What Is The Deal With The ‘Meninist’ Movement?

Feminism is pretty trendy these days. Celebrities, male and female, are publicly declaring themselves feminists, and anyone who claims to not be a feminist is shamed in the media until they retract their statement, and say they “just didn’t understand” what being a feminist meant. But anything that is trendy will inevitably lead to not only haters (TIME Magazine, we’re looking at you), but parodies.

Enter the Meninist. That’s right, men were feeling so left out of the feminism movement, that they decided men’s rights should get a little attention too. Which isn’t exactly a bad idea, but wasn’t the point of feminism to bring awareness to the fact that women’s rights were often seen as less important than men’s? There those men go stealing the spotlight again.

Meninism started out as a joke, but has evolved into a way for people to critique feminism by applying it to men instead of women. For example, why is it okay for women to ask a guy how tall he is, but it is not okay for men to ask a woman’s weight? One tweet from Twitter account @Meninism puts it bluntly: “My under 6 foot brother needs love just as much as your fat friend”. You have a point there, meninists.

Men aren’t the only ones who objectify, judge, and ridicule based on appearance. Women are just as guilty. Just look at movies like Magic Mike, Calvin Klein underwear campaigns, and obsession with stories like the “Hot Felon” (the criminal whose mug shot went viral because he was considered “dreamy”, if case you didn’t know). We are all capable of reducing someone to nothing more than their sex appeal, and the meninists have taken it upon themselves to point that out. I guess in that way men and women really are equal.

The problem #meninst has run into on Twitter is that not everyone is using it to air genuine grievances, and legitimate, thought out problems they have with feminism. There are people who are using the hashtag to mock issues like abortion, rape, and domestic violence. For some reason anti-feminists seem to think that feminists believe these issues don’t affect men too, which is not the case at all. Feminists are working to make sure both men and women are treated equally, because rape, and domestic violence doesn’t just happen to one gender. It happens to everyone.

Men are raped just as often as women, which is a fact that meninists love to point out. But what they don’t mention is the reaction society often has towards men who admit they were raped. There are people who congratulate a man for being raped by a woman, and wonder why they would complain about it. There is also the stigma attached to a man who is raped by another man that makes it very hard for male rape victims to come forward. Meninists want to bring awareness to the fact that rape isn’t only a woman’s issue, yet they are doing nothing to change society’s view on male rape victims.

Feminism has become more and more prominent, but that has also meant that people who don’t know what it really means to be a feminist are stepping up to criticize it. The meninist hashtag has attracted guys who wonder why women can’t ask them out, why women can’t open doors for them, and why women can’t pay for dates. What these people don’t seem to get is that feminists are asking the same questions. Feminists have been fighting to be seen as equal to men for years, and yet they somehow ended up with the stereotype of “man-haters”. Why has wanting to be seen as equal somehow been twisted into wanting to be seen as “better”?

Meninism may have started as a way to mock feminism, but is has ended up revealing all the ways in which these people just don’t get it, and maybe that’s a good thing. They are the ones that end up looking dumb, and Twitter can sometimes be the perfect place to find out what people really think. Meninists are clearly the type that feel a lot braver when they are behind a computer screen simply following the crowd down the rabbit hole of a trendy hashtag. Some of them are bound to realize their ignorance and join the rest of us over here in the land of common sense.

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