...especially when it comes to menīs issues.
This might be something regular readers of this blog already know, however as this turns up in a debate with feminists annoyingly often, this will be the answer Iīll be giving. A link to this post. Feel free to do this as well if you like.
For beginners in discussions between feminists and MRAs something like:
regularly pops up. Sometimes with the slight undertone that a Menīs Right Movement is not needed as all MRAs could just join feminism as if "equality between the sexes" (which by far most MRAs want as well) is an equivalent to feminism. It is not. I am starting with some examples.
is about ending all inequalities
- Feminists are fighting all stereotypes
One thing which feminists should be interested in is, without a doubt, fatherīs rights. If women want an equal workforce, equal pay etc. it makes sense to push for fatherīs rights because when dad takes care of the children mommy can work. The following is something fatherīs rights activist Glenn Sacks wrote
Two recent examples also from Glennīs blog
In my view, the feminists did a lot of good things during the sixties and seventies, and since then, theyve done some good things, and I think they still occasionally do good things, but I think that theyve also jumped the rails, and a lot of the stuff they do, particularly in family law and domestic violence, a lot of the stuff they do is very destructive and unfair, he says.
I think that in a lot of ways its a betrayal, because in the seventies, the feminist
thing was: women are going to have their careers, and men are going to spend more time at home, and men are going to have more time with the children, and men will have the time to be more involved fathers because theyll no longer have the burden of supporting the family themselves.
"And now, whenever theres any kind of legislative attempt to try to make it so that fathers can have more time with their children after divorce, or fathers can have joint custody after divorce of fathers could have shared parenting after divorce the feminists, all the time, right down the line, they fight it like crazy! And, to me, thats just a total betrayal.
- from here
The same is happening in Canada with
Family Law Movement claims that abusive fathers often employ Parental Alienation as a way to wrest custody from protective mothers in family court. They push for reforms which will make it easier to deny fathers shared custody or visitation rights based on unsubstantiated abuse claims. They also push for laws to exclude evidence of Parental Alienation in family law proceedings.
The FFLM has promoted several cause celebre cases in recent years as a way to garner public sympathy and political support for their agenda. - from here
[t]he National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) is a feminist non-profit organization that has worked to promote the equality rights of all women in Canada since 1974. - from hereA take on an article by the NAWL can be read here. This part fits well into this post.
the whole point of the paper is to oppose a legislative initiative that would encourage and allow fathers to take up more of the childcare burden, thus freeing mothers to work and earn more. And, *surprise surprise* the same is happening in Australia, too. Of course, one can argue that only radical feminists or a minority of the feminist movement fight against fatherīs rights, but then again mainstream feminism is very silent when it comes to condemn such actions or fatherīs rights in general. I donīt doubt that one could find single feminists that support shared parenting if one is willing to look hard enough, but apparently that does not fall under the inequalities feminism is willing to fight.
Rationally, if feminists really wanted equality and to better women's lives, they'd support the presumption of equally shared parenting. Equalizing childcare will tend to equalize earnings, savings, employment, promotions, etc. Astonishingly, feminists don't want that.
The National Organisation of Women, the biggest feminist group in the world, and arguably the political arm of feminism has a lot of political power. A recent example. Consider this.
Of the 5.7 million jobs Americans lost between December 2007 and May 2009, nearly 80 percent had been held by men. [...] Men are bearing the brunt of the current economic crisis because they predominate in manufacturing and construction, the hardest-hit sectors, which have lost more than 3 million jobs since December 2007. Women, by contrast, are a majority in recession-resistant fields such as education and health care, which gained 588,000 jobs during the same period. Rescuing hundreds of thousands of unemployed crane operators, welders, production line managers, and machine setters was never going to be easy.When put in a graphic this looks like this.
A devastating loss, not only for men, but also for the families, wifes and children, that men are supporting. To counter this there was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 investing $787 billion.
The president-elect's original plan was designed to stop the hemorrhaging in construction and manufacturing while investing in physical infrastructure that is indispensable for long-term economic growth. It was not a grab bag of gender-correct programs, nor was it a macho plan--the whole idea of economic stimulus is to use government spending to put idle factors of production back to work.This sounds like a good idea righ? The feminists of NOW disagreed.
The National Organization for Women (NOW), the Feminist
Majority, the Institute for Women's Policy Research, and the National Women's Law Center soon joined the battle against the supposedly sexist bailout of men's jobs. At the suggestion of a staffer to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, NOW president Kim Gandy canvassed for a female equivalent of the "testosterone-laden 'shovel-ready' " terminology. ("Apron-ready" was broached but rejected.) Christina Romer, the highly regarded economist President Obama chose to chair his Council of Economic Advisers, would later say of her entrance on the political stage, "The very first email I got . . . was from a women's group saying 'We don't want this stimulus package to just create jobs for burly men
.' " No matter that those burly men were the ones who had lost most of the jobs.
The senior economists listened attentively as Gandy and Smeal and other advocates argued for a stimulus package that would add jobs for nurses, social workers, teachers, and librarians in our crumbling "human infrastructure" (they had found their testosterone-free slogan). Did Furman mention that jobs in the "human infrastructure"--health, education, and government--had increased by more than half a million since December 2007?
"The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan" on January 10. They estimated that "the total number of created jobs likely to go to women is roughly 42 percent." Lest anyone miss the point, they added that since women had held only 20 percent of the jobs lost in the recession, the stimulus package now "skews job creation somewhat towards women."
In her March "Below the Belt" column on the NOW website, Kim Gandy could not contain her elation over "this happily-ever-after 'stimulus story.' " When she and her allies saw the final recovery package, they were amazed to find "over and over" versions of "very specific proposals that we had made." More than that, the programs NOW had proposed had vast sums of money next to them--"numbers that started with a 'B' (as in billion)," Gandy said gleefully. "It's impossible to convey just how many hours we put into this issue during December and early January and how fruitful it really turned out to be."
Right again. It is now four months since the bill was signed into law. A recent Associated Press story reports: "Stimulus Funds Go to Social Programs Over 'Shovel-ready' Projects." A team of six AP reporters who have been tracking the funds find that the $300 billion sent to the states is being used mainly for health care, education, unemployment benefits, food stamps, and other social services. According to Chris Whately, director of the Council of State Governments, "We all talked about 'shovel-ready' since September and assumed it was a whole lot of paving and building when, in fact, that's not the case." At the same time, the Labor Department's latest (June 5) employment report shows unemployment rates of 8 percent for women and 10.5 percent for men. "Unprecedented" is what Harvard economist Greg Mankiw called the new 2.5 percentage-point gender gap. "It's the highest male-female jobless rate gap in the history of BLS [Labor Department] data back to 1948," said Mark Perry.
The whole article is worth reading, not only the words I borrowed. Another conclusion.
Within living memory, the American feminist
movement was a valiant, broad-based vehicle for social equality. It achieved historic victories and enjoys continuing, richly deserved prestige for its valor and success. But it has now harnessed that prestige to the ethos and methods of a conventional interest group. - from here
Does this sound like an equal approach? And again mainstream feminism didnīt argue against such a policy. But it gets worse.
The stimulus plan, in it's feminist
incarnation, channels about 42% of its funds towards women's jobs and 58% towards men's. Given that only about 20% of jobs have been lost by women, that means women are getting over twice the benefit men are getting.
stimulus plan promotes jobs in sectors in which there's been little-to-no job loss while under-stimulating jobs in sectors where there's been plenty.
And here is one for the "feminism is about fighting all stereotypes" crowd. Domestic violence is a highly politisiced topic. According to feminist theory there is just patriarchal violence. Men batter their wifes to control them. Patriarchial tyranny to keep women down. This all cumulates into the Duluth Model.
And donīt get me started about VAWA. However there is a lot of evidence showing us that a huge chunk of DV victims are men.
According to the Duluth Model, "women and children, and some men are vulnerable to violence because of their unequal social, economic, and political status in society."
The Duluth Model is based on a strict "patriarchal
violence" model and presumes that all violence in the home and elsewhere has a male perpetrator and female victim. The model explicitly rejects any concept of mutuality or symmetry in abusive relationships
. The Duluth Model originated the Duluth Power and Control Wheel. - from Wiki
Now one of the most cited feminist source about DV is the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVWS). This study actually found, of all DV victims in that year 40% are men. Seing this number we can conclude that the view that DV is mostly men beating women is indeed a stereotype, but apparently not a stereotype worth fighting against.
This bibliography examines 256 scholarly investigations: 201 empirical studies and 55 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 253,500. - from the Fiebert list
If you look at the statistics NOW is citing you will find the NVWS and frankly no word about battered men. It could have been worse as the National Coalation against Domestic Violence (NCADV) show us on their fact sheet. They cite the NVWS (remember 40% of male victims) yet use a different study which much less male victims to minimize male victims and that is the only use they had for this study. They cherry picked data to show us a twisted view of reality (why the crime study they cited had less male victims is something I talked about in the DV section alot, especially in my response to Barry Deutsch).
Again one might say that NOW does not represent most feminists so I was arguing on feministing the largest feminist blog there is (where else should I go? Do all the other feminists who really fight against all stereotypes hide in caves or something?). Cherry-picking the worst of the worst from that thread.
It is mainly done to women you dumb fuck!!! A quarter of U.S. women are killed, abducted, and raped by men! A quarter of men aren't killed, abducted, and raped by women!I reported that post, but apparently to get a reaction, the post must be a personal attack AND against what the author of the site is thinking. Overall what I learned from the reaction on feministing is that feminists do not seem to care much about male victims. Or are not willing to fight that stereotype.
That stereotyping hurt is something feminist should be very aware of as they are fighting stereotyping of women/girls every day and night.
The Silence of the feminists
More importantly it is not only what feminism is doing it is also what feminism is not doing or not talking about.
These are all topics feminists do not loose much sleep about. Prove me wrong and show me a mainstream feminist blog/organisation etc. that dedicates a huge chunk of their efforts on menīs issues (and no Ifeminists do not count as they get bashed all the time for being anti-feminist).
- The high male suicide rate coupled with the fact that depression is far less likely to be detected in men (infact more men kill themselves than the numbers of killed women, women killing themselves and women dieing in car accidents combined)
- More men living on the street / addicted to drugs
- Men leading in the top 10 reasons of death -> lower male life expectacy
- Prostate cancer that gets far less funding than breast cancer although the mortality rate is similar
- Testicular cancer prevention (most common cancer in the 20 year old age group)
- Men receiving harsher punishment for the same crime than women
- Boys falling way behind girls in schools (reading apprehension, school drop outs, ritalin drugging etc.)
- Male DV and Rape victims / female rapist and batterers
- Fatherīs rights
- Workplace deaths
- Unequal support by the gouvernment (Vawa
, Womens health etc.)
- False allegations
- The draft / conscription (in some countries)
- Negative media portrayal of men (70% negative)
Now what do feminists themselves say? I searched the feminism101 blog for answers. The goal of this blog is to provide answers on the topic of feminism and while the quesiton on the definition of feminism was shaky at best (we again learn that everyone who wants equality is a feminist, yep that would include me again) we can read between the lines of other questions. For example, "can men be feminists" included that one.
We learn 2-things. One, be careful with the label feminist because some other feminist wouldnīt see you as a "first class feminist" and two, and more importantly we learn that feminism is a movement "built by and for women".
there are also men and women who are ideologically uncomfortable with men calling themselves feminists, because it seems to be a co-option of movements built by and for women. These groups express a preference for the terms pro-feminist
allies when speaking of men who support and advocate feminism
. - from here
Now we come to talking about mens problems on feminist spaces.
Again we learn two things. One, feminism is specially focused on womenīs issues and two, a feminist space is not the place to have a discussion about menīs issues (unless the topic is specifically menīs issues which happens how often? Check feministing (the biggest feminist blog) for menīs issues and you will know how often).
No one is saying that discussions on men and masculinities shouldnt go on. It is absolutely important to have dialogue on mens issues, including discussions on violence done towards men. The thing is, a feminist
space unless the topic is specifically mens issues is not the place to have that discussion and neither are spaces (feminist
or otherwise) in which the topic is specifically focused on womens issues. - from here
We also learn that there is no sexism against men just benevolent sexism (against women), that men as a class have an institutional power over women and that there is no female privilege.
Of course one can argue that the group who has most voting power, controls most wealth, has better health, education and longlivety is the oppressed group while the group with the worse working condition, more homeless people, more people that commit suicides, is more often victimized, is disadvataged in courts, expected to die in wars and expected to give up their lives for the other groups when disaster strikes is the privileged one, but this post certainly isnīt the right place to discuss this.
Whatīs my name?
The most obvious at last. Feminism implies that this is a womenīs movement. Heck it is even called the womenīs movement. Looking at the workbook definition the Oxford English Dictionary tells us (according to feminism101, I donīt own such a dictionary) the following:
FEMINISMNothing more to add.
: the advocacy of women`s rights
on the grounds of sexual equality
The believe that supporting feminism and empowering women will magically make all problems men have disappear somehow is not new. You know what, that is what Gloria Steinem was promising in 1970 and quite honestly not much has happened.
But we know now via
that feminsim is not about ending all inequalities and that feminism is not about fighting all stereotypes. Yes, this is something many people (feminists including) already know.
- the name feminism
- the textbook definition of feminism
- the actions of feminists
- what feminist
say about feminism
- what topics feminists are avoiding
To put it this way equalism or humanism is a coin with more than a feminism side. Is there something wrong with fighting for a special interest group? No, it isnīt. Heck this is what the MRM is doing -> "the advocacy of men`s rights on the grounds of sexual equality". It is however wrong to act as the great equalizer and ignore half of the population. Or as the Animal Farm quote goes.
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others"So please stop pretending feminism is the only solution for every group there is, especially when you offer no solution for menīs issues.