There's a women's right movement, how come there's no MEN'S rights movement?!
April 3, 2011 6:35 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for articles that address the backlash against feminism in the age of the internet.

It seems like on the internet – particularly online communities (not you, Metafilter) – there is not only a warped perception of feminism, but any time sexism or misogyny is so much as pointed out there is a very defensive response from some men (claims of male victimization, “men’s rights” movements, etc). I am looking for articles/blog posts/studies that don’t just point out this type of backlash, but explores it, deconstructs it, and attempts to explain why it happens.

Oftentimes when something like victim-blaming, inequality, slut-shaming, etc is called out in male-dominated online communities like Reddit etc, the most popular responses are almost always something along the lines of “this isn’t about gender, this is about human beings” or “men have to deal with these things too”. To summarize, charges of sexism are immediately discredited under the guise of being anti-egalitarian, if that makes any sense.

Excuse me for being too specific here – but I’ve seen plenty of articles about the “what”, “where”, “when” and “who” of this phenomenon among young males on 4Chan-type forums and online gaming communities (like this one) – but almost none of them go deeper into exploring the “why” and the “how”. I am searching for articles that fill this gap or at least touch on this phenomenon. Thanks all!
posted by windbox to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
This Slate article doesn't go in depth specific to your question, but it has a lot of links and you might find more by checking out those? There's a lot of names mentioned and you might want to try emailing some of the folks to see if you can get more that way.
posted by yeloson at 6:46 PM on April 3, 2011

There's been some really amazing recent conversations on NPR regarding a book called "flipside of feminism."
It's a very (imo) conservative take on what "uuuuugly" things feminism is these days. The interviews were so offensive to some listeners that the call-ins have been just off the hook. Not sure whether the book itself follows themes of feminism in relation to ubiquitous internet backlash or not, but it would definitely be a really great/current place to start looking. I'm pretty sure all relevant links are within:
posted by billypilgrim at 6:51 PM on April 3, 2011

The Finally Feminism 101 blog has some good introductory posts about these perspectives, though I'm not sure if they're specific enough to online communities for what you're looking for:

Feminist vs. Equalist


What about men's rights?
posted by nakedmolerats at 7:06 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

[this thread is looking for resources, not your personal opinion on the topic, please direct non-resource suggestions to the OPs MeMail, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:10 PM on April 3, 2011

Another good one:
Who should Facilitate men's issues discussions?

To answer your first question, though, in my experience I have heard the same arguments about equalism or "what about men" before/outside of online communities. I would guess it's a combination of male-dominated communities (online or otherwise) and the relative anonymity that allows one to make assertions they might not otherwise bring up in a classroom, etc.
posted by nakedmolerats at 7:11 PM on April 3, 2011

Yes, to add to Jessamyn's edit - I'd love to hear personal opinions but feel free to MeMail them. In this thread I'm looking for articles/links only as to avoid chatfilter/arguments.
posted by windbox at 7:17 PM on April 3, 2011

See the catalog of Silencing Tactics at Geek Feminism Wiki, including, "You're the Sexist."
posted by Corvid at 7:29 PM on April 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

You may find this interesting:

Herring, Susan, Deborah A. Johnson, and Tamra DiBenedetto. 1995. "This Discussion is Going Too Far!": Male Resistance to Female Participation on the Internet. In Gender Articulated: Language and the Socially Constructed Self, ed. Kira Hall and Mary Bucholtz, 67-96.

As you can see, it was written in 1995 so it isn't exactly up-to-date, but it looks at a debate about feminism-related issues that took place over an academic listserv.
posted by enlarged to show texture at 7:53 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

This isn't regarding the internet age, but the movie Falling Down definitely covers a backlash to feminism (or rather, the downplaying of men in society). The two main male characters represent kind of sane and insane responses to feminism, with the latter more akin to 4chan characterizations. An image from the movie made the cover of Newsweek for an issue titled, "White Male Paranoia."
posted by mnemonic at 7:56 PM on April 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

It's not exactly what you asked for, but Fauldi's Backlash dealt with similar issues around media and feminism in the late 80s/early 90s.
posted by alan at 7:56 PM on April 3, 2011

"The Myth of Male Power" by Warren Farrell. It's a book from the early 90s, so it won't deal with "the age of the internet" as you asked, but it's one of the main books I know of that discusses how feminism led to misrepresentations and misunderstandings of men.
posted by dnash at 8:00 AM on April 4, 2011

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