On the evening of Monday, July 29th, Men’s Rights Edmonton hosted a lecture by Dr. James Brown discussing boys’ underachievement in education.
Last week a feminist group calling itself Feministing at ‘Rescuing Our Underachieving Sons’ made plans to crash the lecture. They started a Facebook group event by that title, with a subtitle “Tired of slut shaming sexism racism.” They claimed, among other things, to wish to confront the members of MREdmonton about the unrelated “Don’t be that girl” poster campaign, and to seek their identities.
They further noted that “This event could be a good opportunity to ask questions and engage in face-to-face discussion…We need to go into this event prepared with researched questions and facts, so I’d like to meet up with anyone interested in attending the event next the Sunday before the event at Roast. Please feel free to add discussion and ideas below. Please also share this event and invite others. Thanks everyone!”
A few days before the event, various Men’s Human Rights Activists joined the Facebook event group, including members of Men’s Rights Edmonton like Eric Duckman and Karen Straughan (who have often shown their faces in the media). These members of Men’s Rights Edmonton left comments on the invitation page to engage the feminists in the discussion the description claimed that they wanted.
The MREdmonton folks reported that a day or two before the event the invitation page seemed to disappear, but other activists, including A Voice for Men (AVfM) Managing Editor Dean Esmay, along with a number of other Men’s Human Rights Advocates, report that they were still in the group participating in discussions a full day after the event was over, indicating that the feminists actually went out of their way to block Men’s Rights Edmonton members and spokespersons. The day after the event the group appears to have been closed for real, but AVfM did capture a screen shot for posterity; click the below image to see a full screen capture of one page:
Click image for full-size screen capture!
Although a full record of the conversations was not captured, the Facebook group discussion was notable for how often factual claims made by Men’s Human Rights Activists were ignored, while instead aspersions were cast at their character with sexist bigotry and name-calling by the feminists.
Now, back-tracking a bit to see how well the plans of the feminists matched up with what happened at the lecture:
According to group event coordinator Brittany Kustra, the purpose of the counter-event had nothing to do with Dr. Brown or the topic of his lecture, but to confront the members of MREdmonton about the unrelated “Don’t be that girl” poster campaign, and to seek their identities.
This event could be a good opportunity to ask questions and engage in face-to-face discussion. I also think it would be important to attend so that we can see who is behind this group, because they refuse to show their faces to the media.
The group had seemed poised to go into the event with verbal guns blazing.
We need to go into this event prepared with researched questions and facts, so I’d like to meet up with anyone interested in attending the event next the Sunday before the event at Roast.
They didn’t even switch off the safety.
At the lecture itself, the feminist group that arrived did not do any of the things described by Kustra on the invitation page. Rather than confront the Men’s Human Rights Activists as per their stated plan, they sat silently through the filmed lecture and question/answer session. The majority of them waited until the session was over and the camera was off, and then they fired questions at Dr. Brown, challenging his assertions, after the event was over and while he was packing up to leave.
According to Eric Duckman, not a single question was asked of the Men’s Rights Edmonton members about the posters, nor did the group make good on the threat to identify them. Once it was clear that they weren’t hiding, the feminist group seemed to lose interest. As Duckman remarked, For people who hate non-consensual stuff, they only seem to want our names when we don’t give ’em up willingly.
Feminist attendees did ask their hosts whether or not the film footage from the event would end up online. They were unconcerned when they received an affirmative answer. The lack of upset indicates that the answer was satisfactory, rather than worrisome; they want video of themselves at the lecture to be shared online in order to prove they attended the event.
That gives them their gutsy feminist activist cred. They’ve faced the MRA beast, and emerged unscathed.
The fact that the MRAs turned out to not be beastly doesn’t matter. They’ll still look good to their peers, even though they achieved nothing.
The group didn’t pursue a single one of their stated goals, and actively avoided the goal of discussing the “Don’t be that girl” posters with the MRAs. They met the one goal that really mattered to them:
They drew attention to themselves.