Those MRA statistics that have been floating around, true or false, are overwhelmingly the result of the same system that causes the things we feminists have been fighting against.
There are multiple ways to skew data to show what you want to show. The point is not who gets raped more or who wins custody cases. The point is that rape victims are seen as weak and slutty (or if in prison, deserving because they are dehumanized in the eyes of the law). The point is that society says women are the only nurturers and that men are the powerful (and therefore also the violent, see the murder/assault stats).
These are problems.
I’m sick of screaming back and forth about misogyny and misandry. That’s not the point. As they are defined (not arguing the existence), they’re both the result of a poisoned well that ALL OF US grow up in. Men ARE put in shitty situations because of gender expectations the patriarchy presents. Women are socialized to fear men by society, and taught to resent men by the fight for equality. They’re also limited in almost every area on a macro scale simply for being women, which is not the case for men, though we can find a few areas where similar patterns of discrimination exist (homophobia, custody, some lesser careers). The point is just this: The current system sucks for everyone. That’s why I’m a feminist.
If you dont like being told what you can and can’t do based on your gender identity, you’re a feminist. If you just want to “win” the “who has it worse” game, get the fuck off my Internet.
MRA’s don’t care about gender equality. Statistics wars don’t solve any of the problems. It just proves someone knows how to data mine in SPSS and also how to derail arguments and silence the concerns of others that they deem insignificant.
Sick of it.
Look, the problem is that most feminists are of the opinion that oppression is simply something that doesn’t happen to men, and that misogyny exists while misandry doesn’t. Those statistics are not a way of saying “men have it worse,” they’re a way of saying “no fucking way are you going to pretend that men aren’t being hurt too”. You talk about derailing arguments and silencing the concerns of others, but nine times out of ten I see those things coming from so-called “feminists”….not MRAs.
Many feminists see it as “derailing” when they start discussing rape (purely in terms of women, naturally) and an MRA speaks up and says “hey, we can’t forget that evidence shows men make up between 1/4 and 1/2 of all rape victims outside of prison, or forget the quarter-million male rapes in prison every year.” That’s not derailing, because the MRA isn’t saying “fuck the women, we need to talk about the men,” but rather “you’re only talking about the women, and we need to talk about the women and the men.” Which is more erasing, the MRA asking to talk about all the victims….or the feminists ignoring half of them to begin with?
Nor is it “silencing” to point out that a conclusion simply doesn’t match the facts. Virtually every economist to examine the “wage gap,” for example, has concluded that it basically comes down to the individual choices of men and women working in the aggregate, and that while the socialization leading to those choices could be targeted men and women simply aren’t being paid differently for doing the exact same job with the exact same experience and other criteria. It’s not erasing, silencing or derailing to point out that the consensus by experts in the field is that what someone is saying is wrong and why. ”Shut up about rape” is not okay, but “we know that the 1 in 4 figure is inaccurate for the following reasons” is a different matter.
The problem is that 90% of “feminists” don’t believe that the system sucks for everyone; they believe that it sucks for women, and that it’s men’s fault. If we define a “feminist” as someone who fights for gender equality (honestly, and without making shit up), then the vast majority of the movement doesn’t qualify.
There are MRA’s and feminists on Tumblr who engage in these behaviors. It’s not fair for you to assert that “90%” of feminists are erasing and silencing men and ignoring their struggles, but that all men on Tumblr who care about sexism and the patriarchy and its effect on men have no desire whatsoever to silence women and bring the spotlight back onto them and them alone. I trust that you are not one of those people, but they do exist, and they ARE vocal on the internet, just like the women you speak of.
I do not accept the assertion, either, that feminists are out to blame men for the problems women face. It’s more that we feel we are entitled to blame men who continue to indulge in the advantages granted to them simply for being born male, while doing nothing to decrease the inequality between the sexes. It’s a fine distinction. I don’t blame the men of today for historical patriarchy and sexist socialization, but I do blame them for perpetuating it. Similar to racism, you know?
The statistics posts I was referring to all did erase the complaints of women by saying men have it worse in THESE contexts, which insinuated that those contexts where clearly the “correct” ones to view the issues through. Men and women can’t both be the primary victims of rape, for example. But we can slice up the statistics and see where the crime tends to happen and then we can get into arguments about the “worst” kinds really are, and I just can’t stomach that. It’s self-defeating.
My point is that statistics are all well and good, and they should be sobering for all sides. But instead, they’re just becoming a back and forth tug-o-war over who the rope of patriarchy is hanging the worst. There are plenty of men on Tumblr engaging in erasure and silencing, and there are plenty of women who are pulling out the satirical WHAT ABOUT TEH MENZ gifs, and I just discovered today that I’m really not comfortable with those.
I apologize for my use of them in the past, but I’ve come to a place where I honestly do believe that this is an open issue for everyone to feel free to air the grievances that the patriarchy has placed on them. WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ is a heartless thing to say. I do understand that there are men who pull it out in a nasty attempt to shut women up and get the attention, but for every man doing that there is a gay man being bullied for his sexuality, a man who was emotionally and physically abused as a child for showing emotions, a man who will learn to hurt his family because tenderness is not allowed, a man who will feel depressed and turn to drugs and alcohol because men are not allowed to seek help from a counselor or show weakness ever, a transman who will not be accepted due to his past, and a transwoman who will never be trusted because of hers.
Sexism and the patriarchy and feminism is similar to racism in that systemic oppression occurs, but it’s not as clear-cut. The consequences affect a lot of people a lot of different ways. In racism, white people come out on top in basically every arena, with no burden to speak of in being white. In sexism, assumptions are made of men that are not made of women, and it cuts both.
Men do have advantages, and women do have disadvantages. The socialization that occurs is largely at fault, and both sexes do a lot of things to perpetuate it, but there is still systemic POWER granted to men for being male. The power comes with responsibilities that a man did not ask for and may not have earned (giant radioactive spider of patriarchy strikes again), but there is still power. Women do not have that power. If you believe we do based on statistics that say we win custody battles and that we are less likely to be victims of assault, I don’t think we have a shared definition of power.
A lot of the statistics that show men are more likely to be harmed, that women can win custody, that women can make up claims about paternities and rape cases and win because the courts will side with us? Those are symptoms of Benevolent Sexism, the belief that women are dainty and beautiful and precious little flowers who deserve pity and assistance because they’re the fairer sex. That’s not okay. There should be no fairer sex.
I hope that made some sense. Thanks for the discussion, and feel free to write back. I just hope you can cut down on the generalizations some?