Recently someone on r/MensLib posted an article explaining the various ways which the men's rights movement supposedly is bad for men's health. As is the norm for similar articles, there are a lot of misleading claims in the article. Here are some examples:
Men’s physical and emotional health is constrained above all by traditional constructions of masculinity (rather than by women or feminism)
The article points out that enforcing masculine expectations on men can be harmful to their mental health, which is generally agreed on by MRAs. It cites evidence of how sacrificial and invulnerable aspects of masculinity can be harmful to men, then acts as if this disproves the idea that women or feminism can play a role in the harm caused to men. However, it is largely women who select for such traits in dating, while feminism encourages them through campaigns such as HeForShe and through shaming tactics like "fragile masculinity" and "male tears". Feminism is not the only reason men face the societal issues they have, but the idea that enforced gender roles are harmful to men and the idea that feminism is harmful to men are not mutually exclusive.
In contexts which are more patriarchal (male dominated) and less egalitarian, men live shorter lives, as shown in both cross-national and US research
Let me get this straight. The roles which supposedly give men power also hurt them? It's almost like so-called patriarchy isn't created with the primary purpose of benefiting men.
oor health among men often reflects social divisions and disadvantages associated not with gender but with class, ethnicity, race, sexuality and disability
Then why do the same issues not affect women of similar classes, ethnicities, races, sexualities, and disabilities to nearly the same extent?
To improve men’s health therefore, we must also address forms of social injustice to do with class, ethnicity, gender and so on.
I've found those to be very prominent themes in the MRM.
Two thirds of medical doctors are male, and medical practitioners dispute the idea that services are not appropriate for men and instead point to the issue of men’s help-seeking
A very harmful usage of identity politics pretends that doctors being male somehow inherently means medical facilities are created for men. And surely you shouldn't just take the words of medical practitioners at face value?
Women have been pioneering advocates of men’s health. As Richard Fletcher, a veteran men’s health advocate and one of the most well recognised and widely published leaders in this area, writes, “Some of the key advocates for greater attention to this issue [men’s health] are women whose involvement has been generated by concern for close male relatives” (Fletcher, 1996)
The men's rights movement does not blame women on poor mental health, or claim that women cannot be helpful towards it. Feminism =/= women.
Unlike women’s health, the appearance of men’s health as a public issue was not driven by grassroots efforts and dissatisfaction with existing health care services. Instead, it was driven in part by women’s advocacy, investigation and promotion of awareness of men’s health issues.
False. Warren Farrell and others have attempted to make men's health into its own public issue, but many people, most notably feminists, have protested this.
or example, although MRAs have highlighted suicide as a major health issue for men, they do not support research and interventions examining the impact of gender, even though it is widely acknowledged that masculinity is a key factor in men’s suicidal behaviour
If masculinity itself was the cause of men's suicidal behavior, why is suicide going up while masculinity in men is going down? Men's rights movements view suicide as an issue in the context of society, not simply an internal issue.
MRAs have attacked women’s health in the name of men’s health, such as advocating for reduced funding to women’s health. This does little to benefit men’s health.
Citation fucking needed! When has any men's rights activist claimed that women's health should receive less funding? Wanting to give men more attention doesn't mean giving women less attention.
Instead, we should be tackling destructive notions of manhood, an economic system which values profit and productivity over workers’ health, and the ignorance of service providers.
The economic aspects of manhood are perpetuated by women's desires in dating, and even by feminists in such forms as encouraging alimony and discouraging father's rights. The men's rights movement is very aware of those issues but puts them in the context of society as opposed to simply blaming men.
RAs have often called for health strategies and services which are the mirror image of those established for women’s health. In this ‘us too’ logic, if there is a women’s health centre, there should be a men’s health centre, and so on. However, this approach will not necessarily provide the most appropriate health services for men, because it is motivated more by a knee-jerk logic of equality than by an informed appraisal of the kinds of services men are going to use and benefit from.
This is false. Generally men's rights activists ask for such facilities specifically when men are equally in need of them as women. For instance, domestic violence affects both sexes at similar rates, so the MRM suggests that men should receive a similar amount of service to women. Testicular cancer is as deadly as breast cancer, so the MRM suggests that it should receive a similar degree of funding.
The men's rights movement described in the article is little more than a strawman, and the feminist movement is similarly oversimplified. Articles like this one are part of the reason why the men's rights movement is so misunderstood. The article's utter demonization of masculinity certainly isn't helpful either.