EMRA Youtube episode 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmtln_sGsqc

Exposing Men’s Rights Activism presents:
Impromptu conversation about MRA use of rhetoric
[Content warning: EMRA is openly socialist and feminist in many political conclusions we draw. We do not require you to be a socialist/feminist or a sympathizer to view our content, but we do ask that you keep an open mind and respect the views of those that are in agreement with our politics.]
EMRA: Hi, you’re listening to Exposing Men’s Rights Activism TV. We’re your hosts – this is Kevin, administrator of the Dismantle Misogyny page – and I am one of the leading admins of Exposing Men’s Rights Activism (have been since the page had 38 likes, and now we’ve managed to break 17 thousand today, which is awesome!).
EMRA: So today, we’re in the beautiful San Francisco, California, going to be having a discussion about Men’s Rights Activists, Red Pill activists, and the language that they use in terms of the dismissiveness of the language, especially when it comes to online and with discussions with feminists on feminist blogs, or even on Men’s Rights Activist blogs, where they get into these “brawls” with the feminists or feminist allies and just the nature of their prose is very off-putting, very dismissive, and we’ll be getting to that discussion.
DM: Yeah, and if you really have these discussions long enough, you can see that it gets to the same cycle over and over again, because the rhetoric just becomes so repetitive and you get the same sort of logic used over and over again. So naturally you’re able to pick out the flaws in it, you know, when you’re faced with it over and over.
EMRA: Ad hominem, misandry… You know, the same statements that they try to use to evade real conversations with feminists, especially when you’re on a Men’s Rights Activist group page trying to have a discussion just to see why exactly they think the way they do, you’re usually met with a lot of animosity and a lot of “oh, well, you’re just a feminist, you’re not gonna understand anything about men’s issues”. Well, Men’s Rights Activists, we have a gentleman right here who still doesn’t understand your hang-up with feminism, and I naturally don’t understand it. I mean, I haven’t understood since the whole Steubenville incident, which is when I started first really getting into feminism. It’s just the arguments that y’all come up with – if you can even call them that – basically all I hear is screaming of misandry, of you pointing a bunch of fingers at us and screaming statements like ad hominem, and it’s very dismissive.
DM: Yeah, it ends up being a type of thing where you get the sense that people see feminism as a threat to themselves or their values, when if you look at it, men have a lot to gain. Obviously it’s one of those things where you really have to let go of looking at it from a selfish perspective, and just realize that you’re not fighting for just yourself, just for what you have to gain, that day, or instant gratification (what you see in a lot of pick-up artist communities). You really have to look at it as “well, I have something to gain too, because – you know, as anyone who’s really looked at it – men have a lot of structure and bonds placed on them from male gender roles, but you also just have to look at it as “well, am I trying to do the most good I can, and prevent the most suffering, and help people”. If you’re looking at it from that perspective, it doesn’t even matter whether or not you directly gain from engaging activism; you’re doing it on behalf of other people and trying to create a better “whole” and better community rather than just “get laid”, for instance. I mean, going back to the point about rhetoric that a lot of these sites use and how it just becomes cyclical, obviously there’s the term Social Justice Warrior, which on top of being laughable in its own right, it’s saying you’re attacking someone because they like social justice or they’re passionate about it or fighting for it. I mean, it’s ridiculous in its own right. It’s also a term where the definition as it seems to be used is “this is someone who’s fighting for social justice, or saying something is problematic, or advocating on behalf of a marginalized community”, because you’re assuming that they are doing it as brownie points, or to try to feel better about themselves, when really, it’s an argument where you’re assuming motives and projecting those onto someone so that you don’t have to engage with what they’re saying, and really go point by point – looking at their points and the things they bring up – you’re just saying “well, I can dismiss whatever they’re saying, because —“
EMRA: “— oh you’re just a Social Justice Warrior, I don’t have to listen to what you’re saying because you’re just belly-aching, playing “professional victim””
DM: Yeah, it’s like, can you not concede that someone would actually have a real desire to fix social problems? To make things easier and to make a society with less suffering overall? It’s just one of those things… And you also have the term White Knight, that ties in very closely with Social Justice Warrior, and that’s something that’s specifically aimed at men mostly, saying that “well, you’re only supportive of feminism or women’s rights because you’re trying to get something out of it, usually sex”. I always find it funny, because not only does that seem sort of rhetoric where you’re projecting and assuming someone else’s motives in order to not have to engage with what they’re saying, you can just dismiss it out of hand, because you assume that their motives are selfish. And – let me just say quickly – that even if they were, it’s still a question of doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, versus the wrong thing for the “right reasons”, but the real point of it is that it’s projecting an objectifying view onto other men that “oh, they almost think the way I do”, which is seeing women as some type of goal or reward for doing something good —
EMRA: — and a conquest to be obtained.
DM: Yeah, whereas no, there’s reasons that people wanna support others and want to be an ally to groups that have been historically marginalized for the past several thousand years, more than just wanting to do it to trick them into wanting to have sex with them. It’s really indicative of their logic when that’s the first conclusion they jump to, like “well, oh, this male is supportive of women or feminism, well clearly they’re only doing it to trick them into having sex with them or get on their good side or out of the “friend zone” – I mean, that’s a whole other topic – but it’s just really aggravating.
EMRA: A good point about that is, is that when you’re going and stating… calling men who proclaim themselves to be feminists as White Knights per se, not only are you being very dismissive of the argument and not providing a sufficient argument back, and lending yourself to a very childish notion of arguing or debating if you wanna even call it that), what you’re doing too is you’re giving in to a very wrong notion that all men do to function is think about sex. So that’s the drive to them wanting to become feminists is for them to eventually obtain this thing that – for thousands of years – people have just assumed that all men think about is sex and all women think about is just wanting relationships and wanting to get tied down to somebody. It’s a very false notion; a very wrong thing to assume that something that is really built into the fabric of our society, because really, these so-called “natures” have only been in recent development into the whole existence of the human species, because it’s only been about 10 thousand years that class society and gendered oppression and a lot of gendered violence has taken place. Before then, it was more like a very egalitarian, primitive, communism-type structure, wherein people had equal ground and you didn’t have that rigid gender norm/gender binary to base off of. You had men, women, and then the recognition of people who were in-between or either agender who didn’t really recognize themselves as [men or women], anything that modern day would just see as the so-called “norm”, very cis-hetero-normative idea of people just being men and women and having this biological attraction to each other and a dependency on each other – biological determinism – that they can’t essentially break away from, which is completely not the case and is really an only recent development within the ideologies of human existence.
DM: It’s a pure argument based on nature and saying that in a cultural context or social upbringing doesn’t have a role in it, when if you look at – historically – in for instance Ancient Greece, the culture narrative there was that women were the ones thinking about sex all the time. So you really have to look at these things relatively, and not just take them unquestioningly as being “the way things are” from an essentialist perspective, you have to apply a social constructionist lense to gender, and really say that a lot of these things we kinda take for granted and a lot of these roles and assumptions and these boxes that we put people into… People don’t really fit into them. It’s not a clean-cut thing. I know that that’s an easy way to think about it, but really we’re supposed to get out of black and white diametrical thinking when we’re children, that’s an easy way to think: up/down, black/white, left/right. You’re supposed to evolve beyond that and really – while we’re on the subject of rhetoric – I just wanted to know what your thoughts were on the argument that “well, feminism has a prefix “fem” so inherently it can’t be about equality”. That’s another wording or rhetoric-based argument that I hear a lot, and something that I bring up is, well, you have organizations like the NSSAP that are clearly about fighting for equality, and we accept that on a cultural level, or the LGBT community. Those things are about fighting for equality and I think most people recognize that, and yes, they can do that without having to have an S in LGBT for straight, or the NAAWP, you know? But yet, feminism is something that still gets subjected to this really intellectually dishonest attack of saying that “well, you’re trying to do to us what we did to you” – not to have an us-vs-them idea about it – but is it just the fear that we’re going to have the tables turned? But no, that’s not the case at all, and I’m just so tired of that line… I’m just wondering what you kinda thought.
EMRA: Yeah, I see that a lot of times coming from Men’s Rights Activists especially, where there’s an argument that there’s the prefix “fem” in feminism and so what it means is that you want a dictatorship of women over men, you want the reciprocated version of patriarchy, you don’t want an egalitarianism—
DM: — which, by the way, is admitting in patriarchy in itself, something that people deny in the same sentence, saying “oh, patriarchy doesn’t exist—“
EMRA: “— oh but by the way, you want the same thing that we’ve been doing to you for thousands of years” so… really? There’s an inherent contradiction within that logic, you might wanna restructure that if you want to stand any chance against people who know how to debate. Aside from that though, back to the question at hand… To be quite honest, I personally see that with a lot of people coming from a very reactionary point of view when it comes to black rights, when it comes to trans rights, when it comes to women’s rights, and you get people who have historically been privileged getting really upset over the fact that the under-privileged are actually wanting to fight for their rights and wanting to fight for the right to exist and to be equals to the people who have benefitted from these privileges for an extensive amount of time. So, what I really see that as, is kind of a reactionary way to derail a conversation by, first of all, completely dismissing the fact that within the dictionary, the definition of feminism the “equality of all genders”, it doesn’t mean “fem over all else”, sorry.
DM: That’s a good way to put it.
EMRA: Yeah, and what this really boils down to is people’s misunderstanding of language in and of itself, like the roots of the language and the origins of the word. It really comes down to just trying to embody and caricature an entire movement and an entire base of people off of a stereotype that evolves when the feminist movement was first starting to get powerful.
DM: Yeah guys, these anti-feminist arguments have been around for… you know, since the suffrage movement. You’re not doing anything new; I hate to break it to you —
EMRA: — you’re not new, you’re not original —
DM: — it’s been the same thing “oh, feminists are all ugly, they’re all man-haters, blah blah blah…”
EMRA: “Feminists are all older, new age women who are divorcees”. I mean, one of our most recent posts on Exposing Men’s Rights Activism is the statement where feminists are all socialist, child-hating, divorcees, new age women… Well, new age, yeah, I guess I could be. But number 1: no. It’s not just all women, obviously. Number 2: it’s not just based off of what you perceive as the gender norm and the gender stereotype of just being this dynamic between men and women. We have a lot of trans feminist activists as well, so feminism is a very broad spectrum that you have to look at, it’s not just this isolated where a bunch of privileged people get to gather around and start complaining about all of their problems (like Men’s Rights Activists, cis rights activists, white rights activists, bourgeois rights activists, for example, are getting upset because “how dare the working class decide to question our norms, and as for their rights, who do these people think they are? ”). And that’s essentially what Men’s Rights Activism is, is men who have historically been privileged for the past 10 thousand years at least.
DM: Yeah, and guys, can I just say quickly that just because not everything has gone your way in life, or because you feel sad sometimes, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have certain advantages, or at least the opportunity.
EMRA: Look at it from a group perspective and not from an “individual isolated incident” perspective.
DM: Yeah, or, you have to look at it historically and understand that in certain ways we’ve all benefitted, and you don’t really have to see it as an existential threat to yourself or taking away your pride or whatever, it’s just about helping people.
EMRA: Mhm. Precisely. So what about the – like, I’ve always noticed this when it comes to Men’s Rights Activists and Red Pill activists is that a lot of them tend to be heavily influenced by libertarianism, especially the troll sites when it comes to the sites known as “I got PTSD from a feminist post that didn’t have a trigger warning” or whatever the name of it was… these ridiculous, extensive names that go along with these pages and these blogs where 4chan hang out.
DM: Apparently they’re really obsessed with the whole trigger thing, it’s weird. They can’t understand any emotional trauma.
EMRA: You know, to speak to that actually now that we’re on the topic of trigger warnings and of trolls, I’m gonna speak as a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from rape and from parental abuse, these trigger warnings are very helpful. Reason number 1 being – especially in the United States – we have a healthcare system where a lot of people can’t afford to go and see psychologists to get officially diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and sequentially treated, so we have to be cognoscente of the people who don’t have access to these resources (hence the trigger warnings we place upon our posts on both of our pages, and we will continue to do so, by the way). So as a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, personally see to it that the people who don’t have access to the same things I have access to when it comes to healthcare are still spared and given the option of deciding if they want to be exposed to trauma that could be potentially triggering or not – within an article, within a video, within a discussion or what have you. So trigger warnings do have their place within not just feminist discourse, but with all discourse, because a lot of things could be potentially triggering. Racism can be triggering, because there are millions of people that have been greatly affected by racism, at least within the United States when it comes to the black liberation struggle, when it comes to Australia with the Aboriginal struggle, when it comes to —
DM: — look at South Africa —
EMRA: Right, exactly, and especially now with what we’re facing with the Palestinian liberation. A lot of racism there, a lot of Islamophobia, like there’s a lot of things that could be potentially triggering that need to have a trigger warning attached to them because there are people who have experienced a lot of trauma at the hands of racism, sexism, transphobia, you know… thoughts of suicide. These are all traumatizing experiences and it could potentially place people back into the same state of mind that they had once they were experiencing trauma (flashbacks is another term for it). So trigger warnings are here to stay.
DM: Also, by the way, they’re not censorship. I’ve heard that argument a lot, that you’re putting a trigger warning on something therefore you’re censoring it, well no, that’s not censoring it —
EMRA: — that’s not the point of the trigger warning —
DM: — and by the way, they’re not a joke. I’m really glad that a lot of you haven’t had to go through anything in life or have certain experiences or mental illnesses where you wouldn’t be affected in that way, but all I wanna ask is does that give you the right to be as callous as some people really are consistently? To dismiss those and to not understand that other people have different experiences? Like for instance, anyone who’s dealt with suicidal ideation or even attempted or anything like that, whether it’s traumatic events, or depression, bipolar, anything like that… It’s one of those things where certain types of content or reliving certain experiences… um… Oh, hi dog, just ran into the camera —
EMRA: — we’re in a park, so —
DM: — yeah, hazards of filming in the beautiful sunshine here… But, like I was saying, it’s one of those things where – unless you’ve personally experienced that – you’re really not qualified to just dismiss that, or to belittle it or undermine it, and also, you can just ignore it.
EMRA: Well even if you had gone through those experiences, you’re not really qualified to dismiss those experiences because people are affected by things differently, so, where somebody might not have been traumatized by a rape situation, somebody else is greatly affected by it.
DM: You just have to be understanding.
EMRA: Yeah, exactly. Be sensitive to the matters at hand. I feel like this goes back to the whole criticism of the Social Justice Warrior (yes… that is a derogatory term, by the way).
DM: I still can’t believe that. It’s like an 80’s cartoon show, like ~SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS~
EMRA: Right, right, exactly. Like the Justice League… Well, it is a derogatory term. But essentially, you making statements about how we’re Social Justice Warriors just lends to the fact that you don’t really understand dynamics of oppression that people have been facing for centuries, and you have a tenuous grasp – at most – over historical development when it comes to shifting of ways society has been structured. These things don’t just erode and evaporate after a revolution, if you will, or after a change of scenery, or a change or leadership. That’s not how politics works, that’s not how society works or social structures work. So to state that Social Justice Warriors are people who are extra sensitive about matters at hand… you know, these matters haven’t really dissipated and they’ve still become an issue and arguably – at least from our perspective as socialists – these matters are being exacerbated by the capitalist system, as a way to divide and conquer the working class and to re-traumatize people with various types of oppressions that have existed for hundreds of thousands of years. Just the fact that you’re sitting there trying to throw derogatory terms at us for having the audacity to call out oppression where we see it really gives way to your lack of understanding of the historical development of, not only the United States, but the globe as a whole.
DM: Right. That’s a topic that we would like to get into more in the future, is the interplay between the structures of patriarchy being where males can occupy the positions of power and where gender roles play into perpetuating that structure, and how that also fits into capitalism, the interplay between feminism and capitalism not being compatible ideologies.
EMRA: A discussion on that to come soon in the series.
DM: Yeah, because it’s such a fascinating topic, and each one uncovers things about the other if you really look at them in conjunction. I guess while we’re going through these topics, something that I was interested in asking you is that “what would you say to men who see feminism as a threat?” whether it’s their masculinity or as somehow oppressing to them, or if you look at a lot of the things that Men’s Rights Activists at least pay lip-service to defending, which is really essentially just fighting against male gender roles… I mean, my feelings on it are that feminism is addressing all those concerns anyway; so, you’re essentially doing yourself a disservice while also actively fighting against the empowerment of other people, which is really in your own benefit as well. I’m just interested in what you would say to people who question that, who really see it as bad for them, or somehow a threat?
EMRA: It’s kinda the same idea as talking about people who see – in any variation – their historical privilege and historical power being usurped by people who have been historically oppressed is that they see it as a threat because they see the oppressed people as a threat. They see it as a threat because they see equality as a threat. So there’s a motive behind that, either the lack of understanding and ignorance that comes along with the inability to either being raised to be very anti-feminist, or just not allowing oneself to read the proper material on it, or to even engage in discussion with the feminists… There’s a multitude of reasons, but what it essentially boils down to when you have people who are very anti-feminist, very anti-egalitarian, very anti-equality, and don’t see emancipation as the oppressed peoples as something worth gaining and fighting for. They’re really stuck in the whole status quo, the whole modus operandi of things. They really don’t want to see any type of changes to the system, meaningful changes that could bring about a better way of living for people who have historically been oppressed. They want things to stay the way they are because that’s where they benefit the most from, and you especially see this from cisgender white men who have something to lose from women gaining some type of ground, or conservative cisgender men who have something to lose from the loss of the establishment of the rigid gender binary, of heteronormativity, of an oppressive system that keeps people who are not men – cis men – from gaining any type of ground.
DM: I know it’s an uncomfortable thing to admit, saying that “well, I’m put in a position to have certain advantages and succeed in certain ways because of things that I didn’t earn” but that’s just the nature of the situation that we live in, which unfortunately we’re still in the system where that matters. What we’re trying to do is basically… we wanna get to that point where it doesn’t matter, where those things don’t automatically give you certain advantages. And like I said, even if you’re looking at it from a completely selfish perspective, there’s still things that men have to gain. I mean, a metaphor that I look at is that it seems like a lot of people are opposing social change in a reactionary way, specifically in terms of women’s rights, LGBT community rights, all those different areas including race… It seems like they see themselves as part of a group here that has gotten to where they are by —
EMRA: — hard work and perseverance —
DM: — and here’s marginalized community “X”. They see that as “well, they’re trying to bring us down, they’re trying to oppress Christians” or they’re trying to say that being a man is bad —
EMRA: — to reverse the oppression, “reverse racism” —
DM: — and bring that group down, when really, what’s happening here, is that we’re trying to level the playing field, bring everybody up. OK yes, I see how you see that as a threat, saying “they’re trying to drag us down”; you see it as an existential threat, whereas really, we’re just trying to give everyone the same opportunities and the same kind of right to life and right to exist on their own terms that you have. I’m sorry to straight cisgender white dudes, but you are allowed to exist on your own terms and be a sovereign individual, which I know is easy to take for granted when you’ve never really have to think about it, but that’s not a given for all people.
EMRA: Well, it seems we’ve gone 32 minutes with our discussion, so, like I said, this is Exposing Men’s Rights Activism television with Kevin from Dismantle Misogyny, and me from Exposing Men’s Rights Activism. This is an experiment with our videos to see if we can gain any traction with these discussions and try to engage our audiences and try to engage our followers with this discussion as well. If you have any feedback for our videos, if you have any feedback for any topics we’ve discussed – of course, we moved through quite a few of them – or any questions —
DM: — yeah, think of this as like a sampler.
EMRA: Right, exactly. This was an impromptu conversation; this was not scripted, as you can tell by a lot of my whisper words here. So, if you have any questions, feel free to leave some questions or even any comments, leave some comments for us so that we get some feedback for our next discussion that we will have. Also, you should stay tuned, we will be doing some segments on Social Reproduction Theory, and if you don’t know what that means, there’s a – we’ll leave it in the comments section – there’s an author known as Lise Vogel that discusses Social Reproduction Theory. So this is part of an extensive project that we’ve been meaning to work on for a while. Again, thank you for listening, thank you for taking the time to watch our discussion here and we’ll hope that you’ll tune in next time.
DM: Yeah, much appreciated! See you later.
EMRA: See ya!
[Thanks for watching!]

I Am Neutrois

This is my story of struggling with my gender identity. It isn’t going to be the typical story you hear, because I guess I’m sort of a late bloomer in the non-gender portion of the population. I’m just beginning to embark on my journey, and have only had the courage to discuss this openly with a couple close friends. I haven’t come out publicly to many people because I wasn’t certain what I was until just recently.

I am neutrois—what less politically correct sources claim to be “the transsexual of the non-gender demographic”. Some refer to me as a third kind of gender. Well, I suppose if that helps them understand me, then I guess it holds some truth. But I personally don’t identify with any gender. In fact, I physically attempt to hide all aspects of myself that portray gender. I’ve changed my name, wear baggy clothes, sports bras that smoosh my top half, and desire to change some physical aspects of my body that are tied to characteristics of womanhood. I have dysphoric struggles with parts of myself that scream “gender”, physically as well as socially.

While I was born with female organs and assigned female as a gender, I was never able to fully claim it as my correct identity. I don’t feel attached to a male gender identity either. None of them were right for me. Even in high school, I wore clothes, dressed up as, and went by a name that was neutral. I hated my name because of how girly it sounded. I felt it made me weak because of how much I hated it, made me a freak or forced me to be something I wasn’t. Someone saying it was like nails on a chalkboard. Once one of my friends stated that he didn’t (and even couldn’t) see me as an actual gender, that I’m just me. At first I thought what he said was bizarre, but not long after that I understood it to be true. I don’t belong in the binary.

When I turned 18, changing my name to something neutral was the first thing I did and I don’t regret doing it. On paper I’ve been confused with male and female, people don’t know how to pronounce my name or where it even comes from, which can get frustrating but it was much preferable over my birth name. Now I’m at a point in my life where I long to sterilize myself (this is the transition portion of neutrois, I suppose).

For a while I wondered if perhaps I was simply agender with an occasional display of feminine qualities. However I feel like agender represented more a person who was opting out of gender, but didn’t display any dysphoric qualities in their mentality. I have qualities physically about myself that I want to change. I hide a lot of my sexual features because I don’t want to be associated with feminine unless I choose to be (which is relatively rare). I hate the way men on the street look at me if I appear to be female. I hate having everything I do associated with being female and feminine gender requirements/expectations associated with me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate feminine qualities/women in general, I just hate MY physical feminine/female qualities.

I do, however, have demi-girl qualities from time to time, but that doesn’t make my connection to a neutrois identity any less true. I do have previous experiences with sexual assault and harassment that have damaged me to the point where I no longer wish to be seen as a woman. But my traumatic experiences don’t make my neutrois identity any less true. And being neutrois doesn’t default me to asexual or aromantic. Not all neutrois folks are that way. I have emotions. I have sexual desires. I’m ok with most of my body except for the fact that I have a womb and can be impregnated (which I intend to change). But the fact remains that I am neither male nor female. I’m not “inbetween”. I’m not “going through a phase”. I am neutrois.

People without gender exist. We have struggles. We deserve to be seen and respected, just like any other human out there.

Screenshots: The Extremely Racist Comments About #Ferguson on Facebook & Twitter

We all knew that there would be this sort of backlash in the aftermath of the Ferguson verdict: a bunch of whiny social conservatives and oblivious white folks making commentary about how they supported Darren Wilson, Ferguson PD, or completely derailing serious discussions about race in the USA so that they can make it all about white people or “black-on-black crime”. I saw it when Zimmerman was freed, I saw it after Oscar Grant and Eric Garner were killed, and yea, I see it now. And it isn’t limited to just shouts of solidarity with Wilson for “doing the right thing” *barf*, but extends to outright threats against people who defend Mike Brown’s honor or racist memes (yes, let’s call it what it is–very racist) floating around making a mockery of people of color for having the AUDACITY to discuss RACE!*gasp*

I want to be clear about something going into this article: I’m white. But even as a white person the comments I’ve seen made me sick to my stomach for the past week and there have been many occasions where I wanted so badly to punch my computer screen. I can’t even begin to imagine how these bigoted statements affect people of color. I’ve had to block and ban people off of my profile and pages for their commentary (yes, I WILL ban people for being racist, because racism doesn’t count as “just having a personal opinion”–it’s freaking BIGOTRY). My friends and political colleagues have had to deal with this sort of political polarization/isolation as well. So I’ve decided to collect their experiences and mine through screenshots and post them online for people to see. I am hoping that the people making comments similar to these will see this mirror image of themselves and think twice before engaging in hooliganism (but I won’t hold my breath).

 

Dear White People: It is about race. Read the comments and you’ll see. The USA is not a post-racial society.

 

I want to make it clear that the commentary you are about to see is unaltered and uncensored (except for the names). This content may even be potentially TRIGGERING because of its very nature (threats, racism, racist apologism, victim blaming, etc) and some posts even utilize the “N” bomb. So please EXERCISE CAUTION if you decide to continue reading.

 

 

First we will start off with the typical “WHAT ABOUT THE WHITE PEOPLE?!?!”/”JUST GET OVER IT ALREADY!!!!!” statements:

racist Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.26.22 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.27.35 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.32.01 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 7.42.29 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 7.46.03 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 7.52.43 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 8.04.33 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 8.10.40 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 8.13.44 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 8.15.06 PM

Then on to the pro-police, victim blaming statements:

meh Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.28.34 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 7.49.01 PM dumb

Some classist, racist “thug” and “animal” statements:

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Some threats made to Ferguson protest defenders:

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With a dash of miscellaneous psychopathy (not quite threats, but still extremely disconcerting):

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And some commonly posted Facebook memes:

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Some people don’t believe in solidarity I guess…

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Yea, I’m just going to come out and say it: Every single person who posted these statements and memes should be fucking ashamed. I mean seriously. How on earth do you even sleep at night with this sort of mentality fluttering around in your brain? Do you seriously think it’s acceptable to support a police department that has multiple links to the Ku Klux Klan? Are the conversations so upsetting to you that you have to try and derail serious discourse about racial oppression so you can place the spotlight back onto white people or yourself? Do you fear equality so badly that you have to send threats to people that you disagree with? Have any of you even glanced at historical texts since high school? You do realize the US was built on the backs of Blacks, with the blood of Native Americans and Immigrants, and with stolen land from Mexico? Racism is part of the very fabric of this country, and yet you really want to sit here and cry because nobody wants to talk about white people?

The United States isn’t even close to being a post-racial society. I think I’ve proven that fact with this publication alone.

Mental Illness Tips: How to Be An Effective Supporter

Yesterday I spoke with a friend of mine that was having a rough time with personal relationships and finances. She suffers from mental disorders as well, which as many of you know can play into the phenomenon known as suicidal ideation.

Well, I had to do a great deal to make sure she was calmed as a result of someone on a suicide hotline gas lighting her experiences and emotions. She was told that she was working herself up over nothing, that she has options that she’s choosing to ignore, that it’s all in her head and she needs to just get over it, etc. Basically things that no professional working for a suicide prevention hotline should ever say.

And so as a person who has loved ones go through tough times, and as a person who deals with mental illness, I wanted to make a post to raise awareness about what to say and what not to say to someone who is suffering from mental illness of any kind and reaches out for help, especially if they are having thoughts of suicide.

What NOT to say:
(1)–“I know you are going through something, but it doesn’t help the situation if you always dwell on it. You need to just be happy.”
(2)–“Things are not as bad as you are making them out to be.”
(3)–“I think you are remembering things wrong” (often said to people with PTSD, believe it or not).
(4)–“I don’t believe you are actually suffering from XYZ. You look fine to me.”
(5)–“You just need to get over it. You’re bumming everyone out.”
(6)–“The best way to get over XYZ is to just grow up and face your fears.”
(7)–“Stop crying. You’re just making it worse.”
(8)–“I think you’re just taking everything too personal.”
(9)–Don’t just start rattling off all of this advice on how they can make all of their problems go away and get happy quickly. Many mental illnesses are lifelong ailments that need professional treatment. Statements like “just get a different job”, “just cut everybody off”, and “just move on” don’t help at all.
(10)–“You just need to go see a doctor” (understand that a lot of people do not have health insurance, and so many resources that they need are not available to them).

What to say/do:
(1)–When they need to talk, shut up and listen to them. Don’t invalidate their statements. Don’t tell them to buck up and get over it. Don’t start talking about yourself and your problems. People call help lines because they typically need to vent and need someone to hear them out.
(2)–Educate yourself on what it means to actively listen to people when they need someone to talk to.
(3)–Don’t, in any way by any means, start calling them crazy for what they are feeling and going through. Validate their emotions.
(4)–Be there for them when they need someone. You don’t have to give them a bunch of physical resources, but just be a person they can trust when they need an ear or to lead them to professionals who can help them if you are unable to. Usually hotlines are helpful. If one doesn’t work, try to find a different one that will.
(5)–If someone in your life has a mental illness, be actively supportive by educating yourself on what it means to have that illness and what those people go through on a daily basis. Many forums have tips for supporters on what they can do to help their loved ones.
(6)–Follow up with them periodically to see how they are feeling. It’s nice to know people care about what someone is going through.

Quick Thoughts: Comedy and Rape Jokes

TRIGGER WARNING for discussion of rape

You know how all of these comedians seem to be placing the brunt of their shows on making rape victims the butt end of their jokes? I just really don’t understand what they think is so funny about rape? No, seriously. I don’t.

I mean I understand the social dynamics of it (namely, rape culture and patriarchy make the mockery of rape victims, who are predominantly women, acceptable because– well –subjugation of women by men is socially acceptable). But what about on the individual’s level?

I mean what exactly about this heinous crime makes people go, “You know what I think I’ll do? I’ll antagonize people who’ve been raped. I’ll antagonize people who have faced this sort of torture and have had few people believe them when they speak of it.”?

And I really wonder how these comedians come up with some of their rape joke material. Do they all just come into some kind of a pow wow after a breaking story about how yet another rapist got away with it and start brainstorming?

I just imagine someone like Daniel Tosh sitting with all of his buddies bouncing ideas off of each other for the next show:

“Hey guyz! What if we mention how someone got beat up before being raped? That’s, like, super funny!”

“Oh wait! What if we high lighted the fact that no one believes them when they go to the hospital or police when they try to seek out help?!”

“No, dude! GANG rape!”

*the group busts up laughing*

“Oh I know! What if they get diseases from it?! HAHAHAHA!”

“You know what the funniest part about rape is? People fucking get PTSD from it! Watching someone tear themselves apart after trauma is funny because they pretty much were given a life sentence while the perpetrator lives their life happily!”

“Yea, man! That one! PTSD is hilarious!”

I mean seriously?!? What kind of sociopathic asshat genuinely thinks rape is funny?

Dear Facebook: DO SOMETHING about this Misogyny!

To the leaders and admins of Facebook,

In the previous years, your website has transformed from a small college connection website to a monolith that shrinks the size of the globe. Now people thousands of miles away can share ideas and experiences in a way that was only dreamed of by entrepreneurs and Internet users alike. People from all walks of life, with all kinds of identities, use your website to help broaden their horizons and network with like minded individuals. Some even use it to gain support when they are going through tough experience and need a little help along the way. This tool you’ve created has great potential to make the world a better place.

I have made use of this tool since 2008 and have used it for community organizing, seeking out old friends I’ve lost contact with, keeping in touch with relatives, and engaging into dynamic political discourse that has opened my mind to the wonderful ideas the world has to offer. I have been around to see the shifts, changes and successes Facebook has endured.

But along with the good experiences I’ve had using Facebook came many negative experiences. As with any other Internet site, there’s always a chance that people with malicious intent will also spend time on the site, which eventually ruins the experience for other users—sometimes causing unnecessary traumas in otherwise diplomatic settings.

While this may take the form of antagonizing, identity theft, and blatant bigotry, the focus of this letter is to make you aware of the very real presence of misogyny that exists on your page in hopes that perhaps you may address it with more fervor in the future. These pages aren’t simply fringe pages with one or two dozen followers making offensive commentary periodically. There are bigoted pages that have a commanding influence in the website, such as “Masculinist India” which has 20,000 followers and repeatedly makes commentary about women being “inferior” and rape needing to be decriminalized.

Not only that, there seems to be a very real fundamental issue with your reporting system, which in the past has permitted to continued existence of racist and sexist pages but has resulted in the removal of pages that confront this bigotry. A very recent example was the creation of a page called “The Queer, Black Feminist Must Die”, which has been reported by dozens of viewers and has sent death threats to the creator of “The Queer, Black Feminist”. Upon reporting this page for violence, I received a notification from the Facebook admins stating that this page did not violate the Facebook policy.

The page, “The Queer, Black Feminist Must Die” is by far not the only blatantly sexist and racist page Facebook has permitted to exist despite multiple reports. Groups are some of the other places where misogyny and conspiracy to harass are nurtured. Just recently, Facebook finally removed a page called “Misogynists”, which required raising awareness across multiple human rights groups and pages in order to eliminate.

May I ask, why does it have to take massive amounts of effort from the regular users of Facebook to get a clearly sexist, racist or homophobic page/group removed? And to respond to those who report these bigoted pages as “not breaking Facebook policy” when they OBVIOUSLY do? What message are you sending to your users by allowing hateful pages to prosper at their expense?

As a woman poised to undergo treatment for abuse and gender violence, the things that Facebook allows on the website are absolutely appalling to say the least. In fact, one could argue that it has become less of a safe space for all users because of the hostility, threats of violence, and harassment that have gone unpunished for so long. It’s even difficult to partake in discussions about entertainment without running into triggering misogyny.

If nothing is done about the hate speech that saturates the Facebook community and the very broken reporting system currently in place, you risk alienating a significant number of users from your site. Racist and sexist pages/groups should not be permitted to exist, and you need to listen to the reports and concerns expressed by your users when these hostile conditions exist.

I call upon you to address these problems that exists on your website. Users shouldn’t have to fear being harassed, threatened or triggered by sexism, racism, etc if they make use of your website and they should be able to trust that if such a condition arises, you will address it!

Below, I have added various pictures of misogynistic Facebook groups an posts with descriptions as proof of my claims. This includes the aforementioned groups that have been involved in internet misogyny and threats of violence.

I have left the pictures out until the end of the letter because of their hostile nature. For the other readers of this letter, these posts come with a TRIGGER WARNING for extreme misogyny and rape apologism.

This was the feed back I got from Facebook when I reported this group. It took a great effort of raising awareness to get it removed.

This was the feed back I got from Facebook when I reported this group. It took a great effort of raising awareness to get it removed.

An example of harassment of Facebook users by hostile pages.

An example of harassment of Facebook users by hostile pages.

Post made on a notoriously sexist group.

Post made on a notoriously sexist group. Below is Facebook’s refusal to remove this picture.10710291_325291254308932_2037093909841617910_o

Sexist pages permitted by Facebook to exist.

Sexist pages permitted by Facebook to exist.

Another misogynistic page on Facebook.

Another misogynistic page on Facebook.

The page that's threatening the creator of "The Queer, Black Feminist" and sharing her personal information for the purpose of harassment.

The page that’s threatening the creator of “The Queer, Black Feminist” and sharing her personal information for the purpose of harassment.

Facebook's refusal to remove the page that's clearly harassing the user that reported it.

Facebook’s refusal to remove the page that’s clearly harassing the user that reported it. TQBF admin’s identity has been protected here.

Another report of the hate page, along with Facebook's response.

Another report of the hate page, along with Facebook’s response.

Examples of racism and sexism on that page.

Examples of racism and sexism on that page.

As mentioned before, while Facebook will refuse to remove content that is clearly sexist and threatening, below is a picture from a page dedicated to raising awareness about the bigotry in the Men’s Rights Movement, which in 2012 was declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (source posted below). Facebook has removed multiple pages that are designed to raise awareness about this hate group, and has removed many photos from our page called Exposing Men’s Rights Activism.

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/myths-of-the-manosphere-lying-about-women

This photo was meant to serve as an example of how bigoted the MRM is.

This photo was meant to serve as an example of how bigoted the MRM is. Facebook will remove a photo designed to raise awareness about hate groups but they won’t remove the pages that breed this kind of hatred.

Here is an example of the kind of Men’s Rights Activist commentary that appears on Facebook.

photo-21

Brief Intro to the Men’s Rights Movement

In the previous months since the mass murder in Isla Vista, CA by the shooter Elliot Rodger on May 24th , many feminist and mainstream media outlets have begun to use a term many of us have yet to see in print—Men’s Rights Activism. At first glance, this looks like a joke invented by a satirical paper to make a mockery of sexism in conservative sources.

However, this is a real phenomenon with very reactionary politics and roots planted in multiple countries across the Western World. A 2013 article from the Daily Beast claims the Men’s Rights Movement (MRM) is “one of the quirkiest, fastest-growing, and most frustrating civil-rights movements in the Western world today.” (1). Groups have been making many claims that men have allegedly been at the receiving end of most gender based violence since the 1970s.

AVFM anti-feminist poster

This reactionary movement came into the spot light just days after the Isla Vista shooting, when many journalists and investigators found that Elliot Rodger had various connections to “Pick Up Artist” forums, which served to “train” men to seduce women (many of these forums even suggested utilization of date rape drugs). He was also part of “PUAhate”, which was a congregation of those who attempted PUA “techniques”, failed, and wanted vengeance on those they believed had cheated them out of time and money.

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Author Anne Theriault of the Huffington Post claims:

“He was an active member of the “PUAhate,” an online forum (which has been down since the shootings) dedicated to “revealing the scams, deception and misleading marketing techniques used by dating gurus and the seduction community to mislead men and profit from them.” And just to clarify, they’re not revealing these scams because of how vile and misogynistic they are, but rather because these men have tried these techniques and still failed to trick women into sleeping with them.

These are men who both feel entitled to have sex with women and also blame all women everywhere for not fucking them. See, they want to have sex with a woman because that’s what they deserve just for being dudes, but they also hate women for withholding what they view as rightfully theirs. And I mean, boy do they ever hate women. The PUAhate forum has, according to an article on The Hairpin, threads with titles like “Are ugly women completely useless to society?” and “Have any hot women ever committed suicide?”

Rodger also subscribed to several YouTube channels on how to be a ‘pick up artist,’ including The Player Supreme Show and RSDfreetour as well as multiple MRA channels.”(2)

What’s more, Rodger authored a 140 page manifesto and published a 7 minute video on YouTube outlining his severe contempt for women and “all of society” that he believed withheld sex from him, which he felt he was entitled to. He swore that he would punish the women who denied him, stating, “I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one. The true alpha male …”

An entire variety of mainstream media outlets high lighted the allegations that Rodger had ties with the MRM, including Time Magazine(4), which has historically been a factory of bourgeois traditionalist ideology, especially when it comes to civil rights issues. When questioned with these allegations, John Hembling of the MRA site “A Voice For Men” stated,

“This is the part not yet mentioned by any MRA. Elliot Rodger was as conventional, mainstream and blue-pill in his self-identity as the most devout of male feminists. He took his personal identity from the consensus of the women around him rather than rejecting a publicly conferred male identity.

Elliot Rodger, to his detriment, was not his own man. He did not go his own way. He went the way of gynocentric culture and became, almost literally, the poster-boy for mainstream, pathological gender ideology.

So, for all you bleating feminists figuratively rending their clothes over this tragedy – if you want fewer Elliot Rodgers in the world, then you want more MRAs.” (5)

The response of MRAs concerning this tragedy was unequivocally repulsive. Either there was complete denial of ever having associated with Rodger and the PUA sites, or they revered Rodger as a hero of the “manosphere”. Shortly in the aftermath, multiple pro-Elliot Rodger Facebook pages were erected to commemorate his “sacrifice” for the “greater good”. In fact, one of these pages created controversy over the fact that Facebook seemed to be unwilling to unpublish the page. According to the Independent:

“Facebook has removed a page calling Isla Vista killer Elliot Rodger an ‘American Hero’, after resisting doing so despite requests from swathes of users.

The page had called Rodger an “American hero who made the ultimate sacrifice in the struggle against feminazi ideology”, and asked users to “pay tribute to him”.” (3)

The Men’s Rights Movement is known to be established in many of the first world countries globally, including the UK, US, Australia, and Canada, where contributors for AVFM are established. More recently, MRA notables have been hosting conferences in many of these areas and have raised controversy in the US and Canada with provocative posters that state, “Just because you regret a one night stand doesn’t mean it wasn’t consensual. Don’t be that girl”. These were MRA responses to anti-rape posters that, Canadian police claimed, lowered rapes by 10 percent within 2012-2013. (6)

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One of the more prominent Men’s Rights outlets in the US is A Voice For Men (avoiceformen.com) which was founded by Paul Elam in 2009, boasts 14,000 followers on Facebook, and has Erin Pizzey (founder of one of some of the first domestic violence shelters in modern day, with the leading organization known as “Refuge”), Dean Esmay and John Hembling as the main contributors to the website material. Other contributors to AVFM include Warren Farrell, who used to be on the board for National Organization of Women (NOW), Barbara Kay, and Helen Smith.

Photo Courtesy of NPR

Photo Courtesy of NPR

As a previous SW article (7) notes, Elam and his colleagues hosted an event in Detroit titled “First International Conference on Men’s Issues” which was driven out of a Double Tree hotel by protestors and a petition that called on the hotel management to cancel Elam’s event.

Elam, however, chose a different venue and held the conference despite the protests. AVFM chose Veterans of Foreign Wars post in St. Clair Shores, stating that the reason they moved was because they needed more room to accommodate the attendees, which in the end turned out to be a little over 100 people. (8) Speakers at the conference included Erin Pizzey, Paul Elam, National Post columnist Barbara Kay, Mike Buchanan, psychiatrist Tara Palmatier, and libertarian spokesperson and YouTube vlogger Stefan Molyneoux.

The message of the AVFM at this conference? Women and feminism are the root causes of all of men’s suffering since the dawn of civilization and “the matriarchy” must be dismantled. The writers for AVFM assert that the court systems are skewed in favor of women, that feminism is chipping away at the masculinity of the male population and causing male suicide rates to grow, that “rape culture” and circumcision are inventions by feminists to oppress men, etc.

The majority of the conference was spent dwelling on feminism and the role of women in society with very little time spent discussing oppressions that men (especially men of color and transmen) face in society. In fact, a large portion of the anti-woman, anti-feminist rhetoric came from the female speakers.

Dr. Tara Palmatier opted to use her time on the panel to psycho-analyze the female population with some misogynistic remarks. Adam Serwer of MSNBC writes, “She diagnosed some women with what she called “golden uterus syndrome,” which she explained as what happens when a mother will “fleece your ex-husband in divorce court and take assets you didn’t earn, you deserve it, take that bastard to the cleaners, force a man into fatherhood with an accidental pregnancy, hey, if he wouldn’t commit, sometimes you gotta push him into it.”

The conference was also saturated in rape apologist puns and complete dismissal of sexual assault as an issue. A slide in one of the presentations had Miley Cyrus with the caption “Stop objectifying me. You’re being rapey” and one speaker opened his discussion by making rape jokes about his son.

This type of language is not a new concept to the MRM, however. AVFM frequently publishes articles that demean women, slam campus anti-sexual assault efforts as “rape culture hysteria”, and refers to anti-sexual assault state laws as “attacks” on men’s rights.

AVFM Facebook page

AVFM Facebook page

One popular claim MRAs tend to make is that women have historically taken “easy” jobs and have left men with the manual labor. Despite there being numerous sources indicating that working class women contribute billions of dollars in revenue for the capitalist economy, including forced labor in human trafficking circles in which women make up 60% of the labor force (9), MRAs are convinced that the female populous generate no capital for the global economy. This is usually followed by some sort of statement about “coal mines versus domestic labor” or “women shouldn’t be in the military” within their anti-feminist tirades.

One thing MRAs are known for among feminists and the mainstream media is their inability to feel any sort of empathy for women who become victims of sex crimes. The rape apology of Paul Elam knows no bounds. In fact, one of the more infamous statements Paul Elam made was a statement that women who are assaulted while inebriated are “begging for it”. (10)

In the aftermath of the domestic violence scandal involving MMA fighter Jonathan “War Machine” Koppenhaver, who was arrested after beating his ex-fiancée Christy Mack, prominent spokesperson of the Indian Men’s Rights Movement Rajesh Kumar endorsed the behavior of the MMA fighter. Kumar approved of the statement made by Koppenhaver regarding men’s rights, which Koppenhaver stated that men’s oppression was worse than Nazi oppression of the Jews and white oppression of black slaves. (11)

A supporter of the MRM that recently emerged is the “Amazing Atheist”, who has access to 80,000 followers on Facebook and rakes in thousands of viewers on Youtube. The majority of his blogging consists of vilifying feminists and making attempts to expose what he deems as a broad “feminazi conspiracy”. He spends a large portion of his time harassing users on reddit and attacking women for calling him out on his rape jokes. In fact, he more recently made headlines in “We Hunted the Mammoth” for attempting to trigger a user for discussing her sexual assault experience. (12)

The Men’s Rights Movement, while claiming to stand for the human rights of men, appears to serve only one mission: to viciously attack and vilify women and feminists in an effort to reassert the rigid patriarchal capitalist gender norms. It is nothing more than another reactionary cause fabricated by social conservatives seeking to silence women. Like other reactionary forces, it has the potential to further divide the working class by pitting one group of workers against another.

The Men’s Rights Movement must be confronted and challenged by feminists, revolutionaries, activists and community organizers wherever these MRAs may appear. We need to send a message that their sexist ideology will not be tolerated in our communities or online.

Sources

1-http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/20/the-masculine-mystique-inside-the-men-s-rights-movement-mrm.html

2-http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/anne-theriault-/elliot-rodger-shooting_b_5386818.html

3-http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/facebook-relents-to-remove-page-glorifying-isla-vista-killer-elliot-rodger-9435875.html

4- http://time.com/134152/the-toxic-appeal-of-the-mens-rights-movement/

5- http://www.avoiceformen.com/gynocentrism/elliot-rodger-and-the-big-blue-pill/

6- http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/20/the-masculine-mystique-inside-the-men-s-rights-movement-mrm.html

7-http://socialistworker.org/2014/06/12/bigots-not-welcome-in-detroit

8- http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/mens-rights-conference-feminism

9- http://www.polarisproject.org/resources/hotline-statistics/human-trafficking-trends-in-the-united-states

10- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/29/mens-rights-conference_n_5405300.html

11- http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2014/08/23/mma-fighter-and-accused-woman-beater-war-machine-gets-an-endorsement-from-a-prominent-mens-rights-activist/

12-http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2012/02/08/theamazingatheists-misogynist-meltdown/