Looking through misogyny: Indian men's rights activists, law, and challenges for Feminism

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16 Scopus citations


From faint beginnings in scattered solitary actions in the 1990s, Men's Rights Activists (MRA) have emerged in India as a well-organized social movement, with careful political outreach through social media, legislative lobbying, and street action. They represent a range of ethnic and religious groups, include several prominent women leaders, and reflect some diversity of class positions. Their common target is the cynical misuse of civil and criminal laws relating to marriage and domestic violence, in particular, the simultaneous deployment of multiple laws. Based on my ethnographic work with these groups, I profile MRA understandings of law, equality, and gender in this article. Rather than focus on their obvious misogyny, I examine their arguments in order to explore the internal and external challenges to feminist jurisprudence thrown up by this mobilization. These include attending to unanticipated fallouts of protective legislation and the connotations of symbolic equality standards. I argue that MRA discourses are a crucial site for tracing contestations of gender and the formation of subjectivities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-58
Number of pages14
JournalCanadian Journal of Women and the Law
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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