Wednesday, June 11, 2014

#NotAllMen: Conservative Academic Edition

Brad Wilcox and Robin Frewell Wilson have a gross, notorious piece in the Washington Post about violence and marriage.

For some brief background on Wilcox, Sarah Posner has a round-up of some choice quotes of his promotion of traditional gender roles in marriage. And, I've previously noted his ethically-questionable involvement in the tainted Regnerus study conservative use to denigrate same-sex marriage and parenting. Meanwhile, Wilson is a conservative law professor, not a sociologist, who has also published hand-wringing pieces about "religious liberties" in the wake of same-sex marriage.

In this latest piece, Wilcox and Wison riff off the #YesAllWomen hashtag many women used in response to the UCSB shooting to communicate their experiences living in a world in which men commit the vast majority of violent crimes, threats, and acts.

Giving feeeeeeeeemales some pro Safety Tips, Wilcox and Wilson opine:
"Marriage is no panacea when it comes to male violence. But married fathers are much less likely to resort to violence than men who are not tied by marriage or biology to a female*. And, most fundamentally, for the girls and women in their lives, married fathers provide direct protection by watching out for the physical welfare of their wives and daughters, and indirect protection by increasing the odds they live in safe homes and are not exposed to men likely to pose a threat. 
So, women: if you’re the product of a good marriage, and feel safer as a consequence, lift a glass to dear old dad this Sunday."
As Echidne notes, the authors fail to acknowledge, let alone address, causality and its direction: "Which comes first, domestic violence or the dissolution of marriage (or the decision not to marry someone who is violent in the first place)?" Or, other causes: maybe violent men are less likely to marry. Maybe women who are married are less likely to report their spouse for violence than are unmarried women. Maybe the criminal justice system is more lenient on married men than unmarried men.

My point here is that we see once again how gender traditionalists like neat, easy-peasy solutions for real-world problems, starting with the original URL of this article, which barked at women to get married if they don't want to get themselves attacked. It's a worldview that accepts "females" as the victim class and "males" as the murderer-rapist-abuser class, and commands women to work within that framework to marry men, tame the "beasts," and limit our behavior and movement in the world because Men Cannot Be Trusted and, meanwhile, the low bar of human decency for men is set at "don't rape, attack, or kill someone unless you have a good enough reason" (and man oh man authority has thought of lots of ways to give men what it deems good, justifiable reason for these things, yeah?)

Meanwhile, real-worl reality has a lot going on in it that the gender traditionalist narrative doesn't account for. To them,  and we largely see this perspective in the article above, the world is divided into two classes of men: Good Protector Men and Evil Violent Men. It's a narrative that fails to recognize that some men can be protective of "their" women while violent toward others.  It fails to acknowledge that people are not binary either 100% Good or 100% Evil.

So-called "Men's Rights Activists," of course, rarely if ever take issue with this gender traditionalist worldview of men, which of course underscores that movement's true motivation: putting uppity women back in their/our place. So, on that note, I've answered my own question on my why MRAs rarely critique gender traditionalists. They're mostly on the same wavelength.

(*Note too, of course, the authors' use of "females" as a noun as though it's the proper analog to the term "men.")

1 comment:

j_bird said...

So, women: if you’re the product of a good marriage, and feel safer as a consequence, lift a glass to dear old dad this Sunday."