A small, yet vocal group of men around the globe identify as Men’s Right Activists or Advocates, or MRAs for short. Men’s Rights Activism seeks to raise awareness of and defend the rights of boys and men, and is a part of the larger movement of masculism which refers to all groups focused on men’s rights issues.
Some see Men’s Rights Activism as the male version of feminism, or further, the male response to feminism. MRAs generally aren’t as well-known as feminists, but MRAs and men who support men’s rights issues can be found in their own spheres, offline and online.
While some believe Men’s Right Activism is completely unnecessary, on the surface of it, Men’s Rights Activism is a noble concept. MRAs defend issues which many people don’t know exist or don’t see as issues at all, such as parental rights and custody. But digging deeper, learning about MRAs and their mode of operation, it isn’t clear whether Men’s Rights Activism is really about protecting the rights of men or about opposing the rights of everyone else.
On the Attack
Instead of being a self-contained movement, some portions of Men’s Rights Activism tends to respond to issues raised by feminism. Self-identified MRAs attack legitimate issues presented by feminists, in the belief that these issues violate the rights of men. And in doing so, MRAs attack the rights of all women, not just those who identify as feminists — all women are affected by their opposing women’s issues.
Anti-feminist MRAs create a division between the rights of women and the rights of men: you either support men’s rights or you support women’s rights. You can’t support both, and by supporting one you are opposing the other.
Misogyny and Femiphobia
A number of Men’s Rights Activists blatantly support misogyny in society or openly display misogyny in their groups. Some claim that Men’s Rights Activism itself is an anti-woman movement and has been since its creation. But Men’s Right Advocates passionately oppose misandry, so how could they support misogyny?
Related to its misogyny is the undercurrent of femiphobia in many MRA circles. Self-identified MRAs are contemptuous of men who they view as feminine and ridicule displays of stereotypically feminine behavior by men in and out of their ranks. Such men are mocked as “manginas”, a term created from the words “man” and “vagina”.
Men’s Rights Allies
Male Rights Activists are involved with a number of groups outside of their central movement. Some of these allies are in direct opposition to the rights of certain groups of people, such as PUA, a male seduction community whose techniques are based in manipulation, and white supremacist groups mired in racism and anti-Semitism.
Some MRAs claim to support the rights of all people to defend issues which affect them. They say that all people, even those involved with what are seen as hate groups, have the right to speak out. But how can MRAs claim to be for equality while choosing these allies?
Is Men’s Rights Activism about equality for men or about inequality for everyone else? Again, it isn’t clear what MRAs are truly concerned with.