I've mentioned more than once how I've come across people who are able to get behind some--even many--of the causes championed by the men's rights movement, but who are essentially put off or even scared away by the anger, misogyny, aggression and generalizations of women (or even feminists) commonly found in MRM spaces. I think it's probably every other week that someone posts in r/mensrights on reddit that if only the gang would tone down the language, not be so accusatory toward feminism, and stop generalizing women, that they'd be more comfortable there, because...oh, because feminism did accomplish some good things, or because not all women are like that and it's unfair to generalize, or because anger and hostility will scare support away from the causes. (One thing I think these people don't realize is that men's advocates tried that for almost 30 years in the field of domestic violence advocacy, and I think we can all guess how well the whole "asking politely and calmly" thing worked for them.)
This squeamishness of would-be supporters when they're confronted with the levels of frustration in the MRM is kind of ridiculous, all things considered. When people's rights are trampled, you can expect them to get mad and to express that. And when I look at even mainstream articles, no one seems to be shy about generalizing men or masculinity, or criticizing large subgroups of men for either embodying masculinity or failing to embody it "properly". Hell, Obama's father's day address admonished black fathers--a demographic that faces some serious social and economic challenges--for failing to man-up to their paternal responsibilities. (Of course, there was no Mother's Day admonition toward black mothers to, say, woman up and not have babies until they're in stable relationships, or to facilitate their children's access to their fathers, when both behaviors heavily contribute to the problem of fatherlessness in the black community in the US. And why wouldn't he? Because that would be generalizing and unfairly critical, right?)
Anyway, a week or two ago, I stumbled across a video wherein a prominent and popular online feminist vlogger, Jessica Valenti gave a monologue on misogyny, and her estimation of the MRA community online, trying to portray it as some festering, oozing, pathogenic ulcer of misogynistic sentiment and hateful anti-feminism (who don't really do anything for men, no less). And from the histrionics and accusations of a recent commenter on my channel as to the misogynistic nature of my entire audience, I'm pretty sure Ms. Valenti isn't alone.
Okay, I can't say I was shocked watching Ms. Valenti speak on this topic, or even disappointed. I think it's fair to say I rolled my eyes so hard at her desperation to connect the MRM in any possible way, no matter how absurd, with misogynistic violence and hate, I may have actually sprained my eyeballs.
I can't be sure whether Ms. Valenti feels so threatened by any expression of maleness that does not comply with the drawing room decorum demanded by feminists, that she hied herself to her fainting couch before learning one damn thing about us, or whether she knows what we're about and is deliberately smearing the movement with the flimsiest of accusations, hoping that if she paints us all in a poor enough light no one will bother to go look and see if she knows what the hell she's talking about.
Neither possibility reflects well on her, or on others who agree with her.
First bit of ignorance, she conflates anti-feminism with misogyny, and immediately after, she conflates the men's rights movement with the game community (otherwise known as pick-up artists, or PUA).
A little background on the MRA/PUA thing for those of you who might be new here. Both "movements" are based at least in part on an acceptance of the empirically supported biological reality of gender differences in behavior and psychology. Both movements recognize the system we currently have in place, largely due to rampant and unchecked feminist advocacy acting in concert with traditional white-knighting, is...well, fucked. Annnnnd that's pretty much where they part ways.
MRAs want to fix the system, or create a new one based on real equality. PUAs either think the system is beyond repair, or don't care to fix it. After all, if they fixed it, they wouldn't be able to exploit and capitalize on all the openings provided by its fucked-upness in their endless quest for low-cost fun and poon.
MRAs often characterize PUAs as pussy-worshippers, while PUAs disdain MRAs as pointless and counter-productive beta-grovellers who could be milking the broken system for all it's worth if they'd just get the right attitude, some decent clothes and weren't so busy whining. There is a fair amount of cross-over as far as each being interested in some of the writings and activities on either side, but to conflate the two and lump them into one big bag of male discontent is as foolish as claiming fundamentalist islam is the same as Buddhism, because both are based on spirituality.
So to recap: PUAs are happy with the status quo, and even if they see a collapse coming, they're happy to fuck and drink and carouse all they can while it all falls apart. MRAs are trying to prevent said collapse.
Now these distinctions are important, because of the fact that unless someone like Valenti can connect the MRA and the PUA communities into some kind of organism with a common purpose, you can't say things like this: "George Sodini, the man who shot those women at a gym in Pennsylvania not too long ago this past year, was kind of peripherally involved with some of them online," in the context of a discussion of the MRM.
Because I looked for quite a while and the only connection I could find between Sodini and the men's community online is the fact that he attended a seminar on how to be more successful with women--I'm assuming he was there to learn Game. And you can be sure, if someone like Valenti had something more concrete, she wouldn't have been circumspect enough to say, "peripherally involved"--she'd have named names and told the camera exactly where and with whom online this guy was hanging out. So there it is. A single seminar on how to learn Game Theory.
So here's a guy who's arguably been slowly going crazy for a long time, who hasn't been laid in 20 years, who happens to attend a single PUA seminar in the months before he finally flips his nut and shoots a bunch of women, and this is indicative--according to Valenti--of the misogyny in the Men's Rights Movement, and that's how she can rationalize her way into saying: "So I do think that kind of paying attention to the misogyny and the anti-feminism that's happening online and the way that these men are bolstering each other and supporting each other in really violent views about women, it's something important that we need to pay attention to. Blah blah, hateful toward women, danger, blah blah blah, violent misogyny, violent views, blah blah, hate women, blah blah, no accountability online, blah blah, want to kill women, blah blah, place where people are like 'yeah me too'." And she can say all of that and frame it within the context of a discussion of the men's rights movement.
Because George Sodini attended a PUA seminar sometime before he went off his rocker, he is now ONE OF US.
Now, there was a lot of discussion in men's communities online about Sodini, and the very worst of it was pretty bad, but largely if not entirely confined to the comment sections of various blog posts, most of which occurred in the PUA community--a community of social nihilists, mind you, who look down their noses at the MRM for trying to fix the system that provides them with all that cut rate pussy. A few of those commenters praised him overtly or in a roundabout way, but most of the comments were of the "canary in the coal mine" sort--the kind you might see when a woman does something awful and people believe they know why, and then discuss the systemic problems that might lead to more people doing more horrible things of that nature for the same systemic reasons.
In other words, most of the discussion revolved around how the system marginalizes men, and how we can fix the system so that we DON'T end up with more George Sodinis.
Right or wrong, Sodini felt that our feminist society had cheated him out of any kind of normal or decent life. A lot of people in the MRM feel the same way to one degree or another. So I'm going to repeat this: most of the examination of Sodini in the men's rights community was about how society can change so that we don't get more Sodinis.
But it seems that the very fact that men were discussing it in the larger context of systemic discrimination against men rather than simply condemning Sodini as a monster and then shutting up about it...this is a clear sign to feminists like Valenti and other hand-wringers and pearl-clutchers that MRAs hate women and have violent views about women. Despite the fact that on most MRA blogs, any kind of incitement to violent action, either against isolated women or against the system, is swiftly and sternly rebuffed, and even though MRAs want to fix the system that creates men like Sodini, it must have been MRAs who brainwashed Sodini into hating women enough to kill a bunch of them.
Oh, noble Jessica, and noble noble feminism, a movement that is benign and peaceful and has everyone's best interests at heart.
So I was just thinking we should examine another famous shooter, one who went by the name of Valerie Solanas.
For those of you who don't know, Solanas is the feminist author of the infamous SCUM manifesto, whom many feminists today have tried to characterize as a satirical work (yet more revisionist history right there, but I'll get to that in a minute). Another feminist told me just the other day that it was, at its heart, wholly nihilistic, calling for the end of humanity altogether--which I found interesting, since the manifesto actually calls for the systemic extermination of the male sex through violent rebellion on the part of women, after which said women could live the rest of their lives in peace, at which point why would any of them want to burden themselves with children. To conclude that the main point of the manifesto was some sort of egalitarian vision of nihilism wrt humanity as a whole is basically equating the genocidal killing of males with the free choice on the part of women to not spoil their male-free Utopian existence by having children.
In other words, the brutal murder of a man is exactly the same as a woman choosing not to have a baby, in the mind of at least one feminist I've spoken to.
Solanas' other claim to fame was as the person who shot and nearly killed Andy Warhol. She actually attempted to kill three men that day, shot Warhol and art maven Mario Amaya, an associate of Warhol's, and put the gun against the head of Warhol's manager, Fred Hughes, at which point the gun jammed. If the gun hadn't jammed, there's no reason to believe three men wouldn't have ended up dead.
Not as well known to most is the fact that Warhol wasn't even the man Solanas had set out to kill that day. Her intended target was her publisher, Maurice Girodias, whom she felt had wronged her. As a condition of him publishing the SCUM manifesto through Olympia Press, which he owned, he'd required her to give him the right of first refusal to all her future work. This is a common clause in publishing contracts, and simply stipulates that the author will bring all future, or all related, work to that publisher first, at which point the publisher can offer for it or decline, and the author can accept the offer, negotiate better terms, or decline altogether and offer it elsewhere. Ms. Solanas took this agreement to mean that Girodias now owned the copyright to all her future works. So clearly if the redundant and meandering, incoherent drivel of the manifesto itself was not indicative enough of the woman's extreme level of crazy and stupid, the fact that she never bothered to ask anyone what that agreement meant--either before complying with it or after, or indeed before setting out to kill because of it--should be evidence enough of some serious deficiencies.
When Solanas went looking for Girodias, he wasn't at his office. For whatever reason, she decided Warhol would be a suitable stand-in to vent her spleen at men, and claimed to police and at her hearing that Warhol--who had done nothing more than give her a couple of bit parts in two of his movies--had "too much control in her life", had her, "tied up lock stock and barrel" and was "going to do something" to her that would have "ruined" her. At her hearing she insisted she was right in what she did and had nothing to regret. After some very well-needed stints in Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric evaluation, she pled guilty to reckless assault with attempt to harm, and was sentenced to three years. She was reported at that time to be dedicating "the remainder of her life to the avowed purpose of eliminating every single male from the face of the earth," and though aware of the feminist movement of the time, she considered them a "civil disobedience luncheon club."
In essence, even the most radical second wavers were not radical enough for Solanas. They might hate men, they might want to liberate themselves completely from men, but they weren't prepared to eliminate all males from the face of the earth--at least not yet--so Solanas had no time or patience for them. They were merely "playing" at being feminists, apparently.
But as much as Solanas couldn't be bothered to associate herself with the radical-but-not-radical-enough feminists of the day, those feminists practically jumped at the chance to associate themselves with her, once she flipped her nut and pulled a Sodini.
Robin Morgan, a prolific feminist author who eventually became editor of Ms Magazine (arguably the most influential feminist rag there is) joined demonstrators demanding Solanas' release from prison. Ti-Grace Atkinson, feminist author and then president of the NY chapter of NOW, praised Solanas as "the first outstanding champion of women's rights." Florynce Kennedy, a lawyer and active member of NOW, who went on to found the feminist party and the women's political caucus, called her "one of the most important spokeswomen of the feminist movement."
Wow. So if a few comments on PUA blogs sympathetic to George Sodini is a sign that the Men's Rights community online is filled with misogyny, what does the fact that prominent feminist writers and thinkers beatified Valerie Solanas say about misandry within feminism?
And it's not like I have to go very far back in history to find feminists glorifying violence against men and pedestalizing the women who commit it.
Lorena Bobbitt, whose initial statement to police--according to the NY Times--was "He always have orgasm and he doesn't wait for me to have orgasm. He's selfish. I don't think it's fair, so I pulled back the sheets and then I did it,"--was hailed as a national folk hero, an obviously terrorized battered woman striking back at her oppressor. Never mind that there was plenty of evidence of reciprocal violence in that relationship. Never mind that he was in the process of leaving her, and they'd been discussing divorce.
The feminist narrative reared its ugly head, and the case was crammed into that model, complete with a rape accusation that could not be proven in a court of law, and a story that repeatedly changed gears, from her initial statement onward, to fit the dogma of domineering, abusive husband and terrified, cowed wife. Before she had even she cried abuse, the feminists of North America picked her up on their shoulders, a display of sisterly solidarity with a violent offender that culminated in carnival-style demonstrations outside the courtroom, including the dispensing of cocktail wieners slathered in ketchup, t-shirts extolling the sweet virtues of revenge, and feminists selling buttons nominating Bobbitt for surgeon general.
Mainstream magazines hailed her as a feminist heroine, and perhaps most disturbing, a major feminist group in Ecuador, Bobbitt's home country, not only bankrolled her defence, but threatened to castrate 100 innocent American men if she went to prison for mutilating her husband.
Nope. No misandry evident in any of that. Or violent sentiment. Or terrorist leanings. At ALL.
I mean, feminists must be super-aware of terrorism, since I've been warned by well-meaning feminists that supporting men who go their own way is an act of terrorism because MRAs sometimes use harsh or colorful language, so I'm sure the vast majority of prominent feminists loudly and firmly condemned that group in Ecuador for the terrorists they are, and admonishing the movement as a whole for associating with such groups....oh wait. Never mind.
Anyway, even as recently as a couple months ago, the very same danger Ms. Valenti claims runs rampant within the men's communities online--the danger that "because there's no accountability online the same way there is in real life, all of a sudden you can say like, "yeah, I hate women, I wanna kill women," you can say that online and not only will you find a place to say it, but you'll find a place to say it where people are like, "yeah, me too.""
Which brings me to a little corner of the online, feminist universe called RadicalHub, and some lovely quotes found there:
A feminist child care worker, speaking about the boys in her care: "I honestly have been reassessing the fact that I am giving care to these little future rapists....I know it is kinda going against my principles to support and care for these little fuckers."
A feminist web developer: I'm one of those bad, shameful feminists who wish we could all just kill the fuckers (whether it's a practical tack to take or not).
A feminist and fellow Canuck: "Females don't have to kill baby boys. Just not nurture them. Females are forced to birth baby boys, but beyond that a female's physical actions are her own. Males will die without the constant infusion of female energy that they get from our wombs and from our lives.... Females need to not be emotionally and intellectually invested in a male future."
A UK feminist lobbyist: It needs to be so unfashionable to have boys, and then they would be aborted before seeing the light of day...violent revolution is the only answer...
And a feminist and bestselling novelist: ...your proposal to exterminated the male entirely a la Solanas is to me more of a last resort.... I assume you object that lowering testosterone levels would not necessarily end the oppression. You may be right.
These aren't random, unemployed internet kooks who live on chee-tos and haven't seen the sun in years, either. They're lobbyists, community development coordinators, they work for Arts Councils and Chambers of Commerce, teach special ed and care for children, lawyers and bestselling authors. These are not basement dwelling losers, they're respectable people with jobs that involve public trust. Other contributors to Radicalhub include noted feminists, Julie Bindle and Sheila Jeffreys.
I'm starting to wonder just how atrocious a feminist would have to behave in order for others in the movement to accept the kind of guilt by association that they're so quick to apply to the MRA and men like George Sodini, whose association with the MRM consisted of attending a seminar on how to pick up women.
I don't understand how Paul Elam saying, "Men going their own way IS fucking feminists' shit up" qualifies as terrorism in the MRM, while a publicized threat called into several media outlets to sever the penises of 100 random American men if a violent woman spent a night in prison wasn't enough to so much as dampen the carnival atmosphere and feminist glee outside the courthouse at Lorena Bobbitt's trial. I really don't understand how feminists can now rewrite history and claim the SCUM manifesto was a work of satire, when not only did its author take it to its logical conclusion on a small scale, but other feminists of the day who have since risen to prominence lauded her violent and murderous actions as those of a feminist champion.
Seriously. What the fuck is going on? You put a monster in some strappy sandals and lipstick and suddenly it's not a monster anymore but a hero, or harmless? I just don't get it.
And at the same time, the moment a man gets angry or speaks passionately, everyone's ducking and covering because some lunatic who shot a bunch of women made some of the same criticisms of the system that influences all our lives, and attended a single seminar on how to pick up women?