Two months ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center published several articles portraying the men’s rights movement as a hate group. Arthur Goldwag’s article brought the most criticism, as the article painted the men’s rights movement as filled with nothing but misogynists, woman-haters, and terrorist supporters.
Goldwag decided to write a response to the criticism, although it is not any different from his original article. He gives the same arguments he gave before, relying solely on Thomas Ball, Anders Breviek, and Paul Elam’s A Voice for Men website as proof that the men’s rights movement is brimming with misogyny.
In his article, Goldwag attempts to weasel out of SPLC’s assertion that the men’s rights movement is a hate group:
It should be mentioned that the SPLC did not label MRAs as members of a hate movement; nor did our article claim that the grievances they air on their websites – false rape accusations, ruinous divorce settlements and the like – are all without merit.
Actually, SPLC did label men’s rights activists as misogynists and essentially part of a hate movement. For example:
The so-called “manosphere” is peopled with hundreds of websites, blogs and forums dedicated to savaging feminists in particular and women, very typically American women, in general. Although some of the sites make an attempt at civility and try to back their arguments with facts, they are almost all thick with misogynistic attacks that can be astounding for the guttural hatred they express.
At no point does Goldwag, Mark Potok, or Evelyn Schlatter make any distinction between the sites that spew vile and those that present reasoned arguments. They even listed SAVE as a hate group, despite that the organization’s goal is to ensure equal treatment, recognition, and access to support services for male victims of domestic and sexual violence and to help the falsely accused.
Only a small part of Goldwag’s article acknowledged the merit of father’s rights groups’ concerns, although that was quickly countered with two quotes, one suggesting that online activists do not actually count as “real” men’s rights activists, and the other denying men face any family court discrimination and instead claiming that women are the real victims:
Jocelyn Crowley, a Rutgers political scientist and the author of Defiant Dads: Fathers’ Rights Activists in America, says that most men who join real (as opposed to virtual) men’s rights groups aren’t seeking to attack the family court system so much as they are simply struggling to navigate it. What they talk most about when they meet face to face, she says, are strategies to deal with their ex-partners and have better relationships with their children.
But Molly Dragiewicz, a criminologist at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and the author of Equality With a Vengeance: Men’s Rights Groups, Battered Women, and Antifeminist Backlash, argues that cases in which fathers are badly treated by courts and other officials are not remotely the norm. The small percentage of divorces that end up in litigation are disproportionately those where abuse and other issues make joint custody a dubious proposition. Even when a woman can satisfactorily document her ex-husband’s abuse, Dragiewicz says, she is no more likely to receive full custody of her children than if she couldn’t.
In another article, the authors presented misleading and inaccurately statistics to argue that men are not victims of rape, domestic violence, or false allegations. None of the three articles about the men’s rights movement ever acknowledge the activists’ concerns as in any way legitimate.
Nowhere in any of the articles do the authors cite any experts from the men’s rights movement. They only talked to feminists, and most of Goldwag’s article and arguments are based on comments and blog posts made by Amanda Marcotte and David Futrelle, two feminists notorious for their misandry and disregard for men’s issues.
There is no sense in Goldwag and SPLC trying to spin what they did because the articles are there for everyone to see. They took a handful of examples largely pulled from bigoted, feminist blogs as their “proof” that men’s rights groups either as a whole or in general hate women. That is at best lazy “researching,” and at worst a deliberate attempt to attack a movement whose concerns SPLC, or more specifically Arthur Goldwag, think are illegitimate.
Goldwag’s laziness gets worse. When a commenter named Sig questioned SPLC’s remarks about the prevalence of rape against men, Arthur responded with:
Where did we challenge the CDC’s statistics on “forced intercourse?” The statistic we cited from the CDC report was one in 71 (1.4%).
In the “Men’s Rights Movement Spreads False Claims about Women,” the authors used the 1 in 71 rate as “proof” men are not raped as often as women. Yet the authors failed to note that the CDC researchers excluded “being forced to penetrate” as rape even though legally being forced to penetrate someone counts as rape. If one looks at the 12-month period data, 1.7 million women were raped, yet during that same period 1.7 million men were forced to penetrate someone, most of whom were female. Those are the same numbers. The only difference is that the CDC researchers chose to exclude one type of being forced to have sex as rape it happens mostly to men, resulting in a highly skewed number that they acknowledged did not match any other study’s results.
In this regard, SPLC did challenge the men’s rights position of “forced intercourse” because that is where they are getting their argument from.
It is perfectly fine for SPLC and Arthur Goldwag to support ignoring and downplaying violence and discrimination against men. They can hold whatever opinions they want. However, as an organization and a member of an organization supposedly opposed bigotry, it is ironic and hypocritical for them to peddle clearly bigoted interpretations of statistics and clearly bigoted opinions about a social movement coming primarily from two sources. That is at best dishonest, and at worst a deliberate attempt by a “feminist-friendly” man to undermine support for male victims and men’s issues.
It is likely the latter that is the heart of this, and that precisely why I have so little faith in feminists. Goldwag strikes me as an intelligent man. It is likely that he knows that every time he writes something negative about men’s groups, it is not the just the groups he named that will be labeled at hate groups, but any group that wants to help men and boys. The next time organizations like 1in6 or MaleSurvivor speak, they will have to deal with Goldwag’s “men don’t get raped” nonsense. The next time Fathers and Families speaks, they will have to deal with Goldwag’s “only abused fathers don’t get custody” nonsense.
I do not respect anyone who works from that kind of intellectually dishonest cowardice. And that is precisely what Goldwag showed because on his blog he cannot stop himself from writing “Why does a misogynist website take such extravagant offense at being called misogynist?” posts. If a person wants to discredit a group’s concerns, they should just be upfront about it. If Goldwag honestly thinks men’s rights groups concerns are silly nonsense, he should just say that instead of playing this name-calling game.
Ironically, he also wrote this:
Reducing a whole class of people to one immutable attribute is the essence of hate speech.
You mean like reducing all men’s rights activists to being nothing but misogynists?