You’re Not Helping v.17

I remain confused about the intention of the Good Men Project. It seems like for every article they publish that looks like they are reaching out to men, they publish several articles pandering to their feminist base.

For example, Justin Cascio wrote an article called When Bad Men Do Good Things. One would expect that the article would address the very real issue society faces when bad people do something that ends up working for the greater good. Instead, Justin treats it as a vehicle to bash the men’s rights movement.  Here is the opening of the article:

Jennifer Kesler wrote about the death of Margaret Thatcher under the heading, “Sometimes Bad People Do Good Things,” including a little story about the time Thatcher destroyed food rather than feed the poor. Though lauded by some as a feminist icon, Kesler writes, “Thatcher’s policies harmed women. She didn’t break barriers for us. Any civil rights gain from her actions was despite her, not because of her.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has written on at least a couple of occasions about the actions of men’s rights activists—individuals who have killed, including the murder of more than a dozen women in an engineering college, down to anonymous trolls on the internet who spew misogynist hate and threats. A couple of websites get named by the SPLC, but the organization has not named any single men’s rights organization as a hate group.

The name of men’s rights has been sullied, some would say irreparably, by ugly voices online and actual hate crimes against women. Men focusing on their own rights are shamed as selfish, myopic, or weak. But even the SPLC admits that some of these men have legitimate grievances, and have endured shocking abuses that deserve justice. Earl Silverman was a Canadian man, a domestic violence survivor, who created the only men’s DV shelter in the country. After years of denigration and repeated rejections for federal aid for his shelter, which Silverman funded from his own pocket, he took his own life. Reportedly difficult to work with and a trauma survivor, Silverman was a complicated man. His shelter was his one great work. Was it also the one great work of the men’s rights movement?

That was a nice set up, in the literal and metaphorical sense. Maragret Thatcher is a problematic figure who, depending on one’s political perspective, did many bad things and some good things. It would have been nice to see someone asking whether those good things can change people’s perception of Thatcher.

Justin could have played this out by then citing examples of powerful men, like George W. Bush, who did many bad things but also did good things. Bush started two wars without Congress’ permission, tanked the economy as a result of his tax cuts for the wealthy, engaged in illegal surveillance and torture, and failed to address the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. However, Bush did excellent work addressing AIDS and HIV in Africa, attempted to implement immigration reform, and tried to improve education.

That is the tone Justin’s article should have taken, but it turns instead to attacking the men’s rights movement using the Southern Law Poverty Center’s biased analysis as support. To put the SPLC’s analysis in perspective, it would be akin to using the American Heritage Foundation’s analysis of gay rights activists as evidence that the gay rights movement is inherently bad. The SPLC is a progressive political organization, and while they may occasionally get their analysis correct, they are not objective in their methods or concerns.

Yet what truly confuses me is that Justin proceeds to then changes the subject, first to his experiences, then to articles published on GMP. It would appear that Justin gets back to actually talking about when bad people do good things, until the next swerve at the end of the article:

Whether men’s rights activists can do more good in this world than bad is not yet known. The odds are against it, but I’m not a gambler: I’m a believer.

What does that have to do with the preceding point about Hilter’s vegetarianism sparing some animals’ lives or Thatcher incidentally opening the door for women? Nowhere in the article does Justin spell out anything good or bad that men’s rights activists do. The good is not even mentioned at all, while the bad is stated to occur without a single example presented.

I think Justin is trying to change men’s rights activists, who he apparently considers bad, by tough talking to them. This reminds me of a quote from the Hagakure:

For the most part, people think that they are being kind by saying the things that others find distasteful or difficult to say. But if it is not received well, they think that there is nothing more to be done. This is completely worthless. It is the same as bringing shame to a person by slandering him. It is nothing more than getting it off one’s chest. […] By bringing shame to a person, how could one expect to make him a better man?

As I said wrote in my (now vanished) comment to Justin on GMP:

Name one person who identifies as a men’s rights activist who committed actual hate crimes against women. If you cannot, I suggest you retract that kind of hyperbolic, pandering statement.

Also, given that your political movement does not have the best track record when it comes to ugly voices, its position on hate crimes against men, or acknowledging male survivors like Earl Silverman, you should not be so quick to point the finger.

All that said, it is rather tacky and lazy to mention a group you do not like and label them as inherently bad when they really have nothing to do with the point of your article.

I stand by that statement, and GMP cowardly deleting comment will not change the utter irony of a feminist complaining about the men’s rights movement’s nastiness. It also will not change how pathetic it is to imply that every men’s rights activist is bad based on the actions of a handful of people, many of whom do not even identify as members of that group.

That may play to GMP’s feminist base, but it does not play with objective observers, and it only serves to further alienate GMP from people who might otherwise take them at their word when they claim they are legitimately concerned about men’s issues.

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6 thoughts on “You’re Not Helping v.17

  1. Here’s something that’ll make you feel better.

    http://goodmenproject.com/good-feed-blog/gay-male-sexism-and-how-it-happens/

    Note the first few paragraphs of HeatherN’s response to the critique of the claim Misogyny is tied to homophobia:

    “Thanks, straight cis-men, for explaining to us all how homophobia and misogyny works.

    That is snark. And the reason that is snark is because I’ve had this conversation so many times and it’s frustrating. So, thus, I’ve responded with some snark. But now that I’ve got the snark out of my system, I’m going to try to explain it once again.”

    The result was a verbal smackdown from others, including Danny. A much deserved smackdown since it’s the umpteenth time she’s acted so high and mighty against others with contrarian opinions over there.

    Here’s mine to HeatherN:

    ” And this here is why your movement is never taken seriously at best or dismissed at worst.

    Where is the snark warranted? Not to mention invoking cis-straight men as an insult?

    This is what’s frustrating because, aside from this, you’re fairly even-handed on issues. But good god, everytime constructive criticism like this comes up you resort to rote, ideological talking points. Since you’re even-handed, why aren’t you ACTING it?

    Last I heard, this is a MEN’s magazine. So you’re going to have men presenting a contrarian view. That includes the straight men you malagned with snark. The least you can do is listen without your blinders on. Or don’t bother telling us you’re egalitarian from now on. Your choice.

    Anyway, I don’t believe homophobia is firmly rooted in misogyny either. It’s a little more nuanced than that.”

    It just made my day to witness the majority of the commentary take down HeatherN at last. For too long, she and Joanna have been like the dynamic duo of Egilitarian Feminists whom can’t leave their ideological binders off, which results in dismissals like hers.

    Now HeatherN got a dose of reality: You piss people off, expect consequences.

  2. Eagle, if I recall correctly, Heather is a lesbian. So what would give a lesbian feminist any right to explain to men how homophobia against men works?

  3. I think the argument is– you wouldn’t expect your oncologist to be a cancer survivor.
    But I would expect the doc would be educated.
    HeatherN is an insult- even if she is “The” Feminist.

  4. >men’s rights activists—individuals who have killed, including the murder of more than a dozen women in an engineering college,

    If this is the Canadian college I’m thinking of, can’t recall the name, the individual in question did not identify as an MRA. Also, he was more than a little mentally disturbed. Also he killed men too.

    >down to anonymous trolls on the internet who spew misogynist hate and threats.

    One of the biggest problems with feminism today is its tendency to attach any group of men they don’t like to their stereotype of the “dudebro”, who is, without any exaggeration, the equivalent of Emmanuel Goldstein. Except The Party didn’t have the real Emmanuel going around saying “no, I’m not like that at all, stop saying those things about me” and being attacked for it.

    >The name of men’s rights has been sullied, some would say irreparably, by ugly voices online and actual hate crimes against women.

    No, that would be the feminists who reflexively mock and suppress any discussions of men’s issues, as well as the people who champion them. Slap a label on them, and fill the air with disinfo, and people won’t know who to listen to. In fact, I’ve literally seen feminists tell people not to actually talk to MRAs about what MRAs believe or who they are (which begs the question of how feminists know so much). There are feminists actively trying to get MRA sites censored by web services, as they are in certain universities and web safety programs already. That’s not what someone who is confident in their position does.

    Feminism has spent more effort mocking MRAs in the last ten years, including breaking the law IRL in Toronto, than it ever has on helping men. If feminists spent a fraction of their effort on men, they’d drown the MRM out entirely. Which is why so many of them desperately try to reverse the bully/victim dynamic, such as that piece of nonsense Lindy West article.

    >Men focusing on their own rights are shamed as selfish, myopic, or weak.

    Again, mostly by feminists. Also, not all MRAs are men.

    >I think Justin is trying to change men’s rights activists, who he apparently considers bad, by tough talking to them.

    Most of the time, once people care about men’s issues, they don’t look back.

    >That may play to GMP’s feminist base, but it does not play with objective observers, and it only serves to further alienate GMP from people who might otherwise take them at their word when they claim they are legitimately concerned about men’s issues.

    This is what’s called a “masochistic lie”. It’s obviously wrong to anyone who knows anything about the subject, but it’s not intended to convince the people you disagree with, just people on your side and unaligned observers. Problem is, it only works when you can control the dialogue and keep your opposition from contradicting you. Which GMP can. The fun part is when people try it on public sites.

    The scary part is that most people don’t even realize they’re using it. They just say the first thing that seems plausible and requires the least amount of change to their worldview. When contradicted, they almost inevitably start attacking the person contradicting them.

  5. SYABM, here’s what you’re looking for

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89cole_Polytechnique_massacre

    and the guy is Marc Lépine

    Québec province (where Montréal is located) is very very pro-woman and pro-feminist. Much more so than the US.

    Maybe in the US, feminists have to fight a strong right-wing that is pro-life and all that…but in Québec, this would be a loss before it even started for pro-lifers. Québec is left-of-centre, on average. We have welfare for everyone who needs it (not just single parents), and universal healthcare for all who can’t afford private insurance (or who can’t have a better private one), state-funded. The US would find this very socialist.

    So feminist groups stand unopposed. MRAs just as silenced as in the US. DV still presented as a male-on-female thing. And most artists brainwashed with the “men have 364 days to themselves, all spaces to themselves, everyone working for their benefit” even as they’re extra leftist (compared to most) and skeptical compared to many.

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