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Internet Inactivism and the MRA Paradox

MRA in action

As I’ve pointed out before, the vast majority of Men’s Rights Activists aren’t really activists at all, if by “activists” you mean people who occasionally get off their asses and try to engage in political activity in the real world. As I put in in my piece for the Good Men Project on misogyny in the Men’s Rights movement,

Men’s rights activists aren’t much like any other activists I’ve ever run across. For one thing, for supposed activists they are almost completely inactive. Sure, they complain endlessly about things they see as terrible injustices against men. They just don’t do anything about them. While some of those who consider themselves fathers’ rights activists—a slightly different breed from your garden-variety MRAs—try to influence laws and legislatures, MRAs do little more than cultivate their resentments.

MRAs seem to be good at one thing, and one thing only: posting angry comments on websites, whether their own or on those of their many enemies – whether that’s on blogs like this one or in the comments section on various mainstream media sites they consider “misandrist.” (Actually: that’s not entirely fair – on a few occasions, MRAs have been moved to make threatening phone calls as well.) They don’t raise money for anything but their own web sites and their pet projects. They don’t organize demonstrations that involve more than a tiny handful of people.  Like, for example, this one, involving one dude dressed like Batman who climbed up onto a highway sign:

Or this one, which involved a dude dressed up as Batman and a dude dressed up as Robin, climbing up on a bridge.

If your protests typically involve fewer people than, say, the line of people waiting to use the Redbox video rental kiosk outside your local supermarket on a Friday night, I think it’s safe to say that yours is not a mass movement, at least not yet.

Am I being unfair in demanding MRAs actually, literally,get off their asses before I consider them to be activists? Perhaps.

But, as it turns out, MRAs aren’t much good at sitting-on-your-ass activism either. Case in point: For quite some time – weeks? months? — MRA elder Paul Elam has been urging readers of his blog A Voice For Men to sign a petition to disbar a District Attorney he and other MRAs have decided is corrupt. But despite his repeated pleas to his readers to sign the thing, it has not yet garnered the required 1000 signatures, even though at least a few of his readers have talked about signing it more than once. [Edited to add: it has now gotten more than 1000 signaturesd.]

Today, this particular example of internet inactivism prompted Elam to lash out at his non-signing readers. Declaring himself “tired and frustrated” and “sick of this shit,” he once again begged his readers to sign. Then he went a step further, suggesting that he might limit commenting on his site to “activists that are contributing to this site in one way or another” as a way of encouraging activism and discouraging those who are “sucking up air and doing little else.”

I don’t think further exhortation on his part – or limiting the comments there to “real” activists only – is likely to make much difference. [Edited to add: Nagging a few more people to spend two minutes signing an online petition is one thing. Actually transforming them into real activists is another.]  Elam is running up against the inherent paradox of Men’s Rights “activism” – the fact that most of those complaining the most about alleged injustices against men are not in fact interested in changing anything. Their “activism,” as it were, is little more than an excuse to wallow in their own bitterness, and to blame others for their own problems.

If MRAs really cared about domestic violence against men – as opposed to using the issue as a rhetorical weapon against feminists – they would be raising money and devoting their time to actually building shelters, like the (mostly) women who built the first shelters decades ago, and the (mostly) women who keep these shelters going today. If MRAs were really interested in stopping prison rape, instead of simply complaining about it, they’d be donating money to or working with the advocacy group Just Detention or other groups concerned about the treatment of prisoners. If they were really interested in helping those falsely accused of rape or other crimes, they’d be working with The Innocence Project or some other group fighting for the falsely accused or convicted. Or they would be starting real organizations of their own.

But that’s not, at heart, what the MRM is about. For all but a tiny handful of real activists, it’s not about changing the world. It’s about creating a space where men can kvetch and blame and cultivate their own sense of martyrdom. Actually trying to change the real world would involve , well, going out into the real world, a place where their assertions about the alleged oppression of men are seen as the nonsense they are, a place where their bitterness and hatred of women is seen as bitterness and hatred rather than the righteous anger they like to imagine that it is.

When MRAs do venture out of their self-created bubble they tend to either make fools of themselves – like Batman on the highway sign in the video above – or to reveal themselves to be the angry fanatics they are. Elam, for his part, sometimes even has trouble making his case in the relatively sympathetic environment of the Men’s Rights subreddit on Reddit, and is quickly reduced to sputtering rage when anyone disagrees with him. In the end, sputtering rage seems to be what the MRM is really all about.

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Pecunium
11 years ago

To elaborate (as you obviously didn’t read my longer post).

The documents you provided either were either 404 (i.e. unvailable), non-topical (the NIJ article was about people falsely convicted for actual rapes; three of them rape murders, several with witness to the rape/abduction), or not about an actual accusation of rape.

So no, you failed to meet the threshold of proof you established (i.e. discussing false accusations of rape).

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth

Oh, I see now Pecunium. His brother gave him the two books in an effort to get my date to have more confidence when dealing with women outside of technical stuff. So when I went over to his house on Wednesday, he showed them to me and we proceeded to mock them to no end of fun.

Then again, I once gave my best friend Knock Knock’s Procedural Dating Kit. Although it was a joke, he did actually try to use it. Bloody attorneys.

No suprises here
No suprises here
11 years ago

Actually bee, Kanins’s study has been replicated and the feminist criticism of it is like the 2% false reporting fraud. More lies about rape dressed up to look like something credible.

Again its a group of women trying to convince the world that there isn’t a problem with women telling lies about rape by telling lies about rape.

Bee
Bee
11 years ago

No surprises here: Kanin’s study has been replicated? It’s been so thoroughly discredited that one would think that any credible evidence overturning the conclusion that it’s wrong (which is supported by common sense, personal experience, and numerous studies elsewhere) would be widely quoted among the MRA community as well as heralded in the false-rape-decriers community. And yet, it is so difficult to find evidence of such a thing existing. Perhaps you could humor me by linking to this incredibly reliable, well-sourced, scientifically backed study that recreates what Kanin did.

And by the way — false rape reports, when they happen, are problematic. It’s just that they don’t happen very often. It kinda seems like all this bullshit you’re spouting is kind of designed to stop any reasonable discussion about rape actually being a very big problem. Most rapes aren’t reported. Most rapes aren’t prosecuted. Any ideology that finds its message in pretending that false rape reports are this overwhelming, systematic problem while ignoring the problem of rape itself is not going to get a lot of credence from me. Sorry.

No suprises here
No suprises here
11 years ago

Bee

Kanins study hasn’t been discredited at all, some feminist sources wrote some bullshit about it and Lisak was paid to do some thing but it is weak at best. Kanins study which has been replicated, only recorded the women that admitted that they were lying, as lying.
Feminist research is whats called advocacy research, its not the real thing, it just looks like it at first glance but it toes an ideological line.

“Ignoring the problem of rape”

Rape of women isn’t being ignored its the most politicised, over blown, exaggerated over publicized, over reacted to and lied about crime there is.

Rape of men, rape by women, female pedophilia, female domestic abuse, false accusation is all covered up by feminism – the politically correct abusers lobby, and ignored, but rape of women isn’t.

You know full well that rape of women isn’t ignored and false accusation result in death more often than rape.

Given that we both know that you know that, it makes you look like yet another feminist, lying about rape.

But of course, women lying about rape isn’t common right?

Plymouth
Plymouth
11 years ago

Uh, neither rape nor false accusations result in death (unless the rapist passed on some fatal disease in the process). It’s people killing people that results in death. Some of those killers are also rapists, some of them are fellow inmates in prison, some of them are probably vigilantes on the street. Do you seriously think women are accusing men of rape in order to get them killed? Because if that was the goal there are a lot more efficient ways to go about doing it 😛

Bee
Bee
11 years ago

No surprises: Thanks for the link to that study you mentioned. It was really really awesome. Very eye-opening, well-done, meticulously documented. I have now changed my mind. Rapes never happen. Wimmens just like to lie all the time because they evil.

Oh, what’s that? There was no study? Or there was, but you’re ashamed to link to it because it’s so disreputable? Never mind; you and your mendacious, hateful movement are full of bullshit. Good to know.

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth

Some of the posters who are speaking from real experience, might, nay, shall take issue with your claim that rape is not ignored.

“Bartholomew and some other experts say the alternative labeling of alleged sexual assault raises questions about the accuracy of the department’s recent rape statistics, showing a sharp decrease from 2007 to 2008 in the number of rapes and attempted rapes reported to the FBI: 114 rapes in 2007, down to 72 rapes last year.

The police statistics contrast with the experience of the Interim LSU Public Hospital, where the number of sexual assault victims seeking rape examinations climbed from 149 in 2007 to 168 in 2008.” Source

Based on this, are you going to claim that of the 96 women/men seeking rape kits at the hospital that ALL of them were lying liars or just that they decided it was not worth the pain of going through what police can do to victims.

No suprises here
No suprises here
11 years ago

lol @ Bee

You and many here have come out in support of a false rape accuser and convicted child abuser as well as the corrupt prosecutor that is working on her behalf.

No doubt if the genetic codes of the victim and abuser here were swapped, your allegiances would change… and you say that we are the hate movement, project much? You have also published lies about rape while pushing, and say that we are full of bullshit.. projection.

Feminism, with its rape lies, and defense of female abusers of all colours, is the real abusers lobby, the real abuse culture.

Kave
Kave
11 years ago

“Lol @ Bee

You and many here have come out in support of a false rape accuser and convicted child abuser as well as the corrupt prosecutor that is working on her behalf.”

If you cared just a small amount about the child you would not have opened with LOL.

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth

Incorrect Mr. No Surprise. We believe the system has worked at it is supposed to-the man appealed his conviction, it was overturned due to problems with the trial and he has a chance at a second trial. This is what we call “due process of law.” Perhaps you have some other system in mind that assumes if someone is accused of rape they should be given a free pass if you dislike the person making the accusation.

Xtra
11 years ago

@Xtra: “a petition going to have Elam legally change his name to Colonel Froofroo Sillybuns”

So – you do believe in infringing on the rights of others – and forcing your will upon them – all in an attempt to humiliate them. Why am I not surprised… Isn’t that what rapists do?

@Scarecrow, not really since we all know such a petition even if it had 10,000 signatures would not be enforced. Although I do agree with the humiliation of someone like Elam who would love me to be live as a second class citizen in society because I am a woman. I doubt very much he will feel humiliated by such though so basically your whole trope is not even ginuine because you know exactly the same.

Bee
Bee
11 years ago

No surprises: Even on MRA sites, where there are no links or citations, they are careful to call Ligia a “known” or a “proven” child abuser. You’re the first person I’ve seen call her a “convicted” child abuser. I guess I’m unlikely to get a source for that one too, huh?

And oh yes, you remind me that I’m also still waiting for you to find where I’ve stated that I support either Ligia or Mary Kellett. But I know the answer to that one: You’ve made it up. I have no idea what they’ve done, I have no inside knowledge about them at all. If they’ve done the heinous misdeeds of which Elam has accused them, they should be punished, and the righteous and innocent Vladek be freed, and restitution be made to him forever and ever, amen.

My point is merely that Elam is a stupid, mendacious, hateful douche, and so is everyone who blindly believes him; and that there is at least some evidence out there that points toward a conclusion that Elam’s story is not the only story. I would have to have a lot more evidence, however, to feel good about making any kind of proclamation about anyone’s relative guilt or innocence: something that you obviously have no problem with doing on very little information, coming from one source, Paul Elam.

And whatever. Good for you for taking such a brave and principled stand on a subject you know nothing about. Way to live up to the stereotype.

Pecunium
11 years ago

Bee: Note the singular lack of evidence. When he does provide a link it’s to outdated, or non-topical issues; papers which actually undercut his position. Either he fails to read them (hence the 404 on the supporting docs for his abstracts) or assumes that those whom he tosses this garbage at will either just take it at face value that links must be supporting, or skim the first page, without looking at the supporting documents.

It’s a poor bet, in general, and it failed him here. I may be hard to convince, but if one has evidence I will look at it, just in case I’ve been misinformed. So far nothing he’s offered has risen to the level of making me doubt my position in the least.

No suprises here
No suprises here
11 years ago

Nah, you are just a bunch of feminist muppets that will blindly support and lie to support abusers and abuse so long as the genetic codes match up to your movements specifications of what is correct.

Lila Filler being abusive and violent http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QBHXV696DA

Lila Filler being coached on her testomony

Feminists maintain the most aggressive and active rape and abuse cultures in our society.

Pecunium
11 years ago

What we have here is, no surprise, an idea that all the answers are known. Any disagreement isn’t honest, it’s willful.

I tried to listen to the first, but it’s hard, not least because there isn’t any provenance. I don’t really doubt it, but the context is missing, and hearing the cop making editorial comments on the state of the person he’s looking for isn’t all that convincing. His source for the alleged death threats? Unknown.

and the second… it looked like a post-mortem. Filler is talking about how she reacted in some hearing which has concluded. She’s saying exactly the same things that we are told the MRA types are interested in… “fighting for her kids.”

But I didn’t hear anyone saying, “now, if you want the court to believe that you are the victim you will have to say, X,Y, and Z”. Who, btw, is the other voice?

Are we also expected to believe Vladek wasn’t, “coached” by his attorneys?

Right.

So it’s not a question of, “was the preparation of Filler’s in violation of standard practice, and did the prosecution suborn perjury”, but rather that we are expected to accept the implications of wrongdoing. On the basis of… well there isn’t any basis.

Since a reasonable person has to assume Vladek’s attorney, “coached” him as well, the argument is actually for a double-standard.

Which is what those of us saying the MRA groups aren’t about equality have been saying. Nice to see it so plainly laid out.

As he said, there are no surprises here.

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth

I watched the second one, just what on earth are these guys getting so bent out of shape over? That she was trying to not become emotional and someone points out that it will not seem real if she suppresses her emotion?
Then supposedly she stopped suppressing her emotions?

Geez, I guess we have a slam dunk case of…a woman trying to not be upset (which is unnatural) and then being upset (which is natural). She was violating no laws! Hang her!

*mutters*

Brianne
Brianne
11 years ago

I love this post so much.

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