MRAs are not a new thing… by a long shot!

I thought this passage from Gail Dines’ Pornland was especially interesting in regards to putting MRAs in a historical context. Despite what they want you to believe, their particular brand of rhetoric is nothing new. Which brings us to the interesting question: if it was that bad in the fifties, then how come we don’t live in a matriarchy by now? And whatever happened to the MRA belief that things have been going downhill for men?

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It was during these woman-hating, pro-family years that Playboy hit the newsstands. Picking up on the themes of the 1950s, Playboy editors, from the very first issue, defined single women as menaces to the Playboy reader since they were out to trap him into marriage and bleed him financially. Indeed, the first major article in the first issue of Playboy was called “Miss Gold-Digger of Bemoaning the good old days when alimony was reserved for “little floosies,” Playboy editors wrote, “When a modern day marriage ends, it doesn’t matter who’s to blame-it’s always the guy who pays and pays and pays and pays.” Echoing Wylie’s assertion that women had taken over America, the article continued, “A couple of generations ago, this was a man’s world, nothing could be further from the truth in 1953.

This was a theme that Playboy was to express repeatedly in its early years. Burt Zollo, writing in the June 1954 issue, told Playboy readers to “take a good look at the sorry, regimented husbands trudging down every woman-dominated street in this woman-dominated land. Check what they’re doing when you’re out on the town with a different dish every night.” For those men who had been lucky enough to escape marriage, Zollo warned them to beware of June, the marriage month, since “woman becomes more heated, more desperate, more dangerous.”

Dangerous women were also the focus of Wylie’s article “The Womanization of America,” published in Playboy in September 1958. Starting from now-familiar themes, Wylie accused American women of taking over the business world, the arts, and, of course, the home. It was the home, according to Wylie, where men especially ceased to be men: the “American home, in short, is becoming a boudoir-kitchen-nursery, dreamed up for women by women, and as if males did not exist as males.” According to Playboy, the position of American men continued to deteriorate; by 1963, an article in the magazine claimed that the American man was being worked so hard by his wife that he was “day after day, week after week… invited to attend his own funeral.”

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