Note to readers: In the fine tradition of Kate Harding and Amanda Marcotte, I have tried to deploy gentle, kind language in describing my reaction to this Huffington Post hit piece.
Alas, I think I may have failed.
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.
Oh, I’ll say. Do edumacate us, feminist genius!
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).
Actually, the correct term is Men’s Human Rights Activists (MHRA) but pay no mind to them uppity negroes who wanna be called black now. Never can please them, so don’t even try.
“But men are oppressed too,” people say.
How do I oppress thee? Let me count the ways….
I am allowed to choose parenthood. You are not. Fuck off if you don’t like it and don’t have sex, you slut.
I can commit virtually any crime and I won’t get half the conviction rate or jail time as you, because I’m a girl and suck it, asshole.
Once I’m done with you, the children are mine. MINE! Did you hear me? You have no children. I fucked the garbage man to get these bastards, so go to hell, but drop your child support check off first, dickweed.
My breast cancer is totally way more serious than your whatever ass cancer is it you get I don’t really fucking care fuck off
Oh you had to sign your draft card when you turned 18? Cry me a river, ballsack. Have you even heard that the number of braids I can have in my hair is now restricted? Restricted? If I choose to join the military, that is. Which I could. Oh, you are required by law to agree to join the military? Boo fucking hoo. I’m supposed to care about that when my HAIR-BRAIDING CHOICES HAVE BEEN LIMITED?
“Feminism is sexist, and it teaches men that masculinity is wrong.”
This isn’t to say that men are somehow naturally inclined towards violence. It isn’t reasonable to argue that men are born angry or crazy. Masculinity, on the other hand, is something worth thinking about.
Why talking about ‘healthy masculinity’ is like talking about ‘healthy cancer’
Under the influence of toxic masculinity, the logical response to a man being forced or even encouraged to do something coded “female” is always violence.
Gee, I wonder where they get that crazy idea from?
“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.”
Yeah! Team equality! Why is it that women can choose parenthood, but men can’t? Why is that? I’m so confused. Kanye? Kanye and Jamie Foxx, where you at?
18 years, 18 years
She got one of your kids, got you for 18 years
“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.
Oh, like yours, for example?
Second of all, let’s get one thing straight: men, as a group, do not face systematic oppression because of their gender.
Department of Justice says fuck you, they don’t. There are far more men in jail than women and not because women don’t commit crimes. They don’t get convicted or sentenced at the same rates. Because vagina.
Family Law Court says fuck you, they don’t. Far more women than men are awarded primary custody of children following divorce.
Department of Education says fuck you, they don’t. There are more women earning college degrees than men. Not in anything particularly useful, mind you, but the money that might be used to train engineers and scientists (read: men) is being used to train Starbucks employees.
Center for Medicare says fuck you, they don’t. More money goes into women’s healthcare than men’s, despite the fact that men die sooner.
The World Health Organization says fuck you, they don’t. Men’s healthcare is underfunded on a global scale in favor of women’s health.
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.
I’ll just leave this here. Misandry is not a thing. Sure. Who is being intellectually dishonest here?
Protip: it might help if you acknowledge that yes, misandry is a thing, and then you can go full on Oppression Olympics and pretend it’s just not that bad.
MRAs believe that feminists are to blame for basically everything that’s wrong with their lives.
Yeah. Brilliant understanding of what the MHRM is all about.
It’s all about YOU cupcake! All the MHRM thinks about is YOU.
YOU, YOU, YOU!
Because duh. What else is there to think about besides pampered white ladies who had to walk up the stairs because the goddamn escalator repairmen were doing, well, who the hell knows what, but it could not be more important than my need to avoid scuffing my JIMMY FUCKING CHOOS.
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.
Oh, you mean they’re busy silencing and marginalizing all the women prominent in the movement itself?
Senator Anne Cools
Attention MRAs: you suck at the whole silencing woman thing. Just sayin’
They do things like starting the Don’t Be That Girl campaign, a campaign that accuses women of making false rape reports.
Something women neeeeeeeeeeeeever do, right?
They attend feminist events in order to bully and intimidate women
Oh, like the women who refused Dr. Janice Fiamengo the opportunity to deliver her lecture on men’s issues and feminism’s double standards?
Double standards? What double standards?
They flood online feminist spaces with threatening messages,
Sean R. Moorhead @SeanRMoorhead Mar 29
@deanesmay The difference: feminism, as a social movement of actual consequence, is justified in calling for violence.
Sean R. Moorhead @SeanRMoorhead Mar 29
@deanesmay @rhythm2x Good. MRAs deserve violence.
And they regularly use smear campaigns and scare tactics to make the women who don’t back down afraid for their physical safety.
Regularly, huh? Evidence? Please show me the smear campaigns and scare tactics that were deployed to make you poor wittle cupcakes afwaid for your 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.
Uhm, you don’t actually appear to need our help in that regard. This article, for example does more to discredit you than we ever could.
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.”
Narcissist much? You seriously believe that the people attempting to actually have an impact on the lives of men and boys who are suffering give a fuck what you think? I know this is hard to grasp, but I’ll say it again: not every conversation is about you. Try and wrap your head around that, would you?
The problem is that none of these things are caused by feminism, or equal rights for women, or anything like that.
No one has ever said that feminism caused these issues. What I will claim is that feminism A) doesn’t give a fuck, and B) actively tries to prevent remedies from being enacted. Consider the issue of assumed shared parenting. The National Organization for Women has a policy statement opposing this idea because it might affect women’s ability to rape the wallets of their children’s father.
NOW also refuses to condemn women who deliberately poison their children against their fathers.
As a survivor of parental alienation, that one rankles in particular.
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.
Again, it’s not about blame, it’s about remedies. Who really cares why these issues exist. What are you going to do about them? That’s the real question. And are you standing in the way of solutions or helping to realize them?
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.
Oh please. Not this tired old argument again. How is it that on the one hand you can acknowledge that men are more likely to be homeless and commit suicide and on the other hand, insist that men are in charge of some giant power structure they created and wield for their own benefits? At what point does the cognitive dissonance set in for you? If men controlled the “power structure” do you really think they would use it to increase their own suffering? What the fuck is wrong with you, anyways?
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.
Uhm, no. Not really. It’s just that men know very well there are no resources available for them and they are conditioned by women to believe they need to suck it up and just be obedient little wage-earners happily handing over their cash every payday.
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.
Patriarchy tells men that???!?!?!? No darling, feminists tell men that.
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.
Do not conflate woman with feminist. Feminism is an ideological mindset, and one that many, many women do not share. MRAs do not concern themselves with “dismantling the patriarchy” because it doesn’t exist. This a deliberate misrepresentation of what MRAs actually do: criticizing feminists is not the same thing as blaming women, and no matter how many times you scream that it is, it isn’t.
See, the problem with the Men’s Rights Movement is that they are not doing anything concrete to resolve any of the above issues.
Gosh, I thought the problem was that they weren’t dismantling the patriarchy. So if the MRA actually was demonstrably moving towards legal challenges aimed at resolving issues like unequal healthcare funding or discriminatory sentencing or fair child custody, then you would be on board? Well guess what? It’s happening and nothing you can do will stop it.
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.
Wrong on the workplace issue and what the fuck does gun control have to do with anything?
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.
Sadder, scarier and less safe for whom? Little boys drugged out of their minds on Ritalin? Boys in juvenile facilities being raped with impunity by female guards because they must have liked it? Boys who commit suicide when they are faced with a lifetime on a sex offender registry for a high school prank? Those ones? They are sad and scared and less safe?
In fact, I would argue that their stupid antics are actually a detriment to 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.
Oh, I think this article and your incredible compassion is all that feminism needs to look evil.
The Men’s Rights Movement is not “feminism for men.”
Holy fuck, no! Whatever made you think that?
It’s not some kind of complimentary activism meant to help promote equal treatment of men and women.
Complimentary. Complementary. Learn the difference. It’s activism, but by no means is it complementary. Or complimentary. But it most certainly is concerned with equality. It’s mostly feminists who oppose true equality. Gee, I wonder why?
And it most certainly fucking is not friendly towards women, unless we’re talking about women with crippling cases of internalized misogyny.
Yes, that must be it. We’re not wives or mothers or sisters or nieces or aunts or simply thinking, capable, rational human beings with the ability to make our own decisions and choices.
Wait, that’s kind of a shitty, able-ist thing to say, isn’t it?
I believe in equality for men and women, but I also believe that we’re not born with an even playing field.
Nope. You get to keep the labia you were born with, for example.
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.
The largest group of disenfranchised citizens are those with felony convictions. Almost all of whom are men. Black men, specifically. Actual, literal life and death discrimination accrues only to men, who must sign a draft card at the age of 18 that literally means they can be killed in any action the state deems worthy.
So that’s why it’s not “men’s turn” to have a social justice movement.
Except that all your examples are wrong.
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.
Wow, that really is a stupid analogy.
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).
Well, what does it mean, then? I’m really curious. Schools are designed not just to make sure girls succeed, but to ensure that boys suffer. If that is not oppression, then pray tell, what is?
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.
None of those things will come at the expense of women. They will come at the expense of privileged, moany, whiny, pampered feminists whose main problems involve being allowed to show their tits in a courtroom, wear snatch-hugging leggings to school and sulking because they don’t know how to ask for a raise and likely haven’t done anything to deserve one anyways.
Yeah, you bitches will not like an equal world. The rest of us are eager to see true equality come about because as long as some of us are not fully human, then none of us are.
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
Hey, good idea. Why don’t you do just that?
Check your privilege.
Oh, and get the fuck out of our way.
Your time is up.
Lots of love,