What Is The Men’s Rights Movement?

The men’s rights movement (also referred to as MRM) is referred to by some scholars as the hypermasculine response to the rise of feminism. In part, it just might be. But the movement takes on some admirable causes as well. MRM debates the legality of circumcision and conscription, or favoring women when judges determine who gets sole custody of a child. Other causes include suicide, domestic violence, social safety, and domestic violence.

However, many have rightly noted that the movement is dominated by misogynistic thinking rather than a desire to implement real change for the good of everyone.

One prominent MRM activist was Karen DeCrow, who ironically was the president of the National Organization for Women, serving from 1974 until 1977. Even so, she advocated that men should have the same rights as women do in regards to child custody, alimony, and distribution of wealth upon divorce. She even once said that domestic violence is a “two-way street.”

When an anonymous second year attorney who works at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou was asked if the firm ever took on divorce cases from the standpoint that men have the same rights as women, he said, “We take every case on a basis where the facts matter more than our opinions. Women’s rights movements, men’s rights movement — they don’t matter to us. Whether or not a person would make the best parent for a child is how we determine which cases to take.”

Other lawyers from other firms absolutely have taken cases based on the MRM beliefs. Attorney Marc Angelucci was an attorney and activist who played a large role in MRM, even serving as vice president of the National Coalition for Men (NCFM). He successfully argued for National Coalition for Men v. Selective Service System, after which a federal judge ruled that the current mandate of the selective-service system — which only took men — was unconstitutional. Another case won by Angelucci was that the California State Legislature did not allow men to use the state’s domestic violence programs when they were victims.

Despite these wins — and their unquestionable effect on implementing full equality in society — there are still elements within the organization that appear to focus on white power or male dominance, which results in opponents of MRM labeling it a hate movement. 

UC Berkeley scholar Alex DiBranco called the MRM a “male-supremacist movement.” 

DiBranco believes the MRM and similar organizations are responsible for planting the seed that men undergo the same struggles as women, which has resulted in more radical movements like the misogynist incel movement. DiBranco said, “The misogynist incel movement has primarily been connected to acts of violence in the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S., there have been attacks motivated primarily by misogynist incel ideology, and ones in which misogynist incel ideology intertwined with other far-right and white supremacist ideologies.”

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