Stephanie Zvan noticed that the Men's Rights subreddit is surveying themselves. The results are...well, they're exactly what you think Men's Rights "activists" would be:
The Men’s Rights subreddits ran a demographic survey of their members recently. Courtney pointed me to the results. They’re listed here. The survey is still open, but as of the time I loaded it, there were just over 3,000 responses. While that is a self-selecting sample, 3,000 responses from 88,000 subscribers isn’t a bad return.
So what are the results? Who are these men's rights activists? They're 98 percent white, 87 percent of them are between the ages of 17 and 20, 83 percent of them identify as conservative, and they're very concerned with marijuana legalization. Also, 92 percent of the respondents believe men are legally disadvantaged compared to women, and 87 percent of them believe men are socially disadvantaged compared to women.
Sometimes it's nice when your suspicions align perfectly with reality. Next time you encounter a men's rights activist on the internet, remember: They're most likely college-age white men who are still living in (or who just left) their parents' home. They're still living in the comfort of a sheltered, privileged life. They have zero empathy. They haven't lived in the real world yet, and they're still arguing hypotheticals. You don't even need to argue with these people, is my point. One of two things will happen to them: Either life will smack them upside the head and they'll put down the Atlas Shrugged and straighten themselves out or they'll stay inside the bubble of wealth and comfort that their parents constructed around them, whereupon they will eventually turn into old white conservative men who think they deserve everything they got.
Sometimes, I try to visualize who racist, sexist internet trolls are in real life. I find it makes hate speech feel a little less violent if I picture the kind of person who would waste their time writing something awful on the internet to make themselves feel a little better. And this information makes that visualization exercise a million times easier. Speaking as someone who was once that age, no white man between the ages of 17 and 20 has ever said anything of value. (Comedian Rob Delaney put it best: "A male in their 20s? Run in the opposite direction. Nothing he says matters; his fears, his hopes his dreams are garbage. Men in their 20s are the worst thing happening on our planet.") It's important to recognize these people as the tiny little insignificant half-baked people that they are, and try to remember that they'll one day soon hit the age where life disabuses them of their little internet theories. I'd like to think that most of them will grow some empathy when they go and meet other people who aren't just like them. The only shame of it is that we'll never get to see the moment when they realize that they spent the first few years of their adult lives building ornate castles out of bullshit. But those castles always fall; they simply can't withstand reality.