Men, Masculinity, and Gender Equality

Regarding men, masculinity, and gender equality, this video of a TV Ontario interview (The Agenda, with Steve Paikin) on YouTube (in 5 short parts) is definitely worth watching.

The guests on the interview are Katherine Young (co-author, with Paul Nathanson, of “Spreading Misandry“), Walter Fox (criminal lawyer specializing in representing men in divorce and false-accusation cases; see his October 24, 2000 presentation to the Ontario Standing Committee on Justice and Social Policy), Ian Brown (host of TVO’s “The View from Here”, a typical “honorary woman” as defined by Katharine Young in the interview, although she was not pointing her finger at Ian Brown), and David Shackleton (new-age man, mytho-poetic and editor of Grip Magazine).

Especially during the first part of the interview, Ian Brown steadfastly held the opinion that men are more powerful than women and therefore the more dangerous perpetrators of domestic violence. None of his opponents (although Walter Fox identified the studies by Murray Strauss) brought up the fact that weapons such as poison, surprise attacks, knives, guns, lighters and lighter fluid, boiling water, etc. make for great equalizers and are readily wielded by women. During the subsequent parts of the show Ian Brown came across as someone who’s got his mind firmly made up and who can’t possibly be confused by any facts. It seems that, as far as Ian Brown is concerned, there cannot possibly be any discrimination against men, especially no silence of the media relating to the subject of discrimination against men.

A poll that was run during the interview asked whether there is systematic discrimination against men in our society. The answers: 84% Yes, 16% No.

Personally, I strongly agree with Walter Fox’s and Katherine Young’s opinions, while I can’t quite agree with all of the views expressed by David Shackleton. David Shackleton, as he did for as for as long as I have known him, promotes the idea that men and women can be equal in all regards and are therefore freely interchangeable in all roles society has to offer for them.

David Shackleton, and to some extent the other participants in the discussion as well, appears to be somewhat unaware of how much discrimination there is against men and how that can, for the benefit of deniers like Ian Brown, be easily measured, especially with respect to the job market but also in relation to life in general. None of the participants mentioned anything about the fact that men comprise about 95 percent of serious or fatal job injuries. Nor did any of the participants mention the shorter average life expectancy of men (roughly 7 fewer years than that of women in Canada and even as many as 14 years in some of the nations of the former communist block).

Quite some years ago I had a discussion on that with David Shackleton. His answer then was that society treats men and women equally but in different ways. I guess he then saw the shorter life expectancy of men as the price men must pay for having more power. If anything, now he appears to come across as seeing men being responsible for being discriminated against, as it seems that according to David Shackleton the discrimination is brought upon men not by feminists but by men themselves because they are needlessly chivalrous and self-sacrificial.

Although the panelists agreed that more women than men (about 54 vs. 12-15, respectively) are being killed in Canada each year in interspousal violence (that is based on convictions; women are far less likely than men suspected of, brought to trial or convicted of murdering their spouses).  Even though the vast majority of all murder victims comprises men, none of the participants in the interview touched on the fact that the largest sector of domestic violence victims is composed of children, and that just about exactly 70 percent of serious or fatal injuries to children in families is being inflicted by the children’s biological mothers and their boyfriends or men-in-the-house who are not the biological fathers to the injured children, while biological fathers are about nine times less likely than mothers are to hurt their children.

None of the participants in the debate mentioned that straight-forward traditional marriage provides by far the safest environment and most protection against violence for all members in the traditional nuclear family.

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