It’s been an interesting week for talking about masculinity. To start with, ABC’s 20/20 aired a story about the Manosphere and the Men’s Rights Movement (which, ironically enough seems to have touched off a weird Jay-Z/Nas-esque feud between two leading voices of the MRM). The Daily Beast provided a thoughtful, if somewhat flawed, report on the MRM, including some of the grievances and injustices it claims to be trying to remedy in today’s society while Jaclyn Friedman wrote about her sit-down with one of the MRM’s loudest gadflies. What makes it fascinating to me is watching these various figures trying to be firebrands and movement leaders, addressing the feelings of inadequacy and lack that many men are experiencing through articles like “Women Are The Natural Enemy of Men”, accusing (literally) random women of falsifying rape charges and generally flailing about flinging shit everywhere like a tweaked-out mountain gorilla taking pot-shots at Italian plumbers.
The most frustrating thing is that, frankly, the MRM isn’t entirely wrong… or at least it wouldn’t be if they were actually trying to help men instead of looking for excuses to keep hating on women.
There are legitimate grievances to be had over the way that, say, child custody in divorce tends to favor the mother even if she’s otherwise unfit, or the way that adult male victims of sexual abuse or rape are functionally ignored by both society and law enforcement. The problem is that the MRM types are so up their own asses with their hatred and fear of women that they resemble a one-man Human Centipede. They’re directing all of their efforts in the wrong direction. It’s not women who are the problem. It’s men. More specifically, it’s masculinity. The traditional societal definitions of masculinity – and its attendant gender roles – fails men.