Cassie Jaye’s Red Pill

I recently watched The Red Pill, Cassie Jaye’s documentary on the Men’s Right Movement (MRM) and Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs), and I found it rather a sad commentary on how far our culture’s view on the sexes is from where it ought to be.

The video seemed to have a twofold purpose: showing Cassie’s journey from being a feminist who viewed the MRAs as likely enemies or idiots to a not-feminist with sympathy for the MRAs and documenting what the Men’s Rights Movement was and what issues were important to these men.  Ms. Jaye honestly showed her transformation and struggles to accept new-to-her facts and ideas. She listened and gained new understanding, and the audience could follow her along the path from rejection to acceptance or at least a state of being more opening and questioning about the narrative.  Jaye interviewed many MRAs, sympathizers (including women), and even people who oppose the Men’s Rights Movement.  The documentary was well done and easy to watch.

However, I didn’t find The Red Pill as informative about the Men’s Rights Movement as I had expected. Being already rather red-pilled myself, the men’s issues that the MRAs were so concerned about bringing to the world’s attention weren’t as surprising news to me, as they had been to Jaye.  I felt sorry for these guys, but what I wanted to know was: what solution do you propose for this rotten state of affairs?  Maybe they go into detail on their websites, but I haven’t had the time or inclination to look that up. The documentary didn’t answer that question.

One MRA leader made the point that if it weren’t for the Feminist Movement, the Men’s Rights Movement wouldn’t need to exist.  That because things have been thrown out of balance, skewed in one direction, that the MRAs arose to be a counter weight to, hopefully, even things out.  He said he was sorry that the MRM needed to exist at all.

A feminist who was interviewed remarked that the MRM was just a reaction to the Feminist movement.  She was correct about that, but wrong about the motivations or reasons behind it.  It isn’t that the men “feel threatened” by women and their new so-called “freedoms” and “power.”  It is that to put themselves in a position of power, feminists have attempted to crush men under, to denigrate, and to be hateful towards men.

Many of the MRAs seemed happy to let women keep all the freedom and power they have, but want men to be treated equally.  One of them began his journey into the Men’s Rights Movement from being a male feminist.  Part of what they had to say bothered me; it’s not that men don’t deserve to be treated with the same dignity as women — of course they do — but some of the men seemed to lament that the burdens that have typically fallen to men still fall on masculine shoulders such as tough, dangerous jobs, being relied on to be the provider or even that women typically get custody in divorces because women are thought to be better at caring for children.  These men seem to be complaining that they have to suffer things like this because they are men and that it isn’t fair.

It is normal and natural for men to do the hard jobs and to provide; it is something they are much better suited for than women and usually feel called to do.  It’s really the flip side of women complaining that they are disadvantaged by having to be the ones to bear children.  It’s like some of the MRAs want a male version of feminism, a liberation from traditional male roles, rather than a return of women to more traditional roles.  No thanks.  Everyone needs to accept that each sex has both disadvantages and advantages, both weaknesses and strengths.  There really are traits that are more dominant or common to one sex or the other.  We cannot be the same no matter how much people try.  And everyone would be a lot happier if they would stop trying.

Also, all the unfair things that happen to men in family custody and child-support battles were called out in need of reform.  The problem here is that they are right in describing this all as a problem, but the solution isn’t in some sort of band-aid of court reform.  Men and women need to stop the behaviors that lead to this sort of difficulty: in other words, return to Christian morality, get married and stay married and only have children in that context.  Unfortunately, as long as people choose not to follow that model, there will be no good answer to what happens when two people who aren’t going to stay or get married have kids.  It’s a guaranteed disaster with far-reaching consequences.

Jaye, as a feminist, expected to confirm that the MRAs were misogynists, and she was surprised to be disproved.  Coming from a completely different perspective as an anti-feminist, I expected I would be sympathetic to the MRAs, but I felt less sympathetic than I thought I would.  I understood some of their complaints, especially against what feminists have done to our society and to men, but when they turned to what sounded like a rejection of traditional male roles and started to sound like the male equivalent of feminists, they lost me.

***

Here is Cassie Jaye explaining why she no longer calls herself a feminist:

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