A sticker has been appearing on lampposts and mailboxes in my west-end Toronto neighbourhood 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:
It 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 for, and 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.
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 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.