“Does feminism discriminate against men?” A silly question, to be sure, but one asked, albeit with false and intentionally manipulative sincerity, by Men’s Rights Activists and their ilk.
Under most circumstances, we wouldn’t waste our time humouring these types, just as we don’t waste our time on white folks who believe that somehow, they are capable of experiencing racism (except, of course, to point and laugh). But with recent events such as the one hosted by the University of Toronto, which featured speaker, Warren Farrell, a man who makes his living manipulating studies and research findings in order to misconstrue statistics regarding false rape accusations and who argues that if such a thing as date rape exists, then so does something he calls “date fraud”: “If a man ignoring a woman’s verbal ‘no’ is committing date rape, then a woman who says `no’ with her verbal language but ‘yes’ with her body language is committing date fraud,” it can be useful to look at the actual arguments being made.
James P. Sterba saw holes in the arguments being made against feminism by folks like Christina Hoff Sommers (a woman who self-identifies as a ‘conservative feminist’) and Farrell and began looking into some of the supposed shocking! hidden! truths! they were touting as proof that feminists were manipulating the impacts of patriarchy in their favour (because wheeee!) and that, in fact, men were the real victims.
Sterba and Farrell co-published a book back in 2008 called “Does feminism discriminate against men? A Debate” which asks questions like: “Is the criminal justice system sexist?” and “Do men have the power?” which allows readers to see the arguments clearly and provides statistics to back up ideology and arguments.
I interviewed Sterba last year about the book and about some of the arguments being made by Men’s Rights Activists. The interview first aired on Vancouver Co-op Radio on January 16, 2012. Listen here:
(Apologies, there are some audio quality issues throughout the interview.)