While I find this amusing and it is probably more accurate than I care to really think about, the MRA (Men’s Rights Activists) do have a few valid points but are unfortunately as a whole they are being judged by the most extremist members. Caricatures like this cartoon are valuable in lampooning arguments based on irrational biases, but they do not contribute to the overall discussion. For example, the legal system is incredibly biased towards women when it comes to divorce, child custody, and adoption laws reflecting a (slowly changing?) attitude in society that a mother is “more of a parent” than a father. Issues of male-on-male sexual violence, even child sexual abuse, are not as frequently discussed or given as much attention from social services or advocacy groups. These activists have a point when they say that the current requirement for men to register for selective service is discriminatory. Boys appear to be falling behind in academic achievement, and we as a society should be examining this phenomenon to find out if there are systemic issues with the way we are educating males.
One of the biggest issues, in my opinion, relates to abortion. While I firmly believe that the decision to get an abortion falls solely within the woman’s rights as the owner of the uterus, the fact is that the father should have some rights as well and navigating this issue when the two parents disagree regarding the proper course of action is incredibly complex. It is unfair for the male if the female wants to have an abortion but he wants the child – perhaps some sort of compensation for the woman during the pregnancy and then upon birth she gives up all rights to the child? It is also unfair for the male if he does not want the child but she does – in that case, I believe the only fair course of action is for the woman to be forced to waive all rights to child support or other paternity claims in return for the father giving up all rights to the child. The current system (where the men are responsible for supporting the child whether they wanted it or not) is incredibly unfair and the repercussions are almost always going to be negative. Unfortunately, this issue was already addressed in a 2006 court case and it will probably be a long time before the issue is revisited.
As a feminist, I argue vociferously against all the ways I see women being discriminated against or treated unequally, but in an absolute sense, women and society need to realize that if we are going to fight for equality it has to be in all ways, not just the places where we want it. If we want the right to serve in combat roles, we have to be ready to accept being conscripted. If we want to solely own the right to have or not have a child, we should give men the right of deciding whether or not they want to support it. You can’t demand equal treatment at work and then get angry if a man doesn’t open the door for you.
As for the small minority of MRA that this video is lampooning…grow up already.