Who knew discussing men’s issues could be so controversial in filmmaker Cassie Jay’s latest documentary film, The Red Pill?
During her Australian press tour for The Red Pill, the first documentary to ever cover the Men’s Rights Movement (MRA), our media has not treated equal rights activist and liberal filmmaker Cassie Jaye all too kindly. In fact, the whole thing has reached the point of absolute embarrassment. The University of Sydney having screenings shut down by student union protests. Dendy Cinemas and Melbourne’s chain Kino Palace Cinemas shutting screenings down due to multiple feminists protests. Forcing “secret venue screenings” in Brisbane to avoid audience and employee harassment. Calling the film deplorably “anti-woman and anti-feminist”, which echo the same anti-free speech sentiments of 1940’s Germany in their seizure of “Entartete Kunst” (or, translated, “degenerate art”.)
Interviews on Channel Seven’s Weekend Sunrise where journalists such as Andrew O’Keefe and Monique Wright apparently lie about not being able to see the film, despite multiple screeners being sent to their producers weeks in advance. Labelling subjects in her film, such as A Voice For Men’s Editor-In-Chief Paul Elam, as “deep misogynists” that go unquestioned in her film – a claim Jaye refuted in that same interview and on Sky News’ The Bolt Report later that week. Interviews on Network Ten’s The Project, Jaye claiming they too haven’t seen the film, heavily cutting her 15 minute interview down to 5 minutes, all the while spreading false information it was funded by the MRA, not her Kickstarter campaign. It’s a whole bunch of drama and effort to put in for one problematic film, so how terrible can it be?
Well, to the shock of many, it’s more complicated than what big wig media propagandists like to admit. Just like gender politics, funny enough! While cut from the same identitarian “what about me, focus on me” politics cloth, Jaye’s film is by no means a manifesto of expected MRA talking-points, but instead a plea for discourse in an era of vitriolic political correctness. The film more of a personal journey for Cassie Jaye, starting as your well-meaning, equality wanting feminist interested in “rape culture”, recording her journey down the rabbit hole of political realignment and colliding narratives. “When I decided to look into the Men’s Rights Movement,” Jaye said, “I realised that gender equality goes beyond feminism. Gender equality requires looking at the bigger picture, which includes men’s experiences.” Taking on the John Stuart Mill ‘On Liberty’ philosophy of “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of it.”
With a mix of the expository and observational documentary formulas, shot on a limited crowd funding budget, Jaye inserts herself as a subject caught between two narratives. Both objective and sceptical, Jaye is not interested in a debate where we choose winners and losers, but instead a dialect with prominent voices across all isles in search for the truth. Where one may site Paul Elam’s vitriolic article, “When is it OK to Punch Your Wife?”, as proof of “rape culture” and “normalising violence”, we’re given context through a soothing voice over of Jaye herself that it was in response to another major feminist website, Jezebel, and their own vile piece, “Have You Ever Beat Up A Boyfriend? Cause, Uh, We Have”.
While the media highlights the Nigerian crisis that sparked #BringBackOurGirls, where 276 female students were kidnapped by ISIS-aligned Boko Haram, the 100 Christian men murdered beforehand is just background detail. Female MRA’s include Erin Pizzey who highlight domestic abuse statistics of women and men are about equal, while there are over 2000 more abuse shelters for women then there are for men (exactly just one). Studies refuted by gender study feminists such as Dr. Michael Kimmel who claim it’s wrong and outline what he believes of his opposition. Feminist Majority editor Katherine Spillar slyly calling domestic abuse “a play word for wife-beating”, raising feminist concerns in the lack of government funding for abuse shelters and assistance. And each side, besides the always humorous and notorious feminazi “Big Red”, making sure to say about the other #NotAll.
Unbiased and curious, Jaye challenges these world views where they fall and an egalitarian ear to their concerns, unravelling the messy, complicated and personal mess gender politics entails. The Red Pill is available now in Australia on YouTube, Google Play, Vimeo, Amazon Prize and, hopefully, in a peaceful cinema near you soon.
On its theatrical showing in Australia, protest from feminist groups lead to the event being cancelled at the Palace Cinema complex. The Ultima Function Centre (Victoria) faced abuse and threats from feminists but refused to cancel the event hosted on their premises.