Everything about this article is terrible, including and especially the idea that feminists/womanists do not give a fuck about the ways in which the Patriarchy also subverts a spectrum of acceptable male expression and encourages men to behave in ways that are detrimental to themselves, to each other, and to women.
It's hard to choose a single passage that encapsulates what is so terribly wrong with this piece, but this is as good as any, I suppose:
In a Guardian article on Friday, it was pointed out that the stereotyped image of a man incapable of growing up has become a staple of US film comedies – the most recent example being Jeff, Who Lives at Home, starring Jason Segel as a man still living with his long-suffering mother who lets him smoke weed in her basement.Well, maybe David Benatar isn't the best person to ask, considering he's a professional antifeminist with an agenda and a book to sell—and there's also the little issue about how colossally wrong he is. Of course humor that promotes stereotypes is leveled at women—and the stereotypes of womanhood are typically more dehumanizing than "kind of an immature slacker."
Would the same humour be levelled at women? [David Benatar, head of the philosophy department at Cape Town University and author of The Second Sexism] thinks not.
(When MRAs play the Oppression Olympics, they're always going to lose. I would, however, happily trade ALL the gold medals for meaningful equality.)
Naturally, Benatar blames "partisan feminists" for the problems plaguing men, but "partisan feminists" didn't, for example, write and direct Jeff, Who Lives at Home. Men did that. The primary decision-makers—the legislators and cultural leaders—who shape and facilitate societies in which violence against men is tolerated and in which men are not valued as nurturers (some of Benatar's other complaints) are not women, but men. And privileged men, at that.
The oppressions of men identified in the article are natural outgrowths of the Patriarchy—and of the Kyriarchy, which disadvantages queer men, men of color, men with disabilities, poor men, etc. But MRAs are so intractably invested in the idea of the binary "battle of the sexes" that they cannot see their argument is not with feminists/womanists, never has been and never will be.
(Except, of course, where their argument is really about the straight-up loss of male privilege. Which is what distinguishes MRAs from pro-feminist men, who don't let an unwillingness to dismantle undeserved privilege stand in the way of allying themselves with feminist/womanist women.)
Men like Benatar shake their fists and aim their rhetorical arrows at feminists, because they don't want to hold other men accountable. Thus do they effectively mask the real sexism that is directed at men—the Patriarchal narratives that continue to encourage displays and expressions of a "traditional masculinity" (and the systemic misrepresentation of that construction as evolutionary imperative to discourage alternative displays and expressions) which are increasingly at odds with modern culture.
It is the same gossamer promise that holds poor Republican voters in thrall—the lie of the American Dream that they could be wealthy and powerful someday—writ just for men: The Patriarchal Promise that every man could be an Alpha Male, a man of influence, a man in charge. Just follow the prescriptions of the Patriarchy and you, too, could be Somebody!
There are vanishingly few spaces, and fewer every day, for men who achieve sheerly by might and entitlement.
We're moving into a service economy, which favors patience, impulse control, empathy, intuition, a keen awareness of and sensitivity to others' needs, and the will and ability to be a team player—all of which are attributes discouraged in men (and encouraged in women) by the Patriarchy.
And we're moving into an egalitarian culture (despite what backlash broadcasting and conservative ideologues would have us believe), which favors the decentering of self, empathy, sensitivity, inclusiveness, and the will and ability to be an equal partner, in friendships, partnerships, and parenting—all of which are attributes discouraged in men (and encouraged in women) by the Patriarchy.
The world is changing, but the Patriarchy isn't. This is putting men who most buy into what the Patriarchy tells them they should be at the greatest disadvantage in almost every professional and personal situation.
That's the sexism that most stands to hurt men. And it ain't women who are the primary gatekeepers of that bullshit. It's other men.