An MRA by any other name

[dropcap]R[/dropcap]ecently I saw suggestions in the comments here that we needed to find an alternative to the use of the term “men’s rights,” and “men’s rights movement.” These were not the utterings of armchair quarterbacks or transient opinions offered by fly-by contributors to our discussions, but from those I would call heavy hitters in the collective thinking of this movement; men whose ideas on the issues I have come to respect and often embrace.

On first blush those ideas would seem to pass muster, for a number of reasons. One, feminism has been so successful in painting powerless men as powerful that to the common ear the term “men’s rights movement,” seems absurd; akin to “White power,” or “Wealthy Rights Movement.”

The people that convinced society of this similarity are the same people that have convinced the world that we have no “male history” celebrations because all history is male history; that we have no “male studies” programs in colleges and universities because all studies (save the sacrosanct women’s programs) are filtered through male dominated worldview, and that we have no Office on Men’s Health because, of course, even health itself has always belonged to men. We have no male liberation, and no need for it, because men, and only men, as a collective, were always free.

Now of course the fembots will scream that they have always held that gender roles have long harmed men, even as they only criticize aspects of those roles that they imagine, if corrected, will serve women more efficiently. But, I digress.

We are also confronted by literally millions of years of biogenetic programming that has largely bred out our capacity to muster compassion for men as a group. Had concern or outrage over the deadly, defeating aspects of male existence ever been allowed to flourish, we would not, in my opinion, be here to have this discussion. Procreation and the furthering of the species had its demands, and catering to the needs of men was never a part of them.

More accurately, the often sadistic exploitation of men, even as it destroyed them, has always been the bread and butter of civilization.

As the effects of the red pill washes away millennia of denial, we have come to see that men have always been the canaries in the coalmine, as well as those with shovels, digging alongside walls that tremble.

That is what the world and humanity has demanded of us, and that is exactly what we have provided, largely without question or dissent.  In a true sense, being concerned with ourselves is considered an act of weakness and a betrayal to the species.

So, in light of these realities, and in particular of our fellow human beings seemingly hard wired aversion to compassion and concern for men, it would seem to make sense to devise some sort of linguistic trickery; a misnomer, tailored and twisted into the appearance of human rights over men’s rights; a device designed to avert the visceral reaction to the idea of rights for men as a collective.

Allow me this pulpit for a moment, if you will, to tell you why I think this cannot work, and why, with all respect to the men whose ideas have helped shape this movement, it is the very antithesis of what we are trying to accomplish.

First, do we imagine that, even as gullible as the general public has proven to be, that we are going to address the plethora of male centered struggles in this culture under another name?

Did “Gender” Studies, as opposed to “Women’s” Studies, impress you? Did even the blue pill masses come to think these programs were about anything but women?

Please note that in the recent thread bringing this subject forward that there were a few statements that indicated we “must find,” another term for men’s rights. And that is precisely where the discussion fizzled out and died. There is a solid reason for that, and my opinion is that the reason is there is nothing else we can call it that makes any sense, or that does not mislead, or that does not open us up to co-opting by other forces, or that does not lead us right back into denial.

We are indeed supporters of all human rights in this movement, but are we to convince the public (or ourselves) that we are not focused and centered on the rights of men and boys, which have been suffering greatly in the last 50 years?

Isn’t it what we do to reach people, painfully and slowly, and help them pull the blinders off, as so many of us already have?

It is men, and men’s rights, that have been targeted quite successfully. We have lost the right to presumed innocence, to face our accusers, to due process, and even to freedom of speech. From parking spots in Korea to trains in India to legislation throughout the west, we increasingly find ourselves in the back of the bus.

Our struggles are ignored and shut out of the mainstream of politics and media as though we, a rapidly growing group of human beings discontent with cultural hatred, do not exist. Indeed, the targeting of males continues to escalate.

What sort of red pill have we taken if we feed all this societal rejection and ignorance? What sort of activism do we practice with a capitulating move to call it something other than what it is? Are we to attempt deception in order to curry favor from those that hate us or acceptance from those who are unfamiliar?

I do not say this as a matter of bravado, but of strategy. In order to continue to draw more men and women to our ranks, we must continue, with absolute clarity, to name the problems and the solutions; honestly, directly and without reservation.

Now, I am not suggesting that we need to hammer the label of “Men’s Rights” into every article and comment we write. Indeed, I do think that staying focused on the subjects that affect our rights serve our purpose better. I do not need to announce every time I object to “Dear Colleague,” that I am an MRA, part of the red pill ingesting MRM.

Pierce and Steve give us a sterling example of issues centered activism at The False Rape Society. I even get mention there of a “False Rape Activist,” of which I am inordinately proud. And, they are correct. I am a false rape activist. But that is just one part of what I do, and more importantly, one part of what is needed. The rest, the entire scope of all things combined, is a need to address the rights of men and boys.

And the moment I change the rhetoric to minimize that fact, to make the idea of men’s rights more palatable, then I am failing to help society develop a taste for which it is long overdue to acquire.

Is it not just more of the social and ideological programming to sugar coat our own identity, or dilute it with PC labels and obfuscating rhetoric?  Isn’t that just blue pill shame come back to sedate us into acquiescence?

I have no reservation about it. My name is Paul Elam and I am proud to be a men’s rights activist.  And I am proud to have created this forum, where growing numbers of men and women call themselves the same.

Growth, in the end, is all we need.  And that is undoubtedly happening, for all the right reasons, the primary of which is that we need to advocate for justice for men and boys, something the world is stripping away each and every day.

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