The ongoing discussion of men's groups, MRA's, masculism, and the rest brings to light a simple question. One with many connotations as well as ramifications. The question is a simple one: Why do men's rights groups need to justify themselves?
The simple dynamic of feminist group vs. men's rights group may seem on it's face quite natural. Battle of the sexes and all that. But move beyond the face and the question becomes more problematic.
Both groups claim to speak for equality. Both groups claim their ideas and goals are legitimate, and just. Both groups claim their ideas are based on observed human behaviour. And both groups claim to be addressing pressing social injustices. There may be more claims, or more nuance to the claims, but these generalizations hold true for both groups.
That being the case, how exactly are they "diametrically opposed"? What is it that makes these groups "natural" opponents? If both groups act in a manner that is consistent with these principles, there can not BE a dissonance between these two groups, or at the very most, there can be a mutual dissatisfaction in equal measure on both sides of the ledger. Deciding who wins the "whine" debate could be the real key...
Then one has to consider this as well...why are MRA's, and quite frankly nearly everyone else, consulting feminist groups on these issues as if they were to grant legitimacy to MRA positions? The mere existance of a men's rights movement justifies it's need, feminism is about gender equality (supposedly anyway), and feminism has shown no interest in adopting a male position regarding equality....for any reason. This is all fine and good, but this then makes feminism a women's-advocacy group. Again, this is not a problem, but such status creates a need for a counterpart advocacy group representing men, the other half of the human race.
It also disqualifies feminist groups from making judgements AT ALL regarding the legitimacy of men's rights groups, insofar as the need for, or legitimacy of. Most importantly, this position negates the idea that feminists are "authorities" on men's rights or anything related to them, since by their OWN ADMISSION they have done no work in these areas, and have never felt the need to.
In short, feminism cannot tell the world it is the arbiter of all things "equality" related, then represent only women's interests, then decide if a movement arisen in response to such one-sided perspectives has legitimacy, or if the sex they represent has legitimate gripes. It is not up to feminists to legitimize or "accept" the men's movement. It's here, whether you like it or not. There is reason for it, whether you admit it or not. Things will change, whether you help us or not.
There are very specific and quantifiable issues that MRA's are fighting to correct. They are glaring injustices and obvious connections made invisible ONLY by the lens of feminist idealism. Feminism argues to correct "ideas" and "patriarchy" they can't even define, let alone quantify. Feminists lie and mislead as a matter of course, be it for dramatic effect or out of simple ignorance of the truth. MRA's point to the half of the statistics ROUTINELY ignored in mainstream reporting. Feminists point to the past to justify their current and future actions, MRA's point to the present and ask what the future will be like?
If feminists were what they tell everyone that they are, MRA's wouldn't exist. Period.
Because feminism is a lie, MRA's do not need their approval, or their help.
If feminists want to help, they can start by shutting up for a while and actually listening to men, caring enough to take their perspective, and making the changes they can to help out.