The Backlash! - Backlash Article Archive - Origins of the Men's Rights Movement
  On-line since 1995 - Published December 25, 2012; Updated September 19, 2015  |


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Origins of the Men's Rights Movement
By Rod Van Mechelen
Let's get one thing straight: Richard F. Doyle is the FOUNDER of the men's rights movement. A lot of MRA's have never heard of him which is a shame. - Masculist Man: The REAL father of the men's rights movement
Is lack of unity our greatest challenge?
2012 Olympia, Wash. - I used to enjoy teasing Richard Doyle, who billed his newsletter--The Liberator--as the only legitimate voice of the men's movement. I responded by saying that my newsletter--The Backlash!--was the only illegitimate voice of the men's movement. I don't know if he ever got the joke.

He frequently complained about all of the organizations that were trying to be "king of the mole hill." THAT is what inspired me and the rest of the group we called the Gang of Six to start The Backlash! Where others promoted their own organization, we promoted everybody else.

In his article Masculist Man notes the discord that characterized the MRM in those days and that we need to learn from it. He's right. And the lesson can be very beneficial to the individual organizations and groups.

A strategy that works
When we started The Backlash!, Warren Farrell was getting air time and his book, Why Men Are the Way They Are, was getting exposure, but it was all very limited. Feminists dominated even more than they do, today. But within a year after we started publication of The Backlash!, even though we were busy promoting everybody but ourselves, we quickly became the go-to guys as far as the mainstream media was concerned.

Promoting everybody else turned out to be a winning strategy. Our little 'zine was a success!

We weren't really prepared for that. Unfortunately, it also made us a target and we weren't prepared for that, either. The mainstream media attacked us. We were just a bunch of regular Joes spreading word about organizations that were standing up for men. We did not have the means to defend ourselves, and it took a toll.

When Richard started, there was no Internet. When we started, the Internet was so new that having a connection at home was very rare. Today, we have a web that governments around the world--including the US--are trying to sanitize, and not in a good way.

There are a lot of Men's Rights (MRM) and Fathers' Rights (FRM) groups doing good work, today. But the problem remains that far too many of them are going every which way, and far too few are working together.

Promoting unity
When I resumed work on my website and began to re-conceptualize it, I wanted to return to the roots of what The Backlash! had been. I wanted to get back to promoting the various MRM and FRM groups and to promote unity and awareness of how widespread the movement really is. But I also wanted to add new dimensions to the movement. No, literally to the movement.

Several members of the Gang of Six--the group that originally conceptualized The Backlash! 'zine--are dead. Some died before they turned 60. Some even before they turned 50. Few remain, today. MRAs need to take care of their health. At 50 I was headed for an early grave. Now as I approach 60 I'm healthier than most people 15 years younger. And I do it on the cheap! Imagine a MRM in which our most experienced and savvy leaders were not forced to the sidelines or an early grave by personal health issues.

Money is also a big issue. Feminist organizations and programs have hundreds of millions of dollars to work with. We have the loose change in our pockets and the scraps we manage to beg. So I started to invest and now I'm on my way to making a fortune. Imagine what we could accomplish if the MRM had the support of dozens if not hundreds of millionaires.

Politics ties them all together. Both major parties cater to feminist organizations and the feminist agenda. The Liberty Movement is gender-neutral. Liberty works for both women and men. And so I am now active in the Liberty Movement. The Liberty Movement is growing within the Republican Party, and has started to take root within the Democratic Party. Imagine what would become of the feminists' female supremacist programs if their political and governmental support evaporated.

Added dimensions
This is why I added sections for each of these: sex, politics, money and health. All the information is there to help you be active, connect with others in the MRM, optimize your health, become wealthy, and support the kind of politics that will create a world in which men are treated like people, too.

Back when Matt Drudge's website was making big headlines, I was not a big fan of news aggregation sites. But then I realized it is a very efficient and libertarian way to pull in a lot of useful information while simultaneously promoting others.

The Backlash! is bigger and more comprehensive than ever before. But the site is seriously under-utilized. When I post a new article I get a lot of hits. But there is far more to be gained from the site than my little articles, and decades after Richard Doyle began the MRM, unity still remains one of our greatest challenges.

I'm doing what I can about that. How about you?


Rod Van Mechelen

Rod Van Mechelen is the author of What Everyone Should Know about Feminist Issues: The Male-Positive Perspective (the page now includes several articles by other authors), and the publisher of The Backlash! @ He is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and served for 9-1/2 years on the Cowlitz Indian Tribal Council.


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