Lost in translation

Lost in translation. That is what Tom Matlack, the founder of  The Good Men Project, stated about his online magazine’s foray into addressing the men’s rights movement.

In a comment on a feminist blog he stated:

As the founder of The Good Men Project I greatly admire and thank you for our candid response here. Honestly we have been under attack by the MRA for some time now […] and rather than shy away we decided to go right at the problem and try to do what we set out as our mission: spark a rational conversation about what it means to be a good father, son, husband, worker and man for the benefit of men and women alike, not to mention our kids.

If that was their mission, they failed at it in a spectacular fashion. Little conversation, rational or otherwise, occurred. At best a handful of men’s activists and feminists bantered back and forth, more or less ignoring the rational and moderate comments.

This failure began with the introduction article. As Lady Gyoo notes on A Voice for Men:

The goodmenproject.com claims to be taking an in-depth look at the men’s rights movement. I don’t think so.  Far from it.  I think it was more like insulting the movement, softening the audience with indirect slurs and then throwing them into a pre-arranged firing squad of those who hate them.

Just imagine that the “good men” project was doing a piece on introducing the Black Civil rights movement back in the 60’s and 70’s. Would they introduce them with this sort of statement:

“It would be easy to write these Black activists off as nuts and not give them a second thought”

Or maybe something like this:

“Once dismissed as the looniest and fringiest of the lunatic fringe, Black civil rights groups have “gone mainstream.”

Or this:

imposing their views on our national conversations around race and a host of other social issues.”

Or this

“Black civil rights advocates can be easy to dismiss as crackpot extremists. Perhaps best known for descending like outraged locusts on southern towns… ”

I remember from the days of the civil rights movement that some media did indeed respond to the activists in a similar fashion.  We now see them clearly as bigots. Somehow it is easier to see when framed with race instead of sex.

But, it gets worse. Just as they introduce the Black activists with slurs and offer some writings from Blacks on their civil rights issues the host then says that they want to also offer a counterpoint.  So what do they do?  They ask George Wallace and a KKK member to offer their ideas about Blacks protesting for their civil rights.

Does the host want a fair introduction and an in-depth look?

I don’t think so.

I do not agree with Lady Gyoo’s KKK analogy. I just took a feminist to task for doing the same thing, and I will not support it coming from a men’s rights activist. It is not right, not fair, and not even accurate. Feminists have done more than their fair share of harm, but to my knowledge none of them burn crosses in men’s yards or drag men behind cars to their deaths. People need to stop with the hyperbolic language and insults. We can disagree without taking it to the extreme.

That said, Lady Gyoo has a point. What happened on GMPM is akin to Fox News inviting gay rights activists to discuss gay marriage and then allowing Bill O’Reilley, Sean Hannity, and Glen Beck to comment on the gay rights movement. That is not an in-depth look or a rational conversation. It is just an attack on a group of people who thought they would get a fair shake.

So many questions come to mind: where are the prominent faces of the movement, like Warren Farrell and Glenn Sacks? Were they even asked to participate?  Why were people openly hostile to the men’s movement invited to participate?

I want to give Matlack and his project the benefit of doubt, but those questions and the absence of their answers make that difficult to do.

Matlack goes on to state in his comments:

A lot got lost in translation as the worst MRA advocates have tried to hijack, and to some extent succeeded, the debate. As a result we have begun to think about revising our commenting policy and generally think more carefully about how we approach the most controversial topics. That said, we are glad we did it. If not us then who? We can’t be afraid to address the most difficult issues surrounding manhood, whether the MRA crowd, porn, race, if we are going to get anywhere.

Except, the worst men’s rights activists did not hijack the debate or try to. Both feminists and men’s rights activists behaved badly. There are just as many insults slung at men and men’s rights activists. There are just as many ad hominems coming from feminists.  If Matlack wants to revise the commenting policy, fine, but it is rather unfair to blame that on one group of jackasses while overlooking the other.

To an extent, I get it. Matlack and most of the people working for The Good Men Project are feminists. As a result, there are certain issues and perspectives they do not care about or support. They are going to play to their base. However, if you want to talk with people you disagree with, you must extend to them basic respect. Last week’s feature was not that.

47 thoughts on “Lost in translation

  1. Yes, but it was not included as part of the week-long feature articles about the men’s movement. That may have been at Glenn Sacks’ request, but it is also possible that Sacks was not asked to submit an article until this week or that he submitted his article on his own.

  2. Feminist hate mongers are feminist hate mongers…no matter what color their home page is, or what sex they are.

    That place is a cesspool of feminist dogma, wrapped up in a nice bow so you’ll feed it to your son.

    It’s the most obscene kind of hate.

  3. Most of what I saw there was a just a nasty circle of “I know you are but what am I?” and ignoring valid points for the sake of scoring complaints. Also for feminists to be oh so innocent they sure as hell had no problem taking their own pot shots then trying to act like it was only the MRAs slinging mud. I knew the idea was doomed when they let Marcotte fire the first volley, followed by manboobz.

  4. Feminist hate mongers are feminist hate mongers…no matter what color their home page is, or what sex they are.

    That place is a cesspool of feminist dogma, wrapped up in a nice bow so you’ll feed it to your son.

    Factory, that is the kind of hyperbolic language I think people ought to avoid. Yes, the magazine is feminist leaning. Yes, most of those running it appear to be feminists. Yes, many of them appear to have hostile opinions about men’s issues. Yes, there does appear to be an effort to disguise the feminist leanings of the magazine. Yes, the way last week went down was incredibly unfair. However, I would not say that those who actually run the magazine are “feminist hate mongers.” There does not appear to be any overt or cover attempt (outside of last week’s articles) to get anyone to anyone else.

  5. Well, I respectfully submit that you consider something…

    They ‘lean feminist’, they’re hostile to mens issues, there’s been an ongoing attempt to paint themselves as something they are not (and calling themselves part of the “mens movement” in the process)…

    They, literally, do everything they can to undermine mens issues, and the idea that men deserve equality.

    …and I shouldn’t write them off WHY again?

  6. Factory, I am not saying you cannot write them off. I am saying that this:

    They ‘lean feminist’, they’re hostile to mens issues, there’s been an ongoing attempt to paint themselves as something they are not (and calling themselves part of the “mens movement” in the process)…

    They, literally, do everything they can to undermine mens issues, and the idea that men deserve equality.

    is better than this:

    Feminist hate mongers are feminist hate mongers…no matter what color their home page is, or what sex they are.

    That place is a cesspool of feminist dogma, wrapped up in a nice bow so you’ll feed it to your son.

    It’s the most obscene kind of hate.

    The former gets people to listen to you even if they disagree with you. The latter simply gives them a reason to write you off.

  7. I totally get what you’re saying there TS. In fact, most of my writing is in that vein…or it was until recently anyway. And when I’m writing an article, I typically take a balanced approach to the language at the least.

    But hyperbole has it’s place. And comment sections are neither courts of law, nor academic thesis. They are appeals to the masses who read them.

    I’m looking for the low hanging fruit, myself. I am not even TRYING to convince the feminists, and I’ll take the fence sitters if they’re not too hard to get…

    But the low hanging fruit? The guys who are pissed right off and aren’t planning on taking it much longer?

    There’s so many of them, we wouldn’t even notice the other two groups showing up. Honestly, we’re growing a bit too fast right now to do such basic things as give these guys some places to start. A lot of men are showing up, not knowing a thing about the MRM except the four articles they read that brought them there, and they start wailing on about their victimhood n such. Or anti woman screeds.

    You know how it goes…men start from a place of pain in these parts.

    Frankly, for the most part I am so hyperbolic for the simple reason that it shows other men that yes, I am abrasive as shit at times, and FAR from PC…and no, my head didn’t get blown off, the whole world didn’t turn against me, and I still have all my fingers.

    Being a dick gives other men the courage to speak up. And speaking as an MRA, that’s the most important thing in the world.

  8. Perhaps, but it may prompt them to speak up against you.

    But you see, I am an activist, and when that happens, all I see is someone FINALLY unable to ignore the issues anymore.

    It’s not ‘winning’ that I am after, but a thorough, and fair, discussion.

  9. It’s not ‘winning’ that I am after, but a thorough, and fair, discussion.

    I get that, but I do not think that can happen if everyone’s hackles get raised. That is precisely what occurred on GMPM. Most of the discussions on the articles devolved into arguments, which made it impossible for either side to have a thorough or fair discussion. I do not think it is helpful to get people to rail against you. All that does, in my opinion, is prompt them to delegitimize your concerns. That is precisely what a lot feminists do to men’s issues and it was a lot of men’s rights activists do to women’s issues. At some point someone must act maturely.

  10. Toysoldier, everyone’s needed in a movement.

    Even the men(or women) who invite someone to get in touch with their anger.

    Like gwallan said (I don’t know if it’s on this site), anger isn’t the problem, it’s self-righteousness.

    Jesus was right.

  11. I read about a third of the Marcotte article and then simply walked away feeling as though I wanted to vomit. It was nothing more than an ad hominem attack on anyone even remotely connected with the men’s movement. I refused to go back and read any more, not even the comments. but I have read a considerable amount of discussion on other sites. I have also read many of their previous articles over the last several months. They view manhood and masculinity through feminist lenses. It appears the “the good man” is the one that can pass feminist muster. This is an unrealistic and even harmful way to interpret masculinity and manhood.

    The KKK analogy you refer to is not that far off course. Asking a feminist to critique masculinity isn’t all that different from asking a White supremist to critique Black culture. It will not be fair. It will not be balance. It will in all likelihood, be hateful. You state that feminists don’t burn crosses, but they do write books. More than one has written that the population of males needs to be reduced and/or eliminated entirely. That’s half the planet. I don’t recall even the worst KKK leaders advocating that kind of genocide.

    Contrary to what Mr. Matlack may claim, there did not appear to be any legitimate attempt to spark a “discussion.” By publishing the vitriol esposed by Marcotte, Matlack was clearly intending to provoke, discredit, and demean the men’s movement. His comment that you quote are further evidence. He blames the fiasco entirley on the MRAs and leaves the feminists and his own responsibility out of it. Mr. Matlack and his Good Men Project have nothing to do with good men, they have only to do with feminist men. It is not unreasonable to characterize them as purveyors of hate.

    TDOM

  12. You don’t bring up any points that haven’t been hashed out a thousand times before though, TS. Everyone makes these bold statements that a measured, reasoned response is “better”. There is a lot of talk about how strong language is offputting, and calls to ‘fix’ that.

    No one has EVER shown concrete proof (or even anything to suggest) that this approach would be even marginally effective, let alone as effective as what we’re doing now. Don’t forget, I know the evolution of this movement as well as anyone, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that the Mens Movement ONLY started to take off when a bunch of us got tired of being ‘nice’ and started to say things in an uncharitable fashion.

    The long and short of it? Anger is working, and drawing a LOT of attention our way. Feminists will NEVER ‘come on board’…I have 15 years of experience trying to get them to, to support that view. I suppose if you want to fall for the “Sure we haven’t done a thing to date to correct the problems you raise, but we will….as soon as you stop ‘being mean’ (ie, as soon as MRAs stop beating the hell out of feminism, and destroying their rep.

    What you are not realizing (or choosing to ignore) is that we are most definitely on the side of the majority in our feelings towards feminism and political correctness in general. Feminist policies destroy business environments just as well as they do the social fabric. They are an ideology of violence.

    And they don’t DESERVE considerate treatment any more than anyone else bent on my destruction/enslavement.

    You may disagree that this is their goal (although it would be easy to show this has been their goal since day 1 (ie “deconstructing” society, marriage, etc.), but I doubt very much you could show otherwise.

    They are the enemy in many, many ways.

    And if you think lurkers don’t see the bullshit they call ‘arguments’ for the man-hating rhetorical garbage that it is, I believe you are mistaken.

    TL:DR: You’re giving feminists far too much credit in the ‘fairness’ dept…

  13. No one has EVER shown concrete proof (or even anything to suggest) that this approach would be even marginally effective, let alone as effective as what we’re doing now.

    I think Glenn Sacks and Warren Farrell would disagree. It is certainly evident that they are passionate about the issues they address and are angered by the treatment of men and boys, but they present their ideas in a reasoned fashion, not a string of insults, which tends to get more results.

    The long and short of it? Anger is working, and drawing a LOT of attention our way.

    Yes, but not the attention you want. It is not actually winning people over to your side. It is not enough for people to be aware of you. You need them to support you, and to do that you have to give them a reason to and stop before giving them a reason not to. Most people who hear that fathers get screwed over in court will side with you… until some jackass starts in the “no good women” routine. Even if it is out of anger or justified by the person’s experience, that kind language does not make people support you. Case in point, feminists played that game and now the average person wants to do with them.

    Feminists will NEVER ‘come on board’…

    Who said anything about bringing feminists on board? The problem you have is that there are plenty of feminists who will cry foul when you try to win over the public. If you give them ammo, it makes their job much easier. Let me give you a counter example. A couple of years ago I stated on a feminist blog that part of the reason male victims do not come forward because of misandry in existing, feminist-run rape centers ignore male victims. The feminist who ran the blog accused me of triggering her and marginalizing female rape victims. She told me to “go take a shit on my own blog.” So, I wrote about her reaction, which resulted in her banning me from her site. My comments were civil and polite, although quite pointed. The result: only a handful of feminists backed her response. Every site, including all the feminist sites, that linked to her post called her treatment of me rude, unfair, or abusive. Some said as much on her blog, which prompted her to remove those comments and most of the trackbacks to her post. Had I reacted in anger and hostility, I would not have gotten that support.

    That is what I am talking about. I am not saying do not get angry. I am saying do not get “Hulk SMASH feminist!” angry.

    And they don’t DESERVE considerate treatment any more than anyone else bent on my destruction/enslavement.

    Shades of Picard, no? Whether or not they “deserve” considerate treatment is irrelevant. The way you treat them is a testament of your character, not theirs.

    TL:DR: You’re giving feminists far too much credit in the ‘fairness’ dept…

    Hardly. I do not think they feminists play fair. However, just because the other side fights dirty does not mean that I have to. And just because I do not fight dirty does not mean I do not hit hard.

  14. TS: Had I reacted in anger and hostility, I would not have gotten that support.

    That support…? Oh! You must mean the lip-service!

    Well, words are certainly cheap. I give ’em rather freely myself.

  15. Someone telling TS that that was not nice might be lip-service and is cheap. But I think someone telling someone else that their treatment of TS was wrong is more than lip-service.

    So I certainly agree with TS strategy. Too much anger and too much hyperbole can too easily be dismissed as insanity and delusional conspiration theories.

    As I sidenote I found it interesting that so many feminists protested and asked for cites when MRAs stated that feminists were against rebuttable shared parenting. When MRAs supplied links documenting that NOW actually are against this some responded that NOW are not all feminists or that NOW are right to do so because NOW think that’ll mean that more abusive men will abuse their children. But they initially did ask because they couldn’t imagine that feminists were against this. And many didn’t reply when they got the cite. I think many of them realized that feminism is not as muh for equality and egalitarianism as they thought and that they couldn’t defend NOW’s stance. Fact without hyperbole can bring about this. Hyperbole with facts makes people just see the hyperbole which is all too easily dismissed and they will go on thinking that all feminism is about equality and egalitarianism and that the assertions by MRAs are just bullshit.

  16. Tamen, it is progress when you get someone to say “That’s not my feminism”. You are getting them to say that X position or activity is not feminist as far as they are concerned. If this happens often enough, the consensus develops that X is not feminist. That’s reform of the movement on that particular point. It only happens if 1) they are open to reason, 2) have a moral conscience) and if you offer them convincing arguments, ones that are backed by facts they can check. If nothing else this is an opportunity to learn about this particular person if they meet criteria 1 and 2.

  17. What many of you seem to be missing is a simple point:

    Without the anger, hyperbole, and aggressiveness, you could ask all the ‘reasonable’ questions you wanted, and no one would answer them, and no one would ‘report’ on them.

    It is because of the anger, hyperbole, and noise that those feminists and lurkers are there in the first place, in a LARGE majority of cases. It’s the natural tendency to want to see what the fuss is about.

    And you know how I know this, right? 15 years of experience…etc? I have seen this approach played out, over and over, for years. I have seen the same conjecture of “If we would only act this way, we would be taken seriously.” TS, you’re a military guy…can you point to any major social change that came about without anger, or violence? (Ghandi was one man..not a movement)

    There’s no doubt at all guys like Sacks are important. But without the noisemakers providing the impetus for people to notice…no one would give Glenn the time of day. And that’s a fact, not conjecture. He may not like what we do, he may not support our message, but I would be floored if Glenn said the aggressiveness led to LESS attention for our cause.

    And want to know how we know this approach works? We stole it, directly from the feminist playbook. That might be what bothers you about it all…sort of a “high road” approach. To that I would ask you, how many times has the person taking the ‘high road’ in such cases prevailed? Not your wishful fantasy, but in reality…?

    Not many indeed.

    I suggest you think about the vital role the anger plays in this a lot more before you go off pronouncing your approach to be ‘legitimate’ and others as being ‘illegitimate’.

  18. TS, you’re a military guy…can you point to any major social change that came about without anger, or violence?

    I am not in the military. I probably could not pass the basic physical to get into the military. You are correct most, if not all, major social changes come about with anger or violence, however, those factors are often not the reason the changes occur. More often than not, the change occurs in spite of anger and violence. The latter tends to turn people away from supporting the change, and it is only when moderate voices stand up that people will support the movement. So to that extent, anger , hyperbole and aggressiveness can help to the extent of making the moderate voices look practically timid in comparison to the angry ones.

    The problem, however, is that it is often the angry voices that have the broader impact. Plenty of people still fear the “angry black man” as a result of social stereotypes and a hostile portion of the civil rights movement. People still regard feminists as “angry lesbians” as a result of radical feminists in the 70s and 80s. People fixate on the hostile voices, and in some ways those voices become the image people see, which turn taints people’s views on social change.

    And want to know how we know this approach works? We stole it, directly from the feminist playbook. That might be what bothers you about it all…sort of a “high road” approach. To that I would ask you, how many times has the person taking the ‘high road’ in such cases prevailed? Not your wishful fantasy, but in reality…?

    Several. As a result of people taking the high road women have the right to vote, Jim Crow laws were abolished, schools were desegregated, discrimination is illegal, the death penalty was banned from being used on juveniles, and the most recent high road approach may result in gays being able to serve openly in the military. That does not mean that there was not anger present in some of those fights. The point is that the angry arguments did not win the day or may the path to the win any easier.

    I suggest you think about the vital role the anger plays in this a lot more before you go off pronouncing your approach to be ‘legitimate’ and others as being ‘illegitimate’.

    I am not concerned about whose approach is legitimate or illegitimate. I am concerned about whose approach works and which one works best. If an approach hinders the intended goal, then it should not be used. If another approach works better, then it should be used. Every battle does not need to result in blood shed. Some battles can be won just by showing up. Case in point, Pelle Billing’s article on GMPM essentially shut up the detractors. They had nothing to say because his approach was reasonable and civil, so they ignored his article altogether.

  19. “Case in point, Pelle Billing’s article on GMPM essentially shut up the detractors. They had nothing to say because his approach was reasonable and civil, so they ignored his article altogether.”

    But you know what? The fact that Pelle Billing’s article was so civil and well-researched AND COMPLETELY IGNORED by feminists in favor of slinging invective and hyperbole makes an even stronger statement then Pelle Billing could have made alone in a vacuum.

    The fact is that extremist MRAs, angry MRAs, hyperbolic MRAs(hee!)… they have their counterparts in feminists(although I’ve yet to hear calls for genocide, extermination or mass imprisonment of women from MRAs) and because they are saying the gender-flipped versions of feminists(and conservative misandrists and mainstream misandrists) sayings, we see those sayings for what they really are and people are pinned down on their own internalized misandry.

    If they can’t excuse extremist MRAs, then how can they excuse the extreme misandry they are the flip image of?

    It lacks moral consistency.

  20. typhon: If they can’t excuse extremist MRAs, then how can they excuse the extreme misandry they are the flip image of?

    Misandry? *Wide-eyed innocent stare* Buh-whuhhhh? *Blinks in confusion* But what ever do you mean? What are you talking about? I don’t see any misandry among feminists! None! Not a particle!

    Nay, all’s I see are fair and even-handed critiques of sexism and the destructive aspects of masculnity! Misandry? What are you talking about??

    And besides, misandry doesn’t even exist anyway. It’s just a made-up word made by insecure proojecting misogynists to pretends that there exists a tradition of hating men akin to the kind of misogynist hatred that WOMEN HAVE HAD TO PUT UP WITH FOR MILLIONS OF CENTURIES IN EVERY PLACE AND CULTURE WHICH HAS EVER EXISTED!!11!!!11!!

  21. Typhon gets the kewpie doll…

    It’s hard to argue against your own rhetoric without looking like a total hypocrite…

  22. I find myself agreeing with both sides here.

    I think that people who’ve talked about men’s issues got nowhere, for a VERY long time, until the current MRM started moving things. And as much as I dislike the lunatic fringe of MRAs, I do haver to admit that I wonder whether, without them, anything would be heard at all.

    I first started talking about mens’ issues in 1985 in undergrad at UW Madison and there was zero space for that. Back then there was NO discussion of male-on-male rape. Many of my feminist colleagues were surprised to learn that there even was such a thing, in fact.

    There was no discussion of how violence towards boys creates violent men. When I and three other guys – one a rape survivor and one gay (I mean we were hardly the poster boys for the Patriarchy) tried to bring this up in the Men’s Group organized by the local Progressive Student Network and Men Stopping Rape collective, we were informed, in no uncertain terms, that we were no longer welcome in the group because its focus was “to discuss how men can help women in their struggle”. The guy who drummed us out of the group did it seperately to us, one at a time, letting us know that “the rest of the men” were 100% against us. Later, we found out that he’d kicked out fully half the group, using the same tactic of “divide and conquer”. We all felt we were being overbearing on the other men and so we all withdrew from the group and only later talked to each other about what happened. (Last time I made that mistake!)

    There was no discussion of fathers rights. Are you kidding? Men were trying to usurp women’s reproductive function. Fathers’ rights…?!

    To a very great degree, I think that all of these things are now allowed to be “mainstream” because militant MRAs don’t allow them to be ignored anymore.

    At the same time, the whole victimology stance of many MRAs is ridiculous. Furthermore, I agree with TS that it doesn’t do one much good to blow up and start spouting hyperbolic nonsense when the charge being laid against you is that men cannot control their anger.

  23. I have a question for you, TS…

    I was recently kicked off of Pharyngula – PZ Meyer’s athiest blog – for getting into a conflict with a commentator known as “Algernon”.

    Said commentator was insulting me over some remarks I had madew which she chose to interpret as being pro-MRA. I responded with, “Yeah, well it’s easy to make the statements you’re making while hiding behind anonymity”. She then said “Oh, I’m not anonymous. My handle links right to who I am”.

    So being the fool that I am, I take this as an invitation to real dialogue. Note that I always post under my real name, so I’ve got nothing to hide. I say “Oh, so you’re so-and-so. Pleased to meet you so-and-so. I think that when you DO see someone’s face and know their name and know a little bit about them, one has much more empathy for them. Now that I’ve read your blog and seen you, that is definitely the case for me”.

    This caused the commentator to go balistic and accuse me of stalking her, causing triggering behavior, destroying her anonymity and etc. And given the fact that Pharyngula is currently the hang out for a whole slew of anti-MRAs, a Greek chorus soon formed with incredible ammounts of abuse being directed against me for my supposed “abusive” behavior (even though I hadn’t the slightest clue that when Algernon said “I’m not anonymous. My handle links to my blog and name and photos” this meant that one still couldn’t use her real name on the blog).

    Next day, the good patriarch PZ Myers comes on and, in true kyriarchical fashion (given that Algernon was a daughter of the house and me a lowly metic outsider), booted my ass in spite of the huge amount of insults said poster had poured on me for hours, even before I inadvertantly crossed the line and typed down her name (which, supposedly, was simultaneously not anonymous).

    If you want to talk about “triggering incidents”, this whole thing triggered a series of nasty memories of my own, regarding how abusers have lied about me, in the past, in order to make it look like I was abusing them. I had to sit down and re-read the whole thing, a couple of times, asking myself “Am I being abusive here and just denying it?” I came to the conclusion that, while I did get pissed off and snarky towards the end, I was nowhere near the level of my attackers who were screaming invectives at me along the lines of “I hope you die a horrible death!” and what not.

    So how do I respond to something like this? What’s your advice?

    Right now, I just cut Pharyngula out of my browser. My original impulse was to simply out this hypocritical commentator. If I do that, however, the charge that gets laid at my feet is that I’m being an “abusive male” who’s “attacking, in unjustified fashion, a woman which we all love”.

  24. So how do I respond to something like this? What’s your advice?

    Usually I just let it slide. This sort thing happens from time to time. There is something about the web that brings out the worst in people, and as abusive and cruel as the reactions can get, I find it is not worth getting upset over. However, when it does still bother me, I usually write a post about what occurred. This allows me to rebut whatever caused the hostile reaction and allows me to vent.

  25. To a very great degree, I think that all of these things are now allowed to be “mainstream” because militant MRAs don’t allow them to be ignored anymore.

    I definitely think the militant men’s rights movement helps play a role. After all, people do pay attention to shouting voices. However, most of the mainstream focus on the men’s rights movement is not on the angry voices. It centers on men like Warren Farrell and Glenn Sacks. It is only recently that the angry voices have received media attention. The dissenting voices of the 80s and 90s did not quite reach the level of genuine concern that we see today. No one really took the men’s movement seriously until the moderate voices started getting laws and policies changed. It is the latter which really prompted people not to ignore the men’s movement.

  26. Could be. Hard for me to say because I’ve been out of the country since 1990 except for two brief stints.

  27. I’m a little surprised that no one here has commented on the most absurd Marcotte statement by far: that MRAs LIKE the disparity in workplace deaths because 1. it “justifies” the wage disparity and 2. that the problem can be solved by a greater dose of feminism.

    Utterly preposterous.

    1. I think MRAs have 2 different reasons in mind. First, it is a way of saying that the “wage gap” is more complex a situation than what feminist agitation would claim. Second, it is a damning exposure of the dishonesty of feminist activism on this score. Never have I seen an MRA regard the disparity in workplace deaths as a good thing.

    2. If the solution is “more feminism,” then you kind of wonder why feminists seem to think that the best way to deal with the disparity in workplace fatalies is by…. never, ever discussing it. The sole reason that Marcotte even has to bring it up is because MRA agitation has forced her to acknowledge something that she doesn’t particularly give an effing crap about. The fact that MRAs force it into the discussion is something that feminists find irrelevant and rather annoying.

  28. aych:

    The sole reason that Marcotte even has to bring it up is because MRA agitation has forced her to acknowledge something that she doesn’t particularly give an effing crap about. The fact that MRAs force it into the discussion is something that feminists find irrelevant and rather annoying.
    I think you may be onto something. If you can stomach her bile look at Marcotte’s site for a post on how men are treated in regards to child support. I think this may be another example of what you say here. She’s so fed up with it that she’s finally admitted to herself that there just MIGHT be something up. But don’t worry she manages to set things right by surrounding the acknowledgement (if you can call it that) in enough insults at MRAs that she maintains her status quo. But what do you expect from the woman that deleted all her posts on the Duke Lacrosse issue once it was shown they didn’t do it (but somehow she “knows” they did)?

    Well either that or she’s just being snarky….

  29. There’s a real distinction that has to be made here though, and it has a lot to do with the logic backing the argument. Take this exclamation for a minute:

    “Women are basically all whores!”

    Which is an offensive, hyperbolic statement. To this I agree. If the discussion, for example is centered around relationships and dating, and this comment comes out of left field, followed by an MGTOW rant of epic proportions, then definitely I can see how this would be off-putting.

    e.g.”All any of you care about is money. Women are basically all whores!”

    If, however, a comment was made that posited that women’s general propensity to look at a man’s wallet/status as an attractor, and the parallel between that and prositution is drawn upon….?

    e.g. “Marrying for money, or even using personal material gain as criteria, is the same damned thing as prostitution. You might be saying you’re “looking for a good provider” but all I hear is demanding payment for your vagina. Women are basically all whores!”

    There’s lots of hyperbole in both statements, but one is an undisciplined WWAHHHRRGGH! type of thing, and the other is deliberately sparking outrage in order to show hypocrisy – anger makes it hard to play the ‘dispassionate observer’ role – as well as utilize their rhetoric against them. I believe Shakespeare referred to this as “Hoist on his own petard”, so it’s safe to assume this is not a new concept.

    The key is not to tone down the hyperbole, it’s to educate the MRM in logical reasoning, to show the connections as clearly and as simply as we can, and to explain what has happened concisely enough that our newest members (and let’s be honest, that’s who we’re referring to a lot here) are able to enunciate the issues properly. How he/she chooses to phrase those arguments is up to them.

    I see value in both of these approaches (and some others as well), since I am sorta educated in media and advertising, and am a firm believer in it. There truly is no such thing as bad publicity, only a weak appeal. I’ll outline a couple of things the MRM is shaking off right now and maybe that will help.

    The biggest obstacle to growth, for the entire length of the MRM, is this image of being new-agey, sensitive crybabies (Iron John), or petulant basement dwellers miffed at sexual loserdom. This image has been bolstered and promoted by feminists ever since I began this trek simply because of the detrimental effects of this image.

    No one wants to be a whiny nerd, after all.

    The second in line, would be the propensity to try and appeal to those with a vested interest in making sure we never prevail. Most of the old timers, you will note, are quite effective at refuting feminist shibboleths. This is due to long years of practice. Many of us know exactly where being a polite, but firm debater gets you. Ignored. Completely.

    You mention Glenn Sacks as an example of an MRA who is effective without hyperbole. Without any hint of denigration meant, I will tell you exactly why he is effective.

    Because he is a moderate. And many of us are much less polite than him, and plan on stirring up the hornets nest until some action happens. And they can point to us and say “At least we’re not giving in to those freaks.” while they work with Glenn and Robert and the like.

    But the main point you’re missing is this: Glenn doesn’t blog anymore. Sure he doesn’t have to, and it’s better that he is doing what he does (because he’s VERY good at it, and it’s an important job), but it’s also in large part because a huge swath of his readership left his site in protest of his compliance with feminist demands. This resulted in a place called The Spearhead.

    Additionally, you may consider this. How many politicians do YOU know of that went and did something hugely politically unpopular, because it was the right thing to do – even though it would ultimately harm that politician as well? The angry MRAs out there are gathering public support and attention to these issues. We are literally creating the political need to change, and without that voice, the issues would fade once again into the background.

    It is only when the people demand change from the politicians that they change course. It is only when people are angry (if an otherwise unsympathetic character) that they get attention. And unsympathetic characters only get concessions, not support. Anger therefore is essential to any success we may enjoy.

    Hyperbole is nothing more than a Circus Sideshow to draw attention. The issues themselves are important enough that they gain a sympathetic hearing regardless of who brings them up. They are also just as routinely dismissed by ardent feminist ideologues, and Red Pill addicts. In such cases, I submit nothing but total submission would please these folk, and likely not even then, so they can be safely ignored.

    So, while I agree unfocused rage has nearly no value in the specific, in the aggregate even the most inarticulate misogynist lends power to the MRM. And yes, in exactly the same way that ‘moderate feminists’ lend political clout to Gender Feminists.

  30. Factory, as I stated before, the problem is not whether you get heard, but why people listen and whether they support you. Hyperbole generally does not garner new support. The people launching into President Obama are not winning over new recruits. The people who side with them already disliked Obama, and those who remain on the fence probably will not be swayed by the overt racism tinging most of the criticism against the President.

    The same goes for feminists. The people who side with them typically already agree with feminists. Feminists have a hard time winning over non-feminists precisely because there is so much hate in their commentary.

    It makes no sense to adopt a tactic that clearly does not work unless the point is to make yourself so despicable that people will support the moderates. However, that can easily backfire if your comments get more press than the moderate’s.

    You are correct that the reason Sacks is successful is because he is a moderate. It is difficult for anyone who argue against what he writes or says precisely because his comments are driven by reason and fact, not hyperbole and anger. That is not the case with angry MRA comments. More often than not there is nothing to actually criticize.

    Now, you brought a good point about moderate feminists lending clout to gender feminists. The difference with the men’s movement is that the moderates do not lend clout to the angry voices. Instead they distance themselves, and I think occurs because the moderates in the men’s movement do not agree with the angry voices, whereas the moderate feminists more often do.

  31. That might be. There’s no doubt that the mens movement is in an infant phase, and it’s quite likely that the anger will subside over time (pretty much exactly like it did with feminism, in fact). But in the meantime, I can’t help but notice that your ‘proven’ method resulted in exactly zero success for almost 2 decades…and within months of the anger surfacing, suddenly mens issues are everywhere.

    I suggest that your take on the effectiveness of anger is a product of timing, not one of experience. But I applaud your resolve to be a moderate, and I think all voices should be heard. I don’t dismiss your argument outright, but I do think your opinion of the efficacy of moderation is more wish-fulfillment than realism.

    That said, I will continue to include moderate voices in MenZ, precisely because sometimes, anger is unjustified.

  32. But in the meantime, I can’t help but notice that your ‘proven’ method resulted in exactly zero success for almost 2 decades…and within months of the anger surfacing, suddenly mens issues are everywhere.

    Except for the instances where father’s rights legislation has passed or when California’s Court rule that is it illegal to deny men access to domestic violence shelters or when the UK government mandated that domestic violence shelters must provide men with equal service or get their funding pulled. Those are real successes. I will concede that there are not many of them, yet none of these resulted from angry men insulting people.

    I suggest that your take on the effectiveness of anger is a product of timing, not one of experience.

    It is a product of experience, not timing. I do not express a lot of anger, however, I have witnessed what happens when people try to scream and insult their way to results, and it very rarely works. I cannot think of a single instance in which some man or woman who let their outrage over the treatment of male victims boil over resulted in any changes. It certainly scared the crap out of people, but no one did anything to address their complaints. I am not saying that being moderate always gets results. It does not. I am simply saying that if you could choose between anger and moderation — and you can — you ought to choose the latter because it tends to work eventually. The other one just pisses people off, and while that can be fun in the present, in the long run it only hurts your goals.

    Again, look at feminism.

  33. You are getting ahead of the curve, is what I’m saying.

    Anger and hyperbole gets attention.

    Attention gets like-minded people interested, and grows the movement.

    Critical mass is reached, and the group is too large to ignore without political repurcussion.

    Legislative change begins.

    You’re acting like we should be lobbyists with clout right now. That’s not going to happen. We have no budget, no infrastructure, no political support, and almost no public awareness….and you want to start trying to treat with Feminists and Politicians as if we’re on equal footing. That’s why your approach will lose without those taking my approach.

    Moderates have no power, except as alternative to more angry responses. Lack of evidence of anger = no threat of angry response, and therefore moderates are an alternative to nothing. Ergo, staus quo.

    You want us to act as if we are on equal footing. But this is a guerilla war.

  34. But this is a guerilla war.

    If this is guerrilla war, then you are going to lose because you are not fighting on home turf. You do not know the terrain, you do not know what areas your enemy needs to protect, and as a guerrilla group you lack the cohesion and leadership necessary to win battles, let alone a war. In contrast, your enemy sits inside a walled city with plenty of provisions, plenty of troops, a disposable income, and plenty of support. They do not even have to take you out themselves. They can literally have someone else do it for them (as they did with The Good Men Project).

    These are bad tactics to start with, and they are even worse when you are this vastly outnumbered and lacking in resources. The best decision would be to group together than harass the enemy at strategic points they must defend simultaneously. It would also be a good idea to set up easy targets for the enemy to take down so as to distract them from your real goals. Most prudent, however, would be to win over the people, since their support will lessen the effectiveness of your enemy’s tactics.

    I do not want to take the analogy any further, however, since you mentioned it I think you should read the Art of War. Sun Tzu more or less backs my position on to address the problem of an entrenched enemy. He frowns upon what you suggested.

  35. I’m really not sure how to get this through to you..

    What you advocate has been tried…over and over again….for years. To the point that we can tell you precisely the curve their ‘help and concern’ will follow.

    Why you seem to think that you, and you alone, have ‘figured it out’ is beyond me. But you really need to understand that you are advocating a REGRESSION of the mens movement, not a progression. I cannot state this enough, you’re not saying one damned thing that is new.

    If, on the other hand, you have come up with some kind of strategy that is effective, and can show the success of that approach, recently, and independent of the attention now being received…well, then I’ll concede a bit to your point. I’m not firmly on one side of these tactics or the other, I am only about what works.

    And what you are advocating would be the loss of whatever public awareness we now have, the allowance of feminists and their sympathizers to both define, then ‘fix’ mens problems, and the submission to mainstream media’s take and support of these issues…and I will remind you that only 5 years ago, a simple letter to the editor of the des moines register that was male-sympathetic sent shock waves of optimism through our movement.

    Do I take umbrage with your approach? Not at all. I do take umbrage at the suggestion that those of us engaged in the louder activities are ‘doing it wrong’ and ‘damaging the movement’ though. For a couple of reasons:

    One, without the loud voices, there wouldn’t BE a movement to speak of in the public consciousness. Sure we would still exist. And we would still be completely ignored.

    Two, anger motivates people. Outrage at injustice is what unites many of us, and what you are advocating is about the best strategy possible to defuse, and ultimately defeat, the mens movement. If your goal is to defeat efforts at reform, go on and continue to advocate this approach. One would hope that eventually it might sink in to your head that Feminists demand we approach these issues in an identical manner you do…and the implications of such correlation.

    Long and short of it, I think you’re dead wrong and there’s no way in Hell I’m going to speak softer, no matter what you think. That said, I see no reason why you should be stifled either. As long as we agree on that last bit, I see no reason why we shouldn’t be friends. But if you aim to shut us loud guys up, you’ve got a real fight on your hands.

  36. Factory, you keep saying that the moderate method does not work, yet it is only method that has resulted in any victories for the men’s movement. It is not a matter of me thinking I figured anything out. It is a matter of looking at what actually gets results. I cannot think of any achievements in the men’s movement that resulted from people pitching online tantrums or throwing out profane insults.

    You may think that a moderate approach is a regression, but the results suggest otherwise. This does not mean people should speak out against terrible policies. No one has to stop addressing sexism against males. It only means that you have the choice between saying, “that’s a pretty hypocritical, arrogant statement” versus “you’re all a bunch of bitches” — and you do — you should choose the former. Does it sting as much as the latter? No. Can you defend the former? Yes. And you can even say in an angry tone.

    That is the point. The moderate position gives you a base to start from. Even if feminists do not agree with you, you have given them nothing to legitimately attack you with. If you around shouting out insults and throwing tantrums, you not only hinder any progress you already made, but you could potentially undo it because that kind of abject anger implies that you do not actually have any point. You are just venting.

    No one is saying do not get angry. You are only being told to keep the anger in check so that you do not turn off the people whose support you need and want. This idea that if you cannot call feminists or women “cunts” that you are being silenced is childish. You do not have to insult people in order to be heard or make your point.

    Unfortunately, a lot of MRAs think that, which is why so few people take them seriously despite the valid issues they discuss.

    As for silencing the loud voices, that implies that I am concerned about them. I am not. I am only concerned to the extent that their behavior gets in the way of addressing major issues.

  37. Well, if that’s how you characterize it, then I doubt you have read much of what I type.

    I still think you have completely missed the point – that without the radicals the ‘moderates’ wouldn’t get anyone to give them the time of day (which I happen to know from years of experience).

    Once again, without the anger, EVERYONE else (including Glenn, Robert, etc) would accomplish precisely nothing.

    You seem to have no ability to grasp this concept…which tells me you are deliberately trying to avoid considering it. Which is your prerogative. But I’m afraid it also means I am going to drop this conversation, since I really don’t care what people say either way.

    You go your way, I’ll go mine.

  38. Factory, if you do not care what people say either way, why bother starting the conversation? That is precisely the reason why feminists have a hard time winning over people, and it is precisely the reason why it is easy for folks like those at the Good Men Project Magazine to take potshots at MRAs.

  39. Ok TS, I’m not sure what you’re trying to figure out, but you’ve ‘misunderstood’ me a little too much for me to be polite anymore…

    “Factory, if you do not care what people say either way, why bother starting the conversation?”

    I care what people say, which is why I listen when people make arguments. What I can’t understand is people like you who continuously refuse to even acknowledge the points made (if they disagree with your preconceived notions), and instead engage in some kind of wish-fulfillment fantasy.

    I’m telling you straight up that Glenn Sacks would be nowhere, absolutely nowhere, without the rest of the ‘mob’ making the noises they did. You don’t even ACKNOWLEDGE this, let alone debate it’s merits. It’s the plain truth. And while we’re on it, Glenn’s site imploded because he was paying out the exact same bullshit you’re doing right here.

    The time to ‘be nice’ is LONG fucking past TS. I have no idea why you seem to feel like you have such a handle on the strategies best employed. What are the criteria you’re using? Glenn? Murray?

    NONE of them would have any attention without the angry masses. To deny this is to completely fuck up any kind of understanding of how social movements work.

    “That is precisely the reason why feminists have a hard time winning over people, and it is precisely the reason why it is easy for folks like those at the Good Men Project Magazine to take potshots at MRAs.”

    You STILL don’t fucking get it do you?

    There is no way, in Hell, feminists will EVER accept our movement as legitimate, let alone right about things we hold in contention. TGMP is nothing, at all, other than a ‘male’ front on a feminist cause. I sincerely hope you aren’t naive enough to have expected the reception at TGMP to be anything other than what it was. I had no doubt in my mind it was an attempt to discredit right from the start. And a few of us decided it’s best to know there’s a trap before you walk into it. And then wrote an article or two.

    Feminism is not dying because they’re angry, feminism is dying because they’re full of shit, and people are having a hard time getting pissed about such minor issues. Feminism is dying because it IS ‘The Establishment’, and it’s hard to keep up the Rebel facade.

    WE are the rebels now. And it’s the attraction of that aspect that builds movements. And it’s something you fail entirely to grasp.

  40. Why would I acknowledge a point I think is flawed and incorrect?

    Your argument is that the angry mob makes it possible for a social movement to exist. That is historically incorrect. Your argument is that the angry mob is necessary for a social movement to succeed. That too is historically incorrect. Your argument is that moderate voices, i.e people who make strong argument but do not resort to ad hominems and insults, are completely ineffective. That is also historically incorrect.

    I agree that angry voices draw attention. However, my understanding is that MRAs do not just want attention. They want social changes. If that is the case, then they must bring something other than their anger to the table, and they must be capable of holding rational discussions with people, particularly people they disagree with.

    The way a movement behaves and who it allows to be its voice and face affects how people respond to it. No one is saying do not get angry. All you are being asked to do is to control the anger and know when to use it. Now, if some MRAs want to act like Anakin Skywalker and Charlie Sheen’s bastard child, they can have at it, but they will never get what they want.

    You are playing in a political field. Everything you say or write will be scrutinized and taken seriously. MRAs frequently take feminist statements and hold them up as examples of the misandry in that movement. One would think that MRAs would then have enough sense to avoid making the same mistakes feminists do. While the leaders in the movement are careful, the rest of the movement is not politically astute enough to know when to parse their words or bite their tongues.

    The issue is not whether feminists accept the men’s movement as legitimate. The issue is whether you give feminists ammunition they could use to attack and discredit you. Your anger is the perfect weapon for them because angry people usually do not make much sense, so not only will you look like you do not have a point, you actually will not have a point. More so, since anger makes people overconfident and arrogant, few will pay attention to whatever points you do bring up, which is why GMPM likely did what they did.

    You can think you are clever for springing the trap, but you cannot actually be all that clever if you get caught by the trap you knew was there, which is precisely what happened.

    The situation MRAs are in is the same that feminists are in: you are locked in an “us versus them” mentality to such a degree that you ruin your own efforts. Their efforts typically succeed when people set aside the anger or learn to control it enough so that they can figure out how to solve problems.

    The moderate road wins allies. The path of anger just makes people not like you.

  41. “You can think you are clever for springing the trap, but you cannot actually be all that clever if you get caught by the trap you knew was there, which is precisely what happened.”

    Not even close to reality. Sorry.

    Those guys have huge backing, and a lot of media types are interested in how that whole thing played out. unless you were involved in the emails I was writing and reading, I’d say you have no idea what we were trying to accomplish. Hopefully, you can glean it from the intended audience (hint: we don’t try and convince feminists).

    Oh hell, how obvious do I have to be here? This was an attempt to see just how possible “reconciliation” is without admitting a thing. A test of how firm our resolve is. This was in NO way an attempt to spread our concerns, but it most certainly accomplished that.

    But I’m getting so sick of you armchair quarterbacks criticizing our moves from the sidelines. If you have such a great grasp on these issues, and the levers of social change, then why the hell aren’t you out there making a difference and winning converts?

    Do we all have to stop and listen to you, and do things the way you demand, before you can become effective?

    How exactly is that different from a three year old demanding the world become what he wants?

    You continuously tell me I’m ‘historically incorrect’ without really ever backing that up…probably because there’s about 5000 violent revolutions that were successful for every one nonviolent one.

    Put up or shut up, I’m tired of arguing this same bullshit with people who are so convinced they’re right, they don’t even have to do anything to prove it.

  42. Factory, I did not ask you to listen to me. You came here, remember? You are free to do whatever it is that you think works, just as I am free to say that I think your methods do not work. Likewise, you can think whatever you want about me. I do not care. All I care about is making sure that abused boys and men can get the help and services they need. I do not need to agree with you to do that.

    Get as angry as you want. It is not going to make me agree to pitch hissy fits in a juvenile effort to one-up feminists by calling them names. As for the “put up or shut up” comment, I think you should take your own advice. Not here, of course. However, I do think that if you believe the angry mob method gets great results you should focus more on getting those results rather than arguing with a “three year old demanding the world become what he wants” (the irony notwithstanding). It would seem that you have better ways to spend your time, so you should go do that.

  43. Pingback: Nobody’s Listening | Toy Soldiers

  44. Pingback: Top posts of 2011 | Toy Soldiers

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