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Troy McGinnis

The One-Sided "Debate" With The Feminists

FATHERS' MANIFESTO Home Page

From msmithbe@iway1.iw.netWed Sep 13 18:40:45 1995

Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 15:21:50 -0700

From: msmithbe@iway1.iw.net

To: t-mcginnis@mail.utexas.edu

Cc: manifesto@christianparty.net

Subject: What a bunch of silly little men.

And what you, Troy, fail to realize is that you and your little friends are being invasive, abusive, and very offensive. I don't really care about your problems, because they have nothing to do with feminism, they are about an unfortunate and tragic love lost. Divorce is always tragic, but it doesn't entitle you to make all women pay for your problems.

It doesn't surprise me that you're divorced, because most of the silly little men in your group are. This group is for the discussion of feminism. It isn't for you and your little friends to post messages about fathers' rights back and forth, it isn't about posting recent passages in congress that affect fathers rights, it is a feminist discussion group.

Nobody in your little American Men's Whining Group seems interested in saying anything that isn't completely inflamatory, and I've become bored by all of you. Long posts such as yours clutter up my mailbox and I'm tired of it. I have a family to help support with my husband and three children, and a fulltime college schedule. I have to pay for what I download. I don't have time for this crap. Go play with your little friends and quit cluttering up my mail. and Grow the hell up.

Regards,

Misty, the Spazgirl

I often think of the insides of the heads of those "men's rights" advocates as being analgous to a weather report: Breezy and cool, with a slight chance of getting a clue and possible afternoon temper tantrums.



>In a message dated 95-09-11 02:18:03 EDT, Kathleen wrote:
>
>>Why yes, it is!  Sorry that lesbians kind of kick fathers right out of the
>>picture, but you've got to learn to live with it!  Not all of us want to be
>>breeders for men so they can have sons.  I love it when men get mad at
>>lesbians!  Imagine, women who get along just fine without men!  Women having
>>children without needing a man to 'protect' and provide for them!  Men could
>>be obsolete soon!  Just keep about 100 of them around, as sperm bank donors,
>>make the rest eunuchs, they can hang around and fix the car, mow the lawn,
>do
>>the dishes...
>>Kathleen
>>
>>
>
>Hey Kate, by degrading men, you also run the risk of degrading your sons.
> Food for thought.  Mike
>

Included message:

Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 10:53:05 -0500

From: t-mcginnis@mail.utexas.edu (Troy McGinnis)

To: femisa@csf.colorado.edu

Subject: Stunning

Message-ID: <199509121553.kaa20357@mail.utexas.edu>

It amazes me that a group of people who claim to be so sensitive to social change are blind to the detrimental effects *some* aspects of change have on large groups of people. I have monitored a little of what has been going on since the Fathers' Manifesto group--of which I am part--joined this list, and although I could easily (and with evidence) blast away at feminism per se, I choose not to do that.

I really doubt that these fathers are interested in inequality. A close look at what these men (myself included, I suppose I can admit) are communicating to you is the same kind of anger many women embraced 30 years ago to carry them into a world where they could be heard and understood. You people are failing to get the point. It is so easy for women (and feminist men) to ignore what real people are feeling, how their lives are affected by change. It is so easy to say always that change is good. Well, what is supposedly good for women has not really improved the lives of women (and I will not cite here until someone proves to me that this is truly a scholarly forum, which is not evident to date) and has in many ways been very bad for men, far apart from their surrender of certain "privileges." These guys are hurt, they are scared, and they believe they are fighting for their lives. That may make them frightening, but it also makes them heroes of a sort.

These men are not the fathers of the fifties, so the silly feminist "nostalgia" argument cannnot hold. These are men who tried to learn how to deal with women in a new way, with less supposed "dominance," more empathy, more sharing, etc. Look at the studies and mark the changes in male behaviors. These changes have not been rapid (and to my mind, there is good reason for that), but even a small change in a sample statistic suggests that a great number of people in the population have different ideas than they had before. Why are men not considered as fluid and flexible as women?

Men are concerned about their children, and about their futures. No one should be called "stupid" for that. What is stupid and disgusting is how quickly and haughtily everyone on this list resorted to namecalling and "give-me-evidence" avoidance instead of trying to gain insight into what is happening here, what prompts us to move in this circle. I especially love the call for studies and evidence...usually, feminists (at least in the social sciences) would epistemologically agree that someone's word, someone's stated ideas constitutes a degree of evidence. At least it suggests something to think about. But the standards of evidence do not seem to apply to men. I have seen several "studies" in the academic journals that take into account women's stories without question, but refer to the men's responses in the same study as being unreliable for no other reason than because these are the voices of men. Look at what these guys are saying, and I think you will see that it is not really that interesting to them to subjugate or control women. I know I have no interest in that...women are to me rather uninteresting, personally, but that is because so many woman are only capable of thinking along feminist lines, and that is quite simply boring. I need a broader scope from my friends and colleagues, one that can and often does include feminism, but that does not pay homage to it as some kind of catch-all theoretical religion. It is not that good, after all. No theory or body of thought is that good.

As far as the fathers' attacks on feminism, well, surely if it is good it can stand up to scrutiny? Actually, I have found in my studies that it does not. It is never wrong to question some ideology, and I think it is about time that feminism is seriously questioned. Don't get me wrong; equality should be the issue all the time, but we are not dealing with a way of thinking about equality, we are dealing with a way to gain dominion, overpower some imagined foe that feminists call men, or at least those men who disagree with them. To do that ensures that the debate will continue, but fails to ensure that a resolution we can all live with will emerge.

As for me, yes, I am anti-feminist in my stance. I think feminism has polluted my discipline, and from a personal standpoint, makes promises it cannot keep. Because I read that many women have given their personal stories up for target practice, I'll briefly expose my own, in a very general way.

I am divorced after 10 years. My wife and I met in school, did the love thing, did not curtail each others' freedoms (until we actually married after 5 years), worked in the same field, earned about the same money, but then we had a baby. She wanted to feel more secure; I worked more, she worked less. She resented me, and I wanted to be more involved with my kid. I worked for a more interesting company, but she was jealous anyway of my job (which included some travel...more traveling than her job allowed her). I offered to quit my job if she wanted to do more professionally, but she said I was incompetent (not at all true) with the baby (who lives with me a majority of the time, despite her having sole custody). I offered to keep working if she wanted to go to graduate school (she is a fantastic writer) for an MFA. She just scowled and said no. For three years, she would not have sex with me (and I never pushed the issue, because I thought such things were okay, that I must respect her by allowing her that level of power over *our* sex life--wrong). I was a good husband, and I am a great father, and I was behind her, believed in her, supported her, everything. I believed that the so-called "egalitarian" way was the way to happiness. I was wrong.

She blamed me for everything that was wrong in her life. She slept with our family friends, and once flaunted that in my face in front of one of them. She asked if we could separate, so I agreed, although I would not leave the marriage...I was willing to forgive, to work on it, to forget it, because I loved her. During our separation, she seduced my best friend, and then told me how much she wanted him rather than me, then once I had finally freaked out enough and *had* to run to make myself sane, she dumped him. I asked myself, "What the hell is going on?" I never hit her (but she used to hit me with things), and I was not insensitive. She did not wait on me hand and foot, she was not required to kiss my ass in any way.

Now she has custody of my child. And he is mine, make no mistake. You can say he is "ours", but she refers to him as "hers." I know he is mine. When I look at him, I wonder what to teach him. She betrayed not only the trite vows of marriage, but general guidelines for common decency. She betrayed a friendship *and* a marriage. For nothing. She says to me, "I lost myself in our marriage," and I can only say that *she* did indeed lose *herself.* I didn't contribute to that...matter of fact, most of my waking moments were about hanging onto that with her. What will I teach my son? I will teach him that equality is possible, but egalitarian living is not. I will teach him that he is different from girls and women, and that they are different from him. He will have to learn to respect them in a different way: do not defer, but fight them when you have to, because they--like anyone else--will take what belongs to you, take your personhood without a thought. Women, he will learn, are dangerous. At least as dangerous as men. I will never let him "become" a feminist male, but I will read the lit with him so he will understand why I don't think that is such a good idea. I will try to tell him that somehow, equality can work, but his world doesn't seem to know how to bring it about. I will tell him that he can be the best guy in the world by feminist standards and still lose everything because he is male in a society that for some odd reason *still* cannot define women without relying on a zero-sum, either-or definition of power.

I will tell him to reject what I was taught: women and men are equal beings. They are not. No individuals are. Equality is at best an uneasy compromise between any two entities. I will tell him to fight.

I talked to my mom about this, a single mother who raised three children, a woman who stepped out of a physically abusive, dangerous relationship into a dog's world of low pay and bad attitude in a small town with two little girls and a nervous boy. She shook her head, and said, "You're right. All I did was for nothing. Feminists and lesbians {she said it; she's still a little prejudiced} make me look bad." She agrees with me. She says men have no stake in the social world. She asks me to keep my voice down, or someone will take action to deny me custody of my son, and she would be devastated not to be able to see her grandson.

I'm proud of my mom. My sisters, too. Even my ex-wife, the thought of whom makes me want to heave in disgust, deserves as much of my pride as she always has, except where the divorce and her weak character are concerned. She is a decent mother--not great, but decent. My fiance is also a woman of whom I am proud. Interesting, though. She is smarter than I in many ways. She is studying to be a doctor after working a decade in the theater. I will be a sociologist, teaching somewhere, probably in a small unimportant school because I refuse to bow to the reigning feminism in the discipline. She will be more well-off than me, I suppose, but that doesn't matter. We laugh about it. She *gave* me final decision-making power in our relationship, about anything. What a *responsibility*. Hardly any power at all, but an awesome responsibility. In exchange, I can never lie to her (and I never lie anyway), and I have to do what is best for both of us, or our family unit. This is more of a burden than I have ever felt, since I shared responsibility for decision-making in my last marriage and every decision we made was *seen* as mine and used to blame me for her inherent inadequacies. At least this time, I'll know if I screw up.

I am proud of my "sexist" stance on issues, which drives my new spouse2B crazy. She sometimes cannot stand to be around me, and the feeling is mutual. But we work it out. We negotiate it. We figure out what is going on, and we recognize that there will never be an isolated moment in time between us when we are on equal ground. It will never happen. That knowledge makes a world of difference. And we are generally happy.

So that is my story. I just wish the response from women on this list had not been so predictable. You proved the point the father's were trying to make: they don't care about anyone or anything but themselves, and feminism is not about being open or more communicative but about being tight-lipped and power-hungry. You proved there is nothing more to this group than a bunch of angry-or-not women, supported by a few men (how condescending to call them "sympathetic gentlemen"), patting each other on the back for repeating feminist mantras and restating "patriarchal" truisms. Nothing of interest is going on here at all, certainly nothing that contributes positively to the larger discourse whether the fathers are present (or censored) or not. They provided a mechanism to broaden discourse, however unpleasant it might have tasted, but this group chooses to childishly insult these men and ultimately to exclude them from the discussion. How predictable, and how sad, especially from the "movement" which has more than any other raised empathy to the level of science.

Shame on *you*.

Troy A. McGinnis

t-mcginnis@mail.utexas.edu 

Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 12:36:36 -0500

From: t-mcginnis@MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU   (Troy McGinnis)

To: femisa@csf.colorado.edu 

Subject: Re: Lesbians: they're apparently only O.K. on porno flicks...

Message-ID: <199509121736.maa09549@mail.utexas.edu>

Is this more of the "scholarship" so many of you have called for? I don't believe for that anything in the fathers' postings have actually said anything so mortally offensive.

Get this straight: no one deserves to be a breeder, but no one--not even a woman--has the right to simply disregard others. No one has a right to say that someone could or should be obsolete. We have all come too far to do this. That anyone would suggest that sperm banks are the answer to the "male problem" speaks volumes as to why feminism should be eliminated, at least from academic discourse. And I do not mean censored. I mean *eliminated*, replaced with a better way of looking at gender. I do not mean replaced with an "old" way, either. Just a better one, one that is more inclusive, and one that does not allow bitter old women or angry old men to create a mass philosophy from their personal inabilities to understand the world.

I have said, in some contexts, that women contributed nothing to Western civilization of any import, and I believe that that is true up to a point. That may make me a mysogynist, but I don't really think so. Despite my views of the past, I cannot say that women do not now stand on the brink of an incredible time in human history when they can, as a group, contribute more to humanity and to history than any other group to date, if they can just get over nasty, petty, short-sighted ideas about what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man. Ach, I have to include modern men in that last as well. We could really go places, but right now, gender as the patron saint of social criticism is getting us nowhere.

As for Kathleen, I find you post ultimately tasteless and without redeeming quality at all. I would walk a thousand miles before I would ever say that you or any woman, lesbian or not, was bound by birth to bear children for men. The only time any woman, or any man, for that matter, is so bound, is when each *agrees* through some convention to introduce a new child into the population. This is as true for same-sex couples as it is for op-sex couples.

Troy McGinnis

t-mcginnis@mail.utexas.edu 

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