As a kind of default in society, women are treated better than men. There are exceptions, but as a rule this is generally the case. There is a small collection of research that shows this. And many different types of statistics in society demonstrate the real world effects of this bias. For example, our lack of care about male homelessness vs female homelessness likely stems from this. As does the sentencing disparity, especially when based on the victim's gender (meaning if the victim is a woman, the perpetrator receives harsher sentencing).
This is broadly referred to as the empathy gap, and research into "in-group biases" and the women are wonderful effect demonstrate this pretty clearly.
Well one particular study has always seemed pretty interesting:
Amy Yeung (2012). Lay misperceptions of the relationship between men’s benevolent and hostile sexism.
In this study, it was found that when women aren't treated better then men, people see it is as unfair and sexist towards women. Including male bystanders.
Now I don't know if this is cultural or biological. But it stands to reason that any kind of movement advocating for the literal equality of men and women may be seen as sexist in the eyes of a lot of people.
Personally I don't think that "literal equality" is necessary. I believe in a certain amount of fairness where it is warranted, since men and women are in fact different (and that "fairness" doesn't have to always benefit women, either). But I still think that pure "equality of opportunity" style equality would be much better than the one sided gender equality that we have today. And I think most MRAs would agree with that.
As a result, I wonder if the MRM is attacked simply because the idea of literal gender equality seems sexist to a lot of people.
What do you think?