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The ridiculous Men's Rights Activists on last night's Parks and Rec? Nowhere near as ridiculous as real MRAs

The "Male Men" on Parks and Rec
The “Male Men” on Parks and Rec

So Parks and Recreation had its Men’s Rights episode last night.

Well, sort of: A gaggle of MRAs made a few appearances in the ep, as one of the obstacles that Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) has to contend with as the wife of a political candidate.

There were a few great moments:

The leader of the “Male Men” – as the fictional MRAs called themselves – announcing to the world that “men have had a very rough go of it for… just recently. And it ends now!”

The MRA leader on a local news show, asking plaintively “can we have ONE conversation about feminism where men get to be in charge?”

The magnificent Ms. Knope finally getting a chance to tell the MRAs what she (and no doubt Poehler herself) really thinks of them:

lesleyknopeonMRAs
“You’re ridiculous. And Men’s Rights is nothing.”

But in some ways the episode fell a bit flat, because, as wrong, and cranky and, yes, ridiculous as the “Male Men” were, they were nowhere near as wrong and cranky and ridiculous as MRAs in the real world.

Take a look again at the fictional MRAs in the pic above. Then look at the real MRAs at their only real  rally so far, this poorly attended soiree in Toronto in 2013.

Toronto's Somewhat-less-than-a-million Men's March
Toronto’s Somewhat-Less-Than-a-Million Men’s March

Yes, that’s A Voice for Men’s’s Dean Esmay, sans fake Twitter followers, at the mic, and AVFM head cheese Paul Elam in the back, with an unreadable sign and an I HEART FTSU t-shirt. (FTSU stands for “Fuck Their Shit Up,” a good slogan for a movement of bullies whose emotional development stopped at the age of 15 or so.)

Then compare the signs of Parks and Rec’s fake MRAs with the actual graphics work of the real Men’s Rights Movement. Like these classic A Voice for Men posters, which I can assure you I am not making up:

ArtMisPrincessCupcake avfm-poster-pear-cultureI’m serious. THESE ARE REAL. I DID NOT MAKE THEM UP.

On the Parks and Rec ep, the “Woman Against Feminism” representative was a somewhat dowdy and deferential middle-aged woman – a bit of a stereotype, really.

In real life, the woman who was the public face of last year’s #WomenAgainstFeminism campaign calls herself “JudgyBitch.” She’s a proudly dishonest ideologue who has attacked the teenage victim in the Steubenville rape case as a “dumb fucking whore,” described the late British entertainer and serial child sexual abuser Jimmy Savile as the victim of conniving teenage girls, and gotten herself permanently kicked off of Twitter (no small feat) for her “targeted abuse” of feminist writer Jessica Valenti (some of which is detailed here).

On Parks and Rec, the Men’s Rights leader embarrassed himself with a few foolish outbursts on a local TV chat show.

But if you want to see a real-life public relations disaster for the Men’s Rights movement, well, take a look at Esmay’s appearance on a Fox affiliate in Detroit.

Or JudgyBitch aka Janet Boomfield’s hoarse-voiced and overly animated appearance on the Today Show, seemingly reporting live from some sort of underground bunker.  (Her appearance starts 38 seconds in, if you’re in a hurry.)

In a way, though, I feel a bit sorry for the writers of Parks and Rec. If they had portrayed the Men’s Rights Movement as it really is, it would have been dismissed by most viewers as ludicrously over-the-top. Unless you’ve encountered the real Men’s Rights movement up close and personal, it’s almost impossible to believe it’s as ridiculous and terrible as it really is.

Oh, the other thing wrong with the show? The MRAs actually showed up for a demonstration. In real life they would have simply swarmed news articles about Lesley Knope’s campaign appearances with a thousand incoherently angry comments, then doxxed her.

Hell, they’ll probably spend most of today swarming articles about the Parks and Rec episode, showing the world with each new comment just how hard they are to parody. (Happily, they won’t be able to dox Ms. Knope, as she is a fictional character.)

In any case, any sitcom writers in search of more embarrassing details about the real Men’s Rights movement are invited to take a stroll through the archives.

H/T — Jaclyn Friedman, for alerting me to the episode; nothing safe is worth the drive for the Knope pics.

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Inez Milholland
Inez Milholland
7 years ago

David, did you watch the “ripped from the headlines,” Gamerghazi-inspired SVU episode? It’s blowing up on my news feed and the consensus seems to be universal loathing.

The Gamerghazians hate it because they’d NEVER rape and torture a woman (they draw the line at *threatening* to rape and torture women :/) and everyone else hates it because it’s a dishonest depiction of how the authorities have actually handled the online harassment and bullying of real people.

I can’t imagine Brianna or Zoe sitting through a television episode, watching an avatar of themselves getting brutalized for ratings. I would be livid, quite honestly.

Lisa C (@hppykittystudio)

“David, did you watch the “ripped from the headlines,” Gamerghazi-inspired SVU episode? It’s blowing up on my news feed and the consensus seems to be universal loathing.

The Gamerghazians hate it because they’d NEVER rape and torture a woman (they draw the line at *threatening* to rape and torture women :/) and everyone else hates it because it’s a dishonest depiction of how the authorities have actually handled the online harassment and bullying of real people.

I can’t imagine Brianna or Zoe sitting through a television episode, watching an avatar of themselves getting brutalized for ratings. I would be livid, quite honestly.”

I just finished watching it now. It’s definitely over sensationalized as Law and Order episodes often are, but all the same difficult to watch. If I were a game developer, I’d be even more disturbed.

misseb47
misseb47
7 years ago
Reply to  lith

“They’re far more interested in dragging everyone else down than they are in improving their lot. It’s never, “We’d like to make this change to improve our lives”, it’s always, “We’d like to make this change to make other people’s lives worse”.”

Yeah, I totally agree. I would actually support the male rights movement if they actually did something to improve the lives of men and did something practical. But no! They just complain and spouting hate. They don’t actually want to help men, they just want to undo over 200 years of hard work done by the feminists. They can’t stand the fact that women worked hard at gaining independence and rights and that we are actually succeeding. If just stopped the hate and the laziness and followed our example, I wouldn’t have a problem with them at all.

misseb47
misseb47
7 years ago
Reply to  proxieme

That’s awesome! 😀 I am sure that he would make a very positive difference in the world.

Unfortunately, the MRM groups tend to attract the most embittered and extremist individuals. Most moderates who generally want to help improve the lives of men are put off by their extreme misogynistic ideologies and leave or don’t get involved at all. Instead, they just seem to work on their own and or join groups not associated with the MRM.

misseb47
misseb47
7 years ago
Reply to  lith

PS

MMMMMM!! Thanks for the scented candles! I love the smell of misandry in the morning. XD

Thomas
Thomas
7 years ago

The Male Men’s pickets look like Westboro Baptist Church pickets. Possibly saying “take that” to both?

brokencandy
brokencandy
7 years ago

lith- actually, “court discrimination against men in custody issues” is NOT a real complaint that needs fixing. Having looked into the issue, the real reason that men rarely have equal or primary custody of children after a divorce is because- get this- they don’t WANT primary or equal custody of their children. 94% of post-divorce custody arrangements are made by mutual agreement of the parties themselves without court interference. When men do petition for custody, they are granted it 50% of the time. They are not discriminated against on any significant level.

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