SBS’s investigative journalism program Dateline is in the process of airing a two-part series entitled ‘Defending Gender’. In an age where feminism has been taken to its extreme with every crime committed by a man deemed to be due to toxic masculinity, complaints about mansplaining and manspreading, and even programs aimed at schoolboys teaching them that their natural male traits are dangerous to our society, there has been a campaign to reclaim masculinity.
We have seen the rise of the men’s rights movement to counter the excesses of feminism that focus on men’s mental health, male homelessness, discrimination against fathers in the family law and legal system and most importantly of all men being proud of their masculine role in society. Part of the men’s rights movement has been to restart fraternal organisations which used to provide support to men in their everyday lives.
We have previously reported on the launch of a local male fraternity the Lads Society. But another that has exploded throughout the western world is the Proud Boys. The Proud Boys were founded by internet television host Gavin McInness while working at Compound Media. He and other male colleagues and fans got together at a bar to ridicule politically correct culture and began signing the song Proud Of Your Boy from the Broadway musical Aladdin which has become one of the group’s mottos along with the greeting “Uhuru”.
From those casual beginnings the group it became a fully fledged fraternal organisation. It now has formal traditions, rituals and entry requirements. To join you must have been born with a penis which has not been cut off, other than that there no other requirements about race, religion or sexual preference. Like the past Boy Scouts, Proud Boys earn different degrees as they progress to reclaiming their masculine identity.
The first degree a Proud Boy must publicly declare they are “a proud Western chauvinist who refuses to apologize for creating the modern world”. The second degree is you must have the crap beaten out of you by at least five guys until you can name five breakfast cereals, the other part is known as #NoWanks where you must abstain from masturbation as an incentive to meet women and practice traditional sexual relations. The third degree is a Proud Boy must show their commitment by getting a Proud Boy tattoo.
The fourth degree is reserved for Proud Boys who have been in a major confict for the cause, normally with the organisation’s main enemy the left-wing terrorist organisation Antifa. Proud Boys regularly attend patriot and free speech rallies in the United States which Antifa attempt to violently disrupt. The fourth degree was recently demonstrated by US Proud Boy Rufio Panman where he knocked out an Antifa thug who attempted to swing at him with a baton at a patriot rally in Portland.
Despite its focus on male fraternity the Proud Boys have an established conservative-libertarian political philosophy. It’s values are Minimal Government, Maximum Freedom, Anti-Political Correctness, Anti-Drug War, Closed Borders, Anti-Racial Guilt, Anti-Racism, Pro-Free Speech (1st Amendment) Pro-Gun Rights (2nd Amendment), Glorifying the Entrepreneur Venerating the Housewife and Reinstating a Spirit of Western Chauvinism. It rejects the label of alt-right instead calling itself anti-SJW (social justice warrior) organisation.
Even though the Proud Boys are now a worldwide organisation including having chapters in Australia SBS Dateline instead decided to speak with Proud Boys in the United States. Reporter Dean Cornish starts by spending time with a local Proud Boys chapter. The story focuses on the Proud Boys mission to restore traditional gender roles, with men being the breadwinner and women looking after the home and family. The Proud Boys featured talk about the demonization of men, the myth of the gender wage gap and the fraud of #MeToo. They deny that they are sexist and a misogynistic organisation.
Cornish also speaks with Gavin McInness himself where in his introduction Cornish makes clear he does not find McInness’ shows entertaining or enlightening. McInness discusses why the Proud Boys are important “The plight of the Western male is, right now, there’s a war on masculinity going on in the West and it starts in kindergarten, when children are punished for being rambunctious; boys are punished” and that to be a man “You have to have broken a heart. You have to break someone’s heart. You have to beat the shit out of someone, and you have to have the shit beaten out of you”.
Given that any organization to the right of Bernie Sanders is considered far-right the Proud Boys have been labelled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre. Their spokesperson Ryan Lenz tells Cornish that ‘western chauvinist’ is code for white nationalist and the fact that the Proud Boys have members of different races doesn’t absolve their bigotry, such as their support for closed borders and the Muslim travel ban. Lenz says we should be worried about the Proud Boys being in Australia “I say this with the absolute complete amount of sincerity, these ideas, it’s not a matter of if they’ll lead to violence, it’s just a matter of when”.
Dateline also speaks with feminist author and expert on the online manosphere Karla Mantilla who deplores their glorification of violence and their entitlement mentality. She also blames President Trump for fulling men’s rights movements such as Proud Boys and believes men would be happier if they embraced equality. She also states that the manosphere and the aggrieved young men who are part of it who she calls social misfits has manifested itself in several mass shootings.
The episode finishes with Cornish spending time with the Proud Boys Media Advisor Pawl Bazile who takes him on a Proud Boys boat party with Gavin McInnes and Milo Yiannopoulos. This features another part of the Proud Boys activities, simply drinking a lot and having a good time.
SBS Dateline next week will travel to Iceland for the second part of its Defending Gender series which is deemed to be the Best Place to be a Woman. It is ranked first in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Equality Index and is on track to abolish the gender wage gap by 2022. It has gender-neutral kindergartens which aim to reverse gender stereotypes including painting boys’ nails.
If the SBS Dateline episode was intended to be a hit piece then it didn’t do a very good job. Most people when the media deems an organisation a far-right hate group they take it with a grain of salt and it actually entices the viewer to learn more about them and find out the facts for themselves. The Proud Boys in Australia have experienced a surge in membership since Tuesday evening’s show thanks to the publicity and aim to be more active on online and out in the Australian community.