Men’s Right’s and Misandry are two things that I have seen coming up more and more lately, and as someone who is interested in and wants to pursue a career in Social Justice, I think it’s important to put these two concepts under the microscope. First off, a little self disclosure. I am a gay male feminist, so I look at these issues through a very specific set of lenses.
So the basic premise of Misandry is that men are being systematically disenfranchised and hurt by women and to an extent, feminism. And Men’s Right’s Activists (MRA’s) are trying to bring about true gender equality. In complete and utter honesty, I think this is total bullshit. But stick with me and I’ll try to give reasons behind my madness. First off, I am not a man hating feminist. First reason being, I am a man. It’d be a little silly for me to hate men. Second, being a gay man, I LOVE men. Third, feminism is not about hating men. Feminism is about fighting for equality between the genders, for both women AND men. Feminists (at least most feminists) don’t hate individual or groups of men. What we hate and are trying to fight against is patriarchy and rape culture. These are the concepts that create divide and inequality between the genders.
First off, you misdefined misandry. MRAs use it to mean “the hatred of men”. It is the same as misogyny, just used in application of men instead of women. We do not believe women are the problem, but we do believe that in a lot of cases feminists reinforce the system that they claim to hate. Second, your definition of feminism is wrong. I am not saying that because I hate feminism (though, don’t get me wrong, I HATE feminism) but because the definition that you are using is not accepted even inside feminism itself. I have heard that it is for equality, to make women equal, and about female liberation. These three definitions are in conflict. And considering that a myriad of famous feminists have quotes that directly challenge the idea that feminism is not misandry, I would also contest the idea that feminism is not about the hatred of men.
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Great! That’s what MRA’s want too!”. Not so much. Most MRA’s and misandry discussions I’ve seen, spend more time talking about how badly they’ve been treated by feminists than having any kind of thoughtful discussion on sexism. I’m not trying to say that MRA’s are bad or stupid or anything, just that what they’re trying to do isn’t helping. By talking about misandry, they are pulling attention away from other issues.
You are using an argument that is rather similar to “People have it worse elsewhere, so you cannot be sad!” Talking about misandry does not remove attention from other issues. There is not a finite amount of attention in the world nor is everyone required to pay attention to every issue. If a person is fighting for the homeless, would you yell at them for ignoring the hungry? Likewise, how does a person who is focusing on men ignore women? They are two separate problems. What we are trying to do is raise awareness of issues that face men, like rape and domestic violence, male genital mutilation, the draft, unequal prison sentences. How does that take away from other issues?
And frankly, the MRM views feminism as a problem. Feminists in India blocked the inclusion of female perpetrators and male victims in rape laws, claiming that it would make it harder for female victims. The Tender Years Doctrine, the law that made women be the ones to receive automatic custody in event of divorce, was put in place by feminists in the 1800s. Feminism has frequently passed over men’s issues or reframed them, most commonly with the draft. And while some feminists claim to fight for men, so far there has been no widespread feminist movement to actually help men in the areas where they are worse off than women.
One of the most common examples that MRA’s use for trying to illustrate misandry, is the treatment of male victims and survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence (IPV). These are serious issues and should be better addressed by the justice system and service agencies. But, framing them as a men’s issue and an issue of misandry is not the correct way to start the discussion. These are feminist issues, not MRA issues. ”But, that doesn’t make sense! Feminists only care about women!” No. Feminism is about equality between the sexes and fighting patriarchy, not making women better than men. In a patriarchal society, men and women are condition and expected to fill out certain roles. Men are expected to the saviors and women are expected to be a victim and to be saved. When men violate this norm (through no fault of their own) and become victims, they are mocked and treated like liars.
It is misandry. It is misandry to force men to fit their societal obligations just as it is misogyny to expect women to fulfill theirs. Mocking male victims does not stem from the idea that women are victims, it comes from the idea that men cannot be. Just as women are mocked when they do things that are associated with men (hard sciences, short hair, certain sports), men are mocked when they do things associated with women.
That being said, claiming that male victims are a feminist issue is a slap in the face to any man who was ever victimized. You reframed the issue from being about men and the real struggles that they face when attempting to come forward about abuse to women. Feminism has done nothing to make life easier for male victims and has even fought against expanding the law. Or you can watch this video about Earl Silverman, the man who attempted to run the only male DV shelter in Canada, only to eventually kill himself.
This is not an issue about how men are systematically disenfranchised or regularly discriminated against. This is an issue of rape culture. Which feminism is already trying to address and fight against.
Wouldn’t you say that a society that outright mocks people when they attempt to come forward about their victimization might be, you know, slightly disenfranchising to that demographic? Or a society that, for example, will arrest the victim because they are larger than the abuser? Or does not, by law, consider the people who rape them rapists? Feminism has done nothing for male victims of rape or domestic violence. In fact, in California there was a law change that made it so the primary aggressor was arrested, made to arrest more men in DV calls. Surprisingly, the arrest rate for men dropped while for women it increased alarmingly. This would lead to the conclusion that women are the primary aggressors in more DV cases than is expected. Rather than accept that women are not perfect, Californian feminists forced an arrest policy that made police arrest whoever they thought would do the most harm. The arrest rates went back to “normal” after the change. Feminists would much rather demonize men than accept that women are just as bad.
Now, the final reason (and the one I am going to get the most hate about) I am against MRA and misandry as an actual form of social justice, is that I do not believe that someone can discriminate against someone who has privilege. I do not believe that you can systematically disenfranchise and discriminate against someone who has privilege whether it is in the form of being male, white, rich, christian, abled, or any of the other forms of privilege that people are afforded in this society. So basically I don’t believe that reverse racism, misandry, heterophobia, or the ‘war on religion’ actually exists. It is all bunk and bullshit in my opinion.
Sorry, but what would you call sentencing men to longer sentences for the same crimes as women? Or consistently awarding custody to mothers, despite their capability as parents? Would that not be discrimination against men? All discrimination is is a judgement based off of outwards characteristics. In fact, despite your claim to not hate men, you do not seem to be doing much to help them either. You claim that joining feminism will help, despite feminism’s underwhelming response when it comes to uniquely male issues. Male privilege is not nearly as nice as you make it out to be. Infact, I would encourage you to look into female privilege. Just because men make up most of the government does not mean that they do anything to help other men.
I think that if MRA’s truly cared about these issues (the ones that really exist, not the ones in their minds), they would sit down with feminists in a valid discussion and figure out how to address them as a community. Instead, they are sitting in the corner crying because they are being adversely affected by a system that they’ve helped to create.
We’ve tried. Feminists pulled the fire alarms on us, and then mocked male suicides. I am one of the more open minded ones, and I have given up with feminism. I want egalitarianism. I want people to realize that hating people because of their gender is wrong, and it does not matter what they are packing. I want people to stop reframing MALE RAPE AND DEATHS into a female problem. And, fun fact, the patriarchy evolved with the help of both men and women so laying the blame with men is not only laughably wrong, it also makes it so you are blaming all men for their problems. I think feminists have a term for that, victim blaming.
You know nothing about the MRM or male issues. Feel free to ask me questions, but in the future do not talk about what you do not know about. You only make yourself look silly.