Feminists Must Fight For Men’s Rights?

MRAs blame feminism for problems caused by patriarchy

MRAs blame feminism for problems caused by patriarchy

Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) frequently say women should fight for men’s rights. Like this guy:

Men face sexism too. Who advocates for us?

Or this:

Why aren’t you mentioning the fact that sexism against men gets ignored?

So I ask this:

Why do MRAs insist that women must fight for them when they feel no obligation to fight for women?

Because they never do.

Women should help men, but men needn’t help women?

If someone were writing a blog on racism, should a white person insist that racism against whites be addressed?

Should a blog focused on the poor take time out to look at difficulties facing the rich?

Must LGBTQ blogs consider issues straight couples grapple with?

If so, then less powerful groups would be shifting their focus to issues facing more powerful groups.

When men tell women to turn their attention away from women’s issues in order to address matters facing men, the complaint reflects male entitlement.

And the motive behind the complaint is revealed: Distract from working for equality.

My blog looks at the world from the perspective of the more powerless members of society: women, people of color, LGBTQ, and the poor, for instance.

Anyone who insists we turn the focus to the powerful is someone who seeks to keep power in the hands of the powerful.

Women are organized and men aren’t — now why is that?

So, feminists should fight for men’s rights because, “Women are organized and men aren’t.”

That tells you a lot right there. The reason men aren’t organized is because few feel they need to be.

mraAfter all, men still hold greater power: All US Presidents have been male, most of Congress is male, as are most business leaders, religious leaders, media owners/producers/writers. And when people hear “head of home,” they usually think, “male.” In fact, “female-headed home” means “no husband” to lead the family. Men are still more likely to be hired, promoted and paid more, on average. We are still more likely to say “he” than “she” when we talk about a generic person. “Man” still means everyone. Woman does not. And women are still too often blamed for abuse against them, whether battering or rape.

Sexism against men comes from sexism against women

In a final irony, whenever MRAs point out sexism against men, it turns out that the problem is sexism against women. A few examples:

  • Men pay more for car insurance

If a woman and a man are both in a car, he is more likely to take the leader role and drive. So he’s also more likely to get into an accident. And guys are more likely to drive recklessly, or drunk, or both in attempts to prove manhood.

Solution: Stop seeing men as leaders. And stop ranking men above women, because that leads them to do risky things to prove they deserve the status of “man.”

  • Family court is against father’s rights

The best way to determine custody is “best interest of the child.” Women tend to be given physical custody because they are more likely to sacrifice work for family, and so they end up with a closer bond to the child.

Solution: If women and men equally worked and parented then the best interest of the child would be physical custody by both parents.

Or, men could become stay-at-home dads. When they make the sacrifices and become closer to the child, the child’s life becomes less disrupted if dad gains custody.

  • Hypergamy 

MRAs complain that women tend to “marry up” — to marry men who outrank them in earnings and status. And they don’t like it because it leaves lower-earning men out of the marriage market.

Actually, in the US women and men typically marry someone of equal status.

But to the extent that women do “marry up” patriarchy is the culprit. And patriarchy also encourages men to “marry down.” So it goes both ways. Regardless, the couple is uncomfortable when a woman has higher status than the man in the relationship.

Solution: Gender equality so that men won’t feel threatened by successful women, and women won’t feel they must have a partner who is above them in status.

Turns out, as women gain equality, men gain equality, too. Because you can’t have it any other way.

More examples to come…

This piece was reposted by Feminspire.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs
Elliott Roger Blames Women For Patriarchy’s Problems
Man Chops Off Wife’s Fingers Because She’s More Educated Than Him
Men Fight For Women’s Rights

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on October 24, 2014, in feminism, men, politics/class inequality, psychology, women and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. I just prefer to ignore the MRA idiots altogether.

    I read an article the other day by one of my favourite feminists which highlighted why I no longer care what men think. I don’t care if they like me or not for my view. I do what I do because I love women and want to see them equal across the board.

    I’m sick of pandering to their male ego.

    I refuse to keep saying #notallmen and being gentle and trying to talk softly softly to them. Enough.

    They can either roar with me at the injustice or they can get the fuck out of the way.

    • Not important to me that they like me either.

      But if you want to change the world it can be helpful if people get the reality of it.

      Plenty won’t because they don’t want to, but it’s worth a try, I say.

      Also some women — I know at least one — who are feminists hear this stuff and believe it. So helpful for them, too, to see what’s really going on.

      • Oh I have no qualms about making sure they get the reality, I just refer to not pander to their #notallmen tantrums anymore.

        And some guys can’t see it, they don’t get it, it’s beyond them and it’s not my job to try to get them to see it. If they really wanted to know, they’d read, they’d self analyse and they’d make an informed decision about what equality means.

        I realise what you’re saying and I do agree, I think there needs to be a bigger unity of women behind it. I think the young girls who think that feminism is outdated need more education. Young boys need the same so that they don’t grow into future MRA men.

        But pandering to the male ego? Nah, I’m done there 🙂

      • Well I’m not interested in pandering to the male ego either. So I’m not sure I get your point.

        And to clarify, I’m not into pandering to anyone, MRAs, men, women or children. (Possible exception: my cat — but only on occasion.)

      • @Sharn,

        “And some guys can’t see it, they don’t get it, it’s beyond them and it’s not my job to try to get them to see it. If they really wanted to know, they’d read, they’d self analyse and they’d make an informed decision about what equality means.”

        The same thing goes for women too! Women are just as intransigent.

        This is an excellent post on the issue,

        http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/an-open-letter-to-all-men-and-women-about-gender-equality-dg/

      • The link makes some good points but I disagree on others.

        For instance, statistics are really important. You can’t claim that women have an advantage when all of the power positions are filled primarily by men, for instance.

        And Regarding this:

        Women need to stop coding blame and shame towards men with terms like “Patriarchy” and assuming that sexism is purely a woman’s issue.

        Patriarchy doesn’t mean men. Patriarchy means a culture of male dominance (in which men are more likely to hold the power positions and men and masculinity are more valued — but which stifles men by giving them responsibility and burdens without adequate support and which cuts off half their humanity as they repress their feminine side). Which women and men both internalize and re-create — unless people stop to think about things, and critique things, and change things.

        And of course men are harmed in this culture — and I do talk about that. But I haven’t seen a complaint yet that couldn’t be traced back to patriarchy harming men.

        I gave three examples in this post. I will be discussing more later.

        In every MRA complaint I’ve ever seen, gender equality would solve the problem that both women and men face.

  2. Great job disclosing what’s under all the rhetoric. “Sexism against men comes from sexism against women” I appreciate the examples you provided to back this up. I never thought of any of that this way- yet it really does make perfect sense. Thanks for opening my eyes.

  3. It always made me wonder why some of them would complain about unfair custody battles in the same argument that they would insist that women are the world’s natural child care takers. They want to claim that things aren’t equal between men and women because that’s not how nature intended it to be, but then they question why women get the favorable vote in court when it comes to custody.

  4. This is the best way I have ever seen to make all the men bald. Best Feminism blog.

    • Ahhh thanks (I guess).

      Said it before, and I’ll say it again:

      Patriarchy doesn’t mean men. Patriarchy means a culture of male dominance — in which men are more likely to hold the power positions and men and masculinity are more valued — but which stifles men by giving them responsibility and burdens without adequate support, and which cuts off half their humanity as they are pushed to repress their feminine side.

      Which women and men both internalize and re-create — unless people stop to think about things, and critique things, and change things.

      🙂

  5. Although I consider myself a feminist, I do think men are discriminated against in the area of child custody when there is a divorce, Normally, even with joint custody, women have overall custody of the children with the man only have the children on designated weekends, holidays, etc.

    I do understand that the nurturing instincts of men have been repressed due to the patriarchal domination in our culture, so it would seem only natural that women should have custody. But there are many women that are not good mothers due to substance abuse or whatever. In these cases men generally have to prove that they would be the better guardian.

    • Hmmm, did you read this?

      Argument: Family court is against father’s rights

      The best way to determine custody is “best interest of the child.” Women tend to be given physical custody because they are more likely to sacrifice work for family, and so they end up with a closer bond to the child.

      Solution: If women and men equally worked and parented then the best interest of the child would be physical custody by both parents.

      Or, men could become stay-at-home dads. When they make the sacrifices and become closer to the child, the child’s life becomes less disrupted if dad gains custody.

  6. Thank you! So clear, so reasonable, and such great examples.

  7. What all this sidetracking from MRA’s and the like boils down to is simple resistance to loss of male power. Dominating women ensures male power. Violating women instead of violating one another, so to speak. When you scratch beneath all their dramatical self-pity, they will tell you that they actually like the way things are for them as men. Who wouldn’t like belonging to the most privileged class of people in the world? What they conveniently ignore is at whose expense they throne at the top of their self-made human hierarchy.

    Women’s progress towards full subjecthood comes at the expense of male dominance, and once spoiled with too much power, they cling to the belief that it is their natural right to dominate other people. Rape, violence and the need for pornography are male’s nature, the most outspoken of them argue. And we had better comply.
    We have been brainwashed into accepting second-class freedom and conditioned to mediate and not confront- even to our own detriment.

    If we could mobilize, share our ideas and goals without the threat of violence or disruption or distraction from men, we would undo all the psychological damage they’ve done to us and gain confidence in ourselves as women. Self-confidently we could unite as a class against men and demand full civil, economic and political equality and freedom from our imposed gender norms, our continuing dehumanization into sex objects. Men, on the other hand, insist on their undue power- the power to use and abuse the female sex. And they want to win time.

  8. Oh and regarding the sexism against men myth: sexism can’t discriminate against a group that is not reduced to their sex. Same with the reverse racism bogus.
    Simply put: they will survive just fine !

  9. There is even a group started by Indian men called ‘Victims of domestic violence’. It must be the nadir of stung egos. I mean, Indian men are treated like gifts of God, by society, by mommy dear, by daddy dear and et al.

    • Interesting. I don’t know Indian culture well enough to know if the following practices still take place, but I do know that at least sometime in the past there was something called “husband devotion” which had led some women to refrain from saying her husband’s name — because it was too holy. Or in the past lead to sati, in which a widowed woman immolated herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.

  10. I think that this is interesting, I had actually never heard of MRA but why do they want women to fight for them if they are not willing to do it themselves? Through history women have been put down and seen as less, the reasons that they are fighting for, to me it seems dumb. It’s like when a spoiled child is told no. I might be wrong or for the wrong idea about the MRA but if they want to be hears they have to fight for their issue like all the others groups do rather than want others to do it for them.I do believe that it equality is what it should be fought for by both men and women but when it comes to directly addressing issues that men face, it makes us turn away from the real issue. With that, I agree with what the blogger said, “Distract from working for equality.” The real issue being that women are and have been fighting for years to get equal treatment, to been seen for their potential rather than their sex.

  11. The idea that feminism needs to cater to men seems to me like it’s male entitlement. Having read male rights forums, it seems like they don’t focus at all on actual inequalities but rather how women are oppressing them somehow, because they refuse the oh so oppressed men sex or attention. The issue is that men’s rights focuses on how to uphold patriarchal beliefs rather than challenge them, how women’s rights are an issue that detract from men’s rights. Men have always been in the position of power, even today, and the fact that they demand feminists call themselves equalists seems like they are trying to take over power or detract from women’s issues. I don’t know how men would create a movement, or even if they need one, or maybe a movement needs to be reformed away from the vitriolic hate they spew now under a new name. I think one issue that could be tackled is the treatment of people that don’t follow gender roles, such as the idea of men crying not being cool or masculine, or I actually read an article that was really interesting the other day about men being robbed of their touch between friends because of homophobia, http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/megasahd-touch-isolation-how-homophobia-has-robbed-men-of-touch/, although the treatment of gay men seems to stem from how people view them as effeminate.

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