I was asked recently by a fellow Jezebel commenter about where I find some of the best feminist thought outside of Jezebel, and I replied one of the main places I love to look is university newspapers. Many fine young feminists, both female and male, are addressing contemporary issues in feminism in editorials. It was something I did in my university days, and it is something many of my colleagues of both sexes also did.
University of Washington The Daily writer Indigo Trigg-Hauger takes men's rights activists to task for their behavior and points out, quite rightly, that the MRA platform is used to marginalise women's voices in discourse about women's oppression in women's spaces. Trigg-Hauger asserts that men's voices may be important, at times, but men's rights activists attempt, and often succeed, in dominating any narrative they invade:
Simply put, not everything has to be about you. Yes, sometimes men’s involvement in discussions of oppression is relevant, even vital. But when the focus is on women’s oppression, men don’t need a token mention. Why? Because men, as a group, aren’t oppressed. Men don’t have to deal nearly as often (or at all) with cat-calling, victim blaming, unequal pay, objectification, rape culture, and so on. If, as occasionally happens, men are relevant to the conversation, it all leads back to one thing: Patriarchy is bad for men as well. But what are you, as a men’s rights activist, promoting? Patriarchy.
Trigg-Hauger further goes on to assert that men's rights activism is unnecessary even if we take the MRA platform at its word. Feminism already covers these issues because, bottom line, patriarchy hurts everyone.
Men are hurt by rape culture because it implies that they are the rapists, and not ever the ones being raped — insinuating they have no self-control or compassion. Men are hurt by portrayals of abuse because in the media they are the abusers and almost never the abused. Men are hurt by “nice guy syndrome” because it destroys women’s agency to take initiative in a relationship.
But a solution to all these issues already exists: feminism.
Trigg-Hauger lays the smack down on MRAs, and deservedly so, for their unhelpful and explicitly anti-equality comments on women's safe spaces on the internet, such as The Daily's own article on rape culture. And ultimately, these statements from MRAs just come off as so much petulance very distinct from the type of work that male feminists do to support the movement and benefit from its successes. The final sentence sums up everything we feminists already know:
But whereas a male feminist is devoted to equality and recognizing how oppression of women hurts everyone in the long run, men’s rights activists are devoted to whining.
Damn right, and it's not just annoying, it's harmful.