MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

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MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Pervocracy on Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:08 pm

This is something we talked about on Manboobz comment threads before, but I figured I'd make a forum topic for it.

This is an open challenge to MRAs (or, really, anyone) to provide a link to a reasonable MRA writer. Is David misrepresenting the MRM? Is he cherry-picking the bad and ignoring the good? Then tell us where the good is!

Rules and Stipulations
"Reasonable" means:
-This person must never advocate, applaud, or excuse violence.
-This person must not express misogyny, homophobia, racism, transphobia, or other forms of bigotry.
-This person must not advocate "traditional gender roles" as a solution to the world's woes.
-This person must not deny the existence of historical and current discrimination against women.
-This person must be on balance pro-male rather than anti-female.

"MRA writer" means:
-This person must identify as a Men's Rights Activist.
-This person must have a reasonable blog, or have written several reasonable articles; one reasonable blog post is not enough.
-This person must have a following (they don't have to be a major figure, but they have to have some commenters and links) that identify themselves as Men's Rights Activists.



I'm curious to see if anyone can come up with some links. Suggestions for rule modifications are welcome as well.
("But it's not fair to exclude X, because it's TRUE" reasoning is not welcome.)



EDIT: MRAs, if you can't register for the forums or don't want to, send your submissions to pervocracy@gmail.com and I will repost them unedited.

I'll also sweeten the pot with a prize of sorts: if you show me a consistently reasonable MRA blog or site, I will put it on the Pervocracy blogroll and write a post promoting it. The Pervocracy gets pretty decent traffic and this would be a chance to expose a lot of people to the good side of the MRM.


SECOND EDIT: Two requirements have been removed. The Manboobz Challenge is now even easier--we're really just looking for an MRA blog that doesn't hate women.


Last edited by Pervocracy on Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:14 pm; edited 4 times in total

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Nobby on Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:46 am

What if the commenter are all or mostly rabidly anti-woman, while the writer is not? Should that count against them?

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Pervocracy on Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:49 am

Nobby wrote:What if the commenter are all or mostly rabidly anti-woman, while the writer is not? Should that count against them?
I don't think so.

It would be nice if the writer would come into comments and smack them down, but as long as they don't explicitly endorse these comments, I think we could let it slide. Lots of good writers just have poor troll control.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Nobby on Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:01 am

This is true, and i suppose if someone identifies as MRA but has good opinions they may still draw in crazy.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by David Futrelle on Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:19 am

This is good.

I've been meaning to put up something like this for some time, though I think I would focus on MR sites rather than writers, which would mean judging the links, the comments, etc.

I think commenters are fair game in judging sites. The issue wouldn't be individual comments that are misogynistic -- any site can have a few awful commenters -- but how the site owner and other commmenters react. Do people challenge these remarks?

And I think links are fair game too. IF you consider, say, the False Rape Society, you'll see that virtually all links in the sidebar are to blatantly misogynistic sites. There's no link to, say, The Innocence Project on the site's front page. That makes the site's agenda pretty clear, even before considering the stuff actually posted there.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Pervocracy on Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:35 am

David Futrelle wrote:
I think commenters are fair game in judging sites. The issue wouldn't be individual comments that are misogynistic -- any site can have a few awful commenters -- but how the site owner and other commmenters react. Do people challenge these remarks?

Some authors don't read their comments, so I wouldn't necessarily hold them accountable for that. (However, if the author does participate in and respond to any comments, then they should be responsible for dealing with misogynistic ones.)

I agree about links, though, and edited the challenge. That is a direct endorsement, and the fact that False Rape Society lists "Female Misogynist" and "Objectify Chicks" in their blogroll definitely tips off that they aren't purely concerned with seeing justice done.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Nobby on Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:21 pm

Yeah, I was thinking about your article on The Good Men Project, David. There was a mass of pretty horrible trolls to that (MRA's not like that, feminists are bitches, etc etc), if I recall correctly, so that would have counted against you in such a judging. But, I also never saw you in the comments (or if you were, you weren't agreeing with them >.<), so in that case I think the content of the post matters more then the comments. Again, simply calling yourself an MRA can pull in misogynists, regardless of whether your views are or not.

In the case where they are involved, though, I agree that it's fair game if they're off. It's still their opinions being voiced in that case.

And yeah, linking requires conscious effort as well, and so should count.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Raoul on Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:58 pm

Regardless of the public utterances of any individual member of the MRM, the movement itself - as constituted in blogdom anyway - functions with the mentality of a mob.

So on that level at least, I question the usefulness of even asking whether MRA X or MRA Y takes reasonable positions on issue X or issue Y. The opinion leaders are going to be those who gin up the mob mentality. Anyone else will be lost in the noise.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by BlackBloc on Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:04 pm

@Raoul: The point is that pointing out a single MRA blog that qualifies is a minimum threshold for the movement to actually be considered anything else than a misogynist movement. It's a necessary, though not sufficient, condition.

In contrast, if MRAs were to make a similar list of 'not a misandrist' qualifications in good faith, the vast majority of the online feminist blogosphere would qualify.

This is only to show just how much of a false equivalence there is between the two.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Raoul on Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:06 pm

Awfully slim threshold, one blog, given the way blogs can die from lack of traffic.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Nobby on Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:27 pm

Eh, at the very least it's a useful starting point. If we find one, we can start giving them traffic and attention, and thus bolster the better parts of the movement. The idea of a men's rights movement isn't a bad one (See No Seriously), it's just that the current population is shitty.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by jumbofish on Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:25 pm

My money is on there not being on unless you count no seriously what about the menz?.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Pervocracy on Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:27 pm

jumbofish wrote:My money is on there not being on unless you count no seriously what about the menz?.

I can't count it because:
A) They don't call themselves MRAs.
and
B) No MRA has come forward to claim them as his own.

So far it's been crickets, but hey, it's only been a few hours...

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Rutee on Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:32 pm

Man, it's hard enough to find a feminist blogger who isn't problematic on grounds of race, heterosexism, cissexism, class, and able-bodiedness. I seriously think that may be raising the bar too high to not be called a complete fail.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Pervocracy on Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:34 pm

Rutee - I wouldn't hold them to a standard of "not problematic," but of not really super offensive.

That is (and I know this is a low bar), I don't expect them to be totally in line with modern social justice ideas, just to not be actively hateful. Big difference between "he talked about race in a naive and possibly offensive way, but I can see what he was trying to say" and "okay, he just hates black people."

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Ami Angelwings on Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:35 pm

I would say Zeta male, at least in that he's a reasonable person (in our email exchanges) and we agree in theory on stuff (breaking down gender roles, etc) but he supports srsly problematic things sometimes (and bloggers/ppl/sites) :\

So I dunno if that counts (also I haven't read thru his whole blog, I only know much about him from our convos and some of the links he posts on his Facebook (one of which he was enthusiastic about which was extremely problematic) )

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Pervocracy on Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:39 pm

Submitted in comments on NSWATM:

-Warren Farrell
-Fathers for Families
-NCFM

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Rutee on Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:45 pm

Oh, that seems an attainable and manageable standard, Holly, okay.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Pervocracy on Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:46 pm

Okay, NCFM is out of the running; this happened to be in a front page article when I visited:

You look at a girl dieting and worry about her “self image” but who had the eating disorder, that girl dieting (to try to have an image that is more likely to get male attention and the PERKS that go with it, free dinners, a life time of financial support for some. Nine girls who don’t look pretty, so sad, neglected, can’t use sexual power to get what they want from men, instead they have to do what most men do, get a personality, a job, money, charm… to get a partner) or the millions of teen boys eating two cheese burgers, super sized fries, and a 40 ounce coke that leads to male deaths from heart attacks in their 30′s?
You and Obama want to figure out what men’s pay is worth while sitting in air conditioned offices sipping coffee and trading votes for dollar$. I have a suggestion, go in a coal mine for a week. Work a roof top. Get on that Alaska fishing boat, get sick, pay thousands of dollars for a helicopter to take you away. Go ride a Humvee for a month in a war zone. Then figure out what men’s work is worth and also notice that that extra pay for extra risk goes to women and children.
WE HUNTED THE MAMMOTH FOR YOU

Also, shit, I spent two years working on an ambulance, hauling a 90 pound stretcher through the mud at 3 AM and taking 12-inch knives off drunk people just to get told that women don't know what hard or dangerous work is like?

Anyway, out of the running.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Pervocracy on Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:54 pm

I'm keeping Warren Farrell in the "maybe" pile because he does seem kind of reasonable and I don't want to damn someone just because I can pull a few objectionable quotes if I really dig (shit, you could do that to me...), but these are some quotes from his site:

And the gay male has not had the life experience that a woman can get just about anything she wants from a man if she's attractive and she smiles and flirts properly.
People who are raped do not have everybody around them thinking that they are horrible and a devil. They may at the worst suspect that they had a little something to do with the rape but they would never think that they are horrible, terrible people. But these men falsely accused of rape or molesting children are often wiped out to such a degree that they often commit suicide.
Nobody really believes in equality anyway. For example, if we really believed in equality we'd be paying about two to three times as much for each house as we pay. Because if we really believed in equality of outcome we would say that fifty percent of the people building our homes have to be women. You know what it would take cost-wise to get a woman to sacrifice her life to the degree that construction workers do? There are construction workers killed every single workday hour in the United States. It would take much more excruciating safety standards. Rafters would practically be in glass so the women couldn't get hurt. We would have to pay women so much more for the rest of their life that the cost of housing would soar. And we probably would pay almost twice as much for housing as we currently do, especially for the building of skyscrapers.
What is it with MRAs and this whole "women never have jobs, they couldn't handle it" thing, seriously?

But Farrell is mostly pretty reasonable and this isn't a rejection, just sort of a "more research needed."

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Nobby on Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:59 pm

Warren Farrell, as best, troublesome. I don't know if he has a blog, it didn't jump out at me on a quick search, but an excerpt from "Why Men Are The Way They Are",
Warren Farrell wrote:Dr. Donald Symons found that, cross culturally, men judge women primarily for attractiveness while women find men attractive only if social, economic, and political status criteria as well as looks are met.
— P.104

This has since been disproved, though I suppose the book may have been before that research. More troubling:

Warren Farrell wrote:Why are men so afraid of commitment? Chapter 2 explained how most men’s primary fantasy is still, unfortunately, access to a number of beautiful women. For a man, commitment means giving up this fantasy. Most women’s primary fantasy is a relationship with one man who either provides economic security or is on his way to doing so (he has “potential”). For a woman, commitment to this type of man means achieving this fantasy. So commitment often means that a woman achieves her primary fantasy, while a man gives his up.
— P.150

Aka "Women's porn is $MONEY$"

Also, Holly: More Mammoth:

Warren Farrell wrote:Think of how often we read of men throwing themselves into cold rivers or hot fires to rescue a woman. We hear of women performing heroics for the sake of a child — but try to recall one example of a woman doing that for a man, even her husband.
— P.135


Admittedly, these are excerpts, so context may be lacking.


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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Ami Angelwings on Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:01 pm

Yeah, what IS with that -_-;;; There is this idea that women = "women you'd see on The Hills"

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Ami Angelwings on Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:06 pm

Also by doing the "rape accused" vs "rape victim" thing they often just end up pushing the idea that only women are raped and only men are rapists (or potential rapists) and setting up this dichotomy that one is a mens' issue and the other is a women's issue, erases male victims (and female attackers) >:\

And again, like EDs (and I'd like to point out that I HAVE written in my blog a lot about the msgs to women not to eat, and the msgs to men to OVER eat and eat LOTS of meat, it's not an EITHER OR thing to care about the messed up gendered msgs about food in our society) >:\ And I'm getting pretty sick of the "poor little rich girl" thing about women w/ EDs (oh poor you, you're gonna be thin and pretty and get w/e you want from men)

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Pervocracy on Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:10 pm

I haven't really researched them or anything, but Fathers & Families does at least give the superficial appearance of being pretty decent, actually. I haven't dug, but I don't see them saying anything super problematic.

(Also, not that this really has anything to do with anything, but their website appears to have been written by grown-ups, if you get my drift--it's professional, not polemic.)

I guess the next question is whether they identify themselves as MRAs, and whether they have support from MRAs.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by ozymandias on Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:20 pm

I've seen Glenn Sacks called an MRA before, yeah.

And I've posted on my blog about the problematic-ness of Warren Farrell.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by dev_guy on Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:46 pm

Pervocracy wrote:This is something we talked about on Manboobz comment threads before, but I figured I'd make a forum topic for it.

This is an open challenge to MRAs (or, really, anyone) to provide a link to a reasonable MRA writer. Is David misrepresenting the MRM? Is he cherry-picking the bad and ignoring the good? Then tell us where the good is!

Rules and Stipulations
"Reasonable" means:
-This person must never advocate, applaud, or excuse violence.
-This person must not express misogyny, homophobia, racism, transphobia, or other forms of bigotry.
-This person must not advocate "traditional gender roles" as a solution to the world's woes.
-This person must not deny the existence of historical and current discrimination against women.
-This person must not apply gender essentialism (i.e., "all men are aggressive and promiscuous by nature") or "alpha/beta/omega" roles to men.
-This person must not link without criticism to openly misogynistic blogs or articles.
-This person must be on balance pro-male rather than anti-female.

"MRA writer" means:
-This person must identify as a Men's Rights Activist.
-This person must have a reasonable blog, or have written several reasonable articles; one reasonable blog post is not enough.
-This person must have a following (they don't have to be a major figure, but they have to have some commenters and links) that identify themselves as Men's Rights Activists.



I'm curious to see if anyone can come up with some links. Suggestions for rule modifications are welcome as well.
("But it's not fair to exclude X, because it's TRUE" reasoning is not welcome.)

The problem with your criteria is you define "reasonable" as "agrees with me". It would be a bit like a right wing blog posting a contest to find a reasonable liberal where the "liberal" must vote Republican in order to be considered reasonable.

One by one:
-This person must never advocate, applaud, or excuse violence.
This is largely fair, but... How about in fighting a war? Enforcing the law? Self defense? As part of an organized sport where all athletes have made an informed consent to participate and safety measures have been taken to minimize injury (ie, Olympic boxing)? Violence in fiction (movies, stories, video games)?

-This person must not express misogyny, homophobia, racism, transphobia, or other forms of bigotry.
This may be fair enough... It depends on how you define bigotry. For example, consider the argument I had on your blog where I stated that I consider those who erroneously state that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints "poured millions of dollars" into prop 8 do so out of bigotry. You clearly disagree. Who's right?


-This person must not advocate "traditional gender roles" as a solution to the world's woes.
You guessed it. This is what I have the biggest problem with.

"Traditional Gender Roles" aren't perfect, I'll freely admit that. But, believe it or not, a lot of people (both men and women) were happier when traditional gender roles were the norm. In fact, I would argue that most people were happier when that was the case. Is that somehow an unreasonable viewpoint to hold?

-This person must not deny the existence of historical and current discrimination against women.
This seems reasonable, but it can very quickly become problematic. Suppose we are talking about the so-called "pay gap". If I argue that, in that instance, an apparent inequality ("As a statistical average, women earn 80% of what men do") is not due to discrimination, but due to individual's choices (more men go into dangerous or highly technical jobs that pay more). How about This Drupal Hacker who thinks women and girls have no barriers to entering the software and computer trades?

-This person must not apply gender essentialism (i.e., "all men are aggressive and promiscuous by nature") or "alpha/beta/omega" roles to men.
Hum... This bothers me too, but, I've seen lots of otherwise intelligent and reasonable people do this. Like ESR. Clearly not all men or women are like that, but does this mean nobody can make population-wide suggestions? What about citing studies that show that men or women have different traits in general?

-This person must not link without criticism to openly misogynistic blogs or articles.
Lots of people link to stuff they do not agree with. Susan Walsh links to Ozy, for example.

-This person must be on balance pro-male rather than anti-female.
I disagree here too. There's nothing wrong or unreasonable about criticizing the other side. It's the whole point of the ManBoobz blog.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by David Futrelle on Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:46 pm

The member 'dev_guy' has done the following action : Dices roll

'Six!' : 1, 1, 5, 6, 4, 3

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Pervocracy on Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:59 pm

dev_guy wrote:
This is largely fair, but... How about in fighting a war? Enforcing the law? Self defense? As part of an organized sport where all athletes have made an informed consent to participate and safety measures have been taken to minimize injury (ie, Olympic boxing)? Violence in fiction (movies, stories, video games)?
Okay, I'm not being a Rules Lawyer here, all these are fine. I'm talking about gendered violence, whether domestic abuse or some nebulous "when MRAs take up arms" scenario.

This may be fair enough... It depends on how you define bigotry. For example, consider the argument I had on your blog where I stated that I consider those who erroneously state that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints "poured millions of dollars" into prop 8 do so out of bigotry. You clearly disagree. Who's right?
Accurate statistics are not bigotry. Opposing gay marriage, however, is.

"Traditional Gender Roles" aren't perfect, I'll freely admit that. But, believe it or not, a lot of people (both men and women) were happier when traditional gender roles were the norm. In fact, I would argue that most people were happier when that was the case. Is that somehow an unreasonable viewpoint to hold?
Yes. Traditional gender roles (as usually defined in the western world, at least) generally put women in an inferior position and always in an unequal one. This isn't pro-male, it's anti-female.

This seems reasonable, but it can very quickly become problematic. Suppose we are talking about the so-called "pay gap". If I argue that, in that instance, an apparent inequality ("As a statistical average, women earn 80% of what men do") is not due to discrimination, but due to individual's choices (more men go into dangerous or highly technical jobs that pay more). How about This Drupal Hacker who thinks women and girls have no barriers to entering the software and computer trades?
I could argue the pay gap stuff, but I wouldn't cross a blog off for having coherent arguments about it--I'd only cross it off if it worked from the assumption that women face no discrimination in any area and were a universally privileged class.

Hum... This bothers me too, but, I've seen lots of otherwise intelligent and reasonable people do this. Like ESR. Clearly not all men or women are like that, but does this mean nobody can make population-wide suggestions? What about citing studies that show that men or women have different traits in general?
No. I mean, again, not an instant disqualifier for discussing it, but if someone wants to argue for "natural roles" which are unequal, that's not okay.

Lots of people link to stuff they do not agree with. Susan Walsh links to Ozy, for example.
The links don't have to pass any sort of rigorous test, just not be openly hateful. I don't know how many people innocently put hate blogs on their blogroll.

I disagree here too. There's nothing wrong or unreasonable about criticizing the other side. It's the whole point of the ManBoobz blog.
It is not okay to be anti-female, ever. We're not a side, we're a sex. Being critical of feminists is different. (It often slides into being anti-female, but it doesn't have to.)

Manboobz certainly isn't anti-male. We're anti-misogynist, and oh boy is that not the same thing.



Something I feel is underlying your whole post in a way--gender politics are not a zero-sum game. Being pro-male doesn't require being anti-female, nor the reverse. One can be a pro-male feminist and a pro-female masculist.

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by MollyRen on Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:07 pm

Raoul wrote:Awfully slim threshold, one blog, given the way blogs can die from lack of traffic.

Our qualifications are so low that not one blog has been offered up so far. (David's posted this challenge on the main Man Boobz blog several times.)

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Re: MRAs: Take The Manboobz Challenge!

Post by Nobby on Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:10 pm

dev_guy wrote:
-This person must be on balance pro-male rather than anti-female.
I disagree here too. There's nothing wrong or unreasonable about criticizing the other side. It's the whole point of the ManBoobz blog.

I'm not going to go through everything you said, I'll leave that to Holly or, at least, someone with more time then me, but sorry, no. Anti-woman is not 'criticizing the other side'. And manboobz is not 'anti-male', it's 'anti-misogyny', which is frequently 'anti-MRA', but not anti-male. And she even said 'on balance', which IMO is more then she needs to give.

Whoops, Ninja'd by Holly herself. Ah, well.

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