Discussing both the Return of Kings meet ups and the UCD 'revenge porn' Facebook chat, Rachael O’Connor gives her opinion on the debate on sexism in Ireland.
The issue of sexism has been brought up time and time again in Ireland, with several high-profile cases making headlines since the beginning of 2016. 
 
Irish author Louise O’Neill recently published a book aimed at young adults entitled Asking For It, a best-seller over Christmas that deals with the ‘blurred lines’ around consent while intoxicated. 
 
This book sparked anger and debate, and current events occurring in Ireland at the moment have added fuel to the fire.
 
Recently, controversial website Return of Kings were to host a series of world-wide meet-ups ‘for heterosexual men only’, including one to be held in Naas, Ireland. 
 
Self-proclaimed ‘pick-up artist’ Roosh Valizadeh is the creator of the site and organiser of the meet-ups, and has in the past come under fire for claiming that rape should be made legal if it occurs on private property.
 
The word about the meet-ups spread quickly and the events were banned in Ireland and the UK after petitions received over 50,000 signatures. 
 
The creator later said that he was cancelling all the meet-ups as he ‘cannot guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who wanted to attend’, which is ironic seeing as his blogs often dismiss the issue of consent claiming that sexual gratification is a male right.
 
While it is great that the meet-ups were cancelled, this will only add support to his cause for people who want to claim that ‘feminazis’ are denying the right to free speech and that it is men who are being oppressed. 
 
Valizadeh said in a post that ‘the world is moving against us’, citing that ‘unattractive women and their enablers’ were the cause for the cancellation.
 
The Return of Kings controversy is only one issue concerning sexism that is making headlines in Ireland today. 
 
Trinity College recently announced that classes on consent would be mandatory for incoming first-years, causing some people to claim that this was demonizing men, despite the fact that the classes were for all students, not just males.
 
University College Dublin are also in discussion about compulsory consent classes for students after it was discovered that over 200 male students were in a ‘revenge porn’ group chat on Facebook, sending intimate photos of women they had slept with and getting the photos ‘rated or slated’. 
 
On the issue of sexism, the debate on the right to abortion is one that has been going on for many years and which will continue for many more. 
 
Pro-life and pro-choice rallies are abundant, with people demanding that the 8th amendment be repealed. 
 
The debate on equality has become more prevalent in Ireland in recent years and shows no signs of slowing, meaning that we can expect more of these controversies in the future. 
 
Ireland is evolving into a more progressive country, but the backlash on the issues raised will also continue.