Ah, yes: the common man. I like that phrase! It’s got a nice ring to it. I adopt this phrase as the name of this blog, the name of my YouTube program, and the name of myself. It is my belief that this phrase and all of its implications is sorely lacking in public discourse on gender issues. And here on YouTube, on blogs, and even within the nooks and crannies of a few of our institutions, you will find those who agree. We call ourselves “advocates for men.”
In my perspective, what makes the phrase the common man particularly delectable for our brand of discourse is that empowers the speaker with a variety of handy-dandy rhetorical devices. For it is clear when I say the common man that I do not refer to one singular man; nor do I speak solely of those in privileged positions at the top of society, with whom all men are often compared; no, when I say the common man I speak of the archetypal “everyman;” I refer to men as a group. And of the common man I ask an uncommon question: who will speak in their defense?
That question is the central theme of this blog. It is a question I ask myself daily, and often find occasion to ask of others. But why ask this? Some may say. Why speak for men, who may so easily speak for themselves? Men – who are surely better off than women in virtually every way? I will answer these questions in detail in future entries. For now, suffice it to say that appearances are deceiving, and things are not always what they seem. If you are well seasoned in our cause, here you will find affirmation of the truth you already know. But if you are new to the party, I invite you invite you to consider some of our perspectives. If you find them to your taste, and would like a more firm understanding of where we come from, I suggest reading The Myth of Male Power, by Dr. Warren Farrell, viewing the YouTube documentary by Manwomanmyth, reading Who Stole Feminism by Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers, or visiting high-profile men’s websites, like A Voice for Men, or The FalseRape Society.
Every now and them, some people ask me, “What got you into this kind of thing?” So I figured this is as good a time as any to briefly summarize. While growing up I saw a million little occasions where men were treated very different from the women, and sometimes to the detriment of men. And while these things were often (though not always) small annoyances, I for long simply shrugged them off.
It wasn’t until 2009 that I became interested in the deliberate study of male issues. I was a masters student, working in the academy. During that time I experienced, discovered and bore witness to what can only be called a bias against men and boys in public education; a bias that I later found was not isolated within any particular sector, but had spread across the entire system.
I was surprised at how often many within the academic community - whether teachers or students - would stand up for the dignity and rights of particular groups, be it be those of blacks, or of women, or the disabled - but those same people would make all kinds of rhetorical swipes and insults, not about individual men, but about men as a group, that they would never make about any other. And as I saw them defending everyone else, I asked myself the question: who will speak in defense of men?
This double-standard piqued my intrigue, and out of curiosity I ran a Google search on gender issues. As I began to read a few of the hundreds of thousands of informative links, I soon discovered a wide area of study previously unknown to me; and the depth of my ignorance of that field of study beckoned to me like the unfathomable depths of a bottomless chasm. And so I began researching, compiling data, listening to the voices of others, and reflecting on my own experiences and looking at them in a different light. I began asking questions that others had not been asking, and more revealingly, I began to ask those who called themselves "the gender experts" why they had not been asking them. And out of all of this, I came to the conclusion that there exists bias and discrimination against men in society that negatively affects the well-being of millions of ordinary men, and that while very few were talking about it, even less were taking action against it. And while I often found that the most immediate cause of this bias and discrimination against the common man was Feminism, I eventually came to the conclusion that the underlying, or root cause, was something called Chivalry.
Now of course I’m being vague. I need to define my research, data, and experiences – in short, the issues - more clearly. And there is always the question of “so what.” “So a problem exists,” someone may say, “What do you plan to do about it?” As with any sociopolitical issue, we may raise awareness about the issues, but if we lack action, we aren’t really helping. To that end I have some fun activities planned. But that will be the subject of future entries.
Thank you for reading, and welcome to TCM.