Two blog posts (see here and here), where men express a clear outrage towards the feminist movement, have been brought to my attention this last week. Amongst the claims and complaints, is that men have no equivalent to feminism, that they are underrepresented as a result and it is unfair to have feminist/women bodies and organisations representing feminist values whilst men go ‘underrepresented’. Alongside this is an outright denial of the fact that women experience disproportionately more hardship – consider the comment:
"Only a lifeboat-feminism could spout the gibberish “Women and children are at greatest risk from poverty . . . Women are already facing serious consequences from the recession”, the very day after the unemployment figures were released. These showed that of the 19,600 jobs lost in March, 13,600 were those of men, and 6,000 were those of women."
This equates poverty and inequality to losing a job – it ignores the fact that many women are in fact unemployed to start with and rely on benefits (etc) from the state to help them with children etc. Women are more likely to be in part-time work too, which is most likely to be low paid, poor conditioned and insecure. Then there is the effect this has on women’s pensions, as women on average live longer than men and are therefore more likely to have to survive on a poor pension. Furthermore, the author even recognised that the public sector is where women are more likely to work, and thus, given that this is the most targeted sector of the UK economic project, then women are set to suffer more anyway, when it comes to job loses.
If some men really feel so hard done by, then maybe they should start-up their own unified ‘manist’ movement or something. But I know of many men who actually have joined the feminist movement, as they see that women are overwhelming disadvantaged in so many areas – and that there is a lot to do to create equality between men and women.
I am by no means rejecting the fact that in some areas men are at a disadvantage - such as the often forced ‘masculinisation’ (aka. hegemonic masculinity). However, it isn’t the women’s fault there is no unified male movement against this, and actually, many feminists also campaign against this type of inequality anyway – not all feminists hate men as these articles seem to assume. I am one of those feminists, who would happily campaign against injustices men face. For example, equal paternity rights is an injustice against men as well as women – there are many men who would love to spend more time with their children but are prevented from doing so due to outdated ideologies. Then there is also the sexuality activism linked in with feminism, as many feminists campaign for gay men as well as lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.
That is not to say that there are some feminists, such as the radicals, who seem to hate men. That is a given. But this opposition to feminists on the grounds of unfair generalisations, which seem pretty prevalent at the moment, are just an unfair characterisation of the whole feminist movement. It is just a further attempt to devalue successful campaigns against the many injustices that women face.
Most of these arguments against feminism also imply a strong biological reductionist tone too, consider:
"i.e. men are seeking a mate to make them feel comforted, respected and loved, and have a SEX partner… Women on the other hand also have A BIOLOGICAL MISSION, which once again is basically to find a mate, but this time with the aim of reproducing."
This is obviously stone age language. Most people have moved on from the biological essentialism of social biology and Social Darwinism, to recognise that it is a social construction, which reflects a clear power relationship. Again, this is further evidence that arguments such as these are based on very outdated two sex views of sex, gender and sexuality.
I am not quite sure why I even entertained the two articles in the depth I have, but I guess it was because this type of nonsensical writing infuriates me. It is oblivious to the harsh reality of life, that it is women who are more likely to be disadvantaged – and that these current economic policies are more likely to affect women, and that they are more likely to make women’s already disadvantaged position worse. That is just a fact, some men may not like women and men alike getting together to campaign and highlight this injustice, but then why would they when it threatens the very power structure they wish to uphold?