Thursday, September 20, 2007

How are men responding to the gender movement?

Men have responded in complex and contradictory ways to the profound changes of the last decade, changes set in motion by the women's movements, changes in family organization, economic and social shifts and other forces.
Small numbers of men have responded by mobilizing in support of gender equality goals, changing their own behaviour and working with women to shift gender relations in progressive directions.
Yet other men have mobilized in opposition to the changes in gender with which it is associated, forming "men's rights" and "fathers rights" groups. Of course for Malawi it has not come to pass yet I guess the men have not plucked enough courage to talk collectively and in public about what they hate about the fight for gender equality.
But for the west an organized backlash to the fight for gender equality is now visible among men in Australia, as in most other Western capitalist countries.
Men's rights men focus on the costs and destructiveness to men of masculine roles. They dispute the feminist idea that men (or some men)gain power and privilege in society, claiming that both women and men are equally oppressed or limited or even that women oppress men.
Men are "success objects" (like women are "sex objects") and burdened as providers, violence against men (through war, work and by women) is endemic and socially tolerated, and men are discriminated against in divorce and child custody proceedings.As far as "men's rights" are concerned, these men believe that men's right to a fair negotiation in child custody settlements, to a fair trial in domestic violence cases, and to fair treatment in the media have all been lost.
Responsibility and blame for these problems is attributed to women,the women's movements and feminism.Men's rights and fathers' rights advocates identify a wide range of injustices and harms suffered by men. Males have been displaced from the labour market, schools and universities, deprived of their role as fathers, and are now regarded only as 'gene pool and cash machine.
For some men's rights men, feminism has largely achieved its goals and women have more choices, while men are still stuck in traditional masculine roles. Thus feminism was once a 'human liberation' movement that now only looks after women.
For others, it never tried to liberate men, it has even tried to keep men in their traditional roles e.g. as providers, and "feminists" are involved in a conspiracy to discriminate against men and cover up violence against them.
Men's rights men share the goal of removing the social and legal injustices faced by men, and for most the main obstacle to achieving this is men's unjust treatment at the hands of women and feminists.

As Alan Barron's "Men's Manifesto" (2001) states, "We must vigorously defend the concept that male domination/patriarchy is part of the natural order of things."The men in men's rights and fathers' rights groups are typically in their forties and fifties, often divorced or separated, and nearly always heterosexual. Participants often are very angry, bitter and hurting (with good reason, they would say), and they often have gone through deeply painful marriage breakups and custody battles.Research among divorced men finds that some respond to the stresses and turmoil of divorce by adopting a masculinity discourse: they focus on their 'rights' and their victimization, attempt to retain control over their former wives, and respond to the undermining of their paternal authority with strategies of parental and financial withdrawal. I am reminded of Grace Chinga Moffat saga. Custody of children went to the mother and I can imagine how the father must have felt about the whole thing. Can it not make hate his wife and the whole idea of feminism

1 comment:

jintha's-eye said...

Well, the fact that women form clubs to justify their need for greater roles, does not mean that men cannot clarify their roles. It's just crazy that both men and women are busy forming these clubs, and by the time that they discover that all that is needed is to enjoy the sunshine, the sun will no longer be there!