>Men’s Rights Activists: "Don’t tell me to ‘man up,’ you mangina!"

>If you’re ever looking for a pretty much sure-fire way to get a Men’s Rights Activist to blow his top — not that this is a particularly difficult feat — just tell him to “man up.” Indeed, the phrase is so infuriating to some MRAs that it causes them to spew typos like a mad man. “Few phrases in the world make an MRAs [sic] want to rip our [sic] their spines and beat people to a bloody pulp with them,” writes TheZetaMale on his Zeta blog. “‘Man Up’ has to be one of them.” Meanwhile, on the Men’s Rights subreddit on Reddit, a fellow calling himself olythoreau seconds this emotion:

I noticed that people using the phrase “man up” or “be a man” really fucking pisses me off. A trigger of sorts. Fuck everyone who has any expectation that I or any other man perform masculinity to their liking. Yes, I’m a man, but I’m a fucking individual… and I’ll perform masculinity any way I fucking please!

Thing is, I completely agree with this sentiment: telling a guy to “man up” is an obnoxious thing to do. Oh, sure, I sometimes agree with the message people are trying to send by using this phrase: stop whining about trivial shit and get on with your life.

Indeed, no group of people I’ve ever run across is so expert in turning molehills into Mt. Everest than the MRA crowd; they put the whiniest of “victim feminists” to shame. Do you really need to boycott half the companies in the Fortune 500* because they ran “misandrist” ads featuring doofus husbands failing in their doofusy attempts to cook dinner? Does the fact that some random hot chick finds you repellent really mean that evil women rule the world? Does the fact that some anti-MRA blogger calls a dumb old sexist cartoon a dumb old sexist cartoon really mean that “feminists and manginas .. would love to enforce a world where the very thought that men experience problems with women in relationships is taboo[?]”

So I can certainly understand the exasperation so many people feel towards the MRM, as the very existence of this blog attests. But the phrase “man up” is absolutely the wrong way to make these points, for precisely the reasons olythoreau outlines. And I’d add: the phrase is sexist as hell, suggesting implicitly that non-men and non-manly men are a bunch of, well, pussies. (It’s telling that the most common alternate way to tell someone to “man up” is to tell him to “stop being a pussy.”)

I’m hardly the only feminist-ish person to dislike the phrase “man up”: Jezebel ran a story called “Stop Telling Men to ‘Man Up'” the other day, noting the sudden ubiquity of the phrase in the political world, and making the point that the phrase implies “that the worst thing to be is not-a-man — weak, lacking in courage.” (Of course, there are some MRAs who have no problem with the phrase “man up” for exactly this reason.)

But there is an irony to MRAs’ distaste with the phrase. No, scratch that, a HUMONGOUS GIGANTIC FUCKING IRONY. While they complain about the phrase “man up” being applied to them, they are the first to question the masculinity of anyone who disagrees with them or who displays their masculinity in any other way than they do — hence their almost ritualistic use of the gender-bending term “mangina” (NSFW link) to indicate anyone not-them. (For ample proof of this, just scroll down to the comments on virtually any post on this blog.) As cat points out in a comment on this very subject on this very blog:

The thing about MRA patriarchy foot soldiers is that they can’t seem to get the old slogan of “the patriarchy hurts men too”. First, they complain about not being able to express emotions and variety, then they turn around the first chance they get to bash the guys that do. You know, if you stopped doing all this gay-bashing gender shaming, you would be able to express your emotions verbally, dress in different colors, admit you enjoy musicals and baking, etc. You’re slitting your own damned throats and blaming it on everyone but yourselves.

I’d only add one little caveat to this: the people attacking “manginas” aren’t always the exact same people in the MRM who are complaining about being told to “man up.” Indeed, TheZetaMale — the first guy I quoted above — actually took his fellow MRAs to task in an earlier post for using “shaming language like ‘Faggot’ and ‘Emasculated Mangina.'” Unfortunately, his attitude is rarer than rare in the MRM.

So here’s a challenge for any MRM who hates being told to “man up”: take a stand against the term “mangina” and all the other obnoxious gender-questioning slurs that litter every message board or comment section populated by MRAs. Post a denunciation of this shit right here, in the comments to this post. Just human up, and do it.

NOTE TO EXTREMELY LITERAL READERS: *I realize that they’re not literally advocating boycotting half the companies in the Fortune 500. Sometimes I keed.

EDIT: Amanda Marcotte posted an excellent piece on how “man up” fucks stuff up for everybody. Check it out.

About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon, Time.com, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on October 18, 2010, in masculinity, shaming tactics. Bookmark the permalink. 91 Comments.

  1. >@Anonymous:"And you still weren't drafted. So kwitcherbitchin."Men have been put in prison for failing to register for the Selective Service, regardless of whether they were drafted or might have been drafted. Women are exempt from this fate, because they're not required to register.

  2. >So what. All you have to do is sign a form. There is no draft and there hasn't been a draft in a long long looooooong time.

  3. >@dias, the 'you' I was referring to in the draft section was people who held notions of gender distinctiveness and traditional gender roles (of which MRAs are a subset). This group does have massive social and political power and had even more when the initial selective service act was passed in 1917 (before women could vote). You said this: "I have been saying that feminism uses the coercive power of social and political coercion in order to implement its agenda… And forcing males to register for the selective service, while making military service optional for females, is an example of the coercion of public policy." This is, quite simply, utter bullshit (as demonstrated above). It is the fault of people such as yourself who believe in gender distinctiveness that such laws exists. You do not get to place the blame on feminists when anti-feminists harm you using anti-feminist views you also hold. Stop trying to use the selective service in your arguments, because you are whining about something that is your group's(anti-feminist gender distinctiveness believers) fault, not feminism's. Don't complain to me when you slit your own throats. On the issue of state violence, you are technically correct that I read beyond the literal wording. However, I assumed that the context meant you held position X and you admitted you hold position X in your attempt to rebut me, so stop pretending like I have radically deviated in interpretation or that I did not attack the position you in fact hold. You hold the position that the state can use violence for protective means. Presumably, preventing and punishing violent crime falls under protection. You admit that men commit violent crimes at much higher rates. Therefore, it follows that in a system such as the one you propose, the police and state would use more violence against males than females. The reason I only discuss violent crime is because your allusions to domestic violence and the fact that non-violent drug convictions (or other non-violent convinctiosn) do not seem at all related to possible use of the state by women in particular against men, which was the topic of discussion. If you are trying to claim that drug laws and laws regarding things like theft are feminist conspiracies, you are going to need some extraordinary evidence for those extraordinary claims. Unless you can show that non-violent convictions are a feminist conspiracy, then non-violent convinctions give you no grounds to attack feminism at all (neither does domestic violence-a violent crime, really, but that is a whole seperate argument). You want to try to battle the drug laws because you think they hurt men? Go for it. Most feminists don't even support those laws in the first place, we certainly aren't stopping you. I suggest you look at the comments from the 'bitching about Ken' thread for more on this notion. @anonymous, I take the draft and selective service very seriously, (and I do personally know people who were affected by the Nam draft, they are still around), which is why I have educated myself about it, something that the MRAs who claim it as a priority seem completely lacking in motivation to do. I am unconvinced that most of this concern about the draft is genuine rather than an attempt to grasp at straws in order to claim that men are more oppressed than women and that feminists rule the world. Most MRAs do not care about the draft as anything other than a rhetorical tool to try to use to lob (poor) attacks at feminism.

  4. >@Cat:"You [Dias] hold the position that the state can use violence for protective means."Again a misquote by you, and again you have quoted me dishonestly. Following this comment, I will no longer debate with you, Cat, because it seems to me that you are intellectually dishonest. I have stated from the beginning that the agenda of the men's rights movement is to dismantle the illegitimate forms of State coercion. To whatever degree the State perpetrates an injustice, for example getting someone caught up in the legal meat grinder of the courts and/or that of the prisons, then the authority which enabled the State to inflict that injustice must be scaled back, meaning that the laws that enable the State to inflict injustice must be changed or overturned.Just because I acknowledge that the State can be a legitimate dispenser of justice doesn't mean that it necessarily does. And just because the State can protect doesn't mean that it necessarily does. Personally, I think that most of the time fathers can do a more effective job than the State in protecting their households. In terms of protection, fatherless communities are the most vulnerable to being victimized by violence compared to communities with intact 2-parent nuclear families where the father is present. Women benefit in their safety from intact families under the protection — and authority — of fathers. But if the State drives fathers away from the family, and if the misandrist culture derides fathers as bumbling fools, then fathers can't be effective in providing that protection.In short, in my personal opinion the State needs to ease off a bit with its authority and let fathers exercise protective authority over their families, and the way that is done by changing the laws. Women will benefit from this. But you may ask, what if a minority of those fathers perpetrates an injustice (either through abusing members of his family, or through the depraved indifference of failing to challenge external threats)? Who is to hold him accountable? How can we trust men with greater authority within the family sphere if justice does not always result, you may ask? Well, apply that same question to the State. How can we trust the State with its current level of authority over the family sphere, if public policy drives innocent men out of their homes without jury trials? How can the State justify putting a man in jail for 8 years for selling narcotics, while women who murder their husbands get light sentences on the pretext that their supposed victimization justifies a lighter sentence?

  5. >In case you might feel tempted to point out that I didn't answer my (this time rhetorical) question above ("what if a minority of those fathers perpetrates an injustice? … who is to hold him accountable?"), follow the logic. The typical reaction of people who have confidence in the authority of the State to dispense justice, is to shore up its deficiencies by with even more authority. Apply that standard to fathers (whose protective impulse for their family's safety is stronger than that of the State, specifically because of the fathers' biological connection to their family), and you'll understand my hope for the future well-being of my culture.

  6. >I will no longer debate with you, Cat, because it seems to me that you are intellectually dishonest.This seems a tad, well, I'll be polite and call it "ironic" rather than "hypocritical," given your tendency to project your own assumptions about what feminists believe onto any feminist who debates you. (See above for examples.) cat may have misinterpreted some of what you said, but, honestly, a lot of what you post here is convoluted and unclear, to say the least. I see no "dishonesty" in anything cat has written here.

  7. >Convoluted? Unclear? How so? Please specify. I frequently make it a point to support what I say with objective evidence, and I link to the evidence so that people can verify it for themselves. I also explain the foundational premises behind my beliefs in a forthright manner. And with the exception of me making an occasional typo or clarification, I would say that there's nothing unclear about my writing at all. I also don't scream insults at people nor call them names, although some people might "feel" singled out because I have differing opinions from them. And that brings me to the central issue.Be intellectually honest, David. Yes, you also. You say that I'm being unclear and convoluted, but what you really mean is that I'm being non-feminist, which is just a difference of opinion rather than a lack of clarity. From my perspective, it seems that you consider my weakness to be that I don't agree with you.

  8. >So wait, if the State enacted some law that stated that in the case of "Situation X" (some sort of catastrophe or whatever) The State had the power to take some number of women, artificially impregnate them and force them to carry the baby to term. (and then possibly even start the whole process over again) And furthermore to this law all women above age 18 had to register with the government for this process, and if they didn't they would face 250k in fines, jail time, and lose the ability to apply for government grants and loans… even though "situation X" didn't seem likely to occur.And you women would be fine with this, yeah?

  9. >"How do you explain that men are more violent than women?"1. We get to fight the wars;2. We do the majority of police work and law enforcement.3. We hit BACK in DV situations (70% of which are instigated by women), and are summarily arrested for DV, becoming another statistic.4. We're 70% of all homicide victims, so please excuse us if we try to defend ourselves.And PS, you can argue with John Dias all day long, you're not going to win.

  10. >Men are NOT more violent than women.Women are more prone to anger and aggression. The problem is that they have women-muscles who are weak as shit, so they rarely manage to damage a male adult (even though women beat the shit out of children and babies like there is no tomorrow).Also, women tend to love violent men and they derive sick pleasure from making men (well, boys, because no man would fight on woman's whim) fight each other.Also, not all the male leaders where aggressive ie started war, while nearly 99% of female leaders have started wars.Men violence tend to be cooler and more awesome though

  11. >"How can the State justify putting a man in jail for 8 years for selling narcotics," Yeah, someone who says this after my long ass paragraph about why I was only addressing violent crimes is accusing me of dishonesty, no irony there whatsoever. You said that the state can use violence and policing for protective purposes, if addressing violent crimes doesn't fit under that, what does? (Seriously, what does?). It follows from the notion that the state should be dealing with violent crimes that, if one group commits the vast majority of violent crimes, that group would end up in police investigations and jail more often. But, arguing that a state should not use its legal and police powers to deal with murder, rape, and assault calls for the question of what you think it should be dealing with. If you want to be an anarchist, or say that the state should never use violence, fine, say that. I used to be a pacifist and I know a number of anarchists. I could at least respect it (though I might disagree) if you took a consistent position about state violence. Want to make an anarchist objection that the state should not control anything? Fine, then take that position. Want to argue that states have purpose, but may not use violence? Fine, argue that position. Your position regarding state violence is inconsistent at best. That is my point and it remains true. I also reject you very absurd notions of 'fatherless families'. First, let me explain something to you "Correlation does not prove causation". Considering that higher crime areas do not have lower rates of marriage or higher rates of divorce and that these 'fatherless communities' you cite mostly have the fathers removed due to racist policies that disproportionately impact poor and black neighborhoods, failure to take into account the massive third variables of racism and poverty into account makes a reliance on such assertions absurd. Also, over sixty percent of rapes are by an intimate partner, and a full third of murders of women are by their intimate partner, with the remaining rapes and murders still being commited primarily by people known to the victim and in close family or social relationships. It is women's intimate partners who are most likley to rape them, so the notion that their intimate partners will protect them against this is absurd. Unlike men, the violence against women is primarily done by intimates, not strangers (http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/FVVC.PDF). In most cases of violent crime against women, women need protection FROM their family members and partners, not BY them. You are suggesting putting the hands of enforcing protections against rape and murder in the hands of the people who are the primary perpetrators. Real smart move there. Virtually any other policy would be better. How about we put Enron in control of protecting against fraud and trading violations while we are at it (*sarcasm*).Also, let me say this again, just showing that a something harms men does not show that it is a feminist conspiracy or that adopting anti-feminists views will reduce such harm, especially when said thing is based on anti-feminist ideas.

  12. >"And?"Ask your police officer friends how many female family annihilators they've had to mop up after.

  13. >Anon @ 8:55 here's at least 11 for youhttp://crime.about.com/od/female_offenders/a/mother_killers.htmand those are just the ones who they bothered to put on Death Row… I'm sure there are many more who managed to plead off on "mental health issues"

  14. >@Aanonymous (October 23, 2010 8:55 PM):"Ask your police officer friends how many female family annihilators they've had to mop up after."1. Women initiate 2/3 of divorces, destroying the family (if not the lives of the family members)2. Women make 100% of 1.2 million abortions per year, far more than male family annihilators, and they try to justify this by citing female uniqueness and their prerogative to wield control over their would-have-been offspring.3. The vast majority of men don't annihilate their families, nor murder their family members, nor inflict intimate partner violence, nor abuse their children. Men as a sex are not implicated in the crimes of a small minority of criminals. Get that through your mind: men as a sex are not implicated in the crimes of a minority of men. But the entity that has the authority over the populace — the State — is.

  15. >How's this for victim blaming? The feminist points to the fact that the majority of violent crime is inflicted by male perpetrators, while ignoring the fact that the vast majority of the victims of such crime are male victims. The feminist then goes on to say that because of the actions of the perpetrator, the victim must not be trusted with any authority because the victim was born with a penis. There is no better example of misandry than that.

  16. >"2. Women make 100% of 1.2 million abortions per year, far more than male family annihilators, and they try to justify this by citing female uniqueness and their prerogative to wield control over their would-have-been offspring."Women have rights over their own bodies. No person or government has the right to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body. Women are not baby incubators.

  17. >Thank you! How can anyone be so incredibly obtuse to see "man up" for what it is but not realize that calling a man a "mangina" is playing into male stereotypes of masculinity to silence any dissension as well… Both are offensive and manipulative!

  18. >John Dias said… "How's this for victim blaming? The feminist points to the fact that the majority of violent crime is inflicted by male perpetrators, [1] while ignoring the fact that the vast majority of the victims of such crime are male victims. [2] The feminist then goes on to say that because of the actions of the perpetrator, the victim must not be trusted with any authority because the victim was born with a penis. [3]There is no better example of misandry than that."[1] citation needed[2] citation needed[3] citation needed

  19. >@Tec:All the citations about the proverbial feminist and the feminist perspective can be found articulated by feminists in this very thread. I, being a non-feminist, disagree with that perspective. So if your request for a citation is meant to force me to prove that feminists believe a certain thing, I'll refer to this thread for that. But if you want objective empirical evidence about crime data, I can provide that too:The vast majority of victims of violent crime are males

  20. >@neverending:"Women have rights over their own bodies. No person or government has the right to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body. Women are not baby incubators."Women are unique in that they are physically endowed with the ability to bring forth life. This unique ability to bring forth life (which you call "baby incubating") is what distinguishes women from men. So you are wrong in your statement above. Also prohibitions or restrictions against abortion are justified if their purpose is to preserve and protect human life. Protecting human life is the single most compelling reason for authority to be applied, whether by the State or by the patriarch. This is another reason why you are wrong in your statement above.

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