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:
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.
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.
You may remember the embarrassing spectacle a couple of months back when Warren Farrell asked the readers of A Voice for Men to help him pick out a cover picture for a new ebook version of The Myth of Male Power, the 21-year-old crackpot bestseller that more or less provided the, er, intellectual foundation for today’s Men’s Rights movement.
It wasn’t just embarrassing because AVFM is a noxious hate site that regularly calls women c*nts and whores and helps to organize informal campaigns of harassment directed at individual women. It was also embarrassing because all three of the pictures were sexualized images focusing on specific female body parts. You can guess which three, and you’d be right: tits, ass, and vagina (the latter tastefully covered in a merkin made of moss).
Well, Farrell ended up rejecting all of these images in favor of … a different picture of a woman’s butt. Yep, the screenshot above features the actual cover of the recently released ebook version of The Myth of Male Power. (You can see it in its full sized-glory over on Amazon.)
The implicit message of the cover couldn’t be clearer: men may seem to run the world, but women can control and exploit them through the power of their sexuality. Male power is undercut by … butt power.
Am I reading too much into a cover image? Farrell doesn’t really believe this nonsense, does he?
Well, in the introduction to the ebook, Farrell writes:
In case you’re wondering, “genetic celebrity” is Farrell’s term of art for any attractive woman.
But golly, you say, the fact that a dude feels “powerless” because he can’t have sex with every woman with a nice butt that happens to wander across his field of vision doesn’t actually mean that men are powerless or that male power is a myth. Well, Farrell has an answer to this as well. And by “answer” I mean, well, whatever this is:
Got that? I’m not sure there’s anything there to get; it’s nothing more than hand-waving to distract attention from the nonsensical nature of his previous statements. In case any Men’s Rights activist ever brings Warren Farrell up as an example of a respectable, “academic” MRA, you may wish to point out that almost nothing Farrell writes ever actually makes any fucking sense.
In the book itself, Farrell repeatedly suggested that male power can be undone almost completely by the sexual power of women. In one oft-quoted passage, he wrote about the effect that a “secretary’s miniskirt power, cleavage power and flirtation power” allegedly has on their male bosses. (Myth of Male Power, p. 21)
While that statement has earned a certain notoriety for its sheer ridiculousness, Farrell went further elsewhere in the book, essentially arguing that men are as addicted to female “beauty” as drug addicts are to the drug of their choice — and as helpless.
“Sexually, of course, the sexes aren’t equal,” Farrell wrote. “[M]any men feel ‘under the influence the moment they see a beautiful woman.” (p. 320, emphasis in original.)
This sort of temporary “intoxication,” Farrell argued, leads men into shackling themselves to these temporarily sexy tyrants for the rest of their lives — thus agreeing to support them (he suggested implicitly) even after they get old and ugly. (p. 85.)
In Farrell’s original book, this “argument,” such as it is, was merely one of many that he thought undercut the alleged “myth of male power.” Now, with the butt on the cover, he’s put it front and center. Or, more precisely, rear and center.
Warren Farrell, you’re an ass, man.
Oh, awkward segue here, I just wanted to show off the cover to the new edition of my classic book, The Myth of Human Power.
It will soon be available for one million dollars in cash in unmarked bills, upon delivery of which I will sit down and write it for you. It will probably be pretty short and not very convincing.
5 Arguments Least Likely To Convince A Young Woman That A Voice for Men Isn’t a Misogynistic Hate Site
Not that long ago, an 18-year-old student named Carly, appalled by the rampant misogyny on display at A Voice for Men, sent a critical but thoughtful email to a number of the men associated with the site challenging them to rise above their hatred of women.
AVFM “Managing Editor” Dean Esmay decided to take her email as an opportunity to reach out to all the Carlys out there in the world in an attempt to win them over to AVFM’s peculiar brand of “human rights activism,” penning what he called an
open letter … not just to you, but to any young woman who has an open mind and is willing to be challenged on her prejudices.
Naturally, given that Men’s Rights Activists are some of the most verbose douchebags in history, it was long as hell — some 3000 words. But Esmay’s diplomatically worded attempt at outreach didn’t go quite as well as he might have hoped. Carly responded with a note saying that his open letter had merely
reinforced everything I believe. It seems we are at a stalemate, you will never agree with me, and I will never agree with you.
So where might poor Dean Esmay might have gone wrong in his attempt to win Carly’s heart and mind?
Let’s start here, with 5 Arguments Least Likely To Convince A Young Woman That A Voice for Men Isn’t a Woman-Hating Piece of Shit Hate Site, in the form of direct quotes from The Esmay himself. Since Esmay is so long-winded, I’ve highlighted some of my favorite bits in bold.
1)“[Y]ou’re 18, and so, not to put too fine a point on it, you are still a young skull full of mush.”
2) “[M]en have few to no voices speaking about issues that are specific to men, or defending men as a group, in this society. Until very recently in history men never have had such a voice. Because pretty much all civilizations for the last few thousand years have prioritized the needs and desires of women over those of men. For hundreds, even thousands, of years.
3)“If you believe men have silenced women for thousands of years … you believe something that just not true. … Furthermore, if you believe that, what you have to believe is that Asian men have been oppressing Asian women for thousands of years, black men have been oppressing black women for thousands of years, European men, Australasian men, and so on, have all been oppressing their women for thousands of years. And those weak women could do nothing about it. So what you believe here isn’t just wrong, it’s racist.”
4) “For most of history, being female was a privilege. It carried certain special rights that only applied to women, and special responsibilities that only applied to women, and through most of history, being male was a burden, a burden which carried certain rights that only applied to men, and those rights were there mostly so they could discharge their duties to women properly.”
5) “[Y]ou may occasionally see angry remarks or articles on this site. What I would hope you would do with that, when you do see it, is contemplate that there is a difference between righteous anger at real injustice, and what you seem to have misinterpreted as hate.”
The funniest thing about Esmay’s “open letter” is that this bizarre crackpottery, easily seen through by anyone with any knowledge of history or sociology or, hell, the real world, is his attempt to sound as reasonable as possible. He’s reined in the wild conspiratorial ranting he often indulges in when arguing with ideological foes; he’s avoided the misogynistic slurs (cunt, bitch, whore) favored by other AVFMers like Paul Elam and Diana Davison. And this is the best he can manage.
The Men’s “Human Rights” Movement isn’t ready for its close-up. And I suspect that it never will be.
EDITED TO ADD: A commenter has pointed out another quote I should have included as well. So here is BONUS EXTRA LEAST CONVINCING DEAN ESMAY ARGUMENT NUMBER SIX:
6) “The truth is, the most privileged class of people in the whole wide world are young women living in places like the US, UK, Canada, etc.–and if you want to be treated like an equal, you should not flinch or cry like a little girl if someone tells you that.“
How dare you accuse us of sexism, you spoiled little girl!