Should universities allow Men's rights?

(53 Posts)
Sausageeggbacon Sat 20-Apr-13 19:51:52

First want to thank whoever it was that posted the link to the article from the good men project about educating boys about sex and to lessen any impact from porn. Been reading different aspects of the website as a mother and a woman and while some of the articles I have struggled with but this is the one that has been discussed most here

Synopsis is about the lack of Men's groups at university and the fact that some universities have blocked them. We probably have all read about Toronto and the running battle between feminists and mens rights. So with male studies looking like it will appear in 2014 somewhere in the world do we fight against groups starting? I am interested as hopefully both my boys will go into higher education.

My opinion if we stop men having groups at uni then feminism is not about equality but about supremacy.

Ok sad TV with the kids so may not get back to this till tomorrow but wanted to post it as I have been talking about this with the boys for a large chunk of the afternoon.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sat 20-Apr-13 20:09:57

I suppose the crux of it is to say that allowing womens groups but not mens means feminism is about superiority rather than equality denies the power balance inherent in sexism.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 20-Apr-13 20:16:19

I can't see anything wrong with Male study. Managed well it can only further Feminism.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 20-Apr-13 20:17:18

But study, learning and can't regulate that according to the sexes.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 20-Apr-13 20:18:00

How can younger males learn about the Patriarchy effectively...and women too...I assume women can sign up to Men's Study.

Lucyellensmum95 Sat 20-Apr-13 20:19:03

Well i think if we acknowledge that women have their own issues, it would be wrong to say that men don't have thiers. I wonder how popular such courses would be though

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sat 20-Apr-13 20:28:57

"My opinion if we stop men having groups at uni then feminism is not about equality but about supremacy."

namechangeguy Sat 20-Apr-13 23:14:17

What are 'men's rights', exactly, and what would these groups do? I am not sure what their purpose or aims would be.

HullMum Sat 20-Apr-13 23:38:10

I'm pretty sure every textbook I've ever opened was about men. Maybe a few token women but pretty much about men. feminism isn't about supremecy it's about dealing with the imbalance. Do we need more white studies too? File this under shit that isn't currently a problem and is unlikely to ever be a problem.

sashh Sun 21-Apr-13 02:29:16

I think it should be any disadvantaged group so at the moment no to men's groups, they are not disadvantaged as a group.

I am not sure what their purpose or aims would be.

To ensure the status quo.

Sausageeggbacon Sun 21-Apr-13 06:35:09

Well I DS2 feels if both sexes have groups that communicate with each other it may improve things. The only thing he wants to change is getting rid of radicals on both sides.

Sashh I think there are issues that men need to deal with, certainly how to encourage more boys to stay in education and how to provide role models. Prostate cancer and how to increase awareness in men (my father died of it so I take it hard when people ignore it). And yes there inevitably will be the discussion about father's rights. There are bound to be other issues that are covered.

Certainly the article caused interesting discussions at home.

namechangeguy Sun 21-Apr-13 10:28:14

Could you get away with calling such a course 'Men's Rights and Responsibilities'? I think that might make more sense.

vesuvia Sun 21-Apr-13 11:34:07

Sausageeggbacon wrote - "The only thing he wants to change is getting rid of radicals on both sides."

The invention of the printing press, the American Declaration of Independence and the abolition of slavery were radical.

GoblinGranny Sun 21-Apr-13 11:42:35

How about it emphasizing what is a right and what isn't?
getting them to challenge sexist assumptions and look at the reasons behind what is common practice?
I don't understand how it is in conflict with women's rights, it could be complimentary. Unless it's run by people like Clarkson.

Sausageeggbacon Sun 21-Apr-13 12:49:33

The point about getting rid of radicals was made by my 12 y/o son. But the radicals seem to be the ones who are not willing for men to have a group that could compliment feminism. The only way to see how it would work is let them run, not shout them down and get try to ban them. And would not expect men to police feminist groups so the agenda would be driven by the areas men felt were important.

Having seen the good men project which has a lot about positives for boys and educating them if it is an extension to that then I can see the value.

Hitler and Stalin were both radicals, it is not always a positive.

namechangeguy Sun 21-Apr-13 13:43:21

Hullmum said ' feminism isn't about supremecy it's about dealing with the imbalance.'

I like this, it's straight to the point. But it makes me wonder why this wouldn't be a combined course for both sexes, rather than a split that we seem to be discussing?

Hearing people talking about personal experiences, like the stuff on everydaysexism in a classroom environment would open a lot of people's eyes, I think.

AutumnMadness Sun 21-Apr-13 14:43:43

I am in two minds about this. Women's rights groups and women's studies usually have a very clear purpose - to fight patriarchy. Not men, but the system that has been devised mainly by men and mainly for men's benefit (keeping in mind that both men and women participate in it). What would be the purpose of "Men's rights" group? Yes, many men are most definitely oppressed within the present patriarchal system. But they are generally oppressed by other men. Which men's rights do we mean here - the right of men not to go to war or the right of men in high and powerful position to send other men to war? The right of men to take extended paternity leave or the right of male CEOs to work their male subordinates 24/7?

So, to me, the label "men's rights" is just too vague. It would be much more helpful if these groups were clearer with their agendas. There is a qualitative difference between "North European Studies" and "White Race Studies." So should be with men's rights.

I think a 'men's rights' group would be as inappropriate as a 'whites' rights' group. However, I think that if a university has a female-only feminism group, it ought to encourage people to start a mixed group too.

If we're talking courses as opposed to groups: loads of universities run gender studies courses, which is different from women's studies. It might be interesting to run a 'men's studies' course, I suppose, but frankly I agree with others that it seems a bit OTT given that men tend to get the lion's share of the focus anyway.

I know academics who do research on the history of masculinity as a construct and I think that can be really interesting - it is part of gender studies but some people who do it are mostly interested in gender as a construct, not in laying down the law about how men or women should behave.

Btw, sorry, do you have a link to what you summarised in the OP, because it's obviously passed me by! blush

vesuvia Sun 21-Apr-13 18:47:35

Sausageeggbacon - wrote "So with male studies looking like it will appear in 2014 somewhere in the world do we fight against groups starting? "

First, we had women's studies, based on feminism. Then women's studies had to be watered down to gender studies by including lots of "what about the men". More recently, we've had men's studies, which looks at masculinity and men's issues, but still studied largely through the prism of feminist theory. Now we have the possibility of male studies.

From what I've read about male studies, they are different from men's studies.

Proposed university courses of male studies are very likely to focus on the following topics:

- looking at men from the viewpoint of men and boys as an under-represented minority
- opposing the political incorrectness of masculinity
- blaming and opposing feminism
- the feminist-generated institutionalisation of misandry
- the powerlessness of individual men
- pride in masculinity e.g. entitlement to pornography
- reversing the feminist feminisation of education
- failure of the education system to consider the needs of males.

(I've written that list from the viewpoint of the male studies advocates, not from my viewpoint. For example, I do not believe men and boys are under-represented, nor that masculinity is politically incorrect, nor that there is institutionalised misandry, nor that men should be entitled to pornography, nor that the education system does not consider the needs of males, etc.)

An example of an article comparing men's studies and male studies is

To me, "Male studies" looks like anti-feminist MRA studies.

I think women's studies, gender studies and men's studies courses based on feminism have something positive to offer the world. I think male studies based on anti-feminism is a bad thing.

SinisterSal Sun 21-Apr-13 21:53:36

Dunno about men's 'rights', men have never been denied rights simply because they are men. They'be been denied them because of class, or colour, or religion and there are already people working on that.
Men's issues is different, and valid - its not just semantics
Feminism has done loads of work regarding gender roles and how good it would be for every one to get rid of them.(simplistic and rushed-sorry)
I personally don't see why you wouldn't approach male studies etc building on the work feminists have done. Unless you are hostile to feminism. In which case you are supporting the status quo.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 22-Apr-13 07:55:42

SEB, I'd appreciate the link too.

To me, gender studies is about the sociology of gender itself
Whilst women's studies focuses on women's experience in eg history (so it is about a subject but concentrating mainly on women's experience of it. Is that broadly right? What would men's studies cover?

I get the impression what 'women's studies' covers varies from place to place, but in some places you could be a radical feminist and work with it, whereas in 'gender studies' you'd be constantly arguing against the name of your own discipline.

Also - and this is my ignorance from not having the link - but a taught curriculum or a department in a university is surely very different from a group set up by students? I'm getting confused what the link between the two is meant to be.

ecclesvet Mon 22-Apr-13 10:56:31


'See also 'Men's liberation' and 'misandry''. hmm

sashh Mon 22-Apr-13 11:14:28


But are any of those things 'rights'?

I'm sorry to hear about your father, but as you mentioned his death, at any point did he have to get his wife's permission for treatment?

That used to be the case for a hysterectomy.

I believe partners are still asked to say they agree when either gender has a sterilization, FWIW. Not quite the same, I know.

PromQueenWithin Tue 23-Apr-13 12:35:38

I feel uncomfortable about attempting to get 'men's studies' banned or disallow men's groups. There should be opportunities for people to get together to discuss issues that are important to them.


I was pondering the issue of hate speech and cultural acceptability of misogyny, and wondered whether the efforts of campaign groups opposed to men's studies / men's rights groups would be better concentrated on these issues. If speaking against women and women's rights were seen as being as unacceptable (to most people) and as illegal as speaking against rights for non white or non straight people, that would be better than banning the groups. So for example, I can't see that a group or proponents of a new discipline that wanted to explore the idea that white people are simply better, cleverer, better suited to leadership etc gaining much ground in UK universities. Nor can I see research groups wanting to investigate whether homosexuality can be "cured" getting very far.

Have I missed the point perhaps? Because white supremacist groups do exist, though not academic disciplines, so perhaps the comparison doesn't quite work...

I think that's exactly where I am with it, prom.

I think the parallel between MRA groups and white supremacists not far off, sadly. And of course there did used to be white supremacists in academia. A shitload of anthropology was built on dubious ideas about race relations, so was a lot of history, back in the day. I went to university during this millenium and still had a very elderly emeritus professor who seriously believed that black people had smaller brains and less intelligence than white people, and that women were intellectually stunted compared to men. Quite seriously.

I think the hate speech issue is really important. I think it's not acceptable to allow a group that is coming up with hate speech, to have any kind of university sanction. There is nothing the university could do, I think, if a group of people decided to get together in a cafe and talk up a storm about whatever bigotry they chose, but I think the university itself has a responsibility not to let groups that are involved in hate speech be affiliated with it.

PromQueenWithin Tue 23-Apr-13 19:22:16

Last year I was reliably informed by a professor that feminist work in academia was widely regarded as poor scholarship. I asked him if he'd read any upon which to base that analysis. Can you guess whether he had?


No way! Really?

Bollocks. What a load of bollocks. 'widely regarded' my arse. Both my supervisors do feminist lit crit and they are widely regarded as fucking brilliant.

PromQueenWithin Tue 23-Apr-13 20:09:09

Like, way!

Just ridiculous. Hadn't read any, just been influenced by general "its feminism therefore it must be substandard" undercurrents I suppose.

How close are you to completing your PhD, out of interest? Mine's due soon wine

Ooh, good luck!

My deadline for submitting the thesis in its entirety to my supervisors prior to final submission is ... <drumroll, slightly muted by the sound of reams of previous 'final drafts' hitting the desk in recent months>... yesterday.


Yeah. That didn't happen.

But your prof sounds so like some of the ones I've seen. And what annoys me is, I used to think so too when I was doing my undergrad. The reason being, the only feminist scholarship we were ever given on a reading list was awful. And in retrospect, most of it was either 20 years out of date or so watered-down as to be utterly trite - those were the only things that the people who made the reading lists could accept. hmm

I am very, very lucky that the place I'm at right now is much better than that.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 23-Apr-13 21:14:07

Did the deadline make a nice "whooshing noise as it went past", LRD grin?

<I think it's adipose cells, which are basically fat, but it's also to do with the containing structure somehow so I'll look it up and reply properly>

Ahhh, adipose cells you say? I'm nodding wisely here, but I'm not sure what it means really. I know you're meant to brush your thighs with a soft-bristle brush to get rid of it, which is something that makes me think someone mistook us all for horses.

The deadline did indeed whoosh most pleasantly past. It made a sound remarkably like the Game of Thrones theme tune being listened to by someone watching TV instead of scrambling to finish her footnotes. grin

uranio Thu 25-Apr-13 22:57:29

Right, before allowing them to gather and speak, better secure they conform to an approved agenda, wise words...


Who wants to do that?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 25-Apr-13 23:09:49

I-O I-O, it's off to work we go.

masterchef1 Thu 02-May-13 02:35:54

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

masterchef1 Thu 02-May-13 02:39:00

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PromQueenWithin Thu 02-May-13 08:24:16

I am a feminist and I work to increase early detection of testicular cancer. I also sit on a men and boy's health and wellbeing board.


TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 02-May-13 08:36:54

Can you give a link to the difference in sentencing, please?

I've seen plenty of discussions on here about male circumcision being wrong, supporting mothers and fathers who want to take a stand against their families on it etc.

I've seen male victims of rape, sexual abuse and domestic abuse supported on here.

I've seen people speak out against any poster saying a male in their life is too emotional, or, more often, support a parent who has friends or family saying those things about their DS.

namechangeguy Thu 02-May-13 09:15:00

Masterchef, I don't know if you are still here, but do you really think that these issues are best served by being as divisive as those people you are arguing against?

MilgramsLittleHelper Thu 02-May-13 09:53:32

Hang on a minute...

Masterchef presented a fair summary in response to the discussion of what would constitute Mens rights, and was then deleted.

I'd be interested to know the reason for the post deletion.

PromQueenWithin Thu 02-May-13 11:29:15

Because masterchef1 is a PBP who has been posting goading and deeply unpleasant threads elsewhere in the topic.

However, if he/she wants to rejoin the discussion without all the other nasty stuff, that's fine by me.

BlackSwan7 Sun 12-May-13 13:09:18

Umm, what exactly are "Men's rights"? feminism is not about female supremacy at all, but what the hell is "men's rights" all about?

In case they haven't noticed, they have rights.

This is like me starting a heterosexual rights or a white people's rights group. Quite pointless, really.

MilgramsLittleHelper Tue 14-May-13 13:48:45


"but what the hell is "men's rights" all about?

In case they haven't noticed, they have rights.

As have Women, but they still have every right to speak out and act against injustice, as should Men.

For whats it's worth these would probley qualify.

Lack of Cancer spending and promotion despite a much higher level of Cancer in the population when compared to Women.

Inequalities of life duration.

No one could argue that a lot of Women have a shitty time under the patriachy , but wouldn't you stand up if you were facing the nasties listed above? Of course you would or you wouldn't have taken on the cause smile

vesuvia Tue 14-May-13 14:49:45

MilgramsLittleHelper wrote - "As have Women, but they still have every right to speak out and act against injustice, as should Men. For whats it's worth these would probley qualify. Lack of Cancer spending and promotion despite a much higher level of Cancer in the population when compared to Women.Inequalities of life duration. No one could argue that a lot of Women have a shitty time under the patriachy , but wouldn't you stand up if you were facing the nasties listed above?"

More money should be spent on fighting cancers of all types.

Life expectancy should improve from everyone.

Why is more money spent in the UK on breast cancer (which affects men and women) than on prostate cancer (which affects men only)?

Could the difference in government spending be influenced by the following statistics from the United Nations World Health Organisation?

3.07% of deaths in UK in 2010 were caused by breast cancer (20th worst rate in the world).
2.46% of deaths in UK in 2010 were caused by prostate cancer (58th worst rate in the world).

Should the government spend more money on improving the bigger killer (breast cancer) or not?

Life expectancy in 2010 for British women at birth was 82.1 years (24th best in the world for females).
Life expectancy in 2010 for British men at birth was 77.8 years (14th best in the world for males).

In 1990, British women and men both had the 17th longest life expectancies in the world. In 2010, British women's life expectancy was 24th longest (compared to women in other countries) and British men's life expectancy was 14th longest (compared to men in other countries).

Compared to other countries, it seems that life expectancy for British women is getting worse, but for British men it is getting better.

MilgramsLittleHelper Tue 14-May-13 15:42:16

More money should be spent on fighting cancers of all types.

Life expectancy should improve from everyone.

Thank you Vesuvia. You're absolutly right, it's a disgrace all round. I was just making the point that everybody has rights and gender specific issues. I just wish we could think of a way to raise the bar for everyone.

BlackSwan7 Tue 14-May-13 18:47:27

I think everyone faces some discrimination on some level at some stage in their lives.

However, on a comparative level, it is laughable to compare the injustices on men with those that women have faced over the years and still continue to face.

I would be wary of comparing a lack of spending on prostate cancer with rapes, domestic violence, the maternity crisis, childbirth deaths, wage gap and the numerous other issues that women face today.

Spending on breast cancer is hardly a comprehensive approach to women's healthcare. What about the fact that so many women in different parts of the world still die from childbirth? The maternal mortality rates in the UK and USA aren't exactly ideal either. What about the fact that so many women suffer PTSD after childbirth? What about the fact that so many pregnant women are given sub-standard care? What about the fact that so many women in the UK suffer from prolapse,incontinence and other related issues? What about the fact that obstetric fistula still exists in developed nations and is rampant in developing countries? What about the fact that women don't have full reproductive rights? What about the fact that women in Ireland are still dying due to denied abortions?

Breast cancer awareness and spending is a mere drop in the ocean when it comes to women's healthcare.

I don't really care if I am called a man-hating feminist. I want to see more spending on women's healthcare and I am not really interested in "men's rights" anymore than I am interested in the "rights" of rich people. Once we're done dealing with the hungry and destitute we'll get to Mitt Romney, Bill Gates and their rights.

BlackSwan7 Tue 14-May-13 18:55:12

The whole issue about custody rights mostly going to mothers doesn't get much sympathy from me.

Even today, women are responsible for majority of the childrearing. More women are SAHP than men are. Women are much more likely to make sacrifices for their children in terms of their careers etc. than men are.

So then why does it surprise people when custody rights go to women? If men want more rights to their children after a divorce maybe they need to work on making a bigger contribution during the marriage.

In any case, a lot of this is media hype. I read an article the other day about how most men in the USA don't actually fight for custody at all. Out of those who do, 70% are awarded custody unless they have criminal records etc. Doesn't really sound like men are the victims there.

Sausageeggbacon Tue 14-May-13 19:54:42

Interesting as supporting dads is part of the 3rd men and boys conference later this year. I can only assume that they are going to be discussing what they see as an issue.

BlackSwan7 Tue 14-May-13 20:00:04

I'm all for supporting Dads. The question is, are Dads supporting their kids? And are dads supporting mums?

You can't have your wife take full or most of the responsibility for childcare while you are married and then play the victim when the court awards her custody in the event of a separation.

When men take part equally in childcare, I will support equal rights in custody arrangements. Until then they can continue to whine about what they perceive is an issue.

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