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Thursday, 16 October 2014

Social change and discrimination against men

Last year, while I was working in Sydney, I met and befriended a fellow patron of a nearby restaurant and had dinner with him almost every night for about 6 weeks. We became very close in that time, and I was happy that he accepted an invitation to join me at my wedding a short time later. But I digress. At around that time I was going through some internal confusion about what I was doing with my writing, and the things I cared about. I was frustrated that no one else seemed to care. He told me, "No one knows which snowflake causes the avalanche."

Social change in this world is just like snow building up on a mountain and then one day there's too much snow and it all comes crashing down in an avalanche. At some point, it's a single snowflake that causes a shift which results in the avalanche.

avalanche

It's the same with social change.

People are often trying to do something to bring about social change, and even though nothing really changes, it all adds to the 'weight' that's slowly building up. Something happens that shows there's a social problem and more people try to do something. It might be injustice in the government system, financial system, or the law enforcement system. Small groups of people write articles or blogs, or engage in protests, even riots, all of them crying out for social change. But still nothing happens because it hasn't reached critical mass yet.

Along the way, it's easy to think that people just don't care about the problem, because nothing is really happening. The injustices continue unchecked. But behind the scenes, simmering under the surface, the 'weight' of social change is building up.

Eventually critical mass is reached and there's great upheaval as more and more people take to the streets to demand change. Something or someone, somewhere, did something or said something that resulted in incredibly large groups of people demanding something be done, everywhere.

It's an avalanche! And no one knows which snowflake caused it.

My friend was telling me I should keep going with what's important to me. I might not be responsible for bringing about great social change, but my words adds to the weight of what's already there. It all adds up, and someone, somewhere, might read something I've written, and decide to do something that results in them being a modern Ghandi and bringing about amazing social change.

gandhi

What is social justice? It's defined as:
"... promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity." It exists when "all people share a common humanity and therefore have a right to equitable treatment, support for their human rights, and a fair allocation of community resources." In conditions of social justice, people are "not be discriminated against, nor their welfare and well-being constrained or prejudiced on the basis of gender, sexuality, religion, political affiliations, age, race, belief, disability, location, social class, socioeconomic circumstances, or other characteristic of background or group membership"
From what I can see, men have no fair allocation of community resources. Men’s health issues are generally ignored in favour of women’s health issues, so there’s nothing fair there. There's also nothing fair about women's interests being more important than men's interests, whether that's physical or mental health, or other actitives that are inherent to men, just like there are activities inherent to women.

In the past year I have succeeded in getting women’s groups on FB banned that engage in misandrist (hatred of men) statements and social sharing, I have also done the same with men’s groups on FB that engage in misogyny (hatred of women). I'm an equal rights supporter, so I'm against both men and women's groups that engage in hatred or discrimination against the other.

Anyone who is a proponent of feminist principles quite often receives my contempt as well, because feminist principles are NOT principles of equality, no matter what any feminist says. Supporting women at the expense or instead of men is supporting a stance of inequality. There's no 'social justice' about it, so there's no way I can support it myself.

I know social justice and equality doesn’t mean equal treatment, but it does mean equal opportunity. But I'm not talking about pure equality here. I can understand the need for special treatment for the disabled, for example, because they have physical restrictions that require assistance. I can understand the need for laws against sexism and discrimination - and we already have those. I do believe the penalties for breaking those laws should be increased, and more education needs to be promoted. But I don’t agree with the need for quotas for women in the workforce, or for women to receive pay that is higher than men because they're women, or for women to perpetuate an inherent belief that they’re victims of everything, or for women to receive special treatment based on the fact that they’re women – it becomes sexist, and should be treated the same way as we would treat men who demand special treatment just because they’re men.

womensgym

For example, I agree that we should have women’s only gyms, but there should be men's only gyms too. Why should they be illegal? I agree that women’s support groups should be supported and encouraged, but I disagree that men’s support groups should be banned. I agree that women’s health issues should receive Federal funding, but I disagree that men’s health issues should not.

In 2011 about 3,300 men died of prostate cancer vs. 2,900 women dying of breast cancer. More men die from prostate cancer each year than women die from breast cancer, but in Australia women’s health funding since 2003 has received over $800 million dollars from Federal funding whereas men’s health funding has received only $200 million dollars. Why is women's breast cancer apparently four times more important (financially) than men’s prostate cancer, when more men die from prostate cancer than women die from breast cancer?

My issue is, ultimately, with a general consensus in society and authoritarian policy that women’s needs should be supported and men’s needs should be unsupported or even banned.
All needs for all people should be supported.

And I’m always going to be angry as long as this subtle but inherent discrimination against men continues to exist.

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