What’s wrong with MRAs?

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A recent article on Slate’s women-specific DoubleX sounds the alarm about how men’s rights groups have become “frighteningly effective.” The article was referenced on many mainstream feminist blogs, and brings to light a question: What, exactly, is wrong with men’s rights groups?

In any mainstream feminist community, one only need mention “MRA” to see mass eye-rolls and heavy sighs. Men’s Rights Advocates, or MRAs, are men who, well, advocate for the rights of men. Much like primary objectives of feminism, MRAs focus on issues specifically related eradicating gender-based oppression, only they focus on the male experiences of such oppression, such as unfairness in child custody rulings, child support laws, and fair reporting and legislation for domestic abuse and assault. They cite that men are disproportionately the victims of assault and murder; men are less likely to be awarded custody of their children in a custody battle, usually regardless of the child(ren)’s mother’s parenting capabilities; if the draft were to go into effect, men are the only citizens called upon for duty; male victims of rape are rarely taken seriously (if not outright ridiculed), especially if the perpetrator is female, and the resources for male rape victims are pathetically few.

The social and civil problems that men face are numerous; likely too numerous for me, as a female, to cover extensively here. But it seems clear enough to me that these complaints are valid. These are real and present inequalities that men are the victims of, and real ways in which men are oppressed. The structure out of which these oppressive practices are born is the oft-cited patriarchy.

The patriarchy, as it is commonly referred by feminists and most equal-rights and social justice activists, is the (often invisible) structure that we exist within (US- and western-centric here). The patriarchy, in a nutshell, can be described as a social system where (usually heterosexual, white) men are the dominant group and others are seen as “other,” and oppressed as a result. Patriarchy is where traditionally masculine qualities are valued, and feminine qualities are believed to be –however unconsciously– inferior. Laws, media, social constructs, to name a few, are structured accordingly. However, the patriarchal structure does not benefit only men, and does not oppress only women and other oppressed minorities, but positively and negatively affects everyone existing within the structure.

For example, many male complaints of oppression involve discrimination for behaving in traditionally “feminine” ways: crying and showing emotions other than anger or lust (stereotypically male emotions); having claims of rape not taken seriously because a man should be able to fight off an attacker, especially if the perpetrator is female (ditto for domestic abuse), to name a couple. Most insults directed at men involve directly or indirectly referencing femininity. “Sissy,” “you throw like a girl,” “don’t be a fuckin’ chick about it,” “pussy,” etc. This is indicative of the devaluing of femininity and the overarching value of masculinity. While these comments may be directed at women and girls as well, they’re likely to be light-hearted and innocent in tone, while they are aggressive and threatening when directed at men and boys, because it’s acceptable for a woman or girl to show traits of femininity, but not a man or boy. The reverse, women showing masculine traits, is not viewed negatively in comparison, but is instead often encouraged. Masculinity is something to be desired or attained for women and girls, while femininity is not to be displayed if one is not female.

While women bear the brunt of the oppression caused by the patriarchy (although it depends on how heavily one weighs certain oppressions), they benefit from it as well. When women are the victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence, there are a plethora of resources available to help them (of course, in order to benefit from these privileges, a woman must first be the victim of gender-based violence or oppression, but we’ll leave that alone for now). Women are generally protected in society from physical harm, and do not have to serve in the military if the draft is enforced. Women have the benefit of being seen as capable parents if the custody of their children is in question, as a default. As a result, however, women are often expected to be natural caregivers and mothers.

So, what’s the problem, then? Men are fighting back at the negative ways that their gender is portrayed in the media and the social and legal oppressions they face. What could be threatening about that?

Nothing. In theory.

The problem is that MRAs — the outspoken ones, anyway — aren’t focusing on fighting the system that oppresses them. They’re not fighting against sexism against males. They’re complaining about how much feminism has ruined their lives. They paint feminism as the problem, rather than the larger structure under which gender-based oppression affects their lives. Feminism exists not to eradicate men, but to eradicate misogyny.

There is no reason why MRAs and feminists should be in such stark opposition. Both groups, theoretically, are fighting for gender equality. Feminists need to stop whining about men fighting for their legal and social rights, and MRAs need to stop whining about how women, especially feminist women, are evil bitches out to squander their masculinity, or worse, emasculate them.

…As a side note, we really need to stop using words like “emasculate.” That word only serves to further perpetuate the belief that anything less than traditional masculinity, when displayed by a male, is a bad thing. This forces men to act as “manly” as possible, regardless of his natural inclinations, or face harassment, ridicule, and potential violence, and keeps women in the position of “less than” in comparison to men. It’s a stupid word and implies stupid things and we should really just stop using it. Instead, we can substitute it with “humiliation,” “belittlement,” or a host of other synonyms that are gender-neutral in order to avoid negatively stereotyping both men and women. It’s what is really meant by the word, so let’s just be accurate and avoid assigning gender to it, shall we?

Anyway, with MRAs using their platform to yell about how feminism is terrible and single-handedly destroying the world, they are missing the point and just pissing everyone off. A large group of angry, bitter men attacking women who are fighting to end misogyny is obviously going to cause feminist women to go on the defense simply because of the method used in their arguments. Tone is an important thing, truly, for anyone fighting for the rights they deserve. For feminists, for MRAs, for anyone else.

It is possible to work together to achieve gender equality. We don’t need to resort to playground “boys vs. girls” tactics. Men and women are all rightfully pissed off that we are confined to strict and impossible gender roles; name-calling and blaming each other is clearly not aiding in the eradication of gender-based discrimination on either side. Let’s respectfully allow each other to do what we can to raise awareness about the issues affecting all of us. MRAs, this means you need to stop blaming feminists for all of your problems, and attack the larger structure that keeps you oppressed. Fellow feminists, this means we need to stop acting as though men aren’t also oppressed. This shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

…Right?

edit: After following links from some of the comments to this post, I came across this post that so thoroughly and patiently goes over why feminists aren’t to blame for the parts of the patriarchy that put men at a disadvantage. I recommend checking it out.

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41 Responses to What’s wrong with MRAs?

  1. Danny says:

    Those articles you link to about men’s groups becoming frighteningly effective were nothing but a scare tactic. Men’s groups frankly do not have as much power as feminists would try to have us believe. After years of being told to do it themselves they are finally doing and now feminists are crying foul because there are men out there that are trying to make the world a better place while NOT operating under the banner of feminism.

    The problem is that MRAs — the outspoken ones, anyway — aren’t focusing on fighting the system that oppresses them. They’re not fighting against sexism against males. They’re whining about how much feminism has ruined their lives. They paint feminism as the problem, rather than the larger structure under which gender-based oppression affects their lives. Feminism exists not to eradicate men, but to eradicate misogyny.
    Hold up. This is one problem I have with a lot of feminists. MRAs actually don’t put as much attention into complaining about feminism as feminists would like to believe. Yes there are those among MRAs that do but they are no different from the feminists that seem to go out of their way to minimize male suffering.

    Feminism exists not to eradicate men, but to eradicate misogyny.
    Feminism as it stands now exists to eradicate only the things that harm women. If it doesn’t benefit women they don’t want to touch it with a ten foot pole.

    • cacophonies says:

      MRAs actually don’t put as much attention into complaining about feminism as feminists would like to believe. Yes there are those among MRAs that do but they are no different from the feminists that seem to go out of their way to minimize male suffering

      I think the problem is that the MRAs I complain about and the feminists that you are referencing are the loudest. They both tend to forget equality in theory and instead perpetuate negative stereotypes.

      Feminism as it stands now exists to eradicate only the things that harm women. If it doesn’t benefit women they don’t want to touch it with a ten foot pole.

      I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with that. MRAs certainly aren’t actively doing or discussing anything related to women’s rights and misogyny. Men are better able to handle men’s rights, women better able to handle women’s rights. We can allow that to happen and respect that while still being supportive of one another.

    • Danny says:

      We can allow that to happen and respect that while still being supportive of one another.
      That would be nice if it went down like that but unfortunately it doesn’t.

      Both sides have a tendency to tell the other that they need to come over to their side because what they are doing is benefiting them when it might be but not always (and there there are the motives behind such pleas). There are people on both sides that have no problem speaking on the lives of people on the other sides.

    • cacophonies says:

      Both MRAs and feminists ultimately want gender equality. We’re all (MRAs and feminists) tired of the various ways in which we are oppressed and wish to end those modes of oppression. MRAs and feminists (at least, honest MRAs and feminists) see that the supposedly “opposing” group also wishes to achieve that goal. Knowing this, both groups are quick to criticize the ways in which the other is going about achieving this goal. I think MRAs are too critical of feminists, many MRAs think that feminists are too dismissive of the oppression that men suffer.

      In the end, we’re all fighting the same enemy (whether you choose to call the enemy “patriarchy” or something else, it’s all the same) but keep fighting each other, instead.

      While I wrote this post to specify one particular way that MRAs “do it wrong,” I am ultimately addressing the ways that both groups fail at accomplishing the goals that they set out to achieve. We both spend too much time blaming the other for the failures of the “movement” instead of working together to combat one common problem.

    • cacophonies says:

      Both sides have a tendency to tell the other that they need to come over to their side because what they are doing is benefiting them when it might be but not always

      I misread something part of that and responded as though I was disagreeing with you when I wasn’t. Oops…

  2. robotnista says:

    I’ve had the misfortune of stumbling upon a few MRA blogs and articles and such, and as far as I can tell the main thing that prevents feminists and MRAs from cooperating is the fact that MRAs all seem to be very intent on preserving and/or restoring traditional gender roles. Many of them seem to think that there are innate, natural gender roles, and that women’s desire to take on roles and responsibilities that had previously been considered masculine is destroying masculinity and ruining men’s lives.

    We both might be fighting for gender equality, but what MRAs define as equality is in fact based on patriarchal gender roles and therefore the subjugation of women.

    I agree with you that many of the things MRAs want are things that feminists are in fact fighting for as well (we both want rape and abuse of men to be taken seriously, for example) but by placing the blame on feminism and assuming that rigid gender roles will solve these problems is ridiculous and counterproductive. Not to mention the all-out hatred of women that I’ve seen expressed on some MRA blogs. I know many feminists are angry too, but I’ve never seen that level of hate anywhere in the feminist community.

    • cacophonies says:

      as far as I can tell the main thing that prevents feminists and MRAs from cooperating is the fact that MRAs all seem to be very intent on preserving and/or restoring traditional gender roles

      Interesting. I haven’t seen that, but I’m also not super familiar with the entire MRA platform or engaged in any real MRA discussions.

      Not to mention the all-out hatred of women that I’ve seen expressed on some MRA blogs. I know many feminists are angry too, but I’ve never seen that level of hate anywhere in the feminist community.

      I totally know what you mean. Even on really reasonable and thoughtful blogs like FeministCritics, the comments section can be a bit intimidating. Many of the comments are an all-out hate-fest on women. I didn’t include that in the original post, though, because I’ve certainly seen a considerable amount of feminists spewing anti-male hate speech. Sometimes a place to vent is a good thing… although sometimes it’s downright frightening to witness.

  3. Christina says:

    Great post! You covered a lot of ground. I especially liked how you explained “patriarchy.”

    I recently wrote on my own blog about a similar topic, specifically about how feminists and MRAs seem to agree that gender roles exist and they harm women as well as men. I truly didn’t quite understand why there was so much friction between the two groups, until I got a slew of comments (some incredibly nasty) from a bunch of MRAs.

    Now, I don’t think that every MRA is anti-feminist(or “counter-feminist” to use of MRA’s terminology) and I agree that they have legitimate grievances that need to be addressed. But judging from the people that responded to my post with outright hostility there is a group within the MRM that absolutely hate women. I agree with robotnista that they “seem to be very intent on preserving and/or restoring traditional gender roles.” That seems to be their true motivation and they’re directing their misogynistic rage at feminists who’re actually challenging those ideas.

    This particular group in the MRM not for a moment wanted to consider what someone else had to say. They’re too busy hating. And you’re right, that kind of attack immediately puts you on the defensive, which makes it all that much more difficult for the two groups to have a constructive dialogue.

  4. makomk says:

    For the more difficult issues MRAs are interested in, the patriarchal model isn’t really all that useful, though. (That is, the answer to the question of “how does this help the patriarchy?” is “it doesn’t”, and the same with “how will destroying the patriarchy help?”.)

    As an example, take domestic violence against men. Sure, the reason that’s not taken seriously has roots in patriarchy like everything else. However, much of what the MRAs find issue with – police assuming men are the aggressor and arrest them regardless of injuries or eyewitness reports*, the ease of false reports, etc – is feminist in origin. Even if it does make use of patriarchal ideas.

    I accidentally ran across an example of this just now – http://www.aifs.gov.au/conferences/aifs10/braafpaper.rtf – which calls for police to automatically arrest the man, even when the woman used a weapon and she shows no visible signs of injury. That’s basically typical of the phenomena. Also, notice the link goes to a government website.

    Regarding: “For example, many male complaints of oppression involve discrimination for behaving in traditionally “feminine” ways: … having claims of rape not taken seriously because a man should be able to fight off an attacker, especially if the perpetrator is female (ditto for domestic abuse), to name a couple.”

    That’s… not quite it, not anymore. Fighting off a female attacker isn’t exactly socially acceptable these days, though some men do anyway. One aspect is that men shouldn’t “let” women attack them, even though they shouldn’t fight back either. Another is that men are assumed to have wanted sex in rape cases, and to have done something to deserve it in the case of domestic violence. (This last idea is propagated and supported by anti-domestic violence groups!)

    While these ideas do have patriarchal roots, they’re not inherently patriarchal in themselves (the male double-bind there is one clue), and it seems likely they’re strong enough to survive the end of patriarchy.

    Finally, I’ll finish this post with a couple of quotes from that Double X article:

    “In this, critics like Australian sociologist Michael Flood say that men’s rights movements reflect the tactics of domestic abusers themselves, minimizing existing violence, calling it mutual, and discrediting victims.”

    “a policy that has been criticized by RADAR as well as by some domestic-violence advocates, who say it imposes an absurd equivalence between largely nonviolent family spats or insubstantial female violence and serious abuse”

    And it goes on that way, trivialising domestic violence against men. In fact, trivialising domestic violence against men – the very thing MRAs are being criticised for doing with violence against women – is commonplace in feminist spheres. The same with attempting to discredit male victims: in fact, even using the classic “they must’ve done something to provoke it” argument…

    * You may wonder how the police handle domestic violence in same-sex couples if that’s the case. Apparently, with a lot of confusion, and they often arrest both people.

  5. tinfoil hattie says:

    I supposed it could be considered “beneficial” to women that there are resources available after they are abused, beaten, raped, nearly murdered – but doesn’t that gloss over the fact that these “benefits” are only necessary because men beat up women? And get away with it – a la John Monserrate, to name but one recent abuser, who’s keeping his state Senate seat and got no jail time for beating the shit out of his girlfriend.

    Why MRAs don’t want to work “under the banner of feminism” is a mystery. After all, feminism is the radical notion that women are people.

    Should divorce laws be fair and equitable? Absolutely. Should abuse of men by women be taken deadly seriously? Yes – and the “jokes” about Tiger Woods, complete with doctored “joke” photos of his “injuries,” are appalling and not funny. Should divorced fathers be permitted equal custody? Hell yes. If a woman is an unsuitable mother, should the father get custody? No question.

    So why is the problem “feminism”?

    • elementary_watson says:

      I guess in an MRA’s perspective, the problem with feminism is that there’s systematic denial, minimization and deliberate ignorance of male sufferings and problems going on in the feminist movement. (I do not necessarily mean problems that specifically affect men, but also problem which can affect anyone, yet are only discussed with women as victims.)

      Another problem is the frequent reactions such statements get from feminists, ranging from “OMG, feminists do not consider the all-important question ‘what about teh menz?’” to calling the person who made the statement a misogynist and XYZ apologist, which do not give the impression that feminists consider these issues anything else but trolling. Which, of course, reinforces the notion of the MRA, that feminism denies, minimalizes and willfully ignores male suffering.

    • cacophonies says:

      Why MRAs don’t want to work “under the banner of feminism” is a mystery. After all, feminism is the radical notion that women are people.

      I used to wonder the same thing, but I’m starting to think that, really, people will more often than not default to the “individual,” and not the greater scope. It’s easier for us all to understand oppression when we think of how we personally experience it, and understand others’ oppression through that lens– as long as we’re able to come back to our own experiences in the end.

      Yes, it is kind of an excuse to bask in one’s privilege at the end of the day, but at the same time, it is often the best way each of has to find a point of relation, to keep us motivated.

    • Danny says:

      Why MRAs don’t want to work “under the banner of feminism” is a mystery. After all, feminism is the radical notion that women are people.
      Because there is more to fixing this world that helping women. Yes women are a part of this world and gender intersects through nearly everything but you can’t expect to fix the world by only looking at the woman’s perspective. The woman’s perspective is important but its not the only one.

      Its almost like some sort of advertising campaign in which feminists try to have all that is good and holy and whatnot associated with feminism so that when you think positive things you think of feminism. Thing is when you start to think in those terms anyone that does not fall in line with the feminist way is instantly labeled an enemy. Maybe this is why often times when feminists talk about MRAs they preface the comment by insulting them (call them trolls, boneheads, whiners, woman haters, misogynists, etc…) yet act shocked when they attack back.

      So why is the problem “feminism”?
      Because there are feminists out there that claim to want equality for all but when the discussion isn’t about how to put women first they either go silent of speak on their behalf. And while no single feminist represents the entire movement when you have several of them all claiming to be acting under feminism and several of them are doing the exact opposite of what they claim then of course there will be problems.

      To answer this with a question why among feminists is it fair game to generalize MRAs but at the slightest hint of generalizing feminists the tanks come out in force?

      I’ve seen posts by feminists that link to Angry Harry as proof that MRAs are nothing but a movement of woman haters. I’ve seen Jeff Fecke write a post call an MRA explainer that said MRAs are only trying to protect their right to beat and rape women. I’ve had a feminist tell me that my weight issues had nothing to do with my male gender. And these things were done by proclaimed feminists when they are pointed out other feminists will shrug it off as “That’s not MY feminism.” or “Feminists are not a monolith.” yet I’m expected to join this movement in which my gender issues will always be at the back burner until its suits them (and just to be clear I don’t want my gender issues to be at the front burner all the time either but I think its a bit f’d up to only mention me when you have something to gain from the shout out) at which time they can parade me around and advertise their ally street cred?

      In the end feminism as it stands today is a multicar pileup of hypocrisy, double standards, generalizations, assumptions, and who knows what else.

  6. tinfoil hattie says:

    #3, your link goes to an Australian government website. Is that where you live? How do you think Australian laws compare to U.S. laws re: partner violence, custody, etc.?

  7. Colette says:

    “Which, of course, reinforces the notion of the MRA, that feminism denies, minimalizes and willfully ignores male suffering. Another problem is the frequent reactions such statements get from feminists, ranging from “OMG, feminists do not consider the all-important question ‘what about teh menz?’” to calling the person who made the statement a misogynist and XYZ apologist, which do not give the impression that feminists consider these issues anything else but trolling. ”

    I think this is a misrepresentation.

    Feminists address the issue of trivializing rape of men (especially prison rape), shaming men and boys into rigid gender-roles, will talk about and encourage the notion of men taking care of children, ect. But when the issue is focused on how something affects women, they arrogantly attempt to turn the conversation into how the issue affects men (“what about that, huh? Why don’t you care? Why aren’t MEN being discussed instead?!”), hence “what about teh menz?!” How ridiculous is it that when MRAs demand we shut-up about women and discuss how things affect men, it isn’t considered “trivializing/ignoring women” but feminists saying, “well this is what we’re discussing. Please don’t derail.”, we’re “dismissing the suffering of men”?

    When men are not the default, it is “hurting men”. It is called Male Privilege.

    • cacophonies says:

      But when the issue is focused on how something affects women, they arrogantly attempt to turn the conversation into how the issue affects men (“what about that, huh? Why don’t you care? Why aren’t MEN being discussed instead?!”), hence “what about teh menz?!”

      Agreed. I, like N, also hate the “what about teh menz?!” response, but I think what you highlight is important for men in a feminist space (like a blog post about an issue affecting women) to remember. Most feminists, while they will not condone violence against men, unfairness in custody laws, etc., are not going to go out of their way to fight for men’s rights. We have our own rights to fight for. I wouldn’t expect MRAs to abandon the fight for their own equality in terms of their gender to fight on my side, either. I think that it’s very true that male privilege is at play in many of these cases.

    • elementary_watson says:

      Feminists saying “Well this is what we’re discussing. Please don’t derail.” is rather rare, I think. In my experience, feminists tend to express this sentiment in far stronger terms.

      I don’t think what you’re saying is a counter-argument to what I wrote. I described a common dynamic as seen by an MRA (I don’t identify as one, by the way), you describe pretty much the same thing from a feminists perspective. MRAs see male issues being forcibly excluded from gender discourse, feminists see discussions derailed by the forcible inclusion of male issues. And I, well I see both things happen in various degress.

      However, since the question was “Why don’t MRAs work under the banner of feminism?”, your description also gives a good reason: If wanting to focus on male issues (or how a specific issue also affects men) is often seen as derailing in feminist discourse, it isn’t really that surprising that (non-misogyinist) MRAs don’t want to work under the banner of feminism.

    • cacophonies says:

      I described a common dynamic as seen by an MRA (I don’t identify as one, by the way), you describe pretty much the same thing from a feminists perspective.

      You know, it seems there are just as many MRA sympathizers who don’t identify as MRAs as there are women who sympathize with feminism, but are too embarrassed to label themselves as such. Perhaps it has something to do with arguments like these being the most prevalent and well-known.

    • makomk says:

      “Feminists address the issue of trivializing rape of men (especially prison rape), shaming men and boys into rigid gender-roles, will talk about and encourage the notion of men taking care of children, ect.”

      Yes… because those issues affect women. If you pay close attention, a lot of the time the complaints about the trivialization of prison rape are not because it hurts the prisoners, but because trivializing any sort of rape harms women. Likewise, men are encouraged to take care of children in order to free women from being assumed to have that responsibility. The same with the rigid gender roles.

      “But when the issue is focused on how something affects women, they arrogantly attempt to turn the conversation into how the issue affects men (“what about that, huh? Why don’t you care? Why aren’t MEN being discussed instead?!”), hence “what about teh menz?!””

      Errm… usually, the discussion isn’t about how something affects women, it’s about something that supposedly only affects women. Hence the “men are affected too” comments. Why do you think these comments most commonly occur on discussions of things like rape and domestic violence?

      [Also, my general assumption is that most of the "what about the menz" comments are not actually from MRAs. Recall that MRAs are generally anti-feminist, rather than looking to talk to feminists.]

      “When men are not the default, it is “hurting men”. It is called Male Privilege.”

      No, when problems that affect both men and women are treated as female-only – not just in feminist spaces, but in culture in general – it’s “hurting men”. Since society’s perception of these particular issues is largely feminist-driven, as is the way governments have handled them, a lot of the backlash is anti-feminist.

      Now, that’s not to say feminists have any sort of real power. The men that these issues affect are ones the patriarchy doesn’t care about. So, for example, the fact that feminist groups can get laws passed that make it harder for male victims of domestic violence to get help doesn’t mean the patriarchy is dead. On the other hand, the idea of “male privilege” isn’t really that useful in this case except as an excuse.

    • cacophonies says:

      Yes… because those issues affect women. If you pay close attention, a lot of the time the complaints about the trivialization of prison rape are not because it hurts the prisoners, but because trivializing any sort of rape harms women. Likewise, men are encouraged to take care of children in order to free women from being assumed to have that responsibility. The same with the rigid gender roles.

      It sounds like you don’t mind, then, that feminists are concerned with these issues, but rather, you don’t agree with the idea that our culture is more misogynist than misandrist. If that’s the case, I’m not sure many MRAs and feminists will ever see eye to eye.

      The thing is, though, I don’t understand why that even matters. Feminists are concerned with these things, you admitted so yourself; what’s the problem, then? What is missing? What are feminists leaving out? Because if it’s something that doesn’t concern women in the ways that you listed, then why should feminists be required to tackle the issue? Shouldn’t those be what MRAs are focusing on? I don’t see all that many men lined up to help keep abortion legal, for example. Even now, when legality is under attack.

      As I’ve said before in this thread, I don’t understand what the problem is. While I would appreciate and be grateful for the active support of men and even MRAs in fighting for women’s rights, I couldn’t possibly expect men and MRAs to abandon causes more close to themselves in order to help fight my battles.

  8. Colette says:

    “And it goes on that way, trivialising domestic violence against men. In fact, trivialising domestic violence against men – the very thing MRAs are being criticised for doing with violence against women – is commonplace in feminist spheres.”

    But it isn’t. What is commonplace is a discussion of DV where an MRA shows up demanding all us man-haters discuss how it affects men.

    Don’t show up and call feminists man-haters. Don’t show up and demand men be the focus of the discussion after calling us man-haters. Don’t show up and misrepresent statistics if you don’t want to be called on it. Its not the job of feminists to talk about male issues all the time. It’s telling the criticism of MRAs is that they do nothing to help men but rather throw stones at feminists, while the criticism of feminism is that they don’t shut-up and talk about men.

    As ginmar said at Jezebel recently: “It was aggressive because it didn’t include all the necessary verbiage about soothing white people’s feelings at not being the center of attention, along with the notion that there might be a discussion that wouldn’t be about them.” Only substitute ‘aggressive’ with ‘dismissive’ and ‘white people’ with ‘men’.

    • N says:

      Certainly, infiltration of an existing discussion regarding how domestic violence affects women by interlopers with a “male-centric” agenda is clearly narcissitic and perhaps ignorant of their own male privelege. “What about teh poor menz?” may be illustrating a valid point, but I personally find it smug, imprecise, and most tragically dismissive of suffering.

      Personally, what I find missing in the bulk of these discussions is work towards understanding. It seems like people would rather draw artificial lines in the sand and beat their respective war drums.

      I’d rather see people say “this is what we agree on and lets build from there” rather than “this is where you are wrong.”

    • Danny says:

      While some of their interjections are rude and have no other purpose but disruption it would do feminists a lot of good to practice what you preach here. One thing I’ve noticed is that feminists like to speak on the lives of men and when they get called on their generalizations and lies they go nuts. Saw it happen on a post at feministing a week or so ago when someone tried to do a post on the male gaze and basically just spewed some generalizations and when people came in to correct her she just switched the victim mode and talked about how she was being silenced.

      Perhaps if feminists weren’t twisting reality to make women the victims of, well, everything (one of my favorites are those that say the problem with violence against men is the misogyny of thinking a woman can’t injure a man nevermind the fact that said male victim is not being taken seriously for other reasons no its all about the woman), we would all be better off as well.

      MRAs are trying to bring up issues that harm men and time and time again the feminist reaction is just what you’re doing here, accuse them of trying to make it all about men.

    • cacophonies says:

      MRAs are trying to bring up issues that harm men and time and time again the feminist reaction is just what you’re doing here, accuse them of trying to make it all about men.

      I did not read that as her saying that MRAs bringing up issues that harm men as being “all about men,” but rather pointing out a common situation where, usually on feminist blogs discussing issues affecting women, MRAs will often chime in with questions and statistics about men and how men are also victims of this or that. That specific situation is annoying and it is derailing and taking the focus of that particular conversation and making it about them.

      MRAs, and their platform, are not making it “all about men.” It’s the same as if I were to go on an MRA blog and comment on a post about male victims of rape and tell them that they should be addressing female victims. That would be inappropriate and derailing. That’s what she’s talking about, if I’m understanding correctly. Not attacking MRAs and their overall goals.

    • Danny says:

      I did not read that as her saying that MRAs bringing up issues that harm men as being “all about men,”

      While it may not be her main point she did start off with:

      But it isn’t. What is commonplace is a discussion of DV where an MRA shows up demanding all us man-haters discuss how it affects men.

      While I do notice that there are disruptive MRAs I have begun to notice that feminist sometimes invite such disruption by making assertions and speaking on the lives of men. Yes it would be rude for you to go to an MRA site and tell they they should be addressing female victims however if said MRA site was misrepresenting female victims then while the it would be disruptive I would not be shocked by you cutting in.

      If you’re going to speak on a group you’re not a part of you can at least own up to getting your info wrong. This advice would serve both sides well.

  9. George says:

    Great article … except for one thing. “Traditional masculinity” is not being a knuckle dragging caveman filled with anger and lust. Rather, traditional masculinity is about being a competent, intelligent, polite, respectful, and strong individual — the antithesis of the “modern man” who is a sports-loving slob who guzzles bad beer, treats women as sex-objects, resorts to unintelligent vulgarity when frustrated, and works out frantically to get the biggest biceps. Check out http://www.artofmanliness.com for more info on traditional masculinity and the guys who are trying to bring it back.

  10. Colette says:

    “Feminists saying ‘Well this is what we’re discussing. Please don’t derail.’ is rather rare, I think. In my experience, feminists tend to express this sentiment in far stronger terms.”

    So the argument is that feminists need to be nicer to MRAs that show up demanding we refocus the discussion on men…?

    “MRAs see male issues being forcibly excluded from gender discourse, feminists see discussions derailed by the forcible inclusion of male issues. And I, well I see both things happen in various degress.”

    But look at the larger picture. Feminism exists as a reaction the patriarchy and MRAs generally as a reaction to feminism. Male issues are not excluded from “gender discourse”, it is the default. The default isn’t always healthy though and theoretically, MRAs address those “unhealthy” things regarding male issues. But again, feminism exists because there was no “space” for women’s issues; it is all about men, albeit unmarked. MRAs need to understand that just because the default isn’t healthy doesn’t mean the male experience isn’t default. Meanwhile, even when feminists take the initiative in reaction to the Male Default, it *still* has to be about men. MRAs won’t acknowledge this either because they’re unaware of their privilege or because acknowledging that even though the status quo isn’t healthy it still favors them would be admitting to male privilege.

    Nobody is telling MRAs here they should be including things that almost exclusively affect women, yet they’re telling it to feminists? People are just taking that issue uncritically. That’s says a lot about internalized Male Privilege.

    “If wanting to focus on male issues (or how a specific issue also affects men) is often seen as derailing in feminist discourse, it isn’t really that surprising that (non-misogyinist) MRAs don’t want to work under the banner of feminism.”

    To be honest, when I look at male issues MRAs claim to address in of themselves (before an actual MRA speaks, blames feminists, and says women have it easier because men hold doors, etc), I find it nearly indistinguishable from male feminists. Of course that doesn’t mean anything as it is my take. To address your comment though, feminists *do* address these things that affect men, just not all the time. Plus they don’t want every discussion about things that overwhelmingly affect women, such as rape, derailed into a discussion about false accusations or that men get raped too. Or for that matter, any discussion. I’ve explained why this is a double-whammy above.

    As for “under the banner of feminism”, I’m not sure what that means exactly. It can mean solidarity.

    “Yes… because those issues affect women. If you pay close attention, a lot of the time the complaints about the trivialization of prison rape are not because it hurts the prisoners, but because trivializing any sort of rape harms women.”

    “If (I) pay close attention”?

    Your argument is pretty silly because you can make anything affect anybody because, well, it does. You’ve basically inadvertantly made the argument that feminism helps everybody, so on the one hand thanks, but on the other hand we’re all very aware and have been saying that.

    “Errm… usually, the discussion isn’t about how something affects women, it’s about something that supposedly only affects women. Hence the “men are affected too” comments. Why do you think these comments most commonly occur on discussions of things like rape and domestic violence?”

    Rape overwhelmingly affects women and so does the culture surrounding it. That does not mean it doesn’t affect men and nobody said. I won’t be baited into a straw-feminist.

    But even so, feminists are allowed to discuss an issue that overwhelmingly affects women without discussing at every turn how it affects men. The comments occur because MRA men are used to being default and found a way to make two of the most mainstream issues feminists took the initiative addressing (being that women are more affected by it) and making it about them. The way it is “supposed” to be.

    “So, for example, the fact that feminist groups can get laws passed that make it harder for male victims of domestic violence to get help doesn’t mean the patriarchy is dead.”

    The “fact” that women need these laws enough that feminists took the initiative to get them (again – won’t be baited by the “make it harder” comment. Bull****. Try me.), that feminists probably do more for abused men than MRAs, that homosexual men open abuse shelters all the time without the evil feminists having any imagined affect, that feminists put all their money into it, means it is alive and so is male privilege.

    “On the other hand, the idea of “male privilege” isn’t really that useful in this case except as an excuse.”

    Maybe not to you. It’s very real to women and feminists. It’s an inconvenient for MRAs.

    • makomk says:

      [Trigger warning: this comment contains discussion of arguments like ones abusers sometimes use to free themselves of responsibility.]

      “Your argument is pretty silly because you can make anything affect anybody because, well, it does. You’ve basically inadvertantly made the argument that feminism helps everybody, so on the one hand thanks, but on the other hand we’re all very aware and have been saying that.”

      No. That’s exactly the opposite of the point I was making. For example: If the reason that prison rape jokes are wrong is not because male-on-male rape is horrible, but because male-on-female rape is and male-male rape is similar to it, that trivializes male-on-male rape. This benefits men how exactly?

      “Rape overwhelmingly affects women and so does the culture surrounding it. That does not mean it doesn’t affect men and nobody said. I won’t be baited into a straw-feminist.”

      Yeah, most feminists do consider it possible for women to rape men – it’s female domestic violence against men that’s considered impossible. (Even then, believing rape can happen and actually taking it seriously are not the same thing…)

      “The “fact” that women need these laws enough that feminists took the initiative to get them (again – won’t be baited by the “make it harder” comment. Bull****. Try me.), that feminists probably do more for abused men than MRAs, that homosexual men open abuse shelters all the time without the evil feminists having any imagined affect, that feminists put all their money into it, means it is alive and so is male privilege.”

      Ah, of course, because the only sort of abused men are gay men. (Gay male domestic violence fits into the feminist patriarchal model nicely. Same with lesbian DV.)

      If you accept the idea that any apparent female-on-male domestic violence is really the woman defending herself or reacting to male abuse – in other words, use discrediting tactics against male victims like the ones feminists had to fight against female victims – then yes, feminists don’t make it harder for male victims to seek help.

      After all, if you believe that, then there are no male victims of female domestic violence. Any such “victim” who seeks help from the police should be locked up, since he must obviously be abusing his partner in order to end up like that. The feminists that demanded the police be trained to act that way took a major step against domestic violence.

      Furthermore, then it’s entirely right that domestic violence hotlines tell male “victims” of female violence that they are in fact responsible for the violence against them. They’re also correct to tell female “perpetrators” who phone up asking for help that they are in fact victims and haven’t done anything wrong.

      Of course, if male victims of female domestic violence were out there, all this has erected a barrier against them taking action as big as the one female victims used to be up against. Good thing they can’t possibly exist, then.

    • cacophonies says:

      Feminism exists as a reaction the patriarchy and MRAs generally as a reaction to feminism.

      Nicely put.

  11. Colette says:

    Again – you’re making the argument that feminist attention of prison rape is because “rape affects women” unsupported, when it is your burden, so I didn’t even respond to that question. However nobody exists in a vacuum; any injustice affects everybody to differing degrees and it is also a symptom of a larger injustice affecting different people in different ways (which I believe rape is, but you didn’t bother asking me. You told me what I think.). In hindsight, one can easily accuse somebody of only caring because of how it affects a specific group without substantiating, like you just did.

    On the other hand, you basically answered concerns of other posters so I didn’t have to address it.

    “Yeah, most feminists do consider it possible for women to rape men – it’s female domestic violence against men that’s considered impossible.”

    That is blatantly false.

    “Ah, of course, because the only sort of abused men are gay men.”

    That is another straw-argument from you. I said gay men have taken the initiative, not that they’re the only male victims of domestic violence.

    “If you accept the idea that any apparent female-on-male domestic violence is really the woman defending herself or reacting to male abuse…”

    I don’t. You’ve dedicated the subsequent paragraphs to fighting an argument not being made. I will skip over any other content containing effort and verbiage dedicated to hypotheticals, straw-arguments, and misrepresenting what I believe. I encounter this with MRAs often and it is tiring.

    On the other hand, nobody will address the observation I made re: MRAs getting criticized for blaming everything on feminists and not doing anything to help men, but feminists getting criticized for not talking about men all the time.

    • makomk says:

      “Yeah, most feminists do consider it possible for women to rape men – it’s female domestic violence against men that’s considered impossible.”

      That is blatantly false.

      It’s not quite right – I should’ve said “effectively non-existent”, not “impossible”. There’s no theoretical reason why it can’t happen, just one why it supposedly never does. It’s true, though – in fact, there are comments on this very blog post demonstrating it!

      Again – you’re making the argument that feminist attention of prison rape is because “rape affects women” unsupported, when it is your burden, so I didn’t even respond to that question.

      Actually, I was saying that about prison rape jokes. (It may be true of prison rape too. There’s an old, classic feminist argument that all rape is patriarchal violence.) While I have better things to do than dig through old comments on feminist websites, you’ll see it yourself sooner or later.

      That is another straw-argument from you. I said gay men have taken the initiative, not that they’re the only male victims of domestic violence.

      Curious. Have you considered why it’s gay men who are doing this, and the possibility that the obstacles they face are not the same as those that straight men do?

      I don’t. You’ve dedicated the subsequent paragraphs to fighting an argument not being made. I will skip over any other content containing effort and verbiage dedicated to hypotheticals, straw-arguments, and misrepresenting what I believe. I encounter this with MRAs often and it is tiring.

      Ah, that was a guess. (It’s not a straw argument, though – actually it’s quite important.) What is your reason for believing that female on male domestic violence isn’t an issue? How do the various studies apparently contradicting that fit into it?

      Anyway, the reason that argument’s important is that it’s one cause of problems for male victims of female domestic violence. For example, did you see the report I linked in my first comment? It makes use of that so-called “straw” argument.

      It starts from a feminist understanding of domestic violence in which women are victims and men are perpetrators. It then goes on to argue against a gender-neutral approach. In particular, it argues for ignoring the use of weapons and evidence of injury from them (since women use those), as well as the extent of injury (as men are apparently likely to cause invisible injuries). Additionally, it suggests the use of “size disparity” to decide who to arrest, which in most cases means the male.

      Suppose the police are trained as per that document [which they effectively are in some parts of the US]. Now suppose that the police are called to a scene in which a woman is threatening her larger male partner with a knife. In addition, suppose he shows signs of injury and she doesn’t, and that each claims they were attacked by the other. Who will be arrested?

  12. Danny says:

    Nobody is telling MRAs here they should be including things that almost exclusively affect women, yet they’re telling it to feminists? People are just taking that issue uncritically. That’s says a lot about internalized Male Privilege.

    That’s about what feel like when I see feminists say that men are the ones responsible for helping women (because apparently sharing gender with abusive men makes me just as responsible as the abusers). An attitude that women and things that harm them are the top priority.

  13. Colette says:

    “That’s about what feel like when I see feminists say that men are the ones responsible for helping women (because apparently sharing gender with abusive men makes me just as responsible as the abusers).”

    I believe you’re referring to addressing unhealthy and harmful notions in cultural masculinity that contribute to gendered violence against women, which is a huge problem in general and disproportionately affects women. Its just as feminists/women address unhealthy notions in cultural femininity (thus the stereotype of “unfeminine” feminists). Reflecting on masculinity and what is harmful, which is something all men may do, is not the same as saying every individual man is responsible for those that abuse women. It sure isn’t the same as expecting feminists to shut-up about women and take care of men only.

    However given that males generally aren’t taught to reflect and women are overwhelmingly taught to care-take, respectively to the detriment of their own and others (likely a symptom of Male Experience as Default), it isn’t at all surprising the “issue” with feminism is that they don’t focus first and foremost on male issues all the time. What is surprising is that even here, full of supposedly enlightened people, nobody caught on to that.

    • Danny says:

      Reflecting on masculinity and what is harmful, which is something all men may do, is not the same as saying every individual man is responsible for those that abuse women
      Despite being told things like “men are the ones who rape”, “men as a class have power”, “if you have a problem with it go to your FELLOW males” (I especially like that last one. Sounds like men have the personal cell phone numbers of the politicians on capital hill and can just call one up for a hook up when we come across a law we don’t like.). Now there are some feminists out there that are actually able to have discussion without depending on blanket remarks like that but when those types take the freedom to tell me what my reality is when they know nothing but my gender I kinda have doubts.

      However given that males generally aren’t taught to reflect and women are overwhelmingly taught to care-take, respectively to the detriment of their own and others (likely a symptom of Male Experience as Default), it isn’t at all surprising the “issue” with feminism is that they don’t focus first and foremost on male issues all the time. What is surprising is that even here, full of supposedly enlightened people, nobody caught on to that.
      No that is not the “issue” with feminism (not mine anyway). The reason that men are not taught to reflect is that we are taught to suppress and avoid all emotion except for lust and rage. To our own detriment as well. But as for my problem with feminism its not that they don’t put men at the forefront all the time. Feminism is for women so logically it would put women the vast majority of the time. My problem is when they do speak on men feminists would rather repeat each other’s personal experiences as if they are the norm and parrot generalizations then cry foul when called on them

      If feminists want to work with men that’s cool. If feminists want men to work within feminism with the understanding that women come first that’s cool too. But I find it odd that feminists expect men to join them with the understanding that women come first and anything that is said about men is fair game regardless of truth or logic.

      Thing is feminists say men are prone to putting themselves first yet men are actually usually taught to put themselves dead (sometimes literally) last. We’re starting to speak up about it and we are told that we trying to hold onto male privilege. The majority of men have been kept silence yet when we try to talk we are lumped in with the few at the top and told to “check out privilege”. By all means if they are concerned with removing these so called privileges then keep on doing the damn thing. But don’t expect me to join a movement that always keeps my luggage at the back burner even when they are supposedly trying to speak on the things that harm me and only bring me to the table when they can get some cred for acknowledging that “the system harms men too”. I certainly would not expect women to.

  14. Colette says:

    “No that is not the “issue” with feminism (not mine anyway).”

    That was the issue raised about feminism here and what I’ve been discussing for the past day or so.

    “Despite being told things like “men are the ones who rape”, “men as a class have power”, “if you have a problem with it go to your FELLOW males” (I especially like that last one. Sounds like men have the personal cell phone numbers of the politicians on capital hill and can just call one up for a hook up when we come across a law we don’t like.). Now there are some feminists out there that are actually able to have discussion without depending on blanket remarks like that but when those types take the freedom to tell me what my reality is when they know nothing but my gender I kinda have doubts.”

    I don’t understand what you’re saying here; the first two statements are factual (I don’t even get the last one). Most people who are rapists are people who are men but nobody is saying the inverse. Men as a class do have power based on being males; nobody is saying every individual man has power outside of that however. If somebody told me “white people as a class have power”, I’d say they’re absolutely correct. I benefit from being white as far as that takes me and I can own and understand that privilege, as I do. So may men for being male.

    “The reason that men are not taught to reflect is that we are taught to suppress and avoid all emotion except for lust and rage. To our own detriment as well.”

    That is a more detailed version of what I already said. Except you glossed over the part about women being expected to care-take which in this case involves MRAs.

    “My problem is when they do speak on men feminists would rather repeat each other’s personal experiences as if they are the norm and parrot generalizations then cry foul when called on them.”

    I don’t believe the examples you used demonstrated that. It just appears you react to feminists speaking about male privilege as if it doesn’t apply to you for some reason. I’ve mentioned above that MRAs won’t admit to Male Privilege.

    “Thing is feminists say men are prone to putting themselves first yet men are actually usually taught to put themselves dead (sometimes literally) last.”

    Men already exist within a cultural backdrop where they are first and foremost, thus the concept of feminism in the first place. That isn’t to say chivalry is good (though the affect is generally short-term) or teaching men to suppress certain emotions is healthy, but one does not negate the other.

    “We’re starting to speak up about it and we are told that we trying to hold onto male privilege. The majority of men have been kept silence yet when we try to talk we are lumped in with the few at the top and told to “check out privilege”.”

    If you push your way into discussions about women and demand the talk center on men, or try to co-opt issues that disproportionately affect women, that is demonstrating male privilege. Checking privilege is very important when it comes to any social context. It is as if MRAs are so used to men being default that a discussion not about them, or a narrative in which they don’t fit, is automatically viewed as anti-male.

    There was just a huge issue at Jezebel about the white feminists who were doing the very same thing in a dicussion regarding the experience of black women. The thing is, you may still have legitimate concerns yet be part of the privileged group. Often times, what it takes to maintain that privilege is unhealthy. Those are not mutually exclusive, yet MRAs appear to believe admitting male privilege = saying men don’t have legitimate concerns.

    “By all means if they are concerned with removing these so called privileges then keep on doing the damn thing.”

    That’s the thing; it is your privilege. Why should feminists do it for you? Feminists aren’t personal authorities on manhood yet MRAs want them to be when it is conveniently falls along the lines of sex-expectations (in this case, that women should put themselves aside and mind the whims of men). If you want to do away with all the unhealthy things men face then that means smashing male pivilege. First you have to admit to it and quit exercising it.

    • Danny says:

      It just appears you react to feminists speaking about male privilege as if it doesn’t apply to you for some reason.
      Not at all. Some of them actually apply to me. It seems feminists have a problem with men whose reality doesn’t fit the privileges they point out (partly because some so called male privileges are actually attempts at shining away female privileges).

      I don’t understand what you’re saying here; the first two statements are factual (I don’t even get the last one). Most people who are rapists are people who are men but nobody is saying the inverse. Men as a class do have power based on being males; nobody is saying every individual man has power outside of that however.
      That last one is an actual line I’ve received from feminists before when talking about how the system harms men. What I’m saying is that while that may be factually true attempting to apply them to individual men does not work because while most rapist are men most men are not rapists. And those that try to use statements like that to “put men in their place” are depending on generalization.

      If somebody told me “white people as a class have power”, I’d say they’re absolutely correct. I benefit from being white as far as that takes me and I can own and understand that privilege, as I do. So may men for being male.
      That’s fine for you to own and understand it but I’m not going to try to tell you what your experience is as a white person. While being white gives you more doors to walk through I would not trying to tell you what doors were opened by your race and that is what I see when it comes to gender. Yes being male has opened doors for me but I’m not going to have someone try to tell me what doors they were when all they know about me is that I’m male.

      That is a more detailed version of what I already said. Except you glossed over the part about women being expected to care-take which in this case involves MRAs.
      Not glossing over just not speaking for women. And besides you already said that. I know and can say what its like to be a man and what expectations come with it. I can’t say the same about being a woman (which is part of why I’m reading your commentary).

      Men already exist within a cultural backdrop where they are first and foremost, thus the concept of feminism in the first place. That isn’t to say chivalry is good (though the affect is generally short-term) or teaching men to suppress certain emotions is healthy, but one does not negate the other.
      Some men do but the vast majority of us do not come first and foremost, which is why while feminism has done good things for women and some good things for men it just hasn’t done as good as some feminists are patting themselves on the back for. And mind you I never said anything about negation. I’m talking about the getting the entire picture. When it comes to gender discourse on men feminism mostly speaks of how good men have it and only occasionally pays a bit of lip service to how the system harms men. I’m just helping shed some light on the whole story.

      If you push your way into discussions about women and demand the talk center on men, or try to co-opt issues that disproportionately affect women, that is demonstrating male privilege. Checking privilege is very important when it comes to any social context. It is as if MRAs are so used to men being default that a discussion not about them, or a narrative in which they don’t fit, is automatically viewed as anti-male.
      When that happens for the sake of changing the focus you’re right but I also see instances of them stepping in because said discussion misrepresents men and they are trying to correct it. There are some MRAs that don’t want women to speak on men and there are some that simply that if women are going to speak on men they at least do it accurately (while I’m not an MRA I personally am one that would like to see accuacy). I don’t make women the main focus when I blog but if I misrepresent them I really hope I would get called on it.

      Those are not mutually exclusive, yet MRAs appear to believe admitting male privilege = saying men don’t have legitimate concerns.
      When it is used as a way to shut them up from talking about those legitimate concerns they are right to say that.

      That’s the thing; it is your privilege. Why should feminists do it for you? Feminists aren’t personal authorities on manhood yet MRAs want them to be when it is conveniently falls along the lines of sex-expectations (in this case, that women should put themselves aside and mind the whims of men). If you want to do away with all the unhealthy things men face then that means smashing male pivilege. First you have to admit to it and quit exercising it.
      Why should feminists do it for you? Feminists aren’t personal authorities on manhood yet have no problem speaking on it as if they are.

      I do try to be mindful of my male privilege. Part of being aware of it is taking the time to examine if something is male privilege or not. Sure it would be nice if my entire life could be chalked up to male privilege but its not yet those are the only parts of my life that are brought up.

    • Danny says:

      That’s the thing; it is your privilege. Why should feminists do it for you?

      Now that I’m at a place I can post (I’m out of town on vacation) I want to come back to this.

      Who is to say I’m waiting for them to do it for me? To not fall in line with the feminist way of thinking on privilege is not “letting them do it for me” it is simply “not doing it their way” (at least for me anyway. Seeing as for the most part when it comes to talk of privilege the only privilege that exists in the eyes of feminists is male privilege (in fact doesn’t the often linked FinallyFeminism101 blog have a section for disproving female privilege?) I really don’ think feminists are seeing the whole picture. And as I said before I’m just trying to get the whole story out there.

  15. Jim says:

    First time here, wonderful blog and wonderful post.

    “The social and civil problems that men face are numerous; likely too numerous for me, as a female, to cover extensively here. ”

    Don’t sell yourself short, April; you hit a lot of the main points and allude to many more. And for the record, any honest observer of whatever gender should be able to se what is going on in a situation. (Where would zoology or botany be if we humans were disqualified to comment?) And if they don’t, that’s not due to their gender but to their level of honesty.

    “your link goes to an Australian government website. Is that where you live? How do you think Australian laws compare to U.S. laws re: partner violence, custody, etc.?”

    A lot of US jurisdictions use the Duluth Model. tha’s one place ot start.

    Recently a lawyer named Marc Angelucci won a lawsuit in California for a male client, paraplegic, whose partner physically abused him -serious injury type abuse – routinely. Finally she was on the point of killing him, had knocked him out of his wheelchair and laid out on the floor and one of the kids called the police. The police hauled him off despite the statements of the kids. Standard practice in that jurisdiction because of his gender. That is one case, but the fact that it went down like that at all points to sytemic bias in DV law and its enforcement.

    Collette, this is an odd generalization:
    “However given that males generally aren’t taught to reflect and women are overwhelmingly taught to care-take, respectively ”

    You seem to be contrasting care-taking with the male gender role here. Have you never heard of chivalry and White Knights? That’s some prtetty potent care-taking, and it is typically turned by men against men. Come to think of it, that is a good example of “gendered violence”

    “Feminism exists as a reaction the patriarchy and MRAs generally as a reaction to feminism. ”

    This is historically true, but things have changed. there is a very healthy hcasm opeining between traditionalist and egalitarian MRAs. You cna see it at Spearhead and MND, (but be prepared for some rather rancid comnents now and then.) I myself got into a catfight with some guy who took vilent exception to my son’s insistence on marrying, when someday he does, only a woman who makes basically the same income he does. I took me about two comments to see what was up. Likewise there is a third split with rank, bitter misogynists, and they are starting to get frozen out of the conversation, slowly but surely. I think something like that has happened already, maybe even long ago,in the femisphere; I don’t see rabidly misdandrist posters on blogs like this.

    “If you push your way into discussions about women and demand the talk center on men, or try to co-opt issues that disproportionately affect women, that is demonstrating male privilege.”

    This post was about MRA groups, where presumably it is not a case of men pushing into anything. Or if you mean that it is “pushing in” when we presume to discuss gender issues that involve women, i.e “discussions about women”, then just no. No. You don’t get to own the issues that affect us as much as they affect you.

    • April says:

      Thanks for checking out the blog! I’m glad you like it.

      Likewise there is a third split with rank, bitter misogynists, and they are starting to get frozen out of the conversation, slowly but surely. I think something like that has happened already, maybe even long ago,in the femisphere; I don’t see rabidly misdandrist posters on blogs like this.

      I hope this is true. Truth be told, I’m no regular on MRA blogs or sites, but some pseudo-MRA places I’ve visited do seem to be officially anti-misogyny. Of course, comments sections are their own monsters, but what can you do? I’ve also seen more than a few feminist women call out commenters on their blogs for misandrist comments, which I thoroughly appreciate, as well.

      This post was about MRA groups, where presumably it is not a case of men pushing into anything. Or if you mean that it is “pushing in” when we presume to discuss gender issues that involve women, i.e “discussions about women”, then just no. No. You don’t get to own the issues that affect us as much as they affect you.

      That comment, from what I understand, was not about this post or the comments of this post, but rather a common trend often seen on feminist blogs (and other feminist spaces) when an issue affecting women is being discussed, and a male chimes in with derailing stats about male victims of sexism, usually as a way to discredit the women discussing said issue and their experiences.

  16. Jim says:

    “but rather a common trend often seen on feminist blogs (and other feminist spaces) when an issue affecting women is being discussed, and a male chimes in with derailing stats about male victims of sexism, ”

    In that case it’s on point. This derailment happens on both sides on any issue and it’s a pain. You might check out some of the derailing comments made on threads about male circumcison. The standard one is that MGM is a trivial issue in comparison with FGM. Yuo get the same thing in discusions of DV. I haven’t looked at it in any detail, but I get the sense that there is less and less of it, not because moderators deal with it – they often don’t – but because it is working less and less; derailers get ignored.

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