Men’s/Father’s Rights


Backlash: Angry Men’s Movements

(Australia) Michael Flood assesses the men’s rights and fathers’ rights movements, 27 pages

Fatherhood and Fatherlessness

(Australia) By: Michael Flood, 67 pages – There is, at present, a significant opportunity for fathers to develop stronger, more intimate bonds with their children and to enhance their roles within their families. The unhelpful agendas of some participants in fatherhood debates, and continuing economic and cultural obstacles to paternal involvement in child-rearing, threaten to limit men’s positive involvement in parenting.

‘Fathers’ Rights’ and the Defence of Paternal Authority in Australia (Summary)

By: Michael Flood, 20 pages – This article provides an overview of the impact of the fathers’ rights movement on men’s violence against women. It documents the ways in which fathers’ rights groups in Australia have influenced changes in family law, which privilege parental contact over safety, particularly through moves toward a presumption of children’s joint residence.

Lies our Fathers Told us: The Men’s Rights Movement and Campus-Based Misogyny

(by: Michael Laxer) I first encountered the Canadian men’s rights movement directly when I was in Peterborough last November.  The “Men’s Rights Movement” needs to be taken very seriously, and many of its adherents and ideas are very dangerous.

Responding to Men’s Rights Groups

(Australia)   Men’s rights groups represent a hostile backlash to feminism, but their efforts in fact are unhelpful and even harmful for men themselves. Michael Flood describes how we can respond.

Separated Fathers and the ‘Fathers’ Rights’ Movement

(Australia) By: Michael Flood,14 pages  – While separated fathers often feel profound distress because of separation and loss of contact with children, the fathers’ rights movement does little to help them heal. In fact, fathers’ rights groups harm fathers’ ongoing relationships with their children and fail to tackle the real obstacles to involved parenting.

What’s Wrong with Fathers’ Rights? (Summary)

By: Michael Flood, 7 pages – Twenty years ago I joined my first anti-sexist men’s group.   I’ve been forced to critique and confront anti-feminist men in ‘men’s rights’ and ‘fathers’ rights’ groups. Their efforts are having a growing influence on community understandings of, and policy responses to, gender issues.

Why “Men’s Rights” Groups are Wrong

“Men’s rights” groups are a growing phenomenon, with “men’s centres”, and “men’s issues awareness” clubs appearing on campuses. Manipulating men’s anxieties  faced with neoliberalism and austerity, “men’s issues” groups ignore the poverty, racism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia that men and women face, and instead scapegoat the women’s movement and progressive movements in general.

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A Men’s Project (AMP) attempts to be inclusive of varying perspectives on issues of concern to men.   Being inclusive is not license for ideologies in clear opposition to AMP’s basic core beliefs.

We believe in seeking a world where men and boys:

1.)      no longer are hurting women and girls, as well as other men and boys,

2.)     support and nurture children as parents, grandparents, allies and friends,

3.)     try to take better care of our own physical and mental health, and

4.)     help and encourage others who may be or feel “different” including by: race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity as well as in other areas.

We strongly support men and boys working towards positive change with others who may be “different” from us in varying ways.   Where we are White Men, for example, we support work with men who may be: Black, Latino, Asian-American or Native American as well as other White men.

We are  not supportive of perspectives which seek to blame others based upon who they are, rather than what they do.

We are strongly opposed to bullying.   We oppose blaming bullying on “boys” or “girls” rather than on the socialization that encourages the behavior and the individuals who actually bully.  We encourage prevention work as well as helping boys (as well as girls) who have been bullied.   Our primary focus is on resources for men and boys.

We are aware that individual women (and girls) can and do seriously wound men and boys.   Particularly of concern to us is abuse where power disparities significantly limit the options of the victims.   Examples of this include: mothers (and fathers) who abuse their children, able bodied children and adults who abuse others with physical or mental impairments or limitations, and elder abuse.   Boys and men (as well as girls and women) are similarly victimized.

We support helping boys and men who are and may be victimized by sexual and non-sexual child abuse, rape, domestic violence, bullying (including cyber bullying), stalking, and other traumas in their lives.

While we believe that individual women and girls may hurt individual men and boys, we strongly do not believe that:

“women”,  “girls” or “feminism” are “the problem” related to many issues facing men and boys.

We also do not believe that:  “men” or “boys” are “the problem”.

We wish to distinguish between:   “men and boys”  and   “masculinity” – how we are socialized to “be a man”.

Being a man is important.   How we are socialized as boys and men is also important.   Fighting to be “on top” at the expense of others and in other ways not respecting and supporting others (as well as ourselves) is simply not acceptable to us.

Men’s Rights and Father’s Rights advocates are highly visible nationally and locally in much of North America.   They clearly represent the perspectives of many men.  A lot of these men live with a lot of pain as a result of difficult life experiences.

We have serious problems with much of the general focus of Men’s and Father’s Rights Groups.

Men’s and Father’s Rights groups may do some good with some of those they work with.   Their basic approach most commonly blames:  women, girls and feminism for much, if not most, of the pain that men feel.   We do not see such groups working towards the positive changes that we seek.   We do not see such groups building a positive masculinity in their work.    We do not see such groups respecting women and girls, except in limited ways.

We believe that “feminism” and “feminists” commonly has/have core beliefs supporting the end of gender based discrimination helping girls and women.   Our support of “feminism” is not a simple acceptance of all who self-identify as feminists.   We do not support those who do not support the positive growth of boys and men.   We do not support the blaming of men and boys by our gender, rather than our specific actions and behaviors.

We try to understand others who come from  a place of hurt and pain.   Their responses may be triggered emotionally based upon traumatic life experiences they have experienced.

We want to encourage men who are fathers to be positively, actively involved in the lives of their children.    Oft times when parents battle with each other the children are the real losers, not either parent.   We do not support actions by parents which hurt their children.

It is obvious that some men are treated unfairly by their ex-partners.   It also is obvious that some fathers have serious issues and may be a threat to the well being of:  their ex-partners and most unfortunately sometimes their children.

We want to encourage positive masculinity where men and boys lovingly support each other as well as women and girls.   We want to encourage an end to violence, emotional abuse, and other things such as racism which divide us.

Our socialization as “males” often encourages us to be aggressive towards:  men, women, boys and girls.  Boys and men – our peers- may pressure us to “be a man” and to “be in control”.   We need to actively oppose such pressures, regardless of whether they come from others of either gender.

We have responsibilities as men to:

a. Be nurturing, loving, caring people,

b. Be supportive of the women and girls in our lives as well as the men and boys,

c. Confront – abusive behaviors and help others become nurturing, loving people,

d. Work proactively to change society in positive ways

To the degree that Men’s and Father’s Rights advocates may oppose abuse, we wish to support such actions.   We do not list their websites within A Men’s Project because we believe that their blaming of women in general is primary to their focus.   This is not acceptable to us.

One insightful writing on the general issues discussed above is Joe Kelly’s:    “Men’s Rights from the Kid’s Point of View” .

We support each other as men and boys working towards building a world where we all are supportive of girls, women, boys and men with true peace, justice and mutual respect.