Last night, I stumbled on a website about the Men's Rights Movement. While I haven't swallowed the red pill quite yet, I confess they have some interesting concepts.
(warning, long personal TL;DR ahead)
This is my personal story and how it relates to the topic at hand.
As a man who grew up the son of a single lesbian feminist, I consider myself more "with it" about women's/minority/GLBT issues than the average guy. My unusual childhood instilled me with values and experiences from day one that most people can't even conceptualize. I didn't have or need a father, not even a strong male role model; my single working mother was all the strength that was provided. This unconventional upbringing offered a perspective that I parlayed into a unique type of covert advocacy. I wrapped myself in the male feminist/gay pride flags and took pride in my progressive values, surrounding myself with the GLBT community.
This value structure did not come exclusively from my mother, but from society, culture, and the people I associated with, reinforced by a media that portrayed females/GLBT as perpetually oppressed or victimized by straight male privilege and ignorance. I had heard bits and pieces OF "men's rights" here and there over the years, but the "straight white male privilege" philosophy of my childhood instruction had me dismiss it. Who needs men's rights when they already have all the power, money and influence?
But as male of the species, there have also been some innate notions I've always held deep that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I've made some observations over the years, things I noticed about our culture, media, society, legal system, and about myself, but dare not speak about them because they opposed everything I grew up with (read: indoctrinated). Much of what I have read so far speaks to things I already knew on a subconscious level but wasn't willing to admit to myself. Some of the articles and personal experiences in the blogs made my blood boil.
What sucks is that the MRM has some valid and important points, but they get lost in the overwhelming baggage that comes with it. While their position is intriguing, there's just enough tinfoil hat in it to make me skeptical. The MRM kind of reminds me of PETA and early Atheist movements: organizations that have the right idea but enjoy no credibility due to the extremism. Since there are extremists on both feminist/MRM sides, I have to balance the info with other sources.
Some of the conclusions they draw require a long stretch of reason (this is where the tinfoil hats come in). Once someone pulls out the "military industrial complex", "Marxist socialist dogma" and "Rockefeller banking conspiracy" in the feminist connection, all credibility is lost with me no matter how valid the idea behind it.
The irony here is that while blaming feminism for playing the victim card, that's exactly what the MRM is doing, too. They accuse feminists of engaging in rhetoric and personal attacks, then claim the high road as they do the same. I also noted some eerie philosophical crossover in the MRM and Childfree/VHEM movements: don't get married, don't have kids.
The punchline to all this is my personal experience while growing up. My own mother, the same woman who inculcated her own values into me, is a professed misandrist. While she would affirm equality to my face, there have been times where her words in anger betrayed her true values. Several times over the years, I overheard my own mother speak of her personal "extreme feminist agenda" much as the MRM speaks of it. Whether it was in moments of emotional abuse, psychological manipulation, or overheard conversation from another room, the idea was: Men are bad, mmmkay?
It must have blew her fucking mind to have one of the "oppressive pigs" pop out of her.
There is a reason there was no father figure in my life (a drunk-ass violent uncle doesn't count), and it took me until last year to finally realize how truly handicapped I was because of it. Through the course of my adulthood, strong male characters in my life were simultaneously seen as both an inspiration and as a threat. I would look to them for guidance and approval, but in short order I would grow to fear and resent them. That's because no matter what, I always saw them as oppressive in some form or other. This pattern led to some serious authority issues, one of many things which compromised my overarching stability in life
Granted, my entire family has more than its fair share of skeletons, leading to more issues than National Geographic. I know for a fact how these skeletons have led to mom's...ideology. I consider myself one of the "lucky" ones, making a serious, hardcore effort at breaking that cycle of dysfunction. A headshrinker could say there's a little maternal Stockholm Syndrome that helped form my early moral foundation, which led me to my current value structure, and prescribe years of expensive therapy to overcome it.
Interesting how a few hours on a website can deconstruct 39 years of hardcore feminist philosophy born of generational abuse.
I'm not exactly sure where to go from here. I'll just have to keep researching and processing, then make my value choices accordingly.
Curious to hear what others think about the MRM.