Self-styled “men’s rights activist” Roy Den Hollander says he suffers from PMS: persecuted male syndrome. He’s also a wealthy, Ivy League-educated MBA and lawyer. (More)
Angry White Men, Part II: Persecuted Male Syndrome
This week Morning Feature explores Michael Kimmel’s new book Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era. Yesterday we examined Kimmel’s central thesis that many American white men feel a manufactured rage that he calls “aggrieved entitlement.” Today we see how that fuels the Men’s Rights Movement and attacks on women. Saturday we’ll conclude with workplace rage and the rise of ‘White Wing’ politics.
Michael Kimmel is a distinguished professor of sociology at Stony Brook University, and one of the leading researchers and writers on men and masculinity in the world today. The author or editor of more than twenty volumes, his books include Changing Men: New Directions in Research on Men and Masculinity (1987), Men Confront Pornography (1990), The Politics of Manhood (1996), The Gender of Desire (2005) and the bestseller Guyland (2008).
“I tend to be attracted to black and Latin chicks, and Asian chicks”
So said Roy Den Hollander in a 2007 New Yorker interview, after he filed a discrimination lawsuit against a nightclub whose “ladies’ night” admitted women for free, while men were still required to pay a cover charge. A Columbia University-trained MBA and former New York City corporate lawyer, he went to Moscow to work as a private investigator and returned with a Russian bride who quickly divorced him. He also filed a lawsuit against his alma mater, claiming that Columbia’s women and gender studies program promoted the “religion” of feminism, and a suit overturn the Violence Against Women Act, which he calls the “Female Fraud Act” because, Hollander says, it gives “alien females who married American guys a fraudulent track to permanent residency and U.S. citizenship.”
All three lawsuits were dismissed, and at his password-protected website Hollander insists that only proves his point, as Dr. Kimmel quotes:
As [Hollander] puts it, “This trilogy of lawsuits for men’s rights makes clear that there are now two classes of people in America: one of princesses–females, and the other of servants–males. Governments, from local to state to federal, treat men as second class citizens whose rights can be violated with impunity when it benefits females. Need I say the courts are prejudiced, need I say they are useless, need I say it’s time for men to take the law into their hands?
Hollander and other grumbling white men might have remained a fringe movement whose lawsuits and research were routinely rejected by courts and scholarly journals. But as Dr. Kimmel writes, rising income inequality and hollowing of the middle class combined with changes in family patterns to fuel growing resentment of women and laws that protected them, and the internet provided a locus for that resentment:
The emergence of what one writer calls the “manosphere” is a loose collection of websites that sustain the rage; even the most casual tourist will happen upon “a torrent of diatribes, invectives, atrocity takes, claims to entitlement, calls to arms, and prescriptions for change in the service of men, children, families, God, the past, the future, the nation, the planet, and all other things non-feminist.” This makes sense; after all, cyberspace is a place of false power – of being able to mouth off and scream at those you don’t like without actually having to hear any response to your ideas or to actually have to make much of a rational case. It’s perfect for the less tethered.
Dr. Kimmel relates his conversation with Jeff, another “men’s rights activist” whom he met at a campus lecture:
“You know,” says Jeff, “once upon a time, every f–ing place was a locker room, you know?”[…]
“I mean, the workplace was a locker room, just us guys. And the corporate boardroom and the law office and the operating room in the hospital, not to mention the foxholes and the police stations and the firehouses. Everywhere you went, there was that easy guy thing – you know, just hanging out, shooting the s–t, being guys, and not worrying about being so politically correct all the time. I mean, you could do stupid s–t, s–t you wouldn’t want the ladies to know about, and say stuff too, without everyone getting all so uptight about it. It was like the whole world was the locker room.”
Feminism, of course, changed that. And the Men’s Rights Movement resents that men can no longer go to work and pretend that women exist only as domestic playmates. Dr. Kimmel quotes a column by Paul Elam at The Spearhead titled How to Build a Man Bomb:
This time we are building a man bomb. And when this one detonates it could make the American race riots look like a Thanksgiving Day parade.
The misandric Zeitgeist, the system of feminist governance that most are sill loathe to acknowledge is about to head toward its inevitable and ugly conclusion, and the results of that will inflict another deep wound on the psyche of the western world.
In the men’s rights community, a minority in its own right, we have long lamented the cruel and destructive war that has been waged against men and boys for the past half century. We’ve shouted endlessly at a deaf world that we were on the path to destruction, and we have watched our predictions of men being reduced to indentured servants to a malicious matriarchy come true, even as society continues to dismiss and humiliate us for speaking.
If the streets erupt again, as they have so many times before, they will be filled with average men who never heard of the men’s rights movement. They will just be poor men, many of them young and fatherless due to the current system, acting our their rage against a world that includes and idealizes women, but that treats them like social pariah.
Indeed, Elam insists it is “a testament to men, and an exposure of lies perpetrated against them by gender ideologues that we have come this last half century without blood in the streets.” Of course, as Dr. Kimmel notes, Elam ignores mass shootings and murder-suicides, already spilling “blood in the streets,” and almost always committed by white men.
Women have to accept this incident as a tax on their freeloading. Women get men to buy them drinks, dinners, and bridezilla weddings, all in return for virtually nothing. Once in a while, a few women get shot up. Given the $500 billion a year that women mooch off of men each year, that is a relatively small tax to pay.
A man deserves to get laid, just a a person who walks into Starbucks with $5 deserves a drink. Men do everything women ask them to do, in pursuit of sex, and when it comes time for women to give it up, they don’t.[…] In any other place in ‘the world’ a crime like this would not be tolerated. But is is perfectly OK in the sexual market to extract value from a man for years and never f–k him.
Therefore I applaud rape and purposeful violence against women where it is made clear that embittered men are hurting and killing them for not putting out. Only then will women hopefully abandon their equality and be forced to settle monogamously by sheer economic necessity.
“I just lost control”
And then there’s the blood spilled in homes. Dr. Kimmel relates his experience of working at clinic for domestic violence offenders. The discussion moved around the room, each man relating the incident for which he had been convicted, each repeating the same explanation: “I lost control.”
Dr. Kimmel decided to push back against that self-excusing mantra, asking one man to describe exactly how the incident happened. The man said he had come home from a long day at work, where he’d had to cover for several colleagues who hadn’t shown up that day, and found his wife had only just started making dinner. Dr. Kimmel pressed for specific details about the room, as such details often reveal important clues. The man said his wife was:
by the stove, where there was a frying pan for the chicken she was cutting up on the cutting board next to the stove. Frozen french fries were in a bag on the counter, and some vegetables were lying, unwashed and uncut, on the counter.
“Yeah,” Al said. “I mean I do what I’m supposed to do, right? I work my ass off and come home to that s–t?”
“I start yelling, and so she starts yelling about the stuff she has to do, like cleaning and cooking and s–t, and we just start yelling, and it gets pretty intense in there. She’s such a f–ing bitch, man. I work, and she complains. I got really, really mad.”
“And that’s when you lost it?” [Dr. Kimmel asked.]
“Yeah, man, I just lost control. I just lost it.”
But Dr. Kimmel had spotted a hole in Al’s excuse. The incident happened in the kitchen, with knives and other weapons in easy reach.
“Well, why didn’t you just pick up a knife and stab the bitch?” I asked.
Suddenly, the room grew silent. A couple of guys looked at me as if I finally “got it,” finally understood things from their point of view, that I finally understood that sometimes the women just deserve it, you know?
But Al looked at me somewhat blankly. “What the f–k to you mean, man?” he said. “Stab her? Are you f–ing crazy? I didn’t even hit her with a closed fist! I didn’t want to kill her!”
“Then how can you sit there and tell me that you lost control? I mean, if you and I got into it right here, and you lost control, do you think you’d say to yourself, ‘Now Al, don’t close your fist. Hit him with an open hand?’ Of course not. You decided to hit her. You decided not to pick up a knife. You remembered not to close your fist when you did. You were in control the whole time!”
In fact Al’s open-hand slap had fractured his wife’s jaw. Indeed Dr. Kimmel found that the “I just lost control” excuse collapses in almost every incident, unless you look past the self-justifying surface sense to its deeper meaning. Al hadn’t “lost control” of himself, but he had “lost control” of his wife. Al then used what Dr. Kimmel calls “restorative violence” – a common theme of American masculinity and one celebrated by “men’s rights activists” – to recover control over his wife, and thereby recover his manhood itself.
Many of the legal resources that help police arrest and prosecutors charge men after such attacks were established by the Violence Against Women Act. But Hollander calls it the “Female Fraud Act,” because he was unable to have his Russian bride deported after she left him, charging a pattern of violent abuse. Instead, she became a U.S. citizen, able to remain in his country without his consent. That, he explains, is what opened his eyes to “the real PMS” … “Persecuted Male Syndrome.”
Tomorrow we’ll see how the same dynamics fuel workplace massacres and the rise of the White Right.