[Disclaimer – Please note, the idea of this article is not to find fault with anyone. It is only to clear perspective for everyone fighting for a cause so that we don’t make such mistakes in future]
Recently I have written an article criticizing an event organized under the umbrella of an MRM group and some MRAs have asked me questions on that as in their view this article contradicts my earlier article “Indian Men’s Rights groups need more women activists”. MRAs commented this article is in direct conflict with my statement in my latest article – “We don’t need women’s approval for our rights”. This blog is to clarify between these two points and to show how these two are not contradictory statements.
To understand this we need to understand the prime cause and the allied causes of MRM. The reason any MRM group exists today is to ‘work for Men’s Rights and fight against misandry’. So this becomes the primary cause for any such group.
There are many allied causes that may be related to men’s causes. For example – Father’s Rights, Child Rights or the Rights of our mothers and sisters. But these are not direct causes for any MRM group and hence these can be termed as allied causes.
Any MRM group that exists today need to understand that they exist only because of the prime cause and NOT for any of the allied causes. If any of the allied causes that I have mentioned above is the prime cause for any organization to exist then that organization cannot be called a men’s rights group in the first place.
All MRM groups need to understand the concept of branding very much to understand the nuances of this issue. Any such group position their group brand as MRM group only based on the prime cause and hence they always need to position that prime cause above all the allied causes. So the group identity is not at risk. Allied causes should always remain and dealt with as allied causes so that they don’t become of primary importance.
To explain the first two statements I made on my different blogs and the statements that have created confusion in the minds of many MRAs I will take a different example.
Take for example the cause – “Street children should get free education as this is their fundamental right”.
Please note, that these children do not need my approval to get the free education they should automatically get it as a human being. If they are not having it today, that means they are deprived of it.
But it is important for these children that they get support from people like me so that their issues are looked into and they get their right easily. I need to support this cause just to show that I am a human being and nothing else.
On the contrary, if I oppose this cause that will only mean I am trying to show my inhuman face to them and I need to be arrested for that.
I hope with the above example I could clarify the point how someone’s support becomes important and at the same time approval becomes unnecessary.
Please note, simply because this cause is important to me that doesn’t mean I will promote this cause under the banner of an MRM group because this is unrelated cause to an MRM group. There may be many other such important causes that may be required for the society and if we want to support them we need to form separate groups with those objectives to fight with those issues. These issues even if important can’t be taken up solely under an MRM group.
It is also important to note that no group/person can actively support contradicting causes. For example, I can’t be an MRA and a Feminist at the same time. Because these two causes have conflicting interests. I may be either an erstwhile feminist turned into an MRA or an MRA turned into a feminist. But I can’t switch my stand every other day. This is harmful to any brand, be it a personal or an organizational brand.
Now consider my statements in two of my separate blog posts and you will know what I meant in two different situations.
When I stated that MRM movement needs more women activists, I meant more women who will talk about men’s rights and NOT about mother’s and sister’s rights. This is because I consider that as an important factor but we definitely don’t need approval from any woman to get our rights, because our rights should be an automatic phenomenon. So you know what I meant in these two different situations and these two statements are not contradictory to each other.
Now let’s consider the recent event that I have criticized.
This event showed only women talking about cruelty against mothers and sisters from a Men’s Rights podium. Now consider the following points –
- If the group proclaims that it is a Men’s Rights Group then showing any other cause other than the prime cause of MRM is completely wrong. If they need to show any other allied causes, they could have shown them AS allied cause only and NOT as the prime cause as they have shown.
- If they proclaim themselves as a group that promotes family harmony (as their tagline says) then too this program gave a completely wrong picture to the world. When they talk about family harmony how could they keep Fathers and grandfathers out of the function? Aren’t they a part of the family system? A group that promotes family values giving importance only to mothers and sisters and completely ignoring fathers and brothers is NOT acceptable from any standpoint. In a way, they have spread misandry to society by not keeping an equal number of men and women on the podium. They themselves have shown men are not important in terms of family harmony.
Now let me state how this program could have been organized –
- This program could have been organized in association with a group like “All India Mother-In-Law Protection Forum” or “All India Forgotten Women Association” banner where these organizations should have been the primary organizers and MRM group supporting it from outside as the allied cause to Men’s Rights.
- This could have been a small part of the program organized by an MRM group and talking only on men’s rights (women talk about men’s rights and NOT suffering from mothers and sisters). So that the cause is shown as allied cause to Men’s Rights or allied to the group’s cause.
One point to note is that if a group position itself as a Men’s Rights Group then in any such podium people need to talk about cruelty against fathers, brothers too and can’t have a discussion only on mothers and sisters (even when showing allied cause). Also, the podium needs to be shared equally if not more by men compared to women.
If a group proclaims itself as a family harmony group, it essentially needs to show the harmony on the podium by having a balance of men and women. By not having men on the podium means this group thinks men are NOT important in our families and that is spreading misandry in one form.