Gray Ribbon Day

Another video too important not to feature. Kudos and much admiration to Ben. PE


What’s up, You Tube? I’ve been really busy lately with schooling; haven’t had time to do any videos lately, but I did want to at least stop and hit the high points of the rally I conducted at Mississippi State last Thursday.

As most of my viewers probably know, it was a parody in response to college males receiving anti-sexual-violence and anti-domestic-violence training. I try to get people out of their comfort zones. Some of the highlights included the argument that stereotyping gay and lesbian students as sexual abusers is not tolerated at Mississippi State – so why is naming men specifically as potential abusers being funded by our University public grant money?

Ironically, those who lead our young men into collective apology for male specific misdeeds are generally regarded as progressives, from whom we receive guidance on social issues. An advertisement for an event like “Walk A Mile In His Jockstrap” actually generated some productive and positive discussion, I think.

There are lots of efforts to ‘liberate’ all persons such as the LGBT community, minorities and women from any form of stereotype. However, when we hear talk about men and boys, it is always about ‘fixing’ us, telling us how to be ‘better’ men and boys. How to not abuse women and girls is being sold to us as the only politically-correct male issue.

How helpful is it for a man to stand in high heels and say over an outdoor sound system that he understands that the overwhelming number of perpetrators of rape and incest is men? Where are we as a Nation when the only culturally acceptable way to address men as a group is by simply asking them to ‘man up’ and be better men? There are no efforts to curb male-on-male violence, for example. In fact, men at MSU are led to speak up for women and defend them with no regard for their own safety.

I actually had a fair amount of supporters, received a lot of handshakes and even a couple of high-fives from some girls around campus who agreed with me. This goes to show everyone that being part of the non-feminist world view has nothing to do with encroaching women’s rights or their well-being. Talking about men and boys has absolutely nothing to do with women at all – which should be a no-brainer. Characterizing non-feminist persons for social change for men as ‘woman-haters’ is far off the mark.

Some arguments that I was faced with include the following: “Well, if men are causing problems for women, we should not hide the statistics. If it is true that most social abusers and physical abusers of women and children are men, then why hide that information?”

And my counter-argument was along the lines of, “Okay, so perhaps I can do some digging, and find some equally inflammatory and half-baked advocacy research, conducted by, say, the Ku Klux Klan, that says that most rapists are Black or Jewish. Would Blacks or Jews say, well, if the statistics are true, that Blacks or Jews are committing the lion’s share of incest and rape, then why hide this fact?”

I asked how they know the statistics are true that so many college men are rapists – and was told on more than one occasion that it is based on survey questions and anecdotal evidence, because women don’t report it when they’re raped, commonly. Is anyone else asking how this even makes sense? Why would a woman who is legitimately raped not report it? Again, this has nothing to do with real victims. It has to do with the fact that people respond viscerally to the term ‘rape’! And that term is being used like malware, to tear men and women apart.

Other arguments included the following: “Just one rape is too many. You agree with that, don’t you?”

Of course one rape is too many. I should not even have to answer that question. But what does that have to do with me? What does that have to do with an awareness rally? We can curb rape, and also improve the situation for men at the same time. It is not a zero-sum game.

We talk about women’s issues most of the time here – actually, make that all of the time. Every time an event is held that has anything to do with gender issues, it is either about ‘fixing’ men and boys, and regarding masculinity as patently dangerous to women and girls, or it is about women being victims of men. Is this really a mature and responsible way to handle sex issues on a college campus? Simply blaming one sex … and support groups for the other?

I pointed out very clearly that there needs to be strong advocates on the side of women who are real victims, but that message is abundant here – every other day of the school year. And that men need advocacy at least <i>some</i> of the time. We have women’s advocacy going on every single day of our school year, with many massively-funded and staffed offices with the stated purpose of insuring MSU serves the best interests of women. They seem to be hostile, judging from my overall take on their activism….

We need a ‘Violence Act’ not a ‘Violence Against Women Act.’

My right to protest was upheld by my college leadership. I was proud of MSU, and everyone who upheld my right to organize here. I was treated with professionalism every step of the way.

But why is my safety in danger when I provide an answer – to White Ribbon Day – that unfairly characterizes women, even though I make it fully clear that I am only conducting an educational exercise, and do not mean much, if any of it, literally? While events that actually do unfairly characterize men do not even require security? It seems that my safety was in danger, but theirs wasn’t.

Other arguments I received were, “We have far, far too many women getting sexually assaulted on this campus for you to be out here doing what you’re doing.”

Okay, first of all, I agree that one assault is one too many. But we had a male student murdered on this campus last semester, too – and just one murder is one too many, also. I think the person that had this argument meant well, and this might not have been the entirety of his argument; but advocating for men and boys and talking about the real challenges that we face, including false accusations, does not trivialize the challenges women face.

At one point I was approached by a self-professed feminist. I listened politely as she told me that we live in a misogynistic culture, in which men call women ‘bitch’ and ‘slut’ as if they’re talking about the weather. We later talked about Katherine Kieu Becker, and the reaction of the cast and the audience of the women on ‘The Talk.’

I had a counselor ask me at one point, “When you’ve gone to a party in the past, man, and aggressive behavior and fighting occurred, did you see mostly women behave this way, or men?”

And to that I say – it seems that we only want to talk about fixing men, again.

When the counselor said that to me I pointed out that the only time that I’ve seen men become violent after heavy drinking, there was always women in the picture. I’ve never seen a fight among drinking men when no women were in the vicinity. This is an issue that involves both men and women, and simply trying to fix men and treating women as victims is not going to work.

Men on this campus are asked to intervene, to defend women at the cost of violence to themselves. The message is clear: Violence that might fall upon a woman, is a much worse problem than actual violence against men, up to and including the murder of male students less than two thousand feet from the Office of Relationship Violence. The campus office could be more appropriately named the Office of Violence Prevention, and could get its funding not from the Office of Violence Against Women, but from, say, the Office of Violence Against People.

Another argument that I received, from a psychologist here at Mississippi State, was, “When women abuse drugs or alcohol they often become withdrawn and depressed, so it is much tougher to identify their needs – making them a priority.”

Okay – I think people who have substance abuse problems need priority in receiving assistance – not women, just because they are emotionally more needy. (If that was the argument. I’m not suggesting that they are.)

See, we often hear of all the different emotional considerations that are needed for women, when it benefits them. But then, we hear people turn around and insist that women are equal to men in every way, and there are no emotional considerations that need to be taken whenever they’re put in high-stress environments.

I really did not understand why this counselor was trying to steer the conversation to be about some issue that women face, when I was wanting to talk about issues facing men and boys anyway.

I distributed the facts page from the A Voice For Men website as a flyer, and was frequently told that I was distributing false information – to which I replied, “I am not a qualified researcher with the competency to personally validate everything on that sheet. However, everything on there is substantiated by organizations of public trust, such as the Center For Disease Control and the Department of Justice. It is certainly not based on anecdotal ‘evidence’ or surveys taken by women in battered women’s shelters, which is where I hear that some of the information from feminists is gathered. If our information is more substantiated than theirs, then why are we the ones being cross-examined, rather than them? They should be just as vigorously scrutinized as we are, if not more.”

Some people seemed to be drunk on their own demagoguery. A foolish person can argue that the theory of gravity is ‘just a theory.’

I challenged women on campus to take the pledge: “If it isn’t allowed to require sorority girls to walk in men’s jockstraps and apologize for paternity fraud, false allegations, and women’s-perpetrated child abuse, requiring fraternity men to walk in women’s heels should also not be allowed.”

I would be horrified and sickened to see our women treated like that. I would want it stopped immediately.

Most students walked right by my pro-male clothesline and never even made eye contact. Several hundred students stopped and looked really, really shocked, but still would not make eye contact with me or approach the area. Most guys did not fully understand my parody, because they did not even remember receiving their constant male-only anti-sexual-violence and anti-violence-against-women training each and every semester, because that does not register with them; it goes right under their radar. I had to remind them of how they were characterized just last week, and the month before that, and last semester. They just don’t see what’s right in front of their eyes when they’re handed those white ribbons.

We have several male-hostile rallies. However, we could do the same thing and hold woman-hostile rallies, and ask women to be ‘better women.’ It would be hyperbole to conduct a rally, and then follow it with another rally, and then another one, on this campus – about paternity fraud, female-perpetrated child abuse, false accusations of rape and domestic violence, or lying about being on The Pill, while holding zero rallies about men’s victimization against women.

Oh, and unfortunately, I was not able to get anyone to take my picture with the exhibit, so all I got are these pictures that I had to take myself. The Campus news channel did come and interview me on-camera, and got a quote from me, and filmed me doing a mock presentation over a microphone for another student who was asked to ‘pretend to be interested.’ I’m trying to get a copy of that, to possibly post here with permission. Oh, and also the Gender Studies class came over to my table, interviewed me, and said they were going to include our discussion in their research paper they were currently working on.

If I think of anything else that I’m forgetting, I’ll point it out in a future video. And I’ll see you back here next time – thank you for tuning in.

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