Categories
david has questions misogyny MRA twitter

Another question: Are MRAs inherently misogynistic?

BEuLk-bCQAEQ1AS.png large

I found this hilarious faux-MRA rant on the Tweeter. I don’t know where exactly it’s from, but kudos to lordsteve, whoever he is.

My question today: Are MRAs inherently misogynistic?

I mean, obviously the people I write about regularly here are, but are there a significant number of MRAs out there who are actually well-meaning souls who’ve been taken in by MRA talking points? Or do you have to be a bit misogynistic to begin with in order to be swayed by MRA-logic?

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

151 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Nepenthe
Nepenthe
7 years ago

I think if you’re nodding along at The Spearhead, you may have found yourself there via legitimate concern about, say, toxic masculinity, but the fact that you didn’t immediately run away to rock back and forth in a corner indicates that you’re have a fairly misogynistic worldview.

Marie
Marie
7 years ago

females can create life (biotruth much?) and can thus potentially each could spawn their own army of war children

Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow. I’ve never given birth and I grimaced. Babies do not work that way!

(I know it’s a faux-mra rant, it still just stuck out to me.)

I’ll leave the debate up to people who are good at that stuff, but my gut reaction is yes, they are inherently misogynistic.

cloudiah
7 years ago

I don’t think everyone who approaches the MRM is inherently misogynistic. Certainly I notice a fair share of comments on r/mensrights along the lines of “Can we stop hating women for a minute and try to focus on helping men?” (Frequently followed by “Hating women is a vital part of my recover” + downvotes.)

But I do think you have to be misogynistic to stick around, or at least have a high tolerance for misogyny, which is kind of the same thing).

inurashii
inurashii
7 years ago

I think of it this way — if you call yourself a Men’s Rights Activist because you support men’s rights, but haven’t joined any MRA communities online, it’s possible that you’re not a misogynist.

If you’ve read a quorum of MRA writings and feel camaraderie with those people, chances are pretty high that you are.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

I think you need to be misogynistic to be an MRA once you’ve seen what they’re about. Like others have said, if you’re not hitting the back button and having a think about the choices that lead you to The Spearhead or AVfM, you are a misogynist.

Some Gal Not Bored at All

I think if you’re nodding along at The Spearhead, you may have found yourself there via legitimate concern about, say, toxic masculinity, but the fact that you didn’t immediately run away to rock back and forth in a corner indicates that you’re have a fairly misogynistic worldview.

Seconding Nepenthe. I’d add that you have to be at least slightly more misogynistic than mainstream society to stick around past the first post (unless you are there to mock or stare in horror). Mainstream misogyny might cover a single post depending on what it was, but finding a second that doesn’t descend into appalling levels of misogyny is mathematically improbable.

Some Gal Not Bored at All

I’m also gonna go out on a limb and say that unless you have moved into a K-Mart like in Where the Heart Is or are changing in the bathroom, you should not be naked in K-mart. It doesn’t matter what type of bits you have, you should keep your clothes on.

blitzgal
7 years ago

So, long story short, this guy was in Kmart taking off his clothes and the other shoppers there didn’t appreciate it and he got thrown out — misandry?

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Some Gal: the K Mart thing is a joke. It’s not real.

Some Gal Not Bored at All

@hellkell

Mine was supposed to be a joke, too. *goes off to work on better material*

Buntzums
Buntzums
7 years ago

I think a lot of guys wind up in the manosphere start off in the pua sphere.

People like to belong so I anticipate that many are just along for the ride. The pua’s say what guys like to hear. You can have tons of women surrounding you by being a jerk. The idea is so appealing they can’t say no to it. It’s a lie, but hope dies last. Once the ideas presented to the man from the pua sights fail him, he is so devastated by the overwhelming loss of ego he built up in respect of his anticipated success he turns toward aggression toward women in general. The more someone invests in something the less likely they are to abandon it, whether it’s a person, place or bad idea.

The men go to the manosphere in search of the success that the men in this sphere claim to have, but as the internet is a black veil, hiding failures and information from the men, they lose themselves in an endless sea of viral hatred.

For instance the average man on the internet appears to be 6’2 and make a 6 figure income. Really?

LaightTempest
LaightTempest
7 years ago

It’s unfortunate that the leading voices of the MRM are traditionalist asshats, because as you said in a previous post, there are legitimate causes against men worth examining and fixing. The thing is, the MRM is still relatively new. I mean, when feminism was where the MRM is today, they were using bombs and breaking down windows.

There’s a cluster of egalitarian Tumblrs that distance themselves from MRAs’ repugnant misogyny and stick to helping men. Maybe they’ll be the future of this movement.

MKlein
MKlein
7 years ago

I think it’s always possible that some MRAs are just misinformed, especially about what feminism generally is as a movement. And traditionally, I think you can consider yourself pro-Men’s Rights and not be misogynistic, depending on how you define “Men’s Rights,” especially as a movement.

For instance, one of my parents’ old college books, called “Men and Masculinity,” from the 70’s, is an anthology of accounts by men of gender roles, toxic masculinity, etc. The writing group identified with “men’s liberation,” but although there was one somewhat conventionally Men’s Rightsy piece (in that it was sort of whiney and woman-blamey), most of the essays expressed views that were actually in sync with feminism, focusing on eliminating gender inequality but working from the other direction (promoting a man’s right to not be in the “breadwinner” role, for example, and actually being allies to women). If the modern Men’s Rights movement were that, I don’t think I’d have a problem with them, and it would be far from misogynistic. The problem is that men’s liberation, if it’s even the same movement (and they might be two separate things, instead of the one becoming the other – I don’t know), seems to have devolved in a lot of ways into reactionary sexism and backlash. It seems dominated by the sort of people who would have dismissed the original men’s liberation movement as “manginas.”

kamilla1960
kamilla1960
7 years ago

My life experience, beginning with my family of origin and including the situation I am now contending with, shows me that misogyny runs deep. I believe that women will always be afraid of men, unless some kind of desexed hermaphrodite human is created, in which case we would likely cease to be human at all. But women’s fear of men is not the same as the deep need to despise and show contempt for women, than many men seem to be irresistably drawn towards. My elder brother, whom I have feared all my life, appeared to be hardly able to wait for the “father’s rights” groups to re-legitimize his atavistic attitude towards women. MRA. Well, they may be confused and misguided people, but in any case have not made the effort to understand what it might really mean to be a human being.

kamilla1960
kamilla1960
7 years ago

I remember when Robert Bly’s “Iron John” first came out. I felt relief and thought, at last men are being encouraged to talk about their feelings. The “men’s right’s movement” rapidly ensued, and it appeared that what these men were feeling was overwhelmingly anger at the perceived removal of their ‘right’ to degrade women.

tcwill00
tcwill00
7 years ago

@Marie: Take it from me, I watched my babies being born and it totally was all effortless, all we had to do was pay 100 vespene and wait 2 minutes. Y’all could totally zerg rush us, good thing everyone knows any two women can’t get along long enough to help each other rip men’s dicks off.

Totally sarcastic, just now.

Gillian
Gillian
7 years ago

Yes, they are. You can’t be an MRA without at least a heavy dollop of misogyny. Individuals concerned with social justice issues from the perspective of those who identify as male* need not apply, because all potential justice questions will be boiled down to “How are teh bitchez oppressing us today?” and there will be much rending of garments and gnashing of teeth and ultimately no productive activity whatsoever.

Also, I want to know which KMart this guy frequents, because I never ever EVER want to go in there.

Actually, this brings me to a question I was just having over lunch with a colleague. Women have feminism (and yes, feminism is good for men and children too, but part of the framing behind the term concerns equalizing historical biases inherent in the system to correct for discrimination against women), but if not MRA organizations (which some men are simply disgusted by while others are actively driven away) how else might social justice advocates who are interested in addressing some of the issues MRAs purport to be concerned with identify themselves if they want an overarching term rather than a niche one? “Masculinism” seems to be owned (and tainted) by people like Warren Farrell, so what exists for those who are uncomfortable with identifying themselves as feminists?

(and here I want to stipulate that their concerns may very well be feminist, but that trying to convince someone that they are a feminist when they don’t want to for whatever reason is going to be less than productive…)

cloudiah
7 years ago

BTW, that lordsteve faux MRA rant is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. I wish we could find the author and thank hir.

Also, a handful of MRAs are pooping on a NY Times thread about that police officer on trial for conspiring to kidnap and possibly cannibalize women, including his own wife. An interesting exchange starts here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/03/nyregion/remember-misogyny-its-on-the-web.html?comments#permid=3

Elsewhere in the comments, the SCUM Manifesto is mentioned. Go zombie Solanas!

princessbonbon
7 years ago

Wow, I had no idea I could just spawn my own dark army…I was going the hard way by talking to people and recruiting when I could have just been spawning them!

Wait wait wait, children are their own people…damn, foiled again!

princessbonbon
7 years ago

The people responding are doing an excellent job of trashing that guy’s “logic.” Good show NYTimes commentariat!

Marie
Marie
7 years ago

@tcwill00

haha, I was confused for a minute until I saw the sarcasm thing XD

crmsnfrn
crmsnfrn
7 years ago

@marie: I’ve given birth, and it literally is the worst pain I’ve ever felt. Trying to spawn an army of war-children would be excruciating. Not to mention not worth it. Why would we spawn our own army when we can persuade men to go get blown up with our lady parts, which are rendered useless by childbirth anyways?

Some Gal Not Bored at All

@cloudiah

I’m not sure I read the exact comment you are talking about. (My browser handles those things terribly or I don’t know how to work it.) However, I read a lot of them and not only found multiple references to Solanas, I also learned that a bunch of women responding calmly with rational arguments are hysterical. Hysteria, btw, proves misandry because reasons.

Uzza
7 years ago

do you have to be a bit misogynistic to begin with in order to be swayed by MRA-logic?
think the word you’re looking for is “stupid”.

Marie
Marie
7 years ago

@crmsnfrn

ow ow ow ow *sympathy winces* For some unknown reason* the more I hear about childbirth the less I want to do it (and I’ve never wanted to do it much :p) Which works for me, because I think if I ever wanted to be a parent I’d rather adopt anyway. In no place to even think about that right now though.

*PAAAAIIIN!

Ashley
7 years ago

I’m sure there are some of the mra that doesn’t spew out any misogynist language. I have yet to see any, but I am opptimistic that they are out there.

ellex24
ellex24
7 years ago

I’m so glad to learn that lordsteve‘s rant is meant mockingly, because in just the short time I’ve been hanging around here I’ve already read enough MRA crap that was 100% sincere that I wouldn’t even have blinked at this one.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

It’s a bit like being a child and thinking about Santa Claus with this one – you’d like to believe non-misogynist MRAs exist, but all the evidence is pointing to “no”.

tedthefed
tedthefed
7 years ago

This reminds me of that awful, awful Cracked article: http://www.cracked.com/article_19785_5-ways-modern-men-are-trained-to-hate-women.html?wa_user1=3&wa_user2=Sex&wa_user3=article&wa_user4=companion

It seems all well and good on the surface, but then you start going hmmmmmm. Yeah sure, it makes sense that men might be in these positions, but why would they be so upset about them? Why would they blame WOMEN for them? There’s some sort of piece missing.

And the missing piece for each of them is: You’re an asshole. For non-assholes, none of these listed things would lead someone to hate women.

crmsnfrn
crmsnfrn
7 years ago

@marie: Yeah, most of my friends had the same reaction when I had my daughter. And there’s nothing wrong with it! Not everyone wants to share their body for 9+ months and endure everything that goes with it.

Carleyblue
Carleyblue
7 years ago

I am also leaning towards them already being a bit misogynistic before finding the MRM. I think that after they find it, they become a lot more misogynistic and paranoid. They ‘feed off’ each other, so to speak.

@ kamilla1960 I sympathise with your situation, but no, I don’t think it’s normal for most women to fear men. I didn’t grow up with sexist, horrible male relatives, and most men I meet try to protect me from harm (sometimes annoyingly so) instead of hurting me. For a while I thought most guys thought like MRAs, but now I don’t think that’s true. People are a mess of contradictions anyhow. Sometimes I think I have been really lucky when I read what other women have gone through, though. If I had had the kind of experiences with men a few of the commenters here have described I would probably absolutely loathe them.

Karalora
Karalora
7 years ago

To echo what others are saying in (hopefully) a slightly different way, it’s not that being for men’s rights inevitably entails misogyny, it’s that the existing MRA community is so rife with misogyny that you need to share or appreciate that view to be involved.

Over on the TV Tropes forum, I actually started a discussion thread for men’s issues so that we’d have a place to talk about them without getting sidetracked by women’s issues. It’s stayed mostly civil and non-blamey, but some of these guys just can’t get past their default assumption that if things are hard for men, “feminism” (the hive mind, I guess) wants to keep it that way. And we’re talking about guys who started out reading AVfM and got turned off by the blatant misogyny there.

Viscaria
Viscaria
7 years ago

I think it could be possible to go to some of the less overtly woman-hating MRA hangouts and never ever check their sources and maybe believe some of the stuff you read without actually consciously deciding to hate woman. Like, you might think “Wow! Men die at 200 times the rate of women and nobody wants to do anything about it because men are disposable? And women routinely divorce men in order to extort hundreds of millions of dollars from them, and nobody has any issue with it? These issues need to be heard!” But, I mean, I don’t think the intention matters that much. If somebody’s just totally taken in by the lies but doesn’t “hate” women as such, that person is still perpetuating myths that subjugate women. So, yeah, I consider MRAs to be inherently misogynistic.

Kakanian
Kakanian
7 years ago

Honestly, even the more reasonable MRAs I’ve read are only 50% actual gender issues and 50% “bitches and whores, false rape allegations and family courts are ruining good men”. It’s an international talking point.

Some Gal Not Bored at All

@Karalora

it’s not that being for men’s rights inevitably entails misogyny, it’s that the existing MRA community is so rife with misogyny that you need to share or appreciate that view to be involved.

I agree with this, but think that a men’s rights movement will always be in some ways misogynistic. There was some discussion on this around the time Martyn Hare first showed up.

I am going to quote myself, but there were other great contributions. (Plus, Martyn is my favorite if most exasperating troll in a long time so I had fun seeing how it all began.)

Additionally, centering those who are already centered by society is always, in some way, going to promote the oppression of those on the margins. That is why feminism focuses on women’s rights, for example, to correct the historical and contemporary imbalance. Most of the issues that do affect men are those that will be corrected by feminism. Setting up a movement thar seeks to accomplish the same goals, but cares more about men or primarily about men may correct those specific issues, but will (I believe) do so at the expense of women because, at its fire, it recreates the inequality present in almost every facet of society. It is misogynistic in its premise because it takes secondary oppression as primary, thereby erasing the primarily oppressed.

This is earlier in the thread I just quoted from and the first appearance of Sid, I think, who is basically answering the question posed by today’s OP very eloquently. Later on in the thread, there are more great responses on the relationship between misogyny and men’s rights so, if you can stomach some more Martyn, it is worth a read.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

@ Viscaria

The thing is, if someone wasn’t already a misogynist why would they believe all that stuff? You pretty much have to already think that women are made of pure concentrated evil to believe the crap about false rape accusations being rampant, or the “divorce rape” stuff.

Moona
Moona
7 years ago

Oh wow, where do I get me one of them fancy MAN footstools? /sarc

I agree with MKlein in that I do think there are probably MRAs who I would give the benefit of the doubt as being more misguided than actively misogynistic. Nonetheless, I think by-and-large these types are what I would call proto-MRAs, like an MRA but in a larval form. The distinction to me is that proto-MRA complaints seem to originate from an intellectual misunderstanding of feminism and women’s issues rather than a visceral hatred of womankind. I occasionally see such examples when they unwittingly blunder into an active conversation about such issues believing that They Get It or They Tried to Get It (But It Got Hard). They then will reel in butthurt when they are checked for their misunderstanding of the issue and express some version of, “geez, why won’t you feminists play nice? You really DO hate men!”

Disagreement =/= hate, but the distinction may be lost on your average MRA or proto-MRA who cannot take the extra step back and realize that sometimes, it’s not all about him. To be fair, some disagreement may elicit some strong anger and salty retorts from feminists that I sometimes think is a bit much. However, there are boatloads of women out there including myself who are sick to death sometimes of proto-MRAs presuming to know better, or proto-MRAs who try to steer the conversation off track and toward their problems, or proto-MRAs who don’t understand or care if an fun intellectual exercise for them can be an unwelcome emotional exercise for women.

But at the end of the day, ignorance is rarely a good excuse, especially in the age of Google.

katz
7 years ago

I don’t think they’re necessarily misogynistic in a severe way, but I do think all MRAs, regardless of how new they are and how little exposure they’ve had to the movement, are inherently privileged. Because they have reached the conclusion that men are the demographic in the world that really needs help.

(Obvs there’s a subtle difference between that and just thinking that there are issues that affect men that need to be addressed, which is actually true. But I think anyone who identifies as an MRA is going to be in the former camp.)

Gillian
Gillian
7 years ago

@Cassandra I think there might be a tendency for some people who don’t frequent the MRA sites to be persuaded, in a purely surface way, of some of the assertions they make, assertions which get repeated uncritically all over the mainstream. I wonder also, if someone who is in a bad place because of a recent breakup or some other tension in their life might be primed in a sense not to immediately reject it.

I say this because I’ve had conversations recently with some otherwise completely reasonable guys over some recent news and found myself face to face with some pretty standard MRA talking points on rape apology and false rape accusations. Since I had some pretty reasonable interactions with them before, I was able to choke down my rage long enough to go calmly through what we really know about rape, with the statistics, especially the studies highlighted by Thomas MacAulay Millar and charged them to provide some evidence for their contentions. They couldn’t, of course, and it always seemed to come down to someone else they knew who had repeated the talking points with such conviction that they didn’t question what they were hearing.

I’m less willing to (automatically) say those folks were misogynist, especially as I have found them to be on the whole reasonable and progressive in their attitudes and opinions in all my other dealings with them. Yet all of them seem to have someone in their lives who is clearly misogynistic and whose ideas gain a sort of baseline credibility because of the relationship. One of them, for example, has a brother who would be a PUA if he weren’t so incredibly lazy that putting in the effort to learn the techniques would cut too deeply into his sports-watching and beer-drinking, and that’s where many of the weird ideas about the prevalence of rape and the complications of consent seemed to come from in that case.

It brings me to wonder if it isn’t necessary to come down harder on those propagating misinformation and lies about such issues, but then I wonder who has the energy and fortitude for it, especially in light of the mess that will come flying at you for trying (given that MRA sites are especially good for mobilizing trolls to fling their poo at any ideas they don’t like).

timetravellingfool
7 years ago

Eh, a lot of mra’s express hope for their movement as being an alternative to the popular cultural misrepresentation of feminism they have taken as truth. And they are genuinely concerned about men’s issues. They kind of shout at the sidelines trying to get discussions to be anything but a women-hating mess. I don’t think those guys are inherently misogynistic, but I do think their movement is. Also, I don;t think you can engage in those discussions and compromise for the sake of group unity without eventually starting to accept, at least partially, their world view.

neuroticbeagle
neuroticbeagle
7 years ago

My initial reaction to this is that ‘somebody really needs to stay away from kmart’.

moreorlessdan
moreorlessdan
7 years ago

I like Katz’s take on this.

I do not believe that a group that focuses on men’s issues needs to be misogynist. I think the current practice is not encouraging, but that there is no reason for things to be this way.

Going back to what Katz said, I imagine that part of the problem is a difficulty in accepting that discussions about many gender issues start with how it impacts women and then there may be a section about how the issues relates to men. I know that it took me a while to get comfortable with that. I am used to being talked about first. I am not used to trying to figure out how i fit into a larger problem. I can imagine this step step causing a lot of problems.

Tulgey Logger
Tulgey Logger
7 years ago

Not inherently, but since “MRA” and “MRM” are functionally just labels for reactionary misogyny, it really might as well be.

There’s a cluster of egalitarian Tumblrs that distance themselves from MRAs’ repugnant misogyny and stick to helping men. Maybe they’ll be the future of this movement.

Great! Now if only “egalitarian” wasn’t internet douche code for “I want to ignore the concerns of specific oppressed groups and systemic power disparities in favor of making sure women don’t generalize about men/PoC don’t say anything bad about white people.”

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

Yeah, I feel like until the shift in focus lessthandan is talking about happens there’s not a lot of hope for progress here, and all signs point to most MRAs actively resisting that shift in focus because of privilege.

AK
AK
7 years ago

I think it depends a bit on your definition of misogyny. If you’re using it to mean an actual hatred of women, then yes, I do think it is possible for someone to identify as an MRA but not be a misogynist. However, using it in the more general sense, then no, I don’t think it is possible.

I think to be an MRA you have to have a level of privilege and sense of entitlement, along with at least a subtle sexism. They place the blame for legitimate men’s issues (prison rape and high levels of incarceration, rigid gender roles, etc.) on women rather than looking at cultural structures (generally rooted in misogyny) that cause them. So yeah, a sensible, not-hateful guy could conceivably be superficially* attracted to the MRM, but he’s still a misogynist, even if it’s just because he was raised in a misogynist culture and never examined that.

That’s not to say that there aren’t guys who are working on men’s issues who aren’t misogynists. I support a group that works to end prison rape and support the victims of it, who are overwhelmingly male. In the past, I volunteered for a crisis center that supported all victims of domestic violence regardless of gender, and had special programs tailored to male victims. Through those, I’ve met lots of guys who felt strongly about the problems men face, but they weren’t MRAs.

*I say “superficially” because I’m with those who don’t think it’s possible to find yourself nodding along to most MRA sites unless you are a raging misogynist.

howardbann1ster
7 years ago

@Gillian:

They couldn’t, of course, and it always seemed to come down to someone else they knew who had repeated the talking points with such conviction that they didn’t question what they were hearing.

I think that is a n essential part of the whole thing; we live in a misogynistic culture. It’s the backdrop. So these things sound right, because they plug into that bigger picture, the constant stream hiding behind everything.

Which means part of preventing future MRAs is to educate people who haven’t heard MRA talking points.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

I don’t see why, if non-misogynist MRAs exist, they can’t splinter off and form their own group. The fact that that’s not happening doesn’t bode well, imo.

Kakanian
Kakanian
7 years ago

Nah, “Egalitarian” was a term people used to troll threads that mentioned Feminism. it’s proponent’s main demand was that feminist organizations should either work on promiting THEIR MRA issues or SUFFER THEIR WRATH.

Their wrath being them breaking out more MRA talking points to make people stepping up to explain how they were completely deluded about Feminism feel bad for the menz.

cloudiah
7 years ago

I guess splintering off the non-misogynistic MRAs was something that TGMP was trying to do. That … hasn’t gone too well.

Have a puppy trying to exercise:

howardbann1ster
7 years ago

That … hasn’t gone too well.

It’s like when the Libertarians were openly trying to force the Republican’s hand. The RP supporters were openly discussing their strategy. They were going to bring sanity to the Republican party!

They were hopelessly naive. They were going to where the knives are sharpened–the CONVENTION. They were among the sharks, talking about what tough little wolf pups they were.

The GMP found out what anybody who’s been watching American politics for the last two hundred years knows. Small-minded hate is easy to incite. Trying to educate and bring out the best in people? Takes work.

And the bad guys have no principles or morals, and they will use your skull as an ashtray if you get in their way.

(whoops! into moderation! Try again without Rand’s dad’s name in there….)

1 2 3 4