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Nov 14 2011

One Pissed-Off MRA

Normally, I don’t think too much about a pissed-off men’s rights activists. They’re usually nothing like active anyway. Sometimes, however, I make an exception.

I am a men’s rights activist. I advocate for more equitable custody laws that don’t just assume the mother has primary custody, without a court ever hearing anything from both parents. I advocate for men stepping out of the traditional, archetypal gender constructs that are killing us – literally killing us. I advocate for the social sciences to recognize that men and women are different (how could we not be in a culture that shoves this down our throats and kicks us in the ass for diverging) and are therefore likely to express and experience mental illness differently. I advocate for a cultural revolution, or evolution that brings us to the place where all of us – men and women, are embraced and supported by our peers for being who we are, who we want to be, what we are, regardless of who and what that might be, assuming we aren’t trying to undermine and oppress others.

I find the idea that I might be accused of being a pussy-whipped lapdog for the matriarchy not only laughable, but more than a little ironic. I have a dirty little secret in regards to my feminism: I am actually rather selfish and malecentric about the whole thing.

DuWayne is not happy about people using the MRA label who aren’t doing anything for men, and he’s on a righteous rant about it. As usual, when DuWayne is ranting, he’s well worth reading. Go to it.

15 comments

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  1. 1
    Ender

    Maybe these so-called MRAs should be relabeled MPAs – “Male Privilege Activists.” But that would make them seem educated and knowledgeable about public administration as well….

    oh well.

  2. 2
    George W.

    Normally, I don’t think too much about a pissed-off men’s rights activists.

    Is there some other type of MRA other than “pissed-off”?
    Did I not get the memo?

    As usual, when DuWayne is ranting, he’s well worth reading.

    Old news. DuWayne is always worth reading.

    Go to it.

    Done. Jason “The Beibs” Thibeault beat you to it, on Facebook at least….

  3. 3
    Avicenna

    The ultimate irony is that the things he wants are actually what most people want. I am sure men want pure equality with women in a lot of things and to break the defined gender boundaries just as much as women want to have those things…

    What bugs me is that MRAs say all that. Yes, men don’t get custody as much as they should. Ideally it should be 50:50 but honestly it’s very easy for women to take sole custody, it is both culturally expected and an unfortunate bias in the legal system. Yes, men are hurt by the entrenched idea that men should fit according to some cultural template. But the way to do that is by not fitting into the template, being good parents and fighting for equality of genders rather than being a sexist pig.

    I know a fair few fathers who lost their kids to mothers who simply upped sticks and vanished. It’s very painful for these men and it’s this pain that the MRA co-opts (I notice very few MRAs are fathers).

    Hell, I heard a british MRA blame the failings of the NHS on the fact that there are female doctors.

  4. 4
    Stephanie Zvan

    Yeah, George. I’d planned to link to this this weekend, but with the migration going so badly….

  5. 5
    Jason Thibeault

    I’m hoping the Bieber Bump followed shortly thereafter by the Stasi Enforced Reading will increase DuWayne’s readership more overall.

    And hells to the yes, we need REAL Men’s Rights Activists, who work to fix the ways in which men are disadvantaged by our ridiculous gender roles and patriarchal society, instead of all these pissed-off antifeminists thinking that women are the problem.

  6. 6
    Ophelia Benson

    Did the migration go badly? I hadn’t noticed.

    Sha-boom.

  7. 7
    pornalysis

    Well.
    I am beginning to think you are the only one who is on the right track.

    Go figure–not that DuWayne Brayton is anything but a shill for fauxminism, but WTH. At least you are aware that there are “MRA’s” who have a point.

    And the post isn’t that bad, actually. He is starting to make a rudimentary ‘sense’ of his world.

    p.s.
    I have made any and all posts that were about this ‘outing,’ subscription only, for the sake of fairness.

    I am still uncertain as to whether or not you genuinely attempted to ‘shame me’ into silence by posting what you did without contacting me FIRST, but at this time, silencing seems to be where I am leaning.

  8. 8
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Yes, men don’t get custody as much as they should. Ideally it should be 50:50….

    I sort of disagree. Probably more with the wording than with your position.
    Ideally, the kid should live with the parent who’s best able to care for the kid while both parents should have shared custody and remain present and important in the child’s life.
    And I think that in a world in which we got rid of all sexist gender-roles (like 200 years from now, I’m afraid), this would tend towards 50:50.
    Ideally, adults who split up should stop treating their kids as something to bargain or fight over and we shouldn’t discuss custody rates like COE rates or tenure rates.
    Fact is that in today’s world, due to patriarchal gender-roles and structures, men are often not willing, and those who are willing are not able to take part in the lives of their kids as the mothers do.
    Which means that when it comes to a divorce, not only everybody assumes the mother to be the best choice, more often than not she is. Not because she’s a woman, but because she’s the one who has had most part in bringing up the children.

    Apart from laws that are inherently unfair towards men, and educating judges about their own biases, we should focus more on the problems that lie before a divorce or a split up and enable men to take fully part in raising their children. This means taking the burden of being the bread-winner off their shoulders and fighting gender-roles that keep them from fully taking care of their children, from changing poopy diapers to crafting with the kids or cooking a family meal together.

  9. 9
    Juniper Shoemaker

    Go figure–not that DuWayne Brayton is anything but a shill for fauxminism

    Seriously, fuck you. Go fuck yourself. As usual, you have no idea what you are talking about.

  10. 10
    Quietmarc

    “I advocate for the social sciences to recognize that men and women are different (how could we not be in a culture that shoves this down our throats and kicks us in the ass for diverging) and are therefore likely to express and experience mental illness differently.”

    How different are we? The statement that men and women are different can be read in a few different ways. From context I’m guessing that the point is that there is a male-dominated focus towards mental (and other kinds of) health that make it more difficult for women to get the help they need, and that we need to make sure there are more resources available to help cope with these differences.

    But I get worried when there’s a blanket statement that men and women are just “different” without any sort of qualifier, because the “we’re just different” statement seems to stem from culture-based assumptions and can be used to reinforce privilege rather than to deal with it.

  11. 11
    hyperdeath

    If the “MRA” label is to be taken back, and applied to functional human beings who actually strive for social justice, a new label will be needed for the repellent misogynists who do nothing but spew bile about “feminazis” and “manginas”.

    How about “MRI”: Men’s Rights Inadequate

  12. 12
    julian

    a new label will be needed for the repellent misogynists who do nothing but spew bile about “feminazis” and “manginas”.

    Over at pharyngula someone mentioned ‘male supremacist’ as an alternative to MRA.

  13. 13
    Aratina Cage

    @Avicenna,

    I know a fair few fathers who lost their kids to mothers who simply upped sticks and vanished. It’s very painful for these men and it’s this pain that the MRA co-opts (I notice very few MRAs are fathers).

    Custody battles can get very ugly, but it goes both ways. I know of a woman who lost her teenage daughter and even younger son to a man who was being fatherly to the daughter in a way that Catholic priests are fatherly to altar boys; then the mother was deported, never to see her children again. Another woman I know fled her abusive, alcoholic husband with her newborn back to her home country rather than risk having her child ripped from her by her abuser in a petty act of vengence.

    It seems that with custody, it all comes down to which side can paint a worse picture of the other. Evidence is difficult to come by, as you probably know, since most people don’t record every bit of abuse or bout of irresponsible neglect, drinking, or drug use that their spouse engages in (and sadly, responsible use of illegal drugs is always a huge mark against a parent).

    The other thing is that the pain felt for children lost to custody battles is not just felt by the women or the men who lost, it is also felt by their close relatives and friends, which makes the MRA co-opting of that pain even more despicable in my view.

  14. 14
    DuWayne

    Quietmarc –

    The reason I didn’t provide a qualifier, is that such a qualifier would have required a relatively long explanation that would have cut into my rant.

    The relevant differences are hard to pin down clearly, without a very long explanation – that would mostly explain what we don’t actually know. Some of those differences are entirely cultural, while others might be partly, or entirely intrinsic to sex and/or gender – still others might be influenced by biological anomalies. The important thing is that these differences, while not absolute, are generalizable within our culture and cause differences in how men and women generally express mental illness.

    I have actually written about this before – if you look at my blog under categories and hit gender and/or depression, you should find some of it. If you are interested in somewhat more detail, I posted a paper I wrote – including references – about men and depression. Whatever the cause of the differences, it is important to recognize them – not because of how women are treated for mental illness, but rather for the sake of men. Women are far more likely than men to seek help for mental illness and due to certain biases from early in the history of psychology, they are also more strongly represented in the diagnostic criteria of certain mental illnesses – while possibly being underrepresented in others.

    This is something of a particular interest to me, though more from a cross-cultural perspective, than from a cross-gender perspective.

  15. 15
    Quietmarc

    DuWayne> After I posted I went and read the source material (which, I guess I should do -before- posting, right?), and I’ll probably be poking around your blog for a while, since there’s some overlap between your interests and mine. I didn’t mean to make a dig, just wanted to point out a red flag issue for me. And I agree with you that, whatever the reasons behind these differences, they are important in treating mental illness. Just that there’s nuance there that sometimes gets lost.

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