Good Weekend commissioned me to write a feature on the men’s rights movement around September last year. I didn’t quite nail the magazine’s style so the editor, Ben Naparstek, spiked it. No hard feelings from me; these things happen. But the story’s been homeless ever since… Then, a few weeks back, I got an email from Ben asking me if my story had been given a run anywhere, because he thought there was a place for it elsewhere in the The Sydney Morning Herald. It had not, and there was. And so, yesterday, “21st century man: lost and anachronistic” made its public debut, both in print and online. I’m well chuffed, not least because it means I didn’t waste three weeks of my life. Thanks to SMH daily features editor Kathryn Wicks for making it sound much better.
It’s also worth mentioning, if for nothing other than amusement, that during my research I encountered a number of men who’d made their mind up about me before a word had been written. This is a section that was cut from the final version, but it goes some way to explaining the paranoid world inhabited by some men at the extreme fringes of the men’s rights movement:
Paul Elam smells a conspiracy. I’ve just interviewed the founder of A Voice For Men, the group responsible for the Monash University stunt and one of the men’s rights movement’s most boisterous proponents. As it happens, Michael Flood, who I had interviewed earlier in the week, had visited AVFM’s website and left a comment on the same day. Elam reckons he’s worked it out.
“I don’t know for sure, but this hardly seems like a coincidence,” Elam writes in a post entitled “A Flood of bad intent”. “My guess is Mosel will present Flood as an expert on the MRM [men’s rights movement] or on masculinity, which he is neither, and us, of course, as regressive sexists, which of course we aren’t.
“Ah, the aroma of another mainstream hit job is in the air, folks,” he adds in a later comment. Some of Elam’s acolytes get busy with Google, revealing on the site that I had “liked” White Ribbon Australia on Facebook and made vaguely pro-feminist comments on Twitter earlier in the year. “Good find!” Elam writes of the Facebook revelation. “Page saved. :O)”