Some people say that you need to leave a culture to be able to clearly see it. It helps to move around and live in several cultures, to get a wider perspective on the human condition – the many ways that humans can be. The subtle misandry in the west does not occur in SE Asia – a land where Patriarchs are not bufoons, but are the respectable men that are married to the Matriarchs.
Some feminists in the west take a backlash, our-turn-now attitude, an attitude of female sisterhood ascendant. They make statements that if they heard coming from a man and with the gender reversed they would consider misogynist. They often see gender differences as a purely cultural imposition, and in resentful misandry blame the Patriarchy – all men – for this. These feminists are very aware of what freedoms women have recently won, and are very sensitive to any form of unequal treatment. Oppression is a big issue, and acting submissive to males is considered a weakness, perhaps even a betrayal to the sisterhood.
When oppressive domination is a possibility, they react with disgust and righteousness at the indignation, and don’t feel any obligation to try to deeply empathise into the intricacies and nuances of how the male mind and body work. It is enough to be right, and to have rights, and to proclaim rightness. Too much empathy is not called for, and there is no need to apologize for the negative actions of the enemies to female empowerment.
Such a culture of backlash-empowerment and the barely hidden contempt for male brutes makes the negativity of the attitude invisible to those within the culture. They react with mocking shock at the concept of the “men’s movement” and masculism. When discussing porn they feel that the many ways male sexuality works needn’t enter the discussion. Men don’t count as much as women, because it isn’t our turn to count anymore.
People are born with a baseline level of contentment that remains relatively stable throughout their life. Some people are generally more cheerful, some generally more dis-satisfied. There are many tried and true techniques to gradually raise the baseline level of contentment, and Buddhist practice is renowned for its effectiveness in this.
Buddhism is mostly involved in raising compassion and empathy, heightening awareness of the present sensory moment, and a cutting honest clarity that searches out truth. These core principles, if applied, lead to a growing contentment and happiness. That is not a subjective philosophy, it is an inter-subjective reality; do this, and then this will happen to you.
Backlash feminism that emphasises empowering women, rather than emphasising understanding and working with the full human condition, does not seem to be in line with a lifestyle that leads to growing happiness and contentment. A feminism that also tries to embrace and empathise with the real, as it is right now, condition of men, would.
I like how Renegade Evololution writes about porn here and here , trying to get inside the mind of those who enjoy it. She seems to be more interested in seeing what is than what should be. As if seeing things clearly and with empathy, in itself, was the thing. As if change towards a better condition would incline naturally from the first act of clearly seeing. I’m not fond of the idea of envisioning Utopia, figuring out how things should be, and working to make the world catch up to the goodness. I don’t see that attitude as pragmatic.