Men have a position of power. Like it or not, we were born into it. the social justice warrior whackjobs don't get a hell of a lot right, but there is such a thing as privilege, and most of us refuse to acknowledge it.
I hate feminists are they have come to be portrayed by the loud (and typically extreme) portions of the movement. They are anti-men. They don't want equality, or merely to "tear down the patriarchy", they want to subjugate men. To sideline them.
Extremist feminists want to control men by striping them of what makes them men by using guilt and shame as weapons to convince every man alive to actively suppress his instincts. They won't tell you how that is supposed to be accomplished. But they demand we all do it.
Men's rights activists are the opposite side of the coin. The loudest - and best funded - groups are blatantly misogynist. They want to return to traditional gender roles. They want ot preserve not simply masculinity (which I describe as a recognition of and even celebration of our gender-based instincts) but the culture of machismo that has been so damaging to both genders.
You ask what I base this on. I base this on a long, miserable, depression-filled search fro some form of identity and community belonging. I felt - and I feel - that mainstream feminism is massively damaging to the notion of equality. I felt - and I feel - that mainstream feminism is want me, as a man, to be ashamed of being a man. I felt - and I feel - that mainstream feminism wants me to feel guilty for what other people did - and do - as though my gender makes me associated with (and guilty of) their crimes.
More importantly, I felt - and I feel - that there are very real issues with today's culture, laws and social norms that are highly discriminatory towards men.
So this drove me towards men's rights groups. ON the face of it, they seem like great people. They talk about the things that bother me. The social and legal ills that I fear. When there are jut men in the room (or non-threatening, submissive women) they mouth platitudes about equality and seem like great guys.
But in every single case they are, as a group, absolutely awful to actual women. They are dismissive, condescending, demanding, domineering and hostile to any women that questions or challenges them in any way.
The men's rights groups have a very thin veneer of civility that takes next to nothing to scratch through. Once triggered, they come out swinging and what they say is appalling.
Over and over and over again they dismiss the very real concerns of women's groups. They don't try to find a workable compromise or a middle ground, they demand a return to previous norms: the ones that ensured men were dominant and kept them there.
Virtually every men's rights group I've investigated - and I've looked into most of them in North America - essentially refuse to admit that society was fucked up when men were in charge of things. They refuse to admit that changes are, in fact, required if we are to achieve and then maintain a culture of gender equality.
I don't buy that I should be guilty of the sins of someone else's grandfather. But by the same token I would be a fool not to admit that the society of those times was less than ideal.
This lead me to The Good Men Project.
These guys are far down the road of "men need to compromise who and what they are". I agree with that. But I'm not sure I agree that they're too far. They aren't merely doormats or patsies for the ultrafeminist loudmouths. The Good Men Project is trying to find a workable balance between the sexes that is actually sustainable in the long run.
This will require that men change how they think about our position in society. It will require that we learn, and then teach methods and techniques of controlling our instincts in public.
It also means that we need to acknowledge that our instincts are different from those of women. It means that we need to create socially acceptable outlets and that we need to build a society that doesn't attempt to suppress masculinity in favour of some fales (and ultimately extremely dangerous) docility.
Men are hunters. We are predators. We have a natural instinct to establish hierarchies and defend our place in them. We feed on adrenaline and competition, but we also care deeply for others and are capable of the most tender acts of compassion, joy and love.
All sides of both genders need to be accepted. They need to be celebrated. They need to be understood, controlled and given release.
This is what The Good Men Project seeks to do. They aren't perfect. They aren't even - in my opinion - currently on the right track. But they are the only publicly visible group of men trying. More importantly, they're the only ones trying to achieve this "new masculinity" in conjunction with women, rather than trying to simply dictate to them what the social norms of our gender are and how we will behave.
Men's rights activists are far - far - too wrapped up in "us or them". Women's groups - at least the loud and well funded ones - absolutely are guilty of the same sin.
"Us or them" is a false, idiotic and dangerous dichotomy. We are different, but equal. The same, but with uniqueness. We are two sides of a coin and we have to share this world together.
Maybe we should focus our energy on trying to do just that, instead of trying to draw arbitrary distinctions that serve only to aggravate and inflame.
Being a man can still mean loving fighter jets and loud cars and things that go boom. It can still be about the adrenaline kick and competitiveness and a little recreational chest thumping. It doesn't need to be about "us or them". It doesn't need to be about exclusion. And it doesn't need to be about hate.