Category Archives: Feminism

White Ribbon STOP FIBBIN’!

BY Jim Byset

The mission to end violence against women received another boost last week with the news that White Ribbon Canada is to receive $300,000 in funding from the Canadian government. The money, donated by the Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, Dr. Kellie Leitch, is to be used to fund the development of an online toolkit that will help men end violence against women. Todd Minerson of White Ribbon Canada and Minister Leitch made the announcement in front of assembled press in Ottawa.

The news comes as something of a fillip for the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) amid increased scrutiny regarding its financial affairs, the accuracy of its claims surrounding domestic violence and rape, and the methods used to draw attention to its mission. Both White Ribbon Australia and White Ribbon Canada have recently had their financial records investigated, with the findings showing that the overwhelming majority of the WRC’s funding goes directly to staff salaries. In the case of White Ribbon Canada, this amounts to $528,101 from a total of $1,108,850, paid out to just 11 staff.

The next-largest tranche of funding is used for further fund-raising efforts, the net effect of which is that most of the money that the WRC makes goes into staffers’ pockets and most of what is left over is used to make sure that it keeps going there. Neither set of records shows how, or where, funding is spent on serious anti-violence efforts. For now, the WRC has two main campaigns—the most visible being “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” the purpose of which is to raise awareness through symbolic gestures of solidarity for women who suffer domestic violence. Yet, despite significant fund-raising, White Ribbon does not operate or offer any counseling services, helplines, or legal advice to those who are victims of sexual assault or domestic violence. According to White Ribbon organizers, their job is simply one of “awareness raising,” but if recent efforts in the Republic of Ireland are anything to go by, they’re failing.

Badly.

White Ribbon Ireland is also taking fire for making grossly exaggerated claims on the prevalence of rape in Irish society. The Irish arm of the advocacy group has apologized for a recent “error” that inflated the Irish government’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) rate of 451 reported instances of rape in 2013 to a massive 3,500. White Ribbon Ireland made the claim in a press release prior to its official launch, stating that[a]ccording to CSO statistics, there were 3,500 reported rapes in Ireland in 2013.” It is difficult to see how such an “error” could take place within a group whose expertise is supposed to be on these very issues. White Ribbon has not as yet fully explained how the number found its way into print or what it’s doing to ensure that such obvious falsehoods aren’t repeated—a worrying sign indeed. If White Ribbon’s mission is truly to raise awareness on issues such as rape and domestic violence, then it behooves them to ensure that data is accurate. Exaggerating data on crimes such as rape will only have one result—spreading fear.

But perhaps worst of all is White Ribbon’s insistence that domestic violence is an issue that only affects women. It is a well-established fact that men are just as likely to be victims of domestic violence. However, White Ribbon’s framing of the issue is one that ignores the male reality of suffering. This is completely unacceptable, especially so in an environment where the overwhelming majority of men do not feel able to speak out regarding their abuse. Police authorities are not trained to deal with male victims of abuse, and there are practically zero resources from which men can seek help. Tonight across Canada, and Australia, and Ireland, men will suffer their abuse alone, behind closed doors.

If White Ribbon is serious about its mission, then it’s time to acknowledge ALL victims of abuse.

It’s time to put all money into the direct provision of services. It’s time to stop manipulating figures. It’s time for honesty and transparency.

Unfortunately, Minister Leitch’s announcement may not prove to be as helpful as we’d hope, despite all of the fanfare. As long as Canadian taxpayer money goes to groups like White Ribbon, we will never be free of domestic violence and we will never, ever have a fair and equitable approach to these issues. The men, women, and children in our lives deserve so much better.

 

The end of rape culture

BY Jim Byset

A CURIOUS thing is happening at the National Post right now. Over the past two weeks, the National Post has printed four articles on rape culture. Rape culture, for those of you who don’t know, is the idea that we live in a society whereby rape is an accepted reality. Evidence that we are living in such a culture comes from our apparent comfort with sexualizing and objectifying women, the prevalence of prostitution and pornography, victim blaming, slut shaming, and trivializing rape.

Quite often, statistics and facts accompany the theory – with feminists and activists quoting numbers that are, on the face of it, pretty terrifying.  While there doesn’t seem to be a consensus as to exactly how many women are being raped or sexually assaulted (advocates of the theory never include data on male victims,) what is clear is that the numbers are absolutely huge. Indeed, they’re so big that they’re simply not credible. Many noted academics, critics, and commentators such as Christina Hoff Sommers have repeatedly argued this point but to little avail. While critics of feminism have been effective in ripping the theory to shreds, gender feminists plow on regardless – safe in the knowledge that neither politicians nor the mainstream media have any interest in confronting their claims.

That comfortable status quo, however, might be about to change.

Over the past fortnight, The National Post has aggressively challenged the concept of rape culture. Barbara Kay, long noted for her rejection of feminist thought, wrote two articles in which she critiqued the spurious tenets of rape culture theory. Brian Hutchinson penned a piece in which he investigated the origins and veracity of foundational ‘statistics’ that underpin rape culture and, just two days ago, The National Post Editorial Board threw their considerable weight behind the push to openly scrutinize the idea of rape culture.

Kay sees the recent coverage as part of a greater awareness, and skepticism about the claims made by feminists.

I am very pleased to see the Post’s editorial board taking a definite stand on this issue[.] I think perhaps it is a sign that there is only so much fear-mongering you can generate without adducing evidence for it before public skepticism takes hold. According to rape culture claims, the risks to campus women of sexual assault are higher than the risk of any other crime on earth. And yet women walk around the campus seemingly blithely unaware of the terrible fate in store for them or their girlfriends (based on the one in four/five figure). There is a cognitive disconnect here, and ordinary Canadians are puzzled by it.

As well they should be – the idea that we live in a rape culture clashes spectacularly not only with official crime stats, but also with the dim view that society in general takes of sexual assault and rape – a point that Margaret Wente of The Globe and Mail recently explored, saying that,“[the] manufacture of “rape culture” is a triumph of ideology over substance. It has inflated a serious but uncommon threat into a crime wave.”

The key word here is inflated. Feminists routinely buttress their theories with statistics that are not congruent with reality; they use definitions and methodologies that result in a hopelessly skewed picture. No reasonable person – even for a moment – would believe the ‘statistic’ that one-in-four women are raped on university campuses, yet that is the conclusion that Mary P. Koss came to in her now infamous (and repeatedly debunked) survey in 1987.

Amazingly, 73% of the women that Koss characterized as rape victims, did not share that view – they did not think that they were victims of rape. 43% of these supposed rape victims went on to date their ‘rapists.’

Clearly Koss’ definition of rape is just plain wrong and an honest scholar would address that. Koss chose not to address the problem, however, and so have the countless feminist academics who’ve since mimicked her methodology. What exists as a consequence is a strange form of hysteria across college campuses, and, to a lesser degree – across society. Kay believes that the success of the feminist propaganda machine, in popularizing the myth of a ‘war on women’ is directly responsible for promulgation of rape culture.

Once you accept… that the urge to violence against women is a chronic and unabating evil, situated in the hearts of men, and ready to spring out at any opportune moment, you have created a moral panic with no basis in evidence, just a theory that violence against women is a continuum from a child’s stolen playground kiss on the cheek to the calculated rapes of women in Bosnia-Herzogovina. No amount of vigilance, therefore, is too much, and no woman is therefore really safe. In fact, a very tiny percentage of women are at actual risk of violence from men in our society, and of those who are, much of it is avoidable.

The recent debacle at Wellesley College in is a perfect example of this hysteria. American artist Tony Matelli’s temporary art installation – a statue of a fairly ordinary looking man sleepwalking in his underwear was deemed by students as an “inappropriate and potentially harmful addition to our community.” Admittedly – the statue is unusual – and at a stretch unsettling – but it’s a statue. It doesn’t possess agency and has nothing to do with rape. Yet, these staggeringly obvious facts did not deter Wellesley students from setting up a Change.org petition to have the ‘triggering’ statue removed from its location on campus grounds, which, depressingly, garnered some 988 signatories.

Somnambulist statue at Wellesley college
Somnambulist statue at Wellesley college

[T]hat is the point of it (rape culture) – to sow terror of men in order to convince authorities that women continue to need support, that the rape-crisis industry is not only necessary but in need of expansion, and therefore even more funding in this area is called for. The real beneficiaries are stakeholders in jobs created by the moral panic.

It is difficult to draw any other conclusion. Rape culture just doesn’t make any sense. It contradicts the general societal view of rape and sexual assault as a heinous crime; it contradicts how seriously the legal system views such crimes and relies on debunked, dishonest research. It also describes a picture that Kay says is completely at odds with crime statistics.

 “The fact is that instances of rape have gone down in the general population. If they have gone up on campuses, there have to be other factors at work. Why has there not been more emphasis on facts and statistics around the phenomenon? Because the case for rape culture collapses when you start looking into the stats. Even if you multiply reported rapes by 100, you still don’t get figures that add up to a “culture.”

It is vital, according to Kay, to continue to put pressure on those that perpetuate such theories by asking questions, and demanding answers.

“[We should ask] the same questions we should ask of someone who promotes the idea that there are packs of stray dogs roaming the city and we are in danger of getting rabies from their bites: Show me the evidence. How many police reports of bites? How many hospital admissions for rabies? How many stories of bites and rabies turned out to be urban myths? Why are the rabid dogs only roaming around in this city and not in the nearby ones? Is “rabies” a misnomer in most cases for “infection”? Has “rabies” been redefined in this city and not in others? How is it that so many of the self-reporting victims were so drunk when they were bitten that they can’t remember feeling the pain of the bite?”

These are questions that feminists need to answer. There should be no more talk of ‘triggering,’ no more ad hominem attacks or appeals to emotion – if feminists want their theories to be taken seriously then they should be made to publically defend them. If they are not willing to do that then financial support should be withdrawn from programs that support such spurious theories. It is high time for a critical audit of rape culture theory, and the industry it supports.

No Free Speech On Campus

BY Jim Byset

RYERSON STUDENT UNION (RSU) kicked off their annual elections amid a buzz of activity yesterday – while an undercurrent of controversy brews at the former polytechnic. A number of RSU veterans are taking part in this year’s election, which runs until February 5, with Rejean Holliet widely regarded to land the top job of RSU President.  The campus, ordinarily hectic, was especially frenetic in recent days with eager campaign helpers running to and fro, soliciting votes, handing out flyers, all friendly, all smiles. Campus campaigners have mastered that fine art of grabbing the attention of passers-by – BIG smile, tilt head to an almost impossible angle, BIG wave, move towards – but not directly into intended victim’s path – and top it off with a saccharine sweet HI!!! before asking that question – the question that every single pedestrian trying to get somewhere dreads “do you have a minute…?” Some, however, eschew this method and go even further making a veritable pantomime of the approach – doing whatever they can to attract eye contact and spark conversation. Some ask bizarre questions; some make weird noises; some even walk directly into the path of oncoming human traffic.

The cheerleading and glad-handing on campus, while not as polished and somewhat more effusive, still doesn’t differ all that much from the real world, political kind. Just like real world democratic politicking – there is an urgent need to engage the electorate because, obviously, there is a need for votes. There is a need to present the best possible image – to be picture perfect. But just like real world politics – the truth is never pristine; the truth is often hidden behind hyper-managed public images. And those truths, those agendas, are often very, very dirty indeed.

On February 6, the day after elections close, Karen Straughan will speak at Ryerson. Hers is the first in an ambitious series of eight lectures at eight different Canadian universities being promoted by CAFE throughout 2014. Straughan aims to address a number of topics with her time at the lectern, not least of all, free speech on Canadian campuses.

Ryerson achieved national notoriety last year when they summarily dismissed an application for a men’s group at the Toronto campus. Justification for the ban came from RSU President apparent Rajean Holiett – who said in interview with campus newspaper ‘The Ryersonian’ in October 2013 that “what we saw happening at the University of Toronto (UofT) is that these men’s rights groups were creating very problematic and unsafe spaces for women-identified folk on the campus. They would create conversations that blamed female victims and survivors of rape for their rape.” Holiett’s claims are not only extraordinary but are patently untrue. Holiett, to be blunt, is relying on scare tactics to silence the voices of those who oppose the hegemonic  stranglehold on gender discourse at Ryerson, and other Canadian universities.  And, there’s likely more to come.

RSU, again, are choosing to play their UofT trump card, this time citing security concerns because of past flashpoints at the UofT campus – flashpoints that were deliberately created by feminist protestors. CAFE staged a number of academic lectures at UofT that were violently disrupted by feminists – lectures by Dr. Janice Fiamengo and Dr. Warren Farrell being the most notable examples.

And now, with Straughan’s lecture just days away, Ryerson administration and the RSU have smacked CAFE with a $1,600 security fee to host the event and have shifted the venue from the Mattamy Athletic Centre, to a 7th floor room that holds just 100 people at the Chang School for Continuing Education. Both of these moves are deliberately designed to cause as much disruption as possible. RSU, and Ryerson’s administration simply want CAFE to go away. For all of their talk about inclusion, diversity, and equality, RSU is a blinkered, ideologically driven organization that is not interested in propagating a truly inclusive environment. Their modus operandi is to reject criticism – to reject differing points of view – to spread mistruths about those with whom they disagree and ultimately to bully and harass.

RSU and Ryerson administration are aware that CAFE has made significant strides with their efforts at UofT – effectively garnering public and media support behind their efforts. It has reached the point where feminist protestors now longer employ their fascist, bullying tactics. The tide, at least at UofT, has turned.

Yet, this change has come at a cost. It is likely that more radicalized student unions and supine administrations will ape UofT’s example and try to penalize CAFE with ‘security fees.’ Of course, the intent of these fees is extremely transparent – not only to the wider MHRM but CAFE themselves – it is an attempt to cause as much financial damage as possible.

If this is to be avoided then CAFE must take decisive action and if necessary, legal action. A situation must not develop where CAFE or any other group who seek to address men’s issues are singled out for such treatment.

George Bernard Shaw famously said that ‘democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.’ Of that there is little doubt and the situation is unlikely to change at Ryerson, at least not any time soon. However, it is hoped that by the time the next batch of RSU hopefuls appear next year that the idea of men’s rights is no longer an issue, and that groups like CAFE continue to make further gains on, and off-campus.

Who is the real troll here?

BY Jim Byset

IT WOULD be funny if it wasn’t true. It would be funny if so much wasn’t at stake. It would be funny if the Canadian justice system wasn’t mollycoddling and indulging the childish, whiny, bullying behaviour of feminists. However, unfortunately, it is true – the trial of Toronto artist and father-of-four Gregory Alan Elliott really is happening.

And it is a disgrace.

If you’re a Torontonian, it’s likely you’ve come across Gregory Alan Elliott’s work at some point. Elliot’s art is featured all over the city – from Kensington market to Bloor and Landsdowne. It’s also just as likely that you don’t know who the guy is – but he’s a prolific and talented street artist with a clear artistic philosophy of self-individuation, truth, and love. But what really sets Elliott apart is that unlike other graffiti artists – he actually signs his work – with his real name. ‘I wanted to challenge graffiti artists around the world; the concept was to tell them and challenge them by signing my full legal name all in caps. If you sign it you take responsibility for it.’

Taking responsibility is a concept that means a lot to the father-of-four.

Elliott is facing charges of criminal harassment for the supposed ‘crime’ of sending some tweets to Toronto feminists Stephanie Guthrie, Paisley Rae, and Heather Reilly. If found guilty, Elliott faces up to six months in prison – with the verdict having far-reaching implications for freedom of speech in Canada. This is the first trial of its kind in Canada and is a test case for setting precedent in this area. If Guthrie et al are successful then the interpretation of the criminal code is expanded to include online activity. This in-itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If people receive legitimate threats, and feel threatened as a result – it is a criminal act, regardless of the medium. The problem arises however, when one examines the facts of this case and the specific criminal code in question.

Canadian criminal code 264 defines criminal harassment. Its definition describes a number of potentially criminal behaviours, such as stalking, repeated communication, and threatening behaviour. In order for these behaviours to be considered criminal – they must cause the complainant to ‘reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them.’ In this particular case then, the prosecution faces two burdens of proof – the first that there was a form of behaviour that matches any one of the criteria laid out in the code, and that that behaviour was sufficient to cause the complainant to reasonably fear for their safety.

The Crown’s case, in both instances, is thinner than paper thin; indeed it is barely a wisp – and this is the reason why this case is so dangerous.

Should the Crown succeed in this reckless prosecution then not only is the interpretation of the criminal code expanded to include online harassment, but it is also expanded in terms of how personal safety is understood. It is important to note that not one of Elliott’s tweets or virtual communications is threatening – even by the most liberal interpretation of the word. Indeed, so unthreatening is Elliott that the officer in charge of the case, Toronto Police Detective Jeff Bangild, said in testimony last week that he found no tweets from Elliott that were threatening – none – among thousands. Just to be clear – this is from the officer in charge of the case.

If Banglid’s interpretation of the evidence is accurate then the prosecution’s case rests on selling the idea that this repeated communication, by itself, caused fear. This is almost impossible because the internet does not operate according to the rules of more traditional communication. It is extremely easy to block, or ignore people online. It is not like receiving multiple letters through the post or constant phone calls at three in the morning. It’s nothing like that. Consequently, the prosecution will have to demonstrate that Guthrie and her pals were genuinely frightened despite the fact that nothing Elliott did was actually threatening and that they could easily block him and ignore his tweets. They’re going to have a particularly difficult time with Guthrie given her constant boasting of having a folder on her computer full of death threats. Guthrie has made this claim on a number of occasions – one such occasion being the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) meeting held at the Onatrio Institute for Secondary Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto last year. Guthrie made the claim to a room full of freshman and feminist activists at a meeting whose purpose was to spread lies about the MHRM and to call for militant action against those that support men’s human rights. One has to wonder if death threats don’t frighten her – then why would the non-threatening, repeated communication from a man she dismisses as a ‘troll?’

*****

It may surprise some to learn that Elliott and Guthrie were at one time friendly. Elliott was sympathetic to some of Guthrie’s causes and at one point offered his considerable talents as a graphic artist to help with one of her campaigns. Things changed though, when con artist Anita Sarkeesian was the target of an online game that encouraged players to virtually beat the crap out of her. Guthrie and her pals, unfazed by Sarkeesian’s shady past (and the anger within the gaming community at her questionable exploits,) doxxed the game’s developer Bendilin Spurr, and openly attempted to destroy his reputation, employment prospects, and even his romantic life in his hometown in Ontario. Elliott spoke out against Guthrie – labelling her behaviour as bullying and dangerous. What followed was a barrage of abuse between Guthrie, her feminist cohorts, and Elliott.

There was abuse on both sides but as the tweets make clear – Elliott was the victim of a concerted effort by Guthrie and her friends to bully the artist. Indeed, when one looks closely at the date stamps on the tweets – one can clearly see that Guthrie, Rae, and Reilly appear to adapt the same ‘communication strategy’ with Elliott on certain dates. For example, on September 9 2012, all three switch their message from open communication to attempting to create the appearance of actively ignoring Elliott. It is, however, extremely transparent from the tweets that this is a deliberate strategy – likely in anticipation of an action on their behalf (Elliott was arrested just two months later.) It is a pattern that marries well with defence attorney Chris Murphy’s assertion this week in court that Guthrie and her feminist stooges are guilty of deliberately manufacturing the entire debacle in an attempt to harass and discredit Elliott. Murphy alleged that in a meeting in Summer 2012 a group of feminists, including the three complainants got together to hatch a plan in which they would target Elliott’s followers and set up a parody account – both of which they did. (They created the parody twitter hashtag #GAEhole to refer to Elliot and openly called for people to shun him online.)

The internet has become an ideological battleground with feminists imposing their agenda on the unwilling and censoring dissent wherever it arises. Feminists, with Rebecca Watson as the figurehead, have ruined the atheist community. Feminists, with Anita Sarkeesian as the figurehead, have ruined the gaming community.  Feminists, with Adria Richards as the figurehead, have ruined the coding community.  Feminists, now with Stephanie Guthrie as the figurehead, are looking to do even more damage to the social media community.  (Feminists have also ruined the wikipedia community and are currently trying to ruin the WordPress community.)

Their modus operandi is becoming increasingly transparent – group together, time an ‘action’ and hurl as much mud as possible. The truth doesn’t matter to them. The idea of personal responsibility, of doing what Gregory Alan Elliott is willing to do – to sign one’s name to one’s actions, does not matter to them. It is time for this cowardly, disgusting behaviour to be highlighted – and punished. It is hoped that the criminal court of Ontario finds Gregory Alan Elliott not guilty.  It is overwhelmingly likely that they will, and it is further hoped that this will see an end to the public whining and private scheming of over-privileged feminists like Stephanie Guthrie, Heather Reilly, and Paisley Rae.

Joy Smith Continues her attack on men

BY Jim Byset

JOY SMITH has been in the news a lot lately.  She just recently held meetings at her offices in Ottawa with religious crazies and radical feminists in a bid to futher demonize male sexuality by censoring internet porn.  Now, the Conservative MP for Kildonan-St. Paul has continued her attack on men by positing the idea that male buyers of sex from prostitutes should be criminalized, but not the sellers.

Joy Smith wants to tell men and women when and how to have sex

It is hardly surprising that Smith should think this – given that she is incapable of formulating any worthwhile, original ideas herself.  While meeting with her group of radical fringe collaborators earlier this month she presented her idea of making internet users register with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to access freely available, legal, adult material.  The thing is, the idea is not hers.

It was already tabled in the U.K. where it now set to fully roll out in early 2014.  In fact, such is Smith’s fanaticism that while speaking to the National Post she made the astounding (and frankly unbelievable) claim that she “got a letter from a young boy 10 years of age telling me he was addicted to porn. It just brought me to tears.”

Smith’s statement today is in response to news that the Supreme Court of Canada (SCOC) has declared current laws on prostitution unconstitutional.  Her statement however, is little more than another pathetic attempt to demonize male sexuality by aping the legislation of other feminist zealots.  This time, she’s chosen to copy the efforts of feminist legislators in Sweden, who in 1999 made it illegal to purchase, but not to sell sex.

One has to wonder what they’re putting in the water in the constituency of Kildonan-St.Paul.  Here’s the statement – get your sick bags ready:

“The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that the Criminal Code offences around prostitution are unconstitutional. This ruling leaves police without important legal tools to tackle sex trafficking and organized crime and does not reflect a 1990 Supreme Court of Canada decision which stated that the elimination of prostitution through law was a valid goal.

Despite this ruling, the debate around prostitution is hardly settled. There are those who wish to legalize and normalize the industry, those who wish to criminalize all aspects of the industry, and finally those, like myself, who recognize prostitution as an industry that is inherently harmful to women and girls and therefore must be eliminated.

I am convinced that the most effective route to tackling prostitution and sex trafficking is to address the demand for commercial sex by targeting the buyers of sex. Countries that have legalized and regulated have seen sexual exploitation, human trafficking and violence towards women and girls increase drastically. In fact, a 2012 comprehensive  study of a cross section of up to 150 counties revealed that legalizing prostitution increased sex trafficking. In contrast, countries like Sweden and Norway, which have adopted the Nordic model of prostitution, have seen a significant decrease in prostitution and sex trafficking.

The Nordic model of prostitution is effective due to its three approaches: explicitly criminalizing the purchase of sexual services, a national awareness campaign to educate the public that the purchase of sexual services is harmful to women, and finally strong support programs for those who seek to exit prostitution.

Many police services across Canada have already shifted to policing models reflecting the Nordic model approach that women, girls and vulnerable populations are victimized and profoundly harmed by prostitution. The Toronto Police Service, Canada’s largest municipal force, mandates their Sex Crimes Unit Special Victims Section to recognize ‘sex workers as victims first.’ Vancouver Police Department’s Counter Exploitation Unit acknowledges ‘that Aboriginal women are over-represented’ among prostituted women and focuses on assisting ‘young people escape from the sex trade.’ The Winnipeg Police Service’s new Counter Exploitation Unit has also adopted ‘victim first’ driven investigations.

The harm caused by prostitution to women, girls and vulnerable populations has been well documented by women’s and First Nations organizations. During the June 13, 2013 Supreme Court of Canada hearings, the majority of interveners that were directly opposed to legalizing and regulating prostitution represented women’s organizations such as Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres, Native Women’s Association of Canada, and Vancouver Rape Relief Society. These organizations presented compelling evidence to the Supreme Court of Canada that legalizing prostitution would place women, girls and vulnerable populations at much greater risk of exploitation.

Even the buyers of sex recognize the harm caused by prostitution to women. A 2012 Canadian study on the buyers of sex called Buyer Beware, found that of the 20 men interviewed, 8 of the men indicated that they acknowledged that women were most harmed by their act of buying sex and another 10 of the men felt both the woman and the buyer were harmed. Result – 90% of the men who bought sex recognized the women involved in prostitution were harmed by act of prostitution. The same study revealed that all 20 sex buyers would warn a first time sex buyer against engaging in prostitution due to the harm caused.

Prostitution must be eliminated because it dehumanizes and degrades humans and reduces them to a commodity to be bought and sold. Legalizing prostitution is a direct attack on the fundamental rights and freedoms of women, girls and vulnerable people. In the same regard, continuing to criminalize the women and vulnerable populations being prostituted creates barriers that prevent them from escaping prostitution and entrenches inequality.

Let’s be clear: those who advocate either approach ignore mounting empirical evidence and will find themselves on the wrong side of history and women’s equality.

As a nation, we must ensure pimps remain severely sanctioned and prostituted women and girls are not criminalized and instead given meaningful escape routes out of sex work. Most importantly, Canada must focus on the real root of prostitution by targeting the buyers of sex.”

Zealots to ape Brits: plan to introduce censorship to Canadian ISPs

BY Jim Byset

A GROUP of women, featuring a radical feminist, a religious zealot, and an ultra-conservative MP have banded together in a bid to block porn on Canadian Internet Service Providers (ISP.) Winnipeg Conservative MP Joy Smith, radical feminist Gail Dines, and evangelical ‘policy analyst’ Julia Beazley hosted a meeting on the subject for parliamentarians and other ‘stakeholders’ in Ottawa recently.

“If we can get a man on the moon, certainly we figure out a way to protect children from unwanted porn’ said Smith, who is set to table a private member’s bill that would automatically block user’s access to online, fully legal pornography.  Smith’s bill  is effectively identical to legislation recently enacted in the U.K., which in 2014 requires internet users to register with their service providers to access legal, adult material.

Gail Dines, the founder of the radical ‘Stop Porn Culture’ group, and a sociology professor at Boston’s Wheelock College described pornography as a “public health emergency situation.”

(from left to right) Smith, Dines and Beazely at the MP’s offices

According to Tom Copeland, chairman of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers, the conversation is nothing new.

“The discussion has gone on forever and a day, mostly it starts around child pornography and what can be done to combat it and whether or not Internet service providers can play a role, or should play a role,” Copeland said.

“And then every once in a while somebody decides, ’Well, we need to take this further, it needs to include general pornography sites’ —which aren’t illegal — ’it needs to include hate sites.’ It needs to include any number of sites that somebody all of a sudden has a burr in their britches about.”

Efforts to introduce legislation have traditionally been thwarted by ISPs and civil rights campaigners who point out that numerous, free alternatives are available to those who wish to block access to pornography on their own, or children’s computers.

A pig wearing lipstick

BY Jim Byset

IT IS UNDENIABLE that the MHRM has gained traction in the past few years.  Men’s advocacy websites and interest groups have seen massive upsurges in membership and participation.  Real world activism is taking discernible shape.  Men’s rights, often seen as a fringe, obscure movement is now shifting towards the centre of public consciousness with distinct groups now clearly apparent.  Some (albeit tiny minorities) are characterized by their strongly political viewpoints – while others are apolitical.  Some, such as the Japanese grass eating men and the North American MGTOWs eschew societal rules, in particular – romantic or committed involvement with the opposite sex; others welcome involvement with women and see male-female cooperation as vital to the success of the MHRM.

The global MHRM: protesting in India
The global MHRM: protesting in India

Some label themselves as Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs,) others Men’s Human Rights Activists (MHRAs) and some, while advocating for men and families only recognize the existence of human rights as a whole, rather than the existence of rights specific, or more applicable to men, than to women.  Put bluntly, it’s a global, complex movement that for the most part operates with a surprising degree of mutual respect and harmony.

The mainstream media, hitherto oblivious to the growth of the MHRM is taking notice.  Major news outlets are asking questions about what the MHRM is, who’s involved, and what the issues are.  While the media is yet to undertake a substantial survey of the myriad groups, divisions, politics, and realities of the wider MHRM, they are learning – albeit slowly.  Results so far have been mixed.  Balanced stories and accurate depictions of the MHRM are so far the exception.  Reporting is too often misleading, misinformed, and relies far too heavily on the input of those diametrically opposed to the MHRM.

And sometimes, the results are just downright disastrous.

Earlier this year ABC’s investigative documentary program 20/20 was forced to pull a piece purporting to profile the rise of the MHRM and the online ‘Manosphere.’  Prior to air, 20/20 ran a teaser trailer, with snippets from an interview with A Voice For Men’s founder Paul Elam, and an accompanying article featuring Anita Sarkeesian – a woman universally despised within not only the MHRM but also the gaming community.

Sarkeesian’s shady and questionable past as well as her opportunistic foray into gender-based criticism of the video game industry infuriated gamers and MHRAs alike (indeed both communities have a substantial demographical overlap.)

Anita Sarkeesian poses in front of arcade games she may or may not have played
Anita Sarkeesian poses in front of arcade games she may or may not have played

Sarkeesian’s inclusion in the documentary was sufficient by itself to enrage the MHRM but there was more.  It was evident from the trailer and the look of barely disguised contempt on the face of veteran journalist Elizabeth Vargas that the fix was in – and that objectivity was not high on either 20/20’s, or Vargas’ agenda.

Paul Elam, himself an unwilling ‘veteran’ of the media hit piece, saw the signs early.  While happy of the coverage, Elam understood ABC’s intentions and immediately made his feelings public.  The wider MHRM, already skeptical of the mainstream media’s agenda and poor track record, unleashed a maelstrom of ridicule and criticism at 20/20 and its producers – deconstructing their agenda in ABC’s comment sections, social media sites , and creating online petitions to demand higher standards of journalistic integrity.  So taken aback were ABC at the weight of public opinion against them, they pulled the piece, a move that only served to further anger many MHRAs.

As the ABC debacle demonstrated – the MHRM is not without power.  Its burgeoning membership, predominantly young, educated, and diverse (not only in terms of gender but also sexual orientation and race) – is laying claim to new territory, in a way not considered possible before.

Feminists shouting, and holding signs that aren’t helpful or intelligent
Feminists shouting, and holding signs that aren’t helpful or intelligent

Feminism – traditionally perceived as the outsider, as the plucky underdog with a score to settle, is now widely acknowledged as the establishment – an establishment from which its traditional core support – young, impressionable female undergrads, is turning away from in droves.  The propagandizing, the belabouring of tired clichés such as the myth of involuntary female domestic servitude or the gender pay gap has had its day.  The old idée fixes, are just that – old.

Third wave feminism has only recently recognized that there is a massive conundrum at the centre of its existence – that of its increasing irrelevance.  As the MHRM grew in popularity the feminist modus operandi wasn’t to reach out to those involved or to seek acquiescence on issues affecting men and boys.  Instead, feminists went on the offensive, hurling insult, lies, and cast the MHRM as well as individual MHRAs as misogynists, racists, homophobes – bigots of every imaginable variety.  It was a strategy concocted by and for those with a lot to lose – highly paid university professors whose jobs, research grants, and tenure depended on the continued promulgation of feminist mythology, and low-level politicians, eager to further their careers by appealing to the ideological status quo.

It was a strategy implemented for the most part by naïve, acned undergrads, barely able to tie their own shoelaces, let alone disentangle complex ideology and propaganda from truth.  This strategy did achieve a measure of success.  The unwillingness on the part of some MHRAs to convene in public due to shaming, intimidation, and doxxing tactics from feminists proved effective.

However, in November 2012, those same tactics backfired in spectacular fashion at what was becoming the epicentre of feminist antagonism towards the MHRM, the University of Toronto.

‘Protestors’ some openly admitting that they were sent to the event by their gender studies professors, harried and physically intimidated attendees, pulled fire alarms, blocked entrances to the venue, were assaultive to police (called in because of violent behavior from feminists) and verbally abused those present.  The video of the event, shot by Canadian filmmaker Steve Brulé, went viral.  The violence and bullying tactics of feminist agitators were seen around the world.

It was a watershed moment.

The public were aghast and the media, playing catch-up with a movement comprised of mysterious MGTOWs and hermitic herbivores latched onto the story.  It was an event that showed the public the true face of feminism, ugly, vicious – feral and it was an event that gave feminists serious pause for thought.  The old ways of intimidation, verbal abuse, shaming, violence – would no longer work.  That night steeled many within the MHRM who returned to Toronto in September 2013 and faced down the defunct gay activist group ‘Bashback.’ Bashback, reduced to a ragtag bunch of professional protestors tried and failed to shame MHRAs convened at Queen’s Park in Toronto – there to acknowledge the crisis facing men and boys in society.  Activists representing A Voice For Men, CAFE, the National Coalition For Men, Men’s Rights Edmonton, Men’s Human Rights Ontario, among others were present and shouted back against the shaming tactics – their voice was clear – ‘we will not be shamed anymore.’

This too, was another watershed.

The increasing awareness of feminism as a special interests group, dedicated to enhancing the circumstances of already over-privileged women at cost to society generally is reaching a critical mass.  Attendant to this is the growing recognition of the legitimacy of men’s human rights.  Feminists, now aware of their impending extinction and the intensifying acceptance of the MHRM have begun in recent months to change the record, or at least, to attempt to place it in a shinier sleeve.

In a bid to stop the bleeding, feminists have sparked a debate about rebranding.  Led by Elle magazine, the campaign has sought to undo the negative connotations around feminism.  From Elle journalist, Hannah Swerling:  ‘The conversation about feminism, what it means and more importantly, what it means to you, is one that runs continually at ELLE HQ.  That’s why in the November issue, we invited three feminist groups to work with three award-winning advertising agencies to re-brand a term that many feel has become burdened with complications and negativity.’

The jewellery issue is now a feminist issue, apparently
The jewellery issue is now a feminist issue, apparently

Of course – it is magnificently ironic that a glossy women’s magazine, heavy on aspirational consumerism, should take such a leading role in modern feminism.  It speaks volumes as to just how out of touch with reality feminism has become.

Yet this rebranding is not the only change taking place.

Feminists are beginning to begrudgingly accept the existence of men’s issues.  Refusing to fully relinquish their victim narrative, however, feminists have attached the caveat that MHRAs should not blame feminism for the existence of issues that affect men and boys.  November 19th saw the celebration of International Men’s Day – an event that in previous years was mostly ignored by everybody outside of the MHRM.  This year, though, was different.  The celebration was covered by the mainstream media – with numerous feminist writers acknowledging the event, but also using the opportunity to issue edicts on discussion related to the role of feminism.   They were not to be blamed – for anything.  While a lot of the coverage was plainly bigoted and demeaning, some was more even-handed – and some was actually positive.

Feminism is changing.  For the most part, those changes are cosmetic but feminism has a long history of coopting popular causes, and this is something that the MHRM needs to protect against.  The softening of rhetoric from feminists may indicate a future attempt to appropriate the issues of the MHRM.  Feminists have tried, and failed to convince not only the MHRM but the general public that they were addressing issues important to men and boys.  Of course, this was a massive lie, predicated on the idea that smashing the ludicrously imagined patriarchy would fix everything.  It is likely, that in yet another act of window dressing akin to the Elle rebranding, and previous coopting, that feminism will try to appropriate men’s human rights issues in a bid to obviate the necessity for an MHRM independent of feminism.

It won’t succeed.

Feminism has been exposed and no amount of rebranding, rewording, or special pleading will cover over the truth.

They have lost trust; they have lost legitimacy.

They have lost.