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National Coalition of Free Men
Greater New York Chapter
(NCFM, GNY)
1-516-482-6378
The New Voice For Men
In The Tri-State Area
And Beyond
  NCFM, GNY FAQ Page 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. Is it possible to be pro-male without being anti-female?

A. Yes, very easily -- provided you look further a field for a paradigm of male/female relations than the current mainstream gender relations ideology which permeates nearly every institution of our society today. This popular school of thought affirms that the relationship between the sexes is inherently adversarial, with an "oppressor" class (males) that devalues and demeans an "oppressed" class (females) -- who are now struggling out of their oppressed state to try to achieve parity. The popular model was originally adapted by feminist scholars from Marxist theory, which likewise affirms that there exists an "oppressor" class (the bourgeoisie) and an "oppressed" class (the proletariat) -- a theory which, incidentally, many feel has been completely discredited by recent world history. But because there have indeed traditionally been potent "minuses" to being female in our society, the truth of current mainstream gender relations ideology is widely considered to be so self-evident that it has actually become "politically incorrect" even to acknowledge the existence of alternative views. Doing so puts one at risk of being called a misogynist. Nevertheless, NCFM and its Greater New York Chapter challenge the validity of current mainstream gender relations ideology and encourage study of an alternative paradigm.

Q. What is the alternative gender relations paradigm which your organization upholds?

A. Our perspective is that, traditionally, the relationship between the sexes has not been one of "oppressor"/"oppressed" at all, but, instead, that each sex has had a designated role that it was expected to fulfill and that each role has both advantages and liabilities. So, historically, both sexes have benefited and suffered in their respective roles, albeit in different ways. In essence, the female role has been that of the homemaker and the male role has been that of the provider/protector. This "gender roles" model is more complex than the current popular gender relations model and explains societal phenomena which the popular ideology cannot.

Q. But isn't the traditional female role of the homemaker inherently that of an oppressed person?

A. Not necessarily. If women truly were the devalued sex, then it is doubtful that, traditionally, they would have been the ones to remain in the relative safety of the home (claustrophobic and boring as it might have been for some women) while men risked their lives in the workplace. It is important to remember that, historically-speaking, work was overwhelmingly an extremely dangerous undertaking. People did not drive in air-conditioned SUVs to offices where they sat in ergonomically-designed upholstered chairs and pushed buttons on a keyboard. Instead, overwhelmingly, they were farmers (and, incidentally, even with modern technology, agriculture remains the no. 1 most hazardous profession), miners, loggers, fishermen, and various sorts of manual laborers. Only a tiny percentage of men occupied positions of prestige in academia, religion and government. Moreover, not only do the not-so-glamorous jobs continue to be held almost exclusively by males today in the 2000s, with women eschewing them in droves (for example, there exists no American Association for the Advancement of Women in Garbage Collecting), but they continue to be very hazardous, with males suffering 95% of all workplace-related deaths in our country today (at the rate of approximately 11/day). Indeed, we value -- not devalue -- women's lives so much that it is unimaginable that our society would tolerate such a death rate if it were women, and not men, being killed to this degree in their work, whether in the home or out in the world at large.

Q. But -- in spite of all this -- men are valued, aren't they? The pride that parents have traditionally taken in their "first born son," for example, pushing him front-and-center on the familial stage and out into the world to make his mark on it speaks of males being viewed as very important, doesn't it?

A. Yes -- but in a paradoxical way about which, collectively, we have engaged in very little introspection. In the "gender roles" model of the relationship between men and women, men occupy an ironic position: in our society we value men -- to the degree that they devalue themselves as thinking, feeling human beings and perform "as expected," no matter what. Indeed, a large component of training in the military, as you are probably aware, consists of desensitizing, or dehumanizing, men in order to enable them to function under duress and even to sacrifice their lives, if necessary, so that others can survive. Some analogous form of this "toughening up the boy and making him into a man" has traditionally existed for males in virtually every profession. Unfortunately for the protector/provider role, in the harsh reality of surviving and making a living in a rough world, it has traditionally been a liability to be in touch with one's humanness. Therefore, expressing one's individual vulnerability -- being "soft" -- has traditionally been a luxury that could only be afforded for women, and, to this day, a man being "soft" repels us, collectively-speaking. The reason is not because he is behaving like someone we devalue, but instead, because he has the gall to behave like someone whose life is inherently more valuable to our collective psyche than his own. In our society, to be a man is to be at all times a pillar of stolid strength, masterfully in control of his environment. Overwhelmingly for us as a society, even momentary failure to perform this rigidly-defined role renders any man a non-man and invites sardonic ridicule: he becomes a wimp, a failure, an incompetent nincompoop.

Q. Don't many women nowadays wish that men would break out of such rigidly-defined masculine behavior -- geared so heavily towards performing-and-succeeding -- and, instead, behave in a manner that is more "sensitive"?

A. To their credit, there are indeed women who value men as multi-faceted individual human beings and do not judge them against impossible-to-fulfill standards of unfailing, steel-nerved chivalry. Some of these women are members of NCFM. At the same time, however, despite the enormous increase in earnings among women over the past 30 years in our society, women still, overwhelmingly, expect -- or at least hope -- to "marry up," for a partner to play the provider/protector role in their lives, and for their own work not to constitute any sort of an obligation but, instead, an enjoyable lifestyle option. This attitude is actually manifested everywhere in our society, and we have but to open our eyes to notice its presence. As one wag put it, "When a woman says she wants a sensitive man, what this means is that tears should well up in his eyes as he holds her in his arms and they stand gazing out over ancient Roman ruins at sunset, after he has flown her there to see them in his private corporate jet." NCFM and its Greater New York Chapter promote the recognition and discussion of many such confusing "mixed signals" given to men in our society.

Q. Is your organization liberal/conservative/Libertarian?

A. It is none of these and is completely non-partisan; indeed, the perspectives of individual NCFM members cover a wide range of political views. What we share is a desire to bring widely-ignored issues on gender to the public forum where they can be discussed openly and a vast array of solutions can be considered.

Q. I like NCFM's ideas, but my girlfriend/wife/domestic partner/mother/college counselor is a rad-fem misandrist who would kill me if she ever got wind that I were a member of NCFM and its Greater New York Chapter. How can I possibly consider joining if doing so is liable to get me into hot water with her?

A. From the sound if it, you're already in trouble, walking on eggshells and compromising your own dignity through unreasonable self-censorship. A life fearfully sacrificed on the pyre of "pleasing others" is a life not lived, and to begin to find your own voice, you are urged to join our organization. We strongly advise you to go immediately to our membership enrollment page and join us.

Q. I'm a gay/bisexual man. Would I find membership in NCFM and its Greater New York Chapter meaningful?

A. Quite possibly. In fact, over the years NCFM's membership has included a proportion of non-heterosexual men roughly equivalent to their presence in the general population.

Q. As an advocate for the welfare of gay/bisexual men, is there any single factor or insight that I might consider in particular to determine whether or not NCFM and its Greater New York Chapter are right for me?

A. Yes. Foremost is the inadequacy of the frequently-cited primary explanation for discrimination against gay/bisexual men itself -- homophobia. Generally defined loosely as a societal horror over "what those men do," homophobia, upon close examination, fails to account completely for the scorn traditionally heaped upon non-heterosexual men. Largely overlooked by most commentators on homophobia, or only mentioned in passing, is its flip side, a societal horror over "what those men don't do" and our collective difficulty with that issue as well. When a man does not fulfill his rigidly-defined role of provider/protector for women, he elicits collective discomfort and disapproval because he is violating our narrow definition of that which constitutes manhood itself. A type of manhood that is strong enough to stand on its own, unbeholden to the female sex for meaning, tends to elicit a collective horror which might be termed masculophobia. All men, regardless of their sexual orientation, are at risk of discrimination on the basis of masculophobia. This renders it unlikely that non-heterosexual men will ever realize complete societal acceptance until all men are freed from the potent coercions and discriminations of our societal masculophobia. In seeking to foster compassion, respect and understanding for all men -- and thereby broaden the scope of options available for men with which to peaceably live their lives -- the mission of NCFM and its Greater New York Chapter in many respects can be described in terms of dismantling masculophobia. Gay/bisexual men have nothing to lose and everything to gain by supporting such an endeavor.

Q. Are there any specific men's issues which might be of especial concern to me as a gay/bisexual man?

A. Potentially, there are many such issues, but here are two. First, all men, regardless of sexual orientation, inhabit male bodies, so the widespread lack of concern for gender-specific health issues that affect males (in comparison to our collective overwhelming concern for gender-specific health issues that affect females) is unfair to heterosexual and non-heterosexual men alike. Second, intimate partner violence affects men and women about equally, regardless of sexual orientation, yet the billions of tax dollars currently being spent on education and services for domestic violence are geared almost exclusively for females. If only on this single issue, non-heterosexual men need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their heterosexual brethren and demand that the "Domestic Violence Establishment" cease engaging in such blatant, chauvinistic (not to mention illegal) discrimination.

Q. In my opinion, the most important concern of the men's movement should be addressing Issue XYZ. Since NCFM is a general-men's-rights organization, why should I join NCFM and its Greater New York Chapter instead of another organization which devotes its efforts exclusively to Issue XYZ?

A. Within NCFM and its Greater New York Chapter, you will find members who agree with you about the importance of Issue XYZ, but, at the same time, these individuals see an even more compelling set of concerns upon which Issue XYZ rests: the perceived worthlessness of males outside of their narrow provider/protector role and, as a consequence, male disposability. If men's personal feelings continue to be considered irrelevant and men's value within society is evermore judged solely upon the degree to which men function as providers/protectors, then men's individual concerns about any given issue (including XYZ), regardless of how deeply men are plainly adversely affected in the matter, will overwhelmingly continue to be perceived as selfish and trivial.

Q. How could any reasonable person, once educated about the matter, fail to accept the need to redress men's grievances with regard to a single issue, such as XYZ?

A. Unfortunately, otherwise reasonable people nowadays often have very unreasonable attitudes with regard to men. For example, it is currently extremely fashionable to espouse the notion that males are inherently morally and spiritually inferior to females -- and never mind the preponderance of evidence that good and evil reside in both sexes alike. Therefore, as long as this attitude endures, activism surrounding any single issue -- to promote the same respect and deference for men that is accorded to women -- runs the risk of being dismissed as crybabyish agitating for undeserved "special privileges." But none of this is to say that investing time and effort to address specific individual issues constitutes a waste of time. To the contrary, it is often through education about a specific men's issue that a dawning awareness of the "big picture" of men's plight in our society comes about in people's minds. This consciousness-raising then holds out the potential to lessen all forms of sexist discrimination faced by males. Indeed, NCFM and its Greater New York Chapter do address specific individual issues selected by members and frequently work with other men's rights organizations that are devoted to specific issues or groups of issues. Most members of NCFM and its Greater New York Chapter feel that there exist good reasons for both a general-issues men's organization and men's organizations with a narrower focus. It is up to you to decide for yourself in what way your personal energies can best be deployed.

Q. How much does membership cost?

A. One year's dues costs $50. Of this amount, $30 cover membership in NCFM-national and $20 cover dues in the Greater New York Chapter.

Q. Are my dues tax-deductible?

A. Yes. Because NCFM and its Greater New York Chapter operate on a not-for-profit basis under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, both portions are tax-deductible, as well as any additional contribution you may wish to make.

Q. What are the benefits of membership?

A. In addition to being able to take pride in supporting the nation's largest general-issues men's rights organization, you will receive a subscription to NCFM-national's bimonthly newsletter Transitions as well as an invitation to participate in NCFM-national's lively, members-only on-line discussion group. Additionally, you will be entitled to participate in the Greater New York Chapter's meetings -- held monthly in Manhattan -- and will receive ongoing updates of the chapter's activities and accomplishments.

Q. Do you offer a membership discount for students?

A. Yes! Send us a photocopy of your current student i.d., and we will underwrite your $30 dues in NCFM-national, charging you only the $20 Greater New York Chapter dues.

Q. Are non-member guests able to attend your meetings?

A. Yes. Non-members are welcome to attend up to two meetings without obligation to join.

Q. Do your meetings consist of group therapy?

A. No. NCFM's Greater New York Chapter focuses primarily on activism. It does bear mentioning, however, that our meetings have therapeutic aspects for members in that we provide a supportive environment for speaking openly on one's thoughts and feelings with regard to any given topic which comes up for discussion. Additionally, the camaraderie which can be found in our meetings has proven to be a life-enriching benefit of membership for many who attend our meetings.

Q. I don't live in greater New York and/or will not be able to attend meetings very often, if at all. Why should I join the Greater New York Chapter in addition to NCFM-national?

A. While chapter members are strongly encouraged to become actively involved through frequent participation in chapter meetings, attendance is by no means obligatory, and, indeed, for a variety of reasons (including geographic distance), some of our members cannot attend any meetings at all. Nevertheless, these individuals choose to support the Greater New York Chapter -- both through membership dues and additional donations -- because they recognize our unique importance within NCFM due to our physical location in the country's media nerve center. In December '02, for example, the New-York-based MSNBC talk show "Donahue" devoted an entire program to men's perspectives on gender issues -- which has been cited by observers within the men's movement as a major media "breakthrough" for bringing alternative perspectives on gender issues to a wide audience. For this show, the "Donahue" producers began their search for appropriate guests with a phone call to NCFM's Greater New York Chapter, and not only did two of our chapter members wind up being booked, but, based in large part upon our recommendation, two additional guests were flown in for the occasion from California. NCFM members' ongoing support of the Greater New York Chapter -- whencesoever their support derives -- has much to do with this type of success.

Q. I don't live in greater New York, and there isn't another NCFM local chapter where I live, so I'd like to form one here in my area. Can you help me with this?

A. We'll be delighted to provide you with any logistical advice that we can offer based upon our own experience in the founding and ongoing running of an NCFM local chapter. But the actual founding of new local chapters is handled through guidelines set by NCFM-national. For further information, please contact NCFM-national directly at [email protected].

Q. HELP! Never in my worst nightmares would I have imagined that my civil rights could be treated with such cavalier disdain, just because I'm a man, by the family court system of La-De-Da County/the Harmonyville criminal justice system/my employer/the Ding-a-Ling Domestic Violence Services Council/Olde Ivy University. I'm up to my neck in trouble and am on the brink of having my children permanently taken away from me/being divested of most of my assets/being locked away for a crime I did not commit/getting fired over a false charge of sexual harassment/winding up homeless because it has become unsafe to remain in my own apartment with my partner/getting kicked out of school because of a false accusation of rape. Can you solve my problem for me?

A. No. Startlingly unique though your problem may seem to you right now -- you're supposed to be a member of the "privileged" sex, right? -- we're sorry to disillusion you and inform you that your dire straights are actually quite typical of what many men go through. Unfortunately, NCFM's Greater New York Chapter is unequipped to help men on a case-by-case basis at the present time -- though eventually we hope that will change. Meanwhile, for guidance please call the hotline operated by NCFM-national at (631) 476-7633 and consult the resource lists on the NCFM-national website. Additionally, if you can afford the time, by all means attend one of our meetings, so you can network with others who may be able to offer you guidance. In any event, when your crisis subsides, please contact us again if you'd like to work with us at creating a more just society in which it will be less likely that men will have to go through what you are being forced to endure.

Q. Do you have public speakers available to address a gathering of our civic group/religious institution/college club?

A. Yes. For more information, please send us an e-mail or call our Secretary/Treasurer at 646-295-7914.

Q. I work with broadcast/print media. Do you have members who would be willing to appear as guests on TV and radio talk shows or who would consent to be interviewed for an article I'm writing?

A. Yes. In fact, members of NCFM's Greater New York Chapter have already appeared on several TV talk shows, including MSNBC's "Donahue," and most of us are more than happy to meet with reporters to answer questions, as demonstrated by the enthusiastic welcome given to a representative of New York Magazine who recently attended one of our meetings to conduct interviews. Please send us an e-mail or call our Secretary/Treasurer at 646-295-7914.

Q. I want to join NCFM and its Greater New York Chapter! What do I do now?

A. Go directly to our membership enrollment page.

 

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