Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Masculism =/= Men's Rights Activism

So, this patriarchy thing. In order to maintain it, we have to distinguish between "men" and "women." And then we have to maintain that distinction, keeping a wide a separation as possible between the two classes, so that people don't question why we treat two groups of people so differently. Voila, gender.

Power is generally reserved for the "male" group, hence the need for feminism, but yes, the iron-clad and arbitrary distinctions between genders does, in fact, hurt men too. This fact does not mitigate the need for feminism in any way; on the contrary, granting people the same legal, economic, medical, and social rights regardless of gender is good for everyone. Of the people who are concerned with how our culture hurts men, there are those who understand this, and those who don't. The first group usually call themselves something like masculists, the second group usually call themselves Men's Rights Activists.

I think I've mentioned the Good Men Project before (I'm a big, big fan of Hugo Schwyzer, who writes for them often); another good source for masculist writing is available at No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz? If you check these sites out, you'll find that it is entirely possible to talk about men and the patriarchy without being whiny and misogynistic. Obvsly.

But there also seems to be a large online showing of men who think all their problems are not, in fact, the result of the patriarchy, but the direct result of the work of a large conspiracy of evil FemiNazis™ who have decided to RUIN EVERYTHING. You guys, I'm not kidding. It gets pretty wretched. Instead of linking directly to any of these sites, I'll just link you to this post by Thomas MacAulay Millar, in which he has concatenated a list of popular comments from The Spearhead. Warning: these comments are vile and will likely ruin your whole day.

This post basically serves as a PSA: Men's Rights Activists exist, and watch out, because they are nowhere near as innocuous as their name might suggest. These guys make me very afraid, mostly because it makes me wonder how many people out there carry slightly less vitriolic versions of MRA views. It's a scary thought.

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