This Video With Magnets Argues Men Are Much Weaker Than We Think. It Has Reddit Talking.

by
Owen Poindexter
A video posted on reddit has started a discussion over the meaning of feminism, the need for a men’s rights push, and whether our society has unfairly labeled women as victims and men as perpetrators.

Before you read any of this, watch the video above, or this won't make a whole lot of sense.

This video posted on reddit has started a discussion over the meaning of feminism, the need for a men’s rights push, and whether our society has unfairly labeled women as victims and men as perpetrators. Reddit, with its majority-male user base is often accused of having issues with women, but the discussion was refreshingly thoughtful.

First, a quick explainer on what was in the video from user PVS3 (all emphasis mine):

Honestly - before the Reddit group-think begins shouting "Neckbeard" - I think this does a good, dispassionate job of summarizing a psychological bias we have, and one which we should attempt to remedy in our society and in how we approach gender issues.

Feminists too should disagree with the notion that women are subconsciously assumed to be weak/victims as opposed to grown adults capable of taking action of their own agency, instead of reacting to the actions of others.

That second paragraph caused a stir, and spurred a conversation about what feminism is, and what feminists are like.

Wazula42: “That is not a feminist position. That has never been a feminist position. I have no idea why reddit thinks feminists think women are/should be seen as victims when the entire movement is centered around proving the opposite.”

PVS3 and Wazula42 kept at it, with PVS3 representing a more optimistic view of feminism and the men’s rights movement (MRM) and Wazula42 wishing he or she was convinced:

PVS3: “Both sides are fighting to resolve issues that come from this biased mental framework.”

Wazula42: “I'd love to believe that was true. If you believe that, good on you. I'm a feminist myself, and from my experience the MRM is all too often just gussied up anti-feminism, but I'd love to think someday we'll all be attacking the same issues from our unique perspectives.”

Celestaria makes some of the same points, and updates the notion of feminism to its more modern incarnation (as opposed to the one that came out of the women’s rights movement):

“My main issue with this is that is pits feminism against men's rights, as if the two are irreconcilable. In reality, what she's advocating is feminism. Part of third wave feminism involves looking at ways women oppress men as well as other women. Ideally, both groups would agree to work with each other, bringing two sets of voices to the fore to address the common problem of gender equlity.

Unfortunately, that's easier said than done. It seems that humans are natural categorizers and part of that means categorizing ourselves into groups. We want our own group to be better than other groups, even if it means an overall reduction in our own standard of living. So long as we're focused on the differences between men and women rather than the commonalities between the two, we're going to end up with groups that feel the need to defend themselves.”

But that’s not to say that the “original” feminism (or at least when we started to use that word) should be forgotten. There’s no denying that U.S. society was a blatant patriarchy not that long ago, as the reputably named yakityyakblah points out:

“Where I'm at with it is this. Men can be victimized, absolutely. But while it can be individually done by women, it is institutionally done by other men. For instance, spousal abuse. Yes a wife can abuse a man, this absolutely requires a more open platform and we need to change this. What is being missed though is that the legal system that creates and enforces laws is still largely helmed by men. We want to bring up those evil feminists lobbying for laws that will hurt men? Well they still need the support of men in government to pass those laws.

“What feminism and MRA need to realize is they have a common enemy. Like the middle class gets tricked into going after welfare recipients instead of the rich at the top, the white male elite of North America very easily trick the MRA into thinking feminism is somehow the cause of problems that have existed before, and only lessened after, the advent of feminism.

But that's harder to explain with magnets.”

Further down, squidgirl1 points out a gender double standard:

Very many of those issues that men face are feminist issues, however, and are affected by how society views women. A simple example is clothing - women can and do wear pants all the time, because men wear pants and that makes them strong. But men can't wear skirts or dresses because that makes them more feminine, which makes them be seen as weaker.

Logicom goes further, and wonders if there is an imbalance in discussions about feminism, and if men’s rights isn’t something that exists in isolation for 99% of the world:

“You know... while I'm here I have a question. How many of you guys have actually brought up these sorts of concerns about sexism and men in a context that doesn't involve feminism?

“I'm sure it pops up in threads in gender related subreddits but outside of those the only time I've ever seen anyone bring up how men are treated or how they're portrayed in books, movies, television shows and video games is when someone else brings up women's issues or feminism. Do you really care about these issues or are you just bringing them up out of habit to deflect away a feminist argument? “

There’s lots to chew on here and plenty more on the reddit discussion page (what’s here is a small fraction, selected for thoughtful, articulate comments). Let us know where you weigh in here, and how far you think we have come in the struggle to have a healthy and sensible relationship between men and women.

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