I was initially going to address this issue within my existing post on feminist censorship of non-feminist viewpoints, but the first International conference on Men’s Issues grew in significance such that it well and truly warranted its own blog post. The conference concluded, happily without incident, on 28 June 2014. Here is an overview of the conference which contains links to several presentations, and here are further links to other papers presented at the conference.
Feminist activism designed to stop the conference being held was clearly unsuccessful – this included street marches, online petitions and direct approaches to relevant authorities, and even anonymous threats of violence. These threats ultimately led to the conference being relocated to another venue under unusual circumstances as is described in this article.
Here is a Youtube video that was made to support a fund-raising drive needed to cover additional costs resulting from threats made to the venue hotel.
Protest Saturday: Misogynistic conference in Detroit (6 June 2014) Remarkably inaccurate and biased article by feminist blogger and here is the comment contributed by an MRA which will never be published (as is common practice with feminist web pages)
Controversial mens rights conference sparks backlash (29 May 2014)
Mens rights misrepresented – A letter to the Editor (10 June 2014)
Controversial men’s rights conference canceled at Double Tree in downtown Detroit (11 June 2014) There were 658 comments when I read the article – and some good ones amongst them too.
http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/28u8v3/just_lol_among_their_efforts_to_shut_down_avfm/ (reddit discussion thread with link to a pro-feminist web site discussing the conference)
Reddit discussion about feminist change in tactics in relation to the conference … Giving the threat of violence as a reason to stay away is absurd – ALL of the intimidation that has occurred at prior MRA events has been carried out by feminists.
http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/feminist-censorship/what-those-who-oppose-our-conference-look-like/ (refer in particular to readers comments)
Well, as it transpired, thankfully there were no feminist protesters present at the Conference and it was by all accounts a peaceful and productive event.
Media coverage of the conference
Media coverage of the conference covered a spectrum from supportive and thoughtful to shallow, dismissive and side-tracking. Many of the articles attracted many hundreds of readers comments, hence even the articles with a strong anti-MRA bias provided a useful function of encouraging debate.
Here are some of the more negative articles:
http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2014/06/28/the-first-international-conference-on-mens-issues-day-1/ and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arthur-goldwag/mens-issues-conference_b_5543418.html by feminist bigot Arthur Goldwag … but the comments by readers are worthy of review. A rebuttal of Goldwag’s Huffington Post article can be seen here
Men’s rights activists, gathering to discuss all the ways society has done them wrong by Monica Hesse (30 June 2014) With more than 1300 comments as of 3 July 2014
http://www.refinery29.com/2014/07/70393/mra-mens-rights-conference?unique_id=entry_70393#comment-1464508103 by Kelsey Miller (1 July 2014) This blog post has already attracted 900 comments as of 3 July – and I would recommend having a look at these as many good points are being raised therein.
What I learned as a woman at a Men’s Rights Conference by Jessica Roy (2 July 2014) *You can read a rebuttal of Roy’s article here*
As you will see, in each of the above cases, large numbers of men and women have posted comments pointing out the negativity, bias and hypocrisy shown by the authors. Indeed there are some very thoughtful and insightful comments amongst these – recommended reading!
Here are some of the more positive articles:
‘A kinder, gentler turn to the gender wars‘ (29 June 2014)
‘What’s next for the gender wars‘ (3 July 2014)
The Secret Agenda of the Men’s Rights Movement Exposed (6 July 2014)
NCFM Vice President responds to criticism about MRA’s and the AVfM conference in Detroit (25 July 2014) See http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/ncfm-vice-president-responds-to-criticism-about-mras-and-the-avfm-conference-in-detroit/
… plus a positive blog post at http://blog.studiobrule.com/2014/06/international-conference-on-mens-issues.html
And some further observations from an MHRA about the nature of media coverage the event attracted
‘Conference reflections: A young woman becomes an MRA‘ (23 July 2014)
Finally, ‘Is this the best they can do?” (25 February 2015)