Why The Men’s Rights Movement Is Garbage

28 Mar

I need to take a moment here to talk about the Men’s Rights Movement, because there seems to be some confusion. Actually, there seems to be a whole lot of confusion.

Over the past little while, I’ve had a number of people challenge me on calling out men’s rights activists (hereafter referred to as MRAs). “But men are oppressed too,” people say. “Feminism is sexist, and it teaches men that masculinity is wrong.” “Straight, white men aren’t allowed to be proud of themselves anymore.” “If you believe in equality, then you should want men to have the same type of activism as women.” “Everyone is entitled to their opinion.”

First of all, yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But let’s not pretend that all opinions are created equal – some are based on fact, and some are total bullshit. Like, I could tell you that I believe that vaccines cause autism, and that would be my opinion, but it would also be demonstrably untrue. So let’s not pretend that all opinions should be given the same consideration, because we both know better than that.

Second of all, let’s get one thing straight: men, as a group, do not face systematic oppression because of their gender. Am I saying that literally no men out there are oppressed? No, I am for sure not saying that. Men can and do face oppression and marginalization for many reasons – because of race, class, sexuality, poverty, to name a few. Am I saying that every white cishet dude out there has an amazing life because of all his amassed privilege? Nope, I’m not saying that either. There are many circumstances that might lead to someone living a difficult life. But men do not face oppression because they are men. Misandry is not actually a thing, and pretending that it’s an oppressive force on par with or worse than misogyny is offensive, gross, and intellectually dishonest.

MRAs believe that feminists are to blame for basically everything that’s wrong with their lives. The Men’s Rights Movement is a reactionary movement created specifically to counter feminism, and most (if not all) of their time and resources go towards silencing and marginalizing women. They do things like starting the Don’t Be That Girl campaign, a campaign that accuses women of making false rape reports. They attend feminist events in order to bully and intimidate women, they flood online feminist spaces with threatening messages, and they regularly use smear campaigns and scare tactics to make the women who don’t back down afraid for their physical safety. They do literally nothing to actually resolve the problems that they claim to care about, and instead do everything they can to discredit the feminist movement.

There are certainly issues that disproportionately affect men – the suicide rate among men is higher, as is the rate of homelessness. Men are more likely to be injured or killed on the job or because of violence. Men who are the victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault are less likely to report these things. These are the issues that MRAs are purportedly working on, and by “working on” I mean “blaming feminism for.” The problem is that none of these things are caused by feminism, or equal rights for women, or anything like that. You know what’s actually to blame for a lot of these issues? Marginalizing forces like class and race, for one thing – I mean, it’s not rich white men who are grappling with homelessness or dangerous workplaces or gun violence. You know what else is to blame? Our patriarchal culture and its strictly enforced gender roles which, hey, happens to be exactly the same power structure that feminism is trying to take down. The patriarchy has some fucked up ideas about masculinity, ideas that make men less likely to seek help for issues that they perceive to be too feminine – such as being hurt or raped by a female partner, not being able to provide for themselves, or not seeking help for health issues like depression and anxiety. On a societal level, it means that resources are not as readily available for men who face these challenges, because patriarchal ideas tell our courts, our governments and our charitable organizations that men don’t ever need that kind of help. Yes, the patriarchy overwhelmingly privileges the interests of men, but it also hurts men. It hurts men in all the ways that MRAs are apparently so concerned about, which means that you would think that MRAs would be totally on board with dismantling the patriarchy, but they’re not. Instead, they would rather blame women for their problems.

See, the problem with the Men’s Rights Movement is that they are not doing anything concrete to resolve any of the above issues. They are not raising money to open shelters for homeless or abused men. They are not starting up suicide hotlines for men. They are not lobbying for safer workplaces or gun control. Instead, they are crying about feminism, pooh-poohing the idea of patriarchy and generally making the world a sadder, scarier, less safe place to live in. In fact, I would argue that their stupid antics are actually a detriment t0 the causes that they claim to espouse, because they’re creating an association between actual real issues that men face and their disgusting buffoonery. So good fucking job, MRAs. Way to fuck vulnerable men over in your quest to prove that feminism is evil. I hope you’re all really proud of yourselves.

The Men’s Rights Movement is not “feminism for men.” It’s not some kind of complimentary activism meant to help promote equal treatment of men and women. And it fucking most certainly  is not friendly towards women, unless we’re talking about women with crippling cases of internalized misogyny. I believe in equality for men and women, but I also believe that we’re not born with an even playing field. Women still face disenfranchisement, discrimination and a lack of basic freedoms and rights, and although feminism has done a lot of great work over the last century or so, we still haven’t undone several millennia’s worth of social programming and oppression. So that’s why it’s not “men’s turn” to have a social justice movement. That’s why we have the fem in feminism. That’s why fairness and equality involve promoting the empowerment of women, rather than promoting the empowerment of both genders in equal amounts. Because, to use a stupid analogy here, if one person starts out with no apples and another person starts out with five apples and then you give them both three apples each in the name of fairness, one person still has five more fucking apples.

So yes, let’s talk about issues that affect men. Let’s come up with solutions for problems that disproportionately hurt men, like suicide and homelessness and violent deaths (while at the same time recognizing that the fact that there are issues that affect more men than women does not mean that men are oppressed because of their gender). Let’s work on opening up shelters for abused men, let’s create campaigns bringing awareness to the fact that men are also the victims of rape, and let’s pressure the government to improve workplace safety. But let’s find a way to do this that’s not at the expense of women. Instead, let’s join together and fuck up the patriarchy real good, because that way everyone wins.

p.s. If you actually think that straight white men aren’t encouraged to be “proud” of themselves you need to check your privilege a million times over and then check it some more because seriously

How I Feel About MRAs

How I Feel About MRAs

724 Responses to “Why The Men’s Rights Movement Is Garbage”

  1. matrixmensa March 11, 2015 at 6:51 am #

    In Part I agree with you, and In part I want to use your picture of the two fists against you.
    A huge problem is brewing in the GBV field, and in my humble opinion, as an activist we need to begin separating woman’s rights and GBV. Sound weird?
    Let me explain. We can no longer state that rape and sexual abuse is perpetrated by men….on woman and children. Research is starting to reveal that a huge proportion of sexual abuse perpetrated on children is done by women, not as many as their male counterparts, but the figures are mounting at an alarming rate. Since the advent of sites on face book, blogs and other areas that people can establish free online support groups, people are talking out and starting to tell about horrific violence perpetrated on them by women. Because this sort of thing is not spoken about, then of course it doesnt exist.
    The feminist movement in the seventies “Hijacked” the GBV sector and made it their own, and perpetuated the myth that men are not raped, boys are not raped and that Men are the evil perpetrators.
    My stand on this point has received hate mail, yes, but then again no cause worth fighting has not ruffed up emotional responses in the past. It takes extreme thinkers to effect change in the world.
    I do not deny that we need to change the power dynamic in society, that equal rights for woman are important, that we need to change the patriarchal society, I agree 100%, these things need to in fact MUST change, we have no right to judge ability based on gender, race or any other barrier that we as men invent.
    But, we will never change the horrific violence perpetrated on Boys and Girls in this world if we keep only telling one side of the story, and as long as the feminists hold the GBV sector hostage, the truth will never emerge.
    Separate woman’s rights and GBV so that we can actually start getting a clearer picture of the extent of the problem, and let the feminists continue fighting the fight that they are busy with and not jeopardize the safety of the children world wide.
    If we take Pakistan as an example. A lot is said about the despicable treatment of girls in that country, and yes many other Sharia law countries, but nothing is said about the Millions of boys that are raped by men and woman in that country. Where do those little boys go for help? they cant, because they are made to feel like perpetrators and not victims, and similar things are happening in Saudi, Syria, South Africa, most African countries.
    Lets not hijack a sector that affects millions of victims for the sake of the Feminist struggle.

  2. justsoemguy69 March 27, 2015 at 3:12 am #

    “they attend feminist events in order to bully and intimidate women, they flood online feminist spaces with threatening messages, and they regularly use smear campaigns and scare tactics to make the women who don’t back down afraid for their physical safety.” – how is this anything different than what “feminists” have been doing for oh, 50 years? Life is fair, people are unfair, learn to live with that – but “turnabout is fair play” Try to fill the internet up with something that is actually useful and productive, hmm lovey? K, thanks

  3. Rachelle Kebaili March 28, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

    Seriously fucking brilliant!!!!! Thank you!

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