Meninism: Is It Really Lighthearted Humour?
by maplesyrupsucks101 on November 8, 2015 - 11:34am
In the Telegraph article cited below, Martin Daubney, in what one would hope is satire, describes and explains the rise and purpose of the “meninist” movement. The meninist movement would appear to have its origins from male feminism, as the author describes, “(…) a straight-up men’s wing of feminism; a neutered sheep in wolf’s clothing” (Daubney 1). Daubney also uses the word “tiresome” to describe how the early meninist would complain about the patriarchy and the societal problems that men have been largely responsible for. The meninist movement we know today began snowballing from Twitter, in the now widely known tag #meninisttwitter, which founder (creator of the tag) Ti Balogun described as meaning to be satirical about the unappealing way “feminists express themselves, which is a turn-off” (Daubney 1). The stance of the article isn’t all too clear, but in a good few ways this article would indeed show signs of being almost apologetic in nature, dismissing problematic behaviour and statements as “satire” and saying it came from a place that originally had good intent.
Not everyone is a Twitter user, it is indeed not the social media platform of choice for most people that use it solely for networking with friends, but nevertheless most people know of the tag #yesallwomen which had trended for a good while. The #yesallwomen tag was in essence about how not all men have done wrong to women, but yes, all women have dealt with sexual harassment or unwanted sexual attention at one point or several. Arthur Chu’s article, “Your Princess Is In Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds” describes it best, “(…) women getting groped at cons, women getting vicious insults thrown at them online, women getting stalked by creeps in college and told they should be ‘flattered’” (Chu 1). This was a brave and honest move from women worldwide, highlighting their unique yet common experience as a woman, and how did men react? While many men agreed and supported this awareness move and agreed that the women in their life indeed suffer a great injustice, the #meninisttwitter tag had, in many peoples opinions gone too far. Mocking the #yesallwomen tag and firing off tweets about perceived female privilege, and “satirically” positioning the man in the seat of the oppressed party, in a blatant role reversal, #meninisttwitter belittled this step taken by women who wanted a voice, in the same way people mock a person into silence when an unpopular opinion is expressed. Daubney has missed a very valid point in the very same way Kylie Jenner’s Instagram followers insisted her “eskimo” costume wasn’t cultural appropriation. In saying “Some tweets jab fun at double standards,” (Daubney 1) the author is not addressing the fact that the use of these double standards is used to downplay the female experience and the many more double standards females face. Daubney explains of course that the “light-hearted” #meninisttwitter tag had been “heated up” by more “serious” tags such as #yesallmen and #womenagainstfeminism (Daubney 1). These tags are indeed more serious, violently opposing feminism, occasionally encouraging violence against women, and yet Daubney goes on to say, “But sadly, every movement has its (…) loons and if you were to dismiss an entire “thing” on the basis of the outrageous comments of a few fringe lunatics, feminism would be redundant too” (Daubney 1). So then we have an article outlining the rise of Meninism on Twitter and how it is a mockery and criticism of feminism, that definitely contains lunatic comments, but that under all that is a positive movement that talks about important things such as male suicide and violence against men, and that we ought to not discount it just because of some “bad taste jokes”. If you do take a good look at such tags, and most popular Twitter user @meninisttweet, you will see none of this.
In conclusion, Daubney’s article did do a good job in explaining the Twitter movement and what it entails as well as a brief mention of parallel feminist tag #yesallwomen, but where Daubney fails is that he does what is all too common when discussions about male wrongdoing arise, an apologetic tone. In almost “boys will be boys” fashion, he simply boils it down to Meninism being a positive movement all about the health and well being of men that has been tragically high jacked by a few fringe lunatics but shouldn’t be dismissed solely for that. It may be true that many groups address the health of men and their unique struggle as men having to adapt to the 21st century, but #meninisttwitter is definitely not one of them. It is not simply having a healthy conversation about the “serious needs of modern men while having a laugh”; it is having a laugh at the unique struggle of women, which women have fought hard for awareness about. It’s not something to be taken so lightly, and this article does just that.
Chu, Arthur. “Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds.” The Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast, 27 May 2014. Web. 08 Nov. 2015. <http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/27/your-princess-is-in-ano....
Daubney, Martin. “Will 2015 Be the Year of Meninism?” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 24 Dec. 2014. Web. 08 Nov. 2015. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11308455/Will-2015-be-the-ye....