Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reasons Given for Inaction of Men's Rights Movements

In a post from earlier this week, I asked what was stopping men and men's rights activists from initiating pushback with respect to a producer's statement that the show "Snapped," which she describes as being about women killing men, as "hilarious."

My post was in response to a post at Feminist Critics that largely turned into a referendum on feminism, rather than on the failings of a movement that purports to be concerned with bettering the lives of men- the men's rights movement.

Trying to explain the discrepancy, a commenter here in Fannie's Room who is critical of feminism opined:
"Feminism has broken men's political backbone by bullying men into believing that it is morally wrong for a man to stand up for himself and other men as men. As a result, men are unable to organize for that purpose."
He did not indicate, specifically, how men are literally "unable" to organize to stand up for men as men.

A conclusion to be drawn from the circumstances is that men are able to comment on feminist, anti-feminist, and non-feminist blogs about the failings of feminism, but they aren't able, for some unspecified reason, to organize themselves into groups that stand up for men. (The numerous men's rights blogs and forums notwithstanding, I suppose).

In comments to a follow-up post at Feminist Critics, dungone articulated a different reason as to why men's rights activists have not stepped up and initiated pushback:
"By itself, one woman’s misandrist sense of humor is a mere peccadillo. There’s no reason for men and men’s rights activists to start an international series of 'Snapped Walks' over something that one single woman has said...."
Here, he seems to be saying that men's rights activists didn't see the incident as a big enough deal to do anything about, that's why they didn't initiate pushback. Yet, by implication, dungone, ballgame, and other men at Feminist Critics nonetheless expected feminists to see this incident as a large enough deal about which to initiate pushback.

As one commenter exclaimed:
"this is why I'll NEVER be a feminist...."
What a strange position.

According to ballgame, and his is a position I would agree with, the producer's statement about "Snapped" is abhorrent because it frames violence against men as entertaining. When feminists are silent about this issue, some men see it as a huge failing and a big reason why they will "NEVER" be feminist. Yet, when men's rights activists are silent about the issue, the incident is minimized as a "mere pecadillo" that's "no reason" for men to take action about.

It remains unclear why feminists should make big deals about issues that those purporting to speak for men do not see as big deals. It is irrational as to why feminists, and we alone, are maligned, criticized, and examined for failing to do what men's rights activists fail to do.

In another comment at Feminist Critics, Clarence comes up with a different explanation:
"because most of us MRA’s (I’m either an equalist or MRA depending on whom you ask, so I’ll speak for the MRA’s on this) didn’t know this woman, or this show, existed....."
Here, we see Clarence giving MRAs a benefit of the doubt that is not extended to feminists. From the silence of feminists it is inferred that we're hypocrites who don't care about men or men's issues. From the silence of men's rights groups, it's inferred that they simply didn't know about this instance. (For the record, several feminist commenters here and I also noted that we had not even heard of this incident until we read about it on Feminist Critics).

So to sum up, the reasons given for the inaction of men and men's rights groups with respect to the "Snapped" incident is that men are politically powerless, men didn't see it as a big deal, and men didn't even know about it. And, the thing is, I can understand the last two reasons. I'm sure many men, like many women and feminists, didn't think twice about the comment and others probably didn't even know about it.

Yet, in the conversation, we see men holding feminism to a standard of perfection (it MUST do THIS or ELSE it's the WORST!) that is a much higher standard than they hold men's rights activism. The position of many men critical of feminism seems to be an incoherent: It's up to feminists to take the lead on initiating pushback on men's issues, and also, feminists have serious blind spots when it comes to men's issues, but don't expect men's rights to take on these issues (after all, men are powerless, men don't see it as a big deal, and they have blind spots too).

So, I really am at a loss here. Rather than finding or talking about ways to get men to initiate pushback, I see a lot of excuse-making and reason-generating that seems to let all political groups other than feminists off the hook for solving men's problems. I'm not sure that's helpful or fair for anyone.

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