A 12-Step program to help A Voice for Men cure its addiction to hate
Posted by David Futrelle
Asha James – otherwise known as TyphonBlue – has taken issue with something I wrote about A Voice for Men, the hate site she has chosen to affiliate herself with. In my post detailing the hundreds of horrendous and disgusting threats and abusive comments one Canadian feminist has received after she appeared in a YouTube video that was heavily promoted on A Voice for Men and other Men’s Rights sites, I wrote that AVFM had only distanced itself in a “superficial way from some of the harassment it has played a central role in unleashing.”
Ms. James, posting on Reddit, was unhappy with my use of the word “superficial.”
No, I do not think you are obliged to stop talking about her, or anyone you wish to talk about.
But you asked for suggestions as to WHAT MORE YOU CAN DO, and so I have some for you.
In fact, I have an entire 12-step Program to help you and your colleagues at A Voice for Men fight your addiction to hate.
1) Let’s start small. If you’re going to make such a big deal out of how you and your AVFM colleagues are removing the red-haired activist’s personal information from your site, you might want to, you know, actually remove her personal information from the site? Links to her dating profiles remain up in the AVFM forum.
2) Recognize that doxing is not the only form of harassment there is, and remove the post and the comments referring to the Canadian activist as “Little red frothing fornication mouth,” which is, I think even you have to admit, a kind of a hate-y thing to say about somebody. Remove the comments calling her a “bitch” and a “cunt” and a “bint.” Remove the barely comprehensible but clearly hateful comment from AVFM contributor Dr. F (Ian Williams) comparing her to some sort of animal. Remove ImNotMraBut’s surreal, and exceedingly nasty, comment fantasizing about finding her body “at the back of the Women’s Locker room, crucified up-side down and set on fire with Lard from the Federal Pork Barrel Buffet used as a substitute for Napalm.” I mean, what the hell.
3) Of course, this isn’t the first time that AVFM has launched a giant hatefest aimed at a particular woman. Oh, no. Not by a long shot. Indeed, launching campaigns of hatred against individual women (and, once in a long while, individual men) seems to be AVFM’s primary form of, er, “activism.” And it’s certainly the only kind of, er, “activism” it’s any good at.
It’s telling that AVFM rarely targets truly influential or even particularly famous women for its attacks, with the notable exception of one comedic actress. No, AVFM instead tends to target women it thinks it has a better chance of really hurting – from female bloggers and journalists to individual student activists. Going after vulnerable individuals: In this way, as in many other ways, the principals at AVFM think and act like abusers.
And so, Ms. James, after you and your colleagues are done taking down the vicious posts and comments about the red-haired activist, I would recommend that you and your colleagues at AVFM renounce altogether, and apologize for, the site’s strategy of demonizing individual women. While you’re at it, go back and scrub all posts and comments of misogynistic terms like “cunt” and “bitch” and “fuckmuffin,” either directed at individual women or at large swaths of womanhood. Scrub all posts and comments of the term “mangina.” I would provide links here, but I would have to pretty much link to every AVFM post and comment thread. (If anyone can find posts and/or comment threads on AVFM that are actually free of misogynistic language, please let me know.)
4) Then take down Register-Her, your phony “offenders registry” devoted to demonizing feminist writers and activists as well as other women (from “Mommy bloggers” to comedic actresses) who have somehow managed to offend the AVFM crowd.
In no way are writers like Jessica Valenti, or actresses like Katherine Heigl, or any of the other women listed as “bigots” on Register-Her the “moral equivalents” of the “pedophiles, rapists, murderers and other violent criminals” you have listed elsewhere on that site. Most of the alleged “bigotry” cited on Register-Her is trumped-up nonsense. Putting these women on your phony “registry” is a clear and deliberate attempt to intimidate them, both by making them fear for their personal safety and by deliberately trying to tarnish their reputation and hurt their chances of future employment. Again, these are total douche moves on your part.
You can read more of the dirty details about Register-Her here, in case you’ve forgotten.
5) Stop using violent and threatening language when referring to your ideological opponents – and apologize for past instances in which such hateful language has been used. You might start off by having your boss Paul Elam apologize for his notorious comments suggesting that he finds feminist-bashing to be sexually arousing:
I find you, as a feminist, to be a loathsome, vile piece of human garbage. I find you so pernicious and repugnant that the idea of fucking your shit up gives me an erection. …
We are coming for you, and we are coming for all the liars out there that have been ruining people’s lives with impunity. …
You are SO fucked.
I know Mr. Elam is probably very proud of his work here, but you should know that to most decent human beings it comes off a tad, well, unhinged? As well as — here comes that H-word again! — hateful. Let’s put it this way: I’m fairly certain that this post by Mr. Elam will never end up next to Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in any anthology of the writings of famous human rights visionaries.
6) And while you’re at it, drop the hateful and threatening (and rather potty-mouthed) slogan “Fuck Their Shit Up.” Is that really the slogan you want your site and your movement to be remembered by? Do you kiss your mother with that slogan?
7) Renounce the site’s policy “to seek out and make public the identities” of opponents, a policy reiterated as recently as last weekend by Mr. Elam. Now, Mr. Elam insists that this policy only applies to “individuals who break the law or who indisputably attempt to harass, bully or abridge the free expression of others in the furtherance of their ideology.” But a quick look at those listed in Register-Her’s “bigots” category makes clear that AVFM has an extreeeeeeemely broad notion of what counts as lawbreaking or harassment or bullying, at least when it comes to people who aren’t MRAs. How is Katherine Heigl breaking the law, or harassing or bullying or abridging anyone’s free expression?
8) After renouncing doxing as a policy, frankly apologize for each and every one of A Voice for Men’s threats to dox individual women in the past.
You might start by having Mr. Elam apologize for the comments he made on AVFM radio in which he said that Register-Her would be used to post the personal information of female “false accusers.” In case you have forgotten, here is the relevant clip from that radio show.
If for some reason that clip does not play properly on your computer, here’s the money quote:
[If] Mary Jane Rottencrotch out there wants to say that her husband beat her just for the sake of gaining leverage in a divorce, he will now have a resource where he can come and post your name, your picture, your work telephone number, your address, perhaps even your route that you take to get to work, if you bother to have a job.
Yes, that’s right: “the route that you take to get to work.”
In case you’ve forgotten this promise of his, you can find Mr. Elam’s comments on the AVFM radio show that ran on June 28, 2011 titled “FTSU Big Time.” They appear about ten minutes into the show.
Once Mr. Elam has clearly and publicly renounced this statement, I would suggest that he apologize for the $1000 bounty he once offered to anyone able to supply him with the personal information of a number of Swedish feminists.
No, that wasn’t a weird dream. He really did that.
9) Apologize for the cavalier attitude shown by AVFM’s principals to the possibility that revealing the personal information of opponents could put these people in actual physical danger. You might start by having AVFM’s John Hembling (“John The Other”) apologize for these comments about the Swedish feminists targeted by AVFM, in which he frankly acknowledged the dangers that AVFM’s strategy could pose to the personal safety of those it was targeting:
Some individuals may criticize the intent to publish not only names, but also addresses, phone numbers, employers and other personal information – on the grounds that such exposure create a risk of retributive violence against individuals who openly advocate murder based on sex. It is the considered position of the editorial board of AVfM that any such risks are out-weighed by the ongoing hazard to the public of these individuals continuing to operate in anonymity.
In case you are wondering, the feminists in question did not, in fact, “openly advocate murder based on sex,” or murder based on anything at all. In an attempt to promote a theatrical production based on Valerie Solanas’ SCUM Manifesto, they made a brief video in which a woman pretended to shoot a man. You may find many examples of similar if much longer videos available on a site called Netflix. There’s even one called Basic Instinct in which actress Sharon Stone pretends to murder a man with an ice pick. No, really. With an ICE PICK! There are also videos in which men pretend to shoot other men, if you prefer that, and even some in which men pretend to kill women in a variety of inventive ways.
When he is done with that apology, Mr. Hembling may wish to apologize for another statement he made to me on the same subject:
Mr. Hembling might want to then move on to apologizing for this statement of his, which he posted on AVFM and on the Men’s Rights subreddit as a sort of preemptive rebuttal to critics who might point out the obvious fact that posting someone’s personal information could put them at risk. (I’m not sure I’ve ever run across someone so insistently cavalier as Mr. Hembling about the possibility that something he’s done might cause someone else physical harm.)
If some pea-brain wishes to claim that publication and public accountability is dangerous because it might facilitate some bad-brained moron to engage in retributive violence – kindly provide a workable mechanism for public accountability which is totally and perfectly safe – then criticize us for not using it. Until then, SFTU.
And you, Ms. James, may wish to apologize for your own blithe dismissal of the sort of harassment that the red-haired activist has been receiving.
If you had read the post of mine you were ostensibly responding to, you would have seen that the activist in question did in fact get one very blunt and direct death threat. (And she did report it to police.)
She also received not one, not two, but literally of hundreds of other threatening comments, many of them wishing death, rape or other forms of physical and/or sexual violence upon her, with one YouTube commenter going so far as to announce –TRIGGER WARNING – that he “would actually cum while cutting that bitch’s throat.”
It may be possible for some people to brush off one or even several “I hope you die” comments. It’s a bit harder to brush off several hundred of them – especially when some of these threatening remarks contain your address and phone number. That’s not really “kafoodling,” now, is it?
I’m a little perplexed that you didn’t understand this, as I posted literally dozens of examples of these comments in my earlier post. You did read that, didn’t you? I mean, you were offering your opinions about it in a public space, so I can only assume you read it, then somehow instantly forgot the dozens of horrendous comments I posted there, which were of course only a fraction of the total number received by the activist you and your colleagues hate so much. (There’s that pesky H-word again!)
10) Remove the personal photos of feminist writer Jessica Valenti that Mr. Elam posted to AVFM without her permission in an attempt to embarrass her. I won’t link to the post in this case; you can find it. I’m not quite sure that Mr. Elam realizes that by posting these photos he’s embarrassed himself far more than he’s embarrassed Valenti, as his actions reveal him to be a sad, angry, petulant old man, and one obviously jealous that Valenti, roughly half his age, has already had a far more successful career as a writer than he ever will. Also, she’s not a morally bankrupt asshat.
11) Publicly renounce and ban AVFM contributors and commenters who have engaged in doxing, threatening or harassing of opponents. You might start by banning long-time AVFM “activist” Frank James Spencer, otherwise known as KARMA MRA MGTOW, who recently gave me a decidedly non-friendly phone call at 1:38 AM to inform me, in falsetto, that “feminism will die,” a classic example of the sort of personal harassment that you would think anyone purporting to be in a “human rights movement” would want to distance itself from.
12) And finally: Take down, and apologize for posting, the terrorist manifesto by Men’s Rights Activist Thomas Ball you’ve got up in your site’s “activism” section. You know, the one that calls on men to literally firebomb courthouses and police stations, and which frankly acknowledges that such firebombing could very well cause many deaths.
I can’t believe that any group purporting to advocate for “human rights” would want to have this on their website, especially in the wake of the recent events in Boston.
Do any of you people have any sort of moral compass at all? Do you even know what a moral compass is?
Of course, I am under no illusion that AVFM will take even one of the twelve steps I have recommended. I spelled them out mainly to make a simple point:
After years and years of this shit, after literally offering literal $1,000 bounties for the personal information of your enemies, and while a literal terrorist manifesto remains posted on your website, you don’t really get to pretend that you’re shocked – shocked! – to find doxing and harassing going on in your Men’s Rights movement.
And this has implications beyond A Voice for Men and those associated with it.
A Voice for Men has, for better or worse, made itself the most influential Men’s Rights site online, and has begun bringing its particular form of “activism” to the real world as well. As such, helps to set the tone for the Men’s Rights movement as a whole, and to define the movement in the eyes of the public. And you guys are doing a bang-up job of it, he said sarcastically.
By sometimes excusing, other times encouraging, and in some cases directly fomenting, campaigns of bullying and harassment aimed at individual women, AVFM is helping to ensure that the entire Men’s Rights Movement, such as it is, goes down in history not as a human rights movement but as a reactionary hate group that has more in common with the White Citizens Councils of the 1950s and 1960s than with, say, the civil rights movement of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Ms. James: The people harassing and doxing and threatening to dox women are your people – some of them quite literally your regular readers and commenters and contributors, and others “your people” in spirit. That is, hateful, spiteful misogynists and would-be terrorizers of women. These are your people, and you’re welcome to them.
But there are a lot more of us out there than there are of you, and ultimately you and the rest of the so-called Men’s Rights Movement — sorry, Men’s Human Rights Movement — will go the ways of the White Citizens Councils you’re increasingly growing to resemble.
NOTE TO MRA DOOFUSES: Yes, I am using the real names of the AVFM folks. Lest you assume I am doxing them, you should probably know that the AVFM folks, after several years of hypocritically doxing people while claiming it was unfair for anyone to know their real names, finally gave up and started using their real names on their site. Heck, I didn’t know That Typhon Blue wasn’t actually named Typhon Blue until I read it on AVFM recently. This makes me wonder about other weird names I’ve run across. Might they be fake too? Surely “Wolf Blitzer” can’t be that guy’s real name. It’s probably just “Wally Blevins” or something like that.
NOTE TO FANS OF CORRECT SPELLING: Sorry for the typo in the name of the sound clip. I’m not sure how to fix it and too lazy to find out.
About David FutrelleI run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon, Time.com, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.
Posted on April 18, 2013, in a voice for men, advocacy of violence, antifeminism, are these guys 12 years old?, bullying, douchebaggery, evil women, FemRAs, harassment, hate, hypocrisy, johntheother, manginas, men who should not ever be with women ever, MRA, not-quite-plausible deniability, paul elam, rape culture, shaming tactics, straw feminists, taking pleasure in women's pain, terrorism, the c-word, TyphonBlue, unsolicited penis updates and tagged a voice for men, antifeminism, harassment, hate, men's rights, misogyny, MRA, terrorism. Bookmark the permalink. 312 Comments.