By David Futrelle
With his sham FBI background report prematurely closed, and his confirmation vote looming, Brett Kavanaugh is omnipresent in the media at the moment. Cable news is pretty much wall-to-wall Kavanaugh, and social media is overflowing with takes — hot and otherwise — on the overgrown frat boy who somehow became a Supreme Court nominee.
If you’re looking for a respite from all the Kavanaugh talk online, might I suggest you take a look at the Men’s Rights subreddit?
Yes, you read that right. As strange as it might seem, the very people you might expect to be most worked up about the alleged injustices faced by red-faced Brett don’t actually seem to give a shit. On the Men’s Rights subreddit today there is virtually no discussion of the wannabe Supreme Court justice. Scanning through the top 100 posts on the subreddit at the moment, I found only three links to articles with Kavanaugh as their central focus; there are an equal number of threads relating to Cassie Jaye and her two-year-old documentary The Red Pill.
Over on A Voice for Men — which, despite its waning influence, is still the most prominent Men’s Right site outside of the Men’s Rights subreddit — there have been a grand total of three posts on Kavanaugh, one of them bearing the scintillating title “Dr. Christine Ford, Brett Kavanaugh, and the automatic outgroup derogation of men” and another that consists of nothing more than a reposted meme (and a pretty dumb one at that). The featured post on the site today? A tooth-grindingly unfunny “satirical” piece jokingly urging Hollywood to reboot Deliverance with a female-only cast.
Certainly there are plenty of Men’s-Rights-adjacent men (and women) out there talking and writing and tweeting about Kavanaugh. So why are only a tiny handful of those who identify primarily as Men’s Rights activists taking up his terrible cause? Isn’t he, as the alleged victim of allegedly false accusations, the ideal poster boy for the Men’s Rights movement?
It’s not that MRAs don’t support Kavanaugh, at least in an abstract sense, or that they believe his accusers. AVFM’s Paul Elam managed to call Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford a “rape liar” eight times in his post defending the red-faced nominee.
Meanwhile, in the handful of discussions of l’affaire Kavanaugh I’ve managed to find in the MRA-adjacent Men Going Their Own Way subreddit, the regulars have heaped praise on Kavanaugh while referring to Ford, variously, as a “bitch,” a “whore,” a “fucking lying piece of shit,” and a “dumb twat” who “probably fantasizes about” getting raped.
“It’s about damn time a man like Kav stood up to these evil, vile, feminist bitches trying to crush a man’s life on accusation alone,” wrote one MGTOW calling himself GoDuke2018Now. “I’m hoping more men will see this and stand the fuck up and fight back against these false ‘allegations’ feminist whores use to attack us.”
“That bitch called christine ford is fucking disgusting,” agreed someone called Drugs110. “I’ve seen plenty of 70 year old grannies more attractive than that ugly sack of shit.”
But despite their admiration for Kavanaugh and their even more palpable hatred of Ford, MRAs and MGTOWs are having a hard time staying interested in the political drama set off by Ford’s accusations.
Why is this? Because of a certain political obtuseness that lies at the center of MRA ideology. Taking their cue from Men;s Rights granddaddy Warren Farrell, MRAs have managed to convince themselves that we live in a world secretly ruled, behind the scenes, by women.
In his seminal The Myth of Male Power, Farrell argues that even though “almost all legislators are men,” the majority of voters (at least in the US) are women, and thus the men nominally in charged are forced to do their bidding of their secret female over
lordsladies. “Overall,” he wrote, “a legislator is to the voter what a chauffeur is to the employer – both look like they’re in charge but both can be fired if they don’t go where they’re told.”
Weird, because some 55 percent of women oppose Kavanaugh, with only 37 percent supporting his elevation to the bench. Yet it seems highly likely that Kavanaugh will be confirmed. It’s safe to say that, especially at this particular moment in our political history, you’re not going to find a lot of women out there who see male legislators as their own personal chauffeurs.
Amazingly, most MRAs seem to have bought into Farrell’s absurd logic almost completely, dismissing both Democrats and Republicans as more-or-less-identical puppets of the so-called “gynocracy” and reflexively ignoring electoral politics.
I’m glad. Because it’s clear that this stance has been disastrous for the Men’s Rights movement, dramatically limiting its political influence.
Several years ago, the emergent alt-right embraced Trump with enthusiasm, at once boosting his campaign and their own political fortunes; now they have a president who has repeatedly signaled his support for them and who has taken numerous concrete steps to help carry out their racist agenda.
Meanwhile, Men’s Rights activists stood on the sidelines, and have watched their movement shrivel even as the fortunes of the alt-right have soared. There are assorted alt-rightists in and around the White House, and they have the ear of the president. Men’s Rights activists could have had the same sort of influence on Trump, who is after all a huge misogynist, someone who would undoubtedly react with enthusiasm to many MRA ideas, were he ever to hear them. But MRAs have so little political capital (and basic political knowhow) that they can’t even get their foot in the door.
MRAs’ continuing disinterest in Kavanaugh shows they’ve learned precisely nothing from this self-inflicted debacle.
Thanks, fellas! You’ve done all of use who oppose your vile agenda an enormous favor.
Actually, you’ve done us two favors. Because there are some on the left who share your seemingly cynical but actually profoundly naive dismissal of electoral politics, who still argue with a straight face that there is no meaningful difference between Democrats and Republicans and that voting is largely a waste of energy.
Anyone who thinks this is a viable political stance in the US at the present moment is invited to take a look at the Mens Rights movement and ask if they want to end up like them.
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