Recently, U of T has seen an upsurge of men’s rights activism (MRA). Warren Farrell travelled to the university to discuss his new book, The Myth of Male Power. His “in-depth” outline of male powerless has incited a new pro-men movement on our campus. MRAs on campus have been campaigning with posters and guest speakers in order to draw attention towards new issues men are facing within our society. Some of these issues revolve around the erosion of masculinity, sexual consent, biased portrayals of men in the media and a global lack of representation.
It is not a surprise that significant numbers of Western men are drawn towards a pro-male movement that distinguishes women as the reason for economic depression and the erosion of patriarchal norms. Men feel threatened by dramatic changes in their traditional roles in recent decades. They have seen a dramatic decline in their economic status and ability to achieve economic success or stability, a shift in their ‘historic’ role as breadwinner and a general shift away from patriarchal structures of the family.
As a result, the underworld of misogynists has been unleashed. From the blogosphere, to men’s separatist movements and now to campuses nationwide their fury goes well beyond criticisms of the family court system, domestic violence laws and false rape accusations. The scary reality is literally hundreds of websites, action groups and advocates whose political line reeks of misogyny: within this movement, women are branded sluts, gold diggers and temptresses and the police have been named ‘armed enablers’ or women’s rights. Unfortunately, men’s rights activist and the organizations they politically affiliate themselves with hold other anti-modern, proto-fascist sentiments such as opposition to same sex marriage, immigration, women in the workplace and the economic advancement of non-white citizens.
We do not deny that men have suffered in daily life, mental health and self-esteem. However, we contend that blame placed on women is misdirected. Instead of understanding economic hardship and political powerlessness as the manifestations of the capitalist order, in which increasing numbers of proletarians are forced to compete for crumbs, while the bourgeoisie reap record profits, MRAs categorically blame women for their losses of social, legal and economic status. We cannot tolerate this reactionary point-of-view! The MRAs must be exposed for what they really are—at best, opportunistic hate-mongers who are taking advantage of the powerlessness keenly felt by the masses. At worst, they represent the most reactive, backward voices within the masses. As such, they need to be verbally condemned as well as physically challenged.
Only a revolutionary students’ movement that unites the progressives on campus will be successful in fighting this hateful, opportunistic trend as well as future proto-fascist movements. Only a RSM can unite proletarian women on campus with those who seek to defend and further women’s rights, and all genders’ liberation. Let’s build the RSM!