I am in favor of a men's rights movement. I might get some backlash for saying this, but allow me to explain myself.
First, let me make it clear that I am not ignorant to the fact that men-- especially straight, cisgender, white men-- benefit from a huge amount of privilege. I'm a woman, so I'm not even sure how it would be possible for me to be ignorant to this fact. (Quick! Someone ask Phyllis Schlafly!) I have a current personal income of like $12/year, but if I had an actual income it would be 77% of that of the man at the desk next to me. This alone is a numerical indicator of privilege. I could list 1000 more non-numerical indicators of male privilege, but honestly, I feel like I'd be preaching to the choir. So, in short, before I get into my reasoning as to why I support a men's rights movement, know that I'm wholly aware of male privilege, and I absolutely do not endorse it.
Okay, business aside, I think a men's rights movement is totally legitimate. In spite of male privilege, there are plenty of masculinity-related issues that I think are worthy of some discourse. To name a few:
- A "boys-don't-cry" culture that penalizes men for showing emotion.
- Representations of masculinity that often glorify violence and homophobia.
- Tons of stupid media that illustrates men as incompetent, overgrown children.
- Circumcision. (Regardless of your viewpoint on this I think that it is a topic that deserves discussion!)
- Double standards in dating.
- Domestic violence against men (It happens!).
- Men's health! (Cancer screenings! Birth control! Men need these things too...)
- Stuff about fatherhood (Being a great dad, right to parental leave, custody law, etc.)
My conception of a men's rights movement definitely wouldn't be in opposition to or in competition with the women's rights movement. In fact, in an ideal world, the movements would collaborate sometimes, since each essentially promotes the same ideology-- equality, health, happiness, eradication of stereotypes, etc.
A couple of places online are already doing this. The Good Men Project is a great website that shows men as dynamic, well-rounded, and kickass people. Lots of (CORNY PHRASE ALERT!) "daddy blogs" do a great job illustrating what an expanded definition of masculinity could look like (trigger warning: it's sort of sexy...).
I'm sure there is a bunch more stuff like this out there, but in my searching, most of what I found when I looked up men's rights had nothing to really do with men's rights. Google brings up tons of articles that bash feminism, call rape allegations hoaxes, and demonize women based on fringe news articles. Also, this cool article that refers to me as a "cum dumpster" in the comments!
I think this situation is a good example of a how a movement can wreck a message. A men's rights movement is a fundamentally good idea (albeit, maybe not the most pressing cause on the activism forefront). The movement that labels itself as the "men's rights movement," however, has almost nothing to do with the well-being of men, and more to do with shaming women, which I think discounts the men's rights philosophy as a whole.
Thoughts on this subject? I wrote this at 5am after writing a 9 page paper for class, so apologies for perhaps being a little scattered....