About 'Alpha+Good'

Alpha+Good (sort of a bad wordplay on Orwell and machismo) is a side project that belongs to 'Onklare taal' ('Unclear language'), the umbrella of several of my literary projects in Dutch. This section is almost exclusively in English and comprises my ongoing thoughts on progress, gender, politics and various other social themes. Are you a little lost? This link will take you right back to my home page.

Monday, July 08, 2013

MRA deconstructed (conclusion)

Harmful consequences to feminism

The tenets of MRA and their underpinnings - whether legitimate claims with false explanations or entirely false assumptions to begin with - have consequences in the real world. These consequences are not innocent. People who dismiss MRAs as petty or misled may understimate how being constantly bombarded with misogynist ideas on top of an already sexist culture can really turn some men from low-level sexists into full-blown misogynists.

Detraction from the cause of feminism

As if it wasn't enough that a lot of discussions on gender inequality are derailed by displays of ignorance (from both genders), MRAs poison the well a bit further. They force feminism even more on the defensive than it already is, and distract it from discussing the underlying issues that matter.

Gender as a horse race

MRAs play into the mainstream media narrative that the battle of the sexes is somehow a horse race where both sides have strengths, weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages. It's basically another form of the 'truth must be in the middle!' rhetorical fallacy. A more objective look will, time and again, reveal that gender-based problems are the result of one thing (patriarchy) and that this system hurts women much more severely than it hurts men.

Hostility and rape threats

Because MRAs (and unfortunately, quite a number of other people) think feminism is passé, has achieved its goals or is even 'on top' now, they feel it's okay to open the gates of hell and unleash all sorts of degrading and threatening comments. They breathe new life into decades of feminism-bashing that have branded the movement as extreme, humourless or shrill.

Fear of speaking out

Ultimately, the existence of MRAs might make women more afraid of speaking out. I cannot emphasise how crucial this is. A lot of women are afraid of rocking the boat when it comes down to sexism, close their eyes to it or resign themselves to the fact that it's just the way things are. The hateful messages of MRA movements only add a new layer of pressure to that. To men who are concerned with gender equality and who want to address issues with masculinity, MRAs have poisoned the debate.

 

The tragedy of it all

There's an interesting quote I recently heard that I'll paraphrase (I forgot the source). MRA shares some aspects with the Pick Up Artist community and Internet Libertarians - most members appear to be white men in their 20s and 30s, often college-educated. They have big havens on Reddit.

In a way, all three of these groups realise that the ways our societies are structured are not okay. It doesn't work for them. These young men are bombarded with the idea that they should be successful sexual conquerors, but women don't flock to them. They're tantalised with the idea of the American Dream, but they fail at it. They keep hearing about the plight of women, but they are confused about the relative silence on the issues they face.

Unfortunately, all three take conclusions from that that are devastatingly inaccurate. Internet Libertarians want the system to become even more deregulated and unstable because Conservative media has them believe the system failed due to an excess of socialism. Pick Up Artists try to con women into sleeping with them because they sadly assume it's the only way they'll ever get laid. MRAs lay the blame for men's problems at women's feet, and forget or deny that their true enemy is the patriarchy.