Sitz im leben: A Post By Equilshift

S

Hi Genderratic,

I’m a new poster on Genderratic, although I have been a reader for a few months. I feel like I have a lot to say about the MRM and our cultural gender (and racial) situation, so I was wondering if I might be able to supply a guest post for Genderratic. I’m not a writer, so if the quality isn’t what you are looking for, please say no. It won’t hurt my feelings so much that I will stop reading the blog. But here is a first draft of something I would like to get off my chest:
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In a college course studying the history of bible interpretation, my professor stressed an idea that seems simple now, but revolutionized my thinking then. he extorted, quite simply, that when interpreting the Bible/Tanakh (sadly the Quaran was left out of this course) required a knowledge, and indeed a study of what my professor called its sitz im leben. This delightful German phrase does not have an accurate translation into English, but the closest approximation would be context. As the MRM moves forward, I think it is important to ask ourselves what our sitz im leben is. What are the conditions that give rise to men and women discussing inequality and injustice directed towards men? What are the influences, personal and social, that cause a man or woman to decide to take up this cause?
The sitz im leben is more than simply the inequalities that exist that give us cause to complain. What separates an MRA from his/her fellows? Any person could take up the cause, but why did we, rather than (or in addition to) our neighbors and friends?
I will share with you a little of my own sitz im leben to help start the discussion. I became interested in the MRA during my first few years in college. I was in an abusive relationship with a woman who came from what I would now call a broken home. This woman was my first serious relationship, and being young, I didn’t know better. Lest you think that I was an innocent victim, I must inform you that I too, used anger as a weapon, and frankly, abused. I understand all too well the fact that most abusive relationships are two way streets. Still, I felt at the time that my anger was an innate trait that was passed on from my father to me, via the Y chromosome. And I felt her anger was the product of her two alcoholic, abusive parents. The first experience that I had, that I knew at the time was misandristic, involved misandry that came from myself. The guilt was because I was a man, and therefore violent, abusive and dangerous. (And the misogynistic idea that she was free of blame from her actions wasn’t something I understood until I began to explore the MRM).
But my first experience with misandry came far, far earlier. I grew up in a household with two feminists, in a feminist city, at a feminist time. The song that had always been sung was that men needed to alter their behavior to suit the needs of women. This was due to the nature of men, who, like the noble savage of popular culture, while he may be well intentioned and allowed into civilization, is still a savage, and at his core he is violent, wild, backwards. Each one is a walking time bomb of destruction. Men cheat, steal, lie, hurt, violate, and it is because they have a penis. I didn’t even know it was possible for a woman to cheat on her husband until I was in my teens.
But what of the context of the MRM? Why does it exist? I think the MRM was started for the same reasons that the suffrage movement started. A desire for a voice in the public sphere to combat the injustices and inequalities present in the lives of every day people. Every day people who turned around and said ‘this isn’t right’.
But I am more curious about what the readers of Genderratic have to say on this topic, because we, as a movement need to understand ourselves in order to move forward successfully. So what is it that caused you to become an MRA? What in your life, and what in society? And equally important, where do we need to go from here?
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This piece is not about an recent event/incident related to the MRM, and I don’t know if you are interested in pieces like this, but it honestly felt so good getting it down that I consider it a win whether you want to publish or not. If you do like it, what revisions would you include? I am worried that it is too focused on my own experiences. Mostly my goal is to get people to ask these questions of themselves because I felt it was a rewarding experience for me to do the same.
If you don’t like it, what more can I do to contribute to Genderratic?
-Equilshift
Alison Tieman
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Alison Tieman

<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="2929 http://www.genderratic.com/?p=2012">9 comments</span>

  • I don’t know why those who started this movement did so. I know what drew many of us in was personal experiences. Men take a long time to unite. We are solitary by nature. So this has been a long time in development. I think the advent of the Internet has been a big part of this. The ability to find like minds. I found the MRM sites when I was searching for answers as my marriage fell apart. One of the big questions I had was “Am I alone?”. This question wasn’t so much about divorce, but in my experience. I found two places that told me I was not alone. One was the MRM. The other was groups of people who have dealt with border line personalities. Its terrifying how close the common woman comes to behaving like a border line, but there are extremes I have experienced that are almost unbelievable. In part I discovered I was dealing with a crazy person, and in part I learned that I was dealing with a crazy society. Like most men, I first looked at how do I fix this for me. I then looked at how can I prevent other men from falling prey to this. One way is to be informed. Another way is to share what I have learned. I choose to do this through personal experience on my blog, and through my relationships with people in the physical world.

    My context is this. I am a man going through divorce. The system’s default mechanisms are not beneficial to me or my kids. How do I change things for me? and then How do I change things for men? I am a man dating. There seems to be an understanding barrier between me and the women I interact with. How do I understand? How do I function in this system? Some of this was simply unlearning things I bought into in early adulthood, and some of it was revolutionary in changing my thinking.

  • The sitz im leben of the Bible is interesting if, like me, you’ve concluded that it was written on behalf of Titus Flavius in order to portray him as the son of god. Thus, the phrase “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” has a very humorous wit to it, also often expressed with the use of coins: “Heads I win, Tails you lose.”

    When I was a Christian, which lasted until the age of 12, I had always heard about these people called atheists and what it meant to be one, that they all secretly believed in god but they were very angry at him and refused to admit that he was real. The priests would talk about them all the time, warning us not to become one. More recently, perhaps when I was in college, I had started hearing similar things about this other group of people who supposedly felt that man had a raw deal, but really they were just sexist pigs who hated women. And man, I love women, so I wasn’t about to become one!

    And at the time, I remember going to a Christmas party with my girlfriend and she got a present from some other guy who was there and it turned out to be a giant dong with a big suction cup on one end, presumably to adhere it to the bathroom wall. This was how I found out she wasn’t really my girlfriend anymore, having gone back to be with her ex, who also didn’t know that I was her boyfriend. This somehow led to a fight where he kept trying to push my motorcycle over and I pushed him in front of a bus. Man, I thought… we men are such assholes. So then some girls in my Judo class invited me to a Take Back The Night rally and I went with them. It was a night whose experience surely left me with PTSD, a surreal experience comparable to but one other event in my life, which was when I went on a date to a Pentecostal Revival and witnessed speaking in tongues and laying on of hands up close and personal. But man… I felt really terrible about being a man after that. Those girls invited me to an after-party at some house where one of the girls was cat-sitting and we drank fruit punch while the girls laughed with each other and I sat petrified on the couch. Finally, I heard some of them speaking adoringly about some men, so I thought that maybe it was safe to start socializing with them, but it turned out they were talking about the cats.

    Which brings me to feminism. It’s unfalsifiable, often taking on mutually exclusive, contradictory positions which blame everything on men. I realized this because, just like the OP, one day I started asking myself why I always felt like shit about being a man. I still don’t call myself an MRA, although I see nothing disgraceful about it. I am more of an anti-feminist, stemming from what I consider to be my skeptical nature at heart.

  • Still, I felt at the time that my anger was an innate trait that was passed on from my father to me, via the Y chromosome. And I felt her anger was the product of her two alcoholic, abusive parents.

    A view inculcated in us all. All the nastiest of human attributes and behaviours are innate in the male and exist only in the male. Upon any manifestation of these traits in the female one must seek out that external agent which made her do it. You conformed to your training.

  • This is an excellent summation of your experience. In particular, this sentence stood out to me: “The song that had always been sung was that men needed to alter their behavior to suit the needs of women.”

    This is EXACTLY the message that mainstream feminism has been giving for a very long time now, and there seems to be little awareness of how clueless, privileged, and misandrist that message is.

  • My sitz in leben is that I have a straight son who has to interact in the social , cultural and legla spheres with women on an unequal footing. thank God for the woman he found and who found him. Iwas married, to a woman, and she was decent and honorable in the divorce.

    I have found out how much her decency was a personal choice and not enforceable under law. Even slaves could get decent masters and be no less slaves for it.

  • I came to a lot of very similar conclusions that MRAs hold as a young boy, having grown up in a few different households. One of which was a militant feminist household. I became aware of the guilt I felt simply for being a man. I was also worried about being a man as opposed to a child as I was quite aware of the women and children first ideal, and how that protection was only temporary for me. This happened somewhere in my pre to early teens I also noticed the uneven balance of power in the dating game as I approached sexual maturity (teens).

    These realisations became semi-dormant throughout my a lot of the rest of my teens as I was too distracted by my raging hormones to think clearly for a time, I also started to idolise women, I suspect as a result of being so incredibly interested in them (stupid, I know). After that I finally escaped the madness of puberty (somewhere around the age 17 or 18 it felt like I had taken a huge breath of fresh air and could think clearly again.

    At this point I gained an interest in gender, specifically gender dimorphism as it seemed to me that the mantra of men and women being exactly the same except for their genitals didn’t make a lot of sense and I had always valued reality and truth very highly and firmly believed in an objective reality. I was primarily interested in physical differences as they couldn’t be confused with socialisation and I came to the conclusion that men were essentially built for work, but also very much disposable.

    At this point I’m at uni studying comp sci, but I was mostly hanging out with people studying arts and social sciences, a lot of the debates I would have with them were over the virtues of objectivity vs subjectivity, social problems with the world etc. A few of them were (and still are) feminists and these are people I still consider my friends and regard them to be intellectually sound. But I found that whenever I broached the subject of male disposability with them, they would immediately steer the conversation away to another issue. I was also less than impressed with the responses they had for my questions about exactly how women were at a disadvantage in the west in the ways they claimed (mostly I was referring to things like unfairness in work/education affecting women). Particularly as I had witnessed on my own course that there were very few women that were on it, but huge efforts to get women interested, and I perceived little interest in the vast, vast, vast majority of the women I met. Simultaneously I was very unimpressed by the behaviour of the few girls who were on my course, as they would regularly get the boys to do their work for them with with the mere hint of sex as a reward (these guys by and large were not getting laid). And the fact that when they came to me with the same sort of nonsense I was willing to offer to help them become competent enough to do their own work and they would just draw the conclusion that they could easily enough get another guy to just do the work.

    At this point I’ve had a few girlfriends and am feeling fairly disillusioned with women as a whole, as they weren’t really the women feminism had promised me; capable, intelligent, self-reliant etc. with a handful of exceptions who to this day I admire for actually bothering to become awesome when they really have no need to.

    Anyway, at this point I’ve concluded that men are disposable and questioned feminism a fair bit (although in a very soft way, I wasn’t exactly anti-feminist, more feminist sceptical) and I’ve been talking to people about these thoughts, and one day a friend points me to feminism and the disposable male, a GWW video, I pretty much agreed with it, and it also helped formalise a lot of the thoughts I had been having throughout my life. I especially realised that there was no way a man could get away with saying this sort of shit and that it could only really be delivered by a woman, which is of course completely fucked up. I don’t really associate my identity as being a part of the MRM or MRA, but I am extremely sympathetic to the cause, and am fascinated by a lot of the writing on gender that comes out of it, in particular the stuff written by GWW and TyphonBlue.

    So, that was more rambly than I had expected and I cant be bothered to check it so it’s probably very disjointed too, sorry for my crappy writing style if you actually managed to read it.

  • Hogpunk, thanks for your comment. welcome by the way; hope you decide to stick around as a commenter.

    You comment repeats a common theme – men who come to the MRM as a result of their experiences of being exposed and in impotnat ways damaged by feminism, assimialting misandrist tropes inot thier worldview. It undermines soem feminists’ narratove that the MRM is all angry middle-aged men who are afraid of losing male privilege, so it’s impportant for them to silence guys like you.

    Your post hangs together very well, not disjointed at all. With your permission I would like to use it as a post by itself. Others will benefit from reading it.

  • That would be fine Gingko, I’m happy for it to be used as a post, I noticed a couple of typos, and bits that might be helped by some clarification so I would like to re-draft it slightly, and send you an updated copy if that’s ok. I don’t know if you make your e-mail public or if there is another means of contact which you prefer?

  • Hogpunk, thanks. You can send it to this site’s email address, which I can’t find at the moment. or how about just posting your final copy as another comment?

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