The Problem With "Meninism"
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past year and a half, you’ve probably heard of #Meninism. At first glance, the hashtag appears to be humorous, but upon further investigation, grows ugly.
Like members of the Men’s Rights Reddit, meninists claim to be proponents of the men’s rights movement. Meninism was Twitter’s response to Internet feminism, much like the men’s rights movement of the 1970s came as an answer to the women’s rights movement. As an advocate of equality for all humans, I would be ready to latch on to meninism as the next big wave in the gender equality movement. Maybe feminists could band together with meninists to bridge the gap in the United Nations #HeForShe campaign.
However, there are many flaws in #Meninism and the meninist movement beyond the crude jokes and comments. Here are a few of the more horrifying examples:
The motto for #MeninistTwitter is 'Submit, woman.'
— Dolph Niggler. (@MyNig) December 16, 2013
Stop talking; I’m looking at yr tits. #MeninistTwitter
— N-Word R Murrow (@mowoodier) December 18, 2013
Here, let me show you how the lawnmower works. #MeninistTwitter
— SteamingPileofGruber (@MarkHall73) December 17, 2013
there's a strange noise downstairs while we're both in bed, societal pressures put my life more at risk than hers #MeninistTwitter
— Séamus (@jmikemac) December 17, 2013
While men’s rights are important, men aren’t oppressed in the way that women are – that is to say, while everyone struggles in life, men don’t face the same automatic disadvantages that women do.
Men are on top in pretty much every culture and it’s been that way since the beginning of time. Unless they’re men of color or men with a non-traditional sexual identity, men don’t have to deal with the blatant harassment and invalidation of achievements that have become so normal for women.
This is where feminism comes in. Yes, feminism gets a bad rap. It wasn’t until recently that feminists weren’t the face of unflattering, unpopular and uncool. Before Beyoncé Knowles and Emma Watson, the quickest way to light up a dinner table or get kicked out of a party would be to unapologetically identify as a feminist.
Whether the term makes you uncomfortable or not, feminism has first and foremost been about women having the same rights as men, and being treated equally in societies that tend to value men over women.
The arguments for gender equality are the same arguments for racial equality, equal rights for people with disabilities, LGBT equality, and other equality movements. We’re all human beings just trying to make it in this shitty world, and since we’re all here, we might as well make the best of it by treating one another with love and respect.
While feminism and the gender equality movement have been about pointing out the ugly norms in society and trying to make the world a better place for everyone, meninism has so far proved itself to be nothing more than men feeling uncomfortable with feminism, and the way it questions the social norms that benefit men.
While you could argue that meninist tweets and Reddit posts are coarse satire or all in good fun, a good portion of meninist content is downright misogynist.
This is not to say that some feminists don’t say some provocative, uncomfortable things, but more often than not, feminists are calling out society on its bullshit in order to make the world a better, more equal place.
Although you may have talked about meninism all in good fun, it’s important to understand the larger implications behind this insidious meme. The Internet isn’t always a kind, clean or politically correct place, but it’s important to be inclusive and treat others with respect, which is something that supporters of meninism fail to do more often than not.