A Persian Cafe, Edward Lord Weeks

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Why MRAs should avoid Julian Assange

In the news: "Pamela Anderson to campaign for men falsely accused of rape - inspired by Julian Assange friendship."

First, let me be clear. Men's Rights Activists (MRA) have a reasonable case to make: when couples divorce, women automatically get a presumption in favour of keeping children. It's commonly claimed that men who get raped struggle to be taken seriously, I haven't looked into this but it seems very plausible. Women are able to abort unwanted children regardless of what the father wants, fathers are not able to abrogate responsibility for children they do not wish to bring into the world. Men get consistently longer sentences than women for the same crime (one of my troll positions is that in fact women should face longer sentences than men). etc etc. The Red Pill doesn't come from nothing.

That said, there is plenty of genuine misogyny within the MRA movement. Moreover, it's easy to form a false narrative of being oppressed ("In fifteen or twenty years the black man will have the whip hand over the white man in this country,") or to generalise from particular bad experiences with women to claims about all women.

An ideal MRA movement, then, would in some areas work with feminists - working to disestablish certain social presumptions about gender roles, for example - and in other areas serve as a corrective to feminism that has gone astray (such as the various universities in the US which are expelling male students merely for being accused of rape, regardless of the evidence). The worrying alternative is that, just as popularised neo-reaction abandoned all intellectual nuance and became identity politics for whites, a more mainstream MRA movement would simply be identity politics for men. I think there is less risk of this than there was with white identity politics, and almost no danger of it becoming electorally significant: most men have at least some inkling that open and extreme misogyny is not great for their prospects with women, and the ones who don't realise this (or for whom misogyny is no obstacle to sexual success) are not generally enthusiastic or regular voters.

But even so - the way in which a movement is founded and popularised matter, both for public perception and for internal culture. That's why I'm deeply concerned about Julian Assange, however innocent of rape he may be, becoming any kind of cause celebré for MRAs. Wikileaks' associations with Russia and the nativist right are deeply distasteful, and risk contaminating the movement for years to come. I don't know the best way to cultivate a stronger movement, but embracing Assange most certainly isn't it.

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