I was inspired by a recent post that made its way around /r/mensrights. The basic premise of the subreddit revolves around the idea that the modern push by Feminism has had some negative side effects in regards to male rights. The key issues being on Male Abortion Rights, Child Support Reform, and Child Custody issues. There is also a smattering of other issues that tend to revolve around areas in which society has given females a distinct upper had [Rape cases, etc.]
Now, I always worry about writing on subjects that deal with the “inherent” rights of the various parties for a few reasons. The first issue is that society has traditionally been a male dominated patriarchy of sorts, and only just recently did we remove ourselves from the notion that women are inferior human beings. But I think there is some amount of merit to the idea that in attempting to bring women to equal ground with regards to society, there are areas that we have over-corrected in. This post is really just a summation of my feelings regarding the whole notion of a Men’s Rights movement, where I feel it has legitimate ground to stand on, and where I feel the whole issue is a pile of complete bullshit.
Where Men’s Rights has a point
Really, there aren’t all to many times that I’m willing to look at the socially privileged class in society and think to myself “Gee, you guys really are getting the short end of the proverbial stick here.” There are a select few areas that I think do deserve a fair amount of critical attention from society, and if nothing else deserve a once over to ensure we really haven’t been pushing to far in the hyper correction of the inequality of men and women.
- Men and Child Custody – Now, a lot of people ask why I don’t start off with Child Support, but I honestly believe that if you solve the inequality that exist within the realms of Child Custody, the attached realm of Child Support will likely correct itself. This assertion comes from the notion that if women lost the child more often to the male, courts would actually feel compelled to make them pay child support and a large enough uproar over that issue may cause that law to be looked over with some serious thought. But with the issue of Child Custody, I think there are some selective bias about where we hand over the child. I mean honestly let’s think about this for a second, if you can recall any instance of a divorce or whatever else where the Father gets the child, the collective thought in the room will be something along the lines of “Jesus what did the mother do”. Take this in opposition to times when the Male loses the child and everyone just assumes that this is the norm. The truth of the matter is that because of the “nurturing” nature of mothers, we tend to side with them when attempting to decide who should get to keep the child. This is probably born out of some societal recognition that children need their mothers to survive what with breast-feeding and all that. But honestly, it is trampling all over any matter of equality for both men and women. From the Female perspective, it assigns this notion that women are the ones who take care of the child and that to some degree they it is their job to “Take care of the kids”, so if you want to look at this as a woman’s rights issue you can. On the other, there is nothing really that keeps a father from being any less of an unfit parent than a mother. Once you get past the breastfeeding stage, either single parent is equally capable of providing care and thus should be analyzed by actual factors [like how they could raise the kid].
- Perception of Males and Children – As this is obviously the title of the post it is something I would like to touch on. I’m not really sure at what point in our society we decided that any male within 500 feet of a child must be some kind of pedophile, but honestly it really ruins my day. You will hear story after story of fathers talking about the odd looks, the comments, etc any time they go out and play with their child. Hell, as a former security guard, I can tell you that a male with a child just caught our eyes more often than a female with a child. The real issue I take with this is not that we should evaluate women with the same suspicious nature, but we to recognize that males can be the primary care givers for a child. Just because a small child is running around with their father, regardless of the gender of the child, shouldn’t give society the temptation to judge the father as some kind of creep that just wants to drag another child back to his candy van. Honestly it’s just an irritation of mine.
- Abortion Rights – There is something to be said about the fact that the way we established the abortion law was to ensure privacy for females. I think if we as a society are willing to accept the legality and functionality of an abortion, we should also be willing to accept that both sexes contributed an equal number of chromosomes to the creation of the soon to be child. There is of course an argument against the notion that it is a Woman’s body and thus her choosing as to what happens to the child, but, I think in events when the Father does not want the child, there should be some form of legal recourse where he could exempt himself from having to be involved in the child’s life or pay for its upbringing. This provides the male gender with an equal opportunity to remove themselves from a situation where there is an unwanted child.
Where it goes horribly a stray
Sadly, Men’s Rights tends to also fall off the beaten path and descend right into the crazy pot. I don’t want to make to many ad hominem, but I think there is something to be said about trying to make it clear this is a moderation attempt not a backlash against women for suddenly having rights. There seems to be this group within the Male Rights group who are simply convinced that the reason things have gone to shit for them are the feminist. This kind of ideology is not only stupid, it’s dangerous. The only issues that are facing males right now are those that have been created and established in a time when Males were not the inherent superior class [IE Abortion, Custody, etc. in terms of legality are more recent issues]. It wasn’t the feminist that caused this, it was simply because they were made in a time when society was actually considering both sexes on a semi-equal footing, but still sided with one over the other.
I also am bothered by the fact that they have dragged things that are not actually Males rights into a Males rights issue. My two biggest complaints here are false rape charges and male circumcision.
- False Rape Charges – This is not an issue of men’s rights, this is an issue for the legal system not really knowing how to handle rape. The honest problem is that with the exception of rare cases, the evidence for a rape case is just hard to collect. Even with rape kits, it can be difficult to determine what was really happening outside of “He Said, She Said” sort of transactions. The only reason people tend to think it’s a men’s rights issue is because Women are the only ones we try to encourage to press these cases. In fact, I’d say this is men fucking with other men honestly. What you have is this sort of “Cultural” taboo with men where saying that you did not consent to sex is viewed as strange. In order to balance out the whole rape thing, we just need to remind society that men can be raped too.
- Male Circumcision – Again, this isn’t really a Men’s Rights issue, it’s just an issue of cultural taboos. It is at its heart genital mutilation that we have come to accept because some 5000 odd years ago a man who would have willing sacrificed his son for a Sky Wizard decided that the best way to make his Sky Wizard happy was to remove the foreskin of his penis. I don’t know why we consider this man wise or even worth listening too, but you’d be hard pressed to actually find a legitimate male reason for male circumcision. This isn’t really Men’s Rights though, it is just an issue of overturning a barbaric religious practice.
Like I said, I always get worried when discussing even the notion of Men’s rights mostly because some people still have a hard time even being willing to give women the rights they deserve, trying to get both sexes actually equalized brings the crazy to a whole new level. As my friends used to joke
Why isn’t there a Male Studies Course? There was, we just decided to call it History.
The basis of this being that Males are the still the privileged class in most of Western and Eastern society, as such the issues we have, while issues, are probably not as major as those faced by women. Really all we need to be out on the look for are instances of hyper-correction as well as trying to realize that men are going to have to shift their perception. I’ve always like the notion that a feminist doesn’t mean you advocate for more rights for women so much as you simply advocate for equal rights for both sexes, and hopefully that’s all I’m doing here.