I was eavesdropping on two guys at the laundromat the other day. One man was describing the challenges of navigating public places “nowadays”. He related being at the supermarket and needing to use the restroom. He said he had just walked in when a little boy entered the restroom. So the man walked out. He explained that all men are suspects these days, and a sue happy person can get away with anything. When he walked out of the restroom the boy’s mother’s said, “Thank you”. He nodded but said nothing. What do you say?
What’s the psychological effect on boys raised in a world where all men are considered deviant and suspect?
I’d like to say this is an overreaction. But it isn’t. Sometimes it takes the form of corporate policy, such as airlines disallowing men from sitting next to children. If a similar policy were applied to Muslims on planes the outcry would be deafening. But feminist websites such as Jezebel.com support discriminatory policies against men. (Jezebel is the same feminist website that promotes domestic violence by women against men.)
I’ve even heard fathers say they’re concerned about taking their own children to the playground. Indeed, Australia has gone so far as to ban young children from staying overnight at their divorced dad’s home. The rationale is the best interest of the child, despite the fact that a mountain of social science data shows that such policies are in the worst interest of the child.
Scientific American recently reported that fathers are much more critical than previously assumed, especially in the early formative years. Outcomes are much worse for fatherless children, including drug use, criminality, teenage pregnancy, poor educational attainment, etc. But NOW’s New York branch discounts such findings and encourages the myth that father’s aren’t important.
One justification for viewing all men as potential rapists and pedophiles is Schrödinger’s Rapist, which asserts that because a woman can’t know which man is or is not a rapist she must be suspicious of all men. And the author does have some good tips about how men can make women feel more comfortable, such as not walking too close to someone.
But another blogger asks the uncomfortable question, “Does it matter if Schrödinger’s Rapist is black?” and shows how racist the argument is in that context. In other words, Schrödinger’s Rapist is an elaborate and (sometimes) politically correct justification of profiling.
I became a male feminist 23 years ago when I entered college. I have not wavered in my belief in women’s equality, my opposition to sexism, and my belief that historically women have faced far more sexism than men, much of which continues today.
But I can no longer call myself a feminist.
Because I believe in equality.
The above examples of misandry (man hating) don’t come from patriarchy, they come from feminism.
But I am not a men’s rights activist either, because they too often promote hatred of women, or at least tolerate it.
I thought the upcoming International Conference on Men’s Issues was sunk when the organizers claimed that the Detroit Hilton required $25,000 for security due to alleged threats of violence from conference opponents. But they raised the money (and then some) in less than 24 hours. When the Hilton continued its pressure, they quickly found a new venue.
This movement has momentum. That’s what happens when men are literally told to go to the back of the airplane.
If feminists want to counteract the misogyny in the men’s rights movement (MRM), feminists must first counteract the misandry within feminism. Unfortunately, I don’t think feminism is up to the challenge.
The only way to move forward is to take feminism’s points about women’s equality and combine them with the men’s issues the MRM raises sans misogyny and misandry, thus creating a new and true equality movement.