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Masculinism and the Antifeminist Countermovement

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Little research has been done on antifeminism, whether from the perspective of the sociology of social movements or even of women's studies. Yet, a particular form of antifeminism has been at work for a number of years, more specifically, masculinism. Its discourse claims that men are in crisis because of the feminization of society and it mobilizes primarily around issues pertaining to the interests of fathers and spouses (divorce laws, alimony, child custody, violence). This article examines two alternative explanations of the masculinist phenomenon: (1) men have real problems, and masculinists scapegoat women and feminists instead of targeting the true causes of their problems, such as the transformation of the labor market; (2) masculinism is openly opposed to feminism and is thus the result of countermovement dynamics. While referring to other contexts (UK, the USA, etc.), our paper takes the situation in Québec (Canada) as a case study. The feminist movement and masculinism are dynamic there and stand in sharp opposition to each other. The essay applies the theory of countermovements in order to better understand the oppositional relationship between these two political forces and demonstrates ultimately that masculinism's effects on feminists are at times paradoxical.
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Keywords: Antifeminism; countermovements; fathers' rights movement; masculinism; men's crisis; men's movement; women's movement

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institut de recherches et d'études féministes, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada

Publication date: 01 January 2012

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