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In Praise of Men – North & South

Filed under: Gender Politics,General — JohnPotter @ 3:09 pm Thu 14th April 2011

May 2011 North & South Cover
For the second time this year I recommend people buy a copy of North & South magazine.

Despite a number of comments from MENZ readers suggesting that the two writers displayed misandric tendencies, I reckon the latest issue confirms my view that North & South is by far the most effective publication in the country when it comes to serious investigative journalism about men’s issues.

In the May 2011 issue, the lead story by editor Virginia Larson is titled: In Praise of MEN – Forgotten male virtues: A woman’s view. She discusses the recent natural disasters, noting:

“the powerful reminder on our screens and newspaper pages of men’s willingness to run selflessly towards danger”

I found it interesting that Larson began her essay by revealing “a faint, unspoken chill of disapproval” from women friends when she told them she intended to celebrate male virtues. She notes this kind of writing is a “risky business”, and will “inevitably interpreted as anti-female or at least anti-feminist”.

After pointing out that men do nearly all the dirty and dangerous jobs in our society, she writes:

“at the risk of digging myself further into the sisterhood’s hole of no return – could this explain why men earn more than women?”

The next article of note is: The Lost Boys by Donna Chisholm.

She asks:

“After 40 years of feminism, is it time to start worrying about how the other half live and die?”

The article discusses economist Paul Callister‘s almost-completed study into New Zealand’s missing men. At a time when low-skilled men are increasingly marginalised in work and family, there is a significant gender-gap in education. In 2009, 13,300 women gained tertiary degrees, compared to only 7,450 men. Callister says:

“Society needs to figure out what it wants from gender equity. People like the Human Rights Commission and Ministry of Woman’s Affairs say, look, it’s terrible that most builders are male, we have to have campaigns to change the balance. That’s fair enough, but if you’re trying to create gender equity in the trade but you don’t care what happens in the universities, then you’ve got a real problem.”

Also well worth reading in this issue of North & South is an article by Genevieve O’Halloran: Speaking Truth to Power in which she explains why we should be afraid of the Criminal Procedure (Reform and Modernisation) Bill which is currently going through Parliament.

36 Responses to “In Praise of Men – North & South”

  1. Skeptik says:

    JP,
    Thanks for posting this.
    I haven’t read the article in North and South yet but find myself filled with a certain disquiet just looking at the cover of the magazine.
    For it appears that just as immediately after 9/11, and every Gallipolli Day manhood is spoken of in the same vaunted terms as being ‘valued’.
    However when you look at the phenomenon a bit more closely the impression is that manhood is valued ONLY when it is tied to sacrifice.
    That means men are valued when they take risks others won’t, and in the process all too often sacrifice their health, wellbeing and sometimes their very lives to protect others.
    The rest of the time as many of us will bear witness to we’re all too often socially invisible or worse still even expendable (e.g Another NZ magazine’s recently appeared with the cover headline are men necessary?)

    As an aside I wonder how many readers were aware the word hero comes from an old Greek word meaning slave / person to be sacrificed?

    Please post the full article, so that readers can decide if my misgivings, admittedly based only on a first impression of the cover and a couple of quotes from the article you give do indeed have credence.

  2. Allan says:

    I like the nurturing pose in the cover photo.
    I believe we need to actively grasp the concept of men as nurturing parents.

    I thought the word Hero came from Hero of Alexandria who got the fountains running and created what seemed like perpetual motion. It needed the help of a small team of slaves the top up the resivoirs at night but it looked like perpetual motion during the day. He was a supper clever engineer/technologists and my students have on several occasions replicated his machines.

  3. JohnPotter says:

    Sorry Skeptik, I’m not planning to post the full text of this article; it takes time to scan and MENZ costs increasingly more to host as the site gets bigger, so I select carefully.

    Even if I was it wouldn’t be appropriate while the issue is on sale.

  4. Skeptik says:

    Etymology

    Coined in English 1387, the word hero comes from the Greek “ἥρως” (heros), “hero, warrior”,[2] literally “protector” or “defender”[3] and it is thought to be cognate with the name of the goddess Hera, the guardian of marriage.

  5. Allan says:

    I suspect you are getting your byzantine myths muddled with the etiology here Skeptic. I don’t think there is any indication of sacrifice and/or slavery in the word Hero. Hera was the wife of Zeus and perhaps the original shrew.
    Perhaps your thoughts of sacrifice come from the story of Leander and Hero which is similar to our own Hinemoa and Tutanekai. Hero was a priestess to the goddess Aphrodites and Leander swam to her each eveing. One night her lamp went out and he drowned. Hero then threw herself from the tower and died.

  6. Skeptik says:

    Allan,
    you better take up the issue with American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.
    Their definition is good enough for me.
    It’s also the same concept my classics teacher gave me as a boy.
    What would he know though eh?
    He’d only been a classics scholar for 30 years and spent every summer of that time scouring Ancient Classical sites by that point!

    According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the Indo-European root meaning is “to protect”.
    The Greek word HÄ“rōs “is akin to” the Latin seruāre, meaning to safeguard. “The basic sense of both Hera and hero would therefore be ‘protector’.

    By the way isn’t throwing oneself off a tower, well, you know …….sacrifice?

    And did you know there was a cult of Hera, which involved, you know……..sacrifice?

    Coincidence that we think of people (most often men) as heroes because they sacrifice their personal safety and often even their lives?
    I don’t think so.

  7. John Brett says:

    I had a quick scan through the magazine-
    Nothing is really new to us, but what is new is a magazine publisher deciding that there is enough interest to sell magazines and advertising space.
    I see this issue as a Bellweather- giving an indication that concern for men may be an issue now

  8. Okay I will buy this copy. I think this is owesome.

  9. julie says:

    Maybe North and South have changed attitude – good for them. I didn’t find them supportive of men some years back when they contacted me over a child support article. They were narrowed minded.

    Anyways, love the cover, love the colors, seriously think fathers are seen as heroes to their children and think most fathers like that. (just a thought) But I can see Skeptic’s point of view. Hmmm, I wonder what would be right, though?

  10. noconfidence says:

    I’ll be having a browse at this tomorrow, and I’ll buy it if I like the message. If North and South get good sales for an issue that has a male perspective then they may see the sense in repeating the marketing ploy. Perhaps a cynical way to look at it, but it’s just economic sense.

  11. Hans Laven says:

    I will definitely buy a couple of copies, leave one in places where others will read.

  12. rc says:

    ‘the powerful reminder on our screens and newspaper pages of men’s willingness to run selflessly towards danger’

    Judging by this woman’s emphasis on the word towards, it’s fairly clear she wouldn’t personally consider running such a risk. She wouldn’t be unusual in this regard – it’s very rare for women anywhere to instinctively risk themselves physically in the rescue of others, as all the fatality figures will attest. It is nearly always men who die doing the heroic thing – sometimes dying to save a drowning child while its own mother looks on, seemingly helpless.

    I don’t mention this though to throw guilt on women, but to suggest something much larger.

    Women’s primary concern for their own security is a matter of common knowledge, but it should be becoming clearer that it isn’t limited to physical safety. It extends out into every facet of their lives. They also want to be insulated from emotional unpleasantness, to not have to fear even the remotest possibility of mishap, to be spared the discomfort of contradiction, to not be prosecuted for doing wrong – to not even have the suggestion that they can be wrong uttered or written where it may cause them distress.

    It becomes blindingly obvious why no civilisation has ever been known in which women were the driving force.

    How long can academia last when challenging feminine opinion is almost illegal? How long can justice last when female accusers and witnesses cannot be doubted, and female wrongdoers cannot be called to account? How long can commerce prosper if female performance cannot be criticised and paid in proportion to its perceived worth?

    Think of every human endeavour, then think of how it would be altered if all element of risk was removed and all critical review of its performance edited so that no women could come away offended. Then stack that endeavour with women in all key positions. That’s the corrosion that is running rife through the West now and very soon will have completely consumed it. Then we will be back to the natural status quo of there being no civilization surviving where women are the driving force.

    It all stems from women’s greater need for safety – their unspoken insistence on being protected and provided for, so long as those words aren’t used – and the cultural nonsense that men and women are the same.

  13. Skeptik says:

    rc,
    This posting of yours is brilliant.
    It goes right to the heart of a great deal of what ails us.
    Straight to the guts of matters which once you’ve made the paradigm shift and understand, are the very cultural the air you breath.

    I particularly like this profound and wonderfully concise statement of yours –

    Women’s primary concern for their own security is a matter of common knowledge, but it should be becoming clearer that it isn’t limited to physical safety. It extends out into every facet of their lives. They also want to be insulated from emotional unpleasantness, to not have to fear even the remotest possibility of mishap, to be spared the discomfort of contradiction, to not be prosecuted for doing wrong – to not even have the suggestion that they can be wrong uttered or written where it may cause them distress.

    It becomes blindingly obvious why no civilization has ever been known in which women were the driving force.

    How long can academia last when challenging feminine opinion is almost illegal? How long can justice last when female accusers and witnesses cannot be doubted, and female wrongdoers cannot be called to account? How long can commerce prosper if female performance cannot be criticized and paid in proportion to its perceived worth?

    A superbly crafted salient question for our times.
    Thank you.

  14. Hans Laven says:

    Nice piece of thinking and writing. I hadn’t considered the possible breadth of self-protection and the implications of this. Female self-protection is understandable in terms of genetic reproduction; females are serving their species by maximizing self-protection. That is not a problem, but turning female instinctual priorities into a full moral code for men may be dangerous.

  15. Skeptik says:

    Hans,

    you say –

    turning female instinctual priorities into a full moral code for men may be dangerous.

    Absolutely no maybe about it in my opinion.
    It’s already happening all over NZ and the western world.
    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen women not being held to account but let off the hook where a man would be crucified. Of laws and conventions existing to benefit women with no regard for the impact on males. I’ve also lost count of the number of instances of female sense of entitlement overriding fairness and justice.
    You yourself have done a first rate job recently of exposing a lot of that sort of stuff.
    Adding salt to this massive male wound is the glamorizing of male sacrifice depicted in the cover picture of the recent North and South.
    I do not take away from the immense good that male firefighters do.

    I may be jumping the gun not having read this issue of North and South.
    But if what I suspect is going on is being actualised there, then it’s just another day at the office for me – where male disposability is airbrushed and repackaged as somehow virtuous.
    There is much much more to masculinity than the ability to sacrifice oneself for others welfare that could be celebrated by North and South magazine, indeed by the culture at large.
    Many many men, myself included, are wonderfully creative, artistic, superb problem solvers, generative, colorful, playful, life affirming, nurturant, wise etc.
    By all means get back to me explaining how North and South magazine is celebrating these kinds of widespread male qualities if that seems appropriate.
    Otherwise I’m not interested in feeding off token scraps thrown from a culture which defines masculinity in narrow self sacrificing terms.
    I’m worth much more than that.

  16. Darryl X says:

    Skeptik – I was thinking the same thing as you when I saw that cover of the magazine (I haven’t read it either). But I thought it was interesting that whenever I see articles about men (rare as they are in something other than a criminal light), it’s of a firefighter, soldier, roughneck, suicide jockey, whatever. Stereotyped to encourage and promote sacrifice. And the images are always glamorized. You don’t want to show a picture of a man who has made a real sacrifice. It’s not pretty and most men wouldn’t want to follow the example. You won’t find many pictures of limbless men who have been fighting in Iraq or who have been left homeless on the street for years without medical care. The sacrifices men have to make are not glamorous and should not be portrayed that way. Those kind of sacrifices should be made as frequently as necessary and infrequently as possible. They should not be a lifestyle.

  17. Hans Laven says:

    Mmm, Great observations Skeptik and Darryl X, thanks. Awarenesses like that feel like a curtain before the eyes opening a little further. The feminists opposed the objectification of women and valuing them on the basis of appearance and domestic roles, yet they then worked to bring men to be valued in similarly narrow terms and have been remarkably successful in doing so.

    It’s still probably important to support any positive portrayal of men at this stage in proceedings, I think.

  18. julie says:

    I agree it’s sad to see men portrayed as strong but it’s a start, [for some]. I was reading a fairytale to a little girl the other day and found myself getting angry because I believe the stereotyping has harmed many.

    I’ve saved 2 lives so far – one time I jumped off a bridge to catch a little child. You don’t think, just do. Subconsciously I gathered I would fall quicker because I was heavier and I was the only one capable. I’ve tried to stop a rape, stopped a man being filmed on police 10/7, carried children to safety, stopped a chocking and more.

    From my years experience, men and women aren’t different when it comes to heroic actions or self sacrificing. I think it has to do with circumstances. I’ve seen men stand back, my nephew would run the other way, lol….. and women run in. IMO, it depends on a number of things like, your job, training, character, culture, phobias and where you are in the family i.e eldest or baby, etc.

    I think we are changing but I think there needs to be more challenge. I’d like to hear what others think would have been a better cover.

  19. rc says:

    How do your personal actions have any bearing whatsoever on public statistics showing a preponderance of men dead saving others? The Titanic alone says it all.

    But no.

    You get offended, so you attempt to deny the reality and sacrifice of thousands upon thousands of dead heroic men. Your need to be protected from uncomfortable truths trumps men’s need to be truthfully observed.

    Yet another little example in support of my original assertion.

  20. julie says:

    I didn’t think my comment would upset you. I don’t know about NZ stats around life saving but I’ve seen my fair share of car/truck accidents on NZ roads when I worked traveling at night. I’ve been back at forward from hospitals enough to see what happens in carparks and I’ve been out and about enough to see what people do and don’t do in situations.

    IMO, people are individuals when it comes to actions. If you think men are a certain way and women are a certain way, then that’s your opinion and/or experience. Neither of us have to be wrong, just different.

  21. julie says:

    Oh, I didn’t click to the titanic. My mind is seeing things from a different angle. Sorry about that.

  22. rc says:

    IMO, people are individuals when it comes to actions. If you think men are a certain way and women are a certain way, then that’s your opinion and/or experience.

    You seem determined to present the fact that men die in much greater numbers than women sacrificing themselves for others as my opinion. Needless to say, facts do not require my advocacy – they stand on their own.

    You also insist on your own subjective experience as being enough to stand against this fact. A dead heroine would not be making a nuisance of herself pretending to support men, then using every opportunity to shout them down with her own feminist world-view whenever she feels her self-interest vaguely threatened.

  23. julie says:

    rc, I come from a family that has sacraficed always. My grandparents, (both of them) were part of WWII (there’s only one year difference in their age) and together they worked their business 7 days a week (until forced retirement in their 80’s). My mother raised 6 children on her own and both myself and brothers were raised equally. There’s probably no point discussing men as self sacraficing and women as selfish to me but I’m sure there are some others out there who will relate to you.

    I agree with your comment – that’s what’s important IMO. I would just like to know what you think should have been on the cover?

  24. rc says:

    I agree with your comment – that’s what’s important IMO. I would just like to know what you think should have been on the cover?

    A mass grave on the scale of Passchendaele, with the caption “where are all the women?”

  25. Skeptik says:

    Julie,
    I think it’s unrealistic, insulting and disgusting to try comparing your one off actions with the day in day out reality of roles men like firefighters routinely ascribe themselves to.

    I agree with Daryl X equating your little personal vignettes with facts is a vain attempt to belittle those facts.
    In 2 battles alone in World War One almost two million men lost their lives.

    The UK lost approximately 10% of their men between the ages of 18 and 45.
    Want to try comparing the very rare occasions of women putting their lives on the line in modern times with that?

    Ever wondered why in slang terms cowards get called pussies?

    In my view if North and South were to continue to glamorize male violence at least they would be a damn site more honest about it.
    Instead of presenting some airbrushed sanitized posed image they would show something REAL.
    Like this.
    Like this.
    Like this.

    These matters do indeed hold up Daryl X’s brilliant assertion #9.

  26. Skeptik says:

    Addendum.

    A terrible mistake in my previous posting : “glamorize male violence” should of course read “glamorize male SACRIFICE”
    Sorry for the Freudian slip.

  27. julie says:

    I had to look for the definition of Passchendaele – interesting cover. The past is important to the future, IMO. Thanks for your thought.

    On another note, I came across homeless research through housing research. Turns out we have nearly 300 rooms every night available above the rooms already being used. This is great news, IMO.

    still, there’s almost 100 they’re struggling to bring in – mostly because of addiction and half that because of mental health.

  28. noconfidence says:

    Hans;

    For once in a very long time I felt that the mens voice was being heard.
    THANK YOU NORTH AND SOUTH. The articles were well written and I for one could identify with them.

  29. Skeptik says:

    What specific aspects of men’s voice do you think were being heard?

  30. Skeptik says:

    noconfidence,

    you said of the North and South article –

    For once in a very long time I felt that the mens voice was being heard.

    I’m asking you again –

    What specific aspects of men’s voice do you think were being heard?

  31. Skeptik (The real one) says:

    noconfidence,

    I’m still awaiting a response – question reposted:
    noconfidence,

    you said of the North and South article –

    For once in a very long time I felt that the men’s voice was being heard ..

    I’m asking you again –

    What specific aspects of men’s voice do you think were being heard?

  32. Skeptik says:

    In more praise for men …………….who make themselves ……………………………………………..

    disposable.

  33. Skeptik says:

    In more praise of men …………….who make themselves ……………………………………………..

    disposable.

  34. gwallan says:

    “who make themselves”?

    Feminists speak of war as though each participant was responsible for starting that war or, at least, was a willing, enthusiastic participant.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

  35. Skeptik says:

    Yes, they ultimately make themselves disposable.
    For they, and they alone choose the roles which have high risk of crippling injury and death attached.
    Of course there are other factors too, not least of which is glamorized female approval, but I think you’ll find the basic principle hold true.

  36. jg says:

    RC’s post #9 was very interesting for me, triggered a little epiphany in understanding behavior of both genders I have seen in the past, both in the workplace, at uni & in life in general.

    I stumbled across this video on you tube by GirlWritesWhat – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBgcjtE0xrE
    Check out her brainstorm into the area of women avoiding risks and any situations where consequences of one’s actions are high.
    Her video on the “Fempocalypse” relates to the second part of RC’s post on the watering down and other weaknesses of matriarchal societies.

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