Trigger warning: Misogyny and abuse.
I am a huge fan of Lundy Bancroft, author of Why Does He DO That? His work educates the public that abusive partners inflict verbal and physical harm because they consciously feel their actions benefit them. Yes, you read that correctly. After reading his work, I was free of the obligation to be “understanding” and “fair” toward an abuser. I refuse to tolerate unacceptable behavior and blame it on mental illness, family of origin, etc., even if I get criticized for distancing myself from someone. The book helped me through awful breakups, as many guys I dated initially seemed “harmless,” then became abusive in a matter of weeks or months.
Thus, I always knew that Mr. Bancroft would agree with me that MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists), MGTOWs (Men Going Their Own Way), etc. are bad news. I was so happy that he addressed this trend in his most recent blog post.
“What is an MRA?” you may wonder. It’s a man or a woman who is part of a “movement” to get men more rights and complain about female empowerment. It is actually a strange, reactionary hate group that loves to troll the internet and convene in webspaces like Reddit. The stereotype I have observed is that they are usually 20-something white males who tend to wear “fedora” hats (the smaller ones, a.k.a. trilbys), watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (and often feel angry that it’s geared for little girls instead of them), call themselves “nice guys,” feel entitled to sex, shame women who have sex, feel a sense of intellectual “superiority,” etc. Many justify their misogynistic beliefs with crappy evolutionary psychology theories (evo psych is not true scientific psychology). Specifically, they love the theories that women only get attached to one man and want to have “all the babies” (because that’s totes all that women care about– facepalm) , while men are “genetically programmed” to spread their seed to as many different women as possible. They cry “misandry” at any perceived slight.
While some men’s issues are valid and need to be addressed with more gravity (forced circumcision, child custody not being awarded to the best parent, etc.), MRAs don’t seem to do anything about it. Instead, they blame women for all of their woes, and despise any kind of female empowerment. Feminists, especially intersectional feminists, address the issues they are concerned about, because unnecessary gender roles and subsequent actions are a result of our patriarchal society. Worse, MRAs ignore that most countries have been patriarchal in nature throughout history. They conveniently forget that women have been oppressed in America, albeit in less obvious ways. Let’s name a few: us not having the right to vote less than 100 years ago, slut-shaming, “boys will be boys,” purity double standards, an equal pay bill turned down by a party of (mostly) rich white men, etc. No, to them, western societies live in a matriarchy (?!). They spout false assertions about male/female dynamics in domestic abuse and sexual assault. Yes, many men are afraid to come forward and report getting raped/assaulted, and I blame our society’s useless “masculinity” obsession and homophobia. We need to make men’s domestic violence shelters. The victim-blaming and ostracism a male survivor risks is terrible. Feminism addresses that. However, MRAs overlook the fact that women underreport as well. Let’s also not forget that women are overall physically weaker than men, which is likely one reason why we are targeted more. They are also very afraid of being falsely accused of rape, despite some clarifying statistics. Perhaps they don’t read this blog?
Now, one may think that MRAs would work well with feminists, since feminists believe in everyone having equal rights. The reality is the opposite. They hate feminists with the fire of 1000 suns. They would rather have psychos like Vox Day, who thought the Taliban’s shooting of Malala Youszefai was “rational” and “justifiable,” speak for them instead of a feminist. Feminists are “bigots,” they claim. MRAs will automatically dismiss feminist opinions, as they believe all feminists hate men, want to be superior to men, etc. They sometimes say feminists, or all women, are sluts. They have their own derogatory vocabulary terms, such as the sexist “mangina” (any guy who disagrees with them/isn’t a misogynist). Oh, and let’s not forget their belief that women are greedy, lazy golddiggers that only marry/date “up” (hypergamy). Down with the matriarchy, boo (sarcasm).
Some MRAs can sound convincing (especially those who struggled to “accept”misogynistic men to be “cool,” or have low self-esteem like myself) because they can seem intelligent and articulate. Someone who has experienced verbal abuse may see their tactics are all too familiar. They appear “rational” but their viewpoints are marred by egocentrism and a lack of empathy. Women’s anecdata count as no evidence whatsoever, even if she has nothing to gain (e.g. money, fame). If they are called out on their hate,they insist they are right.
I feel that a lot of hate from MRAs, like that from others with abusive mindsets, comes from learning an abusive attitude through modeling, society, or some other external influence. Nice Guy Syndrome seems to be a significant factor as well. Basically, the MRA-Nice Guy hybrid’s message seems to be “women are evil/hypergamous/shallow/out to get me because they won’t date/sleep with me.” It’s unfortunate, but it’s not my problem. I pity-dated/forced feelings for many guys who were abusive or perhaps at risk of becoming an MRA, and it was utter hell that I would regularly have nightmares about. The scary thing is that the movement seems to be growing; check out any dating site and you will likely see symptoms of this type of man in your local matches. Their dating profiles can be scary, creepy, or pathetic. There was a quote I once read that said something like “when women get rejected, they blame themselves. When men get rejected, they blame women.” While this is not true for every man and woman, you will see this as a common theme in MRA/Nice Guy dating profiles. Any profile with something like “women suck/are obligated to _______” and “but I’m such a nice guy” is one to stay away from forever. You can’t send a response message rejecting these guys nicely in my experience, because they will argue with you. How dare you say no. So please, if you ever encounter these guys, ignore them! No amount of optimism and naiveté from a sweet girl will make them change their bitter ways.
Honestly, I am terrified for my generation. Many, if not most of us, experience the following societal downfalls: extended adolescence due to longer college educations/a poor job market, readily available violent internet porn, helicopter parents, rampant objectification of women in the media (sexuality based on male gaze, not what women enjoy), and a common instant-gratification mindset. It’s 2014 and we still get the subtle and overt messages that masculinity is “good,” and femininity is “bad.” While these unhealthy obstacles may simply cause sadness and hardship for most of us (especially women), they encourage MRAs to stagnate in their filth. My chances of ever finding a single, compatible, good guy is quite slim with this ever-rampant sexism, even in guys who do not affiliate with MRAs/MGTOWs.
If you take anything to heart from this blog post, I strongly advise that you stay away from anyone who identifies as MRA/MGTOW, uses their language, etc.* Of course it is okay to advocate for men when they have legitimate problems! It’s just not okay to hate a whole gender. If you are an MRA and do not hate women, please consider joining the feminist movement. Stay away from “manosphere” sites, Reddits, and blogs, as their abusive attitudes will likely fill you with sadness, despair, and anger.
I plan to forever avoid men in fedoras/trillbys, especially those who say women are “evil” and “shallow,” and play the pity/misunderstood card to get dates. I will not bend over backwards to “prove” I am not a golddigger, nor will I restrain my sexuality to appease these guys. I am not one bit sorry. 😉
*Conversely, stay away from “feminists” who really do want superiority to men, as they are not real feminists. I hear from anecdata they do actually exist, and do not respect other women’s choices.
Disclaimer: None of the links I cited in this post belong to me.