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actual activism anti-MRA information antifeminism MGTOW misogyny MRA terrorism threats

The Southern Poverty Law Center takes on the violent misogyny so pervasive in the Men’s Rights Movement

[TW for the comments to this post; discussions of rape and abuse.]

The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization devoted to tracking and exposing hate groups, has just published a detailed report on the misogyny and violent rhetoric so pervasive in the Men’s Rights Movement — as well as the actual violence inspired by this sort of hatred of women. It’s a piece you all should read, even though few of the details will be new to long-time readers of this blog.

Arthur Goldwag, an expert on conspiracy-mongers and the far right, argues (I think correctly) that the Men’s Rights movement is largely a backlash against the many successes of feminism over the last several decades:

It’s not much of a surprise that significant numbers of men in Western societies feel threatened by dramatic changes in their roles and that of the family in recent decades. Similar backlashes, after all, came in response to the civil rights movement, the gay rights movement, and other major societal revolutions. What is something of a shock is the verbal and physical violence of that reaction.

[Thomas] Ball’s suicide brought attention to an underworld of misogynists, woman-haters whose fury goes well beyond criticism of the family court system, domestic violence laws, and false rape accusations.

The Men’s Rights Movement, as it exists today, is not a civil rights movement; it is a regressive, hateful reaction against a civil rights movement — that is, feminism.

Those who truly care about the rights of men, and who are not motivated by a hatred of women or feminism, need to repudiate the hate and the violent rhetoric of the Men’s Rights Movement as it exists today. Only then can there be a Men’s Rights Movement worthy of the name.

EDITED TO ADD: The SPLC has also put up a guide to some of the more hateful sites in the manosphere. Longtime readers will be familiar with most of them.

EDITED TO ADD AGAIN: And a piece debunking some Men’s Rights Myths.

EDITED TO ADD AGAIN, AGAIN: The discussion of the SPLC report on the Men’s Rights Subreddit is surprisingly reasonable, so far.  (I mean, compared to what I expected. Meanwhile, over in this thread, the Men’s Rightsers are behaving as they usually do.)

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Pecunium
9 years ago

Tamen: While I appreciate the sense of concern you are expressing, it would help if you were being honest about what Bostonian did.

Which wasn’t saying TS was lying about being abused, but of padding it with details to make it more useful when beating feminists with it.

Tamen
Tamen
9 years ago

Hellkell: I wouldn’t have commented on this thread if I hadn’t read Bostonian comment where s/he wrote “TS is one of the few people I am sure are lying about aspects of his abuse.”. There is nothing faux about my indignance over Bostonian’s comment and that is why I decided to make my first comment.
You can of course choose to dismiss my comments based on my “timing” rather than considering whether Bostonian’s comment was over the line or not if that is more convenient for you.

Bostonian: “TS is one of the few people I am sure are lying about aspects of his abuse.”
So the above statement is not disputing his abuse story in any way? Well, you fooled me and Sharculese for that matter.

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

Look, Tamen, if I thought Bostonian was over the line, I’d say so (others would too, this is not Shrinking Violet Theater up in here). Bostonian is NOT accusing TS of lying about abuse, but of fudging the aspects to fit his axe to grind re: feminism.

Perhaps you’d understand that if you could be arsed to read. It’s much easier to feign outrage.

ithiliana
9 years ago

“Aspects” of the abuse include the ongoing statement that his aunt was a feminist, therefore this proved feminist ideology is based on abusing male children to teach them not to be sexist.

My memory of the thread(s) was that commenters expressed concern and regret regarding TS’s abuse, and did not question it, but did not accept that his abuse, by an aunt he claimed said abused him because FEMINISM, meant that feminism was predicated on abusing male children because of patriarchy.

I’m sure that people can find the thread(s) if you’re too lazy to google it–me, I’m going to bed.

Tamen
Tamen
9 years ago

Pecunium: “TS is one of the few people I am sure are lying about aspects of his abuse. It is way to convenient a narrative for an antifeminist. He could have been abused, but I doubt his abuser actually specifically identified as a feminist.”

That is what Bostonian wrote. People can read for themselves and even though you obviously interpret that comment differently than me I’d appreciate if you didn’t call me dishonest. I guess you emphasize the word aspects used by Bostonian to support you interpretation. Well, I put emphasize on the words “lying” together with “could have beeen abused”.

Given your interpretation of Bostonian’s comment shall I take that to mean that it’s still not ok to accuse rape victims of lying, but it is ok to accuse them of embelishing their story? Because that’s what your comment reads like to me and I’m really nok ok with that either.

Bostonian
9 years ago

I know you are trying to be combative, Tamen, and you think you have scored some sort of point, but you have yet to prove that you can read, so once again, 1-800-BITEME is the complaint line.

Feel free to use it.

jumbofish
9 years ago

Funny that Tamen didn’t show up until there was a mention of TS.

Tamen has commented before, zie is not a sockpuppet (or an mra if I recall correctly).

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

Jumbo, I know Tamen’s commented here before, and I wasn’t accusing them of socking, just noting the timing.

Tamen
Tamen
9 years ago

Ithiliana: I am not really talking about what people wrote on another thread since I haven’t read all that. I wrote about this comment on this thread by Bostonian at March 10, 9:26 pm. I get that there is some sort of history leading up to Bostonian’s comment, but I’d still not publicly accuse someone for lying about their rape (or aspect of it) unless I had proof.

Sharculese
9 years ago

I think bostonian crossed the line when he said that. i believe toysoldier when he says he was abused. yeah, bostonian, i think what you said was fucked up.

but bostonian has a history of line-crossing, and in the past he’s always admitted he crossed the line.

what pisses me off, tamen, is that you seized on the fact that i said ‘a little bit’ and even after i explained that that’s just how i talk, and not a phrase with any implicit meaning, you proceeded to pretend that i was intimating some sort of holocaust against dudes (which would be stupid, because SHOCKER i am a dude)

jumbofish
9 years ago

I will say that zie is the same one that tried to lie about rape stats in this thread:

http://manboobz.com/2012/01/25/quiz-how-did-reddits-atheist-community-responded-to-a-womans-account-of-rape/comment-page-3/#comments

so take that as you will…

Shadow
Shadow
9 years ago

Yeah, I don’t see any reason to doubt his story. I just think he’s an idiot for the stance he takes as a result of it. And he’s an even bigger idiot for being shocked that people would tell him he’s an idiot when he’s showcasing his idiocy.

Bostonian
9 years ago

Ok Sharculese, I can see your point, and I did tap dance close to the line this time. TS is a disingenuous jerkwad in many ways, and it is hard to believe that all his just so stories are true.

I did get testy when I saw someone clutch their pearls over him because I hate that he uses his website mainly to mock rape victims and beat them over the head with lies.

jumbofish
9 years ago

Oh you were right hellkell, tamen does know TS so thats probably why zie is here now. (Zie made some comments on TS’s blog before and appears to be a fellow mra)

Bostonian
9 years ago

Oh right, Tamen is the jerk with the made up rape stats! Thanks jumbofish. Tamen can still call the complaint line.

Pecunium
9 years ago

Tamen: You’d appreciate it if I didn’t call you dishonest? I’d appreciate it if you weren’t.

If you’d like I could say you were lying about what was said. Somehow I don’t think that’s going to appease you.

The fact of the matter is Toysoldier has shown no cumpunction about lying about things which happened in venues we can check. Bostonian said that aspects of his story are awfully convenient. Having been a participant in that thread, I don’t have a problem with that statement, because TS has been overtly dishonest in other ways. I wouldn’t do it. I might not even agree with it, but that’s not the point.

The point isn’t even that you do. You not agreeing with it is fine, but saying Bostonian said TS wasn’t abused, is a lie.

Sharculese
9 years ago

i fucking love how despite knowing your name, he refers to you as ‘manboobz’ in a sadsack attempt to dehumanize you

Pecunium
9 years ago

I love the way he follows the threads here, so he can mine them. I have a hard time keeping up sometimes, and I;m taking part.

Sharculese
9 years ago

The fact of the matter is Toysoldier has shown no cumpunction about lying about things which happened in venues we can check. Bostonian said that aspects of his story are awfully convenient. Having been a participant in that thread, I don’t have a problem with that statement, because TS has been overtly dishonest in other ways. I wouldn’t do it. I might not even agree with it, but that’s not the point.

man, pecunium, this is one of the few times i’m gonna disagree with you, but i have zero tolerance for this kind of speculation. if someone says they were raped and/or abused, i will believe them absent substantive evidence to the contrary.

Sharculese
9 years ago

also, i know you have a decent grasp of latin, so i am going to look askance at you for ‘cumpunction’

Bostonian
9 years ago

Please also note that TS lies about Holly in ways that can be verified, as well. He does that a lot.

I have a feeling he thinks everyone is as dense as he is.

jumbofish
9 years ago

He didn’t let your comments in david, he is such a coward. XD

I left one so we will have to see if he lets it go through. (probably not)

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

Also, in this very thread, not only was Holly mocked, but Roberta was totally evil to LBT. Tamen had quite the opportunity to defend rape/abuse victims, but said squat until their buddy TS got a mention.

Pecunium
9 years ago

Sharculese: I am not saying he wasn’t abused. I am not saying he wasn’t raped. I happen to accept that he was. It’s just not what Bostonian said. Bostonian’s caveats are problematic; not so much because they aren’t provable, as because they are questioning the right of a survivor to tell the story.

Which isn’t what Tamen is saying. Tamen is saying Bostonian is questioning the central question of TS saying he was raped.

So yes, I wasn’t completely clear with what I do/don’t have problems with. I don’t think speculation about why someone recalls events of their life in the way they do is all that good an idea, at least not without more direct insight than we have. I can see why someone who has been through the thousands of comments TS has made/caused to be made, chosen to misrepresent on his own blog, might decide they have that sort of insight.

Which is what i was trying to say. I see why Bostonian thinks that, and I understand it, and I can accept it as defensible, if problematic, position to take.

Bostonian
9 years ago

Please note, as well, that LBT actually belongs to the group of people that TS supposedly advocates for. Neither TS nor Tamen, see fit to come to the defense of LBT, a male rape survivor.

jumbofish
9 years ago

@david
I forgot he was banned so I can see why he might be a bit more bitter about letting your comments in. Its still pretty cowardly of him to do in my mind but oh well.

it bothers me too me too that people believe him so easily, especially since you can so easily just look at the thread itself and see that he totally lied.

Bostonian
9 years ago

The thing is, TS preaches to a choir primed to believe only victims of rape by self described feminists, and no one else, as far as I can tell.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

FWIW, I’m not OK with people speculating that Toy Soldier is lying about having been abused. I do think that he’s deliberately misinterpreting/twisting her supposed feminism in an attempt to make some sort of grand point about feminism (that in general it’s in favor of the sexual abuse of male children), and that he’s totally out of line for doing that. I don’t doubt for a second that the abuse happened. I just find the way in which he’s attempting to use what happened troubling, and I think he is incorrect in claiming that if his aunt was a feminist, that means that feminism made her abusive, and therefore feminism makes women abuse little boys. It’s the narrative that he’s constructed around the abuse the rings false, not the actual abuse. Child abuse is horrifyingly common, and I see no reason to doubt that someone who says they were abused was. It’s just that their having been abused doesn’t then make them officially Right About Everything that they choose in terms of political causes as adults.

Bostonian
9 years ago

“It’s the narrative that he’s constructed around the abuse the rings false, not the actual abuse.”

This is what I was trying to convey, but I am not as eloquent as CassandraSays.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Watch Toy Soldier reinterpret what I just wrote as an outright denial that he was abused at all in 3…2…

And that’s why I don’t think it’s worth responding to him directly, or engaging with him at all.

Bostonian
9 years ago

Well considering that he was already telling us that we (commenters here in general) had denied his abuse before anyone questioned him on anything, that would not be surprising.

Tamen
Tamen
9 years ago

Well, I can’t say that I’m not disappointed that no-one else than Sharculese thought that Bostonian was over the line (and now I feel bad about criticising Sharculese for writing “a little bit over the line).

Bostonian’s first and second reply to me contained calls for me to complain at 1-800-BITEME. He then ironically calls me combative and believes I think I have scored some points. Well, Bostonian, I know I haven’t since everyone with one exception think your comment was a-ok. You think it was just a-ok. So the points are all yours.

hellkell: I haven’t read the whole thread and as I understand at least some of Roberta’s comments were deleted because they were over the line. I do suspect based on what I’ve heard about those comments that if I had read them I would be in agreement with them being over the line and I’d agree with them being deleted.

David: If TS writes that Holly lies about her rape then, yes, I would very much criticize him for that.

Many are questioning why I don’t call out rape apologies elsewhere. I do. You can ask Ozymandias42 on my stance on her blog on a certain scene in the Almost Famous movie when someone claimed that that in no way could’ve been rape. I, however, can’t be everywhere. I understand that it is easier to dismiss me in that manner rather than examining Bostonian’s comment by itself.

Real life calls and I won’t be able to comment for some hours, but I am anyway beginning to see that my arguments won’t sway anyone here (I won’t lie and don’t say that some of the commets are reminiscent of circling the wagons). On the other han, anyone can read Bostonian’s comment and make up their own minds. I see he have clarified (or let CassandraSays clarify it for him) his comment so in fairness one should take that into consideration as well.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

“David: If TS writes that Holly lies about her rape then, yes, I would very much criticize him for that.”

Hop to it, then.

Bostonian
9 years ago

I’m not holding my breath for the criticism of TS by Tamen. Even though TS is actively mocking rape victims on his blog.

Tamen
Tamen
9 years ago

CassandraSays: Give me a verbatim quote where TS writes that Holly lied about her rape or aspects of it and I’ll tell him that I think that’s wrong.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

I’m supposed to go do your reading for you? No, I don’t think so.

TriggeredFan
TriggeredFan
9 years ago

Hey David,

I found your blog from the SLPC article. As a woman and a feminist, I appreciate the good work you are doing. But — I’m not sure how much of a safe space this blog is intended to be, but that post was triggering as fuck for me. My ex was physically abusive, and this post … well, yeah. Triggering as fuck.

Again, I appreciate the good work you’re doing, but could you put trigger warnings on posts like this, please? I really enjoyed the less graphic posts and was happily chuckling through the history when I got to this one.

Yours,
A Triggered Fan

Bostonian
9 years ago

So Tamen is still on board with TS’s mocking of rape victims? I thought so.

pillowinhell
9 years ago

Maybe Tamen left a post on Toysoldiers site? Now TS may elect not to post it…also, David did remove some of Roberta’s posts since they were way over the top. Would Tamen have read them before they were removed?

darksidecat
9 years ago

Ditto what Cassandra said. Though it also bears pointing out that questioning that the abuse happened was not going on in the thread where toysoldier misrepresented and misquoted others to say it was going on.

Tamen
Tamen
9 years ago

CassandraSays: When you said “Hop to it, then.” I assumed you knew he had said Holly lied about her rape or aspects of it and hence could easily point me to where he said so.

Nonetheless, unless one is arguing that the treatment of certain rape victims don’t require the same ethical consideration as others, it really has no bearing on whether one thinks Bostonian’s comment were ok or not. People are of course free to believe whatever they do about events they only have second-hand knowledge of, but I really do think it’s over the line to publicly state that one think a rape victims lied about aspects of their rape (in fact even worse so to do so in a space where the victim is banned from speaking).

Pointing (explicitly or vaguely) to any other such occurences of publicly questioning rape victims where I didn’t speak up really have no impact on whether this case is right or not. TS previous behaviour have no impact on whether it was right or not to question aspects of his rape. Giving less ethical consideration to some people for instance based on past behaviour is a cause a lot of really bad things, for instance rape apologies for rape against sex workers and incarcerated people. So I think justifying less ethical considerations towards people one don’t like is a slippery slope one should avoid.

Saying that one think that a theory of feminism being the (a/sole/primary) reason why their rapists did rape them is wrong is not the same as saying that the victim could have been raped but one believe the victim lied when he said his rapist identified as a feminist. Nothing in Bostonian’s comments so far has indicated that he does not stand by the comment I originally complained about.

To answer pillowinhell: I haven’t left a comment about any of this on TS site and I also came to this thread after I understand David has removed at least some of Roberta’s posts. I also haven’t searched for any remaining comments of Roberta on this thread since based on the description of them I’d rather not read them. I do gather from other comments that Roberta did question whether LBT was raped and that Roberta’s comments were dealt with accordingly – that is moderated/banned and/or deleted by David. Sounds like a good call by David to me.

pillowinhell
9 years ago

Tamen, Roberta mocked LBT, even after it was pointed out that LBT is a man who was the victim of a female rapist. Then Roberta proceeded to outline rape fantasies aimed at both LBT and Holly and anyone else who might be triggered. It was way beyond the pale.

I haven’t run into Toy Soldier myself, and I personally have no skin in the game. But it does strike me as odd that Toy Soldier has nothing to say about Robertas behaviour here. He’d rather disparage Holly’s attempt to create some understanding by sharing what had happened to her. The way its put well, its just as problematic as you see Bostonians comment. So I’m a little surprised that you haven’t popsted anything to TS.

Crumbelievable
Crumbelievable
9 years ago

Reading the SPLC article again…I think it could have been better written. None of the write-ups for the various sites really bring up anything misogynistic, even though we all know that the proof is ample. Not that it matters…it’s not like MRAs would have read absolutely damning proof of Elam’s rape apologia and said, “Oh wow…the MRM really does a problem with misogyny!”

Also, I thought the bit about MarkyMark being sick and depressed all the time was mean-spirited.

makomk
makomk
9 years ago

Someone on NSWATM just pointed out an interesting part of this SPLC report. It neatly demonstrates why I don’t think the supposed mainstream feminist definition of rape that includes rape by envelopment actually have anything to do with actual feminist activism and the definition of rape it uses. Take a good luck at the first purportedly false claim about women: “Men’s rights activists often insist that men are victimized by sex crimes and abuse just as much as women are, if not more”

The source they use to debunk the rape part of this claim is this CDC study – and funnily enough, MRAs use the exact same CDC study to argue that men and women are raped in equal numbers. How can this happen? Firstly, the SPLC used the lifetime figures whereas MRA groups use the last 12 months; there are complicated reasons why lifetime statistics aren’t that great for this purpose, the most obvious one being that they count a period where rape was so normalized that marital rape was still legal. More interestingly, the SPLC didn’t classify rape by envelopment as being rape, whereas MRAs did. This makes a huge difference since the vast majority of rape against men outside of prisons is of this form. So we’ve got a curious situation where people are being accused of conspiring to lie and attack women by the SPLC for using an approximation of this supposedly mainstream feminist way of defining rape rather than a more questionable and narrower definition. Have you been paying attention to who feminists are siding with on this issue?

“TS is one of the few people I am sure are lying about aspects of his abuse. It is way to convenient a narrative for an antifeminist. He could have been abused, but I doubt his abuser actually specifically identified as a feminist.”

There are only two ways that argument could makes sense. The first is if being the victim of abuse that was justified and enabled by feminist ideology couldn’t itself cause someone to be opposed to feminism. The second is if you don’t believe it is the reason TS is opposed to feminism and just aren’t stating this explicitly. Either way, TS lying about aspects of his abuse isn’t a conclusion you’re coming to based on some kind of reasoned argument – you’re starting out with the bad-faith assumption that he’s lying about that abuse being the reason he’s against feminism and that instead he has some other reason for being an antifeminist that his story of being abused is just cover for, and working from there.

(For those who like to classify their logical fallacies or just wondered what the phrase originally meant, I believe this is an example of begging the question.)

pillowinhell
9 years ago

Mamkomk, I do find the use of the CDC report troubling, I don’t know enough about stats to argue either way. What I will say is that “rape prevention” and rape identification education is more heavily pushed towards women and girls. In a society that says men cannot be hurt or raped by women, how many boys and men are going to be able to identify what happened to them, let alone report it?

On the other hand, the report could have stuck to what has been written in terms of threats towards women and or mysogeny, that alone is a pretty heavy case against many mens rights activists. If there are MRAs who don’t fall in with the mysogeny, they aren’t nbeing heard from when appalling comments are made. So either activists need to speak out or downvote more or owners of the blogs need to have a clear commenting policy and moderate more. There are mens issues I stand in sympathy with and I can understand anger that men have had to undergo some horrific experiences. I can’t support MRA as I currently see it presented, I will continue to work through feminist or neutral channels until things change.

If you know of more moderate spaces, I may engage with the men there.

katz
9 years ago

There are only two ways that argument could makes sense. The first is if being the victim of abuse that was justified and enabled by feminist ideology couldn’t itself cause someone to be opposed to feminism. The second is if you don’t believe it is the reason TS is opposed to feminism and just aren’t stating this explicitly.

Those two reasons are essentially the same, but your sweeping generalization has missed at least one obvious alternative: That we find it unlikely that the rapist was expounding on her philosophical beliefs to the child she was abusing.