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Sad Men in Texas Host All-Male Screening as a Joke, and We’re Laughing…But Not For the Reasons They Think

I sometimes have to wonder if people who fight so hard trying to derail already marginalized communities would instead focus their considerable energy into something more productive, if we wouldn’t have a cure for cancer by now.

As you may recall, Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas held (sold out!) women-only screenings of the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, and some men on the Internet got real mad about it. Those that didn’t get out and angry still thought the whole thing so ridiculous, apparently, that they decided to “make fun of” the women-only screenings by holding their own response events.

Take the “dudes” over at The Billy Madison Show, a nationally syndicated radio show on 99.5 KISS in San Antonio. Last night, they held a men-only screening of Metallica Through the Never (because nothing says manliness like Metallica!). Here are some of the hilarious things about this:

  • They paid for it themselves. Rather than organizing it and showing how many men actually even needed/wanted something like this by allowing tickets to be sold publicly, they rented out the Alamo Drafthouse themselves and made the event invite-only, giving away tickets to their listeners. So they spent their own money to, what, prove that their listeners are sexist? That there aren’t nearly as many men who are in any way threatened or upset by a women-only screening because more men than they like to think actually fucking get it?
  • Whatever point they’re trying to prove, they did so with the least amount of people involved possible. According to MySanAntonio.com, “Madison said the showing will feature ‘dude seating’ and a ‘dude Q&A’ session with ‘dude-only questions’ hosted by himself and his co-hosts. Derek Allgood, one of the show’s co-hosts, said ‘dude seating’ means there will be one empty spot between each guy.” Way to get people to rally and give a shit, guys.

Let’s just linger on ‘dude seating’ for a seconda thing that is stupid in regular life that is even more stupid at an event like this. You’d think that getting as many men together as possible would make the stronger statement. You’d think, right? But for these guys, it’s more important to prove the latent homophobia of some men by catering to it at their event. Not to mention clearly reminding the world that “real” men are straight men, because God forbid there be any gay around here. This is Texas!

What the hell is a “dude-only question?” Like, I know they’re trying to be funny, right? But seriously, that joke only works as far as the press release. I can imagine them all getting there, and the hosts being like, “We’re ready for your dude-only questions!” And then they all laugh. And then there’s an uncomfortable silence. And then the hosts are like, “No seriously, anyone have a question? About Metallica? Or, you know, us being dudes? Anyone?” *crickets*

What this screening did was simply illustrate why the women-only screenings of Wonder Woman were so necessary, and helpful, and a wonderful move for Alamo Drafthouse:

  • Multiple women-only screenings of Wonder Woman sold out. There was clearly a desire and a need for women-only screening of Wonder Woman that Alamo saw and jumped on. Men don’t need “men-only” screenings, and only get up in arms about them whenever women want an all-women anything. If men really needed “men-only” screenings, they’d already be having them. But they don’t. Because the world caters to “men-only” enough as it is. It’s likely that they gave away tickets and made a production about “dude seating” because they knew they wouldn’t be able to fill a theater otherwise. Not for this nonsense.
  • They’re not making a great case for masculinity. So, to these “dudes,” what men want (what they really, really want) is heavy metal, no women around (except when they want sex, of course), and no gayness (because gay and trans men aren’t men). Oh, and to be reactionary rather than proactive and actually giving a shit about the world around them. Because they have it so good as men that any change is a threat. So, whereas the women-only screenings also served to raise money for Planned Parenthood, this men-only screening served…nothing. No purpose. Men like this do nothing most of the time, fighting only when they’re denied something to which they feel entitled…which they believe are most things, but in reality is actually very little. I often wonder why so many men are so willing to play into the worst stereotypes of themselves just to prove some vague point about their entitlement. For all that say that “feminism” is about hating men, I think it’s about loving men as much as we love women. It’s about believing in them and knowing that they can be better than that. It’s about reminding men that they don’t have to be hateful, or hurtful, or destructive to be men. It’s about not treating men like children, but treating them like adults who are capable of being vulnerable, taking responsibility, and seeing beyond themselves enough to care for others.

Meanwhile, Alamo Drafthouse wasted no time in responding re: their part in this, making sure we know that they’re not believers in this nonsense. “This is not an Alamo Drafthouse-promoted event,” an Alamo Drafthouse spokesperson said. “It’s a private event and our feelings on this have been previously expressed.”

I suppose I should be grateful for this men-only screening. It serves as a hopeful reminder that there are more decent men out there than we think, and those are the men that we need to engage in doing away with sexism. As for the hosts of this show and their echo chamber?

As Beth Elderkin says in her tweet above, “Boys, knock yourselves out.”

(via Beth Elderkin on Twitter, image: The Billy Madison Show)

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