When many people think of the men's rights movement, the image that springs to mind is lonely men lurking in chat rooms and railing against women. But in recent years, a group of brash, witty female activists has taken up the cause. And some of them are emerging as the movement's leading voices. It may seem counterintuitive that women would be helping drive the conversation about a movement that's fighting anti-male discrimination and campaigning fiercely against feminism. But according to Dean Esmay of the men's rights organization A Voice for Men, the fact that they shatter expectations is what makes them such good emissaries. "People want to believe we're a bunch of sad, pathetic losers who can't get laid and are just bitter because our wives left us," Esmay explains. "The very presence of women in the movement creates cognitive dissonance." Often, he adds, this dissonance makes people more receptive than they otherwise would be.
Who are these women men's rights activists? And why do the embrace a movement that some see as blatantly misogynistic? Below is a rundown of key players. A few of them, including Janet Bloomfield, who was the focus of a recent in Vice Newsarticle, have been in the spotlight recently. Others are virtually unknown to the mainstream, but within the movement they're seen as luminaries.