Leveling up to the red pill

There are as many red pill stories as there are Men’s Human Rights Activits (MHRAs), Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOWs), Honey Badgers (women who support the men’s movement), and anti-feminists. There is no single way, and the discovery of greater awareness is rarely a quick process, often a lonely journey, and by its very nature can’t come without a dose of pain and confusion.

For some men, the red pill can only be found after a profound trauma, a terrible abuse that plants a seed of skepticism and draws them out into the light of truth. For others, it is found in the mounting realization that society isn’t delivering on its promises. For me, there was no single event. Instead of a red pill moment, I had a red pill progression. I am an MHRA because I know it is a right and just cause, and I am compelled to activism by the ever-growing library of truth and facts I discover and the visceral need to combat all the hate and lies that oppose their illumination. I know that now, but it was a slow, grating march toward truth that challenged the world as I had been raised to see it.

Like most MHRAs, as a young man I needed a red pill in the worst possible way (though I didn’t know it then). I was raised in a liberal feminist family, but that handicap was offset somewhat, I think, by my sisters. Don’t get me wrong, my sisters aren’t bad siblings, but thanks to them I never harbored any delusions of female purity or innate virtue; I always knew girls were people, not snowflakes, and my upbringing was more egalitarian than most. That’s why I’ve never been a skirt-chaser or a full-blown white knight. I was taught the feminist narrative and believed it, though. My mother isn’t a raving rad-fem, and I have a good relationship with my father, but I believed in “chivalry” and opposed “sexism” and all that. There never seemed any reason to question those things, but then something happened that started me down my path to the MHRM: I became a gamer.

First it was video games like Skies of Arcadia and Knights of the Old Republic, then after high school I got into tabletop role-playing games, specifically Dungeons and Dragons (Edition 3.5, thank you very much). As far as my feminism was concerned, that was the beginning of the end. Strange, I know, and there was no reason to suspect any such thing would happen; I started playing DnD on a whim, and it wasn’t the gaming itself that did it, but the creativity it inspired that liberated my mind and eventually let me slay the beast of my own feminism and loot that wonderful red pill.

Dungeons and Dragons is a brilliant platform for interactive storytelling. I don’t play anymore, but I still believe that. I immediately took to the role of game-mastering, and I was the type who loved to do home-brew (creating original content from scratch). I invented complex worlds, new species, classes, and abilities, etc. It was a fantastic creative experience, but my favorite part was inventing societies. I was probably inspired by my love of Star Trek and its exploration of speculative cultures, so I did the same in Dungeons and Dragons, writing whole explanations of cultures, their customs, dress, sport, rituals, religions. I even wrote pieces of short fiction exploring a “day in the life” of a citizen of these societies, and through this I explored a wide breadth of concepts as creative exercises.

There was one of my creations in particular that proved the most impactful on my life even long after I put away the dice. It was a culture of elves (yeah, like Lord of the Rings, but less Orlando Bloom), a society at war with a neighboring state. I toyed with ideas of what kind of people they might be, and then, inspired by elves’ androgyny, I decided to do a gender flip. They’re at war, but what if women were the soldiers?

What followed was the thought experiment that changed my life and made me an MHRA. I figured, if the women were the soldiers, then the men would take on the women’s roles and duties, and by extension their problems. Wouldn’t it be interesting, said my young, unformed brain, if men were the oppressed sex? You know, hypothetically (wink, wink). So I ran some Google searches. It’s been far too long, so I don’t remember what exactly I searched for, but I came across some highly unexpected Wikipedia pages. They talked of bizarre concepts like male under-representation in education and the bias of divorce courts.

I’d never heard such ideas. Men suffering from systemic socially ingrained biases and misconceptions leading to mistreatment and a lack of recognition for their pain?

It can’t be!

But it was, and only more and more so as I read further. Fathers’ rights became of particular interest to me, and I was becoming ever more astounded by the depths of abuse leveled on fathers and children. I remember sharing these horror stories with friends and family and feeling genuinely aghast. Even more horrifying, I would soon realize, was the sheer ignorance surrounding these issues.

Getting back to Dungeons and Dragons, I continued to explore these social issues in my own private way as part of my gaming. I created more gender-flipped societies, and in my naiveté I even wrote up one with two social castes of women, one of which practiced the radical feminism I was becoming increasingly aware of in the real world and the other that stuck to “good feminism.”

Ah, youth.

Eventually I stopped playing Dungeons and Dragons, but I still game here and there, and enjoy science-fiction more than anything. My eyes had been opened, however, and though I hadn’t yet realized it there was no turning back. I kept reading about men’s issues, and as I began writing fiction I integrated these issues into my stories. A month didn’t seem to go by where I didn’t come upon yet another social ill facing men. Healthcare, life expectancy, suicide, general legal bias, lack of reproductive rights. The list grew, and grows still, like the endless chains of quests and bosses to be faced in an RPG. I knew I couldn’t fix these problems, but it would’ve been comforting if at least they’d stopped spawning!

Through all this, I continually came back to a single core fact: ignorance is the greatest enemy of men’s rights. I was kept ignorant, through no malice of my parents, for years, and when I discovered men’s issues I was perpetually shocked not just by the terrible severity of these social wrongs, but also by the very fact that I hadn’t heard of them. How could men be suffering so much without anyone talking about it?

I wanted to be one of the people who would talk about it. I toyed with the ideas in my role-playing, I touched on the issues in my fiction, I began blogging about portrayals of men in the media, and eventually, after a chance click-through from an article on the National Parents Organization, I found A Voice for Men. Within a year I had published my first article here.

And I will continue to do so because these issues matter, and because people still aren’t talking about it. Some men only find out after their lives are ruined in the military, divorce court, or by a rape accusation; many women have to see the pain of their brothers, sons, husband, or father to realize what is wrong; if I hadn’t asked that simple question, What if women were the soldiers?, I might have never found out. I could’ve kept swallowing the blue pill, gone neck-deep into student debt, married the first Mary Sue to come along just to get people to stop asking if I’m gay, and be waiting for my turn on the gallows of manhood before I saw through all the lies.

I got lucky. I asked questions. I was stubborn enough to not back down. Things like role-playing and science-fiction are male-dominated, maybe because they look past how reality is and wonder how it could be. That is a powerful lens through which to discover new ideas, but also to see the truth of the world around us. More men need to ask those tough questions because the answers are out there if they look.

That is how the MHRM will grow, through the process of discovery. We don’t indoctrinate with ego-stroking and victim narratives; we illuminate with facts, with the stories of real people. When enough men and women learn the truth, it will begin to spread even faster, and someday men won’t have to suffer those brutal scars or stumble on the truth by accident; it will be freely available to be assessed just like every other philosophy, rejected or accepted by each individual.

Even more than that, I look forward to the day A Voice for Men is graced by an author who can honestly say, “I didn’t have a red pill moment” because he or she was raised right, was taught the truth by mother and father, and never had to overcome the handicap of indoctrination and misinformation. That will be the generation that doesn’t just advocate men’s rights but lives them. That is our endgame.

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