Over the last few days, the women-hating and pro-rape advocates of Return of Kings have announced world-wide meet-ups for their International Tribal Meetup Day. This “Tribal Day” is a masculine-male only meeting being held in 44 international locations. While these meet-ups aren’t specifically pro-rape or even rallies of any kind, Roosh Valizadeh is a known legal rape advocate, and he’s the one calling for this community to “come out of the shadows and not have to hide behind a computer screen for fear of retaliation,” as reported in The National.
Return of Kings has also published mostly anti-woman, rape apologist, discriminatory content, so though these events aren’t explicitly calling for a rally, there is reasonable doubt to believe that some would become a political platform. After sifting through Valizadeh’s twitter, he is sticking to the “it was all satire,” when addressing his “pro-rape activist” title. (It’s still unclear whether his supporters are sticking to the same story.) Though this may have started as a cruel joke, instated by ill-executed The Onion-esque content, but it has inspired many hateful, spiteful young anti-woman “acvitists.” Return of Kings promotes these ideals, and while some are being defended under the theme of internet-news satire, these “private” events are taking the very real cruelty to the streets.
These are masculine-men exclusive events, meaning that no women or homosexuals are allowed to attend. Valizadeh recommends that if a feminist or anyone opposing their group is seen at the event to “Record them with your camera, upload the footage to Dropbox, and then send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org afterwards so we can tear them up.” It seems that bystanders of the events will be attacked or targeted if they show any opposition.
In many moments like these, my immediate reaction is to speak out against these beliefs. With the often violent retaliations from speaking my own mind against these men, I’ve been conditioned to be silenced. In an effort to keep myself safe, I have to stay away from identifying as feminist or even standing up for myself and other women. As a woman, if I am seen near this event, my safety is in danger. Cults like these leave me feeling helpless and hopeless. Simply by writing this fact-driven news piece and publishing it publicly puts me in danger. These are men who retaliate, mostly by public shaming those who oppose them. 4Chan and Reddit are both hot-beds for these types of cyber-bully antics that lead to hundreds to thousands of death threats being funneled to one person, for reasons as little as the users didn’t like a photo the person shared.
Usually, I’m weary of male-identified feminists because it often seems like their feminist-identity is a guise for making women trust them and gaining them big kudos for being kind to women. I very much love my male feminist-allied friends, as I know they educate themselves about feminist issues, more than I’d normally expect, but sometimes I wonder why I’d be patting them on the back for a job well done, when all they did was agree that I should have rights. While I don’t want to make excuses for men, I do think this should act as a call to action for any man who feels that they don’t have a space within feminism. At a time when any women-identified, and non-masculine person is in danger for existing, it’s a perfect time for cis-gendered straight men to feel a call to action. While some men have spoken out about being against the meetings, they’re not at risk of violence or any of the threats that women receive. Speaking just for myself, I’d rather not enter into a war. This is a chance for those with the afforded privileges to take a stand, since their voices are heard above others and they are safe to speak. If you’re a male, and wondering how you can help, this would be the time to use your privilege and be heard.
Luckily, there are women who feel brave and strong enough to retaliate, should these groups turn violent against women. The Toronto Newsgirls, an all-female boxing troupe, has stated that they are ready show up wearing boxing gloves and aren’t afraid to kick butt if need be. A spokesperson for the boxing girls said that they “will show women that being powerful is an option.” These strong-willed and physically-strong women definitely do inspire and uplift, but it doesn’t make these meet-ups any less dangerous for women.
There are whispers of the possibility that these men going out on Saturday may drug women, or “seduce” feminist women, and it is clear that it will not be safe. While The Toronto Newsgirls are out proving women can take men down in a fight, there are many women who aren’t ready to face that fight. I, myself, would choose to stay in that risk my life outside. And, for these women, it’s time for our feminist-identifying men to step out into the wild and fight for us. How about those #NotAllMen advocates? Show us. Show us that you’re not like the others and protect the women of the world from being harassed and raped while these Return of Kings terrorists roam the streets. And also know that if it is up to only women to protect other women, it will be a gruesome battle of the sexes that we will win. Though, for most women, it’s not about “beating” men, it’s about being afforded the same privileges as men.
Since media has shined a light on these events, and there has been such strong distaste for Valizadeh, they have publicly cancelled the events. It’s rumored that the cancellation is only to throw off protesters, and they have sent private emails to potential attendees with new locations. Many safety groups are advising to steer clear of bars entirely on Saturday night, as they are seen as a target. You can find a list of the places they had intended on starting their meetings here: http://archive.is/lhMKP. Keep in mind that they originally intended on using code words, like “where is the pet store?,” to locate other members and the meeting places on list are not a final locations.