a voice for men actual activism antifeminism evil women FemRAs FeMRAsplaining GirlWritesWhat imaginary backwards land imaginary oppression incoherent rage ladies against women men created civilization misogyny MRA oppressed white men paul elam reactionary bullshit Suzanne McCarley things that aren't fascism we hunted the mammoth

Turns out VICE made a video about that Men’s Rights rally in Toronto. GO WATCH IT.

This is not an embedded video, so don't click on it.
This is not an embedded video, so don’t click on it.

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.

1,097 replies on “Turns out VICE made a video about that Men’s Rights rally in Toronto. GO WATCH IT.”


Yeah, it’s one of those things that a lot of queer people haven’t even thought about. Kind of obvious once you do, but easy not to, and a perfect example of why I’m worried that there might be race-related stuff that’s making POC feel disinclined to comment here that most of the current commentariat may be completely missing.

Part of this is knowing too much of what revolution/civil war entails.

Mr C and I have a longstanding in-joke about the extent to which our sense of disconnection from a lot of American far-leftists stems from both of us having seen up close and personal what the results of violent conflict are as children.

Pecunium — I’ll cop to it, I told you to stay for entirely selfish reasons 🙂

More or less off topic, but related, I suspect you get more gender policing than I do. Would it be rude for me to call you my favorite cis boy in a skirt? It’s mostly the “boy” party I’m questioning, since you’re, you know, older than me.

RE: pecunium

the (implicit) idea that Athiests need to “convert” theists to “leave the faith entirely” is, at best, problematic.

Couldn’t agree more. I’m an atheist. Always have been, likely always will be. My husband is a Southern Baptist, and some people seem to assume one of us HAS to try converting the other. The fact is, my husband would make a MISERABLE atheist. He would be very unhappy, and even though he hasn’t been to church in years due to obvious reasons, I think to officially leave would break his heart. I want my husband to be happy, and his faith is obviously a large part of that happiness. So why would I want to make him be like me? I’m pretty sure he feels the same way about my atheism.

RE: CassandraSays

Hmmm. Well, when it comes to the race issue… maybe David could have a guest poster, for a few days or a week or something? (If he’s amenable, of course.) Invite one of our readers of color to talk about it and open a discussion? Do you think someone might be down for that? I mean, come on, it’s not like the MRM doesn’t have PLENTY of racist shit to mock!

Note one thing that, if accurate, this suggests to atheists like myself–we CAN’T just sit around and argue people out of their faith. Our best hope is actually pushing social-justice agendas, because those cause the kinds of societal shifts that produce the introspection that results in a decision to leave the faith entirely. In short, the Asshat Atheist brigade aren’t just shitty human beings, they’re even shitty at being atheists.

This sort of bothers me. I don’t care what someone believes, so long as they don’t harm others while doing it.

So the (implicit) idea that Athiests need to “convert” theists to “leave the faith entirely” is, at best, problematic.

Eee, I missed that – who said the bit you quoted, Pecunium?

Anyway I”m with you on that one. That’s just arrogant, however well-meaning; every bit as much as when the urge to convert is the other way round. It’s doing the assumptions that religion results from a lack of introspection, which is one helluva generalisation and way patronising, and that atheism is automatically better for everyone than faith of whatever sort.

Which is bullshit. Yes, it’s hugely better for some people. Yes, I would like society to be far more secular (especially at government level) than it is. But I’ve been atheist and it was not doing my mental health one bit of good, nor my general level of happiness, or anything. So whether it’s right or wrong, fuck that idea.

erf… so… to elaborate a bit. I wrote that this morning, and refrained from posting it; because of the things being discussed in this thread. I just posted it by accident.

If we’d not been having this discussion, I’d not have posted it at all (not even by accident).

BUT… if not for the way we recovered from The Great Divorce, I’d not have kept it long enough to post it at all.

Question, what is the definition of “queer”?

I’m trying to figure out where I fit in, to be honest. There’s homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, etc. But where does “asexual” fit into this “system”?

Also, Asshole Atheist trying to convert everyone to be atheists: seriously, those people are as bad as theists trying to force you to believe in their religion.

You can be an atheist without being an ass, I say, and honestly, people who try to force their atheism on others are no better than people who try to force their theism on others.

RE: Alice

*puts on little Ace Education hat*

Okay, there are a bunch of different ways to be asexual. There is sexual attraction, and there is romantic attraction. For a lot of people, the two tend to correlate evenly — my husband, for instance, is bi, so he’s romantically and sexually attracted to both men and women. (Even though he WAY prefers women.)

However, there are people who don’t feel sexual attraction, but still feel romantic attraction — they want to go on dates, hold hands, cuddle, get married, or something else. So there might be two men who are romantically attracted to each other and become boyfriends. They’d still probably have to deal with the exact same shit gay sexual men would, plus a lot of confusion due to the social programming that says men (especially gay men) should want sex all the time.

Then there are folks who straddle the ace/sexual line. For instance, I’m hot for my husband, and so with him, I could probably pass for sexual. But he’s the only person I want. If we divorce, I’ll be single and celibate, and more importantly, I am okay with that. It is not a tragic end for me. I often don’t understand the woes of being single or celibate, because it’s not something I consider a bad state. Hell, it’s the state that I generally PREFER.

Also, some ace folks are okay with having sex, in some capacities. To please their partner, because it’s fun to them in a completely nonsexual way, because they’re into kink, or whatever. Sexuality is COMPLICATED.

Generally, most queers aren’t upset about people like me IDing queer. What they get really pissy over is straight/ace people IDing queer. And I’m not even going to touch that, just because then you get into fights over what the definition of ‘queer’ is and that’s like going to a group of rabid music fans and asking them to define ‘rock.’ It can get VERY passionate, very quickly, and in my mind, it’s a pretty pointless question that isn’t worth fighting over. If you say you’re queer, then I say okay. But I’m apparently not the majority about this.

I am about to head to bed, but I think I need to expand a bit, because this has sort of done what I didn’t want it to (the comment about theism).

I think (hope?) this was a poor locution.

I can see why one might think that a world lacking in theism is a good thing. Theistic issues have been the cause of a lot of strife (and not just Abrahamic theisms).

But I think the desire to find reason, order, and cause, to things means it can’t be done. I also think that actions are (in most cases) more important than beliefs about cause. One of the things a peripatetic life has done for me is expose me to a lot of people.

People are great. Some of them (even the great ones) believe some troubling things. So long as they don’t try to make the laws/mores adhere to those terrible things, I can cope.

I am a Catholic. I am more than “cultural catholic”. For whatever reasons, there are core principles of Catholicism which I am not able to give up (which was part of the problem DSC and Rutee had with me, but I digress). The Curia and I disagree on a lot of things. I am working (in my small way) to bring them more to accord with me.

I suspect this will happen. I don’t expect to see it in my lifetime. I don’t expect to rear my children in the faith. This is partly because my primary partner is Jewish, and converting them goes against my principles, again I digress.

But I don’t think the tendency to see, “The Truth” will be obviated if religion is outlawed. The world will always have Sneetches. The trick is to make it plain that what’s in our hearts matters more than what’s on our bellies.

One of the many problems with that lure people away from the faith thing is that, as far as I can tell, faith and kindness are completely unrelated qualities. I know kind, empathic, social justice minded atheists and kind, empathic, social justice minded Christians (and Muslims, and Jews, and Buddhists). Ironically, the way that quote was framed suggests that the person who wrote it is shitty at observing people, because it doesn’t take much effort to observe the situation I’m describing above.

I hope this isn’t too much of a derail. I have nothing to say about the current topic, being a noob who missed all that stuff completely. I just wanted to say –


So I’m not just glomming onto a useful excuse label then? This is very reassuring. (I have less than a year of embracing the term(s) under my belt, and there have been moments of “u sure ur not jus’ pretendin’, me?”)

*Waves!* I’m recently new to genderqueer stuff too – I’ve accepted the label for myself for about a year, but have only come out to one person in real life so far. (On Halloween! It was awesome!)

Anyway, I just had to reply because I totally related to your self-reflection and “Are you sure?” And I get all excited when I see stuff I can relate to.

Okay, sorry. Continue with your conversation, everyone. *I would put an “embarrassed” smilie here if I knew how*


It took 20 years, but my mother replaced my copy of Upside Downside Inside Outside.

Sorry, I grew up on Seuss, that was a squee.

Pecunium — email me if I’m one of those people who believes troubling things, cuz I have a thing about being a better person and respect your thoughts. Also, because I just emailed you sheer hilarity.

LBT – yeah, right now I’m trying to figure out where I am on the asexual thing. I THINK that I’m asexual, since I don’t feel sexual attraction to people at all. I’m still wondering whether I’m a romantic asexual, and if I am, what kind of people would I be interested in.

But sometimes I don’t feel as if I have a sexual orientation. I’m pretty sure I’m not heterosexual, but that just puts me in limbo. As you said, sexuality is HARD.

My problem is that LGBT doesn’t cover people like me, and I don’t know if I’m supposed to consider myself queer or not, because I don’t fit in LGBT. LGBTQ? QUILTBAG? One of my trans* friends stated that she hated it when people used QUILTBAG, saying that the LGBT movement is their movement, but that just makes me feel excluded.

I’m sorry, I’m rambling. *virtual self flushes red*

One of my trans* friends stated that she hated it when people used QUILTBAG, saying that the LGBT movement is their movement, but that just makes me feel excluded.

That makes me sad, considering how long it took to get the LGB part to accept the T as part of the group, and how hard some people in the L part in particular still work to try to exclude them.

RE: Alice

One of my trans* friends stated that she hated it when people used QUILTBAG, saying that the LGBT movement is their movement,


I’m sorry. I shouldn’t find that funny. But the number of self-righteous cis queers I’ve seen who’ve tried to run trans people out of their movement, because “the queer rights movement is OUR movement”… oh, that’s good irony there. That’s beautiful. Oh, humanity, I love you.

In other words: your trans friend can go fuck themself.

And if it helps, I didn’t notice a romantic attraction till I met my husband… and it was quite the surprise. Don’t break your brain rushing an answer.

RE: CassandraSays

Yeah, a lot of cis queers seem to like to pretend we trans folk were never a part of their movement, CERTAINLY not involved in events like Stonewall. *shakes head sadly* Poor, poor Sylvia Rivera… for your soul, I metaphorically pray every Thursday.

I was (and am) in the Secret Room, although by the time of the Great Schism I’d mostly gone to lurking. I think part of the problem might have been how high our expectations were for the room. We were going to be free from all the trolls and safe to say anything we felt like in a place that would always be friendly and supportive. Some people shared very personal things in the secret room – I was honored by their trust but at the same time a little worried about what was being shared. I didn’t feel that we knew each other well enough to start baring our souls. The secret room wasn’t perfect – there were misunderstandings and disagreements and sometimes we just got on each other’s nerves – and some of the people who badly wanted a safe space felt betrayed. Then the people with the loudest voices set out to make the secret room a safe space for themselves at everyone else’s expense. Pecunium’s right to call it a coup.

I think what we have now is better.

CassandraSays + LBT – It kind of sucks. I’m not really recognized as an actual group in the mainstream gay rights movement (because the only groups we should totally worry about is the lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and trans* groups! (note the sarcasm and rolling eyeballs)). And queer is really undefined. Before I thought that maybe queer would be okay since there’s no specific subcategory for “asexual” in LGBTQ, and now I know that there’s people out there who would hate me just for IDing as such.

Obviously I’m not fitting under the “you’re either hetero, homo, or bi” thing, and I’m not trans*. I don’t know if I’m supposed to call myself an ally or an actual member of the LGBTQ movement. Definitely I know that said trans* friend has stated that the LGBT movement is THEIR movement and that while allies are cool and all, it’s really theirs.

Can someone explain to me what the “Secret Room” is? Because I was reading some of the comments here and I’m now confused as to what the context is.

(If it’s something that you don’t want to discuss with me, it’s okay.)

Yeah and I’m not trans* enough. Said friend can fuck off on this one.

Re: the secret room — I applied to it and the other group, the one that looked like being a non-troll was auto-admission, months before the exodus, and was a bit hurt that my applications are STILL pending. Now, I realize it’s never ever going to happen now, but it’s a bit weird that I wouldn’t be allowed in the secret clubhouse, but welcomed back the way I was (thanks guys, you have no idea what it means to me that I was missed)

Except, well, *waves at pecunium* hey there friend.

I have nothing much to add, except hugs for everyone who wants one, labrador kisses as well, and baby giggles for good measure.

All of my privilege makes me feel blind and deaf in retrospect. I don’t hang out on the fora much, so one day people were Just Gone.

CassandraSays – Said friend is someone I know from a different online community, and that online community I think knows that I’m asexual (although I didn’t really come out to said online community until recent). I don’t know honestly, I think she thinks that asexuality is an actual thing, but not sure, since there were very few threads talking about it.

I feel like the fact that a secret room existed (and still exists apparently) is inherently pretty messed up. Argenti’s reaction a couple of comments above illustrates why. It’s never possible to avoid some degree of clique formation on blogs or forums, but to have a special room that people have to be invited to or approved to join really kicks that up to another level (even though that doesn’t seem to have been the intention).

I’m trying to remember what I was doing last fall that caused me to miss all this drama (and failing). I noticed some familiar names were pretty much gone, but had no idea why, because I could still see them elsewhere on the net.

This is, in retrospect, not terribly surprising. I agree that things are sillier here now, but definitely safer. I got a little worried for a bit that my favourite place on the web seemed to have such a large number of people with mental illnesses (because of my own assumptions and projections, not because anybody frightened me), and then I realized that it’s because it’s safe to talk about it here, and get some sincere and actually useful support from virtual friends.

I can trot out a half-figured-out, nascent idea about How The World Is and people will pick it apart and define it better without making me feel like a complete idiot for ever having spoken up. I can throw out a silly comment, and somebody else will riff on it, and we’ll have a Glorious Derail and hours of entertainment, and, by the way, feel a little bit better about the world afterwards.

I think it really shows the character of the community, too, when a proto-troll shows up making asshat comments, but as soon as they display a modicum of good faith, and their questions are sincere, the regulars here go out of their way to be kind and share information.

In short, I like you folks.

Kladle’s BY THE WAY THIS ONE IS LYING TO YOU felt like such a stab in the back, and it wasn’t even aimed at me. It’s been a year and it still makes me rage-y.

It’s midnight here and all the babies are asleep. When they wake up the tooth fairy will have made another investment.

Is that what I mean? If the tooth fairy takes teeth away, who brings them? Surely xie has a delivery service, too.

Yeah, that Ace thread actually had me closing my window and avoiding manboobz for the day to keep myself from entering the fray. I found the way Lauralot (I can’t remember if there were other Ace individuals in the argument as well) as being treated enraging but, since I’m neither queer nor Ace, and in a privileged group, I didn’t feel like my wading in would be appreciated or appropriate.


The Secret Room was basically a room open only to trusted regulars and required approval by mods to gain access to it. The idea was to have a space completely free of trolls as a safe space for members of the community to discuss things both personal and political.

I think the idea of a troll free room is a great idea for a community like ours because, not speaking for anyone else, there are times where I want to ask a regular something personal/ about their personal life as a friend, but don’t want to have that information splashed where trolls can see it. In practice, however, I don’t know how well it can work.

BTW, does anyone else find the Post Comment button suddenly decides to flip you the bird and go on strike recently?

Just a couple of factual things, that I don’t think violate any secrecy, and then some opinions:

A. There was no decision to remove Pecunium from the Secret Room permanently. There was no process to make that decision. There was no prior agreement on how people should be added, or removed. The rules of the Secret Room were exceedingly vague.

B. As far as I know, there was never any proposal to have moderation of the blog taken away from David and given to a committee, which I think I saw someone say above, so that seems to have been just a rumor.

Opinion: People were (mistakenly, in my opinion) trying to treat the blog like a “safe space” –but there was no shared understanding of what that meant. Same with the fora. It was a clusterfuck waiting to happen. I have seen things like this blow up in organizations that had pretty tight political agreement around clear points of unity. We don’t have that here, and there’s no reason we should. I didn’t know the Secret Room existed until “poof” I was a member of it; like hippodameia I was honored by their trust, but troubled by the lack of discussion around what the space should be and how it should work.

And I also think the outcome was perfectly fine, although I am sorry about some of the people who left (and very glad about the ones who came back/are still around).

I hope to one day have an in-person conversation with some of the people involved in the blow up, not because I regret anything I said but because I would like to have the give-and-take of a discussion with them in a setting that has no trolls to try to use it against David, or feminism, or whatever.

Now I’m going to go virtually pet David’s kitties.

RE: hippodameia8527

Yeeaaaah, that sounds like something DESTINED to fail. I’ve been pretty open on Manboobz… but I don’t expect unanimous support. I understand that people have lives, and the sort of shit I’ve been going through lately is pretty exhausting. It really seems like a raw enviroment that was BOUND to get explosive.

RE: Alice

because the only groups we should totally worry about is the lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and trans* groups!

And actually, bisexuals and trans folk get thrown under the bus pretty regularly too. (See: why a lot of trans people HATE HRC.) So it’s a massive cannibalistic cycle really where the group constantly tries to kick people out.

RE: Falconer

Try not to feel too bad. We’ve all got privilege. What’s important is dealing with it.

p.s. The Secret Room still exists, but is completely dead. My personal opinion is that it should be nuked from orbit, because even if we wanted to open it up again it would be too fucking complicated to figure out how to do that and it should probably never have existed in the first place. If David wants a brain trust to consult about thorny questions, he can email people. Similarly, people looking for off-blog support should be able to find each other.

And actually, bisexuals and trans folk get thrown under the bus pretty regularly too.

Which was why, after I actually processed the stuff Lauralot was saying on the asexuality thread, I felt like an idiot. Hindsight is 20/20 and all, but still, someone who’s bi should know better. But that’s how privilege works.

(Not looking for reassurances or cookies here, just laughing gentle at myself for being kind of a dumbass.)

RE: Falconer

Far as I can tell, kladle’s a dick and I’m not sad to see them go.

RE: Shadow

The ace thread ENRAGED me. I couldn’t read it — that was directly before the Big Crash, and I was running on fumes, and I knew I’d be dogpiled the moment I opened my mouth. I didn’t have the strength to deal with self-righteous gatekeepers, and I think that might actually have been the start of my own hiatus. I was just too sick, even though as the poor ass with the correct street cred, those two might ACTUALLY have listened to me. But I didn’t feel supported, so I just hung up my hat and went and… did bad things for a while.

RE: cloudiah

You know, the more I hear about this part of the forum, the grosser it sounds, and the happier I am that I was never a part of it. It sounds like a powder keg of raw emotions and egos just WAITING to explode.

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