My bookâ€”Loving Men, Respecting Women: The Future of Gender Politicsâ€”is all about convincing the reader that It All Balances Outâ€”which is to say, in the benefits enjoyed and in the liabilities suffered, in the power and in the victimization, in the freedoms and in the constraints, it all balances out between Man and Woman.
As a statement, It All Balances Out may be evaluated according to two factors, value and validity. The value of the statement derives from whatever beneficial influence a belief in Balance may effect in our world. The validity of the statement depends upon the quantity and quality of truth it contains.
The book is primarily dedicated to arguing the essential validity of It All Balances Out. But the two may be argued separately. In this essay, adapted from the book, Iâ€™d like to make a case for the value of It All Balances Out. I wish to express something of what I believe the world stands to gain out of shifting our gender belief system away from the MalePower/FemaleVictimization (MP/FV) paradigm and toward a balanced gender belief system.
Iâ€™m often asked, If it all balances out, then whatâ€™s the problem? So, first off, letâ€™s deal with something easily misunderstood: Women suffer injustices along the respect axis and that is bad. Men suffer equal injustices along the love axis and that is bad. So, a balanced gender system is not at all the same thing as a perfect gender system.
But the deeper issue within our balanced gender system is our failure to know and to acknowledge that It All Balances Out! As I see it, that failure consigns us to living a MP/FV lie. At heart, my book argues that that lie is the source of our gender-political woes.
The Battle of the Sexes rages, inflicting heavy damages upon both women and men. The damages may come out even (balanced), but theyâ€™re damages all the same. So, again, a balanced system (especially when it is not acknowledged to be a balanced system) isnâ€™t the same as a perfect system and it certainly hasnâ€™t proven to be an entirely peaceful system. Understanding that It All Balances Out, there remains much to be passionate about regarding gender issues and gender politics.
And, crucially, itâ€™s also true that the kind of immature emotional rage both feminism and masculism can provoke finds no basis of support within an It All Balances Out belief system.
I submit that no one who truly believes that it all balances out between women and men could hold in their heart any great stores of vengefulness or vindictiveness toward their opposite sex. On what legitimate basis will you resent your opposite sex for the various powers, privileges, and exemptions it enjoys when you know your own sex enjoys powers, privileges, and exemptions in equal measure? When one comes to the realization that the costs each sex pays for their respective privileges are costs that come out even, then there remains no legitimate basis for inter-sex envy and bitterness. For both sexes, a realization of balance is antidote to the emotional bile currently poisoning love/respect between the sexes.
With an understanding of the true balance in power and in victimization, there comes a breath of fresh ideological air of the sort that promotes maturity, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, and constructive negotiation. The future of gender politics would then be free of the toxic MP/FV quagmire itâ€™s currently stuck in; free to seek maximal gender justice without all the rancor and resentment that each sex can so readily feel toward the other.
The Battle of the Sexes is like any other battle in as much as it is fueled by rage and righteousness. But while other battles may be settled when one side defeats the other, because the sexes are inexorably intertwined, when one sex â€świns,â€ť both sexes lose. For the Battle of the Sexes, the only win position is a draw. The Battle will only de-escalate when the warring factions become willing to take a balanced perspective. We give up rancor and resentment when we acknowledge that what â€śtheyâ€ť did to â€śusâ€ť is balanced by what â€śweâ€ť did to â€śthem.â€ť
We acknowledge the wheel of complicityÂ whereby Man exerts a force of influence upon Woman, and in turn, Woman exerts an equal force of influence upon Man. But we become mature and accountable when we agree thatâ€”as is true of each of us as individualsâ€”Woman and Man are each their own worst enemies and predominantly responsible for creating their own predicaments. How will you lay the hostilities of blame upon your opposite sex when youâ€™ve come to know that your sex is its own worst enemy and primarily responsible for creating its own predicaments?
Both women and men suffer injustice. A balanced system is not at all the same as a perfect system. It All Balances Out is not a proclamation intended to promote complacency. It is not an endpointâ€”it is a new beginning! Moreover, a balanced system becomes a far more workable system from which to proceed when it is acknowledged to be what it truly isâ€”balanced! Believing that men have the power and women are the victims is the deep underlying problem. Proceeding from the knowledge that It All Balances Out is the solution!
It All Balances Out is not a statement that lies in the realm of fact. I can make a strong case for it, but it can neither be objectively proven nor disproven. It is a matter of judgment, a matter of discernment. Yet I believe that it is more than that. It is something that may be espoused even as a matter of principle. Itâ€™s healthy. Itâ€™s an â€śolive branch,â€ť a peace offering. It is a leap of faith. For both women and men, it is a constructive and magnanimous position from which to start anew.
Moreover, It All Balances Out is not a message easily perverted. Balance zealots are unimaginable. Balance is benign. It All Balances Out is the win/win position. It is the only mindset that leads to the full restoration/preservation of love/respect between the sexes because it is the only position that takes into account the politicized perspectives of both sexes. It is, therefore, a position offering real promise toward de-escalating the Battle of the Sexes.
The future â€śceasefireâ€ť in the Battle of the Sexes in favor of a cooperative era of Peace, Love, and Understanding between the sexes is the reward; and it is attainable, but not without extending ourselves. To reach a perception of balance we must tell and acknowledge the other half of the gender story.
Iâ€™ll define two kinds of masculism: conscious and unconscious. Unconscious masculism is the exact mirror-opposite of mainstream feminism. Unconscious masculism sees only a male hell and female heaven. It argues FemalePower/MaleVictimization (FP/MV) as the only reality, and an end in itself. Conscious masculism is still the mirror opposite of feminism, but it is self-aware. It knows the political game itâ€™s playing and knows that it is engaged in what is essentially a battle of rhetoric. Conscious masculism doesnâ€™t try to tell you what the world is. It tells you what the world looks like as seen from the politicized male perspectiveâ€”a distinction that feminism, being still unconscious, hasnâ€™t the humility to make.
Because masculism came into existence within a world and a belief system that embraces feminism, most masculism Iâ€™ve read is conscious masculism. Simply put, conscious masculism is conscious because it is conscious of the existence and validity of its own mirror-opposite ideologyâ€”feminism. For this reason, a conscious masculist argues FP/MV not as an end in itself but as a means to an endâ€”that end being the understanding that It All Balances Out. Unlike most men, masculists do not stubbornly and irrationally reject the facts of male victimization. At the same time, however, it is important that we avoid internalizing the â€śvictim-dictumâ€ť that feminists seem to grasp with both hands.
I believe that It All Balances Out is the one gender-political truth to stress above all others. If the masculist movement wishes to effect constructive change and peaceful resolutions, it would be wise to stand behind It All Balances Out as its first principle. To masculists everywhere I say, let It All Balances Out be the banner that unifies us and keeps us on a healthy, constructive path.
From a politicized male perspective, it can seem as if Woman is the Giantess who ultimately pulls the strings and Man is but her sexual puppet. Woman controls the whole show in how she socializes humanity during infancy and childhood. Man earns the money; Woman spends it. Woman holds the majority vote; Man fights and dies on battlefields defending her right to vote. Man fights Womanâ€™s wars and picks up her garbage and works himself into an early grave keeping her in the safety and luxury she demands. For innumerable reasons, a masculist may conclude that it does not all balance out. It may seem overwhelmingly clear that women have the power and men are the victims. This is why, for both sexes, It All Balances Out is a leap of faith! To masculists I say: we can see the damage feminismâ€™s victim-dictum has done womankind. We know how internalizing â€śvictimâ€ť as an identity becomes self-fulfilling. Why would we want that for ourselves? Why would we want to oust Woman from victimhoodâ€™s center seat just so Man can sit there instead?
Besides, what good can come of two intractable ideologies doing battle? Is it not a Herculean enough task to drag the profoundly entrenched MalePower/FemaleVictimization belief system into the middle without trying to drag it all the way over to the FemalePower/MaleVictimization (FP/MV) opposite extreme? Suppose such masculism won out and Man was officially declared the victim. Now what have we got? Where, in the Big Picture, is the net improvement? Whereâ€™s the step forward?
It All Balances Out has blunt power as a sound bite and rallying cry. And itâ€™s palatable. While, I think, a FP/MV stand has approximately zero chance of making it into the pages of Time magazine, It All Balances Out is a stand the major mediaâ€”the only media that creates change and sets the official belief systemâ€”just might be willing to hear (if not immediately, then soon enough).
Think of It All Balances Out as a kind of â€śTrojan Horse.â€ť The value of It All Balances Out may be inoffensively argued up front. It is an innocuous phrase that might be welcomed through the major mediaâ€™s â€ścity gates.â€ť Once weâ€™ve got ourselves â€śinside,â€ť in stating that It All Balances Out, we will, of course, be asked to defend that position. The invitation is then given for presenting the truths of FP/MVâ€”the truths that go on the other end of the balance beam. At that point the masculist truths are brought out, and once theyâ€™re out, theyâ€™re out! So long as we lead with It All Balances Out and keep that slogan at the forefront, we cannot be accused of â€śvictim mongeringâ€ť (an accusation that has undermined us again and again).
Under an â€śIt All Balances Outâ€ť belief system, the one-sidedness of female-ism will be exposed. In fact, the very justification for feminism (in the absence of masculism) will be undermined. Policies, laws, and courts of law that currently favor women under the assumption that women need extra compensations within â€śpatriarchyâ€ť will be reevaluated. I submit that everything masculists hope for can be brought about within a gender belief system that recognizes oneâ€”and only oneâ€”male complaint for every equal-opposite female complaint.
I urge my MRA brethren to embrace It All Balances Out and place it on the forefront. It is something new, it is progressive, it is palatable within the mainstream, it is constructive, it is healthy, it is winning strategy; it is the future of gender politics.
In my follow-up essay, I will detail why Woman might be inclined to embrace It All Balances Out. Iâ€™ll explain why I believe that the MalePower/FemaleVictimization paradigm is ultimately the source of all of our gender political woes. And Iâ€™ll say much more about how and why a culture-wide perception of It All Balances Out goes a long, long way toward providing a solution to all our gender-political woes.
President, NCFM Chicago