The case for “Men’s Rights Movement” (MRM) > “Gender Equality Movement” (GEM), and, in turn, “Men’s Rights Activist” (MRA) > “Gender Equality Activist” (GEA)

In recent times we’ve been giving some consideration to how we might more effectively present our arguments to the public and the media, and the results may have implications for the broader Men’s Rights Movement (MRM).

Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) have always had a presentational problem. By definition, gynocentric societies don’t care about men’s rights, they regard men as disposable, as slaves to women, children, and the state (although men’s income taxes largely fund the state). So it’s always been an uphill battle to get public interest in men’s rights, although much progress has been made, particularly in recent years.

So what alternatives might there be to “men’s rights movement” as a term, which could get better traction in the media, and with the general public? I’ve been persuaded that the term “gender equality movement” is the way forward, at least at this stage. Because of course if real gender equality – as opposed to feminist “gender equality”, which is invariably about extending female privilege over males – were to be enacted, either women (and girls) would need to lose privileges, and/or men (and boys) gain more rights. This is true of virtually all 20 areas explored in our 2015 general election manifesto.

What do we demand in the case of (for example) MGM? Male minors to have the same protection from genital mutilation as female minors. The 1985 Female Circumcision Act (and subsequent amendments) need only be made gender-neutral. Simple as that. And easier to present to the public and media than the crime and harms and human rights violations inflicted on males by MGM, about which few care.

Feminists can do their worst at attacking the MRM, and have, fooling some gullible people that there’s something amiss about the movement. But they’ll have more difficulty attacking the Gender Equality Movement (GEM), or the associated Gender Equality Activists (GEAs), without simultaneously revealing their hostility towards gender equality.

Speaking personally, I’m happy to be described as a MRA or a GEA, and for the great movement in which I’ve worked full-time for many years to be described as the MRM or GEM. But henceforth I plan to generally publicly present myself as a GEA, and our movement as the GEM. I invite other MRAs to join me. In the meantime, I’ve changed the wording accordingly in two places in my conference profile.

I know some will say that the proper term to employ should be not “Gender Equality Movement”, but “Sex Equality Movement”, and technically they’d have a point. However, in common parlance, the two terms are interchangeable, and “sex equality” would surely cause confusion in the minds of those not steeped in gender political terminology, the vast majority of people.

Please let us know what you think of the reframing away from “men’s rights” and towards “gender equality”. Thanks.

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About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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7 Responses to The case for “Men’s Rights Movement” (MRM) > “Gender Equality Movement” (GEM), and, in turn, “Men’s Rights Activist” (MRA) > “Gender Equality Activist” (GEA)

  1. Max says:

    Right now, I’m unable to respond to this as fully and carefully as I’d like to, so the following will have to do… At least for the moment.

    If this “move” is to try to gain acceptance… then… This. Will. Not. Work.
    Men’s Rights (I prefer “Equality” or “Issues” over the word “Rights”, which I believe to often be unnecessarily narrow and specific) Advocates/Activists are portrayed as untrustworthy. …Knowingly insincere malicious liars, even. …Changing your name, in the face of these attacks, gives this movement’s enemies something more to manically point to that Looks Suspicious.

    And, not only that, it makes their primary weapon more effective and more convincing… Hopefully this will demonstrate:

    Enemy of MRM: “Everybody should focus on women and girls! Men have all the rights in the world!”
    Men’s Advocate: “I’m a Men’s Advocate. While I do indeed care about women and girls… There are many human rights issues that uniquely or disproportionately affect men and boys. I’m a Men’s Advocate. I want to address these issues.”

    An Unaffiliated Observer, watching this exchange, has no immediate reason to believe the Men’s Advocate is being insincere, or attempting to hide something. He/she may not agree with what the Men’s Advocate has said so far, but she/he will almost certainly be more curious than suspicious at this point.

    Now, we’ll run it again…

    Enemy of MRM: “Everybody should focus on women and girls! Men have all the rights in the world!”
    Men’s Advocate: “I’m a Gender Equality Advocate. While I do indeed care about women and girls… There are many human rights issues that uniquely or disproportionately affect men and bo-”
    Enemy of MRM: “Wait! You’re a Gender Equality Advocate?”
    Men’s Advocate: “Yes”
    Enemy of MRM: “If you’re a Gender Equality Advocate you should be fighting for the rights of BOTH genders!”
    Men’s Advocate: “Yes, but there are many human rights iss-”
    Enemy of MRM: “What do you mean “but”?!?”
    Men’s Advocate: “Well, I focus on issues that uniquely or disproportionately affect men and boys. I want to address these issues.”
    Enemy of MRM: “So, you admit to focusing on men! Not Gender Equality! You’re no Gender Equality Advocate! …WAIT! Are you an MRA?!?”
    Men’s Advocate: “No”
    Enemy of MRM: “Have you ever been an MRA? How long have you called yourself a Gender Equality Advocate?”
    Men’s Advocate: “…Err, why is that relevant?”

    An Unaffiliated Observer, watching this exchange, has *every* reason to believe the Men’s Advocate is being insincere, or attempting to hide something. He/she may even potentially agree with some points the Men’s Advocate is likely to bring up (if the conversation can get back on track, of course), but she/he will almost certainly be more suspicious than curious at this point.

    -Max (Norfolk Men’s Equality Network)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Max, I’ve been mulling over your comments, in particular the second conversation. It wouldn’t go that way if I were the MRA/GEA there. Why? There are NO areas (in the UK today) in which men enjoy rights women don’t, but plenty vice versa. So a search for REAL gender equality can only mean women (and girls) losing privileges, and/or men (and boys) gaining rights.

      Like

  2. Zac Fine says:

    Max, you have a point, but I think it is a hopelessly tactical one. Standing back a bit, Mike’s idea makes strategic sense to me. Reappropriating the equality language all the way up into the title of the movement communicates that it has evolved, and isn’t interested in partisan politics for the sake of it. And anyway, it’s alway possible to make the case that by helping males be less miserable / live longer / connect with their kids we are in fact helping females.

    Like

  3. Pingback: A response to a recent announcement by Mike Buchanan

  4. Hi Mike,
    I think associating ourselves as member of a GEM is strategically spot-on for a number of reasons: it’s a neat, indirect, non-threatening challenge to current prevalent notions of equality, and it engages with feminism at it’s weakest point, whilst removing the MRM’s Achilles Heel – the word ‘men’ – which has been so thorough demonised and elicits no compassion. It also bypasses the word ‘rights’ which is often read as an assumption rather than an aspiration such as equality. And it opens the door to a new level of discussion and, perhaps, alliances.

    Good idea. Go for it.

    I’m off to Kathmandu now for some R & R

    Keep up the good work.

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Like

  5. Factsseeker says:

    Mike,

    Your instincts are spot on. The term “men’s Rights” has been so demonized in mainstream media, that most commentators and reporters switch off as soon one uses the label MRM . This means that trying to argue any specific men’s issues cause, while being labeled MRM, is almost futile.

    Let’s be quite honest with ourselves here. The women’s movement has been spectacularly successful in marginalizing the men’s movement. They have clearly won the propaganda war when it comes to the influencing social policy makers and the mainstream media. The label ‘MRA’ is immediately associated with whingeing male patriarchy trying to entrench their privilege and control over women. Whether we like to admit it or not, the prevalence of this belief is the sad truth.

    Part of the success by the women’s movement is due to their effectiveness in highlighting the attitude and comments of the relatively small number of vocal MRAs who are indeed misogynists. These men have become associated with the label ‘MRA’. The women’s movement has been brilliant at achieving this association so seamlessly. So any raised genuine male rights issue is immediately dead in the water for policy makers and the general media.

    However, there are risks to changing the label, as you are suggesting, from MRM to GEM, because journalists and politicians would be quick to point out that a name change does not necessarily change policy or attitudes. Along with the name change, there will have to be some action that shows you are genuinely sensitive to abuse against both male and female victims of society.

    The statistics clearly show that both men and women are victims of domestic violence. Both genders are victims of bullying in schools and the work place. Both genders can suffer from cancer and other illnesses. At the same time, some in the feminist movement have become so extreme that others involved in the women’s movement are starting to distance themselves from the feminist label. Those dissociating themselves from the more extreme feminism, could be won over to a more inclusive GEM.

    Perhaps GEM could turn out to be more than a mere name change. Perhaps GEM could be the start of a new direction by society. But it must first win over the middle round. Extremism throughout history has always faltered in the end.

    Like

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