By Rachel Stevens
It is not a scary time to be a young male in America. It is a terrifying time to be a woman. The men’s rights movement has gained a considerable amount of traction in recent years, and it needs to be stopped. Feminism is the movement for the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of equality between the sexes. The movement focuses on equal rights in the economic, social, and political sphere. It is not hatred of men. It is a movement that has noticed that the treatment of men and women is unequal. Who does not want that?
Equality seems pretty straightforward. Unfortunately, MRM or The “Men’s Rights Movement” is a loose coalition of activists, with no official leader, that has coddled a generation of misogynists. These individuals not only resist equality, but outright threaten women. It is an old position receiving new attention in the current state of online media and the rapid sharing of ideas. Today’s MRM branches off of the Men’s Liberation Movement which started in the 1970s. Many men began to feel inferior to women who stood up for themselves in the pro-choice movement that was gaining force. Subsequently, in the early 1990s a book called, “The Myth of Male Power: Why Men are the Disposable Sex” emerged from the author Warren Farrell. Many men swear by this novel as the groups manifesto, or, bible if you will. It outlines a flawed argument that men are systematically disadvantaged in many ways. It pushes an agenda that female sexual power eclipses any societal advantage men may have over women. From this novel, there has been an emergence of men congregating online to encourage its aggressive rhetoric through threats on sites such as “4chan” and “Reddit”.
For some, this manosphere is a safe space to air their grievances against preferential treatment of women in custody battles or the unrecognized amount of sexual abuse against men. While these are issues of their own, it is fostering a disturbing amount of aggressive rhetoric and even physical violence against women as a result of men trying to get rid of their “suffering”. There have been recorded instances of men beating women in the name of MRM. I personally glanced through many Reddit pages of men detailing their attack on a woman and being proud of it, and I won’t quote any of it because I believe it is incredibly disturbing.
Nonphysical implications of the MRM are everywhere. Many of these same men are outcrying to redefine what the word rape means. In that same lens, they are attempting to draft legislation to cut off state funding for sexual assault clinics who do not treat men. They would rather these clinics be shut down than serve women who need it. People don’t realize the heavy presence of the MRM on social media. Misogynistic memes are circulating constantly, they are not funny, and they only help their movement grow every time they get shared. The scariest part is that the president of the United States, Donald Trump, is giving these men a platform. “It’s a very scary time for young men in America,” Trump said. The response has brought an outcry of men essentially saying that the president endorses the MRM so they must be right. On the flip side, many women in the MeToo movement are hurt by his words. Sexual assault is no joke, and the MRM and Donald Trump believe that women make up sexual assault for fun to mock and ruin men. Since when is it fun to just make up an entire sexual assault case?
The occurrences of false sexual assault accusations are incredibly low. The claim that it’s a scary time for young men in America is false. MRM attempts to redefine rape by claiming rape statistics are overinflated, female on male assaults do not receive enough attention, and that false rape reports occur more often than is shown on media. Men are taking these words to the street. In Canada over the summer, an MRM group took it upon themselves to cover the city of Edmonton with posters stating, “Just because you regret a one night stand doesn’t mean it wasn’t consensual.” These are clear aims to shame young women for no good reason. Beyond this incident, members on an online MRM forum sought their own version of justice against a student at Ohio University who they were convinced was falsely accusing a man of rape. In the end, they targeted the wrong woman altogether. Many incidents such as these are igniting larger actions from the group. Men who join the MRM are insecure. They feel insecure about themselves because women are becoming more empowered. Sure, they may have a point that men who are sexually assaulted don’t receive enough care, but that does not negate the fact that most rape is committed by men to women. A typical MRM member is a conservative, white male. Age ranges from teenagers to elderly men. Sometimes, even women join. Women in the MRM are often forced into it by their husbands. There are accounts of women being beaten by their husbands if they speak against it. This movement is gaining numbers quickly and effectively. It is a scary notion that the MRM is recruiting younger men now. Younger men have much more impressionable minds, and putting the idea that women are lesser than men in their heads will only push us further back in time for women.