Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Sarkeesian Effect: Issues and Suggestions (on Production)

Standard

NOTE I: I have been informed that Owen and Aurini have apparently completed filming for The Sarkeesian Effect. Regardless, I am going to leave the re-filming suggestions in this just in case (they could still help with editing).
____________________________________

The Sarkeesian Effect is a documentary film currently under development by Jordan Owen (producer) and Davis Aurini (director), and its tagline promises viewers a look “Inside the World of Social Justice Warriors.”


As the content for the documentary has not been released in its entirety yet, I will not be focusing on that facet of the film here. Instead, I will talk about what many who criticized the documentary’s trailer have:

Various aspects of its production values.

I won’t be saying much in this that I haven’t already stated on Twitter, and that hasn’t already been said by people in the responses on the video for the trailer, and in other places, but I will, hopefully, provide some commentary or links that might help Owen and Aurini with improving the project later.

After viewing the trailer, a few elements stuck out to me:

1) The transition effects.
2) The Owen/Aurini logo quality.
3) The fonts.
4) The music.
5) The interview format, angles, framing, lighting, and coloration.
6) The appearances of the subjects in the videos.
7) The overall audio and video quality.

I realize that some of these things will likely not be changed, either because it is too late or would be too costly, and may not be the same in the final product as they are in the trailer, but I will go over each of the items nonetheless.

The Transition Effects

The transition effects in the video, particularly the static during the news media clips and the pixels, seemed a bit too stock and noticeable to me. Transitions in a documentary should be subtle, and as the man in a video that I will link below stated, even though a video is edited, the editing should not be something that viewers notice. My suggestion for the transitions, then, would be to aim for subtly.

(So, not the abrupt, stock static jumps or pixels.)

Some links on transitions:


The Owen/Aurini Logo

This issue isn’t that important, but the Owen/Aurini logo at the start of the trailer, to be frank, was just not very good. Even finding a premade intro template would be an improvement.

Slim white text on a plain black background might look better, with a subtle fade in and out, or a subtle fade in and then a slightly harder transition out. Or, Owen and Aurini could simply pay someone to make them a quick introduction logo clip. With all of the people supporting them on Patreon and elsewhere, surely some have graphic and video editing skills; a few may even do it for free. Who knows.

The Fonts

Though Owen and Aurini might have used a font from the list below, the fonts in the trailer looked fairly bad and cheap, and so did the effects on them. Even, again, a premade font template would have looked better. I would recommend searching how other films or documentaries use fonts, or watching some video tutorials related to fonts in graphic design and video, for improving this.

You don’t have to do or envision everything on your own; that is why tutorial and tip videos exist.

Don’t be afraid to use them.

Some links on fonts:


The Music

I initially thought that the music in the trailer was royalty free stock music that Owen and Aurini had collected from somewhere, but then later discovered that Owen apparently made the music himself. In my opinion, the music is strange, sort of tacky, and does not create any kind of coherent tone or mood.

I would not go with music which sounds too “grim” for the documentary, as that wouldn’t fit the subject matter and might make the film seem almost cartoonish or over-the-top, but too light of music would not work well either. It probably needs to be something right in the middle, serious but subtle, which the current music is not. I don’t really know how to describe the issue with the present music other than to call it “unfitting.”

Though the music was just in the trailer, so you sort of expect it to be more prominent there, it is also a reflection of how the music will likely sound in the film, which is why I mention it.

As an aside, for the sake of future reference and thinking in editing, the music should also not overpower any of the talking throughout. Music in a documentary is intended to be in the background during narration or speaking, much like scenery in a photograph of a person or house.

Some links on music for documentaries:

Choosing the Right Music for a Documentary

Tips for Selecting Music for Your Documentary Film

The Interviews

This is probably one of the most significant issues with the trailer, and additionally, I would imagine, one of the more difficult problems to solve, due to time, budget, logistics, and so forth.

First, I found it peculiar and off-putting that Owen and Aurini were in nearly every interview of the trailer, either completely in the frame or halfway (the latter of which is even worse), and usually in a partial profile view. The interviews need improvements in format, angles, framing, lighting, and coloration.

The interview audio and video quality in general was also not the best, and I will provide links to some relatively affordable equipment of fair quality below in case any of that can be redone. But these two issues, with some better editing during the interviews and throughout the documentary, could be given passes due to budgetary constraints.

For the rest, however, the interviews, ideally, need to be re-shot with improvements, mostly in framing, angles, and lighting (color correction and other such editing would be done in post-production anyway, but all editing is made easier with better lighting and video quality).

If they cannot be re-filmed, I would suggest looking through the links below for some ideas on how to improve the footage that has already been recorded. The interviews still won’t look the greatest, but they will, at the very least, appear better than they did in the trailer; and as they seem central to the documentary, that makes this important.

Going with show instead of tell here.

Interview tip links:




(Standard for seated interviews would probably be most similar to the “clean single” example.)





Lighting Tips #3

Audio and Video Equipment

-Cameras

Being ambitious here, but this one costs $2,000.

SSDS (~$100 each).

-Plus lenses

EF lenses from Cannon are $12k a set, but they can be rented (~$125 per day).

Could buy a cheaper lens (~$700).

*Total costs with a cheaper lens is around $3,000.

Alternatively, there are many DSLRs that likewise work:



Add a ~$700 lens and you're looking at $3K again for this kind of video quality.

-Audio

Zoom Recorder ($200).

Or, audio via laptop with one of these:



-Mic/Accessories

Rode NTG3 or equivalent ($700).

Stand ($20).

Clips ($5-$20).

(You want booms to be aimed toward the solar plexus—the middle chest area—or mics to be attached to the chest.)

Audio costs ~$920-$1,000, depending.

-Total Costs:

Video: $3,000
Audio: $1,000
VO: $1,000

*Grand total: $5,000 to make a film.

Then, throw in a top-of-the-line editing PC (~$5,000).

So, all in all, the cost would be around $10K to have essentially top-of-the-line gear, at most. I would likewise recommend, if the interviews can be re-shot, considering investing in a green screen to sit behind the subjects so that there is nothing to worry about related to how the spaces around them look.

-Green Screen (~$390).

Other editing links:



(Even if Owen and Aurini don’t use any of the above software/equipment, the suggestions can help.)

Notes on Each Interview Featured in the Trailer

-Viewers do not need to see the interviewer’s notebook of points/notes.
-Semi-profile views from a distance/odd angle are not good camera positioning.
-Try for some semblance of uniformity in angles and positioning.
-Frame interview videos as you would frame a picture.
-The following points are merely recommendations for improvement.
-Some of this can be corrected with editing if redoing sections is not an option.

Aaron Clarey Interview (0:51) – Bad framing (get Aurini out of the shot; halfway in the shot from the side is probably the worst framing; the nodding was mildly distracting).

Karen Straughan/Other Women Interview (1:04) – Awful lighting, poor coloration (get Jordan out of the damn frame and center or point the camera on each person when they are speaking; the white socks look ridiculous).

Christina Parreira Interview (1:13) – Get Jordan out of the frame (viewers do not need to see the interviewer sweating profusely and wiping his forehead).

Jason Miller Interview (1:24) – Get Aurini out of the frame.

Paul Elam Interview (1:32) – Elam’s interview was one of the better ones, if not the best one, throughout in terms of angling/framing; not quite there, but almost. The lighting was somewhat poor.

Brad Wardell Interview (1:41) – Get Jordan out of the frame, stop the nodding, and lose the notebook.

Nick Robalik Interview (1:55) – Probably one of the poorer angles in the video, though at least Robalik wasn’t completely gazing off to the side of the camera while speaking (but Aurini is more distracting in this one, and what looks to be a pizza box is clearly visible in the background; that could’ve easily been moved).

Jack Thompson Interview (2:02) – To its credit, there was no interviewer to be seen in this clip, but the fact that Thompson was looking entirely to the side was not ideal (and him petting his hair was a bit distracting/casual).

Alex Hinkley Interview (2:18) – Get Jordan out of the frame. This clip was probably the worst offender in terms of the notebook being visible; I could almost read the sloppily written notes on the paper.

Jim Goad Interview (2:26) – Kick Jordan out the frame, son.

-Another minor point on the interviews: a few subjects in the interviews, excluding Aurini and including Jordan, looked as though they were just hanging out, or had only, moments before, gotten out of bed, and then decided to record a friendly, informal visit. At the very least, attempt to strive for some appearance of professionalism in attire.

-Jordan, unfortunately, was probably the greatest offender in terms of garb in a few of the trailer’s clips.

At the end of the trailer, Jordan Owen states that he is approaching what he believes to be Anita Sarkeesian’s tax return address (which I think is a PO Box). What could be so diabolical about the fact that she has her mail forwarded to a PO Box like many self-employed people, I do not know.

(I suppose that we will find out!)

But, the worst part about that segment had to be Jordan Owen’s attire. Viewers do not need to see a subject’s overflowing chest hair. For future shots, Owen should probably button up his shirt, or get a nice t-shirt (not a v-neck).

Final Thoughts

Overall, I hope that this post will help Owen and Aurini improve their documentary, either with re-filming some portions, filming future video, or with editing their current and future footage.

Content aside, as we do not really know the content yet, documentaries are always content plus presentation, and their success depends on the total package. A documentary film, including music, fonts, transitions, narration, and video clips, should be woven together skillfully, seamlessly, and subtly, with each component flowing in accordance with the whole as the film reveals its narrative and story and draws in its viewers.

At the moment, I do not think that The Sarkeesian Effect is done well, but there is still hope for it.

I fear, due to the production values—not all of which can be chalked up to budgetary limitations, as many of the issues are simply due to mistakes and ineptitude with filming, preparation, and editing—that the film will fail to truly persuade (or even reach) many outside of those who already agree with its likely message and/or who already have some sort of negative perceptions of Anita Sarkeesian and “SJWs.”

If that is to be the outcome, then the documentary will have been a failure. Jordan Owen himself, in a clip related to The Sarkeesian Effect, stated that the point of the film was to have the voices of the opposition to Sarkeesian and “SJWs” heard (and they even, at one point, wanted the documentary to go to some theaters). But, to genuinely achieve such ends, the quality of the film will have to improve from what it is now.

Dramatically.

Even as a low-budget documentary, far more could be, and could have been, done.

You want viewers who may not agree prior to watching your film to question their beliefs as they view it; not to simply rehash what people who already agree have already heard or read for the sake of reinforcing what they already think. That achieves little of meaningful value and would render the documentary nearly pointless.

And all of that, again, relies on the content of the film and its presentation.

DocumentaryTube.com gives some worthwhile commentary on what makes a good documentary:

Here are some components of a good documentary film.

⋗The people who wield the power, influence and information are identified and become a part of the film. The filmmaker must remain impartial and be open minded enough to present all sides of the story.

⋗A well edited film allows for a more unprejudiced approach. Each person or subject that is identified brings a unique focus to the film and requires a voice that is impartially heard.

⋗A good documentary raises more questions than answers. There is a myth that a good documentary film serves as proof or the ultimate explanation of something. Even if audience members are left pondering at the end of the film credits, that can be an excellent outcome.

⋗Film tells the truth even though the people in documentaries do not always do so. It is not necessary that they are publically called out during the film. Good documentaries can contrast content from many sources. The viewer serves as the juror. In well made documentaries the camera is the great truth teller. The viewer is able to easily figure out who is telling the truth. And in serving as a juror the viewer is often spellbound to the screen.

Once the story, structure and interviews are set the filmmaking process must be considered. The technical qualities of a film can move it from the great to the forgettable ranks.

There are a variety of elements which are required among the documentaries of greatness.

⋗The filmmaker will need to have high quality technical equipment which includes microphones, video camera, and editing equipment. Professional technicians are the best bet if a true film of quality is the desired outcome.

⋗Live action shots are imperative to a good documentary. It shows scenes as they are actually happening in real time. These shots will serve as evidence of truth or deceit for the film’s viewers.

⋗Still shots serve as filler between scenes. They are important to good documentaries because they do serve as credible transitions between live action and interviews. They are never to be considered ‘fluff’ filler but should be relevant people, information or places.

⋗The soundtrack or music is very important. It sets the tone for a good documentary. The right music must be chosen and then edited by musical editor. This moves the documentary film one step closer to greatness.

Finding the story, assembling the team, filming and editing are all part of the process that makes a documentary successful. The devil can be in the details, so along the way these questions should always be asked, ‘Are we still pulling on the viewer?’ ‘Are they still sitting in their seats spellbound?’ If the questions can be answered with a yes; the documentary film is well on its way to excellence.

(Not all of the above is entirely relevant to The Sarkeesian Effect, but it is a useful page for consideration.)

Thank you all for reading. I hope this helps.

Author: Krista
____________________________________
NOTE II: If you liked this post, feel free to share it, and if you have any thoughts on it or the general subjects discussed within, or even merely semi-related topics, please leave them in the comments below. I always enjoy reading the feedback of others whether they liked and agreed with what I had to say or not.

NOTE III: All links in the text above were last accessed on June 8, 2015.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

#MediaGate - Mad Max: The Boycott That Wasn’t

Standard


Jonathan Swift wrote in The Examiner, November 9, 1710: “Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it.”

Variations of this quote have been attributed to Mark Twain, Winston Churchill and several others, with deviations having the character of Truth slipping its shoes on, lacing its boots up, putting its pants on and so forth. This truism exists in so many forms, with so many apparent authors, because it is so blindingly obvious to anyone who takes more than a passing glance at how information travels, not just in the modern world, but throughout history.

In much of journalism, the general objective is to find a story wherein “Man Bites Dog,” because the idea of a dog biting a person is so commonplace. Another variation on this theme that was too much trouble to source is that “you never read about a plane that didn’t crash.” [1]

On social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, but also for many years in ordinary emails, “news” has traveled swiftly because most of the people who report or share the news via these mediums do not have jobs that depend on maintaining a reputation for accuracy. For those who do make their living that way, however, one slip-up or blunder can be disastrous (e.g., Brian Williams, Dan Rather, Jason Blair, Stephen Glass, et cetera [2]).

And, as folk do still tend to seek sources that they can count on not to mislead them, the worst kinds of “supporters” to a cause are those who constantly spread bad information, losing and degrading credibility, not only for themselves, but for nearly everyone else in their “group.”

This, of course, brings us to the topic of this post:

The recent reports of “MRAs” allegedly boycotting Mad Max: Fury Road.

A Basic Timeline of Events (and Other Related Information):

1) On May 11, 2015, writer Aaron Clarey published an article on the Pick-up Artist (PUA) site ReturnofKings.com (RoK) bitching about the new Mad Max: Fury Road movie (which consulted Eve Ensler, Feminist author of The Vagina Monologues).

This event, apparently, led to the “MRAs are boycotting Mad Max” myth.

Aaron Clarey, for the uninitiated, claims to be:

“The resident economist of the mano/androsphere . . . a misanthropic, hedonist, nihilistic, cynical type, [who] keeps getting proved right every day.”

After bemoaning the failure of a previous film that might have appealed to men, and/or boys that aspired to be men, Clarey wrote a piece on the new movie Mad Max: Fury Road, which is a continuation of the Mad Max series created by George Miller, previously starring Mel Gibson (and in the new film, Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron).

Clarey recommended that men boycott the movie, not because it received negative reviews, but because it received positive reviews from (among several other places) Time Magazine. Heavens! And because a Feminist had something to do with the film.

His sound analysis concluded that, if this movie is a success:

“Then you, me, and all the other men (and real women) in the world will never be able to see a real action movie ever again that doesn’t contain some damn political lecture or moray about feminism, SJW-ing, and socialism.”

Uh-huh.

Having never heard of a single movie having such a sweeping permanent impact on the world before, one almost wants to go see it for that reason alone, no matter what its message might be.

The official trailer is here.

The trailer does not, as far as I can tell, contain anything that would be objectionable to anyone who has ever seen an action film of any kind, and the reviews appear to be generally good from everywhere. If there is any movie in circulation currently that seems almost destined to sell or perform well, this would be it. And so will (likely) end Aaron Clarey’s nascent career as a film critic.

But, now that I think about it, who would want to read a story about an action movie sure to appeal to a wide audience of action film lovers? It would be about like a story concerning a dog that bites a man, or a plane that doesn’t crash. Predicting “sure things” isn’t really very interesting.

Journalists, at least in general, aren’t entirely stupid; this movie needed something other than merely being a slam-dunk success. And, what’s one of the most effective mechanisms for achieving such an end?

Manufacturing a controversy.

2) Someone picked up on Clarey’s review, confusing him for an MRA, intentionally or not, and wrote that MRAs were boycotting Mad Max. This error, naturally, spread rapidly.

(Some suggest that The Mary Sue [TMS] was one of the first outlets to misreport the story.)

Regardless of who came first, whether it was The Mary Sue or some other site, the ripple that the misreports created has led to at least around 199 misinformation repeats (that Google can find, anyway):

 (Screenshot from May 18, 2015.)
 - Bonus screenshot (May 19, 2015):
 (Some general criticisms of The Mary Sue’s reporting, courtesy of a GamerGhazi subreddit user on a thread regarding Game of Thrones.)
And, while Aaron Clarey’s days as a film critic may be numbered, he might have something going on in the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) department. The RoK website will be receiving millions of hits for some time, or at least thousands, if only from people coming to mock the review after the movie breaks some records. [3]

3) Return of Kings is a PUA site, not MRA, despite being a part of the multifaceted “manosphere.” They have had a strained relationship with a fair amount of MRAs for some time, and Roosh V, the proprietor of RoK, has openly stated that RoK is not an MRA site.

Of course, the chief aspect that the media gets, or has gotten, wrong in this story, mainstream or otherwise, is the idea that Clarey is an MRA. He comes right out and says that he is not here.

The video above came post-controversy, so its evidence couldn’t be applied to those who wrote about MRAs boycotting the film before the video was published, but it was known that RoK was not an MRA site prior, and Clarey never indicated that he was an MRA. Thus, now that it has been made clear (reinforcing what was already true), there is no excuse for anyone else, journalist or not, to continue to repeat the same debunked falsehoods.

Make no mistake, though, Clarey isn’t a Feminist either. Like many, he says the word as if it shouldn’t be mentioned in polite company. A more accurate description of Clarey would be that he is simply Anti-Feminist. Some articles, despite all of the above, are continuing to call him an MRA, and it may well be the case that much of the media doesn’t really even know what the acronym means. For example, famous site perezhilton.com said: “Male rights activist (seriously, someone thinks that's a thing!)” [sic], and others quoted Clarey’s article at length, poking fun at its assertions. Needless to say, most outlets don't appear well-informed on the subjects of MRAs or the “manosphere.”

But, it is difficult to pigeonhole Clarey. He doesn’t seem to refer to himself by any of the standard or more common designations: MRA, MGTOW, PUA. In describing his life in the past, PUA appears to have come the closest. Yet, he says that he is sorry for hurting people in his heavy dating days, and also sorry that he missed out on some possibly good lifelong companions. He additionally doles out financial advice that many cellar-dwellers probably don’t want to hear, and he does so with a heavy hand of arrogance which many other Anti-Feminists don’t seem to care for. [4]

He distances himself from these groups, too, however, although he does claim to be in the “manosphere.”

4) The misinformation is becoming discourse canon.
(A graphic from my Twitter; click to enlarge if necessary.)
What will happen as this tale is told and retold countless times is that many in the media, and elsewhere, will never bother to find the facts. They will take an original story from their favorite sources and rework it so as not to be out-and-out plagiarism and then attempt to garner their own hits.

The result will be that this film will perform better, at least to some degree, than it would have otherwise. Women will see it in droves; men will go with their wives or girlfriends, or boyfriends or husbands. Men without partners will attend just to be horrified by the fact that women are portrayed as “tough” and self-sufficient. (That was a joke.)

Box office numbers are already good for the movie, even if not off the charts [3], so Clarey’s review either has not had the desired effect, or perhaps had a reverse effect. His effort, and this entire kerfuffle, might have even contributed to inflating the seemingly overwhelming positivity of many of the ratings and reviews of the film as well.

I have compiled two lists below under citations [5] and [6], far from comprehensive, of course. One consists of media outlets that have kept to the “MRA” theme, and another is of those who have, at least now, taken a more nuanced approach to the story. I, likewise, made a list under citation [7] of reviews that didn’t mention the controversy at all and merely stated what they thought about the film. All such examples that I found were positive.

One thing is for certain, other than that there is no substantial evidence of MRAs boycotting the film and that RoK is not an MRA site, and that is that Aaron Clarey has scored a major hit for himself and the blog that he writes for. Whether they will receive a great deal of new regular readers, or simply amplify the more negative aspects of their reputation, or both, remains to be seen.

Who would have thought it possible to make controversy out of a movie that is intended to be nothing more than an action-packed thriller. No hidden messages, no deep philosophical truths, no need to explain how, 40 years after a worldwide apocalypse, people are still driving gasoline-powered vehicles. In the desert.

There is genius lurking somewhere in this “controversy.”

Author: Krista
____________________________________
NOTE I: I hope that I have now, once again, lowered your expectations regarding what mainstream journalism is capable of, even when they are willing purveyors of the truth. It is a profession becoming less and less valued, except for those rare journalists who leave no stone unturned in their reporting. But, the reality is that the job environment for journalists doesn’t make much room for such individuals anymore. My story here isn’t primarily about Clarey, or MRAs or PUAs or Feminism, but about reporting and how it can be so poorly done that it creates and perpetuates false narratives. These narratives can, and frequently do, live on for months or years. A hotel break-in four decades ago still causes us to nonsensically add the suffix “-gate” to nearly anything that seems controversial. A “review” that wasn’t a review should have been ignored, and now it takes on a false importance. A movie that should have been enjoyed and then forgotten also takes on political meaning that was probably never intended for it. How many days, weeks or years of distraction from important things will this provide? #MaxGate

NOTE II: AVoiceforMen.com (AVfM) has also come out to note that there was no boycott of the film by MRAs, which, unless a handful of posters scattered across the internet and a single non-MRA writer count as a boycott, appears to be correct and true. Judge for yourselves here.

+Update (May 19, 2015): AVfM has published a review of the movie, awarding it 4/4 stars.

NOTE III: If you liked this post, feel free to share it, and if you have any thoughts on it or the general subjects discussed within, or even merely semi-related topics, please leave them in the comments below. I always enjoy reading the feedback of others whether they liked and agreed with what I had to say or not.
____________________________________
References (Last Accessed on May 19, 2015):

[1] Journalist Truisms
http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/11/22/dog-bites/
http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/20542-a-lie-gets-halfway-around-the-world-before-the-truth
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/winstonchu103564.html
http://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/07/13/truth/

[2] Handy List of Journalistic Scandals
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journalistic_scandal
+Even longer list:
http://catalog.freedomforum.org/FFLib/JournalistScandals.htm

[3] Early Box Office Results
http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2015/05/17/box-office-mad-max-fury-road-scores-lovely-44m-weekend/ (Keep in mind, naturally, that these numbers will increase even more over time.)

[4] Ample Evidence That Several MGTOWs and Others Don't Consider Clarey One of Their Own
http://www.reddit.com/r/MGTOW/comments/2zvc05/aaron_clarey/
http://www.reddit.com/r/TheRedPill/comments/2rempu/mgtow_veterans_boy_geniuses_posers/

+Aside: TRP is slightly different from the MR subreddit, and MGTOWs ≠ MRAs, but the differences can be felt out, and there is certainly a great deal more where the above came from, including on Reddit, Twitter, YouTube and in other places as well, I imagine. So, anyone reading this, feel free to post your own evidence in the comments below.

[5] Sample of Media Outlets That Got It Wrong, Over-Emphasizing the MRA Aspect
http://cnn.com/2015/05/15/entertainment/mad-max-fury-road-boycott-mens-rights-thr-feat/
http://www.themarysue.com/mra-to-the-max/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2015/05/16/mens-rights-activists-are-selling-a-whole-lot-of-tickets-to-mad-max-fury-road/
http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/05/any-male-outrage-over-mad-max-fury-road-is-ridiculous/
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-05/13/mad-max-fury-road-mras-anger
http://www.avclub.com/article/mad-men-mad-mad-max-having-mad-women-219391
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/mad-max-fury-road-when-a-film-upsets-misogynists-it-only-makes-me-want-to-see-it-more-10254227.html
http://perezhilton.com/2015-05-14-charlize-theron-mad-max-fury-road-female-character-male-rights-boycott/
http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/film/68556180/mens-rights-activists-call-for-boycott-of-mad-max

[6] Sample of Media Outlets That Took Slightly More Balanced Approaches, at Least on MRAs
http://www.inquisitr.com/2090647/mad-max-makes-misogynists-sad/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/13/mens-rights-activists-mad-max_n_7276144.html
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/15/the-man-o-sphere-is-outraged-about-mad-max-hand-me-my-popcorn
http://www.people.com/article/how-mad-max-fury-road-save-action-movies
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2015/0514/Mad-Max-Fury-Road-Why-are-anti-feminists-so-angry-about-action-film-video
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/rendezview/why-the-misogynists-are-mad-at-max/story-fnpug1je-1227358302660

[7] Some Positive (and Non-Controversial) Reviews
http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/mad-max-fury-road-20150513
http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/Mad-Max-Fury-Road-66583.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/15/movies/review-mad-max-fury-road-still-angry-after-all-these-years.html
http://screenrant.com/mad-max-4-fury-road-reviews

[8] Additional Links of Disassociation from, or Critique of, MRAs From Roosh V and RoK
http://www.rooshv.com/the-mens-rights-movement-is-dead
http://www.rooshv.com/mens-rights-has-become-a-euphemism-for-sexual-loser
http://www.returnofkings.com/5351/mgtow-make-more-sense-than-mras

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Six Nice Things About the MRM (With Detailed Caveats)

Standard

“Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt

(Much like my “Problems With the MRM” video, this post might not satisfy everyone.)
The Men’s Rights Movement (MRM), comprised of women and men called Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs), is a social and political movement which seeks to combat inequalities and injustices in societies across the world, but particularly in the West, that impact men and boys.

MRAs work to bring awareness to how men and boys are wronged or harmed by both women and men in general, as well as certain societal norms. The movement challenges what it considers the modern, Western status quo in sex issues discourse—Feminist ideology and action and, in other ways, traditionalism—and provides counter-theory and its own advocacy in an effort to help bring some sense of equilibrium to mainstream dialogue between discussions of women’s and men’s issues.

The movement has been criticized for various perceived transgressions and faults, from its online activities to statements made by a few of its members to the very fact that it even dares to challenge Feminism at all. The MRM is au fait with controversy and being demonized and disparaged.

Some of the critiques of the MRM have been relatively rational, and others have not. Some have been justified, and others have been petty and nonsensical. In other words, as is true with most collectives and, undoubtedly, every individual alive, the MRM is guilty of doing right and wrong.

Yet the MRM is not a monolithic organization; it is made up of a number of different people with a fairly diverse spectrum of social and political views, and they all cannot be merged together as one sum of total wrongdoers. Many of them are well-educated, reasonable and do much good, and some of them are not and do not. Today, I will be focusing on the former.

For the past three years or so, I have critiqued Feminists and MRAs on numerous occasions, primarily for what I believe have been fair reasons, but not always perfectly. And because of my criticisms of MRAs and some sectors of the MRM, in comments, posts and/or videos, some people like to think that I am opposed to all MRAs and the entirety of the MRM. But nothing could be further from the truth.

I am against neither Feminists nor MRAs entirely. I have friends and acquaintances among both sides, and several disagreements with them as well. I merely shun fanatics, malicious proselytizers and those who refuse to (seriously) promote cooperation and love between all human beings.

I am critical of Feminists and MRAs only when I believe that mistakes have been made or things could be done better, as is the case with anyone who is critical of others or anything. I do not do it because I wish for anyone to utterly fail or be destroyed. I do it because I, like a great deal of individuals, care and want life to improve for women and men the world over. I seek the betterment of the human condition.

In this post, I will be discussing six positive aspects, from my perspective, of the MRM. These aspects are:

1) They Create a Sense of Community, Belonging and Inclusion for Men
2) Most Seem to Genuinely Care About the Issues Which They Discuss
3) They Provide Some Measure of Equilibrium in “Offense Culture”
4) They Face a Great Deal of (Unacceptable) Media Bias and Weather It Well
5) They Discuss Under-Considered Social Problems
6) They Help Us Approach a Greater Theoretical Balance

This piece does not mean that I do not still have some disagreements with MRAs, of course (and that is why it is important to remember that civility and fairness do not necessitate always seeing eye to eye).

But my hope today is that, despite differences and contentions, even those which may be strong, civil, meaningful, reasonable and productive discussions, for the sake of the advancement of sex issues discourse and debate, can be had. We are a long way away from that now, but it is not beyond our grasp.

When and if I believe that someone, or a collective, has stated or asserted something in error or acted wrongly, whether it be MRAs, Feminists or anyone else, I will still be critical. But I will do my best to be fair and reasonable when I make any sort of extensive critiques, as I think that everyone should be.

Now, on to the matter at hand.

They Create a Sense of Community, Belonging and Inclusion for Men


According to a paper entitled “Women and Girls Safe Spaces” on unhcr.org from August of 2014, which I believe gave the best definition of the term, a “safe space” is defined as:

Any kind of space, formal or informal, where groups or individuals can feel physically and emotionally safe. The word “safe” in this context refers to the absence of trauma, excessive stress, violence (or fear of violence) or abuse. A safe space is a place where individuals can build social networks, express, and entertain themselves. [1]

A few MRAs might reject the use of the term “safe space” as being appropriate for men or what they seek, favoring a phrase more like “community” instead. Nevertheless, it is not only women and minorities (which men, at least for their sex, tend to not be considered) who wish to have some sense of safety among others, or who wish to build social networks and bonds and to comfortably express and entertain themselves. Men have these desires as well.

And contrary to what some assert, the notions that “the entire world is a safe space for men,” or that “men already have every other space” are not founded in reality. In the real world, and merely as one brief example, the United States’ National Institute of Justice reports that: “Men become crime victims more often than women do.” [2] This is not exclusive to the U.S. or a rare truth. It is a pervasive phenomenon around the globe, in nearly every category of victimization due to crime or violence.

Other statistics from different regions, such as those provided by victimsweek.gc.ca, which were taken from reports prepared and released by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, provide an even greater insight into just how unsafe so much of the world truly is for many men:

In 2008, overall rates of police-reported violent victimization were comparable between men and women, but the nature of their victimization differed.

In that year, men were more likely than women to be victims of the most serious forms of physical assault (levels 2 and 3) and have a weapon used against them.

Men were almost twice as likely to be the victims of assault level 2 than women (215 versus 114 per 100,000);

Though aggravated assault (level 3) occurs much less frequently than the less serious forms of assault, the rate of aggravated assault for men is over three times greater than that of women (18 versus 5 per 100,000)

Young men under the age of 18 are 1.5 times more likely to be physically assaulted than young girls.

Male victims were most often physically assaulted by a stranger or by someone else outside of the family. In 2008, men were the victims of 80% of all reported attacks by strangers.

Men were more likely to be robbed than women. They were victims in 65% of robberies in 2008.

Male teens aged 15 to 17 reported the highest robbery rates among all child and youth age groups and nearly 1.5 times higher than the rate for men aged 18 to 24.

Men were more likely than women to be a homicide victim, accounting for almost three quarters (74%) of homicide victims during a 5-year period between the years 2004 to 2008.

More than one-third of male victims of homicide were killed with a firearm, compared to one fifth of female homicide victims.

Men were 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted in an institutional setting (school, non-commercial or non-corporate area) than women. [3]

The primary point of the information above is not to compare rates of violence or victimization between women and men. That is only a byproduct of the nature of the data, which report the rates by sex. The purpose is a demonstration of a trend which can be found in various statistics across nearly all regions of the world.

Regardless of who perpetrates what the most, and where and when, the fact remains that in virtually all statistics of victimization and violence, men tend to be the majority, and in some cases, by a wide margin (such as being 74% of homicide victims during a 5-year period in [3]).

If that isn’t enough to make the case that not every place is a safe space for men, let’s move the discussion to another specific and relevant realm of interest: the cyber world. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2014: “40% of internet users have personally experienced online harassment.” From that sample, it was found that 44% of men have had some sort of harassment experience, while only 37% of women have. [4]

And while it was noted in the report that there were differences in the severity of the harassment between women and men, as well as the kinds of harassment, and (implicitly) the reasons behind the harassment experienced for each group, the chief focus here, again, is not the direct comparison between the two, or “who has it worse.” The point is the simple notion that men have problems as well. And few places in this world are, in all fairness, much safer for good men than good women. In fact, almost none are.

These things should come as no surprise to most. And I would submit, with that in mind, that what the Men’s Rights Movement in general provides in light of this, particularly online, is positive and necessary.

We live in a world where the greater portion of mainstream sex issues discourse is consumed with, and by, the problems of women, where most notions of having “safe spaces” or any “needs for safe communities” are thought of almost exclusively in terms related to the needs of women and minorities, and where some individuals shun the very idea of men even needing any kinds of their own spaces at all.

But women and men having their own needs for safe spaces, or hospitable and inclusive communities wherein they can share ideas, find joy, and socialize and interact with other like-minded and empathic individuals, are not mutually exclusive concepts. One needn’t reject spaces intended primarily for men to have, accept, encourage or facilitate them for women as well. We can have spaces for both women and men with no harm done to either.

The whole world and every realm within it are not all safe spaces for men. And for men who are in need of something more in their lives, whether it is care, friendship or even a sense of inclusion or participation in some sympathetic and amicable community, such opportunities are what the MRM can and does present and deliver.

Realistically, modern Feminism is devoted almost completely to the issues of women, worldwide, in specific regions or both. Men who wish to participate in Feminist dialogue, either as “allies” or as “Male Feminists,” are intended, and largely expected, to be there as listeners on behalf, and for the sake, of women and women’s struggles.

Talk of social problems in Feminist literature and debate, and in the greater overall discourse related to sex issues in general, is essentially entirely over women’s problems. Nearly all mentions of safe spaces in such discussions are reserved either for women or some variety of minorities. And men who were or are concerned over the issues of their own sex, or who wish to discuss the problems of their own individual lives, will find little sense of inclusion or any kind of outlet or platform in Feminist and mainstream discourse.

They are often told that their woes will be corrected as a consequence of the advancement of Feminism. Talk of their issues is almost always shunned, mocked or rejected. Not in every situation or in all contexts, of course. But I don’t believe that it is unreasonable to state that men’s issues, as they stand, are not something that Feminism or most Feminists want to concern themselves with primarily.

Thus, the Men’s Rights Movement is free to step in to fill this void, and has begun to. There are arguments which can be made by all sides as to how positive or not the community which has been fostered by the MRM is. Yet for kind, decent and honest men who feel isolated, or voiceless, powerless, hopeless, disregarded or ostracized, and/or who merely seek some place to discuss their problems and to socialize and make new friends and comrades, the MRM is the most welcoming ship on the sea.

And if that can make some good men happy, or if it can offer them some sense of belonging and purpose where they had no such feelings before, then the existence of that community and what it brings certainly cannot be considered utterly negative. In truth, there is little better available for them today.

As one additional piece of evidence to consider, think about this excerpt from theconversation.com which discusses information related to feelings of loneliness among women and men:

When it comes to the impact of loneliness, humanity trumps gender: all humans need human contact. Studies show that loneliness is associated with physical ailments such as heart disease and poor sleep, as well as mental health problems and alcohol and substance abuse – and these associations are not explained by one’s sex.

Men may be less likely to reveal loneliness because of cultural and gender differences in the expression of emotions; sociologist Arlie Hochschild calls these “feeling rules”. The dominant feeling rules in societies such as Australia prevent men from expressing sensitive emotions - and possibly seeking out social contact, support and friendship - in the same way as women.

They are, however, willing to report it in national surveys. Studies by Adrian Franklin show that Australian men endure serious loneliness for longer periods than women, are less able to deal with loneliness, and that loneliness is particularly acute among separated men. [5]

(I could easily find more information similar to all of the above from dozens of sources that would support the points further and in the same ways, but I think that it should be clear enough as it is.)

Most Seem to Genuinely Care About the Issues Which They Discuss


Three quotes that I believe fit the mentalities of most MRAs reasonably well are as follows:

“Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate.”
- Hubert H. Humphrey
“Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.”
- Atifete Jahjaga
“That's what we're missing. We're missing argument. We're missing debate. We're missing colloquy. We're missing all sorts of things. Instead, we're accepting.”
- Studs Terkel

Naturally, the direct intended applications of the above quotes were not all to sex issues discourse, but the spirit behind the meanings is the same sort of spirit which most MRAs have and bring in approaching debates over men’s (and even women’s) issues.

And while some would likely dispute the notion that all MRAs are genuine about what they contend that they want and believe, or might accuse some MRA “leaders” of various kinds of disingenuousness or of holding some sordid ulterior motives, I think that it would be fair to state that a decent amount of MRAs—the ones who argue for hours each day, or who regularly post or produce video content or comment or write, and/or who contribute to men’s organizations of many types—genuinely care for men and boys and think that they, in several ways, are getting shafted by societies the world over.

MRAs reach their conclusions on the bases of personal life experiences, reason and research data and information. Their determinations and perspectives, in most instances, are not irrationally forged or absurdly outlandish. They review some sets of evidence, draw conclusions from said materials, and at the very least, tend to champion the simple, scientific notion that some manner of credible, sound and valid proof should support most claims or assertions, particularly specific ones. [6]

Does this mean that they are correct about every subject that they discuss or argue over, or that they have no biases of their own? Of course not. No individual or collective is right in every case or all of the time, or is wholly free of bias. [7] MRAs are merely human beings with flaws, who make some mistakes, just like most of the rest of us. But also just like most of the rest of us, they attempt to shape their worldviews and advocacy efforts around what they can see, know and understand.

And what they see is that there are men and boys facing injustices in the world, in numerous fashions, many of which are terrible, and they seek to improve those conditions and to help those men and boys. This is, at its heart, hardly an unworthy or ignoble cause, or one which ought to be rejected outright as “wrong” or “unacceptable.” They are compelled by their judgment, empathy and concern.

They engage in debates, heated and not, on manifold sites, typically carry with them citations, facts and explanations, and rarely block over disagreements as so many others do, which is almost unique to them in some ways. As a matter of fact, I am certain that anyone who has ever encountered an MRA, or more than one, can and would attest to the reality that they will fight for hours on end over nearly anything related to their core issues if the person against them persists in disagreeing (they will usually continue until their adversary finally gives out or up).

But this argumentativeness isn’t necessarily a negative characteristic. The desire and willingness to argue reasonably and based primarily on facts and evidence over complex sociopolitical issues, or even most issues, and to challenge one’s own views, is healthy and sensible. What they do is a sign of their overall passions and drives, and lends itself to the sincerity of their well-intentioned motivations.

How they frequently behave, I reckon most of them would contend, is needed to deal with the many lies, distortions, myths, errors, hindrances, obfuscators, charlatans and shysters which they believe exist within and throughout their opposing groups (or adversarial movements).

They Provide Some Measure of Equilibrium in “Offense Culture”


Furthermore, several individuals today might, and frequently have and do, assert that there is a prevailing culture in some sectors of academia, and society as a whole, which prefers ideological comfort and safety from overtly challenging views to free discourse.

Putting the obvious necessity of a productivity-based standard for respectful disagreement in such settings aside, if there is anything that MRAs, at large, surely do get right, it is that this brand of societal shift toward a monoculture of intellectual isolation, especially in academia, cannot and should not stand.

Myopia, insularity, intransigence and gleeful capitulation to groupthink (bias) and anti-intellectual herd behaviors are nothing but detrimental to our collective cerebral and analytical integrity. Writer Brendan O’Neill described a variation of this problem well in an article from 2014 on spectator.co.uk:

If your go-to image of a student is someone who’s free-spirited and open-minded, who loves having a pop at orthodoxies, then you urgently need to update your mind’s picture bank. Students are now pretty much the opposite of that. It’s hard to think of any other section of society that has undergone as epic a transformation as students have. From freewheelin’ to ban-happy, from askers of awkward questions to suppressors of offensive speech, in the space of a generation. My showdown with the debate-banning Stepfords at Oxford and the pre-crime promoters at Cambridge echoed other recent run-ins I’ve had with the intolerant students of the 21st century. I’ve been jeered at by students at the University of Cork for criticising gay marriage; cornered and branded a ‘denier’ by students at University College London for suggesting industrial development in Africa should take precedence over combating climate change; lambasted by students at Cambridge (again) for saying it’s bad to boycott Israeli goods. In each case, it wasn’t the fact the students disagreed with me that I found alarming — disagreement is great! — it was that they were so plainly shocked that I could have uttered such things, that I had failed to conform to what they assume to be right, that I had sought to contaminate their campuses and their fragile grey matter with offensive ideas. [8]

The issue is not confined to students alone, however. Among various kinds of adolescents, adults, learners and even professionals or scholars, online and off, this lopsided and skewed [in]tolerance toward explicit “opposition,” normally in regard to what are considered “contentious perspectives,” has become an expected, or at least heavily encouraged, norm. But it ought not be.

To put it simply, MRAs offend some people, both with their fervent combativeness and with their points, and this can often bring positive results. Offense is not inherently “bad,” or something that should be excluded from debate. Many people need to be offended, particularly when it comes to their views.

Let the best thinking and ideas win; without restrictions, not by force.

“I believe in absolute freedom of expression. Everyone has a right to offend and be offended.” - Taslima Nasrin
“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.” - Salman Rushdie

They Face a Great Deal of (Unacceptable) Media Bias and Weather It Well


Standards for what is considered “journalistic integrity” vary throughout the world. [9] This is especially true on the internet and with internet-based reporting outlets, where a variety of competing sites are operated by different individuals who often hold conflicting and even outright opposing perspectives on numerous topics and issues.

For some news and commentary outlets, truth, facts and accurate reporting of story details are valued and even considered necessary. For others, articles are written and used to shape biased narratives against and for things by distorting facts for the sake of the operators own personal agendas.

When the intention is to forge a biased narrative for the purpose of doing something or someone harm, whether it is harm to a message or cause, or to an individual or group, this can mean that details will be twisted or misrepresented to fit a particular mold, in order to create a certain narrative that will mislead readers against what the writers feel is an opposing cause, endeavor, person or collective.

The MRM has experienced a great deal of this kind of dishonest contextual framing, aimed at maligning the movement as a whole, particularly in the past couple of years as they have begun to generate momentum online. And any articles against them are shared and re-posted across numerous sites, whether said articles are fairly honest and critical or not, disseminating the mistruths and half-truths far and wide until they become “canon” (and cannon fodder) for enemies of the MRM.

Whether an article’s, or some outlet’s, purpose is gathering information on and revealing and attacking an MRA leader’s personal life, labeling the MRM a hate group on organization websites, or defaming the collective in other ways, MRAs are no strangers to the shoddy journalism, false narratives, biased reporting and dishonest contextual framing that plague much of modern media.

On some occasions, the acts of distorting facts and misrepresenting details are taken to the propagandistic extremes of committing libel and spreading severely damaging, and difficult to undo or overcome, misinformation. In other cases, the commentary simply misrepresents people and their positions to some degree, or presents an excessively negative perspective and primarily “damning details” while purporting to offer an even-handed analysis.

One such (now older) example of dishonest contextual framing can be found in an article from 2014 by Time.com, which covered the first Men’s Rights conference in Detroit. In it, the author, Jessica Roy, detailed her experiences, or “What [She] Learned,” as a woman at the meeting [10]: “I went to the conference in suburban Detroit expecting a group of feminist-hating Internet trolls; I found much more.”

An ambiguous opening statement in an article which, in its title, defines itself as being about “how a woman felt around MRAs.” And already, loaded words such as “trolls” and “hating” have been used. Before the piece even closes its opening statements, the reader is inundated with negative context.

What those who stumble across this Time.com piece are consuming here is an article by a woman, presumably Feminist or Feminist-leaning, who is recounting her trip to a Men’s Rights conference, where she was expecting to encounter a crowd of “Feminist-hating internet trolls.” In other words, she intended to depict herself as a skittish sheep in a wilderness of wolves.

And what did this little lamb find in this pinewood of peckish predators? According to her, “much more.” Given the already highly negative context of the post, an uninitiated reader might be inclined to assume that the explanation of the “much more” to follow will mean that what she found was worse than what she anticipated (and she already anticipated that she would be walking into a den of angry bigots, so it must have been pretty bad).

Let’s see the rest:

Detroit once epitomized the possibilities of the American Dream: as the hub of the U.S. auto industry, money, power and a sense of virility seemed available to the men who worked hard enough, in factories and in boardrooms, to attain them.

Here, we see the backdrop of her upcoming analysis beginning to form. In the Detroit of yesteryear, she implies, men (all or some, she didn’t bother to specify) who worked hard could easily have money and power. The purpose of this implication, though very subtle at this point, is that men did not, and even now do not, face many hardships simply for being men (or as a sex in general).

The following context will finely position “men’s issues” as chiefly economic matters, and thus ones of financial class, and not sex, thereby attempting to undermine the purpose and narrative of the MRM, which focuses mostly on men’s issues in relation to their sex, significantly: “Now the city is a husk, and as the jobs trickled into other places, so too did the feeling that the only obstacle separating men and power was their own effort.”

There is the confirmation of her background setup. As the economy of the city declined, she said, so too did the feeling that the only obstacle separating men and power was their own effort. Based on this statement, and the information preceding it, her intention was to, again, frame the rest of the information to follow, and the context of the first Men’s Rights conference, as being a byproduct of economic hardships, and not as a product of people standing up for men based on problems facing men as a, or even due to their, sex.

She wanted the MRM to appear misguided and wrong-headed in their analyses and perspectives, and inconsequential, along with all of the loaded and negative terms which she applied to them at the start of her evaluation. Once more, this undercuts many of the key arguments and positions of the current MRM.

She completes the framing of her narrative, which is actually most favorable to Feminism and even, to some extent, critical theory in general, in the next section:

Once a stronghold of American influence, the city of Detroit is now shorthand for decline and bankruptcy. It makes some sense, then, that the International Conference on Men’s Issues, a gathering staged to raise alarm against what its organizers describe as rising discrimination against men, chose the city for its inaugural meeting the last weekend of June.

And there, the stage is finally set. You have a woman, presumably Feminist, going to a conference of wrong-headed Men’s Rights Activists who can’t tell the difference between economic causes and class and sex issues, who she also described as being, she assumed, “Feminist-hating internet trolls.”

Anyone familiar with this sort of subtle and devious contextual outlining must surely know what comes next. I will summarize the rest for the sake of brevity. Jessica briefly reviews some of what she considers “legitimate concerns” that the MRM has so as to appear balanced, gives some quick background information on the MRM and some of its more prominent members, and then spends the greater part of the rest of the post discussing all of the awfulness of the conference and the terribleness of the MRM and many MRAs (AVfM, mainly) online. At one point, she stated that the conference made her feel: “Sad and angry and helpless and determined, all at the same time.”

In most of this discussion of all of the events of the conference, the focus was primarily on provocative sound bite-esque quotes and mentions of alleged unseemly statements from audience members, with little, in any comparable sense, review of the larger majority of the talk there over men’s issues. There is no sense of balance in it, only a disproportionate emphasis on what could be presented as negative or horrid, with a few select and short mentions of “decent things worthy of marginal note” throughout.

For anyone impartially curious to know what most of the conference covered, this article would not be of much legitimate or meaningful value. It is more an insight into the author’s feelings about the event and tangential matters than into the contents of the event itself, all depicted very negatively.

And as one might expect, there were and are a minority of people in the comments of the piece defending it, as well as several folks, many of which were and are likely MRAs, attempting to rebut it.

All that the article told its readers as a whole was that the MRM has faults, which most people who followed its activities prior to the conference, even peripherally, probably already knew. Readers formerly unacquainted with the MRM or even AVfM, however, would only be misled due to the one-sided nature of the piece’s disingenuously negative presentation.

One semi-recent commentator on the article by the name of “antoniobrandaodesign,” who I believe left a response of decent significance, had this to say (from January 7, 2015):

There is a dark side to Feminism as there is a dark side to Man's Right Movement? Not surprising. Every movement has some radicalism within it, like religions do. But that should not stop up from acknowledging the IMPORTANT PLAUSIBLE ISSUES that both movements bring to the table. Both sexes have their issues in society and all of them should be addressed. We must ignore the extremists in each party, otherwise we will end up undermining or undervaluing their righteous issues.

I find his point, in general, to be a valid, levelheaded and appropriate one.

(Everything else not covered in this explanation of Jessica’s contextual framing from the start of her piece can be found throughout a few of the comments beneath it, and elsewhere. I will leave it up to the readers to review what remains of the article and all of the responses and information there and make up their own minds on it.)

The main point here is that, while a bit of what Jessica stated about some of the MRM might be true to certain degrees, her framing of the conference was certainly not honest, equitably balanced or even that informative. In fact, much of her piece wasn’t actually directly on the conference’s content itself.

When reporting on someone or something, journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information, and their published articles should reflect those standards. [11] But these are not the journalistic principles which are being adhered to by many news outlets currently, including Time.com (at least in this case). They, or certain authors writing for them, would prefer to report what they would like to be in order to drive their audience in the directions that they desire, instead of reporting what actually was or is in its entirety.

In order to combat this sort of misrepresentative and divisive journalism, it is imperative that such statements and articles be viewed critically and objectively and corrected for in some ways, because each time one is published, the author is misleading, presumably, hundreds, or even thousands, of people. Misinformation, once spread wide, can be nigh impossible to correct for or overcome.

“Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect.”
- Jonathan Swift

And whether some acts or views of MRAs online or off are considered "outrageous" by others or not, that does not make misrepresentation, disregarding facts, or outright lying about and libeling them acceptable (“libeling” would be more in regard to instances other than this one).

Not only are such deceptive tactics shallow and antithetical to the natures of reasonable discourse, journalistic integrity, and free-thinking skepticism (if there is such a thing anymore, or ever was), but the things that have been done to, and said about, the MRM as a whole, its members and others by outlets determined to paint distorted pictures would be entirely rejected or scrutinized heavily for bias and misrepresentation if their opinions were more "conventionally acceptable" or "popular."

A great number of people simply do not care to research the arguments which they make in their best (and actual) positions and detailed works, and few individuals outside of their circles seem to care to bring attention to mistakes or lies when others report or comment on them, because they have biases against them that are so strong that they can't overcome them. They don't mind attacking them and arguing against them, but they have very little regard for fairness, decency, truth, research, or facts (what is and what isn't).

These underhanded maneuvers are simply inexcusable, intellectually dishonest, anti-skeptical, fallacious reasoning, improper argumentation, and uncouth in general (counterproductive, even). We should not knowingly sit idly by, or work to further the deliberate and deceitful attacks when the articles come across our radars, as others smear and lie about our allies, their works and views, or even about our enemies and their works and views. And we ought not knowingly sit in silence as these disinformation and propaganda campaigns attempt to snuff others out unjustly by forging false narratives.

They failed to eliminate the MRM, yes, but the idea here goes beyond that. If we wish to sensibly advance sex issues discourse, then the constant pettiness and dishonest, half-truth reporting and attacking must end at some point.

We can still reasonably and respectfully disagree with one another, challenge each other’s views, aggressively question one another, and debunk or critique the arguments of our enemies. But this sort of nearly relentless incomplete and disingenuous contextual framing over specific and complex works, or, in this example, events and individuals, does none of us any good in the long run.

And make no mistake, the Time.com article is the exact sort of thing that we should each be rebelling against in the media and in virtually all debates in general, regardless of which side of the fence we stand behind on any of women’s or men’s issues.

For all who are fair-minded and care only about facts and what is or is not in reality, these dishonest strategies presently (and previously) being employed against anyone, MRAs included, should be viewed as entirely improper.

We must remember that “winning” in a debate is not so much defeating someone in a specific argument as it is about helping them, and having them help us, in coming closer to the truth. And this is not to say, again, that the MRM is perfect or always correct. They certainly are not, just like almost everyone else.

They make errors, they have their “bad apples,” and as the commentator, quoted above, from the Time.com article stated fairly well, they have their own dark side. But focus honestly and evenly on the relevant and best points, positive and negative, not the people. Let us concentrate our efforts, if we have problems with the MRM or any of their views, or anyone else and their perspectives, on their strongest arguments if we wish to justly combat them.

Do not aim for the lowest hanging fruit and the easily attacked, inflammatory targets all of the time. Anyone can do that, and it serves solely to destabilize the debate and generate more avoidable and obstructive animosity at this stage. Or in other words, if someone has argued or argues wrongly in their best works, prove it with reasoning and evidence; do not smear them by focusing disproportionately on the negatives and personal feelings. What one feels about facts is largely irrelevant.

If we wish to deconstruct or even refute anyone else’s social and political theories and assertions, and if our counterarguments, once more (for those opposed to anyone), are as sound and well-evidenced as we believe them to be, then we must perform the arduous and dedicated tasks of showing and demonstrating our cases comprehensively and conclusively. Petty smearing is reductive and trite.

(There are many worse articles that I could have used in place of the one above from Time.com, but I felt that it was a fair example of subtly, and yet clearly, skewed contextual framing and disproportionate, to the deleterious point of being obviously biased, focus on sensationalistic negativity and trivial nonsense.)

They Discuss Under-Considered Social Problems


It is no stretch to say that women’s problems dominate a major part of the discourse over sex issues in most places and realms. Indeed, from academia to politics, women’s issues often take center stage.

Anyone who has taken any variety of social problems class must surely know this, that it is often the concerns of women and minorities that rule the discussions. And each time election seasons roll around (and even when a grand election is not yet near), the plights of women are frequently thrust to the front of the majority of debates, with every politician pandering and clawing for the votes of women.

During the 2012 presidential election in the United States, for instance, a writer by the name of Jill Whalen pointed this out at in an article entitled “Women’s Issues at the Forefront of Election” on citizensvoice.com:

Whether spoken during election season or viewed on the local airwaves, it seems the past few months have been laden with women's issues.

Presidential candidates have discussed access to birth control and debated women's roles in the military as they trek the campaign trail.

Even locally, women's issues are being spotlighted. Just this year, two made-for-women programs were launched by Hazleton television stations.

This isn't the first time that women's issues have received so much attention, said Eileen Morgan, English instructor at Penn State University's Hazleton campus. Candidates have incorporated women's topics into campaigns before. [12]

In that same year, Nicholos Riccardi, a political reporter from the Associated Press (AP) wrote a piece called “Women's Vote Battle Defines 2012 Presidential Election” (reposted at huffingtonpost.com [13]). In 2014, Bill Barrow, also from the AP, wrote an article with the title “For 2014 Elections, Abortion Returns to Forefront.” [14] And still in 2014, Hillary Clinton urged liberals to “focus on women.” [15]

This is not a new trend. It is one which has persisted for many years. [16] And while it is not wrong or harmful to discuss women’s issues, in and of itself, it does create a certain imbalance, where several specific problems of men, in general, are shoved to the side or back and either disregarded or forgotten.

This is where the MRM becomes a valuable asset once again; because, despite not yet being much a part of the “mainstream media” or the greater discourse over sex issues, men’s rights organizations who discuss men’s problems serve as a balancing force between the fixation on women’s social ills in the media and in society in general and the lack of acknowledgement for the ills of men. They get people thinking and talking about the injustices and hardships that men face. And that is a good thing.

For example, some of the subjects that they discuss are: male circumcision, male suicide rates and the high, and highly disproportionate, rates of male workplace-related deaths (along with many other problems).

(Since I have already done more than one post on male circumcision, I will forgo a review of that here and note that the links to said articles can be found in the references below at [17] and [18].)

Rarely will one ever hear a great deal of talk around election time of the high rates of male suicide around the world, or what writer Douglas Todd at vancouversun.com called “the silent epidemic.” [19A]

His article was specific to Canada, but as research shows, the problem is prevalent across the globe.

CANADA [19A]:

“The Canadian Mental Health Association reports men are likely to kill themselves at a rate 3-4 times higher than females.”

“The reasons divorced men — as well as men in other situations — commit suicide much more often relate to shame, loss of identity, loneliness, separation from children, financial pressures, job troubles, cultural stereotypes and lack of social support.”

“For many reasons other than divorce, more than 3,000 Canadian boys and men commit suicide each year. That’s about one every three hours.

Statistics Canada reports suicide is the leading cause of death among men between ages 25 and 29 and between 40 and 44.”

(Graphic from 19B.)
THE UNITED KINGDOM [20]:

6,233 suicides of people aged 15 and over were registered in the UK in 2013, 252 more than in 2012 (a 4% increase).

The UK suicide rate was 11.9 deaths per 100,000 population in 2013. The male suicide rate was more than three times higher than the female rate, with 19.0 male deaths per 100,000 compared to 5.1 female deaths.

The male suicide rate in 2013 was the highest since 2001. The lowest male rate since the beginning of the data series, at 16.6 per 100,000, was in 2007. Female rates have stayed relatively constant since 2007.

The highest UK suicide rate in 2013 by broad age group was among men aged 45 to 59, at 25.1 deaths per 100,000, the highest for that age group since 1981.

The most common method of suicide in the UK in 2013 was ‘hanging, strangulation and suffocation’ which accounted for 56.1% of male suicides and 40.2% of female suicides.

*Figure 3: Age-specific suicide rate, females, deaths registered in each year from 2002 to 2013 (United Kingdom)
(Source: Office for National Statistics, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, National Records of Scotland.)
*Notes:
1. The National Statistics definition of suicide is given in the section 'Suicide definition'.
2. Figures are for females aged 15 years and over.
3. Age-specific rates per 100,000 population.
4. Deaths of non-residents are included in figures for the UK.
5. Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.

THE UNITED STATES [21]:

For many years, the suicide rate has been about 4 times higher among men than among women. In 2013, men had a suicide rate of 20.2, and women had a rate of 5.5. Of those who died by suicide in 2013, 77.9% were male and 22.1% were female.

(**Graphic generated by the AFSP from data obtained from The Centers for Disease Control.)
What the mainstream media also hardly takes the time to note, and what shall be mentioned almost none during election cycles, are all of the deaths of men in the workplace, which is another of the chief hardships of men that MRAs, in general, seek to bring to the forefront of discussion over sex issues.

The United States’ Bureau of Labor Statistics has a precise graph that shows the disparity in 2013 [22]:


Keep in mind that the primary point here, as with the other sections, is not the comparison between women and men’s issues, or the severities, directly. Rather, it is the void in the mainstream discussion over sex issues which the MRM fills. They bring talk of men’s concerns in ways that no others, for the most part (or to any significant degree), seem willing to.

I believe that it is fair to contend that social problems courses in academia are likely far more concerned with women’s and minorities’ problems than men’s (because of sex, or even as a sex). The only time one will ever hear much talk of men’s issues in academia is when it comes from an expert or academic in a field that is doing research specifically related to the issue (and even there women probably have far more studies/reports, and seemingly do).

I also think that it would be reasonable to say that politicians, as well as the mainstream media, are not greatly concerned with men’s issues in comparison to women’s. There might be articles that spring up after a report from some agency or organization is released which detail the findings, but the attention to those findings only typically lasts, for men, during the time the articles are relevant (which normally isn't very long), and then the problems tend to be forgotten until the next reports or studies appear.

The fact of the matter, in essence, is that men as a sex are not the ones who dominate the narratives, who politicians vie for and pander to, who most of academia is concerned with, who receive the greater share, or even an equal share, of time in the spotlight of sex issues discourse. That is women. Women’s issues dominate. Not men’s.

Where Feminism is concerned, and it makes sense given that Feminism is essentially the women’s rights movement (excluding the secondary LGBT and racially-related civil rights efforts of “Intersectional Feminism”), most of the talk, interest and attention is directed toward the social ills of women. Feminists, in general, do not concentrate on men’s needs as a, and due to, sex. And when men’s issues are brought up, they are often quickly cast aside or replaced with more discussions of the hardships of women.

When nearly all of the ships on the sea fly the flag of women’s issues, someone has to transport the menfolk on their behalf as well; and this where the MRM comes into play, with its flagships ready to carry anyone eager and able to the lands of discourse. They haven’t made it to the main continent just yet, past the outer islands to where most of the talks are held, but they are well on their way there now.

And it is only a matter of time before they arrive in full and reach the inner cities.

(A brief litany of some other social problems that impact men which MRAs discuss):

- Men’s reproductive rights (men's lack thereof outside of “don't have sex”) and lack of workable birth control (condoms are not always effective birth control and sterilization is too drastic a step). [23]

In order to understand the scope and characteristics of the market for new male contraceptives, the Male Contraception Coalition has been collecting survey data since January 2007. The nonrandom survey characterizes the US market most extensively, but also includes other nations, and has some unexpected results.

- Parental alienation (disproportionately affects fathers). [24]

In fourteen of the sixteen cases in this study, the mother had primary custody and was the alienating parent. In one case, the non-custodial mother was the alienating parent and in one case, the non-custodial father was the alienating parent.

- “Debtor’s prison” (due to child support allegations). [25]

- Criminal justice disparities (men are treated more harshly by police, more likely to be charged, more likely to be prosecuted, and serve longer prison sentences for the same offense). [26]

- Male victims of female-perpetrated violent assault/sexual abuse. [27]

 “Among male victims who were made to penetrate someone else, perpetrators were reported to be intimate partners (44.8%), acquaintances (44.7%) and strangers (8.2%).”

- Conscription (not an issue currently in the United States, but worldwide and throughout history, most men who died in wars were conscripts). [28]

- Human trafficking (about half of its victims are male). [29]


- Education disparities (in the modern world, boys are falling further and further behind girls in secondary and postsecondary education). [30]

What is driving men away from college, and how can they get back in the game? The answer isn’t simple, nor is it entirely understood just yet, but many are working on figuring out just how to bring men back into the fold and ensure that college is never again a prospect that favors one gender over another.

 

- Male homelessness. [31:32:33:34]

Single men who are poor may be more vulnerable to homelessness because of large gaps in the Unemployment Insurance program and because the largest safety net programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Social Security, are for families or elderly people. The share of unemployed workers receiving unemployment insurance has declined in recent decades and the gap may be particularly perilous for men because poor women are likely to be accompanied by children and thus eligible for TANF. Adult poor men also have higher rates of substance abuse than women, but substance abuse has not been a categorical eligibility criterion for SSI since 1996. Thus, some women may fall through one social safety net but be caught by another; men may miss them all. See the 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington D.C. [33]


- Male drug/alcohol addiction. [35:36:37:38:39:40]

Research on how gender influences substance use and substance-abuse-related problems has established clear differences between women and men in several important areas. Women typically consume less alcohol than men when they drink, drink alcohol less frequently, and are less likely to develop alcohol-related problems than men (Fillmore et al. 1997). Similarly, women are less likely than men to use illicit drugs and to develop drug-related problems (Greenfield et al. 2003a). [36]
Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the United States. About 7% to 12% of women abuse alcohol, compared with 20% of men. But research also suggests that since the 1970s, this gender gap has been narrowing, as drinking by women has become more socially acceptable. [40]

- And more. [41]

Reality: First we must acknowledge that misandry is partly reality-based to the degree that it is in part a reaction to misogyny, and to the real or perceived oppression of women by men. It's Newtonian physics and the Marxist dialectic: the harder you hit your head against the wall, the harder it hits you back. Misogyny generates misandry.

They Help Us Approach a Greater Theoretical Balance


There is some debate between Feminists and MRAs over just how many of men’s issues are related primarily to their sex, and how many are related more to race, economic class, sexuality or age.

One could likely reasonably argue that there are some which are almost exclusively related to men’s sex (a few of which were listed above in the prior section), and also that there are others that may be correlated to a few or all of the variables combined (again: sex, race, economic class, sexuality or age).

Nevertheless, it cannot be denied, I believe, that modern Feminism is not primarily concerned with these things as they relate to men’s needs. And also that, in its theories, men tend to be the aggressors, or the actors, while women tend to be the victims, or the acted upon.

This ranges and stems from some of the core tenets of Feminist theories of patriarchy to modern depictions of the concept of rape culture. Men are primarily the perpetrators, women are primarily the perpetrated against. And most frameworks in all societies are constructed mainly to benefit men.

My personal view, as someone who does not subscribe to any patriarchy theory or the idea of rape culture as many Feminists define it, and likewise as someone who does not agree entirely with the social theories of MRAs either, is that males in society are typically considered the default sex, and thus they share most of the reward and punishment, whereas women tend to receive less of both. Or in other words, women, in terms of reward and punishment, are in about the middle of the “spectrum,” while men usually inhabit more of the lower and upper halves (i.e., the extreme ends).

MRAs somewhat disregard the rewards that men have received too much and focus excessively on men’s punishments and women’s rewards (while also slightly undermining women’s punishments). Conversely, Feminists concentrate too much on the punishments of women, and more often ignore the rewards of women and the punishments of men (and focus too much on the rewards of men). Each side carries with it some pieces of the puzzle, but I would contend that they do not have them all separately.

We could, of course, wait patiently for the pendulum of equality between women and men to come to rest, generations from now. Or we could at least make some effort to adopt a bit of objectivity and recognize when it is near a center point (even if we don’t all agree on exactly where that is) and attempt to bring a halt to the battle and move toward cooperation and finding common ground, rather than constantly pressing forward toward total defeat of the perceived enemy.

My focus here, however, is not meant to be chiefly about my own personal assessment of those matters. It is about what the MRM potentially contributes in general in terms of theoretical considerations.

What I believe that the MRM provides well in terms of social theory are additional elements of the other half of the equation, so to speak, that Feminists have not or could/cannot find, do not interpret properly, or do not care about.

I believe that if we have any hope of reaching, discovering and comprehending the truth of women’s and men’s issues and our human social world, we must sift through the content of the narratives and social theories of Feminists and MRAs and uncover the facts and what logically connects and follows.

We will ascertain the truth eventually. The truth is, in my opinion, in part with them, around them, in-between them, and in things that they do not yet see, or have not yet said or considered. They will all provide us, in their arguments and interpretations, with little portions of the truth, and of what occurs and exists in actuality, but solely believing either and denying all of the rest won’t get us there entirely.

Regardless, this is one value of the MRM. They offer useful counter-theory to Feminist ideology that provides an insight into a complex alternative perspective. And the more they advance their philosophies in response to Feminist beliefs and the greater plot, the nearer we will come, collectively, to knowing what is real, and what is not.

(I will be expanding on some of the arguments briefly stated above in future works; this is not the post for that, and so I only gave a short summary of my views on those few subjects, merely as some things to reflect upon.)

Final Considerations


To offer one last example specifically related to MRAs, I have often, in the past, been harshly critical of AVoiceforMen.com (AVfM), which is a large MRA website (sometimes referred to as the MRM’s “flagship”). And while I still disagree with a fair amount of what they contend and present, and some of what they do, much of what I have complained about in years prior, they have either improved or corrected entirely, and so I have ceased complaining about those specific issues as I saw them before.

I spoke about this to a friend of mine who strongly dislikes MRAs, and they agreed as well that, despite the increasing hostility and carelessness of many in sex issues discourse presently, AVfM seems to have improved a bit and does better now. I can only hope that that positive trend, even if it is gradual, will continue so that men who are in need of help can be better served and benefited in the future.

This year is not the time to drown in pessimism or to hold spiteful grudges.

It is the time to move forward.

With so much animosity in our circles, and with so much hatred between people online and in the world today in general, now is not the time to champion extremists and zealots on the fringes, groupthink (bias), hysteria, widespread resentment, unwillingness to civilly debate or apathy toward human suffering.

It is the time to uphold and champion truth, facts, reason, cooperation and love.

We should love one another as best we can, be just, pursue fairness and act accordingly, care about the well-being of all people, prioritize our efforts sensibly and by the severity of the suffering, wisely and compassionately, and seek to forge and shape a better world for each of us to live in, together.

The future will bring many new hindrances, for every one of us. There will still be seemingly unending ignorance, dogmatic meddling, vengeful sabotaging and self-trapping demagoguery.

All that we can do, any of us who can muster the courage and strength in this noxious and self-destructive climate to be impartially critical and understanding of, and civil toward, our allies and our foes, is continue the fight and refuse to surrender to extreme cynicism, hatred and hopelessness.

Defeatist attitudes and the regressive, festering bitterness which divide us are how those who wish to control, repress or burn the world find the time and opportunity to do so; we must extinguish their sparks before their fires can spread. And where the flames are already lit, we must snuff those out as well.

I frequently converse with Feminists and MRAs that I have a few agreements with, and where we don’t agree, I see the differences as things which can be rationally debated, using real facts, statistics, experiments and outcomes.

If I can manage to do that, then anyone else certainly can.

And, there is much, still, left to do.

Author: Krista [Femitheist Divine]
____________________________________
NOTE I: Everyone tends to minimize their own subjectivity, while easily observing it (or impartiality/bias) in others. But we all, unknowingly (and sometimes not), view the world from a lens formed of past experiences. Objectivity is a worthy goal, but it is also one that is never totally achieved.

The instinctive (but incorrect) notion that every aspect of life is a zero-sum game is a sad part of the human condition that we should all at least try and overcome.

With battle lines drawn and weapons of words at the ready on multiple fronts, some will speak of peaceful negotiations and debate. Each side will tentatively lower their armaments, eyeing the enemy the whole time. But all it takes is for one of the combatants to flinch, or scratch a sudden itch or wave off a fly, and all weapons are suddenly at the ready again, and whoever spoke of peace is discredited, and now the enemy of both sides.

In researching for this, I thought to look to the CDC for wording on how heart attacks affect women and men differently. Only a few years ago, women had a valid complaint that much of the research on heart disease was focused primarily on men, and the response to that was to attempt to make the case that women and men are hardly different with regard to such diseases.

That debate is essentially over, and now there is far less mention of any male-specific issues at all. Our society has simply traded one bias for another, missing the point that, while in some respects, the sexes are the same and need not be treated separately, such is not always the case.

A man visiting those pages is likely to feel ignored or unimportant, and might innocently wonder why. This was, of course, exactly the reaction of women at one time; now the shoe is on the other foot.

This problem was solved at the dawn of human intelligence, yet modern humankind still has to struggle with it:

Shoes should always come in pairs.

NOTE II: As an aside about Jessica Roy, she is free to subscribe to whatever ideologies or theoretical sets she prefers. Her Feminism was not, chiefly, what I took issue with in her article, and others similar to it.

My problem was and is that she had multiple purposes, obvious to anyone familiar with her kind of perspective and what she was writing against, and instead of being upfront about all of it, she attempted to subtly manipulate her readers by weaving the implications in semi-vaguely. And that was on top of her loaded language, dishonest contextual framing and disproportionate focus on negative trivialities and her feelings.

Moreover, she was aiming at the easy targets; weak elements and nonsense. Her article was not balanced or even informative, and neither were many others like it. This brand of deceitful, tabloid-esque reporting only degrades the entire conversation and brings all of us down. We can do better.

Concentrate on the strongest arguments and present reasonable, well-evidenced counter-cases.

NOTE III: Ideally, I believe, Feminists and MRAs should work together. We are certainly nowhere near that point today. But it is where we ought to aim for eventually. It would be no problem for Feminists to focus mostly on women’s issues and for MRAs to focus mostly on men’s issues if common ground could be found, and if people worked to aid one another instead of trying to obstruct and tear each other down.

However, that requires reasonableness, compassion, empathy and willingness to debate rationally, civilly, and to adhere to principles of truth, facts and honor. So, we still have a lot of work to do there.

NOTE IV: Every movement or collective, from Feminism to the MRM, has its own “bad” people. Either biased people or sexists or those who would like to harass or threaten others, and so forth.

Movements specific to the well-being of any group will nearly always attract bitter malcontents who favor that group and disfavor others. This is simply an unfortunate consequence of our social world and the human condition.

Nevertheless, these people should not be, as I said above, focused on when we attack or criticize each other. We ought to concentrate on the strongest arguments and the brightest minds. That is the road of greatest resistance, true, but taking it will improve the quality of our discourse and its overall climate as well.

Just some things to consider (I won’t continue on that any longer as I’ve discussed it a great deal already).

NOTE V: If you liked this post, feel free to share it, and if you have any thoughts on it or the general subjects discussed within, or even merely semi-related topics, please leave them in the comments below. I always enjoy reading the feedback of others whether they liked and agreed with what I had to say or not.

(This is intended more as a sensitizing piece than a comprehensive analysis, even though it covers a lot.)
____________________________________
References (Last Accessed on February 25, 2015):

[1] Women and Girls Safe Spaces SYRIAN Crisis response in Jordan. (2014, August). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=8096

[2] Victims and Victimization. (2014, March 27). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.nij.gov/topics/victims-victimization/Pages/welcome.aspx

[3] SNAPSHOT: Male Victims of Violent Crime. (2015, January 7). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.victimsweek.gc.ca/res/r512.html

[4] 5 facts about online harassment. (2014, October 30). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/10/30/5-facts-about-online-harassment/

[5] Patulny, R. (2013, July 11). Don't be fooled, loneliness affects men too. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://theconversation.com/dont-be-fooled-loneliness-affects-men-too-15545

[6] Scientific Explanation (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). (2014, September 24). Retrieved February 23, 2015 from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-explanation/

[7] Considerations on Bias (Grouped):
A. Elmessiri, A. M. (2006). Bias: Epistemological bias in the physical and social sciences. Herndon, VA: International Institute of Islamic Thought. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from
http://iiit.org/iiitftp/publications/Bibs/Books-in-Brief%20-%20Epistemological%20Bias.pdf
B. Johnson, C. (2013, February 5). Everyone is biased: Harvard professor's work reveals we barely know our own minds. Boston.com. Retrieved February 23, 2014, from
http://www.boston.com/news/science/blogs/science-in-mind/2013/02/05/everyone-biased-harvard-professor-work-reveals-barely-know-our-own-minds/7x5K4gvrvaT5d3vpDaXC1K/blog.html
C. Understanding Implicit Bias (Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity). (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2014 from http://kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/research/understanding-implicit-bias/

[8] O'Neill, B. (2014, November 19). Free speech is so last century. Today's students want the ‘right to be comfortable’. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from
http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9376232/free-speech-is-so-last-century-todays-students-want-the-right-to-be-comfortable/

[9] Global Media Ethics | Center for Journalism Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2015 from http://ethics.journalism.wisc.edu/resources/global-media-ethics/

[10] Roy, J. (2014, July 22). What I Learned as a Woman at a Men's Rights Conference. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://time.com/2949435/what-i-learned-as-a-woman-at-a-mens-rights-conference/

[11] SPJ Code of Ethics | Society of Professional Journalists | Improving and protecting journalism since 1909. (2014, September 6). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

[12] WHALEN, J. (2012, April 16). Women's issues at forefront of election. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://citizensvoice.com/news/women-s-issues-at-forefront-of-election-1.1300499

[13] Wing, N. (2012, October 27). Women's Vote Battle Defines 2012 Presidential Election. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/27/womens-vote-2012-election_n_1832825.html

[14] Barrow, B. (2013, July 14). For 2014 elections, abortion returns to forefront. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://bigstory.ap.org/article/abortion-back-forefront-ahead-2014-elections

[15] Merica, D. (2014, September 18). Hillary Clinton tells liberals to focus on women - CNN.com. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/18/politics/clinton-economic-inequality/

[16] Clinton Lifts Restrictions on Abortion : Health: President ends ban on fetal tissue research, overturns gag rule on counseling at clinics, clears way for the FDA to allow importing of French RU486 pill. - Los Angeles Times. (1993, January 23). Retrieved February 23, 2015 from
http://articles.latimes.com/1993-01-23/news/mn-1468_1_fetal-tissue-research

[17] Femitheist, D. (2014, July 17). Male Circumcision (MGM) is a Matter of Bodily Autonomy. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.femitheist.net/2014/07/male-circumcision-mgm-a-matter-of-bodily-autonomy.html

[18] Femitheist, D. (2014, December 14). On Anti-GM (Anti-Circumcision) as a Cultural Prejudice. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.femitheist.net/2014/12/on-anti-gm-circumcision-as-a-cultural-prejudice.html

[19] Male Suicide Canada (Grouped):
A. Quotations from Men and suicide: The silent epidemic. (2015, February 21). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2015/02/21/men-and-suicide-the-silent-epidemic/
B. Graphic source: Health at a Glance. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2012001/article/11696-eng.htm

[20] Suicides in the United Kingdom, 2013 Registrations. (2015, February 19). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_395145.pdf

[21] Graph generated from The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from https://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures (Based on original data gathered from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

[22] Fatal work injuries and hours worked, by gender of worker, 2013* (Page 8), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Current Population Survey, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, and U.S. Census Bureau, 2014. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0012.pdf

[23] Valerie Tarico. (2013, October 2). Better Birth Control for Men: 8 Promising Possibilities. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/10/02/better-birth-control-for-men-8-promising-possibilities/

*Quote source: http://imccoalition.org/facts/Male_Contraception_Quarterly_2.pdf

[24] Dunne, J., & Hedrick, M. (1994). The Parental Alienation Syndrome: Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 21-38.

[25] Griego, T. (2014, September 26). Locking up parents for not paying child support can be a modern-day ‘debtor’s prison’. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/09/26/locking-up-parents-for-not-paying-child-support-can-be-a-modern-day-debtors-prison/

[26] Sentencing Disparities and More (Grouped):
A. McCormack, S. (2012, September 11). Men Sentenced To Longer Prison Terms Than Women For Same Crimes, Study Says. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/men-women-prison-sentence-length-gender-gap_n_1874742.html
B. Spohn, C. (2009). Sentencing disparity and discrimination: A focus on gender. In How do judges decide?: The search for fairness and justice in punishment. (2nd ed., pp. 127-169). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781452275048.n4. Retrieved February 23, 2015 from http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/27008_4.pdf

[27] Rosin, H. (2014, April 29). Men Are Raped Almost as Often as Women in America. We Need to Talk About This. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/04/male_rape_in_america_a_new_study_reveals_that_men_are_sexually_assaulted.html

*Statistical source: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/sv-datasheet-a.pdf

[28] Sherman, J. (2008, October 12). Draft signup rules unfair to men? (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from
http://www.post-gazette.com/news/nation/2008/10/12/Draft-signup-rules-unfair-to-men/stories/200810120277

*Graphic on percentages of women in the military taken from: http://www.womensmemorial.org/PDFs/StatsonWIM.pdf

[29] Greve, A. (n.d.). Human trafficking: What about the men and boys? Home • HTC Blog • Human trafficking: What about the men and boys? Retrieved February 23, 2015, from
http://humantraffickingcenter.org/posts-by-htc-associates/men-boys/

*Graphic source: http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_181961/lang--it/index.htm

[30] Why Men Are Falling Behind in Higher Ed -. (2013, May 7). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://collegestats.org/2013/05/why-men-are-falling-behind-in-higher-ed/

[31] The 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress. (2013, January 1). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/ahar-2013-part1.pdf

[32] Graphic taken from: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/2010HomelessAssessmentReport.pdf

[33] Quote on Homeless males taken from: The 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report June 2010 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Community Planning and Development Retrieved February 23, 2015, from https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/5thHomelessAssessmentReport.pdf

[34] United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://usich.gov/usich_resources/fact_sheets/opening_doors_chronic_homelessness

[35] Top Reasons Men in Recovery Relapse with Drugs - Promises Addiction Treatment | Alcohol Drug Rehab Malibu. (2013, January 21). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from
http://www.promises.com/articles/addiction-recovery/top-reasons-men-in-recovery-relapse-with-drugs/

[36] Quote from: Green, C. (n.d.). Gender and Use of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh291/55-62.htm

[37] NIDA NOTES - Gender Differences in Prevalence of Drug Abuse Traced to Opportunities to Use. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://archives.drugabuse.gov/NIDA_Notes/NNVol15N4/Prevalence.html

[38] Alcohol & Drug Treatment Programs for Men. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2015, from http://recovergateway.org/drug-treatment/mens-substance-abuse-treatment/

[39] Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. Drug rehabilitation, alcohol addiction treatment for men. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.hazelden.org/web/public/addiction_treatment_men.page

[40] Addiction in women - Harvard Health. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/addiction-in-women

[41] Synnott, A. (2010, October 6). Why Some People Have Issues With Men: Misandry. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rethinking-men/201010/why-some-people-have-issues-men-misandry (Used for its additional items list.)
____________________________________
Supplementary Sources (Terms Defined – Last Accessed on February 25, 2015):

(1) Critical Theory (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). (2005, March 8). Retrieved February 23, 2015 from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/critical-theory/

(2) SPJ Code of Ethics | Society of Professional Journalists | Improving and protecting journalism since 1909. (2014, September 6). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

(3) [Freethinker] - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/freethinker

(4) [Skepticism] - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/skepticism

(5) [Dogmatism – Anti-skeptical]: definition of dogmatism in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US). (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/dogmatism

(6) [Fallacious Reasoning]. Williams, F. NOTES ON LOGICAL FALLACIES, ETC. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://people.eku.edu/williamsf/HON102Web/falsec-web.htm#3

(7) [Improper Argumentation]. Good and bad arguments - Acrewoods home. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.acrewoods.net/library/logic-and-critical-thinking/good-and-bad-arguments

 (8) Undergraduate Course Online | Social Problems Course Description. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.floridatechonline.com/programs/undergraduate/undergraduate-courses/soc-2551-social-problems/

(9) [Intersectional Feminism]: Intersectionality (Geek Feminism Wiki). (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Intersectionality
____________________________________
Counseling Resources (Last Accessed on February 25, 2015):

[*] Golden, T. (n.d.). Tom Golden. Retrieved February 24, 2015, from http://tgolden.com/

[*] Golden, T. (n.d.). Men Are Good. Retrieved February 24, 2015, from http://menaregood.com/wordpress/
____________________________________
Men’s Groups, Support Organizations, Charities (Last Accessed on February 25, 2015):

*All of the information below is quoted from the sites of the organizations/charities.

The ManKind Initiative is a national charity that provides help and support for male victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence. Registered UK Charity.

Funding for the charity’s helpline runs out at the end of March. We receive 1600 calls per year from men directly or mothers, sisters and friends seeking help for a man they know who is suffering.

https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/mankindinitiative

Children’s Rights Initiative for Sharing Parents Equally (CRISPE) is a nonprofit, genderless, nonpartisan, and educational organization working to improve the well being of children by ensuring that children have access to both their parents equally.

ABOUT CRISPE:

CRISPE is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation (Federal I.D.# 20-8007419) whose purpose is to promote a presumption of equal parenting in the best interests of children.

http://crispe.org/

National Parents Organization is a national charitable and educational 501(c)(3) organization. Ned Holstein, MD, MS and three other fathers founded the organization in Massachusetts in 1998. Under his leadership, it has grown to national prominence.

https://nationalparentsorganization.org/

MensENews.org
A news service project of Family Reunion, Incorporated.
A 501(c)3 tax exempt, nonprofit organization serving men, boys, & families!

MensENews.org was founded in 2008 by experts involved in men, boys, and family related issues who believed that an educational website was needed and could play an important role in society.

http://mensenews.org/

National Fatherhood Initiative’s mission is to improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children with involved, responsible, and committed fathers in their lives.

National Fatherhood Initiative. All Rights Reserved. National Fatherhood Initiative is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit.

http://www.fatherhood.org/
____________________________________
More Links from My Charities Page (February 25, 2015):

Below is a list of charities/organizations that I have donated to and/or wish to promote.

*All of the information below is quoted from the sites of the organizations/charities.

More information on these can be had at my Charities Page.

Intact America: http://www.intactamerica.org/aboutus

Vision Statement
Intact America envisions a world where children are protected from permanent bodily alteration inflicted on them without their consent, in the name of culture, religion, profit, or parental preference.

Mission Statement
Intact America works to protect babies and children from circumcision and all other forms of medically unnecessary genital alteration, whether carried out for cultural conformity or profit, in medical or non-medical settings.

We seek to achieve our goals through education, advocacy, public policy reform, and the empowerment of our supporters, partners, and volunteers.

Foregen: http://foregen.org/site/home.aspx

Promoting Genital Integrity Through Regenerative Medicine:

Foregen’s goal is to heal the physical and psychological damage that is inherent to circumcision. Research (and common sense) irrevocably demonstrates the functional and sensory losses to the penis when circumcised, as well as the potential for psychological damage for those on whom such surgery was imposed. Fortunately, regenerative medical techniques now offer a greater possibility than ever to regrow human tissue (especially dermal tissue) lost in prior trauma. However, those techniques have not yet been applied to those who have been circumcised.

PAACT: http://paactusa.org/

Patient Advocates for Advanced Cancer Treatments:

The PAACT organization is comprised of very capable staff members, who share a common desire to help patients become aware of our present understanding of prostate cancer, to help patients to participate in their own health improvement and to direct them to appropriate physicians and medical centers of excellence for treatment. First time PC or advocacy callers to PAACT requesting information receive the PAACT initial patient package of prostate cancer information. The educational material is designed to provide a quick course in the detection, diagnosis, evaluation and treatment options for prostate cancer. Included in the package is the quarterly 'Prostate Cancer Communication' newsletter.