Monday, January 18, 2010

Gender Non-specific Action vs Gender Equality

Several organizations have highlighted the unique challenges girls and women face in natural disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti. This has resulted in a backlash from Men's Rights Activists (MRAs) who declare that this neglects boys and men and they demand a gender neutral response. Girls and women shouldn't get special treatment.

Robert Franklin writes in Men's News Daily:
All that is simple enough, but it makes up little of what Clark-Flory is arguing for. From start to finish, her argument is this: women are special people and they need special help in this crisis. It's a classic case of "World Ends Tomorrow; Women Most Affected."

Therefore, according to Clark-Flory, "women in general will be in need of 'hygiene supplies..." Men and boys apparently will not need those things. And "women often require special care and resources post disaster." Men and boys don't need those things either. Is that because men and boys are supermen who don't need help? Or is it because they're less deserving of it than are women and girls?
Franklin is so caught up in his fervor that he is demanding tampons and related supplies for all boys and men and declaring that the only possible reason they aren't getting them is that some people view boys and men as less worthy.

In this case we can easily see the absurdity of this argument. It is clearly not anti-male to remember to provide feminine hygiene products to girls and women. It should be just as clear that providing for the needs of those who are pregnant isn't anti-male. Yet in MRA-think it is. Girls and women's basic and specific needs should be neglected in the name of gender neutrality. Not only should they be neglected this neglect must be called equality.

This demand for equal resources is selective. MRAs often oppose equal resources and equal responses when the current system gives more to boys and men and directly neglects or harms girls and women. Every example of MRA gender fairness that I've seen supports boys and men always getting the same or more than girls and women. The fact that this MRA "fairness" standard systematically supports unfairness for girls and women is something they don't want to be accountable for.

A term I read recently from an MRA was "gender sensitive" which positioned everything positive for girls and women which didn't have an equal or greater positive for boys and men as wrong. Being gender sensitive must be avoided at all costs.

Yet when MRAs demand a return of the corroboration requirement for rape and abuse cases they are seeking a gender sensitive change and they usually state clearly that they are advocating on behalf of innocent boys and men and usually refer to all those who file fraudulent police reports as female. "Women lie."

People of all demographics lie and people of all demographics tell the truth. Yet MRAs attempt to make true and false testimony gendered. Even wrongfully accused and wrongfully convicted get gendered by overlooking the reality that girls and women have been wrongfully accused and wrongfully convicted.

What was bad: "gender sensitive" is now imperative.

They will say that it is imperative because boys and men's welfare is at stake while ignoring that the corroboration requirement puts girls and women's safety in greater peril by assuming all rape victims to be guilty of committing a crime unless or until they can prove themselves innocent. If one woman lied then all women must be treated as liars who are guilty of a crime equal to rape until they prove their innocence. No due process rights are required for these alleged criminals.

MRAs scream, "injustice," if they even think someone is suggesting that the criminal actions of one man should cause all men to be treated as they are just as guilty until they prove their innocence. Yet according to many MRAs this horrible injustice must be guaranteed when the genders are reversed.

If the corroboration requirement is valid then it must be valid for all crimes since anyone can falsely claim to be a crime victim. Since MRAs are not demanding an across the board change they are seeking special treatment for boys and men accused of rape and abuse.

But since many MRAs claim special treatment is wrong when those helped are female they need a way to avoid looking like sexist hypocrites. The MRA solution is to claim the corroboration requirement isn't special treatment because the revised statutes they want wouldn't mention gender.

However, the selection of which statutes to modify with a corroboration requirement and which to leave alone does the gender specification for them. No corroboration requirement has been demanded to protect the innocent accused of filing a false police report from mistaken, incompetent or bigoted investigators and a criminal who falsely claims to be the true victim.

The marital rape exceptions which were in most criminal statutes for hundreds of years violated women's basic human right not to be raped and gave husbands the special right to legally rape their wives. According to MRA arguments used elsewhere all MRAs should have been rushing to eliminate the marriage exception. Yet they weren't and when I read MRAs discussing this topic they generally want the exception reinstated. To protect the innocent of course.

In every example I've seen MRAs demand for gender neutrality appears and disappears in a gender motivated manner. They've even gendered innocent in order to excuse actions which undeniably harm innocent girls and women and which directly help guilty boys and men.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:14 AM   6 comments links to this post


At January 18, 2010 8:01 PM, Blogger Ethereal Highway said...

Providing appropriate aid to pregnant women DOES support boys and men. Some of the fetuses are boys and they have all certainly been fathered by men. I think some people lose sight of the big picture.

At January 19, 2010 12:38 AM, Anonymous m Andrea said...

Ethereal Highway, the idea that some fetuses are male is one of the reasons why MRA's are opposed to abortion. :/

Seriously, no matter how reasonable the arguments of feminists, we have to take into account that misogynists are utterly irrational. Logic only works up to a point, and then their brain flies out the window.

At January 19, 2010 11:17 AM, Anonymous Melissa said...

Ugh! What disgusting human being. He's using this terrible tragedy to go on his soapbox.

At February 06, 2010 11:52 PM, Blogger Ethereal Highway said...

Marcella, look at this:

(It's a very illuminating and horrific news article about the plight of women and children in Haiti.)

At February 14, 2010 3:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

current system gives more to boys and men and directly neglects or harms girls and women.

So you are saying that runnign water, sanitation, houses, food on shelves, police/security, education, THE CLOTHES ON YOUR BACK..... everything, everything around you that is the product of men is directly NEGLECTING OR HARMING GIRLS AND WOMEN! This whole "system" around you that is sustaining prosperous life is neglecting or harming women?

You are insane.

At February 14, 2010 9:02 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


It is interesting that you use "the product of men" to falsely remove women from the production of running water, sanitation, houses, food on the shelves, police/security, education, the clothes on your back, and everything around you that sustains prosperous life.

I won't call you insane for wanting to give men credit for everything you value, but you have chosen to distort reality. That distortion includes your decision to ommit a key part of the quoted sentence I wrote in order to distort the meaning of that sentence. What you left out is my claim that MRAs often oppose equal resources when more is given to boys and men and when a system neglects or harms girls and women. In case you need it spelled out, that is not the same as saying everything favors boys and men and everything neglects or harms girls and women.

Twisting reality and then twisting my words and then calling me insane just makes you look like a foolish bigot.


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