One of the constant problems one faces when criticizing feminism and feminists is the notion that males expect feminism and feminists to “fix” their problems. It is unclear where this idea began, but it is a fairly common response. Yet despite its popularity, one will not find even among some of the most inclusive members of the men’s movement any attempt to hijack feminism and turn it into a male-focused ideology.
Frankly, that notion is rather silly given that most of the criticism is that feminism itself is grossly unsuitable for males and inherently biased against them. Any changes made to feminism would therefore alter it from being female-focused to wholly inclusive. There already exists a term and philosophy that addresses those ideas: humanism. One could simply practice the less convoluted and less hypocritical philosophy rather than try to forcibly make a potato an apple.
Of course, the idea that typically accompanies the notion that males want feminism to be about them is that males do nothing to help their own situation. Feminists are quite fond of this phrase, holding it to be a truth. In this instance, they prove the old adage “ignorance is bliss” to be accurate. It is fairly easy to claim a person does nothing when one ignores their efforts, their issues and their concerns.
Some feminists seem to believe:
What this is about is that some men can’t stand not being the centre of attention.
And so begins the fallacies:
What this is really about is men accusing feminists of sexism and hypocrisy unless they can prove that they spend exactly half of their time, energy, and resources on campaigning on behalf of men.
What this is really about is that if feminism only improves the lives of women, it has no value or importance.
What this is really about is that feminism only has value if it works on behalf of men and improves the lives of men.
What this is really about is anti-feminist men being threatened by women working for women.
What they’re really saying is that to talk about women, to focus on women, to point out that something affects women badly; all of this is of no importance or value.
Et cetera, et cetera… Ultimately, this all culminates into a rather specific point:
Gay rights activists aren’t expected to spend half their time campaigning for heterosexuals. Anti-racism activists aren’t expected to spend ages campaigning on behalf of white people. Yet its a different story with feminism, isn’t it?
Many feminists are fond of comparing their ideology to social movements, thinking there is some inherent similarity. However, the difference between feminism and something like the gay rights movement is the framing. The gay rights movement is specifically trying to promote the tolerance (with acceptance, which is one of the reasons why it catches so much flak) of homosexuality, i.e. to grant gays the same treatment as heterosexuals. On the other hand, feminism is held as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.”
Logically speaking, this would include males. Now, if the reality is actually that is it an “organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests,” then the above claim is rather contradictory. One cannot focus only on one group and then claim to want to promote equality, because one would inherently ignore the inequalities the other group is subjected to.
The reason feminism and feminists look sexist is because of the above quoted comments. They have nothing to do with actually addressing the criticisms of feminism. The real issue is that there is criticism. The actual acknowledgment of males issues is the rather insulting notion of “The Patriarchy Hurts Men Too” or “It’s Your Own Fault.” What remains is a rant about how men want to control feminism (read: women) and undermine women’s rights and social status.
Ironically, this is the exactly what feminism does to males. What is done is the written equivalent of punching someone and when the person protests accusing that person of attempting to punch you. Of course, it is accompanied by the obligatory, “I didn’t hit you. I’m on your side.”
Oddly enough, few males seem to want feminism to “fix” anything for them. One certainly would not find any such desires for feminism to “fix” male issues on this blog or on any of the blogs, forums or sites linked here. Indeed, how can feminism or feminists “fix” what they do not understand and are not concerned with? Why should males turn to the people who most readily blame them for all social ills, demonize them, mock their pain and in turn exclude them from their clique while demanding they help fund it?
It would be simpler to tackle the issues on one’s own, which is what is being done. The major issue is that feminists dislike males who speak candidly about their issues and how feminism has negatively impacted them. As males work to solve their own problems (and note that the overwhelming majority of services and supports groups that exist for males were created and funded without any feminist assistance), they have every reason and right to discuss the bias and sexism that feminism both perpetuates and creates against them. That does not strip women of their rights or social status; it just states that those things should not come at the expense of males.
One would think feminists would agree. Yet, one would be wrong.