Gavin McInnes (left) and Liam Aiken attend a "How To Be A Man" premiere. Photo: Getty
Vice Magazine co-founder Gavin McInnes appeared in a public debate on the Huffington Post’s liveblog last week, and in the process confirmed everyone’s suspicions about the origins of a magazine whose mission statement appears to include, ‘Must always refer to women as sluts and whores at all times always, because irony’.
In an 8 minute discussion about the meaning of masculinity, McInnes (whose other credits include founding the website StreetCarnage.com and burping out a memoir called How to Piss in Public) echoed the entirely unfounded and unoriginal view that feminism had made women ‘deeply unhappy’ because it went against nature’s order. When pressed by co-panelists to back up his spurious claims, he responded by citing studies that had originated solely from his gut and declared that women over 40 are ‘fu*king sad’. His evidence-free diatribe was neatly rounded when he yelled that Mary Anne Franks (who happens to be a Professor at the University of Miami’s School of Law) was a ‘fu*king idiot’.
McInnes is concerned that men are being emasculated. Specifically, that they’re being metaphorically castrated by a feminist cultural imperative that encourages women to behave like men by getting jobs and not recognising the super unicorn magic swirling in their lady ovens.
Yeah, Gavin McInnes, might be time to learn some new things about being a man. Photo: Getty
As McInnes has it:
“Women are forced to pretend to be men. They’re feigning this toughness. They’re miserable. Study after study [for which he cites no source] has shown that feminism has made women less happy. They’re not happy in the work-force, for the most part. I would guess 7 percent [of women] like not having kids, they want to be CEOs, they like staying at the office all night working on a proposal, and all power to them. But by enforcing that as the norm, you’re pulling these women away from what they naturally want to do, and you’re making them miserable.”
McInnes goes on to demonstrate his fondness for the ‘yeah, nah I don’t reckon’ school of research methodology in a later interview with conservative website The Daily Caller, when he broaches the topic of abortion. Married with three children (yes, I can’t believe it either), McInnes says the birth of his first child turned him into a pro-life, God fearing Catholic.
“I think once women experience it, they change their minds pretty quick ... I’m sick of women who haven’t experienced [childbirth] trivialising it,” McInnes fumed. “My wife creates life from her vagina and then — that’s just the beginning — then she shapes this human life.”
Because what is it that women naturally want to do? Why, have babies of course! Then, we can spend the next 20 years shaping life. It’s like, we might think that busting through that glass ceiling is all about ‘strip clubs’ and ‘drinking brandy’ (wait, what?), but actually it’s more about filing expense reports. BORING! Why would we want to do that when we could move to another town and be a soccer mom? Because between McInnes and his data creating penis brain, that actually looks prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay cool to a lot of women. Don’t question it ladies - it’s science.
Why are we paying attention to the outdated, sexist views of McInnes? After all, he’s a 43 year old overgrown man-child who’s so insecure with his much valued masculinity that he even considers women not taking their husband’s names to be some kind of pernicious threat against biology.
McInnes represents the growing trend of Men’s Rights Activism that positions the fight for gender equality as something dangerous and unnatural, because they ultimately view it as a threat to male power. McInnes and his ilk play an each way bet, enjoying the privileges that come from having power over public space and capitalist gains while protesting that the real responsibility and achievement lies in staying at home, looking after children and maintaining the status quo. And rather than listening to women, they insist that their view of this so-called natural order is correct - that women want nothing more than to marry, to reproduce and to live in financial dependency for the rest of their days.
As my friend Kat says, “I’m sick of men telling me what I should do and feel as a woman just because they have a wife.”
Feminism is an ongoing battle to liberate both women AND men from socially inflicted expectations. A cursory study of history shows that our ideas of immutable masculinity are not founded in reality (for example, it is not ‘unnatural’ for men to show their physical affection for one another, nor is the colour blue hardwired into our biological makeup as anything other than the colour blue). But still, men like McInnes (with his history of misogyny dressed up as ‘comic irony’, his professed love for ‘traditional values’ that keep him squarely at the top of the pile and his public allegiance to other white people) criticise a movement that seeks to empower the women they claim to honour and love.
McInnes might be a pea-brained lump of crotch sweat, but his is part of an ongoing tantrum against feminism that is given credit by a lot of similarly maladjusted buffoons whose rising anger will only result in more harm being done against women.
As Dr Kerryn Goldsworthy, a former academic at the University of Melbourne says, “It’s not feminism that’s making women miserable, son. It’s patriarchy.”
[Editor's note: McInnes parted ways with VICE in 2008 due to creative differences.]