AM I AN MRA / ACTIVIST?
MRA, a term which sounded so cool.
A term I was hearing from everyone the first time I visited the Weekly Meetings.
A term which is seriously becoming the First Names of people while their own names become middle names.
MRA ...... Mmmmmmm Rrrrrrrrr Aaaaaaaaa ........ just sounds so WOW!!
Flowing in the river of feeling MRA, many of us used MRA in front of our display names.
But then, while I was thinking of using it in front of my own name, I spoke to a senior (one of the Founders) on Who is an MRA?
A simple answer I got, remember the "Bournville" chocolate ad on TV? I said, "Yes". He said, "You dont buy and MRA, you earn it".
That very moment, for me, MRA became an Adjective, a property, a character and NOT JUST A PROPER NOUN, the way my first name is.
Then, I realized that in a rat race of being known as an MRA, being called as an MRA, lot of us followed each other and used the term with us.
REMEMBER, MRA IS AN ADJECTIVE, IT IS NOT A PROPER NOUN.
MRA, meaning "Men's Rights Activist", is not easy to be.
Few donts of MRA:
1. Just because I am a victim of Legal Terrorism, I dont become an MRA.
2. Just because others are using it and it sounds cool, I dont become an MRA.
3. Just because I attend weekly meetings, I dont become an MRA.
4. Just because I want to show myself is different, I dont become an MRA.
5. Just because I am married, I dont become an MRA.
6. Just because I give counselling in Weekly Meetings, I dont become an MRA.
So, then what is the "Eligibility Criteria" of being an MRA. Who is and MRA? Who is and Activist?
I thought of noting down few things which "AS PER ME" are attributes of an MRA:
FIRSTLY, An MRA is a crusader against Misandry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misandry). As per 1 line definition, Misandry means "hatred / dislike of boys/men". More, after the next point.
SECONDLY, An MRA is NOT A FEMINIST (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminist). Feminist is a word derived from the term "Feminism", which is "MIS"-understood as "Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women".
Now, most of us reading the above words, deep in our hearts would say, "it looks correct, afterall, women do need equal political, economic and social rights", but since we "SAY" we are MRA, we will not accept it.
Now, with above 2 points, lets put some harsh realities in place.
We dont hate men/boys, really, we dont.
But then, do we put them equal in front of us?
Do we treat men and women alike?
Dont we do extra bits in name of chivalry for that matter "by default" because we are tuned like that?
Let's analyse a daily set of events:
7AM : Alarm Clock goes, we open the door and the NewspaperMAN is in front of us who had goofed up in charging extra last month. We scold him, tell him that he is an A**hole and an incompetent and a dishonest guy. After pouring our heart out of all abuses we know, we warn him not to "dare" do it again.
8AM : Bell rings and my milkMAN is at the door. He has not done any goof-ups, we are happy with him. We smile at him and then pass a "light" comment at him, "Bhaya, what's this? New shirt? Looks like you are not wanting to show-off your new muscles." He smiles back and goes.
9AM : Door bell rings and my house maidWOMAN is at the door. Last week I saw her stealing a spoon from the kitchen. What do I say? Nothing. I think, "b**h (or may be Poor woman) must have stolen it for a reason. Leave it for this time. Next time I will not leave her this easily". She does her work and leave by 9:45AM.
11AM : You reach office and the moment your lift door is closing, you see your colleague, Ms. Soniya, running towards the lift too (Soniya pacified you when she had heard your victim status when you were sharing your story along with other team member, Ankit). You automatically stop the lift from closing and allow Soniya also to come in. Both you and Soniya reach 2nd floor and move towards your work area. As both of you approach the floor door, you see Ankit also coming out from inside. Both you and Ankit stop and then let 3 of you pass through the same door in Order Soniya then You and then Ankit. You are the one who decides that order as you allow Soniya to go first but then dont allow Ankit to go before you.
12AM : You shoot a printout on the Network printer and the printout needs to be taken on the company letterhead. You see Soniya is also @ the printer to take her printout and by mistake her print comes on the letterhead that you needed. Oops!! Soniya says sorry and you smile and say, "No Worries, I will reprint". And you reprint.
2PM : Another letter needed on company letterhead. Again the same goof-up but this time, Ankit's printout came on your letterhead. Ankit says, "Sorry". You say, "Its' Ok but next time be careful. Lets ensure that we dont waste paper by firing wrong printouts".
6PM : Now you are returning to your home by your car when you see Soniya waiting for the bus, you stop for her, pull the left window down using your swanky power windows and ask her if she needs a lift. She agrees. While wearing your seatbelt you bend to your left and open the door for her and she sits beside you. The moment you are ready to press the accelerator, her bus comes and she says, "thank you" and rushes out of your car to catch her bus. You start driving further. About 100 meters drive and you see Ankit walking on the pavement towards the direction you are going. You honk, Ankit turns, you wave to him meaning "bye". Ankit waves his hand and requests you to stop. You pull over on the side of the road and again pull your swanky left power window down. Ankit requests for a lift and you agree. Ankit opens the front door, sits with you and then you guys drive on.
7PM : You reach home and see Mrs. Khurana, 65 years old neighbor taking vegetables bag towards your residential tower. You get down and insist helping her by taking the vegetables to her flat and even though she says No, you do that.
9PM : Dinner done, now time for a walk. While you are walking, you see Col. Rawat, 65 year old retired Army person replacing the tyre of his car. You goto him and offer him help. He says No with gratitude and you happily continue with your evening walk.
9:30 PM : Oh!! You forgot to tell Soniya about the meeting for tomorrow. But it is too late to call her. You drop her an sms, "Soniya, sorry to bother you so late. We have a meeting with Mr. Khanna tomorrow at 11AM. We will go together from the office". She replies after 5 minutes, "OK"
10:00 PM : Since you are getting bored, you call up Ankit and you guys talk for about 10 minutes on some office politics.
10:20 PM : You have slept. Sweet dreams.
Now, all of the above with different names, with different events, with different timings are almost what all of us really do everyday.
Lets pull a quick comparison:
Person Gender Our Attitude
Newspaper Male Abusive
Milk Vendor Male Lose comments
Maid Female Forgiving
Soniya Female Opening Door for her
Ankit Male I go first and then you
Soniya Female Mistake is OK (Printing)
Ankit Male Mistake is OK, but dont repeat
Soniya Female Stop for her without she asking
Ankit Male Stop for him when he asks
Soniya Female Open the car door for her
Ankit Male Let him open the door himself
Khurana Female Insisting help
Rawat Male Offering help
Khurana Female Give help
Rawat Male No help if he doesnt need it
Now, if we analyse above, you were not hating men, neither were you loving women, BUT THEN WERE YOU GENDER NEUTRAL?
So, the MOST IMPORTANT ATTRIBUTE OF A MEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST IS GENDER NEUTRALITY IN REAL TERMS.
If you can criss-cross the above chart persons keeping your attitude same, you are reaching the Gender Neutrality.
MRA's dont use terms like:
- Be a Man
- You are supposed to be a protector
- Because you are a man
- She is a girl
- Dont you know how to behave when ladies are around?
- After all, she is a mother.
- I love my mother (instead, they love their parents)
- I love my sister (instead, I love my siblings)
These are few things which I have figured out till now.
As I continue my journey to be a MRA, I keep researching more and writing down more about it. Lets see, WHEN DO I BECOME AN MRA.
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE DON NOT TAKE THIS AS A PERSON ATTACK ON ANY ONE. THE WRITER APOLOGIZES TO ALL MEN WHO MAY BE FITTING IN FEW ROLES MENTIONED IN THIS BLOG. THIS IS AN ATTACK ON WIDESPREAD GENDER BIAS AMONGST THE LAWS OF GENDER BIASED VICTIMS. WE CLEAN US UP BEFORE CLEANING THE WORLD.