What anti-feminists forget when they say "men are the most victimized" by Cassie K

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.

This 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.

With 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.

Learning 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 boy."

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' lives.

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. 

From 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. 
And 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.
Additionally 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.

In 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.

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