In his 1913 tome The Fraud of Feminism, after noting several average, alleged physiological sex differences between men and women, "journalist" and "philosopher" E. Belfort Bax sneered:
"It is the fashion of Feminists, ignoring these fundamental physiological sex differences, to affirm that the actual inferiority of women, where they have the honesty to admit such an obvious fact, is accountable by the centuries of oppression in which Woman has been held by wicked and evil-minded Man."We see this attitude today, don't we? When we advocate for equality or, hell, even decent treatment for women, some men distort the argument we're making as a ginormous, sweeping accusation of all men everywhere in all of time being horribly sinister.
What it is is projection. When we understand that many MRAs and anti-feminists actually hold sweeping, supremacist views that basically amount to waiving around a giant Men Are #1 foam finger, we understand that their egocentricity demands that they believe that their "opponents" hold similarly unfair, sweeping views about women's purported supremacy over men.
For instance, in Chapter 1, Bax begins:
"The dominance of men [before feminism] seemed to derive so obviously from natural causes, from the possession of faculties physical, moral and intellectual, in men, which were wanting in women, that no one thought of questioning the situation.".... dun dun dun, until feminism, that is.
He then proceeds to devote chapter called, predictably, "The Anti-Man Crusade" to railing against how British laws of 1913 were so horribly unjust to men and in favor of women.
At a certain point, the text itself reads quite like an old-timey parody of modern MRA-ism, with Bax doing what amounts to the early 19th-century equivalent of whinging about Bumbling Male Characters On Sitcoms. He writes:
"...[W]e see the legislature, judges, juries, parsons, specially those of the non-conformist persuasion, all vie with one another in denouncing the villainy and baseness of the male person, and ever devising ways and means to make his life hard for him. To these are joined a host of literary men and journalists of varying degrees of reputation who contribute their quota to the stream of anti-manism in the shape of novels, storiettes, essays, and articles, the design of which is to paint man as a base, contemptible creature, as at once a knave and an imbecile, a bird of prey and a sheep in wolf's clothing, and all as a foil to the glorious majesty of Womanhood."Unfortunately, like his modern-day brethren, he fails to connect the dots as to how any of this is the fault of feminists or feminism. Indeed, I reckon that the SupremeFeminaziConspiracy had even less control over the "storiettes" of 1913 than they/we do today.
That he does not, for instance, indict gender traditionalists for saying that men are inherently this and women are inherently that, that he does not indict the predominant religions of his day for promoting absurd notions of "gender complementarity," and that he does not indict "scientists" of his day who promoted the idea that men and women were essentially opposite suggests, of course, that like many of today's MRAs, the primary critique about feminism is that it, horror of horror, doesn't sufficiently center men and only men, all the time men men and more men.
This notion crops up, time and time again.
Well, anti-feminists say, if feminists are gonna push for changing views about women, it's also women's work, and primarily women's work, to push for changing views about men as well. And, as long as feminism does not sufficiently center men, men will seek to destroy it, critique it, or ignore it until it does, while pretty much ignoring every valid point that any feminist ever says about how maybe women are and historically were marginalized.