SPLC follows up on MRA concerns, finds them ‘ridiculous’ and ‘willfully obtuse’

Today, in what might best be described as a hilariously disinterested gnat-swatting aimed at the tirelessly annoying MRAs generally and Paul Elam specifically, the Southern Poverty Law Center has issued a followup to its earlier expose of the violent Men’s Rights Movement.

Journalist Arthur Goldwag writes for the SPLC’s Hatewatch blog that the inclusion of the MRA movement in the most recent edition of the SPLC’s quarterly publication “The Year in Hate and Extremism” (Issue 45, Spring 2012) “provoked a tremendous response among men’s rights activists (MRAs) and their sympathizers.”

MRAs around the world apparently whined, complained and flooded the SPLC with letters demanding that the SPLC retract its statements, or alternatively, that it also investigate radical feminists as a hate group.  How either action — particularly the latter one — would prove that the MRAs were innocent, legitimate, nonviolent politickers (and didn’t hate women) was not made clear, but one is certainly left with the impression that the MRAs aren’t that smart, or alternatively, that they are well-versed in the political arts of misdirection and sleight of hand.

Or possibly both.

For his followup piece, an investigation into whether the MRAs’ accusations against radical feminists are true — specifically, that there exists a global radical feminist criminal conspiracy to commit worldwide violence against boys and men (all 3.5 billion of them) — Goldwag interviewed Baltimore lesbian activist Cathy Brennan, apparently asking her whether she personally hated men, and what she thought of Valerie Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto.

Of course, even if true, individual admissions of man-hating, and what anyone personally believes about one 40-page booklet — even if it’s positive — are not highly probative of radical feminists’ political position, or indicative of radical feminists’ political power and standing to carry out acts of global violence, including gendercide against boys and men.  (Hint: we have no such power or standing.  Because patriarchy.)

Goldwag’s investigation did reveal that some feminists “say hurtful things about men,” and that some feminists do “hate men,” but he ultimately concludes that there is no feminist conspiracy to commit any crime against men, let alone a global conspiracy to commit widespread acts of violence against males — all 3.5 billion of them — as the MRAs had reported in their letters to the SPLC.

Goldwag also noted — correctly — that while the MRAs are fantasizing about imagined or future acts of gendered violence against boys and men, there is a current, existing, real-life war being waged by men against girls and women, or what the Economist has dubbed a “Worldwide War on Baby Girls.”  Global acts of gendercide do exist, but they are perpetrated against girls and women to further patriarchal interests, not against boys and men to further women’s interests.

In the end, Goldwag correctly concludes that to characterize radical feminist dialog — even our private conversations where, presumably, the worst of the worst uncensored man-hating might be found — “as a well-developed plan, as Elam and his colleagues do, is not only ridiculous, it is willfully obtuse.”

Indeed, ridiculous and willfully obtuse would seem to be a fair representation of the MRAs claims about women and feminists, and, surely to the chagrin of the MRAs, the SPLC’s previous statements made about the Men’s Rights Movement were not retracted.

Interestingly, this investigation, such as it was, into the aims of radical feminism and various unrelated radical feminist forums doesn’t even appear to have been important — or revealing — enough of anything to warrant inclusion in the SPLC’s upcoming quarterly publication.  Instead, the article was published on the SPLC’s blog, and will presumably move further and further down the page until it disappears entirely.

Meanwhile, the MRAs have earned what they ultimately received — a prominent expose of their virulent misogyny and acts of egregious violence perpetrated in the name of their movement, permanently documented in an esteemed, real-life publication that will be around forever, which the SPLC expressly stands behind, and which has not been and will not be retracted.

And that, as they say, is that.

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