MEETING THE ENEMY A feminist comes to terms with the Men’s Rights movement | Cassie Jaye | TEDxMarin

MEETING THE ENEMY A feminist comes to terms with the Men’s Rights movement | Cassie Jaye | TEDxMarin


Translator: Isabella Boux
Reviewer: Queenie Lee In 2013, I decided to meet my enemies. I was a 27-year-old, award-winning
documentary filmmaker and a proud feminist. And I was determined
to expose the dark underbelly of the men’s rights movement. At that point, all I knew
of the men’s rights movement was from what I’d read online, that it’s a misogynistic hate group
actively working against women’s equality. Well, the vast majority
of my previous work was about women’s issues. I directed documentaries
about reproductive rights, single motherhood, and the need for more girls
to get into STEM education. So when I learned that no one had ever
documented the men’s rights movement in a film before, I saw it as an opportunity
to continue fighting for women’s equality by exposing those preventing it. So for one year, I traveled North America meeting the leaders and followers
of the men’s rights movement. I spent anywhere
from two hours up to eight hours, interviewing each individual
men’s rights activist, also known as MRA, and I filmed 44 people total. And there is an important rule
in documentary filmmaking. As an interviewer, you do not interrupt. So I’m asking questions,
and I’m getting their full life story. And in the moment, I didn’t realize it, but now looking back I can see, that while I was conducting my interviews,
I wasn’t actually listening. I was hearing them speak, and I knew the cameras were recording, but in those moments
of sitting across from my enemy, I wasn’t listening. What was I doing? I was anticipating. I was waiting to hear a sentence, or even just a couple
of words in succession that proved what I wanted to believe: that I had found the misogynist. The ground zero of the war on women. A couple of times, I thought I had it. There was one men’s rights activist that said to me, “Just walk outside and look around, everything you see was built by a man.” Oh! That statement felt anti-women. I felt my jaw clench, but I sat quietly,
as a documentarian should, while removing all the space
between my upper and lower molars. (Laughter) After my year of filming, I was reviewing the 100 hours
of footage I had gathered, replaying and transcribing it, which believe me when I say no one will ever listen to you more
than someone who transcribes your words. You should write that down. (Laughter) So, I was typing out every word meticulously, and through that process,
I began to realize that my initial knee-jerk reactions
to certain statements weren’t really warranted, and my feeling offended
did not hold up to intense scrutiny. Was that statement about men having built the skyscrapers
and the bridges anti-women? I thought, well, what would
be the gender-reverse scenario? Maybe a feminist saying: Just look around, everyone you see was birthed by a woman. Wow! That’s a powerful statement. And it’s true. Is it anti-male? I don’t think so. I think it’s acknowledging our unique
and valued contributions to our society. Well, luckily, while I was making The Red Pill movie, I kept a video diary which ended up
tracking my evolving views, and in looking back on the 37 diaries
I recorded that year, there was a common theme. I would often hear
an innocent, valid point that a men’s rights activist would make, but in my head, I would add on to their statements,
a sexist or anti-woman spin, assuming that’s what they
wanted to say but didn’t. So here are two examples
of how that would go. A men’s rights activist,
an MRA, would say to me, “There are over 2,000
domestic violence shelters for women in the United States. But only one for men. Yet, multiple reputable studies show
that men are just as likely to be abused.” I would hear them say, “We don’t need 2,000 shelters for women. They’re all lying about being abused. It’s all a scam.” But in looking back
on all the footages I’ve gathered of men’s rights activists
talking about shelters and all the blogs they’ve written and the video live-streams
they have posted on YouTube, they are not trying
to defund women’s shelters. Not at all. All they’re saying
is that men can be abused too, and they deserve care and compassion. Second example. A men’s rights activist would say to me, “Where is justice for the man
who was falsely accused of raping a woman, and because of this accusation, he loses his college scholarship and is branded with the inescapable
title of a rapist.” I would hear them say, “A woman being raped isn’t a big deal.” It’s as if I didn’t hear the word
“falsely” accused of rape. All I heard was, “He was accused of rape.” Of course, rape is a big deal, and all the men’s rights activists I met
agreed it is a horrible thing to have happened to anyone. I eventually realized what they are saying is they are trying to add
to the gender equality discussion, who is standing up for the good-hearted, honorable man
that loses his scholarship, his job, or worse yet, his children, because he is accused of something
he absolutely did not do? (Sighs) Well, I couldn’t keep denying
the points they were making. There are real issues. But in my effort to avoid agreeing
with my enemy completely, I changed from putting words
in their mouth to acknowledging the issue
but insisting they are women’s issues. So here are two examples
of how that would go. A men’s rights activist would say to me, “Men are far more likely
to lose their child in a custody battle.” And I would counter: “Well, because women are unfairly
expected to be the caretaker. It’s discrimination against women
that women get custody more often.” Yes. (Laughter) I am not proud of that. (Laughter) Second example. An MRA would say to me, “Men are roughly 78% of all suicides
throughout the world.” And I would counter with: “But women attempt suicide more often. So ha! (Laughter) Ha? It’s not a contest. But I kept making it into one. Why couldn’t I simply learn
about men’s issues and have compassion for male victims without jumping at the opportunity
to insist that women are the real victims. Well, after years of researching
and fact-checking, what the men’s rights activists
were telling me, there is no denying that there are
many human rights issues that disproportionately
or uniquely affect men. Paternity fraud uniquely affects men. The United States Selective Service
in the case of a draft still uniquely affects men. Workplace deaths: disproportionately men. War deaths: overwhelmingly men. Suicide: overwhelmingly men. Sentencing disparity, life expectancy, child custody, child support, false rape allegations,
criminal court bias, misandry, failure launched, boys falling behind in education, homelessness, veterans issues, infant male genital mutilation, lack of parental choice
once a child is conceived, lack of resources for male victims
of domestic violence, so many issues that are heartbreaking, if you are the victim or you love someone who is the victim
unto any one of these issues. These are men’s issues. And most people can’t name one because they think, “Well, men have all their rights;
they have all the power and privilege.” But these issues
deserve to be acknowledged. They deserve care, attention, and motivation for solutions. Before making The Red Pill movie,
I was a feminist of about ten years, and I thought I was well-versed
on gender equality issues. But it wasn’t until I met
men’s rights activists that I finally started
to consider the other side of the gender equality equation. It doesn’t mean I agree
with all that they’ve said. But I saw the immense value
in listening to them and trying to see the world
through their eyes. I thought if I could get my audience
to also listen to them, it could serve as a rung on the ladder, bringing us all up
to a higher consciousness about gender equality. So in October 2016, the film was released in theaters, and articles and critic reviews
started to roll in. And that’s when I experienced
how engaged the media is in group think around gender politics. And I learned a difficult lesson. When you start to humanize your enemy, you, in turn, may be dehumanized
by your community. And that’s what happened to me. Rather than debating the merit
of the issues addressed in the film, I became the target of a smear campaign, and people who had never seen the movie
protested outside the theater doors, chanting that it was harmful to women. It certainly is not. But I understand their mindset. If I never made this movie, and I heard that there was
a documentary screening about men’s rights activists
that didn’t show them as monsters, I too would have protested the screenings or at least sign the petitions
to ban the film because I was told
that they were my enemy. I was told that men’s rights activists
were against women’s equality. But all the men’s rights activists I met
support women’s rights and are simply asking the question: “Why doesn’t our society
care about men’s rights?” Well, the greatest challenge I faced
through this whole process, it wasn’t the protests against my film, and it wasn’t how I was treated
by the mainstream media – even though it got
pretty disgusting at times. The greatest challenge I faced was peeling back the layers
of my own bias. It turns out I did meet
my enemy while filming. It was my ego saying that I was right, and they were subhuman. It’s no secret now that I no longer
call myself a feminist, but I must clarify I am not anti-feminist, and I am not a men’s rights activist. I still support women’s rights, and I now care about men’s rights as well. However, I believe if we want
to honestly discuss gender equality, we need to invite all voices to the table. Yet, this is not what is happening. Men’s groups are continually vilified, falsely referred to as hate groups, and their voices
are systematically silenced. Do I think either movement
has all the answers? No. Men’s rights activists
are not without flaws, neither are feminists. But if one group is being silenced, that’s a problem for all of us. If I could give advice to anyone
in our society at large, we have to stop expecting to be offended, and we have to start truly,
openly, and sincerely listening. That would lead
to a greater understanding of ourselves and others, having compassion for one another, working together towards solutions because we all are in this together. And once we do that,
we can finally heal from the inside out. But it has to start with listening. Thank you for listening. (Applause) (Cheering)

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  1. Societies real F U to men is that jobs that are higher on taking risk or have a higher level of responsibility often also pay lower wages than jobs with less risk and less responsibility. Being an armored truck guard, welder, police officer, electrician, firefighter, plumber, or emt doesn't pay nearly as much money as being a law suit lawyer or a stalk broker.Good men are then faced with an impossible choice; to either take one of the jobs necessary for society to function but have your family suffer for you earning lower wages, or take a job with high pay and lower responsibility for your family but constantly feel worthless to your community due to the fact that you chased the dollar. You will get the middle finger either way: "Today's men are cowards, no one is doing the dangerous work!", "Why can't you just take a job like our neighbor who is a stalk broker, I'm sick and tiered of having to earn money for this family!"

  2. My "community" is all independent, free thinking, individuals who love all life. I've always thought that no one should vote until they are 30 years old. Ms. Jaye was 31 when this was recorded.

  3. Why can't it be human rights… Men, and women's rights being seperate is like separating everyone because of their skin color.

  4. All u have to do at this point is just watch women go at each other….its gonna happen feminism vs modern day feminism

  5. gender equality makes no sence. period. men and women are different. its impossible to equalize them. i 100% agree with equal citizen rights between genders in a sence of voting, education, employment and such, but when feminists wining about shaving bloody armpits of a super hero or opening a door for a woman, there is a someting wrong with this world.

  6. You cant compare birth and building a building cause a man can't choose to give birth cause God created women's bodies to give birth not men and you can't change that but building something is a choice but men choose to build houses not women so "all these buildings are built by men" is more powerful than "everyone here is birth by a woman"

  7. Women's "Equality" was done in the…1960's….Your Mom already did your job. Can we move on now?! No?! That's what I thought.

  8. Take that mic away from your mouth a bit next time please I cant stand listening to your swallowing. The message you were sending was amazing though.

  9. Someone should let that girl know that it was the animus that was wanting to spit poison, why can they not see that it was the mothers of the past that have built this world for us all

  10. The issue was once equality, it needs to return to equality.

    She is a brave woman for challenging herself and also others knowing there would be backlash.

  11. Humans are humans, we are all people. The men's rights movement and feminism is the same thing IMO, one is just politically correct and the other isn't. But both have their faults and both have a fair share of sexist.

  12. The first military funeral I attended in my 10 year military career was of a soldier who was stabbed to death by his wife. He had been in the commanders office the week before begging for a place to stay in the barracks. The commander turned him down. (I know this b/c I worked for the commander). It takes a lot of courage to do what you are doing, Cassie. I admire this.

  13. Issues for both genders are discussions worth having, men’s mental health is a discussion we should have, for every woman that commits suicide, 3.5 men commit suicide, at the same time, equal pay should be a discussion worth having, the list for both sides goes on

  14. A woman that actually acknowledges that men aren’t some kind of juggernauts, and that they have their own set of issues that never seem to be addressed? Wow, nice.

  15. It seems that love, affection, and simple relation to each other as human beings sharing the experience of living has dropped out from the American culture. It's become a society of ideological formalities where people are strangers to each other and relate to each other through some kind of mental or ideological frameworks: political, commercial, religious… I now wonder if the hippie movement was an attempt to break out of this advancing "mental" culture where there was no place for actual love and spirituality. The hippie movement has failed, and love and spirituality have themselves become subject to ideologization. It's a strange phenomenon.

  16. Men's rights and women's rights need not be mutually exclusive. Let's go for true equality of opportunity and equality of treatment under the law.

  17. Glad this is finally getting some air time. Maybe some day men won't have to live through the loss of their children through no-fault divorce.

  18. Why can't I find a woman like this? Heck, half the men in the area I live are like how she used to be. It is SO nice to meet a person that is not only able to accept their view as wrong but to CHANGE IT!

  19. That was a brave talk with a bold message! Thank you Cassie and big love for helping connect us all to one another. <3 Looking forward to checking out the film.

  20. I have to admit, i sobbed a little after re-thinking what she's done for all(humans). we're all in this together. no matter climate change/ human rights we're all in this together <33 thank you for standing up, and standing strong. like a true woman. like a real human.

  21. Imagration is about melting of culture. There is n9 Ireland england mexico or hati here. There are people from there. Thst want to have BETTER life than what they left behind. Like softened crayons or paint. NOT TILES OF A MOSAIC COLORED GLASS. TO BE A HARD GLARING PIECE OF ITS OWN. SEPARATE FROM THE WHOLE.UNABLE TO MIX TO YIELD .

  22. Pure wisdom is never thinking that you are smart enough to know the answer, but that you always allow more variables into your space that will build onto your current knowledge while never having a closed mind. When we're young we think we have it all figured out, but we don't have experience to make us wise. While keeping an open mind we can continue to learn. What an amazing TED talk and is a lesson to all human topics especially politics. Thinking that you're correct while never listening is the dumbest place anyone could ever find themselves.

  23. This woman is a beautiful person, and I hope to be a woman like her… Compassionate, fair and honest. Women are at their best when they are secure enough in their value to value, cherish and help others, including men.

  24. I'm kinda cautious about women speaking on mgtow. Not saying she is not sincere (she seem legit). But soo many female camilleons out trying to get views on youtube and make profit off of this beautiful movement.. just gotta be careful. Just like some men use feminism to profit for themselves (*cough cough Derek jaxn) lol

  25. So….did you ask yourself why you had all these erroneous ideas? Where did they come from?
    Along the way you found out about your similar thinking sisters….when your film was released they viciously turned on you. Now…this is what men feel every day….and why they've just learned to keep their own counsel….and why women are so dissatisfied. Welcome to the real world.

  26. Scrolling through the comments, I see people stating that those who disliked the video are feminists. I have met feminists and believe me they're beautiful people who want their their voices heard. Misandrists on the other hand , are the ones under the guise of feminism to push anti-men agenda. I hope this lady guides other "feminists" to see the light.

  27. We need more Women like Cassie Jaye who can Shed the light on Radical Feminism and replenish the mutual rights for both the Genders. Because when a Man like Sir Jordan Peterson states the same logic, he gets described as misogynist for god sake.

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