A burgeoning men's rights movement in British universities? Lads, you cannot be serious

Even if you've already heard from the online ‘masculism’ mob, the men's rights comments under a recent Independent article must be read to be believed

Tom Mendelsohn
Thursday 09 May 2013 16:34
The Oxford rugby team spend the weekend at Eastbourne, whilst training for a Varsity match at Twickenham, 8th December 1935.
The Oxford rugby team spend the weekend at Eastbourne, whilst training for a Varsity match at Twickenham, 8th December 1935.

It is official: men are an oppressed minority these days. Despite an entire human history’s-worth of cultural dominance, in the few short generations since women got the vote, feminism has spoiled it for everyone, and women have full, unnatural dominance.

You don’t believe me? Consider this: who dies more often in wars, men or women? Which sex has the shorter life expectancy? Who has to make all the alimony payments? And who, most of all, has to leave a sinking cruise ship in last place? If you answered ‘men’ (poor, browbeaten men) to all of these, you’d be right, though these examples only scratch the surface of the systemic inequities men are forced to face each and every day.

There’s the pressure of having to pay for the bill on a date, more often than not, and that of having to conform to that terrible Hollywood stereotype of having, like, big pectoral muscles and things. Feminism has inculcated a crisis in masculinity.

Well that’s what I would say, if I had, as the ghastly Men’s Rights movement puts it with the full cod-philosophical force of the Matrix movies, swallowed ‘the red pill’.

Men’s Rights is a movement that, while not exclusive to the internet, has blossomed – or festered, however you prefer it to put it – online. It's loopy. Of course it's loopy. Men aren't oppressed. We’ve had a pretty good thing going since the year dot, since that one time Eve was conjured as a divine afterthought from Adam’s spare rib. Feminism, as a movement, is nothing more than an attempt to recalibrate society into something that doesn't completely overwhelm men with favour. And however well you might think it has succeeded, it really hasn't, what with glass ceilings, pats on bottoms and the endless bloody trumpetings of the whooping online ‘masculism’ mob.

Allow me, as The Independent’s online student editor, to direct your eye towards this article, in which we document the struggle of a few young women brave enough to try and establish a feminist society at York. York’s SU won't ratify them for what may look to the untrained eye as spurious reasons, most of which boil down to 'it’s unnecessary'.

As if to demonstrate how unnecessary such a society may be, the article has attracted 300 brave comments below the line, each painstakingly typed one-fingered.

‘SANDWICH!!!’ concludes one sage, a persuasive argument underlined through nifty deployment of exclamation points. Beneath him, ha ha, one sweetalkinguy makes a subtle point of his own: ‘Hysteria!’ – like what women get when they’re worked up, his brief remark a beacon of reason in a dark world of appeals to woolly girl-thought.

It isn’t just men who are so angry about the damage that feminism hath wrought on the 21st Century. Thoughtful Kelly Jessop believes, in all apparent seriousness, that ‘feminism is a hate movement’ which causes ‘men to take their lives’.

Then there are the people who attempt to inject class and race into the issue, as though the white British working man is somehow the most put-upon male constituency of all. This thinking is never fully explained, but it’s possibly something to do with, I suppose, how easy urban black youths have it these days.

I’m sure a lot of these ornery young dudes are complaining like this for a reason: they’re constantly reminded of what a privilege it is for them to be men, but don’t feel, as students in modern Coalition Britain, all the many benefits of this privilege. And yes, there are genuine issues faced by men, even body image ones. But what our commenters might not be getting, with their angry desire for egalitarianism above feminism, is that feminism fights their cause too.

The rad fem man-haters are dying off these days, and the hip feminists aren’t trying to #killallmen so much as smash the patriarchy. A patriarchy, that is, that harms men as well as women, with its promotion of masculinity and men as stoic providers, and femininity with women as an underclass of nurturers.

But to the people calling for ‘masculism’ or ‘safe spaces for men’, who see ‘misandry’ every time a woman wants a platform to make demands, well, sirs, you are idiots. The masculinity you base these incessant demands for sandwiches, sluts and spurious recognition of temperamental differences between the sexes is not positive, helpful or remotely egalitarian.

And at least until we can run articles about campus feminist organisations without rolling in MRM ordure, the need for feminist organisations on our campuses will remain abundantly clear.

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