The title is certainly asking for trouble, but the article makes a strong critique of the men’s rights movement in its purpose, intent and methods – especially as it fits in relation to the feminist movement.
My biggest critique is that I would be curious to see the statistics which support the facts of men’s increased exposure to homelessness and suicide, which this article concedes as being Men’s issues. I’ve heard that women more frequently attempt suicide but that men are more successful in their attempts; I also question the belief that men experience homelessness at greater rates than women. Women are in much greater poverty overall, so men being more homeless in numbers than women seems backward. (I would challenge this as a matter of visibility – women may be more likely to stay with friends or to avoid public spaces for safety or privacy reasons, making them less visible to street counts or to the certified accounts of people who walk streets downtown and notice more homeless men than women. No, I don’t believe these count as facts.)
I don’t have the statistics in front of me, but you may find some good ones as offshoots from this article.
I need to take a moment here to talk about the Men’s Rights Movement, because there seems to be some confusion. Actually, there seems to be a whole lot of confusion.
Over the past little while, I’ve had a number of people challenge me on calling out men’s rights activists (hereafter referred to as MRAs). “But men are oppressed too,” people say. “Feminism is sexist, and it teaches men that masculinity is wrong.” “Straight, white men aren’t allowed to be proud of themselves anymore.” “If you believe in equality, then you should want men to have the same type of activism as women.” “Everyone is entitled to their opinion.”
First of all, yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But let’s not pretend that all opinions are created equal – some are based on fact, and some are total bullshit. Like, I could tell you that I believe that vaccines…
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A long video but worth it. I would summarize it here but that would be precisely beside the point. Watch this.
Even if we were to suppose that there were this terrible right to kill everyone, I maintain that neither a person enslaved during wartime nor a conquered people bears any obligation whatever toward its master, except to obey him for as long as it is forced to do so. In taking the equivalent of his life, the victor has done him no favor. Instead of killing him unprofitably, he kills him usefully. Hence, far from the victor having acquired any authority over him beyond force, the state of war subsists between them just as before. Their relationship itself is the effect of war, and the usage of the right to war does not suppose any peace treaty. They have made a contract. Fine. But this contract, far from destroying the state of war, presupposes its continuation.
Thus, from every point of view, the right of slavery is null, not simply because it is illegitimate, but because it is absurd and meaningless. These words, slavery and right, are contradictory. They are mutually exclusive. Whether it is the statement of one man to another man, or of one man to a people, the following sort of talk will always be equally nonsensical. “I make an agreement with you that is wholly at your expense and wholly to my advantage; and, for as long as it pleases me, I will observe it and so will you.”
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau, On the Social Contract (On Slavery, Chapter 4)
I love Marx, and I love Rousseau. I love political philosophy. But I sure am tired of writing papers about “man” and how “he” is alienated from “himself,” because it’s simply not appropriate to use “people” in combination with non-gendered pronouns for the entire paper and lord knows they never once refer to the effects of political ideology or the system’s organization on the female experience of the world.