14. It expanded the definition of hate crimes to include all identities.
This really isn’t a benefit to men, but a political move to gain support from politically charged groups, and while the legislation has been expanded to include many interest groups, it doesn’t include all identities. Groups that social justice warriors don’t find politically useful are not protected under the law.
15. It helped shatter stereotypes about HIV/AIDS patients.
Once again we see the writer giving feminism credit for another group’s achievements. In this case, she’s co-opting activism which was begun and fervently pursued by physicians who encountered the syndrome, their patients, and patients’ loved ones. Aids activism coalitions were largely composed of gay and lesbian activists during their early years, and it has been the GLBT community which has put the greatest effort into shattering those stereotypes.
Further, while Princess Diana was unarguably a famous woman, the author does not show justification for portraying her as representative of feminism, or crediting feminism for anything she achieved. In fact, it’s rather amusing to see that a writer seeking an example of an icon of feminist accomplishment had to settle on a woman whose voice was heard only because she was born into aristocracy, and married into royalty, and whose activism was part of the standard wife-of-a-political-figure role. What’s the matter, Ms. Plank… couldn’t find a stronger, more independent woman?
16. It ensured that men get the vital reproductive health services.
According to their 2012/2013 annual report, 0.1% of contraception services provided by Planned Parenthood were for men. Other services listed which include men in the listing don’t even have numbers divided to allow the reader to see the ratio of male to female recipients. It would take men being fully half of the recipients of those services to even make male services 20% of what Planned Parenthood provides, and that would be a huge jump from their 0.1% representation among contraception services.
Further, that the organization offers some services to men does not translate into being the factor that ensures men receive those services. To demonstrate that, the writer would have to prove a lack in services before Planned Parenthood began offering them, and a significant increase in access because of that offering. Showing that their own clientele has increased isn’t a measure of that. If you have 5 clients, and 5 more begin using your clinic, your clientele still doesn’t represent a significant portion of a large population, nor does the change indicate new patients rather than patients coming from other clinics, but it has just doubled.
The main difference between Planned Parenthood and other organizations that receive title X funding is that other centers advertise themselves as health organizations, not women’s health organizations, and feminists have made use of that difference. The lack of “especially for women” instead of “for everyone” has been translated into a claim that women don’t have access to reproductive health services. That, in turn, is used as a persuasive argument in favor of government funding for women-focused services, the inclusiveness of which Ms. Plank is using as her argument that Planned Parenthood benefits men. If you only put the last cookie on a tray you already said was full, you don’t get to take credit for preparing the platter.
17. It built a more inclusive world, one feminist celebrity at a time.
Step 1: Create underpants.
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Feminism helps men, too!
Let’s be real for a moment: Beyonce’s underwear is not about changing the world, but is instead a response to changes in the world. She has capitalized on the growing realization that gay relationships are relationships, and the fact that gay people spend money, too. This is not an example of feminism building an inclusive world, but an example of a woman who was hesitant to wear the feminist label choosing to capitalize on the GLBT movement’s success at establishing itself as a seller’s market.
18. It protected men’s precious marbles during sports.
First: the author once again conflates women with feminism, without evidence that feminism contributed to the particular female contribution listed. But wait. There’s more!
Grasping at straws is bad enough; in this example, Ms. Plank was grasping at thin air and proclaiming it a handful of gold.
19. It made men’s lives better and happier.
Yet again we see a claim that relies on falsely crediting feminism with pushing women into the work force, a supposition already debunked earlier in this post. Beyond that, the claim relies on presuming that if two factors exist together, one must have caused the other, even in an environment where other factors have impact. The many advances in technology, changes in labor methods, and increased availability of entertainment all come to mind.
On the other hand, feminism has made many men’s lives more miserable with successful lobbying for discriminatory family and criminal law which allow women to use the court system as a tool of spousal abuse.
20. It demanded that the media change its representation of men.
This is not an example of feminism benefiting men, but instead running them down. Feminists could have acknowledged that some of society’s expectations of men and boys can put them under unreasonable pressure. They could have talked about men and boys having the right to refuse to be shamed for being human. Instead, they decided to use the issue of pressures faced by both sexes to shame boys and men for being male by labeling dysfunction “masculine” and calling masculinity toxic. It does not benefit feminism to acknowledge male vulnerability without condemning men and boys in the process. In engaging in these campaigns, feminist activists have not freed men and boys from the constraints of gender roles. They’ve simply invented and attempted to enforce new ones that can be used to pressure them into subordination.
21. It fought for men’s right to become nurses and teachers.
In Nursing, it can be accounted for by the military imposing roles; men were soldiers, and women were nurses, because the military could not get away with sending women to die in battle. Rather than a result of discrimination against women, the influx of women into the nursing profession is a direct result of male disposability, or society placing higher value on women’s lives. While women’s contribution to the war effort was valuable and needed, their displacement of men from military nursing changed the medical work force in the U.S. Increased male interest in nursing isn’t something new, but a natural return to a previously existing pattern.
In education, the problem can be traced to feminist rape hysteria which has led to an overall environment which empowers false accusation against men, and teachers are no exception. Education isn’t just an area where feminists have not helped promote male involvement. It’s an area where feminism is at fault for men’s hesitation to be involved.
22. It encouraged men to rethink outdated masculinity standards.
This is feminism’s use of selective reporting on domestic violence to justify slandering men as perpetrators waiting to happen. Not only is that not a benefit to men, it’s been used to deny services to male victims of domestic violence and treated as an excuse to support false allegations. Feminists infer guilt for the actions of a few men and women onto all men and only men, with the thought-terminating cliché “privilege” thrown in to ward off any expectation that men’s vulnerability might also deserve consideration.
No, it’s not an improvement.
It’s an abuse.
23. It pushed for immigration reform to help countless American families.
This is a political message presented as a benefit to men. It involves pushing an agenda for the purported benefit of some men and many women over the objections of many men and women, including some within the group the message supposedly favors. The use of it on this list is an example of feminists supporting only the interests of people they approve. It is not an example of feminism reaching out to and supporting men.
It’s also not a feminist initiative, but a political party initiative. Some American politicians have recognized immigrants from Mexico as a potential voting block and are pushing for amnesty in order to increase their vote base through favor-paid loyalty.
As for the immigrants themselves, many arrive in the U.S. to be exploited as a cheap labor force which is vulnerable to abuse in large part due to language and cultural barriers that prevent them from seeking assistance. Support for political initiatives to legalize the current immigrant worker system isn’t support for men, but a shameful bid for treating Hispanic immigrants like a servant class.
To be honest, I think the Mexican people would be perfectly justified to hate Americans for our nation’s part in their situation, and our politicians’ and political groups’ response to it. The drug war-torn environment in that nation is directly attributable to American drug culture. The spoiled and the indifferent among us fund it by purchasing drugs run across the Mexican/US border by people desperate to feed and house their families. Many of the same hipsters focused on fair trade products like coffee and clothing have no problem funding drug cartels through the purchase of mind altering substances for their own entertainment. A real desire to help under existing circumstances would be supported by 1) not buying drugs, 2) not supporting judicial passes given to American women involved in the business of illegal drug running, and 3) an initiative to assist peaceful Mexicans in taking their country back from the cartels, instead of asking them to give up their homeland, their family connections, and the solidarity of their culture to become political pawns in our culture war.
The original article has turned out to be a pretty shoddy piece of work, especially for having been penned by an author with a Master’s degree. Instead of offering anything of substance, she has written the same poorly researched, unsupported, feel-good fluff one finds in the blogs of tumbler feminists. Her article is a combination of claiming feminist responsibility for things feminists didn’t achieve, calling things that aren’t beneficial to men benefits, and assuming that nobody will notice she’s rewriting history.
And let’s face it – even if the 23 items on the list hadn’t been so easily debunked, many of them involved the actions of individual women, not feminist groups. When faced with criticism of feminist lobbying for anti-male discriminatory law and policy, feminists turn to the NAFALT argument; Not All Feminists Are Like That (so no feminist is ever liable for any feminist behavior.) The claim that feminism is not a monolith of ideological loyalty is used to dodge all responsibility for the damage done by feminist-advocated systems. Elizabeth Plank’s article is exactly the opposite argument – the insinuation that anything positive she thinks she can associate with a feminist is transferable to all of feminism.
You can’t have it both ways, feminists. Either you’re a monolith, or you’re not. Either you as a feminist are responsible for the damage feminism has done in society, or you’re not associated with anything but your own personal actions, no matter how much you approve of someone else’s. Penning a feel-good fluff piece to rehabilitate your movement’s reputation isn’t going to change that.
- Relational aggression and victim gender – a tale of two standards | HBR Talk 165 - January 14, 2021
- Antifeminism, relational aggression, and the men’s rights movement | HBR Talk 164 - January 7, 2021
- Update with Deborah Powney | HBR Talk 163 - December 31, 2020