Tried to crosspost from MensRightsMeta per sub rules, but crossposting seems to have been disabled. Sorry mods!
I wanted to make a post addressing ways for us to better advocate for men’s rights, as I firmly believe that a strong men’s rights movement is very important right now with discussions of gender being so mainstream, and I have seen a lot of good posts lately that attempt to address some of the troublesome parts of this subreddit. The main issue that makes me feel like I cant participate in this subreddit is the dismissive attitudes towards women and feminist activism. I want to explain myself, because I don’t just want everyone to think that I am a blind supporter of feminism, so please hear me out.
Ill just cover the three main misunderstandings I have noticed.
1. The patriarchy. I see a lot of misunderstanding of the term among men’s rights activists. The patriarchy is a hierarchical structure by which a traditionally male ruling class maintains order in society using the emphasis of binary gender distinctions. The patriarchy is NOT just that men are more privileged than women. This is important for men’s rights activists to understand because a lot of the problems that men face that are discussed on this sub are products of the patriarchy. Things like inequal power dynamics in dating, assumption of male guilt, and all the statistics that always get brought up about workplace deaths and incarceration. It’s called the patriarchy not because it flatly benefits men, but because understanding that it was created by a male ruling class is important to understanding the why behind many of its aspects.
2. Feminism. I know that’s a dirty word around here, and I definitely understand why a lot of men feel attacked or alienated by feminism, particularly online. A lot of misandrist behavior is perpetrated or excused by feminist activists, and its a big problem with the ideology in its current form. However, If we want this to change its important for people interested in men’s rights to understand how to advocate for feminism in a positive way. At its core, feminism is about dismantling patriarchal structures, which as I discussed earlier, is the same goal as men’s right’s, and is something that benefits all genders. Feminism has been historically out of touch with the male experience of patriarchy, especially nowadays, but that’s not because all feminists hate men, its because men have not been historically involved with feminist action. It is important to ally with and respect feminism, even if you don’t feel comfortable calling yourself a feminist, in order to ensure that male perspectives are considered. If you want to argue against the toxic elements of feminism, it’s very important to understand the core goal of the ideology, so that you can point out the contradictions that you are seeing. And understanding that the core goal of women’s and men’s rights is the same will enhance your ability to address irresponsible behavior from both halves of the movement.
3. Introspection. I hope this doesn’t come off as judgy, because I don’t mean it to. It is however something that I think is important to becoming a better advocate. It is easy to browse endless posts about all they ways men have the short end of the stick in society, and its fun to dunk on feminists who turn a blind eye or don’t understand how much these issues impact average men, but don’t let it become a game. When engaging with politically and emotionally charged content, its important to be aware of how it is affecting you. As with all online spaces, the MensRights sub has a tendency to promote content that reaffirms the preconceptions of its users. Please consume this content with a critical lens, and don’t let your political stances become simply a reaction to what you see online. Develop your own understanding of the societal forces at play, as well as a healthy critical framework for interpreting the anecdotes that get posted to this sub. Being a good activist requires an understanding the bigger picture, and If you have a problem with feminists not addressing issues that affect men, then as a men’s rights activist, you should be comfortable addressing issues that affect women.
4. Finally, I would encourage everyone who is subbed to MensRights to sub to TwoXChromosomes as well, and when you see a problematic post there, try to understand that the women on 2X feel the same way as the men here. They are also seeing daily examples of how patriarchal structures are constricting their rights and freedoms, and just like the folks here, they can fall into reactionary positions. Being able to align feminist and men’s rights ideology within your own framework of understanding will make you a better advocate, and will make people take you more seriously. I can guarantee that as someone who went through that exact journey.
I hope you got something out of this, if you think I missed the mark on anything, I will respond to comments.