The Solution to MRA Problems? More Feminism

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.

Men’s rights activists—a loose coalition mostly comprised of men embittered that they’re not getting as much tail as they believe they’re due and men embittered after having their wives up and leave against their wishes—irritate feminist bloggers for many reasons, from blaming feminists for problems they clearly brought on themselves, to the Russian bride weirdness, to their dogged trolling and grudge-holding of feminists that criticize them.

But, honestly, all that pales in comparison to the most irritating thing of all about MRAs: they’re just so wrong.

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.

♦◊♦

Problem: Men are more often the primary or even sole breadwinners of nuclear-family households.

MRA explanation: A matriarchy of spoiled women have managed to get men to pay for it while they sit around on their butts eating bon bons all day, while the children scamper angelically past them, requiring little to no work.

Reality-based explanation: Women still make less than men in the workplace, but still do more free labor at home, even when they work full time. Plus, many men feel scaling back or quitting their jobs is emasculating. So, when someone in a couple decides to scale back or quit a job to maintain the household, it’s usually the wife. But, for many families, women just simply do more for less pay. Being at home is no picnic for women, since it reduces future earning potential. Plus, being around kids all day can be a little maddening.

MRA solution: Women en masse should demonstrate our gratitude for this financial support of some of us by giving up on fighting for equality, especially equal pay. Also, no more child support.

Reality-based solution: More feminism. Women should get paid the same as men, men should do as much housework as women, and men should treat domestic labor as real work, instead of as emasculating. Workplaces should be more flexible for parents of both genders. If that happened, more women would work outside the home, and more men would cut back work hours for family.

♦◊♦

Problem: Men have to do all the work asking women out, and women are often hostile to men’s overtures, which hurts men’s feelings.

MRA explanation: Women are lazy princesses, who enjoy forcing men to dance for the pussy, and then enjoy shutting them down, because it strokes petty female egos.

Reality-based explanation: These are two separate issues. Women reject men forcefully because 1) a lot of overtures are actually just harassment, and 2) even men who are sincerely hitting on you sometimes are really rude and entitled about it, requiring a forceful response. (Plus, some MRAs experience all rejections as women being too big for their britches, making it impossible for a woman to say no without being labeled a bitch.) Women don’t approach men very often, because doing so often gets you labeled slutty, bitchy, or desperate, or sometimes all three.

MRA solution: Pay a lot of money to creepy men who label themselves “pickup artists” and who promise to teach you how to get any woman you want in bed. The method usually involves taking an abusive posture to women, and learning to identify insecure women, extracting sex from them through bullying. You know, instead of doing something as quaint as sleeping with women who actually want to have sex with you.

Reality-based solution: More feminism. A world where rape victims weren’t denounced because they were overly flirty, where women weren’t mocked because they acted “like men,” and where the word “slut” had no meaning is one where women would feel freer to hit on men. Plus, a world where women weren’t harassed on the street, or where they could tell men “no” and be heard the first time, would be one where women weren’t immediately suspicious of every man who approached them.

Next: Workplace Inequality, Ladies Night

Pages: 1 2

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About Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte hails from Texas, but resides in Brooklyn, New York, according to the laws governing the proper placement of freelance writers and feminist gadflies. She blogs regularly for Pandagon and Double X, and writes and podcasts for RH Reality Check. She's written two books on politics, It's A Jungle Out There and Get Opinionated.

Comments

  1. Marcotte: I find that your article engages in name-calling (“weirdness” “trolling”) and loosely supported judgements (flatly stating that these men are wrong).

    Is this intended to be an opinion column? Or simply venting frustration? I ask, because I work to support equal rights between the sexes, and your article doesn’t help me.

    What I need from the feminism and gender equality front is information on what inequalities have been identified, and how they’re being addressed. Success stories from both men and women on achieving equality are also very helpful.

    Thanks.

  2. dungone says:

    Amanda, the irony is that when a feminist writes a dissembling hit piece on men’s issues, it demonstrates that “more feminism” is not the answer.

    Men’s activists are just at the early stage where men from all walks of life are struggling to put a finger on something that just doesn’t feel right. Modern feminism began with “a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning.” And that is what you choose to mock now. But that yearning is why men are starting to organize and want to do things such as establish male studies programs, so that over time, just as with feminism, men can come to grips with the way society treats them.

    It would be laughable for a feminist to try to say that men don’t have a right to decide for themselves what course of action to pursue. You say that they don’t understand feminism, just as you mock them and cherry pick and misrepresent their issues to make light of it all. So is that what feminism has to offer to men? The Good Men Project and Amanda Marcotte, here to say that men are stupid and don’t know what’s best for them, but feminists have it all figured out? Amanda, if you’re really a feminist, and I’m not sure you are a “real” one, then you are your own worst enemy.

  3. ZimbaZumba says:

    Wow Good Men project, really good way to mobilise thoughtful discussion amongst men about gender issues, inviting the like of Amanda Marcotte and Hugo Schwyer to write articles for you site. For heavens sake, I think you might be a litle out of touch with your constituency.

  4. CheckMatt says:

    Dumb article. Whoever wrote should be executed at a second’s notice. No explanation needed.
    I mean, all Fems should be executed. Enough talk, heard enough.

  5. Mens Rights types can be idiotic and lacking an ounce of empathy, but this writing is equally so.

    > “Men’s rights activists—a loose coalition mostly comprised of men embittered that they’re not getting as much tail as they believe they’re due and men embittered after having their wives up and leave against their wishes”

    Wow, that’s going to be a tough strawman to destroy. Maybe you could equate pick up artists with rapists to do it? Seriously, stop being so hateful for a minute, and actually listen to their arguments and actually address their arguments when you write. Perhaps you might even quote an actual Mens Rights Actvist instead of tearing at strawmen.

  6. I disagree with this post almost completely. I currently identify as an MRA because feminism minimizes or ignores abuses against men if they are not out and out supporting them. I don’t agree that these are the main issues or even representative among MRAs, but I’ll address them.

    Men are the primary bread winners in nuclear families.

    A family that can survive on one income has a high earner. Look up two things in psychology. the relation between money and time, how money is more important than time until you reach a certain income level then it shifts. A person making $100/hour can make more in 30 hours than a person making $20/hour can make in 80 hours (2 full time jobs). The second thing to look up is the matching principle, which essentially means that people date in their own league. That seems to suggest that the women in these relationships are high achievers also, but have made the choice to stay at home because they don’t need the money.

    Reality based solution: The gender based wage (really earnings) gap doesn’t exist. There is a earning gap between whites and ethnic minorities, but if you look at employment statistics, white females make up a smaller proportion of the workforce to their minority counterparts when compared to white males and their minority counterparts. I’ve seen no studies account for race. I’ve also seen no studies that account for income transfer. Child support doesn’t count as income at least while they parties are divorcing. I’m not sure if it does after, but in at least these cases it lowers the earnings of the men and increases the earnings of women, while hiding this within the results. It also doesn’t factor in any non taxable income, like public assistance. The real solution is the one recognized by MRAs and that is to change the gender stereo type that equates a man’s worth with his income level.

    Men have to do all the work asking women out

    I don’t see this as a major MRA issue. I personally find aggressive women a turn off even if I would have been attracted to them otherwise. I admit it’s probably an issue related to control, but I also have concerns that I’m reading a woman’s interest wrong and get falsely charged with rape or sexual harassment.

    Reality based solution: My first instinct is to suggest expanded porn or prostitution, but I think that pressure can be removed from men by correcting the imbalance in the law concerning false rape claims. That would force women to ne clear in their intentions and not lead men on reducing the “work” needed to find a date. I agree that removing negative stereo types from aggressive women is a goal of feminism and is important, but it only addresses part of the problem. Allowing men to be vulnerable by changing gender stereotypes, while supporting men who are victims of female perpetrated rape or domestic violence, would also alleviate some obstacles. It’s not more feminism that is the solution, but more men’s rights activism.

    Workplace inequity

    Many of the more dangerous jobs require greater physical strength. Women are not barred from being fire fighter, but few can carry 200 pounds down a ladder. In many combat positions like the infantry, you need to be able to carry a backpack and weapons. I believe that the backpack is about 60 pounds.

    Reality based solution: There isn’t one. Relaxing standards will result in more male deaths as well as female deaths. This is where men just need to man up.

    Ladies nights

    The solution is to make gender based pricing illegal. More men coming to bars benefits straight men how? I find it telling that feminists are neutral on this. I’ve gotten more tail when I’ve gone out with the intention of having fun at sports bars and such than I ever got looking for tail in a night club. If night clubs go out of business, who cares? A lot of guys don’t like dancing anyway. I think it would affect women more.

    Reality based solution: Ban ladies nights.

    P.S. You never said how more feminism would fix this.

  7. Christopher Hülsbeck says:

    This is a strawman article. Bar the point about workplace deaths (where Marcotte misses the proposed MRA solution plus proposes athoroughly unrealistic feminist solution), ever alleged MRA gripe she addresses ia an invention. Hey, Amanda, why not address a few real MRA issues?

    1.) Violence in society and the perpetuation of violence in society.

    Domestic violence in western societies is a huge problem. The violence that exists in virtually every western family will almost invariably transfer from the privacy of an abusive home and result in random violence in the streets and in war. Most violence in the home is initiated by women, and the main victims are the children. What do feminists have to say about this problem? Would feminists have violent mothers gaoled and have young girls undergo anti-violence therapy programmes?

    2.) Paternity fraud

    Everyone knows women are promiscuous and illoyal. Around 10 percent of all British children are brought up by fathers who do not know they are raising children that are not theirs. Paternity fraud is a sadistic hate crime. The woman enslaves a man and dupes him into paying for a child that isn’this.Many men never find out, and those that do, often do so when it is too late for them to try again. Tell me, Amanda: would a feminist such as yourself support the MRA position that DNA tests should be conducted right after every baby is born? Would you support the MRA position that men should not be made to pay for children that aren’t theirs?

    3.) Equality

    No resonable person will contest that men are the pillars of every civilised society. The board directors of Volkswagen can collectively die from heart attacks and Germany will carry on functioning easily. If the sewage workers of Germany collectively quit their jobs tomorrow, Germany will drown in its own shit. Men do all the important work that keeps civilsation running. They are firemen, sewage workers, electricians, engineers, plumbers, builders. Women incessantly demand to be accepted into top-ranking position. Only when enough women do their share of the dirty work, will they be accepted as contributing members of society. For as long as that isn’t the case, women will simply be seen as quota team leaders and managers. Amanda, would you as a feminist insist on a female quota for sewage workers and rubbish collectors?

    4.) False rape accusation epidemic

    What do feminists propose? Do they view it as a problem? Or is it seen as an opportunity? A tool that bbbbone can wield, as it were?

    Theee are just four. There are many more. I’d be curious to read your suggestions. Oh, and by the way, screw you for trying to trivialise men’s rights issues. We aren’t interested in girls nights. We are interested in men’s issues and how female privileges undermine male human rights.

    Best wishes

    Christopher

  8. Magolor's son says:

    Umm… okay, where do I start? I would like to say that I am both a feminist, and an MRA (see what I did there) and as a man, I’ve seen firsthand victims of misogyny and misandry, as well as having experienced misandry for myself. But I want to tell you that both men AND women have gender specific issues. I can also tell you that REAL women and men care about those issues for both sexes. There are more, a lot more, nice men and women out there than mean, it’s just that the jerks are so loud, that we have to strain to hear the people who actually have something meaningful to say. (And let me tell ya’, Ms Marcotte had just about nothing meaningful to say.) Sorry, but I wasn’t trying to sound mean, that’s just how it seems to me.

  9. It’s always hilarious to see a feminist/MRA bash an MRA/Feminist because feminism and the MRM are two (gender) sides of the same coin. I’ve seen overwhelming numbers of brain dead bigots on both sides but when they post articles like this they show their true colors.

    To the true good and decent feminists and Mens rights activists: I support you.
    To the idiots going on about privilege while sitting in their western ivory tower and telling ghost stories about some creature called a “Patriarchy” or throwing out poorly researched statistics: Grow the hell up and understand that true oppression knows no sex or skin color or age or religion.

  10. Alex Reynard says:

    “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.”

    Well, when literally the first sentence of your article contains a blatant misrepresentation of your opponent’s position, that doesn’t bode well for you. If the root of all your arguments is a fallacy, I guess that makes you wrong about pretty much everything, eh?

    For starters, gay men are just as much a part of the MRM as straights. Why add that?

    And as a man, I don’t think my group is the most oppressed: I just don’t like seeing people lie dismissively to hide it when it does happen.

  11. FlyingKal says:

    Personally I would like to see some substance supporting the claim that [women] still do more free labor at home, even when they work full time.

    Becuase this is a recurring theme in feminist arguments in Sweden as well, despite the fact that it has been repeatedly debunked in nationwide surveys for at least 30 years.
    The last one was conducted in 2010/2011, and corrected for age and life/family situation it concluded the “There is no significant difference between men and women in the total working time “.

  12. Do you really think a female President would not send kids off to war, or a female CEO would not lay off workers or outsource jobs for more profits? If you really
    accept that men and women are equal then you accept that women are just as capable of bad
    behavior. The “patriarchy” is actually a very small group of politicians, CEOs and lawyers, and now
    women are part of the same system. When you add up heart attacks, work related accidents, suicides
    and wars, men have always been considered expendable. Your only measure of worth is what you
    can provide for others. Some of us don’t want to be appliances, ATMs or cannon fodder.

  13. For the last 40 years, men have been told by Feminists that we are all potential rapists, pedophiles and wife beaters, so the “solution” is more of the same? Then you have White Knights and “Uncle Tims” like Dr Phil who reinforce this message to gain favor with women. Two books I would recommend are The Manipulated Man by Esther Vilar and Men On Strike by Helen Smith.

  14. The whole men make more money than women is not true. How did get that number? All the wages were added up and the median number was used. Factors like hours worked, profession. Also if women have children they would take time off work so course they would make less.

    Women do work around the house? The only women I know do work around the house is my step mother and aunts. Not that too many women in my generation does a lot of free work around the house.

    My best friend worked, cooked, cleaned, fix the car, lawn care, laundry, cooked majority of the time and did house renovations. My other friend did the same thing pretty much while his wife went to therapy and cried how awful he was treating her.

    • The problem with the “women do more housework” claim is it roots its specificity to an erroneous purpose.

      Pertaining to work done in the home, it is true, however, it’s extremely misleading because men do the majority of outside work and garage work.

      When you leave out gardening, raking leaves, taking garbage out, mowing lawns, trimming hedges, cleaning gutters, water blasting the house, cleaning the BBQ, fixing, repairing and maintaining broken household equipment, changing lightbulbs, heavy lifting,home improvement (which accounts for hundreds of undertaken hours) and car maintenance.

      These things certainly balance out the equation, but then you’d have to ask yourself why and ideology would choose to omit such a huge contribution?

      Another interesting point is that men work longer hours and have the larger pressure to procure income, so in relationships where one earns more, it would be more than fair to assume less household responsibility.

      The real problem is, when a housewife cooks herself a meal, eats it, does the dishes and washes the dish towel, that all counts as unpaid work, when the reality is, it’s clearly self serving, much like the studies. The problem with the unpaid work argument is that for non working housewives, the fact that their rent is paid, their food is recompensed and their goods are paid for would seriously damage the idea that what they do is unpaid.

      They are compensated, bearing in mind that they on average bring less money into a relationship at the start and they spend more on average on personal items and luxury goods.

      One might begin to think that certain ideologies have vested interests.

  15. their endorsement of this article speaks volumes about their capabilities for logical thought.

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