Dan Perrins, CAFE, & Canada's Men's Rights movement

A sticker has been appearing on lampposts and mailboxes in my west-end Toronto antimisandry.comneighbourhood of Etobicoke (and, presumably, in other neighbourhoods as well). It reads, “Almost 80 per cent of all suicides are men,” and lists a website called antimisandry.com above the slogan “Men Matter.”

“Misandry” is the fictitious invention of the toxic Men’s Rights hate movement, and its appearance here as a term indicates quickly what this sticker is all about.

I have written extensively in the past about the Men’s Rights movement in Canada, including about its false or misleading claims and premises, its rape apologism, its disturbing campus based activities, its dubious choices of speakers, as well as to why the idea of misandry itself is an absurd myth, so there is no real need to cover that ground again.

While the “Men Matter” slogan is a profoundly offensive allusion to other recent slogans of actual civil rights movements, it is also on its own premises completely asinine, especially given how white the movement’s leadership is.

No group of people have ever mattered more than white men do! Their entitlement being the very basis of patriarchy and systemic misogyny.

I have touched on the statistic used on the sticker in the past, which is close to true in a technical sense (it is actually 75 per cent) and seems striking, but actually is, as is usual with the Men’s Rights movement, also misleading. According to Statistics Canada, while men are three times more likely to succeed when attempting suicide:

Deaths by suicide, it should be noted, reflect only a small percentage of suicide attempts. It is estimated that for every completed suicide there are as many as 20 attempts. Although males are more likely to die from suicide, females are three to four times more likely to attempt it. Furthermore, females are hospitalized for attempted suicide 1.5 times more frequently than males.

This discrepancy may be due to the fact that females tend to use less fatal methods, such as poisoning — the most common cause of self-harm hospital admissions — whereas males tend to use more violent methods such as hanging and firearms.

While certain men’s rights groups — especially the pretend “moderate” face of the movement in Canada, the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), a group to which we will return — will use statistics like these or men’s workplace accidents as another example, devoid of the full context, to try to hook people in by implying they are simply trying help men who are suffering or are men’s health advocates, once you get to the sites themselves a totally different agenda often emerges.

Antimisandry.com is certainly no exception.

From the website’s very masthead:

To its long opening diatribe about misandry and against feminism, to charming and truly farcical memes such as this one:

am2It quickly becomes abundantly clear that the real agenda is to attack, misrepresent, and oppose feminism.

Especially as the site seems closely associated with the vitriolic and and rather extreme Canadian men’s rights “activist” Dan Perrins who is also a supporter of, has written forand has been praised by, the American hate site A Voice for Men.

Perrins recently went on rather short-lived and facile “hunger strike” at the Ontario Legislature, examined by blogger David Futrelle, at some length. As Futrelle also notes in the piece, Perrins has engaged in some notoriously vicious behaviour towards a Canadian feminist activist who was the target of a prolonged and disturbing campaign by the movement.

Now all of this would be little more than the deluded ranting and ravings of yet another MRA were not for the fact that Perrins is also associated with the above-mentioned CAFE, which is, astonishingly, a registered Canadian charity!

Despite Perrins’ past actions and writings, CAFE allowed Perrins to go on a fundraising march for the organization and its newly opened men’s centre, and posted his press release about it to their website.

They also published almost-daily updates on Perrins’ trek and posted his statement announcing the end his hunger strike, which he (somewhat humorously) attempts to portray as “a real breakthrough.”

Justin Trottier, one of CAFE’s leaders, also gave a long interview on the hunger strike on You Tube which he opens by saying “we have been involved in supporting Dan from before there was a hunger strike”.

Keep in mind, CAFE is a registered charity, meaning donations to it are tax deductible!

Natalie Lochwin and I, in a piece on Feminist Current, showed how this situation amounts to a practically government-endorsed mainstreaming of misogyny. The piece centred around a concert that the newly charitable CAFE attempted to hold on Toronto Island — a concert that fell apart after the publication of the piece as sponsors and acts discovered what this charity was actually about.

Men’s Rights activists and organizations, given what a distorted and ugly worldview their movement flows out of, are truly incapable of hiding for very long what they really represent. CAFE’s association with and encouragement of Dan Perrins speaks loudly and clearly to this.

It is time the Government of Canada and Revenue Canada took notice.

Michael LaxerMichael Laxer lives in Toronto where he runs a bookstore with his partner Natalie. Michael has a Degree in History from Glendon College of York University. He is a political activist, a two-time former candidate and former election organizer for the NDP, was a socialist candidate for Toronto City Council in 2014, and is on the executive of the Socialist Party of Ontario. His website is The Left Chapter.

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  • thebewilderness

    Reminding us once again that male violence is the greatest human rights crisis the world has ever known.

  • The Real Cie

    “Men’s rights” is like white power and straight pride. It’s unnecessary because men and white people already hold the top position in the social food chain, and straight people are taught that our sexual orientation is not only superior but indeed godly.
    The people who push for things like men’s rights, white power, and straight pride are afraid of losing their privileged status. When they don’t get their way, they tend to become extremely nasty if not downright violent.
    American Indians, statistically, have the highest rate of suicide. However, one does not see them putting stickers on lampposts about it.
    This is not about male suicide or about men having significance as people. It is a push by a small group of individuals who are angry about women demanding to be treated like human beings. These individuals could care less about the percentage of men who commit suicide. All they care about is keeping women in their place so they can remain at the top of the heap.

    • I assume you are from the US if you say “American Indians” (though they usually say “Native Americans now”, or better yet refer to the precise nation. I have interpreted at conferences about the epidemic of suicide in First Nations and Inuit communities; Indigenous people here are very mobilized about this dire problem.

      “Successful” suicide attempts by men are a very serious and real problem, but this vile group is not interested in working to solve it (I think more meaningful relationships among men could help, as could determining people’s worth only by material success). They are simply using it as a bat to beat women and in particular feminists with. It may be metaphorical misogynist violence, but the “meat world” kind is never far away, as with toxic racist websites.

  • Ash

    See the thing about male suicides is that it is a direct result of society telling males not to express emotion. What this means is that MRAs have to agree that men are just as emotional as females and to fix the problem, must remove gender.
    However it seems all talks of actual fixing the problem is limited to whinging about females getting their way.

    • Thomas Eisenecker

      “See the thing about male suicides is that it is a direct result of society telling males not to express emotion.”

      I’m sorry, but wouldn’t that imply that women also have some part of the blame to share for male suicides?

      • Priscila

        Nope, sir. We did not create patriarchy.

      • Jean, valley wildcat

        Females are blamed for everything else in the world, such as men cheating on us. I will not continue to allow the blame for men’ problems to be placed on us.
        Listen all females, don’t allow females to be blame for everything that men go through. They cause their own problems and as usual, put the blame on us females!! Do not allow it!!!
        , Let us go back a bit and recall the numerous articles, conversations, documentaries, books, etc., that show the mother coddling and soothing her young son when he falls down and gets hurt, and the big, loud, dominant men, who are nearby, including the young son’s dad, uncle, grandfather, coach, teacher, and so on, quickly, reprimands the mother and tells her to “Stop babying that boy”. and “Leave him alone, you are spoiling him” and the same men tell him not to cry like a girl. Yeah, this is absolutely true!!
        Then many, many, people keep telling mothers of boys that she cannot teach a boy how to be a man.

        You see all this bullsh_ _ from men is what cause males to grow up confused, and it is not our fault. Don’t blame it on us females!!!! Dont even try it.

    • “See the thing about male suicides is that it is a direct result of society telling males not to express emotion.”

      Did you read the whole article? Not an accusation, just a question. Men do not actually attempt suicide more than women do (in fact they attempt it less often), so we do not need to come up with a gender-related explanation for why men commit suicide. They commit suicide for the same reasons humans in general commit suicide. We need to ask why so many women commit suicide. I honestly don’t know, but I would not be surprised if prettiness standards, sexual assault and domestic violence were part of the problem.

      That said, men do die from suicide more often and it is because they use more violent means of suicide, such as guns. This is probably because they have images of men with guns shoved down their faces all the time (the very images that MRAs just happen to be fanatically in favour of), so when a man gets the idea to commit suicide, the image that pops into his head is one of him using a gun to kill himself. So yes, masculinity does end up being a factor, but not because men are not allowed to express emotions.

      In fact men get to express anger and have their anger taken more seriously than women do. It is not even true nowadays that women get to express other emotions like fear and sadness, because when they do they get branded a “weak woman” by liberal so-called feminists and their emotions are seen as prove of their inherent female emotionalness (rather than as a result of any problems they have to put up with) by right-winger, particularly MRAs. The only acceptable emotions for women (and to a lesser extent men) are ones that involve mindless “positivity” (e.g. smiling while doing highly repetitive completely unpaid housework, being sexually aroused by brutal violence, etc.) I’ve seen liberals claim to reject positive-thinking, but they sure seem to buy into that nonsense in practice.

      • Ash

        I did read the article.

        But I also have done my own research on the side.

        Males have more troubles explaining their problems and seeking help than females. 40.7% of females seek mental help while only 27.5% of men do.

        ‘but not because men are not allowed to express emotions’
        Actually, that is incorrect. Aside from the above statistic in support of my original statement, mental health literacy is much lower in males than females. They are unlikely to understand standard depression symptoms and, more importantly, unable to recognize it themselves.

        They lack the ability to understand how their thought patterns are illogical, are more likely to support alcohol/drugs to treat depressive symptoms, so more violence etc …

        Men are more likely to not:
        – Understand mental illness
        – Know healthy thought patterns in themselves
        – Be able to put the experiences into words (For example: A male is more likely to say ‘I’ve stop eating’ than ‘I’m feeling depressed’ as they don’t know the feelings or how to express them)
        – Seek help for services
        – Act appropriately with drugs or alcohol
        – Or act appropriately in general to confusing emotions (As you pointed out, men react more violently due to gender enforcement)

        Thus gender IS a pretty big problem.

        —–

        I understand that females try to harm themselves more, but this is not relevant to my original statement.

        As someone who suffers from severe mental conditions I personally hate the ‘Oh but you’re not suffering as much as [insert group]’ when it comes to mental health. Males do suffer as much as females, whites as much as blacks, young as much as old. Mental health doesn’t need to make sense, that’s the whole point, it doesn’t.

        I understand you were just pointing out that females do suffer as well. Yes. I know. I’m female and definitely suffering over here. And yes. Females have it a lot worse. But it also sounded like you were using the ‘But males gets raped too’ line as to silence a serious condition.

        Please just don’t do it. Both males and females with mental issues need support, and not being used to help push agendas (as my original complaint of MRAs).

        Some Sources:
        http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0049779 (Though this study uses the stupid term ‘hegemonic masculinity’ aka ‘cultural way to be a male’ aka ‘gender’. Stop trying to distance yourself from the source of problems, gender.)
        http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sue_Cotton/publication/6875374_Influence_of_gender_on_mental_health_literacy_in_young_Australians/links/09e4150b7149657c7b000000.pdf
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17641446

        • Men attempt suicide less often than women do. That fact alone refutes the claim that men experience more sadness and depression than women do. Even if they are less likely to report depression their low suicide rates suggest that they do in fact experience it less often. This does not mean that no man ever experiences depression, but I don’t think they experience it as a result of being male.

          There may be some problems that they experience more often (e.g. they are more likely to behave in a risky manner and thus more likely to drink, smoke and get into car crashes), but men are not forced into a subordinate role by masculinity (they are actually encouraged to take on a dominant role) and thus are less likely to experience the kinds of problems associated with playing a subordinate (or feminine) role, such as depression and body image problems.

          What you are saying sounds a lot like MRA, anti-leftist rhetoric. It is not fair to treat the less powerful the same way one treats the more powerful. While I feel that the vast majority of humanity does suffer as a result of living in a hierarchical, capitalist world, it is simply not true that men suffer as much as women or that whites suffer as much as blacks. I don’t excuse unjustified suffering, but I am not going to ignore the power dynamics that mark our world and their consequences.

  • The CRA has an open complaints policy, does it not? Anyone can make a complaint about a charity.

  • Jean

    You all ought to stop telling lies. Males, men and boys have been in power since time in memorial. So males got crazy and greedy and kinda’ dirty with all the power that they were given and in the process did females soooooo wrong. Believe it!’ Now they are getting a rude awakening!!

    You all brought it on yourselves!! What goes around, comes around. So open your eyes and see the truth, males. And if you stop using and abusing females, maybe you can redeem yourselves.

    • Lina

      Actually, males weren’t in control since always. Until 5000-6000 years ago, societies were matrilineal, families were matrifocal and people praised goddesses & the miracle of birth, which pretty much means women were more than respected. Although those societies were egalitarian, there was no “matriarchy”(-archy in greek means to dominate & control someone in a somehow violent way, thus the term patriarchy)…. Things got fucked up when some men got frustrated & jealous that women were in control of the most important thing, which was creating new life, and that they were unable to know what child is theirs & they were left out of the “game”. Their fragile male ego couldn’t handle the fact they weren’t the center of the universe, and instead of respecting the ones who gave them birth, breastfed them and kept them alive, they started taking advantage of women when they were vulnerable (pregnant, little girls, small-bodied women). Those aggressive first patriarchies replaced goddesses with violent gods(who justified rape-violence) and started spreading with war, which included killing, raping and keeping sex slaves; and that’s how all well-known religions today exist on a worldwide scale (some places more than others) and are particularly misogynistic – which also led to the gender binary myth to homophobia to other social issues). Most religions during history fabricated countless lies in order to keep women under control. They shamed female sexuality, female body (particularly periods-breasts-wombs), and anything around that “natural privilege” (aka women being the ones in control of birth/life). Until today societies all over the world are like that (patriarchal), religions still fight against abortions and any right women can get back after millenniums of oppression & dehumanization. Just a final note to women: Don’t wait from men to “give you” your human rights “back” and “return your humanity”. They were the ones who created this, they are the ones who benefit from this, and still to this day the vast majority of men might seem non-sexist but they wouldn’t really like you to have ALL your human rights back, cause as I said, when men and women are totally equal, women have that “natural” privilege. Let alone that they would lose the HUGE & countless privileges they already have. YOU must be the ones to take things back in control, women and other marginalized groups (intersex people, transgenders, etc). Notice how the countries in which women are treated better, the whole country is more advanced. If we educate women (+men) and change this rotten patriarchal culture, we pretty much change the world.

      • Jean

        Thank you for that message. I just wish that females would standstill long enough to get some self esteem for themselves and stop buying into every doctrine that males create.

        Some of us are still not strong!

      • Stef Bee

        Hi Lina,
        Can you share your reference(s) for “Until 5000-6000 years ago, societies were matrilineal, families were matrifocal and people praised goddesses & the miracle of birth, which pretty much means women were more than respected”? I am always looking for more resources!

        I am Kalderash Roma and my family currently lives in the same manners we did for at least 1000 years, both matrilineal and matrifocal. I know that many Indigenous nations, on the plains, west and east coasts of Turtle Island were matrilineal and matrifocal pre-colonialist thrusts. Many continue to be.

        Something I have observed as a woman who is both white (dad) and of color (mom) is that Euro-centrism is grounded in patriarchal values. While researching matrilineal/matrifocal cultures I have noted that peoples who currently (and very often historically) celebrate women and defer to women in decision making, community law, and relational codes of conduct are not white.

        As a member of Romani culture I have been socialized to work collaboratively, to defer to women like my grandma, mom and aunties and to plan and act with them, to fulfill my inherited roles/responsibilities/honors as a woman and to participate in and preserve collectivist culture.

        This is not to say that I do not have to fight for my “natural privilege” as you stated. I live in Canada where mainstream culture is individualistic- the crux of patriarchy, racism, etc.

        I think that what I am moving toward here is to say something that may be unpopular. My culture is insular in part because the gadje oppress us, exoticize us, etc, but also because we actively reject the influence of individualistic culture and euro-centrism, ethnocentrism, and male hegemony. We live this way in my family as not only a way of being but as a protest against the patriarchal systems and relationships we encounter outside of our collectivist spaces.

        I am an auntie and have responsibilities to share cultural teachings and support non-oppressive and collectivist ways of being in my nephew and niece. This is how we take control – cultural transmission, a role of women in matriocal cultures alongside shaping culture through decision and law-making.
        I am with you whole-heartedly when you say ” If we educate women (+men) and change this rotten patriarchal culture, we pretty much change the world.” Many of the women I work alongside in local feminist activisms are similar to my self in being invested in transmitting culture to the next (and current) generations. I find great hope in this and in the notion that collectivism and matrifocal will spread through genuine collaborations within mainstream society. I feel a lot of urgency about this as a child and youth care worker who is very aware of neoliberal socio-economics. Solidarity to you!!

        • Thanks, Stef Bee!

          Not directly about feminism, but I’d advise everyone to watch Karl Nerenberg’s excellent documentary about Roma refugees in Canada and the Harper government’s demonization of this group that has been persecuted and massacred for hundreds of years at least (culminating in the Nazi genocide). There is a far-right government in Hungary, with outright Nazi elements, who of course persecute Roma people. If you google “Never Come Back Nerenberg”, the video will be among the first hits. It is a good antidote to the lies and exotisation of the Roma people.

  • An ACTUAL Rad Fem

    Is there any way I can email the CRA about this issue? I hope to see a serious effort of resistance to the fact that this is a registered charity.

  • Priscila

    MRAs always remind me of this animation…
    https://vimeo.com/64941331