Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Zenpriest/Zed on Men's Anger

Anything by Zenpriest is always good, but I liked this one in particular---I have my own take already on hold, but instead of providing commentary, I'll just let this gem stand on it's own. It's something that certain readers are already familiar with, but it bares repeating.

And if anyone is still recently in touch with him, tell him that Chris/SR wishes him well, and that he's welcome to drop in any time, even if it's just in cyberspace.


Why are men so angry?

One of the most common men's issues I see discussed on NGs is men's anger. Everybody is obsessing about men's anger, characterizing it as uniting force among men - "male" anger, telling men how to manage it, and express it and suppress it.

What no one is doing is acknowledging WHAT IT IS that men are getting angry about. And every time some man brings up all the man bashing in the culture, or how shittily men are treated, everybody tries to "hush him up", so he gets angrier and keeps getting angrier until he feels like he has been HEARD or SEEN JUST AS HE IS. Instead, he keeps getting told how he "should" be and, even when the prescription is impossible or completely nuts, having people ANGRY AT him for living a life of reality rather than their fantasies of what they want him to be.

The anger you see in a man is directly proportional to the anger which he has absorbed over the years. Letting that anger out is essential to ever being able to let go of it and leave it behind. But it is very takes a very long time to learn how to be focussed and articulate with anger. It is a mature skill and takes lots of practice. It is something older men could teach younger men, except that younger men distrust older men these days.

Men are expressing a lot of anger these days. It comes from 25 years of having their collective character assassinated in the public consciousness. Men have been turned into criminals for trying to be good fathers. Everything has been turned upside down for them. Where they expected recognition and appreciation, they received blame and hatred.

The extent of men's anger can easily be seen in their withdrawal, not their violence. Boys are bailing out of schools because the schools hate boys so much. Men of all ages are quietly going against the impossible demands and expectations placed on them. Silencing them did not immobilize them and they have found ways to express that anger even if they couldn't win a semantic word game about how they expressed it vocally. They are expressing it by their absence.

The men still arguing with women are the ones still trying to reach understanding. They are the ones who still believe in women. The rest have quit talking to women completely. Or rather, they have quit listening to women while they rag on incessantly.

Anger is a natural reaction to a feeling of being attacked. Anyone who doesn't see how men are under attack every day just isn't looking. The cultural role and contributions of men have been "deconstructed" into rubble during the course of the past 30 years. Men have been tarred with the broad brush of "the enemy" and women have refused to let men be their allies. Everything men do has been under attack, and people still wonder why men are so angry. No one ever acknowledges that the culture decimates any man who quits doing that which the culture also ridicules them for doing.

The notion of benign intentions on the part of men has been replaced by universal suspicion of malice. The very valuable social asset of a reputation has been destroyed culture wide. The social fracturing which has resulted in migration of large percentages of the population into urban areas makes it harder to get to know people individually and leads directly to the formation and use of stereotypes. Social transgressions like lying, which would reflect so badly on an entire family with long standing social ties that the individual lives with an awareness that his/her actions can harm other people indirectly, go undetected when the only thing that people know of each other is what they see in front of them. The entire notion of internal controls of behavior, what one might call a sense of ethics, has been discredited by radical feminist theory.

Thus we have moved into an era where there are no ethics, no internalized cultural controls and substituted an massive snarl of government regulations and the much touted RULE of LAW. Except the laws are so incredibly biased against men that men have lost faith in the both the justice system and the government.

And when a man expresses anger about any of this, he is essentially told to shut up.

The more trapped a man is in situations which are eating him alive, the angrier he will be. The more verbal abuse and criticism he takes for his efforts, the angrier he will be. The more he has had his own needs used to manipulate and exploit him, the angrier he will be. The more condesending bullshit he has had to put up with from women, the angrier he will be.

The key to resolving the anger which comes from being under attack is to take oneself out of the line of fire, if possible. If you are not called upon to do battle several times per day, over time the battle reflex will die away. All the arguing with women is counter-productive in two ways. First, it just keeps the frustration level high because the arguments fall into such stereotyped patterns. Second, it reinforces the stereotype of angry men which women already have.

A better solution is turning one's back on the source of the anger. Anger is like an animal that needs to be fed. It is far easier than most people realize to starve it to death. At a certain point of not being heard, it is best to unhook from the attempt and accept the fact that this other person is simply never going to accept the truth about you. Cut that person loose immediately.

This is not to say don't speak out. When someone says or does something incredibly offensive to you, point it out and point out how obnoxious it was. DON'T get into an argument over the other person's "right" to have done it. They will always feel righteously justified in their bigotry.

But, speak out and then turn your back. Don't waste your time on these people.

Don't try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time. And it ANNOYS the pig.


MarkyMark said...


Thanks SO MUCH for reposting this! Though all of Zen's stuff is good, this is one of his classics. Thanks again for posting this...


Anonymous said...

When I give thanks for my blessings, I give thanks for disconnection from sources of irritation twice.

I very much live by "A better solution is turning one's back on the source of the anger. Anger is like an animal that needs to be fed. It is far easier than most people realize to starve it to death. At a certain point of not being heard, it is best to unhook from the attempt and accept the fact that this other person is simply never going to accept the truth about you. Cut that person loose immediately."

Anonymous said...

As long as men shall remain angry, it must be seen as a positive and comforting thought for the feminists: men are angry, but still around...

When men will no longer be angry, they will have taken one more step toward independance: that's when feminists should worry...

Women aren't noticing, but men are changing fast these days.

The men are leaving. They will not come back on their own decision. Women will have to open their eyes and change their ways.

But I'm not sure women are even interested. Perhaps they are going their own way as well.

I think that the next step in the gender divide will be reproductive independance.

Anonymous said...

Right on!!! Its past time for society and the political structure to get off men's backs. Most of us work our butts of to provide for others as well as ourselves. Most of us help out at home and many do volunteer work as well. We've had to deal with 40 plus years of affirmative action programs, predjudice in educational institutions,descrimnation in laws, etc. We are told how to be a man by people who don't have a clue. Its time we go our own way.