A feminist filmmaker has sparked a worldwide backlash by highlighting the extent to which the women’s rights movement undermines gender equality and prevents men from having a voice.
Cassie Jaye has been deeply involved in the feminist movement for over a decade. But when she stumbled across the men’s rights website A Voice for Men in 2013, while researching rape culture, what she found shocked her.
Far from being privileged by their place in the patriarchy, men in Western societies are twice as likely as women to be murdered, twice as likely to be homeless, three times more likely to take their own lives, and ten times more likely to be jailed.
Jaye decided to follow the men’s rights movement, which she admits to assuming was a “misogynistic hate group” at first thanks to “mainstream media”. Three years later, she no longer calls herself a feminist.
Speaking to Sky News Australia about her new film The Red Pill which details her exploration of the movement, she said: “There are many ways that men are being disadvantaged or discriminated against in law, in court, and in the cultural discussion around these issues.
“When men are victims of domestic violence they are often laughed at or scoffed at or said that they are whiners or to ‘deal with it’.
“But if a woman ever reveals to a friend that she was hit by a male partner instantly we feel compassion and want to help and support them and go to the police.
“When women are abusing a man, and this happens at a higher rate than most people realise, we don’t have the same compassion.
“We are willing to say men are privileged therefore they don’t have problems or if they do it is the fault of patriarchy and therefore their fault.
“After my three-and-a-half years out making The Red Pill I saw actions and things that I disagree with in feminists and ultimately it led me to believe that feminism is not the road to gender equality.
“And what I am really in support of is gender equality across the board and a part of that discussion is talking about what men are dealing with and being willing to listen to what they have to say.
“I no longer call myself a feminist but I am still an advocate of women’s rights and always will be and I am adding men to the discussion.”
Feminists have reacted to the film by trying to shut it down. Posters for a screening in Toronto have been defaced with stickers reading “White cry-baby misogynists meeting”, while in New York The Village Voice declined to run a paid advert for the film.
In Melbourne, a cinema dropped a screening of The Red Pill after 2,366 people signed a petition calling it a “misogynistic propaganda film” and labelling the men’s rights movement a “sexist cesspit”.
Jaye said: “There was this explosion of debate about censorship and I am glad that this conversation is happening.
“The film itself I think is an extremely balanced film. I let everyone speak their piece and be heard in context without manipulation.
“The topic really ruffles feathers and makes people afraid.”