Do MRAs really hate Fury Road?
(As a prefix to this post, yes, I consider myself a feminist, or at least feminist-ally. I don't actually consider myself an MRA. I follow and admire +Anita Sarkeesian
, +Brianna Wu
, John Scalzi, and numerous other prominent "SJWs", and agree with most of what they have to say. But not necessarily everything.)
There's been a lot of hoopla lately about all the MRA boycott of Fury Road. +Punning Pundit
just posted a very good article about the feminism in Fury Road, which I read through... And then I continued on to the comment section. I know, this sounds like a terrible mistake, but I saw something fascinating there.
After a comment joking about the MRA boycott, a number of self-proclaimed MRAs (or friends of MRAs) disavowing the viewpoints being ascribed to them. In this case, they were all claiming to have watched and enjoyed this movie, and stated the supposed MRA boycott was largely fabricated. (See this comment thread: http://www.npr.org/2015/05/15/406731120/the-women-pull-no-punches-in-fiery-feminist-mad-max#comment-2026795787
So what's going on? Well, all of these articles point to one specific blog post, made by one Aaron Clarey. So I dug a little bit, and Aaron Clarey seems to be just as much of a misogynistic douchebag as he sounds in his article (http://www.returnofkings.com/63036/why-you-should-not-go-see-mad-max-feminist-road
). But, see his follow-up article (http://www.returnofkings.com/63711/our-call-to-boycott-mad-max-movie-spurs-avalanche-of-mainstream-media-anger
) in which he states very clearly that he's not an MRA. The MRAs are disavowing him, and he's disavowing the MRAs. So he's not an MRA. He's just a misogynistic asshole.
So there's a thing that frequently happens when one group of people decide they don't like another group. They find the most extreme, disgusting and problematic elements within this group they don't like, and hold it up as representative of the whole. Conservatives do this to liberals, and liberals do it to conservatives. MRAs do this to feminists, and feminists do it to MRAs. And it becomes this insidiously infectious, self-perpetuating anger-meme (as described in this brilliant video I posted a while back: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE3j_RHkqJc
And sometimes, as is happening here, they're grabbing somebody who isn't even part of the hated group. He merely resembles their image of what MRAs are like, so they assign him to the group.
The really sad part is, MRAs and feminists mostly want EXACTLY THE SAME THING. The first and foremost issue of the MRA movement is problematic male gender roles. That is, they want to fix toxic masculinity, and through that fix much of the gender inequality in our society. The MRA movement is FOR men being able to talk about their feelings, for it being acceptable to be stay-at-home dads, not always the bread-winner, for their sense of self-worth to not be measured by their dominance and by how much sex they have. I've seen prominent feminist icons, including +Anita Sarkeesian
, make these exact same points.
So MRAs and feminists should be allies. They honestly shouldn't even be two separate movements. Unfortunately, the anger-meme that feminism is entirely composed of man-hating misandrists had already taken such root in some parts of our society that the budding MRA movement thought (incorrectly, but understandably) that feminism's goals ran to unfortunate and problematic extremes. And since many MRAs held to this view on feminism, the feminists who saw this movement understandably responded in disgust, and proceeded to assign all varieties of offensive anti-feminist views to them.
Which is how PUAs came to be conflated with MRAs, despite the fact that their views on masculinity couldn't more different. When Elliot Rodgers went on his rampage, it was held up as evidence for why the MRA movement was toxic... Despite the fact that he had never had any connection to that movement. But he DID have connections to the PUA movement (which is legitimately terrible), and his rhetoric was completely consistent with theirs. But MRA was being used by feminists as this umbrella label for anti-feminists, and thus "MRA" and "PUA" were treated as equivalent.
And you know what? There are some legitimately terrible, offensive people with horrible viewpoints who ARE part of the MRA movement. But I've also seen a number of legitimately terrible, offensive people with horrible viewpoints who are part of the feminist movement. But those of us who align ourselves with feminism know those people aren't really representative of the movement as a whole. They don't speak for us. So why do we assume that the worst elements of the MRAs speak for the whole movement?
These two groups have been so focused on these caricatures of each other, right from the start, that they've never had the chance to see eye-to-eye. It's fucked up and toxic, and I have no idea what to do about it, beyond railing at the problem on this G+ post that will probably not convince anybody.