Men’s Rights Activists In India Ran A Marathon Dressed As ATMs

A group of Men’s Rights Activists decided to use the Mumbai Marathon as a chance to draw attention to their cause. However, instead of just slapping a bumper sticker of some kind on their buts or wearing festive cause bracelets, some are running the marathon dressed as giant ATMs. Which does not seem like a very good marathon running strategy to me. Not that I’ve ever run a marathon, but it seems rather unwieldy. I cannot fathom attempting to do it wearing a large cardboard box.

Other supporters of the Vaastav Foundation wore jail outfits to represent the fact that they believe many men are arrested on false charges, or carried placards saying “Husband is not an ATM.”

Amit Deshpande, the founder of the group, told Quartz “The anti-dowry laws and rape-related laws in India favour women. The idea behind justice is that one is innocent until proven guilty, but our system is such that this primary idea is inverted and such laws are misused by women against men. Male rape and male sexual harassment is not recognised. Laws to deal with such evils should be there. We just want that they be gender neutral.”

That’s fair, I don’t think anyone would argue against gender neutral laws concerning rape–although let’s not underestimate the extreme seriousness of the gang rape problem in India here, or the fact that dowries should definitely not be a thing.

Deshpande also notes that men there are also hurt by the patriarchy, which feminists here have been saying for a long time. However, he followed that up by saying “A man is forced to be an ATM for his family and if he fails to protect his wife or provide for her, he is immediately accused of mistreating her”–I don’t know enough about the laws in India to confidently weigh in on this, but if only one person in a family is providing an income, then it’s not like they’re going to get to keep all that money for themselves.

Other men in the marathon carried signs saying “Until men learn to express their pain, every story will always portray women as victims.” I am all for men expressing their emotions–but expressing emotions for the sole purpose of hoping women seem less like “victims” if you do so does not seem like a very authentic way of expressing emotions.

Again–the patriarchy hurts men too. Not all of these men’s points were terrible or wrong. However! The thing about the patriarchy is that men have a lot more power to change it than women do.

Though I still maintain that no one is winning a marathon dressed as a giant ATM.

h/t Buzzfeed