Dr. Helen

What Should a Men's Movement Look Like?

That is the question a reader asked me recently and I thought I would share his email with you and see what suggestions you have:

Hello Dr. Helen. I just read your review of Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys and although I haven’t read the book, I agree 110% [I assume here he is agreeing with my viewpoint, not with Hymowitz’s book]. But what can I, as a member of the discriminated class, do about it? And how can we keep the emerging movement for male rights from simply becoming another force of sexism like what happened to the women’s rights movement? I don’t want this to turn into some cyclic war of the sexes, I just want some equality. What are some major areas where women still face sexism and what can I do about it? I really think that the key to a long-term solution could be fighting for the rights of both sexes simultaneously. But is such a “bipartisan” solution even still possible? Or do we just have to hope that the number of feminists and masculists will even out? And if we could form a movement toward true equality what would we call ourselves? Having a gender-based name for a group that is ostensibly fighting sexism is what let feminism get this corrupt in the first place – by assuming patriarchy as an inviolable axiom. We dare not repeat their mistake and simply reverse the current discrimination in the coming generations, that is why I never joined the masculist movement.

As I talked to men around the country for my book Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters, I thought about the men’s movement or the lack of one. What should a men’s movement look like? What would motivate a man to join? Currently, men seem to be opting out of the system and that may be good for individuals but probably not for society, though perhaps if society doesn’t value men, why should men care? On the other hand, if men pose no push-back on their declining rights and freedom, it could harm them as individuals and as a group further. Any ideas on what a successful men’s movement would look like are welcome.