Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Coming Out As An Ally For Men's Rights Activists

Last year, when I wrote the "Why I Am Not A Feminist" post, I was planning to write a "Why I Am Also Not An MRA". I've often found BTL comments on MRA posts pretty depressing and filled with a similar amount of bitterness, creepiness and opposite gender hating to most BTL comments on feminist sites (except perhaps for, which is unfortunately a real website). Though I've followed a few MRA blogs for a while, and worshipped at the fountain of Youtube awesomeness that is girlwriteswhat, I have kept my distance from them for fear of being tainted by association. 

But really I need to be honest and stop sitting on the fence... it is time I stated openly that (with several serious provisos) I broadly support the aims of most MRAs. When you get rubbish like this published by a serious news magazine, one does have to wonder what is going on. When did a male asylum seeker (who, by the very nature of seeking asylum, are likely to have been on the receiving end of one form of nastiness or another) become worth less than a female asylum seeker (who, quite obviously, have also had their unfair share of knocks on the way to our shores)? Several of the replies on that piece to "What about the menz?" comments were basically saying "Well you're free to support male asylum seekers too..." I've decided to follow that advice on a way bigger personal scale. 

There is one nearly insurmountable issue with defending men's rights. Men love women. They'll tend to be quite happy to sacrifice their own needs and rights (women and children first!) for women. The "White Knight" syndrome is endemic. Well I love men. I think that they are generally fantastic. And I hate seeing them screwed over, time and again. So if most of them don't give a tosh about the way they get treated and forgotten, about the fact they live shorter lives and face a higher risk of suicide and that young boys and men have to fear violence whenever they walk out the door well I do. 

I want a world where men and women are treated equally. Where individuals are free to do as they please as long as it doesn't harm others. A world where violence is unnecessary and is not tolerated. These things won't come by focusing on one gender's rights at the expense of another. So I'm not an MRA as such. I'm still the same individualist I ever was. But I share MRAs critiques of feminism and I share their desire to improve the lives and well-being of men. I've set up some regular donations to a few MRA blogs I enjoy and find interesting and I'll be a bit less concerned about whether other people think that's an awful thing to admit in decent society than I used to be.


Eddie Sammon said...

Well done for this. I feel the same way - I bang on about men's rights a lot, but I prefer to say I support equal rights, rather than men's rights.

Best wishes

Paul Brownsey said...

You show a lot of feeling here, Jae. Didn't you know that feelings are not yours? They are your 'feminine side' and you have them only under a sort of franchise agreement with the Great Feminine. Men don't have feelings.

Less obliquely and sarcastically: the common practice of suggesting, via phrases like "feminine side", that feelings are most especially female things and they are kind of negligible in men is something that needs challenging.