Dr. Helen

Does the Desire for Justice and Fairness Transcend Gender?

A reader sends the following email to the editors at PJ Media:

First of all Dr.Hellen [sic] Smith’s idea is not even original. Esther Vilar [sic] “The Manipulate Man” [sic] stated this years ago. Second, why does Dr.Hellen [sic] Smith care if men get taken advantage by women? Why doesn’t she just take advantage of men? What is her motivation in speaking up for men? What does she get out of the deal? [sic]

This is not an uncommon question and comment to get as a few men do wonder why a woman is putting time and energy into standing up for justice and fairness for men. Let me start by answering the first part of this question. The writer notes that my idea is not original. I suppose that he is talking about this blog and my book Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters.

This blog often reflects men’s voices as the comments are probably the most important part of this blog and I agree that they are not my ideas. My book is made up of talking with experts about men and having the men themselves tell their side of the story when it comes to marriage, fatherhood and the American Dream. Again, the ideas are not necessarily mine but my contribution was to gather the information and put it in one book that reflected how men think and feel. Perhaps it is my training as a psychologist but the idea of the book and blog is to bring the male voices not heard in the mainstream media to the public. So, if my ideas are not “original,” maybe that is a plus as it means that rather than my voice being heard, it is the voices of men who are concerned about the legal and psychological aspects of how men are treated in our current society.

The second part of the reader’s concern is to ask why a woman would stand up for men, and he even goes further in wondering why as a woman, I am not taking advantage of men. I must be “getting something out of the deal.”

Yes, I am. I get the knowledge that I am using my passion and desire for justice and fairness as an American citizen who believes in equality in a way that makes me feel a purpose in life. The other day, I noticed a Starbucks cup promoting the new Oprah tea line from Teavana and there was a saying on it from Oprah:

“Know what sparks the light in you. Then use that light to illuminate the world.”

Oprah has a bunch of other sayings on these cups about fulfilling one’s purpose in life and why this is so important. I agree. My purpose in life at this stage is to see that our boys and men get the due process rights, education and the equality that they deserve as individuals in a “free society.”

When I see men at college being railroaded by kangaroo courts, men forced to pay child support for children who are not their own, or men committing suicide over unfair divorce proceedings or because their emotions are deemed so unimportant that no one cares and men see suicide as the only solution, I hurt and it causes me pain. It is not what I or any other person who believes in individual autonomy should allow to go on. So forgive me, reader, if I do get satisfaction out of speaking out or fighting back on these issues. When I hear feedback from a reader of my book that he felt less alone in his views or that he felt my book helped him to feel better or more willing to fight back against injustices against men, I admit to feeling glad that my work made a difference to someone. So, yes, I get something out of it and for that, I will not apologize.