Are you a Men’s Rights Activist? Hi, this piece is aimed at you. Please sit down and read before you make any judgements. Yes, you. I can sense your indignation already, and I’m just waiting for the ‘Feminazi’ comments to start rolling in. However, I can assure you that I’m nothing of the sort – I mean for starters, I’ve never practiced mass genocide in the name of a cause I believe in.
What’s A Men’s Rights Activist?
Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs for short) are a group of people who’ve come about in recent years aiming to get more rights for men, usually stating to be in complete opposition to feminists and sometimes even women themselves. Now if you’ve not met/heard of MRAs before, you might be thinking “well what’s wrong with people protecting their own interests?” and you know what? You have a point.
Male rape, domestic violence and other crimes against men are indeed typically under reported. Don’t even get me started on women who don’t let men see their children (using children in any capacity is disgusting!). It breaks my heart that men are being made to suffer in silence when there’s very real harm being done. Does this make me hate women? Don’t be ridiculous. The solution to helping a group of people isn’t to marginalise everyone else and internalise further oppression – it’s to actually do something about it. As a feminist, that’s exactly what I do.
I know what some people will be thinking when reading this. Hang on… she’s a feminist, so why’s she banging on about men? The brand of feminism that I subscribe to isn’t ‘men hating’ in the slightest; it’s about promoting equality and harmony between men and women. Men’s Rights Activists aren’t just men who care about helping other men, because that’s fine. They’re a specific group of people whose archaic attitudes literally help nobody and they seek to discredit women under the guise of feigned support of their fellow man. They’re forwarding an agenda, to make it acceptable to demean women whilst hiding behind fake concern.
Not everyone who has an interest in men’s rights is an MRA – this is a super important point.
How Do I Differ As A Feminist?
I’m not perfect, but I get out there. I don’t just sit and be a keyboard warrior, and I know it does absolutely NO good for anyone to just create a divide between genders. That’s why I dedicate hours of my time to Rape Support Work & generally helping Peterborough Rape Crisis Care Group with their online stuff like social media and PR. But you know what? I’ve also just signed up to help CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably. It’s a charity just for men, and I’ve known enough men in my life who don’t have an outlet for their feelings to know that there needs to be more help available. It might shock you, but I care deeply for those guys, and wish they had more places to go and people to talk to.
News flash: historically, women do have it worse than men in terms of equality. That’s why feminism exists, and it’s seriously not just to p*** off guys. By trying to block attempts to even up the score, this suggests that a lot of men feel threatened, fully knowing that in the past, their stance as a male would have made them ‘entitled’ to better treatment. I know that without realising, a lot of men see their experiences as ‘default’ or ‘the norm’, which is probably why some feel like different perspectives are a direct attack.
The facts can’t be ignored though. More women are raped, more women die at the hands of men, and so on. That isn’t to say NO men have it bad, but I’m just trying to explain why feminism focuses its care where it does. Unfortunately, the patriarchy and male privilege DOES still exist and it’s things like that which mean women really do have to live in fear.
Feminism *Helps Men*
However, feminism actually helps men, too. Yep, seriously. Without feminists trying to break down old-fashioned and stereotypical gender roles, men would find it even harder to share their emotions. Men are taught to not cry, and if they do, they’re chastised or laughed at by others and accused of being “a little girl” and so on. Insults towards men are feminised, as though traditionally ‘feminine’ attributes are the worst thing someone could possess. It’s easy to see why this was conflated to be the case over the years – after all, in perceiving emotion showing by women to be weak and making women into second-class citizens, I can see why men would fear actually opening up, in case they lost their power and assumed a status not unlike that which women have long been relegated to.
Men and women should be able to be open, and there’s no shame in admitting to needing help. The reality is that it’s not a weakness, it’s a natural part of the spectrum of human emotion. If we stop equating needing help as a trait exclusive to women and demonising said women in the process, we can stop men feeling too ashamed to come to someone before doing heart-breaking things like ending their own lives. However, right now, I know only too well that my male friends in this position are embarrassed, and their friends saying stuff like ‘man up’ doesn’t help – it only reinforces the notion that feeling upset isn’t normal for ‘proper’ men.
Why The Focus Is Wrong
Feminists don’t have to focus on men, but like me, they’re entitled to. People concerned for men’s issues don’t have to focus on women – again, we’re all entitled to do our bit for causes closest to our own heart. But if you’re an MRA, please, give me a break. You’re not helping anyone by getting all gleeful and smug every time a woman does something bad. Face it, you don’t care about the men in trouble. You just care that you’ve got ‘proof’ women are evil. This then validates your superiority complex.
I’ve seen it. I’ve got you on my Facebook. You’re the guys who gaslight me for actually trying to speak up for women, as though this somehow makes you insecure. You’re the ones who try to paint me, and others like me, as ‘crazy’. You’re the ones who relish in videos of women getting hit by men in retaliation if a woman hits them first. You get all excited and go “HERE’S EQUAL RIGHTS, HA HA HA”. Note, you’re not actually bothered about the men being hit. When feminists post about women being hit, the focal point is almost always on the victim.
Do I think it’s s*** when women abuse their partners? Yes, yes I do. Why the hell wouldn’t I?! Some women are awful, just like some men are. I’m not going to sit here and go “YESSSS, girl power!”, but it’s unbelievable how many MRAs seemingly celebrate things happening to women. Bitter much?
Why Don’t You Do Something?!
If you really care about men being the victim of crimes being perpetrated against them, no matter the gender of their perpetrator, why not put the focus back onto the men? Why not campaign for better services for men, or donate money, or volunteer?
Instead of undermining the good work I do for female rape survivors by getting all grudgey that our helpline only helps women, why not start your own? Our helpline doesn’t exist to ‘exclude men’, it exists to help women who’ve been through awful situations of abuse and sexual assault. It’s inclusive by nature towards women, and to be honest, if you are self-indulgent enough to think that such services exist as a massive ‘f*** you’ to men, then you’re more absorbed than I thought.
If I care about cancer and you donate to heart disease, do I have the right to tell you where to focus your attention? No, because both are good causes. Just as I appreciate that it’s important to help ALL victims of rape. The reason they’re so split by gender is that unfortunately, rape is more likely to be perpetrated by a man and as a result many women need to feel super comfortable dealing with this harrowing experience. Therefore, we’ve opted for a ‘safe space’ for women only. If this offends you, perhaps you should ask yourself why. The first Rape Crisis centres were set up by concerned women, so if you really care – why not find out a way of getting more help for men?
Instead of dedicating your time to hate and projecting your feelings into misdirected anger, why not try and bring about a change? By that I don’t mean returning women to their ‘rightful place’ or otherwise belittling them. I mean put your money where your mouth is.
I know women can’t always do the same things as men – wanting equal respect doesn’t mean I don’t recognise I’m personally about as strong as a baby. Admitting that doesn’t mean you’ve ‘caught me out’, because I personally can’t speak for all women anyway. However, if you reduce the very real concerns I have just because of stuff like that, you’re ridiculous. In giving ourselves a voice, we’re not trying to take away yours.
See the bigger picture please, for once, and actually get up and help some of the people you supposedly care about so much?