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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100 thoughts on “MEETING THE ENEMY A feminist comes to terms with the Men’s Rights movement | Cassie Jaye | TEDxMarin”

  • You have to be really intelligent to be able to own up to mistakes that you've made and go from a one sided ideology to realising that everyone deserves care and validation

  • This. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what I've been trying to tell people for years. No one listens except other people who've been victims of the same things. The instant you're not completely anti-male you get attacked by feminists. I applaud this woman's courage and encourage feminists everywhere to listen to her because she is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ON EVERY SINGLE POINT here!

  • 98% of everything men do is for the ladies. If you weren't around to complain about the dank dark cave, men would still be living there. If you didn't want to travel there would be no planes or trains. If you didn't want fancy thing there'd be no shipping or malls. If it weren't for you we'd have no reason to be better.

  • I wanted to think she was authentic. No. Proud boys everywhere are applauding. Equality is only demanded when superiority is no longer tolerated. Ivanka is probably her bestie.

  • I expected a rant for women's right at the start of the video and also liked some of the comments that supported that view. But after watching it all the way to the end, I realize my mistake. The speaker is a wonderful human-being and deserves all the praise in the world. Thanks for sharing her experience.

  • I am a man and I do hear her, and there are obviously parts are men that are neglected reasonable care. But she does seem to have gone biased "sky scrappers and bridges" were not only built by men, which makes that statement false. Everyone being birthed, is by a woman, that is an undeniable fact. She kinda plays around with truths and lies a bit too often for my liking. I will list a few more that I noticed on the first watch

    Paterinty fraud (it is literally in the word)
    war deaths
    vet. issues
    parental choice

  • When I go out, not everything I see was made by a man. Yes, I see lots of buildings. Of course, there are some women involved at one level or another in the development of buildings. That being said, the vast majority are women and one can argue that "made by" only covers the construction portion of buildings. Not all buildings are made exclusively by men, but I'm willing to grant that buildings have been generally made by men. However, when I got out, I see a lot more than just buildings. I see people in clothes, many of which were made by women. I see food, much of which was cooked by women. I think the statement that everything you see when you go out was made by men takes things a bit too far to call it accurate.

  • Give the documentary a look, one of the best and informative docs i have ever watched, i started by thinking she would expose awful misogynist men, but 15mins in understood the complexities of the human condition.

  • 3:58 VERY important point. We have to respect and embrace our differences instead of insinuating the opposite when someone actually embraces our differences.

  • lady, do your research first – feminism was never about excluding men. what a weird idea. since Olympe de Gouges and her Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen – written as a response to the Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen de 1789 – feminism has always been about including women in the civil rights movement, about having equal rights and having equal worth as human beings. being each of us free, equal and self-determined idividuals regardless of what we are born with between our legs. feminism is all about dialogues – sad you didn't understand that. also sad you didn't just plain fact check some of those MRA's beliefs – they might not be misogynist per se, but nevertheless not really accurate either… I mean "everything was built by men" – hello? is no one else seing the logical flaw in this sentence?? and so on…

  • This is very enlightening. I tell everyone who preaches an agenda bubbled by some group identity, to think about what they're doing. Are they not neglecting other issues by focusing too much on that side? Are they putting others down and becoming emotive of their agenda? Why do they need to feel like it is a necessity to label yourself under a certain group? Is there not more merit to claim as a human-rights activist, or in turn a more general labeling to show that you are more open minded about issues?
    Turns out, even the most 'educated' don't agree with this and it shows that many humans can't put emotion to their side much of the time…
    But I appreciate that Cassie managed to turn around and come out with a new correct insight.

  • These are the kind of feminists we need in this world. Ones that make sense, think about what men say to them longer and are genuinely smarter in this situation that has been going on for years

  • This is true journalism. She is someone who was willing to objectively cover something. And look where she ended up?
    8:16 for those who want to hear some truth

  • Unfortunately the damage done to men in general by Feminism will last a very long time as well as the result of the abuses. She should not expect to be forgiven any time soon and won't be. It took being attacked by them for her to see the viciousness and hate filled rhetoric they have spewed against men for so many decades. Outright court biases and crooked judges and criminal court workers must be addressed before this will settle.

  • I applaude you and I love you.
    You are not afraid to speak the truth, especially when speaking the truth means you will be hated by some.
    Those who were once your friends.
    You speak because you feel it's the right thing to do. I appreciate.

  • Most of us have been a victim of many of the horrific acts stated in the video by 929 yeah I'm glad that you have some sympathy for us

  • She went from
    SJW: REeeeeeeeeEee I am a triggered femenist

    To

    Normal intelligent woman: femenist movement is cancer

  • The fact that feminists see the men's right movement as an enemy just tells you how much they really are about "equality".

  • This is why listening and taking in others words is extremely important. Most feminists are generalized to be crazy due to not listening to the other group, and assuming they are the only one with problems. To the feminists that disagree with this and think I’m crazy, try to listen to the others before changing stuff for the worst.

  • I'll say this.. if you have an opinion about anything and believe it's true always search the opposite.. an opinion is like a ballets say.. if your ball is made out of steel it will never break no matter how hard you hit it.. but if it's made out of paper it will be destroyed.. the problem is that some people never hit their ball to see what it's made of and keep living thinking their opinion is the right one and cannot be destroyed by anyone..

  • The problem of speaking up comes a lot of times without listening. People take a nice catch phrase and repeat it like a chant, like a herd, like a mindless mob e.g."Bigots shouldn't be allowed to speak", how bigoted is that, yet they repeat it endlessly like it is gospel truth. But sometimes it is actually our own selfishness, self-centredness blinding us to the truth

  • If we are honest with one another we all have our bias. It is how and what we do with this bias. "I wasn't actually listening, I was anticipating". If we truly think about how we have responded to certain people when they have spoken to us, we can all identify with this. Those of us who have developed values in our lives possibly are most bias when we listen to others. Our minds are like a filter seeking out to find that which agrees with our values and possibly somewhat reject those things with which we disagree. Are we willing to listen and analyze what the other is saying from a logical rather than an emotional position? Are you thinking deeply about the issues or are you just another lemming following the emotions of another? This was a very well thought through presentation. We all need to learn to listen to the other side(s) and not seek to silence them.

  • It’s too late, the majority of good men want nothing to do with these man haters, plus the majority of them are female chameleons, they’ll stab you in the back first chance they get.

  • I am in tears, speechless, impressed, proud even but disappointed it took so long for her to come to that realization, who knows maybe things will change in the future.

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