03 May 2014

Niche: Men's Rights Activists

Men do not endure widespread or systematic oppression in the world, except for a few narrow and specific ways.  The world is not rigged against men.  In almost all circumstances, it's rigged in favor of men. If you spent a great deal of time focusing on the ways in which men are hobbled by their gender, then you are working hard at fooling yourself into missing this larger picture.

Men's Rights Activists, or MRA, work hard at fooling themselves.
Many cultures still oppress men and women in very classical ways, but these are not the in the purview of [the MRA subreddit] or the [Men's Rights Movement], nor does their existence in any way affect the prevalence of the MRM. The existence of male and female oppression in other countries has no effect on the existence of male or female oppression in Western societies, and will never be a legitimate argument against the existence of the MRM.
- reddit.com/r/MensRights FAQ
There are legitimate complaints to be made.  Women find it much easier to get custody of children during divorce proceedings, male circumcision is regarded as "normal," only men would be subject to a draft, and so on.  Fundamental injustices do exist for men, and it's not wrong to fight these injustices.  It's just wrong to think that these injustices reflect the dominant world of gender relations.  Forest for the trees, etc.

Some MRAs have convinced themselves that the deck is so stacked against them, though, that they adopt a bitter siege-mode mentality.  Let's visit their world.

My goodness!  This is a dark and scary place, where sexism has been institutionalized and an entire gender has been branded inherently sinful.  From birth to death, they are the Other, and cautious parents warn their children about the dangers of associating with any but the most beaten-down examples.

Oh, shit.  Sorry, I accidentally described how women are traditionally treated.  MRAs often make the same mistake, co-opting the language and attitude of the women's liberation movement for themselves (compare: "Why isn't there a White Entertainment Network, huh?!").  This is an important thing to understand: by and large, MRAs use the language of equality.  In their view, the women's liberation movement just went too far.  The pendulum needs to swing back a bit towards men, they suggest.
It's not difficult to expose feminism for what it is--a set of unfalsifiable hypotheses that have no basis in empirical reality, and which are about as effective as a coin-toss in predicting reality. What IS difficult is maintaining a venue in which to perform that exposition so others can see it. Feminists interested in silencing people like me often employ the community moderation processes of social networking sites, processes that are often automated, to shut down the accounts of people they don't like or to have their material removed.
-MRA site Owning Your Shit
In a way, this is comforting.  We're not talking about a fundamental difference in philosophy (with most MRAs, anyway), but rather people who are very badly mistaken about facts.  And even in the case of those guys who are just misogynists at heart, putting on a show of concern about gender equity, we can be happy that they're uncomfortable owning up to their real beliefs.  There are very few MRAs who just openly say that women are chattel.

The results can be bizarre.  Here's an acronym for you: MGTOW.  It stands for "men going their own way" - men who are just fed up with this society and the feminazis who plague them.  These poor persecuted fellows have declared that they no longer seek female companionship.  Instead they are going to plant some gardens and go take their dogs for walks and to hell with those women who force them to be "inceb" ("involuntarily celibate").

For them, it's the only way to be safe from spermjacking women.

Oh, you never heard of "spermjacking?"  You're such a fool, and if you're a man, you might already be at risk!  Didn't you know that there are hordes of villainous women out there, yearning to trap you into legal obligation with a baby?  They'll fish the condom out of the trash to do it.  It's true, a friend of mine heard about it from a buddy.

You may not believe me.  You might be a WW - a Western Woman who has been corrupted by feminism, unlike the submissive and nurturing women of Asia.  Or maybe you're just a "mangina" - a man who's on the side of the feminists.


At its most eloquent and well-considered, Men's Rights Activism is a complex and intellectual edifice built to justify a gut belief that men are the new underclass.  The communities associated with it, like A Voice for Men, can be smart and virtuous, doing good work like fighting prison rape.  Prison rape, and the fact that it's a joke, is one of the most abhorrent atrocities in the western world, so I'll commend anyone who joins in the fight against it.

Most of the time, though, that's not the case.  Most of the time MRAs erect crude towers of anger and bile, built with willful blindness and elaborate legalism.  There are endless, endless quotes to demonstrate this point.  Here's redditor "iethatis", as one example:
"feminazi" is a valid term. There are many striking similarities between the two ideologies (to the point of plagiarism)

From the scapegoating ("patriarchy"), to dehumanization, to crazy conspiracy theories, paranoid persecution complexes, and perceptions of being deprived of entitlements, feminist views on men resemble closely the anti-Semitic ideology prevalent among historical Nazis.

Not to mention their authoritarian mindset and the traceable intellectual provenance of feminist philosophy (from Heidegger to "Theory", that is.) I am not claiming feminists consciously modeled their movement after the third reich (although this possibility is a good topic for future research), more likely the influence was unconscious, and maybe stems from a similar psychological profile.
 I could produce literally thousands more comments like this, all "upvoted" (or supported by the community) or "gilded" (rewarded with paid accounts).  It's a vast, unending sea of bitterness and specious reasoning.  But why do that to you?

This is Men's Rights Activism.  Take a look, if you've got the stomach.

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