Your average MRA is…


…young, white, male (no surprise), and, unfortunately, godless. Stephanie summarizes a Reddit survey, and it surprised me — not by the trends, which were along the lines I expected, but in the degree to which they lack diversity. It’s worse than I thought.

Comments

  1. sqlrob says

    In some ways it’s more diverse than I expected. There are that many women involved?

  2. anuran says

    Folks, remember this when you start patting yourselves on the back about how atheists are better, nicer, smarter, more compassionate than people who have a religion or any of the other self-congratulatory crap that regularly gets tossed out here. Douchebaggery knows no race, color or creed.

  3. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    This was brought up in Thunderdome. I tracked down a blogger who said that a vote bot providing identical answers entirely distorted the survey.

    The data, from what we can tell, is mostly fake.

    My source isn’t necessarily definitive, but the exaggeration of the 17-20 year old range, for instance, is just not compatible with real-life trends. Thousands 17-20, but less than 200 for the ranges immediately younger and immediately older? Not reasonably possible without having content that targets that age range specifically and effectively for some reason.

  4. Becca Stareyes says

    I wonder if MRAs are less likely to be theist because many (most?) large religions have communities already devoted to patriarchal ideals. A Christian who shares MRA-style ideals can find a nice conservative church that decries those women and their feminism and their Lady Gaga, so there’s less need to seek out like-minded folks on the Internet.

  5. says

    Crip Dyke, I did an analysis using a prior poll to gauge the level of distortion and back it out. You can see what I did in the post PZ links to. The trends are still almost entirely the same, just not as distorted and not as politically conservative.

  6. mikeyb says

    You just need to get one of these guys to exchange their pot for Jesus and you have the formula for a young Rush Limbaugh, a peculiar combination of self-aggrandizement, self-hatred and misogyny.

  7. says

    Check out the results at a point before the poll was spambotted, with n=263 (thanks to the commenter kalirren on Stephanie’s thread): http://imgur.com/a/f6vxv

    It’s worth noting there’s a problem with the percentages associated with the questions about marijuana legalisation, same-sex marriage, etc., but nonetheless most of the conclusions about demographics remain similar.

  8. samihawkins says

    For a minute I was confused by the huge number of political independents I in those numbers Xanthe posted, but than I realized in this case it was just a synonym for libertarian.

  9. jamesfrancesco says

    It makes sense they’re atheist. If they held these values AND theism, they wouldn’t need MRA groups…they’d just go to church.

  10. ck says

    Stephanie’s reconstruction makes more sense than the original data that I had seen earlier. While I knew they tended to skew young, the “sexual market value” nonsense meant that there had to be a significant number of 25-40 members. Plus I don’t think anyone hasn’t noticed that glibertarianism seems much more common than staunch conservatism in that group, especially since the latter tends to be incompatible with legalizing marijuana.

  11. Muz says

    Kinda amazing given how many of them talk as if they’ve got at least one bad divorce/custody battle under their belt.

  12. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Stephanie, #8:

    Thanks for letting me know about your corrective work.

    I totally get how the bot could have provided no more than 2,497 of those responses if the responses really were identical. But how did you get to subtracting 2400 other than it seemed consistent with a previous survey? (the 100 I do understand, but that only affects percentages and not raw numbers for a given response as if I understand you correctly those surveys wouldn’t have included any specific responses to be tallied.)

    As for the previous survey – it was only 9 months ago? Why again now? And why are they not using the same demographic categories? 18-24 in the previous with 17-20 in this one makes very little sense. You have to wonder if these people have any experience at all in designing instruments.

    So, yeah, thanks for your work. I’m still interested in the 2400 number, but it seems with the analytical competence of the people running these surveys that they would have marginal use anyway…at least compared to the results of an instrument that could take advantage of previous data set comparisons and get usable, code-able data on other questions.

  13. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Folks, remember this when you start patting yourselves on the back about how atheists are better, nicer, smarter, more compassionate than people who have a religion or any of the other self-congratulatory crap that regularly gets tossed out here.

    What the hell are you talking about?

  14. lanir says

    Lacking diversity to that degree, it sounds like an echo chamber. I don’t really think I want to treat them any different from any other asshole though. Who cares if they believe in a magic friend up in the sky or not? They’re still assholes.

  15. permanganater says

    It’s their stupid ‘equal rights for both sexes’ thing that gets them diverse and mainstream supporters

  16. permanganater says

    sorry, that should have read “ALLEGEDLY diverse and mainstream supporters”

  17. chigau (違う) says

    permanganater
    What do you “think” about magnetic reptilian chemtrails?

  18. chigau (違う) says

    permanganater
    Given your lack of actually refering to anything, I thought you were our DailyLunatic.

  19. says

    CD, in the absence of being able to discern precisely how many poll submissions were by the spambot, and noticing that the data supplied by it was unvaried, the political affiliation question did provide the best indicator of how much spam had been added to the poll. At least 31 people had selected ‘strong conservative’ when there were only 263 submissions, so of the eventual 2497, the maximum number of spam submissions was 2466 out of about 2980 total – so scaling up to about 514 non-spam submissions, one might expect there to have been at least another 30 ‘strong conservatives’, which reduces the possible spam submissions further; and proceeding on via a “Newton’s method” convergent approach you can arrive at an approximation of how large a number needs to be subtracted from all of the data to remove almost all of the spam. Where Stephanie estimated 2400 in her blog post I guess that might only be rounded to the nearest hundred – Stephanie might have actually used a figure like 2425 or 2430 for all I know. 2400 seems like a reasonable figure for an approximation.

  20. says

    The pie charts are wrong. There were only abiout 570 responses, not 3000+. If you click on the full data link at the top, you’ll see the spreadsheet has 2400 blank rows – so most of what’s in the charts is actually blank lines going to default responses.

    So the charts are wrong not because of a spambot, but because of a glitch. Someone needs to redo the charts.

  21. coldthinker says

    Following Pharyngula and some other sites, I realize that the expression MRA has a well earned bad reputation in the US. This is sad, since the abbreviation itself shouldn’t mean anything negative. But apparently in the American/ Anglosaxon culture the idea of men’s rights has been hijacked by sexually frustrated juvenile males, and Pharyngula constistently reacts against that.

    Outside the verbally violent internet experience, I’ve noticed that the local men’s rights advocates here in Scandinavia focus mainly on parental issues, especially the fathers’ parental rights after a divorce. In some occasions they have criticized certain generalizations like men being “emotionally less intelligent” as sexist speech and pernicious for both sexes.

    Also, advocating for men’s and fathers’ rights in no way excludes advocating for women’s rights. Neither does it deny the fact women are obviously less priviledged in pretty much every society. Often the outspoken local mra’s are married to an outspoken feminist, and both of them support the other’s cause. They have just raised different issues.

    Being a father of a young daughter, I consider it important to look after my rights as a parent, although even more important to improve my daughter’s future possibilities as a woman. If I had to choose, I’d prioritize the latter one. But apparently, at least in English, it would be inappropriate to call myself an mra and a feminist?

  22. anuran says

    @18

    Were you born with a complete lack of self-awareness, or did you have to study?
    The comments here are full of self-righteous, self-congratulatory types just full to brimming with how religious people (any religion, any variety) are more cruel, selfish, prejudiced, judgmental, bigoted, misogynist, pick whatever pejorative you want than atheists. It’s common, often reflexive.

    It’s completely understandable. One of the important things about building group identity – and that’s largely why people come here – is to repeat the mantra “In the whole world there is no group as good as my group. In my group there’s nobody quite as good as me.” So every once in a while it’s good to see that smug superiority deflated a bit. The MRAs are as vile a group of misogynists as walk this continent. And they’re us. They’re atheists. Deny it or deal with it. We’re no more immune to evil than religious folks. The only thing that differs will be the justifications.

  23. says

    Moggie, no. Pointless polls are usually pointless because of the self-selection effect of who can be bothered to answer the poll; but asking MRAs to answer a poll about themselves takes advantage of the self-selection effect, so the data can be considered loosely indicative of a trend. It’s still severely funked data, but it’s not completely funked.

    David Gerard, I didn’t see the spreadsheet at an earlier point, but its present state suggests a good segment of the data has simply been wiped, as there is now a jump of about a day and six hours between the timestamp at cell A561, and the timestamp at A3049 – that would suggest whoever’s in charge of the poll just simply decided to ditch the contaminated data. Yes, they need to redo the charts. No, that’s not evidence that the poll wasn’t spambotted.

  24. says

    coldthinker, it may vary in some countries. In the English-speaking world misogynist MRAs of the calibre represented by Paul Elam/A Voice for Men, WT Price/The Spearhead, or Daryush Valizadeh/Return of Kings, are not actually doing a very good job of advocating mens’ rights. To the extent that I am aware of groups that focus on fathers’ parental rights (as an example of actual advocacy), these usually don’t want to be associated in any way at all with the Elams and Prices. The extremist MRAs have been so vocal in fouling their own nest that as a result any rational organisation lobbying on behalf of men is far less likely to publicise their advocacy under the general banner of ‘men’s rights’.

  25. badweasel says

    Chigau #24.

    Permenganata’s comments (#20 & #21) are perfectly reasonable.

    I have spoke with some MRAs myself and, like many racists that won’t admit they hate coloured people, there are a lot of MRAs that won’t admit they hate women. Or perhaps don’t think that they do.

    Some will say that they are for ‘equal rights for everyone’ and proclaim themsleves as ‘egalitarian’.

    Then they will go on about how feminists just hate men and aren’t for equality because women have already got it because equality was written into law back in the 60’s. Or something like that. I really have not bothered to engage with people like that for a while.

    But its easy to see how the ‘egalitarian’ approach can gain them more supporters.

  26. Nick Gotts says

    anuran@30,

    Were you born with a complete lack of self-awareness, or did you have to study?

    You were evidently looking at yourself in your webcam as you typed that.

    The comments here are full of self-righteous, self-congratulatory types just full to brimming with how religious people (any religion, any variety) are more cruel, selfish, prejudiced, judgmental, bigoted, misogynist, pick whatever pejorative you want than atheists. It’s common, often reflexive.

    Anuran, may I present Reality; you two are evidently not acquainted. Your bizarre claim may possibly have been true a few years ago. Elevatorgate and the subsequent events have ensured that it is most certainly not the case now, as no regular here could possibly be unaware of the considerable cadre of atheist misogynists who regularly troll the blog.

  27. thetalkingstove says

    The comments here are full of self-righteous, self-congratulatory types just full to brimming with how religious people (any religion, any variety) are more cruel, selfish, prejudiced, judgmental, bigoted, misogynist, pick whatever pejorative you want than atheists. It’s common, often reflexive.

    I don’t recognise that at all. I lurk a lot on Pharyngula and the attitude here is pretty realistic.

    I think the attitude you’re decribing is more akin to the slymepit types; those who have a real. strong identification with skepticism and fight hard against any suggestion that there might be skeptics who are, to be blunt, arseholes. Because skeptic = better, in their minds.

  28. says

    #5 Crip Dyke:

    Thousands 17-20, but less than 200 for the ranges immediately younger and immediately older? Not reasonably possible without having content that targets that age range specifically and effectively for some reason.

    AFAIK, in any such survey the expected distribution curve for age would be Weibul(-isch) skewered to one end or the other. I did not perform any fitting/identification, but by measure of thumb the distribution after substracting ~2400 from the age 17-20 looks reasonably good.

  29. opposablethumbs says

    Folks, remember this when you start patting yourselves on the back about how atheists are better, nicer, smarter, more compassionate than people who have a religion or any of the other self-congratulatory crap that regularly gets tossed out here. Douchebaggery knows no race, color or creed.

    Oddly enough, what I keep seeing here is recognition that there is lots of sexist and otherwise bigoted shit among atheists, and frequent acknowledgement that there are plenty of decent, socially progressive humanist people among the religious (even if they do believe in things that don’t exist). I have seen a lot of people mention that they’d rather make common cause and/or socialise with progressive theists than misogynist libertarian atheists. Of course there have been comments to the effect that on average, atheists tend to be better educated, more progressive and more left-leaning than fundagelicals … but I honestly don’t see this particular brand of “self-congratulatory crap” around here.

  30. Christoph Burschka says

    I’m surprised by the degree to which they identify with conservatism (84%), when most right-wing internet libertarians make a show of distancing themselves from conservatives.

    In particular, their support for conservative issues that would seem exclusively religiously motivated (marriage, 7%) while disavowing that same religion so strongly (94%) and opposing conservatives on other issues (marijuana, 94%).

    The anti-choice thing I get – as we already know, there is a secular argument for misogyny. And the other ideas listed are more social justice-oriented, which libertarians oppose anyway.

    But really, what about the same sex marriage thing? What sinister feminist scheme would be served by allowing men to marry each other?

  31. hillaryrettig says

    aren’t the results skewed by being a subset of Reddit users? I wouldn’t think Redditers would be representative of the world, or even the Internet, as a whole.

  32. violetknight says

    @hillaryrettig

    Was going to post that!

    I know there are plenty of atheist libertarians (and it seems like most of these ‘conservatives’ are libertarians, see the marijuana legalization answer). The only thing that stops them from being more fully associated with conservatives at large is that atheism is anathema in the Republican party. If they were a bit more open religiously, they could probably peel off substantial support from groups that they actively try to repel. But then, if a frog had wings….

  33. vaiyt says

    Following Pharyngula and some other sites, I realize that the expression MRA has a well earned bad reputation in the US. This is sad, since the abbreviation itself shouldn’t mean anything negative.

    Sure, but we shouldn’t waste time thinking of what the words in a group’s name SHOULD mean, and instead look to what said groups actually do. See: any group with “Family” in their names. From Focus on The Family to the Latin American TFP, they’re damaging to actual families, since their interest is “defending” a very narrow concept of “family” by stamping out all alternatives.

  34. nrdo says

    Obviously it’s hard to tease anything solid out of an online survey but a few people have pointed out on Stephanie’s thread that if the average age is as young as the survey suggests, it could be construed as “good” news, since people tend to moderate their positions as they grow through their twenties.

  35. says

    Young, white, male theists don’t need to identify as MRAs due to the culture of many of the big religions, so the data is showing a systemic bias.

  36. doublereed says

    It’s a REDDIT survey. Young, white, male, atheist is the average reddit user.

  37. A Masked Avenger says

    DanDare, #44:

    Young, white, male theists don’t need to identify as MRAs due to the culture of many of the big religions, so the data is showing a systemic bias.

    This. MRA is a particular subset of misogynists. Religious misogynists don’t need to be “Activist,” because the culture takes care of everything for them. And they regard themselves as champions of women, protecting them from evils like non-marital sex and decision making.

    violetknight, #41:

    I know there are plenty of atheist libertarians (and it seems like most of these ‘conservatives’ are libertarians, see the marijuana legalization answer). The only thing that stops them from being more fully associated with conservatives at large is that atheism is anathema in the Republican party.

    The whole thing is fuzzy. Reagan served up such a smooth purée of libertarian and right-wing patter that lots of people were fooled. Lots of right-wingers began to confuse themselves with libertarians; lots of libertarians were drawn into the GOP; and a weird, hybrid creature known as the “Reagan Republican” was born. He fooled people so well that libertarians didn’t notice him undermining civil liberties, growing the military machine, and fighting the cold war full blast. He fooled people so well that even liberals believed his tax-cutting rhetoric, and he mostly got away with things like taxing unemployment, surtaxing social security income, taxing graduate stipends, etc. And he was still deemed a “fiscal conservative” despite mushrooming the national debt.

    In any case, since then a broad range of libertarian-leaning people have felt tied to the Republicans via the myth of Reagan. So much so that the term itself has lost most meaning, and in places like FTP “libertarian” is often used as a synonym for especially far right, especially reactionary right wingers.

  38. says

    If it’s true that 2000+ responses are spam, that makes me mad in a way completely unrelated to the horribleness of MRAs. It should be obvious to the people analyzing the results. If there’s that much spam, they should not publish the results at all, they should re-run the survey with captcha codes or something. I know they’re probably running the survey on a volunteer basis, but that’s just unacceptable, even for a volunteer.

  39. coldthinker says

    Xanthë #32, Giliell #33

    I get your point. The meanings of words change. It’s just that where I’m from, the expression ”men’s rights” does not have that extremist connotation, not at the moment at least.

    We have our share of idiots in Northern Europe too, but I know reasonable people who have publicly voiced reasonable opinions about say, father’s position in parental issues.
    And in our culture, they would have no reason to shy away from calling themselves men’s rights advocates. That wouldn’t translate as ”misogynist moron” in Finnish or Swedish — as the case seems to be in English, at least American English.

    But I would quite easily see these friends travel to the US for business, research, teaching assignment etc, completely unaware of the extremist label the words ”men’s rights” carry there. Actually, I wouldn’t know it if I didn’t follow Pharyngula, so it’s possible I might have made an idiot of myself in a social gathering or something, accidentally associating myself politically with abusive people I would want no part of.

  40. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    anuran,
    You are derailing. The topic here is not “What does anuran think of atheists today?”. Take it to the Dome, please.

    No one on here thinks atheist = perfect. In fact, we’re all very well aware and discuss frequently the bad behaviors, attitudes etc. within the atheist community. That’s why we get accused of causing “DEEP RIFTS!!!11″. You might have missed that though, since you seem to keep your head firmly planted in your ass.

  41. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    doublereed,

    Goof point.

    So where outside of Reddit and AVfM do MRAs actually congregate?
    As a “movement” they don’t exist anywhere but online. They can’t get more than 30 people at a time to turn up for their “protests”. Maybe it isn’t that they seem predominately young white dudes because they poll was on Reddit. Maybe they choose to congregate on Reddit because they are predominately young white dudes? I dunno.

  42. kevinsolway says

    “Your average MRA is . . . ”

    So, according to a SCIENTIST we can determine what the average MRA is, with a survey on some website called “Reddit”.

    Science is doomed.