Return of Kings: Familiar Foe, New Name

Katherine Apperson | guest writer – Illinois State University

Trigger warning: Rape and graphic depictions of sexual violence

Imagine living in a world where men are the sole bread-winners, flaunting masculinity while women are housewives who exist solely to clean and reproduce. No, this is not a rerun of “Leave it to Beaver”; it is the ideal world of Return of Kings (ROK), a regressive group that has recently exploded in the media due to their pro-rape stances and attempted gatherings.

Roosh-daryush-valizadehReturn of Kings, founded in October of 2012 by Dayrush (Roosh) Valizadeh, is made up of “heterosexual, masculine men” who believe Western culture is focusing too much on equality of sexes. They claim that “yesterday’s masculinity is today’s misogyny”. ROK members are held together by a set of neo-masculine beliefs that can be summed up in one word: Patriarchy. In addition to discriminating against women and feminists, ROK views homosexuals as a threat because of their inability to conform to ROK culture.

While scanning through the website, there is an eerie realization that people whole-heartedly believe in these ideals and we may be interacting with them daily. One article states, “that ex-boyfriend who stole your heart? One of us. That charming married man at your office, with the beautiful wife? One of us. That wise mentor who helped you more than you’ll ever know? One of us.” This thought can be quite jostling for anyone, but we must realize feminists have faced this obstacle for decades. However, this time the foe is more a virtual threat than an overly menacing public one.

Upon further exploration of the putrid website, it is quite clear that every opinion can be sorted into the categories of fat shaming, women submitting to men, owning a gun, and viewing feminists as shrieking harpies that can be blamed for all societal woes. You’re welcome, I have saved you from having to read them yourself.

However, the topic that brought Return of Kings to public scrutiny is their position on rape. In February 2015, Roosh posted a highly controversial entry on his blog titled “How To Stop Rape”; which argued that the government should legalize rape when done on private property. He states, “if rape becomes legal under my proposal, a girl will protect her body in the same manner that she protects her purse and smartphone”. According to a February 2016 interview, Roosh denies any pro-rape stance for himself or ROK, claiming that the article was meant to be satirical. Whether or not you believe his defense, the message that violently taking a woman is approved in the ROK community resonates through several entries on the group’s website; such as “When Her No Means Yes” by Vincent Vinturi. This piece references Vinturi’s experiences of forcing himself on women after they clearly said “no”. He wrote, “when all is said and done, the woman is invariably happy…I barreled through her protest and drove the ball right to the basket”. Blatantly telling men to ignore women’s refusals seems a clear endorsement of rape by the ROK community.

Despite their ludicrous ideas of women and sex, the men of ROK continue to gain support as evidenced through their spike in site views this past month. They continue to lurk online and in various bars or clubs, but all hope is not lost. Fortunately, there are vast arrays of ROK critics that see these men as misogynistic trolls who use the first amendment to spew their ideals online. My advice is to steer clear of their filth rather than encourage them. Just as feminists have done for years, we must band together and stand strong in the faces of these lonely patriarchs. ♦

Photo: Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh in Warsaw, Poland (2014) by Bartek Kucharczyk. Released to public domain.

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