Updates: Currently slacking off

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Thoughts on Men's Rights

As a sister piece to my thoughts on feminism, I thought I'd include this.

Know that I am far more sympathetic to the MRM, not least because individual MRAs have been kind, considerate and inclusive towards me even when I am disagreeable or argumentative. This goes for commenters as well as content makers.

I first discovered the MRM through Karen Straughan. A redoubtable lady that represents men's rights as well as anyone might.
As many MRAs will concede, discussing men's issues is simply easier to accept from women, and the women in the MRM often serve as an introduction to men worried about misogyny.
Much of what she introduced me to made sense, were things I had observed and already new. I just had yet to place them in a wider context.
I'd also invite anyone reading this to the Honey Badgers. To suggest these are a diverse bunch is an understatement, which brings me to my first point.

MRAs are reactionary tradcons;
As a socialist I can confirm that many within the MRM are right leaning, most being libertarian. Tradcons are a tiny minority, and often criticised.

I often argue politics with MRAs, but I argue politics with everyone so that's nothing new.
I will concede my frustration that many repeat very silly borderline propagandist right wing tripe, don't know what ANY left wing movement is and are very quick to dismiss "the left"

What I'd add is that this is almost always from comments, not from content makers.
While many are still definitely right leaning and critical of the left, most keep politics separate from men's rights and actively encourage the inclusion of *everyone* regardless of affiliation.

My interactions with many content makers have been enlightening, friendly and inclusive, even when arguing politics. Even my comment wars *always* include reasonable folks and some fellow lefties.
The most "extreme" people involved in men's rights would be MGTOW, and even there I will be engaged with. If you can tolerate the vitriol and focus on issues, you'll see many are far more reasonable than they'll appear at first glance.

MGTOW proves MRAs hate women;
They are two different things. One person can be both, but they are not the same.
MGTOW stands for Men Going Their Own Way.
Most are motivated not by hatred of women, but by frustration with their lives and society. They don't want to hurt anyone, they just want to disengage and do their own thing. It's Ghandi level protest, they have nothing to fight with accept their refusal to participate.
Now, I read a LOT of hateful shit from MGTOW, and it definitely disgusts me, but MGTOW itself is absolutely great. If you look up prominent MGTOW, you'll find a bunch of great people (even if I disagree with some of their politics more than I could possibly express :P)
Here are some I find entertaining and/or insightful.
Stardusk - don't always agree with the man, but he represents MGTOW very well.
Barbarosa - Ditto :P (lots of thoughts on theory. Very interesting)
JohntheOther - lately seems to be focusing WAY too much on bitching about MRAs, but at his best he's exceptional. I'd consider him a MGTOW, not sure if he'd label himself so.

MRAs definitely include some MGTOW, but many of the latter simply want to walk away from the discussion entirely.

Men's rights are misogyny;
How this is even a thing I do not know.
How can including or caring about men hurt women?
Now, you WILL absolutely find misogyny in the manosphere, even on the best MRM channels.
I'd add that such behaviour is condemned, but only censored when extreme. These are places for honest expression, including offensive stuff. I'd also hazard an assertion that many men discovering the MRM are damaged and were only able to confront societal problems men face through personal experience. Not an excuse, but an explanation.
I'd also point out that such rhetoric is not widely endorsed, and that the MRM is small and essentially powerless. The attempts to discredit it come from a movement with FAR more overt problems with sexism and actual violence, and where radical voices exercise considerable influence.

Feminists have to be against Men's Rights;
Absolutely wrong.
I am an avowed antifeminist, but there are *plenty* of feminists that are also MRAs.
Now, most will abandon the term in favour of egalitarian after facing a backlash and seeing the hypocrisy, but they're still supportive of women (much like me :P)
Christina Hoff Sommers is definitely an MRA. She advocates for men and boys and has done so for DECADES.
Warren Farrell still describes himself as a feminist, and much like Sommers has been doing this for decades. He may also be the nicest and most softly spoken man on the planet, I have no idea how he came to be so vilified by feminists.

I'll end by saying the MRM is not perfect.
I dislike libertarianism (especially the right leaning brand) and that is the popular politics within Men's rights. Part of this is because the left is so dominated by feminism that men rights are discredited; only right leaning media will touch it.
There is also a penchant for women to become "the problem" in a mirror to my criticisms of feminism and patriarchy. Even MRAs I like very much do this, and it is VERY important to keep dialogue open, share these ideas and see them quickly die with scrutiny.
This was most apparent with "hypergamy"
Plenty of merit in it (just like patriarchy theory has SOME merit. Lots of men are in power)A lot of sense gets talked, but it becomes too easy to generalise women or about how women are all a problem.

I'll hope that many people unaware of the MRM will give it a chance, get involved and support men.
When men's rights become a mainstream, acceptable issue, the political diversity will ensure a moderation of the movement. I hope.