A Guest Post by Pika-chic
Meninism – the bizarre concept that somehow men are at a disadvantage to women. This isn’t by any means a new concept, it’s just that someone decided Mens Rights Activist (MRA) wasn’t quite good enough. Or maybe they just didn’t want us evil feminists to have “inism” all to ourselves. I don’t know, but whatever the reason, it’s laughable, except unfortunately, it’s also 100% serious.
[Content Warning: misogyny, sexual abuse, violence, rape]
Mostly, these meninists/MRAs come in the form of keyboard warriors who frequent Reddit and the likes, with some vilifying Tumblr/Twitter. They are the type of people (that’s right, female meninists are aplenty) who spend their lives making comments like “go make me a sandwich” for bantz. Unfortunately, not all of them are this easy to ignore.
Justice for Men and Boys (and the women who love them) – no, that is not a joke, it’s genuinely the name of a political organisation – are a relatively new party, running for seats in May’s general election. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what their policies are or what they stand for. All it takes is a quick peek at their website to know they are exactly how they sound, without even looking at their manifesto.
The website is filled with articles detailing how feminists hate men, women are evil, and men are at a serious disadvantage in life. As for their manifesto, my first look sent me on a 30 second whirlwind of emotions: first I laughed at how ridiculous it is, then I got the boke when it dawned on me that this is legit, then finally I was almost reduced to tears of anger. This 80 page heap of utter garbage is seriously offensive, not to mention dangerous.
As a side note: if these guys came out and said they were trolling everyone, that really would not surprise me, they’re that ridiculous, but for the time being let’s just assume this is 100% genuine because the entire platform of this party is dangerous – and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Back to their manifesto. To paint a general picture: there are set proposals for 20 different areas in which the state is “disadvantaging men and boys”, at times it seems like these have been plucked out of thin air, and all of them lead to an overall outcome of men being back at the top of the system. Some of these proposals are ludicrously contradictory: see their stance on abortion (that’s right, they’re pro-life fuckwits) compared to their proposal on paternity fraud where they claim, “the state should only require a man to have financial responsibility for a child if he’s previously signed a legal declaration that he’s willing to support a child who results from the sexual relationship in question, and a paternity test has proven him to be the child’s biological father.”
Some of the proposals are just downright laughable: they believe the state should take into account that the average life-expectancy for men is lower when setting retirement ages just so that men and women are able to claim the same amount of state pension before they die. Some are outright homophobic: “The state should not be encouraging fatherless families, so it should stop subsidizing sperm banks for single women and lesbians.” Then there are the ones that are really, really sinister. Besides abortion there‘s foetal alcohol syndrome, anonymity for sexual offenders, the list goes on. I won’t go into too much detail here because they are pretty appalling, but it‘s there for all to see. Although, I will make sure everyone reading this knows that on page 5 of their manifesto they state “There comes a point at which the basic right to life of an unborn child overrides the right of a woman over her body.” – that’s right, yet more men telling us what rights we should have to our own bodies, like the entitled pricks they are.
The entire thing has a common theme: guilt. Guilt and manipulation. The points they make on abortion, as an example, are graphic to say the least. It almost comes across as an attempt to brainwash those who are not yet fully on their side.
They have 3 candidates running for seats in the May election, all in constituencies near Nottingham: Mike Buchanan (the party leader), Ian Young and Ray Barry (leader of Fathers for Justice). There really isn’t much needed to be said about any of these men – we all know what they stand for. Mike Buchanan is described on the website (and in the manifesto) with this statement: “Along with many other Conservative party members, he resigned his party membership in the autumn of 2009, when David Cameron announced his intention to introduce all-women shortlists for prospective parliamentary candidates.” What a charmer eh. As for Ray Barry – this is a guy who was charged with harassment but later cleared after he distributed a leaflet which contained the details of the breakdown of his marriage – and couldn’t understand why. These guys sound like perfect choices to represent the people, don’t you think? Boke.
Now, the main thing I’ve noticed whilst doing research for this article is that articles and blog posts written by MRAs, or anyone anti-feminist, severely lack any evidence or sources. It’s very much a case of making a mountain out of a mole-hill. Take the article shared on the J4MB website (they don’t actually write very much themselves) written by Janet Bloomfield, aka self-titled JudgyBitch, from December 2014 detailing (tw: rape, victim blaming) “13 reasons women lie about rape” . This article lists 13 INDIVIDUAL stories in which women have “lied” about being raped for one reason or another (let’s just take the legitimacy of this article with a pinch of salt since it’s on a website titled A Voice for Men).
Unfortunately, Bloomfield doesn’t seem to understand that just because one woman does something, doesn’t mean it’s a common thing women do: i.e. just because one woman “lied” about being raped to “explain why [she] was looking at porn” does not mean every woman will do this. The sheer volume of articles like this really is concerning: false rape allegations, whilst serious, are rare, yet there are so many articles that make it seem otherwise. These articles also seem to forget that this tiny percentage of false claims is made up of both men AND women. Like J4MB most of these anti-feminist, MRA websites and articles like to emphasise that men can also be the victim of rape and domestic abuse (can I just say, we all know this – none of us are rejecting the idea that men can be victims of sexual abuse at the hands of both men and women like the myth MRAs and meninists seem to have concocted) but they seem to forget that both men and women are capable of lying about it as well. Given all these holes, it amazes me that people still believe all this.
That’s the scary part though: they do believe it.
MRAs/meninists/whatever you want to call them genuinely believe that they are at a disadvantage being men. These people, who are running for government positions, believe that women are evil, that all feminists are out to get them. Why? Because they can’t deal with the fact that we are so in control of ourselves, that we are aware of their bullshit and won’t stand for it. It hurts their precious feelings that women are no longer running around after their every beck and call. Everyone is finally starting to realise that men really are assholes.
Now, before all you “not all men” fuckwits start, don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all suggesting women are innocent or that every man is the same (although, if your first defence is to argue that “not all men are like that”, you’re part of the issue). But men are especially abhorrent. And that’s not just my opinion: I can’t tell you how many times in the last week my male friends have (almost disappointingly) stated “men are assholes” after reading a news article or seeing a comment on Facebook or overhearing a conversation.
Everyday sexism is still a huge issue in our society, with women still being cat-called whilst walking down the street on a daily basis and being scared to report sexual abuse for fear of being blamed for what they were wearing or how much alcohol they had to drink. I mean, for crying out loud, someone dared to change the cast of a classic film from all-male to all-female and men everywhere were up in arms because it offended “their childhood”. Like, I’m really sorry that you have to be subjected to such oppression. I’m really sorry that hurt your feelings. Us women will just continue to sit here quietly and continue to get paid less than our male counterparts in most jobs, continue to have men decide what rights we should have to our own bodies, continue to let men describe us as nothing more than sexual objects. We’ll all just sit here and comfort you since your precious feelings were hurt by that nasty casting director. Aren’t you terribly oppressed, you poor wee thing.
This is male privilege in a nutshell.
It is the idea that men are oppressed by women who want equality. It is the belief that because you are a man, women owe you something. It is the ignorance that stems from women being afraid to call you up on your bullshit. It is the myth that all feminists hate men. It is the privilege that makes you feel like you have a right to comment on a woman’s body or looks or behaviour. It is disgusting.
The last thing I wanted to do here was to give J4MB a platform in the run up to the election but I felt someone needed to call them up on what they are: sexist, pathetic little boys. And I’m not singling them out here – this is the exact same description I would give to any MRA, to any meninist, to any man who tries to tell me they have been oppressed because of their gender. If you’re reading this and thinking “yeah, we are oppressed, women are getting so much more from the state than we are, feminists all hate us”, please get a grip and grow up. The fact that in 2015 we are still having to fight for equal rights in almost every aspect of life is shocking and having grown men try to shout us down and argue that they have it worse is an insult to the moral fabric of society.
I can’t wait for the day when women aren’t laughed at for being passionate about something they believe in, where women aren’t pressured into looking a certain way every day of their lives, where women aren’t scared to speak out and call someone up on their offensive behaviour in case they are called crazy, where women aren’t insulted for being sexually aware and confident, where women aren’t told that they are wrong whilst talking about their personal experiences of sexism. Until that day, I will continue to fight for the equality of women. I cannot speak for every woman, and every woman is well within her right to feel like she is or isn’t oppressed by society, every woman is well within her right to hate feminism, but that doesn’t mean I won’t fight for them all the same.
The word feminism has been tarnished with myths that we all hate men, and we all think women should have power over men. These are lies. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said: “Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.”
We’re really not asking for much, and yet according to a scary amount of the population, this is too much to ask. It’s up to each and every one of us to ensure that meninists cannot carry on belittling the fight for equality by continuing to be patronising, ignorant wee fannies.
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