I am not of the view that a bunch of angry men congregating online to hurl abuse at women constitutes a legitimate movement, even if they hold a conference to put a friendlier face on the vitriol. This does not mean some of the issues MRAs are concerned about aren’t serious and real, namely sexual assault and domestic violence against men - though I’m sure this is a level of nuance few will bother to grasp. But you see, the “serious” issues tend to go at the top of articles about MRAs, and the in-depth treatment of “she deserves to be raped” sentiments are slipped in at the bottom, to balance it out for the folks who bothered to read that far. So it’s entirely possible that a fair number of people that click on these articles might be fooled into thinking these men are doing hero’s work - because everybody likes the idea of rights! But each time the media plays down how the movement is underscored by endorsement of violence against women, it legitimizes a group of people that we as society should be calling out for their, yes, misogyny. It is not ever okay to say a woman deserves to be beaten or raped because she’s asking for it or needs to be put in her place. In the year 2015, I shouldn’t even have to write that sentence. This is inexcusable and does not help any cause - and what’s more, the perpetuation of this misogyny can have very serious consequences.

This is why I think the Buzzfeed article was so effective. Serwer and Baker didn’t have to spend a lot of real estate on pretending to pay lip service to the MRM. I don’t much care about Paul Elam, honestly. But I do care about it when reporters romanticize him and his work to the point where they lose sight of the truth.

Read more on MRAs and the media here.