Vice Media co-founder, former Fox News contributor, and right-wing personality Gavin McInnes is also the leader of the Proud Boys, a self-described "pro-West fraternal organization" comprised of men who "refuse to apologize for creating the modern world." McInnes, who founded the group in 2016 during President Donald Trump's election campaign, said the group is dedicated to upholding "western chauvinism" and want to "venerate the housewife," returning to the gender roles of the early 20th century.
Recently, a Daily Dot article illustrated the four-degree initiation process of the Proud Boys:
1. Publicly declaring yourself a Proud Boy.
2. Being beat up by other members until you name five kinds of breakfast cereal. This degree also includes a vow to stop masturbating.
3. Getting a Proud Boy tattoo.
4. Engaging in physical violence with members of antifa, the leftist anti-fascist movement.
But let’s back up a second. All of these aspects of initiation are eyebrow-raising in their own right, but one stands apart from the rest: Why breakfast cereal?
“You must get the crap beaten out of you by at least five guys until you can name five breakfast cereals,” McInnes wrote. “If you hammer out, ‘Chex, Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, and Special K’ in a matter of seconds, you’re free to go. If you get flummoxed by the punches and cannot think straight, well, sorry, you’re going to get pounded.”
McInnes said that this is all to train for "better 'adrenaline control'." "Both physical fighting and arguing require you to maintain your composure and not get petty... Defending the West against the people who want to shut it down is like remembering cereals as you're being bombarded with ten fists," he said.
So essentially, shouting out your favorite breakfast cereals while being physically assaulted is meant as a tactic to keep members focused for when they engage in the problematic fourth degree of the initiation process. But the question still remains: Why breakfast cereal?
Yosef Ozia, a member of the Southern Proud Boys chapter who’s based in Atlanta, Georgia, told Extra Crispy that this all stemmed from a fart joke. Yep, a fart joke. McInnes introduced this step based on a rule his buddies had in the past: if someone farted, they’d get beat on until they could list five kinds of breakfast cereal. “It doesn’t mean anything,” Ozia said. “[Initiation] is mostly a joke. A lot of people take it seriously, and they shouldn’t really.”
Ozia, who insisted that I define “chauvinism” before the conversation could continue, chooses the definition “an exaggerated form of patriotism” (despite the fact that Merriam-Webster prefers the words "excessive or blind," and adds that it can be defined as "an attitude of superiority toward members of the opposite sex”). “We like our women,” he told me. “Gavin loves his wife... we love women. If you’re not a housewife, it’s your choice.”
Ozia, who joined the Proud Boys after seeing a video McInnes made during his days at The Rebel, says that the group just wants to highlight that “being a housewife is hard work,” adding that the group wants to maintain “strong family structure” and prevent “the destruction of families.” He vehemently denied that the group is trying to force women into antiquated gender roles. “We are literally a drinking club,” he insisted.
However, McInnes himself has stated that the Proud Boys "long for the days when 'girls were girls and men were men.'" Ah, the good ol’ days, when the women would stay in the kitchen and pour the big strong men breakfast cereal.