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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Q. I want to join NCFM and its Greater New York Chapter! What do I
A. Go directly to our membership enrollment page.