I didn’t make this up! Apparently, there’s an informal network out there, seen as men’s spaces, where the focus is on male issues and masculinity. Some see it as the male counterpart to feminism. Not in a good way though. How could it be coined into something good anyways? It’s not about equality, because the cards have already been dealt. There is no equality. It’s more of a whiny response to women, and how stupid they are because they refuse to see how great and nice men are. It’s a way for men to deal with rejection, so they say. I mean who still thinks that men are socially privileged?
While the less harmful men’s spaces tackle issues around fitness, physical exercise and diet regimes, the vile ones go very far. “No hymen, no diamond,” is one of the principles I get to read while researching (found on a website called Men going their own way). Another quote from the Forum, “I will never treat a woeman like I treat a man for the simple reason that I have respect for Men while I strive to ignore and avoid weemins, no respect or disrespect involved, just cold dispassionate stoic stance.”
The red pill on reddit doesn’t read any better. If men are looking for advice on how to use dating apps and pull women, they’ll find it there. After all, we live in a society where women dictate the dating game. Isn’t it only fair to try evening it out? There’s also advice on how to steer clear from false rape accusations because “we’re in a victim-driven era where it’s easier to cry false.” And “women are five-year-old children, who need to be led.” Enough with the quotations, it’s absolutely sickening.
While feminists and activists are thinking about how to raise the next, woke generation, these websites propagate hate towards women and not to make the mistake of treating them like human beings. If you support this kind of thinking, obviously dehumanising people of colour, or generally people who are different in other ways (sexual orientation just to name one example), won’t be that far off either. White supremacy has recently been linked to those websites as well. If your extremism is being supported, then obviously getting more extreme might even get you more support.
I was shocked when I heard about “Manosphere,” but not really surprised. Locker-room talk, dehumanising women, and misogyny are very much alive and unfortunately, people who can be easily influenced, might get trapped in that way of thinking. It is a cult and needs to be treated as such. Its victims are insecure and vulnerable boys who can or have turned into hateful men. Even though it looks like one, big movement, the individual stories can be quite different. If we treat the whole scene as one big cult, like we did with ISIS and the victims it seduced, then we do the same thing as this movement for “men’s rights” is doing to women. We believe and live by the principle that they’re all evil. But individual stories can be very complex, so it makes more sense to understand the psychology behind it and what leads to getting attached to a pessimistic, hateful view of the world. Really, humans need hope. And with a significant number of youth turning to ISIS, white supremacy and misogyny or any other kinds of oppressive and extremist world views, we need to take on more responsibility and turn towards them instead of turning away. If we abandon responsive, young people by abandoning them it will push them further into the arms of the cult.
Someone who already feels alone and like an outsider doesn’t need more isolation. It’s the same mistake we did with drug addicts back then. We turned away from them and tried to be extra strict to signal that we don’t support taking drugs. What we actually did was we left them even lonelier by leaving them to their own devices. Addiction is considered a disease of isolation. It will turn into your primary relationship. Another example are people who obsess with a person because they’re in love with them. The kind of people who only care about their love interest and can’t stop talking about it at all. It’s not normal, and we should stop romanticising it. If your happiness is dependent on someone else’s, that’s unhealthy. If your happiness depends on drugs, it’s not healthy. If your happiness comes from joining a cult and being mind-controlled, that’s not healthy either.
We need to engage with people, listen to them and learn. It’s the only strategy that will help with understanding and preventing it. People who are hopeless, and don’t see a future for themselves, are more likely to fall prey. We need to be compassionate and help them see that their situation isn’t insurmountable.
My first reaction was disgust. Those sexist, evil misogynists! I mean browsing through those forums, reading through the crap was actually sickening. When you think about it, it’s patriarchy at its finest. One of patriarchy’s principles is that men, specifically straight men, don’t talk about their emotions and issues. At least not in an open and honest way. They might joke about it, play it down and drown it in alcohol, but you move on as quickly as possible if you’re an alpha male. That’s what a dominant man does. If you don’t, you’re not in control. How do you ever learn to deal with rejection if that’s what society teaches you? How do you stay healthy if you have to suppress your emotions and can’t work through rejection and your issues? We need to start teaching self-care! It’s so sad that I only learned self-care late. It doesn’t give me any pleasure that this applies to most of humankind.
Manosphere is just another example of how misogynistic our society is. How unhealthy, non-empathetic and cold it can present itself. It’s another symptom and we should identify it for what it is.