Why Do Men get the Shaft in Family Courts?
Why are men in family courts treated so poorly? The number one reason may be that it is a lucrative business for the courts. (See Paul Elams article) But let’s have a quick look at some other reasons that few discuss.
Mistreatment of men is all too common. It’s easy to see that men face discrimination when child support is a priority and visitation is much less so. And it is not just divorce. We see men who are victims of domestic violence who are ignored and treated in ways that lack compassion and caring. It’s a sad fact that men who are facing hardship of any kind tend to be avoided and seen as a problem. For many years we have observed these things but didn’t have any solid research driven answers. Now there is research that is starting to tell us the truth about this sad story. The work of Tania Reynolds on moral typecasting and the studies on precarious manhood are just two examples.
Let’s start with the research being done on Precarious Manhood.
Researchers are gathering data from around the world that shows that manhood is not an ascribed status. Men literally have to prove they are men. We can break the major findings down to three statements:
First, manhood is widely viewed as an elusive, achieved status, or one that must be earned (in contrast to womanhood, which is an ascribed, or assigned, status).
So men around the world have to prove their status of being men and do this by competing with other men to show their worth. Keep in mind that if they lose this status as men they will pay a heavy price. It’s not a big leap to see that his manhood is very similar to his personhood and he is therefore dependent upon his actions to maintain a positive personal image. The general public is largely unaware of this struggle. Compare this with females where the status of woman is a given after her first menses. The default cultural assumption is that adult females, as a group, are basically worthy as women. Men however, must compete to prove their individual worth. Some men will come out on top, most will be in the middle and some will be on the bottom. Men face a very different path.
Second, once achieved, manhood status is tenuous and impermanent; that is, it can be lost or taken away.
Think about it. Men have to work hard to prove they are men and then have the complicating factor of its potential loss. Vandelllo, the source for these three statements and a premier researcher in this area says that manhood is “Hard won and easily lost.” Men are left with the possibilities hanging over his head that he will lose his status of being a man at any time.
Third, manhood is confirmed primarily by others and thus requires public demonstrations of proof.
This shows that men must publicly prove their manhood. Women don’t have to prove a thing to be considered women while men live under a constant threat of losing their identity. This points to the obvious, that men and women live in remarkably different worlds. (Our psychological professionals are all too often blind to this difference)
So what does this have to do with men being mistreated? Consider the man’s plight. He must under all circumstances appear to have agency and to seem independent. Why? What is the reason for this? I don’t think there is much research on this question nor do I think it is very difficult to discern. He is forced into the rigid role of agentic and independent provider for one reason: this is the human version of sexual selection. Precarious manhood pushes the man into a public competition to prove he is a worthy choice to meet women’s needs. In other words, it acts as a guide for women to choose the best man. As men are forced into this role they compete to prove they are independent and in fact, more independent than the next guy. This is all fueled by testosterone which we now know is pushing the man to strive for status. On one hand we have the biological push of testosterone urging the man on to compete and strive for status and on the other hand we have the culture pushing him to prove his manhood.
This precarious manhood process necessitates judging men. If you are going to separate men into those who worthy and those who are not you will have to designate the losers. This is easily seen. Just look at incels and how they are treated. They are treated like trash. Why? Because they are not serving women. We see something similar for MGTOW men and MRA’s. They have left the realm of only seeing their worth in serving women and this puts them into a similar spot as incels.
Guess who else is there? Men who are divorcing. These are men who are openly willing to cease serving women. For this they pay a dear price. And the judges make sure to make them pay.
When you overlay the template of precarious manhood onto the men who are facing divorce you see that it makes it that much easier to both blame the men and hold them accountable. Our culture, is conditioned to judge men. It is not conditioned to judge women. Our culture is conditioned to designate men as being unworthy. It’s simply a part of precarious manhood. But women escape this. Can you see that the court is simply following this template and judging these men for failing to provide for the women? They are seen as failures both to their wives and to the culture. The women are seen more as victims and in need of help and support. The stage is set for the men to be judged harshly for their failure and the women to be given a pass. It is the exact same template that is applied in countless other situations.
Men are in the crosshairs to be the bad guys. Part of this is precarious manhood but there is more. Next week we will go over the creative and ground breaking research of Tania Reynold on moral typecasting that has looked into the cultural tendency to see women as victims, and men as perps.