Some interesting anecdotes from Cassie Jaye, producer of the film The Red Pill, given at her TED Talk in Marin County, California, in October last year:
First: out-group shaming, and the demonisation not only of those on the outside of the group, but those who are seen to have left and/or betrayed the group:
Before making The Red Pill movie, I was a feminist of about ten years. And I thought I was well-versed on gender-equality issues. But it wasn’t until I met men’s rights activists that I finally started to consider the other side of the gender-equality equation. It doesn’t mean that I agreed with all that they said. But I saw the immense value in listening to them, and trying to see the world through their eyes.
I thought: if I could get my audience to also listen to them, it could serve as a rung on the ladder, bringing us all up to a higher consciousness about gender equality.
So, in October 2016, the film was released in theatres, and articles and critic reviews started to roll in. And that’s when I experienced how engaged the media is in group-think around gender politics. And I learned a difficult lesson: when you start to humanise your enemy, you in turn may be de-humanised by your community. And that’s what happened to me.
Rather than debating the merits of the issues addressed in the film, I became the target of a smear campaign. And people who had never seen the movie protested outside the theatre doors chanting that it was harmful to women. It certainly is not.
But I understand their mind-set. If I never made this movie, and I heard that there was a documentary screening about men’s rights activists that didn’t show them as monsters, I too would have protested the screenings or at least signed the petitions to ban the film, because I was told that they were my enemy. I was told that men’s rights activists were against women’s equality. But all the men’s rights activists that I met support women’s rights, and are simply asking the question: why doesn’t our society care about men’s rights?
Secondly: the process of changing her mind. Cassie went into the project with a clear set of strategic assumptions about the men that she would meet, and their cause. But the tactical indicators contradicting those strategic assumptions were so strong that eventually, after much reflection, she was forced to change her mind:
Well the greatest challenge I faced through this whole process, it wasn’t the protests against my film, and it wasn’t how I was treated by the mainstream media, even though it got pretty disgusting at times. The greatest challenge I faced was peeling back the layers of my own biases. It turns out I did meet my enemy while filming. It was my ego telling me that I was right, and they were sub-human.
The whole clip is well worth watching.