How Feminists Get the Men’s Rights Movement Wrong

Josh Kleinberg rejects the idea that feminism and men’s rights are incompatible aims. In our fight for equality, he argues, we’ve got to weed out the reactionary behavior.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in both feminist and men’s rights communities, and each camp (like all political factions) has a small but loud minority of agitators. But just as the SCUM Manifesto does not define the feminist movement, the men’s rights movement should not be conflated with slur-hurling macho men (no matter if they claim to speak under the men’s rights banner).

I had a couple of problems with Hugo Schwyzer’s March 8 column, “How Men’s Rights Activists Get Feminism Wrong.” As someone who tends to straddle the two camps, I was a little dismayed to see yet another self-identified feminist dismissing men’s rights advocates outright. I take issue especially with the article’s gradual conflation of the “older, angrier” men’s rights advocates with the movement as a whole.

More importantly, is it fair to dismiss the movement as merely a symptom of angst about traditional gender roles? Schwyzer argues that men are not responding to social structures like “a biased family court system, or feminist college professors, or the perceived injustices of Title IX athletic funding.”

I say that’s exactly what they are doing—or the good ones, at least.

♦◊♦

It’s true that some MRAs unfairly attack women for the structures they rail against, but it’s unmerited to extrapolate this (ultimately irrelevant) fallacy as representative of the movement, especially without actually responding to any of the claims.

Take a look at the Men’s Rights subreddit at Reddit.com (perhaps the largest and best known community of men’s rights activists). Some complaints are fair; some aren’t. But the defining thread is that these complaints stem from discussions of policy—both social and legal. The most prevalent discussion in men’s rights circles is not even about men’s relationships with women, but their allowed interactions with children. MRAs’ most trumpeted claim is that in an overzealous concern for children’s safety, men are often unfairly and preemptively categorized as predators.

Gender politics is not a subscription service. You don’t just pick a team to root for and then disregard arguments from every other angle. If our interest is equality, we must also examine issues where the paradigm is counterintuitive or unclear.

One member of Reddit’s men’s rights group told a story of taking his daughter to the park and having the police called on him as a possible child molester. Another man described being totally dumbstruck when a friend pulled him aside to express concerns about the frequency and comfort with which he touched his son while playing in the yard. Regardless of identity politics, this is a question that can’t go unaddressed by any man with a child in his life.

Men’s rights and feminism are not incompatible aims. I’ve seen wrestling programs defunded as a result of Title IX, have heard feminist professors attack anthropologists not for unsound research but for the “dangerous implications” of their findings, and I’ve seen bad decisions in family court make a good father weep. And none of this made me any less thankful for Lily Ledbetter, or less outraged by the proposal to defund Planned Parenthood.

Gender politics is not a subscription service. You don’t just pick a team to root for and then disregard arguments from every other angle. If our interest is equality, we must also examine issues where the paradigm is counterintuitive or unclear.

And no, I don’t believe we have the option of focusing our attention on the “more oppressed” group for the time being. The programmed mode of thought that says a man is less fit than a woman to touch his child is the same mode of thought that necessitates a cozy place for women in the sphere of domesticity. When we weed out the static—the reactionary yelling and finger-pointing from both sides—we see that men’s rights and feminism, far from being opposed, are means to the same end.

—Photo lewisha1990/Flickr

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About Joshua Kleinberg

Josh Kleinberg lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio. A full list of his publications can be found online at his website.

Comments

  1. Thaddeus G. Blanchette says:

    A very good article!

    Let’s not forget the nasty ways other axes of identity and differntiation combine with masculinity to screw certain men.

    Here in Brazil, for example, an Italian tourist was recently arrested and dragged through the mud as a pedophile after an anonymous denunciation turned him in. His crime? Playing with his 8 year-old daughter by the swimming pool. apparently he, hw gave his kid’s butt a playful swat and at one point adjusted her bikini top for her.

    This guy is STILL under accusation, even though after close to a month’s imprisonment, he was allowed to go back to Italy.

    What’re the intersectional factors here? Race anc nationality. Italians are widely perceived in Brazil as being the stereotypical gringo sex-offender when it comes to pedophilia (though there is absolutely no data to back this claim up). Furthermore, his Brazilian wife is black, he’s white and their kid is dark brown. So here we have an older Italian white guy playing with a dark Brazilian kid: this scene rang every bell in the pedophilia-stereotype handbook here in Brazil. And to make matters worse, the courts didn’t dismiss the charges out of hand.

    Eyewitnesses say his daughter cried and screamed as daddy was dragged away by the police and now she’s so traumatized by the event, she doesn’t want to ever return to her mother’s home country.

    Race and class interact in particularly nasty ways with prejudices regarding men. MRAs bring up the historical example that black men could be lynched for the accusation of raping white women (historically, often a case of simply not showing said women deferrence). Feminists claim “That was then, this is now”. But I wonder if anyone’s ever done a comparative study of how accused black rapists fare before the courts as opposed to accused white rapists?

    It’s certainly true that most rapes against black women go unpunished, but that doesn’t logically mean that the men who are occasionally dragged before the court and accused of rape are necessarily rapists.

    The whole lynch mob mentality that gets brewing among feminsists these days whenever any male is accused of sexual violence is pretty gruesome. It reminds me of the scene in “The Handmaid’s Tale” ny Margaret Atwood where the only power women are allowed by the born-again regime of Gideon is the power to publically rip apart convicted rapists with their bare hands.

    • So you’re saying society is like Gideon-Lite?
      .

      • Thaddeus G. Blanchette says:

        I’m saying that there are moments things in our society remind me of the dystopia Atwood saw in our future.

        • Its interesting you mention Atwood. In her novel, America is overtaken by a heavily patriarchal version of fundamentalist Christianity (not feminism)…

          In fact, the lesson that comes from it for me is that the two are linked… The oppressive patriarchy and the Handmaids only outlet during the ‘Salvaging’ scene to rip apart the poor political prisoner. In fact, the main character knows from a friend he was not a rapist… but if the women didn’t not respond like they did, they all knew they would be killed or sent off to be ‘unwomen’ in radioactive colonies.

  2. Go to the Sources. To understand the MRM, go decide for yourself, visit The Spearhead, A Voice for Men, and Angry Harry.

    • i did, and i was dismayed and disgusted by what I found there. I have better things to do than woman-hating that is displayed there.

      I love the women in my life. My mother, my girlfriend, my sisters. I don’t buy into this vast conspiracy Kool Aid the MRAs are drinking from and this NiceGuyTM hatred of women.

  3. Finally women are waking up to the hypocrisy of feminism: http://vimeo.com/19843219

  4. It’s a warming article with appropriate optimism. Unfortunately I sold my optimism long ago. I was at one time very moderate and respectful of the determinations of feminism. I have since learned that feminism has no less than 27 different factions, each claiming not to be like the other. It is a reasonable question to address when proposing the distinctions of the mens movement may be compatible with feminism. Yet I have never met a feminist who does not reserve the right to subscribe to any of the 27 different factions. As an undefinable political expression, I have simply concluded that feminism is a chameleon, flying under a banner of undefined “equality”. It is obviously a movement populated with a majority of uninformed, deniers. I am loathe to find compatibility with hypocritical chameleons. Given social disparities experienced by men in areas of education, employment, family law, criminal law, et al, feminism has received all appropriate attention from me for now and into the foreseeable and distant future. I think it is quite appropriate at this time for feminism to “take a number” in this process they distinguish as not being a “zero sum game”.

    • That is a very important point you make about the various factions of feminism. I used to consider myself to be a feminist when I was quite young. What struck me as I got more involved was the way the term ‘feminism’ is used in so many varying and often quite conflicting ways- it’s almost like a banner that can mean anything- so much so that it actually means nothing. I do however whole heartedly, and quite actively subscribe to fight for equality. I’m not quite what you mean when you say you have never met a feminist who does not reserve the right to subscribe to all 27 factions- I assume you mean who does not reserve the right to ‘pick and choose’ whatever is most convenient in the context. I have also found that feminist commentators who subscribe strongly to a particular ideology can fail to see the bigger picture, and can actually be advocating for something that may benefit women in a limited sense can actually harm them (and men) in broader ways.

  5. I feel cautionary about this article. On the one hand it does speak to healing the divide that gender warfare has created between men and women, yet I cannot deny that none of the men I see victimized every day by gendered feminists politics were ever combatants in a battle they knew hardly anything about. And then they became casualties — the divorced husband and father who never see his son but is used like a credit-card, the abused boyfriend who can’t talk about what’s it like being emasculated, and even the tough ex-marine who suffers severe PTSD and yet has to take anger management along with being charged with sexual assault because he threw a plate at a wall…

    I see Men of Color being metaphorically lynched in cases like Hofstra to advance a Feminist agenda of rape-culture and victim-ideology. Yet false-rape victims receive no apologies, no repayment to the damages on their lives and careers. I see Julian Assange arrested and extradited on spurious charges that wouldn’t hold up a coffee-table, merely for the crime of having casual sex with a Feminist! And yet legions of women applaud saying, “he deserved it!” They advocate cutting off his penis.

    And to this I see a constant denigration of masculinity: on TV, in books, in my classrooms, across billboards where young boys’ faces are juxtaposed to the phrase, “When I grow up, I will beat my wife.”

    I understand that condemning Feminism won’t solve all, any, or most of the problems men face today. But I *do* understand that in my lifetime, Feminism hasn’t brought equality. It hasn’t helped anyone except a few wealthy White women.

    Guys make up less than 30% of my classes in college. I can’t qualify for many scholarships because there aren’t any for men, but there are hundreds for women. When I went to the Women’s Center on campus, asking for domestic violence advice, they asked me to report the name of the woman being abused. I said a friend of mine was physically assaulting her boyfriend. They blinked and told me they’re doing serious work here and not to make jokes. My friend couldn’t go to a domestic violence shelter either, because they only help women and young children. They turned him away before he could even fill out a form. And yet, these places happily receive ample funding off the hardwork of politically-motivated Feminism in action.

    I remember the day a girl I was dating threatened to accuse me of rape if I broke up with her. She was 16, I was 18. I went to a lawyer with my Father, and he told me there was a very real possibility of my going to jail for a very, very long time. Ultimately, she never pressed charges after I tape-recorded a conversation where she incriminated herself. Other guys I knew who had been in similar situations weren’t so lucky. Even today, when DNA testing gets men released from prison for wrongful convictions, Feminists rail against the injustice. And I don’t mean some random group burning their bras in the woods of Montana. I mean people like Jessica Valenti and Jaclyn Friedman.

    I understand what you’re doing here Joshua, and I too see equality as the ultimate goal.

    But I also understand, all too well, that the problems men face today (like the ones who visit this site) come in large part from Feminists, from every stripe and creed, from the radical gender-feminists we see trolling this magazine to the professors at Vassars, from Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique to Rosario Dawson’s knee-jerk grotch-grab.

    It’s a movement that has no single definition or meaning, but one which has been hurting men since The Second Wave to promote White women’s issues, and forget about women of color, and even further demonizing men of color! From Scottsboro to Hofstra!

    I say I will not be quiet! I will not be nice! I will not act like a GD Gentleman! I am sick and tired of seeing my gender made responsible for the ills of society. I am angry at the hatred and vitriolic spewed at men on a daily basis, merely because we happen to have a penis. I will not stand idly behind the Lace Curtain, waiting for the world to notice that there’s injustice for men and boys only so that women and girls may have their chivalry, and spurn it too.

    So let me repeat myself, Joshua. I understand what you are trying to do. But MRM, MRA, or just plain male: we are not crazy misogynists like David Futrelle would have people believe, or that TheSpearhead unfortunately espouses. We are men saying “Enough is Enough”. Screw civility! When in this day and age, I can be taken to court on no more than a woman’s say so, and incarcerated to boot! (Nevermind my right to presumed innocence and due process.) This may have begun about equality, but it’s not about that anymore. Now it’s about the consumption and creation of power for women who honestly don’t care about other women, especially not poor, Black & Hispanic women.

    This shouldn’t be a war, but it’s turning into one…

    In the meantime, I hope moderate voices on both sides will prevail, yet my experience tells me things only get worse before they get better.

    • I wished this wasn’t so full of hyperbole. I might’ve taken it seriously. As is, it’s quite good for a laugh.

      • That’s kinda sad, because all of it is true. Do you laugh at women being raped in the Congo? Or human sex trafficking on Craigslist? Do you also laugh at instances of domestic violence when they’re parodied? Like Tiger Woods on SNL? Do you laugh at victims? Or just some victims?

        I ask, because I think your answers will show you to be either callous or hypocritical.

        • Thaddeus G. Blanchette says:

          Human sex trafficking on Craigslist? As a person who deals with prostitutes pretty much every day, Zek, I laugh at people who think that commercial sex work is ipso facto slavery, I surely do. I laugh to keep from crying.

          So are you talking about a real, bona fide trafficking case on Craigslist? Bona fide in the sense of “trafficking” as the Palermo Protocol defines it? If so, source please.

          • Actually, it was an example, and not really central to my point… but okay!

            ABC — http://abcnews.go.com/WN/popular-website-craigslist-outlet-sex-trafficking-child-exploitation/story?id=11367581

            Change.org — http://news.change.org/stories/craigslist-makes-36-million-from-illegal-sex-ads

            CBS — http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-20012671-501465.html

            The Hill — http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/118995-craigslist-breaks-its-silence-on-sex-trafficking-noting-white-house-meeting

            NPR — http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129863089

            CNN — http://articles.cnn.com/2010-08-03/justice/craigslist.sex.ads_1_adult-ads-services-ads-craigslist?_s=PM:CRIME

            I mean, the list goes on, and on, and on, and on and on AND ON.

            But that has nothing to do with my point that while I understand Joshua’s position in the article, I am still skeptical about dealing with Feminists.

            Instead of obsessing over unrelated information, try talking about the topic I’m actually dealing with in my post?

          • Your comment is awaiting moderation.

            Actually, it was an example, and not really central to my point… but okay!

            Here’s my favorite link: http://articles.cnn.com/2010-08-03/justice/craigslist.sex.ads_1_adult-ads-services-ads-craigslist?_s=PM:CRIME

            Also there’s info on ABC, Change.org, CBS, The Hill, NPR, ABC, I mean, the list goes on, and on, and on, and on and on AND ON.

            But that has nothing to do with my point that while I understand Joshua’s position in the article, I am still skeptical about dealing with Feminists.

            Instead of getting your undies in a bunch over unrelated information, try talking about the topic I’m actually dealing with in my post?

          • Actually, it was an example, and not really central to my point… but okay!

            Check CNN Justice: “Sold on Craigslist: Critics say sex ad crackdown inadequate”

            Also there’s info on ABC, Change.org, CBS, The Hill, NPR, ABC, I mean, the list goes on, and on, and on, and on and on AND ON. Just search “craigslist, trafficking”, because GMPM won’t publish my comments with a lot of links.

            But that has nothing to do with my point that while I understand Joshua’s position in the article, I am still skeptical about dealing with Feminists.

            Instead of getting your undies in a bunch over unrelated information, try talking about the topic I’m actually dealing with in my post?

            • Thaddeus G. Blanchette says:

              Zek, that CNN story you link us to is a bunch of anonymous people making accusations. I’d like to see one bonafide case of someone being sold on Craigslist, please. I mean it’s an epidemic, right? So surely there should be hundreds or thousands of proven-in-a-court-of-law cases like this, right?

              So link us to just one. I have done as you suggested and searched “Craigs List Trafficking” and all I’ve come up with is a lot of stories making accusations, generally anonymous accusations. I’m not the self-proclaimed expert on Craigslist’s supposed trafficking problem: you are. It is thus not logically my responsability to prove a negative, but yours to prove a positive.

              So let’s recap: you are claiming that there’s good evidence that Craigslist is a privileged venue for the trafficking of people. All I’m asking you to show is one bonafide, proven in a court of law case which shows this to be true.

              I’m sure one must exist, somewhere.

              As an aside, I don’t doubt that the internet is involved in trafficking. It’s a communication system and communication systems get used for criminal purposes.

              What I’m wondering is why I should get my undies in a bundle over Craigslist when every single study ever done regarding the sexual abuse of children shows us that the number one culprit isn’t sweaty anonymous johns on the streets, but dear old mom and dad, right in the bossom of the American family? And culprits numbers two, three and four (in no particular order) are Preacher, Teacher and Uncle/Aunt.

              So if we’re going to trash Craigslist because criminals sometimes use it, shouldn’t we be talking about laws against the family? After all, that’s where most child sexual exploitation occurs, Zek.

              Let’s be real frank, Zek: your problem with Craigslist has nothing to do with the very small number of children that are being sexually exploited by its users: it has to do with the very LARGE numbers of adult prostitutes which use its services as an ALTERNATIVE to having to work the streets or work with a pimp. Children being sold on Craigslist isn’t a problem that’s caused by prostitution: pedophilia is EVERYWHERE in American society, most notably in the family and the church.

              So why is it that the sex workers and their clients always get tarred with the pedo brush when any child advocate can tell you that sex work isn’t the main driving force behind the sexual exploitation of children?

            • Thaddeus G. Blanchette says:

              Zek, I have to admit, that the above comment is derailing. I just get so SICK of people using “trafficking” for every sexual crime under the sun these days. I can’t see how calling that case – if it did indeed occur – “trafficking” allows us to understand it or repress it any better than calling it “statutory rape”, “sex with a minor”, “sexual exploitation of a minor” or any number of actionable laws.

              Does calling it “trafficking” somehow allow us to prosecute the crime better? The Palermo Protocol was developed to go after situations analogous to slavery and sure, you can fit child sexual exploitation under that. But why?

              It’s like calling murder “double murder with choclate sprinkles on top”. I mean, it’s not like there aren’t already a raft-load of laws to deal with the problem, you know? And the “trafficking on Craigslist” argument always – BUT ALWAYS – gets morphed and stretched to include men and women who are self employed prostitutes as “trafficking victims”.

              So yes, my undies are indeed in a bit of a bundle when it comes to this topic, but that – as you point out – has little to do with what you’re saying and is perhaps better tackled in some future column.

            • Umm, Thaddeus, you interestingly based quite a lot of assumptions about me from a random example I used regarding a completely different point.

              And while I can honestly say I, and most of the rest of the world would disagree with you… that’s not what’s got me shaking me head.

              You wrote: “Let’s be real frank, Zek: your problem with Craigslist has nothing to do with the very small number of children that are being sexually exploited by its users: it has to do with the very LARGE numbers of adult prostitutes which use its services as an ALTERNATIVE to having to work the streets or work with a pimp. Children being sold on Craigslist isn’t a problem that’s caused by prostitution: pedophilia is EVERYWHERE in American society, most notably in the family and the church.”

              Okay, now whoa there buddy!

              Please quote back to me where I said I have a problem with Craigslist, Craigslist ads regarding adult prostitution, or even prostitution in general? I never said anything AT ALL about any of the things you mentioned. Hell, I didn’t even mention the word prostitution.

              You obviously need to chill the eff out, sir. Because not only did you completely miss the point, but in the process made about a half dozen other assumptions out of “crazy nowhere land” and strung them together in a semi-coherent babble that didn’t just derail, but totally flipped the script/jumped the shark/survived the atomic bomb blast inside a 50′s fridge. Pick your expression.

              Also, you should notice someone saw fit from The Top to approve my comment(s) that had all the links, so now you have your plethora of evidence that is my responsibility to provide you. Enjoy being wrong! And please stop acting crazy. At least towards me ; )

            • P.S. I just realized you’re the same Thad that got kicked off of Abagond’s blog! Holy mother of Moses that’s a random coincidence, haha.

              Next time we should talk shop instead of trafficking. My focus is folklore, but I’m fairly conversant in most current anthropology.

            • You’re right: I DO over-react on the trafficking issue and it’s because I have seen far too many people presume that prostitution is trafficking.

              Craigslist recently had to kick all their adult services providers off because of the trafficking panic and it has made the world a much dangerous place for many sex workers I know.

              So I am understandably a bit titchy when it comes to people associating Craigslist with trafficking.

      • typhonblue says:

        Wow Adam. That’s strange.

        Because I know one man who was subject to a false restraining order; two more who were subject to false accusations of child abuse. And I’m blisteringly aware of what I’m capable of doing to my husband, legally, should I so choose.

        So Zek’s life looks less like hyperbole to me then an accurate picture of reality.

      • Yes, there is a lot of hyperbole and misinformation in Zek’s comment. Perhaps because he doesn’t fully understand the examples he has brought up, he is really oversimplifying things. It would take at least a good hour to sit here and provide rebuttals to everything his commentary, but just one instance of his misrepresentation/misinformation:

        “I see Julian Assange arrested and extradited on spurious charges that wouldn’t hold up a coffee-table, merely for the crime of having casual sex with a Feminist.”

        Like, I question whether Zek knows that these “spurious charges” don’t have equivalents in the US legal system and, rather than being “for the crime of having casual sex with a Feminist,” are for allegedly having sex with a sleeping woman and refusing to use a condom against another woman’s wishes. (See also: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2010/1208/Details-of-Sweden-s-case-against-WikiLeaks-Julian-Assange)

        I mean, come on guys, specifics are important. Generalizations like OMG ALL HE DID WAS HAVE CASUAL SEX WITH FEMINISTS! do tend to discredit a speaker. Argue about whether Swedish sexual assault laws need to be revised or what-have-you, but don’t misrepresent the case.

        He says:

        “But I *do* understand that in my lifetime, Feminism hasn’t brought equality. It hasn’t helped anyone except a few wealthy White women.”

        Ha, I love it!

        So, based on his experience as a young male college student, he extrapolates that feminism has only helped “a few wealthy White women.” Just so we’re all clear, because it apparently needs to be stated, Zek is hardly sitting on a throne of absolute objectivity when it comes to judging which women, and how many, feminism has and has not helped.

        Sorry to burst that egocentric bubble, kiddo.

        • Like, I question whether Zek knows that these “spurious charges” don’t have equivalents in the US legal system

          Actually, I do know they don’t. Sweden has far different sex laws than here, including a different burden of proof, and very little in the way of innocent till proven guilty. But that said, people from Naomi Wolf to Michael Moore believe there is a lot of questionable, and convenient, legalese going on, including how/why the charges were filed and what happened prior to that. So while you or I may be no experts, I feel comfortable having an opinion that you disagree with. At least I’m in good company.

          So, based on his experience as a young male college student

          Actually, Cornell West was the first one I encountered who makes that point, but so do Black Feminists. ALL THE TIME. This is why I don’t trust mainstream Feminists, because they tend to forget about racism when it suits their agenda.

          I base it on my girlfriend’s experience as a Black woman giving the side-eye to White women demonizing men in her community as an example of rape-culture. I base it on Alice Walker, Patricia Hill Collins, E. Frances White, and countless others who you can probably look up if you bother to take the time.

          But you won’t. You’d rather judge me with name-calling and your own hyperbole, instead of actually addressing the fact that what I said happens, and not just to me, but to lots of guys. Just look around this site!

          I mean, that’s if you can get off your “throne of absolute objectivity” and “burst that egocentric bubble” my good time-fighter. Until then, keep on hating! ; )

  6. Here’s a link you’ll find interesting:

    http://www.gaiaonline.com/forum/extended-discussion/abusive-fathers-win-custody-battles-more-often-than-mothers/t.70265549/ (This link includes a plethora of other links within the post.)

    Apparently, father’s rights movements lie just as much as MRAs claim feminists lie. In fact, abusive fathers retain custody of their children in 70% of cases. The lesson I’m taking away from all of this is that neither MRA members nor feminists are to be trusted anymore.

    • Amber, did you actually follow any of the links? None of the links present any evidence demonstrating that abusive fathers get custody of the children in 70% of custody cases. The links are about abusive men and make a host of assumptions without providing any support for them.

    • Amber-

      This number (70%) did not seem right to me, so I did a little digging, and it appears to be the product of a lot of distortion.

      The article from the first paragraph (both links lead to the same text on different sites) cites the American Judges Association for this figure (link here), who cites no source. Interestingly, I found this later article from the AJA’s journal “Court Review” which includes the figure, citing an article by Jane Aiken and Jane Murphy. Found a copy of that article in jstor, and their citation is…the first link, from the AJA. I also took a look at the titles of other articles from Court Review (here), and it appears to me that they are, at the least, an <extraordinarily biased organization (my gut feeling is that there is actually something more insidious going on with them, but I haven’t done enough research).

      The third paragraph of the gay post says that “abusive fathers actually win custody in 70% of custody disputes” and cites an article by Joan Zorza. Here is that article. If you ctrl-f “70,” you will see that this is an exact quote from the article, with a pretty damning addition: the word “abusive.”

      Even Zorza’s statement, though, appears tailored to her goals and is notably 1. outdated 2. extrapolated from a non-representative sample 3. taken from an unrelated study not designed to test this hypothesis. And even with all these distortionary twists is not even an accurate mathematical depiction of the numbers. Zorza’s article, written in 1996, cites a study from 1989 by John Greaney and Ruth Abrams for the Massachussetts Supreme Court.

      This study is nowhere to be found online, but if you believe Mark Rosenthal, the operator of what I expect is about to become my new favorite blog, whose stated mission is to shed light on “broken ‘science’ that’s being used to create law and drive social policy,” not even this is the original source of the number, but it instead comes from a single table in an unrelated study, undertaken by the Middlesex Divorce Research Group. The table and surrounding information, as well as Rosenthal’s refutation is available at that link, and I urge you to take a look at it. The two points I want to stress, however, are that 1. The sample size of this number that is now being used with language that implies universality? 700. And 2. Even after all this, when requesting sole custody, women received it more often than men (74% to 42%) and at a rate of about 10 to 1.

      tl;dr: this figure is absolute fiction and seems to be the product of conspiracy.

  7. Why I am not an MRA and why their tactics sicken me, and obscure their good points:

    Men’s rights movements reflect the tactics of domestic abusers themselves, minimizing existing violence, calling it mutual, and discrediting victims. MRA groups downplay national abuse rates, just as abusers downplay their personal battery; they wage campaigns dismissing most allegations as false, as abusers claim partners are lying about being hit; and they depict the violence as mutual—part of an epidemic of wife-on-husband abuse—as individual batterers rationalize their behavior by saying that the violence was reciprocal.

  8. Feminism is a childish, self-serving philosophy that’s seduced emasculated men who have failed to get their balls back. It’s time to start telling the TRUTH about feminism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plkeKMTDM9g

  9. It seems ironic to me that you mentioned how Feminism and MRM aren’t compatible because “Feminism” is intolerant to compromise. If you were honest, you’d see how biased your own statement is in it’s lack of “compromise”.

    As for the study, women certainly have more stress factors today, but ask how many women are interested in going back in time where they had less rights and equality, and I think you would find not many. Women still have duel preasure of job and family, where they still take on most of the child caring responsibilties. Men have made great strides in being more part of the day to day tasks of raising kids, but I do think women still have a slight edge in the responsiblity of the children part. Between that AND working, it’s alot. But I don’t think women want to go back in time despite this. I think they’d like more support probably, more kindness…but not less equality.

    • Women don’t work any more than men, including at home work/childcare. Men work longer hours than women, commute further, travel more, are SAH parents far less often, and work more dangerous and physically demanding jobs.

      The good news is that women are free to work as much and as long as men do, but more often exercise their freedom not to.

      • I do believe this could be true (although have not looked it up), however this is likely to be average data for a certain area/class- i.e may not reflect the realities of very poor/ black/hispanic women.

        Either way to make this statement accurate it is necessary to state “on average women don’t work anymore” – Otherwise you suggesting that ALL men work longer/more dangerous jobs than ALL women.

  10. Please point me to where I can find MRA haven’s that can deal with the actual issues and are not just the “lunatic fringe”. I mean this with no cynicism or sarcasm. I want to know so I can go there. I went out looking for MRA information because I had observed for myself some of the issues they care about and wanted to know how I could help.

    What I was confronted with in the first couple of google results was so much vitriol and hate I was quite literally nauseous. I understand every movement has its radical, angry fringe, but where are the places where the reasonable minded people are the largest force? Where a woman who identifies as a egalitarian, who believes feminism has done (and continues to do) both good and harm, that the issues are complex, and that both genders need to be considered and advocated for, could go and not feel like slime?

    I see a lot of noting that feminists just pick on the angry fringe and and refuse to address the actual issues. But when that angry fringe is so loud, so hurtful, and (at least in the websites I was viewing) doesn’t come off as terribly “fringy”, it’s hard to even begin the conversation.

  11. I wish I could say that feminism and men’s rights are compatible, but that would require the members of both groups to become reasonable people, capable of negotiating and examining society as a series of facts rather than histrionic emotions. Both sides do it, then point the finger at the other side, claiming that it’s all their fault.

    While my personal social movement is entitled “Misanthropy” – it results in me never being disappointed by human irrationality and stupidity, as the title assumes irrationality and stupidity as “de facto” for humans – I believe in the following tenets of whatever rights movement we want to call whatever:

    • End the question of abortion. It must be made legal in all states, cities, and precincts. If a woman is ever in danger of being forced to gestate a pregnancy she does not want at state gunpoint, the state has stolen from her. This is not liberty, it is theft.

    • Give men the right to opt out of supporting unplanned children in all fifty states. If a man is ever forced to become a human ATM for the state, the state has stolen from him. This is not liberty, it is theft.

    • Set 50/50 custody as the default in divorce court. Allow men to get full custody if they are the fittest parent. (Note: I lived with my father after my parents’ divorce, which was completely unheard of several decades ago. This did not occur without a bitter fight lasting over four years.)

    • Alimony and child support are assigned based on financial need. Those found practicing alimony or child support fraud will be fined and forced to pay back the party they defrauded.

    • Rape must be defined as a crime, a type of assault and violence. Real rape statistics, not “1 in 4 women will be raped, because having sex while drunk = rape” must be collected. The notion of a rape culture must be re-examined, as it does not seem to have any merit. The current feminist way of thinking, which is “All men are potential rapists” must be turned on its head. False rape accusers must be punished.

    At the same time, the twin culture of victim-blaming prevalent throughout society at large must end. Women who have actually been raped tend to be unable to seek justice. Some women are unable to get evidence collected through rape kits, others are shamed and victim-blamed as they go through the trial process. Many police take the attitude that the woman asked for the assault in some way. This is also unacceptable.

    I have seen both sides’ complaints in action and I believe both have merit. My fiancee’s best friend was the victim of a false rape accusation, foisted on him by a vengeful ex who wanted attention. On the other hand, I was the victim of a real rape, done to me while sleeping, fully clothed, alone in a bedroom, by a man I had never been involved with, romantically or otherwise. Everyone I knew – friends and family – blamed me when I tried to talk about how I felt, and every time I’ve sought therapy for it, it’s been dismissed. When someone is truly the victim of rape, everyone suddenly becomes uncomfortable. Feminists don’t want me discussing it because it takes attention away from their “A man checked me out at a bar, and this is as horrible as rape” hysteria, and many Men’s Rights Activists I’ve come across believe I am lying to get attention or that, simply by virtue of my gender, I deserved what came to me, as a symbolic justice for societal misandry. Both groups miss the POINT, which is that this is a crime – not an act of sex, not a symbolic message – but a crime, and should be treated as such when it actually occurs.

    Mia Zapata, the lead singer of Seattle band The Gits, was raped and murdered in the mid-1990s. This is the worst type of rape, and the screwing around on both sides downplays the seriousness of this criminal violence. Not enough people know the story of Mia Zapata.

    • The culture of war and the military industrial complex must end. Globally, men are overwhelmingly the victims of waging war, while women and children become collateral damage. To that end, the mandatory registration for Selective Service for all males 18 and older must end.

    • The drug war must end. Thousands of innocent men, disproportionately black men, are locked up for consuming and possessing substances far less dangerous than the legal ones in America. The drug war destroys families, communities, and the Black experience in America.

    • Equal attention must be paid to the areas where societal expectations fail women, and the areas where societal expectations fail men. Many men suffer under the demand that they must be high-income earners and providers for the family, and if they cannot or do not wish to become corporate slaves, society has some unkind words for them. Many women suffer under the demand that their default status is “mother,” and whether they choose motherhood or not, they can expect to come under scrutiny and attack from all sides, from breastfeeding (or not) to working (or not).

    Essentially, all choices must be celebrated as equally valid. To put one type of lifestyle on a pedestal while dismissing others is not equality for anyone. Stay at home mothers are not traitors to the feminist cause, and men who’ve opted to get married and have children are not traitors to the men’s rights movement.

    • Both sides must come to an understanding about institutional attacks that harm the other side. For example, “male” behavior is now targeted and punished in our public schools. Young males are misdiagnosed with ADHD and loaded up on stimulants. (I, being active, always-questioning of authority, and sassy, was also determined to have ADHD and be a problem child. I DO actually have ADHD, but instead of that being treated, I was dismissed as a bother and disappointment. The school took it even further with my brother, expelling him for an art project, which they determined to be criminally violent, but which was “prankish” at best.)

    At the same time, men must understand that women face barriers to basic needs in other areas, such as reproductive health. Many types of birth control for women are not covered under certain insurances, and the Religious Right has been widely successful at de-funding women’s clinics that provide a slew of health needs, including wellness care and mental health services.

    • We must examine the pay gap idea and see if it has any merit. Different studies show different trends. Overall, women earn 75 cents to a man’s dollar, but that is when we compare all women to all men (working or not, part-time or full time, nurse or engineer). This is statistically useless in discussions of workplace inequality. Single women under 30 earn $1.02 to every man’s dollar. But men in management outearn women significantly, even when controlling for years of experience and profession. The real money is at the highest ranks of the company, and unless a woman becomes a CEO, she can expect to earn less than a man as a manager.

    Then again, the opportunities men had to earn solid wages without expensive post-secondary education have gone extinct. The trades and blue-collar professions have gone overseas. College degrees are the new high school diplomas, and the current college environment, with its focus on postmodernism and the “career track” favors women.

    The classical liberal arts education is dying a fast death, from K-12 to post-grad and beyond, and this is one of the greatest tragedies that both sides must fight. Denying students a classical education and preventing them from developing intellectual curiosity in the race to teach postmodernism and career training hurts everyone.

    • Rigid gender roles hurt everyone, too. Just as demonizing women who enjoy sex must stop, so must demonizing men who experience feelings of anger, depression, or sadness must stop. Both sides harbor deep anger and resentment not only at the opposite sex, but at people with non-normative sexualities. Radical feminists de-humanize transwomen as “inherently male, and poised to attack women from within their ranks.” Unacceptable. Anti-gay sentiments abound on the Men’s Rights side, too, with lesbians held up as the ultimate betrayer of men. Unacceptable. Transphobia and homophobia must end in both movements if progress is to be made.

    Those are my thoughts. Most people will not agree with them, because each side is focused on its own benefits. That’s why I find both movements largely intolerable to deal with today. On the ultra-feminist sites, women are moaning that Siri (Apple’s NLP app) is sexist for being unable to find abortion clinics in a database of restaurant reviews, and crying about the fact that some women wear high heels, and thus “acquiesce to the patriarchy.” Meanwhile, their reproductive rights are being dismantled, county by county, and women in the Middle East have few human rights – but why worry about that when they can cry about the trivial?

    On the Men’s Rights side, men declare en masse that they are “done with” traditional marriage and childrearing. They complain about misandry in society, but seldom do they take action. Lumping all women together as hideous beasts out “to get men” takes priority over calling their school boards to demand that curriculum changes that suit boys be made, calling ad agencies (where over 95% of creative directors are men, and thus should be sympathetic to concerns) to complain about misandrist ads, and above all, petitioning the judicial system in the US to change the way it handles paternity, divorce, alimony, and child support cases.

    Both sides miss the point. Society as a whole does not care if you boycott Siri, eschew high heels, remain a bachelor, or reject a career in business management. Most of the movements online (on both sides of the aisle) seem to prefer complaining, and recruiting others to complain alongside them, to making any genuine progress on any issue.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      I think that’s a very supportable platform. I dig it. A lot.

    • +1

    • I love you, you seem to actually get it! (no creepy)
      Wish more people could understand this. I am wondering though if men are allowed to push to fight misandry, most cases I see of men speaking up on it feminists come down hard on it. Seeing as feminism has had much more time to develop and probably far more followers, could this simply bully the MRA’s out of existence at times?

    • AT LAST!!!!!! a voice of true reason- a balanced consideration of many facets of our social/legal framework!

      Please continue to advance your platform!

  12. By the way, if anyone is loath to join either movement because of the extremists on both sides, but wants to see all of the injustices I’ve addressed brought to the table, and discuss real, actionable solutions for them, I propose starting a new movement: The Humanist Movement. Or, The Human Being Movement. Or Rights for Humans. Or whatever we want to call it.

  13. Perhaps its time for there to be no feminists or MRAs, but a united force of gender equalists, a group that wouldn’t waste its time pointing the finger at other groups and discrediting them, but would instead just look at what prejudices exist in our culture and work to eradicate them, look at what changes can be made to help everyone, instead of picking sides. Let’s work to get rid of rape, AND false accusations, let’s work to get rid of prejudices in the media about ALL genders, let’s look at how we can get the law to protect children and make sure that all good parents have access to their children, regardless of gender, etc. I think there is hope for a new movement that can do this.. there are people, many who may start out on one side or the other, but who are disatisfied with each and just want real positive change, who are looking at the research, looking at both sides and trying to wade through all the BS and get to the truth without any hatred.

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  1. [...] is why I read articles like this one, from the Good Men Project, entitled “How Feminists Get the Men’s Movement Wrong,” with a fair amount of skepticism: Men’s rights and feminism are not incompatible aims. I’ve [...]

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