Feminists: man-hating, hairy-legged banshees, or anti-patriarchal, equality-seeking activists? Do they even have a purpose now when some think gender-equality has been achieved?
These questions are contentious in today’s society, where so many different perspectives clash. This clash recently came to light in response to my article “MRAs Misunderstand Feminism,” which appeared in last week’s issue of The Gateway.
I decided to write an opinion article on Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) after coming across a particularly disturbing blog post on the Return of Kings, a “masculine men’s blog.” The post relegated successful women to objects of scrutiny and disgust based on their looks. The women featured were, of course, all passionate feminists.
My article shifted the focus from the Return of Kings’ post to the Men’s Rights Movement, a camp which fights for awareness and change in men’s issues. Though they might seem unconnected at first, they both share strident anti-feminist stances.
Feminism, it turns out, is a topic you should only write about if you’re prepared to take some serious backlash, especially if it includes a pro-feminist stance.
Within days of the article’s publication, the internet seemed to explode: my name, The Gateway’s moniker, and shreds of my article appeared on Maclean’s On Campus, Reddit, and even on the Return of King’s Twitter feed. In less than a week, the article has been viewed nearly 6,000 times.
While I admit it’s been exciting having so many people read my article and pay attention to my opinion, I wasn’t expecting the vocal response from our readers. They’ve ranged from support to hate mail to accusations of bias and misandry. No surprise, as feminism is a trigger switch for backlash, especially on the internet where an idea can snowball so quickly. Everyone seems to have an opinion on it, or at the very least, have a bone to pick with others who do.
But why does feminism manage to get people so riled up? In my mind, it comes down to the human tendency to be defensive of our behavior. No one wants to be singled out for their mistakes or be proved wrong. When feminism made it its motto to counter traditional habits and views, it provoked a response for those who felt targeted. And today, when the goals of feminists aren’t as straightforward as things like suffrage, the controversy is that much more magnified.
While much of the response to my article has been negative, I like to think that writing it helped initiate an important dialogue. Indeed, discussing a hotly debated topic and recognizing both sides of the argument is one of the most important ways to progress as a society.
MRAs misunderstand feminism
The remnants of chivalry still linger today, especially in the dating world.