I am a Feminist.
I’m happy to say it aloud. I’m a Feminist and proud. And, because I am a Feminist, that means that I support Male Rights.
What was that, you say?
Feminism has unfortunately been mislabelled; a Feminist works towards equality for everyone: equality regardless of gender, race, age, or sexual orientation. A Feminist isn’t a man-hater. Feminism isn’t about bringing men down, it’s raising women up. And it saddens me when people express anti-Feminist diatribes, and stating they can’t be a Feminist because they don’t hate men. Neither do I. Glad we agree.
It is with that understanding that I came across The Top 10 Issues of Men’s Rights on The Good Men Project.
Please note that my comments are not to denigrate anyone’s opinions. These are valid issues. This is simply my response to them.
10. The Male Gender Role
No longer should men be expected to be the providers and protectors of society. There needs to be no shame in showing weakness, fear, and emotions other than anger… Just because we have penises doesn’t mean we should be forced to abide by additional societal expectations.
Exactly. Great. Why should we be trapped in gender roles?
9. Negative Portrayal in the Media
Men are often seen as incompetent, misogynistic, brutish slobs with few redeeming qualities… TV shows, commercials, and movies ought to portray men in a more positive light.
I agree that (negative) stereotypes are hurtful, but that goes for everyone, not just men. Fat people are portrayed as lazy; blondes are portrayed as stupid bimbos; Asians are portrayed as good at math; etc etc. Stereotypes in general are an issue.
8. Educating Boys
[Boys] are falling behind in math and literacy, and the number of boys going for college degrees is incredibly low.
Should that be an issue in educating children in general? Shouldn’t we be looking at overall math and literacy levels, overall degree completion rates, and improving them for children in general, rather than one gender over another? Surely there are greater issues, such as standardised tests and the shortage of teachers, which are more important for both boys and girls.
7. Making Government Programs Gender-Neutral or Accompanied by a Male Equivalent
Whether for single mothers, domestic violence, or health research, tremendous amounts of government money goes to women’s aid. Men have the right to the same assistance. Domestic violence programs and policies that name women as the only group that are abused—and therefore the only group deserving of assistance—should be expanded to cover men as well.
Yes? I’m not well enough informed in this area, so should I comment? Yes. There are men who need help from escaping domestic violence or abusive relationships. As I understand it though, there aren’t as many as there are women. So funding/policies naturally go towards helping women. Perhaps there needs to be more awareness out there for men who need support escaping abuse?
Looking at Anti-Violence websites such as Are You Okay? and Real Stories (both from the New Zealand Government), the wording is gender neutral, but in the examples/stories, women are the victims and men are the perpetrators. That said, I have seen support from violence posters that have included men in their examples. I’d suggest raising awareness.
6. Better Treatment of Men Regarding False Accusations
I have an issue with False Accusations anyway; I think everyone does. However, how can one confirm that an accusation is false? What about Victim Blaming? It’s hard enough for people to come forward with rape claims, for fear of retribution and ridicule. Including that they can be accused of false accusations?
Unfortunately, false accusations of rape and domestic violence occur… A major goal of men’s rights is to expand anonymity for men accused of rape, and for false accusations to be treated like the serious crime it is.
There are people who may make a false accusation. That’s an issue. But I think that increasing sentencing for false accusations would deter those who have the right to come forward, rather than stopping those few who shouldn’t. I’m also aware of such cases as Louise Nicholas, which some people would consider a false accusation as the men involved were acquitted, but others (like me) wouldn’t. (You can also read about Louise Nicholas on kiwiblog, or do a google search)
5. Reproductive Rights
If a woman gets pregnant and doesn’t want to have the child but the man does, the man loses. At the same time, if she wants to have the child and the man doesn’t, the man loses.
That’s a tough one. What if the man wants the child and the woman doesn’t? She can’t be forced to keep the child. He’s not the one carrying the child to term. Ultimately it is the woman’s decision. [As an aside, this is the contentious topic of a short film that I’m currently writing and would like to make later this year.]
I would say it is up to individuals to make a decision, with the hope that any woman who falls pregnant would ask the man for his opinion, and would respect it. But I know that it isn’t as black and white as that.
4. Removing the Notion That All Men Are Potential Rapists/Pedophiles
The overwhelming majority of men have no interest or intention of raping a woman or being a pedophile, yet all men are treated as a threat. We need to hold these few people accountable—not the entire male gender.
Am I naive? I didn’t think there was that notion. Yes, I agree, the male gender should not be judged based on some bad eggs.
3. Anti-Male Double Standards
YES! That pisses me off. Although I’m not going to replicate the examples on the website, as I don’t agree with them.
For example, I used to work in a team of 15 women and 2 men. In the tea room, some of the women would openly mock men and insult them, telling stories about how stupid they are. The 2 men in the office would avoid the tea room. Me as well. I didn’t want to be there when they got into their tirades. Perhaps they wouldn’t see their conversations as offensive, more as female bonding with no harm in it. No. That behaviour should not be encouraged. [As a Feminist, I should have been more vocal in my displeasure at their conversations. Noone should have to hear that in the workplace.]
Excuse me? The entire explanation is replicated below.
Feminism has harmed men. You can debate whether it was the goal of feminism to bring men down, or if it was an unintended consequence. When we started helping girls more in school, boys were pushed aside. In recent years, we’ve seen protests against anonymity for rape accusations, denial of false accusations as an issue, and fathers’ rights groups demonized for wanting power instead of time with their children and fair alimony/child-support payments. We can’t undo what has been done, but, by dealing with the parts of feminism that are anti-male, we can prevent further damage.
Again, excuse me? This anti-Feminist sentiment serves to negate my entire post. Here I am, as a Feminist, supporting male rights, but apparently Feminism is anti-male. No, it’s not. Anyone who expresses anti-male sentiments, in my mind, isn’t helping Feminism any.
I’m not getting into this point any further. It’ll make me too angry.
1. Fathers’ Rights
A father has the right to see his child after a divorce and to have his child in his custody more often… Child support payments are often extreme and unmanageable, making it a struggle for men to even meet the necessary payments while keeping a roof over their heads. In some states, rates do not change—even if there is a pay cut, unemployment, or a career change involved.
Child support payments make it a struggle for men to even meet the necessary payments while keeping a roof over their head? Am I wrong, but does raising a child in general cost an arm and a leg? Aren’t many parents struggling with bills and the costs of raising a child?
That said, I do agree that income considerations should come into rate of child support payments. That could be considered a naive point-of-view, considering I have not been in that situation, nor do I – to the best of my knowledge – know anyone in that situation.
That is by-the-by. Surely we should be looking at parent’s rights, and what is best for the child. Again, as in my response to #5, I would hope that individual couples would respect each other enough to do what is best for the child, but I know that it’s nowhere near as easy as that.
Right webiverse – those are my thoughts. What are yours?