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MRAs: The way to defeat feminism is not through debate but by “inflicting … pain” on feminists.

Men's Rights "Activism"

What can you do when you realize that you’re losing the war of ideas? You can rethink some or all of your ideas, seriously considering the unnerving possibility that you might be, well, wrong. You can reconsider how you present your ideas.

Or you can give up on ideas entirely, and attempt to pressure or harass or even terrorize others into some form of surrender. That’s what the the uber-radical Weathermen did in the 1960s and 70s, turning first to violent direct action in the aptly named “days of rage” and then to bombs when the revolution that many in the New Left had been prophesying failed to materialize. That’s what the anti-abortion movement has been doing for decades now, with some in the movement harassing women trying to get abortions while more radical antis bomb clinics and kill doctors. .

And now we’re seeing rhetoric from Men’s Rights Activists that suggests some in that movement may also be giving up on talk. Consider A Voice for Men’s Paul Elam, who declared in a fundraising letter a couple of months back that:

Progress for men will not be gained by debate, reason or typical channels of grievance available to segments of the population that the world actually gives a damn about. The progress we need will only be realized by inflicting enough pain on the agents of hate, in public view, that it literally shocks society out of its current coma.

Elam is – presumably deliberately — vague about what exactly he means when he talks about “inflicting … pain,” and as far as I know he has never explicitly endorsed violence. But he has spoken openly about “stalking” individual feminists and otherwise “fucking their shit up” by, among other things, posting personal information about them on the AVfM-sponsored site Register-Her.com for all would be vigilantes to see. And in the “activism” section of his website he has reprinted a manifesto explicitly calling for the firebombing of courthouses and police stations.

Elam isn’t the only MRA who has officially given up on “debate and reason” in favor of “inflicting … pain” on feminists. The “counter-feminist” wannabe philosopher who calls himself Fidelbogen makes a similar argument in a recent post on his blog:

Feminism is your enemy, and the obligation to treat feminists as fellow human beings is officially waived. They are not fellow human beings, they are ALIENS.

Dehumanizing the enemy always a good start.

[L]et’s not hear any crap about so-called “hate speech”. You see, there is simply no way that you can resist evil, denounce tyranny, or call pernicious things by their right names, without crossing a fine line into “hate speech” or something very like it. Extremism against a bully is no vice, and since bullies have their own moral economy, you are entitled to pay them in their own coin.

It’s not hate speech if you really do hate them?

The important thing to understand about the feminists is, that they will not change their outward behavior unless social heat and pressure are inflicted upon them.

Fidelbogen, a sometime contributor to A Voice for Men, is also vague about what exactly he means by this “social heat and pressure.” He continues:

What, do you think they will stop what they are doing just because somebody intellectually convinces them they are mistaken? They will do no such thing, because they are people with an agenda who know they are “right”, and they lack the gift to see themselves as the rest of the world sees them.

IRONY ALERT. IRONY ALERT.

Over on Reddit, meanwhile, the charming JeremiahMRA – who used to post comments here as Things Are Bad – thinks the “inflict pain” policy should be extended to all women, any time they engage in “bad behavior.” Responding to a poster asking how to handle a disagreement with his mother, he explained his theory in (sometimes redundant) detail, receiving several dozen net upvotes for his post:

The ONLY way you change women’s bad behavior is by punishing them if they won’t start acting like adults. …

The only way you change a woman’s bad behavior is by making sure they know it hurts them. …

Reasoning with her will not work. The only answer is to use the power he has as her SON to threaten to hurt her emotionally. Women are emotional creatures. Nothing else will work. This is what it means to be a man: you do what you have to do so that things will be better in the end, even if you don’t like it. …

It isn’t about convincing her what’s right, it’s about showing her she will suffer if she doesn’t do what’s right. That is the only thing that will work.

The Men’s Rights Movement likes to pretend that is it a civil rights movement. But threats, harassment, hate speech, and emotional blackmail aren’t the tactics of a legitimate civil rights movement. These are the tactics of angry narcissists clinging to retrograde prejudices, who have given up on the war of ideas because on some level they know that history is against them, and that they will never win.

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hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

Well, TAB also thinks that posting a pic of his completely ordinary self is a way to win an argument; so who really gives a shit what he thinks, except to note that if that’s the way he feels, Thanksgiving at his family’s house must be a blast.

Seraph
Seraph
9 years ago

…because feminists, or indeed women in general, have never had to deal with angry, potentially violent men before. They really live in their own world, don’t they?

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
9 years ago

“It isn’t about convincing her what’s right, it’s about showing her she will suffer if she doesn’t do what’s right. That is the only thing that will work.”

That is the classic justification of an abusive parent who punishes and punishes and punishes until their children and their partners are terrorized into obedience or running away.
There is a certain irony in suggesting that the son use this abusive approach to disagreements on his mother.
Taking this advice will not end well.

p'bee
p'bee
9 years ago

i’ve been lurking reading this blog for a while, this one’s prompted me to sneak out of my hidey-hole and comment because of that last quote.
he wrote that to a child. a kid. sure, they’re likely to be in their teens, but still – he wrote to a child pretty much telling the boy to use emotional blackmail against his own mother. who the hell does that? how bitter and twisted do you have to be to tell a kid that they should ‘punish’ their mother – and for what? for saying something negative about her ex? that’s it? that justifies ‘showing her she will suffer if she doesn’t do what’s right’? ugh.

Yoyo
Yoyo
9 years ago

Voxday recently just skirted calling for the execution of women who leave their husbands and family court judges. So the extreme hateful rhetoric is nothing surprising in the hideous creeps.

cloudiah
cloudiah
9 years ago

The only good thing about these guys is that they can’t organize for shit. Unfortunately, this probably means they inflict pain at the individual level, where it’s nearly invisible, except to the people they hurt. Fuckers. Sorry, this has been a crappy weekend all around.

Joanna
9 years ago

First world problems.

cloudiah
cloudiah
9 years ago

P.s. David, how’s your cat? From Twitter feed on right, looks like she’s eating?

Kyrie
Kyrie
9 years ago

Extremism against a bully is no vice, and since bullies have their own moral economy, you are entitled to pay them in their own coin.

Actually, it is, and you’re not. (at least they’re honest, they feel entitled) I never believe believed I had all right over my bullies (though I would have appreciated if they had some kind of consequence for their actions), I don’t want rapists to be raped, murderers to be killed nor torturers to be tortured.

magdelyns
9 years ago

Men’s Rights aren’t civil rights…blah blah blah.

Joanna
9 years ago

“Men’s Rights aren’t civil rights…blah blah blah.”

I know! The right to oppress others is totally civil!

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

MRAs: nothing but violent, hateful pieces of trash. Their writings (particularly Jerimiah’s spiel) are like Valerie Solanas’ SCUM Manifesto, except that may or may not have been satire while MRAs are 100% serious.

I actually really do hope to see a legitimate men’s rights group that tackles the issues men face today rationally that actually helps men rather than encourage them to stew in anger, resentment and hate.

Yoyo
Yoyo
9 years ago

Sorry not fox but quote admiringly on his site. http://alphagameplan.blogspot.com.au/search?updated-max=2012-02-27T00:07:00-08:00&max-results=7

I wouldn’t recommend going there because the language is really violent, including the “slaughter” pf police officers who attend domestic violence callouts

jumbofish
9 years ago

bored mags?

Yoyo
Yoyo
9 years ago

Make that voxday not fox of course. damn autocorrect.

Joanna
9 years ago

I actually really do hope to see a legitimate men’s rights group that tackles the issues men face today rationally that actually helps men rather than encourage them to stew in anger, resentment and hate.

Me too, dammit! They’re supposed to be activists, and yet all they do is bitch about how women have it “easier” in blogs and shit. Get off your computer you lazy bums and do something worthwhile!

BoggiDWurms
9 years ago

When a group gives up on reason and debate and instead resorts to propaganda, blackmail, violence, and dehumanization, you know they’ve lost. They should never be taken seriously again.

The Men’s Rights Movement likes to pretend that is it a civil rights movement. But threats, harassment, hate speech, and emotional blackmail aren’t the tactics of a legitimate civil rights movement. These are the tactics of angry narcissists clinging to retrograde prejudices, who have given up on the war of ideas because on some level they know that history is against them, and that they will never win.

pwned.

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

@Joanna

To an MRA any activism is not activism unless they are hurting women or making them suffer. For example if men don’t have a service such as a birth control pill or a shelter they don’t take to the street and march to demand for one, of lobby the government and pharmaceutical companies, they just try to restrict or take the ones away that are available to women.

That’s activism the MRA way!

BoggiDWurms
9 years ago

Men’s Rights aren’t civil rights…blah blah blah.

Mags, you’re utter denial of MRA bullshit used to be cute. Now it’s just heinous.

Roberta Sandolval (@RobertaSandolva)

I’ve actually seen some positives changes within the men’s rights movement in the last few years. There’s been a gradual shift away from “feminism, Grrrr!” and a gradual movement towards a more issues centered discussion. At least on the men’s rights subreddit, there has. I don’t know about MGTOW forums.

I don’t understand highlighting the worst of the worst within the men’s rights movement and then presenting it as if it’s somehow representative of all or even most MRAs. One could just as easily present a collection of equally vile quotes from radical feminists.

For the record, I’m not a big fan of Paul Elam. His rhetorical ineptitude is an embarrassment and a hindrance to the MRM ever gaining any mainstream credibility.

I believe the foundations of the MRM should be this: men have legitimate issues, men are not universally privileged in relation to women, and some strains of feminism do have their ideological excesses.

I think most reasonable people can agree on those basic tenets. We can debate the details.

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

So lets do some teeeeeeeny tiny changes to Jerimah’s spiel:

The ONLY way you change men’s bad behavior is by punishing them if they won’t start acting like adults. …

The only way you change a man’s bad behavior is by making sure they know it hurts them. …

Reasoning with him will not work. The only answer is to use the power he has as his DAUGHTER to threaten to hurt him emotionally. Men are emotional creatures. Nothing else will work. This is what it means to be a woman: you do what you have to do so that things will be better in the end, even if you don’t like it. …

It isn’t about convincing him what’s right, it’s about showing him he will suffer if he doesn’t do what’s right. That is the only thing that will work.

Sound a little like misandry Jerimiah and MRAs? now you know why we call you assholes misogynists all the time. A basic rule that children are taught is treat others how you want to be treated. Maybe you ought to remember that next time.

captainbathrobe
9 years ago

Ah yes, Things Are Bad. That time he posted a picture of himself was absolutely precious. He really did argue that he was better looking than David, so that makes him automatically right, or something. I think he left genuinely baffled at the lack of swooning and panty throwing that ensued.

Good times, good times.

zhinxy
9 years ago

Meanwhile, poor disabled men on benefits who owe child support, in some cases for children who have long since grown up and are helping to care for their fathers, are in danger of having those benefits frozen and seized by the State. This is hard for MRAS, because its a terrible case and a clear sign of a cruel, broken system, but it’s not so easy to blame the feminist bitches for it. And helping men isn’t fun unless you’re making a woman suffer. And of course, they aren’t at all hurting the cause of those men, or any mans issue, by associating the language of.men’s rights with the rhetoric above and elsewhere….

What a guy losing his diasability payment to back child support needs is a trip to Elam land where he can hear all about fucking feminist shit up!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/change-on-federal-benefits-payments-could-leave-child-support-debtors-with-no-income/2012/02/26/gIQAZv

magdelyn
9 years ago

@boggiedwurns

uh, thank you.

for a bunch of people that believe MRA’s are ineffective, you spend bunches of time obsessing about MRA’s and nashing your teeth.

Joanna
9 years ago

@magdelyn: Obsession is too strong a word. Amused is more appropriate.

Joanna
9 years ago

Also! Twitter just ruined The Walking Dead for me! I’m so darn mad I’d blame MRAs for it! >.<

magdelyn
9 years ago

…and yet David, you have a whole f*cking website and spend an inordinate amount of your life talking about them…

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

@Mags

MRAs will often claim that feminists are stupid, illogical, overly emotional cunts and literally incapable people, yet they still believe we’re destroying society and have infiltrated every single organization, institution and form of government.

So why do they spend so much time obsessing over people who are apparently so worthless?

Joanna
9 years ago

“…and yet David, you have a whole f*cking website and spend an inordinate amount of your life talking about them…”

Like MRAs on feminists! It’s a vicious cycle!

magdelyn
9 years ago

MRA’s know the power of the feminist movement. No serious MRA think feminists are dumb. They think they are fundamentally dishonest, that they advocate for one demographic no matter what the equities, and that they use under handed methods such as advocacy research and indocutrination in schools…but, most MRA’s are actually in awe of how a corrupt and abjectly unfair pro-women policies get past and continue despite the basic unfairness.

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

Mags, we’re not obsessing, we’re mocking. BTW, it’s “gnashing.” You’re welcome.

magdelyn
9 years ago

naw hellkell, yer purty much obsessing

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

The way I see it, David is doing internet denizens a service…exposing a hateful movement for what it is

I think that men do face some discrimination in society and there are men who will want to change it, so if they stumble upon and MRA site thinking it will offer solutions and be greeted with a bunch of angry dudes screaming about feminists and holding open doors, I’d imagine that would be discouraging. However if they come across Manboobz first they’ve already been warned lol

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
9 years ago

I’m so glad you kitty is feeling better, David!

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

And you’re pretty much trollin’, Mags.

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
9 years ago

*your, of course.

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth
PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth
9 years ago

I think Mags has somehow managed to miss eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevery single post David has made.

Especially those that quote people saying that women are children, incompetent,and stupid.

Canaduck
Canaduck
9 years ago

“The Men’s Rights Movement likes to pretend that is it a civil rights movement. But threats, harassment, hate speech, and emotional blackmail aren’t the tactics of a legitimate civil rights movement. These are the tactics of angry narcissists clinging to retrograde prejudices, who have given up on the war of ideas because on some level they know that history is against them, and that they will never win.”

De-lurking briefly to say that this is the best description of the Men’s Rights “Movement” ever. I love this site!

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

@Mags

Yeah…you’d think then that maybe they’d realize that maybe…just maybe…feminists aren’t as corrupt as they think they are.

Wow 1 in 4 women aren’t actually raped….its more like 1 in 5 now according to the NISVS…biggg difference!

And wtf…indoctrination in schools? what schools? a gender studies course? most people do not choose gender studies, give me a break. I don’t even remember how I came across feminism but I can assure you it wasn’t in a school.

Roberta Sandolval (@RobertaSandolva)

The focus on feminism is often misplaced and lacking in specificity.

Second wave feminists were pretty instrumental in passing some of the unjust legislation and policies that now disadvantage males, but feminism is not a monolith and most of men’s issues have arisen quite independently of feminism.

3rd wave feminists are genuinely interested in real equality, and generally don’t subscribe to the racism, classism, transphobia, and misandry of the second wave.

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth
PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth
9 years ago

Quackers, I believe it has something to do with a few posters to tell boys to not hit girls.

Which is totally above the pale, I mean how can we tell boys that hitting girls is wrong? They might actually start treating women with respect and how is that going to help come the revolution where all women are “taken away.”

/sarcasm with some snarly bits.

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

Everytime Mags posts she always manages to overlook the complete douchebaggery in the shit David quotes. So yeah, she must be trolling. Which reminds me why I never really respond to her in the first place.

I guess I’m just really bored tonight.

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

@PFKAE

Yeah and apparently “don’t hit girls” is also doublespeak for “girls should hit boys”

Right. I don’t know about you but I was pretty much taught not to..you know…hit anyone -_-

Oh and if we tell boys not to hit other boys and critique violent media then we’re just feeemmmminizing society…wahhhh!!!

Roberta Sandolval (@RobertaSandolva)

“But threats, harassment, hate speech, and emotional blackmail aren’t the tactics of a legitimate civil rights movement.”

Nevermind the fact that all the “legitimate” civil rights movements of the past had elements that engaged in these tactics.

Or are you not aware that feminists in 1960’s Britain frequently engaged in acts of vandalism and death threats?

cloudiah
cloudiah
9 years ago

Yay, kitty!

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth
PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth
9 years ago

I was taught the same thing.

Apparently wanting to end violence is bad because it means all men suddenly are women. *rolls eyes*

Jawnita
Jawnita
9 years ago

This is off-topic, but:
An acquaintance just made a friendslocked post about how he just received a book on “Mystery Method” Game and he’s excited to try it out. I know this guy from about eight years ago, so we’re not super close friends, but lately he’s been going through some depression and I’m one of the people who helped convince him to get into therapy, etc. We got coffee in December, and caught up some. I know that loneliness is a big hangup for him (he speaks of it as almost the sole cause of his depression), and I do think that a bit more success at making meatspace friends/lovers would be good for him. But, ugh, Game.

Can any of you point me towards a gentle, concise blog post or such that I can link him to, to explain just what he needs to be wary of, and why he needs to take the advice in the book with a huge grain of salt? He’s still kind of immature/conservative, so I worry that just, say, linking all of Holly’s blog (or Manboobz) would overwhelm him. Also, I remember seeing some feminist-friendly pickup blogs around (the kind that genuinely focus on self-confidence and consent), but I can’t remember the names — any ideas? Thanks in advance!

Roberta Sandolval (@RobertaSandolva)

@ Quackers

I think what they’re objecting to about the “Don’t hit girls” admonishment is the sex specificity of it. The implication is that hitting girls is somehow worse than hitting boys. When really the rule should be: “Don’t hit anyone.”

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