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How A Voice for Men’s Facebook memes inadvertently reveal the deep sexual insecurities underlying the misogyny of the Men’s Rights movement

Detail of a perhaps inadertently revealing A Voice for Men meme

Detail of an unintentionally revealing A Voice for Men meme

The We Hunted the Mammoth Pledge Drive continues! If you haven’t already, please consider sending some bucks my way. (And don’t worry that the PayPal page says Man Boobz.) Thanks!

From time to time I like to check in on the Facebook page for A Voice for Men, to see how that eminent men’s human rights organization’s program to advance the human man rights of human men through badly designed and even more poorly conceived graphic “memes” is going.

Well, I can report that this program is going, and going, and going, a bit like a famous battery-powered bunny.

Looking through them today, I couldn’t help but notice the weird sexual undertones — and overtones — of many of the memes, and realized that, while none of the memes tell us much about the world, they do, in an altogehter accidental way, offer some pretty interesting insights into the ids of those making and “liking” them on Facebook.

You don’t have to be a trained psychoanalyst to see the not-very-well-hidden straight male sexual insecurities that lie behind a large number of AVFM’s memes — both the ones they create themselves and the others that seem to have arrived on the AVFM page after being forwarded via email from someone’s cranky misogynistic uncle. Let’s take a look at some of them.

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Men’s Rights activists outraged that Richard Dawkins has never heard of them

The Men's Rights Movement: To silly even for Richard Dawkins?

The Men’s Rights Movement: To silly even for Richard Dawkins?

Richard Dawkins, I think it’s fair to say, is a bit of a dick. Though he’s an expert popularizer of science he seems to be a bit of a blithering idiot on every other topic he tries to address; his broadsides on religion are patronizing and profoundly ignorant, and his forays into gender politics are even more cringey.

He puts his foot in his mouth so often on Twitter that it’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between his real account and this absurdist parody. Read the rest of this entry

The Men’s Rights activist behind a fraudulent White Ribbon website accuses the real White Ribbon Australia of fraud

Sydney's White Ribbon Day walk this year

Sydney’s White Ribbon Day walk this year

November 25th is White Ribbon Day in Australia, a day devoted to ending domestic violence against women. This year – the 25th has already drawn to a close in Australia – there were reportedly hundreds of White Ribbon events held across the country, including a massive march in suburban Sydney that drew thousands of participants.

White Ribbon Australia, which describes itself as “Australia’s only national, male led Campaign to end men’s violence against women” calls on men to “swear never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.” It helps to coordinate events in schools and workplaces, and has gotten support from police departments across the country as well as from various branches of the nation’s military.

It’s also gotten the attention of the folks at A Voice for Men.

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Men’s Rights elder Paul Elam to #GamerGaters: Pay attention to MEEEEE!

I don't think you're going to make it, dude

I don’t think you’re going to make it, dude

Pity poor Paul Elam! The Men’s Rights elder has spent, by his estimation, nearly half of his life ranting and raving against the supposed evils of feminism, and for what?

The movement he claims to lead has had no tangible victories in the real world beyond sullying its own name; traffic at his website has stalled out; and his latest publicity stunt – appropriating the name of the White Ribbon antiviolence campaign for his own dubious ends – has put him and/or his allies at legal risk without garnering him much of the attention he clearly craves.

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In which Paul Elam, alleged human rights champion, tells me to kill myself

 

 

 Paul Elam @AVoiceForMen  ·  2 hours ago  David Futrelle: Please kill yourself

So that was A Voice for Men founder Paul Elam’s response to a recent post of mine talking about Christopher Cantwell, an AVFM contributor who also likes to tell people to kill themselves.

In an AVFM post also titled David Futrelle: Please kill yourself, Elam waxed eloquent upon this theme:

David, please go kill yourself.

You should, however, before you slip away into the dark void that resembles your capacity for logic, consider that you may want to get out more. A lot more, actually.

“Please kill yourself,” in the context of Twitter and a lot of other internet exchanges is par for the course.

That is sadly true, Paul. I see that as a problem; you apparently see it as an excuse for the harassment and abuse you and your followers so enjoy heaping upon your opponents in the name of “Men’s Human Rights.”

Apparently, in Elam’s world, the best way to fight male suicide is by telling other men to kill themselves.

Oh, but one of Elam’s fans has an answer to that, too:

RedPillPhil ‏Futrelle isn’t a male so there’s no hypocrisy

Human rights advocates at work!

Is the Men’s Rights Movement driven by the rage of the rejected?

Memorial in Marysville

Memorial in Marysville

Was Marysville school shooter Jaylen Fryberg trying to exact revenge on a girl who had rejected him? Various news accounts suggest that Fryberg was reeling from a recent breakup; a number of angry, anguished, and frustratingly enigmatic recent comments on Fryberg’s Twitter account seem to back this up.

So it may be that the shootings on Friday were yet another reworking of an old story.

It’s no secret that many men, for an assortment of reasons, react badly and often violently to romantic and sexual rejection. This can range from self-described “nice guys” of OkCupid sending vicious messages to women who say no all the way to angry men who stalk and harass and sometimes kill ex-wives and girlfriends. Women who leave abusive relationships often suffer greater violence at the hands of exes unwilling to let them go.

I’ve written before of the striking ways that Men’s Rights Activism recapitulates the logic of domestic abuse; it’s no coincidence that so much MRA “activism” consists of harassment of individual women. So the question naturally follows: does the rage that drives so many MRAs come from the same dark place in the psyche as the rage that so many romantically and sexually rejected feel towards their exes? Read the rest of this entry

Men’s Rights Activists: PR Geniuses, Part XXVI

public relations

So Cosmo ran a piece by Jill Filipovic on A Voice for Men’s phony WhiteRibbon site, and, as surely as winter follows fall, the AVFM comments brigade showed up to offer their unique brand of wisdom.

Take it away, Samuel Twain:

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Paul Elam responds to critics of his phony White Ribbon page with reasoned argument. Kidding! He had a tantrum

Paul Elam: U mad?

Paul Elam: He seems mad.

Paul Elam, the maximum leader of hate site A Voice for Men, has responded to the first wave of media coverage of his phony White Ribbon site with a truculent little rant.

Salon.com, Thinkprogress.org and the ever intellectually flatulent David Futrelle have rage-written on this issue barely 24 hours after we launched the site.

How does he know about the flatulence? In my defense, I’m still recovering from Dollar Taco Tuesday.

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A Voice for Men has set up a phony White Ribbon website to coopt the international anti-violence campaign of that name [UPDATE: Real WRC responds to AVFM]

Beware of cheap imitations

Beware of cheap imitations

[UPDATE: The real White Ribbon Campaign has responded; I’ve added excerpts at the bottom.]

Apparently, A Voice for Men is just itching to be sued.

Paul Elam and the gang over at everyone’s favorite Men’s Rights hate site have just launched a new website — WhiteRibbon.org — that seems pretty clearly designed to undermine and co-opt the real White Ribbon campaign, a long-running international initiative to fight violence against women.

The REAL White Ribbon campaign has a number of websites, reflecting its international reach — in Canada, where the initiative originated, as well as in the UK, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand. and other places. But apparently the organization didn’t buy up all the related domain names.

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Ladies, your weight is somehow a Men’s Rights issue, and five other lessons drawn from six terrible A Voice for Men memes

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Subtlety is not considered a virtue at AVFM

Well, I took another look at the A Voice for Men Facebook page. Lo and behold, their little meme makers have been working overtime! So here’s a little gallery of some of their latest work.

I have to admit that these aren’t quite as baffling as the John Galt meme originals we looked at a couple of weeks ago, or these also-very-confusing AVFM memes I posted last spring. But they are pretty darn terrible, in all respects.

Click on the pics to see the originals on Facebook, complete with thoughtful commentary from AVFM’s fans (except in the case of this next one, which I found reposted on an anti-MRA Facebook).

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