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Christopher Orlet makes the point that we shouldn’t excuse the actions of all the Peter Pans out there who won’t grow up and start acting like men, simply because radical feminism has somehow “emasculated” them. I agree: sometimes a man has to fight just to actually be a man, and be damned to the opposition. However, that does not mean we should ignore the fact that opposition exists. Consider the following:
A) If you’re a guy who is a complete self-absorbed jerk, having casual sex with no emotional commitment until somehow some woman or other ropes you into getting married, there is nothing in modern law or society that will hurt you. House is dirty? Too bad, that’s the woman’s job. She kicks up a fuss? Go tell Oprah; or your girlfriends; anything, I just don’t feeling like hearing it. She wants kids? Yeah, whatever, just don’t expect a lot of help raising them. She wants to abort? Whew! Dodged that bullet! The government says you have no say in whether your child is born or aborted? So what, I don’t wanna be bothered anyway! The government says you don’t even have a right to know about it? Hey, one less thing to think about! The old ball and chain starts getting dumpy and ugly? Get a little something on the side: not only will she never find out, even if she does, what’s she gonna do about it? She wants a divorce? Hey, I’ll just trade her in for a new model, just like buying a car. I’ll have a sports coupe instead of a minivan. Good luck getting child support on time, or ever. Good luck getting me to pick up the little brats on time, or ever. And that little business of me “cheating”: hey those ideas are for the old farts you see preaching on TV. After all, it is “no fault” divorce these days, right?
B) On the other hand, if you’re the kind of guy that society supposedly holds up as a model of what a man should be, you expose yourself to a world of hurt. Neither “the rules” nor law nor society is going to help you much. You can be the man who not only works fulltime and goes to school to get a better job and helps to cook and clean and change the diapers, you can be the guy that plays with his own kids and the neighbors’ kids, and gives the best birthday parties ever seen: in the end, it will not protect you. Your wife gets pregnant and aborts without even telling you? Tough nerts, that’s her zone of “privacy.” You watch the kids so she can have a “girls’ night out” that primarily involves shacking up with her boss? Hey, you won’t find out, you won’t even look. You’re not that kind of guy, and you cannot even wrap your head around the notion of anyone doing that to you. She leaves you for someone who makes more money? C’mon, “happily ever after” is for dopes and dreamers. She wants to take the kids away from you? Better hire a damned good lawyer. Better yet, get a private investigator. And learn how to advocate for yourself, because no else will. The fact that you’re a “good man, a good father” doesn’t mean jack squat in court these days. You actually by some miracle get majority custody? Well, you have your kids. And you’ve lost your freedom. Even if there isn’t some legal proviso in the final decree dictating how far away you can move, you wouldn’t take the kids from their mom: you’re still one of the “good guys.” And kiss goodbye any career moves that involve actually moving: you won’t be getting those offers anyway. You’re the “baby daddy” after all.p>Now, after all of this, is it any wonder how many men out there want to hide inside the emotional protection of an eternal childhood? br> — Paul LaRue br> P.S. If you haven’t guessed, I’m a “B list” sort of guy. I haven’t budged, I haven’t retreated, I’ve raised my kids the best I can; and I would have walked on coals to keep them. In a few short years I will be unleashed from the shackles of “joint custody.” I will make my escape from the blue state Gulag known as Rhode Island, and make my way to a better and redder state. Perhaps on my way south I’ll stop by the good offices of The American Spectator . /p>
There is a lot of merit in Mr. Orlet’s argument. Blaming others for one’s condition and attempting to escape responsibility is not a particularly good thing for anyone, and especially for men. The question that remains unanswered, though, is whether such behavior is simply a question of willful irresponsibility or if it represents a reasonable and predictable response to a number of factors of which feminism is just one.
Telling men to get their act together and, well, act like men, is fine, but not if there is little real gain or advantage to them from doing so or if this is seen as a one-sided demand. In particular, telling them to act the way a certain class or type of woman wants them to act, even if this is at odds with their own sense of masculinity (in its best and true sense) will be a non-starter. Similarly, telling men that they must respect women regardless of whether they respect the values embodied by e.g. the modern liberated women won’t go anywhere either. Disrespecting women who behave like self-indulgent sluts is hardly unreasonable. So, if the modern, middle-aged, middle-class or professional woman remains single because she sees nothing of value in many modern men, perhaps she ought to consider that maybe the men are content with this set of affairs because they don’t think these women have much to offer them either, or if they don’t value or see themselves in terms that those women demand. Without reciprocity, this condition will not change.p>Being a man is not and never has been a question of being only and fundamentally what women think a man ought to be, and so long as men are told that it is, as long as we have this almost mommy-like desire to treat the men like boys and make them “behave,” the boys will continue to refuse to grow up. What the women miss, is that maturity on their own part consists of recognizing and acknowledging the differences between the sexes and thus also respecting the ways in which the men need to behave as and be seen as men. Otherwise, demands for change will go nowhere.
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