The second not-quite-annual International Conference on Men’s Issues in London didn’t get a lot of media attention when it happened in early July. Actually, as far as I can tell, it didn’t get any, aside from a brief and somewhat silly post on a blog called We Hunted the Mammoth, which, come to think of it, is my blog, the one right here.
The media blackout may have had something to do with the organizers’ insistence that members of the press pay full ticket price — £265 — for the honor of covering the conference. Or maybe no one really cared? I mean, Men’s Rights is so last year. Or maybe so two years ago.
Well, the media has finally gotten around to covering the event. A piece in The Guardian today reports, rather belatedly, that Tory MP Philip Davies gave a talk at the conference, attacking “feminist zealots” for promoting a legal system that, in his estimation, discriminates against men. Davies’ speech seems to have been rather standard MRA fare, claiming that “militant feminists” want “equality … only when it suits [their] agenda.”
“For example, we hear plenty about increasing the numbers of women on company boards and female representation in parliament,” Davies and his Amazing Haircut declared. “However, there’s a deafening silence when it comes to increasing the number of men who have custody of their children or who have careers as midwives.”
In the US, at least, men who actually ask for custody get it most of the time. And are there really a lot of men clamoring to get into midwifery? Is anyone actually blocking them from this career path?
The Guardian article devotes nearly as much time to the event’s organizer — Mike Buchanan of the spectacularly unsuccessful Justice for Men and Boys party — and the other conference speakers as it does to Davies and his speech. As The Guardian reports,
Davies appeared alongside controversial figures including Herbert Purdy, an anti-feminist blogger who has written posts such as “The exquisite beauty of patriarchy”, and who argues that [female education activist Malala] Yousafzai could be more dangerous than Bin Laden.
Also speaking at the conference? The Canadian blogger and former Twitter activist known as Janet Bloomfield, whom, the Guardian notes,
has called single mothers “bona fide idiots” who don’t care about their children’s wellbeing, and writes blogposts with titles such as “Why Don’t We Have a Dumb Fucking Whore Registry? Now That Would Be Justice.”
Hey, all publicity is good publicity, right?
As is so often the case when it comes to Men’s Rights activism, the real action is taking place in the comments, of which there are more than 3000. (The total was 2966 when I started writing this post; by the time I got back to the comments they had been closed after reaching a staggering 3130.)
As far as I can tell from my quick scan through the comments — you don’t expect me to read them all, do you? — most of the story’s readers were not exactly impressed with Davies or his MRA friends. One referred to Men’s Rights activism as being “for people who find train-spotting too challenging.” Another wrote that MRAs “are only a little above the KKK in stupidity.”
“Christ, what an insufferable bellend,” one remarked of Davies himself. Another suggested that the MP “has raised idiocy to the level of performance art.”
The MRAs who showed up for this battle responded in kind.
“Women belong in the Kitchen and in Bed,” declared one.
“About [time] there was a backlash against the pansification of the country, good on yer son,” wrote another.
Amazingly. I didn’t see any of A Voice for Men’s flying monkey internet comment spam squad (AVFMFMICSS) in the comments. Maybe they’re all bored with Men’s Rights activism too.
H/T — Too many to mention!