Forgetting that the vast majority of mainstream entertainment and marketing in modern America is geared specifically to women, media have often complained that women comprise a smaller percentage of Internet users than men.
So loud were the complaints that Internet search engines began creating specific forums “for women only,” and a swelling number of portals recently have come online exclusively targeting everything female (women.com, chickclick.com, ivillage.com, and oxygen.com, to name but a few).
Given such heavy catering to women, sometimes it’s difficult, as a man, not to feel ignored; not to feel angry about paying more money for drinks, entrance to nightclubs, oil changes, movie tickets, and insurance simply as punishment for having a penis; not to resent the all-out misandry and bigotry toward men in the media and greeting card industries. Then there’s the hypocritical advocacy of violence against men by women, most recently boosted by Madonna and the Dixie Chicks, more characteristically described as “Mad-Donna” and the “Dixie Bigots.”
Our feminized culture tells men that feeling angry about what they believe to be mistreatment is wrong, and so there are few outlets for such angst.
But there is hope.
Regardless of your point of view, chances are always good that someone out there shares it. What better place to find them than the Internet? There are Web sites designed specifically around the ambitions, desires, pains, and passions of men.
Here’s where not to look: Yahoo!, MSN, and Netscape’s Netcenter. All these sites have areas designated specifically for women’s issues, but if you search for men’s issues on MSN, you’ll inevitably pull up a list of misandrist Web sites interspersed with gay porn.
The right places to search include Google (www.google.com); About.com (www.about.com); AOL.com (www.aol.com); Ask.com (www.ask.com); and Excite (www.excite.com). Although some of these sites heavily skew content toward women, all of them offer various links to men’s sites.
To save searching time, here are a few non-mainstream but highly informative sites specifically for men:
TBS Superstation (www.superstation.com): “It’s a Guy Thing” is the latest branding for this rebel cable network, which regularly airs well-loved guy filmsany Rocky movie, for exampleand is the only readily available cable network with the guts to defy trendy misandrist marketing and appeal directly to men. The TBS Web site, however, is even more guy-friendly. Aspiring to become the “Ultimate Web Portal for Men,” superstation.com provides links to a variety of men’s issues sites, as well as those not specifically for men, but that appeal to men’s interests.
IGN for Men (formen.ign.com): The variety of topics and well-written, edgy articles by both male and female writers here appeal to a man’s intellectual curiosity and his more basic maleness. The site contains reviews of some of the latest techno-gadgets, and advice from someone named Leah about almost anything. Leah even answers the embarrassing questions men are often afraid to ask. Check out the “What’s Up With My Penis?” column for examples. Leah is exactly the woman men have been looking for all these generations: She understands male concerns about women and relationships (and she calls a penis a penis, not a “thing”).
Mensactivism.org (www.mensactivism.org): A well-organized news site focusing on men’s issues on the job, in the media, and in education. Here, men can find articles on the “decline of gender relations” in America, and commentary about the moves some colleges are making to take away the “innocent until proven guilty” rights of men accused of sex crimes against women. One of the more interesting articles posted this month attempts to describe how “fatherlessness makes men like Eminem.” Incidentally, a female authored that commentary, which brings up another good point about male-oriented Web sites. When compared to their female counterparts, the men’s sites offer a greater diversity of commentary and opinion from men and women of all types, while women’s sites focus mainly on the opinions of liberal white women and feminist men.
National Coalition of Free Men (www.ncfm.org): Quite possibly the oldest men’s issues site on the Net, NCFM is dedicated to raising awareness of sexual discrimination against men and boys, as well as other male issuesalmost the masculine answer to NOW. The content is informative and regularly updated. NCFM first established an electronic presence in 1988, and moved to the Web in 1995. Along with its new media presence, the organization has physical chapters in five states and publishes a men’s perspectives journal six times a year.
The Place (www.omniarts.com/theplace): Described as a “Resource Center for Men,” this site begs the question, “Men, where would you go if...?” and provides support for men coping with serious issues of modern male life: job loss, abuse, bereavement, fatherhood, divorce, and relationships.
MenWeb: Men’s Voices (www.vix.com/menmag/): An online magazine with a quote from author Joseph Jastrab: “The world needs a man’s heart....” The site is heavy on the abuse recovery side of men’s issues, and offers a place for men to send their own abuse and recovery stories, from battering, to sexual mistreatment, to emotional and psychological abuse.
The Men’s Center (www.themenscenter.com): The Men’s Center offers coverage of book reviews, events, politics, health care, and links to a variety of local, state, national, and international men’s support groups and information centers. The Men’s Center’s online magazine, Mensight, offers in-depth analysis on the “crisis” American boyhood faces in the educational system (where boys are no longer allowed to be boys), as well as the discrimination adult men face in the workplace and beyond. This site is a wake-up call about anti-male discrimination.
The Men’s Health Network (www.menshealthnetwork.org): The Men’s Health Network claims that there is an “ongoing, increasing, and predominantly silent crisis in the health and well-being of men.” The crisis, according to this site, is most evident in the mortality figures between men and women (not to mention the incredibly high but oft-ignored suicide rate among young men). In the 1920s, men and women had about equal life expectancies. Since that time, life expectancies for men have dropped 10 percent. One other glaring gap between the sexes is that prostate cancer kills the same number of people per year as breast cancer, but gets little research funding and is completely ignored by fund-raisers.
One entertaining site that’s not particularly men-only, but does offer some of the grains of truth men seek in this propaganda-laden age, is the official site for the Chicago Reader’s “Straight Dope” column (www.straightdope.com). In two columns, “Straight Dope” author Cecil Adams (a pseudonym) sheds light on a variety of myths concerning men and women. For example, “The Straight Dope” reported that the oft-quoted-in-the-media “fact” that instances of domestic violence against women rise 40 percent during the Super Bowl is nonfactual propaganda, and, what’s more, was revealed as such only a few weeks after the figure first hit the news in 1993. But because our culture wants men to play the villain when they’re not playing the buffoon, that “fact” is still used by news sources around Super Bowl time.
And so, even in our modern sea of anti-man culture, although it ignores our needs, berates our opinions, lies about our motives and natures, and belittles our roles as contributors to society, there is an oasis.
Meanwhile, men are beginning to stand up for themselvesfiling sex discrimination lawsuits against establishments offering discounted or free goods and services to women alone, for example. And men’s issues are beginning to appear with greater frequency in the mainstream press.
Still, it’s the Internet that is giving the greatest rise to men’s causes, providing the widest forum for the discussion of these issues.
At least until someone censors the Internet, those of us who long for a time when men and women respect each other and truly treat each other as equals may open our browsers, type in some URLs, and surf the Net secure that, in our hearts and minds at least, we are still free men.