One of the curious changes in the online community over the last decade is the growth of the men’s rights movement. Driven by concern for men’s issues, men’s rights activists formed online communities. The movement garnered the attention of several people who have since led offline activist campaigns to help men and boys. But perhaps more than helping men, the men’s rights movement has spawned a feminist backlash against the movement and the discussion of men’s issues.
The most common accusation against men’s rights activists is that they are part of a hate group. Feminists claim that the ideology guiding men’s rights activists is rife with misogyny, particularly as it relates to violence against women. Feminists claim exposure to men’s rights groups causes people to support and potentially commit violence, although no self-professed men’s activist has ever been reported to have hurt anyone, whether on his own or in the name of the movement. Feminist bloggers like Manboobz owner David Futrelle, Amanda Marcotte, Hugo Schwyzer, and dozens of others list examples of comments and posts from men’s rights sites to try to prove their claim. As far as feminists are concerned, the men’s movement or any concern for men’s issues teaches nothing but hate.
Coincidentally, men’s rights activists argue the same thing about feminism. Part of their core beliefs is that feminism seeks to oppress men and shift all power to women. Of course, feminists cry foul at the mere assertion that any feminist is capable of hurting men, let alone that feminism as an ideology teaches misandry.
Case in point, on a recent Manboobz thread I mentioned my experiences with my feminist aunt. Futrelle posted a rhetorical question from a men’s rights blog, but the comment section revolved around a joke one of the men’s rights’ commenters made involving shooting feminists with boiled potatoes until they renounced feminism. To this I replied:
[…] I would have much preferred my feminist aunt to jokingly fantasize about shooting me with boiled potatoes to get me to accept feminism than have her actually maliciously shove dildos and strap-ons up my ass when I was a child to teach me how evil “patriarchy” is.
This prompted a number of comments, the gist of which was that feminism had nothing to do with my aunt’s actions, that feminism never causes bad behavior, and that my aunt is not a feminist. I received a similar response from feminist blogger Barry Deutsch several years ago when I mentioned my aunt (which also prompted Barry to ban me). My response to the Manboobz comments that an ideology can inform a person’s actions led to a host of retorts, the best of which came from Rutee Katreya:
Find for me where feminist thought says the rape of boys is a requisite action to promote equality for women. What your aunt did was fucking horrible. I don’t really see a reason for you to be on board with feminism because of it. But I simply will not allow you to slander an entire movement trying to prevent similar for hundreds of people (Not women, girls, boys, or men, people) because of one person, who can’t even get people to agree with what she did, and who nobody within has apparently defended. Trying to say we’re ‘like’ or worse, *worse* than a movement that just wants to perpetuate enslavement for a gender, because one woman who is a feminist did a horrible thing to you, is not going to fly.
This is the the same feminism that teaches that men collectively oppress women for the sole purpose of keeping all the power for themselves. The same feminism that claims that every male, regardless of his age or social status, benefits from this “patriarchy” at women’s expense. The same feminism that holds the fraction of men with power and the fraction men who commit violence as representative of the whole male population. The same feminism that views men as the ultimate enemy, one to be feared, distrusted, and suspected.
Would it surprise anyone that an ideology espousing that kind of hatred might cause a person to hurt someone?
It certainly does not surprise feminists. The core of the feminist argument is that society’s ideas about women cause men to commit violence against them. Yet how is it possible for the men’s rights movement and conspiracy theory called “patriarchy” can cause violence, but an openly anti-male ideology like feminism could not possibly cause a woman to hurt her nephew? This blog is full of accounts of feminists using feminism to hurt, punish, and discriminate against men. Numerous men and women have written and spoken about the negative impact feminist ideas had on them. Plenty of people have discussed how feminist policies have hurt boys and men. The misandry within feminist doctrine is obvious that feminists feel the need to create a Feminism 101 blog and constantly remind people that feminism is not about hating men.
And they do this all while claiming that “patriarchy” makes men rape, beat, and kill women. Everything from stiletto heels to make-up comes back to one pseudo-ideology making men oppress women. It is a glaring contradiction that so far none of the feminists responding to me over at Manboobz can seem to get around.
I do feel for them. They are essentially trying to defend the feminist version of “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal”. They cannot just admit that feminism as an ideology can be and has been used to hurt people, and something inherent in the ideology makes that so common. As such, I can forgive the insults and the wild straw man arguments claiming that I stated my aunt represents feminism or that I stated that feminism supports child rape. I suppose I would pull at straws too if someone said a thing I do not believe possible happened to them.