Why the dreaded feminism is better for men than the men’s rights movement

There’s a lot of fuss and bother on the web lately about the so-called “men’s rights movement.” From the look of things, what used to be a random assortment of scared little boys, deadbeat dads and Internet trolls is quickly becoming an impressively organized group of indignant whiners. You can call its emergence a credit to the feminist movement, and a testament to its hard-earned gains, but that’s really all the acknowledgement it deserves.

Look, you’re a reasonable person. I’m not going to waste your time and mine by counting off the many self-evident failings of this philosophy. You don’t need me to tell you that this “men’s rights” thing is a bunch of nonsense, so I’m not going to insult you by pretending you do.

What you might need, though, is a little motivation to call it out and smack it down. Especially if you’re a man, and especially if you’re one of those decent men who’s still reluctant to identify as a feminist, in spite of the fact that you are one. And the good news is, there’s a basic and obvious truth about the men’s rights movement that’ll get you mad enough to bridge that gap:

These guys aren’t just trying to keep women down. They’re trying to keep you down, too.

“Us” and “them” are the meat and potatoes of prejudice. Critics of men’s rights advocates quite rightly focus on their outdated ideas of how women ought to be, because that’s the fish that needs frying. But they’ve also got outdated ideas of how men ought to be, and any man who’s dared to speak up on behalf of a woman they’ve targeted has seen how ready they are to reject a man who doesn’t fit into that tiny, insecure box – not counting, of course, the punks who run off as soon as a man calls them out.

This is the great big irony at the heart of every movement to “defend” a privileged class against some vilified minority. The movement’s members holler about threats to their rights and identity, but they’re the ones who are desperate to limit specific freedoms. Not just those of the maligned minority, but those of their own tribe as well.

A homophobe has his own ideas of how straight people ought to live. A white supremacist has his own ideas of how white people ought to live. An MRA has his own ideas of how men ought to live.

All of those ideas are bullshit, plain and simple. We’ve tried them, and they don’t work, even for the dudes who are desperate to cling to them.

If you’re a straight white man, like me, then I’m sure you wouldn’t take kindly to one of these guys trying to tell you how to live your life. We’re not as used to it as some people, so it’s only natural to get your back up. And telling you how to live your life is exactly what these ignorant thugs are trying to do.

So go ahead and let ‘em know you’re not going to put up with it. And while you’re at it, go ahead and acknowledge that women and other vilified groups are dealing with it on a much more aggressive scale, and they shouldn’t have to put up with it either. And whenever you catch some alpha male giving them a hard time, stand up for them.

And if you’re worried about going out on a limb, remember that more and more of us are doing it every day. Hell, you can lead by example! Isn’t that what a man is supposed to do?

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