What do MRAs want?

(722 Posts)

...aside from a blow job and, oh, a sandwich would be nice love.

grin

Right, seriously now. I try and be an open minded sort of a person, and I've been wondering about this. When I look at the world, my perception is that women are disadvantaged, belittled, by many things. We all know what those are.

When feminist women and non-feminist women have discussions about things like Page 3 for example, usually the feminists are trying to get the non-feminists to see the world in a different way: Page 3 not as a bit of harmless fun that the girls are happy (and get paid handsomely) to do, but as a "choice" pre-set by patriarchal values. That's just one example. So, I am open to the idea of people who hold different opinions trying to convince me to try and see the world through their eyes for a time.

Trying to see through an MRA's eyes, I think I'd see a world where women were protected by law and custom, vast majority got to lounge about at home pottering about with kids while the men had to work to provide, weren't expected to be violent and had lots of support when violence was committed against them. Had the deck stacked in their favour in family courts even though the father loves his kids just as much and has had to work so hard to provide for them. Was expected to just carry on when he had mental health problems, laughed at if he admitted depression or other problems. That sort of thing.

But where I get stuck is what MRAs want to be different. If they want the chance to shrug off the manly provider role, feminists are cool with that. If they want to campaign for more DV shelters, better mental health provision, prostate cancer research, that's OK with me. But they don't seem to want to do that. Rather, they just seem like an oppositional group that just wants to blame feminism for all their problems.

I'd be interested to hear the views of others on this... What DO they want?

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 02-Sep-13 09:50:50

I think all of that is bollocks and only followed by the kinds of people who take "the rules" etc as gospel. If I can borrow a sentiment of garlic's from another thread, it helps nobody to try and fit into either a "template man" or "template woman" mould when dating. People are as varied as the snow; compatibility in relationships is about whether your personalities fit together and you can understand one another. There is no such thing as a mysterious woman/man language.

It definitely makes sense to me that an MRA talking about their feelings (which is not the definition of sensitive at all, so why do they think it is?) would be a turn off for many women, because basically what you're saying is "everything is about me". Selfishness isnt an attractive quality in either sex.

Dervel Mon 02-Sep-13 02:30:59

Actually if you'll forgive me my obversavations from the realms of dating and attraction. Sensitivity is not and has never been a trait that has turned women off in my experience. Quite the reverse in fact, however other qualities in addition are also attractive the common one that always comes up is confidence.

Now although it is changing we are still coming from mating patterns where the female attracts, and the male approaches. I'm not advocating that is has or should have to be this way, merely stating that it is. Therefore confidant chaps often get more opportunities. Our sensitive, but lacking in confidant guys when approached with an opportunity, will often become over earnest. That in itself can be quite unnattractive especially in the early stages of getting to know someone, and then thusly inccorrectly surmise that their sensitivity was thier problem. Furthermore as age sets compounding any sense of failure in some cases starts to breed a partcularly unpleasent brand of misogyny.

Confidant guys however carry on with more opportunities, and also can create the impression that men are bastards, because oftentimes when you find confidence it is a sort of false confidence bred from arrogance. Confidence and sensitivity are certainly a combination one can find together, but seems to me to be quite rare.

As I am writing this and examining the idea of men approaching women, I don't think I am entirely right in this assumption, as women often communicate non-verbal cues, but it appears to be a language most men have no clue over however (both some sensitive and confidant men). However we wouldn't have evolved those cues as a species if it didn't work, so I can only conclude that at some point in our recent evolutionary development (maybe thousands of years, but still extremely recent from evolutions perspective), Men have lost the ability to do this. My guess is either we lost this as we began to focus on language more (although if this were true women would have likely stopped making the cues), or more likely as society moved towards it's dominant patriarchal configuration (again releatively recent), as women's position was usurped and degraded, male society stopped bothering to listen.

I dunno it's late and my brain won't shut off, I'll try and think more clearly on it in the morning!

BasilBabyEater Sun 01-Sep-13 23:26:59

Ha. What they don't realise is that it's only when MRA's show their feelings that we don't want to have sex with them. We're quite happy to have sex with non-MRA's who show their feelings, but that's because men who aren't MRA's have feelings which aren't as irrational, delusional, self-pitying, self-indulgent and altogether berserk as the feelings of an average MRA. grin

curlew Sun 01-Sep-13 22:49:31

One of the MRA's beefs is that women don't fancy sensitive men. That if a man shows his feelings men don't want to have sex with him. This is not my experience, I have to say.

BasilBabyEater Sun 01-Sep-13 21:47:28

I don't really see the point of the comment that most women wouldn't want a man who wants to be an involved father before they have children.

What does that even mean?

When you get together with someone, you don't even know if you're going to have children with them.

It seems like a fairly meaningless comment to me, unless there's some deep meaning there I'm missing.

CaptChaos Sun 01-Sep-13 19:10:38

No, what society needs to do is to start to value men's contribution to their children's lives. To stop seeing men as the 'major earner' and to start seeing him as a parent. Feminists want men to play a larger role in their children's lives, children want men to play larger roles in their lives, until men want to do that and we start to challenge how employers look at male parents then we're not going to move forward. If men want to 'have' their children more than twice a fortnight and want to stop being seen as an open wallet by the family courts, then they need to see themselves as a major player in their children's lives before a relationship breaks down, rather than just the 'major earner'.

I don't think many women seem to go for that kind of man, they may want men like that after children, but I've not seen a big demand before children.

The plural of anecdote is not data.

ThatsNontents Sun 01-Sep-13 18:03:03

So what men need to do is not be the major earner and to work fewer hours and be more involved.

I don't think many women seem to go for that kind of man, they may want men like that after children, but I've not seen a big demand before children.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sun 01-Sep-13 00:22:26

Agree with Basil - it's all done from the best interests of the child - no such thing as 'father's' or 'mother's' rights in family courts - just the interests of the child - which upsets F4J quite a lot. I do feel - reading stuff the father's rights people put out there - that F4J and the like, see children as an asset to be shared 'fairly' between mum and dad. Like property hmm

Really - a stable home, with the primary carer that they are used to, is in the best interests of the child.

CaptChaos Sun 01-Sep-13 00:19:17

Thats Feminists also want men to be more involved with their children when they are with their mothers and when they have separated from them. We want men to take a greater share of childcare, we are working towards equality which would mean exactly that. We would like society in general to recognise that childcare is NOT just 'women's work', for men to have the same access to parental leave and for men to be expected to take their share of covering for children's illness and childcare let-downs.

Sadly, what MRAs also want (given what they write on their blogs and forums) is control over women's bodies, control over their children (as if children are possessions) and no responsibilities for anything should they choose to wander away. They feel that they shouldn't have to control their own fertility. They believe that women are out to get them in some way. It would all be pitiable if it wasn't shot through with such venom and hatred. They don't even seem to like each other much.

BasilBabyEater Sun 01-Sep-13 00:09:21

"You know in this country I think MRAS or dads want to see their children more than twice a fortnight when they separate from their partners.

I don't think it's any more complicated than that."

But it is more complicated than that. Care and control and contact are decided upon according to the best interests of the child, not those of the adults; the courts take the view that the best interests of the child, are to maintain the status quo in terms of who does the parenting, so that the child has some continuity and stability in the wake of the relationship breakdown of his / her parents.

Therefore if one parent does most of the parenting, s/he will be awarded c&c and the other parent will perhaps not see the child as much as they would like, which is sad for them, but the alternative is possibly very disruptive for the child, which is not in the child's best interests. If however, both do a roughly equal amount of parenting, then the courts will award 50:50 c&c, because that reflects the status quo.

The best way for men to see more of their children after a relationship breakdown, is to make damned sure they do their fair share of parenting before the relationship breaks down.

Funnily enough MRA's aren't that interested in doing that - they want the 50:50 c&c without having done the 50:50 parenting. Because they put their own interests, above that of children.

Dervel Sat 31-Aug-13 23:49:32

"Which is a shame as if we take the MRAs vs Feminists as a macrocosm of estranged parents trying to co-parent effectively, as far as I can see there plenty of women here who want nothing but the best for their children here"

So the are feminists- and there are women who want nothing but the best for their children. hmm

Sorry I don't follow. Why can't you be both a feminist and a woman who wants the best for her children? Neither state is mutually exclusive, and doesn't the context of this and my other posts suggest a sympathy for feminism, and a condemnation of the MRAs? In fact I go on to say:

"I think if the MRAs opened their eyes a little they would see the same."

You will notice I make no such request of feminists, in fact my only outright condemnation throughout this thread is of MRAs. Might I humbly ask for the benefit of the doubt from you in this instance, as what you have inferred I said is most definately not what I meant to say?

ThatsNontents Sat 31-Aug-13 22:54:25

You know in this country I think MRAS or dads want to see their children more than twice a fortnight when they separate from their partners.

I don't think it's any more complicated than that.

curlew Sat 31-Aug-13 22:04:42

For MRA, feminists are the enemy, everything is the fault of feminists, including, bizarrely, non medically required circumcision of infant boys. There are powerful feminists controlling the government and all the major institutions like some sort of Illuminati. It's very odd.

BasilBabyEater Sat 31-Aug-13 21:59:06

Also it's a dodgy juxtaposition, MRA's and feminists.

MRA's want to make sure that they hang on to the unfair privilege being male in a male supremacist society gives them.

Feminists want to abolish male supremacy so that all human beings can be equally valued.

There isn't some happy medium in the middle where all the reasonable people are, who want a little bit of equality for women (not too much in case it upsets the men) within a continuing system of overall male supremacy when the chips are down.

Although that's how most people see it. grin

Darkesteyes Sat 31-Aug-13 21:53:21
curlew Sat 31-Aug-13 21:48:25

"Which is a shame as if we take the MRAs vs Feminists as a macrocosm of estranged parents trying to co-parent effectively, as far as I can see there plenty of women here who want nothing but the best for their children here"

So the are feminists- and there are women who want nothing but the best for their children. hmm

Darkesteyes Sat 31-Aug-13 21:45:32

The counselling profession has a major problem which they need to address.

everydayvictimblaming.com/submissions/so-you-consented/

BasilBabyEater Sat 31-Aug-13 21:25:17

Domestic violence really is relevant Dervel. It happens to 1 in 4 women in their adult life and among those who are involved in relationship breakdown, the rate is much higher - some estimates put the incidence of abuse at about 50% when it comes to women who have been involved in a relationship breakdown (which kind of makes sense if you accept that eventually, relationships involving DV are more likely to break down than the average relationship).

Given that most DV and other abuse goes unreported and there is a fairly universal insistence that everyone goes to mediation (and if you refuse, a court will regard you very unfavorably) there is a disturbing likelihood that although clearly mediation is the wrong forum for couples where violence or other power imbalances have been a feature of the relationship, they are nevertheless turning up there and people who haven't been trained on DV issues (because there isn't enough awareness and training around it) are simply not spotting it and therefore enabling the power imbalance to continue after the couple have stopped living together and presenting it as a fairly, neutrally worked out agreement.

I must admit before I knew the figures, I too used to wonder why feminists were always going on about VAW and DV in various contexts - I used to think that fair enough, it's bad when xyz was going on, but surely it only affected a tiny minority of women and therefore feminists were banging on about this fairly marginal issue and overstating its importance. I think once you know that there's a chance that about a half of the women in that mediation room may have been subjected to abuse and that the power imbalance there is serious, you realise why it's a relevant factor in any discussion around relationship breakdown.

Dervel Sat 31-Aug-13 19:38:02

Well actually I contend that the ideal situation to come out of mediation is that both partners feel that they have won. Although I agree wholeheartedly that the best circumstance is where neither party adopts an adversarial stance, but then again people in that situation are unlikely to even need mediation in the first place.

As to domestic violence and mediation I'm not sure that is even relevant. Not that I am downplaying domestic violence one iota. I am we'll aware of the facts it happens a lot more than most people would like to believe. It affects all stratas in society, and it is a wrong that needs more awareness and comprehension. It is simply that I feel mediation is not the place for those that find themselves in that situation.

Again domestic violence deserves a great many threads all to itself, but to any MRAs lurking really do go out and educate yourself on the facts. I kind of class domestic violence along with child abuse in that wider society has been largely unaware of how severe the problem is, because if you are a right thinking individual it just won't compute why it even happens.

I mean I can sort of understand theft, because I can understand the concept of being without and wanting more, so a thief I can empathise with. I can also understand getting so angry with someone I would want to thump them, but not with someone I was in a relationship with, as I think I would have ended any relationship I was in way before my frustrations at the person were anywhere near approaching that level. I couple that with the fact every woman I have had the privilige to meet who has been a victim of domestic violence have always struck me without exception as being the sorts of people I can never imagine anyone wanting to thump. Which only adds to my confusion.

BasilBabyEater Sat 31-Aug-13 13:48:19

I think the problem with mediation, is that it is often done incredibly badly.

In an ideal world, mediation would be the ideal solution and where you have two people who are angry with each other but genuinely want to put their kids first and reach a reasonable modus vivendi, I think mediation is a marvellous thing. TBH I feel that if both parties come away feeling like they haven't "won", that's probably a good thing - the aim shouldn't be to win, but to create a sustainable, healthy, respectful environment in which 2 adults who have found it impossible to live together, can still co-operate to the extent where they can raise their children effectively without conflict and power games and with a respectful and civil relationship with each other. You don't have to like each other - you just have to have a professional working relationship where you don't use your DC's as pawns in a battle you're continuing to wage and you reassure your DC's that there is no hostility on your part, towards the other partner. That's enough of a win IMO.

However, too often you get a situation where mediators are simply not trained in all aspects of family dynamics and the woeful inability to understand the prevalence and dynamics of domestic abuse, is outright appalling IMO. Too often mediation can be used by the most powerful person in the relationship, to manipulate the situation so that they can come out having been "the winner" as they always were during the relationship. This results in mediation re-iterating an already unequal and/ or abusive relationship pattern in too many cases and where that is the alternative to the law, it's a piss-poor alternative for the weaker party in the relationship.

Dervel Sat 31-Aug-13 13:16:10

Thank you for the responses. Well articulated and reasonable. Thank you again for taking the time and thought to pop in the he/she's and his/hers, although I am we'll aware of the fact that the current balance of statistics means we are dealing with more him/he's. Which is precisely the sort of statistic I would like to see shifting. That is to say more men considering the resident parent role.

I can understand your frustrations over the assumption of women being br
anded harridan bitch harpies re: withholding contact. Although I think I can see this from both sides. I've seen tonnes of threads on here from women agonising over the issue of contact, and often the hesitancy seem to stem ultimately from a fear of putting dcs in a situation beyond your control. Which is tough pill for any parent of either gender to swallow, but oftentimes there isn't the communication between exes, and hence very likely precious little empathy existing towards either side (hardly surprising if there has been a break up). I think a lot of men misinterpret this hesitancy, when a modicum of empathy and diplomacy would put everyone's minds at rest, and ultimately see everyone better off particularly the children.

For the record on the few occasions I have seen a genuine harridan bitch harpy posting on here on the subject of withholding contact they have been soundly trounced by the balance of opinion of the others here. Which is a shame as if we take the MRAs vs Feminists as a macrocosm of estranged parents trying to co-parent effectively, as far as I can see there plenty of women here who want nothing but the best for their children here. That is a sentiment I can sit down and negotiate with, and I think if the MRAs opened their eyes a little they would see the same.

My one question I am left with concerns mediation. Having not experienced it myself I am often struck with how although it is supposed to avoid the adversarial environment of a full blown court scenario. I am often struck with the impression that people often come away from it with a sense of having won or lost. Is there a way mediation can assist in conflict resolution better?

BasilBabyEater Sat 31-Aug-13 10:59:07

"What is the CSA there for exactly?"

You may well ask.

Originally it was set up to ensure that the overwhelming majority (it was something like 90%) of non resident parents who didn't pay maintenance at the time, were forced to pay a reasonable amount of maintenance.

When they realised that they couldn't do this because actually, wages are too low to support one family, let alone 2, 3 or 4, they just gave up and set maintenance at poverty levels (where before the existence of the CSA, they were actually realistic, which is one of the reasons they were never paid).

And now the majority of lone parents still don't receive maintenance (3/5, so much better than 30 years ago, but still shit) and those who do receive a pittance on the whole, but that counts as NRP's being financially responsible. hmm

And meanwhile, everyone worries about bitch harridan harpies who withhold contact for no reason, like that's a much bigger issue than the poverty of children of lone parents.

Doing something about that poverty would mean a root and branch reform of society, so it's not going to happen - children of lone parents will remain poor on the whole, because society is content to have it so.

BasilBabyEater Sat 31-Aug-13 10:41:38

Dervel I think the issue with linking contact and maintenance is a huge one, probably deserves a thread all on its own.

But basically the reason the idea came in, was to ensure that men who were temporarily unemployed or "financially embarrassed" to use a phrase I'm fond of grin could not be punished for that financial embarrassment by having contact with their DC's withheld because they hadn't paid maintenance.

Because of that reasonable concern, it has come to be an article of faith that there is no connection whatsoever between whether a man pays maintenance or not (or how much he pays vs his overall income) and whether he is a good parent or not.

This article of faith is of course nonsense. If you are financially able to pay maintenance and you choose not to, or you pay less than you could reasonably pay, you are committing financial abuse of your children - you are denying them a standard of living that they could otherwise have, if you paid a reasonable amount of maintenance. That is not the sign of a good parent. (As for the financial abuse of the other parent, well, that's not even on anyone's radar, is it.)

That seems to be so obvious to me, that if I didn't know we live in a patriarchy, I'd be bewildered by why courts can't see that. I do believe that an absent parent who fails to pay maintenance when s/he is financially able to, or who withholds a percentage of the maintenance in order to control or punish the ex partner (which is incredibly common) is someone who the court should regard with a jaundiced eye. It is very very clear that someone who does this, is using money to control the ex at the expense of his/ her child's welfare and that has implications as to what sort of a parent s/he is, which in turn has implications as to what contact s/he should be having.

LordLurkin Sat 31-Aug-13 10:29:30

That's just it Dervel.
Pretty much any sane rational person will want to get to a decent place of equality. And no feminism isn't responsible for all my battles as well as the battles that it is already fighting. That's why I got onto my feet and off of my arse and am doing some of my own and other mens fighting. That being said I have had to gently (and sometimes not so gently) break the news to a few men that no way are they going to get what they want from their ex partners as they did nothing while they were together with said ex. I'm sure that to those men the "there there poor you ..... nasty women" bullshit from the MRA camp is music to their ears.

Dervel Sat 31-Aug-13 01:24:42

LordLurkin I think you and I are on the same page. Given that I seek traditional prejudice re: gender roles for men consigned to the dustbin of history I feel that I'm better off aligning with the feminists than MRAs. Not that I think feminism should necessarily fight my battles, more that we are both tunnelling through the same crap to get to the same place. MRAs seem to do little more than add to the pile of crap.

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