Anders Breivik, Anti-Feminist MRA?

As we absorb the shock of what happened last week in Oslo and Utoya, we’re also starting to get a clearer picture of mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, now in Norwegian police custody. His manifesto, which largely consists of uncited work from a host of other right-wing thinkers, is now available online. 2083: A European Declaration of Independence gives us a picture of a man who is deeply troubled by multi-culturalism, by Islam, by modernity, by feminism, and by what has happened to traditional masculinity.

Breivik’s manifesto features an extended section called “Radical Feminism and Political Correctness,” cribbed uncredited from an American writer named Gerald Atkinson. The section complains “that the ‘man of today’ is expected to be a touchy-feely subspecies who bows to the radical feminist agenda.” Feminism’s aim, the manifesto continues, is to “emasculate” men, and render them “unwilling to defend traditional beliefs and values.” This rage at women in general, and at progressive feminists in particular, runs through much of the long and unwieldy 1187-page text. It’s a rhetoric familiar to anyone who reads the writing of Men’s Rights Activists.

So are anti-feminists and Men’s Rights Activists directly to blame for the actions of Anders Breivik? Of course not. Most MRAs – perhaps almost all – reject violence and mass murder as a political tactic. To suggest otherwise would be an indefensible and tasteless attempt to capitalize on a tragedy. But to pretend that there was no coherent political component to the tragedy would be almost equally indefensible.

There’s no escaping the reality that Breivik has painstakingly sought to ground the rationale for his acts of terror in ideological necessity. Judging by the manifesto he compiled shortly before Friday’s horrific rampage, he saw himself as a white knight standing up not only against liberal values, but against feminism and for an endangered traditional masculinity.

It is telling that Breivik targeted a Labor Party youth camp filled with young activists who were deeply committed to the very things he despised. The Norwegian Labor Party has long stood for greater rights for women; the Party’s “Women Can Do It” Project became a template for encouraging women’s empowerment across Europe. That empowerment, as far as Breivik was concerned, came at the price of the collapse of manhood and Western Civilization.

The mass murder of so many young people (of both sexes) may well have been his way of cutting down not only the best and the brightest of the future Norwegian progressive elite, but of killing off those who were personally and ideologically committed to the idea that men and women are radically equal. 

Those who died at Utoya were not chosen at random. They were killed because of who they were and who they were going to become. Judging by the values of their parents and their party, these martyred young people were radically committed to pluralism, to progress, and to sexual justice. Those were the causes they gathered for on that little island, and those commitments were the reason they died.


EDITOR’S NOTE: As always, we are interested in publishing opposing points of view and particularly in this case when we are taking about such a horrible tragedy. Also, please remember our commenting guidelines, here.

About Hugo Schwyzer

Hugo Schwyzer has taught history and gender studies at Pasadena City College since 1993, where he developed the college's first courses on Men and Masculinity and Beauty and Body Image. He serves as co-director of the Perfectly Unperfected Project, a campaign to transform young people's attitudes around body image and fashion. Hugo lives with his wife, daughter, and six chinchillas in Los Angeles. Hugo blogs at his website


  1. Wilhem Anders says:

    Any credibility that the GMP had,
    has died with this biased article.
    RIP. GMP.

  2. Transparent association fallacy, Hugo. Not surprising though since your arguments are always a weak house of cards and you fall back on garbage like moral relativism.

    Are we to say that all feminists are one and the same as Valerie Solanas, the SCUM manifesto author who shot Andy Warhol? Funny thing about that is how feminist of the day actually defended her actions.

    Are we to say because Hitler like iced cream that anyone who likes ice cream is a nazi?

    No I think not. Why is this man still allowed to create articles on a website that is supposed to be for “good” men after he has proven time and time again that he is not a good man. What kind of good man colludes to cuckold another man?

  3. Wow.

    It’s quite telling when Fox news does a better job of covering such a tragic story.

    Below is a link to the Guardian – showing both sensitivity and intelligence:

  4. While the shooter’s views were most certainly sexist and anti-feminist, it is firstly intellectually dishonest to tie him in with the MRAs (which I am not a fan of). Just because they share the same views does not mean that the actions are endorsed by MRAs, as annoying and misled as MRAs might be.

    Secondly, I do wonder what the author’s purpose for writing this might have been, other than creating a bigger divide between the MRAs and feminist communities. Sometimes, silence is golden — and instead of finding viable solutions through legislative means to further gender equality and ending women’s plights, the author’s chosen to part take in the echo chamber, thereby only creating nods and claps of agreement from the far left and vitriolic responses from the far right.

    In short, the author, as well as those following his footsteps, need to get off blogs, put down the protest signs, and actually start contributing to changing a culture that, too often, devalues women, and has men in a gender straightjacket.

    As a feminist, I don’t need a lecture on how bad women have it, or how men’s ability to be fully-functional human beings is being thawrted. What I am interested in are real and viable solutions, none of which this piece, as well as the many activities of the far-left, provides.

  5. What bothers me is that Hugo is not alone in this “You what Breivik has in common with MRAs” type posts/articles. I’ve similar stuff at Manboobz and at Shakesville. Not surprising but still dissappointing.

    Those folks could have put their energy to a hella better use instead of wasting on demonizing MRAs once again (but watch for these same feminists to cry foul the next time MRAs dig at them, which Manboobz is pretty known for). They could have very easily just written posts about his anti-feminism and called him on it without making the “you know they remind me a lot of MRAs” jab.

    I normally don’t go for victim blaming but the next time I cross paths with MRAs that are ragging on feminism unfairly I’m just going to remember this post and figure that they brought it on themselves.

  6. SpudTater says:

    Seriously, Hugo? Taking advantage of a tragedy of this magnitude just to get a cheap shot out at your enemies?

    I’m a liberal, and a feminist, and stuff you’ve written in the past really spoke to me, but… you’re now just courting controversy for controversy’s sake. In other words, you’re becoming a jerk, and I can’t bring myself to follow your blog any more. Sorry, and goodbye.

  7. Richard Aubrey says:

    The Utoya camp was a kind political indoctrination camp for the children of the ruling party. IOW, he lamed the next generation of the party which has done, in his view, so much damage.
    Consider, if he’d kiled a bunch of Muslims, the ruling party would let in more, and continue to demonize those who spoke about Muslim rapes of Norewegian women and the dole. If he cripples the next generation’s numbers, the long term impact is greater. For all you feminists-when-convenient, Norway is where one female professor said Norwegian women are going to have to dress and act differently so as to avoid inflaming Muslim men.
    Consider. Norway is not a very large country in terms of population. Sixty, say, young people from the families leading the ruling party is a HUGE hit to a very small subset of the population.
    They were there practicing ways to break the Gaza blockade to allow more weapons to the terrorists. It was not a matter of canoeing and first-aid practice and it had a particular, extreme, narrow political view.
    He could expect, were he rational and in one sense he was, that these kids would be greased into labor politics, labor journalism, labor law, labor academia. No more.
    From the point of view of resistance tactics and strategy, it was an effective hit. Problem is, it was also mass murder. Sometimes we excuse that. Blowing up Quisling’s staff meeting would also have been mass murder. Not a problem for the rest of us. This…. No excuse.
    To forestall those who would deliberately obfuscate the issue, there is a difference between pointing out the effectiveness of a tactic and approving of it.

  8. Why wasn’t Chrystal Mangum charged with a crime when she falsely accused several Duke lacrosse players of rape? Could it be because feminists didn’t want to admit that her claim was false. She went on to kill a man. Is his death the responsibility of feminism? How about “Desiree Hall, President of Brevard County (Florida) chapter of the National Organization for Women,” charged with filing a false rape claim? There was no political motivation for that? She was president of the chapter.

  9. C.V. Compton Shaw says:

    Those that want to advance a just political cause should be the loudest in condemning allies that commit criminal acts to advance the same cause. Criminal acts to advance a political cause imply that the cause, it’s leaders, and it’s means and ends are criminal. That is why those that oppose illegal immigration, unjust legal immigration, and feminism should be the most adamant in condemning Breivik and his Machiavellian means and ends.

  10. it seems this article wants to link MRAs to the mass killer and the massacare thereby generatng a negative image for MRAs

  11. No, it was medical experts who said that if you are getting dehydrated you should find out why and not just cover it up by drinking water. Diabetes is one possible cause, for example.


  1. […] at The Good Men Project Schwyzer has a piece the title of which does all of the heavy lifting:  “Anders Breivik:  Anti-feminist MRA?”  The point is made just by asking the question, we don’t need to read any further to understand […]

  2. […] feminist blogosphere has been abuzz over the fact Anders Behring Breivik referred to feminism and its aims pejoratively. […]

  3. […] and multiculturalism in order to claim that he specifically targeted the Youth Camp because it was associated with the Labor Party, a party that supports feminist […]

  4. […] too different from the hate mail that appears in my own inbox on a regular basis. As some have noted already, Breivik’s rhetoric echoes a fairly common conservative argument about […]

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