So I’m a Redditor. And a Feminist. I kept seeing all these posts about anti-feminists and Men’s Rights activist and supporters and I couldn’t really understand the position of the MRAs. So, like any masochistic person, I posted a question in r/MR and asked what it was all about, what were some of the philosophies present within it and where it clashed with feminism.
I’ve gotten back a lot of replies and people have generally kept a civil tone. It seems to me that the real difference is that there is a misunderstanding of what patriarchy is for MRAs. Here was one of the answers:
In brief, the movement is quite organic in its origins. It wasn’t a case of a group of men getting together to affect change. Rather, men are beginning to feel disenfranchised with society; disposable. We began to question why. Most of us have come to similar conclusions. Feminism did many wonderful things for women and women’s rights, but men have been completely overlooked with regards to our rights and social roles. In many ways we are still stuck in our 1940s provider role. While relationships used to be about the distribution of responsibility (women cooked and cleaned, men toiled at work), women are no longer bound by those conventions. We feel we’re expected to take on more responsibility than is fair. We feel trapped. We want men to be able to be stay-at-home dads, and nurses, and caregivers. More importantly, we want to address discrepancies in indicators like homelessness and endemic illness. Men comprise >90% of the homeless; ditto for workplace death and injury. Men are failing at unprecedented rates in the educational systems. Men are far more likely to be assaulted and killed. Men are given harsher sentences, and convicted more often, for similar crimes. I could go on all day, but the point is that men are disadvantaged in many areas in society, and no one is paying attention. Feminism has one goal: advantaging women. Some organisations even do that to the detriment of men. So men need a movement which protects their interests. That’s what men’s rights is.
But, my understanding of feminism includes everything this person is saying, except for the idea that feminism is solely about advantaging women. Restrictive stereotypes and gender roles of harmful to everyone. I’m very confused, because it seems to me like this person, while well intentioned, has had some very negative experiences with some feminist groups.
In general, there seems to be a lot of anger directed towards the VAWA piece of US legislation.
Can I get a feminist perspective on this?
Gareth321 explained MRA very well. Props to him! And props to the OP for doing research and not simply jumping to the conclusion that MRA is a hate group like so many have tried to label it as!
I can’t give a feminist perspective on this, but from my personal experience I’ve got no problem with feminism in it’s true form, and I think many MRA’s would agree. I think Feminism at it’s core is a great thing! Men’s Rights Activists and Feminists are really for the same goal, equality and fairness. They just come from opposite ends of the spectrum. Two sides of the same coin.
The kinds of Feminists that MRA doesn’t bode well with are the extremists. I think that this video talks about some examples of the extremists that scare MRAs better than I can. Some of the woman quoted in this video, the ones talking about burning men on a massive scale, are the reason why the term “Femi-Nazi” exists.
As far as VAWA goes, I don’t know enough about VAWA itself to give a truly informed opinion on the matter. I’ll be sure to do more research on VAWA specifically when I get a good chance soon so that maybe I can give my own opinion.