The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Is men's rights activism necessary?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/20/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,430 times Debate No: 44312
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




I take the stance that yes, men's rights activism is necessary from a humanistic/socially-just perspective. Con will argue that it is not.

I am referring to men's rights activism in philosophy, not in its current practices.


As a guy, I think it be better if I argue this side. Not that a woman can't debate, but I think this could have more effectiveness.

Now, just so I'm unbiased, please explain what you think men's rights activism is if I'm wrong. I'm under the impression that it is founded on the premise of 100% equality between genders.

However, men already have a bit of an upper hand, we're not objectified by the media, and we can be a wide range of bodies to be attractive in a way. Women still have a lot of work, seeing as how the media gives woman an image of skinny pretty girl to model themselves after, with tv shows and magazines telling them they absolutely have to do this.

As a man, I've never seen us be treated like objects, and even though I'm not exactly super attractive, I've never been put down by people because of the fact that I don't meet the taylor lautner look. In fact, none of my friends try to do that. None of the guys in my school try to do that. But all the girls I know try to be skinny, and try to look like the society standard for looks.
Debate Round No. 1


You are right about the advantages that men have over women in terms of beauty standards. However, privilege in some areas doesn't negate oppression in others.

The men's rights activism we need is activism that advances the rights of men in places where they're behind. For example:

Fathers' rights - Family courts are biased against single fathers. For example, in UK law, a father can't legally be a father unless the mother approves him.[1] Men currently don't have any say in reproductive rights, which isn't fair, because even though the child is often carried by the mother, that doesn't say anything about ownership. The child is both of theirs.

Male circumcision - It is illegal to mutilate a girl's genitals, yet routine male circumcision is legal. It is cruel, however: The foreskin is a normal body part that "protects from urine, feces, and irritation, and keeps contaminants from entering the urinary tract. The foreskin also has an important role in sexual pleasure, due to its specialized, erogenous nerve endings and its natural gliding and lubricating functions." It's no different from removing a finger or an earlobe. It is very painful, considering the lack of anesthetics and high number of nerves. The child does not consent to go through this procedure. However, despite all these horrors, male genital mutilation is allowed. [2]

Limiting standards of masculinity - Men are constantly on a knife edge not to lose their masculinity or else they'll face ridicule. While women can sexually experiment with women or do manly things with no averse reaction, a man who's feminine or socially bisexual is considered laughable. Even worse, men are societally expected to keep their emotions restrained because it's weak to let them show. And while a woman can be virginal and praised for it, virginhood makes a guy pathetic and wimpy, because sex is an important conquest for guys. And what does this lead to? Feeling like a failure, most of all.Being pressured into something you might not even want. Extreme frustrated desperation.[3]We need to restructure the public discourse, showing that nothing's wrong or less valuable about being feminine, liking men, showing emotions, or not having sex.

"Men can't be hurt" argument - Male victims of rape and violence by female perpetrators are shrugged off, because it's assumed that a man will be tough and brave through it and that a woman couldn't possibly inflict hurt. It's also culturally assumed that a woman hurting a man is empowering, and perhaps he did something to deserve it. Sometimes female-on-male assault is even played off as humor (Catherine Becker case, anyone?), despite the fact that they're actually hurt and it would be a messed up thing to say to a woman.

Some people may claim that men are already privileged. However, they're still behind in some ways. Men's issues are humans' issues, and they're negatively impacting men. Such injustices still deserve focus.

Another argument regards feminism: women are oppressed a lot more than men, some argue, so we need to have a large-scale women's liberation movement, not a men's one. But I don't agree. Even if women face more oppression, that doesn't eliminate the fact that some men are facing prejudice and social injustice for being men, and it doesn't denigrate the harsh impact of such anti-man cases. We can fight for men's issues alongside women's rights activism, not against it.



On the beauty standards thing, it's good to see we agree on this.

On fathers rights, I will say I can appreciate this perspective. Unless the father is abusive, or creates a situation where the child would be better off with the mother than the father (both of these are situations where it's done for the childs sake), the father should be allowed custody. What I can say for this is that, while it does need to be looked at and made fair, this alone doesn't justify an entire movement of mens rights activists.

On male circumcision, I'll say this one isn't really an attack on men, and it doesn't make anything different or unfair. As someone who's been circumcised, I can say my junk has never been "contaminated". As for sexual pleasure, let's put it this way, it's never been a problem for me. Usually it's about a religious thing too, so maybe it's about family. And as for mutilation, mutilation would be like actually messing it up. Female genitals don't have the capability of withstanding this sort of thing, but guys can be circumcised, which is a medical procedure, not mutilation. You wouldn't call surgery mutilation, would you?

On the standards of masculinity, I haven't seen any bisexual or homosexual people I know face this ridicule. Probably because of the fact that sexual orientation doesn't connect with masculinity. They're separate. As for emotions, I never suppress that stuff, and it's never done anything to me. Being femenine is different from having emotions. Like maybe, if a dude starts crying during Titanic, maybe he'll be called femenine. But 1: What kind of situation is that would he be in where he'd be watching a titanic with other guys and they wouldn't be crying too, or 2: If he told someone he cried during titanic, and another person joked about it, it would cleary be in a group of closer friends, and they'de probably just be teasing jokingly, as friends tend to do.

On the men can't be hurt thing, I would say I've never seen a situation where a male victim of sexual abuse as a child by a woman was passed off as "oh men can't be hurt". I would also say It's kind of rare for a straight guy to say a girl raped him, not because of the men can't be hurt thing, but because I haven't heard of a lot of female rapists. I'm not saying women can't do something like that, I've just never heard of it.

I wouldn't say most of these issues are actually for being men. They're most specific. A girl could be ridiculed for her style of clothing by a dude, but (maybe a really hardcore feminist would*) I wouldn't say it would be an attack on women. I'm not saying men can't have issues in the world, I'm saying they're really not common enough to support the notion of an entire movement based around mens rights. A movement specifically saying guys should have the ability to have more of a say in family courts? Yeah, go for it. But the other things aren't anti-man. Circumcision isn't an act against men, it's a medical process and religious practice.
Debate Round No. 2


1) Fathers' rights activism is a subsect of men's rights activism. Therefore, if fathers' rights are necessary, at least some men's rights are necessary.

2) Circumcision is not a medical procedure. According to IntactAmerica, "No professional medical association in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world recommends routine circumcision as medically necessary." It is no more medically justified than removing a finger or another body part. Religion shouldn't ethically excuse it, either--many who oppose the permanent alteration of children's genitals do so because they believe in universal human rights. All children, regardless of their ethnicity or culture, have the right to be protected from bodily harm.

3) Perhaps you haven't seen the gay ridicule personally, but it does exist in society. As for the second example in the Titanic crying scenario, it's clear that men's expression of emotions is a laughable thing. Women's emotional expressions, on the other hand, are legitimate and expected. That's gender roles and they're not quite equal. (And yes, orientation/masculinity and emotions/femininity shouldn't really have a connection, but in society's eyes, they often do.)

4) Yes, it's extreme to suggest that all male victim cases are passed off. But there's a subtle difference in how badly they're perceived. The reaction to a man hurting a girl is considerably more severe than the reaction to a woman hurting a boy. An extreme example of this can be shown here:


Fathers right: yeah. I agree that in cases that do not involve an abusive or dangerous father, a father should have just as much say in it as a mother. However, to have this justify an entire mens rights movement is extreme.

Circumcision: Well I was wrong about the medical stuff. But, the use of term "mutilation" is going a bit far with this. But this is something that should happen as a baby, and since babies can't totally think for themselves at all, it's really up to the parents. My parents aren't even remotely religious, but yet here I am, without a foreskin. To say that this is unfair is technically correct, because it doesn't happen to girls (because it physically can't happen to girls), but I mean like I said, It has never been a problem for me medically or sexually.

Masculinity: I have seen gay ridicule before, but like rarely. And it's always from some homophobic redneck who looks like he'll be dead in a couple of months trying to invent a new brand of mountain dew or something stupid like that. But I mentioned this earlier, just because someone is gay it doesn't automatically make them feminine. And as for the Titanic thing, would you say the same for things like Jesse Pinkman crying multiple times throughout Breaking Bad? (and in terms of references, Titanic came out in 1997. Breaking Bad recently ended. Just letting you know, times do change.)

Male victims: I get that a man hurting a woman is perceived differently as a woman hurting a man. I'm almost like ten hundred percent sure this is just based on body size. Guys are (typically) larger than girls. Does this mean they can take more of a beating? No. Absolutely not. But it does mean that logically, situations in which men hit women are seen as worse than when women hit men. This is also because, as I've seen it, domestic abuse is more common with men. And as for that situation, I totally agree, those people saying "But this is different" are total garbage. However, these people being garbage don't reflect society as a whole. However, this is a good sentiment, one I can agree with. But, realistically, women are more commonly not very strong, guys usually are. That's not a viewpoint from the media, that's just if I stood in the hallway of my school between classes and turned 360, that's what I would see. So I can see why a man attacking a women is commonly seen differently than a woman attacking a man. Does it suck that this is how it works? Yeah, but where I live, this type of thing would never happen. Because in Canada, we don't go around beating each other senseless. Unless we're playing hockey. Then it's a requirement.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by KaleBevilacqua 5 years ago
And I'll expand on that. Sure, there's a shitton of misandry in feminism, but the misandry is what we should be working to fight against, not the feminism part. Feminism doesn't HAVE to be misandristic, so to throw away an otherwise useful philosophy due to its visibly notorious members would be awful. We can fight for men's rights alongside women's rights. I'm both a feminist and a men's rights activist.
Posted by KaleBevilacqua 5 years ago
@kingcripple - "Feminism is evil and men should stand against it"? That's not at all what I was getting at here. I even said that men's rights can be fought alongside women's rights. I was debating whether men's rights activism is necessary, not anti-feminism.
Posted by KaleBevilacqua 5 years ago
Woohoo! An accepter.
Posted by KaleBevilacqua 5 years ago
@kbub - Con or Pro? If you're Con, you're absolutely open to join.
Posted by kbub 5 years ago
Oh my. I have some strong things to say about this one....
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Input 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Good debate. Kudos to Pro for citing four sources, though two were weblogs of unpleasant titles (one was removed and the other I didn't want to visit - pervocracy ewh). Men are pretty forth-coming when their rights are infringed upon (I noticed this when most are accepting help at the Pro Bono legal office to fight for their rights). Women are not as much which is why there is maybe a more reason in the past for women's rights. I've seen a lot of discrimination but when it lands on men, i.e. Father's Rights, they seem to handle it better, & through the court proper channels. When Pro states problems in the UK, I thought she might be from there. Pro is from my same state. It is easier to address problems on a smaller scale first, in one's own backyard before attempting to fix someone's in another country. I am NV paralegal, and in my experience, most family court judges will scold the father because it took him so long to fight for his rights, not dismiss his rights as a father
Vote Placed by kingcripple 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: With the exception of her circumcision argument, I agree wholeheartedly with Pro. Perhaps I am a bit biased, having been discriminated against by a female therapist, sister and mother collectively, but I believe feminism to be evil and men should stand against it. Pro also is the only one to cite sources