Feminism debate rages, fueled by ‘Meninist’ Twitter account

Juliana Discher | Staff Writer

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.43.13 AMPhoto by Visual Editor Madison Krell

“Meninism” and feminism: two concepts that sound similar, but each conjures up a starkly different set of opinions.

The “Meninist” account on Twitter has flourished in popularity over the past year. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, it was originally started by men making jokes, but has become a channel to express the difficulties of being a man in the 21st century. The main account currently has over 1,000,000 followers with numerous replica accounts.

Self-proclaimed “meninist” and junior, Elijah Kelly, said there is a misconception with what being a “meninist” truly means.

“The ‘meninist’ account basically attacks feminism, not feminism that promotes gender equality, but the radical, modern-day feminists that want to end Father’s Day,” Kelly said. “Feminism nowadays is an idea that promotes gender equality with words, but then does the exact opposite with actions.”

When he saw a viral hashtag on Twitter that promoted the ending of Father’s Day, Kelly said he began to resonate with “meninism”.

“There was a viral hashtag going around that said ‘#StopFathersDay’ and when women start that up, it’s ridiculous,” Kelly said. “There are women where if a guy holds a door open, they will tell them to close it, and that’s just crossing the line.”

Kelly, who owns a “#Meninist” t-shirt said he is passionate about the core belief of “meninism”, not the controversial tweets posted by the account.

“When most people see the t-shirt they automatically assume I am against women,” Kelly said. “It’s not a sexist account, but it is about taking a stand for men against the radical feminists’ attacks. The Twitter account with the sexist tweet—I just read that as a joke. I don’t support sexism. I am for gender equality, but against the radical feminists.”

According to government teacher Maria Mueller, there is somewhat of a negative connotation attached to the word feminism, which dates back to the 1970s.

“Feminism is an advocacy for the equality of women,” Mueller said. “I think that the term has been a bit demonized…I don’t think it has anything to do with being ‘anti-male’. I think it’s simply about challenging the status quo, which of course has always been: men rule, and women do what they are told.”

Mueller said she feels the “meninist” account is more of a joke, and not a legitimate attempt to better the condition of men.

“I don’t imagine anyone would take anything on there seriously,” Mueller said. “I don’t think there is much value because they aren’t generating meaningful conversation. It’s not a forum for any real kind of discussion of equality; it’s just a lot people trying to be funny or sassy.”

According to junior Catherine Carey, she avoids the “meninist” account at all cost.

“It’s just a troll,” Carey said. “It started out against feminism, but I think now it knows it gets people going and gets people angry. It just keeps doing and doing it because it’s getting the attention it wants.”

As a supporter of equal rights for all, Carey said she finds the account disrespectful.

“I get mad that they will degrade anybody,” Carey said. “They offend people like it’s not a problem. They attack anybody who is not a white male. It just brings people down. ”

Even though men will point out that the account is a parody, Carey said it doesn’t make what they post acceptable.

“Guys might think it’s just a joke, and I am all for a joke, but when you are deliberately hurting somebody—what’s the point?” Carey said. “If you’re not going to say something to somebody’s face, then why do it online or through an anonymous account?”

According to Carey, if the “meninist” account was really trying to make a difference to improve the condition of men, then they should be going about it differently.

“If you’re a feminist, you’re a feminist no matter what gender you are,” Carey said. “If you are a true feminist or ‘meninist’ then you would be fighting for men’s rights… You wouldn’t be fighting just because a girl put you in the ‘friend zone’. You would be fighting for all people’s rights equally.”