A response to Stephen McCann.

Posted: January 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m again going to speak about Facebook and the impact it had on me just over a year ago. Countless times now I’ve mentioned how I was existing in a fog of confusion for the last few years. I knew I didn’t like feminism, I just couldn’t explain why. It was the Facebook group Exposing Feminism that really opened my eyes, made me realise that I wasn’t alone,that my views weren’t that radical and that there were sane people out there who weren’t simply desperate, lonely men who were tired of not getting any female attention. Exposing Feminism (https://www.facebook.com/ExposingFeminism?fref=ts ) helped open my eyes, I have a lot to be thankful of.

But, since becoming John Salmon and throwing myself headfirst in to the MRM I’ve been fighting a very divisive battle within myself. As with anything new and exciting, the first couple of months were absolutely amazing. I’d finally found somewhere that I wasn’t the outsider, where I didn’t feel like a prick for daring to go outside the accepted norms, where I could speak my views and instead of automatically being put on the defensive by people I was actually finding people agreeing with me. It was, without doubt, one of the most peaceful periods of my life, finally feeling at ease.

That feeling didn’t last, of course it didn’t, because I began to see a darker side of it. A side that twists what you think, a side that engulfs you, infects you, infests you, makes you bitter and twisted and ignorant of everything outside of your bubble. Quickly, I fell into it, I fell into the bitterness, I saw a side of Facebook and Twitter and Google that I didn’t like, but I was powerless to stop it. I’d only just found this side of the internet, I wasn’t prepared to let it go that easily. In the end, you become exactly what you claim to hate. There’s a brilliant Nietzsche quote that I’ve seen a few times on Facebook:

http://i1276.photobucket.com/albums/y472/johnsalmonworld/nietzsche_zpsca5e1167.jpg

Without even realising it, it summed up exactly what I had turned into. Despite my claims to be a ‘humanist’ or an ‘egalitarian’ I’d actually turned into a sanctimonious prick who would only dwell in spaces that confirmed my beliefs, spaces that would help me wash out 26 years of societal indoctrination. Unfortunately, sometimes, those ideas were replaced by equally bigoted and ignorant ideas.

So what’s the point of all this? Well, recently there’s been something of a storm on Facebook over a member, or rather former member of the MRM, after this little post appeared:

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=626820714032019&id=552826668098091

It’s pretty self explanatory who Stephen McCann is, it says it all in that post. I don’t have to tell you that the admin of a page called Exposing Feminism, a vocal member of the MRM community, running to a radical feminist website to expose the dark sides of the Men’s Rights Movement caused somewhat of a stir. There was a lot of discussion about Stephen’s antics during early December last year (2013) due to his confusing behaviour, seemingly at odds with what people were used to or expected.

For my part, I didn’t really know him much, unlike the admins of some other pages I never really got into conversation with him, not in any great depth. I had some conversations with him around the time of his departure from EF and his exit from the MRM, but it was very brief. He offered me an admin post on EF, which ultimately came to nothing as he left shortly after, and he asked for my advice on a personal issue (which I will not divulge here because it’s nobody’s business but mine and Stephen’s), but aside from that I really didn’t know him. We shared similar views, or at least that’s what he told me, and would probably have got on very well if he hadn’t have disappeared.

Stephen unfriended me around mid December, which I thought was strange considering our brief exchange of messages. I’ve heard people talking since about him ‘testing’ them, sending messages that appeared misogynistic in nature to see how bigoted people really were. He sent me a message that, now looking back, could be construed as a ‘test’. It would appear I failed as I doubt he’d have defriended me if I’d passed. I answered his message in the best, most honest way I could, by seeing both sides of the situation (Again, I’m not going to divulge what this ‘test’ was), which obviously wasn’t good enough.

Despite my brief exchange with Stephen, and my ignorance to how he was with other people, his post still troubled me for many reasons. One, of course, was his choice of page to tell his story to. Radical feminists are not people I can have conversations with, every time I try I find them so utterly convinced of their views that, no matter how good my counter argument or how sound my logic or how polite my tone, I can never seem to break through to them. For them to be his port of call when exposing the MRM is like a very hefty kick in the balls. Not only that, but from what I’ve learned since he left the MRM, it would appear his own views were somewhat conflicted and moveable. Not that that’s a bad thing, if you set your views in stone and are unwilling to listen to reason then you’re going to live a miserable life. But this appeared to be different, swinging from one spectrum to the other, spilling to radfem pages one minute, then criticising feminism on one page the next. Even considering all that, his testimony troubled me for one more, perhaps even greater, reason, one that I’ve struggled to comprehend until now, one that I’ve struggled to deal with. After the news ‘broke’ on the pages I like I posted this short message (from Wednesday, if I remember correctly):

http://i1276.photobucket.com/albums/y472/johnsalmonworld/stephenmccandefense_zps70a2d8a1.png

Seeing as that comment got 9 likes in a group of very few people, and the direct comment underneath got 3 likes, I’m going to assume my opinions are somewhat respected, so I only ask that people thoroughly read what I am about to say before judging and growing angry. Stephen’s post troubled me mostly because:

I agree with him.

Not 100%, I think if he felt indoctrinated and misguided then he’s allowed himself to get drawn deeper than I currently am, but I definitely agree with him on a lot of things. I go back to the Nietzsche quote, I was becoming a monster, I was becoming a different person. I would see a post made on a Facebook page that made a lot of sense, and then I’d see the comments filled with statements that were equally as bigoted, ignorant, generalising and abusive as the ones the MRM claims to hate.

It’s one reason I’ve tried so hard to keep myself away from the MRA label. For all the good the movement does, and it has got some brilliant people being part of it, there are some who absolutely ruin it with abusive comments that play right in to the feminist’s filthy hands. I mentioned this in an entry way back when this blog was in its infancy. The trouble I have with identifying as an MRA is the spectrum is far too broad, some people are brilliant; they have good views, debating skills, use logic and truths and, generally, fight the good fight. However, there are some people who just cannot wait to stick the knife in with the generalising of all women whenever the opportunity arises.

I’ve stated this before in this blog, I do not hate women, I do not resent them, I do not blame them for my own insecurities and self esteem issues. But being around the MRM, being part of the movement that was supposedly better than feminism, better than the hypocrisy, lies and double standards, better than the mistruths and the victimhood has changed me into someone unrecognisable. Sometimes, I don’t like who I am when I’m logged in to John Salmon’s account on Facebook. Sometimes, I truly despise the movement I thought was fighting the better fight.

Stephen is right, I hear men, and women, dispute the double standards of Feminism, I hear them decry the hypocrisies and lies, I hear them rally against the generalisations that paint men as demons no matter what they do, and then I see them committing the exact same things about feminism. I see them generalise women, I see them downplay the double standards that affect women, I see them engage in acts of hypocrisy that they claim to hate.

I will always fight for mens rights, I will always hate feminism, but I do not hate women. I hate the culture that feminism breeds, I hate the culture that feminism has furthered, I think it’s toxic and poisonous, I think it is just as bad for women as for men, it shames women who do not agree with their movement, it shames women who are independent enough to make their own choices that don’t match the feminist ideology. I will not, cannot, hate women who distance themselves from the feminist ideology. I will not hate all women based on the overblown actions of those who associate themselves with feminism.

I love some of the people I’ve come in to contact with through the John Salmon account, I love the people who, even though they might not outrightly identify as ‘anti-feminist’, have sense enough to be their own person, to live the life they want to live without worrying what they’re being told to do by an ideology, who have the sense to deal witht he problems they face on their own, without crying victim and running for help. Those are the people I want to associate with, the people who are clear that there aren’t just one set of people with problems. Everyone faces problems, everyone deals with problems in different ways. What I hoped the MRM would be is a place that would help us deal with those problems in a much better way than feminism, a place that would be open to debate and discussion and opposing opinions. There’s a lot of good in the MRM, definitely a lot more good than bad, but that the bad that is there damages the movement, derails the movement and presents it as no better than Feminism.

I disagree strongly with this quote by Stephen:

“(My introduction, indoctrination, awakening, separation, and the malicious hate I received for questioning their propaganda.)”

I have never felt like I’ve been ‘indoctrinated’ into the MRM, I only feel that I immersed myself too much in one part of it, a part that allowed me to cast off the shackles I’ve previously felt constrained by. It was after that I felt I needed to move to a more open space, one where my views wouldn’t just be accepted readily, one where I would be challenged and forced to rethink myself all the time. That’s the way I want to be, I want my views to be challenged, not confirmed.

Nietzsche was totally right, if you look into the abyss for long enough, slowly it looks back into you and engulfs you. I thought the abyss was feminism, now I know there isn’t just one abyss, there are multiple ones, you just have to make sure you don’t stare into any one abyss for any great length of time, or at least have the courage to step away when you see that monster start to develop within you.

This is not me ‘doing a Stephen’. I’m not denouncing the MRM and running to feminism, I tried to think of myself as a feminist, I tried to show I’m all for equality, but I could never fit in, every time I speak to a feminist I have to leave because it’s like talking to a brick wall. Sometimes, it’s the same with people in the MRM. Nowadays, I tend to stay in the middle. I don’t deny women face problems, but I refuse to automatically elevate them to some sort of special victim status simply because they’re women.

I understand this might be a controversial entry, so be it. My aim is to be honest about this situation. There are times when I’ve questioned if I’m fighting for the right side. Luckily, for me, Feminism has provided nothing by way of an alternative, so I’m quite happy sticking in the middle and taking each individual case on its own merits before spouting off.

So there it is, I, John Salmon, do not identify as an MRA, I do not identify as a feminist, it is with some trepidation that I even label myself a humanist, I am just me, one bloke trying to make sense of the world in his own way.

Do I feel sympathy for Stephen McCann for feeling his only option was to run to a radfem page? Not really, there were other better options. By all accounts, Stephen is a troubled man whose own views are often in question, so I honestly don’t know where his mind is at at the moment. Do I think he has a point about the MRM? Yes, I do. I don’t think he’s completely right, and some of the more extreme emotions he feels are not ones I can share, but equally I don’t discount the validity of him holding those views.

This entry has been hard to write, I appreciate it may disappoint some people in that I haven’t come out in an all-guns-blazing defence of the MRM, but I truly believe that for any movement to be successful it depends on the people within it to constantly question the aims and agendas of that movement. Sometimes, I find the MRM doesn’t do that, but I will always try to.

Nietzsche’s quote rang true with me more than any other quote I’ve seen recently on the internet. My battle now is not just with feminism, it’s within myself, making sure I don’t allow myself to become the monster I saw myself becoming not so long ago.

 I think that’s going to be a tough one!

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