After the backlash from the release of the controversial song ‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke in March last year, a new voice seemed to arise- the voice of the ‘meninist’.
On the sixteenth of December last year, #meninisttwitter trended in the US, originally started by men who supported feminist liberation groups. However, the trend was soon high-jacked by men who wished to create a reaction movement to feminism, and since then countless meninist blogs have been created to define what ‘meninism’ should represent.
Unfortunately, this new movement seems to be a hateful reaction to feminism, where misogynists can complain about the changing role of men in the world. There are continuous misunderstandings repeated about feminists, such as claims that feminists wish to create a ‘matriarchal society’ where all men are inferior. These claims by people who have never even tried to understand feminism, and seem to listen to ridiculous myths spread by others, are categorically untrue. Feminism has never been about subjugating men, but about removing societies subjugation towards women. Feminism is about breaking the metaphorical ‘glass ceiling’ that women face when starting careers, not creating new ones for men.
One blogger even describes meninism as “a reaction not so much to feminism, but to its bastard offspring, that is a feminized male populace, that in its effort to accommodate the desires of women has lost its own identity and has gone too far in its efforts to please.” Since when was male identity solely based on masculinity? I suppose that meninists therefore feel that men should return to the unemotional, homophobic and patriarchal figures of the Victorian era. Such attitudes about male masculinity is what led to many soldiers in WWI suffering without any treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, or ‘shell-shock’, as sufferers were considered cowards and un-masculine.
The ‘modern man’, which I’m sure meninist bloggers would love to complain about, is at least someone who can be whatever he chooses to be. He is not someone who has to live up to preconceived ideas of manly behaviour that, quite frankly, belong in the 1950s.
Thankfully this new ‘liberation’ movement, if you can even consider it that, is currently confined to twitter trolls and online bloggers’ petty complaints and nostalgia over the good old misogynistic days. For meninism to have a place, which I think to a certain extent it does, it needs to focus itself on real issues that face men today. Issues such as child-care rights during divorce proceedings and more awareness and acknowledgement of men in abusive relationships. If current definitions of meninism stay as a hostile reaction to feminism, then it should continue to have no place in popular concepts of male gender issues and not be taken seriously.