Anti-Feminist. But Pro-Equality. The new movement.

Update, 11/08/2012:

I have been brought to the attention that the FB group “White offended men” is in fact satire, and led by a feminist man, who just recently stepped forward as the creator and admin of the group. But the FB group is still important to highlight the fact, that more and more men are “offended” by feminism.

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The gender war never stops. First, there was feminism. To lift women’s status, to free them from patriarchism. Now, there’s masculinism. Every action has a reaction, and the relatively new Men’s Rights Activism movement is definately a reaction to feminism.

Men’s Rights Acitivism is a growing trend, especially in Sweden. It ditches feminism, calls it feminazi instead and is completely masculinist. But they still call themselves “equalitists”. A Swedish group on facebook, called “White offended men” (Vita kränkta män), say they’ve had enough of the male-discriminating feminism in Sweden. They feel that men are targetet, always being the root of all evil. That they’ve had enough of the misandry. Regularly posting comments on articles and blogs, they engage a community of more than 10,000 followers in their discourse. The tone is often ironic.

One of the white offended men’s idols is Pär Ström, a proud equalitist who has a blog on gender news: “The requirement that the sexes should have equal value means that there must be an end to the contempt against men, sometimes even misandry, which is widespread in Sweden today. There is for example talk about “the old man’s domination” and it is believed that these “old men” should get out of the way as quickly as possible. The equalitists require that both sexes are to be considered as positive.” (translated from Swedish)

But the Men’s Rights Activism doesn’t stop in Sweden. There is a new academic journal called “New Male Studies“. In their rationale you can read the following: “In response to a now well-documented decline in the overall well-being of males in postmodern culture, a group of Australian, Canadian, European and American scholars have gathered to work together to publish research essays, opinion pieces, and book reviews on all aspects of the male experience.”

Maybe you wouldn’t exactly call it “activism”, rather than a reaction to what hard-core feminism apparently can mean for some postmodern men. The New Male Studies has academic essays written by a range of different people. Even women. For example, you can read about how men are being portrayed in the mainstream media, written by Peter Allemano in “The Bold, Independent Woman of Today and the “Good” Men and Boys in Her Life: A Sampling of Mainstream Media Representations.” Many activists point out this particular problem: that women are allowed to publically offend and ridicule men, whilst it would be highly politically incorrect for men to do the reversed.

The movement stretches from facebook groups to campaigns, like the Movember campaign. Every November, campaigners grow their facial hair to highlight men’s diseases, like prostate cancer. They feel it’s not given as much attention as for example breast cancer.

The BBC recently wrote an article about men’s rights activism and about Tom Martin who sued the LSE’s gender studies department for sexism. Martin also thought that the unfairness started and was about sex: “Since the pill, women have been told they can and should be having orgasms. And because they haven’t been, they categorise that as men’s fault.”

I’m really looking forward to following this movement. Is it a real challenge to feminism? What do you think?

Graphic: http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/meet-the-mens-rights-movement/

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The Guy’s Guide to Feminism

What does Feminism have to with men? A lot. That’s exactly what male advocates for gender equality, Michael Kaufman and Michael Kimmel think, which is why they decided to write the book “The Guy’s Guide to Feminism”. It came out 2011 and had an immediate success. So successful that, according to rumors, Steven Spielberg might make a movie of it.

The book, written in proper A-Z guide-style, talks about everything from chivalry to porn, and much more. It’s written in an easy-to-read, fun language and breathes fresh air in the discourse of feminism.

Male readers can take fun quizzes about the term “feminazi” and discover if they have caught “feminism”, with symptoms like “one empirical observation (about the state of things), quickly followed by a moral position (about how things should be, based on that empirical observation).”

A Guy’s Guide to Feminism manages to write about a serious issue in a very light tone; teaching instead of preaching. So order this fantastic book and realize that feminism doesn’t exclude men (I’m a feminist and I love men!).

I had the pleasure of asking Michael Kaufman a couple of questions about the book and equality between men and women.

1. Communication is a key factor in every relationship. As a woman, you often get to hear that men are simple and that instead of nagging or being silent, you should simply communicate what you feel, since men are “that simple”. That sounds good in theory, but in practice, men are often still stuck in the old-fashioned, stereotyping thinking-pattern that women are “overreacting” or being “ridiculous”. Can we hope for equality in respecting opinion only in the next generation or how can this generation deal with this, to make women feel like their feelings are not emotional, but just as rational as men?
Michael: “We tend to exaggerate the differences between the sexes in relationships. Ideas (held by some people) that men are not sensitive are really quite demeaning (just as are ideas that women are not rational.) That much said, to some extent, most men have been raised to distrust our feelings: we’ve been humiliated by adults or peers for showing fear, pain, or even too much joy. So, no wonder many men have an underdeveloped language of emotions. . . Help, though, is on the way! We can create safe circumstances where boys and men are encouraged to explore our feelings and experiences. We can encourage couples to simply listen to what each other is feeling, even if they don’t agree.  When I’m speaking to groups of young men, I say that listening is the number one communications skill.”
2. If you would have to summarize the tips you give men in your book to one or two sentences, what would it be? (In other words: what is the main thing you are hoping men, and women, will learn from your book?)
Michael: “Feminism and gender equality are not only good for women, they promise to transform the lives of men for the better. Good men can embrace equality not out of guilt but out of love for the women and girls in our lives and out of a desire for a better life for ourselves and our sons as well.”
3. What have the reactions been so far, by men who have read it? Any eye-opening experiences?Michael: “The reactions to the book are way beyond what I hoped for. I thought we’d done a good job at making it both engaging and informative, but I didn’t know what a chord it would strike for so many people. That is very gratifying.”

You can follow Michael Kaufman on Twitter via @GenderEQ and check out the official webpage here.

For all the men out there: Show that you care, read this book and start embracing feminism rather than seeing it as a threat to your manhood!