The Red Pill Will Disturb You for Good

Man by fire in wilderness

The Red Pill Will Disturb You for Good


I happened across a documentary called The Red Pill that was stirring controversy. The film by director Cassie Jaye explores the growth of MRAs, or Men's Rights Advocates. 

Jaye, who at the start of filming identified as a feminist (and has previously created documentaries sympathetic to LGBT issues) finds herself challenged by the perspectives voiced by MRAs. 

Where they are portrayed by feminists as trying to “roll back the clock” on gains made by women, what she finds is that they are rather giving voice to the many challenges and disadvantages faced by men today.

Challenges such as:

  • men are vastly more likely to be homeless than women
  • men are vastly less likely to finish high school and go to college
  • 93% of workplace fatalities are men
  • 78% of suicides are committed by men
  • when marriages break up, fathers are at a significant disadvantage to receiving custody of their children
  • men are equally likely to be the victims of domestic violence, but there are virtually no shelters for men and their children leaving an abusive spouse
  • men serve 60% more prison time than women for the same crime
  • men's value being reduced to their ability to be productive
  • and others

Is raising awareness to the injustices faced by men tantamount to attacking the rights of women? I don’t see how anyone can seriously conclude that. Unless they are looking at things with a lens that distorts the real state of things.

Is raising awareness to the injustices faced by men tantamount to attacking the rights of women?

And this is where the title of the documentary comes in.

In the movie the Matrix, Neo comes to a place where he is offered a choice of two pills: a blue one, which will allow him to essentially go back to sleep oblivious to the real world around him; and a red one, which will produce deep discomfort by comparison, but will allow him to see things in their true light.

In making this movie, Jaye takes the red pill. 

Doing so forces her to question in a new way the narrative of the ever present “patriarchy”, the invisible force in society that allows men to thrive as oppressors while women walk through life as the oppressed.

The evil force (Patriarchy) is to be named after one segment of society; men. They positive force (Feminism) is named for the other. 

This ideology pits us against one another. It’s good guys vs. bad guys. Or, as it were, good girls vs. bad guys.

And MRAs argue that feminism makes us all victims. It distorts everything. 

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. -Gen 1:27

One sad example of this distortion comes to mind.

A columnist was responding to the Steubenville rape case a few years back. She wrote an article about how important it is to fight “rape culture” when children are young. In doing so, she talks about rape to her 10-year-old son. As she puts it, "it’s my responsibility to teach him that he’s not allowed to be a rapist.” 

"I’ve made him repeat after me: I will never force myself upon a woman or a man. It simply isn’t a choice. I’ve gone so far as to tell him that if he rapes somebody, he’ll have to find a new family in prison and that he won’t get to hang out with us anymore. That almost made him cry.”

What a horrible, horrible thing to do to a child. 

In our parents, we look for an affirmation that they see us as we really are. That they see the inherent goodness in us that we can’t always see ourselves.

He looked in his mom’s eyes and saw the reflection of a budding rapist.

What a terrible and unjust distortion. Her child reflects the image of God; her distorted view made him look like a devil. 

Related: How to Turn Your Son into a Sexual Basket Case, by Simcha Fisher 

How does a Catholic respond to injustices without falling into the distortions of secular feminism? 

St. John Paul II actually called for a "new feminism" in his document Evangelium Vitae. Far from denying imbalances and injustice, he urged "all men in the Church to undergo, where necessary, a change of heart and to implement, as a demand of their faith, a positive vision of women. I ask them to become more and more aware of the disadvantages to which women, and especially girls, have been exposed and to see where the attitude of men, their lack of sensitivity or lack of responsibility may be at the root."

And one can rightly question whether the Church has advanced enough in this area, both internally and in advocating for it externally.

Related: The Pope's New Feminism, by Mary Ann Glendon

But we must avoid the trap of distorting the face of men beyond recognition. They are made in the same dignity as women, in the image of their same Creator and Father.

A New Feminism realized that we fight for each other's good, and that the enemy isn't men: it's sin. Sin is what makes us seek our own good over that of the other, the one whom we were tasked with safeguarding (cf. Gen 3:10-20). For this we need personal repentance, not to make enemies of each other. 

You can be for women and against a distorted vision of things. You can be for women and for men at the same time. But the leaders in the feminist movement argue “no”- you are either with this way of thinking, or you are against us.

If you want to see where Jaye ends up, rent (or buy) the movie. It’s worth it.

As I was watching the doc I was waylaid with a stomach virus. As a result of the film, I ended up feeling inoculated against something much worse, and for that I am grateful.

Feminism pits us against one another. It’s good guys vs. bad guys. Or, as it were, good girls vs. bad guys. — Josh Canning

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