I originally bought Gary’s 43-page book(? essay? novella?) out of a desire to hear the other side of the argument on feminism. Nobody should be stuck in an echo chamber, right? Particularly if that argument comes in longer format than the average Reddit post or blog article where, theoretically, the author would have spent more time and care crafting his arguments and marshaling his evidence.
Unfortunately, there is not a single citation to be had anywhere in “We should all be equalists” — a title meant to echo Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk and subsequent printed essay. To start just with the title, it’s already an interesting choice of feminism for Gary to be mocking. For starters, Chimamanda actually does fall within the scope of his category of “acceptable feminists,” by virtue of the fact that she’s from a non-Western country, addresses issues like FGM, as well as the pressures on men and boys.
But don’t worry about it too much — the choice of title, or Gary’s actual feelings on Chimamanda’s speech are never actually addressed.
In fact, the lack of citation isn’t that much of a surprise as you make your way through the book, because the vast majority of statements made rely on anecdotal evidence of stuff that happened to the author one time, stuff that happened to his friend this one time, or stuff women have said to him a bunch of times. Plus, all that stuff we all know is true. You know. The stuff.
Plus, of course, there’s all the stuff that would happen if “the feminists” got their way, along with his definition of real feminism vs. fake feminism. Hint: it’s real if he doesn’t have to deal with it directly because these women are in other countries, or are dead. Or, ideally I suppose, both.
At one point, Gary rattles off a laundry list of damning feminist quotes without attributing them to anyone, then tells you to Google it yourself. Brilliant.
In short: the world according to Gary is that third wave feminists are not real feminists because they allegedly don’t focus on the topics Gary would like them to (namely — the issues that men and boys face, along with “important” topics like stuff happening in the Middle East or Africa, rather than on Instagram because lol women are vain). The feminists who do focus on those topics, whose work I have read, evidently don’t exist — which came as a huge surprise to me, but oh well. Other people who don’t exist: Any segment of the LGBTQ+ community, people of color*, people who were alive during first and second wave feminism and still call themselves feminists, and — of course — feminists who do advocate for men and boys.
If you’ve read any Men’s Rights blog or MRA thread on Reddit, then you’ve already heard every argument this book has to offer. Except, ironically, many of the MRAs I’ve encountered online have actually bothered to back up their statement with some kind of citation, even if the facts are misleading and cherry-picked.
Oh, and it’s littered with embarrassing typos. Men have to make custardy payments? How much custard are these dastardly feminists eating?!!?!?
Anyway, I read it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
*In the sense that when talking about issues men face, or issues women face, racism never comes up — nor does any form of bigotry other than sexism. Intersectionality is a huge issue on both sides of this argument that is often under-addressed, but Gary really has no time for it either way apart from shaming feminists for not talking enough about ISIS.