As we reported in a recent article, during last month’s hugely successful Melbourne meetup, we assembled some great and highly dedicated MHRAs and achieved a great deal. It was a privilege to have the opportunity to meet with them face to face, and an enjoyable time was had by all. What we did not report, however, was that after about half of us had said our farewells and left for the afternoon, the group began discussing the slightly odd behaviour of one of the attendees, a young man going by the pseudonym “Jordan Jennings.” We suspected he’d been less than straight with us and perhaps had ulterior motives but concluded that that seemed unlikely because who would go to the trouble of “infiltrating” an open public meeting? The truth is, the meetup in Melbourne had been open to anybody who wanted to come–even feminists–providing they agreed to be civil. The fact that “Jordan” had contacted us out of the blue claiming to want to get involved in activism while having no known posting history on any men’s rights forum or blog, his clichéd “backstory,” his readily apparent lack of knowledge of any men’s issues, his reluctance to engage in discussion, his lack of interest in the people present, and his rapid departure seemed quite out of place to us.
So when VICE Magazine published an article entitled “I Infiltrated a Men’s Rights Group,” we were not particularly surprised.
Now, I should point out that we actually don’t mind at all that he attended. It’s not like we were hiding anything, and as mentioned above, it was a completely public meeting. The main question I have is “Why?” Why would anyone bother to “infiltrate” a meeting that he would have been more than welcome to attend anyway had he simply asked? It’s a complete mystery to us. Perhaps he thought that if we didn’t know his real intentions, he would catch us out being the hateful misogynists that he obviously thought we would be (and seems disappointed that we aren’t). Perhaps he just assumed that this was some sort of closed secret gathering. Who knows? All we know of his intentions is what he claims, which is that he came because he wanted to:
understand something about [MRAs] outside of their din of blog posts and YouTube videos.
Yet, despite having had a golden opportunity to question us and initiate discussion on any issue he liked, he didn’t even so much as ask a single question or participate in discussion on any issue. In fact, during the very brief time he was there, he barely engaged at all. That doesn’t seem like the actions of someone with a genuine desire to understand the MHRM better to me. On the contrary, after reading his article, it is clear that his entire approach was merely an attempt to justify his preconceived ideas and biases about who we are and what we think. I’m not surprised, but I am disappointed.
After reading the piece penned by “Jordan”–or, rather, “Kane” as he identifies himself in the article–I find that I’m not particularly impressed with it, as it reflects precisely the lack of engagement he displayed at the meetup. Criticism is not the issue here, but rather his ignorance. If I wrote an article on feminism that displayed a similar level of ignorance about the ideology’s core beliefs, frankly I’d be embarrassed. I have no idea whether Kane identifies as a feminist or if he has just been indoctrinated by our society’s pervasive gynocentric worldview, but whatever the case, it really is a poor piece of journalism. It’s great echo-chamber propaganda, which is I suspect how such a shoddy article got to be published in the first place.
But as a vehicle for achieving Kane’s stated purpose of understanding MHRAs? It fails on just about every front. There are three primary reasons for this:
- Bias–Kane came to the meeting carrying a huge amount of baggage in the form of preconceived ideas about us and didn’t have the professional detachment necessary to put that aside and be objective. Instead he simply projected his biases onto the events he witnessed, thus completely misinterpreting them in the process.
- Ignorance–He has only a very superficial knowledge of the actual issues, goals, and views held by the bulk of the MHRM. Most of his beliefs about us are based on standard feminist misrepresentations or just plain ignorance. He has very little idea about what we really think, and this is just as apparent in his article as it was to us at the meeting. Perhaps if Kane had actually done his homework before attending our meeting and read or listened to some of the MHRM’s “din of blog posts and YouTube videos,” as he describes it, perhaps he would have had a much better idea of what he was witnessing, thus giving his readers some actual facts to consider rather than just anti-MHRM propaganda.
- Intentions–Despite his claims of wanting to better understand us, he really had no genuine interest in finding out what we really think or why we do what we do. He had every opportunity to ask questions and discuss issues with us at the meeting but simply couldn’t be bothered or didn’t think it was important. This reveals a fundamental disinterest in learning or reporting the truth and uncovers his true aim of broadcasting his predetermined stereotypes. He had no desire to discover and report the facts–his goal from the very start was merely to air his preconceived opinions on the MHRM.
Kane isn’t shy about declaring his prejudices, as we can see from the very first line of his article:
I, like most people I know, am indignant at the very idea of men’s rights activists.
He is indignant, don’t y’know? At the very idea! He gives no reasoning for this indignation so we are left to guess as to why he finds it so outrageous. Is he a bigot who believes that men are less than human somehow and therefore don’t deserve equal rights? Is he labouring under the misconception that men already have more rights than women? The only hint to his state of mind is a long yawn-fest of typical shaming language:
The idea of a bunch of little man babies screaming about the evil militant feminists stealing their rights feels galling.
The fact that MHRAs exist simply feels bad to him, and this is supposed to suffice as a justification for why we should not exist. This is a common pattern among post-modernist “thinkers” like feminists. Contrary to 400 years of scientific discovery, they seem to believe that feelings are at least as valid as facts, and Kane is apparently no exception in this. His entire article is riddled with emotional reasoning, attempts at shaming, and flat-out derision, but he includes not a single logical argument or fact.
I wish I could say I am surprised, especially about the shaming language, but sadly I am not. MHRAs are used to seeing this sort of shaming language thrown at them, but it no longer has an impact on most because we now recognize it for what it is: an attempt to silence men whenever they complain about the injustices that are done to them. Being told to stop bothering society with petty details like the violation of our human rights simply isn’t going to work anymore; the genie is very much out of the bottle and it’s not going to be shamed into going back in.
Kane continues to berate us for our supposed paranoia by calling us out for wanting our individual privacy respected:
They are tremendously concerned about not being identified….The meeting place and time wasn’t published on the forum …
Gee, I wonder why? Could it be the fact that feminists have a long history of making death threats, blocking access to events and harassing attendees, disrupting academic lectures, assembling violent mobs, and just generally being arsehats? The truth is we had very good reasons for not publicly announcing the location in advance. We didn’t want our meeting disrupted and the Young & Jackson Hotel staff and patrons disturbed by mobs of angry feminists yelling, pulling fire alarms, and making a nuisance of themselves. Any feminist who had contacted us and asked to attend (and agreed not to be disruptive), however, would have been more than welcome-we just didn’t want a noisy, disruptive, potentially dangerous mob waiting for us. The fact that Kane fails to acknowledge this is, once again, indicative of his ignorance and biases. Instead of educating himself on this, or even just asking us, he prefers to impugn us by implying that we are paranoid.
None of Kane’s ranting about our existence really bothers me, nor does it bother any of the other MRAs I know who have read his article. What was most disheartening, though, was his dismissal of the violation of our collective human rights as merely the capriciousness of the legal system:
It’s, perhaps, easier to rail against institutions they feel prosecute and punish their shared manhood than deal with the idea that they suffered an injustice — but that injustice may have been meted out capriciously or through the failure of individuals rather than large-scale systems.
Kane is obviously blissfully unaware that the system he denies is abusive with a wave of his hand clearly isn’t merely capricious, and that the abused men whose eyes he had to look into were not simply random victims of unthinking incompetence. The unjust outcomes of this system display a clear and unambiguous pattern of discrimination against men and in favour of women, as evidenced by the following examples:
- Mothers still receive full or primary custody after divorce in upwards of 80% of cases. In the few cases where they do get primary custody, fathers are 16% less likely to receive child support, and in the few cases where he does, he receives less on average than the mother does.
- Women receive, on average, over 60% less jail time than men, even when offense, criminal history, and other pre-charge observables are taken into consideration. Female arrestees are also significantly more likely to avoid charges and convictions entirely, and are twice as likely as men to avoid incarceration if convicted.
- Despite the fact that approximately 40% of domestic violence victims are male, very few, if any, shelters or other services exist to help them and the children they are protecting when they flee an abusive relationship. Furthermore, the feminist-inspired “Duluth model,” coupled with police “primary aggressor” and “mandatory arrest” policies, have resulted in a situation in many countries where male victims of DV are actually being arrested & charged rather than being assisted, even when it is clear that they are the victim rather than the perpetrator and even when it was they who called the police in search of protection. Not only is this a gross injustice, but it also deters a male victim from seeking help in the first place because of the well-founded fear that it will be him, and not his female abuser, who is arrested if he calls the police.
For the sake of brevity I will limit myself to these three examples, but there are a least a dozen more just like these where the government, courts, educational systems, and non-governmental institutions all systematically discriminate against men and favour women in a wide range of areas. The evidence is clear that these unjust outcomes are not simply a case of the failure of individuals, or the indiscriminate nature of a blind capricious system, but are a systematic targeting of men and men only. Kane doesn’t know this, and that’s fine if you’re a nobody with an opinion, but if you’re going to pretend to be a journalist you have an ethical obligation to do better. Again, had he just raised the issue, we would have been only too happy to enlighten him, and even give him references he could use to check the facts for himself.
Yet again, however, he preferred to rely on pure ignorance-based speculation and his preconceived notions of MHRAs.
After this, his article unfortunately degenerates even further into caricature designed purely to arouse emotions of contempt in the reader:
looking around the table, they looked exactly how I thought they would. Self-awareness has its limits, I guess.
I have no idea what he expected us to look like, but I can tell you this: attendees ranged in age from 22 to late middle age, with a wide range of ethnic backgrounds including Middle Eastern, Indigenous Australian, South Asian, Mediterranean, and Eastern European, as well as your standard white European-Australian. We were bearded and clean-shaven, had long and short hair (or no hair at all). We wore shirts and ties and T-shirts and jeans. We were short and tall, fat and skinny, and everything in between. About the only thing we all had in common was that we were male, which should come as no shock. Quite frankly I just don’t believe Kane when he says we all looked exactly how he thought we would. The statement comes across more as a balm to soothe his own conscience than anything else. In fact, that’s how the entire final paragraph sounds:
I was disturbed by how easily anti-feminist rhetoric came out of my mouth, how easy it was to lock into a hateful groove …
Kane was ultimately faced with the humanity of the men he’d hitherto chosen to hate. Hearing their stories and how they’d decided to band together to do something about it seems to have caused such painful cognitive dissonance that he’d had to leave and have that dissonance healed. I suspect Kane wrote his article more to reassure himself of his own moral righteousness than for any other reason, and the pleading tone certainly comes through strongly toward the end.
Sadly, for people of Kane’s mindset, criticism of the excesses of feminism is in itself hateful. It’s not an ideology to be examined or critiqued, but a holy dogma that must not be questioned on pain of politically correct sanction. We can only hope that with the changes that the MHRM seeks, young Kane will never have to be one of those same damaged men sitting in a pub seeking to put things right.