An online men’s rights activist group has caused a worldwide uproar due to a quote regarding their stance on rape: "I propose that we make the violent taking of a woman not punishable by law when done off public grounds”
Return Of Kings (sic.) is an online men’s rights advocacy blog founded by Daryush ‘Roosh’ Valizadeh, known online as “rooshv.” On Saturday, February 6, 2016, at 8 PM, Mr. Valizadeh attempted to coordinate a public group event in 43 countries. One of the planned meetups was in Chicago’s Rogers Park, but was cancelled after a Canadian all-female boxing club called "The Toronto Newsgirls" vowed to show up ready to fight. Another such opposition group was FURIE (Feminist Uprising to Resist Inequality and Exploitation), whose outrage was backed by a general public outcry for the cancellation of these meetups. The Wednesday prior to the intended meeting, Mr. Valizadeh posted that since he "can no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who want to attend... there will be no official Return Of Kings meet-ups."
The controversy over this group was brought into public view after Mr. Valizadeh posted an online article to his website entitled “How to Stop Rape” on February 16, 2015. In this article, he blames the victims of rape for the crime, and is sympathetic towards the perpetrators. In the piece, Valizadeh writes, “Let’s make rape legal. Less women will be raped because they won’t voluntarily drug themselves with booze and follow a strange man into a bedroom, and less men will be unfairly jailed for what was anything but a maniacal alley rape.”
Though it’s easy to see why his page has caused so much uproar, there is a disclaimer within the article that has been frequently overlooked, causing some confusion. The preface to this article reads, “Note: The following article was published as a satirical thought experiment. Its conclusion is not to be taken literally.” On Thursday February 9, such prominent groups as Loyola University and Rape Victim Advocates apologized for making false accusations. Mr. Valizadeh repeatedly tweeted that his writing was "satire" and that his article “was making a point about personal responsibility — that a woman’s safety is not only in the hands of men, but in their own hands too.” Later, on February 4 in an interview with himself, he emphasized that he has never been convicted of rape and proclaimed himself to be a professional pickup artist.
Even with the disclaimer, countries such as Australia and Britain have banned Mr. Valizadeh from entering their borders. Aside from the potential drama surrounding the would be meet-up and serious discussion of the article, a probable cause for these countries’ reactions can be found on Mr. Valizadeh’s website and the Return Of Kings blog site.
While the disclaimer on “How to Stop Rape” makes the article seem less misogynistic, the rest of the page that contains the article does not.
If you look at the top of the page, you’ll see this article is labeled under ‘culture’ and ‘girl behavior’. The only advertisement on the page is for an email list offering services to help heterosexual men win over sexually desirable women, and a pop up offering to reveal the ‘true nature of women’. The related posts at the bottom of the page are as follows:
- “When No Means Yes”
- “6 Qualities Of A Good Rape Scene”
- “All Public Rape Allegations Are False”
All the posts are linked to articles also written by Mr. Valizadeh. Some other articles written by him include “Women Are Experts at Wasting Men’s Time,” “Feminism Killed the Nice Guy” and “A Closer Look at the Damaged Brains of American Women.” All of the listed articles are just as insulting and offensive as his “How to Stop Rape” article. This difference here is that none of these articles have the disclaimer, but all read the same: blame the victim, and women are asking for it.
Looking at the Return Of Kings blog site, it’s very obvious that the group is exclusive. The Return Of Kings have extremely tight rules for membership including bans on women, gay and trans men, and men under 21. If you browse the articles found on the Return Of Kings blog site you’ll run into articles such as “5 Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder,” “6 Ways Misogynists Do a Better Job at Helping Women than Feminists,” and “15 Magical Years of Womanhood” which discusses the sex appeal of girls ages 15 to 30 years old.
When looking at the way Valizadeh and Return Of Kings describe themselves as neomasculine, it’s no surprise that articles such as these have come into existence. Neomasculinity, also known as “the red pill”, as described colloquially by Return Of Kings, is as follows: “Neomasculinity combines traditional beliefs, masculinity, and animal biology into one ideological system. It aims to aid men living in Westernized nations that lack qualities such as classical virtue, masculinity in males, femininity in females, and objectivity, especially concerning beauty ideals and human behavior.” The term neomasculinity was coined by none other than Valizadeh himself.
For those curious about Valizadeh’s work, I have collected some of his most telling quotes, presented in context and with no apparent disclaimers:
- “Systems must now be put in place where a woman’s behavior is monitored and her decisions subject to approval of a male relative or guardian who understands what’s in her best interests better than she does herself.” – Women Must Have Their Behavior And Decisions Controlled By Men
- “[Women] think their day-to-day activities are interesting or noteworthy when the opposite couldn’t be more true. If they just sit still, relax, and let the man lead the interaction, they would become ten times more pleasant to spend time with.” – 8 Things American Women Must Do to Make Themselves More Attractive for Men
- “Women are making more cash, men have more limited work options, and marriage is on the decline, threatening the very fabric of society. Great job, feminism… [American Women are] posting pictures on Facebook in between nonsensical updates of how women make less than men for the same work.” – 7 Ways Feminism is Destroying American Women
- “While every feminist likes to repeat the phrase ‘No means no’ it depends on context. Here’s a guide: ‘No’ when you try to take off her jeans or shirt means… ‘You need to turn me on a lot more.’ ‘No’ when you try to take off her bra means… ‘Try again in five minutes.’ ‘No’ when you try to take off her panties means… ‘Don’t give up now!’ I find the only word that means no is ‘stop.’ If you hear that word then she’ll be asking you to leave soon after.” – When No Means Yes
For those who want to look at Valizadeh’s article for themselves or who would like to see Return Of Kings’ controversial blog: