MISANDRY – Male Resistance to the MRM

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.

She summarizes:

“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:

“elementary_watson,
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.

11 thoughts on “MISANDRY – Male Resistance to the MRM

  1. The anti-Suffragists were often far more egalitarian than the Suffragists, though. Many correctly identified them as rich white women damseling themselves train more privileges. There is a parallel somewhere in there as well, no? The extreme fringe of male supremacists that try to latch themselves onto the MRM deserve that same sort of derision. But for the most part it’s just a sort of hypocritical irony whenever feminists do dismiss male rights as “rich white men” looking for more power. Projecting much?

    One more thing. The MRM didn’t exist back then because we decided not to say it did. We could just as easily fabricate out own “first wave” and appropriate anyone we feel like to firmly establish a glorious historical past for ourselves. The vast majority of human rights abuses have always affected men far more often and more severely. I think both the anti-Suffragists understood this and so did everyone else – in the 19th and early 20th century, anyone who campaigned for anything could rightly be called a male rights activist. From peace activists to workers rights activists, it was about a set of issues from which women were becoming increasingly sheltered through growing amounts of privilege. In that world, the women’s movement must have looked even more ludicrous than feminism does today.

  2. And speaking of how feminism looked and what it looks like today:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qc-ozorxYwM

    Perhaps the video there can add something interesting to the discussion. I don’t think all of the opposition to “women’s rights” were just retrograde and reactionary (with the exception of the vote; it’s hard to justify leaving peoples’ voices out of a society that they are most often obligated to be a part of; expatriation is difficult). I think there were also groups of women who realized (or suspected, not being clairvoyant) that, rather than just gaining “rights” that wealthy white women were advocating for and could take advantage of, they were also condemning poor women to even harsher obligations for which they had no out; they just earned the obligation, not right, to become wage slaves along with their husbands, while rich women’s options opened up (and they reaped the benefits of a larger labor force contributing to their, or their husband’s, pocketbooks).

    I imagine that some women who complained about the acquisitions of rights at the time were doing so not because they were thumbheads, complacent, apexual, retrograde or reactionary, but because they weren’t interested in top-down rights (that is, trying to equalize society from the top down instead of the bottom up, with people more worried about female CEOs making as much as male CEOs than whether homeless men actually get any help, for instance, even going so far as to complain about said homeless men masturbating on the street as if it’s a personal insult while they wistfully dream about being at the societal top). It’s now rightly unthinkable that women shouldn’t have the same right to work as men, among other things, but some of the resistance to women’s rights among women might have come from women who wanted to find a way to get rights without creating even more obligations for poor women while perhaps even easing up on some of the obligations on men.

  3. @JDCyran, the vote was a far more nuanced issue, though. The anti-suffragists weren’t so much against women voting, but were afraid of what women were going to vote for. There was a real mean Puritanical streak running through likely female voters; it was racist, xenophobic, and retrograde. They wanted prohibition and they wanted war; they were willing to throw anyone under the bus to get more power for themselves and their own social class. And in the meantime, lots and lots of other people couldn’t vote. Between Jim Crow and war veterans who were “too young” to vote on which politician gets to send them off to the trenches, vast tracts of society couldn’t vote.

    Suffrage was seen as just another upper-class special interest that would have skewed the electorate even more towards the top. A voter was’t representing himself, but his entire household. His wife, his children, his son who is off in the trenches, etc. They saw some households with a vote and some households without. With women getting the vote, some households would get two votes while households at the bottom would still have none.

  4. @Dungone:

    @JDCyran, the vote was a far more nuanced issue, though. The anti-suffragists weren’t so much against women voting, but were afraid of what women were going to vote for. . . . With women getting the vote, some households would get two votes while households at the bottom would still have none.

    Exactly, and that dovetails quite nicely with my assertion that some of the women who could have been seen as being against “women’s rights” were actually against the expansion of rich, white, Puritanical women’s power at the expense of the poor, both men and other women alike. So I’ll reiterate and say that some of the opposition to the “women’s rights” movement wasn’t necessarily retrograde, thumb-headed, etc., but rather carefully voiced with the knowledge that it was a fight for more elite power disguised as a battle “for women” (which kicked in the “fight for the damsel” mentality, ironically for women who were anything but).

    My note about the vote there probably should have been placed below as opposed to parenthetically within the paragraph because, though I was referencing the women’s vote leading in to the parenthetical statement, I actually meant it in general terms about voting.

  5. Well, another way of saying it is that people didn’t think that women would vote by gender interests, but by class interests (they were right – just look at where the majority of white women’s vote went in this past election). This whole entire idea of backwards elements of our society being against women’s vote is a preposterous myth. Nobody cares who gets the vote as long as they all vote the same way you do. Seriously. That’s why we have elections where dead people and cartoon characters get the vote. The Suffragists had the full backing of the most backwards elements of our society – groups such as the KKK and various Christian organizations who absolutely hated women’s rights were actually in favor of the women’s vote because it was a means to an end for them – it meant more power going to WASP voters.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that America would be a far more egalitarian country today if the vote was given to young military-aged men and voter disenfranchisement was eliminated ahead of giving women the vote. The vote that really mattered was the draftee vote and the black vote, both of which were being officially suppressed at least until the 1960′s and 70′s. Giving women the right to vote, OTOH, is exactly what ushered in the “family values voter” of the 20th century and pretty much stalled progress for the working and middle class. It hasn’t been until now, when poor minority voters and young atheists are starting to eclipse upper class white voters, that progressive politics is finally starting to return to American politics.

  6. A bit off topic for this thread but I couldn’t find anyplace else to put it, so Ginkgo, I won’t mind if you move it.

    “His male sexual hormones (would) be normal so he would have the urges and the sexual drives that any other young man would have, but he obviously couldn’t perform,” Gearhart said. “And that would be a terrible handicap for this child going forward as he becomes a young man.”

    By using the remaining organ that had contracted inside his body, the team was able to save some erectile tissue. Gearhart said this means the boy will not need an implant later to have a normal sex life and he should be able to father children.”
    From these two related stories:
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/06/world/freedom-project-operation-hope/index.html?hpt=hp_c1
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/06/health/penile-reconstruction/index.html

    Now obviously this is a sad, yet in the end -happier tale of humanity. My only complaint was the language used in that quote: “he should be able to perform…”
    It’s a minor thing, but his penis doesn’t just exist for pleasing women in a little play.

  7. I think religious conservatives are missing from this equation, on both the feminist and MRM side. “Ain’t what the Bible says” is something I often hear. Men are supposed to be leading the family and earning the money, says so RIGHT THERE. (PS: I heard that before too.)

    Speaking of which, lets pause to applaud the exit of my nuisance senator DeMint. We have all been singing “Ding Dong the witch is dead” all day long.

  8. “Speaking of which, lets pause to applaud the exit of my nuisance senator DeMint.”

    Premature. He’s still alive.

    But good work, whoever edged him out.

    “I think religious conservatives are missing from this equation, on both the feminist and MRM side”

    Completely, and it is mostly class-based. Feminists were largely campus types and internet entirely so. Working clas anybody are invisible to them, because they are not part of that clique, and no one outsdie the clique ever matters. MRAs are largely urban, so rural people are invisible to them.

    dungone, that has been a very fruitful conversation you two have been having.

  9. A good taxonomy although I think the categories “Macho Thumbheads” and “Apexuality” overlap quite a bit. After all, Macho Thumbhead bully culture is apexual in nature.

  10. That’s really interesting. I always assumed that Schwyzer’s villanisation of men was some kind of atonement for his past misdeeds, but it makes perfect sense if you see it as an absolution.

    Alot of good stuff here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>