Wednesday, December 01, 2004

REBUILDING THE MAN?

This is a website I stumbled across today. I was searching for the website of an old church I once attended and apparently got this site, I guess the site address was quite similar. What made me stay and check it out was this mission statement:


The Men's Center's Mission and Values


Our mission:
The Men's Center provides resources for men seeking to grow in body, mind
and spirit, and from that foundation advocates for healthier family and
community relationships.


Sounds cool right? I thought to myself, self...this is whats needed for men today. To be taught how to be real men in our families and communities at large....Then, I read this:
Our values:

1. We believe men can and should support each other through times of
personal challenge and change.(Yes)
2. We believe in authenticity, which means acknowledging to ourselves and
each other our hopes, fears, strengths and weaknesses as men seeking to
grow.(Uh..O.K.)
3. We believe in honesty among men, which means men freely expressing
themselves emotionally, socially, intellectually and spiritually in ways true to their own growth and masculinities.(Huh!)
4. We believe in respecting diversity and mutuality in our support groups,
workshops,conferences and outreach activities which means supporting and empowering
all men.
5. We believe in the equality of men and women. (I don't think so.)
6. We believe in recognizing and appreciating our similarities and
differences as humans of all races and national origins, and in the process
fostering mutual respect and brotherhood for us all.
7. We believe in the power of our common humanity, which means regardless of
our sexual orientations, gender identities, or other issues that separate us,
what we have in common transcends our differences.(...in other words, overlook the fact that some men in your group are gay and therefore are not really men.)



Needless to say I became quite disturbed and fell quickly from my prideful high. Number five really got me going. I will never understand why people continue to insist that men and women can and are equal. Well, if any of you out there actually believes this hog-wosh, I got a news flash for you, men and women are not equal and were not ever intended to be equal and can never truly be equal in this world. Bam! There you have it, the unadulterated truth! Men and women are not equal. Now, take it easy, don't get unset, think first for a moment about the concept of equality. What does it actually mean? How do you know that something or someone is equal? You have to measure it right? Well, how do you measure a man or woman? By their actions, physicalities, qualities, and character, am I correct? Now, anyone with a good pair of eyes can see that for the most part, men and women are built different from the other. Women are naturally able to have babies, men on the other hand cannot. For the most part, on average, men are generally larger, taller, and stronger than women(although there are exceptions). There is a reason why men take on the role of provider, protector and leader and women are, for the most part, the emotional base, the nurturer, care-givers and encouragers. I can go on and on but I am sure you get the point. Men and women are not equal, and cannot be equal. I know that I can clarify further on this point and mention that just because we are not equal doesn't diminish one or the others importance to a relationship and society at large. This should be a given.

But, I digress, back to the website, apparently this organization has been in existence for quite some time, since the '70's actually, a product of the so called men's movement, started on the heals of the feminist movements of the '60's and even states on the site that the women's movement was the inspiration for this so called men's movement to form. Obviously it never grew to the scale of its female counterpart yet, I think, efforts like this has definately contributed to the weakening of the male role in society. Just another attempt at creating a victim based society. Apparently several oranizatons sprang up as a result of this men's movement and evolved into the one you see on this site. The website paints a brief history of the evolution of this movement through the formation of various groups or community based organizations, one being MAN (Men's Awareness Network). It is quite sad to think that there were men actually attempting to duplicate the so called "success" of the women's liberation movements, using the same criteria and motives that being oppression and victimization. Case in point, a quote from a Frank Holmgren, one of MAN’s founders, articulated the group’s focus.
"We are angry at the traditional role models that decree that real men must be strong, independent, aggressive leaders, Humphrey Bogarts who never show emotion and always win."


How sad is this? Independent, agressive leaders, strong? Isn't that what a man ought to be? As far as never showing emotion, who ever said that men don't show emotion, I think far to often we mistake controlled emotion with lack of emotion. As a kid, I remember many occasions where I witnessed my father demonstrate great emotion, including sorrow, but in retrospect, I realize that for the most part, he demontrated them in the appropriate times and manners, i.e. crying at weddings or funerals. Now don't get me wrong, there were plenty of occasions of great wrath that were overboard in my opinion, especially when it was directed towards me(wink,wink). If anything, when a man allows his emotions to overwhelm him, he becomes more of an angry woman than a man. One important fact that I noticed about this site as I browsed through it was there is no mention or reference to being a Godly man. No reference to men being the heads of their homes. No mention of teaching men how to be men in the traditonal sense. I am sure that the founders of this organization had good intentions in mind at the onset but sadly they are terribly misguided. The message I seems to center around showing men how to "express" themselves emotionally.

You cannot have a mens movement in the same way there was a women's movement in that men are not victimized in the same way that women were. The women's movement, for the most part, spun out of control, time and history has shown it to be a failure as there are many women today who attempt to take on the role of provider and mother, only to find themselves in serious conflict. In addition, being that the so called sexual revolution became coupled with the women's movement, we as a society are now reaping the wirl-wind in the form of AIDS, on-demand abortion, teenage pregnancy, out of wedlock births, breakdown of the family unit, and increased animosity between the sexes. While I agree that there may have been a great deal of discrimination taking place against females at some point in this nations history, I don't agree that it was something that needed to be politicized in order for justice to have been had. We must keep in mind that there were many women who acheived great success in the home and in business prior to the women's movement. Being that this movement has proven to be more of a failure in that today, women are objectified, over-sexualized, and exploited more than ever before ( I guess it is different since they "choose" to be exploited, right?), dove-tailing and founding a men's movement off of the so called success of the women's movement only spells disaster and proves to be foolish in that, the women based their frustrations on victimhood stemming in large part from men. Yet, by nature alone, men are not victims, we are masculine, for who oppresses men but other men? So a movement that is founded on victimization, for men, only demonstrates weekness and cowardice rather than solidarity or struggle. I believe this is why this movement has been for the most part, unknown and isolated on a local scale. As a man, I would not want to be a part of such a pusillanimous group. Personally, I think this is the lowest form of male cowardice.

Check out the site for yourself and let me know what you think. Then as a counter, check out this site called BOND (Brotherhood Organization Of A New Destiny) You will see a striking difference in their philosophy and approach. One builds up the man while the other seeks to inadvertantly tear him further down, until he will resemble more of a woman rather than a true man. I also recommend reading Doug Giles, he frequently writes about the issue of weak minded men in the church and how the male has become incredibly effeminized in our culture today. I think he hits the nail on the head, especially when talking about today's church experience. Check out his latest column "Dirty Harry Goes To Church".

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