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On November 18th, Men’s Voices Ireland are hosting a unique conference where disgruntled and marginalised Irish men will have the opportunity to vent their frustrations with life in general, the feminist indoctrination that is plaguing Irish media and politics, and the epidemic of political correctness that threatens to end free speech for good.
It will be a safe and non-judgemental environment, free from the scrutiny of feminists, social justice warriors and beta males, who might call them misogynists or rape apologists. These issues of concern for Irish men will be addressed by a star studded panel including, known equality advocate, John Waters and a new young star on the men’s rights activist (MRA) scene, James Behan.
The unifying theme for this conference will be “Challenging Misandry”, defined by Men’s Voices Ireland as “dislike of, contempt for and ingrained prejudice against men”. Misandry can be identified from viral hashtags such as #killallmen, #banmen #toxicmasculinity and #maletears. Some feminists argue that performing misandry is an ironic response to the systematic and institutionalised discrimination women face under the white supremacist patriarchy, a way of “inhabiting the most exaggerated, implausible distortion of your position, in order to show that it’s ridiculous.” Of course, anyone who knows what irony really means, knows that threatening to kill all men or milking male tears is no laughing matter.
Attendees will be hoping for informal meet and greets that will allow them to gripe about how about Irish women refuse to remain silent in the face of gender discrimination, cruel and inhuman treatment, domestic and sexual violence, and rape culture, to a sympathetic ear. Other expected highlights may include randomers shouting #NotAllMen at every available opportunity and discussing how men can use the #metoo campaign to highlight the epidemic of women’s violence towards men.
There is ample evidence to suggest that men’s rights in Ireland are indeed under attack and not just from hairy legged feminists. The State, media and our education system all play their part. I mean, with a Dáil that only has 77.8% male representation and with only 10 out of 14 ministers being male, it is a real struggle to have men’s voices heard in decision making processes. Only one out of the last three presidents have been male you know. Never mind that we have never had a woman Taoiseach, sure Mary Harney was Táiniste for what seemed like forever and everyone knows she had the real power.
When it comes to media, the sorry situation of gender imbalance continues. Of all the media professionals in Ireland only 63% of those working in TV are male. In radio and printed media it is a similar story with only 78% and 68% male representation, respectively. As for the members of Men’s Voices Ireland and their invited speakers, they have only managed to publish regular articles in such marginal publications as The Irish Times, The Irish Independent and the Journal.ie, demonstrating the clear media conspiracy in Ireland to keep men’s concerns out of the public debate.
In popular culture, the situation is even more perverse. In 2017, someone decided it was actually worth giving minor super-heroine Wonder Woman her own movie and some cinemas even went so far as to excluding men from the first screening. Also, a woman stole the role of Doctor Who. In 2016 an all female remake of Ghostbusters was pushed through the box office. To add insult to injury the only significant male characters the film were a power hungry villain and a moronic secretary. In 2015 Furiosa became a dirty usurper of Mel Gibson’s heroic, fundamentalist catholic and anti-semitic Mad Max legacy. All that’s missing now is a female James Bond, to consolidate the feminist infiltration of Hollywood.
In education things are spiraling out of control at a startling rate. Girls are reportedly out-performing boys at all levels and even more of them are getting into college and displacing men from their traditional roles as doctors, lawyers and engineers. To top it off some uppity feminists successfully sued NUI Galway for gender discrimination in promotion. Everyone knows that promotions at Irish universities are always based on merit, gender doesn’t come into it. Women may have once been banned from higher education but we have had 100 years or so to get over that, no need for us to just sweep in and take over men’s jobs.
Lie to me
There are just as many male victims of domestic abuse as female. There is an epidemic of false rape accusations. Custody hearings are biased in favour of women. Feminists hate men. Feminists want to castrate and kill men. Feminists want to ban men from public spaces, take over the world and then to bathe in the male tears spilled over their defeat. These are just some of the many truths that MRAs are trying to expose to the world.
Nevertheless, it is hard for those facts to come to light when the media is constantly conspiring to maintain the impression that 85% of survivors of domestic violence are women, that one in three women will experience intimate partner violence in their lives, that most male survivors have been victims of male violence, that 8% of all reported rape cases are false (and that the number of reported rapes is actually much lower than the real incidence of rape), that divorce still negatively impacts women, that women are still the primary carers of children and that is why they are awarded custody.
Let’s try putting ourselves in the shoes of your average straight, white, male, to understand how oppressive it must be to have your freedom of speech constantly attacked. Imagine how hard it must be to check every word that comes out of your mouth? To no longer be able to casually refer to sluts, fags, trannys, fatties, whores, or darkies? To longer feel safe while indulging in sexist banter at the water cooler? To have to remember what pronouns your friends use? (Here we go with that “idpol” malarky, like what is bi, queer, pan or nonbinary anyway?) To have women calling you out on your rape jokes? To be told that your favourite Osama Bin Laden joke is ‘islamaphobic’? To have to remind yourself multiple times a day that women and other lesser beings are now considered fully human and expect to be treated with the same respect that has always been afforded to straight, white, men?
It must be tiring. It must start to feel like maybe you shouldn’t say anything at all. People constantly tell you constantly to educate yourself. But you are educated, you reply, you spend your time reading Squawker and the Daily Mail, fountains of knowledge and fact. You reassure yourself that this is all part of a conspiracy by “The dysfunctional psychological forces driving intolerant political correctness, the open promotion of misandry, and the progressively ruthless suppression of free speech.”
When white men get scared
Ok so let’s get serious for a moment because so much irony is making my head spin and my mug of freshly brewed male tears is getting cold. Feminists have been called man-haters since they began demanding basic human rights and it has never let up. For every advance we have made in the struggle towards real gender equality, there has been a corresponding backlash. MRAs are the latest expression of how white men fear women’s empowerment and are scrambling to maintain their unearned privilege and status.
Feminists have been called man-haters since they began demanding basic human rights and it has never let up.
And perhaps they have a reason to be scared. The Harvey Weinstein scandal and the subsequent #metoo campaign has seen women, non-binary people and some men, in the hundreds of thousands denouncing acts of casual to violent sexual harassment and abuse from men in power. After Weinstein came Spacey and then Hoffman. In Ireland Grace Dyas spoke out against the well known theatre producer Michael Colgan. There are many more to come.
The #metoo campaign, not only targeted powerful or famous men, but also men men in personal lives. We are losing our fear and holding the men in our lives accountable for oppressive or discriminatory behavior, for their sense of entitlement to our bodies that ranges from sexist jokes, to bum slapping to demeaning comments on our bodies, groping, harassment and sexual assault.
I am not completely heartless, I can empathise that there is a crisis in men’s mental health and that they are far more likely to take their own lives or end up in homelessness, two causes championed by MRAs. Men, like women, are indoctrinated with negative gender stereotypes. Masculinity is construed with strength, competition, violence, domination, the suppression of emotion, the pressure to be successful and to provide for your family. Men, like women, learn that there are serious consequences for defying the gender binaries. Men, like women, suffer from a lack of mental health services in Ireland. In men this manifests in alarming suicide rates, and alarming rates of depression for women. The thing that MRAs don’t seem to realise is that it is the white, imperialist, capitalist, patriarchy, not women or feminists, that has created this situation. It is predominantly male led, neoliberal governments that contribute to growing unemployment and homelessness and cuts to services for mental health.
Nevertheless, the legitimacy of their concerns on these issues are lost amid their trolling tactics and threats of using physical or sexual violence against feminist activists. Or their use of scientifically questionable studies that serve no other purpose than to deligitimise the struggle for women’s rights, against gender based violence and the allocation of resources to services for women and other marginalised groups.
In targeting feminist activism as the cause of all men’s ills they fail to see that feminism is the principal political movement that has been challenging negative stereotypes by transforming our understanding of gender, breaking gender binaries and challenging all forms of oppression. They overlook the fact feminism has many of the answers to overthrowing the system that oppresses us all (albeit to very different degrees – see intersectionality please). And by feminism I really mean feminisms, because some of the most radical re-imaginings of our world can be found in the writings of Judith Butler, Por Preciado, bell hooks, Audre Lourde, Angela Davis, Vandana Shiva, Chandra Mohanty, who have important lessons for feminists and humanity as a whole.
I am all for men getting together to question and deconstruct toxic masculinity, or address gender inequality, but this conference is anything but that. It reaffirms traditional gender roles and ideas of what it means to be a man while painting women as the enemy. It is very much a white, straight, christian man’s movement. I have never seen MRAs advocating for marriage equality, the rights of gay men to adopt, the situation of refugee men in Ireland or the discrimination faced by men from any minority group. The Men’s Voices Ireland movement may seem like a marginal, and very much lame, Irish style, imitation of a primarily US phenomenon, but with the election of Trump his legitimation of sexual violence, racism, homophobia and transphobia, the growth of MRAs, already linked to alt-right radicalisation, is not to be taken lightly.
Men of Ireland please be warned: we are coming out of the kitchen, we are coming out of the closet. We are witches, whores, saints, sinners, warriors, misandrists and we are ready for battle. We are acting, we are raising our voices and demanding our rights and staking our place in this world. Now please excuse me while I make myself an extra large cup of #maletears I just milked from some sexually frustrated virgins.