MRM and Feminism: If the Goal is Equality, Why Can’t We Collaborate?

by | September 3, 2012
filed under Feminism

by Jasmine Peterson

I must confess that I have no idea how to talk to most Men’s Rights Activists. I really want to understand and empathize, so that I can communicate and work toward some common goal, but I often feel that this desire is very one-sided. So, before I go any further, I just want to clarify a few things. I am a feminist and I am concerned with equality for every human being.

I recognize that patriarchy is not only oppressive to women, but functions to oppress men as well. The term “patriarchy” is not some sort of imputation against all men, identifying them as oppressors of all women. Patriarchy is an institution; it functions at the cultural level and, while it does avail men with privilege, this does not mean that males are not also detrimentally impacted by patriarchy.

I do not want to get into some sort of pissing contest about who has more privilege and who is more oppressed. The thing is, patriarchy maintains power structures that are inhibiting to all but a very few, and it would be really great if we could all work together toward the common goal of equality and freedom for everyone.

A common accusation levied by MRAs against feminists (or feminism, more specifically, as The Counter-Feminist clarifies in his piece admonishing feminists in Vancouver is that feminism is concerned with the elevation of women and women alone, that feminism is anti-male. I can only believe that this is a continued and deliberate misconception about feminism that MRAs hold onto dearly to advance their own agenda.

Feminism is not anti-male. I am a feminist and I am as concerned with the manner in which patriarchal culture pigeonholes men into roles of masculinity that are detrimental to their physical and mental health as I am with the manner in which patriarchy and cultural discourses disadvantage any group of people – the ‘isms’: sexism, racism, ageism, classism, heteronormativity, homophobia, transphobia, and so on.

What I have found with many MRA campaigns is that the implication is that men are maltreated by our cultural clime more than any other person. It turns into some sort of contest about who is more disadvantaged. At an Australian university, posters drawing attention to the website A Voice For Men contained the message “Domestic Violence: Women are half the problem”.

Of course, the posters were taken down, because the message that women are in some way responsible for their own domestic abuse is offensive and more of the same victim blaming that we tend to see so often at the cultural level.

Paul Elam, one of the listed authors of the website, claims that the posters do not blame women for anything, but I’m not sure how else to take it. In what way are women half the problem? Is the implication that women who are victims of domestic violence have somehow ‘asked for it’? Or is it suggesting that women are responsible for half the domestic violence cases?

In either case, it’s neither accurate, nor a productive contribution to the conversation about men’s or women’s rights. That doesn’t mean I think that there aren’t issues with how domestic violence against men is treated, or that men don’t also suffer domestic abuse. But in order to address these issues, we need to address the social and cultural discourses which contribute to them, rather than pointing fingers and laying blame. It’s just not productive.

The thing that I really would like to convey to MRAs, and anyone as concerned with men’s rights as I, as a feminist am, is that men’s and women’s rights are not mutually exclusive. To be concerned with inequalities women face does not mean that feminism does not concern itself with issues that men face. I would also like to counter the assumption that feminism assumes all men to be sexual predators, violent perpetrators, abusers, and that men are presumed guilty until proven otherwise, as Johntheother suggests in this YouTube film.

The problem with these assumptions is that they’re based on fallacies. Rape culture, for example, is not, as Johntheother asserts, a hate culture against men. Rape, no matter who the victim or the perpetrator is, is a violation of an individual’s basic rights. It is never okay. Identifying rape culture is not the same as pointing an accusatory finger at all men.

I would like to be able to work with MRAs, because I think that, if they could get past their anti-feminist sentiment, we could find common ground to work together. Our stated goal is the same: equality. But I’m not okay with being told that as a feminist I am therefore a misandrist, man-hating human being. I am not okay with the imputation that feminists hate men. I am not okay with the continued promulgation of inaccurate information and misconceptions about what feminism is and what it means.

I cannot convince any MRA that feminism isn’t out to get men, or that supporting women’s rights is also good for men. I cannot convince them that feminism is concerned with men’s rights, as well. I’ve tried to have these conversations, to clarify, to elucidate, but to no avail. And I suppose the converse is true – no MRA can convince me that feminism is about a hatred of men, that feminism is misandrous, or that in domestic violence women are “half the problem”.

All I can do is continue to actively work toward gender equality, and to concern myself with inequalities where they exist for both men and women. And I can hope that some MRAs will listen and work with me, converse with me, communicate effectively with me, with feminists, so that we can collaborate and become more effective.

As a woman, I don’t always see the inequality a male experiences, just as they might not see the privilege they are afforded. There have been a few MRAs with whom I’ve been able to have a dialogue with, and while I may not always agree with them, the thing is they provide me with a perspective I might not have otherwise been privy to. So the very least we can do is to listen to one another. We might learn something, and become better activists because of it.


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  • Tommy

    this is probably the dumbest feminist i’ve ever seen. you truly think men aren’t treated badly today? shows how anti-man you are. men have to pay more for car insurance. they aren’t allowed to have male only organizations while women have hundreds. they are discriminated against by things like affirmitive action. and there is clear misandry in today’s society. not like a feminist idiot cares about that though.

    • Jasmine

      Firstly, this is something I see MRAs doing often – insulting feminists rather than listening. I am not dumb; I’m highly educated, thoughtful, and always engaging in critical thought. I did not say that men are not treated badly. Where did I say that? In fact, I said that I’m concerned with inequality wherever it exists, including oppression that men face. Being caustic is not going to help advance the conversation. I’ve not said anything rude or nasty about MRAs, and I don’t appreciate being personally attacked. Feminists do care about inequality that men experience.

      • Rog

        when the N.O.W. organization fought against MRMS concerning lifetime alimony in California they set the stage for co-operation between feminists and the MRM,,
        when feminists denied male domestic abuse victims access to shelters they set the stage for co-operation between feminists and the MRM
        when feminists wrote rape laws for decades that exclude men as victims they set the stage for co-operation…

        Just sayn……

      • J

        Plugging your ears and denying facts isn’t going to get you any closer to having a constructive dialogue. The fact of the matter is that women abuse men just as much as men abuse women. Denying that is going to get you nowhere.

        Another fact is that MANY feminist policies and laws work directly to the detriment of men. Examples include Title IX, affirmative action, and VAWA. So to to say that men’s rights and women’s rights aren’t mutually exclusive is laughable when feminists constantly push for these gynocentric laws.

        Homework: watch

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk4nJr2NnRo

        from 1:15 – 8:10. It sums everything up quite nicely.

      • Arne B

        Feminists started this war. I was a boy, four years old when I saw what was happening to the male sex due to feminism. And now that somebody is kicking back you’re writing what you’re writing. We’re taking this war all the way to your doorstep, baby. And don’t worry it will be with books and writings and lecture, so you have nothing to worry about, other than the fact that feminism is an evil agenda. Just you think why so many men feel that way before you open your mouth again.

      • A Lesson in MGTOW

        I’ve been forced to listen to Feminism for thirty years. I stopped a couple years ago. Cry me a river.

  • Andrew

    The posters were referring to women beating men, which is something feminists consistently deny happens at any time.
    Simply stating “I am not anti-male” does not make it true. The fact is, feminists, regardless of you as an individual, will nine times out of ten demonise all men and that’s why we’ll never work together. It’s sad really.

  • What you are saying is that you would like to work with MRAs as long as they subscribe to your version of patriarchy theory and your view of feminism, which includes the myopic view that feminism has not had a seriously deleterious effect on men and boys.

    Your “concern” involves extending a hand to men as long as they share your blindness to the discrimination they face each and every day.

    A hint for you. If you ever want to connect and “make progress” with anyone, you must first possess and be willing to extend an informed empathy for where they you.

    I read your article here and I see that you are nowhere close to it.

    There is so very much wrong here. I am willing to accept that you are just ignorant of the issues, and that you share much of the worlds blindness to the pain of men. It is a very common thing.

    But I tell you what, I make you an offer.

    READ THIS:

    http://www.avoiceformen.com/mission-and-values/about/

    Read it with an open mind. Read it with a willingness to challenge your own beliefs (doing that from time to time is healthy, you know) and be willing to actually act like you have some empathy for what all that information means in a world that otherwise tells men they have too much power.

    Then please post here with your thoughts in reaction. Whatever you have to say will let you (and MRAs) know, whether there is room for shared ground, or whether you are just another feminist elitist.

    • Jasmine

      I fully anticipated these replies. I am not at all suggesting that any person must subscribe to my ideology to work with me. In fact, I value and appreciate working with people with differing views. Sure, it makes it more difficult, sometimes, when you’re coming with different perspectives, but it also enriches the work that you do.

      I’m not sure why you’ve made the assumption that I don’t see the oppression of males and men in our culture, because I certainly do. Perhaps I don’t see all of it, all the time, but to say that I am blind to it is entirely inaccurate and, frankly, insulting.

      What about the inequality women face? Do you see this in your daily life? I see it, in my daily interactions. I see it in a myriad of ways. Are you concerned at all with equality for women? Because women’s rights are also human rights.

      I still have difficulty empathizing with MRAs, mostly because I find that when I do communicate with them, they are caustic and insulting. But I continue to try because I want to see where they’re coming from, whether I agree with them or not. I am extremely empathetic. But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to abandon my own beliefs. It simply means that I can listen, understand, and empathize with where you’re coming from.

      • Youre’ young, Jasmine. Perhaps so young you don’t see your own contradictions and hypocrisy.

        The request of you was simple.

        READ THIS:

        http://www.avoiceformen.com/mission-and-values/about/

        And start a healthy dialogue by addressing some or all of the information in there.

        You are not doing it, therefore the idea of a discussion with you that includes the real issues faced by men and boys is out of the question….directly because of you.

        MRAs will never work with you till you bring their issues to the table alongside women’s. You can continue to blame them for that, and you likely will. But that complaint is hollow.

        Women’s issues have dominated the social discourse for 50 years. Men are starting to speak now. You are welcome to join us, but it will take more than platitudes and attempt to redirect the issues back to feminist talking points.

      • Brian L Keener

        Hun your ideology is wrong, Don’t allow other pathological lying feminist to corrupt your mind, which is unfortunately already happening to you.Don’t believe them get all your statistics from the federal bureau of investigations, The department of justice i could continue but i’m sure you get the point.Feminist sites never use true statistics they always twist and distort them as well as facts to accelerate their agenda.

        Just look at real facts and not ones that have the presidents seal so of course they’ll alter the truth like many feminist do.Look at this fact about women and more importantly mothers http://blog.chron.com/momhouston/2011/04/moms-killing-their-children-more-common-than-you-think/ this article is one of many i could post but in reality you’ll just ignored cold hard facts and believe everything mother feminist tells you even through damn near every word out of her mouth is a lie.

  • Dan P

    Well it appears you are from Canada so lets look at the facts:
    “A similar proportion of men and women reported experiencing spousal violence during the five years prior to the survey. Among men, 6.0% or about 585,000, encountered spousal violence during this period, compared with 6.4% or 601,000 women.”

    From: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/110127/dq110127a-eng.htm

    So we have less than a 1% difference in who is committing domestic violence.
    These findings have been repeated in the 2004 and 1999 general social surveys done by Stats-Can. (there was an actual 1% difference in 2004 and 1999.)
    How about how domestic violence is hidden when it is a woman on man. Try looking this case up why don’t you and remember how this murder was classified is a direct result of feminist dogma (lie) that states “man violent women non-violent”

    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/06/02/myths-of-domestic-violence/

    “And yet for 2007, Faulkner’s departmental records show that there was one DV homicide of a woman by a man, but zero homicides of a man by a woman. Put another way, London’s 2007 police stats show that DV-related violence was 100% male on female and 0% female on male, when in fact, if the Lucio-Johnson case had been entered in the appropriate category, the ratio would be 50:50.”…”But it also calls into question statistics all over the country. Chief Faulkner may have been the most outspoken of police chiefs in his zeal to ingratiate himself with feminist theorists, but all police chiefs, family court judges and social service agencies are schooled in bias-selection or fabricated DV statistics. The Quebec DV mill is particularly notorious in this regard, and any number of DV police stats in other jurisdictions may be equally skewed to support myths.”

    Does feminism actually hate men?
    Answer: First just look at the article by Barbra Kay and then with a straight face try and say that it doesn’t. The only reason why the Lucio / Johnson domestic murder was not classified as such was due to feminist policy makers. Nothing more.
    The well ‘respected’ leaders of feminism have been saying it all along but ppl like you choose to ignore it. And by ignoring the misandric leaders of feminism all you are doing is covering for their policies and actions. This helps to keep the misandry alive an well in society today. So as for working with you plz get your head out of the sand and realize just what a hate filled organization it is.
    Try looking up Erin Pizzey sometime or Hoff-Summers as well. See how the femmie faction regards them.
    Try looking at the latest two ex-feminists who have seen feminism for what it truly is and are now penning articles for AVfM.

    Also can you please cite just one demographic that is oppressed and routinely outlives their oppressors? (this is in reference to your patriarchy theory)

    From a common sense point of view if feminism was at anytime really about equality why wasn’t it called humanism?

    Another common sense point of view if women are paid so much less how come the companies aren’t hiring just women b/c after all doesn’t the ‘pay-tree-archy’ only pay women .77cents on the dollar and aren’t companies in business to turn a profit?

    Rape culture wow you really must be a graduate of jen-duh studies,
    The only rape culture out there, is the culture of routinely not holding women accountable for their false rape accusations.
    There is no rape culture. It doesn’t exist stop lying.
    Would it be too much to ask of feminism to just stop lying to society?
    And in regards to working with you, please until you are willing to face the facts then you are a waste of breath and time.

    • J

      Silly rabbit! Don’t you know that confronting feminists with facts is a sure way to never hear from them again, while they scuttle off and try to take on someone a little bit less informed?

      • Derick

        I know, right? She didn’t bother replying to his facts. Pathetic.

  • james

    Um actually women molest children at higher rates then men and women are half the problem in domestic violence because women commit half of all domestic violence cases. I have a friend who is a US Navy Seal and his ex girlfriend abused him.Tell me something how come only women can be rape victims when they have sex drunk but not men who are also drunk?(http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/attorney-general-eric-holder-announces-revisions-to-the-uniform-crime-reports-definition-of-rape) If you can answer any of these questions without insulting me then there is hope. Also why is it so wrong to charge women who lie about being raped with a felony?

    • Jasmine

      Firstly, any domestic violence is not okay. It absolutely concerns me that males are sometimes abused by their female partners but it often goes unreported for fear of ridicule. This isn’t okay.

      Anybody who has sex with someone who is drunk can be committing sexual assault – male or female. This is why people need to be cautious and ensure that they’re obtaining consent before engaging in sexual activity with any other person (and they need to know that intoxication negates consent).

      The rate of false rape claims is about the same as for any other crime. No, it is not okay. It shouldn’t happen. But it is also of great concern that the majority of veracious rape charges do not make it to court, and of those that do, only a very few result in any sort of justice. This is also a very serious problem. When I think about these things, I concern myself with the problem as a whole and not just the parts that might potentially impact me, as a woman.

      • Brian L Keener

        Also i can tell you i can relate the the rape cases not leading to justice through most of them do, you likely heard that most don’t from feminists again don’t believe them go to the source for the truth.My sister was raped by her past step father and the bastard got off was supposed to serve two years and got away with it, he’s a fucking bastard.Feminism rules are lie constantly, insult and self projecton all providing truthful facts & statistics as well as a few other rules.Also the hatred of men is a must for i’m are guilty of not giving it up to them and not being a servant to evil women.

  • Derick

    MRA’s saying that feminists are only interested in elevating women is a”continued and deliberate misconception about feminism that MRAs hold onto dearly to advance their own agenda.

    So you think that we are lying to advance some sort of agenda? But you really want to work together? Right.

    Thank you for patronizing and insulting every male and female MRA out there who is concerned about the welfare of men and boys. And thank you for pissing all over the male victims of violence by women. You’re a real gem.

  • Graus

    You dont really want to work with us, we advocate equal opportunities not equal outcome like feminists. We believe in the best person for the job, not the best person who fits the quota. We want true equality in the eyes of the law be it in the family court system or equal sentences for equal crimes. And we want a say in our reproductive rights, dont worry we arent against abortion but against females deciding for us if an “accident” turns us into daddies. At least we shouldnt have to support those “accidents” and neither should the state. We also dislike the idea of lowered requirements for females, not only are they hindering progress, they can also be downright dangerous in certain professions. And then we want to tackle our feminised western educational systems. Those are just a few points important to most of us. If you can wrap your head around those, we may have a common ground. But I somewhat doubt it…

    • Jasmine

      I am absolutely for equality. The trouble with ‘the best person for the job’ is that sometimes the way jobs have been conceptualized is such that they’re based on a biased idea about what fits the job, to the exclusion of other qualities that might actually be suitable in different capacities. It’s similar to how the world is constructedf or the able-bodied, and then adapted to accommodate anyone who doesn’t fit into that description. And then MRAs complain that men are more likely to be employed in jobs which are dangerous. So which is it that you want?

      I think men absolutely need more options in terms of reproductive rights. More time and money needs to be spent on creating male contraceptive, other than condoms, so that men can have greater reproductive control. Men need options for when they accidentally impregnate a woman and she decides to carry a child that he doesn’t want. I agree. Everyone deserves to have the choice whether or not they want to parent.

      When you suggest that the educational system is feminized, I can only assume you’re reinforcing the gender binary, and I find the gender binary to be limiting to both males and females. There are many flaws with the education system, but that it’s feminized is not one of them.

      • Graus

        Unfortunately there are jobs were people skills will only take you this far, there isnt much room for a female touch in a lot of fields demanding physical strength, endurance etc. But to be honest we also dont like the females coming into classical male domains and demanding everything has to change just to suit them. I wouldnt have a problem working with a female who really earned her spot and isnt a bitch about it.
        And no I dont want females in those dangerous, demanding jobs either, because it would endanger them and the men they would be working with. For me those argument is more about the feminist hypocrisy, you always like to point upwards when talking about “male privilege”, while refusing to acknowledge all those men who do all kinds of work most women deem beneath them. There is no glass ceiling, all jobs I ever worked in were more than ready to promote women for a lot less effort than a men would have to show.

        I am talking about nothing binary here but sexist policies directed at boys, I am talking about dumbed-down classes taught overwhelmingly by female teachers, who often show blunt favouritism towards girls, using methods favouring female learning techniques. Boys are much more likely to leave school without a diploma and the vast majority of college graduates are female. Thats not empowerement but a systeming flaw.
        The best solution would be the seperation in schools by sexes, something most feminists would never agree with, since the diploma of boys would probably be more valuable than those of girls.

  • Peter-Andrew: Nolan(c)

    Jasmine,
    you are a moron. This is the book I am giving to young men.

    You might want to read it. I am calling women like you liars and hypocrites in the 99.9% majority.

    http://www.mensbusinessassociation.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=hNKVd0Hr7bU%3d&tabid=753&mid=1703

  • Peter-Andrew: Nolan(c)

    Jasmine,
    “I cannot convince any MRA that feminism isn’t out to get men, or that supporting women’s rights is also good for men. I cannot convince them that feminism is concerned with men’s rights, as well. I’ve tried to have these conversations, to clarify, to elucidate, but to no avail.”

    Perhaps the reason you can not convince us of this is because it is not true. My wife committed the crimes of perjury, kidnapping, extortion, theft and child abuse. 99.9% of women say that is ok. She got 95% of assets. 99.9% of western women say that is ok.

    When ALL men who have been criminally victimised have had our day in court and had the crimes against us remedied THEN we will listen to you and not one minute before.

  • Peter-Andrew: Nolan(c)

    Jasmine SEPTEMBER 3, 2012
    “I am absolutely for equality.”

    Ok. Lets see you PROVE that.

    War dead…currently 98% men
    Workplace dead…currently 93% men.
    Homeless….currently 90% men.
    Incarcerated….currently 90% men.
    Alimony payers….does ANY woman pay alimony other than Britney Spears?
    Child support payers….98% men.

    Get back to me when you have achieve EQUALITY in these 6 categories.

  • Peter-Andrew: Nolan(c)

    Oh..and you might want to read this too.

    http://www.crimesagainstfathers.com/australia/Forums2/tabid/369/forumid/189/threadid/882/scope/posts/Default.aspx

    And watch this video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jL7KT4FkA0c

    Now…I think I have given you enough to explain to you why I claim 99.9% of women like you are liars and hypocrites. There are almost NO women who want “equality” in the west that that I can find. And I have talked to THOUSANDS of them.

    Now…you have your tasks laid out. Stop talking. Get doing.

  • Peter-Andrew: Nolan(c)

    Jasmine SEPTEMBER 3, 2012
    “(and they need to know that intoxication negates consent).”

    So you are prepared to put my ex wife in jail for 10 to 15 because she had sex with me when I was intoxicated and she was not thereby negating consent and raping me?

    Yes or no?

  • Peter-Andrew: Nolan(c)

    So..I see Jasmine has not got any answers for the TRUTH…..colour me surprised.

    • Jasmine

      I have plenty of things that I could bring to this conversation. I choose not to engage with someone who approaches a conversation caustically and using insults. Especially when I get the impression that anything I say will not be received openly, but rather rebutted and twisted into something that was not at all said. I am no ‘dumb broad’.

      • J9

        You are receiving caustic comments because men in the MRM (generally) are pretty p*ssed off and have good reasons to be. I am 36 years old. I used to identify as a feminist. But I have since realized that while I believe in trying to end sexism, feminism as an ideology is one that seeks to end only certain kinds of sexism while reinforcing and even worsening other kinds. I hope that eventually you will reach the same conclusion. You seem like a decent enough person.

  • Peter-Andrew: Nolan(c)

    And here is this dumb broad writing for the good men project….figures.

  • JTC

    I’m just going to say Feminists are not anti male. They just tend to ignore the grievances/opinions of men, and i am not talking about NMVOF (not my version of feminism), i’m talking about foundations, the people who make policy and have money. Go read the dog lizard piece that many Feminists point to, it works both ways.

  • Jasmine,

    While you seem to be genuine in your concern with men’s issues, you are in the minority when it comes to your feminist sistren. Feminists still make fallacious claims regarding such things as the wage gap and the glass ceiling (and many more) as well as refusing to admit to fundamental biological differences that, when ignored, literally put men’s lives in danger. I’ve written about that here: http://www.thedeviantsophist.com/2012/08/irrational-feminism.html

    Furthermore, I don’t think that most feminists are psychologically equipped to cooperate because they aren’t equipped to concede a point. I’m not talking about women, I’m talking about feminists, men or women, who have been so assimilated into this view that anything that deviates from that view is dismissed, regardless of evidence, and the same tired yarns are repeated over and over.

    You wrote: “The rate of false rape claims is about the same as for any other crime.”

    I would like to see the statistics on this. What other crimes are you talking about? Murder? When was the last time someone falsely claimed they were murdered? I think Monty Python missed comedic gold here.

    “This man murdered me not four days ago.”

    “Do you have any proof?”

    “I’ve got the murder weapon right here.” (Turns revealing an obviously fake knife in the back). “He stabbed me until I died.”

    The feminist matriarchy is too hungry for power—this being their real agenda evinced by not seeking equality where women have special treatment—to truly seek cooperation with ~spits~ men. Feminists have the Sidam touch (that’s Midas backwards, because everything they touch turns to poo). Consider Title IX, often praised, but the negative effects of this little gem are frequently overlooked.
    So, if you are genuinely sincere about the advancement of individuals (not a sex or gender or whatever is correct these days), then you should probably start by taking a long hard look at feminism and compare that to what the MRAs are saying. The connection between feminism and the left is undeniable and the left loves faulty statistics. For example, someone I know who works for the DNC said that 10% of the population is gay. Not true at all, which I proved. I later read a Bill Maher quote that repeated the same statistic. ~sigh~

    –The Deviant Sophist

    • Jasmine

      I am a critical thinker, so as a feminist, I critically engage with what feminism means, what it says, and what it’s doing. It is not a monolith, so I am not going to agree with all feminists, all the time, just as they are not going to agree with all of my ideas. That’s just the nature of any movement.

      And here is where I find that I have difficulty communicating with MRAs. There are a few who I have been able to speak with because they don’t come from such an anti-feminist place. Rather, they think critically about those things they feel results in inequality, but do not impute feminism or feminists as a whole. I try to give MRAs the same benefit, by not dismissing the Men’s Rights Movement as a whole, but rather interacting with each individual as I may.

      You say feminists are unable to concede a point, but it has also been my experience that that applies to MRAs, as well. It doesn’t matter what data they are presented with, it doesn’t matter how many times I attempt to empathize and communicate with them, for the most part my conversations with MRAs have been caustic and insulting. One can be concerned with men’s rights and not be so vitriolic. I’m willing to listen, but I’m not willing to be told that I’m a ‘dumb broad’ or that feminists are out to get men. I’ve not let my experience with a few ‘bad’ MRAs taint my impression of the movement as a whole. I do not come to the conversation with nasty words and denigrating MRAs worldview, so I would hope that I would be afforded the same courtesy.

  • FunnyFaceKing

    >”I really want to understand and empathize”

    start by not making assumptions about ‘most Men’s Rights Activists’

    • Jasmine

      I don’t make assumptions about most Men’s Rights Activists. That is a statement based on my experiences. It has been my experience that when interacting with Men’s Right Activists, communication is abrasive and ineffective. Take this thread, for example. I haven’t met any of these individuals, and yet I’ve been called several names. I don’t approach conversations thus.

  • Equal Activist

    Women are half the problem because they commit half of all domestic violence. On anonymous surveys, women admit to initiating domestic violence as often as men, and their reasons are generally not self defense. In fact, women commit domestic violence for the same reasons as men.

    It is actually men who are seen by society as deserving of the violence women commit against them, and feminists often reinforce this perception with the way they portray domestic violence. For example, they erroneously claim that men commit the vast majority of domestic violence, assert that women who are arrested for domestic violence must actually be victims and refer to them as “victim-defendants,” claim that abused men do not need help because they have “male privilege,” etc. In doing so, they actually reinforce the “patriarchal” views they claim to be fighting against.

  • Fantasio

    Peter-Andrew: Nolan you are a delusional loser. I’ve worn dresses with higher IQ’s than you. You suffer from narcissistic personality disorder and are also a sociopath who believes Anders Brievik is a top bloke. Why don’t you do the world a favour and pull the plug … on your internet connection :)

  • Gamerp4

    >”Of course, the posters were taken down, because the message that women are in some way responsible for their own domestic abuse is offensive and more of the same victim blaming that we tend to see so often at the cultural level.”

    The poster were taken down because they were showing the facts and you certainly didn’t understood the theme of the poster that said “Domestic Violence: Women are Half the problems” Kindly tell me if that’s not true? and if that’s true then how come you see as offensive, the theme for this poster is “That women are as responsible for domestic violence against their spouses as men, so yah women are half the problem regarding domestic violence”.

    The funny part is that you took that poster upon yourself and saw women bashing in it, instead if you are so genuine and so sincere to work with MRM activists than you should sincerely believe that Women also initiate violence against Men, Not only you ignore that but you criticize the poster, Kindly tell me hows that gonna bride us MRA’s with feminism, when they don’t want to acknowledge Men who were violated by their women counterparts in domestic relationship.

    And if you truly are concern about men kindly do a protest and wake up some feminist from their slumber fest and address the issues concerned by MRM activists and they are posted in and around the internet.

    The one place where i will direct you is avoiceformen.com but you wont probably go there to understand the real problems concerning men because you felt the message posted by AVFM workers and MRM in general were offensive, kindly tell me what are the statistic of domestic violence in UK and America, if you can? and then relate them to the message posted on the UNIVERSITY wall that “Domestic Violence: Women are Half the problem” maybe then you can equalize 2 + 2 without feeling violated and offended.

    • Gamerp4

      I wanted to write Bridge but i miss typed and the letter g went in the air.

      But i mean that you cannot make a bridge between MRM and Feminism if you sincerely don’t believe that WOMEN ARE HALF THE PROBLEM IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

  • ZimbaZumba

    ‘The term “patriarchy” is not some sort of imputation against all men, identifying them as oppressors of all women.’

    Yes it is.

  • ZimbaZumba

    Jasmine Peterson,
    You are looking at Feminism as a whole through rose colored glasses and the definition of Feminism varies greatly. Feminism’s definition and its reality are different. Feminism is expressed though its most powerful agents, eg NOW, NAWL, AAUW and Academic writers, who rarely have any concern for the plight of Men; to suggest otherwise is disingenous. A plethora of Feminist commentators , websites and many individual feminists also show little concern for men; in fact the opposite is commonly true. This is the face and reality of Feminism experienced by men.

    Suggesting to men that terms like Patriarchy and Rape Culture are somehow not offensive to men, when their context of use is usually exactly that, is naive. The concept that Feminism is for Men’s Rights as well is a very recent invention of Feminism to try to rebrand itself, because of its clear opposition to Egaliatarinism.

    You might be well intentioned and do have the concern for Men you express, but you are rare amongst those who actively label themselves as Feminists. Men are told to “Walk a Mile in Womens Shoes”, perhaps some women should try a mile in mens shoes. Until anti-Male rhetoric and actions cease from the poweful agents of Feminism, then more Egalitarian people like yourself are going to find a less then sympathetic reaction from others to Feminism.

  • Rob

    If you would like to understand MRAs, this might help.

    First of all, not many of them believe women shouldn’t have equal rights with men. However MRAs are concerned about issues accountability, responsibility. When we think “equality” we tend to think about how people can fairly deal with one another.

    To me it seems like very few feminists are interested in the input of men when it comes to discussing how gender relations could be more effective. You referred to a pissing contest about who suffers more. This often seems to be trotted out as a trump card when any male concerns come up. That issue with the posters in Vancouver is a good example of this.

    Second: feminists show little to no gratitude towards men who contributed towards their cause. Male feminists are referred to as feminists writers wonder if men should really be called feminists. They are discarded without a thought if they do anything, even in the past, that can be called into question. Because the notion goes that whatever feminism has received from men is simply their due, there is often the notion that whatever good a man does do for feminism will be given no respect. Yet feminists demand respect for women simply because they are women.

    (continued in next post)

  • Rob

    [continued from previous post]
    Many MRAs have felt burned by their experience with feminism, and trying to have balanced conversations for them has failed, and so by the time you’ve met with them here you’ve found them with no illusion that feminists truly want justice for all.

    Look at the example of the poster in Vancouver: many men have explained what the posters were for. I’ve yet to hear even one feminist say “Oh…well that’s not a bad thing then.”

    In a way you could put it down to a feeling of ingratitude. Men acknowledged the cause of feminism, accepted it, even fought for it. Their reward has generally been to be treated with contempt and dismissal.

    So…why should MRAs trust feminists? You say you would like to talk with and work with MRAs. Why do you want to?

    • Jasmine

      Why do I want to work with MRAs? Because I think, at the core, we’re coming from the same place. Of course, discourse often gets in the way, and sometimes it becomes more of a “we experience more oppression than you do” pissing contest, which isn’t at all helpful. I think that if MRAs want equality and feminists want equality, why not come together toward that common goal? As a feminist it is not my desire to gain more privilege than men. It is to address inequalities – racism, classism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, homophobia, and so on.

  • Chris

    Hi Jasmine
    I have just come onto your article. It is refreshing to hear a feminist to declare “I am a feminist and I am concerned with equality for every human being.”
    You also state that men rights want equality and so does feminism. So whats the problem?

    Well I would welcome the opportunity to debate these issues with you in a civilized manner. However I too have been unbale to have rational conversations with feminists who I believe will simply never see or acknowledge any inequality men face even in the face of strong scientific statisical evidence of inequality. Inequalities by gender in sentencing in the criminial justice sysytem, Services for men in domestic violence, health care services for men especially in mental health, the tolerance for violence against men whether the perpetrators are male or female are just a few I’d like to debate with you. I’m sure there is common ground for shared goals.
    I hope you’re still around

    Chris

    • Jasmine

      Hi Chris,

      I hadn’t come back to this thread in a while (so busy with graduate studies right now), but I really appreciate the invitation to communicate on an equal footing.

      I think that these are important issues that you’ve broached. Interestingly, it was actually feminist scholars who first acknowledged the gap in men accessing health and mental health services. My research always involves a gendered component to suss out where some of these things stem from – it is certainly a systemic issue. As a feminist, it concerns me greatly to see inequalities that anybody faces. These are issues that can and are addressed by feminism.

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  • Kelsey

    Jasmine,
    First, I want to say thank you for keeping so level headed in this thread. It was a bit funny reading your article where it mentions you thus far negative experiences with men’s rights activists only to see the commenters essentially proving your point. That said, I do feel there are some flaws in your article that I really wish to discuss openly with you. Know that I have no interest in attacking you, nor petty insults. Like I said, I appreciate your calm demeanor thus far and I hope you’ll extend that same courtesy to me as I fully intend to do for you.
    A little background, I’m currently undergoing an “identity crisis” of sorts in regards to my feminism. Growing up I always identified as a feminist, or at the very least believed in gender equality. It wasn’t until about a year ago (I’m fresh out of high school so please excuse my naiveté) that I first learned that feminism has such a negative association. I’ve still held my stance, understanding that both sides have some validity to them. There are some who call themselves feminists but seem only concerned with women’s rights to the point of devaluing men, but there are also a great deal of misconceptions and negative assumptions about feminists that makes it hard for a feminist to say anything without being attacked.
    Recently, however, I’ve come across videos and articles claiming that feminism is exclusively a movement for females (though race, religion, and other factors were never brought up, so that’s a plus). This sounded absurd to me as I’ve always understood feminism to be the fight for gender equality. That said, I’m starting to see more and more validity in the oppositions view. In my Sociology of Gender and Sexuality textbook, written by a feminist and in many ways still a great feminist read, it actually defines sexism as the devaluing of women and femininity. I wish I could cite it for you but given I moved over the summer I can’t seem to find some of my books. Any chance we can go with trust from one friend to another on this one? Anyway, this alarms me because its own definition of sexism is sexist. I can understand the intent behind it given that femininity has been proven to be of less value historically across cultures, but I’m no less offended by this.
    Anyway, this week I’d finally had enough of listening to all this talk about feminists being hypocrites and sexists themselves, so I went out on a search to find evidence I could comfort myself with. That search brought me here, but first it took me to Jarrah Hodge’s youtube channel. All seemed well, not great, but well, until I saw her video about whether or not men could be feminists. To me it’s obvious, of course they can be. It’s a political ideology; why wouldn’t we want men to be feminists? Well, her answer surprised me. First, she said yes (at which point I felt like singing “told you so”), but then she went on to say that some female feminists are uncomfortable with the idea. She then goes on to advise men to ask women what they think they should call themselves. This was a hurtful blow to my heart. In a way, she just instructed men to ask permission before joining the team, as if to reverse the privilege and say that men are second class in the feminist movement. The rest of the video also felt on the condescending side (not meant as an insult to her, just how I felt) as she told male audience members how to appropriately be a feminist. It would’ve been one thing if the topic had been about encouraging men into feminism, but it felt like an almost shaming message to men watching.
    This is how I got to Gender-Focus. I wanted to see what her blog, or as I discovered it to be this blog that she happens to be a contributor for, is all about. It took me 10 pages to find an article that talked about men’s rights and equality as an important issue. I refer of course to your article. I was disappointed it took so long to find one, but no less relieved to read your article. However, my biggest concern about your article is that you say you believe in the fight for men’s equality as well, but you never touch on any issues facing men. The poster incident was the closest I feel you came, and even then you seemed more concerned with the admittedly offensive statement than with the possibility of domestic violence against men.
    After reading some of your responses I can see that you are more informed on these issues than you presented in your article. So, I would really appreciate a little conversation on these issues. I apologize for my long-winded comment, but I’m reaching out to my feminist sisters (or brothers if they are present) to help me better understand the feminist community.
    Question 1) What issues do you believe face men today? In what ways do you feel they are less advantaged than women? (I’m not saying they have to out-weigh women’s disadvantages, but they are no less present)
    Question 2) What are your feelings on the draft (more formally known as Selective Service)? Do you believe women should be required to sign up in the same way men are?
    Question 3) Do you know of any good sources on feminism as it benefits both genders? Don’t go on a hunt for me or anything, but if any come to mind I’d love to hear if you had any favorites.
    That’s all for this post. Thank you for suffering through all this, and I sincerely hope to read what you have to say on this.
    Kelsey

    • jarrahpenguin

      Hi Kelsey,

      I’ll make sure Jasmine sees your comment so she can answer too but I did want to respond to your issues with my video. First, thanks a lot for taking the time to read the blog and comment so thoroughly. I really do appreciate your feedback. Just so you understand a bit more where I am coming from with the videos, they’re really designed to be sort of Feminism 101, so I limit them to around 2 minutes and try to hit key points while still leaving room for dialogue. I would love if you would comment about your reservations on the YouTube page as well because I think it’s valid feedback and I’d be interested to hear from any male viewers who felt the same way.

      The issue I was trying to balance was the no-brainer that men can be strong supporters of gender equality, and therefore feminist, with the concerns I’ve heard from some women feminists who feel that it takes a bit of work and thought for some men to understand the gender oppression that women face. I see it as similar to my work as an LGBT ally: it requires me checking my privilege and really trying to listen and empathize, realizing that I haven’t experienced oppression the same way. It doesn’t mean I don’t have a place – on the contrary in some ways it’s more incumbent upon me to speak out and challenge the inequality I see around me. The same goes for men who are feminists. Their contributions are essential to the movement going forward, and any final dismantling of a gender binary will require hearing and addressing issues men experience like the pressure to not be feminine (in dress, toys, sports, makeup, hair, behaviour), which is very tied in with homophobia. There’s also the issue of the pressure to hide emotions and demonstrate manliness through violence and sexual conquest, which is destructive to men and women.

      I’m not trying to give out feminist ID cards or say who is or isn’t a good or bad feminist, just suggest to people who come from a place of privilege (as I do with my race, class, and sexuality) that they really reflect on that as they participate in the feminist movement.

      I don’t know if that helps at all but just thought I’d let you know my thinking. I also wanted to just touch on a couple of your other questions. On the draft thing, this is not something I’d heard raised before posting on YouTube, maybe because I’m in Canada where women in the military serve in front-line roles and it hasn’t been such an issue of public debate as in the US. I personally don’t believe in the draft for anyone but if I was in charge and something really unlikely occurred where I was forced to institute a draft, I don’t think there’s any reason for it to be gender-based. I also support the fight of women in countries like the States to have the same military career opportunities as their male counterparts, free of sexual harassment and assault (See “Female soldiers fight Pentagon in court for combat positions” in Stars and Stripes Oct. 16 by David Zucchino for more on women who want to take on the extra risk in order to gain the same career advancement options). Dealing with those inequalities and helping change military culture to be more accepting of women service members would go a long way to spreading out the risk if there ever was a conscription situation.

      Jasmine also writes for the Good Men Project so she probably knows of more sources that look directly at feminism’s impacts on men, but I did just pick up Michael Kimmel and Michael Kaufman’s book The Guy’s Guide to Feminism, which I’ve heard recommended from a few guys I know. I gather it’s a fairly basic but good overview for guys who are interested in feminism.

      Oh and just before I go (I get really excited to have this kind of more nuanced discussion) on the issue of how much of our content deals with men’s issues – I have had men contributors in the past and if you know any feminist of any gender who wants to submit something on men’s gender issues, just drop me an email (contact on the Write For Us page). A couple more posts just off the top of my head that you might be interested in are: commentary by Taylor on While the Men Watch, Matilda’s analysis of the idea of having “Men Showers” for soon-to-be grooms, and panel around the creation of an SFU Men’s Resource Centre.

      Ok I’ll leave it at that and say again thanks for your thoughtful comment and I’ll make sure Jasmine sees it too so she can add her two cents.

      • Kelsey

        Jarrah,
        Thank you so much for taking my words as they were. I always worry that I might come off as rude or insensitive, and when I wrote about your videos I was hoping not to leave the impression that they were “bad” or “wrong” or anything so petty. I’m glad to know that my words were received well and I’ll be sure to comment on the videos themselves.
        I also appreciate reading where you were coming from. I’m new to this blog so if there was an introductory post about your videos I confess I haven’t read it, but you explaining that they’re meant to be quick answers to questions gives a good perspective for me. No message can be explained to everyone in the same way, so I can only imagine the work that goes into checking for clarity as it is. I myself just skip that process and insert a million explanatory and apologetic clauses into my writing, but I suppose that’s not an option in a 2-minute video.
        Also, your analogy about being an LGBT ally but recognizing where there can be a need for understanding due to unshared experience makes a lot of sense. I actually had a similar conversation with my cousin on the issue of whether or not to include A for ally in the acronym. One, as a member of the LGBT community I feel less reservation in saying it’s already a long acronym, I’m not sure I could handle many more letters as it is. Two, the acronym was meant to describe the community of people that share experiences with homophobia and atypical gender behavior, and while I love our allies dearly I don’t understand how A fits into this acronym. That said, if there were a term for people who believe people of the LGBT community deserve equal rights I wouldn’t see any reason to give _____ to them while calling allies pro-____, but you do make a good point and it’s one I might have to think over more the next couple days.
        While I’m at this, thank you for your thoughts on my questions. I always enjoy a good open conversation on such subjects so if you don’t mind I’ll present my side (though it parallels yours in many ways still). I agree that the Selective Service is a flawed system as a whole and I envy Canada for not enforcing such a law. However, for the sake of women in America I think it would be to our benefit to fight for inclusion under the Selective Service requirements. The biggest complaint I see from those attacking feminists is that we want all the rights without any of the responsibility. Don’t get me wrong, I’d soon see a dentist for a root-canal than go to war, but I think the fight could do one of two things. It could 1) prove that we have every intention of being as a equally responsible as we do of being equal, or 2) ideally disband the outdated system altogether. The sexism is there anyway, would it be so wrong to use it to our gain just this once? ;)
        I’m not sure I really even need to state my support for women in the military career wise, but while on this subject, well, I support it. I feel a little proud of how short I kept that.
        I’ll be sure to check out this book as well as the other blog posts. Thank you again for your response as well as your help. It was a lovely read and I’d love to compare notes again in the future. It gets tiring reading angry and irrational commentaries, so I really enjoyed what you had to say.
        Kelsey

        • jarrahpenguin

          Let’s absolutely keep comparing notes. Constructive dialogue FTW!

    • Jasmine

      Hi Kelsey,

      Thank you so much for your very well-thought and well-articulated comment. I greatly appreciate opening up respectful dialogue on these issues.

      Firstly, I want to respond to your concerns about men’s place in feminism (although Jarrah seems to have said much of what I would say on the issue). I think that men not only CAN be feminist, but that the feminist movement NEEDS men. I absolutely love every feminist man in my life, and appreciate their contribution to the movement. For me, feminism is about equality and addressing oppression where it exists, so we take all kinds. Without the perspectives of a number of groups, we cannot hope to address the issues that those groups are also faced with. I can read about and be sensitive to issues that men face, but I also sometimes need to hear from men what it is they’re experiencing, because their experiences will be different from mine.

      I really appreciate your critical engagement with the feminist movement and with feminist literature – this is what the movement needs (as any movement does). Critically engaging is essential. I am staunchly feminist, but it doesn’t mean that I agree with every feminist, or that I think that there are not problems with feminism. For example, what you’ve described in this text IS concerning to me – that is not the definition of sexism. I can only hope that this is an outdated text (although I fear that it is not). But I think that you have noticed this and are calling it out for what it is – sexist in itself – is an important part of what being a feminist is. This is something that concerns me as a feminist, as well. The first article I ever wrote for Gender Focus was about the redefining of rape in the US, and how it still excludes male victims of female assaulters. Our words are important, and when we use language that excludes males, or that blames males, we’re doing a disservice to men and to feminism.

      In regards to your concern about my lack of attention to specific men’s issues in this article, you are right. I didn’t get into it a great deal. However, I do spend a great deal of time discussing men’s issues in my daily life, in my research, and in my writing (or I try to). I often talk about how patriarchy is harmful to men (because many have complained that patriarchy is an imputation against all men, which it is absolutely not; it’s about a structure that disadvantages both men and women). The ways in which men are negatively impacted? Constructions of masculinity limit men in a number of ways – the encouragement to inhibit emotionality, the construction of men and fatherhood – with fathers often constructed as a secondary parent, the ‘tough guy’ complex which leads men to visit the doctor less than females, or the fact that men are far more likely to die in the workplace because they take on more dangerous jobs and take more risks… These are just a few of the ways in which men are disadvantaged by patriarchy and current constructions of men and masculinity. (I guess this also answers your Question 1?). :)

      Question 2 – I am rather anti-militaristic, so I think the draft is a dreadful thing in and of itself, without the gendered implications. I think that it is inherently sexist to say that only men should be required to enlist. But then, I think that many of the jobs that are predominantly filled by men are also set up in ways that are sexist; men tend to be larger and have higher muscle mass than women, so it makes them suited for certain types of work only because such jobs are created to utilize those features. However, if the way we thought of certain jobs was reconceptualized to include features that women also possess, we might see more equality in terms of the types of jobs men and women take on. (If that makes sense; I feel as though I’ve not articulated my thoughts here well).

      Question 3 – I cannot really think of anything off the top of my head, really. My friend Jeff is a brilliant feminist and does a lot of work around men and masculinity and healthy constructions of what it means to be a man. He organizes the What Makes a Man conference at Ryerson University, and does a lot of work with the White Ribbon Campaign. I also really like Carlos Andres Gomez, a spoken word artist, who performs and writes about masculinity. The Good Men Project often has a lot of important discussions, as well. :)

      I hope I’ve answered your questions sufficiently. And I thank you again for your reflective questions and respectful approach!

      • Jasmine

        Sorry, I am tired. I should clarify, my feminist friend’s name is Jeff Perera, and he is creator of Higher Unlearning:
        http://higherunlearning.com/

        There are some great conversations that go on, there.

        Also, another issue that concerns me in terms of men’s equality is the fact that boys and men are now falling behind in school. Why is this happening and what can we do about it? I think this is as much a feminist issue as is objectification of women (or the increasingly common objectification of men).

        I think part of the problem is that feminism isn’t a monolith, so there are bound to be feminists who base their feminist identity in a negative view of men, but it is important to acknowledge that not only is this not every feminist, it isn’t even representative of the majority of feminists. But what often happens is that feminism becomes defined by the extremes. It’s not actually a fair representation of what feminists are doing or what the movement stands for.

        • Kelsey

          Jasmine,
          I really appreciate knowing that there are other feminists who are concerned about both genders, so thank you for not only doing the work you do, but for taking the time to share your insights with me. Let me add that after having more time to explore Gender-Focus, for instance one of the articles Jarrah suggested for me, I was already seeing how clear it is that you see the issues from more than one view. In particular I noticed your response in the article about the Men’s Resource Centre at SFU and it seems to me that you were even more sympathetic than I was upon reading about it. It’s not that I don’t agree with it in theory, but after hearing about stories where students have pushed for “White Student Unions” which upon further review tend to result in White Supremacy groups, I feared that a Men’s Resource Centre might just turn into a group promoting masculinity as a social construct and fighting feminist efforts to unravel those gender roles.
          You clearly are well informed on men’s issues, and I have say I reread this article and feel I should apologize for reading into these lack of specificity as a fault. At the time I read it I was, as I mentioned, looking through videos and blogs by feminists to sort of settle doubts in my mind that I had the wrong idea of the feminist community in general. So, when I read this I worried this could be an example of what those opposing feminism have discussed: that feminists, even if they ‘say’ they are for equal rights don’t seem to actually care about men or their place in society. Reading it again, it occurs to me that you were simply sticking to your topic of why you can’t seem to work with MRAs. In that respect, you could’ve written even less and then just allowed the comments to rest your case, but kudos to you for trying. :)
          I do think you should’ve included some specific examples in the article as a show of reaching out to the other side still. That said, your list here alone should suffice for that, and your comments on other responses proved to me you were informed even before this (I asked still mostly to know your thoughts instead of just your response to others’ thoughts, so sorry if my asking sounds redundant, that wasn’t my plan…).
          You raise an interesting point with reconstructing views on jobs though. It can be really hard to view things without being influenced by your current views, so that would be a challenging task, but I’d love to see this in action. One thing I’ve always tried to explain is that feminism isn’t about pretend males and females have no differences. Not only are there clear and fundamental biological differences, but there very well may be some root psychological differences as well. The point is to not enforce these differences on the exceptions. I’m not saying any woman can be just as strong as any man, that doesn’t seem to be a current biological possibility (though there are always steroids!). However, a strong woman shouldn’t be rejected from an opportunity simply because she would likely be stronger if she were born a man (or I suppose even if she transitioned into a man based on the effects I’ve seen of hormone therapy on some of my transgender friends). Oh, and yes, what you said makes sense, or at least I think it does. If it doesn’t, it made a different kind of sense, though that’s dangerous as well given we’d practically be speaking different languages at that point. Either way, communication happened!
          I’ll definitely take a look at the Good Men Project. I’ve seen a little bit of it before, but I’m pretty sure it was only an article a friend of mine shared on facebook. That said, I’m probably going to check out Carlos Andres Gomez first, simply because I LOVE when I can get the information without reading (learning disabilities: what can you do?). As for your concern with boys and men falling behind in schools, I think it has to do with an unintentional side-effect of improving views of girls in children’s television. As a way of promoting successful girls while limiting themselves to the notion that boys won’t identify with shows featuring a female lead, the girls tend to fall into the standard smart role of a group. On the one hand, it has done a great job of showing boys that girls have just as much to offer. On the other hand, they never seem to mix it up beyond that, so rather than just showing that girls can hold that same smart role, they’ve unintentionally made it girls have taken that role from boys, leaving the impression that boys aren’t suppose to fill it. This may just be my view given my experience though. Since I’ve already out-ed myself as being in the LGBT community in response to Jarrah, I might as well specify that I fall under the T category. This is where my passion for gender equality stems from, and after being forced to grow up in the male gender role I’ve got to say that while I don’t feel my teachers did this, my peers definitely seemed to enforce the idea that girls are smarter while boys are stronger (and if it’s said on the playground, it’s practically law).
          Thank you so much for responding to me and answering all my questions. It saddens me though that you’d even think to thank me for being respectful in discussing this. I don’t know, to me the first goal should always be understanding. Well, that and I do seem to get a small high off of discussions over these things, but understanding is definitely a good 90% of it. :)
          Oh, and sorry again for my continued essay length comments. I seem to be developing a habit…

          • Jasmine

            I can definitely appreciate where your concerns are coming from. I often hear these criticisms of feminism from those who are suspicious of the feminist movement. I really do think that men’s rights are heavily tied into women’s rights. All of the ‘isms’ that feminism concerns itself with are related to equality, regardless of gender.

            Sorry for my delay in responding. I am a graduate student and end of term is hectic!

            I wrote this article because I think that there is a lot of common ground between the fundamental goals of feminism and men’s rights. Feminists don’t want to squash men’s freedom; we, in fact, want to help them to live freer lives. I find that what tends to happen is that MRAs get defensive in talking with feminists because they misconstrue some of the key words that are used. For example, imputations against patriarchy as a system that oppresses (males and females) are often taken as an imputation against men. Also, discussions around privilege become heated because of the difficulty in acknowledging one’s own privilege. And, again, what seems to occur is that MRAs think privilege is an accusation against them personally as human beings and not against the system that has afforded them advantages. And of course, females can hold privilege, too. Acknowledging it, however, leads to either ignoring that you’ve got it and continuing to take advantage, or mitigating it wherever possible. So I understand why MRAs remain mistrustful of me, and of feminism, but I can only continue to advocate for gender equality and hope that that is the goal of MRAs as well. :)

  • Swirly

    I usually look forward to comments on this blog, so seeing so many ad hominems and insults being thrown around is discouraging.

    This is my first exposure to MRM and I’m not impressed.

  • Kelsey

    (In response to Jasmine’s post November 26th, 2012. Apparently we’ve run out of replies… sorry)
    No worries on the delay. I’m fighting to keep up with my classes as an undergrad so I can only imagine what’s on your plate.
    One thing that also concerns me is that, like feminists, not all MRAs seem to agree on what they want. The general idea seems to be equality, but I’ve noticed many don’t just hate feminism because they think it’s for women, only women, and seeks to shift power to a matriarchy, but also because of how feminism is affecting the male gender role. I’ve hear men say they don’t “mind” if a woman wants to have a job, but somebody’s got to take care of the kids and feminists don’t seem to care. Personally, I prefer the idea of a stay at home parent, but whether or not it’s the man or the woman should be subjective to the individual couple’s choice. That said, this still doesn’t seem to be right to some MRAs I’ve heard who claim they don’t “mind” women wanting to take on masculine roles, but they have a problem with feminists trying to feminize men. This confuses me because you would think anyone who views sexism as an issue would object to the idea that men can’t be feminine just as much as to the idea that women can’t be masculine. Not only that, but I would assume that anyone advocating men’s rights would be advocating a man’s right to be the nurturing caregiver just like a woman can be, but it becomes apparent to me that some (not all) MRAs view the fight for equality as a need to backtrack or counter feminism, as if gender equality was something we had before feminism. Again, this confuses me.
    I mentioned that textbook with the sexist definition of sexism, and while I still can’t find the book, it occurred to me that I wrote two papers in which I cited it. For the record, as much as I love discussing, debating, and ultimately understanding, I’ve not once claimed to be intelligent. lol Anyway, the book was “Gender Roles: A Sociological Perspective” and it was written by Linda L. Lindsey. As informative as this is for a general overview of gender roles and inequalities, there were many cases that concerned me. She talked about Sparta, for instance, and how women, though better off there than in Athens, were treated like property and overall lost many rights as they were forced into their female roles upon the age of motherhood. As true as this was, she spent multiple paragraphs discussing women’s inequalities while only briefly passing over the expectations men were held to. There was one sentence explaining that when boys were born, if they showed signs of weakness, they were killed. I was personally offended by the way she so swiftly moved on after saying this. I don’t care what gender is involved, you shouldn’t be able to speak about killing babies in such a nonchalant way.
    There should really be a convention or something where feminists and MRAs can sort this out (and by “a” convention, I mean something annual because one will never be enough). For instance, your point about the discomfort in discussing privilege. It’s important to be able to admit that one is born with certain privileges in this society that others aren’t afforded, but it does need to be clear that this isn’t a judgment or to say that one should feel guilt or shame for having it. The fact is that there are male privileges that come from being in a patriarchy, but even those are subjective. Male privilege only benefits those who abide by the expectations of a male, with some more consistent exceptions. Also, MRAs should know that feminists are denying that some privileges come from being female (or at least I hope most feminists understand this). So your right, you would think we could all just work together. I’d like to see that. I personally think male feminists are vital given that female feminists are so often dismissed as if to say “of course you, a woman, would think life’s unfair for women”, where as male feminists prove that these are legitimate issues and not just biased complaints. It’s this same principle that I think could help MRAs if they’re willing to work with feminists. There seems to be a popular consensus that women indefinitely have it worse, even going so far as to ignore the subjectivity of any benefit or disadvantage, so if a feminist, someone who clearly thinks women deserve more equality than what’s being “given” to us is willing to stand by an MRA and say men deserve more equality as well, I think that would be a much more powerful statement.
    I’d apologize for another lengthy response, but I feel it’d look like I’m lying since I continue to do this. Once again though, there’s no concern to me how long you take to respond. I’m mostly just happy you’re willing to discuss this with me in the first place. Still, I’m now following this blog anyway so again, no worries about time. That said, just tell me if you’re done with this conversation. I’m not easily offended, so I’ll just thank you for your time and look forward to the next thought provoking post. Thanks again. :D

    • Libra

      I find your confusion on how men view masculinity and femininity fascinating. Naturally men and women can be feminine or masculine. Perhaps because I come from different culture correlation between the two and close ties with gender roles and patriarchy is a subject of extreme personal interest. Gender roles, masculinity, femininity and heterosexual attraction is a rubiks cube that just does not want to get solved. Every time I come close there are some fact that throws everything off.

      So far the only conclusion I’ve came to is that masculinity and femininity are not skin deep. Confusion of my own is relationship between masculinity, femininity and gender roles. They are obviously mutually influenced but what influence what and to what degree. Gender roles are seem to be social construct but masculinity, femininity can not be attributed to society because of attraction. PUAs reinforce that notion with faking traditional masculinity to attract women. (Assholes and attractive women theory) Throw codependency and patriarchy in there and whole thing is a mess.

      Suppose there are no ties and who we find attractive is a subconscious drive to fulfill social norms. This explanation would throw common notions of biological differences, prime directives and human mating season (love) into chaos. It also can not be strictly biological because that would negate dating rituals, culture and anthropological development.

      I would be happy to agree that masculinity and femininity are social constructs, this would solve everything but this would mean heterosexual romantic attraction are social construct as well and that’s just ridicules. If masculinity and femininity stems strictly from hormones this would render any gender theory useless. I suppose I’m having trouble with this is because there are no rational explanation for attraction. It’s a foolish emotional/animal drive to procreate.

      I realize this is somewhat irrelevant to subject matter but I think you can give a valid input on the matter.

  • The animosity between feminism and the MRM is not something which erupted from a vacuum, spurred only by attitude and misconception. It’s the result of a long-standing and deep-running conflict caused by incompatibilities within the movements.

    First, feminist ideology blames the issues the movement claims, and upon which their advocacy is based, on men. Everything from childbirth to gender roles to the natural results of one’s life choices is based on discrimination as an effect of a phantom system of patriarchy.

    Second, feminist advocates have actively lobbied for law and policy in the western world which mandates human rights violations against men, such as infringement upon due process rights, and discriminatory treatment in family court.

    MRAs are fully aware of the causative contribution of feminism to the many of the issues the MRM exists to address. They are not suddenly just going to ignore the history of anti-male feminism simply because 3rd wave feminists are now crying “Can’t we all just get along?” You’re going to have to actually DO something to prove yourself to them. Take action, the same type your predecessors have, but in a direction of true equality. I dare you to lobby American federal legislators to replace VAWA with a gender-neutral law.

    http://breakingtheglasses.blogspot.com/2012/10/cant-we-all-just-get-along.html

  • Adam

    Jasmine, you say you’re against sexism and that Feminism is not anti-male, then you say that the AVFM posters that said “women are half the problem” in domestic violence is wrong because it blames women for their abuse… You just showed your sexism right there. You automatically assume that all domestic violence is male on female, and never (or rarely) the other way around. Many studies have shown that it’s roughly 50/50 between the genders. That’s what the posters were about. Male DV victims get no help or support whatsoever. Feminist-run DV shelters turn them away. This sexism towards men is why Feminists and the MRM can’t work together.

    • Kelsey

      “In either case, it’s neither accurate, nor a productive contribution to the conversation about men’s or women’s rights. That doesn’t mean I think that there aren’t issues with how domestic violence against men is treated, or that men don’t also suffer domestic abuse. But in order to address these issues, we need to address the social and cultural discourses which contribute to them, rather than pointing fingers and laying blame. It’s just not productive.”
      She didn’t say that it’s rare, and made a point to say it’s an issue. Based on her saying it’s either offensive or innaccurate, it’s implied she has information suggesting a less equal balance (not that a 50/50 balance is the equality we’re shooting towards here). Would you be willing to specify a source study that indicates a 50/50 ratio? It’d be very appreciated. :)
      One other thing that concerns me is when you say “Feminist-run DV shelters turn [men] away.” I’ve not personally heard of a specifically feminist-run domestic violence shelter. I’ve heard of many being specifically for women, and I think that’s a great issue for discussing, but an organization being speicifically for women doesn’t make it a feminist organization. I don’t think any feminists are trying to take credit for Curves gyms (also female only) for instance. Again, if there’s a specific example you can provide to the contrary please do.
      Out of curiousity, what’s your intended solution for domestic violence shelters that turn men away? Do you think they should be coed, do you think they should have brother shelters near by, or something else perhaps? This is a controversial issue for a reason. The fear with allowing men into women’s shelters is usually centered around rape. No one’s trying to say that men are all rapists or should be assumed guilty until proven innocent, but they’re trying to provide a safe-space where the possibility simply doesn’t exist given what the victims in the shelter had just been through. While I personally view this as an unfair and thus unjustified reason and therefore think shelters shouldn’t discriminate, I think it’s important to understand both sides. If you were to argue that brother shelters should be in place, I think to do so would ignore the greater issue. Not only are men given less assistance, but men are also less likely to seek it. So, a brother shelter may have trouble maintaining funds and its facilities if it’s not being called upon by enough men in need of assistance.
      Jasmine suggested that we need to adress the bigger social and cultural issues surrounding this problem in order to come to a solution, and I think there’s a strong case for that. A big part of the problem is the perception that men are physically superior and therefore near immune to a woman’s attack. Even worse, some blame male victims, saying that shouldn’t have been so weak in the first place. Because of this view, women are given a sort of green light when it comes to hitting men. It’s so much that women feel entitled to harm men, but they aren’t given the same negative reinforcement that men are given. In fact, some parents will be happy to see their daughter beat up a boy under the idea that she needs to be able to protect herself. This is a view that needs to be changed.
      Personally, this is why I have mixed feelings about the “End Violence Against Women” campaign. On the one hand, I think the message is sexist and that it should be “End Domestic Violence”. However, the two messages have different impacts on the average ear. Saying “End Domestic Violence” to most makes it sound like a problem somewhere else, given that Domestic Violence isn’t the most common of phrases. Also, one of the issues feminism is fighting is the dehumanization of women in the public perception. It’s not to say that we think men believe women aren’t human, in fact women are often just as guilty of objectifying other women, but in that objectification from people as a whole there becomes a distorted view that women are some sort of an “other” in the spectrum of humans. So when we say “Mankind” or “One small step for Man”, though we know women are supposed to be included in that, they’re sort of made out to be a subset of the category. That’s the only reason I’m not completely opposed to “End Violence Against Women”. I think we need to come up with something better, but in the meantime we need to get the message across so that people, men and women, will both conciously AND subconciously perceive women to be included (while finding away to keep men included).
      Just curious, do you have any thoughts on that issue too?

  • Rob

    I think one of the problems is that men seem to only be accepted by feminists if they are essentially subservient, not equal. Advocates of mens’ rights such as Warren Farrell, the writers at the Good Men Project and other men who have openly acknowledged the concerns of feminism while at the same time presenting concerns on the part of men seem to be consistently shunned, regarded with deep suspicion and attacked online as being misogynistic. There are popular feminist websites where the writers have stated that men should neither be leaders within the feminist movement nor should they do anything other than advocate on the part of feminism. In fact there seems to be no way for a male feminist to exist without almost entirely diminishing himself to speaking only about how bad the patriarchy is from the sidelines and making sure he helps fund and showcase female feminists.

    Then there is the general discussion of abuse: feminists ignoring statistics on female abusers of men and children and therefore insistence on focusing almost entirely on women as victims. Consider this: statistics on abuse within lesbian couples are rarely mentioned and discussion of the issue is rarely if ever seen. Bringing up the fact that most ads and posters about abuse show the typical abusive man and victimized women and children victimized by men doesn’t really help.

    You mentioned privilege. I think that when MRAs bring up female privilege it can be complicated. Some MRAs bring this up as a way of saying ‘we don’t need feminism, so let’s not discuss it.’ However it is also brought up in order to point out that if male privilege is a problem, so is female privilege. It sometimes comes across as being that feminists want protectiveness towards women—ie chivalry—without offering the benefits of being chivalrous. (ie being respected and honoured for doing it) It seems to me that among equals honour and fairness should be of benefit to both parties.

    One issue that is of concern is ethical behaviour: when discussing such issues as false claims of rape or abuse, there tends to be an emotionally charged defensive reaction, suggesting that MRMs are generally talking about how overall if women are talking about rape they must be lying, for example. And a problem is that there are enough MRAs who at least seem to be suggesting this that I can see why some feminists might just be defensive about it, but in fact I find that on average MRAs are frankly concerned that the feminist approach towards rape and abuse has come to be used at least partly as a means to control men. It is deeply dismaying to be falsely accused, but feminists seem to be saying that it just about never happens and so it is not a concern, and if it is—why just prove you didn’t do anything, and you’ll be fine! It seems as though it is not possible to be both sympathetic towards victims who were not believed and victims of false accusation.

    There is also the concern that men are being urged to be more open, kind and sensitive, without any real benefit for doing so. There are a number of problems with this. First of all, obviously a person cannot be that way all the time. There are a lot of times in life when you have to be coldly rational, determined, and to have the attitude that after hearing criticism you need to soldier on with what needs to be done. But more importantly, after nearly 50 years of what we could call modern feminism, there is still the sense that women are tired of dealing with mens’ crap. So as I said at the start, a man going into a feminist space is likely to be warned that he shouldn’t talk too much about men or mens’ stuff there, because it’s a feminist space. So…that gives the strong impression that feminism is not really for men.

    I have read and heard some feminists saying of any issue brought up that concerns men that they feel that they have to spend 50% of their time dealing with mens’ issues. Which is interesting—then how much time should men spend dealing with women’s issues? Is feminism actually supposed to help male and female get along and understand one another better, or not? With the attitude that women have had it so bad for so long that they don’t need to be accountable to men for anything—how can it be expected that any trust can be built when there is this attitude that men should be held accountable towards women but women should not be held accountable towards men?

    It seems to me that while feminism did a very thorough job of questioning the roles for men and women that it has not done such a good job of proposing alternatives other than to remove obstacles towards women being independent and successful. What it seems to have done is to have persuaded our society generally to give women certain kinds of protected status, and given men different penalties for violating this protected status. And I think this will continue to be a confused and occasionally static issue until men and women can honestly talk about it.

    I think that feminists need to understand that when men who are struggling for understanding of gender and society have no real alternative within feminism that they will turn to other things—conservatism is a good example. Conservatism and religion often give very clear roles to men; even if you don’t like them you can be a good soldier as it were and tough it out, and feel that you are at least doing some good. I have heard feminists (particularly male feminists) say that men shouldn’t expect any reward for helping feminism. I disagree with this. Even if all you do is help a friend move, his thanks is heart warming and encourages you to do it again, and implies that if you were in the same position that he would help you.. In fact ally doesn’t mean that only one side benefits—it has come to mean that for some reason in ideological groups but in fact allies are meant to help one another, protect one another, benefit one another. Unless feminists generally understand this they will continue to lose potential male allies.

  • John Bitme

    “Of course, the posters were taken down, because the message that women are in some way responsible for their own domestic abuse is offensive and more of the same victim blaming that we tend to see so often at the cultural level.”

    Sigh. Here’s a hint: lesbian couples show more domestic violence cases than gay couples. Go look it up.

    This is why MRMs are so frustrated with feminists. Tropes like victim blaming are trotted out to shut down discussion, while completely ignoring the facts. Why are there Women’s Studies instead of Gender Studies? Why are there Women’s Shelters but not men’s?

    Here’s my own theory. Feminism is not a movement. It’s a permanent condition of human society, that always treats women as more valuable than men. Men were sent off to die in war while it was “women and children first”. Look at the survivor rates of the Titanic: 80% of the people on board were men. 80% of the survivors were women, in all passenger classes.

    In a world without birth control, without modern medicine, where food is scarce, it is a very appealing prospect for a woman to stay home and have a husband provide for her. Modern feminists look back at history and assume that none of those women had a say in their lives, but that all the men did. The truth is far more nuanced. But of course, this is reduced to the tired trope of “Patriarchy hurts men too!”.

    Here’s the actual truth: men show more variance than women, on a variety of statistics. There are more intelligent men than women, but also more dumb men than women. Women are simply more clustered around the average, this is a measurable fact.

    As a result, it is expected that the people at the bottom of society are going to be mostly men. They do the dirty jobs that nobody wants, they are the majority of homeless, they are the majority of prison convicts. And lo and behold: despite seeing themselves as champions of “equality”, I’ve never heard a feminist decry this situation as unacceptable. Instead, excuses are made for why men are naturally expected to be like this.

    Meanwhile, at the other end, the people who are paid the most, the scientists, the doctors, the engineers, are mostly men too. That is to be expected, if the bell curve for men stretches further. Despite now decades of goading them into signing up, women still universally avoid STEM fields. A gender ratio of 1:4 is considered good for a first year engineering class. But somehow, this is not enough for feminists. There must be equality!

    The hypocrisy is painfully obvious, and many of us are tired of it.

  • Jane

    Hey, I’ve read through most of this but not all of it yet. I wanted to go ahead and join in though.

    I suppose I could call myself a feminist, idk…I started getting involved with it but it wasn’t at all how I expected.

    I have a baby brother and many male friends I adore, I’d also like to have a son one day and I just wouldn’t be comfortable having them around most feminist.
    I expected it to be about equality but I hate the way men are treated as well as people of different races, classes, etc…

    I firmly believe that if one has a valid opinion then that’s it, so why shouldn’t a male be able to have an equal say in feminism or a white person have an equal opinion on an issue affected poc?
    It doesn’t seem fair

    I hate how much privilege is talked about to, for every up there is a down.
    I’d love to learn more about the MRA but I’ve been rejected without reason to any group I’ve attemptedto join :(
    I guess that’s understandable though, but I would love to know of any open places where I could ask questions and learn more abpit the issues men face.

    I’ve talked a great deal about male rape, what say they should have in abortion and whether or not they want to be faters etc…, unfair expectations, and the like only to see it ignored.

    Though if I speak about the same issues only how they involve women then there are tons of responses and outrage.

    Sorry btw, I’m typing on my phone.

    I’d also like to hear from other feminist who actualy see this and want it to change too, I’d love for feminism to reformed into somethings that’s positive and inclusive.

    I think some feminist have changed feminism into something harmful and I worry about how it might affect young boys raised in that environment. How will they see their voice, will they view themselves second to women, are they going to feel guilty for expressing their concerns and feelings?

    I see many kidd says “the poor menz” and it seems hypocritical since they complain about others being dismissive.

    It’s just sad and disheartening to see how men are treated and see how feminist men always bow down to women and considr their own opinion less valuable.

  • Jane

    Yikes, sorry again about the misspelling and such, my phone is such a pain.

    I just also wanted to say that when the poster was mentioned the first thing I thought of was women who commit domestic violence too.
    I didn’t see it as victim blaming but I could see how many feminist would. It seems that many tend to victimize themselves, I don’t think it’s purposely for many but just this mentality they’re having trouble escaping.

    I have quite a few opinions on why that is ad well if anyone would be interested in discussing this.

  • Libra

    I truly appreciate your noble intentions. You can never accuse a feminist or MRA of being selfish. We both are fighting for common good. Our approach is different because we are different. That is the essence of the problem with communication. Please forgive the uneducated few who can not maintain civil conversation. MRM as a movement does not support any form of abuse or violence.

    As I’ve said we are different and so is our approach. I think it is imperative to maintain emotional detachment. Feelings usually conflict with facts. MRAs see patriarchal culture or more accurately traditional masculinity as oppressive to men but will react negatively if there is an attack on it. Common feminist teaching tie patriarchy to male privilege. From some perspective it’s true however I personally disagree that patriarchy is social institution. Patriarchy is intimately tied to masculinity. I also believe that unlike gender roles masculinity and femininity isn’t culturally or socially based. It is more of a biological reflection. Existence of trans-gendered people supports this theory. More study is needed on the subject.

    Based on this I see feminist efforts to destroy patriarchy as futile. Bluntly put, it is male nature to protect and conquer. Despite the best intentions attack on patriarchy is viewed as attack on masculinity. Men need to define their own masculinity standards. I also personally support more naturalistic approach to gender relations. I support chivalry and some traditional courtship elements because I find them essential for attraction. Naturally it is reserved for select few and I don’t run around opening doors. This puts me at odds with MRAs, some feminists and most specifically with MGTOW.

    Yes I do agree that sexism within feminist ranks has propelled MRM exponentially but I wouldn’t attribute it to that fact alone. Dworkin wrote her misandry long time ago and men didn’t react as fiercely. As long as there are wide feminist support for someone who glorifies rape, demonize male sexuality and pornography I do not see a common ground. We’re very different and our ideologies conflict. It is sad but it’s a fact. As much as I hate to admit it, perhaps we’re not meant to be equal.

    Oh and BTW Feminism ends with -ism

  • Rob

    @ Jane: I would like to hear your opinions on why you think some feminists have trouble escaping the mentality that holding women to be accountable for certain bad behaviours (abuse of men/boys for example) as victim blaming or other negative things.

    @ Libra: I think that it should do no harm to admit that men and women are in some ways quite different as long as we treat one another justly.

  • SPH

    Hi Jasmine, well done for keeping a clear head and debating in a mature fashion, even when certain people seemed to have posted simply to insult you, rather than engage in constructive discussion.

    However I think you need to understand why the very mention, of words like “feminism” or “patriarchy” are going to rile, people who are involved with the MRM.

    Firstly, some feminists do hate men. This is a fact you can’t deny it. I’m sure you are aware of some of the things that people like Andrea Dworkin, Gail Dines, Valerie Sloanas, Catherine MacKinnon, Marilyn French, Robin Morgan etc. have said about men. These women are feminists, they hate and wish to harm men, and try to encourage others to hate and harm men also. Their writings and teachings prove this.

    I you call yourself a feminist people are going to, quite reasonably, associate you with the minsandrists within the wider feminist movement, since you have made no effort to call yourself anything different in order to distance yourself from the hate mongers and bigots.

    Feminism like all movements, SHOULD be judged by its most radical extremes. It is of little interest to me whether there were more moderate Nazis in the Third Reich, I am going to judge that movement by its most extreme and fanatical members and the same goes for feminism.

    Most people who support the MRM no longer trust or believe feminists, when they claim the feminist movement is about equality. Having debated many feminists in person and online I have never met a single one who wanted true equality between the sexes. What they have all wanted is equality when it suits women’s purposes and preferential treatment at any time when equality might put them at any sort of disadvantage. You must understand how frustrating it is for anyone outside of feminism to witness such blatantly manipulative, greedy, hypocritical behaviour.

    I recall another user posting the following point, but I can’t remember if you responded to it. If feminism is about equality why does its very name privilege one sex over another? Given that “Feminism” was always a problematic name for a gender equality movement, why don’t you stop Identifying as a feminist. Why is important to you to call yourself a feminist when, as you say the movement is monolithic and contains teachings that you are opposed to? What have you got to lose by not calling yourself a feminist except a whole load of negative associations.

    When I first became interested in gender studies I hesitantly called myself a male feminist, because I care passionately about women rights in the developing world (where women really are still oppressed, as opposed to the industrialism western countries). I very quickly stopped wanting to have anything to do with feminism or feminists after meeting them and finding out what many feminist thinkers have written and said about men.
    Not wanting to make the same mistake as feminists, I am also uncomfortable with calling myself a masculist or MRA or whatever. I call myself a human and a humanist, if you don’t hate men I suggest you do the same.

  • Jess

    I think ultimately, the goal should be for the men’s movement and women’s movement to work together. Men and women need to work together.

    But some of your points I don’t agree with. In regards to domestic violence, “Women are half the problem” is a factual statement. As in, women are equally as likely to abuse their partner as men. Most domestic violence cases are mutual, as in both partners are abusive towards each other.

    Is such a statement, “women are half the problem,” one-sided? Of course it is. Perhaps there is bias in the men’s movement because they are focusing on women’s half of the responsibility for domestic violence? Of course. But that’s the thing, the men’s movement, as with the feminist movement, is only one half of the story. It’s one perspective.

    Perhaps the men’s movement would be a bit less anti-feminist-y if feminists (whether they are the type you would agree with or not, or even call a feminist) would stop saying “men are the problem,” and would instead factually say “men are half of the problem.”

    Then it would be easier for people on both sides to come together and say “men and women both share equal responsibility for domestic violence.”

    And yes, I do understand that for you, and plenty of other feminists, patriarchy is not a bunch of evil men oppressing women, and rape culture is not anti-male. But I think we need to recognize that these words have very complicated and sometimes conflicted meanings. This is due in part to the differing emotional connotations such words have to feminists and MRMs, men and women, etc.

    Everyone is well-meaning, I really believe that, but I think a better bridge would be built between feminists and MRMs if more feminist would recognize the anti-male hate and ignorance that has become widespread within their movement. I understand the men’s movement has that as well, and I think MRA’s would create an atmosphere of better communication with feminists if they recognized that.

    But I think the main difference right now between the feminist movement and MRM, is that the feminist movement has dominated the political and social discussion on gender issue for at least the last 50 years. Perhaps it’s not your type of feminism. Maybe by your definition of feminism, they aren’t feminists. But they sure do call themselves feminists, or hold onto feminist-influenced ideas.

    We need to take a step back. There is so much misunderstanding over language and semantics here, and words can be powerful and hurtful. A lot of men are REALLY angry, because they have been hurt.

    I would call myself an egalitarian who supports men’s and women’s rights, with a current emphasis on men’s rights, because their pleas are the ones that have gone unheard for the last few decades. I also have a focus on encouraging greater empathy and expression of vulnerability in men, and encouraging greater strength and responsibility in women. When people walk awhile in the other gender’s shoes, they will be able to understand better.

  • Wayne

    Jasmine,

    “At an Australian university, posters drawing attention to the website A Voice For Men contained the message “Domestic Violence: Women are half the problem”.

    Of course, the posters were taken down, because the message that women are in some way responsible for their own domestic abuse is offensive and more of the same victim blaming that we tend to see so often at the cultural level.”

    This does not follow logically from the posters.

    Women are half of the problem not because they are abused but because they are abusers. There are a raft of statistics that show this.

  • danibusz

    Hello Jasmine!

    I’m not really an MRM activitist, but i spoke a lot with feminist in my country (Hungary). Or could I say, I wanted to speak with them. The nowaday feminist activities are about woman issues. No more, or no less. It could be better in other places, but here no one talks about the man’s problem, because that is woman-hating…. Good, huh?

    So, technically there is an ultimate arqument. They moderate you, blame the man for everything, if a woman don’t seems like “a victim of patriarchism”(even when she do something bad). It also bad for the motto “we only want to be less under men”.

    Maybe the problem is that many feminist mix the victim-defending with the equality. No good man, no bad woman. And they don’t accept it, because “the victims are….”. Needless to say. The two thing are different in some ways. The victim must be protected, but not with a new law. Or not with only laws, what gives the women more “rights”. I heard, that seeing at the workplace at a woman is like sexually harassing her. (America)
    I hope you can understand this. (I’m bad at english)

    The MRM and the feminist can’t cooperate until the men are separated in the media, etc for criminals/supressors and other men. There is a big generalisation for both gender, and I never heard in media the “male victim” phrase.

  • John

    A good way to bring world peace is to stop wasting tax payers money sending men to jail for looking at women breasts complimenting what they were staring at and also complimenting their cleavage. Thats an atrocity billions of men victimized by womens lies about their compliments. If that law would not have been passed Clarence Thomas would have never made front page news for something trivial he did with Anita Hill that was nobody else’s business, but the police had to meddle in his personal life.

    • Omar Al Qaseer

      First, what Clarence Thomas did in his personal life obviously affected Anita Hill’s personal life, and if he had indeed been sexually harassing her, what about her personal life and her rights? Doesn’t she deserve any kind of recourse to the law?
      For how long has a man been sent to jail for staring at/complimenting a woman’s cleavage? Do you have statistics on how much tax-payer money is spent on imprisoning men who happen to say nasty creepy things to women? I defy you to show me one statistic.
      More importantly, do you think this is acceptable behavior because really it’s kind of disturbing if you do.

  • Joel Anderson

    I checked out the White Ribbon Campaign and The Center for Unlearning. I find it strange that the idea that our society “normalizes” violence against women is stated ad nauseum when men are more likely to be the victims of violent crime then women (4 times more likely to die a violent death). That all men have a responsibility to change something vile within them that makes this happen, yet this is somehow not to shame them. Due to rape being used as a control mechanism in our prisons men are more likely to be rape victims (although they have less then 1% of the resources to help rape victims available to them), although I will concede few will realize that as very few people in power could care less. Yet when I use google to search for sources I am bombarded with misinformation from feminist websites claiming violence against women is an epidemic and exists in far greater amounts then violence against men, curious. If this is feminism’s contribution to the issues facing men then I can see why MRAs are so “caustic” to feminists. Feminists claim false rape accusation rates are low (at 2-8%) by only referencing the ones where the accuser recants but then switch standards and treat all other accusations as true and not just the ones where a similar burden of proof has been meet. The real question should be “Why are ANY men civil to feminists?”

    • Omar Al Qaseer

      Is it feminism’s fault that men are raped? Is it feminism’s fault that men kill other men? What will a Men’s Right Movement do about rape of men by men, or homicide, or mass shootings, or war? Feminism indeed addresses women’s issues and attempts to advocate for women, but it does not exclude or prohibit or PREVENT men from addressing issues that affect men. What is actually quite telling is that it seems the only reason you know or perhaps even care about the rape of men by other men, or the fact that men are victims of violence, is because the Men’s Rights Movement told you that feminists are somehow to blame for these things.

  • Karyn

    I am not now, nor will I ever be a feminist. Having said that, since 1974 I have held positions which had formerly only been occupied my men. Let me state that I have only a grade 12 education however in 1974 I was promoted from a general clerk’s position to that of inventory and production control analyst for a nuclear valve plant, a position only held by male graduate engineers, the position came with equal pay for equal responsibly, tripling my income overnight. When I elected to move into a sales environment it wasn’t long before I became only the second female radio advertising sales rep in the country, again with equal pay based primarily on commission. From radio I moved to magazine advertising sales, dominated at the time by men (that ration has reversed since then). I have firmly planted myself as “one of the boys” while maintaining a completely feminine image. I love men. I love to be pampered by men, I love pampering men and I love being a ‘girl’. My femininity does not take away from my abilities, my drive or my success.
    Even as a single mother, I have been recognized as the intelligent, hard worker that I am, without having to be part of any women’s activist groups, or jumping on soap boxes to demand the rights I may not have deserved. All women have the ability to be as equal as they choose to be, provided they work hard and play well in the sand boxes in which they want to participate. One cannot try to beat the dead horses that do not have the same beliefs. Why are feminists trying so hard to convince the men, who don’t want to listen, that they are equal.
    Women in Canada are in a position of having the best of both worlds. Well paying jobs; excellent opportunity for promotion; government assistance to have children; a generation of men who want to be participating fathers; the option of saying NO, even to their husbands; a child centric world that provides many day care options….. Why fight it all so hard. Enjoy it, let the man pay for dinner, if that is the way he has been brought up and wants to afford it; accept the flowers and gifts graciously; allow your doors to be opened and your chairs to be pulled out; let him do the driving; let him take out the garbage, shovel the snow and cut the grass; let him do the guy stuff. None of those things are much fun, I know, I have had to do them all.
    Men and women are different, embrace and enjoy the differences. Being a woman now is the best it’s ever been. We still have options. Don’t let it become an androgynous society.
    Why be equal, when you can be stealthily superior.

    • Omar Al Qaseer

      Since does being patronized equal being superior and since when does feminism take away your option, as an individual woman to be patronized if you so wish? Feminism doesn’t stop you from being a house wife or being sexually attractive to men. It just means you have the option of getting equal pay for equal work and prevents your sex from being only determinant of your identity. That you don’t see this, and that you can praise the life in women have in Canada is hugely ironic.

      • Omar Al Qaseer

        Nor does being a feminist negate or exclude femininity.

  • William J.

    I realize I’m late to the party, but I really want to express my frustration with some of the earlier comments on this page. I don’t consider myself to be a full-fledged MRA, perhaps more of an MRA-sympathizer, but I think the stated goals of the MRM are generally good ones, even if they are often accompanied by a hatred of women and of male feminists, which I believe is not the answer.

    I’m frustrated because Ms. Peterson seems like the type of person to whom the MRM should be reaching out, someone who identifies as a woman and as a feminist, but yet also cares about men’s issues. We have an acronym, NAFALT, which asserts that Not All Feminists Are Like That, but it seems that some MRAs have so much antipathy to the label of “feminism” that they’re allowing the label to affect them to the point where anyone claiming to be a feminist is assumed to be in lockstep with Cathy Brennan.

    As people have already noted, the angry comments from MRAs reinforce the notion that MRAs hate anyone who doesn’t agree with us. (I realize some people object to tone-policing, but I feel it is sorely needed here.) Hating people who don’t agree with you, hmmm, I think I’ve heard another group accused of that, too. Oh, that’s right, that what we accuse feminists of doing. Speaking of hypocrisy, many commenters criticized the author for her lack of concern for men, but I don’t think anyone acknowledged that maybe, once or twice, we MRAs may have demonstrated a lack of concern for women’s well-being. One look at David Futrelle’s “manboobz” website shows that there is a lot of woman-hating going on in the so-called manosphere.

    So basically, I wish that MRAs would praise any steps on the way to acknowledging men’s issues by feminists. When someone gets the courage up to extend an olive branch, it is the height of stupidity (though it’s also human nature) to throw it back in their face. So, Jasmine, if you ever read this comment, I want to thank you for writing this piece and to express my regrets for the amount of hatred you have received. I hope that one day feminists and MRAs will be able to discuss gender issues without acrimony.

    P.S. If you ever want to talk to a really reasonable MRA, I would recommend James from the YouTube channel “YesIAmJames”. He is the most fair-minded MRA I have encountered in my Web travels.

  • Michael

    I want your opinion. I am neither a femenist nor an MRA and both groups hate me. Femenists because I find their methods counterproductive and they see “you don’t want women to be more than slaves”, and MRA’s think I’m a feminist in disguise or something. Anyway would you agree a rebranding is necesary, MRA’s and femenist to form something called, I don’t know GEM (gender equality movement). Words are powerful tools. Feminism sounds like woman only afterall and male priviledge is accusatory where as female disadvantage is not.

  • Omar “White Knight” Al Qaseer

    Jasmine – first, I applaud you on offering an olive branch as a feminist to these MRAs, and say only that it’s a shame that these people, instead of listening or even considering what you’ve written, decide to spit the most venomous bile they can conjure up. I support what you are trying to do, and I think that many of the MRAs commenting are guilty of the very things you’ve outlined in your post. I doubt that any of these men have talked to the full range of feminists out there and get most of their lessons on feminism by reading the SCUM manifesto while simultaneously nodding to Rush Limbaugh going “Uhhuh uhhhuh!”. These paranoiacs really believe that all problems in the developed world, in the lives of white males stem from FEMINISTS. Men are drafted into the military? Oh it has nothing to do with militarism or the fact that it is men who create these laws, or even that military leaders decide that women aren’t strong enough to fight wars, no of course, it’s because of feminism!
    Most of the “anti-feminsits” commenting on your post have not the slightest idea of what feminism is, instead internalizing tropes of anti-feminists and completely misunderstanding the feminist argument or listening to small but vocal group of feminists who may actually be misandrist.
    With all that being said, I do not envy the work you will have to do in replying to the generally vacuous and misinformed comments posted by male and female anti-feminists here, who are somehow under the impression that being a feminist means being a man hater or less of a woman.

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  • James

    I just like to say I really support what you are saying here, I’m just a person (not feminist nor MRA). I think you should be careful in the way that you construct what are MRA issues/ideas and then debunk them because that’s generally what MRA’s do, which was what you were criticizing. MRA’s are a diverse group of people and it’s just the extremes that think feminism is ‘out to get men’ unfortunately feminist extremes gives them many examples to think this.

    Despite that I think if you want to start dialogue with MRA’s and start to work alongside them, you should help start some kind of conference on men’s issues or other initiatives, actually look at making progress for men, yourself, in conjunction with the MRM. I think this is something that the MRM would really appreciate. If feminism is equally concerned about men’s issues as women’s issues it’s something that would show the MRM that feminism is interested in men’s issues. From my personal opinion I see a lot of feminists tokenistically acknowledging men’s issues but none of them fighting for them.

    I think that maybe this is something that the MRM should do for women as well but the MRM does not claim to look after women’s issues, it’s happy with being a men’s movement, so unfortunately I think the onus is on feminism to prove that it wants to equally work for men’s issues as it does women’s issues. After all we are just human!

  • Jay Dee

    You need to find an equalist to speak with. Firstly, the reason you have these problems is because there is little integrity in the feminist movement when it comes to men’s issues. Feminism has protested against men being able to meet to discuss men’s issues, and when said men asked (its all on film btw) why, they said if they want to talk about men’s issues they have to do so under feminism (imagine if men told women they couldn’t discuss women’s issues unless they became an MRA!). The hypocrisy is thick. MRA and feminism are two battling sides that slander each other, child-like movements that try to demonize the other gender. You need equalism, in fact, you sound a lot more like an equalist than a feminist.

  • Jay Dee

    its feminisms fault that rapes against males aren’t taken seriously because if you try to bring it up, feminists will use distraction techniques to make it about raped females. Yes, this is true, happened every single 25+ times i’ve talked about raped males, feminists DO NOT TOLERATE THE DISCUSSION OF MEN’S ISSUES because they see it as a threat. They say “oh, feminism discusses these issues”, yeah well feminism hasn’t done JACK SHIT for men’s issues. To say a female dominant movement is the only movement that can discuss men’s issues is proof that FEMINISM IS JUST THE PATRIARCHY IN LIPSTICK

  • Cassandra Tafoya

    I would like there was a study taken that actually suggested that women actually do partake in about 50% of domestic violence. That same study, however, also suggested that men were far more likely to initiate the violence.

  • Cassandra Tafoya

    I would like to point out that some of those studies also suggest that men are more likely to initiate the violence. Though i agree that neither men or women should abuse one another and that outlets should be available to men who are in abusive relationship.

  • annlee1708

    GEM is an absolutely brilliant idea. I find myself in the same position as you, neither MRA nor feminist.

  • Jarred Kohler

    I agree with everything you said, but rape culture is kinda anti-male; that is the CONCEPT is anti male, because there is no good evidence that we live in a culture that normalized and condones the rape of women by men. Feminists invented that because they constantly scapegoat men.

  • Jarred Kohler

    Your goal is to get mra’s to be feminists by getting them to subscribe to the patriarchy theory that men have privilege and hold women under. They don’t believe that. You are engaged in the pissing contest, and that’s why you can’t have the one sided conversation you’d like to have. It’s like saying you need liberals to be conservative before conservatives can converse with them.

  • Jarred Kohler

    I’m not seeing my comment here… If it’s some problem with my computer,
    or the web pager or something, my apologies for what I’m about to say,
    and just ignore it. But if it’s not… Nice to see that you are lying
    and not actually looking to debate even though I provide evidence that
    domestic violence is roughly equal between the genders, and gave you a
    link to a prominent mra explaining quite thoroughly why mras have a
    problem with feminists, and asked for a fucking debate. You are
    consumed by bias. I’m sorry I took the time out of my fucking day to
    attempt to commune with a fucking feminist. The sad thing is, I AM open
    on this issue, and I don’t CARE who is oppressed more. I just think
    mras have some good points, and feminists don’t have a lot of evidence
    to counter claims by people who challenge them. Stop proving me right.
    The more you prove me right, the more vitriolic people like me become,
    and the more damage control feminists like you have to do who can’t
    reconcile their feelings with reality.