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(Image via @verbaliza)

Naomi Fryers examines the rise of Men’s Rights Activism along with the role of patriarchal megaphones like Miranda Devine and other self-deprecating sisters.

PROBABLY ALWAYS having existed in a dark corner of the world, the Internet has now given rise to a new kind of woman’s voice, the self-deprecating sisters. Their concerning patriarchal messages are now readily available for consumption by the masses, thanks to both social and mainstream media.

This week, Daily Telegraph columnist Miranda Devine suggested that our conservative Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had drunk 'the feminist Kool-Aid' as he offered up one hundred million dollars to help combat the current national crisis that is domestic violence. The article further suggested that the PM had somehow demonised men by way of suggestion that women needed respect in society.

Devine’s vitriolic column further asserted that domestic violence was an issue primarily impacting the “underclass” like Indigenous communities and public housing estates and accused feminists and government of disempowering men. (Only white middle to upper class men were truly denied a slapping in the piece).

If it stopped there and wasn’t published for mass consumption, it would read like great satire. However, it went on to suggest that the underlying narrative of a National Action Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022 aimed at preventing violence against women and children, was really all about disrespecting men.

To my dismay, Miranda Devine is not the only woman I know to believe this assertion with fervour. One such example is Jasmin Newman, who is not related to Troy Newman … that we know of.

Jasmin Newman is a blogger at ‘Relating to Men’, ‘coach’ (read: credentials unclear) and self-proclaimed men’s right’s activist (MRA) who I stumbled across in the blogosphere.

Newman also reports having a girl crush on Miranda Devine and doesn’t believe violence is gendered. She also has a loyal (mainly male but almost cult like) following. In 2014, she made an untimely and controversial comment on a child sex abuse case that “healing can only occur through compassion.”

Newman is anti-feminist and complains of feminists trolling her pages. But that doesn’t stop scores of men commenting on her every self-deprecating post about everything she-devil including how women are our own worst enemies. Though the question may be put: With “friends” like Jasmin, what woman needs enemies?

Newman doesn’t think we need feminism and the fact that Facebook shows that the Men’s Rights Activism Universe (MRA) Facebook page has over 1700 members, we find quite unnerving. Because it’s just not nearly enough that the patriarchy has the rest of the world to dominate, right?

So here’s our top three picks for the week on why the sisterhood needs to exist with or without the Newman and Devine ilk.

Firstly, within days of the PM announcing extra funding, a woman was heinously and publically assaulted at an AFL match by a man for attempting to protect her children. The dialogue and social media commentary that ensued by other men (read: the boys club) suggested she was implicit by way of being “feral.”

Secondly, The Huffington Post alerted us to another MRA group this week, which if satirical and not quite so offensive would be ingenious. The group of men who are searching for, ‘beautiful virgin brides’ bares the Facebook slogan ‘No Hymen, No Diamond’ and has some two thousand members attached. The irony is that no self-respecting woman would want a bar of the likes of the guy who wrote:

“the only reason girls can behave like sluts is because the majority of men today are dickless bitches who put up with it. If men didn’t tolerate slutty behaviour, there would be no slutty behaviour.”

Or

“We just want a woman that hasn’t ridden the cock carousel. Is that really too much to ask in return?”

Thirdly, the likes of anti-choice campaigner and extremist, Troy Newman, are attempting to bring their hate speech into Australia and dictate what decisions, if any, women have over their own bodies and reproductive organs, to the point that is of requiring government intervention.

 

Anti-abortion activist Troy Newman detained in Melbourne.
 

While blatant examples of women under attack still exist, there is more than enough room for feminist dialogue and activism.

Miranda Devine’s domestic violence victim-blaming and assertion that Malcolm Turnbull has been drinking the feminist Kool-Aid is an interesting one. But the real questions remain of the self-deprecating women involved in MRA is, why are you ladies (term applied loosely) drinking the patriarchal hater-aid?

You can follow Naomi on Twitter @Fluro_Unicorn.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

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