I don’t know how I missed it, but a couple of weeks back Vice posted a short video about that EARTH-SHATTERINGLY HISTORIC Men’s Rights rally in Toronto that captured the attention of
the world a tiny fraction of a percentage of people in the world (including the people at it and readers of this blog) a little over a month ago.
Alas, WordPress won’t let me embed the video here, but you all need to go look at it. Not only does it capture pretty well what a dinky event it was, but it also contains a bunch of mini-interviews with some A Voice for Men folks that are rather revealing.
The most revealing one of the bunch starts about 2:40 into the video, when AVFM’s Suzanne McCarley explains that
Men, as a class, have never ever oppressed women, as a class. Men have always protected and provided for women. And protected them from oppression from others.
From others? What kind of others? Like, space aliens?
Women have never objected to this, and in fact have always been grateful because it’s how they survived. It is only in the last few hundred years when women of privileged class who don’t even know what they’re being protected from feel disadvantaged because they’re not comfortable with the level of protection they have.
Wow. A few hundred years? Sometimes people accuse MRAs of wanting to take us back to the 1950s. McCarley apparently wants to take us back to the 1750s.
They don’t even understand what they’re being protected from.
Wolves? Sharks? Dishpan hands? Space aliens?
They have no concept how dangerous the world is for them but gosh they’re just not happy because, you know, the males in the family tell them what to do and make all the decisions for them and control all the money. That’s not oppression. That’s protection.
Wow. So I guess slaves and prisoners are the most protected classes of all.
It’s what kept our species alive and what built … [she gestures at the park and the buildings around it] this beautiful city.
Wait. I thought Jefferson Starship built this city. On rock ‘n’ roll.
Anyway, there’s also some footage of a speech about the evil oppression of white men given by an unknown speaker at the rally. He also complains that men working for the government are men who’ve had “their things cut off and are toeing the politically correct line.” (Hopefully after the bleeding has stopped.)
There’s an interview with Paul Elam, who for some reason looks like he’s wearing mascara (which I’m pretty sure he isn’t). He delivers this puzzling pronouncement:
Looking at men in government and saying they have all the power is like looking at women in grocery stores and saying they have all the food.
Not only is this way more revealing about gender inequality than Elam may realize, but it’s also a tad ironic, because Elam not that long ago used (unreliable) data about how women “control” most consumer spending — that is, they do most of the shopping — in order to argue (twice!) that women were the ones primarily responsible for destroying the environment.
There are assorted other bits of misinformation and ignorance and just plain old bigotry from the MRAs.
There’s also some commentary from the counterprotesters that made me wince. No, MRAs aren’t all Marc Lepines waiting to happen. They’re shitty enough people as it is; you don’t have to compare them all to a misogynist mass murderer to make your point. And in fact, you undercut yourself with that kind of rhetoric. Focus on what they actually say and do. It’s bad enough.
And the “racist, sexist, anti-gay” chant? Drop that. MRAs are, for the most part, driven by misogyny — not by other bigotries. Yes, some are racist, including one of the speakers featured on this very video, but that’s not the driving force for most of them. Some are homophobic, but that’s not the driving force for most of them. Some are transphobic — including Elam himself — but that’s not a central issue for most of them.
It’s worth pointing out these other bigotries, but to make these issues the centerpiece of your counterprotest is to miss the point — it would be a bit like attacking the Ku Klux Klan as “sexist and racist.” I’m sure plenty of KKKers are sexist as hell, but with the Klan racism really is the main thing; with MRAs, misogyny is.
And in this case it gave AVFM’s Karen Straughan the opportunity to appear (at least for a moment) like a reasonable person by pointing out that she in fact is not straight.
Anyway, watch the video. It’s amazing.