Fear of a Meninist Planet: Why Men’s Rights Activists Aren’t Treated Like Terrorists

Nous ne somme pas Charlie.

After the terrorist attacks in Paris, various politicians paid the usual lip service to “Western” ideals of free speech. Then, sans irony, draconian, anti-democratic surveillance laws were rolled out. Here in Canada, prime minister mom jeans wants to give CSIS policing abilities. Why? Because a lone wolf, unaffiliated with ISIS, attacked Capital Hill. Now we’re ready and willing to concede privacy for security. Pretty sad that Canadians can be so easily intimidated.

We’re afraid. More specifically, we’re afraid of Muslims and Arabs. We’re afraid of spooky Arabs riding their magic carpets to come chop our heads off and take over the world. OMG! It’s the Muslim Tide! It’s the Fall of Constantinople all over again! So we’re going to scour the internet and lock up anyone who posts stuff that is sympathetic to ISIS.


But what about all the other peddlers of dark thoughts? What about radical libertarians like Just Bourque, who post content about killing cops and bringing down the government? Or the “Columbiners?” A recent trend of people celebrating mass shootings? Two kids just got arrested in Halifax because they were planning a Valentine’s Day Massacre. Yet Peter MacKay claims this doesn’t qualify as terrorism.

Or, why don’t we call men’s rights activists terrorists? All those trolls skulking around Reddit and 4Chan, doxxing feminists and threatening them with rape and murder.

It’s all out there in plain sight. Brianna Wu, Zoe Quinn, and Anita Sarkeesian have all been threatened by GamerGaters to the point that law enforcement had to be involved. Trolls will say it’s harmless jokes, but there are plenty of precedents where it’s turned tragically violent. There was Elliot Rodger in California, Marc Lepine in Montreal, and even Anders Breivik in Norway had men’s rights talking points in his manifesto. Yet, as Anne Thériault observes in her piece for Vice, many of these trolls are using their real names because there are no consequences.

mens-rights-activists-thats-the-jokeSo, why isn’t our government monitoring #GamerGate or “It’s about ethics in journalism” and arresting these trolls before they go on a shooting spree? Because that be would anti-democratic and futile. Just because you post vile shit about women doesn’t mean you’ll actually rape or kill them (although, you are contributing to a system that enables misogynistic violence, but I’ll leave that alone for the time being).

Moreover, we don’t treat all these other groups as terrorists because the Conservatives want to use “terrorist” in a very specific way, vis-a-vis Muslims. The Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines “terrorism” as “the systematic employment of violence and intimidation to coerce a government or community, esp. into agreeing to specific political demands.” There has been no evidence that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was linked to ISIS. All evidence says that he was a lone wolf. He was mentally ill, a drug addict, and a drifter. He probably gravitated towards ISIS-type violence in his madness. Much like Bourque, Elliot, etc. However, Harper has tried to ride this wave towards sweeping changes to surveillance laws? Why? Because he’s trying to use the old Orientalism routine to create an external foe.

Harper came to power in 2006 as the boy scout to the corrupt Liberal’s sponsorship scandal. After being the only government in the history of the commonwealth to be held in contempt of parliament, that veneer has been lost. Then he rebranded himself as the bespectacled steward of the economy. In truth, he doubled down on high oil prices, throwing wild tax credits to corporations and yuppies to buy votes, and we’re suffering the slings and arrows of being a petrol state. Now the glasses are gone and he’s trying to swagger like a warrior prince, talking tough to Putin and snuggling up to Netanyahu.

I for one have had enough of this neanderthal paternalism. Don’t buy the rhetoric.

rogen_franco_boundI want to talk about men’s rights a bit more. I could get behind meninism if it were something positive, a space where men could talk about what modern man could become — shed those tired archetypes of masculinity. Instead, it’s overwhelmingly negative. Men’s rights activists are more concerned with attacking whatever feminism is trying to accomplish. If guys resent the how they’re evaluated based on the size of their pay stubs and deltoids, then feminism isn’t the enemy. Attacking toxic masculinity is in everyone’s interest.

I think the reason why internet trolls flock to meninism is that they have the most to lose from undermining the patriarchy. If you wear a Guy Fawkes mask and harass women online, you’re probably a pussy who sucks at life. For these dude bros, the patriarchy was the only thing they had going for them — that the mere virtue of having a dick would guarantee a minimum degree of success. Now that’s being threatened, which means they might have to exercise their strength of will. And that’s terrifying. So they lash out.

I’m being completely sincere when I say that Seth Rogen is a great example of modern depictions of masculinity. In almost every Seth Rogen movie there’s an “I love you, man!” moment. I’m so down with this. It shows that guys can be vulnerable with each other and open to their feelings. This is what I would like to see from meninism. So more Seth Rogen, less Adam Baldwin, please.

~ by braddunne on February 22, 2015.

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