Where are presidential hopefuls' experts on men's issues?
I am largely in agreement with Margot Magowan's immediate point in "Why America's politicians need advisors like Naomi Wolf" (Opinion Page, Nov. 10) - that Al Gore is being unfairly chastised for hiring a consultant on women's issues. But viewed through a man's eyes, the essence of the article is offensive.
The article hides behind the untrue but widely promoted concept that everything that isn't a women's issue is, by default, a men's issue. By promoting this concept, the sexual and feminist revolutions of the past 30 years have managed to address the needs of women, gays, lesbians and transgendered folks without even acknowledging the existence of men.
The very concept of women - 53 percent of the electorate - being a minority ignores reality. Yet under this characterization women's groups have managed to attach themselves to the struggles of real minorities, usually siphoning off the greatest benefits for white middle- and upper-middle-class women, with black males as always left far behind.
Magowan's article comes from the same flawed perspective as most of the National Organization for Women's rhetoric - pretending gender equality while supporting women's rights regardless of whether equality is being served.
Magowan identifies what she calls women's concerns. Many of these are really just people's concerns. (Are men really not concerned about health care?) Others are covert demands for preferential treatment.
To complain about the feminization of poverty when black males have the lowest life expectancy, the highest unemployment rate, the highest rate of imprisonment and certainly the lowest economic level is at best shameful.
To complain about women having to make a choice between career and family - a choice men have mostly never been given in a culture where more and more men are banished from their families, forced into bi-monthly visitation or often no visitation with their children - demonstrates the same egocentric gender blindness.
Where are the consultants advising on issues of dire concern to men? Who speaks up about men being forced to work in the filthiest and most dangerous jobs? Who argues against the discrimination that requires only men to serve in combat?
Who advocates for physically and emotionally abused husbands and fathers who lack even a hotline to call? Who advocates against eroding the constitutional rights of men, especially in the family courts where gender bias is blatant and legal?
Who is there to point out that in a society where men make up the majority of the victims of violence there's only a Violence Against Women Act? Who's talking about the fact that men have higher suicide, heart-attack and stress rates, are far more affected by industrial pollution, alcoholism and substance abuse and do over 99 percent of the dying in military conflicts?
Where is Gore's consultant on men's issues?
I agree with Magowan that politicians need consultants to advise them on the concerns of women. I just wish that she had as much compassion for the other 47 percent.
If politicians on the left or center-left like Gore don't start hiring one or two men's-issue consultants, they will be abandoning the men with these concerns to politicians on the right, and that will be a tragedy for men, women and children.