Take a deep breath, gird your loins, and immerse yourself in this online world of men’s rights extremists (MREs).
It’s a murky place, where women are evil overlords and men are an army of ants serving their Queen.
Here’s an article about on-line Mens Rights groups by Tory Sheperd that ran in Australia earlier this year. I didn’t acknowledge it in my piece for the SPLC because I’d already written and delivered it when it came out. It’s interesting to see that the commenters from the MRA community said exactly the same things to Sheperd that they are saying to the SPLC and me–Elam’s open letter to Richard Cohen, for example, appears to have been partially cut-and-pasted from his earlier response to Sheperd.
What continues to baffle me is why they take such umbrage at being called “misogynists.”
Here are some handy rules of thumb for people in the advocacy business. If you don’t want to be thought of as a racist, don’t use the word “nigger” loosely. I mean, you could get into a whole First Amendment argument about your right to say whatever you damn well please about whomever, but maybe it would be better for everyone if you didn’t.
If you want to be taken seriously as a civil rights activist, don’t call white people “crackers” or “honkies.” Only racists take the New Black Panthers seriously, for example (they have earned their place on the SPLC listing of hate groups).
Granted, this doesn’t do justice to the myriad shades of gray that the real world presents us with all the time, but as another rule of thumb, if you don’t want to be thought of as an anti-Semite, don’t quote the Protocols approvingly. If you don’t want to be thought of as a homophobe, don’t call gay people “faggots” or “dykes.”
And if you don’t want to be thought of as a woman-hater, don’t call women “cunts.” Call feminist spokespeople out for their hypocrisy or bad faith wherever and whenever you see it, call them ideologues…. But don’t call them “cunts.” Reducing a whole class of people to one immutable attribute is the essence of hate speech.
And don’t call the kettle black. Vliet Tiptree notwithstanding, it’s probably not a good idea for MREs to write about breeding white women out of existence, as this commenter on The Spearhead does (“We as men can speed the extinction of Western White Women by encouraging them to pursue the single life or to pursue another woman as a spouse (lesbianism). We can do this actively and passively. Actively by outright encouragement, and passively by never giving a Western Woman access to our sperm, money, or time”). “I’m Not a Misogynist: I Just Want to Breed Uppity White Women Out of Existence,” a post on a blog called Skeptical Cubefarm, makes the point much better than I can.
Tory Sheperd witheringly reduces MREs to “wounded angry men” who gather on the Internet to “foment trouble.” Maybe if some of them–including so many of the movement’s self-described leaders–weren’t so quick to fling their shit at everyone who looks at them cross-eyed, people in general would take the rest of the MRA community more seriously.
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