11 March 2011

No fury like a man scorned

One of the odder subcultures which has carved a niche for itself on the internet is the "MRA" community. The acronym stands for "men's rights activist" or "men's rights advocate", and the MRAs sometimes borrow some of the vocabulary of civil-rights groups, but the over-all psychology is rather different. The core of the MRA world-view is that men as a class (often excepting the most dominant and desirable "alpha males") are somehow oppressed and downtrodden by women as a class, and should take action against feminism or against women in general in order to oppose this oppression.

Predictably, the MRA subculture attracts a lot of men who are nostalgic for the older style of relationships in which men were dominant protectors and women were dependent and obedient -- an applecart long ago upset by feminism and by women's rising earning power and assertiveness. There's also some resentment of the greater legal rights women have obtained over the last few decades, which MRAs feel has been at men's expense. Others seem to yearn for a care-free promiscuous life-style and resent the fact that many women won't cooperate. Indeed, it frankly seems that in many cases the female "oppression" here is actually just sexual disinterest -- women are wronging these guys by not putting out (hence the exception for "alpha males" who clearly don't suffer from such deprivation). The entire subculture is pervaded by a dark strain of anger, resentment, and implicit threats of a day of reckoning in the future.

A few MRA blogs to give you the flavor: Citizen Renegade, focusing on relationships; Objectify Chicks, more towards the "civil rights" end of the spectrum; Boycott American Women, representing a sub-subculture which denigrates American women relative to less-feminist foreign women such as Asians and Russians (there's also a passel of dating/travel sites which exploit this sentiment commercially); and Eivind Berge, a philosophical type notorious for his immortal rape-justification post. Finally there's Spearhead, an MRA group blog. Be warned that some of this material is pretty sad, and prolonged exposure can be disturbing. There's also Man Boobz, a blog dedicated to following and lampooning the MRAs.

Myself, I find the whole thing rather baffling. I've had my share of relationships with women over the years, and those relationships have included their share of conflicts and problems from time to time, but I've never felt "oppressed" by women, and the society around me simply doesn't look or feel to me like that's going on. There's some odd and disturbing psychology at work here, and I'd feel sorry for any woman, especially an inexperienced one, who got involved with one of these guys without knowing something in advance about the type.

11 Comments:

Blogger John Myste said...

If it is transparent, it is a good organization, as it provides a list of men women should avoid. I never heard of it before, though, so most women probably have not either.

11 March, 2011 07:02  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

I've got to get my eyes examined. I read that post as "No furry like a man scorned," and thought it was about an angry wookiee.

11 March, 2011 07:35  
Anonymous Ahab said...

I've heard about the MRM in the context of divorce/custody battles and domestic violence cases. They sound like men with a toxic sense of entitlement.

11 March, 2011 10:26  
Blogger Rain said...

I always think I am reading the news on most of what goes on but this one slipped under my radar. I am a believer in women treating men with respect and vice versa. Where there certainly has been male abuse of females, a person would have to be blind to history and current events not to see it, most of the men I know want nothing to do with it and don't judge women as inferior for being women. Most of the women I know do not see men in general as inferior-- me included. What I hope is the day comes when we don't see each other as an ethnicity, color or gender and instead go by acts. I wonder if it's possible.

11 March, 2011 15:49  
Blogger Murr Brewster said...

That "Boycott American Women" site has spermed its way onto my site twice now. I have deleted its fanny.

I've never seen a huge difference between men and women--at least, it seems to me we're more alike than we're different. So none of this has ever made sense to me.

11 March, 2011 23:43  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thanks for the comments. It's an odd phenomenon -- not only a toxic sense of entitlement, but a peculiar inability to view male-female relations as anything other than a zero-sum battlefield. I see no sign that most people think that way, fortunately.

12 March, 2011 04:00  
Blogger mendip said...

I suspect that some people's self-worth is at least partially based upon their ability to feel superior to someone else. When that is challenged or eliminated, their psyche can't handle it. Men lording it over women, Whites dominating Blacks, the usual religious strife based on being "chosen" - all help folks, no matter how downtrodden themselves, feel superior. For a dark-humored take on this, I'd direct to you: http://history.icanhascheezburger.com/2011/03/08/funny-pictures-history-no-home-should-be-without-one/

12 March, 2011 15:09  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Mendip: I'm sure that's a big part of the psychology of this.

But -- good grief, that picture! The sight of one of those things on the wall would surely send any flesh-and-blood female visitor edging frantically toward the exit. I bet some MRAs would love them, though -- and never realize why they're having an even harder time getting female company.

12 March, 2011 17:17  
Blogger Nance said...

One of these sick creatures posted a comment on one of my blog posts. It's hopeless, fellas; go back to your caves. Gender abuse is the last holdout of ignorance and fear.

30 March, 2011 14:21  
Blogger dp800 said...

I don't believe in much these men are saying, but I do believe a segment of American men are being held down and oppressed by their female counterparts. Oppressed isn't quite the right word, but some of us grew up in rough home situations that form our  codependent natures. 

Some, not all females will take advantage of our codependency, by making us feel like we don't live up to our standards, much as our abusive parents would do. They may lord over our lives withholding sex in order to gain power in a relationship. In turn we may feel "unloved" or "unwanted." They may tell us that our self respecting job, which could easily support a family of four, is not good enough because they dont want to be w/ someone holding a blue collar job. Our struggle is that we seek out these women unintentionally, and we have to stop.

I've made some bad decisions in my past, mind you I've never hit a women, but I have broken things in anger. At times men ARE honestly damaged from the things we experienced during childhood. 

It's up to us to fix these problems, but for the most part, most men who suffer from codependency don't even understand the emotions they are going thru.  Men are brought up from a young age to show no emotion. Emotion is a weakness, but anger is also an emotion, our biggest weakness...

28 April, 2011 05:21  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Some women behave badly in relationships. So do some men. This isn't grounds for turning the entire opposite gender into some kind of existential evil tyranny which must be overthrown, as the MRAs (and some man-hating fringe feminists) do.

If your partner doesn't respect you or is otherwise abusive, dump her or him and find someone better. Even divorce is a lot easier than it was in the old days, and you're better off alone than with an abusive partner.

28 April, 2011 06:59  

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