Once again the comment section of Womanist Musings is the inspiration behind a new post. I was recently honoured by a visit from Barry Deustch aka Ampersand from Alas A Blog. I am a huge fan of his. In the comment following his, he was referred to as a “mangina” by an ignorant MRA commenter who uses the alias MetalOver30.
Since this was a direct attack I briefly flirted with the idea of deleting it until I realized that it was meant to insult Mr.Deustch by inferring that somehow being feminine,or having female sexual organs is demeaning. Once again we see the rise of the female as pejorative. It is quite similar to saying someone throws like a girl; thus equating femininity with inferiority.
Despite the rhetoric of equality the MRA clearly feel that women are less than. This is not unique to this hate group, in fact it is the basis of patriarchy. Woman as an inferior being allows the privileging of masculinity and the perpetuation of misogyny. I am sure MetalOver30 did not see the sexism in his commentary because as an “equal rights” activists, the MRA are only trying to ensure that men are respected.
There seems to be a social idea that a man that has a feminist out look on life is somehow emasculated. The idea that a man can retain all aspects of his masculinity, while at the same time wholeheartedly agreeing that women are his equals, is attacked by patriarchy because the very idea destabilizes the male inalienable right to control and power based in sex and gender construction. The opposite is in fact true.
For a man to stand up and assert that women are his equal and openly advocate for an end of the systemic inequalities that gender disparity causes is indeed a courageous act. Consider the attack that a stay at home dad faces. Though the role of parenting is indeed challenging, when performed by a male it is even more subject to ridicule. Nurturing and masculinity are deemed to be at social odds.
A man that owns the feminist identity is very quickly attacked as an effeminate loser. This is just one of the ways that sexism hurts men to. A masculinity that must constantly present an image of control, aggression and power is limiting in that it does not allow men a wide range of experience or emotion.
While the term mangina is meant to be an insult, I believe that we should see it for what it is, a man that refuses to allow the world to dictate who and what he should believe simply because he has a penis. It takes a real man to stand up for what he believes in the face of constant attack. Let us reclaim the magina from the pantheon of pejoratives; thus reducing the stigma attached to feminist identified males. Having a vagina or sympathizing with women who seek to create a world in which all genders are equal need not be a mark of weakness if we fight against it.
So to all the manginas in the crowd…keep on rocking it and rest assured that there are many who see your daily struggle and applaud you for it.