One year after many of the founding members of Rocky Mountain MRA first met at a screening of The Red Pill documentary hosted by our co-founder Aaron Mello, we're still just as committed as ever to helping raise awareness of the issues faced by men and boys. It's been a jam-packed year with some monumental successes and some surprising and influential twists. Since our last group-focused update blog that we posted 6 months ago, here are some of this biggest highlights:
- We're hosting a free screening of The Red Pill documentary on 11/19 in celebration of International Men's Day (and coincidentally our one year anniversary)
- Hosted a booth at Denver PrideFest which was met overwhelmingly with positivity and enthusiasm
- Had an article written about the women in our group which was published in 303 Magazine
- Received some incredible outreach from helpful organizations requesting that we add their names to our Resources for Help & Support page
- Connected with some big names in the online sphere of the Men's Rights Movement, including a get together with Diana Davison of The Lighthouse Project which aims to help men who are falsely accused of rape
All of this, of course, took place between our monthly in-person group meetings, frequent Google Hangouts planning sessions, weekend hikes, and almost daily Facebook discussions; so needless to say 2017 has been one hell of a busy year! We don't plan to slow down, though; we have several plans for upcoming events and have been raising awareness and having friendly debates as often as possible. Here's a brief look at where we are, where we've been, and where we're heading next!
The heart of what makes Rocky Mountain MRA successful is the daily interactions, discussions, and support that occurs between our members in our Facebook group*. You may be wondering what exactly it is that we talk about on a day-to-day basis. Well, for those of you who are curious, here's a brief overview of some of the important topics and discussions from the last 6 months.
Every 20 minutes a man commits suicide. Men make up approximately 74% of all suicides, yet overwhelmingly it's an issue that's overlooked and ignored. Male suicide is a horrific epidemic that demands attention and compassion, and one that speaks strongly and personally to many members of RMMRA.
Negative Perceptions of Men & Masculinity
Across the internet and popular culture there's often a perception that men and masculinity are inherently "toxic" or otherwise in need of reform. Negative and damaging behaviors exhibited by certain men are often assumed to be systemic across the entire male population and are considered to be inherent symptoms of "toxic masculinity" or so-called "male privilege." For a prominent example of this, one need only look to the recent outcry surrounding Harvey Weinstein's Hollywood sex scandals. Rather than only condemning the guilty individual(s), many commentators went a step further and attributed Weinstein's reprehensible behavior and sexual misconduct to all men, especially those in positions of power.
This raises an important question about why the negative behaviors committed by some individual men are seen as systemic and universal across all men, yet we don't see this same universal attribution when it comes to the positive behaviors exhibited by men. Why don't we hear these same commentators claim that positive traits like bravery, self-sacrifice, and compassion are also inherently male or that they're shared across all men? If the harmful traits possessed by some individuals supposedly apply to the group to which that individual belongs (be it sex, race, or otherwise), so, too, should the positive traits. Crediting all men with the positive behaviors of a few, however, is not a reasonable answer to the problem of blaming all men for the failings of one. A better solution would instead be that we judge each person based on his or her own merits.
Questions like these and others are close to the hearts of many of us in RMMRA, and here are just a few of the materials that have been shared and discussed in this vein.
Title IX Reform
Over the past several years many young men on college campuses have been denied their right to due process after being accused of sexual assault. Many of these allegations have proven to false, and yet many innocent men have still had their reputations tarnished and aspirations demolished without any practical recourse. Anyone guilty of rape or sexual assault should, of course, be punished to the fullest extent possible, but in many cases the men punished by these campus policies were provably innocent.
Below are a few of the articles that were shared and discussed over the past 6 months regarding this issue, which many members of RMMRA care passionately about.
Fighting for Men's Human Rights
Above all else, we in RMMRA wish to see men's health, happiness, and dignity emphasized in our society. Sometimes this means providing support, compassion, and understanding for those in our group struggling first hand with these issues, and other times it means opening the door to have the kinds of discussions which can help further our understanding and approach to particular issues.
Below are some of the topics and materials we've shared and opened up about.
This year has been undoubtedly successful especially considering how young we are, and we plan to continue building this momentum in a couple of ways.
- The Red Pill
In just a few short days we're going to be hosting another screening of The Red Pill documentary in celebration of International Men's Day. This is the film that galvanized us and brought about the formation of RMMRA, and we hope that this screening will be just as meaningful, both to existing members and to those who have never heard of the Men's Rights Movement. Our goal is to help spark understanding and discussion both from people who have seen the movie in the past and those who still haven't had the opportunity. We hope to see you there!
- The Ripple Effect
A new film called The Ripple Effect will be coming out in 2018 which focuses on what the filmmaker calls "the ripple effect", which refers to the devastating phenomenon of grief, guilt, and anger which send ripples through everyone connected to someone who is suicidal following an attempt at suicide. The filmmaker says, "for every one death by suicide, at the very least 115 people are directly affected." Men are the vast majority of all suicides, and as such when the film is released RMMRA hopes to host a screening in order to raise awareness about the massive, oft-overlooked epidemic of male suicide.
- Male-positive workshops
We'd like to begin developing and hosting public workshops based around various topics related to men's health, happiness, rights, self-image, and roles in society. With these we hope to be able to raise public awareness of the double standards between the ways in which men and women are portrayed in popular culture, dispel the notion that masculinity is inherently "toxic", teach men what to look for in order to find a healthy relationship, and help connect boys with positive, healthy male role models which are absent from the lives of so many.
- Men's rights book club
One of the possibilities we're considering is the formation of a book club which would focus on a men's rights perspective of literature and provide a forum in which to discuss our interpretations and opinions. If this is something that interests you and you'd like to get involved, please email us and let us know!
Rocky Mountain MRA has had a very busy and successful first year and we hope to continue pushing forward towards our goal of helping men and boys with the issues which uniquely or disproportionately affect them.
If you're looking for more information or would like to get involved with the group or attend one of our meetings, please let us know. We're always looking for men and women who feel passionately about these issues or even those who are hesitant or curious. You can always reach out to us through email, Twitter, and Facebook.