Cassie Jaye's keynote on men's rights is advocating for considering both sides of the gender equality equation. The speaker is a documentary filmmaker that released the 'Red Pill' in 2016 — a film that explored the men's rights movement in detail and one that was perhaps unjustly protested by the media and radical feminist activists.
It was Zachary R. Wood who delivered a TED talk in April on uncomfortable learning as a tool for understanding and initiating change by submerging yourself in an environment that is completely contradictory to your beliefs. Cassie Jaye does just that. She relates her experience during her keynote on men's rights.
All in all, the making of the film helped the filmmaker understand not only the movement for equality better but herself, as well. She spent countless hours transcribing footage with testimonials gathered through interviews with men's rights activists. In the process of compiling the movie together, she discovered something about herself, a kind of a voyeuristic epiphany — she wasn't listening but anticipating because she thought she had "found the ground zero on the war on women."
While initially, the intent of her film was to advocate for women's equality by exposing the group that prevents it, the keynote on men's rights reveals that Cassie Jaye found a troublesome pattern that perhaps could hinder the equality agenda altogether. She identified a common theme where she had initial knee-jerk reactions to statements that did not necessarily warrant one. In her talk, she gives examples of the mechanisms of her inner reflex responses. When the interviewee would give an objectively innocent and valid point, Jaye's subconscious would give a malicious twist to it, synthetically adding words to the statement and changing the intent altogether. Aware of her bias, the filmmaker created a film that was different than what she initially set out to do.
As she compiled her film and launched it in theatres, she became painfully aware of the power of media and how it can have a dividing impact, influencing the groupthink in gendered politics. It revealed that if one starts humanizing the enemy, one becomes dehumanized by the community. This is what Cassie Jaye experienced as she was working to better understand the issue of equality, how it can be achieved and how biases can be removed.
The keynote on men's rights essentially outlines the filmmaker's journey toward a deeper state of self-awareness, one that understands that having compassion for male victims does not understate feminism.
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