Men's rights activism — a term most often applied to wounded community of daft, delusional, and often malignant denizens of the Internet who think that feminism threatens their basic rights and that rape isn't even that big of a deal — has had a busy week bringing shame to its already quite besmirched name. In the past few days, MRAs have launched a defamatory campaign against Kate Winslet over poorly-supported fears that she's hogging the custody of her children, and they've inundated Occidental's anonymous rape reporting form — which is meant only to gather data on sexual assault, not to accuse anyone of anything — with false claims. Ugh, fending off the creeping Feminazi Apocalypse is hard work. Good thing someone's out there to keep those rape victims from oppressing and silencing us all.
And so it's beyond vindicating to see that a self-proclaimed former MRA has posted a rant about the movement on Reddit, where the MRA hivemind lurks. (Yes, I'm aware that this could be fake — but I WANT TO BELIEVE, and it's prompted a lot of interesting discussion). The Redditor, writing under a throwaway account, points out that men's rights could be a useful movement, and it's a fair point:
For example, men who put other men down for liking feminine traits, or how male rape/molestation victims aren't treated with the same respect as female ones. While feminism does work to address these problems, it would be nice to have a "men only" type safe space/group that other men could use to vent, talk, or show SUPPORT against the way society puts men in these awful constraints or stereotypes.
It's true that a lot of the oppression that MRAs think they face is oppression that feminism broadly addresses — feminists work against all forms of domestic violence, feminists fight against the constrictive gender norms that constrain both men and women, feminists do not want to keep men in cages, etc. But if the men's rights movement worked with feminism, instead of against it, and functioned as a safe space for men to share their specific experiences navigating masculinity, that would be great. Everyone could be happy. With that said, the current MRA movement is terrible. As the former MRA puts it:
/r/MensRights and MRAs in general don't focus on these issues. There are those who do, but they are such a small minority that any time they speak up, they are over shadowed by the large majority and/or downvoted into oblivion.
MRAs claims that it's only the rad-MRAs that do this, and how if you spend time on their sub, you'll see how it's mostly mature discussions and about "SERIOUS" issues. Well, as a long term member and contributor, this simply isn't true. MRAs has a ton of non-serious issues that not only show up often, but they are actually apart of the "official" MRA movement.
He points out that one of the pages linked to on the /r/MensRights sidebar is A Voice For Men, a MRA website that ardently and vociferously believes that "women were never oppressed" and historically "protected and provided for... [and] privileged." Ha ha ha ha okay but fun fact: women work two-thirds of the world's working hours, but they earn only 10% of the world's income and own less than one percent of the world's property. But, ever averse to facts and logic, the online MRA community is increasingly spouting misogynistic, terrifying Red Pill rhetoric.
The Redditor goes on to shut down several preferred MRA talking points:
Men are the number 1 victim of war. This is true...except the neglect to mention how this is due to the fact that until recently, men didn't ALLOW women to engage in war, and how women and men have been fighting to change this unfair law.
Men work more dangerous jobs compared to women. Again, this is technically true, but again they neglect WHY THAT IS, such as it's a male dominated field that won't allow women to enter, or how women don't feel safe taking white collar jobs because the rate of male on female abuse is fucking high.
Men never get custody of their children. It's true that women get custody more than men, but once again, they neglect to mention that most divorce cases are contested and that means that there was no fight in court, they BOTH mutually agreed to those terms. Further, they ignore how men who actually fight in court usually win.
Men shouldn't have to pay child support for an unwanted child. Yeah, then who the fuck is going to help pay and raise the child if not the other parent who had a hand in creating it? Ask them that question and watch them have no answer or say "She should just abort it or give it up for adoption if she can't afford it herself!", as if it's that easy.
Men are often victims of false rape accusations. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but it rarely happens, yet MRAs act like every woman is one argument away from calling the cops.
YES, THANK YOU, DUH.
The final straw, for him, was the ghastly Occidental incident. "There were a lot of things that MRAs did over the years that made me lose faith or consider quitting," he writes. "Their constant homophobia, racist remarks, how they made fun of male sexual abuse (such as saying "nice!" whenever there was a story of a male victim being abused by a female), their support of /r/TheRedPill , etc." But the idea that, as he puts it "the same group that is so fucking afraid of rape accusations is encouraging and actively engaging in spreading false rape accusations" was too ridiculous and too terrible to bear.
Several responses to his post echo his sentiment and/or vindicate what feminists have been saying about the MRA movement for years untold. "I came to eventually realize that I had in actual fact joined the whole online movement for the wrong reasons," wrote one Redditor. "Quite a few MRAs at the time (including me and I'm sure there are still plenty now) really either never had a proper relationship with a woman or the likes. In short, they were looking for a scrape goat to take their frustrations out on and what better than Feminism!"
"I subscribed to r/mensrights the day I subscribed to r/feminism because I see a lot of areas in society where men are treated unfairly, and I'd like to see that change," wrote another. However, the sub is difficult to stay active in... There is a lot of misunderstanding floating around without any actual evidence or statistic to back it up. I feel like a lot of the loudest members of r/mensrights live in an alternate reality. I've tried explaining what the actual rape shield law says (for some reason a lot of MRA's think it is 100% immunity for the victim and reduces the accused to zero defenses, which just isn't true) and I get super down-voted and people say I'm wrong without citing any reason why, or by citing one anecdotal case (which actually was appealed and the decision reversed). A lot of them seem to equate something happening one time, or the potential for something happening sometime, with that thing happening all the time to all the men."
Wrote another, "While the men's rights movement has always had valid points, I'm turned off by the strident, over-the-top opinions and extrapolations that so many of their spokesmen screech. Knee-jerk, illogical, not-well-thought-out pronouncements by misogynists who would find something wrong with anything said or done by anyone female."
MRAs: pretty much everyone thinks you sound batshit insane, even (and perhaps especially) those who are actually deeply concerned with the rights of men. To review, quickly: the government is not controlled by a radical feminist agenda. The occurrence of false rape reports is grossly exaggerated in the media. And no one wants to take away your rights — unless you think "the ability to freely infringe upon the rights of others" is something you, as a man, should be guaranteed at birth. Time to remove your fedoras and enter the real world.
Image via Shutterstock.