Friday, January 13, 2012


The only thing more irritating, in the 21st century, than people overly-fixated on their own historical victimhood are people overly-fixated on their own imagined historical victimhood.

"Men's Rights Activism" (MRA) has probably always existed in one form or another, but it got supercharged by The Internet because - shocker! - there's a lot of undersexed, pathologically-aggrieved men in the anyonymous realm of web forums. The "public face" of MRA is, of course, typically presented in the context of legal arguments about fathers disenfranchised by custody hearings or the ever-dreaded boogeyman of Affirmative Action; but a short amount of web-digging exposes just how sinister the movement's thriving "base" actually is - a toxic stew of half-baked evolutionary-psych jargon, beta-male sexual-frustration and right-wing backlash against "the feminization of the culture"... the white-hot rage of a middle-aged child-support dodger filtered through the sophistication of a cootie-phobic six year-old.

My colleague Jim Sterling highlights a particularly horrifying-yet-hillarious exchange currently going down on an MRA forum involving video-games. Give it a read.

Money quote, sampled from the larger rant of the MRA forum's original poster:

"I think I have the right to ask steam and other gaming companes: WTF with the subliminal brainwashing? What now when I buy or play a game women will be doing all the ass kicking? I seen some similiar patterns on the game advertisements on television and the internet recently and want to know if anyone else is seeing the pattern?

I call bullshit on this subject. Video games are the last place for guys to hang out and now women are taking over. Why not just save us the trouble and instead of eliminating our fantasy world just throw us in work camp to provide for thier bastard children (literally speaking) while they shit all over us...wait they already do that."

That last part with the "work camps" is a pretty good primer on where the "bottom" of the MRA rabbit hole is - it's an article of faith with these folks that "feminism" is actually a conspiracy of power-hungry women to trick/seduce "real man" (read: men who buy into MRA doctrine) into impregnating them and paying child support while they and their "feminized men" (read: men who have sex more often than MRA believers) go about their mission of stealing men's high-paying jobs and "taking over" the culture; with the logical extreme being some kind of matriarchal men-as-cattle dystopia.

For me, an extra dollop of hillarity is to be found in the fact that the ENTIRETY of "Men's Rights Activism" was both predicted and parodied by, of all things, "Married With Children" over a DECADE ago. What, have we already forgotten about "NO MA'AM?"

Another take was offered by my friend and editor Susan Arendt, here.


Anonymous said...

The sad part is that this does a huge disservice to men who might actually need help in the above-mentioned custody cases.

It's like being white and actually being discriminated against, only to be publicly defended by the KKK. Goddammit, people, STOP HELPING ME!

JeffBergeron said...

Another sad thing is those "manly men" will never cry against some ACTUAL unfairness that some boys must live through, because it doesn't conform to their stereotype.

Short version: A 10-12 year old wants a purple controller and likes to play female main characters in games. His father threatened to HIT him (in a store, no less) if he didn't pick a different color/game. The rest of the story is pure hearwarming/awesome, I advise you to read it.

Because to put it simply, a girl who's a tomboy or likes Transformers is cool. A boy who's effeminate or likes Friendship Is Magic is a wimp. The underlying message behind that: Looking like a boy is good, looking like a girl is bad. That is an AWFUL stereotype that the MRA helps spreading and ironically "helps" the bullying of some more sensitive men (not to mention women). But I guess they see sensitive men as "enemies" or "traitors"... *sigh*

What's even sadder is that those men want to bring attention to some real issues. It IS true that our justice systems are not completely objective when it comes to deciding who is more fit to raise children between a mother and a father. A mother is by default a good mother, and a father on the other hand has to prove he's a good parent. Saying that is not anti-women or anti-feminist. Unfortunately that kind of message is still mostly unheard, thanks to asshats in the MRA making fools of themselves and also because of some straw feminists in women's associations.

kevmon1116 said...

Of all the absolute bullshit "I am a victim" crap I've ever heard, this is literally the worst. I don't blame women and pretty boys for the fact that I still haven't gotten laid. I blame my fat ass. I'm an overweight geek, and I accept it, proudly. (Maybe less the overweight thing, but I don't take offence to it. I am fat, sue me). Whatever it is that keeps these guys from scoring, this isn't helping.

Seriously, black people pulling the race card I get. Christians claiming evolution threatens their beliefs, are morons, but I'm willing to lower my IQ to connect that dot. This... I cannot imagine anything more pathetic. And forgive me, but I like female game heroines. Also, Metroid came out on the NES years ago, and Tomb Raider never hid who their heroine was; why bring this up now? Are they that dense?

I better stop, this is a pit of stupid I may never emerge from.

A. Ivan said...

I can't imagine a life form lower than self-proclaimed men's rights activists. The "Neanderthals" title is a bit misleading though...most of these fuckwits aren't of the beer-chugging sexist cavemen variety, they're ineffectual, unfulfilled nerds, the shittiest byproduct of geek culture. They're our collective smegma, basically.

Mads said...

It's sad that there exist men like that outthere. They're obviously unhappy, and obviously don't know how to fix it. They're stuck at the bottom of a well and apparently don't know how to climb out.

But you're right; this imagined victimhood bullshit is good for nothing. It doesn't fix anything, it doesn't help anyone, it's all bad.

Not that there aren't cases of apparently good men getting screwed over by insane women...and in some cases, legislation does need to be revised to account for something like that:

But it's rare, fortunately. And MRA has apparently got nothing to do with that. It's just a group of sad men being sad on the internet.

biomechanical923 said...

@ Anonymous

"It's like being white and actually being discriminated against, only to be publicly defended by the KKK. Goddammit, people, STOP HELPING ME! "

You better watch your mouth. It's impossible to be racist against white people and it's impossible to be sexist against men.

I've actually been banned from feminist forums for having the audacity to speak otherwise.

TheAlmightyNarf said...


There's nothing I hate more than assholes trying to act like their assholery is connected to an actual legitimate issue... especially when the legitimate issue is one that I have strong feelings about.

Yes, these guys are misogynist assholes, and their complaints have absolutely no merit. But, you can't confuse the legitimate complaints of Masculism with misogyny any more than you can confuse the legitimate complaints of Feminism with misandry.

It is a fact that men are treated unfair in custody cases and really have no reproductive rights in general. It is a fact that men are substantially more likely to be charged with and convicted of violent crimes than women are (especially in the case of domestic abuse). It is a fact that women entering the work force today tend to get paid more than men in no small part because now women are substantially more likely to go to and graduate from college than men.

Masculism raises very real concerns that can't be simply dismissed because a couple assholes want to tag their bullshit onto them.

Anonymous said...

I don't quite buy it. I mean, I get it. I really do. And it is pathetic, but I think it's more of a perspective problem. Remember the line from The Princess Bride "What if I gave you my word as a Spaniard?" "No good, I've known too many Spaniards." Same thing. I've known too many feminists, I've known too many people who claim this card, or that card. I know a black woman who works at a prestigious university who didn't get an excellent management job that would involve working over several different teams of doctors. She doesn't have a college degree and has next to no management experience, yet she claims the reason she didn't get the job is because she's black. I know a woman who cheated on her husband while he served in Afghanistan (not in the military but as a volunteer civilian doctor), and when he came back he found all his things packed up and was immediately told to move out. She blackmailed her own family into testifying against him and saying he was a bad father and husband, so now he's stuck with minimal visitation rights and has to pay excessively high child support. I went to their wedding, for God's sake! In college I remember a friend of mine was a leader among the feminist groups who was very active in trying to combat sexual assault and rape. When a friend of hers falsely accused an innocent man of rape to try and hide her own infidelity, I called the feminist out on being silent and remaining friends with this person. She merely said it was a shame, but hey, I mean, whatever.

Power structures are changing, and in some areas they are changing rapidly. One of the biggest problems is that these structures and systems are asymmetrical and it's very difficult to even them out. I think people find comfort on the narrative of persecution - I know I do. We like to think we're deserving of the good in our life. How many of us buy a new DVD and think "Should I spend this money on a charity that helps war orphans in the Sudan?" We like to think that the negative is simultaneously greater than us and less than us, that it's monumental (like racism or sexism) but that it's also something that we truly conquer. It helps give our lives structure. The thing is, for guys like this, there is no obvious bad guy. There is nothing to latch onto. They're like goth kids who can't afford to buy Hummers but who don't know what it's like to actually be genuinely poor, the tragedy of their story is that they don't have a villain and they don't know how to deal with that.... and now they're adults.

TL;DR version:

It's the plot of Fight Club. Guys ain't got direction

A. Ivan said...

Yes, there are genuine issues of men's rights, but almost all of them are by-products of the same patriarchy feminists attack anyway, and if you bother to talk to most reasonable feminists they'll recognise the problems for men in these areas too. That's the litmus test for whether an MRA is a reasonable person or a fleshwaste: if they see feminism as the enemy, then right away they just need a kick in the balls.

And yeah, there are also too many insane or idiotic feminists around. Feminism is an insular culture with an us-vs-them mentality that's unavoidable considering the way the mainstream sees it: the kind of environment such people can thrive in. It's sad but true, and it doesn't change what's right.

Aiddon said...

Great, it's like seeing that asshole Bill Maher dialed up to 11

Heir to the Throne said...

So Bob do you believe in the following as we live in a patriarchy?
1) Fathers are not disenfranchised by Family courts.
2) DNA tests are an anti-feminist appliance of science, a change in the balance of power between the sexes that we’ve hardly come to terms with.
3) Woman do not lie about who the father of her child is.
4) 70% of all divorces are not initiated by women.

A. Ivan said...

B-b-but how can there be sexism against men if we live in a patriarchy?! DOES NOT COMPUTE BLEEP BLOOP BLEEP

Anonymous said...

@ Heir to the Throne

1. The patriarchy teaches that the natural role of a woman is as the mother, that's why family courts take the mother's side, thinking that she'd be the most qualified by default

2. That's just a single loony, don't be disingenuous

3,4. I don't see what those have to do with anything.

I Luv Vietnam said...

Have any of you guys ever seen The Amazing Atheist's videos where he criticizes feminism? They are quite the watch and he brings several good points in all of his vids.

john said...

I wish people would quit slurring Neanderthals, I doubt they were anything even close to the dim-witted, sociopathic troglodytes people use the name to mean. You don't survive for a couple hundred millennia in glacial Europe without being a legitimate badass, and legitimate badasses don't have to pretend the way these people do. (Also, I'd like to see these people make deadly weapons out of flint and sticks, much less actually butcher an animal without throwing up.) These guys are just pathetic shlubs.

Please. Think of the Neanderthals.

Anonymous said...

Take it from experience.

Just because you grind on MRAs and spout a lot of feminist stuff, doesn't mean women in general or feminists in particular like you more.

Trust me.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't they be calling themselves Cro-Magnons seeing as they were the actual ancestors of modern man and not Neanderthals (who were an offshoot that either was wiped out by Cro-Mangon man or were absorbed by them or a combination of both)

forweg said...

Hi Bob! I wrote a rebuttal piece to your article on my own blog here:

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

KevinCV said...

@forweg I'll give you my thoughts on your rebuttal. If you had done your research properly, you'd know that Bob hates the "Call of Duty" franchise -as well as most other FPS games- with a fiery passion but has a strong devotion to the house that Mario built, Nintendo. If you're trying to generalize and lump him with in with THAT crowd of gamers, then any point you're trying to make has become pretty much moot. Just giving my 2 cents.

forweg said...


Well, seeing how that one snarky aside had absolutely nothing to do with the overall crux of the article, no, it does not invalidate my criticism of Bob's misandrist diatribe.

It only shows that I had not sufficiently studied Bob's video game preferences, as that isn't what this or my own article is about.

KevinCV said...

Fair enough, forweg. But the fact remains that you -knowingly or unknowingly, I'm not sure- lumped Bob in with a genre of games he dislikes, despite the fact he's been up front about his Nintendo fan mentality for AGES. That just strikes me that you didn't care, and you just wanted to give a rebuttal to Bob on why you disagree with his so-called "misandrist diatribe" simply because he's a "video game journalist".

Granted, I do think Bob crossed over the line a bit in the way he worded some of the things you took umbrage with. But this is his blog, not some article he wrote for The Escapist. I think he can afford to be a bit more informal on here.

Anonymous said...

Of course there is TONS of butthurt in the MRA community, but that's true of any socio-political movement, and looking only at that obscures any legitimate complaints that can be had about the victimhood of men. While megalomaniacs and passive-aggressives since the beginning of time have thought of power as a one-way street, really, it's not. Any control exerted by anyone over anything inherently guarantees that the subject of that control has just as much power in the reverse direction. Men have been oppressed by the "patri"archy just as much as women, and women had just as big a hand in it as men.

The alternative is to stop believing in the existence of power itself, and to see everything, even the actions we would called "forced", as undertaken by free agents*.

"A leash is just a rope with a noose at both ends."

*or biological robots.

Alek Novy said...

WOW lol.


I can't believe the guy is like "Oh, that bigot you talked about, you mis-ascribed the color of cars he prefers" -> It's like WE DONT EVEN CARE - we don't collect cars. You game losers we don't care which genre prefers, that's a complete off-topic.

Nobody outside of gaming even cares what the differences in genres are. That's like a hotrod collector and types of hotrods. If we're talking about a racist who goes around spouting and we mention (in pasisng) that he's write for a hot-rod magazine, the readership doesn't give a crap what specific color of hotrods he prefers - WE ARE HERE TO DISCUSS HIS FREAKING RACISM AND BIGOTRY

Make sense you kevin loser?