10 Reasons Men Need a Gender Equality Movement

65088584-equalityThere’s an interesting comment piece in the Boston Globe by Cathy Young, a Russian American writer whose books include Ceasefire!: Why Women and Men Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality.

Young picks up the recent public debate on the need for a men’s movement and says what men and boys really need is a gender equality movement.

“To many, the very notion of “men’s issues” or men’s rights seems laughable” says Young but  “men’s advocacy raises important and worthy issues that often draw unfair ridicule”.

“Unfortunately,” adds Young the men’s rights movement “is also prone to toxic rhetoric that subverts its valid points and alienates potential supporters.”

“Perhaps what the 21st century needs is not a women’s movement  or a men’s movement, but a gender equality movement,” she concludes.

Here are ten of the key men’s issues Young thinks a gender equality movement would need to address:

  1. If women were dying in 90 percent of workplace fatalities and three out of four suicides, would we not see such numbers as troubling—and as legitimate women’s issues? Yet, reversed, the disparities go unnoticed
  2. Unlike racial profiling of minorities, the disproportionate targeting of males by law enforcement gets no attention
  3. Women account for more than a third of illegal drug use but fewer than 15 percent of arrests
  4. While men are often presumed dangerous to children, actual female molesters tend to get lenient treatment.
  5. There is virtually no recognition of ways in which current policies treat paternity as a public resource. Men coerced into unwilling fatherhood  must still pay child support. On the flip side, divorced fathers often feel they are treated more as wallets than as parents.
  6. When imbalances that disadvantage men or boys — such as male academic underachievement — become the subject of concern, such concerns are often viewed with suspicion as potential attacks on women.
  7. With a few exceptions, feminists have balked at any pro-equality advocacy that would support men in male-female disputes, acknowledge that women can mistreat men, or undermine female advantage.
  8. While the push for gender-neutral laws in the 1970s helped dismantle the formal presumption of maternal custody, actual efforts by fathers to get sole or joint custody brought on a swift backlash from the women’s movement.
  9. When the campaign for tough domestic violence policies netted more female perpetrators, women’s groups pressed for anti-male double standards, promoting the myth that nearly all female violence is in self-defense.
  10. Laudable feminist efforts to secure justice for rape victims have often turned into calls for a presumption of male guilt.

To read more on the current debate on whether the world needs a men’s movement see the following articles:

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2 thoughts on “10 Reasons Men Need a Gender Equality Movement

  1. Our view over on AVfM (which Young harshly criticized) is that people like Cathy Young have been writing and saying these things for decades and progress has been negligible and in many cases has actually worsened. We reject her tired, cliche’d claim of misogyny, but we freely acknowledge being loud rude and obnoxious, quite purposefully so, because what we have found after literally decades of experience with this that it appears to be the only thing that works, otherwise all you get is quiet acknowledgement but no actual action out of anybody. Cathy Young should be praised for forthrightly acknowledging the issues but until she can show actual real-world results for her supposedly moderate approach (which might also be called “weak-willed, cowardly, and ineffective”) we will continue to be loud and abrasive.

    As Karen Straughan (aka Girl Writes What) has said, this is much like a man who’s starving and dying of infection lying in a gutter with people stepping past him and over him and looking down with a pitiful nod but doing nothing, and then when he screams in anger and pain they tell him not to be so rude. Um, sorry Cathy. Your heart’s in the right place but you’ve accomplished nothing with your wishes and dreams. Although I want things to be the way she wants them to be, after decades of waiting for it to happen I’m more interesting in solutions and results than in sparing someone’s delicate sensibilities.

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