Should the men’s movement rethink?
The past few months would have to be the worst period of the online men’s movement I’ve seen. It’s not unusual for inside fighting also known as inside politics to occur, and sometimes it’s worth laughing about while other times it gets real messy and pain is inflicted. It’s easy enough to do when men and women who fight for men’s rights and write on websites have been at it for years; some are even retired, and everyone has an idea of each other’s weaknesses and strengths.
Over the years many men have considered they have the answer, (some still do) and it involves the day-to-day lives of men adjusting to feminism to starting a political party to petitions to groups to being on boards of organisations affecting change to protesting to being speakers. Practically every single person involved has an opinion on how New Zealand should be and pretty much everyone wants support for what they’re doing. Sometimes it’s annoying because sometimes men and women think others should drop everything they’re doing and do what they think is right. It’s a shame because supporting one another is very important.
There’s only one man IMHO who can claim to be a leader through everyone’s standard and that’s Jim Bagnall. Other than Jim, there’s plenty of good leading men who are doing great things for men and boys in society. The funny thing about Jim is that we’d all love to be reading his posts while he refuses to come online because he can’t stand the infighting. He’s not the only man to think this way and over the years lots of good men have been driven away from sharing their work, their achievements and inside information they have that could help others.
Everyone’s in different areas of New Zealand, networking with different groups and confronting different opposition; which brings up another problem because what someone in one area thinks is opposition in another area is generally not opposition to the men working that area. For example; Waitakere has nearly every one of it’s politicians supporting men’s rights through years of MRAs work and some of the new ones more than the last ones. There’s hundreds of active MRAs in Auckland and yet the men themselves say it’s the men’s own fault because they’re not using the politicians. It’s a fair enough statement when you speak to men in the community and find they’ve been at the coals for decades and don’t have the energy to fight any more and prefer to get on with what they’ve built in the community to help men. It’s not unusual to meet feminists who are older, have grandchildren now, and feel they don’t have it in them to fight to balance things either.
One man I’ve enjoyed to meet now drops off food to fathers in need through the CAB. He fought since the 70’s for men’s rights and a few years ago was flown to the UN to receive recognition for the work he’s done in the community.
One sad reality is that everyone’s a volunteer and everyone’s doing something positive for men’s rights whether the rights are the same or not. It’s sad because volunteers give their time and money for free and instead of being thanked and supported, they’re having to cop other people’s frustrations and judgement. People that decide to volunteer their time often need a crash course on what’s going on, are subject to alot of disagreement and need to work out for themselves how they fit within the men’s movement and what they can do to help. There’s always a reason someone decides to pick the men’s movement as their cause and there’s always going to be different life experiences and different ideas and expertise and different areas men want to work. As I’m reminded, “The men’s movement is as diverse as the women’s movement”. But in saying that, this site and others like it are about men’s issues that cover: news and discussion about New Zealand men, fathers, family law, divorce, courts, protests, gender politics, and male health. Much work men do in the community does fall into these categories especially “News and discussion about NZ men”. In fact, it’d be interesting to know what doesn’t fall into this category.
Another sad reality is that the online men’s movement represents a minority of the actual men working to better society for men and boys and because of this it’s not unusual for competition and ‘tall poppy syndrome’. There’s a few other sad realities like some men involved are sick and their health is important and that a number of men that are well known to the men online can’t actually use a computer themselves so they need someone to read through all the information they present and make posts for them.
Probably the saddest reality is the conflict and inside fighting because people get hurt and things go nowhere while society keeps moving ahead making things worse for men and boys. Even though the online movement is a small part of men on the whole, it cares about extremely important issues that affect men on the whole.
There’s lots of men who have shared parenting that won’t dare speak up in fear their exes will stop contact between them and their children and there’s lots of men struggling to pay child support while they get 40% of their children’s time so that their exes get child support. Heck, no woman can get the DPB if she allows the father to have over more than 40%. There’s also lots of new girlfriends and new wives who are trying to comfort their partners while the exes are making constant demands because they feel the men are responsible for them even if they dumped them to drain another man. We shame men if they have 2 or more wives yet we cheer women and support them if they have 2 or more men supporting them. I’ve no idea how many new girlfriends or new wives have told the past wife, “If things are soooo bad, give the father the child and we together will look after them”. Never happens though because they just want more money.
But anyways, I’m getting off topic. The main reason I want to write this and have you suffer by reading it is to say it’s better to progress than stay stagnant.
As a thought, why don’t we all start again? I’ve grown heaps since I was first here and I’ve watched others grow also. Benjamin Easton comes to mind because I remember how what he wrote was sometimes non-understandable and how he stuck with it and in time he became much easier to understand. You’ve just got to give credit where credit’s due IMO and although he doesn’t focus his life on his children like a lot of other fathers do, he has sacrificed being a father for being a man who stands up for fathers. When you think about it, his ex would have kept him on a leash threatening him every time he stepped up and so he decided to step up and fuck the leash.
Da4justice is another. The man’s a replica of Jim Bagnall except he’s online and voicing his anger unlike Jim Bagnall who sometimes has to walk out of a courtroom to spew up because things are soooo anti fathers. It might be that Dad4justice isn’t having to confirm the identities of men committing suicide and if not, it won’t be long and he will be. Men like Dad4justice don’t come around very often and should be supported.
Then there’s Jim Bailey. Well, what can I say except he’s been putting me through what he’s been through so I understand. It’s not nice to be on the receiving end and it has played with my conscience. I feel like I’ve given a million chances to him but one more won’t hurt. Especially when I need to take back at least half of the million chances and say, “You were right”.
Then there’s Daniel and other men who are much newer to the men’s movement. They matter much more than people might realise.
Remember back to the words I wrote about Waitakere having almost all it’s politicians wanting to support men’s rights and how men themselves who are supposed to be advocates for men aren’t using them? Well, I wrote it’s because they are tired of fighting and are getting on with life. How important do we all think fresh blood is because of this?
Maybe the focus needs to be on finding new recruits as well as doing our own work? Jim Bagnall is very sick and it can’t end with him. And what about the rest of us? Do we think men’s fights should end with us? Maybe it’s about being teachers now and passing the baton on too. Hey, feminists are trying to do this. They realised they missed a whole generation of women and are targeting the younger women.
OK, the end…… I hope I have given others something to think about and offered a topic where discussion that’s normally off topic isn’t off topic. I hope others add some information so everyone learns because I too only have a selective amount of memory and haven’t been in this long enough to understand everything.
Soooo what do you think? Should we start again?