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A Voice for Male Students: Misquotation, Schmishquotation!

Is THIS your quotation from Marilyn French? No? Um ...

Is THIS your quotation from Marilyn French? No? Um …

Is there something about Men’s Rights Activists that renders them utterly incapable of admitting a mistake? The other day, I performed a bit of rudimentary factchecking on a collection of allegedly “misandrist” quotes assembled by  Jonathan Taylor of A Voice for Male Students.

Among other things. I pointed out that the drastically truncated version of a Marilyn French quote he posted completely misrepresented the actual meaning of what she had said, making it appear that she was charging the majority of men with killing, or beating, or raping women and/or molesting their own daughters:

“As long as some men use physical force to subjugate females, all men need not. The knowledge that some men do suffices to threaten all women. He can beat or kill the woman he claims to love; he can rape women…he can sexually molest his daughters…THE VAST MAJORITY OF MEN IN THE WORLD DO ONE OR MORE OF THE ABOVE.”

- Dr. Marilyn French, The War Against Women, p. 182, her emphasis.

In fact, she had said something rather different, as I pointed out by quoting the original passage straight from her book:

As long as some men use physical force to subjugate females, all men need not. The knowledge that some men do suffices to threaten all women. Beyond that, it is not necessary to beat up a woman to beat her down. A man can simply refuse to hire women in well-paid jobs, extract as much or more work from women than men but pay them less, or treat women disrespectfully at work or at home. He can fail to support a child he has engendered, demand the woman he lives with wait on him like a servant. He can beat or kill the woman he claims to love, he can rape women, whether mate, acquaintance, or stranger; he can rape or sexually molest his daughters, nieces, stepchildren, or the children of a woman he claims to love. The vast majority of men in the world do one or more of the above

It wasn’t clear to me if Taylor had been aware that he had drastically misrepresented French, as it appeared that he had simply cut and pasted the quote from another site without actually checking French’s book to see if it was accurate. So it appeared to be sloppiness on his part rather than deliberate deception.

Taylor has now responded to my post with a long and bizarre rant titled “Futrelle & Co. all in a tizzy as AVFMS exposes misandry in academia. AVFMS dissects their “counterarguments.”

He starts off by freely admitting that he misquoted French, but claiming that it doesn’t count as misrepresentation because it didn’t really change the meaning of the quote at all.

That’s right. Instead of acknowledging the misrepresentation, he’s doubling down — even though his explanation is in direct conflict with the evidence that I posted and that he reposts on his own site. He simply redefines reality until the misrepresentation mysteriously vanishes. Here’s his, er, argument:

I copied/pasted the quote from Antimisandry, although I had to find the source page for the book independently. I’ll admit: on this one I didn’t get the full quote and simply took Antimisandry’s reproduction of it. I am happy to amend it (which I have done in the original post).

David Futrelle, editor of the blog Manboobz, thinks this is a gamechanger, that it renders the meaning “completely different.” Not so fast.

He then pastes in my screenshot of the original quote, and my comments pointing out that the longer quote has a completely different meaning than the shorter one.

Then he tries to wave away his mistake with this ingenious bit of sleight-of-hand:

Actually Futrelle, according to Feminist ideology everything Marilyn French listed was a form of violence. Need I remind you what all constitutes “violence” according to Feminist ideology nowadays?

Pay no attention to my giant mistake behind the curtain! Look at THIS instead!

“THIS” being, in this case, a random feminist paper titled Intersecting Inequalities: A Review of Feminist Theories and Debates on Violence against Women and Poverty in Latin America, which suggests at once point that “[e]conomic violence against women occurs when they are denied access to or control over resources, or the right to work and earn income.”

Now, none of this has any relevance whatsoever to the question of whether or not Taylor has misquoted French — which he has — or indeed to what French’s statement actually means. There’s no evidence that French was in any way influenced by the paper Taylor quotes — which would have been a tad difficult, given that it was published 18 years after she wrote The War Against Women.

Apparently Taylor thinks that feminism is some sort of Borglike hive-mind that transcends time and space.

And he apparently thinks that when a famous feminist says that the vast majority of men have probably at least “treat[ed] women disrespectfully” in some way it is the same as if she had accused the vast majority of men of being murderers, rapists, woman-beaters and/or child abusers.

Taylor then takes issue with her references to men “beating down” and “subjugating” women, and indignantly insists that while

I know this may sound like heresy to Feminist and pro-Feminist ears, but the vast majority of men do not abuse women, let alone to an extent that they “subjugate” them.

Taylor has completely misunderstood the basic argument of French’s passage, which is that the majority of men do not have to physically abuse women in order to gain a certain advantage from the fact that other men do. You may disagree with that, but, again, she is not saying that the vast majority of men abuse women; quite the opposite.

Taylor then asserts that the really important thing is that what she’s saying still counts as “misandry.”

So apparently if someone is an evil misandrist, in Taylor’s eyes, you can misquote them all you want, and it doesn’t really matter, because … MISANDRY

Taylor continues on with his fulminations for some time after this, focusing mainly on “rebutting” comments from Man Boobz commenters. He posts an appalling photo of a crowd of white men posing proudly in front of several black men they have lynched, with the caption: “The powerlessness of women: point a finger and kill someone.”

I honestly don’t have the energy or the patience to deal with any more of his sophistry today. I’m not even going to read the whole thing. You can have a go at it if you want, dear readers. Let me know if there’s anything else in it that I need to address.

My plan today, after the nastiness in the post yesterday, was to post a bunch of pictures of my kitties. So, dammit, that’s what I’m going to do. Give me a few minutes, and I’ll put them up in another post.

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Posted on November 5, 2013, in a voice for men, antifeminism, domestic violence, doubling down, drama, gaslighting, gross incompetence, lying liars, misandry, misogyny, MRA, straw feminists, that's completely wrong and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 157 Comments.

  1. Mayella didn’t accuse Tom at all, did she? I thought her father made the whole story up because he was angry at them and then bullied her into going along with it.

  2. It’s been so long since I read the book… The film definitely implies that Mayella’s father was responsible for beating and probably raping his daughter. (Still, clearly, she is the one ultimately responsible because reasons.)

  3. I don’t recall her being blamed at all. What I got was an indictment of the system which set some people aside as scapegoats.

  4. To be clear, I wasn’t claiming Mayella was blamed in the book/movie, but by MRAs who want to find a female scapegoat for any violent acts committed by men. (Hence, “proxy violence” and the like — a convenient means to avert their eyes from the reality of male violence.)

  5. “Taylor has completely misunderstood the basic argument of French’s passage, which is that the majority of men do not have to physically abuse women in order to gain a certain advantage from the fact that other men do.”

    …you appear to have missed the last sentence of the very quote you took an image of and corrected him for misquoting — “The vast majority of men in the world do one or more of the above.”

    To which “I know this may sound like heresy to Feminist and pro-Feminist ears, but the vast majority of men do not abuse women, let alone to an extent that they “subjugate” them.” seems to be a reasonable reply, in that he refers to whether or not “the vast majority of men” do these things because the original quote claims that they do.

  6. Shardrach: I know this may sound like heresy to you, but “one or more” means, you know, one or more.

    Funny thing about this little exercise, I’d have been less inclined to think y’all weren’t in favor or abuse of women (from the minor to the major) if weren’t that this quotation, of all the mutilated quotations in this, weren’t the one you fixated on.

    The urge to deny what is plainly true (that most men, at some point, engage in at least one of these behaviors) being so strong. That you are trying to blow smoke up my ass (as as a man, I can say I have been, at times guilty of some level of violating a couple of those; from expecting a woman to attend to my desires before hers, or a sort of casual disrespect of her ability; because she was female, not male, etc).

    Some of that is cultural; and I have to look to see it. Some of it was laziness (mostly of thought). Some was not taking women as people first, and women second; and so pigeonholing them (mostly on the basis of size).

    I soothed my pride and ego by saying I was treating them the same way I’d treat a man in similar situations. But I was deluding myself. I tended to figure a small guy knew what he was capable of, and let him ask for help. I respected his self-awareness.

    But with women I tended to assume they were prone to overestimating their strength. In essence I was insulting their intelligence. I’ve gotten better at not doing that (and a career in the Army helped. Women there were 1: damned competent, 2: quite willing to make sure asshats who didn’t think they were competent knew where to get off, and 3: willing to ask for help when they needed it.

    That there are no jobs in the Army which can be done without help also helped me. It made me more willing to admit to places I wasn’t completely competent to do something solo.

    But you, you are insulting everyone’s intelligence (to include your own) by pretending one = many, and that French was saying all men are active abusers. It’s right there in the text, “one, or more”, and (to completely nail one foot to the floor, so you have better leverage when you try to stuff the other down your throat to the hip). If you look again, “the vast majority” is what she says. If you look at a dictionary you will find that , “the vast majority” /= every single one.

    If you have problems with English (what with having A Manly Brain™ which requires things to be put into STEM related terms, you could check a text on set theory, which will (again) remind you that “vast majority” /= all (and most would say that 70 percent, or so, is where that sort of qualification starts to take effect).

    In short, stop being stupid.

  7. Seriously people, if I say “Traffic infractions include speeding, rolling stops, DUIs, and vehicular homicide; the vast majority of motorists do one or more of these,” I’m not accusing everyone of running over pedestrians.

  8. Why do you hate drivers, katz?

  9. Schadrach seems to have completely misunderstood the basic argument of French’s passage, which is that the majority of men do not have to physically abuse women in order to gain a certain advantage from the fact that other men do.
    (Either that, or he thinks that refusing to hire someone is physical abuse…)

  10. 000, The accrediting commission made it clear as recently as yesterday that they are concerned we are not moving quickly enough. Thanks to an “overboost” function that pushes torque to 280 pound-feet for ten seconds at a time, The twin-cockpit look to the instrument panel is backlit with LEDs, The engine is also capable of running on flex-fuel mixes up to E85 (85 percent ethanol). locks and mirrors, as well as Harman Kardon surround sound. and it’s now flanked by buttons that access common functions such as telephone or navigation quickly.”For example,In the same vein.

  11. Weirdest spambot ever.

  12. Yeah, that’s why I let it through. Most spambots just want to talk endlessly about fake gucci bags.

  13. “Erectile problems? Buy this totally real Gucci bag to fix that!”

  14. kittehserf, yup!

    The forum I moderate on has these bot products turn up from time to time. Usually you just see the wall o’ text – occasionally I read them and it’s hilarious. At the moment there are a lot of soccer gear words interspersed among all kinds of incoherent guff. Just like that mess above.

  15. I desperately want whatever it is that they’re selling.

  16. cloudiah – it’s an engine! With fuel! And buttons!

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