08: Conclusion completed

with 8 comments

However, while it is primarily men who must step up and counter the conspiracy, a further necessity is the realization that we are all in this together: men, women, gay, straight, and anyone who quite rightly resists such categorization. As gender and identity politics evolved over the past forty or so years it has been necessary for a certain amount of separatism to eventuate. Women and queer people, for example, needed to get together on their own, celebrate and assert their identities, and hold their oppressors accountable for the injustices dealt to them.

While it remains as important as ever for such specific voices to be heard, it is now necessary to complement these with strong alliances. This means moving beyond the women’s movement, and beyond the men’s movement, towards a people’s movement. Do not hear me say that individual oppressed voices—such as women and queer people—should be in any way erased in such a movement. A people’s movement is built precisely on the different experiences of its members: it celebrates and advocates for those differences. However, a people’s movement is not defined by specific differences. A people’s movement is defined by the assumption of everybody’s differences. It is in such an alliance that the critical mass is achieved for a multiplicity of new thinking spaces and resulting actions that will overturn the conspiracy not just at the individual, but at the systemic level: the great colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away falls of his own weight and breaks into pieces.

And while the people’s movement is born out of gendered identity, it does not stop there. It is inevitable that the kind of thought processes—and then actions—that go into supporting genuine gender difference extend into other domains, those other sites of oppression referred to above: class, race and so on. The people’s movement demands freedom from power and domination wherever it operates. The people’s movement shouts, “The emperor is wearing no clothes!” The people’s movement calls the conspiracy’s bluff. It’s so simple, so elegant. And it all starts with looking in the mirror, and questioning who it is who looks back.


Written by Joseph Gelfer

August 17, 2011 at 7:07 pm

8 Responses

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  1. I have narrowly escaped attending a ManKind Project training session; I had been looking for criticism of the movement to balance the rather bland statements about MKP to be found on their sites. I eventually landed up at this page, and read the book in one sitting without stopping. When I hit the Iron John and archetypes section I was gob-smacked. I have not used the phrase “scales fell from my eyes” ever before but this made it happen.
    Thank you for an extraordinarily lucid, funny and exhilirating product.

    john frith

    August 19, 2012 at 5:47 am

    • Thanks John: your comments are much appreciated. I recently had an email from MKP asking me to remove a blog post that was critical about them: ironic that a group that junks argument about them being controlling and secretive go around trying to police pages on the internet 😉 I’m sure they’re not all that bad, but with MKP, like a lot of the themes I highlight in this book, there is a significant difference between intention and effect.


      August 19, 2012 at 7:58 am

  2. Hi Joseph,
    I think I am old enough, if I count the rings, to be able to withstand the conclusions you have argued, accept them fairly easily since they were presented contextually, and do so without the shame crippling or annoying me. The shame as an unconscious barrier, similar I suspect to a gay man ‘coming out’ a few decades ago (or a week ago in some places). There is a nice tactic I found in the work of Marshall Rosenberg regarding guilt: acknowledging regret for what you have done while aspiring to do better. Shame appears to be the socialized concept of guilt, and thus the same principle applies in rendering it useful and resourceful. Or as Ken Wilber would say, transcend and include.
    You have opened my eyes. Thank you.
    I hope I can do justice to your work in my own life, especially my relationships and my work as a developmental coach. I see the problems with hierarchy in how the power is worked and the domination engaged with it, and I see the possibility of the positive engagement of the power of clarity and the domination of inclusivity of everything that affirms our diversity, sociopaths excluded of course!
    I’m going to post it now to FB and let it spread its seeds ever further.


    March 29, 2012 at 7:00 am

    • Thank *you* for taking the time to read it over the past few days, and also the comments you left to move the conversation along (as I hoped, the comments throughout the text are proving to be a useful resource in themselves).


      March 29, 2012 at 7:08 am

  3. This was a really incredible book that I’ve just finished reading, and am very grateful to have had the opportunity to read it.

    I particularly like that you link the Masculinity Conspiracy to larger issues of power and privilege that co-opt ALL people regardless of gender and sexuality into the fold (the “Matrix”).

    Love your use of metaphors too. Very consciousness-expanding. Like the metaphor of the Hacker, and the colossus whose pedestal has broken.

    Amazing work, thank you also for making it available for free. I will be sure to link others to your site as well. Very inspiring stuff.


    September 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    • Thanks: your comments are most appreciated 🙂


      September 28, 2011 at 2:43 pm

  4. Joseph, thanks again for your sensitive, informed and brutally honest writing. I will be ordering your books in print and reading through them carefully, as well as sharing links to your blog posts with others.


    September 4, 2011 at 3:29 am

    • Thanks ned: I get a significant amount of motivation to carry on with this stuff each time I hear something like that 🙂


      September 4, 2011 at 8:16 am

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