Monday, December 24, 2012

Julie Gillis - Men Deserve Real Empathy, Not Deference

Yesterday I posted an article by Christy Wampole from the New York Times on guns and the decline of young men. Over at the Good Men Project, Julie Gillis posted a response later in the day - and Gillis believes men need some real empathy and compassion, not deference, as suggested by Wampole.

Men Deserve Real Empathy, Not Deference


Julie Gillis challenges a New York Times Op-Ed that insists that women should show deference to the men who feel they are losing privilege in a changing world. 
Recently, in light of the Connecticut shootings, Christy Wampole wrote an article for the NYT Opinionator blogs about young men, guns, their feelings of disassociation and rage.

If the soldier has largely been replaced by the video game character and the drone, if the mothers have proven that they can raise the children alone, if the corporations are less able or willing to guarantee the possibility of upward mobility and some level of respect that comes with title, if someone else can bring home the bacon, what is left for young men?

She then relates how we (women) should show more empathy in the form of deference to these young men who are suffering from losing privilege in the world, who are feeling lost and useless.

Empathy could serve many of us: those who have not yet put themselves in the position of a person who is losing their power and those who can aim a gun at someone without imagining themselves on the other end of the barrel. For those of us who belong to a demographic that is doing increasingly better, a trained empathic reflex toward those we know to be losing for our gains could lead to a more deferential attitude on our part and could constitute an invitation for them to stay with us. To delight in their losses and aim at them the question, “How does it feel?” will only trigger a cycle of resentment and plant the seeds for vengeance. It is crucial to accommodate the pain of others.

Hugo Schwyzer wrote a good takedown of the piece, though I have to admit it was a little too sarcastic for my tastes, but something hit me about what he said and hard.

Wampole doesn’t recommend that women defer to men out of respect for masculine authority, but out of empathy for those suffering from Post-Patriarchal Depression. But why should empathy require deference rather than a passing acknowledgement that yeah, life can be confusing for many young men today? 
Read the whole post.

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