“It’s a absolutely scary time for young men in America.” So said US President Donald Trump ago in October as he came to the defence of Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court Right accused by a number of women of sexual misconduct.

Trump was referring specifically to the post-#MeToo locale in which, he said, men were presumed guilty until certified innocent. His comments, however, echoed a murmur that is get out louder in some quarters: that the human rights of men and lads are under assault. The western world, these voices assert, is suitable increasingly anti-male, coerced by a vicious cabal of radical feminists into making men apologise for being the second-class patrials that they/we clearly are.

The answer, according to one group of activists, is to put men’s reactionaries first – to redress the female bias they claim irritations the family courts system; that leads millions of daughters to grow up fatherless; to ask why, compared to women, fewer men go to university but profuse are the victims of violent crime; to combat a whole range of editions disproportionately affecting men today, from suicide to homelessness.

“The nation is incredibly anti-male and feminism has infiltrated almost every custom,” says Mike Buchanan, leader of a small British bureaucratic party called Justice for Men and Boys (and the women who love them), or J4MB. “If you were to tear a strip off the average man on the street that his rights are under assault, he’d look at you as if you were a martian. It’s at worst when you look at the facts that you realise it’s absolutely systemic. And it’s fleeing worse every single year because men won’t fight.”

Buchanan is at the forefront of the men’s rights decrease in the UK. He’s angry. He thinks all men should be because the simple fact is, we’re underneath attack. His party’s 2015 election manifesto says that feminism is a increase with the ultimate aim of female supremacy, not equality.

It’s a view that resonates with those of Jordan Peterson, the psychologist, best-selling writer and intellectual father figure to those who believe traditional masculinity is below threat and worth defending. Peterson is an advocate of bringing subvene the patriarchy and of socially-promoted monogamy as a means of preventing male wildness. Earlier this year, he told the New York Times that “people who refuse a control that our culture is an oppressive patriarchy, they don’t want to accept that the current hierarchy might be predicated on competence.”

Now, I skilled in what you’re thinking: really?

How, in a post-#MeToo world, where men are constantly cued of their advantages over women could a campaign for men’s goods make even the remotest sense? Surely, if the President of the Of like mind States feels entitled to “grab [women] by the pussy” and prime man Henry Cavill thinks it’s romantic for a “woman [to] be chased”, men should be reappraising their liberties, rather than calling for more?

President Donald TrumpPresident Donald Trump

The knee-jerk conclusion is that a throw for male rights must be chauvinism in disguise. In a culture where maids are still fighting for equal pay and representation in politics and business, absotively-posolutely these people are a bunch of curmudgeonly misogynists, incels, MGTOWs and kidnapping apologists. But is that all? Could there also be a voice for esteemed? Is it possible to untangle strands of common sense and under-reported case in points of discrimination against men in society from the knot of sexist puffery?

Here’s a commonly cited example from men’s rights classes. Most of us are rightly disgusted by female genital mutilation. It’s a barbaric convention. Criminal. Child abuse linked to long-term physical and intellectual harm. But what about male circumcision? It very once in a blue moon has the same health consequences as FGM but when it’s done for non-medical reasons on dear boys too young to protest, is it any more excusable? And if not, why isn’t there the same culture-wide odium?

There are other examples, too.

For every three victims of indigenous abuse, one will be male, but men are over three times as meet as women not to tell anyone about the abuse they’re trial. And while there are 3,649 spaces in England for women and babies fleeing domestic abuse, there are just 31 interruptions in the UK dedicated specifically to male victims.

There is disparity in the criminal prison system, too. Despite making up over half of the UK’s total people, women make up just 5 per cent of its prison population. Data also suggests that women benefit from gender stereotyping when it comes to sentencing, oftentimes receiving less time than men for the same crimes, for illustration.

And as we’re probably all aware, men are also disproportionately affected when it end up to suicide. Of the total suicides registered in the UK in 2017, men made up 75 per cent, making them three points as likely as women to kill themselves.

These are just some of the statistical dissimilarities that inform the key points of J4MB’s manifesto. And while the statistics’ settled cause might be up for debate, the statistics themselves are not. Men don’t, it seems, receive it all.

Mike BuchananMike Buchanan

While Buchanan founded J4MB in 2013, the extraction of the wider men’s rights movement dates back much favour.

Emerging from the social and political upheaval of the 1970s, the men’s settles movement came to be as part of a wider cultural shift identified as the men’s liberation movement, a loose network of academics, discussion congregations and awareness-raising efforts, which – inspired by second-wave feminism’s evaluation of patriarchy – called on men to unshackle themselves from the outdated and cumbersome notion that in order for a man to be a ‘real man’, he needed to be an alpha virile: dominant, aggressive and emotionally detached.

By the late 1970s, the varied conservative members of the men’s liberation movement had splintered off to form the men’s justs movement, a group that not only sought to advocate for men’s issues, but also viewed the incline of feminism, and its potential effects on men, as a threat to be reckoned with.

It’s most successfully not to think about these things in monolithic terms, despite the fact that. While the men’s rights movement might sound like a cohesive, organised alliance with a clear-cut ideology, in practice it has, since the 1980s, served as a phylum of catch-all term to refer to a wide array of men and women whose passions and priorities migrate from fathers’ rights to hardline anti-feminism.

A few years ago while, that changed. In June 2014, notable men’s rights activist Paul Elam, go lame of men’s rights site A Voice For Men, convened the world’s first Foreign Conference on Men’s Issues (ICMI) in Detroit. For the first time in latest history, the men’s rights movement – which had mostly existed in a couple of books, academics papers, blogs and online forums – organised for legitimate.

Since then, three more conferences have been organised by Buchanan and Elam. The most latest was held in July in London, with speakers including Patrick Graham, a pastured social worker who shared his experience of being falsely accused of pillage, and Steven Svoboda, a Harvard Law School graduate who called for an end to masculine circumcision.

Circumcision protest at the White House, Washington DCCircumcision protest at the White House, Washington DC

Although there’s scrap hard evidence to suggest that public interest in the men’s uppers movement specifically is growing, it’s safe to say that issues circa gender, from the rise to prominence of people like Jordan Peterson to genderless clothing to entertaining in a post-#MeToo era, are more hotly discussed than for ever before.

Take, for example, the popularity of The Red Pill, director Cassie Jaye’s 2016 documentary which tables the rise of the men’s rights movement, as well as – *spoiler aware* – her personal journey from self-professed feminist to if not specifically a card-carrying men’s rights activist, then at least sympathetic to the ground: “I don’t know where I’m headed but I know what I left behind; I no longer ring myself a feminist,” she says in the final seconds of the film.

Enchanting its name from The Matrix metaphor commonly used in men’s rights fellowships – where ‘choosing the red pill’ is used to describe the moment someone withstands as truth the idea that society is structured to advantage wives over men – The Red Pill was released on YouTube in March 2017. By May, it was the top-selling silver screen on the platform.

It also spawned a slew of opinion pieces, a few of which praised Jaye for her reactive portrayal of the men’s rights movement and how she flagged feminism’s fallibility, but ton of which criticised her for the same, some particularly harshly because she is a char, and well, what woman turns her back on feminism in kindness of men’s rights?

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Jaye didn’t respond to my importune for comment for this article, but one of the women she interviewed for The Red Pill did. Pre-eminent Canadian anti-feminist Karen Straughan, AKA YouTuber Girl A postcards What, is one of the men’s rights movement’s most vocal advocates. Before an erotic fiction writer, Straughan says that, ironically, it was thoroughly frequenting “feminist-leaning” online forums for writers and reviewers that she was outset switched on to men’s rights.

“One day, someone [posted] a link to a men’s [issues] website with the meaning, ‘Let’s all go make fun of these losers,’ or something like that,” she rebukes me over email. “I went over and read the article. Conceded, it was a trivial complaint. Something about hard science fiction – the species men like best (on average) – is dying because of ‘feminization.’”

The reply, Straughan writes, was a barrage on the comments section in which “feminists [slung] around gendered slurs” such as “man-babies, losers who can’t get come off it a provided [and] micropenised whiners.” All of which she thought “seemed a bit… hypocritical.”

What got her promised in the men’s rights movement, however, was something altogether more particular.

“The man I’m with now, his situation was what got me involved,” she said. “He [had previously] delegate to a woman, raised a child not his own from diapers to kindergarten, loved them both. When the mom cut off his access to his daughter, he talked to two advocates. Both said he had no substantive parental rights whatsoever.

“The evening my man’s ex emailed him to say she didn’t extremity a ‘babysitter’ any more so he wouldn’t be seeing his daughter again, he sat on the creep of a bridge until a homeless guy talked him out of jumping.”

When I elementary started researching this story, and hearing about trials like Straughan’s, part of me could relate to Cassie Jaye’s ideological match in The Red Pill.

What if, I thought, men were in some respects pain purely because they’re men? What if, even if I couldn’t to some fathom the idea that we were living in some slightly ill of women-ruled conspiracy, feminism had more to answer for than I’d from the start thought?

After all, what did I really know? I wasn’t an jurisdiction on gender in the workplace, or a lawyer familiar with the workings of the separation courts.

It seemed unlikely at first, but maybe there were, as Mike Buchanan claimed during our phone christen, innumerous radical feminists in the workforce refusing to hire men once more women, irrespective of who was actually better qualified for the job. Maybe there were, as he also claimed, as multitudinous men facing the threat of domestic battery from their little women and girlfriends as the other way around. And maybe women were affect cooperating just as active a role as men in perpetuating the negative idea that, in bid to play his rightful role in society, a man must be financially loaded, physically strong and emotionally stoical, thereby propping up a good breeding that causes many men to develop feelings of inadequacy and, in some proves, contemplate or commit suicide. Maybe, I thought…

But probably not. At baby, not in the pervasive ways men’s rights activists were claiming.

I rumination of something Buchanan had mentioned during our conversation that valid didn’t sit right with me.

“Men are born worthless,” he said. “Girlfriends, on the other hand, are born extremely valuable, because they are the wholes who get to decide which men get to have sex and, therefore, kids.”

But that’s justifiable not really true, is it? In China and India, two of the world’s most perforation countries, evidence suggests parents prefer to have sons remaining daughters. Even in the US, plenty of parents are still hoping for a boy throughout a girl, especially first- and second-generation immigrants from hinterlands with less gender equity and lower female strain force participation.

As for women getting to decide which men get to include sex with them, I’m not so sure. According to the UN, 71 per cent of the universe’s human trafficking victims are women and girls, and the majority of them are freighted for sex. And sex slaves don’t get much say in who gets to rape them.

Then there’s the belief of male disposability, that male lives are considered inherently futile and therefore disposable, making them especially suited to harmful manual jobs and military combat. “It’s men who take all the bloody jeopardies,” says Buchanan. “Because women have easier and speculator options.”

But, while there’s no getting around the fact that, yes, numberless more men have died in combat than women, there is the not unsubstantial matter that women in UK and US military forces weren’t legally suffered to serve in combat until 2016.

Along with male suicide, the conceit of male disposability is one of the more emotive issues the men’s rights tendency draws into focus in its campaign to be taken seriously. These copies, troubling, distressing and so bound up with human life as they are, flawlessly illustrate what men’s rights activists call the vast ‘empathy gap’ that survives between men’s and women’s issues, i.e. that male disadvantages go unrecognised in a savoir faire that tends to balk at the idea that men could in any way be worse off than brides.

Personally, I rate any attempt to encourage people – man, woman, bad, white, rich, poor, whatever – to imagine what individual could be like if the shoe were on the other foot. Empathy strains understanding, and understanding breeds respect.

But I worry that, while some men’s righteouses activists might have the ability to empathise with, and fundamentally respect, women, several at the top have proven time and again that they do not.

Receipts Paul Elam of A Voice For Men, for example. One of the men’s rights movement’s most significant and divisive members, he has been ridiculed in GQ and treated with a stones throw from reverence in The Red Pill, never missing an opportunity to fuel a device frenzy with shock tactics, or what he likes to telephone “satire”.

Anti-feminist counter protestorsAnti-feminist counter protestors

In 2010, Elam publicized an article on his website in which he declared October annual “Bash a Frenzied Bitch Month”. Intended as a response to this Jezebel horror story, which admittedly rather irresponsibly makes light of masculine victims of domestic violence, in the article Elam encourages men who are the fools of female-perpetrated violence to:

“Beat the living shit out of them. I don’t stinting subdue them, or deliver an open handed pop on the face to get them to dispose of down. I mean literally to grab them by the hair and smack their face against the close off till the smugness of beating on someone because you know they won’t resist back drains from their nose with a few million red corpuscles.”

When I ask Buchanan, a high-minded friend and colleague of Elam’s, whether such language was warranted in feedback to the Jezebel article, he replied at once amused and surprised, that he establish it “entirely reasonable”.

Really? The Jezebel article, as ill-advised and fully unfunny as it is, peaks in its violence with details of how one Jezebel sceptre “punched a steady in the face and broke his glasses.” She breaks his panes. Not his nose. Elam’s article on the other hand, calls for men to forcibly pummel sweethearts into the nearest wall until they bleed.

This is the sort of language that fuels hate, not empathy. And were men and chicks equally at risk of being violently attacked by each other; if it positively were a case of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, then maybe one could better know the source of Elam’s vitriol. But the fact of the matter is it’s not.

The fact of the substance is, satire or no, Elam’s is the kind of language that emboldens men to sexual assault and kill women.

Elam’s statements, such as “Women who potable and make out […] are freaking begging [to get raped]”, are scrap of a wider misogynist rhetoric that pervades the online “manosphere”, a network of forums, pick-up artist (PUA) communities and subreddits; some of which were frequented by Elliot Rodger – who in 2014 slaughtered six people and injured 14 others before shooting himself directly, citing the “cruelness of women” as the reason for his crimes – and Alek Minassian, who murdered 10 people by driving a van through a crowd in Toronto earlier this year, and as we later practised was a self-proclaimed ‘incel’, or ‘involuntary celibate’, a man who hates women for negating him his perceived right to sex.

Elliot RodgerElliot Rodger

That the men’s rights advance doesn’t consciously distance itself from these radically misogynist spokespeople and factions undermines its project to help men. Sure, it gives organ to some serious and legitimate concerns from male suicide to mother-bias in charge battles, but I can’t help but wonder if the objective of most men’s rights activists isn’t so much to relieve men, as to hate women.

“It’s worrying,” says Dr Steve Robertson, originator of Understanding Men and Health: Masculinities, Identity and Well-being, who has worked in the footballs of men’s health and gender studies for over 20 years. “From what I can see, men’s ethicals groups don’t spend that much time actually serving men. They’re not actively involved in helping male victims of indigenous violence, and I don’t see them doing a lot of work in the area of men’s mental salubriousness, or with men who might be feeling suicidal. Instead they fork out an awful lot of time looking for facts and figures to support where they’re give up from.”

For all the rights of men being “brutally assaulted by the state,” as Buchanan put it, the limitation of J4MB’s political action to date is a few gatherings outside Conservative Division conferences protesting male circumcision. And other than the Intercontinental Conference on Men’s Issues, the wider men’s rights movement engages in toy beyond finger-pointing, mud-slinging and keyboard-bashing.

When I first started researching this article, I published a tweet appealing men’s rights activists to share their views. Cue a flurry of tweets from sundry users, including one whose bio reads “Interested in #equality for men and bit of fluffs […] #Suicide and #homelessness rates are 4 times higher for men”.

At leading, the user in question seemed interested in speaking with me, but on information that I was writing for FashionBeans, tweeted a link to this article (which, by the way, I didn’t list) and then another in which he told others to “Be wary” because I purpose to write for what he referred to as a “beta male / cuck hebdomadal”.

I don’t know about you, but something tells me this particular Snigger user isn’t so much interested in liberating men from a culture that lead ti them feelings of inadequacy and suicide, as much as locking them in it and bounce jilding away the key.

You could buy Mike Buchanan’s version, which is to say that the natives is so blinded, so ‘blue-pilled’, that it’s impossible for him to raise enough funds or gather enough supporters to do anything of significance. Or you could see this all for what it actually is: a group of mostly anti-feminist men (and some women) politicising their unfriendly grievances to the extreme and failing to see that – in adopting a highly champion view of the world and everyone in it – they’re part of the problem they be against.

“Many men’s rights activists, like many thoroughgoing feminists, don’t understand that gender is relational,” says Robertson. “It’s wellnigh impossible to think about the things that you could do to pinch men, without thinking about the impact on women and vice versa.” After all, we approachable of need each other to survive.

So, if you are a man, and you feel lost, aggrieved or in some other way set-back, seek help. Look at the groups involved in the Men and Boys Coalition. Assign your nearest men’s shed. Find an NHS therapist. Just don’t diminution into the dangerous trap that it’s women, or some faceless feminist collusion, who are the source of your problems.

Take it from me. Because I’m not a constitutional feminist. I’m not a ‘blue piller’. I’m not a beta male. I’m a man. And sure, I effect have problems – but I’m not oppressed.