Samstag, 24. März 2007

Men's Rights Activists - by Steeves Volmar

John Dias vom englischsprachigen Männerblog "Don't Make Her Mad" stellt ein Buch von Steeves Volmar mit dem Titel "Men's Rights Activists" vor.
Die komplette Buchbesprechung kann über den Link am Ende des von mir geposteten Textes eingesehen werden.
Das Buch von Steeves Volmar kann bei Lulu als pdf-Download oder in Papierform bestellt werden.

I just finished reading this book today. It took me three sittings to read the whole thing, about 3-4 hours total. I bought the hard copy instead of the PDF download, since I've found that I can never really read an online book the way I can read a traditional one. From the outside, the book actually resembled a textbook you might find in a college course. On the inside, the text is double spaced in a large font, and the author's name tops every page (rather than the book's name and current chapter). I consider these the trappings of using the Lulu Web site for self-publishing. I do salute the author, Steeves Volmar, for just sticking out his neck and writing the thing.

Volmar is pictured on the back cover of the book. He is a black man in his early twenties, looking very much the college student. The writing is quite often strident, and more of a stream of consciousness than a tome of research. What can be expected of a college student in his early 20s, a man who really hasn't lived yet? But the passion is there, and he hits on all the main points of the men's movement in a generalized sort of way. Oh, and he's bisexual. Throughout the book, whenever Volmar calls for all human beings to be treated with dignity, he often lists various factions of society and always throws in sexual orientation. I consider this to be a rather unique perspective; typically, gays and bisexuals have tended toward the far left wing of the political spectrum, where misandry is openly espoused. Volmar barely dwells on his sexual orientation, however, and instead stakes out his identity as a full-fledged Men's Rights Activist.

Do not expect nuggets of academic research or analyses of court decisions and case law from this book. It is written in a very casual sort of way, punctuated by sharp political rants. The occasional bitterness is actually refreshing, in a way, as any MRA who got into this movement by some brush with experience will likely feel extremely validated (I know I did!)

As I read the opening pages of the book, I thought there would be little in the way of substance from such a young and inexperienced writer. Certainly it is not on par with the works of Warren Farrell or Nathanson and Young. But there were some very valuable nuggets of wisdom that I found growing on me as I read. These were Volmar's personal anecdotes from his own life, describing the things he had seen and heard, describing his own feelings as he engaged in discussions and set out to spread his message through a leafleting campaign. You can tell that there is a deep and undeniable power that he has tapped into, not just in his own psyche but also in the positive reactions he received from almost everyone who heard his message. The lesson I take from this book is that the average person on the street has PLENTY of agreement with a lot of our movement's core principles; they simply need to be engaged by men like Volmar, men of courage who speak openly about what's on their hearts and minds.

I would like to quote some passages from the book that particularly moved me. These are not grouped in conceptual order, but rather in the order that I found them interspersed throughout the book. This is the best glimpse you'll get into the power and relatability of this book, a relatability to the "man on the street" which is Volmar's primary strength as both a writer and activist. This relatability is the meat of his book; I encourage anyone to buy this book if these quotes inspire you.

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