Womens rights in canada Essay

This essay has a total of 1594 words and 6 pages.

womens rights in canada

Mobilizing Men
By: Angela Spiers

With the emergence of the Women's Movement, a deep cleavage was created in gender
relations, seemingly pitting women against men in the struggle for equality and status. An
effect of this separation in spheres, was a collective of men feeling as if they were
being misrepresented, or left behind during a revolutionary period of changing gender
relations. A product of this was the conception of men's groups around the world. This
paper attempts to look at the development of the men's movement in Canada since its
emergence more than 10 years ago, it's origins, and the significance that it plays in
gender relations today, whether this be as a threat or a compliment to the women's
movement and the advances that have been gained by means of their work. The Men's
Movement, contrary to what many believe, is not a homogenous coalition of groups in
pursuit of the same goals. Much like the diversity seen in the Women's Movement, there
exists extensive diversity between the different men's groups and organizations that label
themselves under the Men's Movement 'umbrella'. There are men who name themselves as
anti-sexist and pro-feminist, who see the role of the movement as one working against
sexism in all its forms. There are other men who see a need to reclaim some of the 'power'
that men have lost to women as a result of feminism. Some men march in the streets and
lobby governments to give a voice to issues of domestic violence, rape, and abuse, while
others rally for 'men's rights', claiming that women's rightful place is in the home. But
there is one common understanding that unites these men, and it's the belief that
traditional definitions of masculinity no longer work, that the models of masculinity that
today's men have inherited are no longer appropriate, and that they need to be challenged
and redeveloped. There are at least five separate men's movement's in North America today,
including Canada, who act independent of each other, and lack any kind of coordination. To
begin with, there is the Mythopoetic Men's Movement which traces it routes back to Robert
Bly, and Michael Mead, the so called fathers of the men's movement. They focus primarily
on men's inner work, emotional recovery, working through grief issues, and anger
management. They are most popularly known for their King and Warrior "Theme Weekends",
which encourage the men to get back to nature, where it all began. They are apolitical,
although you'll find a lot of the agenda of the non-Marxist left mixed in. (Kimmel, 89-91)
They are also somewhat critical of 'traditional' male roles, but generally open to the
idea that there exists different roles for men and women. They are tolerant towards
homosexuality, but gay issues are not a central focus. Next is the Feminist Men's
Movement, which has it routes from authors such as John Stolenberg. These groups are much
more political, and can be identified with the more militant end of feminism. Some of
their political action areas include gay rights, anti-military, and anti-rape. They see
gender completely as a social construct, opposing 'traditional' societal gender-roles, or
any gender roles at all. In addition they see male violence as the result of bad training
or role-conditioning by society. Generally, they see men as oppressors, but sometimes see
men as oppressed by traditional gender conditioning. As a result of it's strong antipathy
to the traditional family this generally puts them in opposition to fathers rights groups.
Finally, they maintain very negative view of Christianity and religion in general. Next
are the Fathers Rights groups. These groups were based primarily around issues of single
and divorced fathers, their problems with court bias, and the divorce industry. Recently,
a growing interest in the social issue of fatherless families has also emerged. They also
maintain a mixture of views on gender roles, everything from conservative 'restore the man
as head of the household' ideas, to guys who want to dissolve the nuclear family and
abolish all gender roles in society. They tend towards anti-feminism, but not uniformly
nor centrally so and have no particular view of religion or homosexuality. Men's Rights
groups are another type. They tend to overlap with the Fathers Rights Groups, but with a
broader spectrum of interests including the draft, men's treatment in prisons, choice for
men, and an opposition to gender-roles. They are strongly egalitarian, and generally
sympathetic to 'egalitarian' feminists but extremely critical of so-called gender
feminists and most of current feminism. They see gender mostly as a social construct, and
are strictly opposed to public policies that treat men and women differently, such as
affirmative action, all-male draft, and tender-years doctrine. Circumcision is a another
hot topic, but they maintain no unanimity of views on this. In general they tend to be
suspicious of traditional religion's gender roles, but insist that they are tolerant of
homosexuality, though it is not a central focus. Lastly we have the Christian Men's
Movement, such as the Promise Keepers. This group represents the newest and most radical
of the five. They are strictly anti-feminist, favoring traditional gender roles, for
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