Features

My Experience With A Men’s Rights Activist

Words by: Emily Schofield-Cox

Some people really hate feminists. Like, really truly hate them with a passion that borders on obsession. Those people often consider themselves men’s rights activists (because as we all know men have been really oppressed over the years and struggled to get the vote, justice in domestic violence cases, equality in the workforce and fair opportunities. Oh wait…), and think feminism is a secret ploy to kill and eat all men, and are generally just super fun to be around.

I recently had the distinct pleasure of being contacted by one such fedora wearing great guy with a request to explain why feminists believe what they believe, and why they are so “delusional”.

This is the story of my anti-feminist “roasting”.

I was reached through Facebook on Friday night by a guy with a name I didn’t recognise, but who shared a fair few mutual friends. His first words were “What’s the deal with feminism?” followed by a call for me to examine the unfair jail sentencing and rape of men. Both of these things “really grind [his] gears”.

I’m mid-binge of Aziz Ansari’s new show Master of None on Netflix (would recommend, 10/10) and so not so chuffed to be hit up by this stranger. I’m already procrastinating from exam study, so cannot really afford to procrastinate from my procrastination. That’s a step too far to be able to reconcile to myself when I fail my units and then attempt the yearly effort to convince myself that I actually did work my hardest and it’s the system’s fault. It’s always the system’s fault.

To end this initial rant, this MRA champ said these two great statements:

  1. “If they [feminists] fought for equality I’d support it but imo they fight for female superiority.”
  2. “Feminism is just an excuse for women to think they’re doing something with their lives.”

Yaaaaaas, good idea, please make these inflammatory/straight up crazy statements to someone before introducing yourself. That’s the way to make friends for life. Can we get married? I’m struggling to hold myself back with all the love I’m feeling for this stranger.

I tried to play it cool with the “Um… Do I know you? What is this message for?” tact but that was a mistake, because that “infuriates” this dude.

“Wow that really infuriates me,” (see, I told you) “You talk so much about female empowerment yet you don’t even take the time to learn the names of people who went to [high school] with you.”

I tried to nicely explain to him that I only came to that high school with a couple of years to go, that I knew my friends but not the whole 200+ person cohort, and that I had graduated almost three years ago. I decided not to broach the subject of just how female empowerment and not knowing everyone in my year group from a place I left years ago were related. Too complicated.

I said that I believe in female empowerment and classify myself as a feminist, that I think rape by any gender is despicable and should be equally punishable and that although there are discrepancies on both sides, as a woman who has experienced inequality and understands others’ experiences, I fight for women’s rights, not at the expense of men, but in cohesion with them.

Turns out that the wage gap is a myth. That’s the response I get, because I think that this guy just really hates feminists and finally realised he knew one and was ready to fight for that patriarchy at any cost. So when he didn’t get the inflammatory answers he wanted, he tried a new tactic.

I didn’t have time for this.

He was happy to let me study (good guy/10) but wanted to “pick this conversation up when your exams are done” because “feminists in general infuriate me and I wanted to get the opinion of one but from your responses I can tell you’re one of the few who aren’t delusional and know what they’re talking about.” Literally every ‘compliment’ is so backhanded it’s crazy. Am I supposed to say thank you for being one of the “few who aren’t ‘delusional’”?

I said fine, if you want to have a conversation to better understand feminism, then I could do that.

His response?

“OK 6pm tomorrow I’m gonna roast you.”

Then a couple of minutes later, after no response: “Good luck with exams.”

I went out over the weekend and thankfully (or unfortunately) missed this Saturday night 6pm-on-the-dot roasting. Instead, on Tuesday night as I’m settling in to watch Suits (side note: am I wasting my life binging on television shows?), I get this message: “Do you honestly think the wage gap is a legitimate feminist argument?”

He has a really charming way of greeting people; I can say that for him.

I explained that there is a wage gap because of “a number of reasons that include the different socialisation of genders and, in some places, gender discrimination. I can see the stats whether I’m a feminist or not, so I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a ‘feminist argument’. I’d say it’s a statistical argument that feminists, due to their focus on reaching equality through lifting women from a place of historically defined oppression, believe and aim to fix.” I have always wanted to quote myself, so this is great.

He explained how feminists just aren’t interpreting the stats correctly and that “the idea that women earn less than men for the same work is not correct it’s actually illegal.”

Mmmmm… I dunno, I don’t think so. Fingers crossed I won’t be arrested for ‘interpreting the stats incorrectly’. There are so many laws I now need to remember: don’t murder, don’t steal, and don’t believe that women earn less than men for the same amount of work. All of those crimes will have me in breach of the law. Although I personally can’t wait to be in a cell with all the feminists who read those stats incorrectly; that sounds like a party and a half.

I tried to explain to him that the wage gap is different in different sectors, with about an 8% discrepancy in hospitality compared to 30% in the financial sector. I also tried to explain how the same actions of men that are described as “strong” and powerful” in a workplace are “irrational” and “nagging” when coming from women. Then I tried to explain how the wage gap isn’t as big of an issue for a middle-class white woman like myself, but is huge and seemingly insurmountable for black women (who face racism and sexism) and trans women (who have a horribly high suicide rate and often have to resort to prostitution as they struggle to get jobs).

“Why do you have to write so much jeez.” Also, I was wrong because he has watched “countless videos where men try to explain this concept to feminists and they just blatantly ignore logical explanations.” And, I mean, if that isn’t a sound, scientific reasoning then I don’t know what is.

But I think he sensed defeat or at least challenge, so he quickly said “also on another note, why do women have to criticise actual biological advances men have as an injustice?”

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He felt that men are generally “more intelligent” whereas women generally “score average on IQ tests”. When I countered this, he said, “Let me finish. Even though it is scientifically proven women just dismiss these facts. Because it doesn’t suit their agenda.”

I called bullshit on that statement, and explained how men and women have different intelligences and that no tests measure multiple intelligences adequately.

But he still doesn’t understand “why women complain about things there’s no problem with. I watched a video where this woman complained about the proportions of mannequins and how they should be bigger. Male mannequins are presented as masculine and athletic but I don’t see men bitching about no beer bellies on mannequins.”

I cannot keep up with his arguments, and when I mentioned that he is jumping all over the shop, he sent me this screen shot:

 

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“There is no other side. There’s the correct side and the incorrect side (feminism).” I can’t, I just can’t.

He said that he sees a lot online that pisses him off, so I told him he should probably stop googling feminist memes and seek out the really intelligent conversations out there.

“No, I’m googling “feminist gets owned by intelligent male.”

I CAN’T.

The last point he wanted to raise was the pay gap between male and female escorts, which he doesn’t think is “fair at all” and after I responded he just sent this:

“Do you want to see my progress pic?”

So, yeah. That was my anti-feminist 6pm-moved-to-Tuesday-but-also-good-luck-with-your-exams Roasting. What a glorious day for MRA’s, what a glorious day for us all.