An Open Letter To Neo-Masculinists, MRAs, And General Dudebros Everywhere

From one man to another: you’re not helping.

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To all the self-described ‘real-men’,

First of all, yes I am male. Perhaps the only reason that you’re listening to me is because of this. Think about that for a second. Now consider this, from one man to another: you’re not helping.

You may think that our male cohort has been enslaved by a feminist agenda, that we’ve been emasculated by a more confident feminine sexuality, that our rights as men have been eroded by a more dominant media narrative that increasingly favours women. The fact is that these feelings of disempowerment aren’t felt by men in general — just you. Whatever it is that you’ve experienced, that has led you to believe that the ‘feminazis’ are out to get you, to strip you of everything that you hold dear, it’s not representative of the wider male experience.

It’s just you.

Now you might say that you’re a victim; that you’ve been forced into ‘taking the blue pill’ for so long; that there are many others like you who feel victimised in the same way. There are some, yes, but by in large, this is not true. You’ve chosen to feel like a victim; you’ve adopted for yourself the narrative of victimhood. If you have experienced some kind of assault on your actual person, then of course you have been made a victim and the above does not apply to you. But, if you place personal value on some kind of nebulous notion of ‘masculinity’ that has come under attack by feminist discourse, then you are not a victim; you’ve just used your privilege to associate with victimhood because it makes it easier to defend your ideas. Unlike many women in the world — in Australia, of which 79 lost their lives to domestic violence last year — it’s only your ideas that are under attack.

If masculinity is, as you say, naturally stronger than femininity, then it shouldn’t need your defence. It should be untouchable, indefatigable and naturally resilient to ‘the weaker sex’. Except of course, it isn’t. Unlike femininity — which has arguably been redefined by feminist theory as all-encompassing of the female experience — masculinity has remained an exclusive club, prescriptive of one set of ideal characteristics that a ‘real man’ should possess. If we do not naturally possess these ideal characteristics (which I don’t, and I suspect you don’t either) we are expected to attain them by ‘improving’ ourselves physically, and using that to keep women ‘in their place’. Not only that, a little side-quest has been added for you by our self-proclaimed ‘kings’: that we should wholly reject our male peers should they be happy to accept the evolving notion of diverse and empowered femininity.

There’s a reason for this, but it’s a flawed one. The only advantage of being a ‘real man’, historically, is exerting power over women. But the days your false kings of the red-pill movement yearn for, are gone. They’re never coming back. The women that were once held captive by real men now realise that that manhood was a façade; that it comes from a place of insecurity and anger; that there are other safe, inclusive spaces available to them. If you or I seek that same status in 2016, then we will find very quickly that we’ll have no one to control. The traditional notion of masculinity depends on a supplicant femininity, but if no such femininity exists, then the ‘real men’ are rendered absolutely powerless.

This is why ‘neo-masculinity’ is naturally insecure; it defines itself through self-loathing. It will never succeed because it also defines itself by its loathing of feminism, which by contrast, grows in strength by the day. This isn’t just because it’s self-determining in its rejection of masculine dominance, but because it holds a deep commitment to self-love at the very heart of its doctrine — that’s a message people can get behind.

This, brother, is where your feelings of victimhood and alienation come from. Maybe you find yourself peering over the fence into that world of feminine liberation — where they’re not doing anything particularly shocking, just enjoying the company of their peers away from you. In the other direction, you can see a lonely tower of ‘real men’, which looks impressive enough from a distance, but when you get closer, is full of guys beating each other up and wondering where all the chicks are at. You can’t jump the fence, because the women think you’ve come from the tower to kill the vibe, and you can’t climb the tower because the staircase has collapsed.

So rather than get angry and start hurling threats over the fence (because that’s where you’d really rather be), just chill. There’s a whole bunch of us that have made a little space of our own, at a respectful distance from the fence, and in view of the tower. We’re watching the tower fall, while listening to what’s being said. We pay attention. We think about it. We don’t yell. We realise that all they were doing over there was waiting, and hoping the rest of us would just be quiet for a while.

If we just wait long enough and listen hard enough, eventually that fence could fall too.


The rest of us.

Oliver Chaseling is a visual artist and photographer, currently studying journalism at the University of Wollongong. He can be found on Instagram @chaasenberg.