THE BLOG

Comments of an MRA

20/08/2014 15:08 BST | Updated 20/10/2014 10:59 BST

The comments section of any online newspaper, group or forum is something that I am drawn to when I read an article or piece that interests me. Because it is the internet people tend to say exactly what think, without recourse or fear that the people they know in real life would find out what they truly believe. This opens up a pass to be completely honest which has both its up and downsides.

Firstly, you have the serious commenter, either wishing to discuss points with others, or simply to say what they think and leave. Then there are the trolls, there only to antagonise others. They need little explanation.

Lately though I have come across a third variety, the hostile MRA. Being a feminist, I like to read a good portion of articles relating to women's rights. What I have come to notice lurking in the comment section repeatedly are men who are not there to discuss the article but instead want to turn the conversation into something about them, often not even relevant to the thread.

I believe in men's rights. I believe for example that domestic violence against men is something that needs to be publicised, not dismissed and ridiculed. ManKind recently did an excellent video that showed differing people's reactions to violence against first a woman and then a man.

Subjects like domestic violence against men, male rape and circumcision are all important issues. No one is denying that. These issues should not be swept under the carpet and ignored but by trying to turn every article and conversation into "But what about what happens to men", it comes across a little like a child stamping their feet when they are not getting attention.

You cannot in one breath tell women they should wear more clothes if they do not want to be accosted, ask them how much they had to drink if they are raped and accuse them all of misandry, and in the next then ask those same women why they don't talk more about/support the rights of men.

The terms "Feminazi" is used quite a lot. The Nazis murdered 6 million Jews in the Second World War. A feminist asking for equal rights hardly equates to the same and I think it is despicable to use the term in this way.

One question I often see asked is why women have to be feminists, why cannot they be humanists, supporting the right of both sexes. As the world stands, both in the developed and in the developing countries we still live in a patriarchal society where the rules and regulations have been created by, and favour men. Until both sexes are treated equally by society, there will always be a need for feminism. That does not mean that I as a feminist do not support men rights, but as a woman it makes sense that women are my focus.

A good example of what I am talking about came about when I saw a thread on the Women's Rights News Group on Facebook, which was discussing if an employer had the right to tell women to put on makeup in the workplace. Very quickly, comments appeared trying to spin the conversation into how men are expected to be clean-shaven.

Society tells women that we should wear make-up and keep our legs and underarms shaved (if we had the ability to grow a beard undoubtedly we would be asked to shave that off too). We should dress in a way society deems appropriate, (nothing too revealing as then you are asking for it), weigh no more than a certain amount and act in a way that society deems we should. This is the reason why issues such as required make-up at work are raised.

If as a man, you do not want to shave your face, do not; and if asked to do so, complain and raise issue but please, use your own pages; there is a Men's Rights News Group after all.

The people who write these comments are passionate in what they believe. What I cannot fathom however is why; if you have so much to say, can you not create your own platform, write your own articles; raise awareness yourself and through likeminded groups?

There are so many to choose from where men's rights have a forum that enabled and promotes discussion in detail. Commandeering threads does not promote men's rights in a favourable light and nor does it ever resolve any issues.

If we are ever to reach a humanist society can we not at least start by treating each other with respect?