This is a comment that I had left to an interlocutor on social media. It is, I think, a good and relatively short introduction to the difference between the Men’s Rights Movement, Feminism and why so many Men’s Rights Activists are anti-Feminist as well.
I’d like to shorten this to an elevator pitch. I welcome your feedback.
The men’s rights movement is not the inverse of Feminism. It is not “Feminism for men.” That there was once a woman’s rights movement that eventually gave way to Feminism, does not imply that people who now strive for equivalent rights for men (such as gaining reproductive rights) use an equivalent, but sex-reversed mental framework.
A refresher. Feminism’s three phases can be simplified to this: 1. Fighting for actual rights in law. 2. Re-examining women’s roles and sense of identity relative to society. 3. Trying to re-write cultural norms.
At the moment, men are fighting for our actual rights in law, and re-examining our roles and sense of identity relative to society. We are not, however, trying to re-write cultural norms on the basis of an androcentrically oriented mental framework.
The women’s rights movement was a good thing, and I don’t think you’ll hear any MRA say otherwise. Feminism was sharp split from the women’s rights movement. It went from being about equal rights and responsibilities, to the post-modern, neo-Marxist critical theory-based framework that accepted the notion of class warfare (patriarchy theory) that posits that not only are women oppressed and subjugated, but added “by men.”
Ever since, Feminism has been actively doing three things.
The first, is to seek women’s advantage–deserved or not–regardless of the cost to men.
The second was to infiltrate and lobby government with the tenets of Radical Feminism: that women need to be protected from men, that men are a danger to women, and to implement these presuppositions though legislature and policy.
The third, was to promote the cultural message that men are perpetrators of women’s victimization.
All of this translates to tangible, measurable active harms to men, legally and culturally. It may work to women’s advantage and interest, but is in no way fair, or impartial. This is a far cry from equal pay for equal work, or equal opportunity, or equal rights under just law.
Does disagreement with these behaviours in anyway diminish women’s legal or moral standing? It does not. If men want to re-balance law so that it is genuinely sex-neutral, does this detract from women’s rights? It does not. If men speak out against the negative stereotypes propagated against us, does this mean that we want to foster inverse negative stereotypes about women? Of course not. And if men are angry with the way that we are treated, does this mean that we hate women? It doesn’t.
That one is anti the-political-ideology of Radical Feminism does not mean that one is anti-woman. It means that the ideas that Feminism promotes and implement are bad ideas. It means that it is our turn to start cleaning things up, but first, we have to get people to stop the mud-slinging.
I hope this clarifies my point of view. I welcome your thoughtful response.