Last night, I saw a pre-release screening of the movie, The Red Pill. It was created by self-described fervent feminist filmmaker Cassie Jaye, who planned on it being a hit piece on the men's movement.
Indeed, the movie begins in that vein. For example, she interviews Katherine Spillar, Executive Editor of Ms. magazine and Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation, and raises no questions about Spillar's contentions that "it's still a man's world."
But the film then moves to documenting Cassie's painful, conflict-inducing journey toward understanding men's perspectives. The movie shows her interviews with men and women in the men's movement juxtaposed against its most credible female and male opponents, including SUNY Stony Brook sociology professor Michael Kimmel.
Periodically through the movie, we see Cassie's growing uncertainty about the validity of the radical feminist narrative versus that of the little-known men's movement. Speaking into the camera, we see her struggling to figure out if the men's advocates statements are true when feminists, colleges, and media relentlessly assert "male privilege." Also, she expresses fear that if she softened her feminism, she'd lose the support network she felt was so important to her. Indeed, during the movie's filming, as it became clear it wouldn't end up as another male basher, some crew members and potential funders backed out, and Cassie needed to rely on Kickstarter to get the money to finish the film.
Here are some of Cassie's discoveries that created such disequilibrium in her:
The Red Pill presents many more examples of why men feel dispirited: from unfair treatment in divorce court to rampant false paternity claims to disparate sentencing: Men receive far longer prison terms than women for the same crime, a discrepancy far larger than the much publicized black-white difference.
There's much additional basis for men's dispiritedness. For example, a wealth of evidence is offered in the proposal to the White House to create a Council on Men and Boys. (I was one of the proposal's signatories.) The proposal was rejected but a Council on Women and Girls was approved and heavily funded.
You might ask, "Why don't men publicize this more?" My answer: We try. For example, when Warren Farrell was on the board of directors of the National Organization for Women in New York City, his op-eds and articles were routinely published in the New York Times, etc. But once he started to write articles offering a pro-male perspective, his articles and op-eds are rarely published. My own efforts have been similarly rebuffed. All the respected people I know who try to obtain fairness for men report pervasive censorship and a gender-based double standard.
At the end of the movie, Cassie again turned the camera onto herself and, struggling for words, said something she never imagined she'd say.
The audience gave the movie a long standing ovation and then, many stayed in the lobby to open up about these issues, some in tears. I heard, again and again, men expressing gratitude that someone finally gave voice to the pain they feel because of the perceived double standard.
In the meantime, consider that all groups can find legitimate grounds for grievance but men's seem to be disproportionately ignored or prematurely dismissed. Men are supposed to hold up at least half the sky but their knees are buckling.
Dr. Nemko's book, The Best of Marty Nemko, is now out in its 2nd edition. He is a career and personal coach. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org..