It has been a decade since I started asking what should be a very simple question to feminists. This SHOULD be a really simple and obvious question to answer. The inability of any feminist to answer this question for many years now is one of the stronger reasons that I’m anti-feminism. I have posed this question to several dozen feminists. None have been able to answer it.
If a Men’s Rights Movement and Men’s rights activism is not necessary because Feminism is the gender equality movement and has these issues covered, where is the feminist advocacy for Men’s rights?
I’ve had to add some restrictions to avoid essentially cheating the question. Personal blogs don’t count. Just because YOU wrote something somewhat supportive of men’s rights doesn’t mean Feminism is arguing for men’s rights. It needs to be REAL activism, a funded campaign, political lobbying, rallies, work shops, something REAL (and publishing in a major media or funded feminist media outlet does count). Then it must also be a real direct benefit to MEN. Not a splash affect from arguing for benefits for women (and yes what arguments are made is very important for this). Unintended side affects don’t count. “Arrest The Man” laws reducing spousal murder is not a benefit for men.
Many people have tried. None have actually presented me with a single piece of feminist activism that is for men’s rights. This is like if 100% of movies where failing the Bechtel test. It is worth noting that I have found a few things that count, but it’s not a question of if *I* know about feminists that argue men’s rights, but if feminists know about feminists arguing for mens rights.
While not directed at me, this is a common enough question that a feminist wrote about it.
23 Ways Feminism has made the world Better for Men
So, lets look at these 23 things and see if any of them are actually addressing Men’s Rights or making the world better for men.
1.It gave our economy a huge, long-lasting boost.
Well except that it didn’t. Women entering the work force and doing so very quickly has resulted in wage stagnation for almost 40 years now. It takes two people working full time to provide the same standard of living that a man could provide in the 50’s. GDP per capita may be up, but household incomes on a PPP basis are not.
2.It helped men achieve better relationships and more satisfying sex.
Well this is clearly an unintended side affect. It’s a good side affect, but there is no advocacy to make sex more pleasurable for men. It’s all about women being freed from taboos and restrictions, and this lets them get more practice and learn new techniques. The benefits that it also happened to have for men are purely a coincidence.
3.It successfully overturned laws that discriminate against men.
I think we have a winner!!!!! I have seen many feminists claim that feminism has overturned laws that uphold sexist stereotypes for women, and in doing so had the incidental benefit of removing a restriction from men.
The author of the article clearly states that Law Discriminated Against Men. Then goes on to talk about how Ruth Bader Ginsburg played a major part in over turning these laws. Ginsburg didn’t argue that it would be benefits for women. To paraphrase her argument “Stereotypes of boy are not fit to be enshrined in law”
This is clearly a Feminist arguing for the rights of men. Having this precedent codified in a supreme court ruling is MASSIVE.
4.It made life a little easier for single men.
Again Ginsburg used her place on the Supreme Court to Benefit single men. In this case it was that single women could claim dependents, but single men could not. It was ruled that this was a violation of equal protection. Go Ginsburg.
5.It expanded the possibility of more sexy time opportunities.
Nope, Birth Control was a benefit for women. Women’s greater ability to have risk free sex didn’t help MEN. It helped the 10% of the hottest, richest men that women could now ride the cock carousel. This excluded a great deal of men from having sex since women didn’t need to secure paternal obligations before risking sex.
6.It gave men more reproductive control through abortion legalization.
Women, not men, got more reproductive control with legalized abortions. Any benefit men get from this is an unintended side affect.
7.It triggered the FBI to change the definition of rape to include men.
The real intent was to include more female victims under the definition of rape. That a few men are now also included was a coincidence. The definition didn’t change to “Forced to have sex”. It changed to “Penetrated by force”. If you consider the definition of rape to be “Forced to have sex” this includes both “Penetrate by force” and “Forced to penetrate”. Under a “Forced to have sex” definition of rape 50% of victims are male and 40% of Rapists are women. So no, I don’t agree that changing the definition of rape from one that excluded men to one that only accounts for a tiny portion of male rape victims is real benefit for men.
8.It gave men some well-deserved time off from work.
The Family Medical Leave Act. This is one of the points that feminists in the past have pointed at as a benefit for men that feminists pushed through. The place previous feminists have failed is showing evidence that this was a feminist supported bill. It is not the kind of bill I would expect from feminists, so I disbelieved claims that it was supported by feminists. While not great support there is a picture and a quote. My interpretation of the quote would make it something along the lines of “Women need special benefits to support our dual roles as worker and mothers”. This is fully consistent with my expectations of Feminism and Feminist organizations like NOW. I expect, but can’t prove, that NOW wanted the Women’s Medical Leave act granting medical leave to women and only women. Thanks to Ginsburg being on the Supreme Court, and actually supporting gender equality, a Women’s Medical Leave bill would not survive challenge.
I don’t find this to be solid evidence of Feminists advocating for Men. I do find it to be evidence of how important Ginsburgs Rulings from points 3&4 are to Men’s Rights.
9.It helped male survivors of violence in the military pursue justice.
This one is a bit fuzzy. There is most decidedly feminist advocacy for male survivors of violence in the military. However when contrasted against other feminist activities like VAWA, this becomes a mixed message from feminism.
I’m not saying this isn’t, but I’m not saying it is. This one will take some more research and debate.
10.It ensured that the burden of war doesn’t only fall on male shoulders.
Again this is at best fuzzy. If women displace men from the safer combat roles, but not the more dangerous ones, this will make being a male in the military even more dangerous. If women are unable to overcome the physical demands of combat the men will basically need to fight the war AND carry women along for the ride. I’m not saying this WILL be they case. But it MAY be the case. So Jury is still out on this.
11.It made the struggle for civil rights a reality.
It is possible to be both a Civil Rights advocate (racial equality) and a Feminist. That equality advocates advocate for more than one type of equality doesn’t make Feminism a racial equality movement.
12.It kept prisons safer for male inmates.
Again with fuzzy and mixed messages. Prison rape is a problem when it’s male prisoners raping male prisoners. It’s not a problem when it’s female prison guards raping under age boys? I think feminists need to work this one out internally before I can say what “Feminism” is actually about on this front.
13.It enabled men to spend more time with their children.
I’ve not seen “Men Make GREAT Fathers” posters put up by feminists. I’ve not seen any attempt to correct the 300 to 1 imbalance in homemaking. The doubling of Dads that don’t live with their children is a direct result of No Fault Divorce Pushed through by feminists. So no. Even if men are somehow spending more time with their children than before, this is despite feminism not because feminism.
14.It expanded the definition of hate crimes to include all identities.
And then it restricted the definition of discrimination to exclude men and whites. No it is not advocating for men to have gender included in hate crimes if you then exclude men from being considered target able.
15.It helped shatter stereotypes about HIV/AIDS patients.
So a throw back to the 80’s that doesn’t have a lasting impact today. Even then this was about breaking homosexual stereotypes, not male stereotypes. Sorry nope.
16.It ensured that men get the vital reproductive health services.
Planned Parenthood receives Federal Funding. I expect that all of the services offered for men are not outreach for men, but compliance measures to keep funding. This is again evidence of how important Ginsburg was with point 3&4, not of feminists advocating for men.
17.It built a more inclusive world, one feminist celebrity at a time.
No, it did more harm than good with reinforcing gender stereotypes and calling it “Feminism” and “Women’s Empowerment”
18.It protected men’s precious marbles during sports.
Women are not feminism and feminism is not women. Feminism did not cause women to be intelligent or capable or creative. The only difference here is that feminism got her the legal right to put her own name on the patent, instead of her husbands. While a real and important benefit for women, it’s not a benefit for men.
19.It made men’s lives better and happier.
Not really. What the study shows is that Men are happier than in the 50’s. There are a great many reasons for this that are not Feminism. I think it’s video games that have made men happier.
20.It demanded that the media change its representation of men.
This is a much hyped potential future activism. If and when the film actually comes out, then it will be activism. I am hopeful that the producers don’t miss the mark too badly. I expect that it will be an honest and sincere attempt to address the issues facing boys today, but that it will miss the mark entirely.
21.It fought for men’s right to become nurses and teachers.
Well there is a great deal of discrimination against men in the fields of nursing and teaching. This is a point of inequality that needs to be addressed. Though I’m not sure what the wage gap myth or banning bossy have to do with this.
The studies linked are behind a pay wall. Given that they are addressing Men’s Rights and published in 2013 I am much more inclined to believe that the authors are closeted MRA’s than feminists. I mean they are by definition Men’s Rights Advocates even if they don’t identify as such. I will need evidence that the authors are feminists for me to put this in the Feminism for Men’s Rights Category.
22.It encouraged men to rethink outdated masculinity standards.
Nope. Watch that video again. He’s not talking about rethinking outdated masculine standards. He is talking about how to best reinforce and enforce outdated masculine standards. This was just a fail.
23.It pushed for immigration reform to help countless American families.
Immigration reform is not a gender issue. While it’s possible for a person to support more than one cause. Sending money to the KKK and NAACP doesn’t make the KKK a racial equality group or the NAACP a hate group.
So lets do a round up and see how well this feminist did at identifying ways that Feminism has helped men.
This list contained only TWO examples of how Feminism has helped men in a real way. Both Activism/rulings by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We have three examples with splash affects. There where 5 examples where there are very mixed messages comming from feminism or there just wasn’t evidence. Even if we lump all of these together since the author doesn’t see how muddy the message of feminism is, this is still only 9/23 that have benifits for men.
Of the remaining 10 examples where clearly Not feminism or not benefits to men.
The last three examples where actual harmful to men. Yes the Feminist that authored a post about how feminism helps men included more examples of how feminism harms men than good examples of how it helps men.