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Conflict between feminist advocates and the rest of us

This post was originally a comment I left in reply to an Explain It Like I'm Five post, asking the question, "ELI5: why does the issue of women's rights stir up so much anger?"
It was suggested that I post my answer to that in the Men's Rights Wiki. I looked through the listed categories and could not find a heading under which I thought the comment really fit. There are things I'm working on that might more likely belong there, but those are longer term projects. In the meantime, I'm making the comment an entry here, instead.


It isn't necessarily women's rights issues which are the area of conflict, but feminist advocacy. The two are not necessarily the same. My explanation as to why:

Feminists fail to differentiate between having a fundamental need, and having a fundamental right. The pursuit of conditions or factors to meet fundamental needs (eg., putting forth effort to obtain food and shelter) is a human right. The receipt of conditions or factors to meet fundamental needs (eg., having food and shelter provided at the expense of others) is not a fundamental right, but an act of charity on the part of the provider (as long as it's voluntary - otherwise, it's theft by the recipient, even when those things are needed.) With this misapplication of the word "right," feminists treat the condition of being given possession or position as if it were the same as the condition of having one's pursuit not be being wrongfully obstructed.

Another problem which has a side effect upon this is that feminist advocates fail to differentiate between fundamental needs, and dearly valued/wanted conveniences. Food and shelter are fundamental needs. Yummy food and nice shelter are dearly valued/wanted conveniences. Feminists go beyond claiming the right to the pursuit of fulfillment of fundamental needs to claim the right to receive dearly valued/wanted conveniences.
One outgrowth of that combination of beliefs is the sense of entitlement to enforce the provision of the fulfillment of needs or dearly held wants upon other human beings; treating as a given fact upon which society must base law and policy, "If A has a need for or dearly held want of factor 1, B must provide it," where A is the individual with whom feminism identifies itself, and B is the individual with whom feminism takes issue.

This is further modified by another fundamental flaw in the movement; Patriarchy Theory, which in short, blames upon male society all issues or conditions which feminists define as oppression of women. Patriarchy Theory makes female society group A, and male society group B.
So you have a group which labels having (as opposed to not being prevented from reasonably pursuing) that which women want or need to be a right, and asserts that as justification for demanding or taking it from men.

Now, the feminist movement has been treated as the architect and arbiter of women's rights advocacy since its inception, even though not all women subscribe to the feminist line of reasoning, much lest feminist theory. Many of us do not believe that there is systematic, institutionalized discrimination against women in first world countries. Antifeminist women do not believe in Patriarchy theory, Rape Culture theory, or even the feminist description of gender roles as male oppression of women. This leads to conflict between groups of women, who do not all hold the same sets of beliefs and values or all perceive society in the same way, over what is or should be defined as "women's rights," and advocated in the name of women in general.

Then, you have men in the western world waking up to the fact that as society has changed, and women's roles have evolved (in part through feminist advocacy, and in part due to advancements in technology and the advent of conveniences which reduce the effort which both sexes must put into simple survival,) society's expectations of men, and the legal requirements accompanying those expectations, haven't relaxed much at all.
That realization has been one of the bigger contributing factors to the growth of the men's rights movement, comprised of people who have noticed that the practical application of feminist advocacy in enforcement of male gender roles authoritative societal imposition of provision for women's wants and needs upon men - is in fact a violation of men's basic human rights, particularly the right to liberty.

In some cases this involves a direct transfer of material possessions from men to women (alimony, child support) and in some, indirect (social programs for custodial parents, funded by income taxes; free birth control for women, funded by taxes.)
In other cases this involves wrongfully obstructing men's pursuit of the fulfillment of needs and wants (preferential treatment in hiring and promotion.)
In some, it involves wrongfully unbalancing the application of policy in the justice system (infringing upon due process rights, unequal treatment in civil disputes and criminal cases, for the imposed protection of only women.)

In other words, despite decades of feminist advocacy claiming female independence and female responsibility, the practical application of feminist theory/advocacy manifests in the difference in social and legal obligations between the sexes, where men are expected to protect and provide, and women may be shielded from conditions and responsibilities which men are expected to face and embrace.
That's the base issue between those movements, before you even get to the concepts of what constitutes discrimination or oppression, and what constitutes equality. At the very bottom of every area of conflict between feminism and antifeminist women, and feminism and the MRM, is a struggle over that disagreement; the feminist belief that women have the right to demand or take what we want or need from men, and the antifeminist and MRActivist contention that no, we don't. This is the conflict which creates the big hullabaloo over pretty much any discussion on gender rights.

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