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Men's Rights? Just Another Name for Sexist Dogma

By Tanner Willbanks
May 12, 2009

At no point since I became a politically aware individual have I ever been accused of being anything less than a full-throated defender of the rights of women. In fact, I am often derided by my peers, even many that would be considered "progressive", for the fact that I stand up for my belief that nobody should even be allowed to use language that serves to subjugate any class of people, let alone actually participate in actions that have, as their sole purpose, the goal of keeping an entire gender in the role of second class citizens. And make no mistake, that is what the current laws of this nation do to women.

It is with this predisposition to the feminist cause that sickens me when I read about so-called "Men's Rights" groups that seem to be popping up all over my radar. Other than the linked article, I have also seen this sort of group discussed in the comments section of my University newspaper and in conversation between a friend of mine and one of his acquaintances. The mere idea that people think that "Men's Rights" groups are equivalent to the feminist movement shows how little people actually understand either of them.

In the previously linked article, it is clear that the subject of the conversation, Mr. Roy Den Hollander, is upset that women are getting "preferential" treatment over him. However, his true interest comes through when he goes into great detail about how his disdain for the treatment that women get over him stems from his inability to get those same women to go home with him at the end of the night. In fact, Mr. Den Hollander, as far as we see in the article, is so pathetic as to not even really be worthy of me defending the feminist movement against him.

No, in fact, the much more glaring, and frightening, area where these "Men's Rights" groups seem to be occurring is on college campuses. Granted, I am operating off of a very limited sample size of one university in the Midwest, but here, on this relatively liberal campus, there is talk of a "Men's Rights" group starting next semester in an attempt to "counteract the radical liberal agenda of the feminazis that have infested this campus." Yes, this is the type of old-school, reactionary rhetoric that has become commonplace in the conservative backlash against feminism, but what makes it disturbing is that this is coming from students, granted they are a small, if not infinitesimal, group.

Why then, if there are so few of them, am I up in arms about the idea of "Men's Rights" groups attempting to counteract all the work that we, as feminists, do? Because, in the course of the discussion about the formation of the group on my campus(which can be viewed in the comment section of this University Daily Kansan article), the people who would join a group such as this one reveal themselves to be woefully undereducated(they believe that there exists no pay gap) and they equate rape, a crime that is universally agreed upon to be one of the most horrendous there is, with a woman cheating on her husband. While I can't make heads or tails of their reasoning behind that comparison, I will say that it is quite possibly the most offensive statement that I've heard in my two years of serving as a sexual assault awareness advocate on this campus.

So, with those statements, you have to ask yourself, why do these "Men's Rights" groups actually exist? They exist to make men feel okay with themselves for continuing to force women into subservient roles. They exist to make men sleep better at night knowing that they will make more money than every woman in their life for doing the same work, just because they happened to be born with a penis. "Men's Rights" groups exist to defend the one right that many men hold higher than all others, the right to tell a woman exactly where her place is. And trust me when I say, the men in these groups don't believe that her place is anywhere near the political or public sphere. The men in these organizations believe that women are fit to be nurses and secretaries, but not doctors and CEOs. These are the anti-Hilary, anti-Michelle Obama crowd. These are the men who run in fear whenever a strong woman stands up and says that they aren't going to take being treated like a second class citizen, or a sex toy. These are the men that make me ashamed of my gender.

The good news is that these men are not, by any means, the majority of males in this country. I honestly believe that there are more men that believe in the causes of feminism and equality than there are that hold to the reactionary causes of "Men's Rights". I challenge each and every one of the men that disagree with these groups to stand up and tell them so. Don't let women be treated as sex objects, second-class citizens, and less than equal in your presence. Stand up and make it clear that we believe that all people, be they male, female, black, white, hispanic, asian, gay, or straight, are equal and should be treated as such. It is the only way that we can override the insane amount of press that the wingnuts in the "Men's Rights" organizations are bound to get.

Comments (6)

Nora Thomason Author Profile Page:

Tanner this is a powerful blog post.

I love this point in particular

So, with those statements, you have to ask yourself, why do these "Men's Rights" groups actually exist? They exist to make men feel okay with themselves for continuing to force women into subservient roles.
It pains me to admit that men can advocate for women better than women can advocate for women but it's true. Why? Members of the group in power (you) are more influential in their speech and actions (that is, able to influence other members of the their own group in power) than members of the oppressed groups can ever be. I say this not to diminish myself (I am already diminished by the disparity in power) but to express my appreciation for the way that you are choosing to "spend" your inherited power.

And, what's especially gratifying about this is that you don't do this for gratitude (to accept gratitude from members of the oppressed class is also a perpetuation of the superiority of the class in power) but you do this because you believe in it.

By believing and by making your points so coherently, you will have tremendous impact on change.

Thank you.

JohnnyACE♠ GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™ Author Profile Page:

Sexist dogma? PLEASE! By the way, thank you for finally officially acknowledging us as a threat!

We don't claim to be equivalent to the feminist movement. You see, Men's Rights Activism (MRA) is very much misunderstood. There are fakers (like yourself, Mr. Tanner) who are only concerned with getting the most punana, and then there are REAL Men's Rights Activists who aren't just bitter at women who won't have sex with them. Our problems go much deeper than that. We have to deal with laws that encourage women to behave badly with impunity at the expense of men like you and me. Our laws give women unfair one-sided advantages in court (think child support and alimony), in school (think graduation rate), and in the workplace (think flex benefits; and there is NO wage gap - if there is then it's probably in women's favor). The divorce rate is at an all-time high, and so are out-of-wedlock childbirths. I've seen way too many of us men locked up for false accusations of rape and domestic violence WITHOUT proper investigation prior to prosecution. People automatically assume that the woman's always telling the truth. I've seen way too many legislators held hostage by the National Organization for Women to pass unconstitutional laws against men (such as the Violence Against Women Act) under fear of losing the female vote. There is way too much propaganda in the media, politics, and schools that promotes benefits for women and responsibilities for men. Chivalry is SO not dead. Men are portrayed in the media as being tough and able to take any sort of harm whatsoever (and always the one a@ fault) while women are deemed fragile and worthy of deferential treatment and one-sided benefits (and always the victim). Feminism promotes rights for women without the responsibilities. All responsibility must go to the male. THAT'S what MRA is all about. We don't hate women and we're not bitter over rejection. We're just trying to bring responsibility to women once and for all.

Now to address your article, you keep talking about being treated as second-class citizens and forced into subservient roles. That is absolutely not true. More women are graduating from college than men. Over 80% of this nation's wealth is controlled by women. In the next few years if things keep going your way, this nation will be in complete control by women. It's men who are the second-class citizens in subservient roles.

I don't know where you got the notion that we equate rape to female infidelity, although those are both very serious issues indeed. I think you mean to unsuccessfully debunk the fact that women cheat much more than men and are much more sexual than men.

You're wrong when you say that we don't believe that women should be anywhere in the workforce. I'm proud of a woman who's got something going but I don't like when she's given the opportunity to take shortcuts merely because she's a woman. A woman can be a CEO - in fact, the CEO of Xerox is female.

I agree that a woman should not be treated as a sex toy UNLESS SHE CHOOSES TO DRESS AND ACT LIKE ONE. That includes showing way too much skin and refusing to pay for dinner when she goes out on a date. If she likes to be wined & dined in exchange for sex, then she is a prostitute and likes to be treated as such. They should stop sending mixed signals.

You're a guy. Why the hell do you care so much about women's rights? What do you have to gain from such rights? In fact, you have much more to LOSE than you have to gain.

Lastly, we may not be the majority of men in this country but we are obviously strong enough to elicit a reaction out of the feminists, aren't we? And make no mistake, we are continuing to grow. Like Abe Lincoln said, you can't fool all the people all the time. So go ahead, challenge the manginas to rebut against us. I guarantee you that we will turn most of them into followers. The feminist movement is NOT about equality. Prove me wrong. Where are the feminists' anger and rage when women are violent to men? Where were the protests when women (who have more legal options than men in pregnancies and childbirths) force men to become fathers against their will? Why was nothing said about Nadya Suleman from the feminist camp? Why don't you feminists and brainwashed male feminists say anything when men are falsely accused of rape? You only fight inequalities and injustices WHEN THEY DON'T FAVOR WOMEN. We're sick of it and we will be bullied no longer.

One last thing...
(I myself am a registered Democrat.)


George Dungan Author Profile Page:

Rather than get into a flame war with you 'JohnnyACE'...let me just thank you for providing a wonderful example of the naive and sexist thought process that Tanner was discussing.

Your beliefs, while deeply upsetting, are one thing...but to hide behind the guise of activism (Men's Rights Groups? Really?) is just ridiculous.

vijay Author Profile Page:

Since you seemed to be so brilliant in analyzing JohnnyACE fairly detailed comment, George Dungan you need to explain what you found so naive especially when he has invited characters like you prove him wrong and please try and concentrate on the last para.

JohnnyACE♠ GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™ Author Profile Page:

Thank you, Vijay. Don't bother with the people who cover their hears and yell loudly to drown out the message. Join us.


Karl Author Profile Page:

And how exactly do men 'force' women into subservient roles?

The only way a person can truly force anyone is through brute force... Now, if you're going to pretend that the average man is an abuser, well, that speaks volumes about your feminist inspired sexism and hatred towards men. It certainly doesn't prove anything.

As another poster has request, feel free to explain what is wrong the other post's last paragraph?

I used to be you. I used to be a pro-feminist man. However, even as a child I would observe blatant inequality which was detrimental to men. Nonetheless, I also learned quickly not to discuss such things. The usual response was to the effect of "men deserve it after 2000 years of oppressing women" (though, I'm still at a loss as to why 'men' suddenly out of the blue began oppressing women worldwide just because the big Mr. J apparently made an appearance. Apparently, even none christian men (i.e. Christ didn't appear) still only began once the none-existant Mr. J appeared. LOL

So, why haven't you addressed any of the points made?

How about the blatant inequality for male-specific illnesses? Let me guess, you'll respond in the typical feminist fashion of blaming men for that, right?

How about the fact that boys are falling so far behind girls - also men's fault?

What about spending - women spend the majority of money - men's fault, no doubt?

Let's look at false allegations of rape/abuse - I guess that's a man's fault too.

Regardless - as a feminist who (predictably) lies that equality is all they seek, they have an uncanny ability to be silent when equality is in men's favour.

For all the screeching that feminists make about equality - their **ACTIONS** speak louder than their words ever can.

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