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COLUMN: Men's Rights Activism distracts from the pro-feminist men's movement


By Julia Bourkland



Men’s rights scored a victory Monday morning with the decision of Sessions v. Morales-Santana.

The case affirmed that fathers with naturalized American citizenship should be able to pass along citizenship to offspring at the same rate as naturalized mothers.

In the majority opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg stated the unconstitutional law “differentiates on the basis of gender” and thus operates as a harmful practice of sexism toward men.

The decision highlights the less widely discussed pro-feminist male activism that appears in our culture.

Although it’s hard to believe given the anti-feminist content on Reddit’s “The Red Pill” – a septic tank of misogynistic diatribes – feminism does have a more nuanced history beyond mere hatred, in spite of threads like “There is no such thing as an ‘abusive relationship’ for men. You’re just a beta oneitis bitch” or “Loyalty is Nothing for Hoes.”

But before Men’s Rights Activism was born, the pro-feminist men’s liberation movement was carving away at sexism and oppression toward men.

Despite the misogynistic landscape that is the Internet, pro-feminist men’s liberation groups continue to organize to combat sexism that men and all genders face.

Take, for example, the National Organization for Men Against Sexism. Founded in the early 1970s amid the second wave of feminism, NOMAS rejects “the male-self-interest philosophy of the ‘men’s rights’” and adopts a pro-feminism, anti-racism, gay-affirmation philosophy.

For being so different from the hatred-fueled beliefs of MRA, both factions fight for some of the same goals.

For example, some of NOMAS’s major initiatives include securing fathering rights and child custody, as well as analyzing men and masculinity in culture and art.

However, where the pro-feminist men’s movement breaks away is in the acknowledgment of patriarchy as the source of oppression for men.

The initiatives that set NOMAS apart include ending men’s violence, securing reproductive rights, fostering spirituality and mental health practices for men, and addressing pornography and the sex industry.

Conversely, men’s rights activists argue that pro-feminist men are betas falling prey to the cancer that is feminism, whereas pro-feminist men argue that men’s rights activists don’t know how to think critically.

But it seems the platform of the pro-feminist men isn’t quite as marketable online as that of their anti-feminist counterparts, which presents a problem for men and the modern feminist movement alike.

It’s impossible to understand the importance of organizations like NOMAS when the bulk of the attention on the men’s movement centers on the anti-feminist faction.

And this imbalanced view has already caused problems among feminist women.

When the feminist movement is criticized for ignoring men’s issues, it’s often dismissed as misogyny in an overly simplistic manner since those trying to address men’s concerns are seemingly for an anti-feminist cause.

It’s hard to blame them, though. Men’s Rights Activists repeatedly purport that feminists are hypocrites who hate men and absolve themselves of fighting for causes that affect both genders.

When the more visible side of the men’s movement exhibits misogyny and sexism as far as the eye can see, it’s difficult to show compassion for the counterpart of the same cause.

Don’t be fooled by the men’s liberation movement just because an oppressive sect is the loudest on the Internet.

Stay open and positive, resting assured that there are pro-feminist men fighting for the freedom of all genders.

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