While men have gender-specific problems too, the execution of MRA is, let’s be honest, kinda shit. Many feminist counter-attacks rest on the pretty well supported barb that Men’s Rights groups exist solely to foil feminism. Men’s Rights groups counter anti-rape awareness campaigns with victim-blaming anti-false-rape-accusation posters. The movement itself is home to a bevy of misogynists.
But among all the misconstrued data and crying about how posters urging men not to rape makes them, not a rapist, feel, MRAs have a good point: Men die violent deaths a lot more than women do. And nobody seems to care about that particular type of discrimination. Being MRAs, of course, they miss the forest of systematic gender-based oppression for the misandrist trees. Like MRA, awareness for the “disposable male” is used as a counterpoint to feminism. And it’s a weak-ass point.
What is Male Disposability?
Men go to war and die, in much higher numbers than women. Men hold more dangerous jobs, and are more likely to be killed on the job. Men are supposedly expected to give up their spot on the lifeboat of a sinking ship, even when their superior bodies enabled them to run to safety first. Men (most people, really) aren’t taken seriously or respected when they report being sexually assaulted or abused. And that sucks for men. Really, it’s horrible. And it does, in fact, point to male disposability. Men’s lives, if “life” is brain activity and a pulse, count less than women’s.
Proponents of this idea say that long ago, it was logical. Women are the group that produces children, so it makes sense for them to be kept out of harm’s way, in the house, in the kitchen, etc. So men were given the responsibilities of dying in war and building suspension bridges. But now, we’re in modern times, and while such dire responsibilities have kinda dried up (we’re not in danger of facing a homefront war, and we definitely have more than enough people), the risks and expectations are still there. With the rise of feminism, and all this talk about women needing more rights, it feels to them like men are getting a bum deal. After all, even if women are objectified and not taken seriously, at least they aren’t dying.
For a horrifically grating treatise on the subject, check out Karen Straughan’s video (AKA girlwriteswhat). Warning: She’s like an MRA Rachel Maddow and her empty space sound, where most of us go “um” or “like,” is a smug, amused scoff.
Where does Disposability Come From?
The Short Version: PATRIARCHY.
Male disposability gets pulled out from time to time in order to disprove the idea of patriarchy. It’s not very effective! In large part because there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what patriarchy is. Patriarchy is a theory about our current society and the expectations and roles it places on women. However, a binary emerges when one major group is saddled with rules. The other group must differentiate itself, and this role is just as strict. The patriarchy is very relevant to men, and its harmful effects are just as real to them.
To use the favorite example: Why is it that men make up the bulk of the people that go to die for their country? Because women are valued for their ability to make babies, not their strength. Men are expected to be strong and brave, and sacrifice themselves for their family’s safety. This is how patriarchy (and not incidentally, our society) views men and women. So when someone says that patriarchy can’t exist because “look how many men are societally obliged to give their life for their country or family, to put themselves in danger to make a living,” they’re not understanding what patriarchy means. Patriarchy can harm anyone, and it benefits everyone to do away with these expectations and cultural norms.
Men go to war because women are too valuable. This is kind of the truth of the matter. But that doesn’t tell much of the story. MRAs or anti-feminists point to this and say, “look, the women are more valuable, where do you get off saying the world is run by men?!” But “valuable” doesn’t mean much. Oil is “valuable.” Lithium is “valuable.” But they’re objects, they aren’t powerful; the people who control them are. So, yeah, women are more “valuable” than men, but only in that they’re dehumanized machines that make babies and provide sex (this valuation, btdubs, is, again, how the patriarchy views women). Men are being sent to protect women for the rest of the men. When we’re talking disposability and societal value, nobody is valued as a human being.
What About the Menz?
What does fifty thousand men mean to a country the size of the US? Nothing, really. Nothing at all. Men are disposable because we all are disposable. We are ruled over by people who are only thinking about the biggest big picture and their own interests. Nations, corporations, globalism, imperialism, these are causes that have little to no interest in preserving the lives of however many men. And under a system of patriarchy, these amoral entities will continue sending men to die at war simply because they are men and that’s what men are for. Society will continue not giving a shit about men being raped, about men being sad, about men committing suicide, because that’s not what men are supposed to do.
Men, look at patriarchy like this: it was made for you, it benefits you, but it also fucks you over, and it fucks women over even more broadly. It’s an insult. Worse, it’s used by those in power to keep you predictable and controllable. Why even bother getting mad at the people who tell you that, who are trying to lessen its grip, instead of the people who actually propagate it and want it to stick around?
Patriarchy kills men, at an even higher rate than it kills women. Patriarchy is the cause of male disposability. Not acknowledging it is illogical, and continuing to complain about feminists not paying mind to male disposability is just more of the same MRA disruption. Even if men do have it worse, if the constellation of male disposability’s wrongs adds up to more than women’s entire lives being judged as less important, what’s the point? Are their problems invalid, just because if there’s a war, men are more likely to die? Feminism holds no responsibility for that, and it falls outside their purview. All that could possibly be happening when the disposable male is brought up is feminists are being asked to shut their mouths. Feminists are already doing their part. What the hell are you doing?