11 votes

The ‘Men’s Liberation’ movement time forgot: Nowadays, the Men’s Rights movement runs the gamut from incels to red pillers, but in the 1970s, men's libbers looked something like… feminists?

20 comments

  1. [4]
    arp242
    (edited )
    Link
    The problem with this article, as well as quite a few related things I've seen over the years, is that "Men’s Liberation" is framed almost entirely in either 1) women's issues, or 2) things men...
    • Exemplary

    The problem with this article, as well as quite a few related things I've seen over the years, is that "Men’s Liberation" is framed almost entirely in either 1) women's issues, or 2) things men are doing wrong. It doesn't address on any of the issues men are facing at all. This is not "Men’s Liberation", it's just feminism with a different branding.

    That's all fine, but let's not confuse the two.

    Meanwhile, anything women might be doing wrong is border-line taboo, I've seen "men" (as a group) be blamed for more problems I can count, including victim-blaming issues men are facing with, and even "men's liberation" needs to be phrased in terms of feminism instead of rising above that just one iota to consider the wider issue of gender relationships and roles. I have the impression that men are far too often seen as defective women, rather than, well, men. Either way, it's no surprise people are turned off.

    Of course, it's much easier to chuck resistance to feminism up as "toxic masculinity" or "alt-right trolls" rather than actually do some careful introspection. And yes, a lot of these MRA people are a bunch of assholes, but you can't just handwave away and dismiss things so easily. I know many men who are not especially enamoured with what I would call "modern feminism", not because they don't underscore the basic principles, but because they're just tired of all the harping on about "men bad" and having men's issued casually dismissed (and/or being outright ridiculed), or that trying to inject any form of nuance will lead to a disproportionate amount of "backlash", like Matt Damon mentioned in the article when he "ran his mouth" – as this article calls it – by pointing out that Al Franken's case is not the same as all as Harvey Weinstein's. It's flabbergasting that this is even controversial at all.

    And my social circle is overwhelmingly left-wing and liberal (in the U.S. sense of the word). Yet as far as I know not a single man amongst them really likes modern feminism, although most won't say it in public, and certainly don't support MRA nonsense either. So either there is something wrong with me and all my male (as well as many female) friends, or there is something wrong with feminism as communicated today and how we deal with male/female gender issues in general.

    I think it's that last one, and I also think this article is part of the problem. If men are expected to listen more thoughtfully to the experiences of women – a sentiment I can only underscore – then women also need to do the same. That some assholes exist is entirely besides the point; you can dismiss all of left-wing politics by pointing at the worst "Stalin did nothing wrong" tankie too, or all of right-wing politics by pointing at the most extreme "Hitler did nothing wrong" Nazi.

    17 votes
    1. [2]
      imperialismus
      Link Parent
      It's quite telling that the proposed healthy men's group is a place of self-flagellation where they can "address their own hostility toward women". You don't see feminist groups focusing on how...

      It's quite telling that the proposed healthy men's group is a place of self-flagellation where they can "address their own hostility toward women". You don't see feminist groups focusing on how much women hate men and how they need to deal with that.

      I don't subscribe to manosphere ideals, and I largely support basic feminist principles, but it's incredibly patronizing to suggest that one of the chief concerns of men who feel like they are having issues related to their assigned gender role should be to talk about how much men as a group suck and how they can do better.

      7 votes
      1. Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        Alright, just to be clear, I don't really like that aspect of the article either, and r/menslib commenters themselves have criticized this segment of the article. I just think it's a neat article...

        Alright, just to be clear, I don't really like that aspect of the article either, and r/menslib commenters themselves have criticized this segment of the article. I just think it's a neat article about a piece of history that would probably otherwise not have been written unless MensLib went truly mainstream.

        10 votes
    2. Akir
      Link Parent
      I think that the largest problem preventing the popularity of feminism (or "Men's Liberation" or any other gender-based ideology) has always been with the way we communicate those ideas, and...

      I think that the largest problem preventing the popularity of feminism (or "Men's Liberation" or any other gender-based ideology) has always been with the way we communicate those ideas, and particularly how we receive those ideas. Like you mentioned, it seems like they are always pointed at one group or the other - it's always someone's fault. As an interesting aside, I think that is one reason feminism is better discussed over the internet because you can talk without revealing your gender, which makes it harder to say that one person is coming from a biased position.

      I think the most important thing to talk to people in regards to gender study is to point out that it's never one group's fault. For instance, once you understand what toxic masculinity is (as opposed to the straw man "all men are toxic" version), it's pretty easy to see that it's not just something men are doing to themselves; it's pretty common for women to reinforce those negative masculine traits as well. It's not a problem of man vs. woman, it's a problem of society vs. the individual.

      I think one of the broader meta-goals of feminism or men's lib is the freedom of people from the effects of stereotypes, and it's of paramount importance that when we explain the surrounding effects that we present them in a way that avoids those stereotypes. We can't say "men do" this or "women do" that, we should say "we do [things] and it affects [wo]men like this....". The truth of the matter is that very few people actually completely adhere to all of the stereotypical ideals and behaviors assigned to them, nor do they believe in popular social stereotypes, so if you go in assuming the stereotype you're very likely going to be met with resistance.

      6 votes
  2. [15]
    Bullmaestro
    (edited )
    Link
    There are definitely issues disenfranchising men from pursuing romantic or sexual relationships. If you don't believe there is, please explain why the percentage of US men under 30 who have had no...

    There are definitely issues disenfranchising men from pursuing romantic or sexual relationships. If you don't believe there is, please explain why the percentage of US men under 30 who have had no sexual partners since adulthood has more than trebled between 2008 and 2018 from 8% to 27%.

    While I sympathise with the manosphere, I don't agree with their methods of raising awareness or dealing with their problems. Many of these communities are incredibly toxic to the point where it has led to their ostracization.

    I also disagree with the notion that feminism has led to male disenfranchisement.

    My theory instead is that economic issues have created a male underclass of people who either live in squalor or still live with their parents well into adulthood because they either can't afford to move out, are mollycoddled, or suffer from mental health issues that prevent them from making that jump. Low wages, high inflation, soaring costs and an overall lack of care & funding for mental health only exacerbates the issue. Societal attitudes haven't caught up to this trend, so it's created a group of men seen as unappealing.

    9 votes
    1. [14]
      Cycloneblaze
      Link Parent
      Well, why would this not apply (or hasn't applied) to women?

      My theory instead is that economic issues have created a male underclass of people who either live in squalor or still live with their parents well into adulthood because they either can't afford to move out, are mollycoddled, or suffer from mental health issues that prevent them from making that jump. Low wages, high inflation, soaring costs and an overall lack of care & funding for mental health only exacerbates the issue.

      Well, why would this not apply (or hasn't applied) to women?

      4 votes
      1. [11]
        Bullmaestro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I think that evolutionary biology already provides a lot of answers. It's because our societal attitudes and, more importantly, our biology hasn't caught up to these shorter term trends. We...

        I think that evolutionary biology already provides a lot of answers. It's because our societal attitudes and, more importantly, our biology hasn't caught up to these shorter term trends. We haven't eliminated the notion of patriarchy or gender roles in our society (men being the breadwinners, women looking after the family for instance) despite what feminism has accomplished.

        Men who live with their parents or lack social/financial status aren't going to be viewed as attractive suitors, even in a modern society where the opposite can occur.

        I know it's a very traditional view, but much of our biology dates back to when we were hunters & gatherers, which homo sapiens and their ancestors have been for millions of years. We find certain traits attractive because they were the most ideal traits to pass to offspring to ensure our survival. It's only been in the last few thousand years that civilization has really grown.

        I also think that online dating may have a lot to do with it. It encourages selectiveness.

        7 votes
        1. [10]
          arp242
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          For women reproduction is necessarily a high-investment affair: pregnancy, and all the health risks associated with that, as well as, you know, having to take care of a child for at least ~14...

          For women reproduction is necessarily a high-investment affair: pregnancy, and all the health risks associated with that, as well as, you know, having to take care of a child for at least ~14 years or so. The number of offspring you can produce in your life is very limited.

          For men this is not the case: the level of investment is low, and the number of offspring is essentially limited only by the number of sexual partners.

          It's no surprise that women on average are much more careful when choosing sexual partners. It's a surprisingly unpopular opinion for reasons I genuinely don't understand that some of this might be wired in to our biology (a post argueing this in pretty much the same phrasings was removed from /r/MensLib by the mods 😐). Sexual dimorphic behaviour in other mammals is common, especially when it comes to reproductive behaviour. I see no reason to think that humans are any different. Of course individuals deviate from this average all the time (both men and women), but it does explain a lot about these kind of trends.

          Also: if slut-shaming is a thing, then virgin-shaming is too. I'm all for the freedom of women to be however slutty they want to be, and it's certainly something that requires addressing, but our attitudes towards virgins – especially male virgins – is a far bigger problem IMHO. Why is "wanker" or "tosser" an insult? Because you're such a loser that you can't even get laid and have to masturbate. I think that alone actually says quite a lot.

          Aside from all the stereotypes and such, it really affects people's lives deeply – something I can speak about from some amount of experience since I didn't lose my virginity until I was 28. Yet it is rarely talked about outside of an article here or there, and there is certainly no serious initiative to address the issue. In many ways I feel some amount of sympathy for "incels" as they've been driven to extremism and hate by shame, embarrassment, and a feeling of exclusion. Ironically, they're also standing in the way of actually addressing the issue and only reinforce stereotypes. Sigh...

          9 votes
          1. [2]
            Adys
            Link Parent
            You're making stuff up here. It's easy to assign that meaning to those insults but this is not where they originate from, not to mention that they mean significantly different thing in en-gb,...

            Why is "wanker" or "tosser" an insult? Because you're such a loser that you can't even get laid and have to masturbate.

            You're making stuff up here. It's easy to assign that meaning to those insults but this is not where they originate from, not to mention that they mean significantly different thing in en-gb, en-us and en-nz.

            6 votes
            1. arp242
              Link Parent
              I don't know; I've always taken it like this. But it's a minor aside and not really all that important.

              I don't know; I've always taken it like this. But it's a minor aside and not really all that important.

          2. [4]
            Grzmot
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Personal observation: it's gotten very, very popular to argue for nurture over nature in the debate of what makes a human behave in certain ways. I don't want to open Pandora's box here and derail...

            It's a surprisingly unpopular opinion for reasons I genuinely don't understand that some of this might be wired in to our biology (a post argueing this in pretty much the same phrasings was removed from /r/MensLib by the mods 😐).

            Personal observation: it's gotten very, very popular to argue for nurture over nature in the debate of what makes a human behave in certain ways. I don't want to open Pandora's box here and derail the conversation, because I think that it's a valid, but ongoing discussion, but a lot of people especially on the left side subscribe to a human being an entirely blank slate at birth, even though those ancient lizard neural pathways are still present and active in our brain.

            Addendum: The question then remains why the number of adult male virgins under 30 has risen so sharply in 10 years between 2008-2018. If the lizard brain truly is responsible, it always should've been this way.

            Why is "wanker" or "tosser" an insult? Because you're such a loser that you can't even get laid and have to masturbate. I think that alone actually says quite a lot.

            Here however I agree with @Adys, I've never taken wanker/tosser as that kind of insult, it's just one of those ways to say asshole differently.

            5 votes
            1. [3]
              arp242
              Link Parent
              Personally I think it has a lot to do with fear of consequences. That is, if we admit that there are any biological different at all then it will open the door to discrimination. It's not hard to...

              Personally I think it has a lot to do with fear of consequences. That is, if we admit that there are any biological different at all then it will open the door to discrimination.

              It's not hard to see where this is coming from. But the problem with this is that we risk having a skewed perception of reality and are solving the wrong problems, or solving them in an ineffective way. Personally I think this is a non-sequitur though, as discrimination isn't based on any kind of evidence but rather emotion. Besides, if you want to solve a problem you need to understand it first.

              A number of related topics are similarly taboo.

              3 votes
              1. [2]
                Grzmot
                Link Parent
                But those consequences were always there. Men are usually tasked with taking that awful first step that a lot of us deal with by either developing an unhealthy swagger or a dismissive attitude to...

                But those consequences were always there. Men are usually tasked with taking that awful first step that a lot of us deal with by either developing an unhealthy swagger or a dismissive attitude to deal with the rejection. But that was always there and it hasn't changed. So what has? Is it the internet? The fact that building a safe life for yourself takes longer and longer? A combination of those?

                I have no clue.

                5 votes
                1. arp242
                  Link Parent
                  Women not being tied to a man for security plays a part too I suspect, but it's hard to really know for sure. I don't have anything to add to the other comments that were posted on this topic really.

                  Women not being tied to a man for security plays a part too I suspect, but it's hard to really know for sure. I don't have anything to add to the other comments that were posted on this topic really.

                  1 vote
          3. [3]
            Bullmaestro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            That explanation makes a lot of sense. 29 here, turning 30 soon. Still haven't lost it. I have a similar background to these people. Girls used to pick on me throughout HS and kinda turning...

            That explanation makes a lot of sense.

            Aside from all the stereotypes and such, it really affects people's lives deeply – something I can speak about from some amount of experience since I didn't lose my virginity until I was 28. Yet it is rarely talked about outside of an article here or there, and there is certainly no serious initiative to address the issue. In many ways I feel some amount of sympathy for "incels" as they've been driven to extremism and hate by shame, embarrassment, and a feeling of exclusion. Ironically, they're also standing in the way of actually addressing the issue and only reinforce stereotypes. Sigh...

            29 here, turning 30 soon. Still haven't lost it.

            I have a similar background to these people. Girls used to pick on me throughout HS and kinda turning reclusive in my late teens. So I certainly have some sympathy for the community. I'd rather not associate myself with people that glorify the actions of mass killers though. They're the people that have gone so far off the deep end that they risk becoming the next big school shooter. It's why male mental health is turning into a borderline international crisis.

            For the most part women just seem to not be interested in me, or just want to use me for whatever reason. My previous ex from last year didn't even have the decency to break up with me. She just blocked me out of the blue one day on everything. Part of me suspects she was cheating. Our last few Whatsapp convos involved her fawning over her personal trainer, probably in an attempt to wind me up. It was one of several red flags I probably shouldn't have ignored with her.

            Three years ago I went through a pretty shaky breakup with an ex that I cared for quite deeply. My mistake was confronting her about the breakup because that severed our friendship and we haven't spoken since. I haven't even tried to contact her again since because her last message to me was pretty damn cold. Last I heard she was back in Japan working full time. The whole thing definitely made me a far more bitter person. It was also what got me into the law of attraction community, which is probably a healthier alternative than going further down that manosphere rabbit hole.

            4 votes
            1. [2]
              arp242
              Link Parent
              I'm actually a little bit confused by your post, because it mentions both virginity and ex-girlfriends(?) Either way, in my case I found that confidence is key. "Women just seem to not be...

              I'm actually a little bit confused by your post, because it mentions both virginity and ex-girlfriends(?)

              Either way, in my case I found that confidence is key. "Women just seem to not be interested in me" sounds familiar, but if you're never going to ask someone out then you're never going to get anywhere. At some point I decided that "I really need to fix this", and actually ended up in a four-year relationship with the first woman I asked out.

              A version of myself that was a year younger never would have asked her out though. And at the time I had no idea if she was even interested in anything at all. "But fuck it, what do I have to lose?" Since we broke up (already four years ago) I never had much trouble finding a girlfriend again. Like all people – men and women alike – I've struggled at times of course, but that's normal.

              I never heard of "law of attraction", but looking at their website it sounds about right in essence: feedback loops in your thinking (on all sorts of things) are actually pretty important. My mother complains about damn near everything, even on fairly small issues, and it just makes you miserable. Personally I don't really care for the way it's "branded" and communicated though.

              Maybe it's true that 9 out of 10 women aren't interested in me. So what? I'm probably also not interested in 9 out of 10 women. For all its flaws and problems, I think dating apps overall aren't all that bad as it allows pre-selecting people to some degree. I did find that dating (and by extension, dating apps) can be quite different on where you live though.

              1 vote
              1. Bullmaestro
                Link Parent
                Firstly, I don't have many exes. My first real girlfriend was from that relationship three years ago and it was a long distance one that fell apart the moment she came to the UK to do her exchange...

                Firstly, I don't have many exes. My first real girlfriend was from that relationship three years ago and it was a long distance one that fell apart the moment she came to the UK to do her exchange year. I never had sex during any of my past relationships.

                Secondly, I seldom ask ladies out because of some bad experiences I've had, mostly from back in high school.

                Law of attraction is basically the notion that our thoughts create the reality around us, which I believe to some extent. I definitely see correlations between my mental state and how things occur around me. What I don't like about LoA is the trend of "gurus" trying to blatantly cash in by pushing their own brand of snake oil.

                Maybe it's true that 9 out of 10 women aren't interested in me. So what? I'm probably also not interested in 9 out of 10 women. For all its flaws and problems, I think dating apps overall aren't all that bad as it allows pre-selecting people to some degree. I did find that dating (and by extension, dating apps) can be quite different on where you live though.

                I've tried multiple dating sites over the years: Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, Okcupid, Facebook Dating, Bumble, Hinge, POF, Match.com, Happn and a few others I don't wholly remember. I have seen very little success on these apps, except maybe CMB and Okcupid, before it became a Tinder clone.

                1 vote
      2. [2]
        Grzmot
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Cause apparently women have not been affected by this: From here. There's an accompanying reddit thread on r/AskMen, it's part shitshow, part legit answers, as always. The fact that it doesn't...

        Cause apparently women have not been affected by this:

        Sexual activity was largely unchanged among unmarried women, along with no notable decline among gay men, researchers reported.

        From here.

        There's an accompanying reddit thread on r/AskMen, it's part shitshow, part legit answers, as always.

        The fact that it doesn't apply to gay men is interesting though. I couldn't say why.

        6 votes
  3. Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    An interesting article about the history of the apparently original men's liberation movement of the 70s, which r/MensLib tries to represent and sometimes claims ideological succesorship to.

    An interesting article about the history of the apparently original men's liberation movement of the 70s, which r/MensLib tries to represent and sometimes claims ideological succesorship to.

    Early last year, in the thick of the #MeToo maelstrom, my boyfriend offhandedly said to me, “Men need consciousness-raising groups.” Rape and harassment were dominating the news cycle, it’d never been clearer that even dudes we know and love might be abusers, and yet conversations about it with his guy friends were stilted, brief, and rarely personal. Men needed a space among other men they trusted to address their own hostility toward women, he argued, however latent; where they could work out the ways the patriarchy was hurting them, too; where they could really talk about their feelings. He wished there was a way to demand more engagement among men, to push them further than just smiling, nodding and continuing to do whatever they wanted in their personal lives.

    [...] it turns out a men’s movement like the one my boyfriend imagined did exist in some form, back when Second Wave feminism was first starting to gain steam. For a handful of years in the 1970s, there was a minor but visible “men’s liberation” movement. Unlike the modern Men’s Rights movement, they were ostensibly in favor of women’s liberation and forged alliances with prominent feminists, though their intentions remained diffuse and difficult to decipher.

    [...] This is the story of the few years when men tried to spark a parallel, pro-feminist movement linking the personal to the political, with varying levels of success—only for it to go very, very wrong.

    6 votes