The Red Pill, Discussion – A Feminist explores MRAs

On the day of the worldwide release of Cassie Jaye‘s latest documentary “The Red Pill”, The Gender & Sexuality discussion group will be meeting and discussing the film and the issues raise around domestic violence and abuse, parental custody, prison sentencing, mental health, workplace injuries, and patriarchy v gynocentrism, and whether these are gendered issues and outcomes and if so how are feminism(s) and MRM(s) dealing with them, and if they are, are they doing so equally?

The Red Pill Film Trailer

Extended Sneak Preview

Q&A Movie Discussion Panel

On the 18th (and 19th) of January this year the film was screened here in Norwich. The screening was followed by a Q&A with a few special guests – including the filmmaker herself, on her first visit to the UK. Video of the panel Q&A with Erin Pizzey, Cassie Jaye, Paul Elam, Dr Randomercam, Mike Buchanan, Lucinda Bray, Jess Austin, Katy Jon Went:

And a further between showings and panels discussion among: Erin Pizzey, Cassie Jaye, Paul Elam, Dr Randomercam, Mike Buchanan & Nikita Coulombe:


GAS Event:

Opinion – Katy Jon Went

Watching the film and participating in the discussion panel twice made me realise that the battle of the sexes is still alive and well, but at times and in certain contexts it seems the social war between men and women has shifted its balance in favour of women. The intersectional feminist in me would rage, that no, the patriarchy (if it can still be said to exist – the gender neutral kyriarchy may now be a better word) still discriminates against women.

The age of Feminism and Men’s Rights Movements has marked some gains in equality but also some marked paradigm shifts in the experience of that equality.

Health and life expectancy favours women over men. One could argue that men live more dangerous lives, workplace injury, war, gang violence etc, women had maternity death risks, domestic violence etc, but for the last 200 years they’ve lived longer and healthier than men, and that gap is only now beginning to narrow.

Hearing how men’s experience can be just as hellish as women’s in different ways, more combat and work stress, parental rights deprivations etc than overt sexism or sexual assault, but degrees and differences of privilege, patriarchy and matriarchy or gynocentrism.

Domestic abuse, sexual violence, and coercive control can affect 1-in-5 men (UK, 1-in-4 USA) just as it does with 1-in-3 women. And yet, count up how many men’s DASV shelters there are? You’ll only need the fingers on one hand.

Gender roles, “the boy code”, “man up”, “be a man”, “you’re the provider/protector”, “boys don’t cry/blab”, all serve to trap men, discourage them from seeking help in relationships, around mental health – and when they do attempt suicide, they are invariably more lethal in taking their own lives.

The Red Pill may be hard to swallow but it needs to be seen and engaged with, and as Paul Elam said, some men need to be “heard, even in their anger”. What was less palatable from some voices was the feeling and some campaigning that women’s services and funding should be reduced in order to fund men’s services. Whilst men’s DASV support, and numerous other services absolutely need funding, it should be in addition to the already cut back women’s services. It should not be a battle of the sexes or the services, or the public/charity sector money pot, but the putting of people before profit, health before gender, ending violence and abuse before stereotyping one sex as the aggressor and the other as victim.

2017, the year ahead, Gender Revolution?

Gender Revolution

Time Magazine, Transgender Tipping Point, May 2014, Laverne Cox cover
Time Magazine, ‘Transgender Tipping Point’, May 2014, Laverne Cox cover

Hosting our first GAS discussion of 2017 we look at topics for the year ahead, and how National Geographic magazine has put the “Gender Revolution” front and centre this January, much as Time Magazine‘s ‘Transgender Tipping Point‘ did in 2014.

“To a degree unimaginable a decade ago, the intensely personal subject of gender identity has entered the public square…Freed from the binary of boy and girl, gender identity is a shifting landscape…Gradually it dawned on me…how deeply bound in culture gender itself is.” – National Geographic, January 2017

National Geographic, Gender Revolution, cover
National Geographic, ‘Gender Revolution’, January 2017, cover

Is there a gender revolution or evolution, or are we just changing the labels to suit current language and expression, but the identities have always been there?

“From dinner-table conversations to children’s books, the lines of gender are being redrawn.” – Laurie Penny, New Statesman, June 2014

In February at UEA, I’ll be looking at non-binary gender identities around the world and how deeply rooted they are in different cultures.

Binary Gender Resistance

“National Geographic is trying to brainwash young people into thinking this kind of degeneracy is normal. #GenderRevolution” – Dirty Harry (@HarryCallahan_) December 15, 2016

Is ‘modern’ gender identity seen as a threat to traditional religious and/or socio-political power structures, in a similar way to that of the equality of women over the last century?

National Geographic, 'Gender Revolution', January 2017
National Geographic, ‘Gender Revolution’, January 2017

Where do the anti-reactions come from? Trivialisation, bigotry, ignorance, fear, age, faith, binary gendered people, and what can we do to counter them?

One such counter argument runs:

“Constantly in search of the “next civil rights frontier,” Time never discusses the fact that transgender surgeries do nothing to reduce rates of suicide, never considers the perspective that genital mutilation is not a solution to mental issues, and simply labels Cox a “she” despite the fact that every cell in Cox’s body contains a Y chromosome.

Cox explains that his/her story is important because we are all “insecure about our gender”:

They think, ‘Okay, if there’s this trans person over here, then what does that make me?’ We want to just coast along in a belief system that makes us feel secure, because we are a culture, as Brene Brown would say, that is intolerant to vulnerability. And if we are in a position where we have to begin to question this very basic idea of ‘A man has a penis and a woman has a vagina,’ then that’s a lot of vulnerability.

Welcome to the culture shift.” – Truth Revolt

Where is gender ‘culture’ going in 2017, and is gender just a cultural thing? And why the moral and ‘safety’ panic? Another reported wrote in 2016 about the 2015 “backlash” in America:

“Thirty-five anti-trans bills have been introduced across 12 states since 2015, according to the National Center of Transgender Equality…What the backers of these bills have done is simply pivot the target of their mid-century “think of the children” rhetoric: from gay (and lesbian, and maybe bisexual — they are not really so specific) adults they believe pose a threat by virtue of their existence, to transgender and gender non-conforming adults and youth. They cloak their panic in concern.” – Pacific Standard, February 2016

Cassie Jaye documentary film The Red Pill
Cassie Jaye documentary film ‘The Red Pill’

Does the success of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, acting as ‘great white males’, point to a traditional resistance to the gender revolution? Are men the new minority, or indeed binary women, too?

The feminist Cassie Jaye explores “Gender Politics” in her documentary exploration of MRA activism, “The Red Pill“, which comes to Norwich on January 18th & 19th.

2017 Gender Revolution