A 3-year-old student organization at Arizona State University called ‘Men’s Rights Movement Group,’ which argues with extreme rhetoric against feminism, has prompted female students in recent weeks to voice anger and frustration over its message and tone.
Throughout February, female students tore down and covered up the Men’s Rights Movement campus posters, and wrote in to the State Press student newspaper to criticize the group.
“The MRMG is a hate group directed toward females, particularly those fork-tongued ‘feminazis’ who believe in gender equality and the empowerment of the modern woman,” writes Isabelle Novak in her Feb. 27 column. “Although the majority of the website’s content is now missing or disabled, the homepage displays colorful paragraphs of text insulting straight women, lesbians and gays. … Morris’ opening paragraph calls MRMG non-religious, then continues on to call homosexuality ‘the most nefarious kind of gender warfare conceivable.’ ”
Novak adds the group’s homepage “includes a radical and offensive quote from a woman who rants that females are superior and that male babies should be aborted.”
“Morris referred to her as the ‘typical lesbian,’ categorizing all lesbians as man-hating and irrational; the link to this quote is disabled,” Novak reports. “Amid the sexist jargon and biblical references, Morris said, ‘Feminism has really done nothing for women.’ ”
In addition the column, in mid-February the State Press ran an article that quoted several female students who said they have covered and ripped the group’s campus posters. Apparently some men have also joined the cause because they disagree with the group’s extreme message, the women told the student newspaper.
English freshman Nicole Lemme told the State Press she has made new signs to cover the posters that say things like “smash the patriarchy” and “gender rules hurt everybody.”
“I consider (tearing them or covering them) an act of symbolic speech,” Lemme told the State Press. “While it’s free speech to put them up, it’s also free speech to tear them down.”
But a law professor quoted in the article states tearing down the posters is a violation of the mens group’s First Amendment rights.
In a March 2012 State Press article on the group, headlined “Mad Men,” student founder Zachary Morris is paraphrased as saying its purpose is to “both provoke a response from people and to provide them with the opportunity to ‘say they don’t officially agree with the official line of gender study.’ ”
Some of the statements on his fliers that year argued feminism “suspects all men and males as pedophiles, rapists, or criminals,” “treats men like subhuman slaves in family courts and the justice system” and “sits idly as 99 percent of deaths in war are men and 94 percent of deaths in industry are male.”
“We are trying to provoke a response, we’re trying to motivate people who otherwise might not care, and we’re trying to do it in a teasing, playful way,” Morris told the State Press. “We’re not trying to polarize things.”
In a 2011 email to Jezebel.com, Morris stated: “I believe gender warfare is the root of all societal problems, and a keen lens from which to understand all human affairs. While there are many women’s groups and gender focus on women in college courses and on campus there are none for men. So I decided to start one to give this perspective and knowledge-base a voice.”
Morris told Jezebel his group’s membership is low. Novak claims he may be the only member.
While the group has been on campus for several years, the State Press opinion column and poster-defacing incidents in February illustrate its presence it still a hot-button issue.
A top blog post on the group’s homepage states: “This group is being censored, as has any free speech for men’s rights on campus. Fliers have been vandalized, and crimes committed against my private property by students and faculty members. Litigation is in process, and lawsuits against the school and offenders is possible. This is not over. It has just begun.”
Jennifer Kabbany is Associate Editor of The College Fix.
IMAGE: Jay Morrison/Flickr