Kristopher Saad /Contributing Writer
The recent rise of men’s right’s activist groups is due to two primary reasons. 1) Men are responding to some of the double standards and biases introduced in some feminist philosophy. 2) Men have realized the need to increase advocacy and awareness of issues primarily affecting the male gender just as feminism has done the same for the female gender.
Unfortunately, the rise of men’s advocacy groups has been met with an onslaught of bashing, shaming and name-calling from feminist groups. Accusing men’s rights organizations as anti-equality, sexist, misogynist organizations that seek to devalue and discredit the feminist movement in order to maintain the patriarchy. This couldn’t be further from the actual aims and goals of men’s rights groups. On both sides, knee jerk reactionaries and radicals have taken combative stances that have devolved most conversations between men’s rights and feminist groups into simple-minded, irrational and illogical debates diluting into name-calling that don’t get any real talking done.
Some segments of feminism and feminist philosophy have taken an unfair and one-sided approach against men’s rights groups. This is completely counterintuitive to the actual conversations that should be taking place because it marginalizes these men’s groups which is inherently hypocritical and it is ironic that a self-proclaimed feminist would act in such a manner. It only takes a small presence of mind to realize that by marginalizing and side-lining men’s rights groups, one is working against equality rather than for it and as such these people are fighting against their own cause. Men must be included as much women in the conversation for equality.
Men’s rights groups do not seek to discredit or destroy feminism. In fact, I would argue that most members of men’s rights groups could more than likely be considered feminists themselves. They simply felt that mainstream feminist discourse was beginning lose touch with its core philosophy of a truly egalitarian world society.
Feminism has in effect censored some men’s’ rights discussions through its liberal use of misogyny and sexist shaming of anyone who has anything to say that is against or questioning of feminist ideologies or stances.
Feminism has also shunned and turned away men from entering conversations relating to women’s rights citing reasons such as: “It’s not about men, it’s about woman”, “It doesn’t concern men”, “Only women understand and only women can be a part of the discussion” and “They’re purposefully taking away focus from real issues”. This separation and exclusion of men simply furthers an inequality in gender based equality discourses and is counterproductive to the feminist philosophies of equality for all, regardless of gender.
Recent pieces on “Rape Culture” and male feminist apologists have harmed the overall equality conversation by introducing stereotypes against the involuntary act of being a man. Many recent pieces have been skewed to imply mere guilt by association by just being of the male gender. Some pieces going so far as calling all men involuntary enablers of “rape culture.” I have personally read many of these pieces such as this one called: The Gentleman’s Guide to Rape Culture by Zaron Burnett. In this particular piece Zaron argues that ALL men are guilty of certain grievances that are supportive of rape culture. Again, presuming that all men are guilty of supporting rape culture when that is not at all the case.
Feminism has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of men’s’ rights groups on the basis of tyranny of the majority, citing the male-centric patriarchy as a reason to exclude men from conversations involving their very own rights and abilities to achieve and maintain happiness. Feminist and men’s rights issues aren’t black and white. In fact, most of the issues are complicated and interrelated and it’s why men should not be excluded from the conversation.
There are a fair amount of issues concern men nowadays that should not be ignored. Domestic violence, rape, and sexual predator stereotypes are just a few very valid issues affecting men. The feminist movement’s marginalization and discrediting of men’s rights groups is counterintuitive towards a movement that is supposed to stand for equality, not one-sided advocacy.
One of the only ways to truly have an equal and unbiased conversation on equality is to take gender out of the equation either through the dissolution or joining of forces between feminist and men’s rights groups. They could call themselves the “equalists” and fight for the equality of all people, stand against stereotyping and focus on having productive conversations on issues that are not gender exclusive. Obviously this would be an extremely difficult thing to actually do, but we must take a more proactive approach to mediating and have productive conversations between different advocacy groups. Right now enough isn’t being done. The real issues aren’t being looked at nor focused on.