I was challenged to come up with examples of this on Twitter when I objected to some rather extremist feminist positions on the basis of egalitarianism. The argument was that feminism is in response to systematic oppression of women over centuries and that the idea of men being oppressed for being men was ludicrous. I don’t believe that to be so. I do not think women are – or ever truly have been – entirely powerless and that the society that we might see as being oppressive is so to both men and women.
Is this shifting? Yes. Is this shift even? No.
Issues where men are discriminated against and oppressed have received no redress while women’s largely have been (presuming we’re talking about the liberal west). Men have lost a lot of rights and privileges (in the non social justice meaning) but they have retained a lot of the duties, responsibilities and expectations that those rights and privileges were paid for.
If some of these seem petty to you, consider the response to many supposed feminist issues that are brought up – such as ‘No more page three’ or ‘Lose the lad’s mags’.
Many of the things that are apparently seen as being the rights and privileges of men, things to be valued and sought after, are seen by men as duties and responsibilities. Things that are expected or demanded of them.
Here’s a few ways in which men are systematically oppressed:
- Abuse Support
- Campus Culture
- Capital Punishment
- Censorship and policing via social media
- Child Support
- Combat Duty
- Custody Battles
- Domestic Violence
- Emotional expression
- Father’s Rights
- Feminisation of workspaces
- Harsher and longer sentences for crimes
- Lack of emotional support
- Media Portrayals
- Medical Services
- Online Misandry
- Paternity Fraud
- Presumed to be inherently violent and dangerous
- Public exposure when sexual allegations are brought
- Rape Victimhood and Support
- Reproductive Rights
- Schroedinger’s Rapist
- Sexual Liberation
- Sexual Performance
- Societal devaluing of non-academic male skills and contributions
- Stay-at-home Husbands
- STEM support
- Suspension of presumed innocence
- Suspicion of Paedophilia
- Tax Contributions
- Victims of Violence
- Wealth Control
- Welfare Support
- Work/Life Balance
- Workplace deaths and injuries
As an exercise for the reader I’m not going to explain these. I’m inviting you to think about how these may be problems for men, where the disparity lies and to consider whether it is fair.
No these are not things that can be addressed by feminism, which is concerned with women. No this is not ‘what about teh menz’ as a way to dismiss women’s legitimate issues, rather to point out that men have issues as well and that people should work together for genuine equality.
Yes some of these are petty and I don’t, personally, consider them to be real problems (the same as with some feminist issues) but I was trying to mirror what I see from feminism and so included them.
 – The argument is not that women are being oppressed or have been oppressed. Rather that this is also the case for men and feminism, explicitly concerned with women’s issues is not set up – or even named – to deal with these issues. Rather an equal and active ‘masculinism’ movement is needed or an egalitarian movement of humanist concern. Yet we see the attempts to get MHRA movements off the ground treated with hypocritically dismissive and sarcastic disdain by feminists who claim they are misogynistic etc. Ironically, the mirror of the very claims they so strenuously deny when they’re aimed at them.
 – Given the existence of the internet, complaining about and trying to ban the softest of softcore pornography and pin ups is like locking the stable after the horse has not only bolted, but enjoyed a long and illustrious career at another stable, won many races and retired to a paddock in the south of France with a couple of saucy mares.