Follow by Email

Monday, 15 April 2013

Resource in dismantling the claims and "proof" of MRAs/"Humanists"

By: Liberate Zealot

One thing trolls/MRAs/"humanists" love doing when they come into feminist spaces is share videos from girlwriteswhat and all her awesome proof that its much harder being a man, patriarchy doesn't exist, and feminists are stupid and man haters.  I'm guessing their propensity to share her videos verses other attempts to discredit feminism is partially because she's a woman and partially because if you're not educated on the topics she discusses then her points can seem persuasive.

Now I'm going to respond to some of her claims, but the focus is responding to people who use girlwriteswhat as proof that feminism is unnecessary.  This post is not directed at girlwriteswhat herself.

General response when people post her videos:
The points made by girlwriteswhat can seem persuasive, however a majority of them are based on inaccurate or misrepresented history/law/practice/science.  A lot of them rely on popular tropes that upon further investigation from reliable/academic sources proves untrue.  In the rare cases what all of girlwriteswhat information is correct she's still faulty in her focus on feminism.  The causes of the issues she correctly names is the Patriarchy/Kyriarchy, which feminism fights against.

The two most popular videos that people share (in my experience) are the ones on "Feminism and the Disposable Male"and the almost two parter about rights of the child, paternal rights, men's responsibility in preventing pregnancy and financial abortions.

The myths within the "Disposable Male"
"Women and Children First" as a successful policy of life saving pretty much began and ended with the Titanic.   Other British ships did claim this policy, but when it came to maritime disasters it was almost never followed. Generally men are much more likely to survive a disaster, this is even more true for the captain and crew ("going down with the ship" was basically another Titanic exception).
Also unlike her claims, current standards of saving people on ships/from fires makes no distinction between men and women. People might need and receive special assistance because they're children/have disabilities/carrying multiple children. Basically you take care of people who need the most care/assistance first which is generally not an able bodied adult of either gender. 

Almost no society in history or our modern era provides resources or care for men last. Now the resources and care people get are very class dependent, but if families/communities don't have enough wealth to care for all their children male children receive the food/healthcare/education first (infanticide and sex based abortions really don't happen to boys). The primary exception to this is when the woman is pregnant/breast feeding (a son). And that's because so many women had miscarriages (1 in 3 or 4) or died in child birth (1 in 3 again) that the extra resources were necessary for them to have a chance of a healthy pregnancy/delivery. 

As for the continuing of the species, child creation is easier for a man.  Men *can* father children on a variety of women.  The costs of pregnancy (time and the 1 in 3 death rates) are much harsher on women.  But when it comes down to it genetic distribution necessitates almost as many reproductively viable men as women.  

Inaccurate representation of causes

Work place death - Men are more likely to die at work, because they're more likely to take dangerous jobs like mining/oil rigging. The reason is women are still often excluded from these jobs. When it comes to dangerous factory jobs and the fire in them women are as likely, if not more likely to die (because they've been locked into the factories). Work place safety is a definite issue, but it's caused by classism/Patriarchy/Kyriarchy, not feminism. And plenty of feminists do work to fight classism and engage in labor movements. 

As for war, women have been soldiers (at lesser numbers then men) for millennia. Also the main attitude of women at battlefields was not about them being locked up and protected, but rather tortured/murdered/raped. Many feminists fight to gain women more fair access as soldiers. Many feminists are also anti-war activists. Some of us even do both. 

Paternal, Maternal and Child's Rights
Preventing pregnancy - Everyone engaging in sex is equally responsible for preventing pregnancies.  Now there isn't a male pill, thought it is scientifically difficult yet possible, but there are two good ways for men to prevent pregnancy. Condoms, which have the extra bonus of protecting from STIs and STDs, and vasectomies which are relatively simple and safe (especially compared to tubal ligation).  If you happen to be in India there's also an even better way for men to control their own birth control.  In India there is a gel injection which can block semen.  It's cheap, lasts for 10 or so years, is easily reversible, and has very few documented side effects compared to hormonal birth control. MRAs also seem to have a great fear of reproductive coercion where women sneakily get pregnant (through the sabotage of birth control) against the wishes of her male partner. And this can and occasionally does happen, but birth control sabotage most commonly is done by men as a form of domestic abuse.   

Abortion is not just an answer to not wanting to be a parent, but is also about body autonomy and not wanting to be pregnant.  Which is why the idea of "fiscal abortion" is rather offensive.  Sure, you don't want to have the legal and financial responsibility of being a parent, but that's what adoption is about.  

Adoption and parental rights also comes up in the case of men wanting to keep a child but the women giving them up for adoption.  Which in the US doesn't happen.  Adoptions can't go through without the father's consent.  Men have the right to raise their children and can challenge adoptions and the other legal methods people can give up children.  The exact rights vary based on location, but birth father's have rights and it's a complete falsehood to state that birth mothers can give their child up for adoption no matter what the birth father says. 

When it comes to divorce and custody parental responsibility and "rights of the child" are the main concerns.  This means that if equally shared custody is not possible than the primary or sole custody is determined on the best interests of the child and who is the primary caretaker.  The is determined by which parent is more active in the day to day life of the child, who picks them up from school/when they're sick, who helps with homework, who prepared their meals.  Patriarchal gender roles mean woman are more likely to do this so mother's are more likely to get primary or sole custody.  (This isn't the case if the parents are unmarried and/or have never lived together while raising the child).  In my experience working in child care and dealing with lots of divorced/never married families (and sometimes being involved in the divorce/custody proceedings) the mothers are more likely to be awarded custody, however if the father is an active parent and wants custody of his kids then the custody will be shared equally or he'll get primary custody. 

Other generic claims - 
Benevolent Sexism really is a thing, and while it's more prevalent in places with high hostile sexism something being less worse than the alternative doesn't make it acceptable.

Actually feminists aren't man haters, hating the patriarchy isn't the name thing as hating individual men. Feminists are less likely than non-feminists to believe the male-hating ideas of "men are dogs" or "rapist is a natural state for men". 


  1. Thank you. That covers a lot of ground.

  2. I was amused to find that her blog is called "Owning Your Sh*t". So much potential for bad jokes!


If you're commenting on an older post (14 days old or more) a moderator will get to your comment as quickly as we can.