Content note: Discussion of sexism and MRA douchebags.
There was a time when I identified as both a feminist and a men’s rights activist. Some people thought that was cool, including many men. Others thought it was contradictory. I didn’t see why then, but I see why now. Hence, I no longer identify as a men’s rights activists, but I am sympathetic to some of their goals, to the extent that they’re compatible with feminism.
For example, I agree that male victims of domestic violence and rape are ignored and vilified. I agree that there is a certain bias in family court against men and, to a certain extent, in our culture’s family life as a whole. I think gender harms men. I feel the child support system as it exists is unfair to noncustodial parents, who tend to be men. I feel that false rape and false abuse allegations are a real problem and they are more common than people admit. I only say this because I experienced this first hand more than once. There was a time when I would have NEVER uttered the words “false” or “allegation” in the same sentence until it happened to me.
That said, there is a huge difference between being sensitive to men’s rights as victims, human beings, family members, employees, etc. and claiming that THEY are the REAL victims of the evil feminists. There’s a difference between claiming that men are ignored and vilified in family courts and victim’s circles and claiming that this NEVER happens to women, that it’s easy for women and they have all the perks. There’s a difference between men and women having an open discussion about false allegations and pretending that false allegations are the majority of allegations and that feminist concerns about rape and DV are a myth. There’s a difference between critiquing woman-centered policies and claiming that they have no right to exist and were never needed. And way too many “MRAs” makes assumptions that fall into the latter categories of each sentence and make the cornerstone of their “activism” a hatred of women rather than solidarity with men or a desire to, you know, just be a good person. Like many SJWs, they want to feel victimized in some way, much like transactivists pretend to be victims of biological women and lesbians.
So what’s the difference? In being involved with RAINN, doing research and having my experiences with “men’s rights issues” and with being falsely accused by another (unstable) woman, I have found that any legitimate male victim or men’s issues advocate will center their activism on the subject at hand. I wish I could find the article, but of course I didn’t save it. It was an article, written by a man, why the majority of assistance goes to women when it comes to domestic violence. He acknowledged the fact that when it comes to government funds, the priority is immediately safety. Women are far more vulnerable than men to physical injury and and are far more likely to be seriously injured or killed because of DV. The majory of victims of spousal homicides are women. Basically, the author acknowledged the need for woman-centered policy and when helping men, he focused on what men can do for themselves or each other. Absolutely not a word of it blamed women or feminism or expected women or feminism to do the work. He even acknowledged how patriarchal gender norms hurt men, as opposed to claiming that they were really matriarchal feminist inventions. Lastly, he called out to men who are able to start the process, being open about DV against men, calling on men’s businesses to create resources for men, etc. It was refreshing.
It was also illuminating.
In my experience, men who are real victims, who are serious about helping victims and helping men, focus on helping men. They do not blame or hate women. They do not see feminism as their enemy. They seek solidarity with feminists at best, or at least don’t bother feminists. To me, these are good men, they are my brothers in the fight for a less gendered and more just world.
They are also the minority of the voices that refer to themselves as MRAs. It’s almost impossible to talk about MRA issues without finding a cesspool of chauvanist pigs that really hate women, that think feminism is the worst thing to happen to modern society, and who believe in strict gender roles. Domestic violence wasn’t an issue when men were men and women were women, staying home, serving men while men ruled. Then there are the women who vouch for them, who honsetly hate women just as much as these men do. I have actually heard a well-known “female” activist online claimed that women ruled over men throughout the whole of human history and that all examples of female oppression were a myth. And she was dead serious. And I was horrified, not just at the misogyny, but at the sheer stupidity. We all know this type. And it is because of this type that I no longer call myself an MRA. However, I continue to hold onto the feminist label. And the men that know me who are MRAs know this and respect this. I have never had a problem with MRAs targeting or harassing me, at least not yet. I think maybe because they know I don’t defer to trolls.
Anyway, there’s my nugget of wisdom/self disclosure for the day. I hope any readers that venture over here find this useful.