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Is the Men's Rights Movement driven by the rage of the rejected?

Memorial in Marysville
Memorial in Marysville

Was Marysville school shooter Jaylen Fryberg trying to exact revenge on a girl who had rejected him? Various news accounts suggest that Fryberg was reeling from a recent breakup; a number of angry, anguished, and frustratingly enigmatic recent comments on Fryberg’s Twitter account seem to back this up.

So it may be that the shootings on Friday were yet another reworking of an old story.

It’s no secret that many men, for an assortment of reasons, react badly and often violently to romantic and sexual rejection. This can range from self-described “nice guys” of OkCupid sending vicious messages to women who say no all the way to angry men who stalk and harass and sometimes kill ex-wives and girlfriends. Women who leave abusive relationships often suffer greater violence at the hands of exes unwilling to let them go.

I’ve written before of the striking ways that Men’s Rights Activism recapitulates the logic of domestic abuse; it’s no coincidence that so much MRA “activism” consists of harassment of individual women. So the question naturally follows: does the rage that drives so many MRAs come from the same dark place in the psyche as the rage that so many romantically and sexually rejected feel towards their exes?

Think of the fury many divorced MRAs feel towards their exes and women at large. Think of the self-pitying rage of “nice guys” MRAs in their teens and twenties who feel they’ve been unfairly “friendzoned” by stuck-up women.

As I pondered the tragedy in Marysville, I found myself thinking again about a disturbing short story written by A Voice for Men’s Paul Elam several years ago (and which I posted about recently).

In the story, you may recall, a jilted husband tells the other men in an anger management group session just what had landed him there. His story, as rendered by Elam, is a melodramatic and often mawkish tale of a man betrayed by a narcissistic “hypergamous” wife who left him for his business partner while he had been out of town at the funeral for his father. Oh, and she stole all his money, to boot. (Elam is not what you’d call a subtle writer.)

When the story’s hero finally confronts his ex, whom he finds ad his business partner’s house, she comes to the door in a nightie and tells him she left him because he just wasn’t cutting it in the sack. Then she makes a point of refusing to kiss him goodnight (and goodbye) because, she tells him sadistically, he probably wouldn’t like “the taste of another man’s cock on her lips.”

And so, the hero tells the other angry men in his group, he punched her in the nose so hard he broke it.

It’s clear Elam identifies wholly and completely with the hero, and we are supposed to see his punch as a form of righteous justice administered to his sadistic, emasculating ex.

There are a lot of angry divorced men in the MRM – including some with several divorces in their past. The standard MRA explanation is that these men come to the Men’s Rights movement after being “raped” — their word, not mine – in divorce court, or kept apart from their children by angry exes.

But I don’t think that’s it. Many of the angriest don’t even have any children. I suspect that the rage they feel is more like the rage of Elam’s hero – a rage borne out of a deep sense of sexual humiliation and the loss of control over the women who have rejected and abandoned them.

The anger of many younger MRAs seems to have a similar psychosexual source. These are the young men who rage against “friendzoning” and wax indignant about “false rape accusations” and “yes means yes.” In their mind, women are the “gatekeepers” of sex, and this frustrates and sometimes enrages them.

On some level they feel that women are collectively depriving them of the sex that they deserve, and they feel resentful they have to, in their mind at least, jump through so many hoops to get it. Some, I suspect, think that there’s no way they can actually “get” sex without cutting a few corners, consent-wise, and resent feminists for making this harder for them.

The self-righteous rage of the rejected is a dangerous thing. It’s dangerous when it’s directed at individual women. And it’s dangerous when it’s directed at women at large.

 

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Emil Söderman
7 years ago

I don’t think it’s really about sex all that much. At least not the “rubbing body parts together” part of sex. It’s about status and control. These guys really aren’t trying to impress women: They’re trying to impress other men with how much they can impress women.

It all creates a very toxic stew. I’m reminded of the bit by Atwood (?) who said that “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them, women are afraid that men will kill them.” Which I think is true… Only part of the toxicity is that our culture at large has a pretty big component telling men that *it is worse to be laughed at than to die*.

Which is stupid of course, but it’s there.

Shiraz
Shiraz
7 years ago

Are you serious with this?:

“I shall have to leave soon, because I am becoming the focus of too much attention, much of it unreasononingly hostile. There is a limit to how much I am going to able to teach or to learn anything here.”

Guys, we should have let him mansplain more. Why didn’t we just let him prattle on like good little girls looking to please a father/husband figure?

ridley40
7 years ago

It’s interesting that to Mr Allman, the insentient embryo who ‘owns’ the uterus carrier is always ‘he’,.

kittehserf - MOD
kittehserf - MOD
7 years ago

Hey troll

Note from a moderator

FUCK OFF WITH YOUR BORING WALLS OF TEXT

End of note

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
7 years ago

That is what attracted me to the men’s rights movement, because my experience in my second nuclear family, was one of complete and utter powerlessness.

Annnnnd … that’s what it comes down to. Thanks for finally admitting that your problem is rage against having temporarily experienced a state that many women face every day of their lives due to patriarchy. When it’s women who are powerless, that’s fine, but when it’s you it is intolerable and must be stopped!

You could have gone the feminist way, and decided that it is not acceptable for anybody to experience that powerlessness. Instead you went the other direction, and decided that women must be rendered powerless in order to restore you to your proper position of total authority.

This makes you a terrible person. Your ex and the state are wise to keep your kid away from you.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
7 years ago

Will you PLEASE stop GUESSING. Actual cases that I am involved in at present, or have been recently:

I was actually giving you the benefit of the doubt there, in surmising that you had experience with more divorce/custody cases than just the single one that is your own. My bad! You deserve no such benefit. Your entire worldview is based solely on a single case, yours, in which a dude who is terrible was correctly denied custody of an impressionable child.

proxieme
proxieme
7 years ago

MTSJR – It’s funny how they do that.

And by “funny” I mean “sad and painful.”

My husband’s father was horribly physically and verbally/emotionally abusive.
Fell off of his bike and cried?
That’s a beating while being called a crybaby faggot.
Making too much noise?
That’s a beating.
Sister spilled some coffee?
That’s being thrown up against the wall so hard that you’re knocked out…followed by a beating.
It all culminated (honestly, perhaps mercifully) in his father taking off, popping in and out for a few years, and then disappearing completely for most of a decade.

My husband /still/ attempted to reestablish contact (several times) only to be repeatedly brushed off.

But in his dad’s eyes (according to secondary sources) my husband’s the one who’s “abandoned” him.

brooked
7 years ago

Good grief, you can stop with the passive aggressive whining Johnny and do everyone a favor by fucking off. It’s almost entertaining to watch you claim to have disproved David’s generalization by repeating a single counter example a dozen times while being a textbook example of an aggrieved reactionary misogynist, but you ruined it by being TL:DR factory.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

Bye, John. We won’t miss you.

Sarah
Sarah
7 years ago

Here’s my Johns impression: “Hi my only personal experience rebuts everything you say and know about gender relations and the manosphere except that it actually illustrates it. You should all listen to my whining and cater to my problems and preoccupations because penis. Patriarchy is good because I liked it and because I think an embryo is a baby women cannot take decisions on their bodies like my stupid ex that doesn’t want to see me again and the state lets her. Also I don’t know what feminism is about but I’ll mansplain it to you.”

In only a few lines!

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

Less creepy, too. John makes my skin crawl.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

refreshingly original

This is far from the first time I’ve seen a man rush into a thread about a murdered woman to make it all about him. I do not find it “refreshing”.

pawsjones
pawsjones
7 years ago

I must confess the age thing really bothers me with this dude. Not so much his own actual age in itself, as the age difference between him and his youngest son’s mum in combination with all the other creepiness about “entrusting my seed” and “I do not regard the woman herself as anybody’s “property”, except that of the embryo or the foetus to some extent, because his survival depends upon her well-being.” This, on top of all the other awfulness, says to me that he’s the type of man that deliberately looks for relationships where the women have as little power as possible and he himself as much as possible. Gross, just gross.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

<blockquote“I do not regard the woman herself as anybody’s “property”, except that of the embryo or the foetus to some extent, because his survival depends upon her well-being.”

If one being is the other’s property in that scenario I’d say he has things the wrong way around.

(Because he’s a disgusting misogynist creep.)

John Allman
7 years ago
Reply to  Shiraz

@ Shiraz

“Why didn’t we just let him prattle on like good little girls looking to please a father/husband figure?”

The MRM answer to that rather barbed question (in its wording) would be something like this: “They didn’t let you prattle on mansplaining, because the suffering of some men and some children doesn’t matter to them. Only the suffering of some women matters to them. They are blinded and driven by anger.”

I would simply *love* it if somebody would advance, using neutral language preferably, a more egalitarian-hearted answer to your question than this typical MRM answer.

The verb “mansplaining” was coined as a put-down of men, because they are *only* men. It is iconic of something that is wrong, a dehumanising of anybody who is sceptical of the approach to gender issues found par excellence on this blog, which is *partly* what drives traffic to MRM sites. Is that what you want?

John Allman
7 years ago
Reply to  ridley40

@ ridley40

“It’s interesting that to Mr Allman, the insentient embryo who ‘owns’ the uterus carrier is always ‘he’,.”

It isn’t true. Several times I wrote “he or she”. It it was true, it wouldn’t be “interesting”. It is feature of the English that the male pronoun may be used to embrace both genders in certain sentences.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

John is still here? Tsk tsk, someone doesn’t keep his promises.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
7 years ago

I would simply *love* it if somebody would advance, using neutral language preferably, a more egalitarian-hearted answer to your question than this typical MRM answer.

Everyone! A dude would love it if feminists would start looking after men for a change! What’s that, you say? Feminism is a movement to address and redress the injustices done to women? That asking this is exactly like asking civil rights leaders to stop worrying about racism and racial injustice and start worrying about the concerns of white people?

What’s that? Men demanding that women put their own needs behind the needs of literally everyone else on the planet is bog-standard misogyny, and not refreshingly original thinking after all?

Guess you’re out of luck here, John. You’ve found some women and some men (did you know that there are lots of men here?) who don’t agree that you are the most important person on the planet and that your needs and concerns need to be addressed first in all cases.

zombiefishgirl
zombiefishgirl
7 years ago

“The verb “mansplaining” was coined as a put-down of men, because they are *only* men. It is iconic of something that is wrong, a dehumanising of anybody who is sceptical of the approach to gender issues found par excellence on this blog, which is *partly* what drives traffic to MRM sites. Is that what you want?”

Did John just mansplain mansplaining?

John Allman
7 years ago

@ Policy of Madness

“Thanks for finally admitting that your problem is rage”

I haven’t. It isn’t.

“When it’s women who are powerless, that’s fine,”

No it isn’t.

“You could have .. decided that it is not acceptable for anybody to experience that powerlessness.”

I did decide that.

“you … decided that women must be rendered powerless in order to restore you to your proper position of total authority.”

No I didn’t.

“This makes you a terrible person.”

It might, if any of it were true. None of it is true.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

And still he fails to keep his promise. This really isn’t going to help you convince the judge that you’re a trustworthy parent, John.

John Allman
7 years ago

@ Policy of Madness

“Your entire worldview is based solely on a single case”

No it isn’t.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
7 years ago

I did decide that.

No, you decided that patriarchy is awesome. Patriarchy is the opposite of equality.

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.’

‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all.’

marinerachel
7 years ago

You are tenacious, John. Too bad you don’t listen.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
7 years ago

No it isn’t.

Oh. So I was right, and you are suffering from selection bias, just as I said the first time, and your mighty manly whiiiiiiiiiiiiine to the contrary was so much bullshit.

Again, I apologize for assuming that you are in any way rational or internally consistent.

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