By David Futrelle
There are few creatures on this planet who are more badly misnamed than the Men’s Rights Activist. For one thing, most MRAs seem less interested in expanding rights for men than they are with taking away the rights of women. For another, as I’ve been pointing out since I started this blog nine years ago, they don’t actually do any activism beyond yelling about, and at, women online.
A few days ago, one Mens Rights Redditor called WarOfNoise decided that maybe it was time he and his fellow MRAs try their hand at some actual activism — if they could first figure out what activism even was. “What would activism for us even look like?” he asked in a post that the subreddit mods stickied to give it more attention.
In true MRA fashion, he didn’t bother to answer his own question. While acknowledging that “htere is really not a lot of activism on our part,” he didn’t lay out an inspiring vision of what this activism could look like, instead listing several reasons — excuses — as to why activism has proved too haaaaaard for him and his fellow men,
we’re not accepted in society at all
most activism tends to occur with college students, and good fucking luck getting an MRA chapter started anywhere
most of us are probably isolated and/or too fucking busy just working and trying to stay sane
and other issues, I’m sure
Never mind that all of these things have been, and are, true for every type of activism that’s ever been, yet somehow other activists managed to persevere. Civil rights activists were famously met with fire hoses; some, including Martin Luther King, were murdered by racists. Yet the movement kept going — because it had real injustices to fight.
WarOfNoise’s only specific suggestion? That MRAs have ready information to provide on “the legal and social issues that we believe contribute to legal and social oppression of men,” and maybe put up a website or prepare a fact sheet or two.
WarOfNoise’s fellow MRAs were similarly uninspired in their suggestions.
“Activism is for losers,” replied someone called xNOM. “More lawsuits.”
For someone called ShawshankRetention, the answer seemed to be for MRAs to mansplain their pet issues to anyone in their immediate vicinity.
I dont think that we can do high profile activism like popular causes. Most of us have jobs, families or friends, yet we can first seed the doubt abiut the main narrative by showing where it divert from reality.
GrapeGrater urged his fellow MRAS to start building “physical infrastructure (like websites),” making me wonder if some MRAs are aware of the actual physical world at all.
RacelessSexlessName, to his credit, suggested some activism that would require some contact with the outside world. And buying a bunch of magnets.
I’ve thought about magnets or posters… You can get a fair quantity of credit card or postcard magnets cheap and just slap them all over the place. I doubt it could be called vandalism and they’re mobile. Posters I would have to target where they are put and do it at night with a hoodie due to cameras… I can’t exactly afford to have my life ruined because a bunch of leftist/feminist wackjobs hound my employer.
Yes, magnets will surely bring the (alleged) matriarchy to its knees!
Meanwhile, someone called dildo_cannon_fodder had a brilliant suggestion: have “female/women” do it for them!
If anything, there may be a slight chance to raise awareness about MRA if there’s a sevral female/women that who were well-known and feminists to be representatives for the MRS movement. I know it sounds like a terrible idea, but hear me out!!! Since society today takes the words from women more at face value and seriously, they’ll be able to get the message/awareness out and would receive more attention. Also, with a female representative for MRA, there would only be a few times where feminists would play the “brainwashed by the patriarchy” card before people would notice on how shallow they actually are.
Several contributors suggested that MRAs take some tips from anti-circumcision “intactivist” groups that actually do some real-world activism. Never mind that “intactivists” tend to be so fanatical, and their movement so suffused with antisemitism, that they’ve managed to scare off most potential allies, including many feminists.
Here’s a thought, fellas. If you want to engage in activism that actually could make a difference in the real world, stop complaining that there aren’t shelters specifically set up for male victims of domestic abuse, and actually build some shelters of your own.
Seriously, are you guys under the impression that shelters simply grow from the ground like mushrooms after a storm? During the first decade of second wave feminism, feminist activists in the US built a vast network of women’s shelters from scratch, in the face of threats and massive political opposition.
In the eleven years since the launch of the Men’s Rights subreddit, American MRAs have built zero shelters. Zilch, Nada. They haven’t even bothered to set up a single hotline for abused men.
Today, the only institutions that actively supply shelter for male DV victims are … women’s shelters, many of which supply counseling and hotel vouchers to men looking for help. The only male-only shelters that exist in the US today were built not by MRAs but by the operators of women-only shelters — including one shelter in Texas that was once targeted for
harassment “activism” by so-called Father’s Rights Activists.
I would tell MRAs to put up or shut up, but we all know that’s impossible for them.
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