In my last post, I referred (albeit obliquely) to a discussion taking place in the comments section over on The Frisky about an article called How to Teach Boys to be Feminists. With a title like that, it’s hardly surprising that the topic drew MRAs like, well, I was going to say like flies on shit, but it was more like the other way around. (Even our friend NWOslave made an appearance.)
Reading through the comments, I noticed a couple from a commenter calling himself “Really?” — with a question mark – that laid out point by point why he thinks men are getting the short end of the stick. His points were an equal mixture of wrong and silly. So I decided I would offer point-by-point responses to them all.
If any of you want to fill in more detailed responses to any of his points (or to challenge or correct my points), please do so.
So let’s give the floor to Really?
If you ever think women have it harder in modern society, just think of this:
Why is it that women complain when men leave the toilet seat up, but men don’t complain when women leave it down?
Really, Really? You’re going to lead with this? This, to you, is the most salient example of female privilege? My answer: I don’t know because this literally never happens in my life. I put the seat and the lid down because I don’t want things to fall into the toilet.
Why do women complain about men that only want one thing, but men don’t complain about women that want everything?
Huh? Men complain about women who “want everything” all the time.
Why do women have the choice between abortion, adoption, dropping an unwanted baby off at a hospital, raising the child with a father, or raising the child without a father, but the only choice men have is to agree?
Because these are rights that are reserved only for those who can make babies inside their body. (Women who are infertile, post-menopausal, or transwomen don’t have these rights either.) When (cis) men develop this ability, they can have the same rights. Remember that pregnant (trans) man? He had the same rights as a pregnant women.
Why do women dress in makeup, short skirts, bare midriffs, and low-cut blouses but complain about men that stare at them?
You actually think that heterosexual men are oppressed by women wearing makeup, showing cleavage and wearing short skirts? Most heterosexual men manage to steal glances at women they find attractive without being a creeper about it. And for the most part, women don’t get upset if a guy looks at them; what’s upsetting is when guys pull up in a car and ask “can you give me directions to Pussy Avenue?”
Why do we pretend that men are the ones that abuse children when it is a well-known fact that women abuse children more than men?
Who pretends that? Feminists acknowledge that women abuse children. And yes, women do abuse children more than men — because women, on average, spend much more time caring for children than men. If you adjust for the amount of time spent caring for children, men are more likely to abuse. But it’s not some sort of gender competition here. Abuse is a horrible thing, regardless of the gender of the abuser.
If single mothers have it so bad, why do women initiate about eighty percent of divorces and routinely commit perjury to win custody?
I’m guessing for the same reason men initiate divorces: because their marriages are terrible, and they’re miserable. [Citation Needed] for the claim about perjury.
Why do we have a Violence Against Women Act but nothing for men when women cause domestic violence just as often as men?
At the time the bill was passed, people were only just beginning to understand the prevalence of domestic violence towards women. Nonetheless, despite the name of the bill, VAWA is gender neutral, designed to protect male victims as well as female ones.
Why is it funny when a woman kicks a man in the groin but terrible if a man did the same to a woman – won’t the man be in more pain?
I don’t know why it’s funny. You’ll have to ask any of the sixteen gazillion guys posting videos on YouTube of themselves getting hit in the nuts, often on purpose.
Why is it terrible for a woman to be raped once but funny when male prisoners get raped over and over?
No feminist I know thinks this is funny. Here is more information on the subject.
Why is a man a wimp if he lets his wife beat up on him but a criminal if he defends himself?
I know of no feminists who would consider him a wimp; they would consider him to be what he is, a victim of domestic abuse. No one is a criminal for defending themselves; they can be a criminal if they respond with disproportionate violence, responding to a slap by beating their partner unconscious.
Why does women’s health get much more attention when men die about seven years younger than women?
Many of these issues are related to (cis) women’s reproductive health. Men have a smaller number of issues specific to their gender. If men want to help increase awareness of men’s health issues, they are free to organize awareness campaigns just as women have done over the years.
Why do we complain about legislators being mostly male when they always promote women’s rights and never promote men’s rights?
Why is it sexist to have clubs for only men but empowering to have them for only women?
Depends on the club.
If women only make 72 cents for the same work where a man earns a dollar, why don’t companies hire only women and put the competition out of business?
Women do get paid less. That’s simply a fact. The question is why, and that’s complicated. Sexism plays a part. See here.
How do police know who to arrest when there is a domestic disturbance involving lesbians?
The same way they know who to arrest in cases of domestic violence involving heterosexuals: by determining who is primarily responsible for the violence. This may involve collecting witness statements (if there are witnesses), by looking for visible signs of injury and other evidence of violence, and so on. Women – heterosexual women and lesbians alike – are regularly arrested for DV. Sometimes both partners are arrested.
Why do married women complain that their husbands don’t want to change a baby’s diaper but divorced women say their ex-husbands can’t take care of a child?
I’m having a hard time seeing the contradiction here. If a married man doesn’t regularly care for his children, he is less likely to be awarded custody.
Why do men that don’t pay child support go to prison but nothing ever happens to women that don’t allow visitation?
Women cannot unilaterally decide to cut off visitation. This is something determined by the courts. If a man is denied visitation, there’s generally a good reason for this – he may, for example, be an abuser.
If women-in-the-military is such a good thing, why don’t they have to register for the draft?
Feminists don’t actually run the military. Generally, feminists support women’s right to serve in the armed forces, and NOW has petitioned to include women in draft registration. But most feminists I’ve ever met are opposed to the draft for anyone, male or female.
Why are we so concerned about girls under-performing boys in math and science but not concerned about boys under-performing girls in everything else.
Because the ratio of women to men in the sciences is seriously skewed against women; STEM professions are heavily male-dominated. And this is no coincidence: girls and women are often told that women are “naturally” worse at math and science. There is no similar prejudice against men in, say, the liberal arts.
Why do fathers have to pay the mother to take his children away from him in divorce?
Child support is intended to help support, er, the children. Women tend to be the primary caregivers, so they are more likely to win custody. When men win custody, child support payments go to them.
Why is it legal for women to lie to men about who the father of a baby is to get child support, but a crime if she tells the same lie to the government to get Social Security or military benefits?
This is a difficult situation, with no easy answers. Courts put the interests of the children first, as they should.
Why do women have to prove they spent the money on the children when they collect welfare but don’t have to do the same when they collect child support?
Do they? I don’t think aid recipients should have to prove what they spent the money on.
Why do we have to cut men’s sports that have fans to create women’s sports that don’t?
That’s not how Title IX works. It’s intended to give female athletes the same opportunity as male athletes, not to “cut men’s sports.”
Why do women tennis players win the same prize money as men when they only play three sets and men play five – isn’t that equal pay for less work?
Again: Really, Really? You’ll have to take that up with the people handing out the prize money. The amount of money athletes make is pretty arbitrary, largely determined by how popular their sport is, how good their agent is, and what sorts of endorsement deals they get. Female gymnasts work pretty hard. How many of them earn big bucks? There are far more millionaire male athletes than there are women.
Why is it called sexual freedom when a married woman commits adultery but called cheating when a man does the same?
It’s cheating either way, unless you’re talking about people in open or polyamorous relationships. Who exactly is lionizing female cheaters? Not the show Cheaters, in any case.
Why are female murderers presumed to be mentally ill but male murderers presumed to be killers?
Outside of a few cases in which women who murdered their children were indeed suffering from postpartum psychoses, this is simply not true. Lawyers defending murderers often press for their clients – male or female — to be considered not guilty by reason of insanity, but they rarely win.
Why are there thousands of “father’s rights” groups but no “mother’s rights” groups?
Are there? I doubt it. And if so, what difference does it make? There are various feminist organizations that deal with issues related to motherhood (and parenthood in general) like parental leave. What on earth is your point?
Why do we have so many fathers groups fighting for more time with their children when there are so many social problems attributed to fatherlessness?
The fact that there are social problems attributed to fatherlessness does not mean that all fathers should get unfettered access to their children. Divorce is messy, and generally there are good reasons why certain fathers are prohibited from seeing their children. Giving a father who is a child abuser access to his children will not solve any social problems.
Why do men have to support women at the same standard of living following divorce when women don’t even have to cook and clean his new apartment?
Uh, yeah, that’s not how that works. Many divorced men (and some women) pay child support, with the amount determined by the needs of the children and of the non-custodial parent’s ability to pay. This support is meant for the children. Alimony is only awarded in about 15 percent of divorces; roughly 4 percent of alimony recipients are men.
If divorced women have it worse than divorced men, why do divorced men commit suicide eight or ten times as much as divorced women?
Why do we pretend that men walk out on their wives and children when women initiate about eighty percent of divorces?
Because the person who initiates the divorce is not necessarily the person who has “walked out” of the relationship.
Why is it considered sexist to have a couple of television shows geared towards men when there are several channels catering only to women?
There are a number of networks aimed mostly at men. While sexist shows are often criticized for being sexist, the idea of appealing to a specific demographic isn’t terribly controversial.
Why are television moms always portrayed as wonderful and loving and television dads always portrayed as inept buffoons?
Are they? The wife on King of Queens is a bit of a shrew, isn’t she? And Kevin James is the star of the show, isn’t he? (Newsflash: comedians often portray buffoons.) In any case, feminists generally aren’t big fans of shows that reinforce old stereotypes about the genders – including the buffoon dad and the humorless mom. Every feminist I know is appalled by the new sitcom Whitney, which reinforces a lot of old stereotypes, many of them misandrist.
Why is it politically incorrect to say anything negative about women but funny to put men down?
Huh? Comedians say misogynistic things all the time.
Why are women without a job considered to be exercising free choice but men without a job considered a bum?
These are getting weirder and weirder. I can only assume you’re talking about women who choose to be stat-at-home moms (or whose husbands choose this for them). Women who do this are more likely to be traditionalist than feminist. Every feminist I know wants men to have the same option to be a stay-at-home dad. That’s why feminists push for better parental leave, not simply better maternal leave.
Why do feminists demand that women be equally represented in high paying and powerful jobs but don’t complain when low-paying, dirty, and dangerous jobs remain mostly done by men?
Feminists want women to have the same employment opportunities as men. Women have in fact fought to get into dirty, dangerous fields heavily dominated by men, like mining, for example. (Darksidecat could give you more on this.)
In a second post, Really? asked a bunch more questions. As you’ll see, they got sillier and sillier as he continued:
Why do we have to say “Chairperson” and “Congressperson” but its ok to say “garbage man” and “bad guy”?
You don’t “have” to say anything. You can say whatever you want, though people might look at you funny if you were to call a female chairperson a “chairman.” As for “bad guy,” well, men make up the overwhelming majority of criminals (in real life) and villains (in movies, TV, and fiction generally), so it’s not altogether shocking that the term used to refer to the baddies is gendered in this way. You don’t have to use the phrase if you don’t want.
Why do we always hear the phrase “innocent women and children” but never hear about “innocent men” or “men and children”?
Huh? Could you give examples of this (that don’t involve the Titanic)? When talking about wars, people generally use the phrase “innocent civilians.”
Why do news headlines use the terms “student”, “spouse”, or “parent” when a girl or woman, or mother does something wrong but use the terms “boy”, “husband”, or “father” when a boy, man, or father does something wrong?
Why do feminists demand equal results for traditionally male roles but object to equal or shared parenting after divorce?
The issue of shared parenting is complicated, and it’s often not the best option for the children. Generally speaking, the person who was the primary caregiver gets primary custody, and this makes sense to me. If more men were stay-at-home-dads, men would get primary custody more often. Every feminist l know is supportive of stay-at-home dads.
Why does the term “angry mother” sound like someone that needs our help and support and the term “angry father” sound like someone that needs to be arrested and forced into anger management classes?
Huh? Could you give an example? I think it largely depends not on gender but what the parent in question is angry about – whether they were angry because of cutbacks at their kids’ school, or because they’re an asshole with a giant sense of entitlement. Angry asshole mothers need anger management classes as much as their male counterparts.
Why is it that when men are more successful than women it’s because women are oppressed, but when women are more successful than men it’s because men are lazy?
I’m going to let Don Draper respond to this one for me.
Why are only women free to criticize other women without being labeled anti-women, but both men and women are free to criticize men?
Gross generalizations about men and women are sexist no matter who says them. But anyone can criticize individual men or women – or groups of men and/or women who hold specific beliefs – without being considered sexist.
Why are feminists pushing for laws that prevent new laws from being passed that protect men from women, such as with domestic violence against men, false allegations by women, or paternity fraud?
What on earth are you talking about?
Why is it that when a woman accuses a man of rape, the man’s name is made public and he is presumed guilty, but when he is proven innocent the woman remains anonymous and the man is still ruined?
Because our legal system works in the open, the names of accused criminals (regardless of gender, regardless of crime) are made public. In the case of rape, accusers are often demonized and shamed and threatened, so we protect their identities. Or try to: in many cases their names have been made public. Accused criminals who win acquittal can move on with their lives; in some cases where the jury’s verdict is controversial, like OJ Simpson’s not guilty verdict, they may be seen as guilty by many people. The law has no control over people’s opinions.
Why is it considered woman-hating or whining to point it out when women have something better than men, but we rush to pass new laws if men might have something better than women?
Why is it that we’ve had forty years and billions of dollars going into women’s rights and men’s responsibilities, but it’s taboo in most circles to even suggest that maybe it’s time to consider men’s rights and women’s responsibilities a little bit for a change?
Uh, yeah. Very few MRAs suggest merely that we “consider men’s rights and women’s responsibilities a little bit for a change.” Instead, they write out long crazy lists like yours, attempting to portray men as horribly oppressed slaves at the hands of evil feminazi matriarchs. When MRAs set aside this nonsense and bring up specific issues that affect men disproportionally or exclusively, like circumcision, they generally are taken much more seriously.
If those who always side with women are feminists and those who always side with men are chauvinists, why don’t we have a wing of a political party and billions in funding going to chauvinists when we have that for feminists?
Feminists don’t “always side with women,” whatever that means. They have raised a number of issues that affect women disproportionately or exclusively, and tried to win some redress. Feminists also work on initiatives that help both men and women, like parental leave, as I mentioned earlier. Whatever political power feminists have stem from years and years of organizing and lobbying. Other groups – like Christian conservatives, who are generally antifeminist – have also won themselves a degree of power through organizing and lobbying. (Do you remember that whole debate about Planned Parenthood?) Men’s Rights Activists are free to do the same.
For those who believe men had it better than women in the past and believe now it’s time for women to have it better than men for a while, why don’t they advocate whites being forced into slavery to blacks?
Dude, did you really just ask that?
Why are men considered more privileged than women with so many double standards against men?
Uh, maybe because they still are more privileged, a fact readily apparent to everyone who doesn’t live in MRAland.