Thursday, 17 July 2014

How to Present Men's Issues. Part II: Using feminist premises to derive the importance of MIA

In Part 1 I wrote about acknowledging some of the achievements of feminists, and the important work some of its constituents still undertake. The goal of one of those undertakings is to ensure that women constitute a proportionate number of our law makers, thereby ensuring legislation benefits women as much as it benefits men.

Essentially, that belief entails the belief that the members of each sex should advocate for the members of their sex: women understand women best, and men understand men best, so let women ensure that the law fulfills women's needs and let men ensure that the law fulfills men's needs. Hence, given the common presumption that the feminist movement inherently comprises mostly women, the MIA can argue for the importance of a non-feminist movement that advocates for men's well-being thus:

MIA: Men know men better than women know men, and women know women better than men know women, so despite men's best intentions, women can present women's concerns to the legislature better than men can present women's concerns to it?

FEM: Yes, that's right.

MIA: So if the legislature comprises fewer females than males, then the laws it enacts will not benefit women as much as they might have benefited them had the legislature comprised more females?

FEM: Right.

MIA: So the legislature ought to comprise an equal number of males and females in order that it might enact laws that maximally benefit both sexes?

FEM: Exactly.

MIA: Makes sense. Now, if a person knows the issues that concern his or her own sex better than a member of the opposite sex knows them, and if that knowledge enables him or her to resolve those issues better than a member of the opposite sex might resolve them, then we would want to ensure that men participate in discussions about the issues that concern men as much as women participate in discussions about the issues that concern women; correct?

After that, the feminist has a limited number of rejoinders, which I will list below with their corresponding replies.

FEM: Feminism allows men to participate.

MIA: Interesting. And it works for the equality of both sexes?

FEM: It does, yes.*

MIA: So feminism would want to resolve men's issue xyz?

FEM: Yes.**

MIA: Would feminism also want to resolve men's issue abc?

FEM: Yes.**

MIA: Well that's what MIA undertakes to resolve, so feminism and MIA seem compatible.

*Suppose FEM replies, No it mostly undertakes to improve women's status. The MIA may rebutt, I suppose that comports with what you had said about the legislature - women can resolve women's concerns better than men can, and vice versa. That's a reason for MIA.

** Suppose FEM replies, No. The MIA may ask, Do you think it's okay that xyz happens to men?Regardless of her answer to that question, the MIA may answer, That's a reason for MIA.

Alternatively, the feminist may decided to argue that men's issue xyz affects women more than it affects men. In Part III, I'll describe how to rebut such arguments.

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