When someone is talking about mens’ rights issues or anything that only affects or disproportionately affects men, a common response is some derivative of “women have it just as bad.” This response will be used no matter how absurd it is when applied to the issue or issues being discussed. For example, if an MRA is discussing what happens to men during and after divorce, someone will respond that women suffer just as much from divorce. Obviously, this is not the case, because women wouldn’t disproportionately initiate divorce proceedings otherwise. What these people are doing is promoting a myth of equal suffering.
Why do we have a myth of equal suffering? It is because feminists – and even many anti-feminists (who are really anti-feminist in name only, or AFINOs) – don’t want to admit that there are certain issues (such as divorce) where men bear the overwhelming brunt of the negative impact. Feminists will use this myth in an attempt to shut down any effort to show that their policies and actions are attacking men. AFINOs will also use the myth to hide the fact that women who don’t claim to be feminists are still benefiting from feminism. For them, it’s an attempt to pretend that the benefits of feminism are going to some far away group of feminist women instead of both feminist women and AFINO women. This can be seen with divorce where women who don’t claim to be feminists divorce as often as self-admitted feminist women do. It can also be seen when someone says, “But feminism hurts women too”.
The myth of equal suffering is not used in the opposite direction. If something were to disproportionately affect women, these people will not talk about how men are suffering just as much from the same problem. This is because the true purpose of the myth of equal suffering is not to demonstrate that men and women suffer equally: it is to diminish problems experienced by men so that women can be shown to be suffering more. This serves the purpose of adding more power to women via victimhood. It is similar to how feminism in general claims to support equality when in reality it is promoting an agenda of female supremacism.