When you think of activism, you think of two things: civil rights and individual virtue. The goal of civil rights is to offer political, financial, and social equality for a group of people who are disadvantaged. Individual virtue puts value on personal accomplishments. The two of these strategies are commonplace terminologies in the world of egalitarianism. However, there are two separate strategies that should be used to describe men’s issues: direct vs indirect activism. This strategical divide is a confirmation of what level of action you prefer to take in the face of injustice. This piece talks in great detail about indirect activism and its contrast to direct activism.
Feminists claim that the goal of their movement is to fight for equality of the sexes. And they even go as far as to claim that the movement helps both men and women. Men, however, are very skeptical of this notion. And they have every right to be. Starting with the obvious elephant in the room — the goddam title of their movement. Continuing with their nonchalant attitude (and dismissive victim-blaming responses) towards male suffering (Why Can’t We Hate Men?, drinking male tears, men’s rights are nothing, A Scary Time). Ending with their lazy and inconsistent patriarchy narrative — which implies that men receive all the benefits in society, while women are always on the losing end. Despite all of that, feminists were given the benefit of the doubt (dare I say due process) to prove that they aren’t anti-male and that they are champions on men’s issues.
But how does this work? How do they prove their supposed assertion that men benefit greatly from their ideology? They accomplish this by pointing to the men’s movements that they support. “Umm…what men’s movements?” you might ask. Well, there is a male-wing of the women’s movement, which claims to fight for men’s issues using feminist ideology. I’m sure a lot of you aren’t aware of these men’s movements. That’s because the only time these factions slide across a feminist’s tongue is when their own movement is called out for not living up to their declared goal of sexual equality. They never had much of an intention to fight against men’s disadvantages. They just needed a movement to be used as tokenism to recruit more men. And thus ‘indirect activism’ was born.
Indirect activism is a passive level of action used as a substitute for male progress. Instead of attempting to remove the societal disadvantages on men, they choose to substitute the traditional human rights approach of fixing inequality. While women were expected to get immediate justice, Men were expected to encounter gradual change. This trickle-down theory comes from the heavily flawed belief that by helping women, you will subsequently benefit men. Examples of their logic:
- If women get their voting rights & the ability to participate in the army, then men would no longer have to worry about signing up for selective service.
- If women have abortions and take birth control pills, men won’t have to worry about paying child support.
- If the media portrays women as strong empowered heroes who are just as physically as capable as men (ignoring biology), maybe society can start taking violence against men more seriously.
- If businesses start employing women, men will no longer have this financial burden of being seen as the breadwinner.
- If we invest more money and attention in women’s health, men’s health will inevitably be tackled afterwards
The problem with this theory is that it’s nothing new. It’s been tried for nearly a century now. The men’s movements that present these philosophies (National Organization for Men Against Sexism, White Ribbon Campaign, #HeForShe, etc.) have been getting social and political progress in areas where women have perceived disadvantages. And, as you all know, this has had little effect on how men are treated in society.
- Women got the right to vote in 1920. Here we are nearly 100 years later and men are still required to sign up for selective service.
- The pro-choice movement is one of the largest movements in the world, bills continue to pass in order to give women more access to contraception. So far, this epidemic of unfair child support hasn’t stopped-one can even argue that it has gotten even more out of control.
- For the past 60 years women have started to be portrayed as powerful heroes through comics, cartoons, and movies. There is still a large lack of domestic violence shelters for men in society. There are very little campaigns condemning the androcide that men face on a daily basis.
- We now live in a society where men and women being employed is pretty commonplace. And so far, men still have to take care of women. The difference being that now women just manipulate innocent men into paying for their lifestyle. This is a scenario known as the “gold digger” epidemic.
- And after all of the years of financial focus on women who suffer from lack of health funding, there is still little investment of men’s health.
One of the leading reasons that society allows all of these prejudices against men, stems from a level of gynocentrism in many aspects of life. We as humans have been socialized to view women as heavenly, defenseless, and in need of rescue. And by focusing all of the attention of sexual equality on women’s issues, this only furthers the gynocentric notions that plague the general public. This becomes a problem, as it’s completely inconsistent with the results that men were supposed to be receiving. The feminist movement were expected to create a wave of men and women who are warriors for sexual equality. Instead, they created a block of female chauvinists and male saviors.
In order to keep up the pro-men facade, feminists have come up with a new indirect model (even more passive than their trickle-down theory) for men: male liberation. Men were always suffering from unfair burdens put on them. Their sexuality, economic responsibilities, armed services, prison rates, and so forth. We have been asking to be freed from this weight for a very long time. It would only make sense for liberation to be the answer to our issues. But, of course, the name is a misleading title used to attract vulnerable men to their cause. Male liberation does, indeed, free men from harmful gender roles-just not the ones that men asked for.
Male liberation is a finger wagging philosophy that seeks to shame men into acting more feminine while denouncing their masculine traits. They want more men to embrace womanhood, while emancipating men from their masculinity. By using the words “toxic masculinity”, without any consistent characteristic, men will be freed from this dangerous prison called “manhood”. Their focus is 10% on the male victims and 90% on the male perpetrators-which they use to rationalize why emasculation is completely necessary. And just to cement this charade of male progress, gynocentric men (the men’s liberation movement comes to mind) are used as a form of tokenism in order to add to the illusion of men having support. Women can now tell themselves that they are in support of men without having the burden of actually providing results. Men, however, will continue to suffer-which is no skin off of their bones.
Decades after seeing little improvement on male life, men said “enough is enough”. They called feminists out for their lack of accomplishments on men’s issues. Of course, feminists denied this, and rushed to silence opposition. But it wasn’t as effective as they expected. Men started to backlash against the movement for their shortcomings on men’s issues, demanding answers. Criticizing them for not living up to the hype that they built up for themselves. This led to feminists asking why men don’t start their own movements instead of being upset at feminists-a clear deflection from the fact that they weren’t even fighting for men like they promised. They were honestly confused on why feminists weren’t allowed to call themselves a movement for both genders while fighting for one. It was almost as if you had to let them know that 1+1=2. However, men came to the conclusion that starting their own movements would help. And this is where direct activism comes into play.
Direct activism, unlike indirect, is a vigorous form of necessary action used to progress and benefit a disadvantaged demographic-in this instance men. These assertive activists will start by bringing attention to all of men’s injustices, while requesting sympathy and understanding of men’s pain (i.e. A Voice for Men). After gathering up a sizable amount of men (Men’s Rights Activists) and well-meaning women (Honey Badgers), their job is to fight tirelessly to remove that burden being placed on men. This can be accomplished-using a civil rights approach-by discrimination lawsuits (National Coalition For Men), policy proposals (Justice For Men and Boys), resource centers (Father’s Rights Movement), & starting charities (Campaign Against Living Miserably). And if fighting through legality isn’t your thing, you could always go the individual virtue route-connecting with your spirituality (Promise Keepers), boycotting romantic relationships (Men Going Their Own Way), & creating social support spaces (The Mankind Project).
Conveniently, each of these men’s movements have been viciously attacked and slandered by the feminist movement. Every men’s movement that advocates for direct results, makes feminists uncomfortable (surprise). Feminists suggested that men start their own movement-in response to their own movement being called out for its shortcomings. And now that men do that very thing, feminists lead ferocious campaigns any progress these men’s movements attempt to make. Writing disparaging articles in order to belittle any man who dares to fight for legal human rights. Boycotting any media that allows a platform for these men’s organizations. Threatening to use their political influence to vote against any politician seen giving the movement the time of day. And, eventually rioting against any men’s advocate who tries to show up to any speaking events. The actions of the women’s movement highlights their true intentions and gives us a clear depiction of the difference between direct & indirect activism.
Indirect activists notices that men have legal, financial, political, and social inequality. But they’re fine looking the other way. They’re too busy telling men to be better people, focusing on “toxic masculinity”-without giving a consistent separation between the toxic and healthy characteristics, and telling men to give up any gender roles that don’t benefit women-while yelling “man up!” when men are faced with their own issues. Direct activists, on the other hand, are a lot more urgent. They want justice and they are willing to argue and fight back against anyone stopping them from getting it done-be it media, government, businesses, colleges, or feminists. They aren’t waiting for women to have an epiphany or transformation on their privileges. Laws that disadvantage men were a target for them to remove. And this, in return, makes them a target for feminists to remove.
The feminist movement isn’t all about justice, per say-it’s not even all about bigotry. It’s about representation. Movements are like politicians. Their job is to speak on behalf of their constituents. Women are the constituents of the feminist movement and therefore have to be given positive reception at all costs. Whether it be for justice or bigotry, it’s the job of the feminist movement to rationalize even the most indefensible actions of feminine America. In this case, women are incredibly fearful of the day that they would lose their privileges. Anyone who manages to be a threat to those privileges are immediately perceived to be a threat to women-most notably the men’s rights movement. Women can’t do anything about these movements, on their own. They need support through establishments, financial investment, and media platforms-and this is where the feminist movement comes in to represent women. Feminist movements have a lot more political positions, funding, media attention, articles, and social support than men’s movements. And they abuse that power to prevent a populist movement from gaining any form of attention and success.
- If MRAs bring too much attention to men’s movement through social media, feminist respond by harassing MRA accounts. Reporting them to twitter. Comparing their movement to hate organizations. And asking the question, “Why don’t MRAs open up more instead of spending all of their time on the internet?”
- If MRAs write books, make documentaries, or set up conferences about men’s issues (like The Red Pill or The Myth of Male Power) feminists respond with unnecessary protests. They pull fire alarms, give bomb threats, riot in the streets, and destroy property. So that leads to their new argument “Why don’t MRAs march the streets like everyone else?”
- If MRAs march the streets (Sydney Watson’s march for men), feminists respond with counter protests, inaccurate coverage of the event, slandering of the people involved, and more threats of violence. Which gets you to their new question “Why don’t MRAs try demand the government pass policies for men instead of complaining about their problems?”
- If MRAs attempt to pass policies through lawsuits and boycotts (most notably through the National Coalition for Men and the father’s rights movement), feminists write libelous articles, urging Americans to fight against any form of action taken against the movement in the name of equality-oh, the irony. Which leads them to their latest form of criticism “MRAs don’t get anything done”
- Whenever MRAs get invitations to political meetings to change policies that hurt men (fixing title IX, National Coalition for Men vs Selective Service System) feminists threaten to vote out politicians who even give them the time of day. They give threats to counter sue. And they demand the laws be overturned.
- After these men’s issues gain notable popularity or get legal notification, feminists swoop in to take the credit. They call it a “feminist issue” and claim that this was what they were supposedly fighting for from the get-go.
- They eventually use their influence (through journalism, documentaries, books, conferences, and interviews) to rewrite history and give all of the credit to the feminist movement. So, after all of the work that MRAs do, feminists give themselves all of the credit.
The purpose of this article is to get you to understand what feminists mean when they say “We do support men. Here are the men’s movements that we support” or “Helping men is a part of feminism”. All of the men’s movements that they support are movements that promote passive activism. Movements that have no intention of removing the societal burdens than men bare the chunk of. And any and all levels of direct activism that men promote will be dismissed and fought against. So, the next time a feminist tells you that they support men, it’s time to hold their fight to the fire. Ask them what male policies they are fighting to pass. Anything less, will no longer stand. It’s time for men to get together and let them know that we’ve had enough of these oblique campaigns. It’s time to put up or shut up. If they can’t fight for men’s issues, then they can get out of the way and make room for a group of people who can.