There is a marked increase in worldwide violence against women. We see it in India, and Syria, and in the USA. Why are we seeing so much gender-based violence? The term “misogyny” can be defined as either the hatred of the female gender, or as a patriarchal construct that views the female gender as having less value than the male gender.
Many women, and some men, believe misogyny is the root cause of violence against women. Most men, and some women, disagree with this view. They believe men have been getting a “bad rap” for decades, thanks to the women’s rights movement. They argue that women can be just as abusive as men. They are quick to blame sensationalism in the media for the vilification of men as the primary aggressors. Citing the “militant feminist movement” as an anti-male conspiracy, some men are fighting back by forming a “men’s rights movement.”
They attack their female counterparts by using undermining tactics such as attempting to discredit peer-reviewed research on gender-based violence, and disseminating false research designed to prove that men are the primary victims at the hands of female abusers. They encourage members to troll on women’s social media sites to scare women away, or to “infiltrate” women’s online communities by creating fake domestic violence support pages. The goal is to trick women, making them feel harrassed or threatened by female peers, and turning them off from the “craziness” of purveyors of women’s rights ideology. Their leaders encourage and justify the use of these strategies as a necessary means for the preservation of the male species.
Conversley, several men’s groups have begun their own movement to reinvent positive masculinity. They share in the perception of the women’s rights movement, pointing out the fact that gender-based stereotypes are oppressive to BOTH sexes. They point out the dysfunction of aggressive behavior in society, preferring to trade it with a more rational, logical means of co-existence. Parenthood is one of the bonds that brings these men together. They don’t intend to be a passive influence in the lives of their children; rather, they want to invest ample time, and share equally in the parenting responsibilities alongside their partners.
We are a culture with an identity crisis caused by the major shifting of institutional structures including family construct, educational objectives, and the collapse of religion, in coordination with current political and economic instability. The central theme guiding all social movements is a perceived sense of disempowerment. We rise up for change to preserve a way of life after being left without enough adequate options. The issue quickly turns from self-preservation to fighting against the perceived enemy.
The men’s rights and women’s rights movements will not find solutions to their problems by beating eachother down. Likewise, adding insult to injury is counterproductive. As we struggle to find the balance, we must act with respect and dignity for the entire human race. We are sure to find that there is no dominant gender; without one, we simply cannot have the other. The correct answers; however, lay within our ability to empathize and reason with others as we navigate the paths before us.