Women's rights were recently front page news as many women marched on Washington to speak about things like abortion rights, access to birth control, equal pay, respect, etc, and from time to time there are stories about women standing up and protesting companies or organizations that seek to marginalize or discriminate against them, but where are the men? Do they not have issues too? Where is the massive front page news story about the march for men? There was one years ago, in the Million Man March, but aside from that, you rarely hear about it in mass numbers like you do with women's organizations.
I mean, just mentioning to a group of people the idea that men need to fight for their rights tends to send a chuckle in the air, like men...need rights? Or you think men need....more rights than they already have, but talk to fathers who have had to fight long and hard custody battles for the children they have either solely or equally cared for with their former partners. Ask the men who were abused by women, if it's a laughing matter. Why is there no real paternity leave in this country? What about the inequalities with child support with some men having to even pay for children that are not even biologically their own?
I remember I wrote a mytake ages ago about violence against women, and in the take, I mentioned a small blip about violence against men and overwhelmingly the response from men reading the article was where was the point at which I mentioned where they should get help to which I replied that I honestly did try to find out that information for myself and there were only a handful of local places specific to certain areas that helped men in those situations so I couldn't offer to list say a broad based shelter, hotline, or organization, like I did for women seeking help.
Aside from the aforementioned idea of some generalized views about whether or not men actually need 'more' rights, I think men themselves struggle with this idea of seeming weak if they put their name out front in the fight for their rights. Many shrug off the idea of standing on a protest line with signs yelling about needing rights or wanting to be the public poster boy for men's rights. Many women's groups have been well established over years, if not centuries, whereas many with the focus on men have only been around maybe a couple of decades due in part to this idea that men already had all the rights they needed so a group wouldn't have received much membership.
There is also this idea that men don't or shouldn't deal with their problems "this way," on such a public front. Men just deal. It's the whole, men don't complain, they don't whine, they suck it up, and they make do, but is that really helping? With issues stemming from inequalities in divorce and spousal support, treatment of physical and sexual abuse, and issues with custody and male sexuality, there is very much a need for more protection for men in these situations. So so many men complain about these very real issues but feel frustrated that no one is doing anything, but that's part of the issue.
There is an expectation that others or someone else should herald the fight other than themselves, but if you don't fight for rights you want and need, then who will? If you don't take it to the courts and the streets and the front pages with the stories and the struggle, who is supposed to care or take notice? People, men, women, everyone will just continue to accept that things are what they are and will always be if no one challenges the status quo. It's not enough to say, women will never let this happen or you'll never get a chance if you don't try and keep trying and keep fighting. You have to know it's important to you and other men like you.
Women's rights groups don't just have women on them, nor do gay rights groups just have gay persons on them, nor do civil rights groups just align themselves with only minorities. Every one of these groups is tied to the world around them and cannot function as an island, so you work to make your story and your voice heard, in this case, to the opposite sex, and get more "people" on your side. These things are not impossible. They are hard, they are time consuming, they are constant struggles, but every disenfranchised person taking on some form of giant, gets knocked down repeatedly and has to find their way back up again and back into the fight if there is ever hope of winning their rights.