Mansplain 2020 1/19/20

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

In May, a three-day convention is planned in Florida. Tickets (which cost two thousand dollars each) are being sold to women only. The convention will have a panel of speakers that are all men. The stated purpose of the convention (and this is not a direct quote) is to teach women how to be women again, that is, how to stand up against those pushing women to act like men. After all, who would want to believe that women have rights, intelligence, opinions and are good for anything other than making babies? The panelists include such progressive thinkers as one who stated that men only want non-tattooed financially stable debt free virgins, another who claimed that there is no such thing as rape and their bro colleagues. All there to tell women how to be better at, well, “womaning”, I guess.

The surprising thing is that there will be women who do buy these tickets, and who want to attend honestly believing their platform. During the Women’s Suffrage movement (no doubt the root of women believing in themselves in their opinion) the greatest opponents were often women themselves. It’s always the way, though. It’s basically a fear of losing the status quo. People don’t like change, even if it’s for the better. But this really isn’t the point of this post.

Rather, I’ve noticed that we, on social media, are giving these men a platform. I personally think that they are cowards and idiots afraid of changing their own behavior, but here I am writing about them. I was asking a friend of mine about her opinion on this convention and she hadn’t heard of it.

Now she has.

And it’s my fault. I don’t think I’ve seen a serious post about this convention (that I am being careful not to name in my own effort to deny them at least a little bit of coverage, although interested readers can probably find it with the information I’ve provided). The posts I’ve seen have basically been intended to bash these people (and rightfully so), poking fun at their platform and pointing out that it’s a real convention despite the fact that it looks very much like a right-wing spoof or hoax.

The key point to this post is to suggest that we should really be aware and perhaps more careful that even making fun of events like this provides a platform for them, increases awareness of their activity, and legitimizes them. I never would have heard of this convention myself were it not for online news groups mentioning it, and as I’ve said, the only articles I’ve seen have been making fun of it.

Terrorists and people involved in crimes like shootings do the exact same thing. Many people know John Hinckley Jr. as the man who shot President Ronald Reagan. His stated purpose in doing so was to get the attention of actress Jodi Foster, who he insisted was his true love. You might think that this is just insane (and I would be inclined to agree with you), but is he any crazier than the fact that it actually worked? To the best of my knowledge, she never met with him in person, but she knows of him.

It seems like every time there is a mass shooting or some horrendous crime, the media immediately published their name. However, it is not uncommon that fame, even negative fame, was the goal all along. When the media published Hinkley’s name, and his motive, he won. He got exactly what he wanted. Today, social media spreads news very quickly, but those people (including me) that spread news of events like this to make fun of them and point out how dangerous and absurd it is are still helping to promote it by raising awareness that it is occurring.

I don’t really have an answer to this, but I do believe it is something that we should think more about whenever we write about or post on things with which we disagree. Maybe it’s worth it, but let’s face it, these idiots are self-empowering one another so all of the jibes and shade thrown at them will amount to nothing. It will be interesting to see how many people actually attend (no doubt a lot of reporters will attend contributing to their profit), but even at that, after the convention is over, discussing it will still spread their message. I’m doing my little bit. I’m talking about it as the genesis of this entire discussion, but I’m avoiding actually giving the name of the group or the convention. Maybe this is the start. Or with social media, maybe it just doesn’t matter.

Either way, I hope that the knowledge that guys like this actually do exist alleviates the mirth long enough to scare the hell out of people.

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