Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Don't Use One Extreme To Justify Another

There's been a lot of news lately about crimes done by men against women. Two recent instances stand out. The first is the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut in which a 20 year old man goes on a shooting rampage in an elementary school killing mostly girls and women, and the second is the gang rape and subsequent death of a young woman in New Delhi, India. These are horrible crimes, no question, which should be talked about publicly and addressed, with an eye towards preventing future tragedies. But unless we are also willing to talk about crimes against men, to the same degree, then we are at best a selectively sympathetic society. It reminds me of how people will vehemently speak out against pet abuse, but turn a blind eye to the factory farm abuse of animals which happens on a much larger scale. Humans can be really compassionate and all, just not in a consistent sense. We want our meat, our eggs, our dairy products at an affordable price, and for all the naysayers, well, we're at the top of the food chain, so there. Animals eat each other in the wild all the time, so there. But the truth is that there is a big difference between raising a living creature in inhumane conditions and an animal living in the wild which becomes food for another animal who is trying to survive. But if someone hurts Fido, watch out! Okay, I'll stop there. I won't go more into this since it's a whole other issue, and I just wanted to point out examples of how people twist their reasoning to serve their personal agendas, and the agenda I want to address in this post is the one where, in this part of the world, female suffering is acknowledged and addressed in full view, but male suffering is not as important.

I have to wonder how many of the civilians that were killed so far in Syria are male, and yet we only ever hear about the number of fatalities as a total. Whenever you only hear about the total you can bet that most of the fatalities are male. Apparently, gender breakdown of fatalities doesn't matter unless the majority happens to be female. I get it, I know how that works. It's called selective journalism. Cover the issues that matter. The key word is "matter", and the fact of the matter is that females matter more.

When crimes against women are reported more, and the crimes against men are reported less, you have a bias at work, and this bias can make it seem like only (or mostly) women are at a disadvantage, and in a political sense this becomes ammunition for helping keep alive the gender bias in favor of women, back home. In the minds of some, the fact that some women in other parts of the world have it bad means that women here should have it good, and if it's at the expense of men, even better. The flaw here is that you're using the legitimate victim status of others as a tool of leverage to gain more privileges for yourself here, and also to stomp on the counterpart in this part of the world. In the minds of some: "You can deal with asshole men in other parts of the world by punching men here in the face. Men are assholes after all." Be very careful of this kind of extreme, guilt by association type of thinking.

When the mainstream news covers injustices against women, by men, in other parts of the world, but doesn't cover injustices against men, by women, in this part of the world, we have clear institutional bias at work.

Similarly, because the people at the very top of the social-economic pyramid are mostly men you can conclude that men have it better than women overall. As a result, even that poor homeless man begging for spare change will garner less sympathy than a woman in his place just because he happens to share an XY chromosome with most of the Forbes 400. This is called guilt by association and any guy who has tried to meet women in clubs will know exactly what I'm talking about. You're a man, in a club. Verdict: Guilty.

Black and white thinking, guilt by association, and using one extreme to justify another must be seriously guarded against, even for us, the MRAs. We must strive for balance and work towards bringing the pendulum towards center, and not just another extreme, otherwise we're just as bad.