The Wildrose campus club got itself in hot water this week with a poorly worded email; which is a shame, because there is a bigger issue behind this story that we all should be talking about.
The club’s communications director sent out an email with the subject line “Feminism is Cancer” advertising a movie about the men’s rights movement called The Red Pill, by filmmaker Cassie Jaye.
The Red Pill refers to a scene from the Matrix where Neo has to choose between the illusion of his life (the blue pill) and the painful truth of reality (the red pill). The metaphor has become a bit of a rallying cry for some in the men’s movement. The reaction to the email was fast and furious as conservative politicians distanced themselves from the controversy.
But it was the words of a feminist critic that caught my attention. University of Calgary professor Rebecca Sullivan said that men’s rights and pickup artist movements start with very real and urgent issues. But, from there they go “immediately to ‘it’s women’s fault because they are denying men their natural rights as men. If only we could just have sex with whomever and whatever we want, whenever we want, then maybe we wouldn’t have to rape you.’”
It made me wonder why in the world Cassie Jaye would want to do a movie about a bunch of misogynist creeps?
So I did what Rebecca Sullivan, obviously, did not do and I watched the movie and then I interviewed the filmmaker. The only references I saw to “rape” in the film were a story about a 15-year-old boy raped by a 35-year-old woman who then went after him for child support, and another about a grown man who didn’t report a sexual assault against him by his abusive wife because he thought the police wouldn’t believe him.
That’s not all the movie talks about. It talks about many issues facing men and boys, in particular, such as higher suicide rates, workplace fatalities, military conscription, slavery, violent victimization, unfairness in family court and men’s lack of reproductive rights – to name just a few. The only violent and shocking scenes I saw were the aggressive and foul-mouthed women protesting and disrupting the men’s events.
Cassie started out making the film as a feminist and by the time she was done she said she no longer calls herself one. Maybe we should all be a little bit more curious about why that is. It starts by taking the red pill.
Listen to my full interview with Cassie Jaye below:
The movie, The Red Pill, can be purchased online.