Monday, 25 August 2014

My Thoughts on MGTOW

Over a year ago I talked about Men Going Their Own Way and lots of people got their undies in a bunch over what I said. I said that some, SOME, MGTOWs were only MGTOWs because they hated women, and I still hold that opinion. 

Of course some men choose to go their own way because they truly have hatred towards women for various reasons, and that’s their prerogative. I tried to point out how those guys were toxic to the whole MGTOW  ‘movement’ or idea, but of course it became completely blown out of proportion, with people insisting I hated all MGTOWs, which is simply not the case. 

In truth, I could care less how someone chooses to live out their lives. If someone feels that being single is their best option, then go for it. What I didn’t like was the constant hatred being spewed from SOME, again SOME, of them. But you also get that from SOME MRAs and PUAs, etc… In summary, you will always have crazies that basically try to fuck it up for the whole bunch. That was what I was ultimately saying, and there is nothing wrong with stating that obvious point.

But, the reason for this article is because someone asked me how I feel about MGTOWs, and I would like to respond here.

MGTOW is a personal choice that a man makes for his own personal reasons, of which there can be many. If a man has decided that being single, or a confirmed bachelor,  is the best option for him, then more power to him. I think it’s great that some men do not feel compelled to fit in with the ‘norm’ which basically says you can only be happy when you are in a long-term, monogamous relationship. Challenging that antiquated narrative is a good thing. 

If someone with self-confidence, and who knows who they are and what they want chooses that type of lifestyle, and does not attempt to impose their choices on others, then good for them. If you choose to go your own way, do it! Be happy and live your life as you see fit. 

The only issue I have is, again, with SOME MGTOWs, those who tend to try and push their choice of a single lifestyle on others by preaching that it is the only logical route for all men to take. It may be great for you, but it may not be what someone else chooses to do with their lives. What makes one person fulfilled does not make all people fulfilled.

We humans are all different, and if the core of being MGTOW truly means men going their own way and doing what is best for them, then some men will of course choose a different route in their lives. And we should all be ok with that because it is not up to anyone individual, or a group of individuals, to dictate what MGTOW truly is or how someone ultimately finds joy and happiness in life. 

The idea of men going their own way should be just that. Men ultimately deciding what is best for them, whether it’s being celibate, a confirmed bachelor, in a serious relationship, married, or tons of other lifestyle options in-between. 

MGTOW should not be solely defined as being a confirmed bachelor for life, as some say it is. MGTOW should be the freedom for men to make their own choices in regards to how they live their lives. It should be a response to antiquated assumptions, but not a rigid belief system. It is ultimately an umbrella term with many different meanings and options attached to it, and not just one rigid rule.

In essence, all men who make their own lifestyle choices without any outside pressures are MGTOWs. When a man says, this is how I choose to live my life and I am happy with my choice, they are a man going their own way, and isn’t that the ultimate goal? To allow men to make their own choices without dictating to them what is acceptable, and what is not? To me, that seems to be what a MGTOW should truly mean.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Is the Mens Rights Movement Being Irresponsible?

There is a video that was done recently on TYT about War Machine, who is an ex MMA fighter and currently in police custody for the alleged brutal beating and attempted murder of his ex-girlfriend Christy Mack. 

In the TYT video they tie War Machine to the MRM because of things he wrote on his jail blogs. These were blogs he kept while he spent a total of 2 years behind bars for previous assault charges. 

Dean Esmay from A Voice for Men has recently chimed in after the TYT video was put up and said the following:

"So it’s happened again: Some violent psychotic does something violent and psychotic, and Men’s Rights Activists are supposedly to blame. Because potato."

No Dean, it is not because 'potato'. Let me explain it to you so your tiny little brain can comprehend why people keep equating people like War Machine to MRAs and the MRM.

I read both his blogs, (season 1 and season 2), and some of the things he wrote were eerily similar to the rhetoric peddled by the MRM, in particular, A Voice for Men (AVFM).

War Machine, yes that is his legal name, considers himself and men in general, to be more oppressed than the black slaves or the Jews in Nazi Germany were. He also writes about how men are also oppressed because they are not allowed to hit a woman if they feel, in any way, threatened or mistreated. Where have I heard that before? Oh ya, Paul Elam of AVFM wrote about how it was ok to beat a woman if you felt threatened. In that article he specifically stressed that what he was saying was NOT parody, and that he truly believes that it is perfectly fine for a man to beat a woman half his size if he thinks he is in any way being threatened. 

So what did War Machine clam on Twitter after the beating of Christy Mack? He claimed he felt threatened by Christy Mack and that his beating of her was justified because he was defending himself. 

Now call me paranoid, suspicious, or crazy, but isn’t it convenient how War Machine came out with that insane leap of logic 9 day after Paul Elam put that article out there basically encouraging men to do exactly what War Machine did. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I am not convinced it really is.

War Machine parrots a lot of the same insane and insulting sentiments that are held within the MRM, primarily those over at AVFM. Do a search on AVFM for Oppression, or Racisim and you will get tons of articles about how men in the western world are oppressed and treated like slaves by women, feminism, the government, and so-on. It’s a full on oppression Olympics pity party over there. 

For a place like AVFM, which likes to pretend it’s a human rights movement, to even consider or compare white middle class men in western society to being either oppressed or a slave is truly disgusting and insulting to anyone who has ever truly suffered those kinds of atrocities. Appropriating others real suffering for one’s own twisted agenda is not what any human rights movement worth its salt does.

But the real issue is, was War Machine an MRA? I highly doubt War Machine was an activist for anything, other than his own self-pity, but he did most certainly buy into the toxic idea that he, as a man, was seriously oppressed and a helpless victim. 

There is only one place that loudly proclaims these twisted ideas - where he could have gotten that insane message – The MRM. 

After seeing what War Machine wrote, I can’t help but see the eerie similarity and assume that he got those messages from places like AVFM, where they push the idiotic comparison of white middle class men to real oppression and slavery. It’s a common theme over there.

Now MRAs will most definitely protest to what I have said. They will try to claim that I am making shit up and that what people like Paul Elam writes is satire etc… But I am sorry guys, that shit don’t fly with me. You need to wake up and realize that what War Machine said is exactly the same bullshit that the MRM, and AVFM, peddles to its audience. 

If the MRM, or AVFM, doesn’t want any fingers pointed at them, then maybe they should have had much better sense and used some serious discretion when writing the kinds of articles they write. 

When you send a message to vulnerable men that they are as oppressed as real slaves were, or that they are under serious attack, as if they were in a real war, then you get blowback when something like this happens and your rhetoric is used. 

When you try and mask your true agenda or colors under the guise of ‘parody’, that is just plain irresponsible, especially when you know that it’s not really parody, and that your primary audience is comprised of vulnerable, angry, desperate men who are searching for any excuse or sense of permission to act as a victim and place all the blame for their problems on others. 

That is exactly what War Machine did, and I can guarantee you he is not the first, nor the last to think like that, especially when you now have a community of men that basically tells each other that it’s ok to blame women and the government for everything, that bashing a violent bitch is ok, or that beating a womanhalf your size is perfectly ok if you ‘feel’ in any way threatened, even if it is being touted as supposed parody.

Pro Tip: You are not The Onion.

It’s completely irresponsible on the part of people like Paul Elam and the other writers at AVFM , as well as those within the MRM as a whole, to put these bullshit ideas into the heads of vulnerable men, only to watch them self-destruct without any offer of real help, or possible solutions to their immediate problems. 

They exasperate things and fuel the anger and frustration within these men to the point that it eventually boils over and you get people like War Machine. And when that happens people will, and do, get hurt, but what you won’t see is Paul Elam, or anyone else at AVFM, or in the MRM, come out and try to help the monster they helped create. 

They will not offer to help those men who have taken their bullshit verbatim, ignored the parody claims, and then go out and self-destruct. They will not own their words or take responsibility for their part in these tragic events, even though they love to tell others to own their shit. They won’t ever apologize for putting all this shit into men’s heads, or even attempt to learn from something like this. 

No, they will not say a word, well except for 'potato'. They will continue to spew their dangerous, irresponsible rhetoric knowing full well that their words have real life consequences, and that the ultimate victims of their bullshit are exactly those that they purport to care about – Men. 

*edited some parts to add the potato response from Dean Esmay.

Playing the Victim

In Psychological Defenses in Everyday Life, (1989), Robert Firestone, Ph.D described a female patient who complained that her husband was habitually late for dinner. He explains - dinner was ready at 6:30, but he often came in as late as 8:30 without calling to let her know that he would be late.She asked Firestone, "Is that right?" in a tone that implied that she was the victim of wrongdoing.Firestone tried to explain to her that the key question wasn't whether it was right or not. Firestone wanted her to see that she was viewing the situation as a passive victim, which was neither productive nor adaptive.

From the example that Firestone gave, one can see that she was indeed seeking validation from him to confirm her perceived victimhood, and therefor validate her inaction in confronting her husband about the issue so she could continue playing the victim to his unaddressed actions. 

Many people go around thinking they are entitled to constant good treatment and fairness just because. The truth is that no one is entitled to either. The issues are what is going on around them and how they feel about it. 

According to Firestone, the woman would have been better off actively facing the facts of the situation and acknowledging her emotional reactions rather than personally judging it and feeling victimized by it.

Firestone also states that victim mentality prevents people from making objective decisions and evaluations of everyday life. People who have a victim mentality have not necessarily been victimized through a crime, but they are individuals who have adopted this behavior and attitude from years—usually during childhood—where core emotional or physical needs were not met. 

He states: If you are being robbed, you don't sit around thinking, "This shouldn't be happening to me. It isn't right." Instead, you react. You may defend yourself, call the police or try to run away. Constructive action is the opposite of victimized brooding.

The woman whose husband was late for dinner had every right to feel angry and to consider practical action if she wished, but to try to justify feeling victimized was maladaptive and ultimately fruitless.
Firestone explains that even in the most extreme situation, such as a concentration camp, feeling victimized is not adaptive: Feeling your anger, planning an escape, attempting to survive any and all of these courses of action are preferable to indulging powerless, victimized feelings. Your attitude is a vital factor in determining whether you will survive or perish, succeed or fail in life. 

Viktor Frankl stated that many of the survivors of German concentration camps were able to endure because they refused to give in to feeling victimized. Instead, although stripped of all their rights and possessions, they used one remaining freedom to sustain their spirit; the freedom to choose what attitude or position they would take in relation to the horror they faced. "It was the freedom to bear oneself ‘this way or that,' and there was a ‘this or that.'" (Frankl, 1954/1967, p. 94)

Firestone also states that maintaining a child victim role leads to chronic passivity. Victimized feelings are very often appropriate to the child's situation. Children are without power, are helpless and are at the mercy of their parents. Later as an adult, things happen that are sometimes beyond your control and understanding. However, the adult who is still playing the child victim role responds like the deer that sees a mountain lion approaching and instead of fleeing the danger becomes paralyzed. This person just keeps noticing over and over that the situation is unreasonable, unfair or threatening but doesn't make the appropriate adaptive responses. 

As a child there is a feeling of inadequacy/insecurity which teaches children to rely on others for happiness and reaffirmation – a healthy part of growing up, and one that, if the child is taught properly as they grow, disappears as their self-esteem and confidence increases in a healthy and positive way. 

For those adults with a victim mentality, it is often a sign of emotional immaturity, poor self-esteem, insecurity, and a lack of confidence which serves to keep the adult in a perpetual state of adolescence – a perpetual state of victimhood.

In the case of the woman mentioned above, Firestone explains that the tip off to the fact that she really preferred the child victim role was that she never made any substantial attempt to change her circumstances. Like so many of us, she would rather feel justified in complaining endlessly about her unfortunate circumstances while passively registering her dissatisfaction than actively changing her situation.

In regards to one's feelings, it is important to note that feelings are individually subjective and do not require any real justification. They are automatic responses to an individual’s perception of positive or negative events they have experienced, and people's feelings cannot be judged as right or wrong. 

Normal healthy anger is merely a proportional individual response to a frustrating or negative experience regardless of any rational considerations. It is more advantageous for us to experience feelings than to deny them, repress them or cut them off. 

However, our actions, unlike feelings, have consequences and must be considered in relation to both moral issues and rational reality concerns. Therefore "acting out" emotions, particularly angry emotions, must remain under a person's control. For example, a FEELING of murderous rage can be considered innocent, but to act on those feelings and commit murder has very real consequences.

"Victims" deal in judgments and "shoulds" when interacting with others. They operate on the basic assumption that the world should always be fair to them: "I should have been loved by my parents." "My children should call me or write to me." "After all that I've done for her, the least she could do ..." 

This unhealthy preoccupation with "rights" and "shoulds" and seeking constant fairness is irrelevant to real problems that we are all faced with; it leads to brooding, righteous indignation and vengeful feelings.

Characteristics of individuals with a victim mentality include:
  • Negative self-image
  • Demanding
  • Entitlement
  • Blaming
  • Complaining
  • Underlying feelings of being powerless
  • Frequent use of the phrase, “Yes, but…”

In many situations, people are unaware they are displaying a victim mentality; it is simply a way to shift the blame from themselves to another person.
People who chronically suffer from victim mentality, however, are stuck in a pattern of blaming and negativity, even over inconsequential events.

According to Dr. Nicola Davies:

 people who are stuck in the victim mentality role, tend to verbally and physically abuse others and then blame it on being provoked, constantly try to control other people’s sympathy by “needing” support or compassion, try to prove they are indeed the victim of others by staying in conflicted relationships (personal or business), and also complain of other people taking advantage of their kindness.

Recognizing when someone is suffering from victim mentality versus just being manipulative can be difficult. The main difference is chronic presence of negativity rather than just a fleeting moment of manipulation.
But not all “victims” are the same.

According to Dr. Kim Shirin, a psychotherapist, there are different victim mentality profiles. They include:
  • Passive victim: Always beating themselves up in a self-defeat attitude.
  • Sickness tyrant: Use their health to manipulate other people’s attentions. They willingly dwell on their pains and aches and expect to be taken care of.
  • Martyr: People pleasers but they always expect something in return. They are givers but they play the “you owe me” card all the time.
  • Angry victim: Always mad about something, they feel that whatever they do it is never enough for others. They fear being abandoned but express it in anger.
  • Bullies: They are emotionally immature and express frustration and hurt by attacking those who they feel did not supply [sic] their needs.
Having a victim mentality can lead to a whole host of mental illnesses due to angry, victimized feelings which get bottled up inside. Such mental illnesses can present as; depression, anxiety, co-dependence disorders, personality disorders, psychosomatic disorders, and so-on.

People with victim mentality can be extremely frustrating to deal with.
Dr. Orloff, M.D. explains there are ways to deal with these individuals without feeling irritated or emotionally drained.

For friends and relatives:

Kindly tell your friend or relative that it isn’t healthy for them to feel sorry for themselves all the time, and that you’re only willing to listen for 5 minutes unless the individual is willing to discuss possible solutions for their problems. Friends and family, because they often have close relationships, may become combative, but by telling them you love them and care for them you can usually defuse the situation. Focus mainly on solutions when dealing with them, and if they resist, remove yourself from the conversation.

For coworkers:

You must be careful not to offend coworkers as they do not have the close relationship family and friends do where blunt tactics can be appreciated. 

For these individuals, the key is to limit the conversation by not encouraging the topic at hand; tell them you hope things will turn around for them but you have to get back to work.

Victim mentality in yourself:

Perhaps the most difficult places to spot and handle victim mentality is within your own personality.

During those moments where you feel down and looking for a scape goat, Dr. Orloff recommends taking a second to remind yourself of all the positives you have in your life. Try to remind yourself that others are suffering horribly from hunger, disease, war, and other serious hardships. That is not to say that your problems are not real or serious to YOU, but in contrast to the millions of people around the world who suffer in extreme situations every day can usually put your problems in perspective. A reality check is the best way to snap yourself out of a victim mentality, especially if your problems are like those that we call ‘first world problems’.

Having a victim mentality is extremely maladaptive. Even though some passive manipulations may sometimes work for you, taking this position is never in one's best interests. In the long run, it will do more harm than good. 

Once someone is made aware that they have a victim mentality they can control their destructive behavior by acknowledging that their personal world and the external world contain many inequities and social injustices that are discriminatory and unfair to individuals or groups of people, yet they CAN take power over their lives. 

There are steps one can take to make a positive change if one wants to stop being the victim and start being more responsible and pro-active in their own lives.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

More Access!

apparently, Elsevier has decided to provide access to its developmental cognitive neuroscience archives. happy day for those of us who like to read studies. bleh for the non-readers. here's a link:

Elsevier logo

keep learning. a gun is merely a tool. the true weapon is your mind.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Why I Won't Ever go Back to Being an MRA

Do men have legitimate issues that need to be addressed? Of course they do. Men have the short end of the stick in many important areas such as incarceration, parental rights, the family court systems, and mental health, just to name a few. Men need to be represented and advocated for in these areas, but the current movement which claims to advocate for them, the Mens Rights Movement, does little to help men struggling with these unjust and severely biased systems.

After the first annual men’s conference hosted by A Voice for Men, it was clear, to anyone that took the time to watch their speakers, that most of their time and energy is spent on badmouthing feminism and gleefully cheering when someone calls feminists nasty names. Hardly productive for any movement that purports to be part of the human rights movement or to genuinely care about men and the issues that affect them. 

I have said it before, men who are suffering now, right at this very moment could care less about the childish bitching the MRM does in regards to who or what is responsible for their current predicament. These men are looking for real life help now. Not tomorrow, not next week, next year, or 10+ years from now. These are men teetering on the edge, and looking for any sign of hope for their future, and the MRM is ignoring them by not doing anything real or productive to provide them any hope or make any promises for any possible change to their current situations.

The straight up refusal of the MRM, mostly the self-proclaimed leader of the MRM, A Voice for Men, to work within current political systems to provide men with real life resources and outreach programs, because they prefer to wait for the downfall of the government, is ludicrous, and only an excuse for them to do absolutely nothing while pretending they actually do. 

The amount of money that AVFM pulls in each year is more than enough to start making real life changes in mens lives, yet nothing has ever materialized, except for Paul Elam’s admission that he keeps all the donations for himself, which I had said was happening well before he came out to admit it because he had been cornered on the subject by the likes of Adam Serwer from MSNBC.

The fact is, without feminism and all the infighting, people like Paul Elam would lose their meal tickets. Feminism has done wonders for people like Elam. It has provided them with the perfect podium from which to spout their rhetoric and hand out empty platitudes while cashing in on the suffering masses looking for any sense of validation for their perceived victimization at the hands of the “evil womenz”.

It’s the mantra that permeates the MRM – That everything bad that happens to men is because of feminism and women, and those who are trying to cope with their unfortunate circumstances buy it hook line and sinker. It’s easy to sell a leaky life ring to a drowning man. The problem is it won’t save him, but only prolongs his suffering until he inevitably sinks and drowns.

I have not, and never have denied that many men are suffering in our society today. Probably more so than the average woman here in the western world. Men do not hold all the cards anymore and are truly suffering in many ways. But the MRM, in it’s current state, is not the solution, nor will it ever be unless some serious changes are made to how the MRM handles the serious issues that affect men. 

There needs to be more real life activism, and not just random people going around hanging up inflammatory posters, or writing satirical articles that really are not that satirical in nature, or dredging up history with inflated statistics and skewed facts. 

Men need to start physically standing outside prisons and demanding change. They need to start lobbying the government for funding for men’s shelters and outreach programs. VAWA funds are actually available for men’s shelters and programs as well, but no one in the MRM wants to apply for it because it would mean working with the government and feminists. The MRM needs to start picketing family courts and organizing with those who are professionals in the field of family law to fight for change. They need to start getting their hands dirty and putting themselves out there, for real, for the benefit of other men and stop focusing on a utopia that just isn’t and will never be. 

One thing feminism got right was how they fought, in real life, for the things they wanted. They stood up and demanded change, and they fought tooth and nail for it. They got their hands dirty and didn’t stop. They worked within the current systems of their time to enact change, and they were not opposed to working with the ‘enemy’ in order to make those changes.

The MRM is only the mirror image of mainstream wannabe feminism today. It is nothing but a bunch of people who really aren’t interested in making anyone’s lives better. Their bottom line is how much money they can make off the backs of those who are hurting. It’s a movement based on taking advantage of others, and giving nothing of real value back in return. 

My son, my husband, my brother, and all the other men in my life that I love or care about deserve so much more than what the MRM currently has to offer. I for one will not insult them by being a part of a movement that makes a mockery of men and the issues that affect them. I will not be part of a movement that seeks to exploit them and that feeds off their pain and suffering. I will not be part of a movement that puts their own beliefs and ideology before other men’s well-being. I care too much about them and men in general, to be that cruel and uncaring. I believe men deserve so much more than the childish antics and empty platitudes the MRM has to offer. To be a part of that would be a slap in the face to any man I care about.

Until things change men will still suffer at the hands of both feminism and the MRM. People need to stop flaming and bitching about the other side and get some real work done. Until that happens the sad truth is that men will continue to be left by the wayside and forgotten. They will continue to be the casualties of this childish war between these two inept movements. And I am sure that is not very comforting to the man living on the streets, or the man who cannot see his children, or the man who is right now, this very moment, taking his own life because he has no hope left.