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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

There Are Fewer Men's Rights Activists Than You Fear, but Those Few Activists Are Exactly as Terrible as You Think

Posted by on Wed, Jul 2, 2014 at 11:32 AM

I missed this story at the Motor City Muckraker until today, but it's definitely worth a read. There was a men's rights conference in a Detroit suburb last weekend. Due to low interest, they had to move the conference from a venue that could house 250 people to a venue that maxed out at 100 people.

And of the less-than-100 people who did show up, one has a history of anti-Semitic comments, a second one is on the record encouraging men to "beat the shit out of women," a third wanted the age of consent to be lowered to 13, and a fourth "molested" a reporter. The rest just said terrible things. Go read the report.

Look, we know that most men's rights "activists" are dejected teenage boys who haven't figured out how to talk to women yet. And now it turns out that the ones who stick with the "movement" into their adulthood turn out to be the kind of off-putting outcasts who live lonely, hateful existences on the fringes of society and construct conspiracy theories to explain their pathetic lives to themselves. When you push aside the curtain of the internet, you're looking at a handful of frightened outcasts with no control over their lives. This is something I've always suspected about men's rights activists, but it's satisfying to see those suspicions turn out to be true.

 

Comments (34) RSS

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Post_Mortem 1
Not to say MRA types are nice guys, but you do realize your criticism of them as lonely, sad people on the fringe of society is just the sort of attack leveled at LGBTs, radical thinkers, and book readers throughout history from just the sorts of people you would vehemently disagree with, right?
Posted by Post_Mortem http://pointlessman.blogspot.com/ on July 2, 2014 at 11:48 AM · Report this
Foghorn Leghorn 2
There's so many lonely, sad people on the fringes of society; one begins to wonder where all the people in the center are...
Posted by Foghorn Leghorn on July 2, 2014 at 11:53 AM · Report this
Fnarf 3
How much overlap between "sad MRA nitwits" and "bros who wear shower slippers out on the street" do you think there is?
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on July 2, 2014 at 11:55 AM · Report this
seatackled 4
Not to say you're not a nice guy, but you do realize you're an idiot, right?
Posted by seatackled on July 2, 2014 at 11:56 AM · Report this
5
I agree with @1. A good criticism of MRActivism is that is myopic. They point out some legitimate problems but don't see where they're coming from. E.g. lopsided custody is a real problem, but they blame women rather than following the thread to larger societal expectations of men & women. (I suspect they either know society favors men overall and don't want to go there, or maybe just don't want to be seen agreeing with feminists.)
Posted by wxPDX on July 2, 2014 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 6
The idea that straight men who can not talk to women or are unsuccessful sexually are losers who serve no purpose is a driving force in misogyny and the alienation of men which leads to violence and MRA nonsense.

So it would help if people like you stopped spreading that destructive and pervasive social construct. It is really no different in content than the claim that all feminists are lonely women who just can not get a man. Obviously the social impact is not the same, but you get the point.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on July 2, 2014 at 12:03 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 7
@5,

Of course they know that society favors men; that's why they have no substantive ideas other than "fuck those bitches". Their gripe is that society doesn't favor them *enough*.
Posted by keshmeshi on July 2, 2014 at 12:12 PM · Report this
8
The Time story was (I think) better:
http://time.com/2949435/what-i-learned-a…

The author is currently being harassed by the conference organizers. Still, her account is pretty empathetic, and I particularly liked her ending:

"There are men out there ... who have a real stake in the movement’s success. The paranoia and vitriol of its leaders can’t possibly do anything for them."

Posted by keeponthesunnyside on July 2, 2014 at 12:13 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 9
@5,

Also, the vast majority of custody arrangements are uncontested because both parents acknowledge that the kids are better off with their primary caretaker. In contested proceedings, when both parents are fighting for sole custody, men are more likely to win. While there may be some small number of MRAs who legitimately got fucked over by the family courts, I can't help assuming that most are pissed that the courts favor the primary caretaker (even though these guys didn't lift a finger to raise their children while they were still married) and that at least some are stone cold abusers who are pissed they were robbed of their favorite punching bags. The latter would definitely explain why so many MRAs espouse violent rhetoric at every turn.
Posted by keshmeshi on July 2, 2014 at 12:16 PM · Report this
10
@ 5 ironically any valid points they have would be addressed by combating regular ol' run of the mill sexism.
Posted by bassplayerguy on July 2, 2014 at 12:22 PM · Report this
11
" less-than-100 people"

OK, since you claim to be Seattle's only newspaper, perhaps you could find a good writing guide and learn that it should be "fewer than 100 people"!
Posted by collingswood on July 2, 2014 at 12:38 PM · Report this
12
#9: exactly. That they don't embrace that incredibly obvious truth because "concern about the poor men" is less important to them than their anti-woman views. If there's a reason to have any less disdain for supporters of this movement than white supremascists, I certainly haven't seen it articulated.
Posted by david jw on July 2, 2014 at 12:47 PM · Report this
13
And by #9 I meant #10, bassplayerguy.
Posted by david jw on July 2, 2014 at 12:48 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 14
@6
Holy shit, I actually 100% agree with you. Will wonders never cease?
Are a big chunk of these guys assholes? Yes. But is Paul Constant also a giant asshole for just saying the old "they can't get laid hence they are not real men" line? You damn right he is.
Why can't they just be pricks because they're pricks? And what would an awkward, straight man who actually supports gender equality think reading this? What, that gender equality=demonizing men who have poor social skills or may have social anxiety?
For once I would like to read an article that says "know what? being socially awkward as man and not having the skills or comfort level to meet women only means said man is one of the many with such issues, which can be reversed. It does not mean he's any less of a man and to believe so is to support a toxic gender dynamic." I doubt Paul will have the intelligence to write such a piece.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on July 2, 2014 at 12:58 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 15
@9
Here's an actually article that I'm still shocked someone had the guts to publish in Seattle. It talks about the FUCKED UP reality of family court and how it is biased against fathers:
http://www.seattleweekly.com/2012-01-18/…
Does this validate the assholedom of the guys at this meeting? No. But it does prove that in certain cases their is a bias against fathers.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on July 2, 2014 at 1:03 PM · Report this
16
@15, That article about the family courts was critiqued here:
http://www.thestranger.com/slog/archives…

Posted by keeponthesunnyside on July 2, 2014 at 1:09 PM · Report this
17
@16 What I got from that article was basically "This was filled with one-sided anecdotes, so here's a one-sided anecdote to counter that." Just reading an article saying "No, the court is actually great and here's one case and no actual facts or statistics to prove my main point" is no better than "The court is unfair and here's one case and no actual facts or statistics to prove my main point."

That Seattle Weekly article was more backed by factual citations and solid evidence than a refutation that basically just stated "No u!"
Posted by Enatai on July 2, 2014 at 1:31 PM · Report this
seandr 18
@15: And keep in mind, King County divorce courts tend to be much more progressive than the rest of the country.

I have an employee who lives in Massachusetts who was divorced 15 years ago and is still paying alimony to his wife because she doesn't want to work. Not child support - they didn't have kids - alimony. Since then he remarried and has a kid of his own.
Posted by seandr on July 2, 2014 at 1:45 PM · Report this
seandr 19
@17: As far as I'm concerned, Nina Shapiro is the best journalist in Seattle.
Posted by seandr on July 2, 2014 at 1:50 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 20
@15- "Here's an actually article that I'm still shocked someone had the guts to publish in Seattle."

Here's an actually article?

And the faux victimhood behind the "had the guts to publish in Seattle" is really pathetic. Oh the terror, there might be insulting responses in the comments!
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on July 2, 2014 at 2:07 PM · Report this
21
I am glad this is fringe crap. Too bad TERFs still command positions of respect and prestige.
Posted by Spike1382 on July 2, 2014 at 2:39 PM · Report this
kitschnsync 22
I read the article Paul linked, along with its comments.

Apparently the person Paul says told men to "beat the shit out of women" was writing a satirical response to an actual Jezebel post that encouraged women to discuss the times they have beaten up their significant others. And laugh about it.

I'm sure Paul will correct this post to reflect that. Right?
Posted by kitschnsync on July 2, 2014 at 3:01 PM · Report this
23
Here is rather more balanced reporting on that meeting near Detroit.
Posted by rabbitbrush on July 2, 2014 at 3:26 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 24
@20
"Percentage wise, however, women default on their child support obligations more than their male counterparts, or at least that's what happened in 2009."
http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/don…
I should know: I was raised by my father and my mother never paid a dime of child support, even though she had a decent job. These things happen all the time.
Equal means equal. Yes, women should have reproductive rights and should get paid the same as men. But I also believe that mothers, as well as fathers, should pay child support if they have to and that custodial parenthood should be decided fairly.
That's why gender equality=/= feminism.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on July 2, 2014 at 3:35 PM · Report this
25 Comment Pulled (Trolling) Comment Policy
collectivism_sucks 26
@18&19
I just don't understand why so many "progressives" think "advocating for Dad's rights=hating women". Yes, these guys at this meeting sound like douche bags, but there are a lot of father's rights people who are not.
And isn't it patriarchal to say the woman should always get custody and that she should get alimony but not him? It sounds like the courts are saying "women are fit to be mothers and only mothers".
Yes, women should get more pay. And yes, fathers should get more rights. Equal means equal.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on July 2, 2014 at 3:39 PM · Report this
27
Paul Constant, you rock.
Posted by strezo! on July 2, 2014 at 3:41 PM · Report this
28
@15 my point exactly. It isn't feminism that says "babies is women's business" it's regular old sexism.
Posted by bassplayerguy on July 2, 2014 at 5:26 PM · Report this
29
@24: "Equal means equal. Yes, women should have reproductive rights and should get paid the same as men. But I also believe that mothers, as well as fathers, should pay child support if they have to and that custodial parenthood should be decided fairly. That's why gender equality=/= feminism."

Your last sentence does not follow logically from those preceding it.
Posted by keeponthesunnyside on July 2, 2014 at 5:36 PM · Report this
30
@29 Yeah that happens a lot with him, you'll get used to it.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on July 3, 2014 at 1:44 AM · Report this
31
You forgot to say they have small dicks and live in their moms' basements.
Posted by Ideology Bot on July 3, 2014 at 1:06 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 32
@29
What I'm saying is that feminism is NOT the same as gender equality in modern times. Which is why people now adays are starting to call it "gender equality" because "feminism" brings to mind man-haters like Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin and the rest.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on July 3, 2014 at 8:03 PM · Report this
33
Attendance estimated at 200, not 100: http://www.bustle.com/articles/30021-the…

Venue changed from Doubletree Hotel because the hotel received "received numerous calls and threats and [is] concerned for the safety and well-being of our employees, our guests and your attendees....The threats have escalated to include death threats, physical violence against our staff and and other guests as well as damage to the property.” http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140…

If men's rights activism is as ridiculous as Constant claims, why is it necessary to resort to lies (Constant) and threats to oppose it?
Posted by Adversary on July 4, 2014 at 7:53 AM · Report this
34
How do MRA's help struggling fathers? Because they keep beating the 'courts are unfair to Dad's' drum but they never seem offer any real help, suggestions, or solutions. They never say 'go here for a support group' or 'contact this guy who can help'. It just becomes another justification to treat women like shit.
Posted by msanonymous on July 5, 2014 at 10:09 PM · Report this

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