Photo via Josep Ma. Rosell/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The solution to MRA problems? More feminism

Here are four problems that have a simple feminist answer.

Mar 1, 2020, 12:16 pm*

Internet Culture

Men’s rights activists—a loose coalition mostly comprised of men embittered that they’re not getting as much tail as they believe they’re due and men embittered after having their wives up and leave against their wishes—irritate feminist bloggers for many reasons, from blaming feminists for problems they clearly brought on themselves, to the Russian bride weirdness, to their dogged trolling and grudge-holding of feminists that criticize them.

But, honestly, all that pales in comparison to the most irritating thing of all about MRAs: They’re just so wrong.

All that pales in comparison to the most irritating thing of all about MRAs: They’re just so wrong.

When you believe that we live in a female-dominated world where straight men are the most oppressed class, it tends to make you wrong about pretty much everything. Wrong about the little things, like labeling every woman who displeases them a “feminist,” even if she does something highly traditional, like demands that men pay for every date. And wrong about big things, like writing off high rates of domestic violence and rape as matters of women lying, when all reputable sources agree that there’s simply a lot of violence against women.

They’re so wrong about everything, they’re wrong even when they’re right. Some of their observations of the world correspond with reality, but when they attempt to analyze it through the “blame feminism” lens, they get all turned around. Usually what annoys them stems not from feminism, but from sexism, especially when it comes to inflexible gender roles. Ironically, then, the solution to the problems they manage to correctly identify is more feminism. I pulled together a sampling of examples to show how this works.

1) Men are more often the primary or even sole breadwinners of nuclear-family households

MRA explanation

A matriarchy of spoiled women have managed to get men to pay for it as they sit around on their butts eating bon bons all day, while the children scamper angelically past them, requiring little to no work.

Reality-based explanation

Women still make less than men in the workplace, but still do more free labor at home, even when they work full time. Plus, many men feel scaling back or quitting their jobs is emasculating. So, when someone in a couple decides to scale back or quit a job to maintain the household, it’s usually the wife. But, for many families, women just simply do more for less pay. Being at home is no picnic for women, since it reduces future earning potential. Plus, being around kids all day can be a little maddening.

MRA solution

Women en masse should demonstrate our gratitude for this financial support of some of us by giving up on fighting for equality, especially equal pay. Also, no more child support.

Reality-based solution

More feminism. Women should get paid the same as men, men should do as much housework as women, and men should treat domestic labor as real work, instead of as emasculating. Workplaces should be more flexible for parents of both genders. If that happened, more women would work outside the home, and more men would cut back work hours for family.

2) Problem: Men have to do all the work asking women out, and women are often hostile to men’s overtures, which hurts men’s feelings

MRA explanation

Women are lazy princesses, who enjoy forcing men to dance for the pussy, and then enjoy shutting them down, because it strokes petty female egos.

Reality-based explanation

These are two separate issues. Women reject men forcefully because 1) a lot of overtures are actually just harassment, and 2) even men who are sincerely hitting on you sometimes are really rude and entitled about it, requiring a forceful response. (Plus, some MRAs experience all rejections as women being too big for their britches, making it impossible for a woman to say no without being labeled a bitch.) Women don’t approach men very often, because doing so often gets you labeled slutty, bitchy, or desperate, or sometimes all three.

MRA solution

Pay a lot of money to creepy men who label themselves “pickup artists” and who promise to teach you how to get any woman you want in bed. The method usually involves taking an abusive posture to women and learning to identify insecure women, extracting sex from them through bullying. You know, instead of doing something as quaint as sleeping with women who actually want to have sex with you.

Reality-based solution

More feminism. A world where rape victims weren’t denounced because they were overly flirty, where women weren’t mocked because they acted “like men,” and where the word “slut” had no meaning is one where women would feel freer to hit on men. Plus, a world where women weren’t harassed on the street, or where they could tell men “no” and be heard the first time, would be one where women weren’t immediately suspicious of every man who approached them.

3) Problem: Men are more likely to get killed at work

MRA explanation

Some see it as proof men are hated, oppressed, and being used by women who want to steal all their money and then, apparently, kill them. Some just see it as evidence of anti-male workplace inequality, invalidating issues of sexism. Either way, feminists should just shut up.

Reality-based explanation

Some of the most dangerous jobs out there are ones where women are either formally barred from entering, or informally discriminated against. This is in part a protection racket, keeping jobs from women who want them, because they’re either good pay for relatively low education, or the only game in town. This includes everything from firefighting to coal mining. The military has formal discrimination that keeps women from the more dangerous but higher-paying combat roles.

MRA solution

They don’t really see this as a problem needing a solution, so much as a solution to the problem that bothers them, which is feminists’ pushing for women’s equality in the workplace. They hope this can be a trump card to shut people up about equal pay and opportunity.

Reality-based solution

More feminism. Shut down all formal discrimination against women, and create programs that make it easier for women to get into these professions. Stop informal harassment of female workers that keeps them off the job. Educate young girls about their options to take these jobs. Eventually, you’ll get parity in dangerous jobs, and women will, as a side effect, be killed at the same rate as men.

4) Problem: Ladies Night, where bars often extend a drink special to women and not to men

MRA explanation

One MRA who doggedly sued repeatedly over this issue, claiming that Ladies Night is proof of the matriarchal conspiracy to use pussy power to deprive men of their hard-earned money, one $3 drink at a time.

Reality-based explanation

Bars that become sausage parties start to lose business, because neither women nor men want to go there. Drink specials bring in groups of women, and the men will follow. The men tend to benefit more, because women still have to pay the price of fending off unwanted advances just to go out and have fun with friends.

MRA solution

Ban Ladies Night. Complain when you can’t find any cheesy bars with hot women for you to pester.

Reality-based solution

Ban Ladies Night or don’t, because who honestly gives a crap? The only people who stand to lose out are d-bags complaining that they can’t find cheesy bars with lots of hot women to pester.

This post originally appeared on the Good Men Project and has been reprinted with permission.

Photo via Josep Ma. Rosell/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Jan 19, 2015, 12:30 pm