What I learned as a Feminist and an MRA (Part 1)

In these couple of takes, I hope to discuss issues regarding Feminism and the MRM as I had experienced them. This first part will just be to bring you up to speed, and will probably be the longest and most boring one for those who yawn at backstory. I know, because I'm usually the one yawning.

My next take will get more into the guts, so you can simply use this as reference.

What I learned as a Feminist and an MRA (Part 1)

Family

I grew up in what you could call fairly gender-liberated household. No particular role was filled by a particular parent, with the exception of jobs where one was clearly more interested or concerned than the other. While my dad was often called upon for things like repairing cars and setting up the home theater, he was also our family's "head chef" and played a major role in my upbringing. My mom was usually a "home manager" of sorts, applying her project management skills to how things are managed at home. My parents both make about the same amount of money and both work in technical fields.

This is why, in school, I felt a lot of dissonance when learning about feminism. Hearing about the patriarchy and people saying "women belong in the kitchen" didn't make much sense to me. "I never thought this way. Neither of my parents had any particular "dominion" over each other and the family. And why would I want my mom in the kitchen to make beans and hot dogs, when I could have my dad in there making fettucini alfredo with bacon?"

"It must be all those mean ol' boys my sisters keep talking about, with their bugs, guts, farts, and pranks." As such, I tried to distance myself from other boys my own age. After dealing with bullies at school, hearing horror stories, and learning about things like sexual assault and domestic violence, the pieces clearly seemed to fit.

I suppose you could say I was essentially a "feminist" at that point, though not by name. Later in life, I would join groups dealing with gender issues such as LGBTQ support groups and forums online. For the most part, there wasn't a TON of dissonance in my head. The numbers were clear. The narrative was clear. Of course I would get uneasy when I hear "you like nice girls because you seek to dominate all aspects of life." but that wasn't terribly common.

Then I got to college.

First Dose of Men's Issues

One of my first classes was speech. For our first speech, we had to recite musical lyrics as poetry to the class. I didn't bring any lyrics, so my professor had me read "Ain't I a woman", possibly thinking I would be embarassed. I took that poem up and read it with pride. I think it made a pretty good impression on her.

One class period, she handed out a paper for us to discuss. It talked about domestic violence against men. I was shocked to hear how high the numbers were for male victims, and shocked a bit more at how high the numbers were predicted to be. "But everything they told me growing up implied that this almost never happens. That it's uniquely a women's issue." I thought.

The biggest shock, however, came from the class's reaction. Giggles. Most of them feminine. Whipsers after class about how guys would have to be particular jerks to provoke a women to violence. "They probably deserved it. They probably cheated."

What I learned as a Feminist and an MRA (Part 2)


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What Girls Said 1

  • I guess I grew up in a more gender-liberal household since my father was the head chef too. In other things it was still very traditional.
    I remember my peers were very surprised to hear that my father was the one who made dinner for us. I didn't think it was so surprising, because like you I thought whoever does things best should do it, and my mother was a terrible cook.

    Were those numbers about domestic violence only about physical abuse or also including emotional abuse?

    I think the reasons why most women have a hard time accepting the numbers are:
    1 They cannot relate. They and the females they know are not violent and they think for them to become violent they have to be extremely provoked, especially when the other party is likely going to win the fight, because of height, weight or strength differences.
    2 They have revenge phantasies. They grew up in households where the mother was abused while the father cheated and think those females just had more balls than their mothers or themselves.
    3 Ignorance. They don't realise that domestic violence include emotional abuse too and females are very capable of it or there wouldn't be movies like Mean Girls.
    4. Lack of (self) awareness. They don't realise or don't care that what they're doing is essentially emotional abuse.

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What Guys Said 4

  • This is an incredibly well written insight into a 'behind-the-scenes' view of Feminism and Women's issues. I appreciate you posting this.

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  • Legitimate question: how much of this stuff is manufactured by all these movements popping up left, right, and center anymore? Because honestly, it seems like most of these movements do battle with each other in the "let's stand for a cause" community, and that's about it. The rest of society has it's issues, but it gets by with the normal behavior that has served it just fine for many years.

    I was at a coffee shop in LA a couple years back when I took a short vacation. I ended up talking to this girl and she mentioned that she had recently broken into the p*rn industry there. We were just talking about random things and the topic of "movements" came up. She said that as a woman, she didn't really get the big push that modern feminism is trying to make (whatever it is they're pushing for... nipple freedom? really?), and that her and people she has worked with are all similarly minded.

    That reminded me just now if perhaps, we just flow with the crowds that have the most in common with us and will listen to us? Like, the p*rn performers as an example are really chill, liberal people that don't really bother with what everyone else is doing.

    So if the pattern for that "crew" is the same for most other groups in society, then all these movements, and activists, and new causes springing up daily are simply just fads of a group, no?

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  • When society sees a woman hit a man, their first thought is "He must have done something to piss her off/he probably deserved it" whereas if a man hits a woman, societies first reaction is almost completely violent towards the man. It's basically the idea that no matter what women do, we see them as more innocent, and men as more aggressive... and it's actually an extremely sexist way to look at the world. The women are automatically the victims, because they're seen as too weak to be aggressors.

    A woman is the one who taught me this by the way.

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    • Yup. The main thing here being hypo-agency. When it's at the bottom of society or acts of violence, women benefit because they are seen as non-causal, but simply reactive.

      When it's at the top of society: Women who are very wealthy are generally seen as having inherited the wealth and not earned it. While we have little trouble assuming a man earned his wealth.

  • @OpenClose Thanks for sharing. Does MRA stand for Men's Rights Activists?

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    • Yes it does. Hopefully I can get around to making part 3, where I'll get more to the points that I learned.

    • @OpenClose Thanks, you have a unique perspective and I'm actually learning something from reading your myTakes.

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