Most MRAs know the Red Pill referenced in men’s issues discussion refers to that scene in The Matrix where the character Neo, living in a computer-generated illusion, is offered the chance to leave it for reality, represented by swallowing a red pill, or choose to remain in a state of full immersion in the illusion, represented by swallowing a blue pill. We think of someone as blue pilled if they buy into prevailing beliefs about gender issues hook, line, and sinker, and red pilled if they are aware of the discrimination and social disadvantage men face. The movement has broken down the red pill analogy to include a third choice: The purple pill. Purple pill individuals have some awareness of men’s issues, but still favor prevailing narratives and try to fit what they have learned into those narratives. This viewpoint leads to odd reactions like recognizing only part of an issue, or recognizing the problem but ignoring or even being offended by the mention of women’s role in its cause. The latter often manifests as treating recognition that both sexes contribute to the causes of various gender issues as an attack on women.
Part of this is a result of feminism’s 20th century interference with the evolution of gender roles. Once upon a time there was a trade-off under which women were considered to have earned special treatment. That treatment was contingent on eschewing rough behaviors like heavy drinking, fighting, and sexual promiscuity. Women were presumed morally superior, and expected to live up to that. They were presumed gentler than men, and expected to live up to that, as well. Even feminine aesthetics were about being something more special than a man, which is why women did and still do have the luxury of being taken seriously while wearing clothing that is strictly decorative, designed to be sexually provocative, and restricts one's ability to perform heavy or hard labor.
In return for living up to those standards, women were entitled to certain concessions not afforded to men. They could display more delicate sensibilities such as offense at rough language or crude subject matter, and expect their aversions to be indulged. They could expect exemption from some of life's responsibilities, like supporting a family or even themselves. It was not just thought of as a gentleman's responsibility, but his honor to assist a woman in need, and doing harm to a woman was taboo for any man. Women who lived up to the moral and social standards associated with their traditional role were considered honorable in a way that deserved veneration; men who lived up to theirs revered them.
Most women mistakenly call this attitude “respect.”
Feminists of the 20th century demanded women be released from the constraints of social obligation. They pushed for women to be able, without expecting judgement for it, to be as crass, as violent, and as sexually promiscuous as they believed men to be, and in many cases, more. Feminists fought for this under the guise of equality, demanding society acknowledge not only equality of rights and human value but capability and toughness, whether women exhibited them or not. Their agitation exempted women from our side of the bargain, yet most women still expect men to offer them that reverence they so badly mislabel. Now, we discuss gender issues in an environment in which the daughters and granddaughters of those feminists generation were raised to expect that deference without any understanding of where and how that expectation originated.
The idea of a purple pill covers a lot of ground, but it leaves out a phenomenon among women - the ability to seem fully red pilled as long as they get to remain on that pedestal of moral superiority to men, where they can expect to be venerated and coddled. We saw in the LadyMRAs dust-up how this can lead to women taking the impersonal so personally that they are unable to accept the legitimacy of men’s experiences, much less any conclusions those experiences lead men to that may be unflattering to women. The charge of misogyny against the men’s rights movement is largely based on that sensitivity.
We’ve seen women who get that due process is a civil right vital to the system’s ability to weed out false accusations, but then fail to understand that calling a man a deadbeat for not wanting to fund his female partner’s reproductive choices is also a false accusation. God forbid you point out that the dearth of women stepping up to oppose false accusers’ exploitation of legal infringements on due process reflects badly on the character of the entire sex. Why, you must have the soggiest of knees!
We could come up with a different shade to describe every way in which gynocentric attitudes and pedestalization of women impacts the movement, but we really don’t need to, because it all boils down to specifics factors: How one perceives and exercises or experiences personal agency, personal accountability, compassion, emotional sensitivity, and one’s sense of responsibility all affect one’s outlook on gender issues. Those factors are then fed through a filter of one’s political outlook, whether more authoritarian or libertarian, whether more right or left leaning. At the other end of this, few women recognize the basic fact that no matter what their personal matrix of these factors happens to be, labeling something a human right and then reserving consideration in that area for women does not constitute equality, and neither does labeling something an adult responsibility and then exempting women from it.
The ability to advocate from a perspective that does not demand the pedestal, that does not react to criticism with over-sensitivity, that does not differentiate between the sexes in terms of agency, accountability, compassion, and sense of responsibility - that is the dividing line between women who approach men’s issues with a gynocentric perspective, and women who do not. It separates women who don’t take things personally from women who don’t know how to refrain from doing so. And it separates women who view the men’s rights movement as a threat from those able to consider the issues without balking at the potential challenges doing so raises for women’s place in society.
Prior to the fiasco with the LadyMRAs, Factory wrote a post for A Voice For men, titled “To the women who are not like that,” thanking women - Alison in particular - who have been a part of the men’s rights movement, and pointing out that he felt the rarity of women who don’t demonize men and aren’t scared away by men’s anger at the current environment needed a label.
That post and the resulting discussion is where we are going to begin tonight.