What do MRAs want?

(722 Posts)

...aside from a blow job and, oh, a sandwich would be nice love.


Right, seriously now. I try and be an open minded sort of a person, and I've been wondering about this. When I look at the world, my perception is that women are disadvantaged, belittled, by many things. We all know what those are.

When feminist women and non-feminist women have discussions about things like Page 3 for example, usually the feminists are trying to get the non-feminists to see the world in a different way: Page 3 not as a bit of harmless fun that the girls are happy (and get paid handsomely) to do, but as a "choice" pre-set by patriarchal values. That's just one example. So, I am open to the idea of people who hold different opinions trying to convince me to try and see the world through their eyes for a time.

Trying to see through an MRA's eyes, I think I'd see a world where women were protected by law and custom, vast majority got to lounge about at home pottering about with kids while the men had to work to provide, weren't expected to be violent and had lots of support when violence was committed against them. Had the deck stacked in their favour in family courts even though the father loves his kids just as much and has had to work so hard to provide for them. Was expected to just carry on when he had mental health problems, laughed at if he admitted depression or other problems. That sort of thing.

But where I get stuck is what MRAs want to be different. If they want the chance to shrug off the manly provider role, feminists are cool with that. If they want to campaign for more DV shelters, better mental health provision, prostate cancer research, that's OK with me. But they don't seem to want to do that. Rather, they just seem like an oppositional group that just wants to blame feminism for all their problems.

I'd be interested to hear the views of others on this... What DO they want?

Ugh, sorry, clumsily worded paragraph that is confusing. I will try again:

Trying to see through an MRA's eyes, I think I'd see a world where women were protected by law and custom, vast majority got to lounge about at home pottering about with kids while the men had to work to provide; where women weren't expected to be violent and had lots of support when violence was committed against them. Where women had the deck stacked in their favour in family courts even though the father loves his kids just as much and has had to work so hard to provide for them. Where the man was expected to just carry on when he had mental health problems, laughed at if he admitted depression or other problems. That sort of thing.

MooncupGoddess Mon 19-Aug-13 18:07:08

Honestly, they are like toddlers... they mostly want attention and the world to revolve around their wants.

Yes, that's how they appear to me as well. With a malevolent rape threat thrown in for good measure.

But, aren't we falling into the same thing we accuse others of? Of lumping them all in with the fringe crazies? I'd like to know what the moderate MRAs want.

FreyaSnow Mon 19-Aug-13 18:22:41

Different groups of them want different things. Some of them think women think in a very different way to men and so society needs to be organised in a way that acknowledges that. Some of them think that men and women are the same and so women need to lose their alleged advantages to make society 'fair.'

It's the latter ones that interest me actually, because it's those that I suspect may actually want pretty much the same outcomes (though for different reasons, of course) that feminists do.

FreyaSnow Mon 19-Aug-13 18:27:05

If they wanted the same outcomes as feminists wouldn't they just be feminists? I think a lot of the theory and research they refer to is the same used by feminists, but they then add irrational or unsupported ideas to them.

They seem to me to be inverse feminists. They see white where feminists see black so neither can agree, but if you sat them down in separate rooms and asked them to describe the society they wanted, the outcomes in practical terms would be surprisingly similar. Not so for the other kind, who are actually fighting for the status quo it seems.

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 19-Aug-13 18:36:08

I think they do feel that the world is genuinely unfair to men and that women want it to be. It's very hard for them to see round this.

I had a direct experience of this. I worked in a service where there were men and women (think support services for marginalized people). A woman there assaulted her partner in front of me and other staff and then he ran out. He came back later demanding to be let in. I said that was great and asked was he OK, did he need medical or other care. He ranted about how we were favouring women. I told him that she had already been asked to leave, I was happy to be a witness if he wanted to call the Police and that he was allowed back in and she wasn't. He just couldn't hear me. He believed that because we were a social service and were 90% staffed by women we would favour the woman. Even though we saw the assault first hand.

I think it may often be men like him who can't 'hear' that feminists frequently want good outcomes for men from fighting the system. Men who are marginalized, have few things going for them, have to ask for services, often from women. Men who are or perceive themselves to be on the bottom of the pile. They haven't benefited form the patriarchy, ironically, and have often been hurt by it. They actually have the most to benefit from a change.

BasilBabyEater Mon 19-Aug-13 20:05:13

I think they want to return to a golden age where women knew their place and there was full male employment.

A lot of the MRA activity is a response to a changing world where no-one has a safe job with a carriage clock and pension at the end of it. In uncertain times, people who used to be the beneficiaries of the old system, turn to simplistic certainties to try and re-capture what they thought they once had. (Even though lots of them never really had it in the first place IYSWIM). Usually, you need a scapegoat; immigrants, Jews, gypsies, feminists - take your pick.

AnyFucker Mon 19-Aug-13 20:21:55

I think they simply cannot countenance that women have a mind and a life of their own.

They think women's place is purely as a satellite to men's needs and wants

It makes them very angry to find that is really not the case

LRDPomogiMnyeSRabotoi Mon 19-Aug-13 21:08:59

Some of them are out-and-out misogynists.

Others are angry because they're seeing parts of the same picture we see, and they think we're out to make things worse for them. So they see that (for example) most women get custody of the children, or that girls are pulling ahead in education, and they feel angry and resentful.

I don't think they are inverse feminists, because feminism (to me anyway) is about class analysis, and what they do is individualism.

CiscoKid Mon 19-Aug-13 22:19:37

I never even knew that the acronym existed before coming on here. I associate them now with Fathers 4 Justice, and Batman climbing up Big Ben.

When I do see someone writing on here who is one, or who is accused of being one, I perceive a lot of anger and hurt, and it almost always seems to be based on child custody and divorce. And if there is one thing that they seem to have in common with some feminists, it's that they are pretty badly scarred by previous events in their life. I think when you have that much anger inside, it's difficult to always present a coherent argument about something that is so dear and important to you.

What do they want? Dunno really, although a BJ and a sandwich is not a bad suggestion in any bloke's book. Do they have a collective movement, or are they like Al Quaeda - a loose collective with not much structure but roughly similar aims?

LRDPomogiMnyeSRabotoi Mon 19-Aug-13 22:22:42

It's inspiring to see such a depth of warmth and sympathy for all the poor, angry, hurt, incoherent individuals you find around you, cisco. Do you often find people struggle to appreciate this generosity in your nature? sad

FreyaSnow Mon 19-Aug-13 22:26:02

They are a collection of different movements rather than a collective movement. Most MRAs online claim to be young and unmarried, in my experience.

AnyFucker Mon 19-Aug-13 22:33:15

I can find some sympathy with the MRA-types who are coming at it from the divorce/contact with children standpoint

those young/unmarried/childfree ones are simply bandwagon jumpers of the most base kind, the kind that wish to harm women

CiscoKid Mon 19-Aug-13 22:34:11

What do you mean, LRD?

LRDPomogiMnyeSRabotoi Mon 19-Aug-13 22:36:10

Interesting you say that, AF.

I almost always find the divorce/custody ones more difficult to sympathize with, because there is something chilling about the way they seem to believe their children are pawns in some big game.

When it's young blokes I think it's easier to forgive because they're just stupid, and there's hope they might learn. But when it's someone who has got married to a woman or has a baby daughter, and still believes feminism is out to get men, then I find it really difficult.

LRDPomogiMnyeSRabotoi Mon 19-Aug-13 22:36:58

I was being slightly sarcastic, cisco, hinting that if you read your comment again it sounds a bit funny. I'm sure it was just unintentional.

AnyFucker Mon 19-Aug-13 22:41:32

You have a point, well made, LRD

I said some sympathy. In some cases I can understand some bitterness. In those cases the blokes don't tend to morph into dickheads who hate all women just because their relationship with one of the gender didn't work out, though smile

contortionist Mon 19-Aug-13 22:43:46

I'm a man, and while I'm generally sympathetic to feminist analysis and politics, I'm not comfortable identifying as feminist (and I'm not sure I'd be a very good one anyway). I would perhaps be involved in MRA organisations if they weren't generally so blinkered.

I would imagine your hypothetical reasonable MRA would largely agree with a feminist view of what an ideal world would look like, but disagree on what the most important immediate priorities for change are. For example he (and I) might prioritise awareness of and support for male victims of domestic violence ahead of female boardroom quotas.

LRDPomogiMnyeSRabotoi Mon 19-Aug-13 22:45:06

Yes, sure ... I don't think I'm really disagreeing, just musing about it.

I can understand the bitterness.

I also think, TBF, that there are plenty of men who're justifiably bitter, flirt with 'rah all women are shit' and then come to their senses, which is totally normal.

AnyFucker Mon 19-Aug-13 22:46:07

Yup. Usually because they are not dickheads in the first place smile

CiscoKid Mon 19-Aug-13 22:47:20

The bit about divorce and custody? Or about the feminists? I can think of a couple of blokes who have been on here and started threads about how they believe they have been treated shabbily by the courts, but my experience of any wider MRA issues is limited to what I read on here. Those are sad. It seems to have made them very bitter.

Likewise with some women on here who have come out of really shitty, abusive relationships - I am still with the first Mrs Cisco after 24 years, but I know I am lucky. I have close friends and relatives who have been in bad relationships, and it can cause the most mild-mannered people to have pretty extreme views, men and women alike.

That is all I meant.

LRDPomogiMnyeSRabotoi Mon 19-Aug-13 22:48:05

cont - see, I wonder about that.

To me, trying to visualize a hypothetical 'reasonable MRA' is like trying to say that you might find a hypothetical 'reasonable white supremacist', because it's not just people who happen to prioritize certain issues abover certain others (as you might if you prioritize DV over quotas, which I think plenty of feminists would), it's people who believe there's a misandric structure developing in society. Or if I understand rightly, that's what it is.

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