Why did you get involved in the MRA?

Initially I had seen a commercial on my television for "A voice for men" – a men's rights organization. They advertised that I could have a voice and be heard for issues I faced as a male. 

Curious about them, I went to their Facebook page and checked out the topics. Some seemed legitimate enough but I was too ashamed to comment because it seemed so taboo. 

Eventually I disagreed with a poster regarding a generalization he had made and I was cast out by a few people as a 'mangina' and other words meant to elicit shame in men. 

This made me want to be accepted even more and I reached out to some of the posters whom I thought I held a more moderate view. After a few months, my unique debating tactics gained me notoriety on the page. 

Shortly after, I was invited to be an admin on The Men's Rights Initiative, a non profit charity. After a month there, I found myself on feminist Facebook pages, gaining Internet fame in the MRA. 

Soon enough, I was an admin on one of the largest MRA pages on Facebook: “Exposing Feminism”. 

Why did you leave?

I spent over a year debating the same topics over and over with feminists, being spoon fed statistics that I accepted at face value from other MRA's, minimizing the suffering of other people, and accepting MRA slogans and opinions as my own. 

I took some time off because the constant bickering was taking a toll on me, even though it was something I enjoyed and thought was noble. 

When I sat back and observed what my 'friends' were saying, I realized that they were making sweeping generalizations about people; people like my mother and sister. They were doing the very thing they claimed feminists were doing to men. 

They blamed feminism for things that didn't even make sense, such as family court bias and police operating procedure. Eventually I started to become more aware of the hypocrisy and became more vocal about my disinterest and opposing views. 

Over a short period of time, I became subject to ridicule, abuse and threats. People I once considered my friends were mocking sexual and physical abuse I had suffered and encouraging me to commit suicide. These people weren't my friends.

Many claim that the MRA just has a bad reputation. What is your response to that?

My experience with the MRA was positive as long as I was agreeing with them. As long as I accepted what the masses said as fact, and didn't question anything, I was held in high regard and invited to all the closed groups where they'd target individual feminists and their pages. 

Even when what I was accepting was that 'all women are inherently liars', I felt it had to be correct.
Once I started to question the way they were expressing themselves and their inactivity in doing anything productive, I saw an entirely new side to the MRA that I didn't know existed. 

I believe that the MRA breeds resentment for women through a victimization complex. 

There was a complete lack of initiative to do anything other than complain. 

I was bullied and shamed into accepting false statistics that represented men and women on par as rape and sexual abuse victims, etc. 

It just didn't make sense to me anymore.

Which MRA concerns do you feel are valid?

Having a father who was subjected to unfair family court treatment, I feel fathers’ rights are a serious issue that need to be addressed. I used to believe the injustice my father faced was caused by feminism due to my indoctrination. 

Blaming an entire ideology hasn't proven effective in changing custody disparity between men and women though. 

Also, bodily autonomy is important to me. Infant male circumcision is a human rights violation and is unfortunately promoted by a good portion of Western people. 

I once believed this was the fault of feminism too.

Do you feel any MRA concerns are fabricated? 

The MRA's downfall isn't in fabricated concerns. It's in their inactivity to do anything about those concerns. 

A small portion of men's rights activists actually take that next step from complaining online to entering the real world and lobbying for change, raising awareness, and making a difference. 

I did notice quite a few people within the movement exaggerating domestic violence statistics, rape and sexual assault statistics, and false accusation statistics. I promoted these grossly exaggerated figures at one point because I was fearful of being cast out of my clique.

As a man who is obviously concerned with men’s rights, how do you feel genuine issues men face could be addressed without the misogyny and hypocrisy that you mention?

People need to take their activism to the real world. 

There was a case in Toronto, Canada involving the Canadian Association for Equality hosting a discussion addressing boys’ education and other topics at the University of Toronto. 

Their meeting was sabotaged by feminist groups who pulled a fire alarm on them and continued to bombard them with insults and physical abuse outside. 

In my opinion there needs to be more tolerance for freedom of expression on both sides.I can't recall one time during my experience deep within the MRA that I had actually attempted to make a difference.

Why do you feel the MRA so often target feminism specifically as something that causes trouble for men? 

I believe that Men's Rights Activists have a hard time separating the ideology from the individual. Their experience is most likely limited to Facebook, tumblr and reddit feminists whom appear militant and abusive, and often enough they truly are. 

They believe that feminists, while promoting women's rights, are not advocating for men and therefore contradicting their claim to represent equality.

I think if they only spent less time attempting to dismantle the promotion of women's rights and spent more time lifting men up, they'd be received much better than they currently are.

How do you feel MRA ideals effect men? Are they beneficial? Are any ultimately harmful?

I can't speak for other men but I personally didn't gain anything positive from the MRA. 

I still struggle with deep seeded resentment for women that I don't even understand. I've had to re-evaluate my entire belief system and turn on everything I believed in because, deep down, I knew it wasn't right. 

I've struggled with empathy for women since leaving the MRA but I think I'm coming around. 

I've adopted a far more neutral stance now centred on freedom of choice for all people and minding my own business in stuff that doesn't concern me.

Do you think feminists and men who are concerned with men’s issues can work together in a positive way, without blaming or attacking each other? How do you think this could be achieved?

In my experience, I don't see much interest on the part of feminists to directly address men's issues in equal measure or at all. 

Men and women face different issues in society and those issues should, in my opinion, be addressed separately but respected by both sides.

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