Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Note on Meninism

Meninism is defined as a semi-satirical gender equality and men's rights movement (it’s actually not defined in the dictionary-- partly because it isn’t a valid term or movement!). The most important word in that sentence was “semi-satirical”, while to some the movement refers to the “satirical” Twitter account, some people actually identify as men’s rights activists (MRA). This movement is partly so confounding because MRAs stand up for issues like stereotypes that women are fighting against (like the fact that the man shouldn’t have to be the primary money maker in a family situation), but choose to do so on a platform that ridicules feminism and straightforward things like the pay gap.

Movements like this one aren’t completely unheard of. There will always be something that some people find the need to rally around. When it comes down to it, the “meninist” movement essentially disparages women for no apparent reason. It is incredibly easy to hide behind the “just kidding” front, but there are many people who think that this movement is legitimate- and some of them are women. While there have always been women who have rejected the term feminism because they “don’t hate men” (just to clarify, feminism is not equal to misandry), it’s confusing that some women are embracing this movement. 

I have encountered meninism in my life as a high school student. The target age group for the meninism movement is high school and college aged boys. This population seems to always have ridiculed feminism, and even though they may not be serious, it is a little bit offensive to see students wearing meninist shirts at school. In my opinion, even though some people might think that meninism is simply a joke, I think it is important to cultivate a discussion around the subject. It’s interesting to observe how open people are to menists and men’s rights activists and why they are so reluctant to call themselves feminists.

There is also a group of people under the meninist umbrella that adopt a more positive interpretation of the movement. These people believe in “equality for all” and a woman’s right to choose, really just all the things that feminism stands for anyways. Although no one is really sure of what meninism stands for or what it has ever achieved, it can be quite entertaining to read some of the tweets that feminists have sent their way.

Written by: Prathusha Yeruva, Oakland/Macomb NOW Intern