There was someone that posted about this red pill documentary on Facebook (FB). So because I have never heard of The red pill documentary, I searched that it was about heartbreaking stories by men who have been victimized, for example the boys that were victims of Boko Haram. Of course I have not watched this documentary because I didn't know it existed until yesterday when a person on FB posted about it, and I will probably never watch it because I have heard enough arguments anti-feminists to get the gist of the same things they continue to regurgitate. From videos by Sandman, honey badger radio, the Amazing Atheist, and Thunderf00t, I have heard enough of their pleas of anti-feminism. Actually, I watched these Youtubers because I am atheist and wanted to connect with other atheists, but then I noticed they started making anti-feminist content. I began watching these particular videos in the past because I was trying to understand anti-feminism, especially because I try to understand every perspective to create a rational viewpoint and theory for myself.
But I found
myself completely shocked by their claims because they were describing a
feminism that was white and privileged which didn't fit my own. Here, I
wanted to deconstruct their position but also the particular person who
posted about the red pill doc on FB, because this person completely
missed a big point when arguing for men's rights. The words this person
chose to use was that "men are the most victimized" because men are the
most imprisoned, they are the majority of the homeless population, and
that rape culture doesn't exist and the wage gap is a myth. But what
this person failed to mention was how race
plays a part in this victimization. Actually, I have noticed that the
men's rights movement is a white movement that fails to ever mention
race, class, and sexuality. When anti-feminists say men are the most imprisoned, don't forget that feminists are speaking out about this as well, especially when it is obvious that Black men and Latino men are
disproportionately incarcerated under racist policing and racist laws.
When anti-feminists say the majority of the homeless population is male,
don't forget this is disproportionately LGBTQ+ youth, people of color,
veterans, and the mentally ill--all of which feminists address and are
trying to do something about.
person, as well as many other anti-feminists, continue to propagate that
there is no rape culture. So I will begin with this point because it
gets under my skin the most. While the anti-feminists may speak up about
male survivors, it's only when they are dismissing or silencing female
rape survivors. And why dismiss rape culture when at the same time speaking out about men getting raped? What
they continue to fail to mention is how male victims (survivors of
rape/violence) do not receive the correct justice for being attacked by
women, or how male survivors are finding themselves without resources,
or their trauma isn't taken seriously by others. Men are raped more than
women but it's because men are more likely to be raped by other men. In
other words, women are not as likely to rape men. Because men may be
more often raped by other men, they are not given the same respect and
dignity as a female survivor, so they will not disclose their sexual
assault at the same rate women do. Men who are raped by women (like
female teachers) are seen as a stud or "lucky." I know teenage boys
who were raped by middle aged women and I know teenage girls who were
raped by middle aged men. But the boys never once recognized it as rape,
whereas the women grew up knowing and constantly had to deal with their
past, becoming more susceptible of getting in abusive relationships.
The thing is, rape is scary to talk about because the victim fears
blame, they have to relive the situation in court and by divulging to
others, they may have to face their rapist in court, they have to go to a
clinic to get tested, so overall rape is under-reported. And especially
because rape most often occurs when the people know each other or
related to one another, it will not be reported out of fear of
embarrassing their family.
But what we can
ascertain from this is that politicians and elected officials (who are
mostly men) do not given any gender the respect and dignity as survivors.
In fact, most people were shocked that Brock Turner was only given
three months in jail after he assaulted a drunk female student on
campus. And Turner's father acted like his son was the victim because
his life would forever be defined by this, and even calling the assault
"20 minutes of action." It's clear here that the father has also been
ingrained by this culture that blames the victim. The father even went
on to say that his son should not get jail time and instead should teach
people about binge drinking--which is another way of blaming the his
son's victim. Even anti-feminists believed that Turner should have
spent more time in jail, but completely forget that it is the same
systems in place that punishes the victim and only gives a slap on the
wrist to the perpetrator. It is the same system that only convicts 2% of reported rapists.
that said (and so much more to be said about this), I wanted to move on
to street harassment. Street harassment can take many forms; one being
the most violent towards gay/queer men, trans women, or sex workers.
This violence is usually propagated by men who would take a blow job
from a man and then beat the shit out of him the next minute. Cat
calling also normalizes street harassment. I have been cat called one
second and then called a "bitch" the next when I didn't respond. And I had a situation where I saw a figure outside my window at night and was scared, but
I never reported it to the police because I didn't think the police
would get there in time and nor did I think the police would ever find
this person. All of this is part of the rape culture even if rape isn't involved because the act takes away autonomy of victim's bodies.
about consent is key here when educating children, adolescents, and
adults. In a similar way black parents teach their kids at a young age
about how to dress and how to act at night as to avoid being shot by
police or others, parents of girls will teach their kids about how to
dress and act at night as to not be sexually violated. Girls, and women,
are told how to hold their keys between their fingers, carry a knife or
pepper spray. But schools and parents are not teaching kids to NOT
SEXUALLY ASSAULT (similar to how schools and parents are not teaching to
not be racist.) We have heard over and over by politicians and elected officials (mostly men) who blame
the victim by saying "she shouldn't have been wearing that" or "she
shouldn't have been drunk." It is the same culture that tells boys raped
by older women that "they should be thankful" or "I wish I was that
One focal point of anti-feminists is
Father's rights in the custody of children. While we can argue that both
parents should have time to see their children, there is a belief that
women should not get preferential treatment with the custody of
children. But from my experience growing up with divorced parents, my
siblings and I never ever wanted to live with my dad. My mom made the
money because she was a nurse, and my dad didn't make money. And my mom
paid for everything including paying off the house. She paid for her
four children's school, college (with financial aid), food, clothes, and
all of the bills. My dad eventually provided child support for his four
children because he got a job when my parents divorced, but all of that
money went to paying for my grandmother to cook dinner for us every
night because my mom didn't have time. Feminists want fathers to have
rights because we want to create a world that balances the rights of
fathers and mothers, and we want fathers to be involved with their kids'
Another focal point of anti-feminists is the
infamous wage gap that they refer to as a myth. Regardless of your
perspective of the wage gap, it's undeniable that women did not have a
place in the work force until women marched, protested, wrote essays,
and formed alliances with men to create spaces for their work to be
seen. Women were not allowed to work, and when they have tried--they
were forced out. The person I mentioned from FB, suggested women aren't
paid as much when they don't work the same hours as men because they
have kids to raise. It was as if this person almost acknowledged that
women ended up
making less because the culture tells them to stay home to take care of
kids. The person should have critiqued the family dynamic by instead
saying: men should stay home to raise the kids too so there is a balance
in the home.
Setting aside the fact that women do more unpaid
labor than men, what was not mentioned by this facebooker (nor other
anti-feminists) is that: 50%
of all workers are women, and the unemployment rate is almost exactly
the same between men and women (if we want to keep using the binary
'men-women'). And worldwide, male unemployment is higher. And,
what is left out of this conversation about women staying at home to
raise their kids is that is the narrative for white, middle to upper
class families. This is not the same dynamic for families of color
because 1/3 of all workers are women of color.
As mentioned, this wasn't my reality, and that wasn't the reality for my
partner's upbringing either. Both of our mothers were nurses who had no
one to depend on, and they raised their children alone. I absolutely
don't have ANY woman in my life that never worked.
Often this conversation is about white people, without the recognition
of people of color or queer people being paid less in comparison to
white hetero-normative people. It's not just the fact that it's men who
own the most resources, it's undeniable that the majority of CEOs, billionaires, and millionaires that create products for everyone, and politicians and elected officials that create policies that affect everyone are mostly propagated white men.
here, the conversation evolves to more women becoming educated than men
at university. But the fact is, women don't see any other options for
themselves if they don't go to school. If they take work that "fits"
them, those are service jobs that pay substantially less. You're not
paid as much if you're a cashier, stock person, fast food worker, etc.
Women have dominated K-12 teaching positions, child care, and the
nursing field in the US because women have carved their own space for
those positions, and done so by educating themselves. In my opinion,
teaching and nursing are a few of the most valuable occupations, but are
not paid to reflect that. It's purported that "uneducated" men work the
toughest jobs like the coal mines, construction/infrastructure, or in
factories, but then lets have a conversation about capitalism. I do
not want anyone to work in the coal mines nor factories that puts
people's health at risk while the person that owns their labor is
profiting off of those people in unsafe working conditions.
of course outside of the US, the garment factories are predominantly
women workers who have already fallen victim to fires and collapsed
buildings. And women dominate the agricultural sector outside of the US.
Women make up 51% of the agricultural labor force worldwide. In many
regions, women spend up to 5 hours a day collecting fuel wood and water and up
to 4 hours preparing food. In Africa and
Asia, women work about 13 hours more than men each week. In Southeast
Asia, women provide up to 90% of the labor for rice cultivation. In Africa, 90%
of the work of gathering water and wood for the house-hold and for food
preparation is done by women.
there are arguments on behalf of anti-feminists that suggest that men
are the most victimized because of their participation in war/combat,
and working in unsafe conditions. But feminists and women aren't to
blame for that. Historically, women weren't allowed to enter into these
working conditions and now there are more women than ever in combat and
doing work in unsafe conditions. But again there is a point missing from
this argument: This is a culture that loves violence and it's not
perpetrated by feminists nor women--it's perpetrated by men in power who
are exploiting others. I have said this over and over till I am
blue in the face about how the military is funded more than any other
sector of government, and half of the US budget goes to the military
while 1% of the budget goes to welfare, 1% goes to housing, and little
goes to education. This is a cultural-political issue that needs to
shift resources from unsafe work and violence to go to resources that
actually help the most victimized. And, if we want to talk about men's
rights on this issue, I also believe that men should not be forced to
sign up for the selective service. I do not believe any one should
participate in war if they don't want to; but I also do not think there
should be a culture that glamorizes war and violence.
the discussion of anti-feminism, there is a centering of men's rights
when historically rich white men have exploited cheap labor and land
resources that was taken away from indigenous people. And it's almost as
if men's rights advocates have completely forgotten that slavery
existed for hundreds of years with a bleeding of racism into all current
systems of power, and that women weren't given the same rights and
opportunities as any white man. We can have this conversation about our
culture turning into a matriarchy, but I'm not buying it because our
culture is still male-centric and the US is still operated by rich white
men. All of the social programs that were created only benefited white
people because black people weren't allowed to apply. Even blacks who
were soldiers and veterans were not given any access to benefits.
Feminism was specifically to give a voice to women when historically we
didn't have the space to speak, and feminism has been evolving from that
to explain the intersections of oppression not just as affecting women.
When anti-feminists say that men are most victimized,
it seems the conversation is only focused on the Western world. I'm
curious about their thoughts of bride burnings/honor killings, child
brides, female genital mutilation (and no it isn't the same as boy's
circumcision in the US even though I also do not agree with circumcision
at birth.) And that 4 out of 5 victims of human trafficking are girls.
Instead, anti-feminists want to talk about how rape culture is a myth
when these social issues in other parts of the world are continuing to
happen. Hell, marital rape wasn't made illegal in all 50 states until
1993. We can talk about how rape is on the decline, but that must also
include a conversation about the words and images we see in porn that
are centered around sex and violence.
The porn industry
is ran by men, sold using women, and provided for the pleasure of men
just like the entire Hollywood bullshit movie industry. It's all very
visible already that the media is male-centric because
TV shows and movies are dominated by male roles who are seen as heroes.
Now there is a shift in this conversation which is why there is slowly
becoming more female heroes, but just in 2014 only 12% of the
protagonists were female. But this isn't as pressing of an issue as the
male-centric government. Politicians, judges, and lawyers are all mostly
white men. This should be terrifying to all people because when you
create jobs in the image of yourself, you're missing out on important
social issues and information that needs to be addressed. White men only
know the problems of white men, so they will only address and help the
white man's problems.
The thing is, all the "problems"
that anti-feminist/men's rights activists are discussing are some of the
same social issues feminists are speaking out against and working to
change as well. It isn't necessary for people to refer or identify
themselves as feminist--hell, we can rename it to be more inclusive.
But, it's important recognize that some people have varying degrees of
privilege while more people have varying degrees of oppression. It isn't
a contest to see who is more oppressed, but it is up to those who have
privilege to speak out and help those that can't speak for themselves.