The epic, inspiring struggle for men’s rights
We live in an age of rapidly increasing social justice awareness, with social media helping to create a new generation of activists. Hashtags such as #CancelColbert and #BlackLivesMatter have transcended Twitter and become part of mainstream culture discourse, and more and more young people are proud to participate in movements like feminism, anti-racism and LGBT rights. Recently, a new social justice movement has risen that seeks to give voice to one of the most marginalized groups in the world: men. Brave men’s rights activists are speaking out on Reddit and 4chan, in locker rooms and frat houses, in freshman philosophy courses and on World of Warcraft Forums. These men are tired of losing their safe spaces — video game tournaments, record and comic book stores, the government — to aggressive feminists. Their sandwiches are unmade, their sex drives are unsatisfied and they won’t take it anymore.
Most discussion of men’s rights takes place on the internet, but there’s one group fighting for the cause right here in Ithaca: the Tompkins County Men’s Rights Association. I decided to attend one of their meetings to learn more about its efforts. TCMRA president, 24-year-old Kevin Richmond, presides over the meetings, which take place in the basement of the home he shares with his mother. Dressed in cargo shorts, a hilarious “Cool Story Babe” t-shirt, and a stylish fedora, Kevin explained how he first became attracted to men’s rights activism in high school.
“I used to be a feminist, actually,” Richmond admitted. “I held doors open for girls and stuff. I was nothing but nice to every girl I talked to. I taught them about my interests, like gaming and high-tech weaponry, and I let them talk about makeup and kittens. But I eventually figured out that no matter how nice I was, those girls kept hooking up with jerks from the football team instead of me.” He paused, choked up at the memory, and reached for a handful of Doritos.
“I said to myself, ‘How can I go on living in a world where women are able to take advantage of men like that? I gave these girls what they wanted — companionship, friendship and a shoulder to cry on when they were on their period. And they wouldn’t even repay me with what I wanted — sex. Does that sound like a fair or equal relationship to you?”
Richmond’s plight is certainly compelling, but he’s not the only group member with a frustrating story to share. Treasurer Chad Weatherby, 21, is a classically handsome lacrosse player with a movie-star smile, but even he admitted he’s been going through “a dry spell” with the ladies.
“It used to be I could just walk into class and girls would start falling all over me,” he said. “But lately it’s like they’ve turned on me. Girls who would have fought over me back in high school keep turning me down ‘cause they think I’m sexist.” He shook his head. “Like I could be sexist. I think girls should be able to vote and shit, you know?”
In an attempt to win back his favor with the women who once worshipped him, Weatherby turned to a 2005 book called The Game, in which journalist Neil Strauss detailed the methods for attracting women he learned while studying pick-up artists, or PUAs. Weatherby shared one of these methods: “When you first meet a girl, you give her a backhanded compliment that makes her feel bad about herself, so you’re automatically the one who has control. Like, you’d say, ‘I think it’s great that a girl your size is wearing such a tight dress — it’s really brave, you know?’” Unfortunately, Weatherby said this strategy hasn’t worked for him so far. He’s hasn’t given up yet, though, and he still browses Reddit’s seduction forum daily to look for new tips.
As the meeting progressed, three more of the group’s 10 members shared stories of victimization at the manicured hands of the matriarchy. One member, Simon Carter, who the others look to as the group intellectual, even presented some damning statistics that lend scientific credence to the MRAs’ arguments.
“Facts can’t be prejudiced,” Carter said, a neatly dressed 40-year-old with thinning hair and a meticulously groomed pencil mustache. “Women only hold 19 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives. What does that tell you? It should tell you, gentlemen, that women simply don’t have the same drive and ambition that men do. They’re just not intellectually qualified to run a country, and yet here they are pushing to get more women in politics.”
“Look, I’m not a misogynist,” Carter continued. “I’m a realist. Numbers don’t lie. The feminazis are trying to force their biased perspective into everything, but if you dig deeper you’ll find hard evidence that women aren’t fit for leadership.” The other members nodded in agreement.
All too soon the meeting was over, and the men had to go back to their daily lives, courageously dealing with teasing from people who don’t understand their struggle. In the face of such oppression, it’s easy to see why they’ve banded together. As women continue to break new ground in politics, science, business and the arts, man’s role is steadily dwindling. Soon, they might not even have control over almost every aspect of society anymore — and for the brave MRAs and their supporters, nothing is more terrifying.
Bronwyn Bishop is a junior television-radio major who’s waiting for a meninist to sweep her off her feet and put her back in the kitchen. You can email her at [email protected].