Masculism

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Masculism (or masculinism) refers to political, cultural, and economic movements aimed at establishing and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and participation in society for men and boys. These rights include legal equalities, such as those of conscription, child custody, alimony, and equal pay for equal work. Its concepts sometimes coincide with those of men's rights, father's rights, and men's liberation.[citation needed] Masculism strives to achieve these aims by advocating of the rights or needs of men. It can also be seen as advocating equality between men and women as a reaction against certain feminist positions.

Definition and scope[edit]

The Oxford English Dictionary regards it as: "Advocacy of the rights of men; adherence to or promotion of opinions, values, etc., regarded as typical of men; (more generally) anti-feminism, machismo."[1] Philosopher Ferrell Christensen differentiates the words "masculism" and "masculinism"; he defines the latter as promoting the attributes of manliness.[2]

Christensen differentiates between "progressive masculism" and an "extremist version". The former welcomes many of the societal changes promoted by feminists, while stating that many aimed at reducing sexism against women have had the effect of increasing it against men.[2] The latter promotes male supremacy to some degree and is generally based on a belief in women's inferiority. Nicholas Davidson, in his book The Failure of Feminism describes an extremist version of masculism which he termed "virism". Within Davidson's virism, the improvement of society requires that the influence of female values be decreased and the influence of male values increased.[2][3] From the opposing feminist perspective to philosophy, masculinism seeks to value and include only male views, and claim "that anything that cannot be reduced or translated in men's experience should be excluded from the subject-matter of philosophy."[4]

Topic areas of interest to Masculism[edit]

Circumcision[edit]

Circumcision may be considered a men's rights issue; especially in countries where male circumcision is legal but female circumcision is illegal.

Custody[edit]

Custody law is perhaps the best-known area of men's rights activism, as it is more common for the mother to obtain custody of children in case of divorce. David Benatar, head of philosophy at the University of Cape Town, argues: "When the man is the primary care-giver his chances of winning custody are lower than when the woman is the primary care-giver. Even when the case is not contested by the mother, he's still not as likely to get custody as when the woman's claim is uncontested".[5]

Education[edit]

Few masculists suggest the abolition of co-educational schooling, believing that single-sex schools are preferred for the well-being of boys.[6] Fewer studies have indicated that because boys attract more teacher attention in classrooms compared to girls, boys also receive harsher forms of punishment as well as more frequent punishment than girls for the same offenses.[7]

Employment[edit]

Data from 1994 in the U.S. reported that 94% of workplace fatalities occur to men. Masculist Warren Farrell has argued that men are often clustered in dirty, physically demanding and hazardous jobs in an unjustifiably disproportionate manner.[7] The male unemployment rate is 7% higher than the female unemployment rate.[8]

Paternity fraud[edit]

Men's and fathers' rights groups have stated that there are high levels of misattributed paternity or "paternity fraud", where men are parenting and/or supporting financially children who are not biologically their own.[9] They hold biological views of fatherhood, emphasizing the imperative of the genetic foundation of paternity rather than social aspects of fatherhood.[9][10] They state that men should not be forced to support children fathered by another man,[11] and that men are harmed because a relationship is created between a man and non-biological children while denying the children and their biological father of that experience and knowledge of their genetic history. In addition, non-biological fathers are denied the resources to have their own biological children in another relationship.[9] Men's rights activists support the use of paternity testing to reassure presumed fathers about the child's paternity;[11] men's and fathers' rights groups have called for compulsory paternity testing of all children.[9][12][13] They have campaigned vigorously in support of men who have been shown by genetic testing not to be the biological father, but who are nevertheless required to be financially responsible for them.[10] Prompted by these concerns, legislators in certain jurisdictions have supported this biological view and have passed laws providing relief from child support payments when a man is proved not to be the father.[9][10] Australian men's rights groups have opposed the recommendations of a report by the Australian Law Reform Commission and the National Health and Medical Research Council that would require the consent of both parents for paternity testing of young children,[11] and laws that would make it illegal to obtain a sample for DNA testing without the individual's consent.[14] Sociologist Michael Gilding asserts that men's rights activists have exaggerated the rate and extent of misattributed paternity, which he estimates at about 1-3%.[12][15][16] He opposed as unnecessary calls for mandatory paternity testing of all children.[12]

Suicide[edit]

Masculinists point out the high rates of suicide in men.[6]

Violence[edit]

Masculists express concern about violence against men being depicted as unsympathetic, in the media and elsewhere.[17] One prominent example addressed by the masculist men's rights movement was the Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them! controversy. In December 2003, radio host and masculist men's rights activist Glenn Sacks started a campaign against Todd Goldman's "Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them!" T-shirts, on the grounds of misandry.[18] The campaign against the line received support from several masculist groups, such as the National Coalition of Free Men, but also from groups with broader agendas, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center.[19]

Masculists also express concern about violence against men being dismissed, distorted or taken less seriously than violence against women.[6][20] They assert that there is gender asymmetry in domestic violence.[6] Another concern expressed is that assumptions of female innocence or sympathy for women may result in disproportionate penalties for women and men for similar crimes,[17] lack of sympathy for male victims in domestic violence cases, and dismissal of female-on-male sexual assault and sexual harassment cases.

Reactions[edit]

Feminism[edit]

Feminists respond to the different ideologies of masculism in different ways. Masculists who promote gender equality are often considered as a male counterpart to feminists.[21] Philosopher Ferrell Christensen states that if masculism and feminism refer to the belief that men/women are systematically discriminated against, and that this discrimination should be eliminated, there is not necessarily a conflict between feminism and masculism, and some assert that they are both.[2] However, many believe that one sex is more discriminated against, and thus use one label and reject the other.[2]

Criticisms and responses[edit]

Many masculinists are explicitly antifeminist.[6] According to Blais and Dupuis-Déri, "the contents of [masculinist] websites and the testimony of feminists that we questioned confirm that masculinists are generally critical of even moderate feminists and feminists at the head of official feminist organizations."[6] Masculinist activism has involved both disruption of events organized by feminists and lawsuits against small percentages of questionable feminist academics, journalists, or activists.[6] Extremists have engaged in "tire-slashing, the mailing of excrement-filled packages, threats against politicians and their children."[6]

See also[edit]

Men's organizations[edit]

Notable persons associated with masculism[edit]

Books[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "masculinism, n". Oxford English Dictionary Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2010-11-10. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Christensen, Ferrell (1995). Ted Honderich, ed. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-866132-0. 
  3. ^ Nicholas Davidson (1988). The failure of feminism. Prometheus Books, Publishers. pp. 274–. ISBN 978-0-87975-408-2. 
  4. ^ Nicholas Bunnin; Jiyuan Yu (15 April 2008). "Masculinism". The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy. John Wiley & Sons. p. 411. ISBN 978-0-470-99721-5. 
  5. ^ "Just who are men's rights activists?", BBC, 2 May 2012
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Melissa Blais and Francis Dupuis-Déri. "Masculinism and the Antifeminist Countermovement." Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest 11:1 (2012): 21–39.
  7. ^ a b Cathy Young (July 1994). "Man Troubles: Making Sense of the Men's Movement". Reason.  "Not to worry" there seems to imply that this conception of masculism poses a threat to women, or to the women's movement. A broader conception of the women's movement, however, recognizes that patriarchy is harmful to both men and women, and therefore that prejudice and discrimination against both genders will need to be recognized and redressed.
  8. ^ [1], Department of Numbers, Unemployment Demographics May 10, 2013
  9. ^ a b c d e Cannold, Leslie (July–August 2008). "Who's the father? Rethinking the moral 'crime' of 'paternity fraud'". Women's Studies International Forum 31 (4): 249–256. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2008.05.011. 
  10. ^ a b c Majumber, Mary Anderlik (12 September 2005). "Disestablishment Suits". In Mark A. Rothstein; Thomas H. Murray; Gregory E. Kaebnick. Genetic Ties and the Family: The Impact of Paternity Testing on Parents and Children. JHU Press. pp. 172–79. ISBN 978-0-8018-8193-0. 
  11. ^ a b c Salah, Anna (14 December 2005). "Teens may be forced to have paternity test". abc.net.au. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c Shepherd, Tory (6 June 2012). "Men flock online for 'peace of mind' paternity tests". news.com.au. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  13. ^ "Who's your daddy?". Philadelphia Daily News. 5 October 2005. ""I think the best solution is DNA testing at birth," said Glenn Sacks, a syndicated radio talk-show host who focuses on men's issues" 
  14. ^ Dayton, Leigh (12 November 2008). "Fathers 'disrupt debate on DNA'". The Australian. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  15. ^ Horrin, Adele (30 June 2005). "The myth behind paternity fraud". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  16. ^ Marinos, Sarah (2 December 2012). "What you need to know about paternity tests". Herald Sun. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1993; ISBN 0-671-79349-7).
  18. ^ Crary, D (2004-01-30). "'Stores pull "Boys Are Stupid" merchandise'". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  19. ^ Williams, D (2004-01-23). "Clothing Designer Misses Point of 'Girl Power'". Tolerance.org. 
  20. ^ iol.co.za
  21. ^ Janet M. Martin and Maryanne Borrelli, Other Elites: Women, Politics, & Power in the Executive Branch (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000; ISBN 1-55587-971-3, ISBN 978-1-55587-971-6).

External links[edit]