"MRAs commenting on this site and elsewhere around the Internet interpret the most radical feminists as speaking for women and governments the world over. No one, for example, takes Valerie Solanis, author of the satirical SCUM Manifesto, quite as seriously—with the possible exception of Andy Warhol, for a split second, in 1968—as men’s rights activists."
By way of my feminist blogroll, this time feministing.com, I found The Good Men Project. It's an online magazine about gender and men and masculinity and it's really interesting (read this story by a single man who became a single father by adopting) and they give 25% of their profit to organizations that help at-risk boys.
Their new issue is about MRAs*. And it's well worth a read.
(*MRAs = Men's Rights Activists. Comes in some variety but are mostly strongly antifeminist and very angry and, even though they don't generally care too much about distinguishing between the well-documented different strands of feminism, have largely pitted themeselves against what we call second wave feminism - which MRAs claim rule the western world and everyone in it. Where the MRAs most differ from today's third wave feminism is the way they celebrate "essential" masculinity and seem to think that the effort to dismantle the traditional gender roles is the third wave feminists way of conducting a "war against boys and men." Eh.)
Note: Not all antifeminists are MRAs and not all men's movements are antifeminist.
Here are three links to some of the articles on the MRAs. For some reason I tended to lean towards the ones that were pro-feminist - shocking, I know! - but they do let MRAs, such as Paul Elam, speak and I will let you find those on your own.
Meet the Men's Rights Movement by Henry Belanger.
"Once dismissed as the looniest and fringiest of the lunatic fringe, men’s rights groups have “gone mainstream” (Salon) and become “frighteningly effective” (Slate), influencing family law and domestic violence legislation, and imposing their views on our national conversations around gender and a host of other social issues.
Initially, I wrote these people off as insane. It was difficult for me to imagine how anyone could believe they were systematically oppressed by women. Put off by second-wave feminism? OK, I get that. Fed up with political correctness? Though this strikes me as very 1994, I know and love men who still feel that way, so sure, I get that too. But under the thumb of the Great Feminist Oppressors? That’s just hard to take seriously.
But to understand MRAs, their fury, and their almost pathological certainty, you have to understand their definition of the word feminism. MRAs believe Western culture is feminist culture, and that culture, whatever you call it, is oppressive toward men. Thus a feminist is anyone they don’t agree with, regardless of gender. And that’s pretty much everyone.
Last week, when Paul Elam launched his A Voice for Men Radio podcast, he put it this way:
"Let’s be clear—this show is not and never will be about the hateful bashing of women, and to be clearer, we’re going to often speak harshly of men … [But] our current gender zeitgeist is one that has promoted and enabled such a degree of female narcissism and entitlement that it has now produced two generations of women that are for the most part, shallow, self-serving wastes of human existence—parasites—semi-human black holes that suck resources and goodwill out of men and squander them on the mindless pursuit of vanity. Is this all women? No, of course not."Not all women are semi-human, just most—and even if you don’t identify as female, you still may be complicit in maintaining the status quo."
Dismantling the Men's Rights Movement by David Futrelle.
"Men’s rights activists aren’t much like any other activists I’ve ever run across. For one thing, for supposed activists they are almost completely inactive. Sure, they complain endlessly about things they see as terrible injustices against men. They just don’t do anything about them. While some of those who consider themselves fathers’ rights activists—a slightly different breed from your garden-variety MRAs—try to influence laws and legislatures, MRAs do little more than cultivate their resentments.
MRAs complain about (and dramatically overstate the number of) false rape accusations [....] MRAs, meanwhile, are quick to raise the issue prison rape (which mostly affects men) whenever rape is being discussed, but generally only to score rhetorical points; very few MRAs seem to even be aware there is an established national organization, Just Detention, devoted to fighting prison rape.
Others see themselves as besieged by women dressing slutty. One would-be patriarch complained on a forum promoting patriarchy that “dressing provocatively and then suppressing male urges is an assault on men’s sexuality.” By “suppressing male urges” he essentially means not having sex with any man who lusts after her.
And that’s a pity, because—if you set aside the misogyny of so many of those in it—the Men’s Rights Movement does actually raise some legitimate issues. Male victims of domestic violence really do deserve shelters and sympathy. The epidemic of prison rape deserves to be taken seriously, instead of simply providing an easy punchline to crude jokes. MRAs raise real concerns about the effects of circumcision. But they’re not likely to make any headway on any of these issues if they keep doing what they’re doing."
The solution to MRA problems? More feminism by Amanda Marcotte
"When you believe that we live in a female-dominated world where straight men are the most oppressed class, it tends to make you wrong about pretty much everything. Wrong about the little things, like labeling every woman who displeases them a “feminist,” even if she does something highly traditional, like demands that men pay for every date. And wrong about big things, like writing off high rates of domestic violence and rape as matters of women lying, when all reputable sources agree that there’s simply a lot of violence against women.
They’re so wrong about everything, they’re wrong even when they’re right. Some of their observations of the world correspond with reality, but when they attempt to analyze it through the “blame feminism” lens, they get all turned around. Usually what annoys them stems not from feminism, but from sexism, especially when it comes to inflexible gender roles. Ironically, then, the solution to the problems they manage to correctly identify is … more feminism. I pulled together a sampling of examples to show how this works."
And then she proceeded to do just that.