Watch Matt Binder Debate a Men's Rights Activist Live

Comments

1
"I try to ignore these jackasses whenever I can."

Yet you write about what this tiny amount of fringe white dude loonies does every few days or so.

White male power over the media indeed.
2
I identify as an MRA. I absolutely do not agree with the tactics and rhetoric of many (perhaps most) MRAs, but there are men's issues which merit legitimate examination, such as discrimination in the family and criminal courts.

Incidentally, I am neither a teenage boy, nor old, nor white, nor conservative. In fact, I used to identify as a feminist until I learned the hard way that feminists all too often do not advocate for gender equality (an ideal I still believe in).

3
@2 - You don't want to identify as a feminist because some feminists disagree with your ideals, but you'll identify as an MRA while shaking your head at the complete assholes who dominate the movement? Okay then.
4
I won't identify as a feminist because feminists have taken actions and policy positions which have caused both me and my daughter direct harm.

I am identifying as an MRA in a small, and probably futile, attempt to change, or at least expand, the notion of what an MRA can be. Incidentally, I realized right after I posted that I wasn't at all clear about why I would abandon association with one group of ideologues for another. Sorry about that.
5
@4 How are the feminists hurting your daughter?
6
Is "Bash a woman in the face month" just an INdirect harm to your daughter then?
7
@5, After 5 decades of advocacy, feminist organizations like NOW have managed to prejudice family courts against granting men physical and legal custody of their children. In the 70s, NOW could have chosen to advocate for gender equality in the family courts, but chose not to.

Feminists, following the lead of Ellen Pence, have also influenced the way in which domestic violence is viewed such that the criminal justice system--that is, the police, courts, jails, and probation programs--see men as perpetrators and women as victims.

How does this hurt my daughter? When my ex snapped and I called the police (on two separate occasions!), they did not take my claims seriously. They said that without visible injury, they would do nothing. In fact, the first time I called, the police treated me as if I was the perpetrator, kicked me out of my apartment, and offered my ex a protective order.

Finally, when I asked for a divorce, my ex was able to get a restraining order based on nothing but her (false) story, and was subsequently able to leverage this into keeping my daughter away from me for a year and a half.

I had been her primary caregiver.

I don't want to go on too long about this, but here is a short list of what my daughter has been robbed of:

The parent to whom she was most strongly attached, a home in San Francisco, her college fund, french education, music education, a stable environment free from psychological and physical abuse, and distance from her Mormon grandparents. About that last bit, there are few American cultural environments worse for little girls than Mormonism.

@6, see @2
8
I would encourage anyone here who hasn't familiarized themselves with the MRM to check out this link:

http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comme…

You'll see that Paul's characterization of the movement is pretty far off base. Of course, what else would you expect from Paul Constant?

There are many, many reasons why men's rights need to be seriously addressed, and the list you'll see there is only the beginning. It's not a misogynist group. It's not right wing. It's a bunch of normal people like you, who are willing to take a closer look at gender equality, instead of being hand-fed their narrative from people like Paul Constant.

And Paul, if you're so convinced they're wrong, feel free to hop into that subreddit and start a debate on the subject. I'm sure you're capable of defending the position you hold instead of hiding behind your pulpit here at Slog, right?
9
I would encourage anyone here who hasn't familiarized themselves with the MRM to check out this link:

http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comme…

You'll see that Paul's characterization of the movement is pretty far off base. Of course, what else would you expect from Paul Constant?

There are many, many reasons why men's rights need to be seriously addressed, and the list you'll see there is only the beginning. It's not a misogynist group. It's not right wing. It's a bunch of normal people like you, who are willing to take a closer look at gender equality, instead of being hand-fed their narrative from people like Paul Constant.

And Paul, if you're so convinced they're wrong, feel free to hop into that subreddit and start a debate on the subject. I'm sure you're capable of defending the position you hold instead of hiding behind your pulpit here at Slog, right?
10
MRAs need to be cockpunched.
11
@7,

Are you seriously blaming feminists for our society not taking violence against men seriously?
12
@8 - Paul Constant can't even manage to defend his knee-jerk position ON slog, even with its protective veil. Haven't you noticed how he's incapable of actually addressing any of the challenges that come up? Makes Ansel Herz look like a model of reporting integrity.
13
@2: "there are men's issues which merit legitimate examination, such as discrimination in the family and criminal courts"

Ah, the Climate Change Deniers / Truthers of gender politics.
14
@11: "Are you seriously blaming feminists for our society not taking violence against men seriously?"

Of course they are, they're utterly delusional.
15
@11, Feminists are partly responsible. Feminist ideology regarding IPV crosses over with conservative notions of gender roles. That is, feminists offer a gendered view of IPV that argues women, because they are not power holders in society, cannot abuse men. In the feminist view, women are only violent toward men in self defense. The feminist response to IPV is the Duluth Model, which uses what Ellen Pence called a coordinated community response, involving the police, the courts, probation, and batterer intervention programs. After several decades of being taught this as gospel truth, it is no surprise that many (but certainly not all) police officers do not take male victimization seriously.

Now, I understand that the idea of women as victims and men as perpetrators has its roots in traditional ideas of gender roles. Feminists, however, have reinforced it.
16
@13, Ask an attorney about how well men fare in the family courts.

The first thing a judge said to my ex and I in our custody battle is that the natural place for a young child is with her mother.

He said this not knowing that I had been my daughter's primary caregiver (the stay at home dad, if you will). He said that not knowing that my daughter was (and still is) more attached to me than her mother. I would guess that his comment came from a conservative, sexist conception of gender roles, but this is precisely the sort of discrimination NOW decided not to fight against in the 1970s.

That is not some Truther conspiracy nonsense. It is a historical fact.
17
@2,4,7,15,16

Your complaint about the culture of discrimination against fathers in this country is valid. It is real; it absolutely does exist.

You are also correct that we criminalize and more severely punish behaviors that are more frequently associated with men, especially men deemed members of a lesser class.

Gross inequalities actually do exist in our society that disfavor men, especially poor men, like forcing men to register for the draft while treating women as some delicate or incapable child who is unable to serve. But, isn't that the result of men's reduction of women and not simply women enjoying the unintended consequence of privileged status without protest? And, aren't the men who suffer most under these inequalities already suffering under the inequalities of class that favors one man over another? You do understand that's a men versus men problem, right?

Sure, women occasionally benefit from being treated as property or dependents.
However, our society yields far more power and opportunity to men.

To whom much is given, much is required.

Women are still in the process of evolving their definition within our culture, politics, laws and society to a position of full, equal adult standing with men of the same class. We're not there yet.

When we are "there" inequalities like conscription of males into military service by force won't be resolved by conscription of females, it will be resolved by eliminating the power of the people's government to draft anyone into service against their will.

As the pendulum seeks a more equal balance to these historical imbalances expect some short term unfairness. Don't accept it, just expect it.

However, your choice to affiliate with MRA as representative of you as a father who has suffered discrimination is a poor choice. Find a better affiliation.

MRA's most vocal representatives are largely entitled, straight, white, middle-class men whose chief complaint is that the world is not as mindlessly or effortlessly simple and easy as it once was when our culture and economy conformed exclusively to serve a particular race, class and gender, namely them.

Welcome to the real world that everyone else has lived in for centuries, boys.

Blaming the successful advocacy of feminists and organizations like NOW for any injustices or discrimination that you've experienced is grossly misplaced. Your aim is way off, buddy. Your shooting at a potential ally, not your enemy.

Advocate for the equal rights of fathers, not against the rights of women.

Equality and fairness for everyone should be your objective, not a return or perpetuation of privileged class.
18
Again... and this is blamed on feminists how?

Seems to me that's more a problem with the stupid patriarchal assumptions "men are breadwinners, women are nurturers." If anything, feminist ideas of independence and self-defined identity is what you'd want to support.
19
@16 If you truly care for your daughter why are you joining forces with people who want to take away her rights, use her as an object, and throw her away the instant she becomes inconvenient? People who want to have a month dedicated to punching her in the face?

Getting more rights for Father's should involve dehumanizing women.
20
@17, You've said quite a lot, and I'm going to do my best to respond to some (if not all) of your points.

I want to be clear that I take issue with the legacy of patriarchy as well as feminism. I understand that I do not conform to the traditional male gender role. I prefer to be the homemaker, not the breadwinner. I like art, music, literature, and cooking, not sports, beer, and whatever else it is the male stereotype is supposed to like. Patriarchy condemns what I am and what I wish to be.

To the extent that feminism and feminists advocate for gender equality, I stand with them. What I take issue with is those feminists who have advocated against gender equality, specifically NOW and Ellen Pence (and her adherents). If by "successful advocacy" you mean successfully transforming disproven hypotheses into domestic violence public polices that are used by some women (like my ex) as tools for abuse, then yes, I will continue to blame that sort of advocacy for injustice I have experienced. My ex told me that her attorney (from a feminist organization) advised her to get and keep a restraining order against me so that it would be impossible for us to share legal custody. Thus I blame both that specific feminist as well as the feminist movement which has positioned women as helpless victims and men as dangerous aggressors.

I also feel (although I'm not sure you've done this) that many people assume that it is only men who reinforce patriarchal structures. This is simply not true. Women are guilty of this as well. I am talking about women who (rightly) insist on equal treatment in the workplace but then (I feel wrongly) characterize "chivalry" as politeness, and expect men to give them special social treatment (opening doors, paying for dinner, and the like). I am talking about women like my ex mother in-law who chastised me for occupying a woman's role when I chose to be a homemaker.

I am absolutely not advocating against the rights of women. An unequal society hurts everybody. I think a woman who really understood this was Karen DeCrow. The Atlantic has a nice piece on her.

21
@18, I am not against all of the ideas that feminists have espoused. To the extent that feminists stand for gender equality, I stand with them. But some feminists have reinforced patriarchal tropes of female weakness when it has suited their needs.
22
From an unregistered comment (and a single father) that I believe to be worthy of registered attention:
@2,4,7,15,16

Your complaint about the culture of discrimination against fathers in this country is valid. It is real; it absolutely does exist.

You are also correct that we criminalize and more severely punish behaviors that are more frequently associated with men, especially men deemed members of a lesser class.

Gross inequalities actually do exist in our society that disfavor men, especially poor men, like forcing men to register for the draft while treating women as some delicate or incapable child who is unable to serve. But, isn't that the result of men's reduction of women and not simply women enjoying the unintended consequence of privileged status without protest? And, aren't the men who suffer most under these inequalities already suffering under the inequalities of class that favors one man over another? You do understand that's a men versus men problem, right?

Sure, women occasionally benefit from being treated as property or dependents.
However, our society yields far more power and opportunity to men.

To whom much is given, much is required.

Women are still in the process of evolving their definition within our culture, politics, laws and society to a position of full, equal adult standing with men of the same class. We're not there yet.

When we are "there" inequalities like conscription of males into military service by force won't be resolved by conscription of females, it will be resolved by eliminating the power of the people's government to draft anyone into service against their will.

As the pendulum seeks a more equal balance to these historical imbalances expect some short term unfairness. Don't accept it, just expect it.

However, your choice to affiliate with MRA as representative of you as a father who has suffered discrimination is a poor choice. Find a better affiliation.

MRA's most vocal representatives are largely entitled, straight, white, middle-class men whose chief complaint is that the world is not as mindlessly or effortlessly simple and easy as it once was when our culture and economy conformed exclusively to serve a particular race, class and gender, namely them.

Welcome to the real world that everyone else has lived in for centuries, boys.

Blaming the successful advocacy of feminists and organizations like NOW for any injustices or discrimination that you've experienced is grossly misplaced. Your aim is way off, buddy. Your shooting at a potential ally, not your enemy.

Advocate for the equal rights of fathers, not against the rights of women.

Equality and fairness for everyone should be your objective, not a return or perpetuation of privileged class.
23
More MRA butthurt.

And lying butthurt, at that!

"I usta be a feminist, until a man said something I found offensive."

Yeah, yup somehow a feminst had her hand up the guy's butt, making him say that thing about mothers as primary caregivers.

Nealrly 50 fucking years of feminists working for the goal of co-parenting, pfffft.

So that the majority of fathers who ask for custody, get it: fact.

(Actually had an MRA troll whine, "But I didn't ask, 'cause I knew I'd just be turned down!"

And that was somehow a feminist's fault that he was too lame to fucking ask for custody of his children.

Not all MRAs are teen boys, many are apparently whining, bitter divorced creeps.
24
@23 And of course one bad experience with a woman means it's A-OK to treat all women like shit.

Yes there are shitty, abusive, women out there. But it's interesting that when women talk about their bad experiences with men a whole friggen army appears to scold them and tell Not All Men are like that. But when a man has a bad experience with a woman it's A-OK to condemn them entire gender and anyone who argues is just a crazy feminist.
26
@20

Ellen Pence's committed advocacy on behalf of women was primarily focused on domestic violence. Her work began in an era when women:

- couldn't get a loan of any kind or credit card from any bank without their husband or father's signature (try buying a house and car or renting an apartment under those circumstances)

- could not petition for no fault divorce, could not file for divorce without husband's consent

- had less than a 1 in 5 chance of getting into a top university (and not much better odds at most others) - No Title IX

- could easily lose property as it was all in their husband's name by necessity

- had no privacy in their medical treatment...in fact, women could have their medical choices overridden by their husbands, with and without their knowledge

- had few opportunities to be considered or hired for a job that would pay enough to support a family (as that would be taking a job away from a more deserving man)

- could be fired or evicted simply for being a divorced woman (oh, hell yes it DID happen)

- could be forced to have their husband in the voting booth with them because women couldn't be trusted to know the "right way" to vote

- had little to no legal support or police intervention when their husband used physical violence to control or punish them (the legal system recognized a husband's right to "correct" his wife's "disobedience and misbehavior")

- hell, it was still legal to rape your wife in all 50 states (because, you know, sex was a husband's right and a wife's duty.)

In general, women had very few and mostly weak divorce and custody rights because of earnings ability, property rights and educational opportunities. ...oh, and that lingering legal reality of being some man's property.

It was a man's world, and a woman's hell.

Perhaps, you're too young to remember the complete nightmare this nation once was for all women. Perhaps, you just don't give a damn that it is still a nightmare for far too many.

If you want to argue that some women have misused and abused the rights obtained through this advocacy for victims of domestic violence, by all means, MAKE THAT CASE. But, broad generalities and blanket condemnations only undermine your positions.

You say that you're not "conservative," but you are repeating the radical, reactionary and religious.rhetoric of those who identify as "conservative" albeit beneath the veil of being a thoroughly modern "Mr. Mom."

People might be forgiven for thinking you a misogynist when you repeat the words of those who clearly are.
27
@2 I hear and empathize with your stories about problems in Family Court.

I can understand how someone with such experiences would need a community for support and as a focus for advocacy.

You've even got to the point where you feel the need to distance yourself from much of the MRA tactics and rhetoric.

Shouldn't you divorce yourself from the troubling and toxic elements and form a support and advocacy group of which could be proud?
28
It's true that many of the problems facing men as a gender were not caused nor exacerbated by feminists--though it is also true that feminists, despite their claims that feminism helps men, have done precious little about men's problems. For instance, the #takebackourgirls campaign, focusing attention on Boko Haram's abduction of girls and ignoring BH's previous massacres of boys, in some cases by burning alive. See also the recent U.N. report on violence against civilians in Afghanistan, which claimed that the violence "had a particularly harmful impact on women and children" even though men constituted 1121 out of 1564 deaths, or 72%. Guess that isn't high enough for the U.N.

But other problems facing men ARE direct consequences of the lies and hate promulgated by feminism. Casusbelli has done a good job talking about the impact on the legal system of the feminist dogma that intimate partner violence is a tool of male oppression. In fact, IPV is committed by women as much or more than men. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glenn-sack…

Intimate partner violence by women is something that feminists, when they've bothered to notice it at all, have failed to take seriously. http://jezebel.com/294383/have-you-ever-…

Erin Pizzey, the woman who founded one of the first domestic violence shelters, received death threats from feminists when she tried to point out female violence. Her dog was killed and she had to leave the country. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erin_Pizzey

Rather like how the men's rights conference had to relocate due to feminist threats of violence. http://www.avoiceformen.com/a-voice-for-…

Or how feminists have shut down other talks by on men's issues by pulling fire alarms--on multiple occasions.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWgslugtD…
http://metronews.ca/news/ottawa/1000093/…

Likewise, feminist dogma that portrays sexual assault as a tool to oppress women is belied by the surprising amount of sexual assault suffered by men, including at women's hands. http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/d…

Still, feminist push the rape culture myth, which is resulting in men being thrown out of college and having their reputations and futures ruined based on hearings by unqualified campus disciplinary boards in which they are denied basic due process like the right to a lawyer, to confront and cross-examine witnesses against them, and the right to present witnesses in their defense.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/cheats…

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/20…

Feminists in New Zealand are now pushing a law requiring men accused of rape to prove their innocence, rather than the government having to prove their guilt. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/articl…

But not to worry. Feminism helps men, and if men are still suffering, all we need is more feminism. right? Assholes.
29
@25, I've read Lindy's essay. Her argument that misandry does not exist is completely false. She argues that our society lacks the systemic discrimination against men that limits our opportunities and says we are mistaking female hatred for us as individuals for institutionalized oppression. Not true. Men who have faced either the family or criminal courts have a strong sense that our institutions discriminate against men. Men who choose to be primary caregivers of their children to the disapproval of their community know the cultural pressure that tries to drive us away from parenthood. A society that ignores female perpetrated IPV is a misandric society. A society that decides an inebriated woman cannot consent to sex and that the inebriated man who had sex with her raped her is a misandric society.

Do feminists contribute to misandry? Yes. By choosing to support gender inequality--especially in the family courts and vis-à-vis IPV--feminists have chosen to foment and reinforce institutional and cultural misandry. But another important thing to keep in mind is that a society in which men and women are unequal is a society that limits the opportunities of and oppresses both women and men. If you want to call that a patriarchal society, then fine. Patriarchy is, then, a source of misogyny and misandry. And incidentally, men and women, both, reinforce misogynistic and misandric systems, institutions, and cultural mores.
30
15-year-old girl sends her 17-year-old boyfriend nude pictures. He sends a video of himself masturbating to her. He is charged with 2 felony counts for possessing and manufacturing child pornography, with possible penalty of incarceration until he's 21 and lifelong sex-offender registry; she is not charged. But, you know, there's no such thing as misandry.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/arch…
31
@26, ad hominem attacks are precisely the sort of tactic employed by many MRAs. Calling me confused, ignorant, or dishonest is about as useful as MRAs calling feminists fascists, and about as accurate. I am well aware of the cultural climate in which Pence began her work. I am not saying that IPV was (and is) not a problem that needed to be addressed. What I am saying is that her hypotheses--now disproven--operate, via legal institutions, in a way that hurts men.

Read this, and this.

IPV is not what feminists are saying it is. Women can and do take advantage of domestic violence laws, especially in custody battles. Innocent men, or men who themselves are equally victims (bi-directional IPV) can and are caught up in a system that assumes their maleness means they're violent, and shames and punishes them accordingly. Families are ripped apart by the automatic issuance of restraining orders that even the alleged victim can do little about. A system that assumes a female victim doesn't know what is in her best interest is a part of Pence's legacy.
32
@23 As someone who asked and was denied, I'd like to see statistics on that. I suffered under the family court in GA in a similar manner to @2. In GA, LIKE MOST STATES there is a presumption of mandatory primary-secondary custody in divorce, and in most cases it goes to the mother no matter who asks for what.
Like @2 I was a primary caregiver. For the first three years if my daughters life I stayed at home doing traditional home keeping and child raising. I cooked. I cleaned. I bought the groceries. I took my daughter for walks and to play dates, to the park and the zoo. If she went somewhere, I was the parent taking her. I potty trained her, helped her learn how to walk and hold her spoon, how to read and how to write. I tickled her and held her when she cried. I CHANGED EVERY DINGLE ONE OF HER DOAPERS AND I LIKED IT.
I DIDN'T like being forced to go to separate floor in the mall to change her because it was the location of the only family bathroom and the men's rooms didn't have changing tables. I did not being told I couldn't john a "mommy and me" class because it was supposed to be a safe place for moms. I didn't like it that no one wanted to form a "Parents and me class" with me. I REALLY didn't like then being told that a "daddy and me" would be grossly inappropriate. I didn't like women seeing me with my daughter and saying, "let me show you how a mom does it." I didn't like women at the park saying, "what a great guy, giving mommy the day off! See SOME guys can be sweet." I didn't like that because I never got a day off. And I was not giving anyone day off, especially my wife who sat at home, on a couch watching TV until it was time to go socialize. You see, she inherited money from her father and never needed to work a day in her life.
When my daughter turned three I went back to work as we had planned. Paying for a daycare and a manny (yes. The best candidate was a manny. He didn't like "manny" but said it was more likely people would not automatically assume he was female if he used the "m") came from my paycheck because my wife thought it was foolish to pay for something I could myself if I just would give up trying to have a career (which I had to completely restart).
When my wife started sleeping with a younger man in our bedroom during the day, I filed for a divorce and left the home with our daughter. She continued to be dropped off with me every night for three months because her manny didn't comfortable leaving her with her mom.
It was three months... why? Because that's when a family court judge ordered time split 60-40... 60% with her MOM and 40% with me because "kids belong with mothers in stable homes" and because I was CLEARLY unstable as I had just moved homes and only had an income for a year-and-a-half. When I mentioned that I was and had been the primary caregiver the response was the presumption that I had been lazily living off my wife and now it was time for me to pay my share. I asked for nothing in the divorce. Nothing except custody of my daughter. I was denied on grounds of her needing a mom in her life. I tried to negotiate 50-50 custody, even though GA won't allow it, and was told I was just trying to avoid paying support. I ended paying that support, 17.5% of my PRE-TAX income (less, BTW, then the interest earned on her inherited wealth) to the woman that never lifted a finger to help me care for our child.
AND I continued to pay for the nanny (the manny quit rather than drop our daughter of with her, but continued to babysit for me from time to time), daycare and eventually school.

THIS is the society men live in. Legacy of a patriarchy or not it sucks. As a legacy of that patriarch, male primary caregivers get a lot more emotional support from men than from women. I don't blame feminists because they exist to end millennia-old patriarchal values. Unfortunately, they can be just as hurtful to those of us that support them as they feel men are to them. I have had feminists tell me that I am trying to usurp the mother's role in caring for the children. That I denied my wife the opportunity to be a mother by isolating our daughter from her. That our daughter would grow up confused about gender in society because she's had no "feminine voice". Yes. FEMINISTS. How do I know? Because that's what I was being told as I was berated for attempting to join a feminist rally with my then 5-year-old daughter.
Things are unequal. I hate that. It's why, unlike @2, I can't identify as an MRA – like feminists before them they do not aim for equality. They aim to help themselves and strike down the oppressors.
I identify as a humanist and so does the beautiful, now teenaged, daughter I've raised with my feminist new wife. My ex passed away when our daughter was 7 as the unfortunate outcome of a botched plastic surgery.
My daughter sees and understands gender as a biological and personal thing. You have the parts that make you biologically you and you have the feeling of who you are. She fights hard an valiantly when anyone says she doesn't dress like a girl. She buys her own clothing and assembles it from all departments at our local value store she is strong, athletic, definitely female but not feminine. She has been allowed to create her own identity and refuses to be told who and what she is expected to be. I couldn't be prouder. My wife is worried that as an adult she may be struck hard in a career that doesn't allow for women to progress. Our daughter responds with, "Things are changing, mom". You'll see."
I'm not ranting for sympathy nor am I bragging (much) about my daughter. What I hope to demonstrate is that THOS DOES HAPPEN TO MEN AND IT DOES HAPPEN EVERY DAY. I went to support groups for former primary caregiving men that found themselves suddenly paying child support to a woman who had never help raise rhe child. THIS HAPPENA ENOUGH THAG THERE ARE SUPPORT GROUPS FOR IT. Men don't always get things just because the ask for them. That's an old-school "patriarchal" point of view often believed by women and men. Especially in the case of parental rights and family courts... men are a clear victim.
33
@32, thank you
34
@16: "@13, Ask an attorney about how well men fare in the family courts."

MRAs conveniently count men not seeking custody as a "loss" in courts.