Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Why the MRA (Men's Rights Activist) Movement is Dangerous for Women

[Serious TW for MRA related content, forced pregnancy, abortion, rape apologia, rape culture, victim-blaming, slut-shaming, denial of autonomy, misogyny, patriarchy...pretty much if you can think of it, it's probably in here]

For those of you who don't know what the MRA movement is, the unofficial definition that I've come up with is that it's a bunch of over-privileged men who are throwing a temper tantrum because women have realized that they're not doormats, and so they're rolling on the ground, kicking their feet, and holding their breath until we women shut the fuck up and go back to being barefoot and pregnant. They seem to believe that women have it incredibly fucking awesome (because misogyny, slut-shaming, victim-blaming, etc. totally don't exist anymore), and they basically think that the feminist movement is a bunch of bullshit and is no longer necessary because, hey, women have it incredibly fucking awesome!

One of the incredibly dangerous aspects of the MRA movement is the father's rights movement, which believes in preventing women from having an abortion without the father's consent, arguing that it is discriminatory for men not to have the ability to participate in a decision to terminate a pregnancy. Forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term is tantamount to physical, emotional, and psychological torture. Furthermore, forcing a woman to obtain consent from the father in order to have an abortion not only perpetuates the infantilization of women, wherein women are believed to be so fucking stupid that we can't make decisions on our own without the help of a man, as well as the patriarchal belief that women shouldn't be allowed to make decisions without a man's consent, but it also puts abused women in serious danger. Can you imagine what it would be like for a woman who has been abused to tell her abuser that she's pregnant and wants to abort? Can you imagine what the consequences would be for her? There are a few things that could happen, but the most likely scenarios include her being forced to endure the pregnancy and keep the child against her will, thereby tying herself to her abuser in one way or another for the remainder of her life (which might not be for very long, statistically speaking), or her attempting to abort the fetus herself, which can result in serious injury (including sepsis, a perforated uterus or intestines, etc.) and even death.

Another very dangerous aspect of the MRA movement is their stance on rape. MRAs believe that there is an epidemic of false rape accusations sweeping the globe, and these are the men you will find, after a high-profile male has been accused of rape, screaming that the woman just wanted money/fame/etc., she wasn't actually raped, she just has "buyer's remorse," etc. These men are also the same men you will find concern-trolling and stating, for women's benefit of course, that if women just dressed modestly, didn't drink, didn't go out at night, didn't go out alone, didn't go out at all, etc., we wouldn't have to worry about being raped. I've explained this before, but if rape had anything to do with any of that, women who dress modestly, don't drink, only go out during the day, only go out in groups, never go out at all, would never be raped. And yet, with a statistic of 1 in 6 women being raped in her lifetime, this happens ALL THE FUCKING TIME. I don't think I have to explain why this MRA viewpoint is dangerous to women, but just for shits and giggles, the reason this is dangerous is not only because of the obvious, which is that it perpetuates rape culture, slut-shames and blames the victim, and prevents rape victims from coming forward and pressing charges, but also because they fully believe that because of a few false accusations, all accusations of rape must automatically be assumed to be false. This is clearly more than problematic for women who are raped.

In relation to the previous paragraph, many MRAs believe that it is discriminatory to name accused rapists while providing the accuser with anonymity. Clearly, they have never experienced what it's like to come forward with a charge of rape, only to be told that they're obviously lying because of their clothing, their past sexual behaviors, their level of sobriety at the time, the time they were outside, etc. In other words, they've never experienced the same vitriol that they throw at rape victims all the time. They also clearly have no idea of the kinds of repercussions that a rape victim faces from not only her attacker, but from the friends of her attacker, etc. It's not uncommon for rape victims to have threats of further sexual violence and death thrown at them for daring to come forward with the charges. Not only this, but some MRAs actually question the criminal status of marital rape, and when having sex outside of marriage, they have suggested the signing of a "consensual sex contract" by partners before sexual intercourse in order to protect men from accusations of rape. So, in other words, according to MRAs, women who get married to men cannot possibly be raped because men are entitled to sex with their wives, even if it's forced, and when having sex outside of marriage, instead of obtaining enthusiastic, clear consent from their partners and only performing the sexual acts that said partner has consented to, they place a ridiculous burden on their partners in the form of this ridiculous contract, which doesn't actually prevent the man from raping his sex partner; it only prevents him from being accused.

I only have one question when it comes to this contract: what's going to prevent the man from raping his partner and then using the contract as evidence that he didn't rape her?

If there are any MRAs reading this right now, I hope your eyes have been opened a bit, and I hope you realize that there is no supposed War on Men. There is, however, an increasing demand that you men take responsibility for your words, actions, behaviors, etc., particularly those that perpetuate misogyny, rape culture and the patriarchy. There is a VERY big difference between a "War on Men" and asking men to take responsibility for their actions, and if there is a conflation of the two in your mind, if you equate the cessation of the continued subjugation of women with a "War on Men," you have serious fucking problems.

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