Towards an MRA conception of sex-based rights

As MRA’s, we habitually react with rightful suspicion to feminist proposals for more special privileges for women. 

We must acknowledge though that each sex faces legitimate distinct physiological disadvantages for which society needs laws to compensate and that the MRM as a movement must address for us to be taken seriously. While male MRAs such as I can certainly contribute to the development of an MRA conception of sex-based rights, I think female MRAs might be particularly suited based on their knowledge and experience to contribute to it too.

Since I’ve given the matter only some thought, I’m sure some here might find flaws in my reasoning and might want to improve or develop on the ideas presented here. Please do so!

Heck, I’ll even welcome moderate, rational feminist contributions too.

At least on initial thought, I can think of the following physiological disadvantages that women face and proposals to address them. 

1. Pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

No matter how much the father might want to offer to carry the child in his womb on the mother’s behalf, he cannot do so simply because he has no womb. Therefore whether we like it or not, the mother must carry the child in her womb even if it requires her to quit her job or take maternity leave, which in turn risks stunting her career advancement.

2. Inferior physical strength.

For physiological reasons, all else being equal, men tend to have more physical strength than women do, which can give men an advantage in trades that require greater physical strength as well as in professional sports.

Possible solutions:

Girls will one day become mothers and, for the physiological reasons mentioned above, the mother will most likely stay at home with her children at least for the first few years after the child’s birth. As a result, the mother will typically become the first teacher of the next generation.

In poorer countries in which a state might not have sufficient financial resources to send children of both sexes to school, it could prioritize the education of daughters over that of sons on the grounds that a literate mother could teach her children at home how to read and write and read instructions on medicine bottles, etc. while the father could exploit his physical-strength advantage in the labour market. 

In wealthier countries, the state could consider providing a mother with a basic income for each child under the age of five and maybe grant her free access to online education from home as a way to compensate for lost work experience while raising the child.

When the father is the sole legal guardian, then he would receive these benefits instead to compensate for the lack of a mother in the family to help raise the child.

Since sports do not qualify as an essential service but are merely a form of entertainment, I don’t believe that it would be appropriate to legislate forced segregation of the sexes in sports. However, I could see the government legislating a right for sports organizations to segregate between unisex competitions and women’s-only competitions at the organizations’ own discretion.

While only biological females would be allowed to participate in women’s sports, anyone could choose to participate in unisex sports. Since men are stronger than women on average, anyone who qualifies as a biological female would probably choose to participate in women’s sports competitions anyway. This would simply mean that any male or trans athlete could participate only in unisex sports competitions.

3. Private spaces. 

Though a person can sexually assault a person of the same sex, statistically the vast majority of men and women are sexually attracted only to the opposite sex. This means that segregating biological men and women from one another in dormitories, change rooms, shower rooms, washrooms, and other venues in which a person can reasonably be expected to remove more clothing and so become more vulnerable could itself greatly reduce the risk of sexual assault in such spaces.

Furthermore, even though homosexual assault could still occur, it at least removes the risk of pregnancy that heterosexual assault can cause.

4. Menstruation.

Should the state pay for a woman’s menstrual leave and menstrual products?

I don’t know, but I think it’s a topic worth discussing.

5. Sexual abuse.

As a man who has experienced sexual abuse from women, I fully understand the trauma that can cause. 

However, female victims of male sexual abuse unique challenges.

Firstly, while an infected female aggressor can certainly transmit HIV or another STI to a male victim, an infected male aggressor will almost certainly transmit an STI to a female victim should he ejaculate in her.

This is not to deny that a male victim of female sexual aggression faces unique challenges of his own. For example, his reproductive rights end at conception and he has no say afterwards on whether the mother chooses to keep the child. 

Furthermore, even if the father can gain exclusive parental rights after the mother is convicted of sexually assaulting him, he might still be forced to share custody with her if he fails to prove her assault beyond reasonable doubt; and rape-shield laws and lowering the burden of proof present dangers of their own since a person can lie.

A female victim of male sexual aggression faces unique challenges of her own beyond higher STI risks. While she might have a right to an abortion, she might not see that option open to her based on her religious or ethical beliefs. This means that she may face having to raise the child on her own.

Also, just as in the male victim’s case, she might need to share custody with her rapist should she fail to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he raped her. 

Given how male and female victims of intersexual abuse each face unique challenges that society cannot easily remedy after conception occurs, how difficult sexual assault is to prove beyond reasonable doubt, how unwise it is to undermine due process by introducing rape-shield laws or otherwise lowering the burden of proof, and how a conflict exists between excessive sexual freedom and adequate sexual protection under the law, society needs to provide both men and women with means to more effectively deter sexual aggression against them without compromising due process or presuming that the man is always the aggressor and the victim is always a woman.

One possible solution to this might be a Right-to-Self-Exclusion Act that would grant a person starting at the age of fifteen the right to sign into his or her online passport account to self-exclude from the freedom to give consent to fornication, under threat of a heavy fine that doubles for each repetition of the offense, for up to five years into the future with an option to autorenew for every five years thereafter.

This would make it an offense for any person to encourage, beyond merely giving enthusiastic consent, a self-excluded person to give consent under threat of an equivalent fine for incitement to commit a self-exclusion offense.

Since consent to fornication and incitement to give consent to fornication would both be easier to prove than rape or another sexual assault, it could provide a more effective deterrent against it. 

Since self-exclusion could make a person more vulnerable to blackmail through threats of making a false accusation, a self-excluded person could gain the right to:

A. a hearing under an inquisitorial system on request. 

B. a hearing in Esperanto without the aid of an interpreter on request. 

C. a paper abortion within so many months after pregnancy. 

D. the right to state financial assistance for any minor of which she has exclusive custody. 

The above could more effectively deter sexual abuse and, when it still occurs and leads to pregnancy, society could provide financial assistance for a single mother without requiring her to prove that a rape occurred.

Towards an MRA conception of sex-based rights