It’s Father’s Day this weekend, in a land where men are underappreciated, disrespected, and under attack. Kathleen Parker is here to save them, with her cultural wakeup call, Save the Males: Why Men Matter. Why Women Should Care. She recently took questions on her new book from NRO editor Kathryn Jean Lopez.
Kathryn Jean Lopez: Well count me among those who think men matter. Why do they need saving though? Don’t they usually do the rescue missions?
Kathleen Parker: Men are, indeed, excellent rescuers. We like that about men. In fact, Western men rescued women once upon a time from their status as pack mules. As my friend Matt Labash might say, I like to call that Western Civilization. Men also created the big-idea documents that ultimately resulted in women’s suffrage and equality under the law. Women have demonstrated their gratitude by reaching the summit and basically pulling the ladder up behind them. “See ya, guys. You’re on your own now. Oh, and we’re taking the kids.”
During the last 30 years or so, as feminism has reached most of the goals of equality (except of course for that coveted membership in the Augusta National Golf Club), women have become hostile toward men and maleness in what seems to be a spirit of retributive justice. Our boys will now pay for all the sins committed by the worst men throughout history. That hardly seems fair — and we know that feminism only aims to be fair, right? STM aims to shine a light on all the ways our culture degrades and disrespects males and suggests that women might drop their torches and pitchforks for the sake of sanity and the little ones.
Lopez: Why would anyone ever believe that men turn abusers while watching football?
Parker: We are fairly willing to believe anything about men as long as it’s bad. “Women good, Men bad” is the title of the first chapter. The football-abuser connection is a handy metaphor for the anti-male zeitgeist. The meme was set loose in 1993 when a coalition of women’s groups issued a news release declaring that domestic violence spikes during Super Bowl Sunday. That would be because men slurping beer and watching men pound each other while scantily clad women vault around the sidelines turns ordinary men into the beasts they really are. Or so the myth-making machinery would have us believe.
The media of course jumped on the women’s release because it confirmed what an anti-patriarchal world needs to believe. Except it wasn’t true. Ken Ringle of the Washington Post actually fact-checked the claim and found that it was a misinterpretation of a study that found nothing like that. Nevertheless, first impressions are hard to shed and it’s been difficult to talk rationally about domestic violence ever since. The Duke lacrosse fiasco was the full-flowering of the “men-bad” seed.
Lopez: Is feminism necessarily the enemy of men?
Parker: The short answer is “no,” but a longer answer requires that we define feminism. For those who missed their women’s studies classes, the first wave got women the vote; second wave got them jobs and divorces; third wave made them porn stars. I’ve always said that any woman with a checkbook is a feminist, but feminism has morphed from being pro-woman to anti-male. What we need is a fourth wave — a new “reasonable” feminism.