Masculism or masculinism may variously refer to advocacy of the rights or needs of men; the adherence to or promotion of opinions, values, attitudes, etc. regarded as typical of men;[1][2][3] or, alternatively, an approach that is focused on male superiority[4][5] to the exclusion of women.[1]

Defininion and scope

The Oxford English Dictionary regards it as: "Advocacy of the rights of men; adherence to or promotion of opinions, values, etc., regarded as typical of men; (more generally) anti-feminism, machismo."[6] Though the terms masculism, men's rights and masculinism may be used interchangeably, philosopher Ferrell Christensen differentiates the words "masculism" and "masculinism"; he defines the latter as promoting the attributes of manliness.[2] Political scientist Georgia Duerst-Lahti also distinguishes between the two terms, with masculism being more associated with the early gender egalitarian days of men's movement, while masculinism is refers to patriarchy and its ideology.[7][8]

Christensen differentiates between "progressive masculism" and an "extremist version". The former welcomes many of the societal changes promoted by feminists, while stating that many aimed at reducing sexism against women have had the effect of increasing it against men.[2] The latter promotes male supremacy to some degree and is generally based on a belief in women's inferiority. Nicholas Davidson, in his book "The Failure of Feminism" describes an extremist version of masculism which he termed "virism". According to Davidson, in this view "What ails society is 'effeminacy'. The improvement of society requires that the influence of female values be decreased and the influence of male values increased…."[2][9] Gender theories, which have frequently focussed on woman-based or feminist approaches, have come to include a "masculism" approach which seeks to examine oppression in a masculinist society from the perspectives of men, most of whom do not benefit from that society.[10] From a feminist perspective to philosophy, masculinism seeks to value and include only male views, and claim "that anything that cannot be reduced or translated in men's experience should be excluded from the subject-matter of philosophy."[1]

Discrimination against men


Many masculists suggest the abolition of co-educational schooling, believing that single-sex schools are preferred for the well-being of boys.[11] Some studies have indicated that because boys attract more teacher attention in classrooms compared to girls, boys also receive harsher forms of punishment as well as more frequent punishment than girls for the same offenses.[3] Men earn only 72 bachelors degrees for every 100 women earn.[12]


Data from 1994 in the U.S. reported that 94% of workplace fatalities occur to men. Masculist Warren Farrell has argued that men are often clustered in dirty, physically demanding and hazardous jobs in an unjustifiably disproportionate manner.[3] The male unemployment rate is 7% higher than the female unemployment rate.[13]


Template:Violence against men Masculists express concern about violence against men being depicted as humorous, in the media and elsewhere.[14] One prominent example addressed by the masculist men's rights movement was the Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them! controversy. In December 2003, radio host and masculist men's rights activist Glenn Sacks started a campaign against Todd Goldman's "Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them!" T-shirts, on the grounds of misandry.[15] The campaign against the line received support from several masculist groups, such as the National Coalition of Free Men, but also from groups with broader agendas, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center.[16]

Masculists also express concern about violence against men being ignored, minimalized or taken less seriously than violence against women.[11][17] They assert that there is gender asymmetry in domestic violence,[11] Another concern expressed is that assumptions of female innocence or sympathy for women may result in disproportionate penalties for women and men for similar crimes,[14] lack of sympathy for male victims in domestic violence cases, and dismissal of female-on-male sexual assault and sexual harassment cases.


"Custody law is perhaps the best-known area of men's rights activism", as it is more common for the mother to obtain custody of children in case of divorce. David Benatar, head of philosophy at the University of Cape Town, argues: "When the man is the primary care-giver his chances of winning custody are lower than when the woman is the primary care-giver. Even when the case is not contested by the mother, he's still not as likely to get custody as when the woman's claim is uncontested".[18]


Masculinists point out the high rates of suicide in men.[11]



Feminists respond to the different ideologies of masculism in different ways. Masculists who promote gender equality are often considered male feminists.[19] It is the general opinion of modern feminists that masculism, when defined as "male superiority or dominance",[4] is inherently opposed to the equality cause and is considered a form of misogyny.[20] Philosopher Ferrell Christensen states that if masculism and feminism refer to the belief that men/women are systematically discriminated against, and that this discrimination should be eliminated, there is not necessarily a conflict between feminism and masculism, and some assert that they are both.[2] However, many believe that one sex is more discriminated against, and thus use one label and reject the other.[2]

Criticisms and responses

To the extent that masculism is associated with antifeminist masculinism, its primary focus is on “masculinity and the place of white heterosexual men in North America and European societies.”[11]

As previously stated, some masculinists believe that differentiated gender roles are natural. There is considerable evidence for social influences (e.g. gender division of labor, socialization) as the sole or primary origin of gender differentiation.[21][22] Furthermore, belief in inherent gender differences allows for inequality and for the dominant group to assert power by means of perceived difference.[21] The masculinist movement has to some extent appropriated the concepts of evolutionary psychology: this theory argues that adaptation during prehistory resulted in complementary but different roles for the different genders, and that this balance has been destabilized by feminism since the 1960s.[11] Despite the concern of some feminist groups towards the rights of men, some masculinist movements are explicitly antifeminist.[11] According to Blais and Dupuis-Déri, “the contents of [masculinist] websites and the testimony of feminists that we questioned confirm that masculinists are generally critical of even moderate feminists and feminists at the head of official feminist organizations.”[11] Masculinist activism has involved disruption of events organized by feminists and lawsuits against feminist academics, journalists, or activists.[11] Furthermore, masculinist actions are sometimes extreme; father’s rights activists have bombed family courts in Australia and have issued bomb threats in the UK, although it is ambiguous whether there was public and organized militant group involvement.[11] They have also engaged in “tire-slashing, the mailing of excrement-filled packages, threats against politicians and their children.”[11] Spokesmen for these groups have also spoken out against public awareness campaigns to prevent sexual assault, arguing that they portray a negative image of men, and one masculinist group harassed administrators of dozens of battered women’s shelters and women’s centers.[11]


Richard Warshak, in his essay in the Family Court Review,[23] was "unable to locate any study of nationwide patterns of custody adjudication.", noting that "some regional studies" did find gender bias. He also notes that “[g]ender stereotypes [such as nurturing caretaker] that favor mothers' preferential claims to custody are not supported by research”, and goes on to argue that the focus of child custody decisions should be on the children, and not the parents.

Karen Czapansky wrote an essay on the subject in the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics and found a comprehensive "need for reform in order to eliminate the impact of gender bias on judicial process and decisionmaking", noting that in custody decisions, gender biases can favor either men or women: “a judge may decline to consider a father a serious candidate for custody, just as he may decline to find fit for custody a divorced mother who works or one who is sexually active.”[24]

See also

Men's organizations

Notable persons associated with masculism



  • Aristotle asserts excellence varies with social role, including gender.
  • The Legal Subjection of Men, 1908 antithesis of John Stuart Mill's 1869 The Subjection of Women.
  • The Fraud of Feminism by Ernest Belfort Bax, 1914.
  • The Myth of the Monstrous Male and Other Feminist Fallacies; John Gordon, Playboy Press, New York, 1982; ISBN 0-87223-758-3
  • "La condition masculine dans le Rouge et le Noir" Gilles Aerts, mémoire de maîtrise, University of British Columbia, 1987.
  • The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex; Warren Farrell, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1993: ISBN 0-671-79349-7
  • Manliness by ISBN 0-300-10664-5
  • Not Guilty: The Case in Defense of Men; David Thomas, William Morrow and Co., Inc., New York, 1993; ISBN 0-688-11024-X
  • Good Will Toward Men; Jack Kammer, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1994; ISBN 0-312-10471-5
  • Moral Panic: Biopolitics Rising; John Fekete, Robert Davies Publishing, Montreal-Toronto, 1994: ISBN 1-895854-09-1
  • The New Men's Studies: A Selected and Annotated Interdisciplinary Bibliography (2nd Edition); Eugene R. August, Libraries Unlimited, Inc., Englewood, CO, 1994: ISBN 1-56308-084-2
  • A Man's World: How Real Is Male Privilege - And How High Is Its Price?; Ellis Cose, Harper Collins, New York, 1995: ISBN 0-06-017206-1
  • Why Men Don't Iron: The Real Science of Gender Studies; Anne & Bill Moir, Harper Collins, Hammersmith, London, 1998; ISBN 0-00-257035-1 (Trade Paperback); ISBN 0-00-257048-3 (Hardcover)
  • The Strong, Sensitive Boy; Ted Zeff, Prana Publishing (May 3, 2010); ISBN 0966074521
  • The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity; Leon J. Podles, Spence Publishing Co., Dallas, TX, 1999. (The title is a play on the Christian theological terms church militant and church triumphant.)
  • Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture; Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young, McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal, 2001; ISBN 0-7735-2272-7
  • "Feminine" Heterosexual Men: Subverting Heteropatriarchal Sexual Scripts?; Darryl B. Hill, The Journal of Men's Studies, Spring 2006, Men's Studies Press; ISSN 1060-8265
  • Re-Thinking Men: Heroes, Villains and Victims; Anthony Synnott, Ashgate, 2009; ISBN 978-0754677093
  • The Second Sexism; David Benatar, Wiley-Blackwell, 2012; ISBN 978-0470674512
  • Email to the Universe; Robert Anton Wilson, New Falcon Publications, 2008; ISBN 978-1561841943
  • Sex Differences, Modern Biology and the Unisex Fallacy, Yves Christen
  • Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women; Christina Hoff Sommers ISBN 0-684-80156-6
  • The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men; Christina Hoff Sommers ISBN 0-684-84956-9
  • Domestic Violence: The 12 Things You Aren't Supposed to Know by Thomas B. James ISBN 1-59330-122-7
  • Ceasefire! : Why Women And Men Must Join Forces To Achieve True Equality; Cathy Young ISBN 0-684-83442-1
  • The Masculine Mystique; Andrew Kimbrell ISBN 0-345-38658-2


External links

  • American Coalition for Fathers and Children
  • Equal Parental Rights for Fathers
  • National Coalition of Free Men
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