I follow a lot of feminist blogs, facebook pages, IG accounts and the like. Men follow these pages too. A small percentage of them follow because they are supportive, intellectually curious, or they totally get it and they are feminists themselves. But unfortunately, most of the men who follow are there simply to impose themselves, to take over the conversation, and basically to prove the need for the existence of feminism. Ironically, they don’t realize this is what they are doing.
Ironically, they have no idea that every time they make some comment about women falsely accusing men of rape or women provoking abuse and violence, or women being heartless slut bitch cunt whores, they make our point. If you threaten women with rape and abuse in an attempt to prove that feminism is unnecessary, you may want to re-think your strategy.
These men are so blinded by their male privilege, they think it perfectly righteous to defend their need to have everything be about them at all times always. They think that when women are talking about the harassment we face simply trying to walk down the street, that would be a good time to tell us about that time a woman was mean to them when they tried to “compliment” her. When we talk about the things that men have done to us in our own experiences, they can’t just listen. They simply must proclaim “NOT ALL MEN” or accuse us of exaggerating or imagining these things.
I’ve seen the laundry list of complaints the Men’s Rights Movement has made about the horrible plight of men. Some of the concerns are legitimate. Most are not. None are the fault of women or feminism, yet women and feminism are the target of all the MRM’s vitriol.
For example, they believe they are not given a fair shake in custody court. Okay, that seems like a crappy thing. Custody should be decided not on the basis of gender, but on the basis of the best interests of the child. Sometimes the father is the more suitable parent. This is a feminist position as well. Yes, that’s right, feminism is about not making decisions on the basis of gender. So what should be done about it? I’m no lawyer or expert in legal matters, so I’m honestly not sure how we can change this if it is indeed a systemic problem. But I do know one thing: feminists did not make it this way.
Child-rearing has been “women’s work” forever. That’s the patriarchal set-up. Women raise children and do housework, men work and make money. Don’t like that? Me neither. That’s why I am a feminist. The idea that somehow feminists created this situation is some very twisted logic indeed.
They point to the dismal statistics about how many men get custody of their children, but they miss one vital point: How many men try to get custody of their children? My father didn’t, even though he would have been a more suitable parent than my schizophrenic drug-addicted mother. I guess children would have put a damper on his relationship with his new younger girlfriend. My boyfriend’s father didn’t. He ran off and never even attempted to contact his son again. In my life today, I know one man my age who has divorced his wife and complains about what a horrible mother she is. Even he did not try to get custody. Complain as he might, it’s pretty obvious he benefits from having her care for the kids while he meets new women and lives the single bachelor life.
Before we can have a meaningful statistic about how many men get custody of their children, we need to have men who actually try. Hey, I’ve seen Teen Mom. NONE of those dads wants custody of their kids. The moms are lucky if the guy even wants visitation.
I’m sure there are some men who have tried to get custody and failed and I’m sure there are some judges who are prejudiced against them. That’s our unfortunate legal situation for ya. We have prejudiced judges making life-altering decisions. It’s wrong for sure. I’m not sure it’s as widespread as the MRAs think, but if it’s happening it’s wrong and we should do something about it.
That’s just one example, but I truly feel that the concerns that MRAs claim to have that are legitimate are concerns echoed by feminists. We could be working together on those.
But I don’t honestly believe that the MRM exists to try to improve the lives of men. No, I’ve read enough of their forums and blogs to see what they are. They are a hate group plain and simple. They are to women what the KKK is to black people. They try to cover this up in language about discrimination toward men, but it’s pretty fucking obvious when you interact with them that the base argument is that they hate women and despise the idea that they are being asked to treat us like equal humans.
If they were honest with themselves, they would see that their “movement” is about trying to hang onto the privilege men have so long enjoyed. They cannot stand that straight, white, heterosexual men aren’t the center of attention at all times everywhere always. And they experience the loss of this privilege as discrimination.
Because when you’ve had an unfair advantage for all of human history and you see it being dismantled, I guess the reaction is to rail against that. Nobody wants to give up their privileges, even if they are undeserved.
So they insert themselves into feminist spaces, take over conversations about women’s issues, and turn the subject back to themselves. They are only comfortable when they are the center. Because they don’t know any different and lack the self-reflection to see what they are doing for what it really is. I think some of these guys believe in their cause. I think some of them are probably decent people somewhere in there. I think many of them are victims of the same patriarchal system feminists have been trying to dismantle for decades.
We could be working together, but their blindness to their male privilege won’t allow it.
An MRA is like a person with a stubbed toe coming into an ICU filled with people with life-threatening and debilitating injuries and screaming “BUT WHAT ABOUT MY TOE!??!?! WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT MY TOE NOW!!!”