In my Gender Communication class, I was asked to write a reflection paper on the Men’s Movement. Before I was able to begin to write an intelligent scholarly essay, I had to air my grievances. What better place to post than on my blog? The original essay I wrote is as follows:
Studying the men’s movement is, in a word, laughable. The website “Avoiceformen.com” displays statistics about how much males are discriminated against and the main ammunition for this website seems to be citing false rape claims. Don’t get me wrong, as a feminist I believe in equal treatment of all genders and sexes, and there are men who are mistreated on a daily basis. However, I believe the discrimination against women and especially women of color goes far deeper than these men want to see.
Men, or, in this case, white cisgender men, seem to have had enough. They have had enough of being falsely accused of rape and believe that the laws need to change. I’m not exactly sure if they want rape to be less of a punishable offense or what, because at the same time they are claiming that men get raped all the time and women should pay for their suffering. One main theme I am seeing is hypocrisy.
The men in this movement claim that women are more aggressive than men and domestic abuse of men by women is much more common than anyone really lets on. While men are abused by their female counterparts, the culture of toxic masculinity that men have created makes it incredibly hard for a man to come forward and admit he was injured or hit by a weak, inferior woman. Avoiceformen.com also quotes several instances where men claim they have attempted to report abuse and been turned away by those running helplines. Unfortunately, things like this can and do happen. The only issue I find with this is that countless women report abuse both physical and emotional every day and are not taken seriously. My best friend was sexually assaulted in her college dorm room and had multiple men in leadership positions at the University tell her that she would be better off just forgetting it ever happened and moving on because no one would listen to her case since she had no proof.
One issue I do agree needs some attention is the fact that women receive custody of children in approximately 84% of custody cases. I’m sure women have received custody when they were not the more capable parent, and that is upsetting. However, this all comes back to the fact that men have pushed women into the domestic sphere for so long that women are naturally seen as better caretakers.
Avoiceformen.com also brings up statistics about false restraining orders. This I found very interesting. I have personally been followed home before and, had I known the person, would have attempted to file a restraining order on him. From his perspective, he was doing nothing wrong and probably would discredit my restraining order as something silly and flippant. I truly believe many of these issues all come down to the matter of perspective.
Falling back on standpoint theory, it is always easier for those at the bottom to see the corruption and the issues than those at the top. There is no doubt in my mind that white cis men are absolutely at the top of the food chain in America and in the world. While they do face issues and discrimination in some aspects, it is nothing compared to the issues white women, women of color, the gay community, the transgender community, and countless others face on an hourly basis. I believe the men’s movement is toxic. The language and hatred they perpetuate toward women display this better than I ever could. Men in the men’s rights movement deny the wage gap despite ample evidence that it exists. They discredit women in everything they do. If a woman gets a promotion, it is because she is a woman. They fail to see the countless times women are passed over because their boss automatically puts them on the “mommy track”.
Are there people out there who have an anti-male attitude? Yes, absolutely. Are there problems and legitimate cases of men being treated unfairly because of their gender? Again, absolutely. But turning these issues into a movement is simply ridiculous. Men, especially white cis men, are not marginalized, they are not under attack, and they are not in danger of losing their privileges.
As a woman, I am offended by the men’s rights movement. The feminist movement is not just to better the lives of women; it is to better the lives of all of those who are oppressed. If men fall into that category, then the feminist movement is working for them, not against them.