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By David Futrelle
Anyone who has ever tried to discuss almost anything with a Men’s Rights Activist knows how much they pretend to care about those killed in workplace accidents — more than 90% of whom are men.
So you might expect MRAs to be up in arms about Don Blankenship, the reactionary, racist Republican who’s the frontrunner in the West Virginia Senate primary, to be held tomorrow. Up until he entered this race, after all, Blankenship was best known as the coal industry exec whose grotesque disdain for worker safety got him convicted of conspiring to willfully violate mine safety and health standards after an explosion in a mine he ran killed 29 miners in 2010.
But MRAs aren’t saying a word. Pretty much literally. I searched the two most prominent MRA websites — the Men’s Rights subreddit, an active forum with more than 177,000 subscribers, and A Voice for Men, recent winner of a coveted “you’re a hate group”award from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The results? Blankenship — a man who has been in the news so much in recent days that he is literally being discussed on MSNBC right this instant as I type these words — has been mentioned all of three times in the history of the Men’s Rights subreddit, the most recent mention coming two years ago.
He has never been mentioned on AVFM at all.
But I suppose that is the point. While MRAs like to talk about the issue all the time, it’s usually as part of a laundry list of complaints intended to prove that men are the “disposable sex” — or that they deserve to earn more than women.
Meanwhile, they do absolutely nothing about it — launching precisely zero campaigns to actually make workplaces safer for anyone. Indeed, MRAs who voted for Donald Trump — and there are a lot of them — have actually made the problem worse by helping to elect a man who is doing his best to gut workplace safety protections, as I pointed out in a recent post. Trump’s assault on worker safety is likely to result in a lot more than 29 deaths.
While the chance of any individual man dying in a workplace accident are vanishingly small — in 2016, the most recent year for which we have complete data, American working men had only a 0.006 percent chance of getting killed on the job — workplace safety is a real issue that needs addressing.
One obvious way to take a stand against it would be to actively campaign against a Senatorial hopeful whose deliberate violations of mine safety standards contributed to an accident that killed 29 of the coal miners that MRAs claim to care about.
But MRAs have done and will do nothing, because they don’t really care about making the world a better place for men; they’re much more interested in ginning up excuses to yell about — and at — women.