Let’s be honest, it hasn’t exactly been the kind of year where we can take a break from our collective and numerous pressing burdens to focus solely on the grievances of men. We’ve barely even begun to process the cumulative tidal wave of chaos we’ve faced in the past twelve months, so devoting attention to addressing the issues of, among others, cis, white, heterosexual men who benefit the most from the status quo, would only serve to shift attention away from the underprivileged and vulnerable. That being said, men of all groups are also victims of a cold and unsympathetic capitalist society and culture.
To label men as universal beneficiaries of patriarchal institutions is not just ignoring intersectionality (non-white, poorer, non-heterosexual and transgender men who all face their own specific forms of prejudice and discrimination), but fails to acknowledge that men can be both beneficiaries and casualties of said institutions. The dividing line is often due to intersectionality, but there are also universal injustices suffered by all men such as perpetuated myths and expectations of masculinity, burnout, alienation, and mental health, in addition to a lack of positive role models. The closer you look, the bleaker the picture is.
Unfortunately for men, mainstream conversations on men’s rights are currently dominated by a reactionary anti-feminist culture led by figures such as Jordan Peterson and Andrew Tate – the phenomenon of the ‘manosphere,’ which is about as opposed to positivity and inclusivity as you can get. Their doctrine is a poison pill which will slowly eat away at you from the inside, exploiting legitimate male insecurities and anxieties stemming from loneliness and societal pressures. This leads to nothing more than the complete annihilation of a once empathetic, intelligent, and passionate human being until all that remains is a black knot of irrational anger and self-doubt towards oneself. It is a ‘community’ hate, sex, and power are the dominant narratives, and self-worth is assessed in relation to the pursuit of the latter two goals.
Any sign of vulnerability is quashed by the traditional, hegemonic-masculine Overton-Window of a framework that falls apart the second it is held up to any scrutiny. It is a bogus ideology which seeks to compress and suffocate their followers by insisting they confine their activity and values according to a arbitrary, harmful definition of ‘masculinity,’ which seems to be mostly derived from a sociopathic value system seeking to severely curtail the gains of the feminist movement and men’s personal choices on how to live their lives. As the rise in violence amongst such communities demonstrates, people perceived as enemies to the movement are also at risk of becoming casualties. Men need a mainstream alternative to such growing toxicity, an ideology that focuses on individual flourishment rather than useless scapegoating.
We need to dispense with the illusion that men are immune from the worst excesses of a capitalist patriarchal society. We are not. But attempting to pin the blame for this on feminism or ‘woke culture’ is a monstrous lie. Men do not need to be liberated from women’s emancipation. Men need to be liberated from the injustices they face as a result of an unjust society and culture, which are often perpetuated by men themselves. Solidarity, support, and education – not tribalism – is the way forward. So on 19 November, International Men’s Day, I hope I have convinced you it is worth taking some time out of your day to educate yourself on these issues and understand why we need to eradicate the Men’s Rights movement, and replace it with a more progressive movement we can take pride in: Men’s Liberation.