Wednesday 26 October 2011

Coming Out

I've said more than once that the men's movement needs more female voices if it's going to achieve any sort of mainstream status, voices like Barbara Kay, Erin Pizzey and Christina Hoff Sommers, but for the longest time I've been reluctant to add my own voice in a meaningful way. Anonymity is comfortable. It feels safe.

But words on a blog and on men's forums are too easy to dismiss, especially if there's no face behind them. Part of my credibility derives from the fact that I'm a woman, but like the old man in a chat room pretending to be a teenage girl, when I choose not to show my face, it becomes very easy for people to doubt my identity, and in doing that, dismiss my words.

So. After a great deal of weighing the pros, I've decided to come out. I am girlwriteswhat.

Saturday 22 October 2011

Gender girlie men allowed!

I've often described myself as a little gender-queer. Though I very definitely identify as a woman, I'm a masculine one, for sure, and those masculine qualities are part of both my social "uniform"--boy's haircut, little to no make-up, serviceable shoes, jeans and wife-beaters, zero jewelry, trimmed fingernails--and my ability to relate to the male viewpoint on many issues. I have a preference for male company, not because I dislike women, but because they often behave in ways that lie outside my scope of internal experience. I frequently find myself quietly bemused among them, unable to find common ground.

And I can get away with this, enjoy the respect of my male and female coworkers and bosses, and I have never had any trouble finding heterosexual sex partners. The same cannot be said for men.

For men, gender is much more severely enforced. It is enforced by women, in their choice of sexual partners (though I know there is a small subset of women who are attracted to emo-boys and androgynes, and "fag-hags" have existed since long before Oscar Wilde). It is also rigidly and often brutally enforced by other men, as Bill Burr so beautifully and succinctly explores in this bit of stand-up.

Displays of weakness are either ridiculed by friends looking to hold their buddies to a standard of masculinity, or exploited by enemies looking to prove their own masculinity by kicking your ass. And the indoctrination as to what is manly starts in the cradle. I've read some material (though I don't have the studies to hand) that demonstrate that, although boy babies are more likely to be fussy, parents are more quick to console or attend to a girl baby. So men's socialization with respect to becoming physically self-sufficient, emotionally self-contained, and sturdy enough to "tough it out" on their own begins in infancy. Moreover, the socialization that begins through peer groups after infancy steers boys toward risk-taking behaviors, pain-tolerance, competition, projection of strength, and a serious reluctance to ask for help.

Over the last year, I developed an online friendship with a fellow Canadian who's been living and working abroad. We bonded over our bisexuality and our openness to new sexual experiences, and the emotional fall-out that can happen when what was billed as a casual, no-strings-attached encounter becomes complicated by unexpected emotion, manipulation or dishonesty. He's hoping that when he returns to Canada, we'll be able to hang out a little. According to him, I am the only person here to whom he feels comfortable speaking about his sexual adventures and experiences abroad, and he's told me more than once that his friends--"dudes" one and all--would NOT understand any of the things he's felt or done over the last few years. He lives in fear that they'll discover it, or sense it somehow, and punish him accordingly.

And while I find his fears saddening, I know they're justifiable. He told me once it would be easier if he were gay--that if that were the case, there would be a clear line that would distinguish what he is as an issue of sexual orientation rather than one of gender. We still live in a predominantly monosexual, either/or culture, especially with respect to men. While me dallying with the occasional woman does not make me any less of a woman, him experimenting with male/male sexuality--even in the context of three-way sex involving a woman--calls his status as a man into question. It may be acceptable for a man to go with men, but such activity renders him entirely unworthy of playing the man to a woman in the eyes of society.

It's the same way with displays of weakness and emotionality, needing help, being victims, crying, or anything else commonly associated as "female". As much as feminists and "new-age" women insist they'd like men to do more of these things, what they say they want from men, and what leads them to choose a sexual partner (whether long term or for a one-off) are often two completely different things. I can't even imagine the level of frustration involved in being repeatedly "friend-zoned" for embodying all the politically correct attributes that women have been saying, for the last god knows how long, that they desire in a man.

Which brings me to the "why" behind all of this--behind my freedom (both socially and sexually) to express my slightly bent gender orientation and not be penalized for it by being considered "not a woman", while men who do the same are considered "not men".

Most of the feminists I've come across have concluded that this penalization of "girlie men" originates in the relative positions of men and women, and societal views of "maleness" as intrinsically superior or preferable to "femaleness". That women have always been considered "less than" men.

But you know what? I actually believe it's the exact opposite.

I mean, let's look at society as an employer. The employer wants all its employees to be useful and valuable, otherwise, there's no point in paying them. And what does our employer need in order to perpetuate itself and grow? It needs strong backs to do the work of making things happen, and it needs people whose job it is to provide more strong backs to replace the ones that wear out or retire.

Women provide those strong backs by bearing children. This is their primary role, because it's an important one and who the hell else is going to do it? Because this role is so important, and because women's ability to effectively do this job requires safety, support and assistance, women are often pigeonholed into a position where those needs can be efficiently and consistently met. They are "warehoused" in safe little cubicles, and not permitted to engage in work that could put them at serious risk of not being able to perform their primary function. Instead, they are relegated to safe, relatively easy tasks in between their periodic larger, more important projects.

The attributes that are most valuable in a female employee are a willingness to take direction, an ability to make their individual needs known so they can be met, and the physical characteristics considered most helpful in performing that primary function many times over.

What role does that leave for men? It leaves them the job of being the strong backs. They do the heavy lifting, they tinker with the high voltage wiring that services the office complex, they go out into the dangerous world and return with provisions and office supplies.

While men are necessary as project contributors to assist in the primary function of the female employees, when it comes to this particular contribution, one man can do the work of many, if need be. Since there are always going to be men employed by the company, those men vary in their capacity to be useful to the company, and men pass on their attributes to the new strong backs they help to provide, it is in the company's best interest that only the most valuable men perform this particular function. It is of no value to the company if a man who is a slacker or otherwise unfit is allowed to contribute in this way, since the new backs he helps provide will not be as strong as others. And it is in the women's best interest, to be selective in choosing their project partners, since women's value to the company improves if the new strong backs they provide are exceptionally strong.

Can women fill those primary "male" jobs? Of course they can. And they have, at points all through history, where and when it's been necessary. While performing these tasks may put them at risk (which is to be avoided, if possible), and often puts a double burden on them in that they may be expected to do the work of two people, it's entirely possible for them to do it and still be of value to the company.

A woman can provide more strong backs while doing some of the heavy lifting and some of the more risky jobs, when that is required. And a woman can also fill her primary female job just by lying around doing not much at all. Even if she does next to nothing else, if she is performing, or potentially can perform, that function for her employer, she has value. She likely won't be paid that much if she's not being productive in other ways, but she's still entitled to a salary if she does her primary duty, or a retainer if she has the potential to do so. If she can't perform this primary duty, there are other tasks she can perform that have value, either in the male department or in the female one, and there's still the off chance of her managing to provide at least one future strong back. That primary function is SO important, that the company has policies in place to provide pensions for its female hirees, even if they've been unproductive in any way.

Can a man fill that single, primarily "female" job? Well, no. No he can't. Like not at all. His entire value to the company is in his ability to perform the more difficult, risky, strenuous jobs so that women can enjoy light duty while they contribute in more important ways. To perform these jobs, he requires certain attributes--physical strength, sanguinity in the face of danger, a willingness to take risks, a sense of putting others before himself, and a drive to perform. The more of these attributes he has, the more valuable he is to the company. The fewer he has, the more likely he is to get fired. He won't be placed on retainer or earn a pension if it looks like the company can't use him for anything, because if the company does that, he'll only be a burden on their payroll.

Men have to earn their value to the company. They can't earn their value through being good at secondary female tasks--there are tons of females in the company, and they can perform those secondary tasks while also performing their primary one. He's not going to get hired to do half a job, and he's not qualified to do the entire thing. The only role he can fill, while retaining enough individual value to the company to remain on the payroll, is the male role.

So in my opinion, men suffer more strict enforcement of their gender roles not because they are considered more valuable than, or preferable to, women, or because women are considered less than men. It is because women are and always have been more valuable, on an individual and inherent basis, to the company than men are. A woman retained that inherent value no matter how useful she was, because women as a group were considered so valuable that it was in the company's interest to keep the entire group on the payroll. A woman who could step outside her assigned duties and perform other ones when need be--that is, a woman who sometimes behaved like a man--was, to a point, more valuable to the company for her ability to do so. She was Woman Plus. She could do her job that only she could do, and then some. Conversely, she was Man Plus. She could do a man's job, and then some. She can be the strong back and the provider of strong backs, the most versatile and valuable employee there is.

Men, on the other hand, had to provide value in order to maintain their employment. Their value to the company lay in performing specific tasks so that females wouldn't have to, and in being valued project contributors who had to earn their entitlement to work with females in this way. Men who did not act "like men" were Less Than Men. Likewise, they were Less Than Women. They were incapable of doing a complete job either way, so there was no added value in them demonstrating female characteristics without having a womb to go along with it.

And at that point, the company, for the sake of its own solvency, would either vigorously "retrain" them, or give them their pink slips. It is not that maleness is "better than" femaleness. It is that maleness has always been extremely limited in its useful and productive permutations, while femaleness is simply less so. The essential feminine can only be added to and gain value, while the essential masculine can only be subtracted from and lose it.

Many women have been able to completely abandon their essential feminine--their primary function--and still retain status as whole human beings with value to society, but men simply cannot do the same. When they abandon masculinity, they throw away all that makes their lives worthwhile to anyone but themselves.

Is it possible to change this? Perhaps. The same social, biological and economic progress that has allowed women to set aside their essential feminine and still retain some value to our evolving society should certainly work the same way for men. There are more roles available to everyone--meaningful ones--now that the old "primary" roles are becoming less important to the "corporation", and men are a part of that "everyone". But as long as women are not willing to fully embody these new roles, they're going to want to hold men to their old ones. And the dynamic, all through history, has been about men putting women--their safety, provision and comfort--before themselves. Because of this, the ride to true liberation for men from their gender roles is gonna be a hell of a lot more bumpy than the one for women has been.

Monday 10 October 2011

The violence of the oppressed... not the same as the violence of the oppressor.

This phrase conjures images such as the slave revolt that liberated Haiti, the Storming of the Bastille that set off the French Revolution, or of rugged, battle-hardened Mujahideen soldiers harrying the Soviet occupation force in 1980s Afghanistan.

Or...well, if you were a radical feminist, it might conjure images of Lorena Bobbitt, Catherine Kieu Becker, and any number of women who've enacted horrific, sometimes sexual, violence upon men.

This philosophy--that the violence of the oppressed is not the same as the violence of the oppressor--is what led to feminist suppression and dismissal of the almost 300 studies on domestic violence published since the early 80s, studies that demonstrate women are as aggressive, if not more aggressive, in their relationships as men are. It is the philosophy that causes feminists to emphasize the importance of "context" (something many of those almost 300 studies explicitly address), and then twist those contextualizations completely out of shape. It is what led women's advocates to conclude that the mandatory arrest policies enacted in the 1980s had resulted in "victims" being arrested alongside or even in place of their abusers when arrests of women in California rose by 446% and men's by just 37%, and to enact predominant aggressor policies to remedy this "problem".

It is what leads them to assign empirically groundless motivations to female abusers that fall in line with "men's and women's relative positions in society", and therefore characterize husband-battering as a "reaching upward" for empowerment, rather than a "stomping downward" act of anger, jealousy, domination, and, yes, oppression. It is what allows ordinary people and feminists alike to consider women's violence against men not only understandable but a justified and even admirable resistance to "patriarchal norms", while male violence against women has become even more universally condemned than it has always been.

It is what leads the general public to conclude, against all the glaring, neon-colored, sequin-and-road-flare-festooned evidence to the contrary--PSA ad campaigns, VAWA, mandatory arrest policies, crisis lines, battered women's shelters, easily obtained restraining orders, primary aggressor policies, Joe Biden, rape shield protections, campus sexual assault committees, billions of taxpayer dollars' worth of funding, sporadic vigilante harassment, shootings and beatings, and lessons every boy learns from toddlerhood that "it is NEVER okay to hit a girl"--that society does not take violence against women seriously enough. 

That's right. In a world where female on male domestic violence is fodder for hilarity on Bugs Bunny cartoons, where FGM is abhorred and legally banned while infant male circumcision evokes shrugs of indifference, where hitting a woman back can land a man in the hospital while an hours-long public assault on a man by a woman is no big deal to passers by, it is violence against women we do not take seriously enough.

When the simple fact that this could be our collective perception in the face of the billions of dollars we spend on the problem, the millions of words' worth of legislation we've enacted to address it, and the thousands upon thousands of hours of media time devoted to it...all this tells me is that society, on the whole, takes violence against women SO seriously it will stop at nothing to put an end to it.

And why? I mean, it's not as if society hasn't always taken this issue seriously--men used to fight to the death over women who'd been harmed, leap in front of bullets to protect them, and even married women have almost always had some form of legal recourse against battering husbands. The protection of women from physical and sexual harm has always been in society's best interest, because women are inherently and individually important to the functioning of society. But now? It's as if we've all collectively gone nuts in our drive to protect women, to the point where we will happily recast female batterers as victims, jail the men they've assaulted, and cram every instance of violence within a relationship into a narrative of dominant, angry, controlling man and victimized, cowed woman--even when it's obvious that the roles are the exact inverse.

Because a single instance of violence by an "oppressor", no matter how mild or or how justified, is horrible enough to overshadow a thousand such offenses on the part of a member of an "oppressed class". If women are believed to be, or to have been, an oppressed class, and beneath men in society, then female violence against men is a righteous uprising, while male violence can be cast as all that is ugly and evil in a tyrant, the boot-heel of oppression.

This is how feminism has taken our already healthy desire--whether innate or socialized or a little of both--to protect women from violence, and turned it into a steroid-enhanced, mutant, logic-defying impulse to not only protect women from harm, but to take as many men down, innocent or guilty, as we can, even if in doing so we put children at risk. Because if women are and have always been an oppressed class, their violence against their oppressors isn't abhorrent. Every penis severed and shoved down a disposal is a metaphorical triumph against tyranny and oppression.

It is this philosophy that allowed an audience of women to laugh and gloat over the barbaric castration of a man who'd committed the dire offense of asking his wife for a divorce, and to lead many people to speculate, without any other details, that she was probably a battered woman. It is what led women all over North America to view Catherine Becker's atrocity as not just excusable, but "quite fabulous", because even though all we knew (or now know) about Mr. Becker is that he was a man, any man, every man, well, you know how men know he had to have done something to deserve it.

This philosophy is what leads many feminists--from academics to manboobz--to characterize MRAs' attempts to bring domestic and sexual violence against males into the public eye (and the governments' budgets) as "zero-sum thinking", anti-feminist, misogynistic, and an agenda to dismantle existing protections for women. It is this view of oppressor (male) and oppressed (female) that views any outreach toward assisting male victims of female violence as a threat to women that borders on violence itself, a heartless revictimization of an "oppressed class".

And none of it...I mean, none of it, is based on reality. The reality is, women's and men's relative positions in society, throughout history, have always been balanced. Were they equal? Not by a long shot. Were they equitable? Absolutely. And the oppression feminists insist was a one-way street in patriarchal societies, well, this just isn't the way it was. Women were elevated above men in many respects--most notably in the motivation of society to protect them from harm.

And before anyone goes off on some bullshit diatribe concerning benevolent sexism and how women were protected because you protected what you owned, or because they were seen as children, or because the were useful to men as sexual objects, or because they weren't considered full human beings and they had no power in society relative to men, I will direct you to Exhibit A.

The White Feather Girls didn't entice men to enlist with a promise of sex or favor. Those young women went in for the kill, striking men at the very heart of their masculine identities, the bestowing of a feather telling them, "If you don't go off to be maimed or die, you are no longer a man in the eyes of some brassy chit you've never even met before and will probably never see again." And many men went, because a woman's censure--ANY woman's censure--had the power to drive them straight into the teeth of death.

Many feminists will attempt to tell you that Patriarchy (or men, depending on who you talk to) constructed femininity in such a way as to benefit men, thus Othering women. But masculinity and femininity evolved together, so that each would benefit the other, and women had, and still have, a strong hand in shaping what is socially acceptable in men and what is not.

That skillet-wielding Victorian harpy chasing her husband out the door and off to work with shrieks of "lazy, good for nothing layabout!" was wielding the "Hulk SMASH!!!" version of a power all women had, have always had, and still have, over men.

That feminism managed to convince the world that the oppression of patriarchal societies placed women at the bottom in every single facet of life (even areas where they were elevated), in a position where they were utterly powerless and incapable of inflicting oppression, or where their only avenue to power and agency was through their usefulness as brood mares, domestic slaves and receptacles for male ejaculate, while men alone had the power necessary to oppress anyone, is a feat of sociopolitical chicanery worthy of Charles Ponzi.

And until western societies open their eyes and start seeing reality, instead of continuing to believe what they are told, we will continue to see women's violence as what it is not--excusable, justifiable, less harmful, a righteous rebellion against tyranny, and a reaching upward for empowerment--rather than what it actually is.

And until we, as a society, come to terms with this divergence between what we have been told to believe, and what is actually real, we will continue to enable, excuse and even reward female violence, and sweep all those inconvenient male victims who challenge our ideas of what society actually looks like, under the carpet where we don't have to see them, or worse, recast them as abusers themselves--a whole underclass of people whose crime was bruising women's knuckles with their faces.

Monday 3 October 2011

Can we redefine the terms, please?

And I don't mean changing Patriarchy to Kyriarchy, and leaving the ladder of the rest of society relatively unchanged, with males enjoying privilege and women suffering "benevolent sexism".

I mean changing the words with which we examine the complex interaction of society and gender roles, the oligarchical structures depending on us plebes' subservience, etc etc.

Under the feminist treatment, we talk about rights, freedoms and oppression. When we look at gender relations in this way, we get a very "women on the bottom" picture:

  • Men had the right to earn income and own property
  • Women did not generally have a right to earn income or own property. This lack is defined as an oppression.
  • Men had a right to be in authority over women (and children) and money in marriage
  • Women were under men's authority, and were therefore oppressed
  • Men were free to bang floozies all they wanted before (and often during) marriage without social outcry
  • Women had to be virgins until marriage, and faithful within marriage, and were therefore oppressed sexually
  • Men had a right to sex within marriage
  • Women were sexually objectified, therefore oppressed
  • Men had a right to a clean house and dinner on the table
  • Women were seen as domestic slaves
  • Men had freedom of movement
  • Women did not have similar freedom of movement, and were therefore oppressed

But when you redefine the terms a little, and make them about obligations and entitlements rather than rights and oppression...well, when we look at the base unit of society, the family:

  • A man had an obligation to earn income
  • A woman had no such obligation
  • A man had an obligation to provide for his wife and any children of the marriage
  • A woman had an entitlement to a man's financial provision

Wow! Net gain for Team Woman! Let's delve a little deeper, shall we?

  • A man had an obligation (social and legal) to be accountable for provision for his wife and children, and maintaining family finances (if all the money got spent on booze and fast women, he was the one working extra shifts to compensate)
  • A man therefore had an entitlement to authority over his wife, children and marital finances, including property
  • A woman had no such obligation of accountability (if all the money got spent on spa treatments and subscriptions to fashion magazines, her husband was stuck working extra shifts to compensate), therefore, she had no entitlement to authority over finances
  • A woman was thus obligated to defer to her husband in financial and important matters

Huh. You mean when someone is responsible for the financial wellbeing of other people, they're the one who has the say in how the money is spent?

  • A woman had an obligation to provide her husband with children if she could (sex)
  • A man had an obligation to provide his wife with children if he could (sex) 
  • A woman had the (biological) entitlement of knowing that her children were her genetic progeny
  • A man was entitled to have all the sex he wanted before marriage, and to engage in extramarital sex without much social censure
  • A man had no biological entitlement to know that the children of the marriage belonged to him, yet he had a legal obligation to provide for children born into the marriage (whosever they were)
  • A woman therefore had an obligation to remain faithful, so her husband would know he wasn't paying to put the milkman's babies through private school

Um....this actually seems too close to call. Tie game!

  • A man had an entitlement to freedom of movement
  • A woman had an entitlement to the protection of her husband
  • A man had no such entitlement from his wife, but was obligated to die to protect his wife, if necessary
  • A woman had an obligation to abide by her husband's restrictions on her movement, so that his safety would not be needlessly put at risk
  • A woman had an entitlement to share her husband's income
  • A woman had an obligation to perform domestic labor in return for sharing her husband's income
  • A man had an obligation to provide his wife with a living until her death, if he could

So, to recap, in a different way:

  • A man had an entitlement to freedom of movement. He also had an obligation to keep himself safe
  • A man had an entitlement to authority over his wife. He also had an obligation to keep HER safe
  • A man had an entitlement to domestic comfort provided by his wife. He also had an obligation to provide her with food, shelter, clothing, and all other material necessities out of his own paycheck
  • A man had an entitlement to virginity in a bride and fidelity in a wife. He also had an obligation to provide for all children born into the marriage, his or not
  • A man had an entitlement to authority over his children. He also had an obligation to protect those children
  • A man had an entitlement to earn income. He also had an obligation to earn income, whether he married or not
  • A man had an entitlement to control any assets of his marriage, including those his wife brought into the marriage. He also had an obligation to keep the entire family afloat, increase their holdings (if any), and would be held solely socially accountable if he failed
  • A man had an entitlement to be provided with children, if his wife could do so (sex). He also had the obligation to provide for and protect his wife until her death, even if said death occurred long after the children left home, or long after any sexual congress between them ceased, and even if there were no children

Now let's look at how it went for women:

  • A woman had an entitlement to the protection of her husband. She also had an obligation to defer to his authority
  • A woman had an entitlement to be provided for until her death or her husband's. She also had an obligation to provide him with domestic labor, and with children if she could (sex)
  • A woman had an entitlement to share in the social and financial status of her husband. She also had an obligation to hand over any of her own assets into his control
  • A woman had an entitlement to be provided with children (sex) and to provision for those children. She also had an obligation to ensure her children actually belonged to her husband
  • A woman had an entitlement to protection for her children. She also had an obligation to cede authority over those children to her husband
  • A woman was entitled to basic provision (from society or extended family) even if she never married. She had no obligation to earn income
  • A woman was entitled to basic protection (from society or extended family) even if she never married. She had an obligation to abide by societal restrictions with respect to keeping herself from endangering others by endangering herself this point, things aren't really looking that onerous for women, when you consider the entitlements they got in return for their obligations. While feminists have always argued that men "got more", they've never really looked at it in terms of different obligations (most importantly, personal accountability and accountability for others) that were expected of men and women, and different entitlements being derived from those obligations. Women "got less" because their obligations and accountability were less, their responsibility was less. Men "got more" because the buck stopped with them, whether that buck consisted of a sack of coins or his blood.

And this isn't even going into what men owed society. The obligation women owed society consisted of the obligation they owed their husbands--to be wives, mothers, housekeepers, etc, or to be as small a burden on society or family as they could manage. What men owed? Economic output. Military service. Often financial provision for extended family--unmarried or widowed sisters, aging parents, etc, before the days of national pensions, health insurance, 401Ks, income assistance, and unisex office jobs. 

Was it restrictive? For sure! Did history miss out on some serious contributions women might have made if they were not crammed into this very strict, very confined little box? Oh yes. Does this model remotely fit the world we live in now--a world of safe public transit, a social safety net, daycare subsidies, service industry jobs galore, birth control, formula, and a multitude of modern conveniences? Fuck no. Was any of it a cakewalk of privilege for men? I don't fucking think so.

But the impossibility of a different kind of bargain for the majority of women and their children until very recently made it very, very important to society to uphold this system of obligation/entitlement, and uphold it for everyone. The truth is, until the last 100 years or so, most women could not have lived a life of children and public sphere work, independent of a man (and not all can today, realistically). Because of this, men's obligation to provide for women and their children had to be ruthlessly enforced. And the only meaningful way to enforce those obligations in men was to not allow them to become entitlements for women.

And then the nature of work--both in the home and outside of it--changed, feminism descended, and where are we now?

Women have no real obligations--neither to society nor to men. They have no obligation to remain faithful in marriage, no obligation to remain married if they don't want to, no obligation to provide a man with sex or children within marriage, no obligation to bear any children conceived therein, no obligation to become fully self-supporting afterward. No obligation to maintain their children's relationship with their fathers if it becomes inconvenient or annoying.

Only entitlements. The entitlement to share in a husband's social and financial status, and to a share in his income--even after a marriage ends. The entitlement to not have to earn income if she chooses.

And there are NEW entitlements for women that never existed under patriarchy. The entitlement to not be expected to be a virgin on her wedding day. The entitlement to stray without penalty, the entitlement to divorce without penalty, the entitlement to abort a fetus without even informing her husband or partner, the entitlement to child support and alimony, and the entitlement to move with the kids out of state if that's where the new boyfriend wants to live. The entitlement of an unmarried woman to a man's financial support for an illegitimate child (back in the day, that entitlement came with a corresponding obligation of marriage or it didn't come at all). An entitlement to demand her husband help with domestic labor and child care, even if she doesn't work outside the home.

And men?

Still socially obligated to be the primary breadwinner, still socially obligated to share his social and financial status and any assets with his wife, still obligated to share those assets and provide for a woman even after she's no longer his wife, in many jurisdictions still obligated to provide for children DNA testing proves were conceived through his wife's infidelity, still obligated to earn income or be called a deadbeat, and apparently still obligated to provide sex to his wife or he's gonna pay out of pocket.

In the US, he is still obligated to serve in the military if his government sees fit, and still obligated to be self-sufficient or end up in the gutter. He still has a socially enforced obligation to generate more income and economic activity than he requires to meet his basic needs.

And what about what women owe society?

No obligation to serve in the military, no obligation to put more (or even as much) into the economy than she takes out. No obligation to the taxpayer who subsidizes her education as a doctor or lawyer by actually, you know, remaining in the workforce full time over the long haul to help pay back the cost of her training and serve society. No obligation to earn a self-supporting income if she's unable, or can find a man who'll do it for her.

Yet she is still entitled to society's provision (through a multitude of women-targeted income and social assistance programs), and still entitled to society's protection no matter how foolishly she behaves (VAWA, the new sexual assault rules on campus), or how badly she behaves (google any female offender and you'll find criminal accountability for women is at patriarchal levels and not going anywhere).

Women have a "right" to serve in the military (while for men in the US it remains an obligation that hangs over their heads the moment they turn 18), a right to earn income and spend it as they see fit (and then become burdens on the system in their old age), an entitlement to an education whether they're going to do anything with it or not, an entitlement to disproportionate government assistance with their health care needs.

Women now have no obligation to do anything that is not in their own interest. You do what's right for YOU, sister! And yet all of society--including any men they've been more than tangentially involved with--has an obligation to them. An obligation of protection, provision, acceptance and tolerance, no matter how poor women's choices might be, no matter how badly they fuck up, no matter how selfish they are, no matter how much they harm others. The good women and the bad, the productive and the burdensome, all enjoy these entitlements if they so choose. Feminism has done nothing more than free women from any obligation, while simultaneously expanding their tally of entitlements.

And yet feminism seems to have no interest in freeing men from their obligations, does it? Financial abortion for men is pooh-poohed the moment anyone mentions it, even though this option is fully open to women through unilateral abortion, adoption or abandonment. There are giant, free, government agencies whose only purpose is to extract men's (patriarchal) financial obligations to the mother/child unit, while no similar agencies exist to enforce any obligation on the part of women to maintain a father/child relationship. 

200 years ago, we could not grant women an entitlement to earn income without removing the income-earning role as a male obligation--and without that male obligation, perhaps 2% of wealthy, educated women would have found work in a barrister's office, while the other 98% would have been mining coal with babies strapped to their backs. But now? The world has changed just enough to free women from any obligation toward anyone but themselves, while keeping their entitlements virtually untouched and actually increasing them.

And who pays? I mean, entitlements aren't free, right? So who's paying for all this?

Well, all of us. And if these entitlements were equally available to anyone, regardless of their gender, this would be just peachy, wouldn't it? But they aren't. And those to whom none of these patriarchal and more modern entitlements apply are now paying for them through a disproportionate cost of obligation.

The more I look at it, the more I realize women have never had it as bad as feminists believe they did, and no one has EVER had it as good as women in the west do today. They receive left right and center, from society, from government, from men. And the only person they owe any obligation to is themselves. Pretty sweet deal.