|COLUMN CALGARY HERALD
Monday, June 16, 2003, p. A12
Men's rights groups voice legitimate
concerns, not hatred
For The Calgary Herald
We have frequently been warned that absolute power corrupts absolutely
[Lord Acton], and nowhere is
this more evident than the strange world of Canadian feminism.
The most recent example arises in "School Success by Gender: A Catalyst for the
Masculinist Discourse", a study prepared with a $75,000 grant from the federal
government department, Status of Women Canada. Prepared by Laval University researchers
Pierrette Bouchard, Isabelle Boily, and Marie-Claude Proulx, the study purports to
scientifically examine the political discourse used to discuss gender differences in
school performance. But the paper is instead a self-serving soapbox for feminists peeved
at the way upstart men's rights organizations and other special-interest groups are
"usurping" the language of equality and fairness.
It seems that the feminists represented by this study are convinced that they own the
patent on these words and anyone else who would seek these same goals is merely a
pretender of victimization.
Your government dollars at work actually solicited papers on the topic of how to combat
the problem of groups other than feminists seeking equality, groups that are changing the
language of debate on gender issues. The Status of Women protocol for this research notes
that "rights-oriented Lobbying" designed to give voice to the "newly
disadvantaged" is detracting from debating policy based on "issues of equality
between men and women."
And who are these newly disadvantaged? They are listed as men, fathers, parents,
children and the fetus. In other words, everyone but feminists should be discouraged from
voicing their objectives, as this is taking away the ability of feminist speakers to
dominate public policy discussion. And, we might add, threatening to drain dollars for
"women's equality" initiatives.
The study also declares men's rights organizations found on the Internet guilty of
"hate mongering" against women. It even suggests criminal charges should be
filed against anyone who criticizes the feminist movement. The study is long on rhetoric
and short on evidence, as it provides only two examples of this so called hate-mongering
throughout the 150 pages of its diatribe.
While the study acknowledges that boys have a dropout rate from school that is 50 per
cent higher than girls, and girls are more likely to graduate from post-secondary schools,
the authors declare that the "masculinist" discourse blames women and mothers
for this disparity. They would like to suggest that an attack on feminism is an attack on
women, but that ignores the fact that a majority of Canadian women have rejected feminism,
primarily because they happen to have fathers, husbands, sons and friends who just happen
to be male and who just happen to be suffering from two decades of public policy dictated
by the feminist elite.
Indeed, the study lumps those fighting for men's rights in the same group as
"racists, pedophiles and supremacists," and they never tire of suggesting that
advocates for men's rights are merely attempting to reverse the gains of feminism and
bring society back to traditional patriarchal values. They dismiss concerns raised about
unfair child custody laws, the male suicide rate, poor school performance by boys and all
other gender issues as "tools" of the backlash against feminism.
The researchers acknowledge that male suicide rates have risen by 78 per cent and don't
dispute the fact that 80 per cent of all suicides are men.
With logic that borders on the bizarre, the study argues that this great disparity is
accounted for by men who are ambivalent about their homosexuality and more likely to
commit suicide. In other words, most men who commit suicide must be homosexual, according
to these researchers.
As for the issue of "alleged violence" perpetrated by women against men, they
suggest that men are violent to maintain control, while women are usually violent to
defend themselves. No mention of those women with drug, alcohol or psychiatric problems
who might possibly use violence as their own means of control. In any event, these issues
aren't real concerns, according to these authors, but are merely being used to create a
"discourse of hate" that is characterized as violent rhetoric against women
running unchecked on the Internet superhighway.
It would be funny if it weren't so frightening, especially given the seriousness with
which these feminists are being taken by the federal government. In the same month this
study was released (March), Status of Women Secretary of State Jean Augustine announced a
grant of $640,000 to be spent over a 24-month period by an initiative called Womenspace.
The dollars are earmarked to enable "equality seeking" organizations to learn
how to use the internet to "influence public policy." Perhaps it is just a
coincidence that more than $500,000 was handed over to the feminists in the same month
this study was released, but it is hard to believe that they can call themselves
"equality-seeking" organizations and maintain a straight face.
The bottom line is that the average Canadian taxpayer is funding this effort to silence
and criminalize anyone who has the courage to stand up in the face of the feminist
domination of public policy. It is a certainty that funding for any opposition to this
juggernaut is non-existent, but ultimately, exclusion of differing voices is precisely why
Status of Women Canada exists in the first place.
LOUISE MALENFANT IS THE FAMILY ADVOCATE OF PARENTS HELPING
PARENTS, A MEN'S RIGHTS ORGANIZATION THAT SPECIALIZES IN REDUCING HIGH-CONFLICT CUSTODY
PROBLEMS. MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HER WORK CAN BE FOUND AT