A Redditor named doch_doch has a new blog she has just started and it is definitely worth a look. (This is one of the cleverer screen names I have seen. It means “though, though” or “Oh but yes it is!” in German.)
She starts with:
“Imagine you’re a man in the US in the time prior to women’s right activism.”
And winds up with this, which I have never seen anywhere else:
“So where we the men’s rights activist in all this upheaval? Well, with a few exceptions, there just weren’t any. While things were changing for women, things were not changing as quickly for men. In fact, men deviating from the norm of being the sole financial provider were dismissed, mocked, and ostracized.”
As they still are. See Hanna Rosin and the End of Men, for starters.
“In the world I live in right now, I know that the gender binary is still screwing everyone. But for women’s issues there is a dialogue, there is movement and change. There is support from churches, government agencies, and individuals for “women’s” issues. Not only doesn’t this exist for men, it isn’t allowed to exist. Men’s rights is a dirty word for most feminists, with people throwing around accusations of misogyny, sexism, racism.
I’m not going to allow feminists to define this movement for me. There are some very, very angry men involved, it’s true. Anger can be destructive, but it can also breed change. Many men have just had enough of being told they don’t matter unless they’re rich and white.
I get it. “
Indeed she does. You need to read the whole post to see how thoroughly she gets it. She called herself an MRA for a while until she got tired of the venom of so many in the movement – she understands where it comes from; she just doesn’t feel like subjecting herself to it.
Something that just occurred to me when the question came up of where the MRAs were in the 1800s, is that it would be interesting to compare the resistance from women that the women’s rights movement got, starting with the suffrage movement but not restricted to that, to the resistance the MRM is getting from men. People resist change because it threatens vested positions of power or security.
So let’s compare the two.
Male resistance to the MRM seems to fall into a few main categories:
MACHO THUMBHEADS: There are the macho thumbheads who dismiss any discussion of men’s issues as un-masculine whining. These are the idiots who shout down male victims of rape(1), and who dismiss women raping boys by saying the boys got lucky.
You do find women in feminist spaces talking like this too about male victims, but less and less, I think. I think the community is taking corrective action. Good for them. It’s patriarchal shit (to the extent Patriarchy is even a thing.)
WHITE KNIGHTS: Then there are the white knights They downplay men’s issues because women and only women are the deserving targets of concern. These people believe in empathy apartheid. Basically it’s more macho posturing. A subset of these white knights are the guys who fancy themselves the protectors of sacred womanhood against all those other men, brutes all of them, with nothing between these fragile women and the horrors……
Demonization: one very common form white knighting takes is demonization of other men. (When feminists do this, they are just feeding into the patriarchal damsel/white knight dynamic – the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Patriarchy). Commenter John Markley outlines this mechanism or dynamic in a discussion about Hugo Schwyzer, his misandry and his ex-communication from all the cool kid feminist spaces:
I’ve long thought that Schwyzer’s misandry was in part his way of absolving himself of responsibility for his behavior- If ALL men are inherently rotten, his behavior 1. isn’t his fault, and 2.doesn’t make men who DON’T act that way any better than him. He’s like a more sexist version of Saint Augustine. (I believe Patrick Brown has made the same comparison, actually.)
About the Sarkozy molestation story:
Schwyzer didn’t just say the crime was less serious because of “male privilege”- he called the 11-year old predatory and painted his abuser as his helpless, pitiable victim. It was a step beyond victim blaming or rape apologism into… Hell, I don’t even know.”
Demonization serves as a mechanism to alienate the evil you see in yourself, to other it into an external entity that you can reject it.
COMPLACENCY: Then there are the complacent ones, who think things are fine the way they are. These are the guys who have yet to be sundered from their children by an ex-wife who the criminal and family court system privilege with every possible advantage. These are the guys who insist there can’t be anything wrong with circumcision because they were circumcised and they don’t know any better.
APEXUALITY: And then there are the guys who just benefit by keeping other men down. The word for that is kyriarchy.
Now let’s look at female resistance to the suffrage and larger women’s rights movements:
LADYLIKE THUMBHEADS: There were those who thought that all this agitation was unladylike. Real ladies didn’t want anything to do with politics, not even voting.
COMPLACENCY: Then there were the complacent ones, the ones who knew a good deal when they saw it. The country had gone through a devastating Civil War in which the war dead and maimed were overwhelmingly men and not women – women had almost completely been spared that. Further down the social scale men labored and died in mines and factories in unspeakable conditions – if you haven’t read the Jungle, this is the time to remedy that gap in your education – and their women knew that however hard their lot at home was, it was a damned sight safer and more comfortable than what their men went out to face. And that included politics. The politics of 19th century America make dogfighting look refined and genteel.
APEXUALITY: And then there were those women at the top, hiding behind their front men running the world, keeping the women down. This is where Sojourner Truth’s question “Ain’t I a woman?” fits in. Recall that she and her question got shot down.
And lookee here – there’s no female equivalent of WHITE KNIGHTS in the sense women doing down other women to aid men. The female equivalent of a white knight is a damsel, and no one damsels to help out men. I can’t think of even one instance of a woman opposing women’s suffrage or later on any feminist proposal on the grounds that it might harm men.
So there’s the comparison, and it yields some interesting parallels. Women’s opposition to women’s right movements were retrograde and reactionary, just as men’s opposition to men’s rights movements are.
1. It is worth your while to go read that whole sordid comment thread. A clear pattern emerges – most of the women support the male rape victim. Telling. And remember this was four years ago. Compare that with the state of the discussion on comment threads these days.