Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am looking for a word or phrase that are to men's rights as the words feminist/feminism are to women rights.

And will the word or phrase be called a synonym or antonym?

share|improve this question
    
See Men’s Rights. –  tchrist Aug 9 '12 at 1:37

7 Answers 7

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Etymologically "Feminism" is derived from "female" and historically it has referred to women's rights. But the term — as a sociological term as well as a social movement — has evolved in many ways, so while for some "feminism" is the struggle for women's rights in society, others will explain that feminism is the struggle to remove gender-biases from society, and as such applies to men's rights as well as women's.

So when you're looking for the complementary term to feminism, you need to know exactly which meaning of feminism you're going for, because in many contexts "feminism" might be enough for you.

Also, it should be noted that even if we find a term that says "mens' rights" to complement feminism as womens' rights, they will never be entirely parallel in tone and connotation, because mens' rights and women's rights aren't symmetrical. If (some versions of) feminism describes itself as the struggle to achieve equal rights in a male-dominated world, a totally equivalent term would have to imply a similar male struggle, which is, well, a bit of a stretch.

share|improve this answer
    
I agree with your explanation as to why we don't have an equivalent word that says mens' rights. Thanks for answering query :) –  bkk Aug 9 '12 at 5:04
1  
What about gender equality to empahsize equal rights for all? –  bib Aug 9 '12 at 13:25

There is an ostensible but in the end untenable male counterpart to feminism, namely

Masculinism

but because of the long history of feminism and the much shorter and shallower history of masculinism, and fairly different agendas, it'd be difficult to call them perfect pairs.

The suggestion of this word is only to express that in at least one direction there is a corresponding term for males that is superficially appropriate.

Feminism is (terribly oversimplified) a movement that is directed towards equalizing the power and rights of women to that of men, given that they are almost universally allowed little power and few rights. Masculinism is not the same concept replacing 'women' with 'men', rather it is more of an intellectual reaction to feminism, trying to increase awareness of where feminism has restricted the rights of males. There is a perception by some that power and rights is a zero-sum game and that gains by one is a loss by the other.

Though this theoretically might be the case, the surface meaning of masculinism might lead one to use it as a counterpart to feminism, the term seems closer in practice to reactive male chauvinism and misogyny.

share|improve this answer
2  
There is a men's movement, that unlike misogyny or men's rights, is actually not anti-feminist, just emphasizing, with respect to feminism, the positive aspects of masculinity. –  Mitch Aug 9 '12 at 1:51
1  
Kind of failed to read the linked article, eh. It identifies masculism as a counterpart to feminism and mascul-in-ism as antifeminist. The OP wants the former. –  MετάEd Aug 9 '12 at 6:26
    
@coleopterist: thanks, removed. –  Mitch Feb 3 '13 at 4:57

Feminism introduces a political/social idea and it is not an adjective that has an antonym. It is not like white/black or negative/positive. If you insist on finding an antonym conveying a positive meaning you are beating the air because this idea is a reaction against an universal negative action called sexism so its antonym cannot be positive. As others have mentioned before and I agree with, you can use misogyny.

About synonym, there is no synonym and cannot be because with changing the name you will find something else instead of feminism like "women's liberation" or "women's rights", none of which can include the whole issue feminism wants to talk about and has been created because of.

Some of opportunists and beneficiaries are trying to change the name to change the meaning and reduce it from a strong and wave maker movement to a weak and sentimental idea holding nothing unless forgetting what Feminism is and why it has been created and we need it like our need to freedom of expression and democracy. There is only one way to scape of it by not calling yourself a feminist and ignore it if you (I do not mean personal) do not like it but no way to force the others ignore a brilliant history behind this word which is continuing in the world like fighting against racism. No one can delete a part of history which is still continuing.

share|improve this answer
1  
+1, and +10 if I could. This is the only answer that makes sense here. –  CesarGon Feb 3 '13 at 0:41
    
CesarGon,Thanks! –  user36922 Feb 3 '13 at 0:41

For what its worth, feminism is the promotion of women and women’s rights. This is inconsistent with the promotion of equal rights.

Women’s Liberation is more in keeping with promoting equality.

share|improve this answer

From Mexican Spanish, you have machismo.

Machismo

  1. A strong or exaggerated sense of masculinity stressing attributes such as physical courage, virility, domination of women, and aggressiveness.

This question would have no sense in Spanish. Even a child would tell you that the opposite of feminismo is machismo.

share|improve this answer
2  
Feminismo and machismo are not opposites in Spanish. Not even close. –  CesarGon Aug 9 '12 at 15:14

I don’t believe that there is a direct masculine equivalent for feminist, because it’s a fight for the rights of a discriminated group and this is not the case of men.

But if it helps you, there is a generic word for those who oppose any kind of gender discrimination: anti-sexist.

share|improve this answer

While this might be too basic and directly answerable a question for this venue, you might be looking for misogynist/misogyny. It has a different connotation, but there haven't been enough English-speaking, female-dominated societies for us to have come up with a positive word for it.

share|improve this answer
2  
Misogyny is the opposite of feminism, holding the opposite sentiment towards women and their standing, not a parallel, holding the same sentiment towards men as feminism towards women. –  StoneyB Aug 9 '12 at 3:12
    
I wasn't aware of any English-speaking countries with significant male-rights issues, so this was the closest I could come up with. Having grown up with rabid, fringe feminists, forgive me if I made the association too easily. –  rsegal Aug 9 '12 at 3:14
    
@StoneyB - misogyny is surely opposite to feminism. –  bkk Aug 9 '12 at 5:06
1  
aLearner, it may not be a mirror image or male analog, though, which is more of what @StoneyB was getting at. –  rsegal Aug 9 '12 at 12:33

protected by RegDwigнt Feb 2 '13 at 23:50

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.