Above, the unintentionally ironic MRA meme of the week, courtesy of A Voice for Men’s Facebook page, their main distribution center for unintentionally ironic and otherwise terrible memes. I’m not sure what specific week this is the ironic meme for, given that Emma Watson’s speech to the UN took place last September and this meme was posted on Facebook only this week, but just roll with it, people!
So what exactly makes this meme ironic? Well, for starters, Watson didn’t actually say the words in question or otherwise order men to talk to women about their feelings.
What she said was a good deal more subtle. She started by saying that one of the things that led her to embrace feminism was her realization, at age 18, that “my male friends were unable to express their feelings.” Then she went on to talk in more detail about the ways breaking down gender stereotypes helps to free, well, everyone.
We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.
If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.
Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals.
If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are—we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.
The big irony here? This is exactly what a real Men’s Rights movement should be promoting, not raging against.
Adding to the irony, whoever made this meme made clear that they aren’t just unwilling to listen to women’s feelings; they’re unwilling to listen to a woman’s logical argument. Which is why they simplified her comments and distorted their meaning.
But what wins this meme the grand prize for irony this week is meme maker’s assertion that “WE DON’T NEED OR WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT OUR FEELINGS.”
Really? Because in fact MRA dudes and MGTOWs and the rest of their ilk talk about their feelings constantly, and loudly — with anyone willing to listen and some who aren’t.
Sure, it’s true that most MRA dudes and their ideological soulmates don’t like to talk about their feelings of sadness or anxiety or insecurity or doubt. You know, the sorts of feelings it would be good for most of these guys to explore and understand and, when possible, get past.
But they love, just love, to talk about how angry they are, how angry they think other men are, and how much feminists, and the women of the world generally, are going to suffer if they refuse to listen to angry men and do what they say. Hell, the so-called “father” of Men’s Rights in the UK? A guy who calls himself Angry Harry. (And he more than lives up to the name.)
The cherry on top of this Irony Sundae: the memester’s decision to use a picture of a homeless man to represent a man oppressed by demanding women.
Men don’t become homeless because some evil woman asked them to talk about their feelings. Indeed, given how many homeless people are mentally ill, most homeless men (and women) would benefit from having the opportunity to talk to a trained professional about their feelings and from better mental health services generally. (Not to mention better services for veterans suffering from PTSD and other war-related maladies.)
In the US, many homeless people who are mentally ill were dumped onto the streets by facilities that didn’t have the money to properly care for them; some of the facilities were and are so bad that their former inhabitants actually prefer the streets.
Oh, and one of the main reasons mental health services are so shitty in the US — and why, in particular, so many men are so poorly served? The old-fashioned notion that men “DON’T NEED OR WANT TO TALK … ABOUT OUR FEELINGS.”
So I award AVFM this week’s IRONY AWARD in MEMING, for once again promoting ideas that actually make the world worse for men!