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Domestic violence expert Lundy Bancroft: Men’s Rights philosophies make angry and controlling men even worse.

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Or any other time, either, I’m guessing,

Lundy Bancroft is an expert on abusive relationships and the author of Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds Of Angry and Controlling Men, a book I’ve found very helpful not only in understanding abusers but also in understanding the behavior and “activism” of Men’s Rights Activists.

In a recent post on his blog, he warns about the ways in which “Men’s Rights” ideologies can justify, and made worse, abusive behavior from men who are already abusive, or who have abusive tendencies.

In the post, entitled “The Abuser Crusade,” he writes

When a man has some unhealthy relationship patterns to begin with, the last thing he needs is to discover philosophies that actually back up the destructive aspects of how he thinks. Take a guy who is somewhat selfish and disrespectful to begin with, then add in a big dose of really negative influences, and you have a recipe for disaster. And the sad reality is that there are websites, books, and even organizations out there that encourage men to be at their worst rather than at their best when it comes to relating to women.

It’s not surprising that a philosophy rooted in male entitlement would appeal to men who already feel pretty entitled – and often quite bitter that the women in their lives, not to mention the world at large, doesn’t seem to regard them as quite so deserving of adulation as they think they are.

As I’ve mentioned before, I used to think it was unfair to label the Men’s Rights Movement “the abusers’ lobby,” as many domestic violence experts have done, because I felt that the movement did raise some issues that MRAs at least seem to sincerely believe reflect discrimination against men. But the more experience I’ve had with MRAs, the more I’ve begun to see the Men’s Rights Movement not only as an “abusers’ lobby” but as an abusers’ support group, and an abusive force in its own right, promoting forms of “activism” that are little more than semi-organized stalking and harassment of individual women.

It’s not that every MRA is literally a domestic abuser, though I wouldn’t be shocked to find domestic abusers seriously overrepresented in the Men’s Rights ranks; it’s that the Men’s Rights movement promotes abusive ways of thinking and behaving.

In case anyone had any doubt about which groups Bancroft is talking about, he gets specific:

Some of these groups come under the heading of what is known as “Men’s Rights” or “Father’s Rights” groups. Their writings spread the message that women are trying to control or humiliate men, or are mostly focused on taking men’s money. They also tend to promote the idea that women who want to keep primary custody of their children after divorce are evil. The irony is that we live in a country that has refused to pass an amendment to the constitution to guarantee equal rights for women; yet some men are still out there claiming that women have too many rights and that men don’t have enough.

Bancroft also warns about groups preaching a return to patriarchal values:

Other groups don’t use the language of “rights”, but promote abusive thinking by talking about the “natural” roles of men and women. These groups teach, for example, that men are biologically programmed to be the ones making the key decisions, and that women are just naturally the followers of men’s leadership. These philosophies sometimes teach that men and women are just too different to have really close relationships.

In the end, Bancroft urges women whose partners are picking up new philosophies that seem to be making their behavior worse rather than better to start researching the subject themselves, and reaching out to other women in the same situation, in order to better understand what their partners are getting into — and defend themselves against it.

I’m curious how many readers here have had personal experience with men who’ve embraced Men’s or Fathers’ Rights philosophies (or any of the varieties of backwards Manosphere philosophies), or who know of women whose partners have.

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Ally S
8 years ago

Due to various sources of stress in my life and mental issues, I have recently become a lot more bitter and cynical. I’m very irritable and I have way less patience for the assholes in my life. If life were more tolerable, I’d probably be back to my preferred self, who is a lot happier and more optimistic.

But being told to be happy and optimistic never works for me. Whenever I vent to someone about some emotional pain and they just tell me “Stop worrying about it and being so negative; I don’t like seeing you sad”, then I just get upset. All this forced positivity does is make me hate the idea of happiness itself, and that’s obviously counterproductive. And then those same people pressuring me to be positive shame me whenever I tell them that I can’t just *make* myself happy, as if my mind has an on/off switch for positivity that I’m just too lazy to flip up or down.

And even if/when I become happier in general, that won’t stop me from me having negative feelings from time to time. There is no human being who doesn’t experience a wide range of feelings that includes negative feelings. Fuck that forced positivity bullshit.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
8 years ago

Cool, so MEZ agrees that she deserves everything she’s received here. It would be awesome if she would learn from that revelation and move on, but sadly I’m guessing that her little grudge-match will continue.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
8 years ago

@ Ally

I’m pretty sure that instructing someone to be happy all the time because it’s their job to set the mood for those around them has never resulted in that person actually being any happier. Forcing them to fake it, sure, but actual happiness, not so much.

Ally S
8 years ago

@cassandrakitty

Pretty much. I mean, I guess the context is different since I was referring to family members pressuring me to be positive, but everything I said still applies. Whenever they do that to me, I just feel frustrated and lonely. Most of the time when I’m experiencing anxiety or depression I just want someone to be there for me to listen, not tell me why I’m making a huge mistake in daring to not be happy.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
8 years ago

I just can’t see any way in which saying “you are obligated to be happy” would make a person happier, but I can see lots of ways in which it might make them less happy. It’s counterproductive.

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

MRA’s aren’t stupid;

Assumes facts not in evidence.

Nice serve back to me, but this isn’t about me. Hell, I’d even be willing to agree that I deserve everything I’ve got. This is about a pattern on your part, and on some other’s here, and in feminism in general. Take that kid that was blown up on the other day and then dismissed when he complained that his feelings were hurt.

Funny, you’ve made it all about you. If we’re so mean, why do you keep coming back? You can leave.

That kid the other day was demanding that we fix his boo-boos. I’m not his mommy. If you want to be, that’s great and you’re the best ever, but don’t expect us to do it.

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

Hi, Blockquote Monster, hope you enjoyed the snack.

It should have been like this:

Nice serve back to me, but this isn’t about me. Hell, I’d even be willing to agree that I deserve everything I’ve got. This is about a pattern on your part, and on some other’s here, and in feminism in general. Take that kid that was blown up on the other day and then dismissed when he complained that his feelings were hurt.

Funny, you’ve made it all about you. If we’re so mean, why do you keep coming back? You can leave.

That kid the other day was demanding that we fix his boo-boos. I’m not his mommy. If you want to be, that’s great and you’re the best ever, but don’t expect us to do it.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
8 years ago

See how kind we are? We feed the blockquote monster daily, free of charge.

Ally S
8 years ago

Also, we’re still having this asinine argument about how terrible feminists are towards MRAs? Frankly, MRAs are some of the few reactionaries that I feel entirely comfortable hating wholeheartedly. They have nothing to offer for society but ideological baggage that makes conservatives happy, partly because the MRM is primarily comprised of conservatives and partly because MRAs tend to be defensive of privilege within their own theories

The MRM never has and never will have any potential to be a truly progressive ideology. Their main theoretical focus is proving that women should be more grateful for the social structures that treat them like shit. That’s all. The Myth of Male Power makes that all too clear. Throughout the entire book WTF tries to explain patriarchy to make it sound like a benevolent social structure that only has to be “replaced” because it’s not perfect for men and women. And even then, he blames the structure on women, not men.

Further proof of the MRM’s reactionary character is its extremely small scope of analysis. (And no, so-called lack of academic representation is no excuse.) MRAs never even bother deconstructing gender, sex, and sexuality and instead assume that they are a priori concepts that exist before all of society. MRAs sure love to talk about socialization when it comes to their talking points about abusive mothers influencing abusive men, but when it comes to an actually sophisticated analysis of gender and sex they whine about political correctness and then cite every single goddamn half-assed evo psych study they have in their bookmarks folder. But they aren’t incapable of rigorous analyses of gender – they just choose to not do that because all they care about is preserving the system within the framework of zealous libertarianism.

So yeah, fuck the MRM. It deserves to wither away.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
8 years ago

They’re the gender-based equivalent of the racists who claim that black people were “happier” under slavery, basically. Nope, do not want, and nope, no valid points being made.

titianblue
titianblue
8 years ago

The more I read @Mez’s posts, the more I understand why some feminists & feminist spaces make themselves women only.

I have been so conditioned by society to automatically prioritise cis men’s needs & wants before my own, to accept cis men as having authoritative voices, to back down when challenged by cis men, etc etc that I have to catch myself and actively think about it to stop doing it. And even then, I feel fucking guilty and second-guess myself, having done so.

So I completely understand how, the moment a cis man enters a feminist space, he can dominate that space, steer discussions and change priorities. Because he expects to and women are trained to let him. And fighting that training is hard and tiring. especially when it seems like it’s every bloody day.

So that, Mez, is why, when I come down on what I see as an entitled cis man invading feminist space with demands for education and support, I come down hard. That is why when a supposed feminist starts preaching to me about how feminism must be nicer to men and help them with all their issues, I will be mightily pissed off. And that is also why I will be fucking unimpressed when that supposed feminist starts telling me I’m a bully for doing so and tries to reinforce all my crappy social conditioning.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
8 years ago

It is funny how angry she gets when her attempts to reinforce proper feminine gender roles don’t work, though.

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

MEZ is a woman, to me that adds an extra layer of WTF grossness to the whole shitshow that is her posting history.

Ally S
8 years ago

MRA discourse also reminds me frequently of that nonsense Morgan Freeman said about racism: It will go away if you ignore it and stop talking about it. How is that progressive in any way?

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

titanblue: PREACH. Bravo.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
8 years ago

If people don’t argue with the things that MRAs say they interpret that as agreement, so nope, quietly ignoring them would not be a very effective response.

Ally S
8 years ago

@titianblue

I’m not disagreeing with you, but I hope you know that trans men are also very much capable of exercising male privilege. Even over cis women. Fortunately I know some trans men who are aware of privilege and as a result very kind to me, but a lot of them exercise male privilege just like cis men. That is, they can also talk over cis women, be complete misogynists, and apologize for rapists from the perspective of an egoistic man

Marie
8 years ago

ooh boy mez is back.

@mez

Partially yes, feminism gets the credit. Obviously as an adult you have agency and responsibility, but we don’t behave and make decisions in a vacuum either.

Troll to english translation: obviously as an adult you have agency and responsibility, but I still want to blame those mean, mean feminists for the choices of men who chose to join a fucking hate group. Because if feminists were a liiiitttllle nicer, clearly these nice, misunderstood men wouldn’t be joining a fucking hate group and abusers lobby.

Fuck off, MEZ

Awww, kitteh, probably 3/4 of my posts here are supportive of feminism, or have nothing to do with feminism, but those just get generally ignored

Wow where are these posts of yours hiding? Care to actually link to one?

. I know it is truly terrible to criticize feminism, considering that criticism is the only thing that keeps it from turning to shit.

Fuck off, MEZ. Kitteh hasn’t said anything about not liking feminism being criticized, the problem is all of your criticisms are shit. People can actually point out the many failings feminism has had, but ‘not coddling poor little man feelings’ isn’t one of them.

I would go away faster if people managed to get my arguments right. Case in point;

Newsflash, kiddo: we hear you. We just really, really disagree with you.

@leisha young

Men’s studies is really just a bunch of angry men, many of whom are clearly socio/psychopathic and seek to enact vengeance on the greatest symbol of female empowerment;

Ummm wow thanks for throwing the random ableism in in your comment :/

@MEZ

Never said it was a monolith, we’re both examples of that.

troll to english translation: I never said it was a monolith, I just acted like it was a monolith.

Although if you think I’m trolling for attention, there’s an easy fix for that-ignore me. Problem fixed.

Eh. I’ll ignore you if others want to. But this is a site where people mock misogynists, so while you’re being a misogynistic little jerk, I’m going to mock you. :3

You’re bullies.

Okay, bub, point out how. I know assfax are easiest, but they still come from, you know, your ass.

Also, with MEZ’s last bully rant, anyone preparing for a countdown to meltdown?

@hellkell

That was a lot of words to tell us we didn’t get under skin. It’s almost like…we got under your skin.

No, MEZ is much to reasonable and coolheaded for us to get under her skin. I know because she told me so.

@MEZ

MRA’s aren’t stupid; they don’t pull their talking points from thin air

You’re right, MRA’s don’t pull their talking points from thin air. They get them because they’re a group of reactionary wankers angry that women have more rights than they used to. Surely a group you’d love to be associated with.

@Ally

Fuck that forced positivity bullshit.

All the seconding.

Luzbelitx
8 years ago

@cassandrakitty

Especially since their idea of consent consists of reading “quietly ignoring them” as “emphatically agreeing”.

Ally S
8 years ago

Also, I’m of the view that the root of “male disposabilty” – the so-called relative lack of sympathy for men – is not just a norm that constitutes a major aspect of patriarchy, but also a norm that secures a special form of male privilege for trans men. Trans men abusers are even less likely to be called out for abuse than cis men because they are perceived as “men lite”; that is, they’re so “feminine” due to being “female socialized” (a complete lie) that they are incapable of abuse.

Marie
8 years ago

@Ally

The MRM never has and never will have any potential to be a truly progressive ideology. […]

All the applause for that comment.

@titanblue

o I completely understand how, the moment a cis man enters a feminist space, he can dominate that space, steer discussions and change priorities.

eh. I think MEZ already said she was a woman. Not that she’s not derailing, and that men don’t derail conversations a lot about feminism, but I don’t think that’s what’s happening here.

titianblue
titianblue
8 years ago

@Ally, noted and agreed.

Skye
Skye
8 years ago

Mez: “@ShirazWow, mezzy’s message is basically — bitches should be making sandwiches! And women are responsible for a man’s fee-fees

Yes, that is exactly my argument. Word for word.”

If you think women are responsible for men’s feelings, I don’t see how you consider yourself feminist. I would think you were being sarcastic, except Shiraz’s summation of your posts is very accurate in both message and tone. If you really don’t believe that, you aren’t communicating it here

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
8 years ago

I’m not entirely sure that MEZ understands that “feminist” and “feminine” are different words with different meanings, given how often her chastisements of other women here read as “you are not fulfilling your gender role properly”.

weirwoodtreehugger
8 years ago

they misquote her again and again. Like I’m going to sit there and allow my arguments to be misrepresented

No. We took you at your word. Here is your original post on this thread. You seem to have forgotten all the offensive shit you said.

I think the biggest problem with the MRM is that the MRM is often the biggest gig in town when it comes to actually addressing men’s issues.

Fine. There’s not a significant non-misogynist equivalent to MRM out there. If men want that, they are free to create one. It’s not feminisms fault that the MRM is misogynist and it’s not the responsibility of feminist women to do men’s work for them and create a constructive movement to deal with men’s issues. You are using a common MRA tactic here. They love to complain that feminism doesn’t do enough for men and they expect us to do their activist work for them. They are perfectly capable of doing it themselves. Feminism didn’t spring up fully formed, it was created through hard work and activism. Why can’t they do the same? Because they don’t want to. They just want to complain about feminists and have an excuse to be misogynistic.

IMO feminism does a terrible job at this because feminism has become terribly reactive to men’s issues over the past 10 years. For example, I’ve heard many feminists argue with MRA-types over male circumcision being “not as bad” as ANY type of female circumcision. In truth, provided an adequate amount of medical care, from an ethical standpoint male circumcision is as bad as, say, Type Ia female circumcision. The medical community agrees that there’s no medically necessary reason for male circumcision, so why argue fellow feminists? Qualifying support for male issues with “but men have it better” is obnoxious whether or not it’s true.

It was explained to you several times that “what about the menz” derailment is a common MRA tactic designed to silence feminists. There aren’t men who are sincerely allies to women getting pushed out and shouted down. Anti-feminist men come into online feminist spaces in bad faith. They are looking to draw the conservation away from women’s issue. They know it isn’t socially acceptable to say women shouldn’t be able vote or own property or should be raped. So they use more subtle tactics. They sell the notion that there is no male privilege and therefore feminism is not only unnecessary, but oppressive. If you are as a feminist, as you claim to be. Why are you siding with them? Why are you using the same derailing tactics by talking about how the bad feminists don’t see male circumcision as equivalent to FGM. Why did you ignore all the links Howard Bannister provided which provide actual facts? See how you sound just like an MRA?

We can push for equality without playing the Oppression Olympics and pushing men into the arms of the MRM.

And here it is. You have blamed the group that is fighting for equality for the behavior of a hate group. The phrase “playing the Opression Olympics” is incredibly condescending and gaslighting. You seem to be saying that men and women are on equal footing in our society and it’s wrong to talk about the ways women have it worse than men because men have just as many issues. Men who actually want to be allies acknowledge they have male privilege. No, we don’t expect them to feel guilty and flog themselves for it. Just acknowledge it. If a man can’t do that and would rather join a misogynistic hate group than simply acknowledge his privilege, he never was an ally and never intended to be.

You claim we’re misquoting and misinterpreting you. We are not. Those were your words and they sound identical to those of the MRAs.

You think you are being bullied. You are not. You chose to come into a thread about how MRM philosophies validate the behavior of abusers. Instead of commenting on the post from a person who had an abusive MRA stepfather or commenting on abuse in general you decided to attack feminism for not being accommodating enough to the people who side with abusers. You decided to derail with a complaint about feminists not agreeing with the false equivalency between circumcision and FGM. That is highly offensive and it is trolling behavior. You can apologize and admit you were wrong so we can all move on. Or you can continue doubling down. If you choose the latter option, that is on you and it is not bullying for the rest of us to continue to disagree with you.

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