Why Men’s Rights Activists Are the Wrong Answer to the Troubles Facing the American Man

Men’s Rights Activists (MRA) are a curious group you may or may not be familiar with. They use feminist style advocacy for gender issues, only in their case they are advocating on behalf of men. As you can imagine, they’re quite controversial.

Film maker Cassie Jaye recently released a documentary about them called The Red Pill (after the red pill/blue pill scene in the Matrix). The Institute for Family Studies at the University of Virginia asked me to review the film for them, which I was delighted to. My review is now posted on their site. Here’s a snippet:

It’s telling that the featured MRAs tend to be late middle-aged men, often appearing to be in their 50s or older. Their movement is modeled on the gender equalist vision and arguments of second wave feminism. They agree with those feminists in rejecting intrinsic differences the sexes and in viewing traditional sex roles as socially constructed, outmoded, and harmful. They also agree with them that a statistical disparity between sexes shows discrimination, although they cite different statistics. MRAs seem to believe they are seeking to complete rather than overturn the feminist revolution, creating a truly gender neutral society. This focus on 1970s-style activism and argumentation may be generational, as the MRAs imitate the types of movements they remember from their youth.

Click through to read the whole thing.

Why am I writing on this topic?

It’s no secret men have not exactly been thriving in America recently. Too many men are spending their days playing video games or watching porn. They are attending college at rates well below women. An alarming percentage are so-called “NEETs”: Neither in Employment, Education, nor Training. They are even physically deteriorating, with markers like grip strength in bigtime decline. Beyond simply not doing well for themselves, they are also turning to very anti-social behaviors. I don’t need to say more about that, as the papers are full of complaints about it. I particularly see this male malaise in working class communities like my hometown, and see it as a contributor to these places not doing well.

The problem is that today’s culture has no response to this other than “Man up!” lectures and endless hectoring about “toxic masculinity.” That’s never going to work. But as you’ll gather from my review, I don’t think the MRAs are the answer either.

As with cities or anything else, we need to sell an aspirational vision of masculinity that young men want to be part of. At least that’s what we have to do today when there is very little social control over people’s life choices. We have to convince people to live differently.

I have a side project devoted to this. I can’t reform society at large, so I had to narrow my focus. Because I am a Christian, I decided to focus on the intersection of Christianity and masculinity, something that’s in need of a rethink.

To that end, I have a completely separate mailing list called The Masculinist that you can sign up for. While anyone is welcome to join, it’s targeted at Christian men. I’m very pleased to already have a number of major Christian influencers on board. Since I’m already more than booked with my urbanism work, I only send out one mailing per month. So it’s low volume.

I’ll tell you straight up that it is very much NOT a safe space. I do not shy away from taking very controversial positions in it. So it’s not for everyone, which is why it’s a completely separate enterprise.

But if you are a Christian who is worried about what’s going on with men today, please do sign up, because I need your help to make a difference.

from Aaron M. Renn


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