I Am Not A Weapon is the new blog founded to “look at gendered issues from a male, pro-feminist perspective.” Founder Mike Meginnis has two posts (here and here) at his own blog, explaining the purpose of this project. I want to explain why I think this is very important.
Men have a self-interest in feminism. Patriarchy robs us of meaningful relationships with our partners and children. It turns us into tools of war, of capitalism, of environmental holocaust. All the evils in this world intersect with and are reinforced by the doctrine of male supremacy that has been dominant since the demise of the ancient egalitarian civilizations.
Men’s Rights Activists ignore this reality and work to protect men’s social position by fighting feminists. This is understandable since the benefits of privilege are concrete and those of equality more abstract. However, it’s incredibly short-sighted and incredibly destructive to accept thirty pieces of silver to put down your sisters, mothers, daughters.
Sadly, it’s a bargain that scores of men will continue to make as long as they think of feminism as “helping women.” Activism as charity is paternalistic and continues the very marginalization of women that needs to stop. Moreover, its counterproductive. I think (without evidence) that men who come to feminism from a place of guilt over the scorched earth policies of our gender relapse at high rates. They’re driven by a fleeting emotion, which fades once they decide that being A Nice Guy is just too hard. Some rationalize abandoning the cause by deciding that those mean feminists were exploiting them (because they were just too nice), and join the ranks of MRAs.
Certainly feminist groups shouldn’t design themselves around the needs of delicate men. But some pro-feminist men’s groups should — by conceptualized feminism as in the self-interest of men and promoting it as a solution to men’s problems. This will reduce the recidivism of patriarchs and popularize feminism among men.
I realize there are ways in which this approach is problematic, since you’re partially accepting the patriarchal frame wherein men’s interests are the only one’s that count. Unfortunately, in this case the frame that needs to be challenged is heavily internalized, possibly even biological: People, especially men, care about themselves most. Arguing explicitly against their interests is a non-starter.
So: Men need to talk about feminism. They need to talk about what gender equality means for them. They need to fight for an end to male supremacy. They need to demolish the so-called Men’s Rights Movement. They need to be fuller partners with the feminist movement. That’s why I think I Am Not A Weapon is a wonderful idea.