|megpie71 (megpie71) wrote,|
@ 2015-06-29 10:17:00
|Entry tags:||activism, it's different for: men's rights inactiv, my opinion let me share it with you, the personal is political, things that make meg mad dot com|
MRAs get on my Tits.
So, over the past month or so, I've been following We Hunted The Mammoth, a website which tracks "the new misogyny" - or in other words, the prickly bunch of whiny so-and-sos who call themselves Men's Rights Activists (of one sort or another). It's been an interesting time, watching the variety of things these so-called "activists" get upset about (I'm sure by now everyone's heard their bitching about "Mad Max: Fury Road"). But the thing which really manages to annoy me about these people is this: they claim the label of "activist", while in actuality they're possibly the least active people on the planet.
Men's Rights Activists purport to be concerned about the following: domestic abuse of men (by both men and women); the shorter male lifespan (men live about 5 years less than women on average in most Western countries); the fact that men are required to register for compulsory military service in the USA (and in some other countries) while women aren't; the fact that certain extremely risky jobs skew male-centric; the way men are treated unfairly by the divorce courts; the way compulsory or toxic masculinity harms men; and so on. Fair enough - there's a lot of women out there who are equally concerned about all of these things, and a number of them are actually feminist talking points too (admittedly, some of them, such as the abuse of men by women, or of women by women, are fairly rare talking points, but they're still talked about by feminists, none the less). They're generally valid concerns, and I have no arguments with men as a whole being upset about them.
What I have an issue with is the LACK of action these self-described "activists" are taking about these matters.
When women in the late 1960s and early 1970s started to tackle the problem of domestic violence and domestic abuse, they did so by starting up women's refuges - places where "battered wives" could go to get away from their husbands, and get out of the abusive atmosphere in their households. They started looking at the social and financial hurdles which were put in place in answer to the question of "why doesn't she just leave, then?" They started studying what caused domestic violence, the dynamics of abusive households, and the social and political structures in place which normalised abusive relationships, and started campaigning to de-normalise it. It took a lot of hard work, and it's work which is still going on today - but they were willing to put the work in, because this was an issue they saw as important.
When feminists of all gender identities in the late 1990s and early 2000s started to tackle the problem of female-led domestic violence (women being violent toward their partners in both same-gender and mixed-gender relationships) they started pointing out the ways the existing dialogue around domestic violence basically upheld a lot of deeply sexist assumptions about women - that women "weren't naturally aggressive"; that a woman wasn't physically capable of causing serious harm and so on. They pointed out abusive dynamics and abusive personalities weren't a masculine-only phenomenon (although they acknowledged the way our culture defines masculinity makes it more likely an abusive masculine personality will be granted social license to operate). They pointed out abusive relationships harm both partners, and a person who had grown up in an abusive environment, no matter what their gender identity, was likely to wind up recreating that abusive environment in their adult lives, because it's what they know. They started recognising the problems the current system has in dealing with female aggressiveness (such as laws which state when police go to a "domestic", they have to arrest or remove a male person - even if that person is the victim rather than the aggressor) and with domestic situations which don't fit the "default" (such as a household where both partners are mutually violent toward each other). There's still a lot of work to be done on this particular subject, and quite a bit of this work does encounter a certain amount of resistance from the people who are tackling the problem of male-led violence, because in many cases it directly undercuts the sorts of myth-making they're using to make their points. So the work is ongoing, and it will probably be so for a long while yet.
When the self-described Men's Rights Activists raise the problem of female-led domestic violence they.... well, they sit around in various internet forums and whine about how nobody sets up men's shelters, and nobody protects men from violent "crazy" women, and so on.
Nope, that's it.
No research to find out whether there's a need for a men's shelter, and where best to start with putting one. No fund-raising to try and get money together to create a men's shelter. No organising to speak with politicians or city officials in any city to try and find a space for a men's shelter. No getting a collective together to run one, or figure out the logistics of the whole business. Just whining on the internet about how it's not fair.
To be honest, this doesn't really endear their cause to me. I mean, there's nothing there we can start a funding program for, or a research program into, or even create a flippin' Hallmark "Oh gods, we are *SO* *FUCKING* *SORRY*" card about.
Unfortunately, the same applies for every other aspect of their "cause" - their main activity, as activists, appears to be whingeing on the internet about how horrible the world is being to them.
Now, I am far from being a huge fan of first-and-second wave, traditional triple-w (Wealthy White cishet-Women's) feminism. I think it lacks in a lot of areas, particularly in consideration for the concerns of people who don't fit exclusively into the wealthy white cishet-woman club. But I will say this in its favour: they can at least manage to organise a piss-up in a brewery, which is something I strongly suspect would be beyond the capabilities of most Men's Rights Inactivists. In fact, this is something which is common with a lot of less-privileged groups - equal rights for non-heterosexual people, equal rights for transpeople, equal rights for black people and so on - all of them are the result of people who identified as part of the relevant group demonstrating an ability to get up off their rumps, and start actually DOING THINGS to change the situation. This ability is why they're seeing successes - and those successes tend to involve a LOT of work, over weeks, months, years, decades, even generations, to get the progress we're seeing now.
So, if there's any Men's Rights Inactivists reading my piece at present, and you're all upset and want to score a point, here's a suggestion: DO SOMETHING USEFUL!
This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/55200.htm