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actual activism antifeminism drama grandiosity hypocrisy misogyny MRA MRA paradox oppressed men reddit terrorism

Oh, Men’s Rights subreddit, will you ever learn? (Probably not.)

Sometimes I ask myself: what is it that I really hope to accomplish with this website, aside from entertaining myself and my readers, and exposing misogynist assholes for who they are. There’s a part of me that still hopes that someday, something I write will cause some misogynist and/or Men’s Rightser out there to develop a modicum of self-awareness, look at what they’ve been saying or doing, and say to themselves, “I’m really kind of a tool, aren’t I? Maybe I should stop.”

When the Southern Poverty Law Center report on the Men’s Rights movement came out, I hoped it might have a similar sort of effect. Or that, even if it didn’t persuade any MRAs out there that they were wrong, it might at least convince a few that they were going about things the wrong way. Nope. On the Men’s Rights subreddit, at least, it seems to have sent many of the regulars into an indignant tizzy, and they have doubled down on their peculiar brand of politics-by-whining-online.

Consider this post:

Yes, that’s right. Some Men’s Rights Redditors seem to think that the best way to convince the world that they’re not part of a hate group is to continue to celebrate a self-admitted child abuser who urged men to firebomb courthouses and police stations and kill people.

Then there’s this post, currently the top post on the subreddit:

Wow, if the Men’s Rights subreddit had anything to do with that, that would indeed be a victory. As one regular put it:

Thing is, I read r/mensrights pretty regularly, and I don’t remember any campaign there to protect the rights of fishermen in New Zealand.

Turns out that’s because the campaign, such as it was, consisted of one post some months back, which got all of 11 upvotes at the time. The current post in which r/mensrights congratulates itself for its “victory” has gotten, last I checked, 120 upvotes, more than ten times that. Simplecosine’s self-congratulatory comment in the new thread has gotten 36 upvotes. The comment in the original thread asking r/mensrightsers to send an email to the US Secretary of State’s office got … one upvote. In other words, only a handful of Men’s Rights Redditors even noticed the original post, much less sent along an email.

Reading one of the linked news articles makes clear the real reason the State Department opened an investigation: a six-month long, three-continent wide investigation by Bloomberg Businessweek revealing abuses in the industry.

The Men’s Rights subreddit: Taking Credit for Shit They Didn’t Do Since 2008.

And then there’s this post:

I’ve got nothing to say about this one — it’s basically self-refuting — except that I’m sort of bemused by the notion that the Southern Poverty Law Center is a “semi-women group.” Uh, what is that exactly? A group with some women in it? A group that doesn’t think women are all a bunch of evil bitches? The horror!

Oh, Men’s Rights movement. You’ll never change, will you?

EDITED TO ADD: And speaking of never changing, here’s how one Men’s Rights redditor responded to my comments there suggesting that maybe, just maybe, MRAs should actually denounce and distance themselves from someone calling for terrorism:

Let me just highlight that bit at the end again:

[T]he cost to the establishment to maintain the status quo in regards to divorce, custody, etc. must be made so high that it’s just no longer feasible. If that means instilling abject fear into the hearts of judges, cops and legislators by making them think their careers and/or lives could be forfeit unless they change their attitudes towards men, then so be it.

Trying to instill fear for one’s life in your opponents: that is the very definition of terrorism.

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Lauralot
9 years ago

I think being womanly, however one defines it, is awesome if that is what one wants. I also think being manly, again, however that is defined, is awesome if that’s what the person wants.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
9 years ago

@ostara321:

In a tangential way, that’s what I find so mind-boggling (and hilarious) about the argument that feminists want to “feminize men” and “masculinize women.” Well, when you have an intense gender-divide between what’s considered for men and what’s considered for women, breaking that down involves having men do girly things and having women do boyly things.

BoggiDWurms
BoggiDWurms
9 years ago

@ostara321:

In a tangential way, that’s what I find so mind-boggling (and hilarious) about the argument that feminists want to “feminize men” and “masculinize women.” Well, when you have an intense gender-divide between what’s considered for men and what’s considered for women, breaking that down involves having men do girly things and having women do boyly things.

I think that accusation has a lot to do with both misunderstanding what feminism is (due to the stereotypes invented by the media) as well as fear at having notions of gender challenged.

When people scream “Women have become whores because of feminism!” and “Men have been dumbed down in our feminized society!” and “Feminism wants a gender war and seeks to turn women into men!” I doubt it is because of reason.

Crumbelievable
Crumbelievable
9 years ago

I came across an MRA making videos on Youtube who was arguing that feminism was to blame for the rise and popularity of pornography.

Wut.

BoggiDWurms
BoggiDWurms
9 years ago

I came across an MRA making videos on Youtube who was arguing that feminism was to blame for the rise and popularity of pornography.

Wut.

But I thought feminists were trying to take away all our pr0n!!!!

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

“I came across an MRA making videos on Youtube who was arguing that feminism was to blame for the rise and popularity of pornography.”

Did he offer some sort of theory to explain why he thinks this? If so I bet it would be hilarious to read.

magdelyn
9 years ago

@BoggidWurms,

none of my bizness, but are you male or female? If you’re a lady, I really feel bad that you think being womanly sux.

M Dubz
M Dubz
9 years ago

@Quackers- If you take “womanly” to mean “femme,” (which is not even close to being the only way to be an awesome lady, just the closest to the stereotype), it can be a deeply satisfying way to present, as well as subversive in certain contexts. For example, fat femmes or femmes of color can use their gender presentation to fight against stereotypes of them as sexless or inherently ugly. And, as a fat femme, I know I look DAMN good in a dress and heels.

Crumbelievable
Crumbelievable
9 years ago

@Cassandra:

It’s been a few months since I saw it, so I’ve completely forget what his “argument” was. I’ll try to remember though.

magdelyn
9 years ago

Strangely, I totally agree with Lauralot.

AVT
AVT
9 years ago

@B- I disagree with the assumption being made here. Really, what does our society value in traditional femininity? Well, I think reasonable people can quibble over details, but most of us could agree with, oh, say passivity, docility, gentleness. None of those traits are inherently bad; the problem is, our society forces this idealization upon those who might not be so keen, and shames them, erases them, if they reject it.

In other words, it’s not that the feminine ideal is bad… it’s the fact that society pushes this very narrow definition to the exclusion of all else. And there really is so much more.

But on the other hand, women who ARE traditionally feminine are just as worthy of respect as anyone else, and thus your appropriation of them as an insult is, well, not cool.

Crumbelievable
Crumbelievable
9 years ago

forgotten*

Me fail English? That’s unpossible.

magdelyn
9 years ago

I don’t understand how women can feel bad about themselves because they don’t adhere to idealized standards. I am 5’10” tall, will never “pass”, but still love who I am.

BoggiDWurms
BoggiDWurms
9 years ago

@Mags

I am am male. I am disgusted with our culture’s ideals of both what a “man” and what a “woman” is. Both are extremely superficial and look as if they come from Hollywood, soap opera, or Cosmopolitan. Revolting. I’m not surprised those type of mediums communicate the most obvious gender stereotypes.

Furthermore, I am displeased with the whole black-and-white paradigm of gender, this idea of two strictly delineated sexes that are absurdly “complete opposites yet also meant for each other”. There is practically no room in between.

So much that when a transsexual like ZinniaJones speaks on YouTube there are people who say pretty ignorant things like “Are you a man or are you a woman? Choose!” or “Kill it with fire!” or “WHAT ARE YOU!?!?”

As far as “womanly ” is concerned, I have a very negative opinion of mainstream society’s idea of “womanly”, and I wouldn’t be surprised of many men and many women did as well. But as Lauralot said, it’s pretty subjective. I want to know what Mags’s and Lauralot’s idea of “womanly” is, and furthermore how “womanly” by any definition can be a good thing.

Crumbelievable
Crumbelievable
9 years ago

If a woman wants to say that she enjoys being a woman, I feel like we as men have no right to tell her otherwise.

M Dubz
M Dubz
9 years ago

@AVT- rock the eff on
@mags- You are super freaking lucky to feel good about yourself and your body image. I am happy for you! However, most women that I know, regardless of how conventionally attractive they are, have something that they absolutely DESPISE about their appearance. I think it’s part of our culture to make people feel just shitty about themselves in order to convince them to buy lots of shit they don’t need to feel better. For men, it’s done by undermining their masculinity and sense of worth as a “success object.” For women, it’s done primarily by undermining their confidence in their looks. It’s awful awful awful.

AVT
AVT
9 years ago

@B- I think you may be confusing traditional femininity- or as you put it, “society’s idea of ‘womanly'”- with the beauty standard (which is indeed toxic, IMO).

I think these are distinct, though obviously they overlap a bit.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Having someone who identifies as male saying that he can’t see anything positive about being “womanly” (whatever we’re assuming that to mean) really doesn’t sit well with me.

Yes, society dumps a lot of negative shit on women. No, this does not mean that being “womanly” or “feminine” or whatever is inherently negative. I’m short, and that causes me occasional inconvenience. That doesn’t mean that it’s bad to be short, it means that American society is built with people who are taller than me in mind. Put me in Asia and suddenly my height causes me no inconvenience at all, because things are designed for people who are more my size. It’s the same thing with “womanly” – the issue isn’t the trait itself, it’s the societal structure.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Also to me “womanly” as a concept has nothing to do with meeting the beauty standard. Women who are pregnant, or carting around small babies? Fairly unlikely to meet the beauty standard at that moment in time, and I doubt anyone would call them un-womanly.

M Dubz
M Dubz
9 years ago

Boggi- I think it’s important to note that gender presentation does (or so I believe) have a certain degree of innateness to it. I am naturally (as in my parents described these traits in me from the time I was a baby) sensitive, a people pleaser, and interested in wearing dresses, all of which are coded feminine traits. Certainly as I have gotten older, my gender presentation has become more fluid to the situation, and I have other traits, such as intelligence, stubbornness, an adventuresome spirit, and geekery that are often coded more masculine. But my default state is pretty damn girly. There’s nothing WRONG with that. It’s how I am most comfortable. And part of the coming gender revolution is recognizing that all ways of presenting are valid and awesome and worthy of respect.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
9 years ago

“Womanly” = being like a woman. …So you have about 3.5 billion examples to choose from. Go nuts. :p

2-D Man
2-D Man
9 years ago

There’s a part of me that still hopes that someday, something I write will cause some misogynist and/or Men’s Rightser out there to develop a modicum of self-awareness, look at what they’ve been saying or doing, and say to themselves, “I’m really kind of a tool, aren’t I? Maybe I should stop.”

I was never an MRA, but this blog and the commentariat here have helped me say that a few times.

ozymandias42
ozymandias42
9 years ago

I’m not a woman, but I do love being femme.

Holly Pervocracy
9 years ago

Having someone who identifies as male saying that he can’t see anything positive about being “womanly” (whatever we’re assuming that to mean) really doesn’t sit well with me.

It sits double not-well with me because it’s not a comment in isolation; it’s following on from him justifying calling MRAs “bitches” because he thinks they act like stereotypical women.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
9 years ago

Today, being “womanly” included eating chocolate, googling how fast someone dies of starvation, tutoring math, and discussing (at some length) a giant poop.

BoggiDWurms
BoggiDWurms
9 years ago

I think it’s part of our culture to make people feel just shitty about themselves in order to convince them to buy lots of shit they don’t need to feel better.

There my friend is how corporations make money off of you. And they keep shifting the shit over and over again so you will keep buying and never be satisfied.

magdelyn
9 years ago

Well, if one is defining woman as a social construct, then being womanly is that which people who define themselves as women do. We all know that there are characteristics that women associate with women. To what extent these are affectations to everybody is up for debate. But, I present the way I choose…which so happens to be more rather convensional, as I’ve written:

“…For some reason, women and gay men really like my look. I think it is the dramatic, retro sexuality that educated women now think inappropriately deferential to the patriarchy. I have been accused by other trans people of being a sexist because of my interpretation of femininity. Maybe women like that I emphasize the curvature of my form, which harks back to an earlier perception of the feminine — out of style today — built on a 5’10” frame made taller with heels…”

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Today being womanly means sitting around in my comfy old wrecked jeans and a sweater, taking lots of really disgusting flu medication, and trying not to hack up a lung.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
9 years ago

him justifying calling MRAs “bitches”

Hmm, unless they occasionally lick their groins, go into heat and/or hump male dogs then I’m not seeing it. (But maybe they do…)

M Dubz
M Dubz
9 years ago

Ooh I like this meme!

Today, being womanly meant going to work, wearing some motherfucking slacks, working on a presentation I’m giving tomorrow, and eating a catfish po’ boy with french fries.

Shadow
Shadow
9 years ago

Seconding Crumbelieveable & Cassandra. It’s not your place as a man to decide the worth of being “womanly”.

I don’t think that “manly” and “womanly” are universals, but rather are what a culture expects of those who ID as man and woman. Some aspects of male and female gender presentation DO seem to be pretty universal. With men, for example, there’s physical aggression, bonding over sports (whatever the sport of the culture may be), an aversion to exchanging physical affection (like a hug) with strange men to name a few. I don’t have a problem with having these ideals as long as people don’t try to apply them as universals, and as long as these ideals are conceived by the people to whom it will apply i.e. (as far as the binary goes) men have no business deciding what’s womanly, and women have no business deciding what’s manly. I don’t know enough to make definitive statements about non-binary people, but I would think that the same rule would apply i.e. it is up to a group to decide what their ideal presentation is

Magpie
9 years ago

Hey Manboobzers, thanks to you all I was able to tell my friend not to refer to a transman he knows as “a shim”. I wouldn’t have had the words to do that before reading this site. 🙂

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
9 years ago

an aversion to exchanging physical affection (like a hug) with strange men

That might just be universal universal. Does anyone like that? :p

Holly Pervocracy
9 years ago

I identify as a manly woman so I’m not quite sure if I get to play the “womanly” game. But today I was manly-woman-y by:
-Writing a sociology essay
-Talking to a bunch of my dude friends
-Getting really angry that anatomy lab was canceled after I’d gotten up with only three hours of sleep to attend
-Napping extensively (and somewhat resentfully)
-Eating tofu
-Wearing a sweater and jeans
-Fixing a ripped backpack.

I’m not even sure which of these are stereotypes. “Oh, you know women, always napping resentfully.”

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
9 years ago

I’m not even sure which of these are stereotypes. “Oh, you know women, always napping resentfully.”

It probably counts if you’re doing it to deny a man sex. 😀

Magpie
9 years ago

“napping resentfully” sounds like something a cat would do 🙂

katz
9 years ago

I have metaphysical and mystical notions of “masculine” and “feminine” that are different from common notions in our society.

I’m a little afraid to ask, but I will anyway.

Shadow
Shadow
9 years ago

@Bagelsan

It’s been my experience that, regardless of culture, women are generally more comfortable with physical affection. Even in more conservative cultures (like South Asian cultures) women are more likely to hug people, or use reassuring touches, than men. I think it’s a result of being socialised to be nurturing, but that’s just my uneducated guess.

@Holly

My mum is also a resentful napper, so y’all may be starting a stereotype together 😛

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

I guess that’s another way in which I as an evil feminist destroy men then – I actively seek out men who’re physically demonstrative and affectionate, and pretty much won’t have sex with men who aren’t.

Shadow
Shadow
9 years ago

@Bagelsan

I just realised that I said strange men, when I meant strangers

Holly Pervocracy
9 years ago

CassandraSays – There’s a category of men you won’t have sex with??!?!

That right there is destroying men.

Shadow
Shadow
9 years ago

@Cassandra

I’m not sure if you mean in general, or with loved ones. i think men and women are much more similar when it comes to physical affection with loved ones, I’m talking more about outside of that inner circle. It’s because of that similarity that I think it’s a matter of socialisation over biology.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

I know! It’s so evil of women, having preferences. That should probably be included in some sort of MRA manifesto – “women are strictly forbidden to refuse to have sex with men simply because they don’t find them appealing, because what if he’s a really Nice Guy?”.

Shadow
Shadow
9 years ago

CassandraSays – There’s a category of men you won’t have sex with??!?!

That right there is destroying men.

It’s true!!! This is why I die a thousand deaths every day!

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

@ Shadow

I mean that I actively seek out men who’re very huggy in general. Obviously everyone is more huggy with people in their inner circle than with strangers, but the men I tend to go for are the ones who’d be described as unusually huggy or touchy-feely by anyone who knew them.

Shadow
Shadow
9 years ago

@Cassandra

Lol, fair enough. It’s funny because I find that kind of openness very endearing in people, right up until they turn it on me.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Whereas I’m super huggy so if I attempted to date someone who wasn’t it wouldn’t end well. I’d annoy them by wanting hugs more than they were comfortable with, and they’d annoy me by not being as affectionate as I’d want. It’s a recipe for an unhappy relationship.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Also, again – flu medication, I’m on lots of it, so apologies if I’m not making much sense this evening.

Viscaria
Viscaria
9 years ago

I love being a woman. As far as I’m concerned, that’s what “womanly” is, so I guess I love being womanly.

I also happen to be a very femme woman, because that’s who I am, and I love that too. There’s a lot of bullshit that surrounds that. The idea that how I dress/act/speak is how women are supposed to dress/act/speak, and that other women who dress/act/speak in a different way are somehow doing it wrong. The idea that, because of the way I dress/act/speak, I can’t be as capable or as smart or as serious as someone else. But the bullshit is what society has arbitrarily thrown onto the concept of femme women and women in general. It doesn’t tell me or anyone else how valuable we are, and fuck anyone who thinks it does.

Polliwog
Polliwog
9 years ago

Ooh I like this meme!

Me too. 🙂

Today, being womanly meant lying around in flannel pajamas with a mustard stain on them, proofreading some files, doing my physical therapy, making pasta, and playing far too much Skyrim.