Black men as "canaries in the coal mine"

It doesn’t make sense to me to talk about a person being obsolete. It’s like saying “Is engineering purple?”

I’m not sure that’s what feminists are getting at when they say men are “obsolete”. And I’m quite sure Straughn would disagree that men are doing “great”. In addition to the prison gap, she’d point to education gap (more women are going to college) and the death gap (93% of people killed not the job are men), among other things.

For those in the thread who haven’t clicked on the link, by the way, I’d recommend that you check out the description of the debate and the commentaries (I can’t access the debate itself, as I am not a member).

There’s a link in the OP, which I’ll link here again: Be It Resolved That Men Are Obsolete.

It was a debate. The Pro side consisted of:

Hanna Rosin: “Women are not just catching up anymore; they are becoming the standard by which success is measured.”

Maureen Dowd: “So now that women don’t need men to reproduce and refinance, the question is, will we keep you around? And the answer is, ‘You know we need you in the way we need ice cream — you’ll be more ornamental.’ ”

The Anti side consisted of:

Caitlin Moran: “One of the first rules of any useful kind of feminism is to politely but firmly say “Not today, dear,” to any woman quacking on about how men are the enemy.”

Camille Paglia: “Feminism was always wrong to pretend that women could ‘have it all.’ It is not male society but mother nature who lays the heaviest burden on woman.”

The link contains video, transcripts, and highlights, among other things.

There’s also commentary: This was a stirring, fun debate, and I was surprised at how little true disagreement there was between the two sides. Pretty quickly the conversation coalesced into an elegy for the working man…

What do you mean by “I get messages all the time saying exactly what I want to hear”? I don’t understand what that means.

Modern liberation movements have always been liberating themselves from straight white males. So who do the SWMs liberate themselves from? The actually assholes at the top of the heap? OK, where’s the dividing line? Liberating themselves from the heretofore oppressed classes? Good luck getting any traction with that.

(Some/plenty of) men are getting it in the shorts and need an advocacy. But it needs to be based on class and economics, not race and sexual orientation.

My two cents: producers are never going to be obsolete, just some production methods. Consumers are the ones who need to be worried.

Well, and also someone also has to do construction, logging, drilling, fishing, and other back-breaking, dangerous jobs.

I don’t think she’d consider herself part of any “liberation” movement. More like an “awareness” movement. More specifically, an awareness of the difference between feminist ideology, and reality.

I’m not aware of any significant number of feminists saying this. This feminist certainly doesn’t think men are “obsolete”.

Then Straughn is wrong, because even taking those numbers into account (and men have probably always been killed on the job more often, and likely have been getting longer and more severe prison sentences for a long time), men are doing great. Most men aren’t in prison, and very few men are killed on the job – the rest of men are making lots of money (and a lot more than women) and in high positions (a lot higher than women), on average.

So if Straughn thinks this, I don’t think that reflects well on her intelligence or analytical ability.

Sorry, missed the edit, and I meant to respond to more of what you said.

I agree: producers are never going to be obsolete. Things (buildings, highways, yogurt, whatever) don’t just appear, and they’re not created by money. Furthermore, the fact that you have money, and can buy something, doesn’t mean you created, built, or engineered it. In order for some people to consume things, other people have to make them. The fact that some people are mostly consumers, and others are mostly producers doesn’t mean we don’t need producers. It just means that some people are more fortunate than others. Or to put it differently: we live in a society that systematically distributes production to people who don’t produce.

And worse yet, the non-producers (at least some of them) look down on those who do.

Well, there are a number of things that feminists say, that you might not agree with.

For example:
[li]“I feel that “man-hating” is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.” – Robin Morgan, editor of Ms. Magazine.[/li]
[li]"They [men who are falsely accused of rape] have a lot of pain, but it is not a pain that I would necessarily have spared them. I think it ideally initiates a process of self-exploration. ‘How do I see women?’ ‘If I didn’t violate her, could I have?’ ‘Do I have the potential to do to her what they say I did?’ Those are good questions.” –Catherine Comins, assistant dean of student life at Vassar.[/li]
[li]"If a woman did falsely accuse a man of rape, she may have had reasons to. Maybe she wasn’t raped, but he clearly violated her in some way.” –“Ginny”, student at Vassar.[/li]
[li]"it cannot be assumed that men are bound to be an asset to family life or that the presence of fathers in families is necessarily a means to social cohesion”. --Harriet Ruth Harman, acting Leader of the Labour Party (UK).[/li]
[li]“Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat.” –Hillary Clinton.[/li][/ul]

I personally don’t know whether you agree with any, none, or all of them. But if you disagreed with all of them (hypothetically) would that mean you’re not a feminist or that they’re not feminists? Or are you all feminists, who just don’t agree about anything?

To put it another way, if feminism can mean - literally - anything, does that mean it stands for nothing? This is an honest question, btw, not a rhetorical one.

Straughn agrees with you, specifically that: “men have probably always been killed on the job more often, and likely have been getting longer and more severe prison sentences for a long time.”

Where you and Straighn disagree (if you do) is that at one time men were respected for being men. Now they’re just treated like chumps and assholes.

If you want to dismiss getting killed and/or going to prison, that’s fine. (Although I don’t think that reflects on her intelligence or analytical ability.) Where she would disagree with you, I think, is that men make “a lot” more than women. When controlled for things like the field that they’re in, and years of experience, the wage gap is actually quite small (6%, if I remember right). And even that could be the result of things other than sexism. (Men having a higher incentive to earn more, for example, and more to lose if they fail.)

As far as the 0.01 percent of men who are presidents or senators, there are a couple things I could say, but I want to limit myself to this: the fact that 0.01% of men have it really good does nothing for the other 99.9% of men.

I suspect that the “man-hating” one refers to opposing patriarchal culture rather than literally hating men – if it’s the former, I’m fine with it, if it’s about literally hating men, then I disagree. I’m fine with the last two (especially in their full context) by Harman and Clinton. I disagree with the two about false accusations of rape (assuming there’s not some other context or meaning I’m missing).

Without knowing their beliefs on other issues, I don’t think I can judge them on whether or not they are feminists (and, in general, I wouldn’t presume to label anyone as a feminist who doesn’t use the label themselves, nor would I in general presume to tell someone who calls their self a feminist that they are not). It’s certainly entirely possible for feminists to disagree on a great many issues, including particular issues relating to women’s rights, rape culture, patriarchal culture, and the like.

It doesn’t mean “literally anything”. It means, in my mind, that one believes that women should be treated equally and fairly by society, culture, government, and other individuals.

I see no evidence that, in general, men (including myself) are treated like “chumps and assholes” widely and commonly any more than in the past. In my experience men are as “respected for being men” as they were in the past, even if this may mean something a bit different now.

I don’t dismiss any disparity in sentencing – if it exists, it’s a problem of sexism in our society, in my view; but because this affects such a small portion of men, I don’t think it tells us a lot about how society and culture treats men in general. I do dismiss any difference in job death rates, since most men (in the US, at least) are truly free to choose any occupation.

“The field that they’re in” shouldn’t be controlled for – that’s an indication that some fields may not be entirely welcoming to women. And men do have a ridiculous disparity in representation at the highest levels of society, in both the public and private sectors.

The fact that so few women have achieved this does a lot of bad for the rest of women in society (and the rest of men, for that matter – in my view, the lack of women at the top harms both women and men).

IMHO, the differences in sentencing reflect a general societal tendency to hold men responsible for things while being symphathetic to women, and this has much broader ramifications than just sentencing (e.g. it affects the different approach to men and women in divorce/custody situations).

The fact that men make more money is almost entirely the result of the fact that society expects men to make more money. So men need to do “what it takes” to make money, while women don’t face the same pressure, and some will take a more laid back approach (some won’t, but the overall average will be affected). This is reflected in men having longer average commutes, and more overtime than women, and more generally in men tending to be more concentrated in higher paying jobs despite the inevitable trade-offs (including the above, but also more danger, stress etc.)

The implication of this is that men in aggregate make more money, but they’re paying for it. Which is in addition to the fact that much of the money that men make ends up with women, whether shared in marriage or awarded in divorce. (OTOH, it’s also a fact that women tend to do more housework than men, which is the flip side of the above.)

You’re being inconsistent in holding President/Senator disparities to be signficant while insisting that sentencing and job deaths are too infrequent for their disparities to count. The latter are far far more frequent than the former.

Whether or not this is true (and while it probably plays a role I’m not convinced it’s enough to be “almost entirely”), it still just sounds like a type of sexism.

Obviously the latter are far far more frequent, but the incredible societal role that political leaders (and, to a lesser extent, leaders in the private sector) make this, in my mind, something that affects and harms all women (and men too) to a significantly greater extent than the small amount of job deaths.

You can possibly call it that. But at any rate, it’s not a particular type of sexism that there is much focus on or attempts to combat, whether in the context of the wage disparity or any other.

It sounds like you’re saying that the gender disparity in these positions works against women in these positions impacts even women who are not in line to get these jobs. This is separate from the type of impact we’ve been discussing here.

Probably. I’ll agree that society doesn’t pay much attention to the few instances in which men actually are treated unfairly, though I’m okay with that for now because these instances are so much more minor (in my view) than the many, many other instances in which women are treated unfairly.

I thought this was a more expansive discussion of various issues and feminism, and so it was reasonable to include the possible ramifications throughout society that these issues can have.

That misses the point. I’m not saying (in this particular discussion) that it’s so sad that men’s troubles are being ignored while women’s are being focused on. What I’m saying is that the very issue that’s being discussed - the gender pay disparity - is almost entirely the result of this “sexism” directed at men, which forces them (in aggregate) to trade-off other aspects of life and endure various hardships in order to be successful in the role that society dictated for them and to avoid being deadbeat losers. All other aspects (other than biological) are outgrowths of this one issue. The point is that a discussion of the pay disparity which ignores this aspect is missing the boat. Saying that this aspect is also “sexism” (as you responded here) is a moot point, since whether it’s sexism or not, the bottom line is that it gets ignored in discussions and political and policy considerations about the pay disparity. These tend to focus heavily on the “discrimination against women” angle, which is at best a tiny portion of the issue.

That’s fine with me, but if you’re introducing a new concept into a discussion, even if related to the overall discussion, it’s helpful to clarify your intention by spelling out what you mean more clearly.

I disagree that this is “almost entirely” the result of sexism directed at men – I feel that a very large part is sexism of the sort (“discrimination against women” angle) that didn’t pay female copywriters the same as male copywriters just because they’re women, and very similar to the racism of not paying black workers the same as white workers for the same work.

I’ll never get sick of your nitpicking, F-P. :slight_smile:

That’s fine with me. Disagree.

What’s taken me a couple of posts now is dealing with your non-sequitur reponses about how what I’ve described is also “sexism” and about how you’re unconcerned about men being treated unfairly. If all you’re trying to say is that you disagree about the extent to which the phonemenon I’ve described is the underlying root cause of the disparity, then that’s fine. I say mine, you say yours.

As long as you fail to appreciate the importance of communicating clearly in these types of discussions, you’ll never cease to be “nitpicked”. :slight_smile:

I’d ask about the supposed “non-sequitur” responses, but this is getting boring, so no thanks.

If I ever start to feel that most people are misunderstanding me, I certainly will. But as long as it’s just you, I’ll be feeling fine.

I agree with both points. You might be interested in a TED talk by Piper Kerman (the author of the book, “Orange is the New Black”). She talks about being shipped from a minimum security women’s prison to a real prison near the end of her sentence:

The US currently has around 2.5 million people behind bars and, locks up roughly 15 times more men than women. The good news is, the incarceration rate is starting to come down.

I think that the standard model of divorce - where the mother gets the house, primary custody of the kids, and child support, and the father gets to see his children every other weekend, is incredibly pernicious. If you want fathers to invest time, energy, money and attention in marriage and their children, turning them into chumps when there’s a divorce (even if the wife initiates it, which is most often the case) is incredibly counter-productive. A 50/50 split, as the default arrangement, would be far better for children, and more equitable. NOW, for what it’s worth, opposes it:

When I was working my way through college, I worked on a factory/trawler in the Bering Sea. A factory/trawler is basically a very big ship that both catches fish, and processes and freezes the product. I worked in the “factory” part, the lowest paid job on the ship. It was highly mechanized, very loud, and very dangerous. (If you put your hand in the wrong place, you’d lose it.) There were two jobs that I did. I won’t go into the details of it, because it’s incredibly boring, but we worked 12 hour shifts. During that time, we’d get covered with fish guts and scales. There were plastic construction-style hats that were there - I assume so we wouldn’t knock ourselves out if we hit our heads climbing through the machinery- but I wore one to scratch my nose with when it itched, because everything else was so slimy. The pay was inconsistent - it was based on the tons of fish processed. So if the fishing was good, you got a lot, if it was bad, you got very little. I got $4000 the first time, and $12,000 the second time. I used part of the second paycheck to buy an engagement ring for my wife.

Anyway, there were very few women on the ship - maybe 10-15%. But I don’t think it was because the company was discriminating against them. The person who told me about the job was a woman. The person who hired me was also a woman. As for my co-workers, I think I can speak for all of them (the male ones, anyway) in saying we very much would have liked it if there had been more women on the boat.

I don’t think it matters much what the gender of the president is. I think it matters more what her policies are, and how effective she is in implementing them. If Hillary is our next president, that’ll be great. But I think the fact she’s a woman will make very little difference in the real lives of actual women (or men, for that matter).