Recently there is a huge debate on whether as a Men’s Rights Activist we should believe in male supremacy over females or whether we should strive for equal rights and equality in legal and social treatment perspective. The advocates who say (and I believe in this) that true gender equality is a myth as apples and oranges can’t be compared, end up believing that either gender is superior to the other.
If we look at the feminist movement, we will see that it started as an equal rights movement and today it is the establishment of female supremacy over the male gender. It is evident in various ads, articles, news, media reports, judgments and even within our mindset. We call it misandry and it is alleged that even many MRAs including me carry misandry as we don’t believe in the supremacy of male gender, even though we believe that men have contributed more towards building the society. Feminists can have their arguments of male oppression etc. to put forth how the female role was suppressed over decades and how their contribution was ignored but that discussion is not in scope here.
To understand this issue well, we need to go back to the starting of the human race.
At the start of the human race when there was no society, the human species formed groups to survive the battle of life. They realized that the species will survive better in groups and the male gender being the stronger sex took up the role of provider and protector without there being discrimination against anyone. This system has evolved over the ages and specific gender roles were created. Both masculinists and feminists demand that this gender role as it was evolved is oppressive to their gender. But we also can’t ignore the fact that probably this was the need of the hour to survive the human race.
When I consider myself only as a man first, my gender role comes first and tells me that I don’t need women for these things –
- My existence
- Ensure my rights (men seeking women’s approval in getting rights?? Oh that is sick)
- My survival in this life etc.
But when I consider myself as a human being and want to create offsprings and live longer than my lifespan through my genes I feel that I need women.
If we apply the same logic to women and consider the feminist logic of “women need men, as fish needs bicycle” and apply to the above scenario, we find –
- Existence (men have saved them for ages from brute forces, nature, disasters etc. and continue to save selflessly. However, feminists say they don’t need men in this area too. Well we have not seen any feminists saving the mankind in Uttarakhand either.)
- Rights (they don’t men’s approval too as a human being)
- Survival in life (feminists may argue that they don’t, but the world-renowned anthropologist and evolutionary scientist Desmond Morris has shown in his documentary “The Human Sexes” and another discovery science documentary on “The Science of Sex Appeal” has shown that women still look for partners who can provide them security)
So we understand that the ‘Fish and Bicycle’ analogy is not valid even with the most empowered women. Even if we consider this to be valid, when we think of survival of the human race, we will know that women too need men to find their genes in the future generation.
If we study any species on earth and study their gender behavior we will know that women in any species chose a mate with the stronger male available to them. This strength is a physical strength (good genes) and scientists argue that it is needed for the survival of the species. So a female can find one strong male today and another stronger male tomorrow. Same can happen with a male, too. So when we think from the perspective of living animal species without the family system, laws, culture etc. we find that it is natural for the human species to be polygamous (at least for them who have the opportunity).
But when the family system was developed by the human race it was kept monogamous units of cohabitation for the sake of children. So that the children remain within a unit, feel safe and prosper in life. The parents can provide for and protect their own children as otherwise that lack of ownership may create greater danger for the offsprings. However, polygamous relations are not very rare in history or in literature.
Through the history of evolution, we find that the human race has observed that in the battle of life only the fittest (now smartest) species survive. So they understood the importance of groups and coalitions and that is how the family system was evolved. Obviously, in the evolution of family system both the genders have lost their individual gender roles and privileges as created by nature and a new role has evolved for the sake of the survival of mankind. Probably without these rules, the human species would have become extinct by now by the natural forces. Obviously, there was a compromise on both sides.
Today the masculinists claim that this gender role has been oppressive for men as all hard work and life and death situations were attributed under the responsibility of men and women enjoyed all protection and rights from the men over the ages. Women were protected by the male gender yet men were termed as oppressors. Men killed men to woo women and the same men were termed as aggressors. Masculinists claim that since men have carried out these responsibilities over the ages and survived all hardships, men should be considered as better gender or the superior gender. Also since men have built all the facilities, they should be given more facilities than women.
Feminists also have a similar argument. They claim that women are the weaker sex (we often forget that this has nothing to do with sexuality but only with physical strength) and hence claim all benefits. Now if we consider that survival of the species should be our top priority then men need to ensure that women around them are safe simply because men are physically stronger and they need women to carry their offspring. But that violates principles of men’s rights when we look at the issue only from the men’s rights perspective. This is because as a man I do not need women for my own survival.
Now to understand the concept of equality between the two genders we need to understand what we mean by this equality. If different people have a different meaning then we will have different goals and no one will achieve the same.
The gender roles as created traditionally are no longer valid today. We see a lot of overlap in roles and responsibilities today. Many couples change or take up another gender role as it has become a necessity in life. The equality (keeping in mind that apples and oranges can’t be equal) that we talk about today is in terms of legal rights and about the treatment meted out to a gender.
Today, I fight for men’s rights because men’s rights are taken away in different ways to empower women. I don’t believe that we need to take away all rights from men to ensure women are empowered. If we can consider women as human beings then we will also consider that women can be criminals too. And we only need to address the crime in a gender-neutral way and not based on gender as it exists today.
If we only see ourselves from an individual man or woman probably the logic of the hardliners will seem to be right, but when we consider ourselves as human beings first we find that a collaborative approach will be better.
I may be concerned about increasing male suicide, widespread social apathy against men etc. but I don’t want a similar situation for women tomorrow. Simply because men are committing more suicide today for biased laws and biased treatment, I can’t wish that women tomorrow should suffer the same tomorrow. That is anti-human.
We need to understand that human rights for both genders can co-exist without any conflict of interests. Today, feminism has blocked our vision to think through the right mechanism to ensure rights for the people and we have become habituated in thinking of our rights in gender-biased way. If we just start thinking from the crime perspective and human perspective and NOT from the perspective of gender we will know any extreme may be dangerous and we can’t support any.