Something you notice almost immediately in a space like Reddit MensRights is the number of women, often self-identified feminists, sometimes ex-feminists, who come by curious about a subreddit they have heard denounced as misogynistic, and have a look for themselves – or who are just interested in men’s issue and think that’s a good place check out.
Then they start posting comments and they sound like MRAs. They say they’d heard what a cesspit of misogyny the place was, find it’s not that at all, get suspicious about other things they heard and doctrines they’ve been fed, and start re-assessing everything. When you hear people say “feminism is the solution to men’s problems” this is what it really means, if it really means anything. There are solid branding reasons a feminist might not want to call herself an MRA, but as long as they are talking and thinking like MRAs about men’s issues, they are working for gender equality.
A while back Commenter Jupp made the following observation:
About feminists who advocate for chivalry -
The problem might be that gender roles are learned and impregnated at a very early age, while world views like feminism are usually encountered significantly later (like college). So before a woman studies feminism, she was daddies little girl, she was being expected to act like a lady and to be treated like one, she has learned the power of a girls tears. To change her understanding of gender roles she would have to reprogram herself, but this is no easy task, especially as we all tend not to see our flaws as flaws.
Then Commenter Jupp quoted me:
Jupp, that comment sums up a feminist’s journey from privileged woman to actual principled feminist.
“But why should they make this journey? This particular kind of chivalry constitutes a privilege for women and why should a person want to lose a privilege they have? ”
Reddit Mensrights has lots of self-identifying feminists who come on asking for some introduction into the MRM and most are surprised, or else they come on saying they want to be allies. It’s these feminists I’m thinking of.
1) They actually believe and want to see feminism’s stated goals of gender equality realized. Principled people really do exist.
2) They don’t see the privilege you refer to as desirable.
3) They have men in their lives and they care about them – sons, brothers, even husbands sometimes. They have a wake up moment and they get angry. Half the time the reason they got involved in feminism in the first place was empathy. When that empathy gets turned on their men, they start to ask uncomfortable questions, and that very often leads them to examine and reject the privilege you (Jupp) are referring to.
These are what come to mind immediately. There are probably others. If you can think of any more, please share them, to advance the conversation.
I asked, and I received:
4) Logic and reason (Commenter dungone)
5) Said feminist might be a trans woman and, unlike some trans feminists, not dependent on the approval of nominally feminist cis women… in which case she can be honest about the fact that she knows what it’s like to face all of the misogyny without any of the cisfeminine carveouts, without the solidarity or the damseling, and also isn’t marinated in confirmation bias, because she’s seen both sets of gendered insults, and how easily they change based on how one is explicitly read. (Commenter Valerie Keefe)