Category Archives: a voice for men
Yesterday, we looked at 6 memes from A Voice for Men’s “meme team” and decoded what they really meant. Today, some memes from AVFM’s Pinterest page that are a bit harder to decode, because they really make no sense at all. I’ll do my best to try to sort them out.
1) TALK TO THE HAND
What might it mean? “Ha ha girls talk too much, well joke’s on you because I’m GOING MY OWN WAY and later I’ll go home and make a poster about how
I imagined I might I totally really did put that bitch in her place.”
I mean, that is what this poster is saying, right? It’s illustrating the notion that men and women should listen to one another by depicting a dude just up and leaving because he’s tired of listening?
How exactly does this advance any “men’s rights” other than the right of men to act like petulant children?
Is there no end to the ways in which women oppress the men of the world? Over on A Voice for Men, Clint Carpentier reports – and I use that term loosely – on a heretofore overlooked form of anti-male oppression: the abuse of fathers in delivery rooms by women who are at that moment literally in the stirrups giving birth.
Yep, we’re talking about women who use 12 hours of labor as a convenient excuse to yell at, and sometimes scratch and bite, their husbands and boyfriends. Apparently, there’s an epidemic of women in labor cruelly attacking men from the comfort and safety of the delivery table.
Carpentier starts off his post by making clear that giving birth isn’t really the big freaking deal all the ladies think it is, anyway:
Giving birth is an amazing feat of zero skill, and it still amazes me. It amazes me that this is the epitome, the pinnacle, the supposed female trump card to all male accomplishments. A man lands on the moon with analogue technology and proves Galileo’s theory of air resistance, but never mind that, another woman gave birth, just as well as any other female animal on the planet. A man creates life in a petri-dish, but never mind that, some broad stole his sperm and created life herself.
Anyway, I’m not knocking the dangers of labor, men know all about the dangers of labor; there really ought to be a better word for giving birth.
And whatever alleged pain women undergo during so-called “labor” apparently pales in insignificance to the pain men suffer from being in their presence in the delivery room. Carpentier has managed to avoid this terrible fate himself – his wife went the c-section route, no biggie – but he has heard tales that would make your skin crawl:
I have … heard stories, have … seen the scratches and bite marks, on the fathers who braved the maternity ward. And these same brave men praise the bravery of the mothers of their children. They proudly display scars the mothers-to-be inflicted upon them during the ordeal.
I’m hoping these scars are only from fingernails and that mothers-to-be aren’t sneaking shivs into the delivery room.
Oh, also, sometimes women in labor yell really loudly:
Sometimes a father will reminisce amusingly about how he’d been temporarily deafened when she had screamed right in his ear for waxing sympathetically over her tribulations.
And apparently it’s only men who are the targets for this scratching and biting and yelling:
I hear these stories only from men. I know, men aren’t the only people comforting these women during birth; some women don’t have a man at the time. But what I don’t hear, are these stories from the female nurses, friends, mothers, sisters, etc, who are there to console and coach these single mothers-to-be. Why is it, I’m only hearing accounts of weathering physical abuse and injury from the fathers?
I don’t know, dude. Do you hang out with female nurses on a regular basis? Do you spend as much time drinking beer and shooting the shit with your wife’s female friends as you do with your own?
You see, if I am correct, and it is only fathers who suffer this abuse, then delivery of such injury is selective. I can see no call for it.
Really? First of all, you haven’t shown that this is abuse and not simply an accident. Second, how many of these female friends, mothers, sisters, what have you, were actually in the delivery room? Because that seems like an important variable to take into consideration before jumping to conclusions based on a dataset of some-dudes-allegedly-told-you-something-once.
In fact, fathers-to-be should avoid the maternity ward altogether, as they are obviously not welcome.
Really again? You imagine an epidemic of anti-male violence by women giving birth based on a couple of stories and a rather half-assed deduction you’ve made from it, and therefore conclude that 1) men should miss out on the birth of their children and 2) shouldn’t be there to comfort their wives as best they can during labor.
If birthing is license to mistreat, abuse, or injure a father in the witness of medical professionals, then what deterrent exists, preventing continued abuse in private? And for that matter, what indication is there that she doesn’t abuse him already?
Woah. Let’s just back up a little here. First of all, dude, you haven’t proven that “abuse of fathers” by women on the delivery table is actually a thing. You’ve offered only a few vague anecdotes – and these anecdotes don’t even make clear whether or not the alleged “ delivery of … injury” – gotta love that evasive wording – was deliberate.
Given the stress and pain of labor, it’s easy to imagine how a woman giving birth might accidentally scratch someone. Maybe the mother in question was holding onto her husband’s hand for support and dug her fingernails in a little too hard and left a mark. Maybe she flailed her arm backwards and accidentally scratched his face. We don’t know, because not only do you offer zero real evidence for any of your claims, but your second-hand stories don’t offer enough detail to know what was going on.
If endangering your own life once or twice provides license to abuse a man, what does that say about our society. Particularly when he endangers his own life as a matter of routine to support you?
Seriously? I know Men’s Righsters love to complain about the fact that many more men than women die on the job – though this complaining never seems to lead to any actual activism on the issue of workplace safety – but the fact is that most men, in the US at least, DO NOT WORK DANGEROUS JOBS. They don’t endanger their own lives “as a matter of routine.” They don’t endanger their lives at all by going to work, at least not any more than women do.
MRAs love to give themselves credit for bravery because they share a gender with a small number of men who do in fact work dangerous jobs. But I’m guessing there are not a lot of lion tamers amongst the Men’s Rights crowd. Somehow I’m thinking that most of them have jobs that mostly involve sitting on their asses in rooms entirely devoid of lions.
Anyway, if the overwhelming majority of men don’t endanger their lives by going to work, they endanger it even less by “braving” the delivery room. Men face no actual physical threat from women who are literally flat on their back, their feet in stirrups, in the process of pushing an entire human being out through their vaginas.
But, hey, women do sometimes yell rude things during labor, so maybe it’s possible that a few of them do scratch or even bite their husbands, though the latter seems like it might be a tad difficult logistically. Some might even do so on purpose. If so, there would probably be some evidence of this somewhere online, right?
Well, I searched for a while using every combination of search words I could think of. I found an assortment of disturbing headlines about men attacking women in and around maternity wards: Guilty: man who punched and kicked pregnant girlfriend outside Poole Maternity Hospital; Man charged with assaulting pregnant girlfriend, staff in hospital maternity ward; Man Throws Meat Cleaver Into Maternity Ward.
I found disturbing statistics about pregnancy and domestic violence, which often begins or increases during pregnancy; according to one 2000 study, some 324,000 pregnant women are abused each year.
On a somewhat lighter note, I found women wondering if it was normal to have a really itchy stomach after giving birth, and another person wondering “why is my bitch digging so much after giving birth[?]” (Don’t worry; they were talking about a dog.)
Amidst all this – and many hundreds of other irrelevant results – I managed to find one example of a woman scratching a man during childbirth.
On a page in which she provided all the gory details of her 28 hours of labor – along with numerous pictures of her newborn – one new mother also posted a couple of pictures documenting the scratches she’d given her husband while in labor. (I’m not giving out the link because MRAs. )
Brace yourself. Here’s one of the pictures, with the father’s face partially blurred out:
If you look very carefully you can see four faint scratches on his forearm. The blogger isn’t a native English speaker, but as far as I can tell from what she wrote about it, she didn’t give these terrible scratches to him on purpose.
Harassment as Activism: Men’s Rights Redditors Gleefully Dox a College Student, Face No Repercussions
No long post today. Instead, I urge you to go over to the AgainstMensRights subreddit to read about how several long time Men’s Rights Redditors have doxxed and harassed a college student, with one of the regulars gleefully setting forth a plan to stalk her and ruin her life and another seeming to suggest he might want to pay her a visit to “debate” her.
Some screenshots from the original Men’s Rights subreddit discussion:
The thread (which remained up for many hours) has now been scrubbed by the Men’s Rights mods — I got these screenshots from u/Aceyjuan and u/TraceyMorganFreeman’s respective timelines – but as of right now none of the doxxers have been banned from the subreddit, or from Reddit itself.
The “crimes” of the woman in question? According to her main stalker — who has apparently been harassing her for months — she’s tweeted comments like “white men are like the gum on the bottom of my shoe” and “Jared Leto looks like the kind if guy that gives you herpes.”
Yep. Apparently the second-worst evil misandrist comment she made was … a joke about Jared Leto. For these comments, apparently she deserves to have her life ruined.
Here’s the thing: If you don’t like someone’s comments online, you are certainly well within your rights to quote them and point out why you don’t like what they said. That’s kind of the point of this blog. But it’s one thing to point out these comments, and another thing entirely to track down their identity and stalk them in real life. It’s another thing to whip up a virtual mob against them.
Doxxing by Men’s Rights Activists isn’t an accident; it’s the inevitable result of the peculiar style of Men’s Rights Activism.
MRAs, you see, seem utterly incapable of engaging in any kind of activism that might actually benefit men in the real world in any concrete manner. What they as a group specialize in is demonizing women, and in the case of too many MRAS, nothing gets their activist juices flowing faster than the opportunity to attack an individual woman.
That’s why A Voice for Men “activists” put up “wanted” style posters featuring their favorite feminist villains of the day; it’s why they started Register-Her.com. That’s why a certain red-haired Canadian activist who yelled at some MRAs once at a protest now finds her image splashed everywhere online as a visual representation of an evil feminist. That’s why MRAs show up at protests with cameras and threaten to expose the women they film — even if they’ve done nothing more than stand there with a sign.
And that’s why they doxx.
The Men’s Rights movement isn’t a civil rights movement. As it stands right now, it’s a union of abusers, and their enablers.
EDITED TO ADD: Lest anyone claim that the OP didn’t “really” dox the woman in question because he didn’t literally post all her personal details, he provided enough to allow anyone with even rudimentary Google skills to find out her real name and a great deal of other personal identifying information in less time than it would take to order a pizza online.
Yesterday, several days after the twentieth anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s suicide, A Voice for Men took a moment to honor the brilliant musician who tragically ended his life at the age of only 27.
Well, not exactly. What they actually did was run a terrible poem using the anniversary of Cobain’s death as an excuse to launch an extended attack on the supposed evils of feminism.
Here’s the opening:
Feminists killed Kurt Cobain
Men my age are all the same
They hate themselves & feel ashamed
For what they are & cannot change
It gets worse. The poem, written by a YouTube MRA calling himself Laudanum Byron, continues on for another 104 lines after this. Only 13 refer to Cobain, and five of these are simply repetitions of the opening accusation: “feminists killed Kurt Cobain.”
The rest of the poem consists of an assortment of Men’s Rights talking points sketched out in the most melodramatic manner possible.
Men chastised, demonized,
Healthy males pathologized
A man is just a dirty ape
Longing, lust, desire: all rape
Your body is a loaded gun
And all that it has done is wrong
Like all too many MRAs, Mr. Byron lets his anger at women get the better of his logic. In the following lines, for example, he lashes out at women both for living off of the earnings of men — and for earning money of their own.
Now the girls get told get what you can
After all, he’s just a man
You’re right to think it’s right to take
Yes you go girl, you make him pay
The girls get taught they must get on
Like work empowered anyone:
To sell your life for dollar bills
Taking calls & stacking shelves
In offices & factories
Fulfilment sought in drudgery
Mr. Byron – no relation, one presumes, to the actual Byron – seems to have only a rudimentary notion of what a poem actually is. While most, though not all, of his lines scan, he has persistent troubles with the concept of rhyme, with his aabb and aabbcc rhyme schemes dominated by half-rhymes and quarter-rhymes and, well, the words have some similar sounds in them.
“Bills” and “shelves” don’t rhyme, or half-rhyme, despite both ending in the letter “s.” “Take” and “pay” aren’t even remotely close.
Admittedly, “chivalry” is a tough one to rhyme. But surely one can do better than “steeds.”
White knights, on their hobbled steeds
Still cling to laws of chivalry
Passed over by the queens they save
A joke to all the other slaves
When he pulls off an actual rhyme, it comes a surprise:
All of us the sons of Cain
Feminists killed Kurt Cobain.
But while we’re on the topic, it’s worth pointing out that feminists and/or feminism did not actually kill Kurt Cobain. (Nor did anyone else; the conspiracy theories suggesting he was murdered don’t make a lot of sense.)
Byron’s only “evidence” linking feminism to the suicide?
He screamed onstage & pierced his flesh
Put on make-up, wore a dress
Look, nobody knows for sure the reason or reasons Cobain took his own life, but he was a troubled man with a history of suicide attempts. He suffered from depression and from a painful, persistent stomach ailment. He was addicted to heroin. And as his suicide note made clear, he found the fame he had achieved to be something of an intolerable burden; he felt like a fake. Like a lot of suicides, Cobain’s could be seen as psychologically overdetermined; it could have been caused by any or all of these things.
Using his suicide to score cheap rhetorical points against feminism is not only dishonest but highly disrespectful to his memory.
To top off this gigantic platter of disrespect, whoever wrote the headline on AVFM didn’t even bother to spell Cobain’s first name correctly. It’s Kurt, with a K.
Below, “Byron’s” own reading of his poem. If you can’t bear listening to it — I only made it a couple of stanzas in before I had to shut it off — you can make your way to AVFM, or to YouTube, to read the rest. I feel safe in saying that Kurt, who considered himself a feminist, would have hated it, and A Voice for Men as well.
The jig is up. I and my collaborators have kept it secret for a long time now, but for reasons I will explain in a moment, I feel I need to come clean about this now, before it is too late:
I created Paul Elam.
That is: “Paul Elam” is a character created and developed by me and my friend Paul Henderson, an amazing improvisatory actor who has taken on the task of playing “Elam” in YouTube Videos, radio shows, and on a few occasions in the real world as well.
I first came up with the character of “Paul Elam” — “Elam” is just “male” spelled backwards — some seven years ago after reading Warren Farrell’s Myth of Male Power and wondering what an updated version of Farrell would look like today as a YouTube ranter. I brought the idea to my friend Paul Henderson, a feminist comedian who was already doing an “angry white man” character in his comedy act.
After a bit of workshopping, we created “Paul Elam” and his “Happy Misogynist” YouTube channel. I wrote the scripts, and Henderson read them out. As time went on and as Henderson got more into his new alter ego, he began adding bits of dialogue of his own. Sometimes when he got too deep into his character of “Paul Elam” he started to scare me a little.
After some success on YouTube and at Men’s News Daily, we decided to set up A Voice for Men. Shortly afterwards I set up Man Boobz, mainly as a way to promote AVFM and generate traffic for “Elam’s” site.
Since then, things have just snowballed. Henderson put me in touch with an amazing group of Canadian improv comedians called the Pouteenagers and the characters of Girl Writes What, John The Other, Typhon Blue, and DannyBoy were born.
Not all of those at AVFM are in on the gag. Dean Esmay for example, is completely sincere, as are most of the recent additions to the AVFM roster.
Up until about a month ago, the whole “Paul Elam”/A Voice for Men project seemed to be going swimmingly, generating buzz — and even a good deal of cash, much of which we have been donating to an assortment of feminist charities.
We kept piling absurdity on absurdity — like adding “human” to “men’s rights activist” to become “men’s human rights activist” — but no one ever guessed that it was all an elaborate prank! We were prepared to let the whole thing run for at least another year, getting sillier and sillier, before fessing up in a joint press conference with me and “Elam.”
But something terrible seems to have happened to my old friend Paul Henderson. After 7 years of playing “Paul Elam,” he seems to have become lost in the character he and I have created. Paul Henderson, in other words, has become Paul Elam.
He used to joke with April Fulieu, our makeup wiz, about how horrified he was each time he looked in the mirror and saw “Elam” staring back at him. But after we shot the last video with him he refused to let April take the makeup off, and when she went to tell me about this he fled out the back door of the studio.
We haven’t heard from him since. At least not as Paul Henderson.
I’m not sure what to do. He’s changed all the passwords on the AVFM server, so I can’t shut it down from my end, and I haven’t been able to contact any of the Pouteenagers either. I worry they too may have gone over to the dark side as well.
I can only hope that by posting this I can give him the wake-up call he needs – or at least arouse enough suspicion that the “sincere” AVFMers will confront him and possibly jar him back to reality.
He’ll deny it all, of course.
But at some point his fake beard will fall off.
That’s what I’m counting on, really.
A Voice for Men fans have appropriated logos of real anti-violence organizations for new “Don’t Be That Girl” postering campaign
Here we go again. Like small children who have just discovered the power of the tantrum, the terrible people at A Voice for Men seem to have realized that the only reliable way for them to get the attention of the world is to act like complete assholes in public. And so some fans of AVFM have decided to bring back the “Don’t Be That Girl” campaign — you know, the witless and misogynistic “parody” of the successful Canadian “Don’t Be That Guy” rape awareness campaign. Now they’re postering in Halifax.
But there’s one difference: this time they’ve put the logos of the real sponsors of the real “Don’t Be That Guy” rape awareness project on their phony posters. (You can see the whole list by downloading one of the pdfs of the real posters on this page.)
So far, two of the organizations listed on their phony posters – the Bryony House shelter for victims of domestic violence and the Halifax Police Department – have made very clear that their logos are being used without permission.
We are in no way affiliated with the slanderous campaign being distributed around Halifax and we have not given consent to use our logo.—
Bryony House (@BryonyHouse) March 24, 2014
It’s a pretty safe bet that the other organizations whose logos were appropriated feel similarly.
I’d like to encourage anyone who can afford it to follow up on a suggestion from Cloudiah in the comments and donate to Bryony House so that some good can come out of all this.
Now, I’m no expert on Canadian law, but it seems rather unlikely to me that it’s legal to simply stick some organization’s logo on something and pretend that they have endorsed it. Especially when that organization is the police.
Apparently some MRAs disagree with me on that:
Your consent is not required for these posters.—
Paul Elam (@AVoiceForMen) March 24, 2014
“Your consent is not required” seems to be the operating assumption of a lot of those drawn to the Men’s Rights movement.
I guess we will see. Here are several more photos of the posters. There’s more discussion of this in the AgainstMensRights subreddit.
EDITED TO ADD: Elam has now responded to the critics, and promises to bankroll any legal challenges against the posterers. It’s pretty clear that he doesn’t understand why the logos are a problem.
EDIT/CORRECTION: It’s not completely clear that this postering campaign originated with AVFM. It’s pretty clear, though, that it’s supported by AVFM, and that those involved in it are supporters of AVFM. I’ve made a few changes to the headline and first graf to reflect this.