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Why can’t Men’s Rightsers design posters to save their lives? A new theory

feminists-are-stupid

Note: Not an actual quote from me.

Is there something about Men’s Rights Activists that renders them utterly incapable of designing posters that aren’t embarrassingly ugly and offputting?

Posters designed by MRAs are so routinely godawful it’s hard not to wonder if there is something inherent about them or their ideas that prevents them from seeing what a complete mess they’re making when they put together something like the poster above, which I recently found amongst a whole collection of similarly terrible posters at the website What Men Are Saying About Women.

In the case of Christian J, the WMASAW poster-designer, there is clearly something more than bad ideas at work here, but I do think the bad ideas of the Men’s Rights movement are a large part of the reason why MRAs can’t design posters to save their lives. Their posters are muddled messes because their ideology is a muddled mess.

Effective political posters are effective in large part because they convey a clear message in an arresting way. But the Men’s Rights movement doesn’t have a clear message.  In some cases that’s because MRAs are trying to disguise their misogyny in order to try to appeal to a wider audience. It’s hard to get away with direct expressions of hate if  you want to treat you as the “human rights movement” you keep insisting you are.

But in many other cases — as is the case with most of the posters featured in Christian J’s collection —  MRA posters are muddled because their peculiar logic really only makes sense to those who already hate women to begin with.  Who else would agree with the “argument” of this poster, which seems to be that we shouldn’t give  respect to women because some women get drunk and other women … pose with silly expressions on their faces for stock photos?

respect

Meanwhile, in this antifeminist poster, Christian J. offers little more than free-associational word salad, mixing accusations against feminists (“Hating Men is part of the agenda”) with simple assertions cataloging his own dislike of them (“no one likes a feminist”).

feminist

He also has posters attacking feminists Gloria Steinem and Hanna Rosin; tellingly, neither of them offer any specific evidence of wrongdoing on the part of either one. I wonder is Christian has read anything Rosin has written beyond the title to her book “The End of Men.”

hanna-rosin

And if you haven’t yet gotten your full dose of hate, he’s got a few posters attacking Lena Dunham for being … fat. And because Vogue did some rather minimal photoshopping to the pictures of her it ran in a recent profile.

And, well, I don’t even know what this is supposed to be.

phlegminism

Frankly, the more widely spread these posters are, the better. Because their ugliness reveals a lot about the ugly ideology of the MRA that made them.

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Posted on February 24, 2014, in a woman is always to blame, antifeminism, are these guys 12 years old?, evil women, female beep boop, gross incompetence, incoherent rage, men who should not ever be with women ever, misogyny, MRA, oppressed men, straw feminists, straw futrelle, that's not funny!, the poster revolution has begun and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 187 Comments.

  1. … I also had a bit of a ”huh?” moment, titianblue.

    And then I read the article, and the world was better and made more sense.

  2. I would say the posters reflect not just their muddled, hate-filled ideology, but their complete incompetence at everything except hating.

    This^

  3. A bunch of people have found the title confusing, so I’ve reworded it.

  4. So we’re not going to get a troll coming along now & accusing us of hypocrisy about the appearance of MRAs. I’m almost disappointed.

  5. Okay, see, I heard “Female Friendly Courts” and had a different mental image.

    Start with your standard courtroom. Now, harden the seating, so that men’s bony butts are made uncomfortable. (Cushions will be made available, but only to women who request them from the bailiff–see below for more on him.)

    In the armrest, there should be small built-in cups filled with bon-bons every morning and at the breaks.

    Along the railing separating the gallery from the main court, a row of scented fucking candles. I can’t decide whether the scents should be uniform, complementary, or just selected at random.

    The judge, of course, is a penguin whore, and the bailiff is/looks like Brad Pitt.

    Any other recommendations?

  6. Cushions? No, we get bean bags.

  7. Uh oh! Pictures of feeeemales looking grumpy! Ideas that feeeemales are human and might have their own grievances!

    Hmm, I was trying to find a pic of a dramatic animal and somehow found a whole bunch on a ‘Catholics Answers Forum':

    poor poor menz

  8. Hm, some misandry must have interfered to prevent my link from working. I shall try again POOR POOR MENNNZ

  9. FINE I GIVE UP! ARE YOU HAPPY NOW MISANDRY?????

  10. Link fixed! You forgot the colon after http.

  11. But…but I copy and pasted…
    My head is hanging in all the shame. Thank you ms Ally. Do you go by ms? I could just not use a title but I’m English so, y’know.

    I don’t know whether to officially go from miss to ms, I quite like being miss but feel I ‘should’ be a ms. (Fascinating OT, you’re welcome!)

  12. And now I’m worried that asking for preferred titles isn’t the same as asking for preferred pronouns and I’ve crossed a line. No line crossing intended. I’m just a nosy parker who is interested in the strange world of titles. I swear for a job application the other day there was a list of about 20!

  13. Based on two of those posters – did I miss something? They both contain the same image from The Talk when the hosts did something dramatic and brave (for today’s culture) – they appeared with no make-up and their hair undone. I know they have issues with an episode where the women, Sharon Osbourne in particular, joked about a man having his penis cut off, but apparently that shot of them with no make-up is some sort of “SEE! HORRIBLE FEMINISTS!” image in the minds of the MRAs but otherwise just a random image that makes no sense to anyone else.

  14. But…but I copy and pasted…
    My head is hanging in all the shame. Thank you ms Ally. Do you go by ms? I could just not use a title but I’m English so, y’know.

    I don’t know whether to officially go from miss to ms, I quite like being miss but feel I ‘should’ be a ms. (Fascinating OT, you’re welcome!)

    It’s okay! HTML is a real pain sometimes.

    As for titles, I feel a little odd being referred to with a title since I’m only 19 (and I’m also American, so there’s that as well), but I don’t mind and both ms and miss are totally okay with me. =P Some family members call me titles in Urdu and Arabic as well so it’s no big deal, although I wish they gendered me properly as well…

  15. Ok cooool. When I was in America (at 18) people kept referring to me as ma’am which was rather unsettling, I thought that’s what you call the queen!

    I just worry about getting things wrong. When I was younger I’d always be mildly scandalised by children calling their aunts and uncles by their first names, and being awkward as a teenager not knowing when to stop referring to another adult as ‘aunty’ whatever.

  16. @titianblue,

    When I first read the title of David’s original post:

    Why are Men’s Rights posters always so comically ugly?

    I was shocked. How can he be mocking the physical appearance of the people who post on Men’s Rights sites, I thought, after all those discussions we’ve had about how appalling it would be to do that!

    Me too! I’m also disappointed that David changed it, the trolls would have been hilarious. :)

    @daintydougal, that ‘ma’am’ thing IS super awkward. Mr M’s been given a job offer in Seattle so we were talking about this.

    When he was over there a while ago he was worried people would think him rude if he didn’t call them ma’am, but he felt too awkward using it and didn’t know when to say it and to whom.

    On the other hand, from my point of view, there’s the using it and being called it. As you said, ma’am’s what you call the Queen and I ain’t royalty.

    So, we’re so British we won’t use a polite term because we’re worried we might get it wrong, which could result in us being rude.

    Oh the agony of etiquette.

  17. The blockquote monster never wants my offerings, so sad. :(

  18. For the record, as an American woman under 30, being called ma’am is always weird. Not because I’m not a queen, but because I’m not like 50. I feel like ma’am is reserved for older women, and am always confused when it’s used on me. I’d rather be called “miss” in awkward social interactions like customer service and whatnot.

  19. Titles tend to get dropped here, too. When I was at my last job interview I called my now-boss Mr ____ and he immediately said to call him by his first name. Only time I can remember insisting on being Ms ____ was years ago, when a smarmy bank teller started making fucking rude jokes because I’d just deposited a chunk of money, and called me by my first name all the time. He was a good bit younger than me, so I froze on him, said “It’s MS _____ and do I need to ask to see your manager?”

    He crumpled.

  20. By the way, if anyone wants to refer to me with a title, Ms Ally is kind of odd because Ally is a nickname for Aaliyah, which also happens to be my first name. It would instead be proper to say Ms/Miss Syed, as Syed is my surname (pronounced /saiyed/). Very useless information, but I felt like sharing it anyway.

  21. Oh, I still remember when one of the interns at a former job went off on what I assume was meant to be a “look how feminist I am, give me cookies” speech about “I don’t know why girls feel like they need to wear shoes like that” about my heels. He was maybe 19 or 20? He got a rather firm lesson in why it’s not appropriate to call women 15+ years older than you “girls”, or mansplain what they “need” to wear to them.

  22. @Cassandrakitty,
    I actually had the opposite, a fifty something lady in Ikea said loudly ‘tsk, look at those shoes!’ Whilst pointing at my 14 hole Doc martens with rolled up jeans.

    Can not understand what footwear has to do with anybody else, and Mr M certainly never had any comment regarding anything he has ever worn. I on the other hand have been criticised for being a ‘girly, girl’ or ‘dressing like a boy’ whilst wearing the exact same outfit.

    @Kitteh
    I also had the ‘Ms’ issue at our bank a couple of years ago, the lady kept calling me by my first name whilst saying they had been short staffed so hadn’t had time to pay my rent.

    Seriously, how Lloyd’s bank think they can get away with telling a customer obvious rubbish like that I don’t know.

    I told her that computers were a thing and that I was pretty certain every transaction in Britain wasn’t carried out by individual employees.

    She got pretty ratty after that and kept on using my first name, when she went to get her boss she did it again and called me ‘this girl’. So yup, too fucking straight I told her it was ‘Ms’! (And closed our account!)

  23. Thanks for the laugh! My five year old niece can make better posters with Microsoft Word and clip art. Her message would be a lot less disjointed and angry and a lot more “I love puppies”. She’s part of the vast feminist conspiracy too btw. Gotta start ‘en young!

  24. Ophelia – good on you!

    Lloyd’s making out they didn’t have direct debit available or something? Bull Shit.

    Ally – “Ms Ally” makes me think you should be in Steel Magnolias, talking shit with Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis. :D

  25. Amongst other outlandish sexist demands, I want to suceed at being outragious on my bicicle. LOL.

  26. Regarding titles and such, I think it’s also a regional thing as well. Hubby always calls folks ‘ma’am’ and ‘sir,’ never ever ‘miss,’ but I’m from Texas and over there, ‘miss’ was what a lot of kids used with teachers. (“Miss! Hey miss! When’s the homework due?”) Ma’am was a different chunk of the South.

  27. The only time I’ve ever gotten “ma’am” was on the train, when a teenaged boy turned to me and said “Excuse me, ma’am, but do you have any rolling papers?” I did not, but I did have a huge ‘zomg I am old now’ complex for the rest of the day.

  28. What’re rolling papers, Tracy?

    Hey, you think Ma’am makes you old: some kid actually called me an old lady recently. DAMMIT JUST COS I’M USING A CANE …

    (Okay he was about five, everyone over seven is old at that age.)

  29. Rolling papers = cigarette papers. For rolling joints, usually.

    Ma’am totally made me feel old! Well ok, it made me feel like his mum. It’s just not really a thing here, ma’am. Though I visited Washington DC once, and was called ma’am all over the place and found it charming.

    Re: kids and age comments – when I was 8, apparently I asked my great aunt why her neck looked like E.T. *shame*

  30. Where I live “ma’am” isn’t used as a title, but it is used all the time in sentences like that one about the kid on the train. This is regardless of age. It’s more, you say “yes, ma’am” or “yes, sir” depending on the gender of whom you’re speaking to. I’ve said it to folks older & younger than me and had it said to me by folks older & younger than me.

    To get someone’s attention (like the kids asking the teacher about homework), usually “miss” or “ms.” is used.

  31. @kitteh
    I found GIMP hard to learn at first. I printed out the manuals and went to it. The hardest thing about graphix prgs imo, is that there are several diff ways to achieve same results. I also think GIMP takes up less RAM while PSCS3 is a monster.

    Another hard thing is understanding transparency and layers. There is a lot of lingo unfortunately.

    So I say learning GIMP is a first start and then once you learn that you can go to Photoshop because I think PS is a bit more technical and has more options.

  32. That was the impression I got, House Mouse Queen. So much lingo! My knowledge is really basic; I use PhotoStudio, which was quite easy to learn and reasonably intuitive, but doesn’t have the fancier features of the other programs. I wouldn’t want Photoshop ‘cos it seems way expensive.

  33. Some people tell me ma’am is a southern US thing, or really just titles in general are.

    What I thought was incredibly awkward growing up was hearing some of my friends call their parents sir/ma’am. It just seems so… distancing. I mean, yeah, call ‘em Mom, Mum, Dad, Father, Mother, whatever they prefer, but ma’am and sir? No thanks. Only time I called my dad sir was after basic, him being a former officer, it was more joking than anything else.

  34. I got called ma’am in LA, but by people in service industries, so it was no surprise.

    Mr K calls me “my lady” but that’s just old habit, I think. Fair enough, in his case. :)

  35. I remember being called ma’am by a kid once. Honestly, it was a relief. I’m just so used to people telling me I look young for my age and supposedly that’ll be a blessing years down the road, but right now, it just makes me worry people don’t take me seriously. So when the kid called me ma’am, it was like, “Oh, good. Some people actually think I’m an adult. Phew.”

  36. I’ve gotten both ma’am and sir within the same day, while I was still in high school…

    Now that I’m supposedly an adult, though, whenever I go to the high school to help coach an afterschool program, I have teachers asking me what I’m doing out of class without a hall pass.

    They generally give me the title: ‘Hey, you!’

    Yeah, titles are confusing.

  37. Bearing in mind my childhood was over 50 years ago- we moved to Mississippi when I was 4 years old.

    Yes’m/Yessir and No’m/Nosir were the approved responses to instructions from white adults to any child, but Yes’m/Yessir from a white child to a black adult garnered funny looks. Weirdly, while I could address white adult women (teachers, parents of friends) as Miz Firstname, married black women got Mrs Firstname. Aunt/Uncle were often honorary titles not dictated by blood relationship, but the other kids took declaring ‘we’re cousins’ to mean specifically being related by blood or marriage. And would discuss and analyze this at length.

    My people were not from around there and I had no cousins within a thousand miles. This was regarded as a great misfortune.

    It was Miz, not Ms and used without regard to marital state. Missus Lastname was for formal occasions… and widows.

    Adult white men were always Mister Lastname unless they told you otherwise in front of your parents. Who, about half the time, would tell you never mind what he said, you call him Mister Lastname. Adult black men were either Mister Lastname or simply Firstname, but my family had weird outsider ways and I was actively encouraged to always say Mister.

    Oh- on further thought, teachers stopped being Miz Firstname and became Miz Lastname around third grade. And nobody actually sits you down and teaches you this stuff, you’re supposed to just absorb it.

    I also lived in the Deep South off and on as an adult and the Miz and Ma’am rules are still in place, but generally only required of children. Any adult male one generation senior or in a position of authority is Yessir and Mister until he tells you different more than once.

    Ministers are always addressed with some kind of title unless you are related to them by blood or marriage and sometimes even then.

    Now I live on the West Coast and my husband’s use of Miz Firstname is regarded as a charming eccentricity. Particularly by his West Coast family members, because he picked it up as an adult while in the military.

    tl:dr- titles is weird.

  38. The hosts of The Talk are feminists? I’ve watched it a few times, and I don’t think they are. Not all of them anyway.

  39. I think it’s just because they’re women. It’s feminist enough.

  40. strawberryfieldsforever

    This is some of the shittiest photoshop I’ve ever seen. I’m no photoshop genius myself, but dear GOD you can see the outline around the pictures.

    Oh, and as much as I hate MRA’s and as much as I think they’re stupid, I wouldn’t throw rocks at them.

  41. I use GIMP; I love it, and it’s the first program that actually clicked with my brain. That hotkeys are so easy to assign helps too. But I also went through a stage where GIMP was too overwhelming, so I did a ton of MSpaint stuff, just to limit my choices.

  42. If anyone is on a Mac, Pixelmator is fantastic, and only costs about $15.

  43. I just came across these posters on reddit that are spoofs on MRAs trying to spoof “Don’t be that guy” … it all comes full circle. I’d say they also set up a false dichotomy that there are somehow “reasonable” MRAs out there, but it is a spoof on an already flawed attempt at political satire, so *shrugs*. At least these are actual things MRAs say which are clearly horrendous, unlike the vague “women peeing in public are somehow horrible subhuman monsters unworthy of our respect” posters created by the MRM. Regulars may even catch some familiar MRA rantings in some of them!

  44. cupisnique, those posters were made by a /r/againstmensrights regular! They’re great.

  45. cupisnique – Wait, the posters are spreading to other sites on Reddit? YUSSSSSS.

  46. I’m guessing “No fathers no children” might be based on no farms no food. Meaning, without farms there would be no food, so you should appreciate farms.

    I’m surprised that Hanna Rosin of all people is one of their chosen enemies, when some of her stuff is sympathetic to the sorts of things MRAs claim to care about, but as Dave pointed out, they probably didn’t read past the title.

  47. Honestly why do they have to use those really unconvincing images posed by models? Then women drunk or pulling an unflattering face, those are other ones they use. They never actually manage to find real pictures of women being meanies.

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