It’s sort of reassuring how bad Men’s Rightsers are at communicating with those outside their tiny movement. I should amend that: how bad they are at communicating what they want to communicate — that is, that they are the 21st-century version of the heroic and in many ways successful civil rights movements of the late 20th century. What they tend to communicate instead is what they’d rather the world not see: how blinkered and reactionary and hateful so many of them really are.
Browsing through the Men’s Rights subreddit last night, I ran across a batch of graphics one MRA had prepared for other MRAs to freely use, whether as online graphics, dorm room decoration, or posters to wheatpaste on the nearest family courts building. While avoiding the hysterical misogyny of so many of the graphics up on the Artistry Against Misandry website we looked at recently, CAGeorge’s posters reveal a bit more about himself and the MRM than he perhaps intends them to. Take this poster, ostensibly a call to “resist feminist bullying.” How exactly do you resist such bullying? Apparently, with a giant fist.
Huh. Your movement is known for its violent rhetoric, for downplaying and whitewashing domestic violence against women by pretending that DV affects men and women equally, for promulgating a sort of false-rape-allegation hysteria in no way proportionate to the actual extent of false-rape allegations. In some circles, it’s labeled, fairly or unfairly, as “the abusers lobby.” Do you really think putting this fist on this poster is going to help?
Apparently not. Apparently that fist ISN’T GIGANTIC ENOUGH. Meet MEGA FIST:
So, yeah. Also, FYI, that particular version of the old clenched-fist graphic has been used by the far-left International Socialist Organization (ISO) for several decades. Take a look at the little ISO fist to the right here. Same fist. You may want to switch that out, dudes, lest you inadvertently convert potential MRAs to Trotskyism.
And while I have to give CAGeorge a few points for avoiding the crass misogyny of Artistry Against Misandry, he doesn’t do quite as well avoiding racism and homophobia. Hence this poster, apparently an attempt to scare potential false accusers by suggesting they could end up sharing a cell with a scary and probably dark-skinned dyke.
Naturally, CAGeorge’s artisty won mostly plaudits from the Men’s Rights redditors who stopped by to look and comment.
EDITED TO ADD: Woah. Strike that last sentence. Returning to r/menrights I see that a real, critical discussion of the flyers has erupted. Many of the regulars are unhappy with various aspects of CAGeorge’s choices. Numerous commenters are critical of the fist imagery, including ignatiusloyola, one of the subreddit’s mods, who objects in one highly upvoted comment. One person even mentions the ISO!
Our old pal Sigil1 (a.k.a. the legendary banned Man Boobz commenter Eoghan) is especially critical of the “roommate” poster, and for a good reason: that it essentially threatens prison rape for false accusers. (He doesn’t mention the racism or homophobia.) But he still can’t help but blame the posters on a conspiracy of evil “false flag” feminists trying to make the MRM look bad.
Paul Elam of A Voice for Men, naturally, thinks the posters are fine and dandy.
CAGeorge, meanwhile, defends his poor choices. Here he is dealing with criticism of the “roommate” poster:
The bit about “nullification” is of course a reference to Elam’s infamous suggestion that MRAs should undermine the legal system by voting “not guilty” in trials involving men charged with rape, “even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the charges are true.”
Still, this is a real discussion. If the Men’s Rights movement has any chance at all of transforming itself into something really resembling a real progressive movement, it’s going to need to have a lot more discussions like this — and those who really do want to improved the lives of men instead of simply demonizing women will need to make clear that Elam and his ideological comrades are no longer welcome in the movement.
EDITED TO ADD, PART 2: Now the legendarily cloddish MRA videoblogger Bernard Chapin has made a video attacking the posters and the dude who made them. He’s not worried about the violent imagery, or the racism, or the homophobia — as I pointed out recently, he is himself a bit of a homophobe. Nope. He’s mad about the use of evil leftist imagery, and accuses the maker of the posters of being a sneaky Marxist infiltrator trying to co-opt the MRM with evil Marxist symbolism.
Gosh. Paul Elam said he liked the graphics. Is he a secret Marxist infiltrator too?