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Why isn't there a genuine 'Men's Movement'..?

(196 Posts)
AWholeLottaNosy Sat 22-Nov-14 17:24:34

So instead of Pick Up Artists, MRAs, UKIP etc, why isn't there a genuine 'Men's Movement' to look at issues such as male suicide, depression, alcoholism, difficulties with expressing emotions and vulnerability, male violence ( against both men and women), homophobia, how to have a fulfilling relationship with a woman and be a good father etc? I would fully support anyone who attempted to do this as they are laudable and important aims.

INSTEAD OF SLAGGING US OFF FOR TRYING TO ADDRESS ISSUES THAT AFFECT US AS WOMEN?

KateeGee Sat 22-Nov-14 17:53:51

A male friend this week asked me about something that could, just possibly, be interpreted as sexist. Another male friend jumped in and said he didn't think it was a huge deal, I said no it's not a priority for me personally, and before I could say "but yes it's a bit sexist" the first friend started going on about how I can't have it both ways and be against casual sexism against women and I can't expect men to be on board if I don't care about their issues too. We actually fell out about it, I said it was really unfair for him to tease me about something that he knows I am struggling with, he said I should not have said a minor sexist sign is not a big deal without explaining why hmm. Then I said well I personally am more bothered about the 85000 women a year who are raped (I have been one, on several occasions, but he does not know that)and all manner of things that are personally more of a priority for me, than a little sign that he claims to have seen (I am still not sure if he made it up as a wind up). He still said I should have taken the opportunity to engage with him and I should have suggested what he do about the sign. I said well what would you do about the sign? Why is it my responsibility to tell you?

I'm not sure if we are still friends...

Same friends have argued the toss with me about
"women can be sexist too"
"Yeah, men are subjected to violence too, what are you doing about that?" "Why, what are you doing?"
<tumblweed and deafening silence>
<end>

ApocalypseThen Sat 22-Nov-14 18:26:35

I guess it's like why there isn't a widespread white rights movement. We (white people) have all a completely unjustifiable proportion of wealth and power in society. Normal people know that to be true. Those fighting for white rights are people with a most unsavoury agenda and a completely skewed view of the world.

I think men's rights are similar.

MiniTheMinx Sat 22-Nov-14 18:35:17

What effects women, effects men. I think there is a backlash against feminism probably due to the feminization of work and the effect that this has had on white men in the Western world. (weeps tears) but then they overlook the fact that this simply means that men are becoming extraneous to capital production whilst women are exploited at a greater rate. However, since men cannot reproduce one wonders what possible role they have left to them. (weeping quite genuine tears) Other than living off the productive and reproductive work of women. Which lets face it must be a nice little earner, if only that could be maintained they could all consume video games and beer, sex and all other commodities whilst we labour for them. It all sounds rather Greek to me, with women as the slave class whilst a useless class appropriate all the wealth we create.

Of course, in all seriousness this is a worry for both sexes. This isn't a feminism issue or even a men's issue, this is something really that requires a critique of capitalism. men problems are not with women, but the ideology of white western nations disallows men from understanding who their foe really is.

SpeverendRooner Sat 22-Nov-14 19:50:59

I think the OP's "difficulties with expressing emotions and vulnerability" explains it quite nicely. Particularly the suicide and depression issues. Organising a support group implies that you think I I need support, and I ain't admitting that.

Performing masculinity is as much a thing as performing femininity, and tends to make it harder than it ought to be to give or accept help.

BertieBotts Sat 22-Nov-14 19:53:55

1. Because feminism is already addressing these issues as part of a wider picture; gender inequality harms women and men.

2. Because men already have the advantage so they don't need to fight and campaign for it.

Zazzles007 Sat 22-Nov-14 20:03:57

Because men already have the advantage so they don't need to fight and campaign for it.

Very true Bertie. And the MRA's you see are trying to get a share of the men's privilege that they feel they are missing out on, but blaming the completely wrong target group, women. It is likely that they have seen advances in feminism, and see privilege as a zero sum game, a finite pie, and so think "What! These women are appropriating the 'privilege' that I should be getting! Waahhhhhh!!!!!"

jasper Sat 22-Nov-14 20:08:26

OP good question and I don't know the answer. I think there are some small groups in Christian circles that address these issues

AWholeLottaNosy Sat 22-Nov-14 20:33:58

Interesting replies. This OP was prompted by an article in The Times ( which obvs I can't link to) about PUA, basically saying that it appealed to geeky young men who couldn't talk to women and if they didn't have PUAs to guide them, who could they turn to? I think men do need guides and mentors but I don't see anyone stepping up to the plate.

AWholeLottaNosy Sat 22-Nov-14 20:36:49

And since 'nature abhors a vacuum', in the absence of good, ethical men with integrity and morals, these misogynistic, fraudulent, hateful fools step in to fill the gap.

KateeGee Sat 22-Nov-14 20:48:19

Hm, I haven't read the article but that sounds like excusing PUAs' consumers a bit too much. I'm bad at picking boyfriends, I went years without one and was very out of place as a teen/ young woman because I struggled with flirting, etc. If a woman came along and said I could get a guy by basically being abusive, I wouldn't blindly follow their advice, because I am not a dickhead. Misogynistic, hateful PUAs do not take innocent feminist boys and turn them into monsters, they only exploit an underlying misogyny and sense of entitlement that is already there. The men who would use them think that women owe them a fuck, the PUAs come along and say "yes, they do, if they don't give it to you you can manipulate or abuse them into it". Men don't need a movement to tell them to not be a dickhead, many men and women manage to do it without being told.

However, there are such things about on a small scale, like Good Lad www.goodladworkshop.com

MiniTheMinx Sat 22-Nov-14 20:48:36

I don't know, how do you define geek? aren't we just talking about men in general, because the advice of these PUA would appeal to the "jack the lad" too.

And is this a one sided thing again where it is assumed that men are acting and women are just some passive bystanders. So all this breakdown in communication between men and women that necessitates men seeking a system to use to pick up women, is because men have suddenly lost the ability to communicate with women?

I think there is far more going on here. It isn't just men losing the ability to communicate.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MiniTheMinx Sat 22-Nov-14 21:09:08

exploit an underlying misogyny and sense of entitlement that is already there. The men who would use them think that women owe them a fuck, the PUAs come along and say "yes, they do

I x-posted, but this sums it up!

I think also, there is a much deeper structural problem, because unfortunately women are also being conditioned to think that they owe them a fuck too.

On a recent trip out to a pub, I observed painted girls, pouting and sulking, taking photos of themselves and tapping frantically into their iphones. The guys stood at the bar and no one communicated. Most odd. I guess pic-ups now happen on-line to such an extent that the image is everything, there is no content, just an empty image. Young women increasingly see themselves as an object, defined by endless images and spray-on-tans, and men see them in the same way. There is a dialectical and reciprocal relationship between how men and women relate, and this is conditioned not just by the actions of men, but by the relations between the two, and this in turn I think is increasingly contingent upon the way women see themselves. And before anyone thinks I am laying blame, I am not. We are an assemblage of social relations. We take our cues from those around us. Unfortunately capitalism has nowhere much to mine for expansion, than to the human body and subject. Post industrialism leads to new frontiers in commoditising human subjects, information, bodies, and relations between people. Soon we will all be narcissistically begging for PUA trained men to validate us as desirable, as though we were a brand of baked beans having to compete for greater market share.

Zazzles007 Sat 22-Nov-14 22:05:03

A great analysis there MiniTheMinx. I find myself nodding my head with much of what you are saying.

EElisavetaofBelsornia Sat 22-Nov-14 22:50:36

I work in a field in which all of those issues are regularly addressed. I think the impact of such 'men's issues' on the health, criminal justice and social services is such that substantial attention is very legitimately paid to them. I choose to pursue other issues as a private individual, which I don't think do get sufficiently addressed or funded.

BobbyDarin Sun 23-Nov-14 01:58:48

^male suicide, depression, alcoholism, difficulties with expressing emotions and vulnerability, male violence ( against both men and women), homophobia, how to have a fulfilling relationship with a woman and be a good father etc?^

The first three are public health concerns and I know lots of people who have dedicated their life's work to understanding them and doing something about them. They just don't call it 'men's movement'. Work on the other things (outside feminism's work on male violence and the gay rights movement's work on homophobia) are more fragmented, IME.

I completely agree with this.

I'd add that there are one or two organisations like Fathers for Justice that do address issues that are specific to men, even if they do it in a ham-fisted way. The fact that men's priorities are different to the ones that would gain them support from women doesn't mean they don't exist.

But there a couple more things - it's easier for feminism to coalesce as a movement because there is a clearly defined antagonist to the cause: 'patriarchy' and its male minions. For men there are no obvious culprits for their misfortunes (which is probably why some blame feminists, or women in general).

You could probably even take a feminist perspective on some of those issues which is that men set up the criminal justice system, the trade union movement and other machinery of state to help men deal with the problems posed by other men. So they don't see the issues they face as gender-related - they think they are due to capitalism, or the media, or foreigners, or government corruption etc.

Nojacketrequired Sun 23-Nov-14 07:26:42

Because there is no justification for blaming all this shit in our lives at women's door. Life is far more complicated than that.

TiggyD Sun 23-Nov-14 11:18:37

If you sent out an email to all men inviting them to join "The Men's Movement", who would sign up? I doubt it would be the nice Guardian reading former Liberals you were hoping for. It would be a bunch of swivel eyed loons like you get in the current men's groups: F4J, UKIP, etc.

PuffinsAreFictitious Sun 23-Nov-14 13:39:12

To answer the OP...

There are men's movements, men's groups, they seem to fall into 2 distinct camps though.

You have MRM in big scary capitals with jaggy bits on them, such as F4J, AVfM, that Buchanan weirdo's failing lot and so on, who think that women get everything on a plate, all lie about rape, steal sperm, are ruining the workplace and are basically Satan incarnate. Not because they are sacred of women they are utter mysogynists, but because they are oh so very logical and... blah blah blah.

You also have groups of men who see that there is X difficulty that men are having and who quietly go about trying to do something to help. There's a growing number of men working with men to tackle DV and support male victims for example.

AskBasil Sun 23-Nov-14 13:52:20

"You could probably even take a feminist perspective on some of those issues which is that men set up the criminal justice system, the trade union movement and other machinery of state to help men deal with the problems posed by other men. So they don't see the issues they face as gender-related - they think they are due to capitalism, or the media, or foreigners, or government corruption etc."

That's exactly it. Men have never been persecuted purely and simply because they are men the way women have and are because we are women. Men have been persecuted for all the same reasons women have been: class, disability, education, income, sexuality, caste, ethnic origin, race, etc. etc. But never just because they are men. Or if they have (for example, not being allowed to cry etc.) that's because of the construction of masculinity they invented and impose on each other. So the idea of a men's movement can only really happen in the context of men fighting women's equality, unless they really embrace the idea of dumping patriarchy and the current construction of masculinity and that means working together with feminism. Which of course is antithetical to most men's movements which are based on misogyny, not a rejection of masculinity as it's currently constructed.

MiniTheMinx Sun 23-Nov-14 15:23:20

I agree that men have never been persecuted simply because they are men and that the institutions of state and other institutions have historically served the interests of men. More so though, some men. Men of property. During the Enlightenment and the transition from feudal to capitalist class relations, the great thinkers who sought to both understand the new conditions, antagonisms and to legitimise property relations and the class system of capital, were the emergent class of bourgeoisie. They were concerned with the setting up of new forms of GVMT and institutions that would manage peacefully and set out in legal terms how men would behave towards other men. Believing that men were competitive and self interested, legal system should control the operation of the market, the only way of mediating between the interest of self-interested individual men.

However, liberalism as an ideology obscures the class relations that subject one class to the exploitation that benefits another. Neither class exists alone and neither can it. But, except for the relations of production (class) all other institutions and residual cultural artefacts of a patriarchal type, such as marriage, property rights only extended to men, trade union membership etc, are just that, residual existing within the superstructure. In the same way that men and women form reciprocal binary opposites, as do classes, so does the base and superstructure, with antagonisms and contradictions arising out of the asymmetrical way in which they are dialectical. The reason why I say that patriarchal institutions are residual and not dominant is because data bares this out. Data on wages, the feminization of work, segregated labour along gender/race lines, the global division of labour, women's rising wages, women's access to better paid employment, the breakdown of the nuclear family, welfare apparatus that supports single parents, and the new segregated commodity markets based on age/gender/race lines.

None of that is to say that women are not the super exploited class, we are, but not because of the totality of patriarchy, because there is no totality of this sort. Residual cultural ideologies such as patriarchy exist in very real terms, but they are neither emergent/new or static and unchanging or aHistoric. Instead they are subject to motion and are largely being eroded, thankfully. We are the super exploited class because capital exploits women's work both productive and reproductive. We have been since the 1950s the biggest target group for consumption, and women make up 2/3rds of the world poorest and 2/3rds of the worlds workforce. But where does this leave men? Instead of worrying about what is really stripping their privilege, they point the finger at gender relations. As do feminists. This creates a closed circuit of bitter antagonism, rather than critical engagement with the real culprit.

So I disagree, should men focus their attention on gender relations and the construction of masculinity? I agree that there is a problem and that the construction of gender is problematic, and that this harms men just as it does women, but I don't think that simply telling men this will actually help them to overcome their very real fears. Men see the erosion of their privilege (as the exploited labouring class) as undermining their masculinity, and they think that the emergent super exploited labouring class women is responsible for this. We are not, capital is the totality that conditions this thinking and creates this new "gender" war. Just as capital created the cultural, philosophical and political arguments that legitimise the construction of race so that it was acceptable to own slaves in the C18th, colonise other nations and make children work a twelve hour a day down a pit.

Sorry for the essay, but I really do feel quite strongly that patriarchy is a descriptive category of cultural and institutional forms, not a theory or a totality.

fishdishwish Sun 23-Nov-14 16:20:41

I think there were moves to create a genuinely pro-feminist men's movement in the 80s and 90s, with things like the Achilles Heel collective, but they seemed to founder for one reason or another. Have to say, I probably would have joined one when I was a bit younger and more politically active, but I'd be lesser inclined to do so now (even though I'm happy to support feminist campaigns at an individual level).

As for the whole PUA thing - well, as someone who's 38 and never had a proper relationship, I can quite understand why some of this stuff might appeal to socially unconfident men, but I quite understand that a) much of it is deeply sexist (and in some cases aggressively misogynistic) and b) there's no 'miracle cure' for a lack of success with the opposite sex. Much of it seems to be laddish types purporting to teach geeks and losers how to be more like them.

It would be nice to see classes in dating confidence run for a mixed-sex group and by both men and women.

sausageeggbacon11 Sun 23-Nov-14 16:27:15

A lot of men will say the MRAs are genuine movements and many are working towards ending all violence, suicide and men's health it is only the feminist movement that label them a supremacist group. Both sides busy pointing fingers at each other while things fall through the cracks.

PuffinsAreFictitious Sun 23-Nov-14 19:24:30

Slight difference though being that feminists blame patriarchy for their oppression, which they acknowledge also harms men, but MRAs blame feminists for all their problems, because there's so many of us in positions of ultimate power.

I think those men who say the MRAs are genuine movements and many are working towards ending all violence, suicide and men's health it is only the feminist movement that label them a supremacist group. are either unaware of the way their groups work and everything they say, or are lying.

At the moment one of the groups with the largest internet presence, the one which instigates such delightful campaigns as don't be that girl' is busily defrauding money out of people by directly copying the white ribbon website. Instead of putting the money they have raised into tackling DV toward men, they are (by their leader's own admission) using it to legally harass women fighting DV and to defend their actions in the courts.

You'll forgive me if I don't believe that they have anyone but their own best interests at heart.

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