Embrace the Men’s Rights Movement
Letter to the Editor | Friday, October 10, 2014
This is a response to Annie Kuster’s viewpoint Oct. 9 viewpoint, “A personal invitation to embrace feminism.”
I remember first hearing about Emma Watson’s UN address, initially thinking to myself this was probably just another popularity boost for the feminist movement. I was impressed to learn Watson claimed to be inviting men to participate in the gender equality movement. She discussed how her male friends at 18 were unable to express themselves emotionally and how she had witnessed her father’s role as a parent being valued less. She mentioned the suicide epidemic in the U.K., the greatest killer among men ages 20 to 49. As I read through the transcript, it finally seemed like feminism would take some interest in men’s problems. Motivated by Watson’s speech, I immediately proceeded to the HeForShe campaign’s official website (HeForShe.org), the reason Watson had given her address. There I found the HeForShe Commitment, which reinforced my initial speculation and the overarching reason for the men’s rights movement: Feminism is not interested in men’s problems.
The HeForShe Commitment states, “Gender equality is not only a women’s issue, it is a human rights issue that requires my participation. I commit to take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls.” Although Watson has spoken about how men have gender issues and their issues should be recognized, the HeForShe campaign fails to include this in its pledge. Feminism is not interested in the problems men face in today’s society, and thus I refuse to support a movement that claims to promote gender equality but in actuality is concerned with the elevation of women at the expense of men. The idea that men enjoy a privileged life in today’s American society is far from accurate. We have real problems, and it is time they be recognized.
As college men, every night we go out we must be exceptionally careful of our actions. We can do our best to try and attain consent, but from a legal standpoint, any level of intoxication is enough to void any consent we thought we had received. Laws and policies such as the April 4, 2011, “Dear Colleague” letter issued by the Office for Civil Rights, the Federal Rule of Evidence 413 and the Rape Shield Law leave college men nearly defenseless against an accusation. When convicted, a man is more often than not expelled from university and will face legal charges. He often is labeled as a sex offender — a lifelong and public punishment — and may face time in federal prison. This is the case in a world where studies, such as one by Eugene Kanin, have demonstrated that 50 percent of rape allegations could be false and have estimated that 56 percent of those false accusations are filed as some sort of alibi.
The rape epidemic is certainly not the only problem men face. Let’s not fail to mention the immense troubles our young males and boys face growing up. Collegestats.org has collected statistics on the problems facing young boys. Boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD as girls. Boys represent 70 percent of D and F students. On average, 11th-grade boys write at the same level as eighth-grade girls. Boys commit suicide at four times the rate girls do. Boys are five times more likely to end up in juvenile detention and by 2020, young men are projected to represent 41.4 percent of college enrollment, down from 57.7 percent in 1970. Despite these statistics, females enjoy women-only scholarships, gender-specific grant programs through Title IX and benefits from the Women’s Educational Equity Act.
Men’s issues don’t stop there. For the same crime under similar circumstances — robbing with knife or at gunpoint, for example — females face an 18.51 months sentence compared to 51.52 months for men on average. Women receive custody of their children in 84 percent of custody cases. Additionally, the SAVE organization estimates that 50 percent of restraining orders are given without any allegation of physical abuse and that 70 percent of all restraining orders are false. Men are nearly 80 percent of suicide victims and make up 62 percent of the homeless in the U.S.
Feminism claims to be a movement rooted in the idea of equal rights for men and women. Women say they don’t understand why more men aren’t feminists or why feminism is often viewed as an anti-man campaign. Well ladies, this is why.
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.