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Masculism (or masculinism) is political, cultural, and economic movements which aim to establish and defend political, economic, and social rights and participation in society for men and boys. More generally, it may refer to any movement, theory or opinion which holds a belief in achieving males' equality with females as its core tenet. In this regard, it is the counterpart of feminism, which seeks to achieve the same goals but from a contradistinct viewpoint. Issues of concern to masculists include legal equalities, such as those relating to conscription, child custody, alimony, and equal pay for equal work. Its concepts sometimes coincide with those of the men's rights, fathers' rights, and men's liberation movements. Masculinism strives to achieve these aims by advocating for the rights or needs of men; by the adherence to or promotion of opinions, values, and attitudes, regarded as typical of men;[1][2][3] or, alternatively, through an androcentric approach,[4][5] including the exclusion of women.[1]


  • Definition and scope 1
  • Topic areas of interest to masculism 2
    • Education 2.1
    • Employment 2.2
    • Violence 2.3
    • Custody 2.4
    • Suicide 2.5
  • Reactions 3
    • Feminism 3.1
    • Criticisms and responses 3.2
  • See also 4
    • Men's organizations 4.1
    • Notable persons associated with masculism 4.2
    • Books 4.3
  • Bibliography 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Definition and scope

The men's movement, while masculinism 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]

Topic areas of interest to masculism


Many masculists suggest the abolition of co-educational schooling, believing that single-sex schools are preferred for the well-being of boys.[11]


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]


Masculists express concern about violence against men being depicted as humorous, in the media and elsewhere.[12]

Masculists also express concern about violence against men being ignored, minimalized or taken less seriously than violence against women.[11][13] They assert that there is gender symmetry 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,[12] 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".[14]


Masculinists cite 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.[15] 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 a form of misogyny.[16]

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]

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.[17][18] Furthermore, belief in inherent gender differences allows for inequality and for the dominant group to assert power by means of perceived difference.[17] 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]

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]

See also

Men's organizations

Notable persons associated with masculism



  • Politics of 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 Harvey Mansfield (2006) Yale Press [1] 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


  1. ^ a b c Nicholas Bunnin; Jiyuan Yu (15 April 2008). "Masculinism". The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy. John Wiley & Sons. p. 411.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f Christensen, Ferrell (1995). Ted Honderich, ed. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford University Press.  
  3. ^ a b   "Not to worry" there seems to imply that this conception of masculism poses a threat to women, or to the women's movement. A broader conception of the women's movement, however, recognizes that patriarchy is harmful to both men and women, and therefore that prejudice and discrimination against both genders will need to be recognized and redressed.
  4. ^ a b "masculinist, n". Merriam-Webster.  
  5. ^ Arthur Brittan (1989). Masculinity and Power. Wiley. p. 4.  
  6. ^ "Oxford English Dictionary". 
  7. ^ Georgia Duerst-Lahti (2008). "Gender Ideology:masculinism and femininalism". In Goertz, Gary; Mazur, Amy. Politics, gender, and concepts : theory and methodology. Cambridge University Press. pp. 159–192.  
  8. ^ Dupuis-Déri, Francis (2009). "Le " masculinisme " : une histoire politique du mot (en anglais et en français)". Recherches féministes 22 (2): 97.  
  9. ^ Nicholas Davidson (1988). The failure of feminism. Prometheus Books, Publishers. pp. 274–.  
  10. ^ Gunhild Hoogensen; Bruce Olav Solheim (2006). Women in power: world leaders since 1960. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 21–.  
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Melissa Blais and Francis Dupuis-Déri. "Masculinism and the Antifeminist Countermovement." Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest 11:1 (2012): 21–39.
  12. ^ a b Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1993; ISBN 0-671-79349-7).
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Just who are men's rights activists?", BBC, 2 May 2012
  15. ^ Janet M. Martin and Maryanne Borrelli, Other Elites: Women, Politics, & Power in the Executive Branch (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000; ISBN 1-55587-971-3, ISBN 978-1-55587-971-6).
  16. ^ Susan B. Boyd; Dorothy E. Chunn; Hester Lessard (2007). Reaction and resistance: feminism, law, and social change. UBC Press. pp. 65–97.  
  17. ^ a b Barbara Risman, "Gender as a Social Structure: Theory Wrestling with Activism." Gender & Society 18.4 (2004): 429–450.
  18. ^ Susan A. Basow, Gender Stereotypes and Roles (Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole, 1992).

External links

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