The Undercurrent of Misogyny in Gaming Journalism

maxresdefaultGreg Costikyan, a writer for the gaming website “Gamasutra”, released an article in which he roundly attacks gamers who have rallied under the banner of what is being called GamerGate.  His attacks are focused on these gamers as if they were all men when, in fact, those who are flocking to its banner are an incredibly diverse crowd of gamers.  These gamers are fed up with what they see as corruption and nepotism in not just the gaming media, but also among game developers, large and small.  It is clear that Costikyan feels it is only the men in this uprising that he needs to address as he completely ignores the women in the movement.

Costikyan literally challenges these gamers, these “poor examples of men”, to a physical fight for having the audacity to speak up against perceived corruption within his own ranks.  He is one of many who reports on games and has taken to figuratively defecating on his primary audience by claiming they are “Maxim reading horny boy-men” and “blinkered idiots”.  He used his post to attempt to slap the gamer collective across the face with an empty glove and challenged any and all gamers to meet him “on horse or afoot, with sword or pistol”.  While many gamers have a love for retro gaming, this Neanderthal of a man seems to have a love for retro living.

Misogyny and GamerGate

Despite many women participating in GamerGate, Costikyan thinks it is nothing but a bunch of misogynists.  However, his article is rife with plenty of its own misogyny and unintentionally highlights many current issues, as well as potential future issues, for women in gaming.  He begins by lamenting about how horrible the gaming industry used to be, and shows signs of a cognitive dissonance to his own misogyny as he recaps what gaming has had to deal with in decades past.

For decades, he says, we had developers focusing on making “tits bounce in the next beach volleyball title”, as if beach volleyball was one of the top games in the sports genre.  Wikipedia only has pages for 18 beach volleyball videogames, and the one that was seen as controversial because of tits that bounce, “Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball”, came out in 2003, just over one decade ago.

For decades, he claims, we had managers employing “high-breasted bimbos” to pose at E3 booths.  With just three words, Costikyan objectifies these women by focusing on their breasts while at the same time assuming that they lack intelligence.  I say this because I doubt he spent much time getting to know them beyond staring at their chests and writing them off as “bimbos”.  Also, the first E3 was in 1995, so it’s 20th anniversary until next year.

For decades, he says, the most creative people were shut down whenever they proposed any kind of game design innovation.  He gives no examples of this, such as who these people were or what innovative ideas we missed out on.  With no examples given, we cannot challenge how good these ideas were or if they would have resulted in increased sales, something the industry often sees as a primary concern given the investments they put into making games.

Though this may be true on a micro scale, at the macro level we have seen huge changes in design innovation in videogames throughout their short history.  One need look no further than Nintendo to see this, as they have been anything but stale in the realm of innovative game design despite rehashing the same characters repeatedly.  For perspective, Nintendo is the oldest game company that is in both the console and game development market and the Nintendo Entertainment System, which debuted in 1985, is only now approaching its 30th anniversary.  In less than three decades, we have seen plenty of design innovation with just the Mario franchise, to say nothing of the numerous changes the hardware that houses these games has gone through.

That is enough lamenting on all those “decades” past, let’s get back to the rampant misogyny in Costikyan’s article.  He brings up Zoe Quinn and her sexual escapades that, although not the reason for GamerGate, can certainly be viewed as a catalyst that exploded what has been a brooding sense of corruption and nepotism surreptitiously going on behind the scenes of gaming journalism and promotion.  Zoe Quinn’s one game development credit is a poorly written and easily designed “choose your own adventure” story.  Do you know how to insert a hyperlink?  Congratulations, you could be a game designer too.  Personally, I’d rather read a copy of “Wizards, Warriors & You”.

Does Costikyan give us any reason why her game is good?  Why her game deserves any positive press? Why people should go buy it or at least check it out?  Nah, he just says that it’s not our business who she had sex with, or who she didn’t have sex with.  He’s right on that count; it is Zoe’s garden and she can plant in it whatever she wants.  However, he takes it a step further and says that if we, the collective gamer community, had any brains, we would give a kidney to have sex with Zoe; that we as a community are unlikely to ever touch someone with so much as a scrap of her intelligence or talent.

No example of her intelligence, no discussion of her talent (or lack thereof), just sexual objectification of her by placing her upon a pedestal which gamers, who Costikyan assumes to all be heterosexual men, should be willing to remove our vital organs to be graced with the privilege of being allowed to “fuck” her.  This from someone who says it is the gamers who are the misogynists in this debacle.  Classy.

What really concerns me about Costikyan’s lack of objective perspective is actually not the dishonesty and favoritism in journalism.  It is that this is the message that he is sending to other indie developers, particularly female developers, on how to get publicity.  He is essentially saying that game developers should be allowed to have sex with all the journalists they want in order to get as much press as they can muster because they don’t have the millions of dollars that large game companies have.

Costikyan asked who had more power, Activision or an independent game designer?  Unfortunately that question is incomplete, as he forgot to include a gaming journalist.  If Activision gives you $100, advertising revenue, etc., is that the basis you use to judge their product on, or would you be honest and review their game based on its Jeff Gmerits?  Jeff Gerstmann, as an example, got fired from one of the top gaming websites for giving an honest review of the game “Kane & Lynch” because the website received substantial advertising revenue from the game’s publisher, which they threatened to withdraw.

Now Costikyan is setting the stage for sexual manipulation of female indie game developers.   If they don’t sleep with you, will you not give them a positive review, or any positive press?  If you would give your kidney to have sex with Zoe Quinn, is it that unfathomable that you would accept sex in exchange for a simple “hey, check out this game”?  Would you be fired from your job if you still gave her a negative review after she gave you sex for favours, similar to Gerstmann’s situation?  No, you would not, even though that would be tantamount to skipping the bill on a sex-worker, something many people would consider rape.  So who has the power in such a relationship?  Gaming journalists do.
This is where I, and many behind GamerGate, see an issue with journalistic integrity.  On the one hand, you can view Zoe as playing indie game developer on easy mode, but on the other hand you have Nathan Grayson holding all the power.  One could easily make a comparison to a student sleeping with their teacher for a good grade; in this case it is a good review or simply positive press.

Now we have a rich cornucopia of diverse gamers, who are being belittled by that very media for asking for a little journalistic integrity, for a little transparency.  Journalistic integrity that would actually help protect women in the gaming industry from shady journalists such as yourself (sorry, I meant “expert blogger”), who justify having sex with those they report on as none of the consumer’s business; consumers of both your gaming news and the developer’s product.  This further hurts female game developers, as now people may question when they get good reviews, especially if the so-called journalists feel they are allowed to have intimate relations with developers feel they do not need to recuse themselves from reviewing their product.  This has clearly hurt the reputation of those who report on the gaming industry, but worse, it may have sullied the perception of other indie developers.  If you want gaming to grow and change, that means those of you who report on it need to grow and change as well.  You are clearly collectively lacking professionalism when you gang up on your readers for calling you out on shady business practices and an absence of journalistic integrity.

This is to say nothing of all the other indie developers who are trying to legitimately garner positive press for their games through the quality of their product, not through currying favour with journalists on a personal or intimate level.  Did you ever think game developers may want to just market their product and not be your friend, not want to have sex with you? What do you think is the message being given here to other game developers and to the fans of gaming?  Where is the justice for those who make a superior product but are passed over in indie game competitions and gaming press because they, ironically, didn’t “play the game”?  I suppose this mentality shouldn’t be too surprising from someone who writes for a gaming website that got its name by bastardizing the title of an ancient sex-guide; Hindu, not Prima.

Costikyan started his article by mentioning he has a daughter who felt his opinion, “as a male voice in the industry”, was worth hearing.  I hope Vicky isn’t in the gaming industry.  It would be kind of stomach churning considering she has a misogynistic father who thinks indie developers need to do whatever they can to get a little positive press, which may apparently include sleeping with journalists, and that this is something that should be kept secret, kept quiet, and kept behind closed doors.  And he says those within GamerGate are the misogynists.


I may do a piece touching on the homophobia, transphobia, and the misandry blatantly displayed in Costikyan’s piece, but I didn’t want this article to last longer than the attention span of us gamers.

Until then, to the opponents of GamerGate, look, the people you are after are the people you depend on!

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CAFE’s Menu is Just Fine – A response to Paul Elam

***This was a personal response and does not reflect the views of The Canadian Association For Equality.

2663980-890290-two-candles-flaming-in-the-darkPaul Elam recently took me to task over comments I had made on a panel at AVFM’s first international conference on Men’s Issues.  Here is my response to his article:



I could tell you were angry with what I had said on the panel when you pointed out that “someone” on the panel mentioned radicals, and then you denied their very existence.  If I had meant AVFM, I would not have sat on that panel. I have dealt with enough radicals from the other side; I wouldn’t deal with those I may consider radical on our side. Everyone I know in what we consider the MHRM, rightly deny participation of red-pillers, PUA’s, etc. However, the media does not, and there was a fair amount of media there.

It is ironic that you closed your rant by stating that the last thing the MHRM needs is an activist “Good Men Project”.  Someone from AVFM mentioned to me at the conference that you recently got raked over the coals in the comments section of an article on masculinists.  One of those comments levied the same accusation at AVFM:

“Is it necessary to condemn every fucking group in [the] manosphere? … it seems that inch by inch AVFM is moving towards becoming another GMP.”

My response was “good”. We should be told when people disagree with us. I despise an echo chamber, which is probably one of the biggest reasons that I am involved in getting men’s issues addressed. This is why I wholeheartedly endorse this article. If you dislike what I say, by all means, tell me. That applies to everyone in the men’s movement, not just Paul Elam. If you dislike or disagree with what someone is saying, especially those you consider to be leaders of the movement, tell them.  Let your voice be heard.

The comment that irked you was spoken while I was discussing a sub-reddit I enjoy occasionally engaging in, “feMRAdebates” where people of all perspectives discuss gender issues. I was adding to what Stefan Molyneux had said about “know thyself”.  Many in this movement see feminism, and thus feminists, as the enemy; I don’t see it in such black and white terms.  At the conference, I believe you yourself mentioned supporting what you call “good” feminists, such as Christina Hoff Sommers, Cathy Young, or Camille Paglia. There are those who do discuss errors of feminism, and speak to men’s issues, and do so under the banner of feminism. Like Warren Farrell, I support anything that helps liberate people from staunchly held gender paradigms.

EchamI was telling people to engage with those whose opinions differ from their own, and to learn from them. For those who are anti-feminist, consider it “knowing thy enemy”. For those who are just interested in men’s issues, then engage perspectives outside your preferred echo chamber. You won’t always agree with people, or be agreed with (am I right, Paul?), but you will be better for it. You will also be helping those who have a poor understanding of what men’s issues are by giving them a better understanding of how
men and boys are underscored, misunderstood, and underrepresented in the realm of gender discussions.  If you are good enough, you may even sway a few opinions. I even find that those who self-identify as “radicalsare occasionally worth talking to.

What I meant was to ignore those who are radical in their opinions.  You won’t get anywhere arguing with a troll who just hates men/women, or thinks all men/women’s issues are invalid.  If you do choose to engage with those kinds of radicals, remember that it is not them you are talking to, it is those who are listening or reading along.  Someone else on the panel mentioned the old adage of “if you argue with an idiot, they will just bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”  As such, keep the higher ground or ignore them.

As for rPN protestadicals who picket men’s conferences in Detroit, or scream in your face at a discussion of men’s issues in Toronto, I agree with you; we do not have radicals in the MHRM in that sense.  What I liked best about your closing statement on the panel was when you said “if we did have radicals, we would cast them out”.  If you don’t think we have radicals, great.  If we ever get some, then yes, we should cast them out for their transgressions against the entire movement.

One of your writers, Andy Thomas (who also has an article on CAFÉ’s website), wrote a great article for AVFM a year ago titled “We are the radicals now”.  He asserts that feminist revolutionaries who think they are radical, are nothing of the sort.  He refers to himself as a radical, and says “We are not just radical, we are in every sense the most radical thinking movement in the history of human society.”  You deny the existence of radicals, and I certainly did not mean the type Andy wrote about anyway.  Perhaps we need to discuss what one another’s definitions of a “radical” are before you go chomping at the bit.

This is what will separate us from the feminist sphere.  When discussing their radicals, or those who are truly man-hating, they tend to claim that not all feminists are like that (NAFALT, to the uninitiated).  This is not denying their presence in feminism; it is not decrying them as feminists; it is not saying that they reject their form of feminism.  It is saying yes, they are feminists, but we’re not all like that.  If they won’t cast them out and say they don’t accept them as feminists, then it is worse than the no true Scotsman fallacy.  They are not saying no true feminist would say/act like that, they are saying yep, that’s definitely an aspect of feminism!  If the radical feminists were an illness of feminism, they would be Tourettes, and we’re expected to ignore the occasional outburst of “rape apologizing scum” and “shut the fuck up!”

So yes, I support what you said in response.  We cannot be accepting of radicals or radical viewpoints, in the extreme sense of radical, if they pop up under the banner of the MHRM.  I support your calling me out on something you disagreed with.  However, I don’t support your trying to turn AVFM readers against someone who you simply disagree with, who also contributes to the recognition of men’s issues, because I did not mean them.  If I meant AVFM readers, and writers, I would have said that’s who I meant, and I would have given specific examples because I prefer to address people as individuals rather than guilty by association.

At this same event a CAFE representative proudly, publicly, and quite sneeringly scoffed at the idea of men’s “rights,” a shot I interpreted as a direct insult to those of us who actually believe men should have them.”

Does this sound like sneeringly scoffing to anyone else?  Sure sounds like someone saying men’s rights are human rights to me; someone in support of a men’s human rights movement.  For more people who use the perspective of a MHRM, you don’t even need to look outside your own walls.  He also said that is what we, CAFÉ, are.  If that displeases you, so be it.  I’m sorry if you don’t think men’s rights are simply human rights.

You say I should hold some resolve, have a fucking spine, and essentially not sit on the fence.  Sorry, but I prefer to have an open mind.  It’s the other side of the fence that is usually stuck in staunchly held world-views (Patriarchy! Patriarchy! Patriarchy!), and that’s what you want me to be like?  Pass.  That’s why I’m not over there.  Thank you for dissenting from my opinion and reminding me that we are allowed to challenge each other on this side.  Please continue to do so.  That is what I value about the men’s movement.

With all due respect, I would suggest you work harder at practicing what you preach, lest you come across as an overly defensive individual, more concerned with his personal ego gratification than with the ultimate goals of the MHRM.  Personally I’m disappointed you didn’t feel you could come and talk to me about my comment afterwards, wherein we could have had a discussion on what I meant by my comments and come to a better understanding.

Your light will not get any brighter by blowing out someone else’s candle.

“May I never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson



Posted in Men`s Issues | 7 Comments

A Conversation With Men is Needed

conversationMs. Magazine published an article by Donna Decker on how we should not be surprised that a white (in truth, half white) male went on a killing spree in Santa Barbara.  Ms. Decker feels that this story will repeat itself if we do not talk about violent men and what makes them that way.

I won’t argue the fact that men make up the majority of perpetrators of violent crime.  However, it is deceitful to act as if it is women who are the majority of their victims, nor were they a majority of the Santa Barbara murders.  It is further disingenuous to discount the overwhelming number of young men who are murdered simply because they were murdered by members of their own gender, instead of the opposite gender, though this is the argument put forth regularly by feminists.

The claims Ms. Decker makes about femicide (the murder of women because they are women, though it has also been broadly defined as any murder of a woman) paint a dire picture indeed:

In the U.S., femicide is the second leading cause of death for women 20-24, and the leading cause of death for African American women ages 15-24.

Death by Homicide

In fact, this is not actually the case.  There are no specific stats kept on acts of “femicide”, but homicide (which would include femicides, as it includes all murders regardless of whether the victim’s gender was the perpetrator’s motive or not) is actually the 4th leading cause of death for all women, aged 20-24, in the United States, accounting for 360 murders in 2010 (accidental death is first, with 1,920 deaths).  The leading cause of death for black women aged 15-24 was also not homicide either, it was the same as for all women; accidental death.  Homicide was the second leading cause of death for black women aged 15-24 with 268 deaths.

The causes for male deaths in the same age brackets are similarly ranked.  The leading cause is accidental death for men 15-24, while the second cause of death is homicide.  However, for black men aged 15-24, murder is the #1 cause of death.  For that matter, in the U.S., murder is the #1 cause of death for black men aged 15-34!  Surely, thanks to their male privilege, even though it is their #1 cause of death, black men’s overall numbers must be lower than the 268 black women who were murdered in 2010.

Shockingly, black men’s male privilege doesn’t seem to have protected them to any further degree than black women with their lack of privilege.  In 2010, 991 black men aged 15-19 were murdered, 1,557 aged 20-24, and if we add in the 25-34 bracket, in which 2,132 black men were murdered, that brings the total to 4,680 black men murdered between the ages of 15-34, compared to black women’s death toll of 537 for the same age range.  That is almost 9 times the number of males who died compared to those black women who lacked their male “privilege”.  As a matter of fact, the number of women who died by murder in 2010, of all races, from age 1-44 (the only age ranges where homicide was one of the top 10 causes of death for women), was 4,278.  That’s still over 400 less murders than black males aged 15-34 alone.

That must be because they are black, and thus lack privilege though, as it is only white males who are privileged.  Of course, if that is the case, is there really such a thing as male privilege if it only applies to males of one colour?  I mentioned above that homicide actually ranked as the 4th highest cause of death for all women aged 20-24, with a count of 360.  Let’s see how it stacks up with the white privileged women compared to the doubly privileged white males.

In 2010, white women, despite their white privilege, were murdered in numbers reasonably comparable to their black sisters.  There were 120 white females aged 15-19 who died by homicide (ranked 4th), 205 for ages 20-24 (4th), 385 for 25-34 (3rd), and 383 for women aged 33-44 (8th).  That is a total of 1,093 white women aged 15-44 who were murdered in 2010; the total for black women aged 15-44 was 714.  Ms. Decker feels that these numbers are why women are so frightened of men, and that we need to have a deeper conversation about men’s violence because of the harm it is doing to women.

One would assume that carrying the dual-privilege card of white and male (which usually comes along with heterosexual cis-gendered privilege), that the number of murders of this demographic should be the lowest of all.  However, In 2010, there were 547 homicides of white men aged 15-19 (3rd most common cause of death), 852 for ages 20-24 (3rd), 1,335 for ages 25-34 (5th), and 893 for white men aged 35-44 (6th).  This is a total of 3,627 white male homicides in 2010 for the age range of 15-44.

A quick recap of homicides in the U.S. in 2010 (age range 15-44 years old):

  1. All men = 9,519 (page 20)
  2. Black men = 5,591 (page 34)
  3. White men = 3,627 (page 27)
  4. All women = 1,890 (page 22)
  5. White women = 1,093 (page 29)
  6. Black women = 714 (page 37)




(Click to enlarge)




I agree with Donna Decker when she says “let the talking begin”, but I don’t agree with what she thinks we should be talking about, or who should be doing the talking.  Before we get into that, there are some other stats I’d like to delve into from the same report.

Santa Barbara Victims The six victims in the Santa Barbara killings, whom Ms. Decker seems to have lost sight of.  From the top left: Christopher Michaels-Martinez, Veronika Weiss, Katie Cooper, Cheng-Yuan Hong, George Chen, Weihan Wang.


Death by Suicide

Ms. Decker lists off some instances where men have gone on killing sprees and targeted women specifically.  Although her article was in relation to the recent Santa Barbara murders, I do not think Elliot Rodger belongs on this list.  While Elliot Rodger expressed a particular hatred towards women, he had a great loathing for all of humanity.  While he expressed a deeply misogynistic hatred for women, his 141 page manifesto and YouTube videos exhibit contempt for all males as well, whom he saw as beneath him.  Of the people he murdered, 4 were men, 2 were women.  Though his intended main target was a sorority house, he did not feel that men deserved to live either.  He could not understand why women did not want him, but would date these douchebags who were beneath him.

What Elliot did have in common with three of the four cases that Ms. Decker highlighted (Marc Lepine, George Sodini, and Charles Roberts), was that his murderous rampage ended with his own suicide.  I feel that many of these sprees are a grandiose suicide attempt.  The ultimate intent of these sprees is an attempt to exit this world in such a way that will either punish those who the killers feel have wronged them, such as the maliciously misguided and misogynistic murder sprees of women detailed here; to gain perpetual infamy through a killing spree of random people and then committing suicide; or either of the above in the hopes that the end result will be suicide-by-cop for their criminal actions.

SuicideMany of these sprees are more about a disdain for all human life and an attempt to make a big impact in order to leave a mark on society before they complete their suicide.  However, many m
en who choose to take their own life, to quote T.S. Eliot, go out “not with a bang, but a whimper”.  Yes, misogyny is something that should be tackled and addressed, but we need to also discuss the concept of misandry, the hatred of men, particularly this internalized misandry which leaves men feeling unworthy of their own lives, let alone the lives of their fellow men.  Far more men die by suicide than people die by the mass murderers on killing sprees which Ms. Decker highlights.  Since we already took a comparison look at the homicide rates of men and women, let’s look at suicide rates, broken down by race and gender, which is also a conversation we are currently not having.


For starters, in 2010, those with the least societal privilege (according to feminist standards of privilege), black women, accounted for 240 deaths by suicide between the ages of 15-44.  Blacks who had the privilege of being male, aged 15-44, were almost five times as likely to commit suicide as black women, with 1,185 deaths by suicide.  Women aged 15-44, who lacked the privilege of being male but had the privilege of being white, more than doubled the suicide rate of black men with a total of 2,972 reported suicides.  Those who carried the societal privilege of being both white and male, aged 15-44, almost quadrupled the number of suicides completed by their white sisters with a staggering 11,592 deaths by suicide.  In fact, the rate of suicide for those privileged to be white men was over two and a half times greater than all 3 of the other demographics combined!

A quick recap of suicides in the U.S. in 2010 (age range 15-44 years old):

  1. All men = 13,447 (page 20)
  2. White men = 11,592 (page 27)
  3. All women = 3,457 (page 22)
  4. White women = 2,972 (page 29)
  5. Black men = 1,185 (page 34)
  6. Black women = 240 (page 37)



(Click to Enlarge)




Not the Conversation You Think We Need

“It takes balls to talk about the things that frighten us. Women do it all the time, because the things that frighten them are, frankly, men. Now how about if men take a deep breath and listen for a moment to their wives and daughters and mothers and aunts and girlfriends, who are telling them that being angry is OK, but acting it out with hatred against half the population of the world is not. It is old news, pathetic and soul destroying.

Let the talking begin.”

As is the problem with many feminists, Ms. Decker feels men shouldn’t be having this conversation.  She feels they should take a deep break and just listen.  Ms. Decker clearly does not know how conversation works.  A conversation involves an exchange of ideas, a discussion between two or more parties, not merely a unilateral doling out of advice from women to men.

Ms. Decker says it takes balls to speak of the things that frighten us, and that women do it all the time.  My fear is that those of us who actually do have balls are not discussing these things.  This recent killing spree in Santa Barbara involved someone who isolated himself in videogames.  Elliott Rodger’s manifesto speaks of a man who had few conversations and fewer friends.  A man who was mentally unstable and who felt the entire world was beneath him.  He did not have hatred for half the population of the world; he had hatred for the whole world.

No, we should not take a deep breath and simply listen to the women in our lives.  We should collectively take a breath and allow each other room to talk in a manner that is more than just a one-way communication.  We need to teach people to have respect for everyone, not just women.  Also, to ignore women’s role in raising these types of men is to do women a disservice.  You are assuming that the wives, daughters, mothers and aunts that men have in their lives are incapable of also being a negative factor who contribute to the small minority of men who commit these atrocious acts. Perhaps it is the other men in their lives that can provide the needed conversation these men should be listening to; their sons, brothers, uncles, and fathers.  It takes a village to raise a child, and I have yet to visit a city, town, or a village that does not have women contributing to the raising and influencing of men, or men in the raising of women.

You are right that we need a conversation, but are you willing to allow men the space to have it?  The stats within this article show that men are murdered at five times the rate at which women are murdered.  Men commit suicide at seven times the rate women are murdered.  Men kill themselves more than they kill each other, and far more than they kill women.  If anyone should fear men, it is men.  It is not women we need to teach men to be gentle towards, it is men themselves.

Telling men to do nothing but listen to women is precisely the kind of conversation we do not need, nor is it a conversation at all, but it is precisely what we are being told to do.  Those who keep telling us we should be listening to them when we try to have those conversations ourselves, are not nearly as polite about it as Ms. Decker.

Yes, Ms. Decker, let the talking begin, but let us all talk, as members of the same shared society.

“Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long”
-T.S. Eliott, The Hollow Men  


***All stats are from the CDC
**The FBI has statistics that break down the murders by gender of the offender.  Looking at their statistics change the rates in my article a bit.  Men would now only be twice as likely to be murdered by men than women are (though almost 3 times as likely to be murdered by a woman as women are).  This would not change the risk of men killing themselves at 7 times the rate at which women are murdered by men.

Posted in Men`s Issues | 8 Comments

Debunked – Part 3

I honestly can’t be bothered. I went to go see what the last 4 “debunked” issues were, and I see he’s made changes to where I already highlighted that he has absolutely not debunked a thing. Instead, here’s a screenshot of my parting comment:

Fuckwit Debunked
I’ve got better things to write about than basically correcting this guy’s homework for him.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“Debunking MRAs” Debunked – An Addendum on Suicide

In my original writing on the subject of suicide in “’Debunking MRAs’ Debunked”, I was being mathematically lazy.  Someone at the subreddit “feMRA debates” challenged me on where I got my numbers from.  They didn’t agree with how I used an example of 100 male suicides compared to 35 women attempting suicide 3 times.  They felt this was also a poor example as it actually meant 100 attempts on both sides.  To be honest, I just compared the idea of 100 single completed suicides to 100 incomplete attempts, divided by 3, because it was easier to make reflective percentages.  Due to this criticism, I chose to explore the numbers more accurately.

The statement is often framed poorly, such as “women attempt it three times as often”, which does not mean that women who attempt suicide do so three times as often individually, it means 3 times as many women attempt suicide as men.  Of course, there are those who attempt suicide multiple times, which inflates their numbers.  That is why I originally chose to tackle the numbers from a perspective of women attempting it 3 times, which is inaccurate.  Using more lazy math, it probably would have been more accurate to have asked which is more important, 100 male deaths by suicide, or 300 females who have attempted suicide and still alive to seek help for what pushed them to their attempt?  Instead, let’s look at the actual numbers that Owen Lloyd had.

According to the source given by “debunking MRAs”, in the U.S., there were 38,364 reported deaths by suicide in 2010, which is approximately one death by suicide every 14 minutes.  78.9% (30,269) of these were male.  21.1% (8,094) were female.

However, the argument that my calculations resulted in an equal number of attempts for both sexes is incorrect.  Completed suicides are not counted in the attempts.  The source says there is no complete count of attempted suicides, and that they arrive at their numbers by utilizing hospital reports of “non-fatal injuries resulting from self-harm behavior” collected by the CDC:

“In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, 464,995 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm behavior, suggesting that approximately 12 people harm themselves (not necessarily intending to take their lives) for every reported death by suicide. Together, those harming themselves made an estimated total of more than 650,000 hospital visits related to injuries sustained in one or more separate incidents of self-harm behavior.”

They admit that there is no way to distinguish genuine suicide attempts from non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) behaviours.  I assume the higher number of 650,000 is due to people making repeat visits, although, as mentioned above, “women attempt suicide 3 times as often” does not mean individual women attempt suicide at 3 times the rate of individual men, so we can’t determine the gender ratio of repeated attempts based on the information given.  487,500, 75%, of hospital visits can be attributed to females, while 162,500 visits can be attributed to men.

When framed in this fashion, it is also hard to make a concrete claim that women attempt suicide at three times the rate of men, as they state there is no way to differentiate a suicide attempt from NSSI with this data.  The stats on females being admitted to hospitals at 3 times the rate of males for self-harm behaviour makes sense when considering that “one of the most consistent findings in the research literature until the end of the 20th century was that NSSI occurred 1.5 to 3 times more in females compared to males.”  Furthermore, holding a gun to your head or putting a rope around your neck is not likely to warrant a hospital visit if you don’t follow through on what I would still perceive as a suicidal attempt.  Statistics do not account for these attempts, for men or for women.

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“Debunking MRAs” Debunked – Part Two

Preface:  Part two includes stats on child custody.  The stats from “Debunking MRAs” were used recently at CAFE’s talk by Edward Kruk on shared parenting.  This is the dubious research that protesters of men’s issues cite, providing “Debunking MRAs” as their source instead of doing their own research or actually looking at the sources listed.  I sure hope this wasn’t done by university students, but it was a UofT event.  From the Warren Farrell protest, to “Big Red“, to this:

If you missed Part One, it can be found here










Expose the falseness or hollowness of (a myth, idea, or belief)

“Debunking MRAs” Debunked

Part Two

5) Murder: men are mimage2954878xurdered at a rate 5 times that of women.

Owen uses his usual tactic of moving the goal posts.  Instead of discussing men as victims of murder, he changes the argument to men as murderers, claiming men are perpetrators at 9 times the rate of women.  He then claims that this highlights that women are not responsible for the high rate of men being murdered.

This is where his perverse version of a feminist ideology is showing.  He feels that one gender’s problem must inherently be caused by the other gender in order for it to matter.  Men being 5 times more likely to be victims of murder does not matter to him if men are also the ones committing the majority of them.  Let’s add in a little bit of intersectionality to spice this notion up; if black men are only being murdered by white men, is it not an issue?  The point is moot; men are murdered at a far higher rate than women.  This is in direct contrast to the oft used feminist claim that every space is a safe space for men.

As for men murdering at a higher rate, he provides no citation, but I don’t question its truth.  However, what are the stats on women who murder their husbands in self-defence, thus removing any chance for their victims have of defending themselves against allegations of abuse?  What are the stats on women who hire or recruit men to do their killing for them?  Women who are more successful than Nicole Doucet, who was let go without a conviction despite multiple attempts on her ex-husband’s life, including being caught attempting to hire an undercover RCMP officer posing as a hit man, simply because she claimed her ex-husband, Michael Ryan, had been abusive.  Michael Ryan was not asked to testify in defence of these allegations, despite being willing and desiring to do just that, and Nicole escaped conviction because of this, and because the courts felt that the trial process had already been enough of an ordeal for her.

WhatEmmett-Till-507515-1-402 about incidents where it is a woman’s cry that brings male violence, which is often used to bring violence to another male, rarely another female.  Emmett Till, a black man, had the audacity to talk to Carolyn Bryant, a white woman.  For this unforgiveable crime, she had her husband and brother-in-law murder Emmett.

Here’s a more contemporary example, a woman calling her “boys” to commit violence on the hosts of the British show “Top Gear” (I recommend watching the whole video, but the incident starts at 4:30):

Owen also cites that 200,000 women suffer serious violence from their intimate partners every year, and seems to feel this is should be reason for more murders by women of their partners.  One point of contention, these stats come from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.  This means that they are only stats of cases that actually reach the justice system; incidents need to be reported to be recorded.  In Canada, we have the general social survey, which is a better measurement of intimate partner violence.  It places rates of IPV in Canada at 7% and 8% for men and women respectively, but that is a moot point as we are discussing murder.

Yes, women are certainly more likely to be murdered by an intimate partner (it was 241 people killed by their wife or girlfriend, compared to the 1,095 people killed by their husband or boyfriend), but men are far more likely to be murdered by strangers and acquaintances.  Ignoring the violence done to men, because it is other men committing the murders, is discounting thousands of victims.  Should we not care about intimate partner violence in the LGBT community because it is women abusing women and men abusing men?  No, that would be equally unjust, and we should care about all victims.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics, also pointed out that for men, in the case of murder, almost half (49.7%) of male-victim offender relationships were unknown (“non-intimate” includes strangers), which means the relationship to the victim is unknown in 5,406 cases.  For women, the relationship was unknown in 23.8% (722) of cases of homicide.

Falsehoods exposed in the claim that men are murdered at 5 times the rate of women: 0

Moving the goalposts of an argument is not debunking it.


child-custody6) Child Custody: Women receive physical custody of 92% of all children of separation, and men only 4%.

91% of the time, if someone isn’t citing their stats, you can call them on pulling it out of their ass.  I choose to not accept this incidence as part of the other 9%.

A lot of the citations in this section seem equally dubious, such as the first statistic that child-care in married households is performed at a 2:1 ratio by mothers compared to fathers.  In the traditional family (i.e. father works outside the home, mother works in the home), if a father works 8 hours a day (plus travel time), a mother is taking care of the kids all day, and the child sleeps for 8 hours (sleeping not counting as spent time), then that right there would be a 2 to 1 ratio of parenting time in a 24 hour day.  Parenting is, of course, far more nuanced than this.  One parent’s increased time outside the home is going to be correlational to the other partner’s increased ability to stay home and spend more time with their children.  This is not justification for expecting the primary working parent to maintain their same level of financial support after a divorce in order to support the raising of their children by the stay-at-home parent.  The time spent with the children will definitely be skewed in the stay-at-home parent’s favour, but why is the working parent expected to maintain their more-absent role now that their partnership has dissolved?

After this, Owen’s citations get rather bizarre.  “Divorce Peers” has two footnotes, but does not mention what specific information they got from which footnote.  The first footnote is a book from 1996 titled “Child Custody Made Simple”, and indicates that the author claimed “these results are very similar to those in a national study.”  They don’t care to mention what study the author was referencing, as the author probably didn’t either.  The other footnote is for a book from 1997 titled “Out of Touch”.  Indeed.

The claim that fathers win custody battles 70% of the time is mentioned in passing in a document by the American Mother’s Political Party (I think they might have an agenda!).  It focuses on abusive relationships, and not divorce or child custody.  The citation Owen had for that snippet of information was from a 1989report of a gender bias study conducted by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.  This clearly does not mean 70% of all custody cases.  Upon further digging, I found an article which shows that, using the same data, “when mothers sought sole custody, the court granted the request at a rate 65% higher than it did when fathers made the same request.”  This article also explained that the 70% was representative only for legal custody, not physical custody.

The last cited source is very duplicitous.  The webpage says it is from the American Psychological Association in the top-left corner and, if you click home, it does take you to the APA home page. However, the website is, not the APA website.  If you type that in your search bar, you get redirected to some site called “The Liz Library”.  I was left with the distinct impression it is essentially a feminist court website, rather than a source of objective and relevant information.

For me, this brings the validity of the information into question, but I’ll accept that it is actually from this 1996 report on family violence.  All Owen states is that abusive men are among the most likely to fight for custody.  This page does not show any numbers, or cite its sources.  All it does is make vague and generalized statements such as “recent studies suggest” and “research indicates”.  Given that this report is 20 years old, it could very likely have relied upon the 1989 report by the Massachusetts Supreme Court mentioned previously.

There are no studies that one can look at for the rates at which abusive mothers fight for custody, in which an abused husband would likely have all of the same concerns as an abused wife.  Again, the rates of domestic violence are almost equal!  Furthermore, granted the higher likelihood for women to get either sole custody or, in the case of shared parenting, primary custody, it would be all too easy for a woman to continue emotionally abusing her husband through the manipulation of their children.  Such was the case for 10 years for a Toronto father, before a court stripped the mother of her custody rights for her malicious parental alienation efforts.

Falsehoods exposed in the claim women are most often awarded child custody: 0

Now we’re just getting pathetic.

I can’t speak for the United States, as it was difficult to find any accurate statistics on their custody cases.  However, up here in Canada, the Department of Justice conducted a national longitudinal study on children and youth and reported that in cases with a court order, mother’s had sole custody 80.8%, father’s 6.6% (page 21).  In the other 12.6% that had shared physical custody, 68.6% lived only with their mother, 10.5% with their father, 7.8% mostly with their mother, and 3.9% livedmostly with their father.  Only 9.2% wereequally shared.

For more on custody issues for fathers in Canada, I recommend a look at Fathers Are Capable Too



7) Jury Bias: Women are acquitted of spousal murder at a rate 9 times that of men

It absolutely is a matter of bias, despite what Owen claims.  The only citation he gives to back up his assertion is the same APA citation he gave to debunk custody victories.  As he says, women are sometimes acquitted of murder due to allegations of abuse.  Men are almost never acquitted for murdering their abusive wives.  This was the only story I could find of a man being acquitted for murdering his wife on the grounds of intimate partner violence.  The abused husband was subjected to thirty years of intimate partner terrorism, including being beaten with a fire poker and having his thumb broken, which was described as “hen-pecked” in the media.

In Canada, it has recently been argued that women with abusive partners are morally entitled to murder their abusive partners.  Not people, women.  That is gender bias.  Furthermore, it is not “exceptionally rare for any man to experience a comparable level of terroristic threat from his wife”, it is, however, exceptionally rare for us to hear about it.  Here are some links if you would like to hear about it:

Domestic Violence Against Males in the U.K.:

In the U.S.:

In Kenya:

Yet we never hear of it being presented in a gender neutral fashion when we hear about one’s “moral entitlement” to murder an abusive spouse.  Rarely do we even hear of intimate partner violence itself being presented in a gender neutral fashion.

If you feel that every one of these 1.3 million women (a number your citation doesn’t actually mention), then you should feel that men are equally justified in murdering their partners.  I, however, feel it is rarely acceptable.  Organizations that work with women fleeing violence usually set up a plan in advance for when they leave their abusive partner.  Why not just come up with murder plans, or aid and abet them in murdering their spouses?

Here is a breakdown of spousal murder court cases in the U.S. from 1988, examined in 1995 (so I admit it is dated).  It states that “Jury trials ended in acquittal for 27% of wives, and 0% for husbands”.  That is a lot more than the “9 times” acquittal rate the original author stated.  How many times does 0 go into 27?

Falsehoods exposed in the claim that women are acquitted of murder more than men: 0

There is a lot of information in that last link that is interesting, but your declaration that 1.3 million women would be justified in committing murder certainly speaks to a bias in you, and hints at a larger bias in our society.  It is the one-sided perspective of domestic violence that feminism has painted for you, man-abuser/woman-victim, which has left you feeling that murder is justified on that grand a scale.

It is your belief that the worst case of intimate partner violence a man suffers, is still not as bad as the lightest form of IPV a woman suffers, as you state that all 1.3 million women would be justified in receiving an acquittal for murdering their abusive partners, while declaring it exceptionally rare for a man to feel a comparable level of terroristic threat from their abusive partners.

If you were called to jury duty in such a case, are you seriously going to sit there and tell me you would not be biased?

Lady-Justice8) Court Bias: Men are sentenced 2.8 times longer than women for spousal murder

This is Owen’s worst argument yet.  No citations, no sources, just a simple blanket statement that women’s lighter sentencing is because many of them murder their spouses must have been abused, and they are only given light sentences because no woman would murder her husband for any reason other than self-defence!  Well, except maybe for the 66% of cases where there was no evidence of abuse, or that “The average prison sentence for unprovoked wife defendants was 7 years, 10 years shorter than the average 17 years for unprovoked husband defendants

Then there’s the complication that we would also need to see these cases on an individual basis.  What was the evidence of abuse?  When a husband is murdered, he cannot defend himself against allegations of abuse if a woman chooses to make them.  This was most recently seen in the case of Jodi Arias.  First she claimed her husband was murdered by robbers who broke into their home, then she changed her story to one of self-defence from years of on-going domestic violence, for which there was no evidence.  No evidence except for her word against… Well, her word.

For a Canadian example, we can just look back to the recent case of Nicole Doucet, who I mentioned previously.  For a woman who was abused, and so terrified of her ex-partner that she had to have him murdered, she sure didn’t express it while attempting to hire an undercover RCMP officer to murder her ex-husband.  When he asked why she wanted him murdered, asking if it was because he was abusive, she gave a definitive “no”.  That is certainly not the song she sang in the court room, where often that is the only evidence of abuse a woman needs to present; her word.  Even though it was an attempted murder charge, her ex-husband, Michael Ryan, was not asked to testify in his defence on the allegations of abuse.  It is telling indeed that it was the victim in this case, Mr. Ryan, who was actually placed on trial and not even given the right to defend himself.  Even though Mr. Ryan was still alive to give testimony, to give his word against hers, Nicole was allowed to still have it be her word, and her word alone.  When women succeed in actually murdering their partners, it is guaranteed that their voice will be the only one heard.

And there’s the rub.  Women are granted a defence for murder, a battered-woman defence, which is practically never applied to men.  That stats page on spousal murder conviction rates listed 44% of women as giving evidence of assault at the time of their murder; men, 10%.  It says 56% of those women were convicted, but it does not give a statistic for men, leading me to conclude that they were all convicted.

Falsehoods exposed in the claim that women are acquitted of murder more than men
: 0

All 4 of these points, murder, child custody, jury bias, and court bias, had a lot in common.  The recurring theme in all four has been the persistent presence of a gendered perspective on domestic violence, a systemic and biased perspective which consistently and significantly disadvantages men, particularly in the courts.  Let’s see if we can try and find anything more there.

I decided to take a look back at murders, and the numbers we had for spousal murders.  The numbers provided by Owen’s own sources reported that women were victims of murder by an intimate partner 1,095 times, and men 241 times.  I granted him that.  He also claimed that women, and all women, who have been victims of domestic violence, would be justified in murdering their spouses.

Looking at this stats page once again, it states that the “report’s results are likely to be applicable today”.  So let’s apply them today.  As I said earlier, it reports that 44% of women accused of murder of their intimate partner, presented evidence of abuse, as did 10% of men.

44% of 241 = 106
10% of 1095 = 109

This shows an equal number of spousal murders which also had evidence of intimate partner violence perpetrated by the victim upon the accused.  Owen is still correct in his assertion that women are murdered by their intimate partners far more often than men, while men are murdered more often overall.  However, the number of men murdering abusive wives is virtually equal to the number of women murdering abusive husbands.  If these stats are marginally transferable, a 56% conviction rate would suggest that 47 abused women would have been acquitted for murdering their abusive partners, compared to 0 abused men.  Does that sound like court bias to anyone?


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“Debunking MRAs” Debunked – Part One








Expose the falseness or hollowness of (a myth, idea, or belief).

“Debunking MRAs” Debunked
Part One

There is a talk being held in Kingston, Ontario, at Queen’s University on Thursday, March the 27th, by University of Ottawa English professor Janice Fiamengo.  On the Facebook page for that event, I saw a blog article posted a number of times that supposedly “debunked MRAs”, authored by Owen Lloyd, and it was claimed that the article was well researched (i.e. he actually cited something).  Having already written a critical examination of another document claiming men’s issues are myths, I decided I would do the same with this article.  I will also try to stick to the same sources that Owen did, as that keeps us on a level playing field and shows how little, if anything, was actually debunked.


1) SuicideMen die by suicide at 4 times the rate of women

Owen’s article reveals how poorly researched it is right out of the gate.  Worse, it reflects how poorly it examines the list that it is attempting to debunk.  In debunking that men commit suicide at 4 times the rate of women, the author starts by claiming that women are certainly trying to commit suicide, as they attempt it three times more often than men.  Which is worse though, a woman attempting suicide 3 times and still being alive to seek help for the issues that drove her to her suicide attempts in the first place, or 100 men completing their suicide on their first attempt?  Assuming we are counting men’s completed suicides as attempts, I’ll ask that question again, but in a more mathematically honest manner.  Which is worse, 100 men dying by suicide in a single attempt each, or 35 women attempting suicide 3 times each, and still being alive to seek services for that which drove them to attempt suicide in the first place?

From the same stats page that Owen used, we can see that completed suicides (suicide attempts resulting in death), was 78.9% male, and 21.1% female.  The author claims men are more likely to “succeed” (because this is a measurement of success for men in Owen`s eyes, as his source never uses the word “success”), because men are trained for violence, emotional detachment, and to deal with problems themselves.  I suppose the fact that over 50% of completed suicides are carried out by firearms has nothing to do with it; it is men’s capacity for violence, now being exerted against themselves that is to blame.

Owen then attempts to vilify men who have committed suicide by pointing out that sometimes people commit acts of murder during their acts of suicide.  He stretches this even further in attempting to add to women’s rate of suicides by including this form of murder with women’s suicide stats.  Even if we added Owen’s highest claim of suicide-murders, 1 500, and made it all women, that would make the rate of death by suicide at 26 710 males to 7 200 women (if accepting the numbers originally stated).

Since 7 200 x 4 = 28 800, male deaths by suicide would still be approximately 4 times that of women.  Again, this is if only we took Owen`s highest number cited for murder-suicide and disingenuously claimed it was all men murdering women.  This, despite his cited sources stating:

Mental health and justice experts say murder-suicides are the exception and that suicidal people are rarely a risk to others.”

“ On January 18, 2008, an aunt was taking her niece and nephew to her house for a weekend stay. While en route, she pulled over, took off her clothes and those of her niece and nephew, and carried the children into on-coming traffic. All three were killed.

Falsehoods exposed in the claim that men die from suicide at a rate 4 times higher than women: 0

As someone who has had multiple family members die by suicide, one of which was a murder suicide attempt by a woman on her husband, this is insulting on a very personal level.


death-and-taxes2) Life ExpectancyMen live an average of 7 years less than women

Owen starts with “this is a curious statement”.  Someone who is still pondering a statement does not sound like they are remotely ready to debunk it.  He proceeds to instead focus on the sub-point of the original article, that men “receive only 35% of government expenditures for health care and medical costs”.  He does this by discussing how much health insurance companies charge women compared to men, and justifies why they do this.  Health insurance costs more the longer you’re alive, because that means they are in more need of care for a longer time.  This does nothing to debunk the average life span of men compared to women it just offers an explanation for the sub-point.  It is known that insurer’s rates are based on actuarial calculations based on mortality and morbidity rates over many years.

He finishes off this attempted debunking by mentioning off-hand that this is all “despite [women] receiving 23% less income than men”, citing a news article on the wage-gap myth that women make 77 cents to a man’s dollar.  Some sources that debunk the 77 cent wage-gap theory:

Forbe’s Magazine:

Feminist Hanna Rosin, Authour of “The End of Men”:

Feminist Christina Sommers:

Dr. Warren Farrell wrote a whole book on it, titled “Why Men Earn More”:

For those who don’t like reading (but are reading this anyway), Learn Liberty has a youtube video explaining the supposed wage gap:

That is so many links that have nothing to do with what Owen was supposedly debunking, that I almost forgot he was supposed to be debunking that men live an average of 7 years less than women, which he never did.

Falsehoods exposed in the claim that men live an average of 7 years less than women: 0



3)  WAR: Men are almost exclusively the only victims of war

I was pulling for Owen on this one, but I still don’t think he really debunked it.  He made some good points about how we can’t just look at soldier / battle deaths.  Only looking at the casualties of soldiers in war is ignoring a huge portion of victims.  I would expect an MRA would know what it is to be an ignored victim.

In his first paragraph, he discusses how if soldiers are to be called victims, then they are victims of the ones who sent them to war.  I agree with this, but he then states “those responsible are men”.  This is no doubt true most of the time, but it is certainly not true all of the time.  Margaret Thatcher and the Falkland islands; Boudicia leading the Celts against the occupying Romans; Joan Of Arc; Catherine The Great and the Russo-Turkish wars; Emmelline Pankhurst and the white feather campaign of shaming men into going to war against Germany in World War One, particularly those who did not have the right to vote (something she was trying to achieve for women, but would rather see men without that same right sent to war).

Owen makes the claim that to blame male combat deaths on women is not only absurd, but insane.  Would I be insane to attribute some blame to the women I listed above?  I think not.  Would I be insane to assign some blame to the women who voted the leaders he mentioned into power?  I think not.  I think it is unintelligent to say blaming women at all would be insane, but I have never seen someone blame women, and only women, for men having to go to war.  Men just point out that throughout history, men have been the only ones sent to war, often without a say in the matter.

Citing this source, Owen claims that in a study of wars in 13 countries, of 5.4 million people violently killed, more than 1 million were female.  Personally I’d like him to show me where it says this, as I may just be missing it.  The only section I see discussing gender is a bit on sibling death stats, which states that:

“A total of 43 874 sibling deaths were reported in the 13 surveys, of which 917 were a result of war injuries. Some 38 613 deaths, of which 797 were due to war, occurred after 1955 and were eligible to be included in our analysis. Figure 1 shows the age and sex distribution of all violent war deaths captured in 13 countries from 1955 to 2002. Among war deaths, 58% were in people aged 15 to 34 and 81% were in males.”


All I can ascertain is that Owen took the estimated 5.4 million number cited for total violent war deaths in the 13 countries from 1955-2002, and then applied the 81% of male deaths from the above sibling death survey results.  I assume that the 5.4 million violent war deaths is including soldier deaths, of which the overwhelming majority would be male.  It makes no sense for Owen to then apply the gender rate from the sibling death survey, which accounted for less than 44 000 deaths, and only 1 714 of that was attributed to war.  This is the only way I am seeing that Mr. Lloyd could possibly have come to his numbers, as 19% of 5.4 million would be 1.02 million.  However, as should be obvious, one can not just transfer the gendered percentage found in 1 714 deaths to that of 5.4 million.

(Also, Owen says the study was conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School, despite it clearly being in the British Medical Journal, clearly states the lead author is Michael Spagat, a professor of economics at the University of London, and is an article over which there has been much debate as to its accuracy and validity)

Mr. Lloyd also cites some horrible atrocities that men and women have suffered (aerial spraying, war-inflicted poverty, sexual torture), but admits there are no accurate reports of these other possible causes of death that can be attributed to war.

Falsehoods exposed in the claim that men are almost exclusively the victims of war: 0

Owen rightfully pointed out that civilian casualties should also be counted, as well as wartime atrocities committed to civilians, which also include male civilians.  How many men fight for their country when it is attacked, without actually being “soldiers”? Men are still the majority according to his sources; it certainly is almost exclusively male when it comes to “battle deaths”.


NA-BH580_FATALI_G_201008191624464)  WORKPLACE FATALITIES: Men account for more than 95% of all workplace fatalities

Owen begins by correctly stating, smugly, that in the U.S., “the figure is 92% as of 2012”, which is what it has been in the U.S. for a number of years (I’ll save why this is a complete failure of debunking for later, but let’s go with that statistic for now).  However, he loses any credibility after that by victim-blaming men, saying they choose dangerous jobs, in an attempt to look manly.  Any work I’ve done that came with an element of risk was due to a need for income.  My grandfather worked as a miner, as well as two other jobs, to support his wife and 10 kids; he did not choose to be a miner because it was perceived to be proof of his masculinity, except insofar as to be a provider for his family.

The citation Owen uses for his further victim-blaming is behind a pay wall, but its title is certainly telling of its accuracy for the over 4 000 workplace deaths in the U.S. that occur every year; “Using a Computer Simulated World to Study Behavioral Compliance with Warnings.”  It must be their fault for not adhering to warnings.  Too bad these deaths happen in the real world.

He tries to skew this yet again into how much more important women’s issues are.  “Tellingly, the most common way for a woman to die in the workplace is to be murdered”.  This is true; the most common way for a woman to die in the workplace is to be murdered.  For women, 29% of workplace deaths are due to murder, compared to men’s mere 9%.

Death by

However, 29%, of women’s 338 workplace deaths, equals 97 deaths by homicide.  By contrast, men’s paltry 9% of workplace deaths by homicide comes out to just 366 deaths; telling indeed.

Homicides by

Falsehoods exposed in the claim that men account for 95% of workplace fatalities: 0

Debunking the debunker:  Owen Lloyd was technically correct with his smug opening, but the degree of smugness exhibited in correcting this minor quibble is completely disproportionate with the magnitude of the quite minor discrepancy he is so proud to highlight.  Of course, with almost nothing to validate his position, it is perhaps understandable that he grossly over magnifies what little substantial evidence he has.  As I said, he was correct, men’s workplace death rate in the U.S. in 2012 was 92% (according to preliminary numbers, because why read the small print or go with finalized statistics?), and have been around 91-93% for a number of years.

What does not excuse his smugness, however, and this is an issue that calls Owen’s article entirely into question, is he is using U.S. stats to debunk stats from other countries.  I do not believe you can get any more disingenuous, dishonest, deceitful, or duplicitous than this.  This is the kind of “well researched” document that Queen’s University students are using to try and diminish and quash a talk focused on men’s issues and double standards of feminism?  Shame on them!

In trying to figure out where the original article got its stats from to arrive at its claim that men are 95% of workplace deaths, I backtracked through the U.S. stats, but they are consistently around 91-93%.  I checked some of the few sources that the original article cited, and saw a lot of them are for Australia.  I checked on Australia’s stats and found that “Of the 111 people who died in workplace incidents in 2009-10, the vast majority (95%) were men.

I decided I’d email the person behind that original article, to see if he had any of his original sources, and saw that his email address is in the U.K. (the U.K., not the U.S., there are other countries out there Owen!).  I have not heard back from him but instead dug up stats on gendered workplace deaths for Europe.  “Almost four out of every five (79.5 %) serious accidents at work and nineteen out of every twenty (94.9 %) fatal accidents at work in the EU-27 in 2009 involved men”:

Europe Gendered WPD

Beligum – 100%
Bulgaria – 95%
Czech Republic – 92%
Denmark – 100%
Germany – 96%
Estonia – 100%
Ireland – 100%
Spain – 96%
France – 92%
Italy – 98%
Cyprus – 100%
Latvia – 86%
Lithuania – 89%
Luxembourg – 100%
Hungary – 93%
Malta – 100%
*Netherlands – 90%
Austria – 94%
Poland – 96%
Portugal – 97%
Romania – 92%
Slovenia – 100%
Slovakia – 91%
Finland – 100%
Sweden – 100%
United Kingdom – 95%
Norway – 100%
Switzerland – 100%

*Corrected total to 59, if the 53 men and 6 women is accurate.
**Some countries showed a higher total than male deaths, but no female deaths.  I assume this is due to deaths where the individual’s gender was not reported.

Here in Canada:

“In 2005, 97 per cent of Canada’s workplace fatalities were men. Fatalities among men have increased by 47 per cent between 1993 and 2005 from 727 deaths in 1993 to 1069 deaths in 2005 … In fact, all female workplace fatalities between 1993 and 2005 account for less than half of the male workplace fatalities in 2005 alone.”
Centre for Study of Living Standards

Given that Mr. Lloyds “well researched paper” shows this degree of intellectual dishonesty due to his lack of compassion and inability to realize that there is a bigger world out there, and that men’s issues are global issues, as are women’s issues, I’m sure my look at his next four points will also illustrate just how pathetic a failure is his attempt to “debunk” men’s issues.


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Feminism is Not Mandatory

Feminism is Not Mandatory

David Moscrop feels there is no excuse for anti-feminism, at least according to the headline of his article in the Ottawa Citizen, but his article bespeaks a much deeper ignorance and authoritarian perspective.  For Mr. Moscrop it is not just inexcusable for people to be anti-feminist, he also feels that every man who does not self-identify as a feminist is “ignorant, selfish, or cowardly”.  I can’t help but notice he does not feel that this should also apply to the many women who also do not self-identify as feminists, or those whom one could label as “anti-feminist”.  As someone who thinks there should be equality between the sexes, one would think that he would not exclude women from his hate-filled, acrimonious view of those who don’t share in his belief system.

I, for one, often take issue with many aspects of feminism, but I would not refer to myself as an “anti-feminist”.  I prefer to think that I am someone who believes in equality, and does not think that any system or structure is infallible.  As such, I often challenge feminism when I see it working in a negative fashion, and David’s article is a good example of feminism gone astray.  One should not have to ascribe to any belief or movement and, to choose not to, is not a reason to be insulted and ridiculed by a man trying to assert his masculinity under the banner of feminism.  David’s mediocre article, which is no more than thinly disguised ranting, is not casting feminism in a positive light.  His hate-filled version of feminism is something that is more likely to push people further away from feminism than to bring them in to its ranks, as he seems to desire.

How, in one sentence, can he talk of the challenges women face while also referring to them as the “fair” sex (as in the physically beautiful sex, which men are anything but); right there he highlights one manner in which women are held in higher esteem than men.  Considering attractiveness is a privilege itself, often leading to one receiving more attention throughout life in a positive manner, is the societal perception that women are by default more fair and beautiful, which, by contrast, implies that men are more boorish and hideous?  Though I may resemble that remark, it does not make me think that such labels should be applied to all men, as many women would likewise dislike being referred to as the “fair” sex.  Please, tell us more about how awful it is to not ascribe to feminism and show us the way.

Feminists, whatever their gender, are a sundry sort. Strictly speaking, we should speak of feminisms rather than feminism.

Feminists are a sundry sort?  Well if there is such a variety of feminisms, how do I self-identify as a feminist without needing to know more about all these different kinds and which I would best identify with?  Should I identify with the radical feminists who are trans-exclusionary, feeling that women who were born with penises are villainous infiltrators?  How about feminists who don’t think there should be any men in the movement at all, and admonish them for self-identifying as feminists, preferring to label them as “allies” (same as LGBT people label their straight supporters who obviously cannot identify as LGBT)?  These feminists seem to be interested in having men just nod along to support feminism and to not be allowed a voice themselves.  Does that sound like equality, or a swing of the gender-power pendulum?

Perhaps one should look at historical feminist figures then, as maybe it’s only recently that feminism
has gotten cast in a bad light by a few misguided feminists.  Perhaps I’ll be able to identify with some of its original representatives.  How about Andrea Dworkin, who is often misquoted as saying “all sex is rape”?  Where did that misquote come from?  Why another feminist, Cathy Young, who felt that it was a reasonable summary of Andrea Dworkin’s claims, such as “Intercourse is the pure, sterile, formal expression of men’s contempt for women”.

How about self-identified “radical feminist lesbian” Mary Daly, who excluded men from her advanced women’s studies classes at Boston College, and who has been quoted as saying “If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males.”  Oh, and she felt transgendered people were abominations akin to Frankenstein’s monster, but yay feminism!

Should we look even further still into feminism’s past?  How about Emmeline Pankhurst, who fought for women’s right to vote in Britain, but stopped this campaign in order to focus on the white feather campaign; a campaign to publicly shame men to go and fight, often to their deaths, against Germany’s forces in the first World War.  One can draw contemporary similarities to the white ribbon campaign which focuses on one gender by shaming all men for the violence committed by a few against women, but ignores the violence committed against men by women and men alike (a campaign which originated in Canada, where the rate of intimate partner violence against men and women is 6% to 7% respectively).

I could keep going (the “tender years doctrine” would be next, which rightfully changed courts from making the father the default parent in custodial cases, but wrongfully placed the mother as the default parent in custodial cases).  The rest of your article is a bunch of tripe.  When trying to draw comparisons of men to women, one should look up neutral reporting on both, as I did above.  I have a suspicion that your resource for intimate partner violence, “The Canadian Women’s Foundation”, may be biased in their views and reporting.

Talking about how bad women have it in some areas does not negate that men have it bad in their own areas as well.  Comparing women at the top to men at the top is great, but why did you not also draw a comparison to how many men are staying in shelters each night as well as women?   What’s that?  You say there are no shelters for men fleeing domestic violence to compare those specific statistics to (because general homelessness, which is also staggeringly mostly men, doesn’t count)?  That must mean men don’t suffer domestic violence, right?  Perhaps I could interest you in this rock that keeps tigers away?

Gender Distribution of Homelessness in Canada

In short, it is not for you to tell people what belief systems they should ascribe to, or to vilify them if they don’t believe in the same one that you so obviously do; it is very patriarchal of you to do so.  As I said at the start, I would not call myself an anti-feminist, but I would not label myself a feminist either.  Feminism is not above critique, and to criticize it is not anti-feminism.  However, your literal ad hominem shaming methods are consistent with the historical figures of feminism I have highlighted, so I think you are certainly in the right camp.  Hopefully they will forgive you your patriarchal methods of demanding that the ignorant, selfish, and cowardly men fall in line behind you and do as you say.

Posted in Men`s Issues | 4 Comments

Men as Victims of Rape and Intimate Partner Violence

The following is a reworked article I wrote for a university course I took on “The Philosophy of Love and Sex”.  As such, I apologize for its academic length (I got a 30 out of 35, for those wondering how well it was accepted by my professor):


Men as Victims of Rape and Intimate Partner Violence

Sexual criminal behaviour, hurting someone in order to gain intimacy from them, be it a complete stranger or someone you are already intimate with, has been around since prewritten history.  Though there are no recorded incidents of this,, being the pre-historical age, there is the modern image of the caveman clubbing the cavewoman over the head and dragging her back to his lair by her hair.  This longstanding image of the male as the sole perpetrator of sexual violence and other transgressions has held until modern times.  When someone mentions intimate partner violence (IPV), the image that is conjured in one’s mind is that of a male dominating over a victimized female.

Mike Martin makes an assumption, as do to the majority of authours on sexual harassment, rape, and other incidents of sexual abuse, in assuming that sexual violence is the same for men and for women in regards to why it happens.   In his paper, “Rape and Sexual Harrassment” (found in his book, “Everyday Morality”), Martin writes that a rapist’s motives arise out of viciousness, in order to hurt the self-esteem and humiliate an innocent victim.  Mr. Martin also asserts that sexual harassment (as well as sexual assault) involves intimidation, coercion, and/or unfair sexual conduct; though he does not go on to define what “unfair” sexual conduct entails.  The biggest fallacy I find in Mr. Martin’s paper is where he states that homosexual rape and harassment, as well as incidents where the male is the victim of a female, are “comparatively rare” and so he will be referring to the “rapist” solely in male pronouns.

By acknowledging homosexual and female-on-male rape, thus including them in the discussion, while still choosing to only use male pronouns in reference to perpetrators, Martin also implies that the dynamics in these “comparatively rare” instances are the same as those in male-as-perpetrator and female-as-victim instances.  I disagree with this notion, and it will be the focal point of my arguments based on instances in which I have been raped, assaulted, and sexually harassed by females in my life as a male.  I will also use his arguments for the motivations behind sexual abuse to highlight how often men are abused, based on the same criteria he lays out.

One of Martin’s definitions of cruelty associated with this kind of behaviour is unintended cruelty that arises out of some other purpose.  One can argue that cruelty is in the eye of the beholder.  If I go on a dinner date with a vegan, for example, and I decide to order a veal cutlet, would I be considered to have committed a cruel act towards my date?  This single act could cause her to never go on a dinner date again, knowing her morals can be so horribly undermined by the food order of her date.  Maybe she will go on to carefully screen her dates to make sure they are not meat eaters beforehand.  As Mr. Martin also points out, one must respect the other’s autonomy and self-determination.  Would I be just as right to have felt harassed were my right to order the food I desire stifled by her opposition to eating meat?  A woman could easily exert power over a man in that regard by implying he would not receive anything from her in the future (a second date, a good night kiss, the hope of intimacy) if he does not abide by her moral standards

Reporting Abuse

One of the first statistics that Mr. Martin states, with no empirical data to support it, is that it is believed that 1 in 3 women will be the victim of rape, and that only 1 in 10 rapes are reported to the police.  Why does he not quote statistics for the homosexual and male-as-victim incidents he acknowledges exist?  How can he claim this is a rarity without numbers to back this up?  If 1 in 10 women who have been raped will not report the crime, what is the ratio for men, regardless of the sex of their perpetrator?  According to Martin, women, who are acknowledged as often being victimized by men, who have social supports in place to help them leave abusive relationships, and who are believed when they speak of being victimized by a man are still, despite all of this, grossly under-reporting incidents of abuse.  If this is the case for women, what are the statistics of men not reporting who have none of these social supports in place?

A man who has been assaulted by another man is not likely to report the incident, and even less likely if he was raped or sexually assaulted by another man.  Martin says rape between men is common in prison, but in prison there is also a ‘no snitching’ mentality, so how often does it also go unreported in prison?  Part of the culture of masculinity is to not appear weak, so a man is less likely to report being victimized, as doing so would be admitting weakness.  If the abuse were to occur within a relationship, there is also the social stigmatization towards homosexuals, male and female alike, and so they too have even more societal barriers to reporting.

A man being assaulted by a woman, supposedly the weaker sex, is less likely to report due to the stigmatization of being assaulted by a woman as well as the emasculation he would feel as a result.  Should he show the courage to report a case of abuse, there are no safety supports for men.  In Toronto, there are several locations for women leaving abusive relationships (e.g. red door shelter, red wood shelter), but there are no similar locations for men.  A homosexual friend of mine was abused by his partner one night, and out of a fear of being at home, he resorted to staying in a bathhouse till the next day; hardly the most hospitable place for someone who is the victim of domestic violence.


One of my clients told me about having previously been in an abusive relationship with another man.  He told me that he finally felt he had to get out of there and got up the courage to go to the police for help.  They facilitated his exit from the home by referring him to the Salvation Army’s Maxwell Meighen shelter at Queen and Sherbourne.  He got his teeth kicked in again that night by another resident.  Homeless shelters are not the most hospitable places, but they are even less hospitable if you are fleeing abuse, especially as an openly gay man such as my client was.

When I was 16, I was going through a bad time and drank so much one night that I blacked out (the only time I’ve ever done so), and the last thing I can vividly recall from that night was wandering down an alley to be alone for a bit.  It took me a week to piece together my evening from the stories of friends.  A friend told me that at one point he wandered down the alley to relieve himself and saw another friend, a 13 year old female, performing oral sex on me while I was essentially passed out in a nook of a neighbour’s backyard.  This to me was a rape, though I did not feel it was as severe an incident as rape can be, and is often envisioned.  I have told this story to other men in the past and gotten a variety of responses from attempted high fives to “cool”.  This incident actually gave me a kind of social power, though empowered was the furthest thing I felt.  I wonder if some men treat it as a source for praise to downplay dealing with the seriousness of the abuse.

There are also social structures in place to keep someone from reporting on top of the stigmatization that goes along with it.  To highlight the lack of power I actually had in the aftermath of the situation, what would happen were I to have reported the incident to the police?  Being male, it could easily have been turned back on me, especially considering it could easily have been viewed as statutory rape on my part due to the girl’s age.  This is especially true if, when faced with the law, in an act of defence she turned around and accused me of raping her.  Whose story do we think the police would have more strongly believed, considering the societal view of rape as male perpetrated / female victimized, which Martin continues to perpetuate by undervaluing male victims in his paper? Another barrier for men is that to report a crime, one must go through police services, which is a very masculine system.  Going to such a place to report that you’ve been victimized by a woman would just exacerbate what already feels highly emasculating within the culture of what it is to be a man.

Power Imbalances

Many papers, including Martin’s, speak to the power imbalance of the world in regard to men and women, unequivocally supporting the idea that this imbalance is always in favour of men.  This is viewed as a systemic and structural imbalance as well as a physical one.  Physically, men are viewed as inherently stronger than women, though this is not always the case.  The structural imbalance has been evening out, though there is still a ways to go on both sides, but a person does not actually have to be in a position of power in order to commit sexual assault.

I work as a social worker and am currently employed with an emergency shelter.  While still a placement student at the organization, a client squeezed my ass as she walked past me.  I was somewhat shocked and was not entirely sure what I thought happened actually had happened, as my back had been to the doorway she came through.  However, when I turned to see who it had been, the woman gave me a big exaggerated wink and disappeared around the corner.  I was flabbergasted, and turned back to my colleague with whom I had been talking.  The woman came back around the corner and started to loudly slap the wall to get my attention and, once she got it, gave me another suggestive wink and then kissed the air in my direction.  I had the power in this relationship, supposedly just for being a man, but also as a staff member and her being a client, as I could have barred her from the agency for her actions.  It was not something over which I was going to kick someone out into the cold though, even if I was just a student at the time and not an actual employee.

Afterwards, I told another employee about this incident.  This other employee also worked at a shelter for female victims of domestic violence, and has been in the violence against women sector for years.  I have spoken to her about the imbalance I see in the domestic abuse sector and she and I have a good relationship.  When I told her the story, she jokingly said “oh, you asked for it!”  She and I have this kind of jocular relationship, but had it been one of the male clients who had grabbed another female staff member’s butt and then acted overly flirtatious with her, I think my colleague would have taken it more seriously.  This, however, highlights the difference when a man is victimized by a woman versus a woman being victimized by a man.  It is assumed that a man is okay with it and, if not, he should just “man up”.

Masculinity and Intimate Partner Violence

The culture of masculinity does not just apply to men and their perceptions of themselves.  The culture of what it is to be a man also applies to the perspectives that others, male and female, have of men.  On the ABC program “What Would You Do?”, they conducted an experiment where they had a man assaulting a woman in public on a park bench.  Time after time, people stepped in to defend the woman and reprimand the man.  It was clear that the majority of people felt what he was doing was wrong and that, for the woman’s safety, they were almost obligated to step in and try to stop the situation from escalating.


The program decided to turn the tables and see what would happen when it was a man being publicly assaulted by a woman.  Over 100 people walked by the ongoing assault without coming to the aid of the man.  Comments that came afterwards were along the lines of “I did not think she was doing any real damage to him” or “he should be able to take care of himself.”  One woman who witnessed the incident started shadow boxing the air and later commented that she thought “good for her, I felt I should have done that more myself in situations.”  It is unclear what situations she is referring to, as all she saw was a woman screaming at and pummelling a man. The most consistent consensus was that he must have done something wrong to deserve the abuse, such as having cheated on her.  I doubt that people would ignore a woman being pummeled by a man even if they knew for a fact that she had cheated on him.  If anything, they would justify why she must have cheated on him.

Only one group of women on the show decided to approach the issue of the couple’s dispute.  After deliberating about it while he was being hit and verbally berated, one woman approached and said she was going to call the cops on both of them, not just the woman, even though the man was just sitting there suffering the abuse being venomously hurled at him.  Eventually one of the women did carry through on this threat.


Despite this woman calling the cops to deal with the situation, as stated earlier, the police system is a very masculine oriented organization.  One of the men who passed by, and did nothing, later confessed to being a cop.  He said they were just “having a little tiff”, but that if it had been the other way around, with the man abusing the woman, he would have intervened “without a doubt”.  As with many people, he said he was raised to believe it was wrong to ever put his hands on a woman in an aggressive manner.  This begs the question, if a man is being assaulted by a woman, how is he expected to defend himself if he cannot strike back?  Physically defending himself would likely exacerbate the situation for him knowing that his reaction, though defensive, would still be viewed as wrong.  If he shares the same view as that officer of the peace (who felt everything was peaceful as long as he wasn’t hitting her), it further instills in him the mentality that he should just “man up” and take the abuse, and the cycle of abuse continues to turn.

Whose Gender is More Important?

Another very gray area in the realm of sexual abuse is that surrounding people who identify as transgendered.  While I was out on a break while doing a shift at the shelter at 3 in the morning, I had a car pull over to ask me for directions.  I bent down to the window to talk to the person and saw it was a transgendered woman.  I pointed her in the right direction, and she asked if I was headed that way as well, implying that she would give me a lift.  I said thanks, but no, I was just going to the Tim Horton’s at the end of the block.  With a squeal of her tires, she made a U-turn and sped off.


After getting my coffee I headed back to work, crossing over Queen Street to a more deserted and isolated area, which was of course completely void of people now because of the time.  At this point, the same car pulled up beside me and the woman started a conversation again.  She said she saw I had gotten my coffee, asked where I was going, and finished by asking if I wanted my dick sucked and “aren’t you horny?”  I politely said no and that I had to get back to work.

Numerous questions have come up for me over this incident.  Did she wait for me as I got coffee and then followed/stalked me till I got away from any public areas or did she just see me again as she looked for some young man to try and lure into her car?  Would the law view this as a man stalking a man, or a woman stalking a man, as I would?  How much more seriously would this story be taken if it had been a woman being followed, and if it had been by a transgendered man?  What is a bigger societal determinant of the seriousness of these incidents, the sex/gender of the victim or the sex/gender of the perpetrator?

Intimate Partner Violence Against Men is Often Ignored

Martin’s assumptions are not new.  He is, however, the first academic I have read who at least acknowledges why he uses the male pronoun for abusers, and female for victims, based on what he believes to be a huge disparity between men and women as perpetrators/victims, while at least pointing out that rape and intimate partner violence also happens to men.  His choice of words is not new, but most authors write as if the thought of a male being abused did not even cross their minds and do not address it, as if a male being abused were impossible.

In a class I took in high school, “Families in a North American Perspective”, we had a text book containing a section on intimate partner violence.  A pair of pages in this chapter, side by side, had questions on the left to ask yourself to find out “are you an abuser?”  Every single question on this page used male pronouns.  The opposite page had questions to find out “are you a victim of abuse?”  This side of course used female pronouns for all of its questions.  This was two years after my blackout and obviously upset me, as I had seen these societal patterns of thoughts for a number of years, even before they affected me personally.  Already a staunch supporter of the notion of equality, I did my final assignment on this subject and on the idea of women as abusers and males as victims.

After I did my presentation for the class, it was time to go home for the day.  My teacher, an elderly woman, asked me to wait so she could speak with me.  After the other students had left, she asked me if I was being abused at home.  I told her no, and then began to tell her about the incident from a couple years earlier.  I believe I got as far as “while I was passed out a girl…”  She then flapped her arms and told me she just needed to know that it wasn’t going on at home and ushered me out of the class.  The frame of reference that comes to mind today is Stuebenville, and maybe I should be thankful I was in high school before camera phones became commonplace.  This was the support I got from the first authority figure I opened up to about the incident; a female in a position of power, a teacher, stifling the voice of a sexually assaulted male student talking about his incident for the first time.


Is This a Change of the Times?

In the year 2000, the United States Department of Justice released a report on violence against women which stated that approximately 1.3 million women and 835, 000 men are physically assaulted every year in the United States.  As this report is from 11 years after Martin’s essay, one may think that spousal violence to men has only recently begun to escalate.  However, Straus and Gelles reported back in 1986, in their examination of family violence between the years 1975 to 1985 that 1.8 million women suffered assault from their husbands or boyfriends while 2 million men reported having been assaulted by a wife or a girlfriend, 200,000 more than women reported.  More recently, and closer to home, the 2004 Statistics Canada General Social Survey reported that 6% of men and 7% of women in Canada had been victims of spousal abuse in current or past relationships.  There are also literally hundreds of other studies that refute the societal view that men are exceedingly more likely to abuse women than women are to abuse men.

One could try to make an argument that rape and sexual violence are in a completely different category from one another, but Martin, and others who write on the subject, feminists and experimental psychologists alike, say that rape is not about sexual gratification; it is about maliciousness and intentionally cruel acts of violence towards another.  The end sought is not the sexual satisfaction, it is the satisfaction derived from the violence and the pleasure of boosting one’s own self-esteem derived from power over the victim.  If it is not about the sexual nature, but rather the assault and the power felt, what differentiates the two?  Martin states that when a man feels this power over a woman, it is akin to him feeling it over all women.  If men are said to have the power in society, ergo they are more powerful than women, then do women not derive greater pleasure from placing themselves in a position of power greater than that of a man?  Is their transgression not greater if they reap a bigger reward for themselves?  Is the cruelty behind it not also greater if the crushing of a man’s self-esteem for being hurt by a woman is felt more harshly due to the societal view that a man should be not just strong among his peers, but also unquestionably stronger than a woman (whereby being weaker than a woman puts him beneath all other men, not just the woman who has assaulted him)?

Violence Against Men in the Media

One of the largest issues is that it is also viewed as perfectly acceptable for a woman to hit a man.  This viewpoint is proliferated regularly throughout the media. In countless movies, women are slapping men, kicking them, throwing dishes at them, or committing other forms of physical and emotional abuse.  These are rarely portrayed as the abuses that they are, and are more often used as a cheap trick for laughs.

As stated earlier, many of the women questioned on ABC’s “What would you do?” felt the man “deserved” to be assaulted because he probably cheated on the woman.  “Probably”.  This excusing of female violence towards men is exemplified in Carrie Underwood’s song “Before He Cheats”, she describes in detail how she wrecks her boyfriend’s car:       


     “I dug my key into the side of his / pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive, / carved my name into his leather seats. / I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights / slashed a hole in all 4 tires”

Many women think this is a great song and speaks to the power of women.  They find it perfectly acceptable that she would commit such destructive acts of cruelty to someone else’s personal property because he cheated on her.  The song is titled “Before He Cheats”, because her actions are supposed to make him think before he cheats again.  However, the lyrics to the song never mention that he actually cheated on her.  The song opens with the lyrics “right now he’s probably slow dancing with a bleached-blonde tramp / and she’s probably getting frisky.”  There’s that word again, “probably”.  The title of the song is more applicable to what she is doing before he cheats, not the thinking he would do beforehand next time.  This still does not justify her actions in any way, and her thinking that he’s cheating removes any credibility the listener may try to give her.

Violence Happens to Everyone

Martin’s arguments do not hold water due to his obvious lack of insight and research.  They did not hold water in 1989, as the 1986 study by Straus and Gelles shows, and they still do not today.  By failing to look at the abuses being carried out towards men, or those in LGBT relationships, he failed to acknowledge a large portion of the sexual and relationship transgressions which occur each year.  In doing so he not only ignored how widespread these instances are, but he also cannot blindly attribute the same reasons men assault, harass, or rape women to those incidents in which men are the victims that he himself deems to be “comparatively rare”, which as I have shown are anything but, to female perpetrators.  Furthermore, if one does apply his reasons why a man commits abuse to a woman, the data shows a similar number of instances of those transgressions also being carried out by women to men.  This would lead one to think he could just as easily reverse his choice of sex pronouns, though I would rather see them neutralized.

One can argue that a male may not be as easily dominated and entered in the way that a woman is during a physical rape.  However, the reasons laid out by Martin for why rapists commit these acts, and why they are cruel, are on par with the assaults that men are also dealing with in equivalent numbers by their female partners.  Furthermore, societal views keep people from feeling the need to aid men, or for victimized men to seek help for themselves.  This leaves men having even more power taken away from them and a deeper sense of shame and loss of self-esteem.  One should not just blindly attribute the actions of some (male perpetrators) to those of all (female perpetrators), especially not when there are inherently large differences among them.  Neither should they sweep such a large portion of victims under the rug because of a pronoun preference.


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When Worlds Collide


I was reading a post on a site and came across a picture that hurt my brain on many levels.  I felt like two worlds were colliding in my mind.  My brain was triggered by the picture not just for the men’s issues stuff I write about here, but also the work I do with people living with HIV/AIDS (PHA’s).  The website said that this image is reportedly from an academic text from a “Career and Life Management (CALM)” textbook, and the picture itself states that it is a poster from 1994 as part of an HIV prevention program for young adults in Alberta, Canada:


(click to enlarge)

To put this poster in perspective of the social atmosphere at the time in which it was published:

1990:  At the start of the decade, the U.S. Congress enacts the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including people living with HIV/AIDS.

1991:  Magic Johnson came out about his HIV status.  Queen’s lead singer, Freddy Mercury, dies due to AIDS related illness

1992:  AIDS becomes the number one cause of death for U.S. men (age 25 to 44).

1993:  “Philadelphia”, the first major motion picture to tackle the topic of HIV/AIDS came out in theatres (Tom Hanks won the Oscar for his role in 1994).

1994:  AIDS becomes the leading cause of death for all Americans aged 25 to 44.


Having posted the picture to my facebook, someone commented that they were having a knee-jerk reaction to it based on their own perspective of men`s issues (we can blame my influence there), but on further consideration felt that there was some legitimacy to it.

Rather than argue about all the negatives and why I felt it was an incredibly problematic poster (mostly because I was running off to an appointment), I chose to pose a number of questions (I later returned and posed some more).  This is a method I often use which I feel keeps me from just dropping my opinion on someone and instead makes them think and consider the question and what their own answer would be.  I just put the door there and allow their mind to enter it.  With that in mind, here are the questions I posed, slightly edited for clarity:

  • Should I discuss slut-shaming with you?
  • Should I discuss victim blaming with you?
  • Should I discuss women who acquired HIV through intravenous drugs?
  • What about children (this includes girls) who acquired HIV through their mother’s milk?
  • What if I’m a gay male, as are many of my HIV+ clients, am I responsible for millions of women dying if I’m not even having sex with them?
  • The poster does not say if you’re a male living with HIV, just if you are a male who has more than one sexual partner. The transmission rate from female to male is lower than male to female but should we not also consider this for women with HIV who don’t utilize female condoms (which were FDA approved in 1992)?
  • How about women who don’t insist that their male partner wears a condom when they have intercourse?
  • What about women who have multiple sexual partners and don’t practice safe-sex?
  • Are men solely responsible for women’s safe sex practices as well as their own?
  • Do women not have the capacity as well as the responsibility to also protect themselves during sex?
  • Does the above poster not also imply that the women must also be having unprotected sex?  (If I point that out to women, it’s victim-blaming, if they say it about men, it’s educational-shaming)
  • Since the poster is also promoting abstinence as an option, are the women supposedly being affected not also equally capable of practicing abstinence and not having sex with men?
  • Why is there no concern for the millions of men dying from HIV other than to vilify them for passing it to women?  The men this poster describes, apparently guilty of killing millions of women, obviously must also be HIV positive themselves to pass it on.   (As stated above, HIV was the leading cause of death for young men in the U.S. two years before it became the leading cause of death for everyone aged 25-44)
  • Who are the men’s sexual partners that they’re having unprotected sex with? If they are having sex with women, as the poster insinuates, I can logically assume that they are straight or possibly even bi-sexual.  If they contracted it within heterosexual relationships, then aren’t the women who originally infected the men also equally guilty of killing millions of women (and men)?
  • Does the blame lie with the man who got that woman infected?  Who came first, the man living with HIV or the woman living with HIV?
  • If penises and vaginas are both capable of distributing STD’s back and forth with each other, should only one of them come with a warning label?


This poster highlights not just victim-blaming, but also male-blaming. It is doing both, with the victim-blaming being excused because it is blaming not just men, but also male sexuality.  In this case, it is male heterosexuality that is being demonized, which also underscores the legions of gay men who were suffering and dying at the time as well.  I suppose Alberta had no gay men at the time or, at the least, that gay young men weren’t a concern anyway, since they were only infecting each other and not women.

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