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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My Open Letter of Apology to Men's Rights Activists




It would seem my recent blog posts have pissed off Men's Rights Activists (known as "MRAs" for the rest of this post) because I, apparently, hate men due to my speaking out on the myriad of problems women face in our country (and the world) simply for being women.

You see, you can't stand up for women and still be a man. It's wrong. (*rolls eyes*)

So, I want to apologize to you, MRAs:

I want to apologize that no one really takes your childish ranting seriously as opposed to the great men who work alongside feminists to address both issues facing men and women. Teamwork: what a novel concept, huh?

I want to apologize for coming to the realization that *I* need feminism because, as a man, the patriarchy hurts me

I want to apologize that you never received the kind of childhood or education that would allow you to think critically in such a manner that you wouldn't decide what "feminism" is before you actually read up on it, that you take your cues from shock-jocks, conservative radio hosts, and blustering misogynists who make men look terrible.

I want to apologize that life has never graced you with any feminists (men or women) who are friends. Some of the greatest folks I've had the pleasure of knowing are committed, brilliant feminists.

I want to apologize that you believe men accounting for 9% of rape and sexual assault victims is apparently enough to warrant tossing aside the inherent cultural problems that make women constitute the other 91% of that total. Let me write that again: 91-fucking-percent of rape and sexual assault victims in this country are women.

I want to apologize for you never having positive influences in your life that taught you women who are victimized (or men, for that matter) are never to blame for rape and sexual assault, regardless of what they wear or drink or where they walk or what time of day it is or where they work.

I want to apologize for all this power you have in our political system: 80% of the Senate, 82% of the House, 6 of 9 Supreme Court Justices, 2/3 of the Presidential Cabinet, and 100% of every person to occupy the Oval Office and VP's chair.

I want to apologize that you have to compensate for having 95.8% of the CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies. That must be rough.

I want to apologize that men still make more than women in nearly every industry for the same jobs with the same experience. True story.

I want to apologize for being a man who doesn't buy into your bullshit and sees the bigger picture: that women, despite what we would wish to believe, really are treated as second-class citizens in this country.

So, leave as many comments on my blog as you want, and send me as many hateful messages as you wish, but I am never, ever going to back down from defending women's rights.

Either open your minds, or prepare to be left standing as bigots when the train leaves the station and our society progresses.

25 comments:

  1. Charles, I don't disagree with anything you've said in previous posts. But you are misrepresenting what MRAs are with the intention of making them look bad, so they can be your "enemy".

    What you are doing is no different than the extremist MRAs who actually do hate women, believe women are given special treatment in every aspect of life, and see the word "feminist" as meaning someone who believes women are superior and that men are worthless.

    I could sit here and make a list of ways that women are advantaged in life, and finish by saying "LOOK HOW MUCH STUFF IS IN YOUR FAVOR, THAT MEANS YOU CAN'T COMPLAIN ABOUT INJUSTICES"... but it would be pretty silly and pointless.

    I agree with you that sometimes women are treated like second-class citizens. The current war on women's reproductive rights is especially disgusting.

    But all that mainstream MRAs do is advocate for justice and fairness for men in the situations where men are sometimes treated like second-class citizens too. There's no point in arguing about which side has it worse- if it's happening to either side, it's a bad thing.

    And it is a simple fact that it does happen to men. There are men who are assaulted by women, call the police, and find themselves taken to jail instead of the woman. There are men who are denied the right to see their children, while women are routinely given custody even if their situation is unfit for it (drug addiction, no income, etc.)

    I hope you can understand that MRAs are fighting for equality and fairness just like feminists are. Having each side point at the other side's extremist crazies and pretending the entire other side is crazy... that does nothing but hold everyone back.

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    1. I know this is going to come across as rude, but it's as if you folks aren't even trying to consider the big picture.

      NO CREDIBLE FEMINIST (I REPEAT, NO CREDIBLE FEMINIST) is saying that men don't suffer from sexism, too.

      What we are saying, backed up by a whole lot of fucking evidence, is that women suffer from sexism far, far, far more than men.

      Anyone looking at our society attempting to argue otherwise is just blind. I'm sorry, but they really are blind.

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    2. You really just don't get it, do you? No one said it isn't happening to men. No one said it isn't a problem that it happens to men. Feminists are trying to fix that too, but it seems like you're missing the point that by fighting for our equality with men, everyone benefits. Please try to think logically and understand what I'm saying. If you want B and the only way to get B is to choose A instead of B, then you choose A. MRAs totally deny that their problems could be fixed if they were feminists instead. MRA's aren't fighting for fairness, they're making it worse by robbing women of their presence and importance. MRA's don't want things to get better for women, they just don't want to suffer with them. Get a clue.

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    3. I agree that everyone benefits when there is equality for all. I think the whole disagreement is just a matter of loosely defined terminology.

      There is no official crystal clear definition of a feminist. Is it someone who supports equality for all? Is it someone who thinks women should get special treatment to make up for a history of oppression? Is it someone who thinks men are inherently inferior (and know it) but use evil ways to retain their status in every way possible?

      If you ask different people, you'll get different definitions. And the ones with extremist definitions will be the same ones who say they oppose feminism, because they see it as a crazy viewpoint that promotes unfairness and intolerance.

      Same thing with the definition of MRA. To some it's a person who supports equality for all... to some it means a person who is anti-equality, anti-woman, and tolerates rape.

      I wish there could be standard definitions of these words, because it's the source of so much disagreement.

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    4. I totally agree with both of your statements!

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  2. Men's Rights? I thought men had all the rights already ...... and have systematically gone about trying to deprive women of any and all rights we have fought so hard for for generations .... Thank you Charles Clymer for being one of the very few men that gets it and is willing to say so ..... really, most men I have ever known give it lip service, but it's so easy to tell they don't get it, and don't care to either, immersed as they are in their ego and their privilege and keeping up the act just enough to maybe get another wife to wait on them .....

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    1. As a fan of equality, I would say that this is the exact sort of attitude that makes the type of MRAs you hate, because you are doing the same things to the problems men face as you say they are doing to women's problems.

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    2. Sal, a lot of men are on the same page as you and Charles, myself included. I don't disagree that some men just give lip service, but there is a sizable chunk of guys out there who take the right attitude. Generalizing isn't helping, and there is a conversation that needs to be had here.

      When it comes to most gender issues, MRAs tend to straight up deny or make up facts, especially in regard to the issues of equal pay and false accusations of sexual assault. However, it is worth noting that there are one or two areas of law where men ARE at a disadvantage legally. Child custody/paternity rights is the big one. Many state's family laws are from a 1950s mindset and really do need to be revamped. Most of the "injustices" against men, though, come from assumptions and stereotypes about men that are in conjunction with equally damaging stereotypes about women. In this way, gender equality and equal rights isn't really about men or women. It's about people.

      By and large, women have fewer rights and socioeconomic advantages than men, both in the US and around the world. It's worth noting that it has only been the last 20-40 years that women finally started getting taken seriously in the workforce. Guys in younger generations fail to realize that, so it's very easy for them to buy into the MRA movement without seeing the full picture.

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  3. Ugh, all those women paying child support for children that are not theirs... all those women paying alimony to men that cheated on them... all those poor women working in coal mines and construction sites, um, making more?... all those women serving prison sentences because someone accused them of rape... all those mothers with little to no rights when it comes to raising/seeing/knowing their children...

    oh wait...

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    1. Maybe more women would be working in construction sites were it not for the sexism in the construction industry?

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    3. How many men are actually paying child support for children that are not theirs (as proven by a paternity test)? How many men are paying alimony to women that cheated on them (in every statistic I've seen, men are more likely to have an affair than women)? How many men are serving prison sentences because they have been accused of committing rape but are later found to be innocent?

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    4. My mother is currently unable to work a real job because anything she makes is automatically garnished by the government for the sorry excuse of a father who took her children. He demands child support from her while he's making 40 dollars an hour, and my mother has to work as a server and is constantly trying to make ends meet. The truth is, that doesn't just happened to men. I should know. I'm there right now.

      I find it funny that you cling to the few things that you can actually think of to try and argue that men have it harder than women.

      Yeah, I'm sure that there are plenty of men being molested and then told that they lied about the whole thing, that it was simply a fabrication of their imagination. That's what my stepfather did to me. He abused me for twelve years and said I made it all up.

      Let's not forget all the women out there who get raped. Like Charles said: 91% of rapes are women... not men.

      Sure, there are a few women who lie and say that the man did it, and some of those few even get away with it. Let's face it, though. There's forensic evidence. Police aren't completely stupid. They deny more than you think. It all depends on who's got the smoothest talking lawyer.

      As for paying child support for a child that's not theirs-- have you ever heard of a paternity test? That sort of thing can be genetically tested.

      As for the part about construction and mining sites-- I don't understand how this is relevant. Are you trying to point out yet another job that women not only aren't physically capable of working (under normal circumstances)?

      Keep in mind that while a woman can be physically as strong as a man, it's not normal. Working as a server can be just as (or more) stressful. Perhaps you haven't worked as one if you don't know?

      Oh, but I forgot. You're trying to say that men actually put their lives at risk. You see, women don't exactly have those rights. Although, I do hear that women have lower chances of getting PTSD after being in a war zone.

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    5. paternity tests are banned in France.

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  5. I just want to say I think the MRAs should not all be grouped with the hatefulness on reddit and the like.
    I am a woman and I think that men have just as much of a right to fight for the things that have wronged them in this oppressive world.

    They have been hurt by gender roles for sure. Men are generally expected to be emotionless
    I do not think that is healthy.

    That leads me to another issue men face. Rape. A lof of people say men are not raped as often as women , but how would we know? A lot of men would not report it out of fear of being "weak". Same with women so statistics are not accurate.

    Also custody issues: some crazy messed up moms
    get kids instead of great dads because they are women.

    Just some examples of why men should speak out about their rights.

    Also there are extreme hateful feminists also. Who think all men will opress them.

    I think we should all be fighting for equalty. I am both an activist for mens rights as womens rights. We should not generalize with the mra thing.

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  6. While I respect feminism, I cannot respect your opinion about men's rights issues in this post, Charles. I do not know what prompted this, maybe it was warranted or maybe not--but men's rights activism is something that is needed along with feminism. I would hope you see why right off the bat. Men's rights activism helps to even out the playing field with regards to change. It's a check on the feminist movement, so that the tables don't completely flip, but so they even out and true equality--what I believe both movements ultimately want--can be achieved. It's not there to hinder the feminism movement, at least not intentionally, only to make sure that if men lose rights it will be known publicly.

    Men's rights activism also helps to vocalize injustices that men can face in this world, primarily the rape of men and how terrible courts work for them with regards to child support/custody. You say 91% of rape happens against women, but that doesn't account for the rapes than men never talk about due to shame. I don't think we can ever get statistics on that, sadly, but it's a serious issue not many people consider--and not something to be trivialized :/

    The child support issue is obvious.

    But in any case, I guess what I'm trying to say is hate the players, not the game. The men's rights movement does have some good points that should be vocalized, but due to (you are correct here) the relatively recent arrival of relative women equality, there are still a lot of men who are misogynistic, and those men are drawn to men's rights. This doesn't mean all men's rights activists are misogynists, only that some are... It's inevitable, and sadly there's nothing that can be done. I just hope you can see how men's rights activism is necessary to some extent, is all. I hope I haven't offended you.

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    1. Feminism is for men's rights. There has never been a stronger force for men's rights than feminism. It is only because of feminism that anyone even thinks that men can be raped by women. It is only because of feminism that there are shelters for men suffering from domestic abuse. It is only because of feminism that men can hold secretarial positions and jobs like that.

      There is no 'level out the playing field.' This is not a War Between the Sexes, and it is idiotic to characterize it as such. This is about human rights and discrimination.

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    2. What does this mean, "evening out the playing field"? Men are in the position of power and it's important to recognize privileges men have that women don't. I also can't follow your logic in believing that somehow that the "tables will completely flip" and we will be suddenly living in a fascist matriarchal society where men will lose their civil rights, but whatever.
      You should also realize that the rape that men face is usually perpetuated by other men, and is primarily a horrible act of dominance and (hyper-masculinized) aggression.

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    3. "What does this mean, "evening out the playing field"? Men are in the position of power and it's important to recognize privileges men have that women don't. I also can't follow your logic in believing that somehow that the "tables will completely flip" and we will be suddenly living in a fascist matriarchal society where men will lose their civil rights, but whatever.
      You should also realize that the rape that men face is usually perpetuated by other men, and is primarily a horrible act of dominance and (hyper-masculinized) aggression.".


      It's a check on feminism. Just because we don't expect congress to make fucked up laws doesn't mean we don't need the supreme court, likewise we need MRAs to ensure women don't get "more equal" than men in the long run.

      I easily concede that men currently have more rights. That's not the point.

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  7. I'm really confused about you all talking about "the child support issue", but I'm British, so maybe it's different. When my parents were married, my mother had to pay child support to my father's children from his previous marriage, because she was earning more (and he could never hold down a job anyway). They weren't even LIVING with us. So I agree that things like that aren't fair, but it does happen to women as well.

    Also, I agree that sexual and physical violence against men are issues in themselves, but that doesn't change the fact that a woman in the US is beaten every nine seconds, or that more women in the US die from male violence than any other cause of death. That's GOT to be telling us something.

    So yes, women and men both need rights, but I don't think one gender hating on the other helps at all.

    Also, DEFINITION OF FEMINISM WOULD ORIGINALLY HAVE BEEN SOMEONE WHO WANTED WOMEN TO HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS WITH MEN. Yes, some people take it too far - I've met women who genuinely think we should subjugate men as some bizarre act of vengeance - but that's not true feminism, because it's not equal rights. It's just flipping the bias into the other direction. I'm a feminist and I love men - men are great. The fact that I would like women and men to have equal rights doens't mean I think men are any less great.

    I think more emphasis needs to be put on men reporting the crimes against them, before we can try to compare the sexes. I suspect, with the exception of prison rape, that women will still have higher rape/abuse stats, but only time will tell. We can't deal with either problem effectively until we know the extent of them.

    Also, women in the US aren't even entitled to their own reproductive rights (certainly not if the Republicans ever get their own way). Incidentally, a "male contraceptive pill" is being investigated, because this would stop sperm production/wastage, and therefore in theory there should be no moral issue with it, but the scientists investigating it believe the majority of men basically won't be bothered enough to use it, because they're not the ones who get pregnant.

    I'm sure that's probably not you guys, who are adamant that men care about women's rights too, but I want to make something else clear - my boyfriend is the first dude I've ever met - IN MY LIFE - who thinks men and women should have equal rights. Now, I live in the back end of nowhere, and gender roles are still quite traditional, so that may have something to do with it, but the lack of education there really concerns me.

    So thank you, Charles - you've definitely offended some people, but I'm certain you didn't intend to make out that all MRAs are women-haters. Thank you for being brave enough to speak out against mysogyny. Your passion is admirable, and it genuinely gives me hope for the future.

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  8. Chuck, for the sake of argument, could you provide a single example of any significant feminist initiative in your lifetime that was primarily about remedying sexism against men? Just one?

    And while you're at it, how is it that feminists say women need to be represented to have their rights respected, yet feminism itself can fight for men's rights equitably despite being made up mostly of women and rarely talking about men's issues? Heck, this is the movement that invented the terms "mansplaining" and "what about the menz?" for any (perceived) man who tries to talk about men's issues in "feminist spaces". Such terms are inherently sexist. And if feminism does talk about men's issues, why are such terms needed in the first place?

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  9. Can anyone here actually get their statistics straight?
    All I read is false information you have been fed. Feminism, whether the original goal was true equality or not, has not been doing a thing for men's rights.
    If you know any case in which feminists actively fought for anything but women's right, feel free to provide me with such.
    I'd especially like to see (feminist run) shelters for male victims.
    Good luck finding any. Especially any that don't advertise "if you are a man and afraid of getting violent, call us".

    However, they have been doing their best to keep men's rights at a low. Take the change in US custody laws for example, which was opposed by the biggest North American feminist organizations.
    Or VAWA, which is practically ignoring male victims of domestic violence and rape (yet supported by feminists)and openly downplays their issues, ignoring any form of recent statistics.

    It is only because of feminism that we know men can be raped? Then why is the law in most countries still that only men can rape (in the UK it involves the word penis)?
    http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf

    Go to page 18 and 19.
    1,270,000 Women raped yearly
    1,267,000 Men forced to penetrate yearly
    Go ahead. Tell me focusing on women's issues more reasonable because they're the primary victims. Go ahead, make yourself known as ignorant.

    If you are truly a support of equality and you are against harmful gender roles, welcome to egalitarianism.
    But don't you dare pretend feminism already has men's issues covered. Because they don't. They are enforcing gender roles by pretending men's issues result from misogyny.

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  10. Feminist advocacy has systematically eroded and attacked men's rights not helped them. Feminists are responsible for protection order reform that allows an accused man (guilty or not) to lose all his money, his home, his job, and his employ-ability before he even steps foot in court. These attacks on due process have even horrified feminists who have had male relatives on the wrong end of this "equality" we can thank feminism for...read Judith Grossman's article A Mother, a Feminist, Aghast for her view on yet another feminist success story.

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