Friday, October 19, 2012

My problem with "Men's Rights Advocates"

I try to read the Men's Rights Activists... I really do. I try to see their point of view. I have spent hours arguing with the ones who are willing to argue.

And... I... well, I hardly know what to say. Because I usually can't get past the first paragraphs of what the MRAs write. I can't even get to the heart of their arguments, assuming they have any.

For example, take this blog post from earlier this year (recently emailed to me), titled I am Schrodinger's Rapist. This piece was based on a popular, widely-circulated feminist essay titled Schrodinger's Rapist, which was about women's fear of strange men. And just like in hip-hop, a witty "reply post" was inevitably required.

Although I had read the original, I had never read the "reply"--which is why my correspondent just HAD to email it to me. It is definitive!--he promised.

Really? Oh, dear God.

This is my ongoing dilemma with the men intent on improving what we here at DEAD AIR call, The Male Dilemma. I can't read beyond the sarcastic intro-paragraphs of their blog posts.

From the above link:

Hello, average looking, aging, perimenopausal female hipster. Yes, you with the horn rim glasses.
Translation: She's old, and therefore unattractive.

Ageism is a given with many of the MRAs, of course. I've been insulted with "You're old!" more times than I can count. Now, just why this is supposed to be automatically bad is never explained in depth. It just IS, grandma! (When I fully admit that I am old, it means they do not have to reply to me, since I cease to exist.)

An old and/or unattractive woman is not worth taking seriously. She is dowdy, and thus unimportant. She has mousy glasses.

Not that men only judge women by their appearance, you understand! In MRA-universe, this is a SEXIST thing to say; you are a man-hater if you suggest that! Therefore the MRAs can still attack women's appearance with impunity, while trashing you as a man-hater for suggesting they shouldn't do it. Good work if you can get it.

What's wrong with being an average-looking, aging, perimenopausal (us awful post-menopausal women are not even important enough to address AT ALL) hipster? Is it supposed to be self-evident that such a person is simply bad, just from the description? We certainly need LOTS MORE of them here in upstate South Carolina/Bob Jones University-land!

Wait, I think this means the writer of this piece comes from a cool place on the coasts with lots of these people. But don't you DARE call him privileged, you anti-male feminist, you!
Yes those frames which were chic-retro back in the 90′s
OH MY GOD! An unfashionable woman! How horrible!

But as stated above, no anti-male comments about how men judge women purely on appearances, that is SEXIST AGAINST MEN! Man-hater!

Besides, you aren't fashionable enough to have an opinion.
- yes, you, the one drinking soy-milk latte and clutching a purse-sized single-use can of pepper spray in a white-knuckled grip behind your pant-leg. Yes, hello: I’m Schrodinger’s rapist.
Now soy-milk latte is bad, too? Can I ask why? Is this another self-evident thing on the coasts? (For the record, here in upstate SC, we can hardly find a place around here to buy one!)

Oh I get it: she is too unattractive to be raped, so its funny that she has a can of pepper spray! HAHA!

That MRA humor! Ain't they just a HOOT?!
Now I know you’re neurotic and probably taking mood stabilizing drugs, so you might be a little confused. I’m not an actual rapist–well, I might be–but what I mean to say is, I’m a man, and therefore, only a rapist in potential, since I haven’t – you know, raped anyone – that you know of.
Ah, so she is CRAZY, too! So she is DOUBLY ridiculous... or should I say triple, quadruple? Let's tally it up: old, unattractive, unfashionable, drinking the wrong thing... now she is ON SOME LOONEY MEDS, so that makes her quintuply uncool, doesn't it?

Insult after insult after insult... and look at the kind of insults they are.

If you thought I would read that last part of your paragraph and take it seriously after all the insults (assuming I got that far)... why would you think that? You are too busy assuring me how superior you are. I am not GOOD ENOUGH to read your post, obviously!
And after all, I’m a rather bland looking fellow, even though on the daytime TV you’ve allowed to shape so much of your concept of reality, they always seem to have an average looking actor playing the sexual predator role don’t they? Your fear sells more nail polish, Paxil and granola bars than your confidence does.
Daytime TV? Ah, a dimwitted hausfrau! It is simply assumed that she is home watching the dreaded dumbass DAYTIME TV! Dumb bitch!

But don't you call him a sexist, since it is sexist of you to say that.

And the references to nail polish (superficial old biddy) and Paxil (crazy old biddy) and granola (just plain OLD biddy, and likely a hippie too) finish her off.

If the author included a good point in there about TV-casting, and I think he did, I was too busy noticing the insults to catch it.
Remember, I’m not a real man, I’m a probabilistic man. I’m a cloud of possibilities. So here’s another possibility to consider: I’m a peaceful, loving, compassionate human being, and I’m an adult. And despite being subjected to more than a decade of physical, emotional and sexual abuse as a child, I am now totally repulsed by the prospect of violence and abuse – even your hypothetical, probabilistic speculations of violence and abuse.

Now, since you have alerted me that I am a ridiculous stereotype not to be taken seriously, and likely a crazy, drugged-up hippie who is drinking THE WRONG THING... why would I ever think this about you?

You have just engaged in ageism, stereotyping, cultural superiority and prejudice... and now you want me to know you are peaceful, loving and compassionate? Are you serious?

Why do you judge women negatively based on their advanced age, what they drink, their uncool glasses, their viewing habits and if they might have depression... and then claim to be a compassionate guy?

Do you understand how funny that is?

Do you understand that I have already stopped reading?
Yes, you, Miss LonelyHearts, you who have declared yourself my humble instructor – and who have given to my kindness to children and animals, and to my donations to charity, your approval.

First though, what part of appointing yourself my instructor and judge lead to you also declare yourself humble? What combination of diazapam, seraquel, lorazapam, trazadone and the four Grey Goose martinis you had at lunch led you to imagine your approval or your disapproval was of even slight interest to anyone?
More ableist insults of people who use meds... and by now, I think it's plenty obvious this author is in Canada, since nobody in the USA can afford all of that unless they live on Park Avenue.

But really, this is the kind of nastiness one continually reads on MRA websites. This particular writer recently called all feminists "termites" (and he specified he meant ALL OF US--no exceptions!) on his radio broadcast, and I had actually been listening with interest to some of his economic points (about unemployment) up to that point.

But hey, TERMITES? Really? That was that. Click, off went the broadcast. I guess I never will know the rest of his ideas. Just like I will never read the rest of his post.

I don't think postmenopausal southern termites (that can't find a decent soy-latte anywhere) are his intended audience, anyway.

I do worry about the folks who are, though.


Valerie Keefe said...

When I point to TERFs as an example of dangerous attitudes still kicking around in the movement today and cis feminists say, "that's not feminism, that's a tiny minority, we're very anti-cissexism!" I take their protestations that people directly descended from the second-wave are somehow not representing part of the movement...

This MRA is at least as much not a representative sample as Dirt, Gendertrender, et al. And you know that, because I see you on Genderratic. (Which has some loathesome commenters, but then, so does any well-trafficked genderblog)

DaisyDeadhead said...

Hi Valerie!

"A Voice For Men" radio show is regularly advertised at Genderratic--he is one of the three people on AVFM radio with Typhon Blue. The equivalent would be if MY radio show featured a similar feminist (TERF or otherwise)... and it doesn't. (We have criticized TERFs and other such non-progressive, exclusionist feminists--ageists, classists, racists, etc.) My co-hosts are: one male Second-waver/Green Party activist my age, and one male who identifies as progressive (not as feminist), also my age. I initially listened to the AVFM show, because it was advertised in a relatively-okay "pro-men" space, otherwise I wouldn't have. (Bait and switch?)

It is my understanding that "A Voice For Men" is the standard-bearer, as Feministing or NOW or one of those is for feminism? I deliberately picked him for that reason. Also, I picked a subject that I thought was emblematic of the problem-- the whole "Schrodinger's Rapist" controversy.
This post of his is NOT an outlier, and sarcasm of this kind is pretty ubiquitous on AVFM. If anything, John the Other is one of the Men's Rights Movement's better writers and is pretty intelligent. As I said, I was listening to his politics with interest, until I was unexpectedly called a termite... and then his wholesale clarification : YES, THIS MEANS YOU. EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO CALLS THEMSELVES FEMINIST IS A TERMITE. He was very categorical about it, and repeated the statement for emphasis.

By contrast, I certainly haven't said all MRAs are termites, but rather, that simply that I can't get through their blog posts. I CAN easily get through the Genderratic blog posts without disgust of this sort, which is why I continue to read. (Although often challenging, I do not feel personally attacked.)

This post of his was a response to a popular feminist post, at a popular standard-bearer Men's Rights blog. I think that makes it a fair example.

Anonymous said...

i like to think that i have nothing in common politically with the linked blogger, aside from the fact that i'm a man. but most men who were aware of the schrodinger's rapist essay were offended, and whether or not that offense was legitimate it was still real.
a little anecdote: when i was 19, living in a big city, i was walking home late one night. i noticed when i turned onto my block that a neighbor from my building, a woman, was also walking home, about 30 feet in front of me. she sensed my physical presence (i'm tall) and immediately stopped walking, waiting for me to pass by her. my feelings were really hurt, as i knew and liked her and felt that i had been unfairly treated as a predator.
it wasn't until years later that i finally understood what had happened. most men simply don't recognize how prevalent the fear of rape is, don't understand that avoiding threatening situations is a matter of life and death for women.
so when a female author writes a hit blog post about how she sees every man as a potential rapist, a lot of dudes' feelings are hurt, which is why we resort to childish and offensive insults.
none of this is meant to excuse the type of vapid nastiness you exposed in your post. and i'm not trying to justify such a reaction. i'm mostly just trying to trace the ugliness of the men's rights movement back to its initial emotional origins.
which i'm now realizing is and should be of no concern to feminists. sorry!

bryce said...


spoiled str8 boyz mad cuz grrls wont date em.

temper tantrum.

the end.

Evil Green Ranger said...

Hi Daisy,

It's clear to me that the rant in question is intended to be an internal communication -- that is, it's written for the purpose of blowing off some steam to people who already buy the MRA line. It's not meant to be a *real* criticism of Schrodinger's Rapist.

Of course, if your correspondent already understood the arguments against Schrodinger's Rapist, the response seems compelling. But it really isn't. It's not an argument against Schrodinger's Rapist; It's just a rant.

A real argument against Schrodinger's Rapist would be useful. Probably not entertaining, but useful.

DaisyDeadhead said...

EGR, hmm, you are probably right, but that's just it... LOTS of their posts are like this, intended for "insiders"--which is the same argument they make against feminist blogger, by the way...In the south this is known as "preaching to the choir"...

Anonymous said...

What a fucking misogynist scumbag.

Anonymous said...

I'm 54. I've been almost mugged, and at one point, 4 years ago, almost knifed, by strange males I didn't know. The knife attack was by a strapping 23 yo. This has happened about a dozen times in my life. I do NOT live in a dangerous area, btw, so don't tell me I need to move.

I've noticed these attacks have increased since I've gotten older. Though the truth is, most people my own age think I'm about 33 (yes, I look that young). I'm not sure what age or appearance has to do with it. I'm bigger than most women, big boned, sort of like Anna Nicole Smith.

All the potential muggers / rapists (I really don't know what it would have turned into) were males. I didn't pick them, they picked me. I bought a can of mace, though I've been seriously considering getting a Bersa (it's cheaper than a Glock) and a concealed carry permit.

Making light of the fact that women have to defend themselves against "strange" men is so idiotic it's laughable. Men also suffer assaults by other men. Should I snigger the next time I read about some guy getting punched out at a bar? Some elderly man getting mugged by street thugs?

My suspicion of MRA's is some HS cheerleader snubbed them and/or they've bought into the Hugh Hefner myth that young women will be "into" them until they're wheelchair bound.

Reality caught up to them, so they throw fits, in the form of writing dumb essays. How manly.

TheBiboSez said...

Here is how those evil men at AVfM really feel about older women:

Enjoy! The comments are quite revealing.

Oh, and your apologies are accepted.

annoyed in denver said...

these guys are juvenile, its all about getting laid. at least that seems to be the main thing on their mind. i cant take them or their 'movement' serously.