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Internet Inactivism and the MRA Paradox

MRA in action

As I’ve pointed out before, the vast majority of Men’s Rights Activists aren’t really activists at all, if by “activists” you mean people who occasionally get off their asses and try to engage in political activity in the real world. As I put in in my piece for the Good Men Project on misogyny in the Men’s Rights movement,

Men’s rights activists aren’t much like any other activists I’ve ever run across. For one thing, for supposed activists they are almost completely inactive. Sure, they complain endlessly about things they see as terrible injustices against men. They just don’t do anything about them. While some of those who consider themselves fathers’ rights activists—a slightly different breed from your garden-variety MRAs—try to influence laws and legislatures, MRAs do little more than cultivate their resentments.

MRAs seem to be good at one thing, and one thing only: posting angry comments on websites, whether their own or on those of their many enemies – whether that’s on blogs like this one or in the comments section on various mainstream media sites they consider “misandrist.” (Actually: that’s not entirely fair – on a few occasions, MRAs have been moved to make threatening phone calls as well.) They don’t raise money for anything but their own web sites and their pet projects. They don’t organize demonstrations that involve more than a tiny handful of people.  Like, for example, this one, involving one dude dressed like Batman who climbed up onto a highway sign:

Or this one, which involved a dude dressed up as Batman and a dude dressed up as Robin, climbing up on a bridge.

If your protests typically involve fewer people than, say, the line of people waiting to use the Redbox video rental kiosk outside your local supermarket on a Friday night, I think it’s safe to say that yours is not a mass movement, at least not yet.

Am I being unfair in demanding MRAs actually, literally,get off their asses before I consider them to be activists? Perhaps.

But, as it turns out, MRAs aren’t much good at sitting-on-your-ass activism either. Case in point: For quite some time – weeks? months? — MRA elder Paul Elam has been urging readers of his blog A Voice For Men to sign a petition to disbar a District Attorney he and other MRAs have decided is corrupt. But despite his repeated pleas to his readers to sign the thing, it has not yet garnered the required 1000 signatures, even though at least a few of his readers have talked about signing it more than once. [Edited to add: it has now gotten more than 1000 signaturesd.]

Today, this particular example of internet inactivism prompted Elam to lash out at his non-signing readers. Declaring himself “tired and frustrated” and “sick of this shit,” he once again begged his readers to sign. Then he went a step further, suggesting that he might limit commenting on his site to “activists that are contributing to this site in one way or another” as a way of encouraging activism and discouraging those who are “sucking up air and doing little else.”

I don’t think further exhortation on his part – or limiting the comments there to “real” activists only – is likely to make much difference. [Edited to add: Nagging a few more people to spend two minutes signing an online petition is one thing. Actually transforming them into real activists is another.]  Elam is running up against the inherent paradox of Men’s Rights “activism” – the fact that most of those complaining the most about alleged injustices against men are not in fact interested in changing anything. Their “activism,” as it were, is little more than an excuse to wallow in their own bitterness, and to blame others for their own problems.

If MRAs really cared about domestic violence against men – as opposed to using the issue as a rhetorical weapon against feminists – they would be raising money and devoting their time to actually building shelters, like the (mostly) women who built the first shelters decades ago, and the (mostly) women who keep these shelters going today. If MRAs were really interested in stopping prison rape, instead of simply complaining about it, they’d be donating money to or working with the advocacy group Just Detention or other groups concerned about the treatment of prisoners. If they were really interested in helping those falsely accused of rape or other crimes, they’d be working with The Innocence Project or some other group fighting for the falsely accused or convicted. Or they would be starting real organizations of their own.

But that’s not, at heart, what the MRM is about. For all but a tiny handful of real activists, it’s not about changing the world. It’s about creating a space where men can kvetch and blame and cultivate their own sense of martyrdom. Actually trying to change the real world would involve , well, going out into the real world, a place where their assertions about the alleged oppression of men are seen as the nonsense they are, a place where their bitterness and hatred of women is seen as bitterness and hatred rather than the righteous anger they like to imagine that it is.

When MRAs do venture out of their self-created bubble they tend to either make fools of themselves – like Batman on the highway sign in the video above – or to reveal themselves to be the angry fanatics they are. Elam, for his part, sometimes even has trouble making his case in the relatively sympathetic environment of the Men’s Rights subreddit on Reddit, and is quickly reduced to sputtering rage when anyone disagrees with him. In the end, sputtering rage seems to be what the MRM is really all about.

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Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
10 years ago

Yes, NWOslave. The IRS is always shooting people who don’t pay their taxes. I read all about it right next to an article about how –by royal feminist decree- no services provided in full or in part by tax funding have ever or will ever help any man, anywhere. Ever.

As far as your baseless insinuation that I don’t give directly? Bullshit. I am an active volunteer who, despite having ovaries, works primarily with young and adolescent boys. I’m also helping a colleague with the ground work for a funding a charter school based on the Excellence School model as well as…

You know what? Never mind. My money, my time, and my energy go to the causes I feel passionately about and believe are worthy. You say that you do what you’re “able” to; I’m not going to sit here and one up you.

That said, you clearly have a lot of work to do within the rest of the MRA movement. If one of its leaders can’t pull a 1000 signatures for a petition –online no less- then it’s abundantly clear that few of your compatriots are doing everything that they can.

It’s almost like the inability to make positive change is based in apathy and inertia more than any certainty of futility. Almost.

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

@Bee…Is it a “shame” Bee that women are helped soley by The UN, US, Rockefeller Foundation. Hmm, I’d imagine that if these same trillions of dollars helped only men it would be a tad more that a mere “shame.”

But thats OK, I have the vast resources of myself and whatever political, economic and social clout of impoverished or barely holding their own men to draw resources from.

I believe UNIFEC was one of the organizastions that supported the 16 women only food centers that were given by the UN as relief after the Haiti disaster. Of course in the weeks that followed that relief effort the starving men were portrayed as evil as they attacked UN forces with knives and sticks for food.

Strange, how if you starve a man while feeding the women the men will eventually attack rather than die from starvation. Kinda like a situation was presented where the outcome was assured. This policy of starving men to death was endorsed, indeed praised by the feminist community. Luckily UNIFEC ran in there with free abortions for all those women. By the way 50% of the grain rotted away in storage and no woman suffered mal nutrition. Many men how ever died and suffered, they were also incarcerated for attacking the food convoys. I think I’ll pass on UNICEF.

carswell
carswell
10 years ago

::: The MRA menz would consider social type work and activism to be wimminz jobs. They are too busy doing all the inventing and discovering, running companies, fighting wars, contributing to science, writing philosophy, etc. Men do all the “important” stuff that holds society together, remember? :::

The important stuff. Indeed. Like hunting mammoths.

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
10 years ago

Hey, slave — it turns out there was a reason for those women only food distribution centers. Here’s a link for you:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/un-sets-up-womenonly-food-aid-in-haiti-1884361.html

If it’s too much trouble for you to actually go there and read, here’s the money quote:

“Food distribution since the quake on 12 January has often been marked by poor co-ordination, gaps in coverage and desperate, unruly lines of needy people in which young men at times have shoved aside the women and the weak and taken their food.”

Poor, poor victimized men…

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

@Nobinayamu…I’ve signed, probably many men fear their name being exposed to the Corporate, UN, US, Media and Women as a united bloc.

Men are after all, seperate. Well unless of course we support all these fine organizations that support only women.

zombie rotten mcdonald
10 years ago

whoah. The stench of privilege is overpowering.

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

@Marion in Savannah…Well if the Mass Media says men should die of starvation because they’re unruly than it must be true.

Strange how the opening sentence is “men” shoving “women” aside.

Man = Bad
Woman = Good

Must be nice to use the men as workhorses to dig out all the women and children, than starve them to death for being unruly. How nice it must be for the well fed women to point an accusing finger at men starving to death as being violent. Quick call the UN forces a man is trying to steal the food a woman was given by the UN, which was denied men. I wonder who could predict that would happen. Give food to half the population and starve the other half. I wonder if the starving half will attack the well fed half? Or should they have just laid down and died?

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
10 years ago

Man = Bad
Woman = Good

Behavior matters, you know. Had it been all those vicious women shoving those poor, weak men out of the way and stealing their food I guess there would have been men only food distribution centers. However, such was not the case. Grow up.

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

@coupdefoudre…As I said I am doing everything I can about it.I not only donate to organizations, I also help individuals in need. Oddly enough I help men and women, as oppossed to the complex which you support to hurt men. My resources are limited, where yours are UN/US Corporate funded and media endorsed. I am a seperate bottom feeder, you are united bloc.

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

@Marion in Savannah…A fine excuse to starve men to death. I wonder how likely the Mass Media would have been to show an equal amount of women shoving men and children aside to get food? Ahh, thats right, it’s “women and children” men are seperate.

Snowy
Snowy
10 years ago

Well, I’d say not very likely seeing as that did not actually happen except perhaps in your imagination.

Bee
Bee
10 years ago

Gosh, I don’t know what UNIFEC is. UNICEF, however, is the UN’s group that helps impoverished children — that’s boys AND girls, to you. It didn’t, to my knowledge, have anything to do with emergency food relief in Haiti, although it is helping reconstruct schools in Haiti for children. Good to know you don’t support it and its work, NWOslave.

No, the UN emergency food efforts were refocused toward women (and their children) after attacks by armed men, after things like this started happening. But yeah, be sure to focus on your imaginary no woman died/lots of men starved narrative. Oh, those privileged Haitian women, my ass.

And seriously? I’m looking at the Rockefeller Foundations web site, and I think that we’re running into an issue of user error again.

Graham
Graham
10 years ago

NWOslave – Which organisations do you donate to? How do you help individuals in need?

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

@Snowy

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35167259/ns/world_news-haiti_earthquake/

I’ve even given you the most loving pro woman site to feed your ego’s on the goodness of women and “their” families

By the way, the main excuse given was that men would sell the food on the black market. Now anyone with half a brain would ask themselves what would a starving man want from the blackmarket? Well food of course, so to sell food than buy back 1/10th the food at black market prices doesn’t really make much sense, does it?

Laughing gull
Laughing gull
10 years ago

NWOslave has spilled cherries everywhere. *sigh* such a wonderful fruit.

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
10 years ago

Christ on a cracker. Yo, slave — FROM YOUR OWN LINK:

“Young men often force their way to the front of aid delivery lines or steal from it from others, meaning aid doesn’t reach the neediest at rough-and-tumble distribution centers, according to aid groups.”

As an aside, that should have been “egos” not “ego’s” in your post. /grammar pedant

Snowy
Snowy
10 years ago

Thank you, I am aware of the situation in Haiti. What was your point exactly?

darksidecat
darksidecat
10 years ago

I do not have a problem with internet activism myself. Organizing is really difficult, and, yes, I do say that as someone who has participated in local level organizing. Educating yourself and others, sharing news and ideas are important and worthwhile places to begin. Well, they are if you actually have anything worthwhile to say or to teach…

The thing that makes me think that most MRAs are not serious about these issues is because, when you actually start discussing the issue (prisoner’s rights, the draft, etc.) they demonstrate complete ignorance around the subjects they claim are of central importance. As someone who has been involved in anti-war activity and who worked with a number of old guys who were draft age for Nam, when I started discussing the draft and its history with MRAs on these comment threads, they showed zero interest in such things. They generally lack even intoductory level understanding of the issues they claim are central causes. That is a red flag. Many of these issues are not things which they are truly passionate about at all, they are things which they use as flimsy excuses to try to attack women and feminism.

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

@Graham…Questions, questions, questions, thats all I ever get, but never any answers, only excuses.

You can believe this or not, but I’ve actually on occasion given away every cent I’ve had to just poor people in the street of men who had nothing so they could feed their families. My longest stint was 3 days without food, to which I gave away every cent I had to an unemployed friend. He fed his wife and child.

I once got a whopping $600.00 bonus which a gave away to an unemployed friend. I’ve lived in my car in the dead of winter with a fucking room mate if you can believe it because he also had no where to go.

During my privileged life, i’ve went hungry many a day, yet here we have the great Ozzy, the millioniares daughter, telling me about privilege. The only women that have ever helped me are my sisters and men I either knew or didn’t know. No woman I didn’t know has ever helped me and no State organizasion has either.

You see the difference is by law a man and his family means his wife and children. A woman and her family is herself and her children. The man is seperate other than a financial asset. And you advocate and endorse these laws.

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

@Marion in Savannah…Yes I gave you that kink on purpose to feed your swelling greatness. A woman can do no wrong. She won’t shove in line for food, she is good. The mass media tells us so, it must be true.

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
10 years ago

I gave you that kink

In your dreams…

Plymouth
Plymouth
10 years ago

NWOSlave – If it was up to me I would not distribute food that way, but then I don’t personally have experience with disaster recovery so my personal opinions probably aren’t very informed about what actually WORKS.

But do you really think that giving food to women means all the men starve? Don’t women have families THAT INCLUDE MEN? Don’t they cook food for their husbands and fathers and brothers and sons? Or do you really think they are all so selfish as to keep it entirely for themselves and their daughters and sisters and mothers? Seriously, where are you getting this crap?

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
10 years ago

He pulls it out of his asshole.

Sam L
10 years ago

He has New World Order in his name and talks about international banking cartel conspiracies. How many clues does everyone need not to engage this person? Just avoid eye contact, keep walking and say you gave at work.

Bee
Bee
10 years ago

The only women that have ever helped me are my sisters

Yes, NWOslave, that proves that women are hateful, unhelpful creatures. Your sisters sound awful! As an aside, I must wonder how many women you actually know. And as long as we’re trading personal narratives, I regularly donate to men’s shelters and have volunteered in men’s prisons. I also am an advocate for rape victims of both sexes, though unfortunately, it’s true that women mostly come forward. So, as you can see, women are awful people who never help anyone and never need help. It’s totally true.

As far as the “by law men and their families” thing goes, I’d be totally interested in a link to the specific law you’re talking about, and any evidence of when and where it is enforced. I know that, for example, if I married my boyfriend, he would be by law my family. I could add him to my health insurance plan, and he would be first in line in intestate succession. Can you show me where I’m wrong?

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
10 years ago

He has New World Order in his name

Oh, is THAT what that means? I thought he’d just screwd up trying to type NOW…

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
10 years ago

screwed up, also, too… (Effing typing, how does that work?)

Lady Victoria von Syrus
Lady Victoria von Syrus
10 years ago

Women’s work has traditionally been cooking, sewing, cleaning and small crafts, like making lace, candles or weaving. Nowadays, when we have gas stoves, electric ovens, food processors, sewing machines, Teflon cookware, dish washers, laundry machines and all the rest, it takes far less time to keep a household clean, fed and clothed.

But just imagine, just for a few minutes, how much work would go into making a pair of pants or baking a loaf of bread or doing a load of laundry.

Then tell me women didn’t work before feminism. They might not have gotten paid for it, but goddamn if that sort of work didn’t keep civilization going, far more than the wars the men kept getting themselves into.

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
10 years ago

No links for articles, half-read and barely understood, that prove that heat-packing IRS agents are taking out tax evaders in scenarios resembling the end of Scarface, huh? I didn’t think so.

And, once again, more fucking excuses. Elam can’t get 1,000 signatures because men are too afraid of women and our control of every single world institution and don’t want to sign it out of cowardice. What’s next? Writer’s cramp? Carpal Tunnel? Right now men and women all over the Middle East are risking their lives – their lives- for their freedom. In some cases they’re being gunned down in the streets. MRA’s like you are decrying the futility of organizing protest marches because the imaginary Women’s World Cabal might… I don’t even know what you think will happen. I really don’t care. It’s all very convenient that you don’t even have to try. It’s a shame my parents didn’t have sons.

Insist, all you want to that government and nonprofit work solely for women. Your delusions are not my concern. If you actually give your money to people to help them in tough situations, then good for you. I don’t know many people who have never gone out of their way to help someone, regardless of gender.

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

@Bee…Heres a link to womens news on the haiti relief. Read the article.

http://womensenews.org/story/international-policyunited-nations/100129/un-delivers-relief-directly-haitian-women

After reading this heartfelt article answer me this.
Did any men die from the earthquake?
Did any men suffer injuries?
Did any men need food?
Did any men need medical assistance?
Did any men do anything but fucking rape, murder and steal?

Now perhaps I’m not seeing things in the proper context, but as far back as history goes it seems to me that men have gone out of their way to ensure that women and children were the first to be helped in any crisis. They did this on their own. As far as this article is concerned it would appear as if men are devils. None died, none suffered, in fact they only caused more suffering to women and children. The women of course are angels of mercy. Or did I “misinterpret” the article? Please forgive any spelling fopahs, I’m only a man.

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
10 years ago

Now perhaps I’m not seeing things in the proper context

No shit! Ya think?

And if you’re unsure on how to spell “faux pas” just stick with “errors.”

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth
PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth
10 years ago

So men should be given the right to shove women aside and no one should care? Or in your own demented way are you saying that all men should not suffer for the actions of a few? Because *that* would make sense.

What you are going on about now says “if men want to starve women, they should. Women have no right to have access to food until men are fed. Therefore feminism is bad.”

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

@Sam L…The Rothchild family owns every federal bank in the world, the IMF, World Bank, theres no conspiracy, it’s a fact. When you see Geithner strutting around in every Guv building in the world, at the UN, ect. Well who is he that he has access to every Guv building in the world? Hes not an official of any state. Did you vote for him? I can’t strut around in the UN/US state buildings but he can. Do a search on Rothchild Assets, they exceed 500 trillion. All the banks of every Government answer to them.

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
10 years ago

First of all, the word is “faux-pas”. Stop being so fucking lazy.

Secondly, I’ve noticed among self proclaimed MRA’s that they tend to view nearly everything through the binary of gender. It’s why so many of you do that use that trite-ass man = bad, woman = good thing, right? So ridiculous. But I digress.

What, if any, impact do you think attitudes towards race, colonoliasm and the historical animosity towards Haiti and its citizens had on how news about the aftermath of this disaster was covered?

Some impact? No impact? Very little impact? I’m genuinely curious about your answer.

Bee
Bee
10 years ago

Wow, you’re right, NWOslave. An article was written for a website called Women’s eNews, and it was primarily focused on women and women’s issues — except for that Marcus guy. That totally proves that men everywhere are far too put upon and ignored even to do anything about how unprivileged they are in today’s society.

“Fopahs” — now you’re just messin’ with me.

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

@PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth…

So women should be given the right to shove men aside and no one should care? Or in your own demented way are you saying that all women should not suffer for the actions of a few? Because *that* would make sense.

I just replaced man with woman in your paragraph. Or don’t women shove and push to get food, or trample others to death for a walmart sale?

Laughing gull
Laughing gull
10 years ago

fopahs? Is that some sort of middle eastern food? As an aside, looks as though the petition has reached it’s goal of 1000. Of course, how many are duplicates and invalid?

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth
PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth
10 years ago

Not really NWOslave if you bothered to learn any history…that infamous example of women and children first to the lifeboats from the Titanic had about a fifty year history.

Prior to that it was every man for himself.

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

The worse part of this conversation is you can’t even bring yourselves to say that a starving man deserves not to die. Of course if all women were the angels of mercy you claim, no men would have died of starvation. Sadly that wasn’t the case in Haiti, only men dies of starvation, only men suffered malnutrition, only men were incarcerated for attacking food convoys and/or women who had food.

You can’t even admit this is a horrible policy. You apparently can’t even deduce that every time this policy is used it will result in the exact same situation. Starving men will attack and kill in order to stay alive. I’m guessing starving women would do the same. Yet this policy is endorsed by YOU.

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth
PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth
10 years ago

NWOslave-then apparently you want to believe that every man in Haiti was innocent and pure and being forcibly starved for no reason other then because all of the rest of the world likes to make men go hungry.

Guess what? No.

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth
PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth
10 years ago

So then NWOslave, you believe anyone who is starving has the right to attack another.

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
10 years ago

only men dies of starvation, only men suffered malnutrition

That’s some of the most AMAZING shit I’ve seen in a long, long time. Link? Of course not. 10 cubic miles of butthurt? You betcha.

Captain Bathrobe
Captain Bathrobe
10 years ago

I think it’s time to put some of our trolls on a diet.

Seriously, this is getting out of hand.

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

@PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth…I answer questions, when I ask questions I get excuses or more questions, strawman answers, ect.

So now I’ll ask you a question. Do you believe its any womans “right” to starve a man to death with food she was “given?”

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
10 years ago

A man who is starving should not be allowed to die of starvation if it can be prevented. In a group of starving people, aid workers should be able to determine who should be fed first. Every relatively healthy person, man or woman, should have to wait until the elderly (some of whom are men, by the way) children (some of whom will be boys) and nursing women receive food.

If gangs of men, or women, are attacking people with food or food trucks and stealing, then they should be stopped. In areas of extraordinary disasters and relief efforts, best practices are often cobbled together, hastily and on the spot. Doesn’t necessarily mean a “policy” has been made. Sometimes it’s just a decision.

And all the deflections to UNICEF, the Rothschilds, Haiti – none of it changes the post’s original premise.

You’re right here doing a very good job of whining and bitching on the internet. It will not produce anything of value. What are the chances that you or any other MRA are going to work to put together an organization that aids/supports disaster relief efforts and works to ensure equity of food and supply distribution? What are the chances that any MRAs will even work for such an organization so they could help actively?

Keep in mind, such work often does not pay $19 an hour.

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

Link, link, link, I’ve given you loads of them. What do I get? Excuses. Non answers. Strawman. More questions.

So heres the question. The policy of women only food and disaster relief which is now standard policy of the UN/UNICEF. Is this a good idea?

Since I have no power, if a man cries foul he has to man up. If a woman cries foul the UN/US, corporate, mass media complex will stampede to assist. As I’ve provided you your precious links to all these. So, to those who are in a position of power, which is what you are, what are you going to do? Will you continue to allow men to die of starvation? Or don’t you care?

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
10 years ago

Captain Bathrobe was right.

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

@Nobinayamu…Ahhh, but we do get together and pool our meager resources. If I give a dollar to reverse default womens custody after divorce, the Rockefeller Foundation gives a million dollars to fight against it. They give to the womens lawyers association, NOW, ect, ect. The State fights against it, The media mocks it. YOU fight against it.

Joe
Joe
10 years ago

> Will you continue to allow men to die of starvation?

Hey, NWO, have you stopped beating your wife?

Snowy
Snowy
10 years ago

Maybe we should only feed the women trolls like in Haiti