Within the past couple of centuries millions of women woke up to the fact that they’ve been getting a raw deal. In politics, the workplace, business, finance, and even when it came to their homes and their children, they realized that they were second-class citizens.
And so the feminist movement was born.
A major theme in some parts of the feminist movement is that women are the victims of a patriarchal society—or more simply, victims of men.
Within the past half century, as the feminist movement has gained strength, tens of thousands of men woke up to the fact that they’ve been getting a raw deal. It is overwhelmingly men who die in war, at the workplace, and by homicide and suicide. Men get taken for granted and taken to the cleaners financially by women in the divorce courts, and they lose their children to their ex-wives, too. And men are subject to an invisible epidemic of emotional and physical abuse by women.
And so the men’s rights movement was born.
A major theme in some parts of the men’s rights movement is that men are the victims of an increasingly gynocentric society—or more simply, victims of women.
Welcome to the manosphere, popularly known as the Red Pill movement. This is the world where men are downtrodden, and women and feminism are their oppressors.
And the reality is, there is truth in both positions. Women are victims. Men are victims.
The question is, who and what are they victims of?
The Red Pill
“The Red Pill” is a reference to this famous scene in the movie The Matrix (1999):
In the scene, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) offers Neo (Keanu Reeves) a choice between taking a blue pill, which will result in his remaining asleep in the computer-simulated world in which he lives, and a red pill, which will result in his waking up to the cold, hard reality that he is enslaved and exploited, and has been living in an illusion his entire life.
The men in the Red Pill movement see themselves as having woken up to the reality that they are oppressed, and that women and feminism are the oppressors. And though this may seem outlandish and ridiculous to the average person in mainstream Western society, many of these men are in the movement precisely because they have personally gotten the worst of it in previous marriages and relationships with women.
These men have woken up as victims.
Men who have this waking up experience commonly go in one of three different directions, forming the three major segments of the Red Pill movement:
- Becoming a men’s rights activist (MRA)
- Becoming a “pick-up artist” (PUA)
- Becoming a MGTOW: Men Going Their Own Way
We’ll take up PUAs and MGTOWs in separate articles.
And even in this initial article, which will focus on MRAs, we won’t spend time describing the movement. You can read about it yourself at the various Wikipedia links above, or go to some of its own major online sites, such as:
Or just google it. You’ll find plenty of material to keep you falling down that particular rabbit hole for a very long time.
Who are the perpetrators?
If you spend any time at all reading posts or watching videos by Red Pill men, you’ll hear all about how terrible feminism, gynocentrism, and women in general are. Much of it is just plain over the top—a ridiculous caricature of women, feminism, and contemporary society.
And yet, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Men do not have a corner on the market of being exploitative jerks. There are plenty of women out there who marry men only for their money, sap off of men, use men to get themselves pregnant, cheat on men, verbally and physically abuse men, and yes, even rape men. A man who suffers these things at the hands of a woman is just as much a victim, and the woman is just as much a perpetrator, as when a man attacks, abuses, or takes advantage of a woman. And the pain of a man who has been victimized is just as real as the pain of a woman who has been victimized.
The reality is that there are many men who have been and are the victims of women. Many of them populate the Red Pill movement. And if some of these men have gone over the top in their strident, blanket condemnation of women and feminism, perhaps we should cut them a bit of slack. Some of them are seriously hurting, and they’re letting off steam.
But that doesn’t mean they’re right about women. Only that they’re right about some women whose wiles and treachery they have personally experienced.
When one human being abuses, assaults, and takes advantage of another human being, it is wrong and destructive regardless of the gender of the perpetrator or the victim.
Cultural and systemic issues
And yet, there are also systemic issues at work here.
If you ask a Red Pill man what these systemic issues are, most likely he will point to feminism and gynocentrism. It is an article of faith in the manosphere that men have lost their leading position in Western society, which is now run for the benefit of women, to the detriment of men—and that this is very, very bad.
By contrast, if you ask many feminists what the systemic issues are, they will point to patriarchy and male privilege. They will assure you that our society and culture still favors men over women.
Clearly, since each group thinks it is the victim, there is more going on here than meets the eye.
In reality, both men and women have built and participated in a culture that causes serious problems both for women and for men.
An unavoidable biological fact has driven both men and women to create and perpetuate that culture:
Women get pregnant and have babies. Men impregnate women, and do not have babies.
This means that ever since the species began:
- Women have placed a high value on safety and security.
- Men have placed a high value on risk-taking and danger.
You see, carrying, birthing, and nursing babies is an intrinsically high-risk activity. Babies are vulnerable and defenseless. And women become more vulnerable when they are carrying and caring for babies. Women naturally place a high value on safety and security to counterbalance their inherently risky biological role in carrying, nursing, and caring for babies and young children.
Fathering babies, on the other hand, is an intrinsically low-risk activity. It’s quick, easy, and quite pleasurable!
The problem for men is that there is a limited supply of women to impregnate. A man could theoretically impregnate a woman every night. But each time he does, that woman will be pregnant for nine months, and, in the natural order of things, nursing (and not ovulating) for a year or more after giving birth. This means that women must be choosy about who they will mate with. And they will chose a man whom they believe will best provide them with the safety and security that they need for the long, arduous process of pregnancy, birthing, and the nursing and care of their children.
Guess which men look like the best prospects?
The ones who will go out and engage in the risky and dangerous pursuits of hunting for food and defending their family and tribe against any competing men, hostile tribes, and predatory animals.
Men naturally place a high value on risk-taking and danger to counterbalance their inherently easy biological role in fathering children.
In today’s civilized societies, the risks for women of carrying, birthing, and caring for babies and young children have been greatly reduced. And the dangers men face in providing for and protecting their women and children have also been greatly reduced.
But those risks have by no means been eliminated. And they are still powerful factors driving women to place a high value on safety and security, and driving men to place a high value on risk-taking and danger.
That’s why men still have a shorter life expectancy than women, and suffer the lion’s share of the deaths and injuries in war, on the job, and in the external and internal conflicts that lead to murder and suicide.
And that’s why women still commonly look for a man who they believe will provide them with safety and security—and also still commonly subject themselves to the will of those men in the bargain.
Biology is not the fault of men or women
From the perspective of biology and evolution, are the systemic cultural factors that lead both men and women to be victims, each in their own way, really the fault of the opposite sex? Aren’t they really the result of the intrinsic division of labor between men and women in which men father children, which is easy, whereas women bear children, which is hard?
Isn’t this the biological reason so many men find themselves at the mercy of a violent and dangerous world, and also at the mercy of women who require them to take on that world or risk losing both the women and their children?
And isn’t this the biological reason that so many women put themselves at the mercy of men, who sometimes turn out to be violent and exploitative, attacking and harming the very women they are supposed to be protecting and providing for, or who abandon them and fail to protect them and provide for them at all?
Are the biology and evolution of male and female, and the roles that biology and evolution push them into, really the fault of men or of women? Is it really men as a group who are oppressing women? Is it really women as a group who are oppressing men?
I think not.
And the sooner both men and women realize that we’re in this together, and that we will never entirely escape our biology and psychology as men and women, the sooner we can stop blaming each other and take a more realistic and balanced approach to overcoming the victimization of both women and men.
Personal maturity—or lack thereof
The first thing to recognize in approaching this victimization is that all of us—both men and women—start out in life rather self-absorbed and messed-up.
When I read articles and watch videos from the manosphere, I hear all about how selfish, self-indulgent, and stupid women are.
When I read articles and watch videos from some segments of the feminist movement, I hear all about how selfish, self-indulgent, and stupid men are.
Why is that?
Because both women and men tend to start out in life rather selfish, self-indulgent, and stupid. And some of them never really grow out of it.
Physically, it takes a couple of decades to grow from infancy to full adulthood. But emotionally and psychologically, it takes a lot longer than that to grow to full maturity as a human being. Speaking for myself, when I look back at my teens and twenties I cringe at some of the idiotic things I thought, said, and did back then!
So when men complain about how selfish and stupid women are, and women complain about how stupid and selfish men are, they’re both right! We’re all stupid and selfish when we start out in life. And it takes a lifetime for most of us to grow out of it—if we ever grow out of it at all.
Biology also requires us to start coupling up with one another and having our families when we’re still rather young, stupid, and selfish. And as young and foolish people we subject each other to all manner of terrible treatment, slashing and burning each other and our relationships. If we manage to get out of our teens, twenties, and thirties without some serious scars from our relationships and our own idiocy, then we are truly fortunate.
Being jerks is part of the (initial) human condition
In other words, much of the bitterness of men against women, and of women against men, is not particularly intrinsic to men or to women. It’s the human reality that all of us, both men and women, take a much longer time to mature emotionally and psychologically than we do to mature physically. And during that long and difficult process of maturing as human beings we rub our rough edges up against one another and cause a lot of physical and emotional damage to each other and to ourselves.
So is it really the fault of women that men get hurt at their hands? And is it really the fault of men that women get hurt at their hands?
Yes and no.
Of course, we are responsible for our own actions.
And yet, it’s really not our fault that we start out as rather immature, selfish, and stupid human beings, and must grow out of it. That’s just our nature as human beings born into this corrupted world.
As we mature psychologically and start taking responsibility for our own life and actions, we can reduce the amount of harm we do to one another. We can move toward relationships in which men no longer abuse and exploit women, and women no longer abuse and exploit men. We can move toward relationships in which each of us contributes our own unique heart, mind, and physical self to the wellbeing of our partner, and together we contribute to the wellbeing of the human community.
Those are fine-sounding words.
But our life is not lived in generalities. It is lived in the particular events and circumstances that we experience.
Covering all of the grievances of the men’s rights activists in the Red Pill movement would expand this article to book length. So let’s just look at a couple of them for now.
Men’s high death rates
Men’s rights activists point out that men have a far higher death rate than women in war, in the workplace, and through homicide and suicide, and that men have a shorter life expectancy than women.
True enough. Men as men do suffer some disadvantages compared to women.
But does this mean that men are being victimized by women and by a gynocentric culture?
Men had higher death rates than women long before gynocentrism was even a gleam in the early feminists’ eyes. Throughout recorded history—most of which was filled with patriarchal societies—men have overwhelmingly been the ones who have fought and died in wars. Men have been far more likely than women to engage in risky and dangerous professions and pursuits. And men have killed each other in far higher numbers than women. And they did all these things in pursuit of their own goals.
Did these dangerous activities of men bring some benefits to women?
Yes, they did.
But for the most part, it wasn’t women who made men do these things. Men did them for their own reasons, even if getting and keeping women was one of those reasons.
In short, men’s higher death rates are not the fault of women, but result from men pursuing their own goals and ambitions. That is true whether the society is patriarchal or gynocentric.
Men must take responsibility for their own lives and choices, and not blame women and gynocentrism for the higher death rates of men. If men don’t like their higher death rates, then it’s up to them to make different choices in their own lives, and to bring about the necessary changes in society to reduce those death rates.
Men suffering in divorce court
A very common grievance among Red Pill men is that men get the short end of the stick in divorce court. After supporting their wives and children for years, their wives divorce them, take the children, and get hefty child support and alimony payments as well.
Yeah, it sucks to be a man in that situation.
But let’s look at it from a more realistic and balanced perspective.
These same Red Pill men commonly believe that men are suited by evolution and nature to be the dominant partner and the breadwinner and protector of woman, while women are suited to be the submissive partner, dependent upon men and designed to raise children and take care of the home.
If that’s their attitude about gender roles, aren’t the courts just enforcing exactly those roles when the marriage ends in divorce?
You can’t have it both ways. If you are going to insist that men must be macho, dominant, protector-breadwinners, and women must be submissive homebodies who cook and clean and take care of the children, don’t complain when the courts impose exactly those roles on you when your marriage fails.
Losing custody of children
And another thing: When you’re standing in front of the judge in the divorce court, it’s a little too late to suddenly decide that you want to be an active father to your children. The men who complain bitterly about losing their children are often the same ones who took little or no interest in their children while the marriage was still intact.
Men, if you’re standing in front of the judge and saying you want custody of your children, you’d better have a track record of being an active, involved parent who has changed some diapers, shuttled the kids to and from school, taken them to their team sports and other activities, spent solid time with them, and generally been there for them. If the judge sees that their mother has been the active parent, and you’ve been only minimally involved in their lives, guess which parent the judge is going to give custody to?
I speak from experience. I’ve been through the whole thing myself. And I was able to remain an active father to my children for the rest of their growing up years, while severing all financial ties to their mother. Though it was certainly a painful experience for everyone involved, I was able to move on with my life as a free man. And I have a good, strong relationship with my adult children to this day.
Oh, and it was a female judge presiding in the divorce court.
The choice is yours long before the divorce
So men, don’t waste your time complaining about how the system is rigged against you.
Don’t wait until your wife files for divorce to suddenly discover that you want to be an active, involved father to your children.
Put in the time being a father to your children now. Do your share of the parenting. And then, in the unfortunate event that your marriage breaks down, you can stand in front of the judge and say, “I’ve been an active father to my children. I’ve done my share of the parenting. I want to continue to do that, Your Honor.”
Judges are not as unreasonable as you think. But they won’t pay much attention to your desperate pleas when your back is against the wall in divorce court. They will look at what you have done or not done as a father in the years before the divorce.
If this means working a little less, letting your wife provide some of the household income, and spending more time with your children, then that might just be what you have to do if you truly want to be an active father to your children.
In short, when it comes to divorce court, the choice is in your hands—but you have to make that choice long before you end up on the opposite side of the courtroom from your wife.
- If you choose to be the traditional breadwinner and absentee father during your children’s growing-up years, the judge will most likely continue that same arrangement if your marriage breaks up.
- But if you choose to be an active father to your children during their growing-up years on a more equal basis with your wife, the judge will most likely continue that arrangement after the divorce.
Men, the choice is in your hands
Men are not the victims of women in divorce court. Rather, divorce courts commonly impose upon men exactly the choices they have made in relation to their wives and children during the course of their marriage.
So men, choose wisely what sort of marriage relationship you want with a woman, and how active a father you want to be to your children. There may come a time when you’re stuck with that choice whether you like it or not.
Are there miscarriages of justice in divorce court, in which men just plain get a raw deal that they don’t deserve?
Of course there are. We live in an imperfect world, with imperfect courts run by imperfect people. And men have every right to advocate for reform in the court system if they see injustice there.
But if you want to minimize the “unfairness” of any divorce court that may be in your own future, think carefully about your career, your marriage, and your parenting. These choices are in your own hands. And it’s best if you make them before you tie the knot.
Men are not victims of women
Yes, as I said earlier, some men are the victims of some women. Women can be jerks just as men can, and women can be evil just as men can.
But men as a class are not victims of women as a class. Nor has gynocentrism ruined the world for men.
So to the Red Pill MRAs I say:
Chill out about women. Women as a group are not evil bitches out to destroy your life. Self-absorbed and out grab stuff for themselves? Probably. Especially when they’re young. But not any more self-absorbed and out for themselves than men are when they are young. It takes a few decades for us human beings, both men and women, to grow up and quit being so focused on ourselves.
Quit blaming women for your problems. Be a man. Take responsibility for your own life. Make the choices that will put your life and your relationships on the footing that you want for them.
If things don’t always turn out the way you hoped they would, join the club. Welcome to the human race. Sometimes life sucks no matter how hard you try. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on a little wiser from the experience.
If you really want to be a man, you can’t blame women or gynocentrism or anything else for your problems. It’s your job to make your own life and your own relationships what you want them to be.
Nobody said it would be easy.
Man up, quit complaining, and do the hard work.
For further reading: