This may not be the latest idea whose time has come — there's no scarcity of the angry and the aggrieved — but a growing number of men are mad about discrimination. In loud baritone, they're saying, "We're not going to take it anymore."
They're hiring lawyers, in that all-American way of proving they're serious, and they're organizing what they proudly call "the men's movement." If it's derivative, they should call it #UsToo. It's a further poisoning of the well whence both men and women drink.
Angry men have been with us since Adam walked in on Eve and the serpent at the Holiday Inn next door to the Garden of Eden, but this time they're organizing just as feminists hit the jackpot making men pay for slights, snubs and snark in what only yesterday was playfully called "the war between the sexes." Everyone confidently thought neither side could win because there was too much fraternizing with the enemy. But play has evaporated; "enemy" is not too strong a word; and every perceived slight, snub and snark seems headed for the courts.
The last display of roaring and unapologetic macho intimidation was on display in Helsinki, where Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump showed the macho manhood that's going out of style. It was Vlad the Impaler against Don the Destroyer, arguing over Russian interference in elections and who's responsible for souring relations between the two superpowers.
Trump's soft-around-the edges manliness in Helsinki may not reflect the growing softness of the millennial man, but the public outcry against his defensiveness followed by his "correction" revealed weakness in the joints of his armor. For the first time he was under siege by supporters.
But many young men, who do not aspire to be leaders of the western world, feel themselves under siege by the opposite sex without the traditional arms to defend their manhood, and they don't know how to make a course correction.
Jack Myers, author of "The Future of Men: Masculinity in the Twenty-First Century" who writes frequently about sexual conflict, observed in Time magazine that both Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders, coming from different places, have tapped into "a 'Lean Out' generation of young, discouraged and angry men — men who are feeling abandoned by the thousands of years of history that defined what it meant to be a real man: to be strong; to be a provider; to be in authority; to be the ultimate decision maker; and to be economically, educationally, physically and politically dominant. A growing percentage of young men are being out-earned by young women, as women capture 60 percent of the higher education degrees required for success in today's economy."
Rich Allison, 47, is a onetime Marine Corps captain whose combat experience is on the front lines of the culture wars. He is what The New York Times calls "a key player in a movement of men's rights activists challenging female-focused businesses, marketing strategies, educational programs and civic projects" identified by the National Coalition for Men, which operates out of an office in a strip mall in downtown San Diego, California. The Times describes his office as decorated with posters, some of feminists mocking men, some mocking the claims of feminists. One of them, headlined "Patriarchy's #1 Privilege," cites certain statistics: "Combat deaths 99.9 percent male. Work deaths 94 percent male. Homicides 76 percent male. Suicides 75 percent male."
He has been a plaintiff in 13 lawsuits, most of which cite discrimination and seek redress under the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, which forbids "discrimination against all people by any type of business establishment in the state, regardless of a person's sex, race and other characteristics." Ironically, it was named for the late Jesse Unruh, a powerful Democratic boss who was popularly called "Big Daddy."
The law has been invoked for such perceived infractions as discounted tickets for women at places of entertainment, including the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, which donated some of the fees to breast cancer research. The Trump organization won that decision, keeping the discount in place. Ladies' nights, now discarded but once a fixture in baseball parks across the country, typically admitted women accompanying a man for merely the tax on a ticket. The Oakland Athletics once settled for $500,000 a discrimination lawsuit brought by lawyer Alfred Rava, a frequent filer of discrimination lawsuits, after a Mother's Day promotion dispensed free hats to the first 7,500 female fans who came to a game. It was a pre-feminist truism that men behaved better with women in the stands.
Rava prefaces nearly all his discrimination lawsuits with a line from "Animal Farm," George Orwell's iconic moral tale: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." In sexual politics, as in other politics, some things don't change. Only the aggrieved parties change places.
Write to Suzanne Fields at [email protected] Suzanne Fields is currently working on a book that will revisit John Milton's "Paradise Lost." To find out more about Suzanne Fields and read her past columns, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.