Men's rights activists have a new hero: David Leyonhjelm
This is from a Leftist source but there may be something in it. It is written from a feminist and hence unmoored from reality perspective. Evidence of that is seen in the words below: "women have gained access to a measure of equity in education and the workplace". That's just paranoia. "A measure of preference" would be more like it.
Women these days make up roughly 60% of university admissions and get extensive job preference. "Most new Australian jobs were filled by women over the last three years ". Women have by now got it all -- to the disadvantage of men. Reality sure beats believing in myths, doesn't it? The writer, Jason Wilson, is just clinging to old hates.
Wilson is also a bit of a nong in his usage of "dogwhistle". Dogwhistle refers to something understood by only one side of politics. What Lion Helmet said was as clear as crystal to anybody
Senator David Leyonhjelm threw out a dogwhistle to the men’s rights movement, and it appears to have been answered.
First, Leyonhjelm made crude comments about Senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s sex life in the Senate. Then, he reiterated those comments on the Sky News program hosted by Ross Cameron and Rowan Dean. Now, Hanson-Young is promising to sue her Senate colleague for defamation.
Leyonhjelm’s explanation for his comments tapped into a long-standing concept beloved of men’s rights activists, “pick up artists”, incels, and assorted antifeminists in all corners of the “manosphere”: misandry.
This is Australian-style sexism brought to you by a senator and Sky News
The context was a debate arising from the murder of Eurydice Dixon, where Leyonhjelm was among those who were proposing that the right solution was to arm women with mace and other personal defence technologies
Hanson-Young voted against the motion and told the Senate on 28 June that during the debate, Leyonhjelm told her to “stop shagging men”. Interestingly, he told Sky that “what I was objecting to was the misandry, the blaming of men for the actions of individual criminals”, saying she had accused all men of being rapists, a claim she denies.
When Malcolm Turnbull called on Leyonhjelm to apologise, he said that the prime minister should call out Hanson-Young’s alleged misandry, which is “equally as bad” as misogyny.
By last Wednesday, on A Voice for Men, one of the foremost blogs of the men’s rights movement, Mark Dent had written of Leyonhjelm: “I have a new hero”. One of A Voice for Men’s tagline’s is: “Humanist counter-theory in the Age of Misandry”, and its mission statement says it exists to raise boys and men “above the din of misandry”.
Dent’s article on Leyonhjelm was titled, “A man takes a stand”.
Dent praised Leyonhjelm’s abusive characterisation of Turnbull as a “soft cock” and a “pussy”, saying “these words could not be more appropriate”. And he thanked Leyonhjelm for spotting Hanson-Young’s comments as “attack on all men which it clearly was”.
He also published the email Leyonhjelm sent in response to his fan letter, wherein it was explained that: “Apologies are only appropriate when there is fault. I am not the party at fault – misandry is not something that can be excused.”
It’s a neat trick – a debate over a murder with misogyny at its core gets turned into a petulant and stubborn insistence on the victimhood of men at the hands of women. And it plays into the hands of the large, reactionary political movement built on male victimhood.
“Misandry” is a word that means a hatred for men. It arose as a neologism in the late 19th century, modelled on the word misogyny, which has more ancient roots. As Australian sociologist Michael Flood puts it, misogyny is “an ideology or belief system that has accompanied patriarchal, or male-dominated societies for thousands of years”.
“Misandry” has been employed in antifeminist discourse as an inversion, and a kind of parody of the politicised understanding of misogyny that arose in the feminist movement. Some men saw, and still see, the gains made by women as attacks on their own rights and privileges.
So as women have gained access to a measure of equity in education and the workplace, reproductive rights, no-fault divorce, and a measure of personal and sexual autonomy, some men have seen only an attack on their prerogatives as husbands, fathers, privileged employees, etc.
For some antifeminists, the concept has extraordinary explanatory power. They see it as the motivating force for a feminist movement which, they allege, exists mostly to persecute men. And they believe it to be so powerful and widespread that it can explain not only the problems that they say affect men as a gender, or social class, it is also at the root of personal tribulations of individual men struggling with romantic problems, marital breakdown, or professional failure.
A vast ecosystem of blogs, websites, forums, subreddits, and social media accounts promote this topsy-turvy vision of gender hierarchy. Misandry, and the accompanying narrative of male victimhood, are their currency.
So it was that Leyonhjelm was praised on the Men’s Rights subreddit, the MGTOW (men going their own way) subreddit, and on Braincels (which sees itself as the intellectual end of the incel movement).
In turn, Leyonhjelm responded to the controversy – entirely created by him – by inviting antifeminist Bettina Arndt to parliament to address the topic of misandry.
Many have wondered why Leyonhjelm has kept this story alive with his own media appearances, even in the face of clear legal risks.
Part of the answer may be in the way in which his citation of one of the key concepts of organised misogyny has been noticed in key forums of that subculture.
Leyonhjelm’s ostensible core ideology, libertarianism, is not popular. He was fortunate to be elected at all in 2013. He will need to fight another election soon.
But misogyny has a constituency. His fights with mainstream media interviewers resonate powerfully among a group of men who are alienated by, and bitterly opposed to, gender equality.
By speaking to them, and being boosted in their media ecosystem, Leyonhjelm might become the men’s rights candidate.