A Men's Rights conference slated for Detroit later this month successfully raised $25,000 for extra security on Tuesday, after the hotel hosting the conference expressed concerns about the security of its employees and guests. Men's rights blogger Dean Esmay blamed the threats on the "feminist establishment."
In their pitch to supporters, A Voice For Men said that their three-day First International Conference on Men’s Issues was "under attack by ruthless ideologues who want to silence us." The funds will be used to hire seven off-duty police officers to cover security for the event, the Detroit News reports.
In case you haven't heard of them, A Voice For Men is a group that advocates for "the human rights of men and boys" and explicitly believes that advocacy for women's issues is destroying men, and therefore society. The group compared the state of men today to the city of Detroit in its announcement of the conference itself, writing that "[Detroit] lost its currency and its stature in perfect lockstep with the masculinity that first drove it to the top of civilization. ... like men, [Detroit] is in trouble as most of the world looks the other way." Organizer Paul Elam continued (emphasis ours):
I can think of no better or more appropriate place for men to dust themselves off and start building again. I can think of no better foundation on which men and the women who care for them can stand together and seek change.
The conference prompted a series of petitions to get the late June event cancelled, mostly by appealing to the Doubletree Downtown Detroit Hotel. Although the hotel's letter did not specify from whom the threats came, it is plausible that the increased attention on the conference inspired the internet to do what it does and send nasty letters. (The Men's Rights activists could have consulted feminists, who deal with this sort of thing all the time, on how to handle that.) However, the accusation that feminists are to blame for the threats against the conference feels like another cry of "wolf," as A Voice For Men tends to blame feminists for pretty much everything. A recent example: writer blamed feminists for Elliot Rodger’s killing spree in California, even though the gunman's own misogynistic statements seem to thoroughly undermine his argument. A Voice For Men's homepage currently links to a change.org petition demanding that society "class feminism as a terrorist group."
A Voice for Men has said that it welcomes "peaceful" protests of their conference, which makes sense. As a philosophy, Men's Rights depends on the conviction that men and men's rights activists are the most persecuted people on the planet. Protesters — not to mention fundraising for a security detail — helps to sell that idea.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.