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.
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."