Recently, there was a tremor in the landscape of social media: the announcement of a pro-misogyny group (unnamed here because they don’t deserve more web traffic) calling for organized meetings in major cities worldwide.
The planned meeting in Edmonton was met with sheer disgust from both government officials and the public. Men Edmonton (ME.), a local group, was planning on being there regardless of whether the pro-misogyny group showed up. ME. held the Warm Night YEG event, a tea party held in downtown Edmonton with the goal of promoting positive and safe spaces for all people.
The event was held in Churchill Square on Feb. 6, at the same time and place where the pro-misogyny meeting would have taken place. However, the call for a pubic boycott of the pro-misogyny event led to it being cancelled. According to one of ME.’s organizers, Justin Otteson, the ME. tea party was not necessarily intended to be a counter-protest.“We wanted to channel and focus the energy of the people into something more positive,” said Otteson.
The tea party idea was discussed during a roundtable held by concerned citizens, and the concept was chosen because it would help to create a relaxed environment where people could interact. The event was held in correlation with the White Ribbon Campaign, which is a worldwide campaign for men who pledge to end violence of any nature toward women. Many people at the tea party wore white ribbons or scarves in support of the campaign.
Otteson discussed what he thought of the other group and their intention.
“I feel like giving them any attention is giving them too much attention,” said Otteson. “Every time they get brought up in conversation, that just gives them more clicks on their website.”
Otteson addressed the deplorable nature of the group and expressed his hopefulness for a future in which pro-misogyny groups will be obsolete. He also stated that ME. plans to have more events that promote safe spaces throughout the city.
In the face of people that attempt to spread violent and archaic messages, it is comforting to know that there are groups like ME. promoting a safe and aware city.
Photo by Marc Kitteringham.