By: Maggie McMorrow
A while back a Twitter account under the name @MeninistTweet was started as a parody group tweeting about the ‘mens rights’ movement and making fun of feminists. This account spun off into what some men think of as a real movement fighting for the rights of all men with many voicing their concerns about the way they are treated under the hashtag #meninisttweet #meninist and #yesallmen. So what started off as “obviously sarcasm,” as their bio states, turned into a large number of men and women actually believing that 1) men are oppressed and 2) feminism is a movement filled with evil women who hate all men.
There are so many things wrong with meninism that I don’t even know where to begin. I think the most astounding thing is that there are a lot of people, both men and women, who actually believe that this is a legitimate problem, that men are somehow being oppressed by women. After thousands of women posted pictures of themselves stating why they needed feminism, one man took to twitter posting a picture of himself holding a sign that said, “I need meninism because the movie ‘Magic Mike’ promotes an unrealistic expectation of how men’s bodies are supposed to look.” ?????? First of all I hope this was either sarcasm or a really bad joke that I am interpreting wrong, but should I go down the list of the HUNDREDS of movies, TV shows, magazines, music videos, and clothings stores that promote an unrealistic expectation of what a woman’s body is supposed to look like? What qualifies a woman as ‘sexy’ in the year 2015 is having a tiny waste, big perky boobs, a huge butt, and a delicate face. So basically a body that unless you’re Kim Kardashian, is entirely unobtainable. A lot of the tweets under the hashtags are really just ridiculous complaints such as, “Why can a woman force a man to be a father but a man can’t force a woman to be a mother. #MeninistTwitter” or, “Why don’t people flip out when a woman hits a man?#MeninistTwitter” both of which are rhetorical questions with obvious answers.
A lot of girls have also joined the movement and have taken to twitter to show their support by wearing hoddies and shirts that say #Meninist on them. Some of these girls (and a lot of the men) may just be looking for attention as most of them who have posted about being a meninist have been pounced on by hundreds of girls who know what the word feminist actually means. Obviously we shouldn’t give these people a reaction because that is exactly what they are looking for, but there are also, sadly, a lot of misinformed girls who believe that being a feminist means that you hate men, force your ideas on everyone, and cannot be anything but a soulless career woman with no family. All of which is obviously incorrect. The definition of a feminism is the belief of the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. Nothing more. So, because a few women burned some bras in the 70s (and lets face it, in the world of Fox News, is that really that radical?) the whole movement has been labeled as a group of misandrist (the actual word for some that hates men), angry nutjobs. And yes there are a few radfems out there, but we as a society have a habit of letting extremists define an entire group whether it be religious, political, or social, and if the KKK is not a representation of Christianity, than radfems should not be associated with feminists. So basically, to say you are not a feminist means that you don’t believe in equality of the sexes, and if that is true then I feel sorry for you and hope that at some point you realize that you are worth just as much as any man. There were a lot of girls that said they would call themselves a meninist because they want to be a homemaker and submit to their husbands so feminism wasn’t for them. But meninist girls, that is the beauty of feminism, you can be whatever YOU want to be, because it gives you that choice. If you want to get married straight out of high school and have lots of babies and be a stay at home mom, that is okay, you are allowed to make that choice because feminism allows you to be whatever kind of woman you wish to be.
What is funny about the meninist movement is that a lot of the problems that the meninists are complaining about could be solved by FEMINISM. The double standards, sexualization of male bodies, and being labeled as girly have all been because of and caused by the patriarchy, so through feminism, a movement in which we seek to abolish patriarchy, we would also solve the problems that the meninists are complaining about.
I think the most insulting part of this movement is that it is making a joke out of and disregarding the legitimate progress that has been made for equal rights. To say that men have limited rights is completely ludicrous when men are the ones that have defined their own rights through the positions they have held that have made the rules for centuries. If these men who consider themselves meninists are again asserting themselves over women, we are moving completely backwards. The problems that meninists say that they have, such as being excluded from feminism and being victim to double standards are not only nonexistent but also take the focus away from the real problems facing girls all around the world. And yes, feminism is a lot of the time about the promotion of girls and their accomplishments through media platforms such as Fembot, Ms. Magazine, DOTG, and Bitch Magazine, because god knows they have been regularly ignored by the mainstream news since the beginning of mainstream news, so sorry men.
And all of this is not to say that being a man cannot have its hard moments as well. We as a society, in an effort to ensure male dominance have created an image that a man cannot be sensitive or in touch with their feelings without being considered ‘girly’ which effectively insults both women and the man being labeled as such all in one go. However, being called girly as an insult was a long ago effort by men to defend their own masculinity so this is NOT an example of women persecuting men. But, when comparing women to men objectively, men have the advantage in almost every part of life. In the United States a woman makes 79 cents to every dollar a man makes. 1 in 5 girls will be sexually assaulted while attending college. In 2010, out of the top 200 companies in the world, only 8% of the executive managers were women. Every year, there about 3 million girls sold into the worldwide sex trade. In Saudi Arabia, a woman is not allowed to drive without her husband. In India, female babies are often killed in favor of male children. In Africa, over 100 million girls have undergone some sort of female genital mutilation procedure. So to say that somehow men are underprivileged both discredits and insults the millions of oppressed women fighting for their rights to survive.
As Leslie Knope so aptly put it in the most recent season of Parks and Rec when under attack by men’s rights groups, “Men’s rights is nothing.” So I hope that in an already male dominated world, feminists can again reclaim their place as equal rights warriors and I am sorry meninists, but if you are fighting for men’s rights, you are fighting for an illegitimate and stupid cause.