There is a phenomenon most within the men’s rights movement will be familiar with, simply that when the phrases “human rights” and “men” are strung together into a sentence, most people turn stupid.
This is the place in the conversation where “oh you guys just hate women” pops up, and it is a stupid utterance. Sometimes, when a conversation turn to men’s rights activists the response is almost violent: “I hate those guys” , “what a bunch of faggots” or similar invective. And these responses are not rational, they are not noble, they are simply stupid. But it goes beyond a knee-jerk reactive aversion to considering men and boys might be human beings – the stupid runs deeper.
At the slut walk event in Vancouver British Columbia in 2011, there were a large number of signs which read “teach men to not rape”. One of the most obvious problems with such signage being the false implication that all or even most rapists are men. But the more subtle stupidity is the idea that without being told by placard carrying slut-walkers, adults don’t know not to rape. This is the insane fantasy that adults walking around in the world do not know they should not commit violent crimes.
When I attended the 2011 slut walk as an observer, I thought surely they must mean something else, because not even dyed in the wool feminists could be so foolish to literally believe that adults in the real world were inclined to just accidentally commit violent crime. “teach men to not rape” Because if men are not taught, then they are so insane they’ll inflict violence on women who they find attractive. It’s an insanely stupid belief.
So I tried asking. I picked women who appeared to be at the centre of activity, handing out fliers, organizing others, handing out placards, and issuing orders to an apparent army of volunteers, and I began in most cases by saying “do you mind if I ask you a couple questions?”.
Recall that this comes in the context of a public demonstration, staged in the heart of a major city – designed to broadcast the public message of the slut-walk-movement, and so the words : “do you mind if I ask you a couple questions?” should be enthusiastically embraced. Right?
Silly John, you thought you were dealing with intelligent adults. Ha! I asked more than a dozen different people – women obviously, since this was a women’s event, and men participating were universally there as secondary hangers-on, fans, and compliant muscle.
“Does it make sense to pretend adults don’t know to not commit violent crimes unless they’re told?”
“Does it make sense to assume everyone you meet in the world is a barely restrained sexual predator?”
“Isn’t it a bit hateful to stage a rally, pretending half the human race are subhuman criminals?”
Are you telling me, that without being told not to, men, grown men, with jobs, shoes, driver’s licences, credit cards and who can read, feed themselves and make their way in the world – that they do not know to not commit rape, or generally act like pre-civilized violent predators?
And what answer did I get, variously trying to ask versions of this question. From those who I tried to ask this question – I got no answer, because they fled from the question. I don’t mean evaded answering or changed the topic. They literally fled, and hid behind the self-defined protection of compliant men – who in every case scampered over to “protect” the women organizing Vancouver’s slut walk from answering my very simple questions.
The repeated and complete intellectual cowardice demonstrated is an answer by itself. However, I asked these self appointed white knights my questions too.
Asked of the male supporters at 2011’s vancouver slut walk, my questions took this form:
So you, being a grown-ass man; don’t know without being told by one of these signs on a placard – that sexual assault isn’t in the range of allowable behavior? You need to be told this, or you think other men need to be told this?
And the answer? “uuuuuuh, yeah”.
I will spare you the pain of these conversations in detail, because although the men I spoke to ranged in age from 20 to about 40 – it was a conversation similar to what one expects with a newly verbal toddler, caught misbehaving.
Did you take the toy from your brother?
The toy? (child’s attempt to evade)
Yes, that toy in your hand, did you take that from your brother?
This kind of reasoning through the very basics of cause and effect is expected when we deal with very small children, the same is unfortunately what Ive come to expect through experience when dealing with issues of male human rights, or when parsing the anti-male rhetoric from so-called feminists.
“teach men to not rape”
Why not also carry signs that read “teach jews to not cheat”
or “teach blacks to not steal”.
Any public rally featuring signs such as these would be quickly identified as a hate rally. However, teach men to not rape – is, in our current social climate, publicly praiseworthy.
This, of course is why discussions of male human rights, or intelligent parsing of feminist rhetoric so quickly turns people stupid.
This is a game of pretend. There is no need to convince anyone of the scope or the magnitude of the problem. They know, but they are afraid to admit to it in public. Thus, they get stupid, because they are afraid.
One of the oldest techniques of education is, when an individual engages in destructive, self deceptive, or in counter-productive behaviour; rather than forcibly redirecting their energies – to encourage and accelerate them on the path they cling to. This approach works from the assumption that people are capable of thinking for themselves, and that the evident outcomes of a self-destructive pursuit will, when amplified, motive the individuals to learn. Fear, as discussed earlier is what apparently stands between some very simple questions, and willingness to address those questions.
On Sunday 30 May, I will be attending Vancouver’s 2012 slut walk, and asking a new set of very easy questions. I will also try to encourage those I talk with to overcome their fear.