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Apr 01 2013

Where Feminism Fails: The Ongoing Need for Men’s Rights Activism

So, this might be kind of awkward given my past writing and activism, but it’s time for me to come clean: I’ve decided to become a Men’s Rights Activist.

I’ve realized that feminism’s biggest failure–much more important, in fact, than its historical disregard for women of color, poor women, and trans* people–is that it does absolutely nothing to address issues facing men. It starts right with the name “feminism.” If feminists really cared about equality for everyone, men included, they would’ve obviously called it “equalism” or “egalitarianism.” But they didn’t, because at its core feminism is only about helping women, perhaps even at the expense of men.

Of course, some might argue that the reason for the name “feminism” is that the movement started out to correct a perceived imbalance of power between men and women. However, if such an imbalance ever existed, it was unquestionably skewed in women’s favor. How could women really be societally disadvantaged when they were the ones who got to sit around at home while their husbands worked to support them?

The actual supposed “gains” of feminism, too, clearly privilege women at the expense of men. For instance, feminists have now made it possible for women to legally get abortions. That’s great for them, but what about for the fathers of those unborn babies? What if they don’t want them to be aborted? Why doesn’t the father have any say? Conversely, a woman who gets pregnant accidentally can choose to keep the baby even if the father doesn’t want to have a child. Yes, it’s the woman’s body or whatever, but it was the father’s sperm. Doesn’t that count for anything anymore?

Feminists also seem to believe that it is the responsibility of men, not women, to prevent themselves from harassing and assaulting women. They claim that men are not, in fact, controlled by their penises and are perfectly capable of choosing to get consent first or just ignore their sexual urges, just like women. Clearly, feminists are misandrists and think terribly of men. A more empowering ideology–men’s rights–would hold that men are completely powerless over their own sexuality and need women to dress modestly, avoid drinking in their presence, and make sure to say “no” loudly and clearly if they don’t want to have sex, even if they happen to be passed out.

Feminism has also historically ignored the issue of friend zoning, which primarily affects male-identified individuals. It’s ridiculous in this day and age that a man could treat a woman well–be a good friend to her, even–and get nothing in return (that is, no sex). If feminism is all about “fairness” and “equality,” it would’ve addressed this problem by now. Similarly, on dating sites such as OkCupid, women receive many more messages from men than the other way around, and men’s messages to women rarely receive a response. This suggests that female privilege is alive and well in the 21st century. How are men supposed to get laid when everything about modern dating gives women the upper hand?

Frankly, it appalls me that female feminists aren’t spending more time addressing issues that primarily concern men rather than women. After all, the best activists are those who haven’t personally experienced the issues they’re working on, so it’s not exactly reasonable to expect men to do this work themselves. Men should certainly be allies to women who are advocating for men’s rights, but if feminists really care about helping men as well as women, they’ll pick up the slack.

Unfortunately, rather than improving the status of men in society, feminism has actively made men’s lives worse. The truth is that until feminism came about, men simply weren’t facing all these issues. They didn’t have to feel so much pressure to be strong, “masculine” breadwinners. They weren’t expected to provide for their wives and children. It was understood that men could be just as adept at raising children and maintaining a household as are women (whereas nowadays you always see commercials in which stupid, clumsy men ruin the laundry or feed the kids cheez-its for breakfast or whatever). Before feminism, men weren’t the ones who got drafted into the military, who were expected to die for their country while women stayed safe and comfortable at home. Men who were raped and wanted to press charges were actually taken seriously.

If this sounds like a drastically revisionist version of history, maybe that’s because it is. Maybe it’s time to question the assumption that freeing people from strict gender roles could possibly free men from them as well, and that encouraging people to believe and support survivors of rape means that they would also believe and support male survivors of rape. Maybe it’s time to stop pretending that helping women succeed in their careers would mean that women would earn more money and be able to support their families as much as men can.

Or maybe I’m full of shit and completely incapable of logically justifying this bizarre worldview, and so are MRAs. Happy April Fools’ Day!

12 comments

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  1. 1
    noastronomer

    “For instance, feminists have now made it possible for women to legally get abortions.”

    Exactly! Who’s standing up for my right to get an abortion?!?

    Mike.

  2. 2
    SallyStrange

    Nice one!

  3. 3
    Jadehawk

    I hate it when I forget what day it is and wake up to articles like this; near heart-attacks in the morning are unhealthy :-p

  4. 4
    Doug

    You had me until the second sentence! I don’t know if I should read the rest or not; even in satire that shit makes me puke.

    1. 4.1
      Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

      There’s no need to, really. This is the only time I will actually advise someone NOT to read something I’ve written. There’s nothing original there. :P

  5. 5
    Kiki Wilson

    oh my god. Oh my god, I was going to cry.

    1. 5.1
      Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

      Noooo don’t cry! I take it all back.

  6. 6
    born in east LA

    lol—roll out the barrel of snark!—loved it!

  7. 7
    Pierce R. Butler

    This being the intertubes and all, it would seem more appropriate to just change one letter and come out in favor of felinism. Won’t somebody please think of the kitties?!?

  8. 8
    Mauricio Maluff

    Lol, this is great.

  9. 9
    Logan Blackisle (@LoganBlackisle)

    If you want to really stir up a storm, you should say something about the more controversial gender-statistics, i.e.:
    400+ k men are affected by just the three most common cancers (for men), whereas ‘only’ 330+ k women are affected by just the three most common cancers (for women), and yet awareness campaigns and donation centers are overwhelmingly focused on women.

    Girls get significantly better grades than boys, all the way from primary schools to high schools, and yet we so often see feminist organizations insist that we need to improve girls’ grades.

    Personally, I’ve found that MRAs tend to wildly distort facts and engage in sexism instead of gender-activism.
    On the other hand, feminist organizations (AAUW, f.ex) ‘merely’ ignore facts, and misrepresent the truth. But maybe I’m reading the wrong news sites…

  10. 10
    smhll

    “Feminism has also historically ignored the issue of friend zoning, which primarily affects male-identified individuals. It’s ridiculous in this day and age that a man could treat a woman well–be a good friend to her, even–and get nothing in return (that is, no sex). If feminism is all about “fairness” and “equality,” it would’ve addressed this problem by now.”

    Snicker. I enjoyed the April Fool’s snark.

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