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Tribalism, Factions, and Political Inertness with the Men’s Rights Movement

By Nicholas Ian

It is not my goal to alienate myself or others through stating my observations, opinion, and suppositions. It seems there is no medium in which I nor anyone else can express their conclusions without other parties defaulting to a defensive position when they are criticized no matter how prudent the wording. The arousal of anger is inevitable and no amount of academic writing expertise or scholarly pursuit has managed to quell the hostilities that continue to plague the so-called men’s rights movement into leaderless packs. Tribalism is rampant and the issues facing men remain unresolved.

The men’s rights movement, and I use the term loosely continues to be divided and conquered despite being victorious in drawing more attention to the issues facing men today.
I have been an observer of this movement in its current state for over 4 years now, I’ve watched innumerable hours of videos from most of the big names including the many people over at A Voice for Men, Barbarossa, Bernard Chapin, Ramzy, Razor Blade Kennedy, Thunderfoot, the list goes on and on. All of these people have done a fantastic amount of work to raise awareness about men’s issues.

Many of these thinkers confirmed what I already believed about gender disparities in the social and legal arena and hearing it was very helpful to me when reckoning with my own personal problems. For doing so much of the hard work, I am grateful.Men like me who were too busy being squeezed through the ringer of our so called privilege, could not contribute in a meaningful way. We could not share our observations, analyze data and statistics, debunk feminist hypothesis, or challenge the pseudo-scientific assertions of feminist influenced social science theory. As I delved deeper into the movement I searched for someone I could look to for as a leader. I hungered for direction from someone who would guide me to the help that I needed, and would act as a mentor, a surrogate male role model to mentor me through my communion and confirmation into the oft referred to Zeta Male. Much more than that though was the finality which for me personally is to contribute to this movement for equality in a meaningful way in which I could use my knowledge and skills.

Churchill Lincoln

I am still looking for a leader, but not necessarily to follow. Not anymore. We have a movement full of academics talking but still nothing gets done and then there are internet activists smitten with the sound of their own voices. Men’s rights advocates are no better than a collection of talking heads. Pundits on the “starring me” channels of YouTube, most of them are devoid of and lacking of the ability to accept criticism from anyone, especially other men’s rights advocates. Thus they also cannot look inward and reflect on their own behavior. I am left unsatisfied.

I am reaching the end of my personal fight though. As of this writing perhaps there is only a year, maybe two left before my fate is decided, and it is now when the opportunity to make a contribution has been given to me by Mr. Bernard Chapin. I would like to thank Mr. Chapin for this opportunity though we don’t agree on every issue; he has always been receptive to me and willing to explain his positions. When questioned as to the validity he refrains from hostility and assuming a defensive posture, but argues his points clearly and with a maturity I have found a refreshing as maturity is running a deficit when compared to the alternatives available out there.

I’ve been considering my role in the Men’s Rights Movement for a while now. My role is nearly nonexistent, inconsequential, and of no influence. I don’t see eye to eye with any given group. I’m a hodgepodge of elements that I’ve studied and listened most of the American borne, and United Kingdom borne narrative. I’ve visited most of the websites such as Return of Kings, A Voice for Men, the Spearhead etc. They have some extremely enlightening academic pieces that cite statistical data that is both qualitative and quantitative. Although they also have some very good editorial pieces, this is where the movement and its supporters begin traversing a slippery slope. I tend to take a more conservative and traditional approaches to shaping my views about what changes are needed.

By and large I see men’s issues as a cultural phenomenon in western culture at large. After moving abroad and seeing how another culture handles domesticity issues when there is not an effective governing body, my thoughts remained…

Perhaps it is my conservative beliefs that draw me to critics like Bernard Chapin who is an outspoken conservative in the Men’s rights circle. He is ostracized by groups like A Voice for Men because they claim to be apolitical. He puts forth his beliefs with veracity and is unapologetic about it.

As a publication I think AVFM could benefit from having opinions hosted there as well as articles written by so-called liberal MRA’s. It seems to me that if they were apolitical as they say they were then they would not be afraid to allow his and others dialogue appear on the site. If they are truly as apolitical as they claim to be the organization could stand up to the task. I will say this though; after listening to a recent podcast with Paul Elam, Dr. Warren Farrell, and Tom Golden it appears now that AVFM is beginning to realize it needs to be open to more than its own narrative as Tom Golden rightly points out that indeed anger has worked for men as the best approach in recent years but we need to have all kinds of voices. Or perhaps they can sense their days are numbered. One can only speculate.

The Men’s Rights Movement though is in my opinion in a very dangerous place right now. It has probably the furthest it ever has come but the danger of excessive contraction into oblivion looms. It is eminent if we don’t start looking inward at ourselves. My foray into the movement is as I said, nearly nonexistent. I’ve been on the borders of gung-ho activism and the land of “forget you guys, you’re a bunch of hopeless jerks”. This is because of nasty dialogue newcomers receive, which I’ve experienced firsthand as a result of positing an argument that requires of us as men to be responsible. To abate our self-pity and do something positive that fundamentally changes our male cultural experience.

On one hand, the medium of typing a message on a forum or web-board can be an engaging and interactive experience where true debate and argument flourish. On the other hand if you’re a nail that sticks out further than the rest you can be judiciously hammered down without any questioning, introspection, or thought. I’ve come to realize that I am most likely dealing with young men that neither have the tolerance or social skills to interact in a constructive way. I experienced the feminization of the classroom during my formative years and I agree with many MRA’s that education disfavors boys, thus how can I really expect men younger than I to interact like men?

They know nothing else and despite their anger towards feminism and institutionalized misandry they have learned no other way to act other than to act like a woman. It was serendipity that I saw the aforementioned video. Seeing all those minds that have worked so hard to help young boys and men together in a google hangout was enlightening, I realized these guys are old. The video went on for an hour. Quite literally an hour of three old guys having what equates to an intellectual circle jerk.

To be honest I fell asleep while I was watching it and only woke up to the part where Mr. Golden was eschewing the virtues of inclusion, making sure to give a shout out for the inclusion of conservative thinkers. I think they sense that the old guard is about to change. Even if they don’t, I do and I wondered about who would take the torch when they pass on? It will undoubtedly be handed to someone in my age demographic.

It certainly cannot be entrusted to the angst ridden generation currently enrolled in universities, the PUA’s and the masculinists are all too extreme, immature and lacking in character. Some of these guys would certainly promote and try to bring in the feminist patriarchal nightmare in a sick and twisted Pygmalion incarnation.

I have daughters, and no sons. I don’t wish for them to exist in a culture that marginalizes and oppresses one gender over the other. As a father I will teach them to respect and value the men and women for their character, not their gender. As an uncle to males I will teach them the same. This is how I look inward and make changes; by investing in the future through planting seeds of equality in the next generation, while I advocate for these changes today.

However, change happening now is not likely to happen. Not with the current state of affairs. Any time I’ve proposed men in this movement look inward and be critical of theirs or others thoughts, and behavior I get shot down quickly. It’s as if MRA’s think they are infallible when in fact they are emulating the feminists they detract from. Giving advice and proposing structure is seen as offensive. Individuality is given more importance over the group goal and this is to our detriment.

I agree with Bernard that men tend to be more individualistic than women generally speaking and this a weakness that we must overcome. We’ve got a movement full of chiefs and no Indians.
Most of what I’ve observed, is not action, it’s not activism, its mental masturbation; a lot of talk, and shit-talking but no action. Putting up stickers at schools and Universities and across towns makes me laugh.

Those are exercises in futility and I’m just not big on exercises in futility. Activism like that is directionless if there is nothing to follow it up with. Some would argue that it raises awareness and that directs people to read articles on the net. So I say… so what if it directs people to read articles on a website. It is fleeting in its effectiveness at best.

Erin Pizzey once said that when Men work as a team, they are unstoppable. Right now there is no team. There is no banner to rally under. Men have effectively been divided and conquered. As I write this I know. I am proof. I am in a foreign land fighting my ex for custody of our children. I have no help from my family, friends, much less our government. I tried to get help before leaving the country but had no help then either and I had to take the path that would enable me to be the best father I could be and that was to leave. All of you so-called MRA’s think about that. Indulge this stranger this newbie for one moment. Assume I am correct and consider how we are not acting as a team right now. Tell me your thoughts, let’s have a discussion.

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18 Comments

  1. Posted June 1, 2014 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    That was the most fantastic thing I’ve read in a long time.

  2. Charles Lyons
    Posted June 1, 2014 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Well said. For the most part, the MRM has not been getting much done other than bickering back and forth.

    Benjamin Franklin once said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

  3. Wolf
    Posted June 2, 2014 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    no comment 🙂

  4. Jon
    Posted June 2, 2014 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    I think to further upon your point of all the bickering, there are many “taboo” subjects that get tucked away into a corner. It is sad to see these subjects being divided up into separate websites, then they should be accepted as a part of the whole. I don’t mean that I want these websites to go away (such as theantifeminist) but instead I wish to see the whole movement start to talk about these subjects that are always thrown to the wayside.

  5. Posted June 2, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Si vis pacem, para bellum

    I see no problem with ‘squaring the circle’ between individuality and teamwork. In times of peace, prepare for war; and in times of war, prepare for peace. Our personal politics and philosophy should be dynamic to match our circumstances.

    When we are confident, strong, and content, why contradict yourself, be a conservative. And when life is not so good, when the orthodoxies impose upon your personal liberty, assume the hunting pack mentality of the radical; look for the ‘other’ and hunt them down mercilessly… but don’t make that temporary state of mayhem your guiding light when the fury has subsided, be prepared for love too.

    Our humanity is dynamic; yet we live in societies that use ethically static laws that frustrate our nature, just to keep the lawmakers and their neurotic clientèle in positions of control; hence unchecked feminism is a tool to establish State totalitarianism via ‘positive feedback’.

    Thus when Justice is so subverted, that it makes bad laws, the State becomes our enemy. In such a circumstance, it is not unreasonable for good conservatives to consider the aspect of the ‘temporary anarchist’, for the sake of future humanity, we can be individuals together. And in accord with desperate times, the stabilization of our societies must be brought about through the ‘negative feedback’ of manly cussedness.

  6. edwardo
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I’d have to admit to being flat footed – what do I do? What else can be done other than educating myself and being another voice on youtube?

    • Nicholas Ian
      Posted June 6, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Eduardo,

      I am working on a follow up to this article, and in it I will make my propositions, at least as much as I think should be public. I don’t mean to be cryptic but this is a struggle, a fight, and you don’t telegraph your moves to your opponents. You may not like what I say, or maybe you will, but in the meantime do what you are doing, educate yourself, and spread the word. My goal, the very least of it, is to a)get activists to do something different, and b) get people to consider manageable solutions.

  7. gushisgosh
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    I don’t agree…
    I think the divide in the MRM is healthy.
    Feminists aren’t going o criticize MRA’s with sound based arguments, so we need this divide so MRA’s can do this job.
    Though I don’t disagree that they should allow bernard, no matter how I disagree with him, to post there, and vice versa, I don’t believe there should be an unification, a gathering under one banner or something like that.

    • Nicholas Ian
      Posted June 6, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      I never said we should all rally under one banner. My point is there is no real leaders in the MRA. There are Faction Chiefs, engaged in territorial pissing contests, but not people I would consider leaders. AVFM is the equivalent of a warlord I suppose, they have the biggest market share. I don’t mean to be overly disparaging but it’s the only comparison that sort of makes sense as of this writing.

      A leader in my opinion can build something that will last long after they step down from the mantle, and has the wisdom to build a community that will nurture what has been built, as well as the wisdom to know when to step down and pass the torch. It requires more than what is currently on offer. Just my opinion for what it’s worth. I’ll elaborate more in my follow up to this article. Thanks for the comment though I want to address your comment because there is validity in what you’re seeing.

  8. Doc
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    We cannot fight collectivism with more collectivism…but yes some laws need to be changed!

  9. Posted June 5, 2014 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    “They know nothing else and despite their anger towards feminism and institutionalized misandry they have learned no other way to act other than to act like a woman.”

    “I agree with Bernard that men tend to be more individualistic than women generally speaking and this a weakness that we must overcome.”

    So – they are acting like women, and yet, we must overcome the individualistic trait of men and act more like women?!?!

    My eyes went crossed there a pinch.

    One thing I like, when I find it, is the targeting of specific individuals – to write letters of complaint to and whatnot.

    Remember Mary Kellett? I think her career is toast. Perhaps if we forget politics, philosophical debates, and whatnot, and just post corrupt public servants, TV stations, TV shows and the like (and who to write to) – the “Chiefs” in our tribe would start to really kick some ass. After all, aren’t “Chiefs” supposed to be the biggest and strongest in the tribe? Sounds like quite a kick-ass tribe to me!

    Just a thought to – perhaps we should ditch the label of MRA.

    After all, if they cannot label us, what would they say on the news and on their blogs?

    A bunch of uhm – guys – er uhm – people – decided to protest Mary Kellett’s corrupt practices?

    Notice how easy it is to de-humanize a group of people with a label…

    MRA’s protested Mary Kellett’s corrupt practices – one MRA went on a shooting spree a few years later… Ahhh – those wacky MRA’s. Mary Kellett is a nice person – sigh…

    Just a thought.

    • Nicholas Ian
      Posted June 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Scarecrow,

      I sacrificed a lot of time I wanted to spend doing revision to this article for the sake of expediency and supporting Bernard’s site with content. I believe if you reread the paragraph before first bit of text you pointed out

      “They know nothing else and despite their anger towards feminism and institutionalized misandry they have learned no other way to act other than to act like a woman.

      The context is delivered but perhaps lacking some support. I was reffering to the feminine trait that is observed in workplace environments. I cannot recall the social science term for it but the laymans term might be “catty” or “henpecking” (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest ref.) This is a trait that men also pick up in the workplace but is seen in girls from adolescence. If I can find the article for citation I will reference it sometime, however I’ve thrust myself into this so bear with me while I cut my teeth.

      As for the second part you mentioned: “I agree with Bernard that men tend to be more individualistic than women generally speaking and this a weakness that we must overcome.”

      So – they are acting like women, and yet, we must overcome the individualistic trait of men and act more like women?!?!I never said men should shed their individualistic traits.

      It is a weakness in terms of making progress in equality for men in area’s that have deficit. I never said to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But yes indeed we must stop acting as individuals and act as a team. A team that can use the strengths possessed by the individuals and progress toward our mutual goals collaboratively rather than individuals, factions, or tribes. I apologize lack of clarity.

      I would also add that assembling as a team for the purpose of using the strengths of individuals is, at least in my opinion, something that is fundamentally more masculine than feminine with quantifiable results.

      • Posted June 7, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        We can be a team – what we need is a common goal – and ditch everything else.

        Just my humble opinion – and sorry if I came across as being crass – I was being a smart-ass…

  10. Posted June 6, 2014 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    Here is an example of what I was talking about – this petition is REAL:

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/classify-mens-rights-movement-terrorist-group/W5018W63

    It is to classify anybody calling themself an MRA a “terrorist”.

    All it takes is one NUT calling his or her self that – or one NUT to call another NUT that – and the next thing you know – everybody involved is a terrorist…

    • Posted June 6, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      We should lose the word “terrorist” too. A terrorist was once defined as someone who used violence or terror to instill fear in the civilian population and thereby cause political change.

      Now the word is being so over-used it has become meaningless. it’s just anyone we don’t agree with. It’s like the word “rape.” it used to mean forcing someone to have sex against their will. Now we have “verbal rape,” “mind rape,” “visual rape” and “emotional rape.”

      Feminists have not only contributed to the ongoing collapse of western civilization; they have also managed to hopelessly bastardize the English language.

      • Posted June 7, 2014 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        You forgot olfactory rape and telepathic rape.

        Get with the program.

  11. evilwhitemalempire
    Posted June 13, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    “Individuality is given more importance over the group goal and this is to our detriment.”
    ————————————
    Indeed. And is, I suspect, the core reason that the men’s movement refuses to politicize.

    An mHra would rather let women vote in politicians that agree with women 100% of the time instead helping to stop it by voting in politicians that agree with women only 50% of the time.

  12. John Sparks
    Posted June 13, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    All I know is that I spent several years watching my 35 year old wife work on her career, and finding it impossible to find the appropriate-feminist-correct way to discuss the idea of having children….then, at the age of 41 (her age that is) being pounced on like I’m some sort of sperm bank only to find out its too late.
    I don’t have a family now. . . . .. and, I’m not sour about it, because I don’t know what I missed out on, I’m making the very best of my life. But I am aware that I actually didn’t have a voice at that crucial stage for us, and a way to assert my ideas without sounding like. . . . well, ‘anti feminist’, in the whole process of negotiating that decision to stop being career-oriented and start being family-oriented. I failed in that task because I didn’t have the rhetoric or support to deal with it.
    Lets be clear, I don’t actually blame ‘feminism’, I blame the people who interpret it at a policy level, and a media level. Thats the stage at which any ideology becomes either fruitful or poisonous. The implementation of feminist ideals needs way more discussion.

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