Toward A Gender Transition Movement
By Warren Farrell
“Taking what had worked for most women in the past and seeing it as a plot against them led us to see men as “owing” women. This created Stage II entitlement: women being entitled to compensation for past oppression. This prevented us from seeing the need to make a transition from Stage I to Stage II together : the need not for a women’s movement or a men’s movement, but for a gender transition movement.”
– Myth of Male Power
A gender transition movement will be the longest of all movements because it is not proposing merely to integrate blacks or Latinos into a system that already exists; rather, it is proposing an evolutionary shift in the system itself—an end to “woman-the-protected” and “man-the-protector.” This division is rooted in our biology; it exists among animals.
Gender transition starts by opening the lace curtain and closing down feminism-as-the-one-party-system-of-gender-politics. That combination frees women to hear what men at least could say if the media, academia, and government were not frustrating the already silent sex. It would bring into communication with each other the four major gender perspectives: traditional men, traditional women, transitional men, and feminists.
What does the communication consist of? For starters, how we can allow maximum freedom for both sexes without losing sight of our commitments to our partners and children. Redistributing housework, childcare, and work outside the home within each family; solutions to domestic violence, date rape, and sexual harassment that incorporate men’s experiences. Funding the thirty-four neglected areas of men’s health; making men’s birth control a reality….
An Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) might be relabeled an Equal Rights and Responsibilities amendment (ERA) and made user-friendly to men. Such an amendments legislative guidelines might suggest that congressional districts be deprived of welfare funding if judges assigned the children to women more than 60 percent of the time in cases of contested custody; it would deprive universities of public monies as long as there were significantly more women’s studies courses than men’s studies courses; it would deprive TV stations of federal licensing if the FCC found a consistent pattern of male-bashing or consistent attention to women’s issues and neglect of men’s issues. Being user-friendly to men includes funding research on the denial of dad time, on false accusations, and on violations of due process and the Fourteenth Amendment.
The ERRA would mean a new era—an era of shared rights and shared responsibilities.
Life and Death
A gender transition movement would incorporate men’s issues. Men’s issues are issues of life and death. Why do men whose spouses die or who are divorced commit suicide ten times as often as the women? Why are men in all ten “glass cellars” of disposability (e.g., more of the street homeless than women and children combined, 94 percent of the workplace deaths, dying five years sooner) even as we only discuss “glass ceilings”? Instead of having only an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), men’s issues of life and death might best be addressed by an Equal Life Opportunity Commission (ELOC).
* * *
“Ideally there should not be a men’s movement but a gender transition movement; Only the power of the women’s movement necessitates the temporary corrective of a men’s movement.” ~ Warren Farrell.