THEIR GOVERNMENT AT WORK
'Masculinists' lashing back at feminists?
Publicly funded report says men's groups inciting hatred
Posted: May 31, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
Feminists fret the tables have turned. But have they?
A report funded by the Canadian government finds "masculinists" are orchestrating a backlash against feminism and blame women for oppression and discrimination against men, reports the National Post.
According to the paper, the report's authors claim "masculinists" portray men as victims and link feminism with boys' poor performance in schools, male suicide, loss of male identity and discriminatory divorce and child-custody laws. It further concludes that "masculinists" aim to discredit feminism and challenge the gains made by women in education, work and in family life.
"A process of leveling the power relationships of men over women is taking hold, not only to mask continued inequality but also to attack some of the gains made by the women's movement," reads the report.
The report blames the media for spreading the "masculinists misinformation" and notes news articles that evolved from discussing girls' "triumphant breakthrough" in the 1990s to focusing on boys' "malaise."
Who authored the report? Self-described feminists.
"I have a feminist perspective, but just because I am a feminist does not mean that I am incapable of seeing that boys are having certain difficulties," Pierrette Bouchard, the report's main author told the National Post. Bouchard is a professor in the education department at Université Laval. Her two research assistants were contributing authors.
The $75,000 report, entitled "School Success by Gender: A Catalyst for the Masculinist Discourse," was written in response to a request by Status of Women Canada, a federal government department, to research the subject.
The authors recommend an organization be set up to monitor the websites of men's groups who they imply are "inciting hatred" against women, and suggest women's groups team up to counter the "masculinists."
Bouchard defines "masculinists" as "activists within certain men's groups."
According to the National Post, men's groups cited in an appendix to the report feel "smeared."
Ken Wiebe, owner of the website fathers.bc.ca, said it was set up as a resource to help fathers gain equal footing in divorce courts. He denied that it promotes hatred of women.
"There is no question that I have very little patience for feminists, especially the radical variety of feminism here in Canada," he told the paper. "But I have a wife, I have daughters. This notion that because we are opposed to the feminists' political agenda, that that somehow equates to a dislike of women, is just propaganda. That's some kind of smear campaign."
Another organization on the report's "hit list" is the Canadian Committee for Fairness in Family Law in Ontario.
"I think there is a serious need to look into why the government is funding this," said Jim Hodgins, the committee's representative.
Bouchard deflected the criticism.
"In conducting this research, we found attacks on feminists on a lot of sites. We were only reflecting what we saw on their sites," she told the paper. "Nor do I put all men in the same basket. Not all men are like those I identified in the report."