Feminists and anti-feminists seem to have a kind of war going online if you pay attention to Twitter. Feminists say women are being victimized by a patriarchy. Anti-feminists mock feminists for thinking all of their problems are caused by “the patriarchy.” And back and forth and so forth.

But today is #InternationalMensDay, and if you search the hashtag, you can see that not all anti-feminist activists are really so. Indeed, many anti-feminists and MRAs are just feminists in pants. Or, feminists without boobs, to borrow a term from noted video games feminist Anita Sarkeesian.

They are using the same tactics and the same victimization tropes as the kinds of feminists they deplore. They post a social problem and then try to turn it into a gender-related problem. They take a facts and statistics out of context, presenting them in a one-sided way. They apply stereotypes to an entire gender and ignore that many of the problems individual men face are caused by individual factors that can be solved as individuals.

On #InternationalMensDay, the men’s rights activists also seem to want to portray a uniformly negative view of men. Specifically, they point of that some men are depressed and suicidal and are suffering in other ways, rather than highlighting the successes of men.

As with feminists who would complain about something that is an individual choice, #InternationalMensDay activists also don’t take responsibility for their own actions. For example, take the issue of suicides, in which a majority of suicides are done by males. That is an issue where some men choose to inflict harm on themselves.

Furthermore, suicide is an issue in and of itself. It isn’t a gender issue. People who want to raise awareness of suicide should talk about suicide, not about men. It is also true that among the women who attempt suicide, a greater number of their suicide attempts do not result in death, due to the fact that women are more likely to use non-fatal means, like overdose. As noted by a study in the Journal of Affective Disorders, “An important gender difference has been reported regarding suicidal behavior with an overrepresentation of females in nonfatal suicidal behavior and a preponderance of males in completed suicide, also known as the ‘gender paradox of suicidal behavior’.”

Feminists have been talking about “rape culture” for a long time, even though the incidence of rape, according to crime surveys, has been declining. Rape, like all crimes, should be prosecuted, but it is an exaggeration to say that there is a rape or murder epidemic when the facts don’t back it up. However, some men’s rights activists argue that there is indeed a “rape culture”–against men.

When one anti-feminist who was active in the hashtag said “men are raped more,” I responded:

As noted by @neontaster,

As I said, here is an example of where men’s rights activists twist facts without providing context. If men are raped more often due to the prevalence of prison rape, then that has to do with the fact that men are more likely to be criminals, and that criminals are more likely to rape each other:

Here again, prison rape should be decreased, but to say men are overwhelmingly at risk for rape is just not accurate, given that most men are not in prison. If you look at the actual prevalence of rape/sexual assault reported in the 2009 crime victimization survey, you will find that women are 4 times as likely to be the victims:

If you look at the rest of the chart, you find that men are more likely to be the victims of other crimes, however, which is something that men’s rights activists often point out. (Supporters of chivalry might argue that women are on average weaker than men, which contributes to the view that one shouldn’t hit a lady, which is perhaps a factor in this difference.)

However, if men’s rights activists are so concerned about the victimization of men due to violent crime, then should they also look at who is committing all of these crimes? As it turns out (and no surprise for those who know that men and women, due to biological and social differences, are on average different), it is men who commit the vast majority of violent crimes.

The trend is especially pronounced in terms of murder. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ report from 1980-2008, the rate of men committing homicides has been between 10 per 100,000 and 20 per 100,000 for every year tracked, while the rate of female offenders has consistently tracked below 3 per 100,000. 67.8 percent or murders are men murdering other men, and 21 percent are men murdering women. Only 9 percent are women murdering men.

This just goes to show that no issue can be simplified into men vs. women. Not one gender is good and another bad. Everyone is an individual. We need to stop looking at problems in terms of gender.

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