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?


7 Answers 7


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.

  • I agree with your explanation as to why we don't have an equivalent word that says mens' rights. Thanks for answering query :)
    – bkk
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 5:04
  • 1
    What about gender equality to empahsize equal rights for all?
    – bib
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 13:25

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


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.

  • 3
    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
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 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.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 6:26

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.


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.


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.

  • 3
    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. Commented Aug 9, 2012 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
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 3:14
  • @StoneyB - misogyny is surely opposite to feminism.
    – bkk
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 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
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 12:33

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.

  • 1
    +1, and +10 if I could. This is the only answer that makes sense here.
    – CesarGon
    Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 0:41

From Mexican Spanish, you have 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.

  • 2
    Feminismo and machismo are not opposites in Spanish. Not even close.
    – CesarGon
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 15:14

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