I was researching the issue of feminists pulling fire alarms to disrupt MHRA meetings or similar, and came across a 2013 blog post by some feminist or another. The post was dross but I rather liked several responses provided by one of the readers (‘East1956’), who also posts in AVfM I see. It was well written whoever you are, and worth saving and repeating here:
“It seems to me that in its latest evolution feminism wants to project itself as a movement that can represent women and men against the “Patriarchy”, now an infinitely mutable entity that allegedly oppresses both men and women. In this evolution feminists abrogate to themselves the right to decide what and how men, an enormous & diverse constituency, should think and express their perceptions.
Feminism has since the 70′s forewarned of the “Backlash”, and reactionary response to social, economic and political change initiated by feminist influenced change.
IMO there is a profound sense of hypocrisy in some of the stances taken by feminists when they decry some of the extreme statements made by individual men associated with MRA’s and other men’s awareness movements. Hypocritical because in its earlier phases those within the feminist movement have on one hand called for some fairly violent things to be done to men, and have insisted on the validity of narrow female perspectives of events.
Since the 90′s in response to feminism there has been the evolution of several men’s awareness initiatives. Some of these have been confrontational to feminism and some less so. What drove this was the ongoing crisis that our societies face as young men fail to engage with society in the manner of previous generations. We may have expressed this as “Men In Crisis” or “Boys In Crisis”, but the crisis is a collective one.
If we are to address these issues, then men need to explore their own issues and perspectives, and frankly no amount of women have the authority or even real insight to afford them the right to determine how men may perceive these issues or express their reactions. At best women can be observers, and allies.
What none of us should overlook or forget is that our entire social order is predicated on men working and generating wealth for their entire lives, and we cannot afford for them to disengage from this. The impact of men’s apparent failure to maintain their wealth creation capacities are women, children and the elderly as they are the consumers of the wealth that men create.
However, in this post-feminist world men need to synthesize a new response to the demands upon them. The social order that kept the majority of men engaged in previous generations is gone, and is unlikely ever to be recovered.
IMO there is a painful journey to be undertaken in which men explore their experiences and articulate their perceptions. Women are going to hear things that will be at best uncomfortable, but no worse than statements such as “All Men Are Rapists!”.
New feminists cannot absolve themselves of the feminist inheritance, anymore than men can absolve themselves of the past oppression of women.
It seems to me that feminism has long abandoned calm rational logical evidence-based debate and has descended into one successive bout of enraged screaming after another. It occurs to me that this has more to do with trying to drawn out the small voices of ordinary men who are trying to express their experiences. In those fora the only male voice that is heard is the one that equals the vociferousness of those feminists.
It would be better if everyone stopped screaming, kept quiet and started actively listening.
One characteristic, that the young new feminists should perhaps take account of, is the number of older women, who state that they were active feminists, who now are joining MRA’s etc to support mens calls for reform. Almost without exception these women are drawing upon their life experience of close partnership with men, and their observation of their male partner’s experiences. This should pose a question among the young women on the front-line whether what they are being told actually corresponds to the realities that they have yet to encounter. But that is an issue for women….. i.e what is a UK woman to think when her male partner falls ill and he can’t get treatment because gender politics have determined that 85% of all, non-gynecological, health care is directed towards females and that her partners being neither under 16 or over 65 is not a priority case? That woman may think may things as she watches him suffer and then perhaps die, quite necessarily. She undoubtedly will question whether the feminism she has hitherto identified with deserves her support.”
“Feminism has long had a fine line in “Traitor!” accusations for women who “join” the other side. It’s a tough decision to make if you are going to face a barrage of abuse and threats.
Re: Healthcare – unfortunately it’s tough but decisions about who gets what have to be made. In the ideal world there would be no limit, but in the ideal world so many things would be different and I would be youngish, incredibly handsome and women would hurl themselves at my feet! Only joking, I’d trip over them and hurt myself.
The problem I think is in the MRA / feminist conflict is that from the MRA POV feminists have wielded enormous power in terms of public policy & resources, even though I am certain that most feminists would deny it. In UK here have been a number of credible reports from entities like Royal College of Nursing and Law Society calling for reforms to public policy to afford equality for men.
From my own research for UK govt men’s Health Forum, it became clear that the women involved in the group really didn’t recognise until it was pointed out to them that society has profoundly different messages for men and women. I analysed a range of very successful TV adverts and then did a gender role swap to highlight how much we are conditioned to accept certain things about men and women. One of the things that surprised the women were the number of ads that had a story line which in a gender reversed mode they immediately cited as intimate partner abuse according to Duluth model. Yet in the original versions they didn’t recognise the actions of the women characters as abusive.
The other problem for the MRA’s is dealing with the conflation of the impact of feminism and the consequences of poor political decisions that have led to the diminution of men’s ability to generate wealth and thus their marginalisation.
Is the man who calls himself a feminist, merely a spruced up version of the Edwardian model of the man who stood aside for weaker women and children, willing to stand on the decks of the Titanic stoically as it slid beneath the waves? All very noble, but to have reached that condition men had to be willing and able, through social conditioning, to suppress the natural instincts. That model of stoicism created men incapable of expressing their emotions, who became distorted people through the endless suppression of self.
Is there not a convenience in falling in behind feminism with its inherent emphasis upon women’s interests and inherent subordination of men’s interests that let men avoid examining the condition of men in our society and the catastrophe that has befallen many?”
Footnote: In the same blog I came across this post, where the blogger crosses swords with Karen Straughan (aka ‘Girl Writes What’). Again, I would move straight to the comments section where you’ll find some interesting discussion on the issue of the extent to which feminism is based on and/or fosters the hatred of men.