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Men's Rights Movement (sic)

Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Gosh I hope this isn't a troll magnet. I started this thread because we don't have a useful catalogue for the presence of Men's Rights (sic) organizations across Canada and elsewhere. Here is what babble book club (bbc) host Kaitlin found was polluting Vancouver's eastside recently:

Men's rights campaign stirs conflict on Commercial Drive

A poster campaign by a newly formed Vancouver branch of the Men’s Rights Movement (MRM) has residents in targeted neighbourhoods taking to the streets and the web in opposition to the organization’s links to terrorism and rape apology.

Posters proclaiming, among other things, that “90 percent of divorces are initiated by women,” “90 per cent of homeless are men,” and that feminism is a violent movement that discriminates against men, turning them into second-class citizens, began appearing earlier this month.

Some Commercial Drive residents say the Vancouver MRM’s presence is not welcome, or necessary, in their neighbourhood. “Of course I’m not oppressed, I’m a white male,” said Sean O’Flynn-Magee. “Obviously [sex equality] is a discussion we need to have out in the open, not with finger-pointing and trying to tear each other down.” He added that he and many of his friends are angry and do not believe the posters meet the community’s standards, and have even argued with MRM members they’ve seen gluing the posters up.

“It’s really just an echo chamber of misogyny and hatred of women in general,” said Jamie James, who has sparred with Vancouver MRA members in the blogosphere. “This self-victimization that women are evil and trying to tear down men, when you confront these ideas, people sometimes realize that isn’t what they meant when they said they support this movement.”

Gross.


Comments

dacckon
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Joined: May 19 2011

While there is discrimination against males in society, these men's right groups seem like a bunch of angry old men who are moronic.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

I knew a colleague about 15 years ago who was always on about that, and he seemed to be the driving force behind some sort of organization. He was given a forum in the media more than once, and wrote lots of letters. His big axe to grind was child access and divorce settlements.

Then, of course, there are those Promisekeepers - a Christian organization dedicated to men straightening themselves out and taking control as the divinely-ordained head of the family. Not sure which brand is worse.

Speaking of which, has there been any more news about that pile of money that went to a so-called men's group at SFU or UBC or whatever campus it was?

 

 


Ken Burch
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Joined: Feb 26 2005

The creepiest thing about Promise Keepers is that their basic argument seems to be, more or less "ok, we'll admit that a lot of men became abandoning, neglectful and/or abusive fathers and husbands over the last few decades...so long as everybody else admits that feminism and 'Sixties values' JUSTIFIED the neglect, abuse and abandonment-and we'll cut it out as soon as the whole world agrees to retroactively stop time in 1953". 


quizzical
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Joined: Dec 8 2011

dacckon wrote:
While there is discrimination against males in society, these men's right groups seem like a bunch of angry old men who are moronic.

i've yet to notice discrimination against white men in society...could ya give us an example?


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

I was wondering the same thing, quizzical. But let's not derail this thread. The only time I've experienced discrimination is when I accidentally walked into a women's bathroom. Oh wait, it wasn't discrimination--it was embarrassment.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

Catchfire wrote:

I was wondering the same thing, quizzical. But let's not derail this thread. The only time I've experienced discrimination is when I accidentally walked into a women's bathroom. Oh wait, it wasn't discrimination--it was embarrassment.

Didn't Freud say "there are no accidents"? Laughing


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Catchfire wrote:

I was wondering the same thing, quizzical. But let's not derail this thread. 

Well certainly nothing remotely close to the degree of threats and oppression women face, and nothing worth starting an angry guy movement over. But I can think of a few examples.

I'm not offering this as an example, but as an aside, they had something on the "End of Men" book on Day Six this morning - the same one that was mentioned in that Domesticity blog you posted, CF. I didn't bother listening, but I guess it has something to do with the idea that men who work in the home and aren't the ones bringing most of the money into a household aren't really men anymore.

That's as ridiculous and as backwards as those Promisekeepers. Really, it portrays working women as a threat to "real" men. And what makes it doubly insulting is that those jobs in traditional women's trades are only rising in status because so many other sectors have been cut to ribbons. And yet women are somehow to blame.

In my case, I am the one who does most of the house and kid stuff, because my business runs largely out of the home. On occasion I have people blaming my partner when our kids show up with mis-matched socks, because in their minds I am just helping out with work that is really her responsibility.

 


quizzical
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Joined: Dec 8 2011

i've been thinkin on this lookin for examples. found 1. blue collar white men are oppressed by white collar white men.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

@ quizzical

Yeah, I'd agree that most of it, but not all,  comes from other men.

Realizing that this is fairly delicate territory, let me underscore that nothing that any men face justifies an attack on women, or against the struggle for equal treatment. Also, anything men face pales in comparison to the vastly greater oppression women face.

With that in mind, I can think of a couple of things:

Men and boys who get ridiculed, physically abused, driven to suicide or killed  for not living up to some people's standard of manliness.

Misinterpreting normal boy behaviour as a sickness and drugging it - standard practice in U.S. schools.

Something that happened to a friend of mine, and he's probably not alone - being literally laughed out of the room when he dared make a complaint of sexual harrassment and assault, because he was a big strong guy, and how could he possibly be afraid of an old woman?

The sorting system at Srebrenica.

One personal, more subtle example. Having a serious disagreement with someone, from which I backed off completely when I saw it was pointless. Then hearing back from my partner that she was told by this person "Oh you know men... they never want to really talk about their feelings or deal with things."

And yes, the notion that men who aren't the money-earners in their families are useless layabouts.

Anyway,  I certainly don't think any of it justifies these groups based on privilege, prejudice and misguided resentment. But if the question is put on the table I'm not going to say it doesn't exist. If anything, I think that gives these "men's groups" more ammunition.

 

 


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

A friendly reminder to the men posting in this thread that this thread is in the feminism forum and is not about men, discrimination against men, or any other male-focused topics. It is about the men's rights movement which is an example of misogyny and anti-feminism--not a misguided approach to a genuine problem facing men in society.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Yes CF.

I hope I made it clear that I see those groups as being just as misguided and dangerous as you do. Indeed, that is exactly how I saw the conspiracy theories of this colleague of mine 15-plus years ago. Hopefully I don't get tarred with that same brush just because I respond to a comment with honesty rather than a joke.

After all, everything I mentioned is the product of the system of patriarchy which harms women far more than men - not, as these groups falsely believe, an attack by women on them.

In any case, I am happy to have this get back on topic.


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Thanks Winston. I don't question the sincerity or significance of your post, just that we men have a habit of moving the discussion away from women-focussed topics in the feminism forum, often without realizing it and with entitrely good motives. It's an important discussion, just not here, I think.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

My childhood friend moved to Australia 15 years ago and is going through a rough separation. According to the friend his ex is doing everything she can to prevent access to their only child and for months at a time while he deals with legal services. She's managed to get him in trouble with the teacher's college there, and now he's worried about losing his ability to support himself as well as the ability to pay child support. It's pretty sad.


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Fidel, this is not the thread for you to catalogue instances of men undone by the family court system. You see that, right? Please don't continue posting in that vein. It's inappropriate and disrespectful.


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Apparently a member of the EastVan MRA mentioned above is a confirmed speaker in the next event of the "EastVan Debating Society." The question is: "Has feminism gone too far?" Here is the event on facebook. The speaker against the motion is TBA.


ryanw
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Joined: May 24 2012

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Realizing that this is fairly delicate territory, let me underscore that nothing that any men face justifies an attack on women, or against the struggle for equal treatment. Also, anything men face pales in comparison to the vastly greater oppression women face.

what kind of things do women face that justify attacks on men or equal treatment for them?


theleftyinvestor
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Joined: Jun 6 2008

I know that every year in the Vancouver Pride Parade there is a "fathers' rights" group that marches, and often I see signs suggesting that some of the marchers are gay dads who feel they were treated unjustly in court. The reaction of the crowd varies from blindly enthusiastic to quizzical. I don't know if they consider themselves under the MRM umbrella but there is certainly some anti-women sentiment there. I'm not comfortable with seeing the cause of homophobia in the court system taken up by a coalition of jaded misogynists.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

@ CF #12

Very good point. Thanks for the reminder, and sorry for the defensive reaction.

It's good to see that they are getting called to task on that FB page. They may have bitten off more than they can chew.

It's interesting how many of these groups seem bent on turning people at false enemies and away from the real causes. And sad too, because I expect there are more than a few decent-minded people who get sucked into it for one reason or another while missing the big picture - like the posters talking about "free speech" as some sort of justification.

@ ryanw

I'm not suggesting that - I think that is the lie they would like people to believe. And sorry, but I think I'll take CF's advice and just drop that line of discussion now.

 


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Catchfire wrote:

Fidel, this is not the thread for you to catalogue instances of men undone by the family court system. You see that, right? Please don't continue posting in that vein. It's inappropriate and disrespectful.

You're absolutely right. I have no time for these lynch Fidel and anyone who agrees with Fidel threads.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Catchfire wrote:

Apparently a member of the EastVan MRA mentioned above is a confirmed speaker in the next event of the "EastVan Debating Society." The question is: "Has feminism gone too far?" Here is the event on facebook. The speaker against the motion is TBA.

Cancelled.

 


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

Wow a thread in the feminist forum started by a man and the postings appears to be all men except for one poster so far. Fortunately for her there were men available to explain the thread to her.

Wink


Ken Burch
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Joined: Feb 26 2005

Fidel wrote:

Catchfire wrote:

Fidel, this is not the thread for you to catalogue instances of men undone by the family court system. You see that, right? Please don't continue posting in that vein. It's inappropriate and disrespectful.

You're absolutely right. I have no time for these lynch Fidel and anyone who agrees with Fidel threads.

Fidel, stop.  Just stop.  You aren't the victim in this thread and nobody lynched you. 

This will be MY last post in this thread.


Timebandit
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Joined: Sep 25 2001
Interesting note - Anyone else familiar with Skepchick? It's an atheist/freethoughtblogs blog by and for women with a strongly feminist bent. Anyhow, they wage an incessant war with MRAs out of the atheist and free thought communities. Even groups that we might think are fairly progressive on the face of them deal with these regressive jerks. I've been reading reviews of The End of Men and I suppose I'll have to pick up a copy and give it a read one of these days. What I've heard, though, doesn't impress me much - women have adapted to the new reality that everyone works and have developed skills to cope, whereas some men are "seemingly unable" (Rosin's phrase from a piece in the G&M this weekend) to adapt. The question that rises in my mind is this: are they unable, or are they simply unwilling? Is it an extension of male entitlement and privelege that they feel they just shouldn't have to?

6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

You could start with her article in the Atlantic, if you haven't read it already.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/the-end-of-men/308135/

A lot of what she describes are positive changes, and not all of it new information - that women do the bulk of the work and are in many cases far more effective organizers. That has  been true since hunter gatherer societies. What I don't get is  why is it all framed as a threat to men - right down to the absurd title -  rather than about women taking their rightful place, and breaking an old, oppressive system.

I'm sure it sells more books, but it is also turns something that should be seen as ultimately good for everyone into a lightning rod for these angry guys.


theleftyinvestor
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Joined: Jun 6 2008

Timebandit wrote:
What I've heard, though, doesn't impress me much - women have adapted to the new reality that everyone works and have developed skills to cope, whereas some men are "seemingly unable" (Rosin's phrase from a piece in the G&M this weekend) to adapt. The question that rises in my mind is this: are they unable, or are they simply unwilling? Is it an extension of male entitlement and privelege that they feel they just shouldn't have to?

I forget who I'm quoting here, but I have a feeling it might have come at least in part from the book "I Don't Want To Talk About It" which is about male depression. I read it many years back. But basically, it put forth via case studies that in many straight couples where the husband has depression, as the wife becomes more empowered in the relationship, the husband has greater difficulty masking his condition. And it makes sense, because traditional gender roles seem to offer men the entitlement of offloading onto women in order to cope with their emotional baggage without ever dealing with it.

And I don't mean to throw a blanket accusation of mental illness at the MRM, nor to mock or make light of said issue (it runs in my own family and it's one of the reasons I read that book in the first place), but when I look at some of these guys' behaviour, I see some parallels. Keeping women disempowered is not an acceptable solution to improving the lives of men.

Whether going on at more length on the topic of male depression is of relevance to a feminist forum, well that's debatable. But I think it's fair to say that if we desire a world in which men are well-adapted to feminism, there are a lot of men who have to confront some serious inner demons in order to get there - to stop perpetuating the cycle of delegating misery to women. And to children too, for that matter, because it gets passed down in the family to the next generation of men and women.


cubicalgangster
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Joined: Dec 11 2008

Sup leftyinvestor. I don't think depression is really a gender issue, it's a health issue. If you want to improve conditions in households of men who suffer from depression and their wives who must also deal with that burden you should be trying to improve the health care system. I don't know if this is relevant but women are more susceptible to depression than men.

In the spirit of mens right, both in western society and globally men are more likely the victims of violent crime than women are. Yes, women are more likely the victims of sexual assault. A part of the problem here is a matter of sexism, at least in my opinion. In most circumstances when it comes to violent crime the perpetrator is a man, however statistically speaking the victim is most likely to be male as well. I feel that because the perpetrator is male it allows us to have less sympathy for the victim. Mens rights groups don't just advocate for divorcees, but for people like this. In one in four cases of domestic abuse the abusee is a man. Domestic abuse is generally viewed as a womens fight in the sense that they're the one fighting for their rights and safety in the home. But we rarely here anything from the men in abusive relationships. Why is that?

There are also many incidents when women have claimed sexual assault as weapons against men, these cases can be hard to prove and the doubt usually goes to the women, innocent or not. Julian Assange is a good example of this. Even in Sweden women's rights advocates were arguing on their behalf saying they were employing female fragility in order to easily convict a man for other reasons, in this case Wikileaks. Despite all the hubub the Swedish prosecutors have made over this case they still need to charge the man with something.

War. Here is an example that people overlook for various reasons, none that I find particularly relevant or worthy of discussion. The truth is more men die in war than women or children, of course the latter are always the ones reported. I understand that both women and children are more relevant to the biological security of a race/nationality/etc., however nothing about their gender/age suggests they have more rights or are superior politically, at least according to any international policy I've seen. In many situations men are conscripted into military service, forced to fight, or are simply targets for invading forces because they are men. Even the Obama administration has employed sexist policy surrounding American drone strikes. Any many 18+ who is killed by a drone is considered a terrorist posthumously. This policy certainly reduces civilian casualties.

But lets come back to North America. Men and women's rights are inherently intwined and the progress we've experienced in our society has brought rights and gender rolls into question. In many neighbourhoods in the United States women are put under more and more duress as more of the men from the community are put in jails. This is especially common in black communities. This trend isn't new either, I'd say it started just after the prohibition of slavery.

There are many instances where men are degraded or exploited because of their gender. I think our society has progressed in a way to look on men and masculinity slightly negatively. I've been in situations where I've felt like it said "rapist" on my shirt. The discrimination is there and I think labelling male discrimination as laughable is part of that discrimination. And I think the biggest issue concerning mens rights are that discrimination of men is the most subtle than any other demographic thus easily overlooked. with women it's pretty clear via wage gaps, etc. Visible minorities, you can see systemic oppression. Non-straight people through discriminating policy. Just because many of the ills are befallen upon us by individuals who are male doesn't give us the right to discriminate against every man.

 

Edit: For examples of abuse and inequality towards men I'd suggest checking out the r/mensrights on Reddit. I find there is little productive discussion in that forum but the examples posted are pretty legitimate.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

@ theleftyinvestor

Look at the Women's Temperance movement. It wasn't just into breaking whiskey bottles to spoil the party. It was all tied in with suffrage, emancipation, anti-poverty, anti-violence, international peace, labour solidarity and other progressive political issues. And a big part of that was calling on men to hold up their end of things rather than making things worse. So it's not like it is just a "postmodern" phenomenon.

 


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

cubicalgangster, don't post in this thread again. 


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

I've been reading reviews of The End of Men and I suppose I'll have to pick up a copy and give it a read one of these days. What I've heard, though, doesn't impress me much - women have adapted to the new reality that everyone works and have developed skills to cope, whereas some men are "seemingly unable" (Rosin's phrase from a piece in the G&M this weekend) to adapt. The question that rises in my mind is this: are they unable, or are they simply unwilling? Is it an extension of male entitlement and privelege that they feel they just shouldn't have to?

 

This nicely puts the finger on some discomfort I've been feeling with Rosin's book, which, like you, I've only experienced third-hand (although I just read this horrible piece of link-bait by her in The Atlantic). She seems to dissolve male privilege by saying that successful women just ignore it, which really means that they have come up with coping mechanisms for it, often humiliating ones. But she doesn't seem to point out that most men (who still make, on average, far more than women doing the same work), don't even need to make this adjustment. They just get on with it. (At least, I think that's close to what you're saying.)

Edited to avoid triple posting:

Jezebel article summarzing MRA in East Vancouver.


quizzical
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Joined: Dec 8 2011

follow the links in that Jezebel article....*blink* my eyes hurt. the website on Ruth's Facebook page for contacting her doesn't seem to support the stance she's taken. 1st thing came to my mind is what is she to the 2 men then?


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