"The men's movement is a contradictory phenomenon, involving both the defence of men's privilege and efforts to undo it. While personal growth and therapy have been important focuses, increasingly these are being complemented by public political activism."- Michael Flood, a PhD student in Women's Studies at the Australian National University and an active member of Men against Sexual Assault.
The Men's movement is small but has gained momentum in the late 20th century. It is a growing group that has a strong therapeutic focus. It does not try to make a social change per se and is unlike Feminism which comes in waves. More accurately, it is a collective movement which tries to help men to identify with themselves. Early writings supported women's liberation but today, there are varying perceptions and beliefs. Basically, Anti-sexist and Pro-feminists are antithetical to Men's and Father's Rights. There are several strands to the Men's movement and it is constantly evolving. Some men (such as Warren Farrell) even "switch" wings as their beliefs change with time.
As the name suggests, Pro-Feminist men are pro-feminist. They feel that due to men's status in society, it has resulted in the sufferings and oppression of men, women and children alike. Therefore, men must take on more social responsibilities and change their attitudes for the greater good of mankind. In particular, Pro-Feminists feel that because of patriarchy, men are often weak and sometimes even victimised when it comes to interpersonal relationship issues. Certainly, there are conflicting viewpoints as to what extent man is at the losing end due to the gender role that he plays.
Notable personals include Michael Flood, Kenneth Clatterbaugh and Robert Connell.
Anti-Sexist men focus a lot on actions against men's violence. An example would be Men Against Sexual Assault (MASA). They had a campaign of selling white ribbons to men to show support of opposing men's violence. They are also active in men's health policy, education - to develop "anti-sexist" curriculum for schools, research on masculinity and etc.
The largest wing in the Men's Movement, Men's Liberation is similar to Pro-Feminist and Anti-Sexist that it feels that man's social and gender role has hurt mankind. "In particular, Men's Liberation feels that men are over-worked, trained to kill or be killed, brutalized and subjected to blame and shame." However, Men's Liberation stands out as it focuses on healing and recovering men through counselling, support groups and therapies.
Notable personals include Warren Farrell (pre-1985), Stephen Biddulph and Rich Zubaty.
Men's and Father's Rights:
Similar to Men's Liberation, Pro-Feminist and Anti-Sexist, Men's and Father's Rights believe that men's social and gender roles are damaging to men. However, the causation for this is not men themselves but women, in particular Feminists. This is seen as a "backlash" to Feminism as the early Men's Movement supported Feminism based on the fact that it was liberation of Man rather than solely women. Within this strand, some are advocacies of the traditional patriarchal family structure while others are more open and flexible to social and family relations. Men's Rights focus on civil laws, emphasising on men's suicide rates, crime rates, drug abuse, depression and even issues of employment and education. On the other hand, Father's Rights deals mainly with family laws. They are concerned with discrimination against men when it comes to domestic violence, divorce proceedings and child custody.
Notable personals include Jack Kammer, Warren Farrell (post-1985), Richard Doyle.
Spiritual or Mythopoetic
This group is connected by its spiritual perspective and exploration of men's inner consciousness. Inspired by psychoanalysis works and poetry of Carl Jung and Robert Bly respectively, they are individuals who look into myths and poetries to find "the man within". It is correct to say that the men's movement has been given a more cultural dimension with this added strand. The "mythopoetic" men seek to look at past generations of wisdoms and beliefs to understand themselves better. Through archetypes, symbols, stories, rituals, myths and poetries etc, they pursue and redefine (or re-enforce) notions of masculinity and fatherhood etc. The individual's personal growth is important here as this approach is supposed to be a therapeutically personal journey.
Notable personals include Robert Bly and James Hillman.