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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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Karalora
Karalora
6 years ago

Crisis averted, Shaun. He’s still here.

duckbunny
6 years ago

I’m a feminist, and now I come to think about it, every single person I’ve ever asked into bed has obliged. Not necessarily every time I asked them, but… yeah, I don’t remember being outright rejected by anyone.
There we go, theory disproved. What was that you were saying about generalisations?

Hyena Girl
6 years ago

Does anyone smell sock?

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Nah, I think the sock is busy in the other thread.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Which btw you should definitely read, if only for the argument that comments about cats are trolling.

Hyena Girl
6 years ago

Sockpuppets aside I’ve taken a visit to the chewtoy’s blog and now need to take three showers and hug a cat.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

“Being rejected make both men and women angry, it’s just that they join different movements. Here MRA:s and feminists have something in common.”

That’s so true. I know *I* only joined feminism because I can’t find a man. And because I love bonbons. Because feminism is *clearly and obviously* all about *men*. And bonbons. Just like we told repeatedly told John.

Oh, and I want wage equity. And to not be expected to work F/T just like a man and still do all the childcare/cooking/housework. And to not be accused of being at fault for having been raped/beaten by a man. And to have equal representation wrt to government, law enforcement, the military, education… . And to not be presumed to have fucked my way to the top. And to not be judged entirely based on what size my breasts are.

Actually, given that I made the decision to start dating again 2 years after I left an abuser who is still threatening to kill me and it took almost 6 whole hours to get a date…maybe, just *maybe*, feminism really isn’t about men at all and I’m not here because *I* was rejected for leaving a murderous abuser.

sarahrocco
6 years ago

So John, where’s that credible source backing up your claim? If you’re so obviously right, it ought to be super easy to find one. Still waiting. Still eager.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

The troll in the other thread is hilarious rather than horrifying. John otoh pretty much stepped straight out of a Lifetime movie that you know isn’t going to end well.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

Karalora, phew. That was a close one.

proxieme
proxieme
6 years ago

<–Happily married feminist who's even (gasp) a SAHM to three (partly because t stopped making economic sense for me to work and partly because we -as a family- decided that life's easier -for this family right now- when not everything domestic has to be done in one hour in the morning, a few hours at night, and on the weekends).

And my husband's a (double gasp) feminist man alllll on his own, in large part because he thinks that the toxic version of masculinity that he was fed as a child is bunk.
He's even well-versed in feminist and minority scholarly thought and theory, something which I cannot say about myself.

And, FWIW, I've been told countless times about how well I fit the popular ideal for feminine beauty (talk, slim, small waist, large bust, etc).
I just think that it's bull that people should pin their self worth (or have it pinned on them) according to physical standards of beauty.

So, no, actually.

You're so wrong it would hurt if it weren't so hilarious 😀

sarahrocco
6 years ago

Which other thread, Cassandra?

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

Also I see that John has totally and completely confirmed that he joined the MRM specifically because he was a bitter rejected asshat.

http://milenhealth.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Mystery-solved-620×340.jpg

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

The Sarkeesian thread. The troll started out tedious but has become more entertaining over time.

proxieme
proxieme
6 years ago

Gr.
Please ignore te autocorrects (“tall”, etc). I’m on my phone and the case is all smudged by dried toddler gunk.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

ZOMG cassandra HE’S ADORABLE!

*feeds troll teething biscuits*

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Isn’t he the best? I think we should keep him.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

I promise we’ll walk him Dave! Can we can we can we????????

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

If nobody makes “seahorses have gender roles” into a meme the internet will have officially failed us all.

M. the Social Justice Ranger
M. the Social Justice Ranger
6 years ago

@Josh (who is totally not John using a sock!)

“Feminists are feminists because they’re unfuckable” coupled with “NO U” is actually older and less interesting than either of those two non-concepts (noncepts?) on their own. Just FYI.

ceebarks
ceebarks
6 years ago

@Josh: it’s possible that some women become feminists just ’cause they can’t get a man– it’s a big big world and there are a lot of people with varying motivations in it!

It’s also possible you are really my grandma. If so: Hi Grandma! I love you! I will call you this weekend, ok?

but as for me, I have been married for a pretty long time, have four cute little kids, etc. There’s been romantic turbulence but who doesn’t experience turbulence? People who never fly, that’s who.

But I’m pleased overall with how my personal life has turned out.

If I had no interest in the world beyond marriage and babies, I would probably not be interested in feminism. If the world beyond my front door didn’t have an unpleasant tendency to assume that my interests don’t legitimately extend further than my kitchen (and maybe bedroom, but even that is iffy,) then I probably wouldn’t be interested in feminism.

but, as it happens, I AM interested in the big world outside of the kitchen, and yet that world still occasionally seems confused and cranky and plain unwilling to accept this fact!

I think that’s kind of amazing. Don’t you?

So! Here I am!

lkeke35
6 years ago

Thought this article was funny and interesting in the context of this conversation:

http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-uncomfortable-truths-behind-mens-rights-movement/

lkeke35
6 years ago

That is assuming, of course, that the end all and be all to a woman’s existence is to get and have a man and that’s assuming that women who don’t have a man attached to them wanted one, but couldn’t get one and then decided to become feminists. (I have no idea what this statement says about lesbians who, by definition, don’t want men and some of whom do not identify as being feminists. Or what this says about straight men who identify as feminists. Or Hell, let’s throw in gay men or transgender people who identify as feminists.)

See, this is what I was talking about far upthread.

samantha
6 years ago
Reply to  Josh

Being rejected make both men and women angry, it’s just that they join different movements. Here MRA:s and feminists have something in common.

Urm…I hate to tell you this, Josh, but I have never known a feminist to become one out of a sense of rejection, unless you define rejection as being treated to brutality, rape and political invisibility.

Nope. Been one for almost fifty years, and it really is about the radical notion that women are people and, as such, deserving of the same consideration, respect and opportunities as male people.

(walking away…scratching head)

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

Just in case John has been ignoring because he feels insulted by my excessively accurate understanding of him.

samantha
6 years ago
Reply to  cassandrakitty

Never met a feminist who wrote a manifesto about how they were going to go shoot up a frat house because the young men who lived in it wouldn’t date them either.

Good point, cassandrakitty. Yup. Gave it a good think, I did, and came to the same conclusion. You know, I get the feeling that the MRA-challenged think that because we want freedom and political/economic parity, we must be just.like.them.

Weird, because I have yet to meet women who think just.like.them.

John Allman
6 years ago

@ sarahrocco

A great deal of what you say is correct, Sarah.

“he might actually not be the best choice to raise the kid. That is not even conceivable, therefore vast feminist conspiracy”

That’s good. That’s very close to how I have been thinking. Please allow me to express that thought EXACTLY though, in my OWN words, though, even though it does create another “wall of text”, because I think we are getting somewhere at last.

The state and my son’s mother have agreed that I might not be the best choice to raise “the kid”. [tick]

It is not even conceivable to me that the state could be right about that [tick] …
… but not for the reason you seem to think, which I will come to in due course.

Therefore, there may well-be be a vast conspiracy, or a cock-up, or something on the conspiracy – cock-up continuum, on the part of the state and/or those with influence who, at least in the UK, include feminist groups (email me if you want a citation). How is that conspiracy perpetrated? The idea that some feminist-inspired attitudes have been instrumental in all this isn’t random and off-the-wall. (Mallory Millet’s whistle-blowing piece, if not fabricated, lends credibility to this.) [you can have another tick for getting this right too, basically – you are *good*!]

So, you are basically right in everything you say, but …

You are dead wrong about WHY it is inconceivable to me that I am not “the best choice” to raise my own child (jointly with his mother of course), even if that requires a certain amount of commuting (which it doesn’t in his case.)

My position is aligned 100% with the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child, Purpose 6. This says that every child has the right to be brought up by his OWN NATURAL PARENTS (plural), i.e. BOTH of them, “where possible”. (“His or her” right, that is, although the UN declaration just says “his”, because that is what legal documents in English do say, instead of “his or her” every time.)

Only where it isn’t POSSIBLE for BOTH parents to play a part in raising their child, should the state even *consider* making a “choice” at all (let alone trying to make the “best” choice) about who is going to bring up a child. The (British) state should honour its treaty obligations to the international community, by adhering to the UN declaration.

Give me credit for this: For all my legion faults, it isn’t something I merely *believe*, it is something that I KNOW, that those faults of mine – at which people here have tried to guess – don’t render it IMPOSSIBLE for me to play any part in bringing up my son. There are very few mothers or fathers in the world who are so bad that it is IMPOSSIBLE for a caring society to ALLOW their children their UN declaration RIGHT, to be brought up by BOTH their parents JOINTLY. All four of the children whom I have ALREADY brought up agree that I am not one of THOSE parents. Nobody who knows me thinks that there is anything wrong with me that makes it IMPOSSIBLE for my son to have the right that the UN declaration says is his.

As I searched for understanding what had gone wrong, that the state did not uphold my son’s UNDRC Purpose 6 right to be brought up by his own mum and dad, but instead set about making a “best choice” (as you put it) BETWEEN his parents, I discovered a reason that is wholly unconnected with “the rage of the rejected” why some men and women are attracted to the MRM. Female MRM enthusiasts include grandmothers who never see their grandchildren, and who see their sons heart-broken, because their son’s never see their children. I have met several, albeit as clients, not as MRM activists, because I would not call myself a MRA.

If I was misguided in thinking that anything good – for my son – would ever come out of the MRM, I am willing to be re-educated. If there are also feminists who are devoted to joint parenting even after relationship breakdown, except where this isn’t “possible”, then I am in sympathy with THOSE feminists on THAT point.

My quarrel is with *anything* and *anybody* who stands between my son and his UNDRC Purpose 6 right to be brought up by both of his parents, even after his parents stop getting on well together. It is that discontent, for him, that attracted me to the MRM, and nothing else at all.

It does not matter whether it is true or not that the family court system favours mothers more often than fathers, as I have now been asked to “prove”. The state shouldn’t be favouring the mother *or* the father in *any* individual case. It should *always* be upholding the *child’s* right to *both* parents, except where this isn’t “possible”. It should not be making the “best choice”, or *any* “choice” at all, as a rule. THAT is where I’m coming from. That is not a “misogynistic” position on my part.

Unless it misogynistic of me to respect the embryo and the foetus equally with any other human – girl, boy, woman or man – (and I don’t see how that commitment to equality is “misogynistic”), then you will not find anywhere on the internet an expression of misogyny on my part. I *love* women. I *prefer* their company to that of men, most of the time.

If equal, shared, joint parenting, even after parents separated, was the norm, as it should be in any country that has signed the UNDRC, then the MRM would lose a great deal of the support it has.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

“It does not matter whether it is true or not that the family court system favours mothers more often than fathers, as I have now been asked to “prove”. The state shouldn’t be favouring the mother *or* the father in *any* individual case. It should *always* be upholding the *child’s* right to *both* parents, except where this isn’t “possible”. It should not be making the “best choice”, or *any* “choice” at all, as a rule. THAT is where I’m coming from. That is not a “misogynistic” position on my part.”

Abusive and neglectful parents should have access equal to that of nurturing parents y’all!

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Dude! Not every comment needs to be 3000 words long. Learn to edit.

duckbunny
6 years ago

Raising a child without you is not abusive.

Myoo
Myoo
6 years ago

The admitted homophobe is referring to the UN’s Declaration of the Rights of the Child. The same Declaration that in its 10th point says:

The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination.

http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/humanrights/resources/child.asp

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

If I remember, I’ll try to make a seahorse meme when I get home. I’m not going to try to do it on my phone.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

“Raising a child without you is not abusive.”

QFT

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

Oh John, John, John. So much teal. So deer.

And if you were “attracted to the MRM”, how does that make you not consider yourself an MRA? Terms, they mean things.

M. the Social Justice Ranger
M. the Social Justice Ranger
6 years ago

“I also discovered that the state routinely withholds from fathers more often from mothers, the privilege that is in the gift of the state, of being allowed to bring up one’s children.”

“It does not matter whether it is true or not that the family court system favours mothers more often than fathers, as I have now been asked to “prove”.”

Hey, you bigoted, conspiratorial, self-righteous, duplicitous, manipulative, abusive waste of bandwidth? Don’t take a dump on our floor if you don’t have the guts to own your shit.

(Can you tell that I don’t like this guy? =P)

sarahrocco
6 years ago

“In the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.”

“The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for his education and guidance; that responsibility lies in the first place with his parents.”

In each case, the best interests of the child. I actually don’t see anywhere where it says what you claim it says, John.

You know what? It’s actually okay that you’re angry that it was decided you’re not the best choice to raise your youngest child. I get that completely. It hurts. I can see how it could be impossible to accept that, especially since you’ve raised and loved other children. Anger is a perfectly valid emotion. I can’t speak to why they came to that conclusion. We’ve had a very short exchange here, but I will say that you have reminded me of my own father from the beginning which is why I’ve been as engaged with you as I have. I actually believe you loved your other kids and you love this child, and you are absolutely flabbergasted that anyone would say you shouldn’t have responsibility for him. I’m sorry. It sucks when you feel like you’ve been wronged, especially when it comes to your child.

Maybe you got a corrupt judge who did you wrong. Maybe they thought that a 61 year old man wasn’t the best choice to raise an active toddler (which would be ageism, by the way). Maybe the judge was honest, really looked at both your arguments, looked at both your pasts, looked at both your futures, and decided against you for entirely fair reasons you’re overlooking.

Here’s another maybe: Maybe you got a judge who thinks that any given mother is naturally more caring, more nurturing, and more willing to do the dirty parts of parenting than any given father. This is the traditional view of femininity and motherhood, of masculinity and fatherhood. Mom’s always the active parent, dad’s always the passive parent. You know where that traditional view comes from? Patriarchy, as an institution.

GrumpyOldMan
6 years ago

John, you flounced hours and hours ago. You very intelligently decided then that you and we absolutely disagree on just about everything, and since we find most of your comments noxious, ludicrous, and utterly lacking in any intellectual value, you would be wasting your time continuing to post here. You have now become the worst non-sticker of flounces in the time I’ve been following this blog. You have nothing relevant to say to us. We’ve heard it all before, and everything you say sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. This time, JUST STICK YOUR FLOUNCE. You do not belong here.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

sarahrocco, in the UK they have a third party agency who make recommendations to the court which are almost always heeded because that’s why they have the third party agency. This agency always acts in the best interests of the child based on which parent takes time off work for sickness, field trips, soccer games etc, which parent is more capable of providing a stable and nurturing environment, which parent it is, bottom line, in the best interests of the child to be raised by, and sometimes that is both parents. If a man has been denied all contact, well…I’m going to guess that it is impossible to be the work of a corrupt steeped in patriarchy judge. There are too many people involved for it to be left at that.

sarahrocco
6 years ago

Shaun, thank you, fair enough, I didn’t know 🙂 There you go, John. It’s no one’s fault but yours, however hard that is to accept. Please, do stick the flounce.

samantha
6 years ago

Hey, you bigoted, conspiratorial, self-righteous, duplicitous, manipulative, abusive waste of bandwidth? Don’t take a dump on our floor if you don’t have the guts to own your shit.

(Can you tell that I don’t like this guy? =P)

Nope. Uh uh. You seem so…peaceful and shy….:) 🙂 🙂

Mary
Mary
6 years ago

This says that every child has the right to be brought up by his OWN NATURAL PARENTS (plural), i.e. BOTH of them, “where possible”.

My quarrel is with *anything* and *anybody* who stands between my son and his UNDRC Purpose 6 right to be brought up by both of his parents, even after his parents stop getting on well together.

What I have been suspecting, John, is that it may be impossible for you to be involved in the child’s upbringing, because of your demonstrated behavior — meaning you may well be the *anything* or *anybody* that stands in the way of your son having two parents involved in his life. As people have noted, your blogs, past and present, provide compelling evidence to that effect.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

sarahrocco, you’re welcome. I love the UK system and think it should be implemented everywhere. It’s possible that it can be abused and manipulated just like any system, but there are so many more checks and balances in place that it is much harder to do. And working in the best interests of the children is the only viable starting point. I really hope they also implement measures for when neither parent can provide a nurturing stable environment.

GrumpyOldMan
6 years ago

By the way, I could be wrong — possibly very wrong — about this, but I’m going to guess that John’s ex was very young, submissive, and unconfident at first, but several years with him and the experience of being a mother caused her to grow up, gain confidence, and be no longer will to take the same kind of shit. I can’t guess John’s precise reaction to her growth as a person, but I can guess that he REALLY REALLY didn’t like it and conducted himself as a major ass.

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
6 years ago

cassandrakitty
“If nobody makes “seahorses have gender roles” into a meme the internet will have officially failed us all.”
http://imgur.com/5YpLtRK
Yeah, I think someone can make a better one

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
6 years ago

Oh! Hugs and kisses for M, Shawn and everyone with bad lives

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

So is explaining UK family law enough to count as my daily act of misandry? Or do I need to beat a man at Scrabble?

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

Can I just…my life isn’t bad. My childhood really sucked and bad things happened. Bad things still happen. I love life, I love living, I love my life. It took a long time to grow into that.

I will gladly accept hugs and kisses, though.

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
6 years ago

Shaun
Sorry I mean past life and I’m glad you love life.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

Thank you for clarifying.