Q: What do you mean “men's rights”? Men are the advantaged group, aren't they?
A: That would likely depend on how you define advantaged. For instance, if you look at suicide rates, mortality rates (on the job and in general), or pretty much any violent crime rate men definitely get the short end of the stick. Also, men lack parity in the areas of DV research funding and support services, medical research (prostate cancer kills just as surely as breast cancer), and numerous other social services paid for with tax dollars. Men do not have any rights with regard to reproductive self determination, even though women have enjoyed these freedoms for several decades. In a somewhat related vein, a family court and child support industry has grown increasingly dismissive of basic Constitutional rights, the consequences of which are overwhelmingly borne by men. This list is in no way exhaustive.
On the other hand, due largely to a mixture of working longer hours and selecting more dangerous and demanding professions, men generally make more money than women.
Q: Well, why are you guys coming down on women all the time?
A: First, let me clarify that Men's Rights Activism is not in any way anti-woman, but does have a fair amount of anti-feminism. While it is true there is significant confusion of the two in many MRA writings, much of this confusion is justified in that feminist ideology pervades our social fabric, and it is the feminist influence being challenged. It must be made perfectly clear that the majority position of men's rights movement activists is that feminist ideology has twisted both scientific and historical fact, as well as social reality, and the majority of women lack the perspective - willfully or otherwise - needed to see the harm being done.
Q: I thought you guys weren't sexist? Women in general have some major problems?
A: The spread of feminism has created an entitlement culture that pervades the common woman in the US (and other Westernized countries). Recognizing that common issue is not sexist, nor is recognizing the increased potential in finding that trait in any single woman. Assuming that every woman has that issue to the same degree would be sexism.
Q: Why do you have such a problem with feminism?
For feminism to be a political movement (petitioning the government for changes) then it requires issues where government is not allowing women equal rights. This is not the case however.
Instead, we get a feminism that is demanding affirmative action for women to make up for an imaginary pay gap. We get a feminism that is demanding more than equal reproductive rights for women while simultaneously campaigning against reproductive rights/freedom for men. We get a feminism that says "sexism is bad" but then says "vote for Hillary because she's female." We get a feminism that dismisses male victims of domestic violence as insignificant. We get a feminism that says "we are equal to men" while asking the government for stepladders to make women “equal” to men.
Q: "Shared parenting"--I don't even know what this is. How is it different from joint custody? I am all for it unless one parent is negligent or abusive.
A: I'm glad you are (assuming you mean 50% time with each parent). In a nutshell, Shared Parenting means 50% time with each parent, with both parents treated equally by the court system. Joint Custody is affirming that both parents have legal oversight of the child's well-being, but has no bearing on whether or not parents even get to see their children. Unfortunately, the feminist establishment is not so supportive. Feminist groups such as NOW have actively campaigned against such initiatives in the past, and give every indication they will continue to do so.
Q: Why can there be a men's movement but not a women's movement? When I say "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people”, why am I a chauvinist but you aren't? And do you not think that patriarchy ever existed?
But I would be a Chauvinist. To further illustrate, you see nothing wrong with the feminist message: "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people." This is a hostile statement. The only way the statement makes sense is in the implied message: "Men generally view women as being less than human." This is an unfair, inaccurate, offensive, sexist, and hostile statement. Yet, you accepted it as true -- without even ever really thinking about it. Which is what the feminists count on. The men's rights movement is a reactionary one, existing primarily to rectify the damage done by feminism.
Many MRA's view the use of the word “patriarchy” as a means to brand all men while retaining plausible deniability. While a male dominated social paradigm may have been present, this concept has never been honestly debated. Also, it is provable that a large percentage of feminist claims of “patriarchal wrongdoing” are themselves fabrications, or at best half-truths.
Q: What do you expect me do do about it?
A: In a word: nothing. All we can hope for is that you look into some of these things, check the source of your information, and form a considered opinion. If you want to do more, simply speak up when you hear bigotry against men and masculinity.