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Is the Men's Rights Movement driven by the rage of the rejected?

Memorial in Marysville
Memorial in Marysville

Was Marysville school shooter Jaylen Fryberg trying to exact revenge on a girl who had rejected him? Various news accounts suggest that Fryberg was reeling from a recent breakup; a number of angry, anguished, and frustratingly enigmatic recent comments on Fryberg’s Twitter account seem to back this up.

So it may be that the shootings on Friday were yet another reworking of an old story.

It’s no secret that many men, for an assortment of reasons, react badly and often violently to romantic and sexual rejection. This can range from self-described “nice guys” of OkCupid sending vicious messages to women who say no all the way to angry men who stalk and harass and sometimes kill ex-wives and girlfriends. Women who leave abusive relationships often suffer greater violence at the hands of exes unwilling to let them go.

I’ve written before of the striking ways that Men’s Rights Activism recapitulates the logic of domestic abuse; it’s no coincidence that so much MRA “activism” consists of harassment of individual women. So the question naturally follows: does the rage that drives so many MRAs come from the same dark place in the psyche as the rage that so many romantically and sexually rejected feel towards their exes?

Think of the fury many divorced MRAs feel towards their exes and women at large. Think of the self-pitying rage of “nice guys” MRAs in their teens and twenties who feel they’ve been unfairly “friendzoned” by stuck-up women.

As I pondered the tragedy in Marysville, I found myself thinking again about a disturbing short story written by A Voice for Men’s Paul Elam several years ago (and which I posted about recently).

In the story, you may recall, a jilted husband tells the other men in an anger management group session just what had landed him there. His story, as rendered by Elam, is a melodramatic and often mawkish tale of a man betrayed by a narcissistic “hypergamous” wife who left him for his business partner while he had been out of town at the funeral for his father. Oh, and she stole all his money, to boot. (Elam is not what you’d call a subtle writer.)

When the story’s hero finally confronts his ex, whom he finds ad his business partner’s house, she comes to the door in a nightie and tells him she left him because he just wasn’t cutting it in the sack. Then she makes a point of refusing to kiss him goodnight (and goodbye) because, she tells him sadistically, he probably wouldn’t like “the taste of another man’s cock on her lips.”

And so, the hero tells the other angry men in his group, he punched her in the nose so hard he broke it.

It’s clear Elam identifies wholly and completely with the hero, and we are supposed to see his punch as a form of righteous justice administered to his sadistic, emasculating ex.

There are a lot of angry divorced men in the MRM – including some with several divorces in their past. The standard MRA explanation is that these men come to the Men’s Rights movement after being “raped” — their word, not mine – in divorce court, or kept apart from their children by angry exes.

But I don’t think that’s it. Many of the angriest don’t even have any children. I suspect that the rage they feel is more like the rage of Elam’s hero – a rage borne out of a deep sense of sexual humiliation and the loss of control over the women who have rejected and abandoned them.

The anger of many younger MRAs seems to have a similar psychosexual source. These are the young men who rage against “friendzoning” and wax indignant about “false rape accusations” and “yes means yes.” In their mind, women are the “gatekeepers” of sex, and this frustrates and sometimes enrages them.

On some level they feel that women are collectively depriving them of the sex that they deserve, and they feel resentful they have to, in their mind at least, jump through so many hoops to get it. Some, I suspect, think that there’s no way they can actually “get” sex without cutting a few corners, consent-wise, and resent feminists for making this harder for them.

The self-righteous rage of the rejected is a dangerous thing. It’s dangerous when it’s directed at individual women. And it’s dangerous when it’s directed at women at large.

 

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weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Of course he’s still trying to post. Looks like banning was the right call. We never would have gotten rid of him otherwise.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
6 years ago

I wish we could trade him in and get that troll who didn’t understand parts of speech back.

Anarchonist
Anarchonist
6 years ago

Wow. Seems I missed a particularly tedious troll with an astonishingly low level of self-awareness. So sad… not!

Anyway, much love to all of you guys dealing with his bullshit, and all the hugs to all who want them.

brooked
6 years ago

I’m now imagining Mr John Allman, not Esq., typing endless TL;DR comments in which he passive aggressively rages against the dying of the light. You can ban a refreshingly original thinker, but you can’t take his freedom (to click “post comment”).

GrumpyOldMan
6 years ago

“It was the passivity of Rodger’s “manifesto” that I found most striking.”

Yes. His anger has a striking lack of affect. My best guess is that he was unable to express and release anger directly due to temperament and social conditioning and so let it build up until it consumed him. I find it difficult to believe that there were NO women who would have given him a chance, but he seems to have assumed this without bothering to try. Instead he seems to have reached a point where he was more interested in nurturing his self-pity and sense of grievance rather than trying to deal with them. He may have been one of those people who seem to crave a neat, consistent world view of the sort that is never really plausible in the messy real world, and he didn’t really want a girlfriend who would mess up that world view. And the PUAHate misogyny seems (to me, at least) to have been more a hook to hang his existing self-pity and sense of grievance on and a direction for his pre-existing anger rather than anything that caused his grievance, self-pity, and anger.
It is a puzzling case, in part because he (unlike many people) seems to have had the resources available to deal with his issues. But that would have required tearing down some of the carefully constructed narrative of his life.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago

Yeah, I’d much rather have the mighty oracle and his dislike of cat-trolling. I had a pile of cat pics all ready to spam the hell out of him with.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
6 years ago

He was tedious at first, but like any good whine he improved with age.

sparky
sparky
6 years ago

Yay! Creepy troll is banned!Kitty party

Misha
Misha
6 years ago

Ha. In another 800 posts he could have become legend. You hear me t1oracle? LEGEND.

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
6 years ago

I love the mansplainer mansplaining mansplain part. XD

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

This has been the abuse of a father that might still be available to his 4 year-old son using a web search, ten years from now, when [name redacted by moderator] becomes curious as to who the dad he lost aged two was. Complete strangers ill-informed opinions that this child’s father was “creepy” etc will be in his search results, when that day comes.

BwahahahahaWHAT? NO.

I know John’s been banned, but assuming that he’s still reading, if his son starts googling for him, the first thing that will come up is John’s own tinfoil-coated blog, in all its moany glory. And if the lad’s mom has done her job right, i.e. by simply telling him whatever there is to know and answering all his questions honestly, then he’ll realize that she was right to bar him access. He won’t find contradiction, he’ll find confirmation. And he’ll find it right on John’s own blog.

And the funnest part is, even if John smartens up some and takes it down, there’s still the Google cache. Which is where bad bloggery goes, not to die, but to become immortal.

Robert
Robert
6 years ago

Mr Allman could be useful to society. Make a thirty second video of him uttering his Deep Truths, followed by a cautionary block letter warning:
This is the disease. Feminism is the cure.

I’m starting to wonder just what his FIRST wife had to deal with, and how long before his Bloghouse of Horrors has an entry about the mean mean meaniepants who wouldn’t listen to the superior wisdom of his mighty manly mind.

samantha
6 years ago

I just read this on the New York Times and was so upset by it that I thought to post the urls here. In short, women who are pregnant are increasingly being criminalized. We are losing our civil rights and being arrested for things like tripping and falling, being critically ill while pregnant, etc. Please read the first article. The others are the pdfs of the studies the article sites.

Anyone who labors under the delusion that the freedom and equality of women are secured is just that – deluded. If I could have my druthers, I would like to see a conversation about this on Mammoth, with an eye to looking at ways we may be able to add our voices to the notion that women are PEOPLE, and our lives and bodies are OURS. We are neither the property of any man nor of the state.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/08/opinion/pregnant-and-no-civil-rights.html?smid=fb-share

http://jhppl.dukejournals.org/content/38/2/299.full.pdf

http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/15/1/gpr150114.html

samantha
6 years ago

Sorry about the last url. This is the url for the Guttmacher pdf.

http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/15/1/gpr150114.pdf

kinginascendent
6 years ago

Reblogged this on kinginascent and commented:
There’s a massive amount of truth in this. It also ties into a lot of how men express themselves or don’t emotionally too.

Bored Games
Bored Games
5 years ago

Will I be shouted down for pointing out that both genders display sometimes irrational levels of resentment as a result of rejection? While this might be particularly toxic in young men due to a variety of factors, before concluding “entitlement” it should be remembered that men will have to experience rejection far more frequently than their female peers.

I tick all the wrong boxes; socially awkward, unattractive male, now over 30 and never had a relationship. Yet I’ve never felt entitled to affection from women nor rage as a result of rejection. Nobody controls who they’re attracted to after all. It wasn’t lifelong single status that got me curious about the men’s movement, but the apparently feminist inspired paranoia I encountered from women as I entered the workforce, experiences that left me hurt, confused and searching for explanations (boo hoo, mansplain etc.)

The manosphere is a flawed community of sometimes obnoxious fellow-travellers, and yes quite of a bit of bonafide misogyny, but one that nevertheless provides some comfort for those who have problems interacting with women, or socializing in general stressful.

makroth
5 years ago

@Bored Games If you want comfort there are far less toxic communities to find it in.

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