Lately a new so-called "movement" called Meninism has been sweeping social media platforms, primarily Twitter. The Twitter accounts, like @MeninistTweet and dozens just like it, have quickly gained hundreds of thousands of followers, causing people like me to question what the point of "Meninism" even is. At first, I dismissed it. Oh yeah, another dumb Twitter account; it's just a joke and it'll blow over soon. But it didn't. It just grew, with its followers continuously multiplying. Not only did it not blow over, but it did in fact blow up.
So if you've been living under a rock (or just off of social media, which is kind of the same thing) you might not know what "Meninism" is. Basically, it is a group of men mocking the feminist movement, frightened that it is threatening their masculinity. They mostly just post irrelevant and misogynistic tweets. A recent tweet from an account posted on March 8, 2015, says, “Today the clocks moved forward, so ladies, don’t forget the clock on your oven will be wrong for the next six months.” (@Meninist Tweet, 3/8/15 1:56 PM). This tweet not only suggests that women’s sole purpose is to be in the kitchen and cook, supporting gender roles, but it also infantilizes women, insinuating that they are incapable of changing a simple digital oven clock.
Really, “Meninism” just seems like a bunch of guys who are uncomfortable with the idea of powerful women. Something seems to be missing in their claim. Is it the lack of ability to differentiate between feminism and misandry, or is it the failure to recognize male privilege? The answer is both.
What meninists fail to realize is that their accounts mock a socio-political movement that is vital to our society. Yes, as a society, we need feminism, when women are currently getting killed, mutilated, raped, and sold into sex slavery and child marriages. We need feminism when every year over 60 million girls are assaulted on their way to school. We need feminism when 70 million girls worldwide from ages six to twelve do not go to school. This myth that feminism is a movement to destroy the power of males is absolutely insane and must be diminished. If these meninists state that they support gender equality -- well good for you, you're a feminist then. A meninist is just a synonym for a misogynist.
Even on International Women’s Day, a day solely dedicated to women and female empowerment overall, Meninist accounts could not keep quiet and let the world appreciate women. We saw tweets like “you can’t spell women’s day without men” and “since it’s national women’s day, does that mean they make twice the sandwiches they usually do?”. This suggests that women are not even to be considered as important members of society, which is basically just reversing all the steps that we’ve been taking in order to achieve gender equality.
Then there’s feminism, the movement that is supposed to be advocating for and promoting gender equality. By definition, feminism is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” However, the word "feminist" alone has gained a bad reputation and a negative connotation.
What’s even more upsetting is that these accounts have quickly gained such a huge following. I suggest we all work together as a community to receive equal rights throughout, rather than uplifting a certain demographic. We are all humans before we are anything else, and we all deserve to be granted basic human decency and rights.
It is not unlikely for girls to classify themselves as meninists just to break away from the label of a feminist to emphasize that they aren't a part of that movement. Whether this is for attention, societal approval, or just out of sheer ignorance, it is only contributes to the unflattering reputations that feminists have gained.
To me, this is extremely disheartening. Why is it a bad thing to support equal rights? Isn't it a good thing? While celebrities like Beyonce Knowles and Emma Watson are embracing feminism by promoting and advocating for female empowerment, which I applaud, it is still not seen completely in a positive light. Someone stating they are a feminist is often just getting an eyebrow raise, a scoff, and a "Oh, so you hate men?"
As an advocate for gender equality, I support the idea that men should be all for equal rights. Men's rights are absolutely important, and I do recognize these issues. However, in order to fix the problem, feminists and "meninists" can work together in unison to achieve equal rights if this is what meninists really have in mind. However, it really isn't. Meninist Twitter posts disgusting and offensive tweets towards women, and insists that this is okay, when it isn't.
Meninists should be fighting for transgender men, male victims of rape, gay men, men who are falsely accused of rape, etc. Ask a meninist what they think of this, and their response, a direct quote from a Meninist account, would be "Here, let me show you how the lawnmower works. #MeninistTwitter". The truth is that these accounts do not actually care about men’s rights, but rather putting down women and promoting misogyny.
While meninists may be frightened that their male privilege is in danger, they fail to realize that there is absolutely no need to mock a movement purely dedicated to gender equality. To all of the so-called meninists out there: How would you explain to your future daughter that you advocated denying her of the rights she deserves when she finds your “Meninist” shirt?