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A Voice for Men Gets Stung, or TheWoolyBumblebee’s Revenge

bees
Not the bees!

The WoolyBumbleBattle continues.

A couple of weeks back, you may recall, the excitable antifeminist videoblogger who goes by the name of TheWoolyBumblebee got herself kicked out of the A Voice for Men clubhouse after annoying Paul Elam with her incessant (but actually pretty much justified) attacks on libertarians and Men Going Their Own Way.

Naturally, there has been much drama since then.

Elam, doing his best to affect a certain world-weariness about it all, put forth a video offering his take on the subject with the understated title “On Ideologues, Isms and Evangelical Atheists.”

TheWoolyBumblebee — real name Kristina Hansen — has made no attempts to hide her feelings. She’s started a new blog called Menticulture that seems to be devoted entirely to bashing A Voice for Men. And with her husband, she’s produced not one but seven videos lambasting AVFM, ranging in length from 38 seconds to an hour and twenty minutes. The long video, by the way, is a point-by-point response to Elam’s video; a number of the more recent videos are attacks on regular AVFM contributor Karen Straughan, aka Girl Writes What. Hansen’s husband has also done a couple of videos by himself as well.

I’ve actually listened to them all, for better or worse. They’re angry and rambling, and for the most part not worth the effort —  unless you just really love schadenfreude. While some of their criticisms of AVFM are on the mark, the two go off on weird pedantic tangents and seem rather too obsessed with Girl Writes What’s lack of academic credentials. (She was evidently a two-time college dropout.) Hansen’s husband also likes calling people faggots. Lovely.

I had at least hoped for some good inside dirt on AVFM’s main characters, but the Hansens have got very little to tell that isn’t obvious from the outside: John “The Other” Hembling is a liar? Tell me something I don’t know. Elam is a tin-pot tyrant who likes to get his way? Gosh, who could have possibly guessed that?

But I suppose it’s to be expected: these two agree with the irrational antifeminism that’s at the heart of AVFM, so it’s hardly surprising that their critiques don’t go far enough, and that they get bogged down in lots of irrelevant issues.

Still, in a recent post on her blog, Hansen makes her arguments against AVFM a bit more cogently than she does in any of the videos.

After assuring readers that her attacks on A Voice for Men aren’t driven by “vengeance, hurt feelings, or a desire to one-up anyone” — not sure I’m buying all this — she charges the principals at AVFM of letting their ideological predilections get in the way of providing real practical help to men.

I suggested several things we could have done to help men, such as applying for funding for men’s services through VAWA and other Gov’t agencies, and was told that they would never touch government money because … it is against their libertarian principles, and because that is ‘what feminists do’….

I admit feminists have done a lot of harm to men and boys, but they have also done a lot of good for women and it is THAT part which we need to look at and study in order to be able to adequately assist men in any real way. It is called working the system. If you want change, that is where you go to do it, and not by sitting on the sidelines waiting for the government to collapse.

But AVFM, she notes, seems much less interested in making things better for men than in keeping men in a permanent state of rage:

[Elam] keeps men in a state of anger, and hopelessness. He perpetuates the victim narrative and tries to keep you stuck in victim mode. And he is not the only one. The inflammatory rhetoric used by those at AVFM, like John, are carefully written to get you emotionally worked up. I know this to be the case because I was on several SKYPE calls with John when he wrote many of his articles. I know how he does it and why. It’s to keep you in a state of anger and despair. …

Anyone working in the helping professions worth their salt will tell you that the goal of their work is to help their clients free themselves of the need for their help. …  But what Paul, John, Karen, and others at AVFM do, is keep you in a state of constant anger, helplessness, and need. They do not want you to get better. And why would they? … The more you rely on them the more they profit.

I don’t agree with TheWoolyBumbleebee about much, but this is spot on.

She also has some very pointed things to say about AVFM’s attempts to blame the suicide of Earl Silverman, a Canadian activist for male victims of domestic violence, on feminism.

There are men out there at this very moment that are truly hurting and suffering. Let’s start showing them we really care by doing things that make a real difference in their lives. Enough of the useless sitting on the sidelines bitching about how evil women are, how the government needs to collapse, or how the only way to solve things is to opt out. This is why Earl Silverman died. John wants to blame feminism, but the fact is that the men that were close to Earl at the end knew that his despair was borne of the failure of the MRM to actually DO anything.

Again, she has a point. By its own accounts, A Voice for Men raises literally tens of thousands of dollars a year — a considerable portion of which, I imagine, must end up in the pockets of Elam, who seems to have no other visible means of financial support, and/or in the pockets of Hembling, who has recently been promoted to a paid staff position. After Silverman’s death, AVFM raised money to help start an Earl Silverman center — a project now ironically in the hands of Hansen herself. Why couldn’t AVFM have used some of its fundraising ability to help Silverman fund his domestic violence shelter back when he was alive?

In my next post I’ll look at Girl Writes What’s response to all this.

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talacaris
7 years ago

““racial realists”

Is that a term for “”really racist and really proud of it”

And then some are calling themselve racialists

talacaris
7 years ago

It seems now that she no longer identifies as an MRA or part of the MRM

http://menticulture.blogspot.se/2013/06/anti-feminism-and-advocating-for-rights.html

MZ
MZ
7 years ago

I would recommend everyone on YouTube do a safety mirror of Hannibal’s new series. His videos (especially the MRA ones) are too good for anyone to constructively respond to, so the only course of action they would have is to flag them. I think it was a year ago that John the Other even admitted to flagging some of his other MRA vids..

Meanwhile, Facebook is stomping on their “free speech.”

CriticalDragon1177 (@CriticalDragon1)

@Talacaris

You wrote,
——————————————————————————————————————-
““racial realists”

Is that a term for “”really racist and really proud of it”

And then some are calling themselve racialists
——————————————————————————————————————-

Its actually what some racists call themselves who don’t want to openly admit they’re actually racists. Some people who know how low an opinion most people here have of racists will claim, “I’m not a racist, I’m racial realist” as if there was any actually difference other than their unwillingness to admit they’re racists.

inurashii
inurashii
7 years ago

leftwingfox: I did, and it made me feel really good. I love Patton Oswalt but felt really queasy when he defended Daniel Tosh after that rape joke thing. I refollowed him on twitter when he gave a small apology soon after, but now it seems like he actually gets it. I am glad 🙂

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

I suggested several things we could have done to help men, such as applying for funding for men’s services through VAWA and other Gov’t agencies, and was told that they would never touch government money because … it is against their libertarian principles, and because that is ‘what feminists do’….

They’re probably afraid to take government money because then the government would have an interest afterwards in where the money goes. It’s the same way with being a non profit org. and being tax exempt. That status comes with strings attached. You have to show results and prove that you’re doing what you say with the money, and not just squirrel it away into a vacation fund. Now if private individuals (suckers) want to send their money away to AVfM, they can do so and AVfM doesn’t have any accountability to them.

Over/under 5 days before thewoolybumblbee on the register-her list?

I wouldn’t be surprised either way. The scary thing is how Elam put the names of her children up on youtube, knowing his little sycophants would probably start harassing her and them.

Falconer
7 years ago

Rub your mad spot, Buntzums, and get glad, as my mom used to say.

It’s no use getting all huffy; it won’t make people apologize to you, and it makes you look like a crybaby.

Lady Mondegreen
7 years ago

@Christo

I recall Paul Elam did try to get non-profit status with the government.

From a 2011 update on his blog:
“In more business, A Voice for Men is on its way to becoming a 501 (c) 3, non-profit organization dedicated to fighting misandry and anti-male discrimination. More on that in the future.” http://www.avoiceformen.com/updates/site-updates/avfm-news-and-updates/

I could have missed further updates, but I never saw it mentioned again, and don’t see anywhere on his blog where he says they are non-profit, so I assume his blog was just too nasty to be approved.

In other words the crap about “libertarian principles” is a lie; a post hoc rationalization. What a surprise!

Falconer
7 years ago

Its actually what some racists call themselves who don’t want to openly admit they’re actually racists. Some people who know how low an opinion most people here have of racists will claim, “I’m not a racist, I’m racial realist” as if there was any actually difference other than their unwillingness to admit they’re racists.

“I’m not prejudiced, blah people are OBJECTIVELY lazy, dirty and violent!”

The scary thing is how Elam put the names of her children up on youtube, knowing his little sycophants would probably start harassing her and them.

Oh, Jesus. Has he no shame?

stacydianne
stacydianne
7 years ago

@Cthulhu’s Intern, calling the cute police on that baby penguin vid. TOO.CUTE.

stacydianne
stacydianne
7 years ago

Attn. Dave: I logged in using one nym, now the system has me under another and I’m in moderation. I prefer the “Lady Mondegreen” nym but WordPress doesn’t like it. I’m not trying to sockpuppet or anything! Sorry.

Tulgey Logger
Tulgey Logger
7 years ago

I’m voting Buntzums off the island. That’s right. Survivor: Manboobz Edition is about to get real as shit.

In mainstream misogyny news, here’s a member of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board sounding like he regularly peruses reddit and AVFM:

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/06/18/wsjs-taranto-dismisses-military-sexual-assault/194498

MaudeLL
7 years ago

@buntzums
We all got what you think of mental illness, you can happy dance about how not affected by it you are now. Knock it off.

Jake Jones
Jake Jones
7 years ago

Wow. Paul Elam has no bottom.

MaudeLL
7 years ago

GWW is so weird. On the mr/reddit Cloudiah linked, she’s arguing against the misandry of early 1800s feminism. It’s like she doesn’t realize that the objective #1 of querelle des femmes feminism (1401-1848) was for women to be allowed to speak in the public sphere at all. As in, exactly what GWW does everyday. During the Renaissance, the mere fact of her speaking to others than her children (when necessary) would make her ‘unchaste.’ (The logic was ‘if you don’t want people to think you’re a whore, don’t act like one. Speaking = whore.’) She really has an ‘everyone but me’ problem. Reminds me of Phyllis Schlafly.

grumpycatisagirl
7 years ago

That James Taranto at the WSJ is a real gem. He’s the one that said he didn’t think Gabrielle Giffords could have written her NYT piece about gun control legislation because of “severe impairments of her motor and speech function.”

Aaliyah
7 years ago

Taranto is yet another lovely (read: appalling) example of a bigot who is bigoted in more ways than one.

Jake Jones
Jake Jones
7 years ago

Are you surprised?

ostara321
ostara321
7 years ago

But what Paul, John, Karen, and others at AVFM do, is keep you in a state of constant anger, helplessness, and need. They do not want you to get better. And why would they? … The more you rely on them the more they profit.

Yeah…. I like how to her this is some huge, eye-opening revelation, but to the rest of the world it is really fucking obvious. Like, could not be more obvious if it had a neon blinking sign in red letters above it reading “SCAM”.

Harley and Joker Blogs

This comments section reminds me of the following video.

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

My 2¢? I’ve done plenty of illegal drugs, and my shelf looks like a pharmacy of legal ones, and I’m certifiably nuts (oh! The state agrees and fixed my welfare, I have income again!)

A hodgepodge of acronyms for Dx’s — PTSD, GAD, bipolar — know what I’m not? An asshole, as plenty of people here will attest.

John the Other? Asshole. Shitstain. Detriment to any cause he’s involved it. Makes pond scum look like a higher life form. More annoying than soap scum. Has the intellectual merits of bad gas.

See how that works? Plenty of ways to insult him that don’t imply that I’m an asshole just cuz I’m diagnosable. Mental illness is neither a cause of assholery, nor an excuse for assholery; as in, when a mentally ill person acts like an ass for reasons related to their mental state, it’s still asshole behavior.

“Apparently we must protect JTO for criticism about his use of medications, legal or otherwise.” — in short, yes, at least the legal ones anyways. But not just him. Criticizing the use of legal drugs, of any sort but particularly psych drugs, discourages the people who need them from taking them (there’s a reason my father gets told “none of your business” when he asks what I’m on, I don’t need a lecture on antipsychotics when seroquel is a damned effective sleeping pill!)

Kittehserf
7 years ago

From WBB: “The inflammatory rhetoric used by those at AVFM, like John, are carefully written to get you emotionally worked up.”

“Carefully written”

Carefully written

Bwahahahahahaha!

@Buntzums: how many times have you been told to knock it off with the ableism? Do you ever bother reading anything addressed to you?

@Maude – it’s typical, isn’t it? All the feMRAs have the general benefits gained from feminism, but no way would they acknowledge it even if they grasped the idea.

Marie
Marie
7 years ago

And QFT for everything Argenti Aertheri just said. Buntzums, make sure you read that.

ikonografer
7 years ago
Reply to  Kittehserf

sigh…you freaking people.

inurashii
inurashii
7 years ago

sigh…you freaking people.

Hey now, not all of us freak.

But those of us who do have a great time with it.

MrFancyPants
MrFancyPants
7 years ago

If the last round is any indication, I imagine that Girl Writes What will be dismissing WBB as being “childish” and “throwing a tantrum”.

pzmyers
pzmyers
7 years ago

I listened to Elam’s little complaint. Mykeru is a respected member of the secular community? Bwahahahahahaha!

inurashii
inurashii
7 years ago

Well PZ you don’t count, because nobody* respects your opinion.

* – nobody convenient to the MRM

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

By its own accounts, A Voice for Men raises literally tens of thousands of dollars a year — a considerable portion of which, I imagine, must end up in the pockets of Elam, who seems to have no other visible means of financial support, and/or in the pockets of Hembling, who has recently been promoted to a paid staff position.

That is considered taxable income, then, because it’s so much. For the US, since Elam is in Texas, you have to declare any yearly income over $400 if you’re self employed. If you are paid by someone else, though, you have to declare any income after $9,720. Now I’m assuming he’s single, since he calls himself a MGTOW. If he is married, then the income can be higher before you have to declare it.

For JohntheOther, he probably has to pay taxes already since it’s a paid position. But I don’t know if Canada has the same tax rules as the US, so correct me if I’m wrong.

Sorry if I was too boring here. My point is that even though they aren’t accountable to their donors, that does not mean they don’t have to tell the IRS or CRA about the donations they get. Not accountable to donors =/= tax exempt.

ikonografer
7 years ago

@pzmyers “I listened to Elam’s little complaint. Mykeru is a respected member of the secular community?” I respect mykeru a hell of a lot more than i respect you. I don’t have to agree with all his positions to do so, either.
see, watch this:
has rebecca watson yet provided any evidence to support her story? No? then you’re very, very skeptical, aren’t you? just b/c someone isn’t to your liking, doesn’t mean you’re better or more respected than they are.
oh, one more thing: i ride all over karen straughan for having flounced college twice, so lemme ask ya this: where was your last peer reviewed paper published, and how much of the research was actually done by you, as opposed to a lab assistant or TA? oh, and where is your PhD in gender studies? ethics? law? philosophy? i mean, at one point or another, you’ve approached all these as an ‘expert’ just askin’

ikonografer
7 years ago
Reply to  inurashii

i don’t respect him. and it has nothing to do with being an MRA, since i’m not, and ideologically, never was. in fact, a metric-f**k ton of MRA’s would line up around the corner to tell you i’m not. including paul elam, john hembling, and karen straughan. i don’t respect pz unless he’s talking about the subject in which he is an expert. everywhere else he trades on false authority–something considered an act of moral turpitude by most universities

girlofthegaps
girlofthegaps
7 years ago

@ikonografer – I didn’t realize a PhD was a requirement to be taken seriously. Can I have your credentials, then?

leftwingfox
7 years ago

has rebecca watson yet provided any evidence to support her story? No? then you’re very, very skeptical, aren’t you?

What story? “I was propositioned in an elevator last night by some guy asking me for coffee, please don’t do that?” That story?

That is supposed to be held to the same standards of evidence as UFO visitations and Bigfoot?

ladies and gentlemen, I think the course of action is abundantly clear. Next time you interact with someone, get DNA and video evidence. Otherwise, ikonographer, the good skpetic that zie is, will never believe you.

katz
7 years ago

See, the thing is, saying you don’t respect PZ Meyers says a lot more about you than him.

inurashii
inurashii
7 years ago

has rebecca watson yet provided any evidence to support her story? No? then you’re very, very skeptical, aren’t you?

It’s amazing that people who claim to be part of a community that prides itself on critical examination don’t bother to learn shit about rape or harassment, either. Five minutes of discussion with anyone who’s received rape crisis counseling would expose what a busted statement this is.

Marie
Marie
7 years ago

So, what is ikonografer’s deal? I’m a bit confused by zir.

inurashii
inurashii
7 years ago

Also, ikonografer, you walked in here and engaged in bad faith. You don’t have any intention of examining any of your platforms by engaging here. You’re no skeptic.

Aaliyah
7 years ago

I wouldn’t be surprised if ikonografer is WBB.

dustydeste
dustydeste
7 years ago

I wouldn’t be surprised if ikonografer is WBB.

TBH that was my assumption on reading zir first post in this thread. Though I guess by “reading” I mean “scanning over briefly because it was belligerent and verbose and didn’t look worth my time.”

Fade
7 years ago

Its actually what some racists call themselves who don’t want to openly admit they’re actually racists. Some people who know how low an opinion most people here have of racists will claim, “I’m not a racist, I’m racial realist” as if there was any actually difference other than their unwillingness to admit they’re racists.

You’ve got to love hate those racists who are like “But if I honestly believe my racist beliefs are true, you can’t call me a racist!:

has rebecca watson yet provided any evidence to support her story?

How did rebecca watson get brought up again? Were the trolls like “Oh, noez, a woman might insinuate she’s aware a man could try to harm her! Misandry!” because I’m kind of skimming

and hey all you regular peoples. I haven’t been commenting lately because of busy-ness and changing school situations, but I still like to glance at the comments section occaisionally.

Aaliyah
7 years ago

Long time, no see Fade! ^_^

Fade
7 years ago

You too! And belated (repetetive?) thanks on the community college advice you gave me last time I asked; it helped me make my school decision (the one that’s keeping me busy now, lol)

inurashii
inurashii
7 years ago

ah. charming fella.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Hey Fade! Nice to see you.

Buntzums, way to miss the point. It’s really not about your FREEZE PEACH or anyone’s delicate sensibilities.

Ikonografer: what’s wrong, not getting enough attention elsewhere?

Aaliyah
7 years ago

@Fade

I’m glad to hear things are working out for you. =D Hopefully you can get better student health care there, too (or at least get more resources).

Harley and Joker Blog
7 years ago

@Hellkell What are you going on about? Why don’t you explain to me what you think is going on? Please do because from where I am sitting it looks like you got pretty offended because someone said that JohnTheOther uses drugs and is a sociopath.

Frankly he is a sociopath and according to the accounts of TheWoolyBumbleBee he takes anti psychotics and cooks up his own illegal drugs. All of that put together makes him a very nasty piece of work.

Bostonian
Bostonian
7 years ago

Oh geez, the “not an MRA” MRA made it to the thread.

Nepenthe
Nepenthe
7 years ago

Buntzums, upgrade your logic circuit with the following statements:

Z appears to have a mental illness.
Z is an asshole.
Thus, all mentally ill people are assholes

And then speak accordingly.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Harley: can you read? It’s irrelevant as to whether JtO is mentally ill. He’s an asshole, full stop. I don’t care what he does in his free time.

Who the fuck are you, again? If you’ve been here for any length of time, you’d know that a.) internet diagnosing is frowned upon here, for good reason–some of my favorite people here are themselves mentally ill and aren’t assholes by any stretch, and b.) Buntzums has been told to can it before.