I had been ignoring the Men’s Rights movement as one of the many pointless things that finds a space on the internet, until I wrote about the male bias in geek culture recently. That column for The Guardian produced a torrent of bile from hundreds of male commenters. Many identified as Men’s Rights activists. The whole thing was an excellent insight in to the deeply dysfunctional and immature psychology of many young – and not so young – men today.
The problem lies in how MRAs react to feminism. They see people talking about women’s issues and their reaction is not one of empathy. It is always, “What about us? Bad stuff happens to us too.”
That’s from this interesting post by The Frogman, who has spent some time interacting with the Men’s Rights movement and, in response to an anonymous comment on his blog, produces this excellent summary of everything that is wrong with the Men’s Rights movement.
I’ve been to the forums. I’ve interacted with the people. I’ve tried to give the men’s rights movement a chance. Unfortunately the people involved are much more concerned about derailing and dismantling feminism than actually solving any of those issues. As if they can’t make any progress until feminism is destroyed.
If the MRAs continue to derail every conversation by making it about them, they are not going to be taken seriously. There is plenty of space to talk about men’s issues. They don’t need to invade the space of feminism to be heard. And if they keep thinking women are the enemy, even though women are actually trying to make progress with some of the very issues you mentioned, they aren’t going to have much luck actually solving anything they care about.
What saddened me about the response of the self-identified “geek males” I engaged in discussion was how utterly blind they were to the common ground they share with feminism. Young men who talked about how they had been bullied and beaten at school, couldn’t see that the corrupt, patriarchal system feminism seeks to dismantle is the same system oppressing both women and men. If MR activists need to learn one thing, it’s that feminists aren’t the enemy.
(I think MRAs need to learn more than one thing, but that would be a start.)