Thursday, September 29, 2005

Conspiracy theories

Many detractors of Men's Rights Activists (MRAs) seem to enjoy portraying them as paranoid conspiracy theorists, convinced that there is some sort of conscious campaign to defame, demonize and destroy men. I don't think a conspiracy theory is needed. Simple self-interest suffices. Angry Harry does a good job of outlining the problem. He doesn't mention any conspiracy theory, but then he doesn't say there isn't one, or that there doesn't need to be one and the incredulous reader might be inclined to dismiss him in these terms.

There is money to be made by putting down men in the name of empowering women. As long as it is entertaining to see a pretty woman kicking a man in the balls, or appealing to a frustrated female ego to see a man dominated (and many times I've heard this leveled criticism with the genders reversed), it will be a staple of the entertainment and advertising industries. Portraying women as the perpetual victims of dominating men will always appeal to chivalry in men and the empathy of women. These are long term, and positive, characteristics of our society. (BTW, how often do we think in terms of women being chivalrous or men being empathic?) We don't need any conspiracy theory. We don't need to hypothesize the existence of a conscious, controlling force driving this.

There isn't a room full of all-powerful people anywhere deciding how to drive men into marginality and put women to the fore. The people who make TV commercials and sitcoms aren't thinking about the social consequences of what they show us, they're just trying to make something we'll watch. As long as we'll watch, they'll make it.

The people who are trying so hard and so admirably to control violence against women aren't thinking about the negative consequences of the stereotypes they present, they're trying to do what they can to protect women. In fact, they're fighting against a stereotype they believe to be true. How often do we think about the need to protect men per se? Even the more rabid MRAs don't talk in those terms. It's just not in the mindset.

Anyone can be exploited, anyone can be denigrated and both of these are means to power over others. It is simply easier, today, to denigrate and exploit men (well, OK, it seems that way to me). If there is fertile soil for a plant to grow, then it will do so. If there is a suitable environment for a mechanism to power to develop, it will do so. However, plants that grow too big destroy their own environment and die. Likewise, power, as they say, corrupts. Corruption destroys, so there are natural limits to how far any ideology, explicit or emergent, can grow. As I wrote yesterday, I try to have faith that justice will prevail, eventually. In the meantime, we have to find and look out for who is getting hit in the crossfire.


Captain Zarmband said...

The people who make TV commercials and programmes that constantly deride men and create the illusion that;

1. Women are discriminated against


2. Women are more intelligent than men and generally better than men at everything.

do so because this appeals to advertisers who of course pitch their products at women. This is done because women have control of men's money and make the majority of buying choices. The endless bias shown in the media in favour of women has its roots in this equation: women spend men's money = advertisers target women = programmes are targeted at women = men are derided by TV programmes because this appeals to women.

How do we men break this cycle? Simple..... spend your own money, stay single....keep your money.

John Doe said...

Too late. I have a kid. Or rather, she has him.

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