I’m part of the “ManSphere”, Say what?

Had an interesting revelation last night.

I was chatting with someone about my blog and he suggested that I was leaning toward a “mansphere” point of view.

I’d never heard of “mansphere”. This morning I looked the term up, and wow!

On the one hand its nice to know that I’m not alone in some of my views, on the other hand some of these “mansphere” sites are a lot more radical than I am.

I would suggest that I’m not as misogynistic as many of these sites. I do tend to agree in principal with resisting the demonization of men.

As I’ve said before, I don’t support the subjugation of women. By the same token neither do I support the subjugation of men by women.  Women say they don’t want to be victims. However, in their struggle to be strong, often they seem to victimize men (and each other).

I’ve questioned why it is that a woman will want to demonstrate her independence at one moment, then call a guy a jerk because he made her pay for her own dinner and expensive wine (which he DIDN’T order or drink).

As I’ve asked before, “Which is it ladies?”

I suppose I identify with the “mansphere” in that, I rebel against the double standard.

Get a group of men a little tanked and then let them talk about their bosses (male or female), girlfriends, or dates they’ve had and the picture is anything but pretty.  All men have tales of abuse at the hands of women. Some of the abuse is simply petty, some of the abuse is monumental. In almost all cases the men took no action because they believed they would lose. Women on the other hand easily cost men their careers simply by suggesting that a guy was abusive or harassed them. 

Exploring the “mansphere” I’ve been struck by the almost binary nature of many of the blog sites. There’s this concept of Alpha Male and Beta male. Many of these sites relegate gay men to the Beta (or below) class. This Alpha / Beta mindset also appears as a “you’re all in or all out” philosophy that the mansphere refers to as RED Pill or Blue Pill. 

I don’t subscribe to this concept. I’ve never in my life agreed with everything a particular philosophical belief espoused. I’ve never met anyone that was entirely of one mind on any subject and so I think this Red / Blue pill paradigm is fundamentally flawed.  This flaw is illustrated by the diversity of the mansphere sites themselves. 

I think the mansphere is a reaction to the institutionalized mistreatment of men and boys that has become so commonplace in western society.  The following video touches on something I’ve been commenting on for a while, but Ms. Sommers does a much more eloquent job of explaining it.

This video makes some interesting points about the so called “War on Women”, feminism, and income inequality that we as men are supposed to feel guilty about.  As I’ve said before, I believe in equal pay for equal work. The income question might be a little more complex than just the dollars. 

Sometimes YouTube is like the library, you can’t pick just one video to watch.

The takeaway for me about this mansphere thing is that I’m not alone in pointing out the inconsistencies in our society. Now I have a litmus test to determine if I’m totally off in left field or if I’m more centrist.

As of this writing, It appears I’m more centrist. 

Of course, that could change.

Reflections

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It was my birthday last week.

This one is a strange one.

I am the same age my father was, when he died. It messes with your head, I’m a young guy.

When I look in the mirror, at first glance I see myself in my early 30’s

When I look deeper, I see grey around the edges. The beginnings of that awful “Chicken Neck” thing that happens in some of my family.  Some blotchiness in my skin, a bit of sun damage and crows feet. My beard and goatee aren’t nearly as youthful as they once were. I take a moment in the steamy mirror to contemplate the changes and decide either due to reality or my ability to delude myself that I’m still not “OLD”.

The grey at my temples doesn’t look bad, the sprinkling of grey throughout my hair is still easily hidden with a shorter hair cut and even the slight recession in my hairline isn’t a disaster.

Then I flash on Dad lying in the hospital bed. With a little imagination I can strip away the ravages of disease and I see a guy that looks remarkably like me. It’s strange and disconcerting to think that If Dad was alive today he’d be in his 70’s and probably still spry and active. He’d certainly be able to hold his own in a political discussion.

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What would my Dad think of things as they are today? Would he be pissed, or would he have just given up; realizing that the battles he’d be trying to fight have already been lost?

Oddly, and something that spooks me deeply is that my life has mirrored my father’s in many ways.

Dad made his own way, he started businesses and generally was successful. He had a nice home, nice cars and a successful business when I was a child. He decided to “Check Out” of the ratrace in his mid 30’s and moved to Tennessee. He built a beautiful home, (or so I’ve been told) I never saw it completed. The house burned and Dad was back to square one.

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Unfortunately, for dad, time passed and he’d missed a large transition from discrete electronic components to IC packages. This meant that he had a lot of catching up to do if he wanted to return to office dictation equipment sales and repair. I don’t know if he was ever successful in making that transition, we lost touch with each other for a while.

The next I heard he was in Florida again this time putting together an custom office furniture business where he built all the furniture. I lost touch again then heard from him when he told me he was in Sarasota building and selling houses. Again I gather that he was pretty successful, he must have been in his late 40’s by then.

Next I heard, he was in South Carolina. He was living with his Mom and starting another business. This time in cabinetry, That’s where his time ran out.

Resilience is one word I think of when I think of my father. He did all he did with a high school education, Navy training, determination and raw smarts. 

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In the late 70s I got into computers. By the mid 80s I had been kicked in the teeth, done a bankruptcy, and was clawing my way back up the heap. For the most part I was successful, I was working in an industry that didn’t care what school you went to. All they cared about was your ability to fix shit, make shit, sell shit, or support the shit that had already been made, or sold.

I did quite well for a long time and never thought about going back to college. After all experience trumps book learning any day of the week right?

Well, it did… back in the old days. By the mid ‘90s those of us in the industry were beginning to notice that H1B1 visas were taking positions that we would have recommended our friends for. Often we didn’t even know there were openings in the department we were working in.

Jobs got harder to get.

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California entered a slow death spiral that continues to this day. Suddenly your college pedigree was the most important thing regardless of how much experience you had. 

Then the layoffs happened.

Like my Dad at this age, I’m trying to find and create a new place in the world for myself. College? A new career? A complete change, or only a partial change? Do I want to return to the tech rat race, or would I prefer to do something more interesting? 

I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m running out of time.

I’d expected to retire from the last tech company I was working for, maybe I was retired… 

Must’ve missed the memo.

Lately, it seems that nothing I’ve tried has worked out as expected, perhaps “as needed” is a better description. 

I’m not the only person in this situation. I’m still hearing about friends that are bailing, either out of their careers, or California. 

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I’m starting to get over the weirdness of this birthday,

I’m at a place in my life I’ve been before… It’s the “fuck it all, cinch up my bootstraps, and start kicking some ass” point.

I thought perhaps I didn’t have the strength to do it all over again. I’m tired, I’d grown sick of the bullshit in corporate America, but it’s all I know. I’ve wanted to just give up, to allow myself to just be swept aside, to accept that my fate was not my own and be a victim.

Then I think of Dad, he didn’t have the time to reboot his life.

I think he’d understand what I’m feeling now, then I suspect he’d say “Now that you’ve gotten that off your chest, GET OFF YOUR ASS!”

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OK Dad, this one’s for you…

Happy November … Uhh Movember

This month is actually Movember Head on over to www.movember.com and sign up.

Or if you’re not so much of a lone wolf, you can join the fine folks at Bolt Barbers on their Team  

Grab some sponsors, grab some buds, help fund cancer research and have a good time doing it.