“Meninism is a mockery of feminism and proves that we can’t request equality without white men making everything about themselves.” -urbandictionary.com
Disclaimer: I don’t believe in meninism which trash-talks feminist issues or disregards women’ struggles. I do not support meninism which portrays women as whiney hormone-driven beings who are simply making a noise for the sake of it. Nor do I support meninism which is antagonistic for the mere fact that it is frustrated by male-bashing feminists. Equally, I do not support meninism which jumps the queue and says “we matter too” before feminists can even get their points across or that which screams “our issue are more important”.
What is the point of launching a meninist campaign if not to overshadow feminism, most people ask. Now as a young woman, I cannot claim to be a spokesperson for the meninist campaign as one who is directly impacted by such related issues. I can only listen to their (legitimate) concerns and sympathise with them. I, as a woman, cannot claim to advocate only for the meninist issues I deem legitimate, just as feminists do not need men to tell them what causes are worth protesting about, because they, the women, experience these problems, not men.
I like to think of myself as an egalitarian. Feminism is meant to be a reinforcing arm of egalitarianism and that’s where I think a lot of spiteful meninists get it wrong. Feminism is not meant to depict women as superior to men or entitled to affirmative action which directly oppresses men by making them a means to an end – in this instance, restoring justice to women. Sure, our world needs a lot of readjusting and it is not going to be all that comfortable for men, so they need to be prepared for that discomfort and “woman-up”. I do believe that there are terrible injustices that men are subjected to, perhaps not as severe as those of women – and I say this with great apprehension.
True there are meninists who are simply retaliating to the attacks on men by so-called feminists or simply angry feminists. On this topic, I have two responses. Fisrtly, There are feminists who go the extra mile and end up sounding like haters of all men, which would explain why men get offended. Generalisations about people based on individual (or more) experiences usually get people on the defensive regardless of whether they are men or not. For example people get uncomfortable if upon seeing a black female yelling across the road at a friend, a white female were to mutter “Gosh, black people.” Similarly if a woman sees a rape headline and yells, “Freaking men and their dog-like tendencies!” men are bound to react negatively and yes, perhaps we feminists will point out that “this isn’t about you and you being offended – were you raped?!” And we’ll feel justified in behaving this way. But for the man who sympathises with feminists this is yet another, “You’re a part of the problem. We don’t need men so go drink a beer and go dominate elsewhere,” kind of reaction which only further alienates men from the cause.
Secondly, there are feminists who are simply angry. Their concern is not to be deliberately hateful to men or to avenge the injustices of women all over the world by stepping on as many toes as possible. When I come across this kind of feminist, I usually tell myself “but they have every reason and right to be angry”. And while anger can be a great fuel for revolutionary causes, I do not believe however, that anger is always beneficial. Many feminists will disagree with me here and that’s cool, Biko and Sobukwe were different and so was Martin Luther King from Newton and Seale, although they shared the same concerns and causes. Do I suppose that meninists tell these women to keep calm and give them peaceful protesting tips as opposed to retaliating, then? No, because that only generates more bitterness.
So what is it that I think about meninists? Are they simply “oppressed” white guys that think feminism is a threat to their masculinity? I think there certainly are meninists of this sort but not all of them are and I do not believe that this is the attitude on which the campaign was founded. I believe it was founded by people who recognised this as a crucial time of social transformation with more people standing up for their muted causes to be heard and did not want to be left out.
And lastly, to answer this question, “If a female wears a meninist shirt, what are her morals as a woman? Does she know what she’s representing..?” I say yes. I do not speak for all women-meninists but I would be representing the notion of allowing all people to stand for their cause – not just a single group. I believe in egalitarianism which means, all are equal; all voices are equal and all experiences are valid.
We all NEED meninism to stand up against the warped definitions and features of manhood, fragile masculinity because these fundamental problems are some of the root causes of this obsession to subjugate women to compensate for what’s lacking in themselves.