Men’s Rights Activists regularly complain that it is mostly men who serve in the armed forces, and that it is mostly male soldiers who are killed and injured in service to their country in wartime. MRAs also complain that, in the United States, only men have to sign up for the draft – though this is more of a formality than anything else, as the draft has been dead for decades and there is virtually no chance of it being resurrected any time soon.
MRAs love to cite the dominance of men in the armed forces as a prime example of what they call “male disposability,” and somehow manage to blame feminists for it all.
But it’s not feminists who are trying to keep women from becoming soldiers, or serving in combat. While some MRAs support the idea of women serving in the army, and having to register for the draft the same as men do, many others scoff at the very notion of women as soldiers, mocking their alleged female “weakness” and in some cases denigrating the service of women now in the armed forces as being equivalent to attending “day care camp.” (Not exactly.) These MRAs may complain that men bear the brunt of the costs of war. But they don’t actually want women to serve.
Not that it makes much of a difference, because the MRAs who do supposedly want women to share the same responsibilities as men aren’t doing shit about it. You know who is? Feminists. The National Organization for Women, while opposing the draft, has long argued that if registration is required of men, it should also be required of women. NOW has also opposed the ban on female soliders serving in combat. (Not that it’s easy to draw a clear line between combat and non-combat positions on the contemporary battlefields.)
Meanwhile, a group called the Molly Pitcher Project, made up of University of Virginia law students and headed by feminist law professor Anne Coughlin, is assisting two female soldiers who are now suing the Pentagon in an attempt to lift the combat ban.
Do you want to know who is opposing them – aside from the Pentagon’s lawyers? Take a look at some of the comments posted in response to a Los Angeles Times article on the lawsuit. Note: The quotes below are pretty egregious; some deal with military rape in a really offensive way. (Thanks to Pecunium for pointing me to them.)
These aren’t “cherry-picked” from hundreds of comments; these are the bulk of the comments that were left on the article.
Are any of these commenters MRAs? Maybe, maybe not, but certainly their misogynistic “logic” is virtually identical to that I’ve seen from misogynist MRAs opposed to women serving in combat. One thing they are clearly not is feminist.
If MRAs, or at least some of them, truly want a world in which men and women share equally in the responsibilities of military service (and both have equal opportunties for military leadership), they need to challenge the misogynists — within their movement and without — who argue that women simply aren’t fit for the battlefield. And they need to support the feminists who are actually trying to make a difference — instead of standing on the sidelines crying foul.
I don’t hold out much hope that this will ever happen. MRAs are much too enamored with their fantasies of male martyrhood.