What if you’re wrong?

On Thursday 4 April, 2013, that’s a question I asked individuals wearing masks, dressed in all black, swatting at me with placards, and shouting through bullhorns.

“MRAs telling lies! We won’t fall for your disguise!”

On the campus of the University of Toronto, this was chanted by self-styled feminists wearing masks. Do I need to point out the obvious stupidity of chanting “we wont fall for your disguise” while wearing masks? Their purpose in attending a scheduled presentation was to intimidate, to threaten, to silence and to attempt to prevent anyone from hearing the scheduled presentation by Drs Nathanson and Young. Those two being co-authors of the books Spreading Misandry, Sanctifying Misandry, and Legalizing Misandry.

Although I chose my moments, I asked this question repeatedly, and in answer, got a limited number of responses. The most popular would be that whoever had a megaphone would point it directly into my face, from inches away, to screech one of several chants with renewed volume and force.

“MRAs telling lies! We won’t fall for your disguise”.

“Shame on you and U of T, for allowing misogyny!”

“Women coming under attack! What do we do? Fight back!”

In one instance of asking this question, a large, masked individual bearing a wooden bludgeon and carrying a placard with my name on it, stepped between me and the feminists protesters. This was a man hiding his face as he threatened violence against anyone who might ask difficult questions, a white knight ready to dispense or absorb violence on behalf of his social betters; those who confer on him his identity as a good, compliant and obedient male.

He wasn’t quite stupid enough to actually strike me, even though his accompanying comrades had come masked and armed, the Bad People (myself and about a dozen other Men’s Human Rights Activists) were all armed with cameras. While I was expecting to be assaulted and was prepared not to raise my own hand in self-defense, I wasn’t clubbed to the ground – despite the published promise of violence from a subset of the U of T student’s union calling themselves by the exciting moniker “The Revolutionary Student’s Movement”.

“What if you’re wrong?” I asked the masked and bludgeon-carrying “protestors” chanting about disguises while beating the floor of the hallway, outside the lecture hall. They responded with the butt-ends of their clubs. “What if you’re wrong?” I repeated. Several of the bludgeons were re-positioned from spear-end floor drumming to hockey-stick blade-style floor beating, directly towards me. I expect this was intended to intimidate me. It didn’t work, not because I’m any kind of brave or tough, it failed to work because I expected it.

I asked yet again: What if you’re wrong?

The answer? Threatening gestures with contrived weapons from the masked members of an angry, shouting mob.

These are the same people who ironically claim, usually without smirking, that their ideology is simply the belief in “equality”. Elevated screaming the preferred response — to drown out the question, or in that question’s persistent asking, the direct and unmistakable threat of extreme violence?

Apparently incoherent screaming and violence is the sum and total of the argument fielded by gender ideologues against anyone addressing the human rights concerns of men and boys – from outside the camp of modem mainstream gender ideology because if there was a coherent argument from the camp of gender ideology, wouldn’t we have heard it by now?

“Patriarchy, Fuckface!!” and “Shut the fuck up!!”. That was offered repeatedly in response and with enthusiasm by the individual given the nickname “Big Red” although this is not, I’m sorry to say, a coherent argument.

“What if you’re wrong?” was asked of the members of an “equality” movement whose response to criticism and to differing opinion was censorship, intimidation and the threat of violence. To be clear, I am not making an argument that these ideologues and protesters are wrong in their characterizations of those of us who disagree. Rather, it is simply a real question. What if, in their enthusiasm to silence, to threaten, and to condemn – these social justice warriors have picked the wrong side of an actual human rights movement?

What if (in spite of their screeching insistence that anyone not conforming to their own narrow conception of “correct” thinking – academics, educators, human rights activists and even non-conforming feminists like Christina Hoff Sommers) all these people they are opposing do not advocate the legalization of rape? What if Dr Warren Farrell, a world-renowned educator and senior academic, is not an advocate of incest, and what if he further does not think rape is exciting? Those two claims were made repeatedly by gender ideologues, based on a single out-of-context quote by Dr Farrell.

What if the activists at AVfM, which include men, women, gays, lesbians, of every continent and ethnicity, are not actually a clan of woman-hating, rape-enabling violent terrorists and ingesters of kittens? What if the consistent message of the writing at AVfM is the humanity of men and boys, and the equivalent humanity, as well as adult responsibility of women? What if we actually mean what we say in more than 1900 feature-length articles so far published on the site?

What if the female principals at AVFM, including Karen Straughan, Kristina Hansen, Asha James, Dr Tara Palmatier, Dr Elly Tams, Suzanne McCarley, and Erin Pizzey – what if these are self-determined women and NOT puppets of the evil patriarch Paul (Male) Elam? What if these women have not simply internalized their own misogyny?

What if the Men’s Human Rights Movement is exactly what it says it is, a grass-roots human rights movement?

I’m not claiming in this article that the M(H)RM is this, I’m just asking: what if?

Consider the most recent and splashy actions of those who oppose this movement: the attempts to silence; the attempts in Toronto to bring violence to the conversation; the published intention to use violence against any identified Men’s Human Rights Activists followed by the carrying of wooden bludgeons by the “protesters” of the Nathanson and Young lecture at the U of T.

What if, reading this right now, you are one of those masked, bludgeon-carrying individuals? Was it the cameras that stopped you from going any farther? Without a durable video record of your behavior, would you have bashed in some heads in that hallway?

Indeed, there is video on the web now of the gender ideologues “protesting” that event, claiming that the speaker at that event supports rape. Notwithstanding that Dr Farrell supports no such thing, you protesters didn’t even know who you were protesting. When challenged on the context of the quote, mined from Dr Farrell’s writing and stripped of Dr Farrell’s intended meaning, most of you admitted you had read nothing of his work.

You admitted a nearly total ignorance of the nature of his writing and work. When corrected on just who was speaking that you were so eager to protest, did you re-asses your absolute condemnation of the event? Nope. In video recorded by independent film-maker Stephen Brule, at least two of you said “anyway” or “whatever” and changed the topic. You didn’t even know who was speaking or what you were so eager to silence. You didn’t even want to know who or what you were silencing.

So. What if you’re wrong?

Hell. What if you’re right? What if all the outrageous claims, the rape apologetics, the incest support, the internalized misogyny by every female MHRA and the deep down evil of every male MHRA – what if all that is true?

What if the evidence of all this malice-claimed-by-you was right inside the doors? What if Dr Paul Nathanson hates women and homosexuals? Nevermind that he is gay. What if Dr Katherine Young hates women and supports the rape of children? What if Dr Warren Farrell really does support incest and rape? What if AVfM’s Dan Perrins and John the Other are violent, woman hating monsters?

You did your level best to erase the evidence of this claimed-by-you misogyny. Why? Shouldn’t exposing these monsters be at the top of your to-do list? How do you expect to succeed in your great social justice project by suppressing the “evidence” of your own claims?

For that matter, how do you imagine bringing a bludgeon will help your cause when those you oppose bring cameras? How can censorship help you at an event which had the explicit purpose of open communication and dialog?

Considering that is, if you’re right.

What if it turns out that you are on the wrong side of history? What if you are fighting against a valid human rights movement? You know, fighting against a valid human rights movement with bull horns, threats of violence and bludgeons?

What if you’re wrong?

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