindsey of Colorado. Our Great-Grandmas the Flappers created quite a stir, which necessitated adjusting the rules of engagement between pregnant girls and unprepared fathers.
posted by sheauga at 6:59 PM on January 10, 2002

I'll look at it, but the options you mention above are mostly for the wealthy, except for the second wife, who is still a mother, if only stepmother, staying home to take care of the children. Wealthy people, and people with generous extended families, still have those options, except the slavery part. I suspect that for the average 18th-century mother, and in most eras previous, the main task before her was to take care of the kid while the father worked.
posted by bingo at 7:25 PM on January 10, 2002

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