Why are feminists at war with the MRA, and often, vice-versa?

From the Change My Mind subreddit

I think that a big part of the problem is the tendency for both the Men’s Rights and the Feminist movements to attract a great deal of people who seek an easy solution in a clearly defined enemy. Everyone would love for all of the existing social inequities to be the result of the actions of a particular group, so many people read both Feminist and Men’s Rights ideology through this type of scornful filter.

Another part of the issue and perhaps the greatest–and unspoken-one is that the core of the movements are people who’ve been hurt. At first, the individual has nowhere to speak and so cries out in the wild. They are either answered, or find more people crying out, and so join.

Unfortunately, groups often become echo chambers, and when a group is currently focused on perceived wrongs, injustices, when they are still licking their wound, the echo magnifies their point of view. Members of other groups, being focused on their own wounds fight for the same acknowledgements. For some reason, people it seems, tend to be unwilling to acknowledge another’s pain until their own has been acknowledged.

In an effort for acknowledgement, they flail about trying to be heard, and with experience get good at being heard. Then they start recruiting, and using the power of an echo chamber, and the years of justifications they use so that the other will take them seriously becomes, though repetition, mantras and dogmas.

The unfortunate result of the way that the human mind works is that it can often get into a state of hyperfocus, magnification and amplification. An inconsequential brush-up, if looked at hard enough though the lens of pain will reveal a self-perceived scratch, which becomes a gash, and eventually a lethal wound. The mind makes it so, even though reality doesn’t back it. The original need for acknowledgement of a genuine hurt has become a foundational pain, to which are added countless other pokes, jabs, slights that pile up and fester.

At some point, the original reason for joining, the simple desire for acknowledgement and hope for relief has become lost, and complaint mongering has become the new way. With practice, being a victim becomes an identity, and this new identity, reinforced by the group create a sense of security and belonging–which, oddly enough, may have been the original desire or intent.

Humans, though, are greedy and lazy, and don’t particularly appreciate nuance and complexity. We tend to prefer simple, bite-size memes. If the entirety of the world down to the last human doesn’t operate exactly as our own personal utopia would hope for, the cycle–or struggle as some might phrase it–continues.

I think that I know the cure. It is giving up our self-centeredness, our child-like and often childish impulses, the willingness and ability to reach beyond our own little fishbowl thinking. It is to accept that life is complex, often difficult and to focus on the fact that all human have their own story, and that their story is just as valid as our own. The cure includes offering enough respect to the other that we will take the risk of assuming that given a respectful and compassionate ear, the they too will take the chance to be vulnerable enough to act from genuine good will. In order to enact this cure, we must practice tolerance, forbearance, a fair bit of courage, compassion and generosity of spirit. Let us remember, however, that generosity expects nothing in return.

That’s the hard part.

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4 thoughts on “Why are feminists at war with the MRA, and often, vice-versa?

  1. Seve says:

    This is very well stated. All to often, I have heard people on both sides of the gender issue, speak from their inner woundedness. As a man, I find it frankly sad how mainstream culture views men. However, I find the criticisms that some MRAs have of feminism (while basically accurate) too heavy on personal attack of the one they are criticizing. I firmly believe that it is possible to criticizes an ideology without resorting to personal attacks.

    • Francis Roy says:

      I’m sure that some psychologist could express this better than I can, but there seems to be phases that people must go though to get to a sense of peace. I can’t identify them. If someone knows what these phases are, let me know, I’d be interested in learning more, as much for myself, as to be able to identify what stage another person is acting from, it’s intent and how to best facilitate moving on.

      • Seve says:

        Yes it would be very helpful to have someone who knows what there talking about identify these stages. I’m not a psychologist, so I wouldn’t know how to.

  2. Kerina says:

    I really, really liked this. A lot of women find their way into feminism in this exact way. They have a perceived harm for which they feel a need to receive commiseration. Other feminists confirm all of their anger and feelings of righteousness even when, in many cases, some or even all of the blame rests with this “injured” party.

    It’s very important to always remember that we are all people with feelings, men and women both, and for every man out there that has been wounded, used, and wronged by a woman there is a woman that has suffered deep pain at the hands of a man. Both sides believe the suffering of their own team is the deeper one.

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