Categories
a voice for men antifeminism dozens of upvotes drama kings entitled babies frontman fallacy men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny MRA playing the victim reddit sympathy for murderers terrorism

How bad ideas get started: The “Apex Fallacy,” the “Frontman Fallacy,” and the murderer Marc Lepine

Would blabla
Would MRAs still be into the Apex Fallacy if boards of directors looked like this?

So some Men’s Rightsers are up in arms because the powers that be at Wikipedia just deleted a page devoted to a phony “logical fallacy” invented by a friend of Paul Elam. According to the now-deleted Wikipedia page, “the apex fallacy refers to judging groups primarily by the success or failure at those at the top rungs (the apex, such as the 1%) of society, rather than collective success of a group.”

In other words, it’s a convenient way for MRAs to hand-wave away any evidence that men, collectively, have more power than women. Mention that men hold the overwhelming majority of powerful positions in the worlds of politics and business, and, I don’t know, podiatry, and MRAs will shout “apex fallacy” and do a little victory dance. Rich and powerful dudes don’t count, because of poor and powerless dudes!

On the Wikipedia discussion page devoted to the question of deleting the apex fallacy entry, one Wikipedia editor – who voted “strong delete” – noted that

This is men’s rights activist astroturfing. The guy above [in the discussion] isn’t posting examples of its usage because they’re all on websites showcasing brutal misogyny and hateful ignorance, like A Voice for Men.

He’s got a point. When I did a Google search for the term, my top ten results (which may be different than your top ten results, because that’s how Google works) included posts on The Spearhead; The Men’s Rights subreddit; Genderratic (TyphonBlue’s blog); Emma the Emo’s Emo Musings; and a tweet from the little-followed Twitter account of someone calling himself Astrokid MHRA. In other words, five of the ten results were MRA sites, several of them with explicit links to A Voice for Men. (That “MHRA” is a dead giveaway.)

The top result, meanwhile, linked to a post on the blog of the delightful Stonerwithaboner, who doesn’t consider himself an MRA, as far as I know. But he’s still kind of a shit, and he did recently confess to being (as I suspected) the person who was going around posting comments on manosphere sites as David H. F*cktrelle, Male Feminist Extraordinaire ™.

So, in other words , I think it’s fair to say that the term “apex fallacy” has not yet achieved academic or philosophical respectability just yet.

The deleted Wikipedia page attributes the term “apex fallacy” to Helen Smith, a psychologist who is a longtime friend to A Voice for Men, and dates it to an interview Smith gave to the odious Bernard Chapin in 2008.

But the idea seems to be a simple reworking of a bad idea that’s been floating around in Men’s Rights circles for a lot longer than that.

Back in the 1990s, New Zealand Men’s Rights Activist Peter Zohrab came up with what he called the “Frontman Fallacy,” a notion he spread via the alt.mens-rights newsgroup on Usenet and elsewhere; the term has been widely adopted in Men’s Rights circles since then. As Zohrab defined the term,

the Frontman Fallacy is the mistaken belief that people (men, specifically) who are in positions of authority in democratic systems use their power mainly to benefit the categories of people (the category of “men”, in particular) that they belong to themselves.  

So, in other words, if you mention that men hold the overwhelming majority of powerful positions in the worlds of politics, business, and podiatry, MRAs will shout out “frontman fallacy” and do a little victory dance. Rich and powerful dudes don’t count, because of poor and powerless dudes!

Like the extremely similar “apex fallacy,” this idea is rather too silly and facile to count as a real fallacy, but it has proven quite popular with MRAs. Looking through the google search results for “frontman fallacy,” I see links to a wide assortment of MRA sites using the term, including AVFM, Genderratic, Stand Your Ground, Backlash.com, Toysoldier, Mensactivism.org, Pro-Male Anti-Feminist Tech, Fathersmanifesto.net, Mensaid.com, and some others. Like “apex fallacy” it hasn’t made much progress outside the Men’s Rights movement.

What’s interesting about this to me is that this is not the only bad idea that Peter Zohrab has ever had.

Indeed, Zohrab had some extremely bad ideas about Marc Lepine, the woman-hating antifeminist who murdered 14 women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989.

While Zohrab, to my knowledge, never explicitly justified Lepine’s killings, he described the massacre in one notorious internet posting as an “Extremist Protest Against Media Censorship.” Of Lepine himself, he wrote

I bet you don’t know he wasn’t a misogynist – because you have been conned by the media (as usual). In fact, he was a Men’s Rights activist (albeit an extremist one), and one of the things he was protesting about was media censorship.

Zohrab went on to say that it was clear from Lepine’s writings – or at least writing alleged to have been written by him —  that

he [was] against Feminists — not against women — he clearly states that he is protesting against various issues which are aspects of Feminist sexism.

Indeed, Zohrab seems not only sympathetic towards Lepine’s “cause” but seems to feel that he was being unfairly misrepresented:

The write-ups on Marc Lepine concentrate on character-assassination. They take things out of context, in the same way that fathers are slandered in the divorce/family court, in order to deprive them of custody or access. …

Marc Lepine was not only not sexist, as the media stated – he was actually fighting sexism!

Lots of MRAs love talking about the “frontman fallacy” or the new and improved “apex fallacy.” They don’t seem much interested in talking about Zohrab himself.

Like it or not, MRAs, this man is one of the leading figures in the emergence of the Men’s Rights movement online, and in the intellectual history of the movement, such as it is.

If I were a bit more paranoid, I might wonder if the emergence of the “apex fallacy” was some sort of an attempt as a rebranding, an attempt to push the “frontman fallacy” and its creator, the old, odd duck Peter Zohrab, with his embarrassingly sympathetic feelings toward a mass murderer of women, down that famous memory hole.

P.S. Don’t read the comments to that MensActivism.org posting, unless you want to get really depressed.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1.1K Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
AC
AC
7 years ago

Lol. Awesome smack down Karin. so funny to see these guys twisting around to avoid a simple yes or no question. It’s a great question btw. It really exposes the fundamental sexism in the feminist belief system.

cloudiah
7 years ago

Hi AC Karin.

CassandraSays
7 years ago

I agree with me that I ask very intelligent questions. I am also very good looking and a great dancer, just so you know.

pecunium
7 years ago

So, AC what was so brilliant about Karin’s comments? How did she smack us down? What penetrating arguments did she make? Why did you choose to read the entire thread, and select Karin as being the one worthy of note?

If you didn’t read the entire thread, what made you choose to read Karin; who has no comments on this page?

Why, in other words, should we believe you aren’t Karin?

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

“Argenti: You might be perverse.”

Might be? I’m insulted!

I mean, I like cooked spinach!

CassandraSays
7 years ago

Speaking of bad ideas, look what I found.

http://straightvoices.tumblr.com/

Straight people are better at fighting for rights for queer people because they’re less “emotionally biased”, y’all. Thanks for splaining that.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Wow…that is…wow.

Do you read any of it?!

Eww…

I may steal this though — http://i385.photobucket.com/albums/oo297/shescreamsinred/tumblr_ks3sanvMKe1qa23yso1_250.gif

cloudiah
7 years ago

@Cassandra, Well you know it’s like how people of color get so emotional about racism, so it’s just better if we leave them out of the discussion.

Wow. Just wow.

kittehserf
7 years ago

I like that gif – just wish it had asexual in there, too. Oh well, it’s still very good for what it does include.

cloudiah
7 years ago

We can make a better gif. And by “we” I mean kittehserf can make a better gif. I have no fucking idea how to make one. XD

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

Yay, invisible sexual orientation again!

Also, seriously? Dudes, I don’t ever claim that my cis* chick’s voice is less “emotionally biased” than trans* people’s voices. WTF.

What the hell do they want? A freaking cookie for being a straight ally?

*fumes*

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

I can do it, I think. I’m debating adding kink and/or poly while I’m at it, anything else?

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

Why not the “we’re friendly to everyone, regardless of kink, number of partners, gender identity, sexual orientation, or anything else you can come up with” label?

Ally S
7 years ago

Lol. Awesome smack down Karin. so funny to see these guys twisting around to avoid a simple yes or no question. It’s a great question btw. It really exposes the fundamental sexism in the feminist belief system.

“smack down”

I think the term you’re looking for is “elaborate attempt to evade people’s arguments.”

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Throw in race, religion, and disability and make it footer text?

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

Argenti – Sure. Religion (or lack thereof), race, ability, socioeconomic status, etc.

cloudiah
7 years ago

Argenti, it might be a “less is more” situation, where maybe we lose the text/gif and just demonstrate that we’re not asshats.

I dunno, what do other people think? I know this is the opposite of what I just said, but I wanted kittehs to make a funny gif because she’s good at making funny images. XD

cloudiah
7 years ago

Or just put something in the “About” section, for reals, because “HI WE’RE NOT RACIST, HOMOPHOBIC, TRANSPHOBIC ASSHATS HERE” is always worth communicating.

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

cloudiah – So just people safe?

cloudiah
7 years ago

OMG, safety for humans on the internet! Alice, you’ve come up with something revolutionary there. We’d better not spread that around. XD (That’s awesome, and it’s so sad that it has to be spelled out…)

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Cloudiah — it’s in the comment policy already 🙂

So yeah, I guess you’re right. My little green hosting banner and “theme (c) 2013 Argenti Aertheri” look like stray items now though. The footer is barren.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Oh and I started the naughty words mod list. It seems I suck at being offensive, cuz I have a list of five, two are the obvious n***** and f***** and the rest are my father’s choice words.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

>.<

Argenti, finish typing THEN hit post!

Point there was that I'd like people to edit it // make a note in the admin notes // something like that.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Alas, I have no idea how to make that sort of gif! I just got lucky with the site that makes rippling water effects and stuff for still photos.

“People safe UNTIL YOU ANGER THE FURRINATI”

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

Argenti – Haha.

Since you’re available, here’s a free grammar fix: http://i.imgur.com/XFPibCO.png

I might totally fail at grammar, but that’s just blatant.

cloudiah
7 years ago

I’m sorry I haven’t been more active at the borg site. Just tired. It looks really cool though, and I know you’ve been doing tons of work on it Argenti so kudos to you for being super-awesome.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Blarg, that’s a dumb error, that’ll take two min >.<

Thanks.

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

Argenti – No problems. Hey, at least it’s fixed now! 🙂

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Thanks cloudiah 🙂

Alice — switched to proper pronoun input box, forced lowercase, feel dumb.

sparky
sparky
7 years ago

That tumbler…fuck that tumbler….

That is just so wrong. Grrrrr.

Brooked
Brooked
7 years ago

That tumblr page is impossible. People can be rude, dismissive, verbally abusive, hateful and hurl stereotypes on Tumblr, and while that’s cruel and hurtful, IT’S NOT DISCRIMINATION. You face discrimination in employment, housing, education, public spaces, businesses, government services etc. How hard is that to understand?

Being told “cis people suck” is not discrimination and if people saying that on Tumblr is the worst “bigotry” you face I’m going to go ahead and not cry a river for you.

The narcissism of people on Tumblr is endless, most posters are only capable of feeling sorry for themselves, yet expect strangers to be outraged and empathetic over every single perceived wrong they suffer.

CISPHOBIA EXISTS. is it a major issue? No. So don’t turn it into one.
because you have been discriminated against by a cis person DOES NOT MEAN YOU GET TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST CIS PEOPLE AS A WHOLE. Do not stereotype us as assholes, do not complain about our ignorance, do not assume we are all the same. I will not do the same for you and whatever identity you belong to.
If a cis person does say something rude and hurtful, the correct response is not to say “cis people suck” but to say, “Wow, that person is a jerk!”
I don’t want cisphobia to become a common occurrence, but I’m seeing more and more of it on tumblr. Please stop.

Dvärghundspossen
7 years ago

The thing is, EVEN if it actually WERE the case that there usually was an inverse correlation between what kind of people hold the top positions in society and what kind of people are discriminated against (for instance, if it WERE the case that although cis white men hold the top positions in society, the average cis white dude faced discrimination from black trans women), assuming the contrary wouldn’t mean you had your logic wrong. Assuming the contrary would mean you had a false empirical belief, but that’s not the same thing as making a logical mistake.

neuroticbeagle
7 years ago
Viscaria
Viscaria
7 years ago

How quirky: a tumblr called “Straight Voices on Gay Rights” that doesn’t seem to actually have any content in support of gay (or LGBT+) rights. I suppose “Straight Voices on Straight Voices” sounded a bit redundant.

Shadow
Shadow
7 years ago

@Viscaria

How quirky: a tumblr called “Straight Voices on Gay Rights” that doesn’t seem to actually have any content in support of gay (or LGBT+) rights.

To paraphrase Homer:
“Quirky?!!! Quirky is a grandma giving someone the finger!!! This tumblr is just undiluted arrogance!!”

emilygoddess
7 years ago

It’s possible that AC is a friend here to support Karin and not Karin herself.

Throw in race, religion, and disability and make it footer text?

“This is an anti-oppressive space and all identities and intersections will be respected”

I could generate a pretty big list of slurs for the filter, if you need. :-/ Reading the comments on YouTube might prove not to have been a waste of time, after all!

How quirky: a tumblr called “Straight Voices on Gay Rights” that doesn’t seem to actually have any content in support of gay (or LGBT+) rights.

Yeah, I’ve seen that Tumblr before. It’s less about queer rights and more about some cishets’ butthurt at being told it’s not about them (and possibly the “die cis scum” meme).

Some brain-bleach Tumblrs:
Pusheen
WTF, Evolution?
Women and Cats
Everything Was Pink

Brooked
Brooked
7 years ago

@auggziliary
How can you possibly think AC is Karin?

Here is Karin glowing with pride over her devastating “question”, which has in no way been addressed bagillion times by at least a half dozen posters. This means she is victorious in proving that the made up, not a fallacy “Apex Fallacy” exists. Fact.

PS: I note in conclusion that only one person has had the guts to answer the question directly and clearly if they believed men, because they’re men are unable/unwilling to represent women sufficiently. And that person is cornered into justifying their sexism, trying to rely on goalpost shifting. No hint of a justification as to why men (not cis, not trans, not whatever, just men) are inherently less able to represent women (not disabled, not pregnant, not whatever, just women).

No other attempt was made to meet the challenge of that question. It’s obvious why: saying yes, gets you into the same corner of having to justify sexism and saying no means admitting that it doesn’t matter how many men/women there are in politics. In both cases it would reveal a contradictory worldview. You realized this and that’s why you’re afraid to answer. I doubt there will be any answers after I’m gone either.

Here is AC, a totally different person, echoing Karin’s celebratory pride over “the question”, because, as I said earlier, it’s so very devastating. This is real.

Lol. Awesome smack down Karin. so funny to see these guys twisting around to avoid a simple yes or no question. It’s a great question btw. It really exposes the fundamental sexism in the feminist belief system.

As side note, Karin directed her most outrageous bullshit response at you. She said a lot of goofy things in her, uh, ‘discussions’ with Pecunium, but this has to be the saddest attempt at backpedaling out of a brutal Godwin analogy I’ve ever personally witnessed.

Some basics: Any two things in the universe can be compared – either for establishing similar traits or differences. Doing such a comparison is asking a question. Comparing Nazies with Feminists might be just to establish that both are trivially humans. That isn’t saying they have pertinant similarities. Would you take issue at such a comparision other than with its triviality?

Logic committed seppuku after reading this paragraph.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Emilygoddess — my problem is most of what I come up with is either allowable in other contexts, or likely to trigger the problem that it counts if it’s part of another word — the example WP uses is that press would match wordpress, but it’s also why folks here have to snicker not sn*gger.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

*grumble* finish typing THEN hit post.

Email them to FeministBorg@gmail.com, or go test my contact an admin form, please.

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

Argenti – sent a contact an admin form (yay, testing!); it needs to be optimized for mobile devices, BTW.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Will optimize it, worked on here but here is 1024 wide >.<

And thanks for the list.

Hookerwithaheartofmuscle
Hookerwithaheartofmuscle
7 years ago

Sighhhh just after reading through the comments, then doing a quick google search and reading wiki/articles/etc I find it so frustrating that the MRAs still trot out that “Laurie Dann murdered and attacked only menz but nobody speaks about her” line. Despite Farrell himself posting a half arsed retraction, they don’t appear to care for facts. Gah.

Oliver Omar
Oliver Omar
7 years ago

Far too many liberal and left-wing advocates of identity politics are wrong for thinking that fully integrating social and economic institutions is a necessary step towards a more just and equal society. The answer might be the opposite. As members of previously oppressed minority groups gain access to institutional and economic power, they will gain stronger identites aligned with their newfound power and class rather than their previous (or previous generation’s) condition. Many feminists confronted this so-called “Apex Fallacy” after Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In) began arguing that feminist goals will be best achieved by encouraging women to join with and support the corporate ethos of hyper-compeititon. No longer should feminists critique inequalities of power and influence *in general*, Ms. Sandberg argues. That kind of thinking undermines the ambition to become “leaders.” Women should seek to gain from instituional inequalities equally with their male leadership counterparts to achieve equal status with the most powerful men. So even if 99% of women’s voices aren’t heard, at least we’ll get to hear from the Sheryl Sandberg’s of the world. Voila! hooray for feminism? Really? Ask any average white male if Warren Buffett makes them feel empowered. Ask any avergae African American if Spike Lee’s latest movie makes them feel like they have more opportunity. Women should feel EXACTLY the same regarding people like Sandberg: Meh. A real feminist (and leftist) should say, “F*** your individual self-interested success, I want a better world for everyone.” Apex Fallacy? It resonates with this lefty.

titianblue
titianblue
7 years ago

Paragraph breaks. Use them. They are your friends. Then, at least, we might bother to read your bullshit.

Also

A real feminist (and leftist) should say…

When were you elected arbiter of what a “real feminist” should or should not do? Especially since you understand neither oppression nor the apex fallacy.

sparky
sparky
7 years ago

Far too many liberal and left-wing advocates of identity politics are wrong for thinking that fully integrating social and economic institutions is a necessary step towards a more just and equal society. The answer might be the opposite.

The opposite of “fully integrating social and economic institutions” would be not “fully integrating social and economic institutions.” In other words, women, people of color, LGBQ people, and trans people not having full access to economic and social institutes and their voices not being heard. So, basically, exactly what we have now.

Yeah, no, I don’t think the opposite of an inclusive and prejudice-free society is the way to make a more just and equal society.

Ask any average white male if Warren Buffett makes them feel empowered.

Yeah, see, oppression and power? These aren’t feelings. Just because your average white man doesn’t “feel empowered” next to Warren Buffet doesn’t mean he isn’t privileged. And yeah, when the majority of those who hold wealth and power in the US are white men, then that does mean that white men are the ones in power. And, modes of oppression can intersect. A poor white man will have less power than a rich white man. But he will have more than a poor white woman or a black man.

Women should feel EXACTLY the same regarding people like Sandberg: Meh. A real feminist (and leftist) should say, “F*** your individual self-interested success, I want a better world for everyone.”

We, thanks for telling us women & feminists how we should feel! Without you coming along and telling us what are opinion should be, I don’t know what we’d do! Thanks, random Internet stranger!

Octo
Octo
7 years ago

I think that necro comment shows a much more prevalent problem with current leftist ideology then the issue it decries:

Namely, that Perfect is the Enemy of Good.

Sometimes you just have to decide what you want and prioritize. Yes, it would be very good if we could replace our current economical system with a fairer one. But while all social issues are of course interconnected, it still is an issue apart from gender equality, and most importantly a *struggle* apart from gender equality. While it is all good and well to fight for ideals, surely what should matter is the well being of the people on the ground. And caring for more gender equality *within the existing system* surely does help the well being of people, even if it doesn’t bring down the system.

Oliver Omar
Oliver Omar
7 years ago

Since Octo is the only person posting in a reasonably civil manner, I will respond.

The Good may not only be the enemy of the Better (or More Perfect), some Goods, divorced from a more universal and inclusive agenda, may be counter-productive. Identity politics has advanced a great deal of our intellectual understanding of the mechanisms and process of oppression, but it has also been corrosive to progressive politics as a whole for two reasons. It has divided and subdivided people against one another and it has been completely co-opted by the core system of exploitation and oppression: capitalism.

sparky
sparky
7 years ago

FFS, another brocialist.

Ollie, you can take your pseudo-intellectual bloviating and blow it out your ear.

Cause blathering on about how harmful “identity politics” is to the greater liberal agenda or whatever the hell it is your going on about doesn’t do fuck-all about the actual conditions or people’s lives. Quite frankly, telling people who are facing injustice in their lives to just shut up about it for the greater good is downright asinine. And yes, economic oppression is one form of oppression. There are others, like race and ethnicity and sex and gender and sexual orientation, and all of these different systems intersect.

leftwingfox
7 years ago

Damn right, sparky.

trans_commie
7 years ago

@Oliver Omar

I don’t think you understand the apex fallacy as conceived by anti-SJ folks. The apex fallacy is an idea intended to counter the assumption that having more representation among the most powerful indicates privilege. For example, many proponents of the concept of the apex fallacy contend that, just because there are more upper-class men than there are upper-class women, doesn’t mean that men are institutionally privileged because of their gender.

Unfortunately, their critique is fallacious in itself because it rests on a straw man. No feminist or other social justice advocate is actually saying that the most socioeconomically privileged men are representative of all other men. They’re just saying that the greater representation of those socioeconomically privileged white men compared to their female counterparts suggests that men as a whole are privilege because of their gender. Whether most men do not feel that Warren Buffet empowers them has no bearing on how privileged men are for being men.

I’m a lefty as well (specifically an anarcho-communist), and I am wholly critical of Sandberg’s neoliberal feminism. I care much more about abolishing the material conditions that lead to women’s socioeconomic subordination than reforming capitalism so that it’s nicer to women because I think capitalism itself needs to go. But things like the lack of female CEOs are still relevant to analyzing patriarchy even if very few people (regardless of gender) are CEOs.

The apex fallacy is a concept that leftists should ignore. At best, it rests on a flawed analysis of power, and at worst it completely infects other analyses of power to the point of making even able-bodied, neurotypical, straight white men look like victims of oppression.

1 16 17 18 19 20 22