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antifeminism antifeminist women gross incompetence lying liars MRA oppressed men

The E-Day Concert that Wasn’t: The Canadian Association for Equality turns a PR disaster into a PR catastrophe

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MRAs seem to think that they can spin their way out of pretty much anything. And on the internet, particularly in their own little echo chamber, they can kind of get away with it. It’s when they venture out into the real world that they run into some trouble.

Take, for example, the mad spinning that accompanied the implosion of the Canadian Association for Equality’s “E Day” concert scheduled for last weekend. CAFE, you may recall, is a Canadian Men’s Rights group that’s probably most famous for organizing a series of talks by Men’s Rights-friendly folks on Canadian campuses that, well, caused a tiny bit of a stir.

Oh, sorry. The group says that even though its “focus is currently on men and boys … [W]e do not consider ourselves a Men’s Rights Group.”

Anyway, so this non-Men’s Rights group decided to hold a concert on Toronto Island celebrating “Equality Day,” a holiday they made up just for the occasion. They found a venue, got some sponsors and even managed to convince a bunch of bands to sign on.

Everything was ready to go until a few days before the concert was scheduled to happen, when some of the people who had been roped into the event discovered just what they had gotten themselves involved with.

A headline from the Huffington Post sums up what happened next with admirable succinctness:

Men's Rights Concert In Toronto Cancelled Upon Discovery It Was A Men's Rights Concert

The exodus from E-Day kicked off after a post appeared on the lefty Canadian news site Rabble.ca pointing out what CAFE was really about. Musicians and sponsors quickly distanced themselves from the event, and CAFE lost its venue as well.

CAFE’s response to all this? A press release stating:

CAFE received overwhelming support from musicians, sponsors and the general public for Equality Day. After several months of productive collaboration, the original venue Artscape Gibralter-Point cancelled the use of their location after receiving a small number of misinformed complaints.

That’s a rather … odd way to describe what happened. According to a good number of those who had originally signed on for the concert, it was CAFE that was actively spreading misinformation about their own event and hiding its Men’s Rights agenda.

The musical group Giraffe posted a statement on Facebook saying:

We feel that we were not fully informed about what it was that is being supported here, and also that calling it a festival that celebrates “equality” as opposed to “men’s equality” was intentionally misleading to us in it’s effort to entice us to play this show.

Hogtown Brewers, one of the sponsors, offered a similar explanation for why they pulled out. “We’re kinda surprised that an event that built itself on being for equality turned out to be anything but that,” the president of the company told the The Star. “The minute that it came to our attention that it wasn’t a concert in line with our values, we moved to remove our support. We regret any involvement.”

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Artscape, the venue that was to have originally held the event, told The Globe and Mail that

[t]he premise of the event as it was given to us was a fair and equitable event that was family-friendly and a lovely music festival. It has since turned political and we anticipated that there could be health and safety concerns as well.

Perhaps the most amazing revelation: Jagermeister, which had been listed as a sponsor on CAFE’s publicity materials, said it had never agreed to be part of the event in the first place:

CAFE’s creative, er, spinning continued in an interview the group’s outreach director Denise Fong gave to NowToronto. I’m not even going to summarize this one. Go read it.

A scaled down E-Day celebration of sorts did go ahead last weekend. It consisted of some CAFE volunteers standing on a corner handing out pamphlets and talking to passersby about their support of “boys, men and families.” (That’s a strangely limited notion of equality, huh?)

In their press release last week, CAFE announced that

Equality Day musical activities will be postponed to next Sunday, June 8. Details to be announced.

So far no details have been announced. But, hey, they’ve still got a couple of days to go.

On a totally unrelated note, I will be holding “E-Kwalitee Day” in my apartment sometime this afternoon. I am proud to announce that I have managed to book some outstanding musical acts for this extravaganza. They don’t know it yet, but I have written their names down in my appointment book.

Here’s the headliner:

I support kittens, cats and families. Ask me why!

 

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cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I feel like the whole examining thing works best when someone is motivated to do it by internal factors rather than external pressure. Does that make sense? As in, if you notice an attitude that seems odd and potentially problematic in yourself and decide to try to figure out what’s going on with that, that might actually be a useful process that would result in you being a less prejudiced person. But the whole “examine your preferences” as a thing that you’re being told to do by others, specifically if it’s in relation to sex that you don’t want, I’m just not convinced that that ever results in people changing their underlying attitudes at all. Like earlier someone mentioned the FA movement, and part of the reason a lot of the FA bloggers who I’ve read don’t advocate doing the “examine!” thing as something you tell other people to do is that they don’t think it’s going to work, whereas if people just read FA blogs and start rethinking the way they feel about how weight fits into the way we frame beauty by themselves then they’re more likely to end up actually changing how they feel the whole thing.

I’m just not convinced that it ever works as a demand, basically.

Ally S
6 years ago

(And I don’t mind being seen as the little kid of the discussion. I was never a big kid in the first place, TBH.)

katz
6 years ago

Ally, you have every right to feel strongly about this and it’s very easy to start talking past each other. And of course you didn’t know that there was history on this topic. Maybe we can take this as an opportunity to remember the importance of listening to each other and making sure we understand what the other people are saying.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Ally: the whole conversation wasn’t just hurtful to you. I was offended as a cis woman and a bi woman, and it seems like our preferences are always up for debate. FYI, so you know where I’m at.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

For bi women the working assumption seems to be that we should be willing to fuck anyone who asks, which is all kinds of fun.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

I hate that assumption with the fire of 10,000 Beyonces.

Ally S
6 years ago

All right, I’ll stay here. Right now I want to leave but I also know that I’ll probably regret leaving if I do, since I still like this community.

titianblue
titianblue
6 years ago

@Ally S, you do whatever you need to do for self care. But I for one would miss your contributions dreadfully if you went permanently.

Ally S
6 years ago

@hellkell

Ally: the whole conversation wasn’t just hurtful to you. I was offended as a cis woman and a bi woman, and it seems like our preferences are always up for debate. FYI, so you know where I’m at.

I acknowledge that, I’m very sorry I offended you and others here.

fromafar2013
6 years ago

@ casandrakitty and hellkell

I know! When I was dating, I’d rather be rejected than hear, “Oh, that’s hot! You must be up for anything!”

Um, no. Excuse you?

Oh gods, I just thought of what one of my boyfriend’s coworkers said at the last Christmas party when it somehow came up in casual conversation (how did it even? I seriously don’t remember… dude probably said something homophobic)
“You ever bring any girls home? *wink wink*”

I’d have kicked him if we were at a regular party and not a work function.

@ Ally

Seconding titanblue.

Athywren
Athywren
6 years ago

@RubyRubyRuby

Seriously? If someone is “ashamed” to be a radical feminist, which means ashamed of their support for women’s rights, then I’m some jerk for wondering if they aren’t committed?

Hi there. I’m an atheist. I’m often ashamed of that because, hey, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but a lot of atheists are really quite aggressively anti-feminist. (And, yes, some of them like to say that we should just keep atheism and feminism seperate (because, you know, there are no problems within atheism that could be addressed by feminism, oh no, none at all).) Does that mean I’m not committed to putting an end to religious discrimination? Or, maybe, could it mean that I’m pissed off that a large section of the movement with which I associate, which is supposed to be about rights and freedoms, is actively opposed to the rights and freedoms of other people?
I don’t think every feminist needs to fight for trans acceptance, nor do I think that every atheist needs to fight for women’s rights or any other group for any other, but if you’re actively opposing those things and still claiming to be an advocate for justice and rationality, I can only say fuck you.
I’m ashamed to be associated with militant atheism (Also amused, because, “militant,” really. Call me Muad’dib, since I can apparently kill with a word now.) and I’m ashamed to be associated with radical feminism. Not because I don’t believe in their goals for themselves, but because I am offended that they would deny that others are allowed goals of their own.

In short, you’re a fucking asshole. So just fuck off.

Ha ha ha, no, I’m not. I’m a woman and feminist.

Those are not mutually exclusive options.

Athywren
Athywren
6 years ago

Making a new post so this doesn’t get lost under yelling at Ruby^3

So, I’ve actually been examining my preferences a lot recently, and maybe it’ll add context to the discussion? I don’t know, so feel free to tell me to stfu if it’s derailing or contributing to the problem.
As a quick aside, I don’t think Ally meant that you have to change your preference if you’re not interested in people with penises and so reject trans women, but I do suspect that Ruby^3’s comment was designed to lead to a response that could be taken that way and cause this kind of argument. Maybe not, but it’s something I’ve seen happen often enough, causing arguments and hurt among people who, if they weren’t being primed to take things the wrong way, are actually in agreement on the major issues.

So I’m primarily attracted to women, I’m also attracted to some men and have made out with some, but I’m scared of going further than that. I’ve never had sex with a person with a penis before and I don’t think I want to, so that would exclude trans women who have penises from my selection of people I want to have sex with.
However, I’ve thought a lot about transitioning. I’ve thought a lot about sex as a trans woman, post op, post everything, sex with a man, as a woman… there’s nothing in me that says no to that, so clearly I don’t actually have a problem with having sex with someone with a penis, just with having sex with someone with a penis while I also have a penis. Granted, this is just a thought experiment and I can’t be completely certain that I would react that way in that situation, but it’s still me thinking it, still m not being remotely bothered by the thought of sex with a person with a penis if I didn’t have one.

I could understand accepting that I just don’t want to have sex with someone with a penis if it was universal, but it’s not, so surely there’s something else giving me an aversion to it as I am now? If I refuse to have sex with a woman to whom I’m otherwise attracted because she has a penis, when I apparently wouldn’t care if I didn’t have one, isn’t that a sign that my preference is influenced by some degree of transphobia or maybe homophobia? If I could honestly say that I wouldn’t be interested no matter what, then, ok, that’s clearly just my preference. But I see no problem at all if I didn’t have a penis myself, so surely that’s something that needs examining? That doesn’t mean I should suddenly accept every advance from anyone with a penis, but it does mean I should probably think about why I’d reject an advance from someone who’s otherwise exactly the sort of person I want a relationship with because I have an inconsistent opinion of penises.

Athywren
Athywren
6 years ago

And maybe I should refresh before posting…

katz
6 years ago

Ally, if you need to take a break and cool off, then you should. But I certainly would be happier if you didn’t leave forever, or at least if you stayed in touch offsite.

Dvärghundspossen
6 years ago

@Athywren: Seems like your preference could be summed up as “no more than one penis involved in the sex act”. 😛

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

I know! When I was dating, I’d rather be rejected than hear, “Oh, that’s hot! You must be up for anything!”

Argh. I had one ex who really pressured me to have a threesome. I refused–primarily because I knew it wasn’t about me and what I might like–but I did consider it briefly just to blow his tiny mind.

Ally S
6 years ago

I’ve already cooled off now. I’m fine. And if I ever did leave permanently, I’d definitely try to stay in touch with some folks here (including you) offsite. It was a deeply upsetting conversation for me but not upsetting enough to scare me away forever.

Ally S
6 years ago

(That was a reply to katz)

bunnybunny
6 years ago

Argh. I had one ex who really pressured me to have a threesome. I refused–primarily because I knew it wasn’t about me and what I might like–but I did consider it briefly just to blow his tiny mind.

Yeah… I’ve encountered this with a few exes who assume that because I’m bisexual, I’m automatically interested in having a threesome. This assumption bothers me.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

With the ex who kept trying to talk me into hooking up with other women for his entertainment I finally told him that fine, I was happy to go out and find a woman to bring home, but that he wasn’t invited. He shut up after that.

Athywren
Athywren
6 years ago

@Dvärghundspossen

Seems like your preference could be summed up as “no more than one penis involved in the sex act”.

You might be right… the one time I did have sex with more than one penis involved was just awful. It was a threesome with my girlfriend at the time and one of those “monogamy is so wrong” guys, that I could’ve sworn were brought up earlier in this thread, but can’t find the reference again now. Threesome might be the wrong word… more like sex with a spectator I hated, followed by getting to watch my girlfriend cheat on me. (Which was kind of ironic, because she’d spent most of our relationship up until that point convinced that I was cheating on her, and screaming at me over it at least once a week.) It was sex I very much didn’t want to be involved in, but… I don’t remember the reasons that I did. They were bad reasons, anyway. So maybe it’s just a weird response to that? I’m not sure that really makes sense, but… eh, humans, what does make sense with us? Damn, that guy was a manipulative arsehole.

Puddleglum
6 years ago

@Athywren. Ugh, being manipulated into experimental sex (experimental as in never tried it before) by a partner is so awful (been there, got the t shirt, burned it for the therapeutic value). Hugs to you if you want them!

Athywren
Athywren
6 years ago

Thanks, Puddleglum. It was about eight years ago and I’m mostly over it.
Honestly, it was probably a good thing, because it was the one thing I couldn’t forgive and I ended up cutting her out of my life entirely, which was good because, looking back, it was a deeply emotionally abusive relationship. I’d be lying if I said that thinking about it was making me feel good about the world, but at least I’m not still stuck in that bizarre relationship hell.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Dvarg:

Although… there was a discussion on this blog earlier about finding oneself attracted to certain races only, and then most people seemed to agree that if you find yourself thus attracted you’re totally obligated to do your best to change those preferences.

I remember that one, and yeah, this conversation reminded me of it, too. It was mostly sparked by a former poster (can’t remember zir name) drunk posting and being extremely obnoxious. And no, people did not, as far as I recall, agree they should change their sexual preferences. I sure as hell didn’t.

Lea:

I also don’t think examining a preference means that the preference is inherently wrong. Examination can lead to reaffirmation.

Can’t agree with that; it’s implicit, especially in this conversation, that one should change one’s attraction. If someone tells me to examine my preference, they’re essentially saying my preference – for me, being interested in one person only – is wrong.

Also, everything cassandrakitty and Shadow have said.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Drat, hit post instead of newer comments! I probably wouldn’t have posted much of that after reading this page; my apologies, people.

Ally, for the love of little apples, don’t leave the site. We can disagree vehemently on a topic without it having to sour everything. Nobody here agrees on every last thing there is, yet (as Freemage once put it so well) we all manage to find common ground.

Athywren:

It was a threesome with my girlfriend at the time and one of those “monogamy is so wrong” guys, that I could’ve sworn were brought up earlier in this thread, but can’t find the reference again now.

That was me, I think, mentioning Sex At Dawn type nonsense. But how gross that someone inflicted that on you! 🙁

katz
6 years ago

Kittehs, I remember the race conversation being really, really judgmental of you in particular.

Ally S
6 years ago

Ally, for the love of little apples, don’t leave the site. We can disagree vehemently on a topic without it having to sour everything. Nobody here agrees on every last thing there is, yet (as Freemage once put it so well) we all manage to find common ground.

I suppose you’re right. I (and a few others) disagree with almost everyone here regarding capitalism, yet I don’t try to argue about it because 1) there’s no point and 2) no one here is a libertarian.

kittehserf
6 years ago

katz, I don’t remember that much detail, but it was severely fucked up all round. I iz the ultimate bigot, all the classes of people who aren’t Mr K don’t get a look-in! 😛

Ally – yup, that’s it.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I’m confused as to how anyone walked away from the race conversation with the impression that the consensus was that people were obligated to examine themselves and keep examining until they’re attracted to everyone. I do think that if you find yourself saying that you don’t find anyone of race X attractive at all then yeah, that’s probably motivated by racism, but the next assumed step, that people are obligated to try to change their attractions, and the one after that, that other people have the right to demand that they do so, are steps that I would never, ever agree with, regardless of which group of people are in the excluded position. Standing against the idea that it’s ever OK to socially pressure people into sex they don’t want is just too basic and important a principle to me, and I don’t think you can go down path A without some people ending up being put in situation B.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Yes, it’s one thing to say to yourself, “Why do I find all the individuals of class X automatically unattractive?” and maybe think yeah, socialisation, prejudice, whatever. But that’s as far as it goes – and seriously, it should be about ordinary interaction with people, not about who you want to fuck.

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Doesn’t this then get to a reductio ad absurdum where we all have to find everyone sexually attractive otherwise prejudice?

I have hired oodles of people I would never find sexually attractive. I have purchased goods and services off oodles of people I would never find sexually attractive. I have socialised with oodles of people I would never find sexually attractive.

Sexual attractiveness is a special case, because physical attraction is necessary. All those other things are not dependent upon physical attraction, and its really leery if physical attraction forms part of the requirements for decisions on those other things – because it’s not relevant.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Depends whether your preferences are about looks or about icky racial stereotypes, too. “I like small slim women with dark hair, therefore it’s unsurprising that Asian women are well represented among the women I’m attracted to” – OK, sure. “I love Asian women because they’re so sweet and submissive” – ick.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Yeah, that too. One of the things that a lot of people find disconcerting about the manosphere, I think, is that the assumption that woman I don’t want to fuck = woman who has no value of any kind and who should probably be poofed out of existence because she’s of no use to me. And they then project that idea onto other people, which is how you get to the conversations where they’re all “women are dehumanizing me by not fucking me!”. They think people of the appropriate sex who they don’t want to fuck are worthless, so they assume everyone else does to, but honestly, thinking that way is really weird.

I don’t want to fuck my granny or my dad. Still think they’re both pretty awesome and worthwhile people, you know?

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

First off, a big “thank you” to RubyRubyRuby, for starting this whole mess off.

Second, an apology for engaging and then running off. I had to go to work, and I feel like I disrespected you all and the good faith we try to have in each other by commenting and running.

Third, an apology for defensiveness. I’m so used to coming here and seeing people whine that they’re oppressed because the people they want to fuck won’t fuck them (I mean, we had a Friendzone troll just this morning), that I read it into a conversation where it wasn’t actually happening. That was unfair of me and I’m sorry.

Is there value to examining our preferences, not to determine whether they are “right” or “wrong,” but just to question some of the attitudes behind them?

The thing is, I’m pretty sure most of us who are involved in social justice work already strive to do that. I’ve unpacked a lot of my younger disgust with fat bodies, and I know there are several of us who are both kinky and kink-critical, so.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

emilygoddess: You have nothing to apologize for.

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Yep, did some more thinking about your point about Asian women, and this website pretty much sums up how I feel: http://fucknofetishization.tumblr.com/FAQ

I think the second example is a problem because it’s a racial fetish and is other-ing.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

I was so stressed about this thread at work, I was almost obsessing over it (thankfully, work is pretty distracting). I know a lot of people I care about were hurting and I felt terrible not knowing what was happening, and worrying that we were going to have another massive schism. This community is so important to me and I’d hate to see it blow up. I’m so glad to see it calming down.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Basically any time that you find yourself attempting to tie a behavioral or personality trait to a phenotype, stop and think again about what you’ve just said/thought. But please for the love of Ceiling Cat don’t then turn around and expect the group of people you’ve been projecting that shit onto to help you process your feelings about it/assist you in your emotional evolution/whatever.

Ally S
6 years ago

I was arguing on this thread as I took breaks from trying to level two beds of dirt outside. =P

kittehserf
6 years ago

Doesn’t this then get to a reductio ad absurdum where we all have to find everyone sexually attractive otherwise prejudice?

Exactly!

Second, an apology for engaging and then running off. I had to go to work, and I feel like I disrespected you all and the good faith we try to have in each other by commenting and running.

Oh, shoot, no. We’re in umpteen time zones, we have lives afk, we have stuff to do. I had to cut out early last night – or rather, this morning: it was 1am when all this was starting up.

Seriously, you’ve nothing to apologise for.

I may be the only one, but I wasn’t hurt by this. Skeeved, irritated-verging-on-offended, but that’s about it.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Hm, a comparison example? My brother’s best friend categorically states that Asian women aren’t attractive, my BF asked the other day if I’d seen the black woman who had walked by (I hadn’t) because she was attractive and he doesn’t usually find black women attractive. The former? Dude, really? It isn’t possible? The latter? A preference that, clearly, has exceptions.

X cannot be attractive vs I am not usually attracted to X

kittehserf
6 years ago

Excellent example, Argenti.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

And to add another layer, if someone thinks that EVERYONE in a certain racial group is attractive? Fetish, not preference.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Urgh, yes.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Yeah, that’s just, urgh. And bull, you’d think masochist + ethical sadist (oh yeah kitteh, I completely forgot to mention that, I know we’d discussed it!) = perfect right? Different preferred acts.

Why am I going TMI here? No bloody way is everyone who COULD satisfy your fetish GOING TO.

Kitteh — he enjoys his partners reactions, particularly if they’re caused by a few painful (but not dangerous) things that the partner enjoys him doing to them. So really, it’s a bit like enjoying how your partner reacts to [insert non-painful sex act here]

kittehserf
6 years ago

Kitteh — he enjoys his partners reactions, particularly if they’re caused by a few painful (but not dangerous) things that the partner enjoys him doing to them. So really, it’s a bit like enjoying how your partner reacts to [insert non-painful sex act here]

Argenti, I’m looooooost, which bit is this responding to? I has lackafood brain.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

We had, months upon months ago, discussed ethical sadists. With you questioning how that wasn’t an oxymoron. Seeing how I’m now dating one and remembered that convo and asked him, that last comment I made reminded me, and here we are.

Viscaria
Viscaria
6 years ago

@emilygoddess:

Is there value to examining our preferences, not to determine whether they are “right” or “wrong,” but just to question some of the attitudes behind them?

The thing is, I’m pretty sure most of us who are involved in social justice work already strive to do that. I’ve unpacked a lot of my younger disgust with fat bodies, and I know there are several of us who are both kinky and kink-critical, so.

I’m not sure why you’re pointing this out. Did it seem as if I was arguing the opposite? That wasn’t my intention.

Dvärghundspossen
6 years ago

Regarding the race-preference-thread, I might misremember it, since it was a long time ago. But according to my memory, it went down like this: For some reason (don’t remember the beginning of the whole thing at all) a discussion started about people having sexual preferences tied to race. I and certain other people said that you can’t blame someone for their sexual preferences per se, since you don’t really control what turns you on, although you can obviously blame someone for being a racist. I, and others who have said the same thing, got loads of shit thrown at us, because we were supposedly defending people’s right to be racist or something. We were told that if you find yourself having a “racist boner”, than you really ought to try and change that, by, for instance, consciously exposing yourself to media where people of the racial group that you do not now find attractive are presented in an attractive light. Eventually I was like “okay, guess that might be a good idea”, which in hindsight seems like a weird concession, but all these “if that’s the way you are, you’re a RACIST and there’s no defense for that!” or (since I kept repeating that I was speaking hypothetically, not about myself, I don’t have any racial sexual preferences AFAIK) “you’re defending racists!” kept wearing me down.
I do think, however, that some of the people most heavily involved in that discussion aren’t active on the site anymore. I remember Cassandra was in that thread and kept writing pretty much what she writes in this one, but I seem to remember a gang of people (but possibly my memory plays tricks on me, and they were just a few individuals who kept doing lots and lots of angry posting) who thought that the standpoint that your sexual preferences are not under your direct control and therefore you can’t be obligated to adjust them in a more politically correct direction was a horrible one.

kittehserf
6 years ago

::lightbulb::

Oh, I remember! Yes, I hadn’t got past the definition of a sadist as taking pleasure in the other person’s unwillingness/distress as much or more than their physical pain.