You know what I love? Curfews for men. Because I’m a feminist.

You know what I love? I love chocolate and cheese and yodeling and neutrality! I also love hanging out with people who feel that gender is a zero-sum game in which gains by women mean losses for men. So I am super sad to have missed last weekend’s anti-feminist conference in Switzerland.

Details about the event that billed itself as the world’s first men’s rights conference were kept under wrap – once organizers got word that feminists were planning to rally in protest outside, they suddenly didn’t want anyone to know where it was happening.  Only those who signed up and paid to attend, and journalists who wanted to cover the event, were told where it would be held.

Which is a shame, because I think everyone deserves to know just what these guys think of women and of feminists:

In a written statement prepared for Saturday’s meeting, [member of the Swiss-based antifeminist interest group IGAF] Andersson has drawn up five key beliefs of antifeminists: “opposing the feminist hatred of men, valuing the nuclear family, believing in the child’s rights to both its parents after a divorce or a separation, looking at the individual and not judging people by their gender, and accepting that men and women are different and counting that as assets”.

Andersson founded the Swedish father’s rights group PappaRättsGruppen after being prevented from seeing his daughter for six years after getting divorced from his wife. With support from a father’s rights group his situation has since changed and he is now able to see his 11-year-old occasionally.

But he blames “feminist” social workers for his plight. In his eyes, “feminists have hijacked the word equality” and today, “feminist stands for pure evil”. He cites radical feminist organisations who call for men to be grounded at home after 9pm or bear placards calling for “male slaughter, female supremacy”, as an example.

So he thinks feminists are pure evil, but he doesn’t want his cause to be misunderstood. Anti-feminists, while they think is evil, don’t hate women, and they don’t know why so many people seem to think that . “They believe that an antifeminist is a woman-hater. Not at all. An antifeminist is a kind of peacekeeper who wants to return things to normal. As an antifeminist I believe in true equality between a man and a woman.” (Emphasis mine).

Back to normal! You know, back to women not having rights. Back to true equality! Where a woman knew her separate, different, socially proscribed and legally enforced but totally equal place.

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13 Comments

  1. Posted November 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Good grief! No wonder his wife didn’t want him around their daughter. I wouldn’t want my kid being taught to know her “place,” either.

  2. Posted November 2, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    This is not the Feminism I know, oddly.

  3. Posted November 2, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    It seems that the point this article is trying to make is that “male-ist” groups are essentially anti-woman, as they seek a return to the status quo of the 1950s (i.e. a male-dominated society). While I agree that the former state of inequality is anything but “normal” or equitable, there are certainly cases to be made for men’s rights.

    It is well known that women are given notable deference in matters of legal custody and visitation. Men also face a number of stereotypes based on their gender that women do not. While I would not argue at this point in time that women are oppressing men (nor would I argue that the current state of affairs is even equitable), I WOULD argue that there exist legitimate reasons for men to gather and advance matters of equity concerning their gender.

    The problem I have is that most groups with a mandate to strive for equity are highly adversarial. There is little acceptance of opposition of opinion, and the very IDEA that men need to demand fair treatment is absurd. No, this is not an accusation directed at Feministing, or even at the author of this article. It is merely a reminder that “equity” implies BALANCE – those who do you wrong are not your enemies, they are the ignorant and the uneducated. An equitable society between men and women will only ever exist if both parties are in agreement about the terms of the relationship. No matter how many women are converted, unless men agree too, there will never be an equitable society.

    I’ve never seen someone change their opinion as a result of aggression and ad hominem attacks. I prefer honey (and reason) to vinegar any day.

  4. Posted November 2, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    “…accepting that men and women are different and counting that as assets.”

    A lot of anti-feminists spout this alongside father’s rights sentiments, but I can’t help but see some conflict here. If you believe in gender roles and the idea that gender stereotypes reflect behaviour ‘hard-wired’ into men and women, shouldn’t you also accept that women are naturally better nurturers and that it’s their job to look after children? Why is one of their main complaints always that women tend to get custody of their children, when they themselves support the belief that women are naturally better suited to look after children?

    Don’t get me wrong, I think that’s a bag of crap myself. I think men should indeed have access to and are well capable of caring for their kids… because I’m a feminist.

    • Posted November 2, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      A distinction may be made between the average ability of a man/woman to nurture, and the aspects of a particular custody case where the mother may not be the best caretaker for her children. Although it could be expected that females may have a more likely chance of getting child custody at base rate, a father’s rights activist may argue that discrimination against fathers may bump that number up even higher than it should be.

      Similar to the case described, a feminist may make a distinction between the average ability of a man/woman to detect gender discrimination (because of male privilege) and the differences between a single feminist man and a single anti-feminist woman.

  5. Posted November 2, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    This type of misunderstanding seems far too common. Although many feminists define themselves as for gender equality, many people who do not identify as feminist understand feminism to be focused only on rights for women. While women’s rights are still a key aspect of feminism today I think there is rising awareness of the problems strict gender roles cause across the board — for women, men and the lgtb community. Virginia Woolf got it right, when she said in “A Room of One’s Own” that if women are locked out, men are locked in.

    • Posted November 5, 2010 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Although many feminists define themselves as for gender equality, many people who do not identify as feminist understand feminism to be focused only on rights for women.

      Errm… the feminist definition of “gender equality” is one that’s primarily about rights for women. The problems that strict gender roles cause men are dealt with insofar as doing so furthers womens’ issues and propped up when doing that helps further women’s issues. (See also: “Man Up” and the fact that they’re actually widely accepted despite a name and mission that gets all its power from really problematic gender expectations that harm men a lot.)

      Not surprisingly, a lot of non-feminists don’t use that definition and talk about feminism in terms of rights for women instead of feminists’ preferred wording.

  6. Posted November 2, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    You forgot to mention that this even was announced, but after the community center that agreed to host it was vandalized they had to move it and chose not to release the information to protect their hosts. They were not being secretive until feminist fists started showing up spray painted on buildings. If you’re concerned about the secrecy perhaps you should condemn the ones who caused it to be moved in the first place.

  7. Posted November 2, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    I for one, am really bummed I missed out on this educational opportunity.

  8. Posted November 2, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    If they don’t believe in judging people by their gender, why are they so insistent that women only fulfill certain roles in life and don’t get our needs or rights? What a bunch of hypocrites.

    I wonder if any of these yahoos has ever actually researched feminism or even so much as spoken to someone who identifies as feminist? Or would that just conflict to much with the stuff they made up about it themselves?

  9. Posted November 3, 2010 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    “looking at the individual and not judging people by their gender”
    “accepting that men and women are different and counting that as assets”

    These two contradict themselves. If one believes men and women are different, then that person is already prejudging them.

    Okay, it’s not a whole lot different than Jessica’s point, but the result seems interesting.

  10. Posted November 3, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Mr. Anderson seems to never have talked to any actual feminists.

    As an aside, as I can speak only for American feminism, I think that the way conservatives paint women who want equal rights as “anti-family” in America are also polarizing and oversimplifying a complex issue.

    Like, “You think the sky is blue? You’re Against The Family!”

    Sheesh.

    Mazarine
    http://wildwomanfundraising.com

  11. Posted November 15, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Agh! What the hell is wrong with these guys? As a man, standing against injustices towards males due to the gender system is one of the reasons I’m a feminist in the first place*! I used to actually believe some of this bull they spew, until I sat down with a feminist and learned about the feminist position.

    I mean, let’s think about this. There’s a social system that views me as unnecessary to the emotional and social nurturing of children, that marginalized my emotional and psychological problems because I’m not supposed to feel emotions, that expects me to devote myself totally to this ‘public sphere’ and ignore my home life, that tells me I should be in command in any relationship I have with a woman, that pushes a ridiculous body image and an even more ridiculous social role on me.

    Is that social system feminism? Hell no. It’s patriarchy. It’s the gender system. It’s all based in the same ridiculous gender roles, the same separation into ‘private’ and ‘public’ spheres, the same abusive paradigms, that drive the oppression of women. Feminists never told me I have to be an emotionless person, and that my emotions don’t matter- feminists were the first people to tell me I wasn’t less of a man for feeling something. Feminists never told me I should be an employee first and a father or husband second- feminists are the ones who told me it was okay if I took some time to get to know my kids. Feminists aren’t the ones who told me I’m not worth a damn if I’m not in charge- feminists were the ones who taught me that sharing power and responsibility is better for us all. Feminists didn’t force me into the custody of my abusive mother- it was thanks in part to feminism that the court realized that you can’t judge by gender, and let me stay with my father. Courts before feminism wouldn’t have done that.

    Feminists are the ones who got me questioning gender roles. If a woman has the right to work, I have the right to be a father. If a woman has the right to think, I have the right to feel. If a woman has the right to speak, I have the right to listen. Never has my right to work, to think, or to speak been taken- the feminist movement has only opened doors for me.

    All I ever hear from the MRAs is anti-feminism. All just attacks on the feminists. I’ve heard more said about the actual oppression of males, the actual negative affects of the gender system on males, by feminists than by MRAs.

    As far as I’m concerned, the end of gender roles and the public-private sphere dichotomy, the end of patriarchy and mutually harmful dynamics of abuse, the end of the nuclear family and the adaptation of a greater family structure, cannot come soon enough. In the interest of both men AND women, it is my responsibility, my right, and my pleasure to hasten the day.

    * That and, while both sexes are oppressed by the gender system, they are not oppressed equally, and men DO have a social privilege. I strongly believe that anyone with unfair social privilege has a special responsibility to stand against it.

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