Not quite the burn

There has been an infographic floating around concerning the men’s right subreddit. The graph shows that most people on the subreddit are white, teenage male conservatives. Wil Wheaton, of Star Trek fame, made this comment about it:

Survey of /r/mensrights turns up pretty much exactly what you’d expect.

White, male, 17-20 years-old, and disconnected from reality.

Nice burn. Except when one actually reads the infographic it also says that these men are have no religion and support marijuana legalization, two very non-conservative things. A little digging revealed that the person who created the survey found that it did not go as planned. Rhumar writes:

My original plan with this survey was to submit the same survey to /r/Feminism, wait until the responses petered out, and then analyze and compare the data. This was not going to be used to prove anything, as there are many biases which could very well have an effect on responses, but rather it was an exercise simply conducted out of curiosity.

Unfortunately, it appears that the /r/MensRights survey was brigaded with bots, or maybe even some very dedicated trolls. Regardless, the results for the survey of this sub are clearly compromised. I apologize for the disappointment.

Here are the results of the /r/feminism survey. Frankly, I was going to make my own nice result graphics but the whole brigading thing has left me disappointed with a lack of motivation for this thing anymore. I fixed the “issues” graphic though. [link]

Factors which could potentially cause bias in the responses include, but are not limited to:

  • Survey was not a random sample (data may not be representative of the sub as a whole)

  • Possibility of individuals completing survey with the intent to skew the data

What people would possibly want to skew the results of an anonymous survey about r/mensrights in order to make men’s rights activists look bad?

Other feminists followed Wheaton’s lead. Amanda Marcotte wrote a piece of Raw Story full of her usual misandrous nonsense. She linked to Stephanie Zvan’s post about it. Zvan attempted to explain the survey was inaccurate yet accurate because she played with the math to get a number she found acceptable, a number that conveniently confirmed her view that most men’s rights subredditors are teenage white boys. She ended with this:

So the average Men’s Rights subredditor is a very young, white, irreligious man who leans libertarian to conservative except as the law affects him directly.Do we actually know that they’re atheists when they show up from there to try to shut us down? No, we don’t know, per se. But we can do the math.

Below is my response (I am posting it here because Zvan, like all open-minded atheist feminists, moderates the comments on her blog and only allows certain comments through):

That assumes the initial survey was not trolled or highjacked by bots either. The men’s rights subreddit is frequently trolled by feminists and progressives, so it would not come as a surprise that any survey posted there would end up skewed. What makes the results particularly questionable is that if you read the posts and comments made by the average men’s rights subredditor, they do not match the results of the survey.

More so, the initial men’s right survey received three times the responses than the feminist version of the survey, despite r/feminism having a much larger audience. That makes no sense at all, unless one allows for the possibility that people–in this case most likely feminists–trolled the men’s rights survey to skew the results.

That in turn makes it impossible to determine the actual make-up of the men’s rights subredditor, let alone men’s rights activists in general. That will not stop anyone from stereotyping them. As shown here, many people are more than willing to engage in confirmation bias. And I agree it far easier to think that someone pushing for recognizing men’s issues is a whiny non-religious conservative 17-year-old white boy than a 41-year-old black agnostic libertarian man with a legitimate complaint.

Yet that does not make the results true. Given the situation, one cannot trust any of the survey results (and to be fair, the only reason the feminist version is somewhat trustworthy is because of the low response that compliments the comments and posts one reads in r/feminism). One would need an unbiased survey, one better controlled, in order to determine who makes up the audience of r/mensrights. We do not have that.

That does not mean feminists have to take men’s issues seriously. No one is suggesting that you consider it important, for example, to acknowledge male rape victims. You do not have to, and as a male survivor and advocate I would prefer feminists stay out of that conversation because male survivors do not need more victim-blaming, shaming, and guilt-tripping. However, I do think feminists should be careful about so gleefully rallying to a clearly inaccurate survey.

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6 thoughts on “Not quite the burn

  1. So the results showed young and white. Is this surprising at all. Is this even evidence of bias? I can see why feminists would want this to be true, if MRAs are young and white and male they have decades of Apologetics to support silencing marginalizing and victimizing this group.

    But from an actual Men’s rights Perspective is it flawed or even unreasonable to think that most advocates have the privileges of time and wealth needed to advocate?

  2. How stupid does someone have to be to think that a survey on Reddit is representative of the world at large? No offense to Reddit, just that people who use that site tend to be young white men to begin with.

    And I need the star of a sci-fi series telling me I have insufficient connection to reality like I need a hole in my head.

  3. I saw this over at AVfM (http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/feminist-lies-feminism/did-we-hit-a-nerve-amanda-like-phony-surveys-much-amandamarcotte-szvan-pandagon/):

    But Marcotte’s biggest failure is that she has been trolled and fooled by an obvious feminist troll – a detailed examination of the individual responses to the survey (available here and also through the reddit.com link above) indicates that a large number of the responses were automatically generated – for example, responses 443 through 525 are nearly identical and were submitted milliseconds apart, a process only possible through an automated effort to sabotage the results.

    I just looked those up myself and even though it was more like a few minutes its still suspicious. Nearly 100 responses that are damn near identical in just under 4 minutes?

    You would think that feminists, who love to fact check when something is said against them, would pick up on something like that.

  4. Danny, I have not noticed feminists like Marcotte bothering to fact-check. They tend to look for anything that supports their views and run with it.

  5. How exactly would most MRAs being 17-20 year old white males make anything they say more or less true? This is simply the ad hominem logical fallacy.
    Really all they’re doing is proving that they are biased against white people, males and people younger than them. Racist, sexist, ageist.

  6. People on a site chock full of young people, who are statistically most likely to be white, in a subreddit devoted to discussing men’s issues, are predominantly young white men? I am shocked, shocked, I say! I suppose the next thing you’ll tell me is that /r/Feminism is full of white young women.

    Of course, feminists who bash MRAs can’t seem to decide which stereotype to stick to. PUAs? Bronies? Virgin neckbeards? Young white men? Middle-aged, bitter, divorced white men? Ranting zealots? Smooth-talking hucksters? Given that feminists often conveniently forget the men in their own movement, why would they be more accurate about a movement they know so little about that they somehow think a fedora is their rallying symbol?

    Of course, as someone on tumblr pointed out – and a SJW tried to hand-wave away without quite managing to say it was wrong – just talking about men’s problems, at all, is non-traditionalist.

    However, I do think feminists should be careful about so gleefully rallying to a clearly inaccurate survey.

    That’s rarely stopped them before.

    @TS

    Danny, I have not noticed feminists like Marcotte bothering to fact-check. They tend to look for anything that supports their views and run with it.

    Guy’s wife runs away, he tells his friend she was lying about him hurting her, tracks her down, and kills her. According to Mandy, MRAs are to blame. Or, more accurately, “MRA narratives”. Of course, by that logic, “feminist narratives” are responsible for any man who is harmed by false rape claims, but I doubt Marcotte would agree.

    @reyeko

    How exactly would most MRAs being 17-20 year old white males make anything they say more or less true? This is simply the ad hominem logical fallacy.

    Ah, you noticed. My belief is that folks who want to believe stuff like this terrified of actually meeting MRAs in honest debate and, y’know, having to question their beliefs, so they try to discredit them from metaphorical standoff range. This is also why they seldom engage in any debate, but are willing to break the law to silence MRAs IRL.

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