About 'Alpha+Good'

Alpha+Good (sort of a bad wordplay on Orwell and machismo) is a side project that belongs to 'Onklare taal' ('Unclear language'), the umbrella of several of my literary projects in Dutch. This section is almost exclusively in English and comprises my ongoing thoughts on progress, gender, politics and various other social themes. Are you a little lost? This link will take you right back to my home page.

Friday, July 05, 2013

MRA deconstructed (II)

This is part II on the topic of Men's Rights Activists or MRAs. Let's deal with their first big core tenet.

"Feminism ignores the challenges that men face"


One of the basic tenets of MRAs is that feminists ignore or downplay the challenges that men face as a gender. Not only is that not true, but feminists also have a right to do so. Do we ask a black power movement to please think of the white people, too? There's something dishonest about that, especially because men often only bring up issues that affect men when they discuss women's issues. But let's take a look at some of these issues.

    Glass cellar

As a corollary to the glass ceiling, men deal with the 'glass cellar'. Overwhelmingly, the world's most dangerous, unsanitary and menial jobs are done by men. One reason for this is very similar to why not many women get selected for jobs in the upper echelons of business and politics: the people who select them are men. In other words, it's men who saddle other men with these dangerous jobs, out of the sexist assumption that it's 'men's work'. Secondly, male-dominated environments such as the military tend to be hostile to women, making it less likely for women to choose them as a career path.
What MRAs think it is: Women getting off scot-free from dangerous professions
Actual issue: Employers (mostly men) are sexist to other men, too
Actual solution: Unionisation, reduce hostility to women in male-dominated professions

    Men are more likely to die violently

Male life expectancy is generally lower than female life expectancy. The causes are complex and manifold, but a significant number of these causes relate to violence. The biggest perpretators of lethal violence are men. Violence perpetrated by men is a problem that men must solve.
What MRAs think it is: Men are valiant knights who die protecting women
Actual issue: Men are raised to believe violence (against other men) is acceptable
Actual solution: Raise boys to be less violent

    Men are stereotyped as (potential) rapists

The famous term 'Schrödinger's Rapist' describes the uncertainty women feel when they are spoken to by men they do not know. Some men take offence at this description, but instead of being offended, they'd better realise that some 20% of women in the US alone get raped in their lifetime. As is the case with general physical violence, rape is an important issue that men must address among themselves: the onus is not on potential victims to protect themselves, the onus is on stopping potential rapists. Nothing will subside women's fears more than there simply being less rapists around.
What MRAs think it is: A slanderous attack on the vast majority of men
Actual issue: Rape culture leaves rapists largely unchecked
Actual solution: Stop rape

    Men get the short stick in a divorce case

As a result of the fact that men generally earn more money (which is in itself a result of systematic sexism), they often end up paying alimony. The evidence that the justice system is rigged to favour women in divorce cases is scant. We can assume that men will stop being required to pay child support if pay equality becomes a reality.
What MRAs think it is: Women manipulate courts to advantage them
Actual issue: Income and power disparity, society sees women as mothers
Actual solution: Pay equality, degendering of marriage roles
On to part III.