Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Disposable Men?

I was checking out a post at Pelle Billing about the necessity of a men's movement when someone brought up male disposability. What is this you may ask. Allow me to explain.

Throughout history and the world regardless of what some may say the vast majority of men in most populations are often regarded as disposable cannon fodder to be used and tossed away at a moments' notice. Want to overthrow a warlord in a foreign nation? Keep throwing military men at them until they are taken out. A woman needs help? If a man does not do everything up to and including put his life on the line to save her then he is not a real man.

For ages despite how successful he might be, how big a fortune he amasses, how wonderful a family he may have, a man's worth is often measured by how willing he is to take damage, hide his feelings, withstand pain without complaining, and/or give up his life. This willingness is perpetuated by society because the loss of these men's life usually leads to a net gain for society or some portion of it. So what if men (and sometimes boys) are severely injured (mentally, physically, etc...) or worse?

From an early age boys are taught that "real men don't cry" and that suffering for the sake of others is a measure of our masculinity. We learn that no matter how much pain we suffer no matter how we may feel about it we are supposed to be able to take it. Such a mentality is very damaging for us. We end up thinking that our own feelings don't just don't matter but are getting in the way of being a man and should be eliminated. We grow up thinking that sense we are men our own lives don't matter when compared to those of women and children (which makes me glad I've never been on a sinking ship because I'd really hate for my manhood to be measured by my willingness to give up my life for women and children because they are more valuable.

This is much bigger than the feminist lip service of "Patriarchy Hurts Men Too." (which usually doesn't go too far beyond those words). This is not just some side effect of oppressing women. Its not a privilege its oppression. This is a burden that has been cast squarely on men for years and its a burden that is long overdue for being lifted. This is a shadow that us men have to cast away because it is literally killing us. Don't cast it away for women, don't cast it away for children. It is important to look out for others but guys sometimes we need to make sure we look out for ourselves as well.

(This is definitely something I will have to come back to.)