Suicide, mental health
The feminist movement was started by white women as an effort to provide white women with the same rights that white man already had. This later changed to include all women, and the focus of the movement shifted over time. This is where different waves of feminism come from.
Experts are not in agreement as to whether we are currently in the third or fourth wave of feminism. However they are in agreement that this movement is largely immobilized by social media and online platforms to make it more of a global movement.
Personally I equate feminism with the quality for all. Consistently we find ourselves using the rights of white men as the benchmark for the rights the rest of us are striving gain.
This extends to every conceivable marginalized group and is exactly why feminism has expanded beyond gender or race.
Yet the textbook definition still defines feminism as the campaigning for equal rights for women compared to men through dismantling a patriarchal system. In response to this understanding of feminism, the men’s right movement was born.
The creation of Men’s Rights Activism
In contrast to feminist activists, men’s rights activists focus on obtaining rights for men without dismantling the patriarchal system that exists.
When women started talking about the ways in which they felt disadvantage, some men looked around and felt that they could understand and relate to that sentiment for their own sex. At present men and women do belong to both groups.
Overall, feminism is dominated by women and the men’s rights movement is dominated by men, but neither has exclusive membership of one sex.
Common issues that men’s rights activists speak about include child custody, circumcision, health, homelessness, incarceration, domestic violence, suicide, criminal justice, and military conscription.
In these areas men feel that they are at a disadvantage when compared to women. While I don’t disagree that men are disadvantaged in these areas it’s important to consider how we got here.
This is an interesting standpoint to take when you consider that men created all of the systems that they now feel disadvantaged within. Even more interesting is the fact that men’s rights activists (MRA) feel they cannot join the feminist movement.
They perceive the feminist movement to be working against their own fight for equality. They also are not looking to dismantle the partiarchal system, which objectively, harms us all. So there’s that misalignment of missions too.
When you consider the fact that every societal system we have was designed by and for men, it’s remarkable that this very group feels disadvantaged. Something that seems lost on MRAs is the fact that if they joined the feminist movement and gave women rights equal to men, they would also have equality.
When I refer to rights, I mean both legal and social. To put it plainly; the men’s right movement serves no purpose except to silence the women’s movement. Let me elaborate on this.
Take child custody battles for instants. MRAs feel men are disadvantaged more often than not when it comes to legal rights as the court system discriminates against them in favour of their female partners. There are however, key components of data missing from this presentation of facts.
The rates of women paying parental support, are growing aggressively. So too are the rates of women being penalized by interfering in a father’s involvement. Additionally, men getting joint or sole custody is happening at an every growing rate. Not due to men’s rights activists, but due to the work of feminists.
Custody was originally granted favorably to women because they were viewed as the primary caregivers, whether they wanted to be or not. Their place was seen as in the home tending to children.
Feminism wants women and men both to share in the custody of their children. The ideology deems women as being equal to men and therefore they should have equal opportunities, outside of being a primary care provider for children.
This extends to every single issue MRAs are focused on; feminists want equality in those areas as well. So what purpose does the men’s rights movement serve in this instance other than to silence women?
Let’s circle back to the examples of MRA issues I have already touched on; child custody, circumcision, health, homelessness, incarceration, domestic violence, suicide, criminal justice, and military conscription.
Can you think of a single instance in which women aren’t also disadvantaged? Circumcision‘s closest counterpart would be female genital mutilation. Although the procedures are drastically different, their intention and result is the same.
Feminists advocate for the rights of girls and women, just as they are advocating for the rights of boys and men on this issue. What’s striking to me about this particular issue is that the majority of people who support circumcision…..are nonfeminist men.
Male and female feminists by and large are supporting efforts to ban circumcision. Where are the MRAs when it comes to speaking up about female genital mutilation?
Advocating for equality
Feminists seem capable of supporting causes that impact both women and men, so why are MRAs incapable? Perhaps because it would then make them … feminists?
Health is an issue for both sexes, there’s much evidence to support this. However, medical care has Black and brown women literally dying in hospitals because they’re being ignored. The same statistics are not reflected in the same volume for their male counterparts.
By no means am I attempting to compare pain. I’m simply pointing out that if MRAs truly wanted to advocate for equality and insist on using women as the benchmark of privilege and rights, there’s a glaring flaw in that logic.
Homelessness is dominantly due to mental health issues for both men and women and guess what? Feminists are already fighting for mental health support for both men and women, they have been for a while now. Admittedly there are more shelters available for women and children-in fact all of America only has one for men that I know of.
Let’s think about why this might be. We can all agree children need protection the most. Who are typically their primary care givers? Women. Who is most likely, statistically speaking, to be a threat to women? Men.
By this reasoning, doesn’t it make sense that women and children would have first priority for shelters? By no means am I supporting the lack of shelters for men. We simply need to ask ourselves these questions and give them serious consideration.
Which brings us to incarceration and criminal justice. Can you recall a feminist you know who doesn’t speak out about the unfair justice system? I cannot. It’s a commonly addressed issue. Feminists are activity advocating for fair sentences for both men and women.
If MRAs really are abut equality for men compared to women’s perceived privileges, then why are they not advocating in countries where men get lighter sentences than women? Countries such as America.
If they truly want equality, shouldn’t they be campaigning to make it so? It’ complicated to say the least. While women are typically less likely to be sentenced than men, when they are, the sentences are usually harsher and longer.
Surprisingly, most MRAs are under the misconception that men are entirely disadvantaged compared to women when it comes to prison sentencing terms. This is only half true. Feminists want an impartial justice system. One unbiased towards anyone’s gender.
The exact same argument can be made for military conscription. Feminists have fought long and hard for women to be able to serve in the military. Let’s not forget who created the systems in which the military operates in the first place: men.
A commission has requested Congress amend the law preventing women from being drafted. The commission rightly cites this change should be made on the ground of the current law being sexist. Although, drafting hasn’t been done since the Vietnam War, there is a draft of both men and women.
Interestingly, towards the end of the second World War, Roosevelt requested that female nurses be included in the draft. This was because there was a shortage of nurses and male nurses were prohibited. This did not get passed into law, but female nurses volunteered to serve their country anyway.
Now let’s consider domestic violence. When men are the victims, culturally we don’t take them seriously. Now where would we have gotten that notion from? Why would we all tell a male abuse victim to ‘toughen up’? Could it be another display of toxic masculinity? Sure sounds familiar.
And where did toxic masculinity originate if not from men? I hear feminists as a whole unequivocally calling out toxic masculinity and working to end it.
Yet when you explore MRA pages, blogs and websites it’s hit or miss whether the men involved support or reject toxic masculinity. So again, I ask; where are the MRAs advocating to end toxic masculinity? Why are there only feminists out here?
This brings us to the next point: suicide. Men are the much more likely to take their own life than women. This is due to a number of factors, but let’s focus on the biggest: mental health.
Do more men than women suffer from mental health issues? No. Men are simply less likely to seek and receive support.
Studies have shown than people are more likely to commit suicide if they do not have the support they need. But why are men less likely to seek or receive support?
Is it not due to the stigma around mental health, especially regarding men? Am I not describing toxic masculinity yet again?
If you look at a marginalized group and all the ways in which they are oppressed, the next logical line of thinking would be to consider the ways in which you can lift that oppression.
For MRAs, they looked at all the ways in which women were oppressed and thought their time was better spent ignoring those issues. Instead, focusing on the same movement as feminists, but from an opposing angle. There’s no conceivable way in which this makes any sense.
The Next Step
It’s naturally perceived that equality for one marginalized group benefits us all. If MRAs truly cared about men’s rights they would be putting in the work. MRAs have been around for decades and yet nearly every stride towards further equality (for both women and men) has been made by feminists.
Why? Because MRAs are leading a movement that’s nothing more than performativity. Created to silence feminists who were advocating for women’s rights and equality for everyone.
Question of the Week
Should the internet be selectively censored?
Studies have proven that exposure to certain forms of online content leads to an increased likelihood to dehumanize a specific group of people or even commit violent acts against them. Two significant examples to point to are violent porn and hate crimes. What are your thoughts on online censorship for some types of content? Should censorship exist? If so, who controls it, and to what extent? Can we trust them to remain ethical with this control? If not, how do we justify the harm that comes to people as a result of a lack of censorship? Who would be most negatively impacted and why?
Receive the latest on your favorite topics, personalized quizzes and more!
Meet the Author
Gillion is a multi-concept WordPress theme that lets you create blog, magazine, news, review websites. With clean and functional design and lots of useful features theme will deliver amazing user experience to your clients and readers.Learn more
* You will receive the latest news and updates on your favorite celebrities!