Feminism v Masculinity: Why I, as a Feminist, support Men’s Rights

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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.]

2. Feminism

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?

Published by phetheringtonnz

Film Producer, Director, Lecturer. From NZ based in London.

19 replies on “Feminism v Masculinity: Why I, as a Feminist, support Men’s Rights”

  1. I find that tea room anecdote interesting… I work in an environment where women greatly outnumber men, but have never encountered any anti-male sentiment.

    I’ve also never heard of this notion that “All Men Are Potential Rapists/Pedophiles”, and I’d be curious to know the context for the line ‘All men are rapists, and that’s all they are’ that is referenced in the article.

    I wonder if it’s just a dramatic way of saying that men have sex drives, and that even when sex is consentual it just means that a man has manipulated a woman by ways of sweet lies and seduction, which means that he has not been completely honest with her, which means that she didn’t give consent with full knowledge, which makes it rape.

    Which is bunk, obviously. Women have sex drives too, seduction can be mutual, a few men just don’t give a crap about sex anyway.

      1. Hi Patricia,

        It took me a little while to recover from reading the original article on the GMP — something about seeing feminism being described as one of the top ten issues for MRAs made me froth uncontrollably at the mouth for a little while.

        That said, once I regained muscular control, I realised that it did raise a number of valid points, among them the assumption that all men are potential rapists or pedophiles.

        I’m surprised that you haven’t come across this sentiment, although normally it’s more of an unspoken sentiment than an explicit dictum. In fact, the only overt example that comes to mind is Qantas’ ban on male passengers being seated next to unaccompanied minors on flights — article .

        A man who likes children or takes an interest in them is often seen as somehow suspect. This includes male teachers — check out this female teacher’s misgivings about her male counterparts , or male teachers talking about their fear of accusations or public perception at .

        As to the other half of the statement: I don’t know that I’ve ever been treated like a potential rapist just because of my gender, but then again I don’t know how I’d tell!

        In general, society is very ready to treat men as potential predators. Is this prejudice based on statistical likelihood? Sure. But it’s still a prejudice, and it’s still there, and it still does harm.

        [P.S. I’ve just discovered that we’ve met! I played Stefan in The Seductobot! x]

      2. Hi. Thanks for those links.

        You’re right: the most obvious example is the fewer amount of male teachers; fewer men becoming teachers for fear of being accused of paedophilia or statutory rape. Which is a pity, and is an idea that needs challenging. I don’t see an issue with there being more male teachers; it gives boys more male role models, and would be good for children of both genders.

        The Qantas example is a good one, although, playing Devil’s Advocate, perhaps it is more the mothers (or fathers) of children flying unaccompanied may complain if their child is sat next to a strange man. No, I take that back, that’s the same thing.

        (Rose has a copy of The Seductobot on DVD, but it’s not playing yet. Once it is, she’ll arrange a screening for cast/crew)

      3. well, I seem to have totally stuffed up my attempts at html tags. that’ll teach me. sigh.

  2. Feminism has been seen so often as a combative stance, opposed to masculinity and men. But it’s really not an either/or thing. I do not demand women’s rights by trampling over the rights of men. Unfortunately, the perception that feminists = man-haters are just so ingrained that it’s just the connection people make automatically now.

    1. We need to think of ways of getting debunking that idea that Feminism is ‘anti-male’. I think more people writing posts like this should help.
      Thanks for commenting.

  3. Hate Bounces.
    Feminist are simply getting back what they put out. Since they consistently put-down men, I no longer care about feminist issues though I once did. But the attacks continued on ALL men. I am now anti-feminist and proud of standing up for my gender and my gender ALONE. And I seek to do as much damage to ALL women as they have done to my gender. I desire no unification with feminist on ANY issues. They are not mens allies nor have they ever been. I judge ALL women via the attacks on men and boys by feminist.

    1. My post points out that Feminism is not anti-male. I’m not sure what makes you think that Feminists are anti-male, but I hope that my post shows that it is not the case. Feminists are men’s allies, as we are pro-equality.

  4. No. 7&8 addititudes contradict each other. Boy shouldn’t be considered more important and shouldn’t get more help for a problem that effects them much more than women in one area(Education) but they Its ok that that men aren’t considered as important as women because of some thing that is thought to effect women more than men yet DV is preety much 50/50 in regard to the genders? How does that work?

  5. @number 5. As a male, I dont think it’s fair for a woman to have sole rights to deciding whether a baby lives or not. I didnt choose how science, or God if you prefer, created male and female and which one has to bear the child. I do know, however, that it takes a male and female to make a baby so half of that baby’s genetic info is inside his partner, shouldn’t he get a say on whether or not to keep the baby? Also whether they know it or not they both had sex which can potentially cause pregnancy, so the whole “female is the one bearing the baby, so she makes the choice” argument is faulty in my opinion. As you had stated, the situation isn’t black and white. Admittedly, I dont have a solution because of the many complications, but the current state of the situation is unjust.

  6. The reason that a lot of people say feminism is “anti male” is because of the alarming amount of men hating women who call themselves “feminists” I cant tell you how many times I have seen someone say “sexism against men dosn’t exist.” I have heard people propose that fathers day should be replaced with “national castration day” And that all men are pigs that only think with their penis. There are a ton of people that do that, and call it feminism, when it’s really just misandry. Nowadays, when someone calls themselves a feminist, people istantly think of the giant men hating people who ruinied the word feminist. That’s why people think all feminists hate men.

      1. By not calling it feminism! Call it humanism. Gender advancement. Simply thinking. I like the latter, myself.

        I was raped at 12 by 3 *girls*. It took me 30 years to even recognize it in large part due to feminist indoctrination and *not* because of “toxic masculinity”.

        Feminists cared about half the human population. And then demonized the other half in the process. And none of this had any relation to actual reality because that would involve listening to all people.

  7. I think the author (and other feminists) are attempting to say that “I am a feminist and I do not hate men”. This author does a good job of showing she really means it. That is actually very nice and encouraging.

    Having said that, there are many problems both with feminism as an idea and the practice by people who call themselves feminists. To wit:

    1) I grew up brown in Minnesota in the 70s. I was chased and called a “nigger” many times. I know racism. Yet, I harbor no ill will or such to whites, and feel racism is overstated. My lifetime with misandry from feminists was far worse. I know many minority men who have said the same. I have seen gay men say the same. Misandry is the thing unspoken. Yet it was bigger for me than racism.

    2) Men and boys are victims of rape and assault too. Often from women and girls. I was raped by 3 *girls* when I was 12. Apparently this is a pattern. I was a statistic. But feminists and feminism did much to hid this reality.

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