Caveat for the sensitive: this post contains mention of sexual assault.
Shiraz, now in London, sent me this very scary article about the Men's R*ghts M*vement. I've starred the expression because I do not want to end up on a M*M hate list. Many outspoken women bloggers get called a lot of nasty names; this says a lot more about the man or woman who uses them than about the bloggers, but it still isn't fun to experience. So far the worst things I've been called on the blogosphere are a "feminist" (yawn) and a (get this) "female supremacist."
To be frank, I had a giggle at the "female supremacist" tag. If I were really a female supremacist, I would not be calling B.A. from the bus every single time I come home after dark so that he can walk me home through the woods. If I were a female supremacist, I would insist that B.A. call ME every time HE comes home after dark, so that I could walk HIM through the woods. I would also be extremely resentful of the fact that he makes almost all the money and assume it was because there was some masculinist plot against me. (That reminds me, buy my new book! B.A., not being a male supremacist, has no problem with me making more money than him. In fact, it is his master plan.) I am sure I would be super chippy when reality did not conform to my expectations, just like male supremacists.
Meanwhile, I would not have this blog about finding happiness and meaning in the (usually temporary, if prolonged) Single Life. As a female supremacist, I would think the majority of you were insane for wanting to get married, as I would think men were beneath us all and really we should create an Amazonian society in which we expel men from our homes and use them only for sex and child support. Ooh. Actually, I think some women actually do think this. But, hello, anyone who actually read my blog with any attention would know that I am not among them.
I thought many things when I read the article about the Men's R*ghts M*vement, and the first one was, "I am a human being."
The second was, "I love my husband, my father, my brothers and my nephews. I am intensely fond of my male friends, male mentors, and several of my male former professors. Most women love the men in their lives. What is this?"
The third was, "If unmarried fathers are being treated unjustly, and male victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse are being ignored, then this certainly must stop. But the injustice should not be used as an excuse for men to belittle, abuse and rape women and encourage other men to do so."
Because that is what a lot of that M*M stuff seems to boil down to: men getting a thrill from sexual fantasies of overpowering and hurting women in the most intimate, invasive way they can imagine. That is really, really twisted. And also why Catholic men and women (for some women do go along as cheerleaders, since--duh--women want men to love us) have no business going near M*M websites.
If all the world assented to the Gospel--the dream of all Christian missionaries until 1962--nobody would be attracted to the M*M. One of the beauties of Catholicism is that it has a developing anthropology that asserts the God-given dignity of women AND men. Anything good in feminism, and in the men's r*ghts demands, is already in Catholicism. St. Edith Stein and Blessed John Paul make very convincing cases of what men and women should strive for in terms of their own sexuality and in respect for the other. Blessed John Paul's Mulieris Dignitatem and Letter to Women should be required reading for us all.
It occurs to me that the M*M, like many streams of feminism, is a response to consumerism, hyper-individualism and the breakdown of the family. Consumerism and hyper-individualism lead to the breakdown, which leads to child support payments and frustrated fatherhood. If men and women stopped treating sex as a consumer good, and as something that properly occurs within the family-bond of marriage, then men would have the dignity of being husbands and fathers instead of, as they fear most, the duties of a bank machine. Men in the M*M who trumpet about "sex is what I do" are not part of the solution but most definitely part of the problem.
Another emphasis of the M*M seems to be that women confess to our bad behaviour, whatever bad behaviour that might be. Men demanding this confession verge on the, forgive me, hysterical. But again, the best response to this male hysteria and female refusal to apologize for whatever it is we may actually have done (if we actually did do it) is the Catholic practice of examination of conscience, contrition, confession, penance and forgiveness. Forgiveness is key. Nobody would confess to anything if the response was, "Aha! So you admit that you deserve a good rape!"
Women's greatest fear is that men are going to batter, rape and kill us or our kids. I think it may be wired into our DNA because the first time I walked into a badly ventilated weight room, the stench of male stranger sweat made me want to flee--and that was after two years of boxing. (Presumably my subconscious was okay with the sweat of Rich, Dave and the other guys at the boxing club.) Women of every generation have been battered, raped and killed by men, particularly during wars, so it is a little precious of men to get mad that women talk about it and try to stop it. And it's incredibly contradictory to respond with sexually violent language.
My own novel deals with some of the questions around what male-female relationships are like today. My IP interviewer thinks it is a big deal that my protagonist is much older than her lover. (Of course, it is a bigger deal that the protagonist in a IP novel has a lover!) I think that makes the novel really interesting, quite apart from the corpse, the neo-Nazis, the footballer, the shopping scene and stuff blowing up. Really, my novel has something for everyone, plus a lot of fodder for debates about "the Catholic novel" and "postmodernism, borrowings and irony." Kup teraz!
That reminds me: thank you, Anamaria for the Amazon review. Thanks also to Jenna and Julie for their Goodreads reviews, and to Megan and Magdalen for their Goodreads ratings. Simcha is telling her people to give her 5s, but I was really pleased you gave me 4s. Four strikes me as really good; it's not like I'm Dostoyevsky.