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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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pillowinhell
9 years ago

Roberta how do you propose to escape the nagging of your long term live in partner who shares your home and your bed? Especially when obtaining a divorce is an expensive process and the onlky way to flee is to move out and incur additional living expenses? For many people, divorce is not an option and I think that’s why common law relationships have become so much more poular.

magdelyn
9 years ago

Don’t take it personally Roberta. Most of the commentors on this board have so little respect for women that they don’t allow them to take responsbility for their own actions…but want to hold men responsible for women’s behavior. They are the real rape apologists.

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

If Roberta is really a lawyer, then I am really the Queen of Everything.

cloudiah
cloudiah
9 years ago

My favorite new lawyering trick, learned tonight: Write a post. Wait three minutes. If no response, say that the other person has obviously conceded! WIN!!! /sarcasm

Lauralot
9 years ago

And there goes Magdelyn, projecting her misogyny on us for the sole purpose of being argumentative. Business as usual.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
9 years ago

@Roberta:

If someone appears to freely consent to something (even if they were influenced by outside factors and cultural pressures), we must take that consent at face value.

See a previous post of mine; your link addresses this very issue. No, we don’t have to take the consent at face value, because recognizing that there are cultural pressures and outside factors means that the person asking can do hir part to try to eliminate those pressures overtly.

The law as is is not ideal, so running to that as the golden standard isn’t exactly a great argument. But we don’t need law to say that people can actively try to combat those pressures and obtain much better consent.

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

Oh, stuff it, Mags. Someone who’s greatest joy is crying “FIRST” in a blog is calling us rape apologists. Too rich.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

I feel like Magdelyn would be a happier person if she took up kickboxing or something. Fencing, kung fu, whatever – anything that involves sparring would do.

Roberta Sandolval (@RobertaSandolva)

Pillow

So what you’re arguing is that something more than consent is need in order for ‘proper sex’ to exist. Mutual sexual desire is definitely the optimal standard, but a lack of mutual desire does not necessarily mean a lack of mutual consent.

Consent is a contract.

Tolpuddle Martyr
Tolpuddle Martyr
9 years ago

I just hope they catch any wannabe Anders Behring Breivik fuckheads hearing these messages before they can do any real damage!

Roberta Sandolval (@RobertaSandolva)

@Kirby

Sure, as a matter of personal conduct, I absolutely agree that we should do our best to avoid unintentionally pressuring our partners into doing anything, including sex.

I’m specifically speaking of what is, at all, practical and enforceable with regards to sexual assault law. We can’t send someone to prison because cultural norms and peer pressure convinced their sex partner to consent when said sex partner didn’t really want to (whatever “really want to” means).

The law can only ever take the form of: Did the defendants action constitute forcible compulsion by this objective definition that we have enshrined into law? If yes, sexual assault. If no, legal conduct. Whatever the complexities of the pressures and influences that exist on our choices.

pillowinhell
9 years ago

Roberta I’m a demi sexual, if you know what that means. Desire for me has a different meaning than the average sexual person. I can consent to and desire sex, but my desire is driven not by lust, but more a simple need for skin to skin contact.

However, yes, desire for whatever a given person gets from sex coupled with consent is the gold standard.

magdelyn
9 years ago

@CS

my life is pretty much filled with sunshine and lollipops.. (<- two dot ellipsis) so therefore i an plenty happy. thanks 4 yer concern

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
9 years ago

@magdelyn:

You know, if trolls and MRAs and misogynists in general would just stop trying to offload responsibility for rape onto the rape victim, then maybe we’d have a chance to talk about something else. Really, it’s your fault that we keep having to discuss ways in which women aren’t responsible for what happens to them.

Roberta Sandolval (@RobertaSandolva)

@pillow

If you can’t escape the nagging in any reasonable way except agreeing to have sex, then I have no issue calling that rape.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

I personally would love to never have to have the “why women are not responsible for being raped” conversation ever again. Sadly, since so many people keep writing screeds about how they think women are responsible for being raped, we keep having to have this conversation, over and over again.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
9 years ago

@Roberta:

This “objective definition” enshrined in law can and has evolved over the years. So again, looking at the law as is and stating we can’t do any better is ridiculous. Also ridiculous is your insistence that you have only ever talked about law, when in reality we have only ever been talking about things not in terms of law.

Thus, ridicule. 😛

magdelyn
9 years ago

rape is rape….the ever expanding definition of rape that feminists try to foist on society makes much of society disbelieve women when a rape occurs. therefore, the more men’s fear of false rape accusations are made public and cases are seen in the media….(<- 4 dot ellipsis), the less society believes real victims.

Roberta Sandolval (@RobertaSandolva)

I never said the law can’t be improved. Notice that I specified what form the law must take. Not what specific definition of forcible compulsion it must apply.

You get so close to comprehending my point but then veer away at the last moment.

Whatever we think of the complexities of human behavior, agency, choice, influence, and pressure, the law must be reasonably concrete and objective. And we can only put people on trial for their own actions, not for outside influences that we think compromises his partner’s ability to freely consent.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

You’d think that a lawyer would grasp the idea that law is something that evolves over time. If society as a whole decides that the laws we have now no longer make sense, they can be changed. What Roberta seems to be doing is attempting to hold the line against the fact that low rape is legally defined is indeed slowly evolving. When anyone asks her why she is so determined to do so, she dodges and goes right back into the same circular argument. This is what I meant when I said that she’s already done this exact same thing on other forums and it’s really not worth engaging.

darksidecat
9 years ago

Let me try a basic list

1) SEX IS A FUCKING INTERPERSONAL INTERACTION, NOT SOME SORT OF BULLSHIT CAPITALIST TRANSACTION. That really needed said.

2) Contract law recognizes a huge number of things which make an agreement insufficient outside of “forcible compulsion”.

3) There are a huge number of other areas of law which deal with consent or coercion which use standards that are far from “forcible compulsion”. They are absolutely workable and are used every day. The NLRB can make determinations about intimidation and improper influence daily without utilizing the absurd “forcible compulsion” notion.

4) “Cultural norms and peer pressure” play a role in every single determination of “reasonableness”. You are playing the “reasonable”=viewpoint of the privileged game, and I will have none of it.

5) Roberta is essentially endorsing an “upmost resistance” standard and supporting legalizing all date rape. Way to go, rape apologist fuckface.

Roberta Sandolval (@RobertaSandolva)

Illinois has a decent definition of forcible compulsion with respect to rape, and most other states have similar laws.

Physical force, threats of violence, and threats of confinement. We could add a few more things to that list, perhaps, but not too much more.

magdelyn
9 years ago

Roberta Sandolval (@RobertaSandolva)

@darksidecat

Wow, someone’s off their meds.

Intimidation and undue influence are already covered by the scope of ‘forcible compulsion’ or duress. Intimidation is a type of threat, and is already covered by existing sexual assault laws.

Point number 4 is absolutely false. No one has ever successfully voided a contract by arguing that felt compelled to sign it because they wanted to “fit in” with their peer group.

magdelyn
9 years ago

Contracts of adhesion.

Roberta Sandolval (@RobertaSandolva)

Also keep in mind darkside, that the consequences in the case of sexual assault are years in prison and a lifetime of sex offender registration. Not just the voiding of a contract and a possible damages payout.

Thus, the bar for duress must be kept higher.

Lauralot
9 years ago

As if Roberta wasn’t vile enough, she’s added ableism to the mix.

Go fuck yourself.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
9 years ago

@Roberta:

You get so close to comprehending my point but then veer away at the last moment.

I’ve gotta admit, it can be very challenging to hit a moving target.

So what have we learned here? Rape is bad. Rape is what happens when you have sex with someone without their consent. Consent under the law is absence of compulsion (very difficult to describe), and consent to people is a “yes” response while desiring to say yes.

So where did we start? With you asserting that feminists thought that asking somebody twice for sex was coercive and rape if sex happened.

There should be an award for the longest distance traveled in a single conversation.

jumbofish
9 years ago

Wow, someone’s off their meds.

Going for a low blow? I heard its a great way to dismiss the person you are talking to……

Roberta Sandolval (@RobertaSandolva)

Fuck you and your made up words, Lauralot.

I was actually tempted to preempt this predictable bleating by adding “OMG ABLEISM!” in parentheses after that line. I now see that I should have.

jumbofish
9 years ago

hurur I purposefully insulted mentally ill people hurhur see how edgy I am!

Moewicus
Moewicus
9 years ago

Wow, someone’s off their meds.

Very classy, Roberta.

Lauralot
9 years ago

So law school taught you to pretend that words you don’t like aren’t real, I see.

Again, go fuck yourself.

magdelyn
9 years ago

Roberta, the following concepts are generally frowned upon on this blog: “sexism”, “ableism”, “ageism”, “heterosexism”, “classism”, “lookism”, “cis-ism”, “phallicism”, “fatism” and a profoundly long list of silly words (ending in “ism”) that are deemed ”thoughtcrimes” or “crimethink.” The concepts don’t stop at the “isms,” but continue with concepts that promote “heteronormativity.” “cis-centrism”….ect ect ect.

Roberta Sandolval (@RobertaSandolva)

@Kirby

The colloquial definition of rape is far from monolithic. That may be the “enthusiastic consent” definition of rape, but I suspect that the average person has a definition of rape that is more in line with the law. Perhaps even narrower than the law, as many people don’t consider drunken sex to be rape. While the law in some jurisdictions does consider it rape.

But yes.

Rape is bad.

Rape is sex without consent.

Rape under the law is sex procured through some form of forcible compulsion (actual force, threats, intimidation, some forms of blackmail).

Those are fine.

Moewicus
Moewicus
9 years ago

I was actually tempted to preempt this predictable bleating by adding “OMG ABLEISM!” in parentheses after that line. I now see that I should have.

Yes, because that usually quells all objections to a behavior. It’s the coup de grace in any argument, really.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Is anyone else here a Jezebel regular? Because now that I think about it, I think that Roberta was claiming to be a cop rather than a lawyer when she first started trolling there.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
9 years ago

From Roberta I have learned:

– If you can predict people criticizing you for saying offensive shit, it makes up for you saying offensive shit.

magdelyn
9 years ago

“off their meds” is only offensive to those who cultivate their indignities and use the faux outrage as a rhetorical device.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

I predict that before this conversation is over Roberta will be snotty and condescending to at least one other commenter. If I call her ill-mannered in advance, having predicted this, that’s OK, right?

Lauralot
9 years ago

– If you can predict people criticizing you for saying offensive shit, it makes up for you saying offensive shit.

I’m pretty sure that’s in the Geneva Conventions.

Roberta Sandolval (@RobertaSandolva)

TIL that trolling = disagreeing with some ideological zealots on certain tenets of their dogma.

Lauralot
9 years ago

Yes, magdelyn, we all know you’re so unaffected and above it all. Shut up about it already.

magdelyn
9 years ago

@R.S.

Bingo!

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Except I would have to find a genuinely offensive way to call her ill-mannered, and I can’t off the top of my head. And even if I could I wouldn’t use it because hey, why stoop to that level?

Keep on stooping, Roberta.

magdelyn
9 years ago

Uh, Lauralot…mmm…no.

Roberta Sandolval (@RobertaSandolva)

Nice Magedlyn.

That appraisal does seem fairly accurate. I’m wondering how many more words they’ll find ways to attach -ism to. I’ve heard that “heightism” has been making the rounds in the last year.

Moewicus
Moewicus
9 years ago

Roberta, the following concepts are generally frowned upon on this blog: “sexism”, “ableism”, “ageism”, “heterosexism”, “classism”, “lookism”, “cis-ism”, “phallicism”, “fatism” and a profoundly long list of silly words (ending in “ism”) that are deemed ”thoughtcrimes” or “crimethink.” The concepts don’t stop at the “isms,” but continue with concepts that promote “heteronormativity.” “cis-centrism”….ect ect ect.

No, Magdelyn likes to use longer phrases rather than individual words. See for example “cultivating indignities.” It’s called cultivatingindignitism and it’s a cheap way to feel superior to people calling other people out on their behavior.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Hey, we should play troll bingo. So far we have the idea that feminists want to imprison men for rape for asking their partners for sex twice, “off your meds”, and “zealots”. Does anyone have a bingo card handy?