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a voice for men antifeminism are these guys 12 years old? atheism minus bullying conspiracy theory Dean Esmay harassment hundreds of upvotes hypocrisy irony alert johntheother lying liars men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny MRA narcissism paul elam self-congratulation the eternal solipsism of the MRA mind victim blaming

A Voice for Men’s head boys reach new heights of narcissistic delusion

They're so happy!
They’re so happy!

Let’s say — speaking hypothetically here — that you’re the head of what is probably the most prominent Men’s Rights website. A major national publication has just done a piece on the MRM. While sympathetic towards many of the issues MRAs sometimes talk about, the piece highlights the misogyny within the movement — focusing particularly on some of the hateful stuff  that regularly appears on your website.

The piece also contains an extended profile of your site’s “Editor In Chief,” which portrays him as someone who, while having a certain charisma, is an angry, paranoid fanatic and a compulsive liar. The piece ends by suggesting that “radicals” like those on your website are doing your movement more harm than good, and notes that those who are doing the real work of helping men in need don’t want anything to do with the Men’s Rights movement.

Well, if you’re Paul Elam of A Voice for Men, you celebrate, because in the midst of all this, the author of the piece calls you “the closest thing the movement has to a rock star.” No, really.

Those interested in the psychology of narcissistic self-delusion may wish to set aside some time to watch the video below, in which the three dudes at the top of the A Voice for Men masthead  — Paul Elam, John Hembling, and Dean Esmay — discuss R. Tod Kelly’s recent piece about the Men’s Rights movement.

I took the time to watch the whole thing the other night — well, to listen to it while playing Candy Crush, to be completely honest — and it is filled with astonishing moments. For those who don’t have the time or psychic energy to listen to the whole thing, I will provide some details below.

The tone of the video is, overall, one of jocularity; three very self-satisfied guys basking in self-praise and talking shit about women they hate.

The two most revealing moments come relatively early on in the more than hour-long video; if you watch nothing else in this video, make sure to watch these.

At 9:25 Dean brings up Kelly’s characterization of Elam as a “rock star.” (Technically, Kelly called him “the closest thing to a rock star” in the MRM, but let’s not split hairs.) Elam responds with some of the least convincing false modesty I think I’ve ever seen; it’s clear he’s pleased as punch. Just watch it.

Several minutes later, starting at about 12:22, the gang moves on to Kelly’s characterization of Hembling as a “superstar.” (Technically, Kelly said that Hembling was “well on his way to being [the MRM’s] first superstar,” but what’s a little hyperbole amongst friends?) Like Elam, Hembling affects a certain false modesty, pretending to be oh-shucks embarrassed by the attention, but he too is bursting with pride.

At one point he makes a reference to a famous line from Monty Python’s Life of Brian — “He’s not the messiah! He’s a very naughty boy!” — suggesting that he may have convinced himself that Kelly has proclaimed him not just a superstar but Jesus Christ Superstar.

Hembling — who is the A Voice for Menner that Kelly portrayed as a fanatic who seems to have more than a little bit of trouble with the truth  — never really addresses Kelly’s accounts of some of his most dubious claims — his story of being confronted by a mob of boxcutter-weilding feminists, which seems to have been a largely peaceful encounter with a tiny handful of activists who did nothing more threatening than taking down some posters; and his story of intervening to stop a rape in progress, which appears to be a complete fabrication.

But, at about 23 minutes into the discussion, he does address — sort of — an infamous old video of his in which he declared that “I … don’t give a fuck about rape victims any more.” Hembling’s explanation is a little less than coherent, and seems to consist of three main assertions.

  1. He did it a long time ago, when he had very few subscribers, and when he didn’t even really think of himself as a Men’s Rights activist, no wait, he probably did think of himself that way.
  2. It was “hyperbolic parody” — a rather strange way to describe an angry video that contains not one element of parody at all.
  3. Evil feminists goaded him into it by calling him a rape apologist.

Despite all this, he doesn’t really renounce or apologize for the video.

Elam, for his part, seems to think that Hembling is being much too apologetic. At about 27:30  he jumps into the discussion, defending Hembling’s video.“We’re not the world’s unpaid bodyguards,” he declares. After mocking 20/20 correspondent Elizabeth Vargas for telling him that she would intervene if she saw a rape in progress, he announces:

I don’t find it particularly hyperbolic for a man to say I’m not going to give a damn about female rape victims any more. They have tons of money, of law enforcement, of special programs funded by government, of social consciousness; schools have Take Back the Night rallies, everything you can possibly think of …

I stand behind John for making that video. I don’t know if I would take it down. I don’t blame him for doing it.

At about 35 minutes into the video, the three move on to talking about some of the women that internet misogynists — some of them Men’s Rights activists, many of them not — have targeted for harassment in recent years, most notably Anita Sarkeesian, known for her videos critiquing sexist tropes in the video games, and feminist “skepchick” Rebecca Watson, who’s been harassed for several years for the crime of once complaining about a dude who propositioned her in an elevator at 4 AM. .

The Daily Beast article touched briefly on the harassment directed at Watson, and AVFM’s contribution to the hostile climate she faced and still faces online; as Kelly points out, Elam described her as a “lying whore” and Hembling made several distinctly misleading videos about her. And while Kelly didn’t mention Sarkeesian, she is apparently going to be a central focus of the upcoming 20/20 story about the Manosphere.

The three AVFMers spout such a bunch of malignant nonsense on the topic of these women and the harassment they have faced that I feel it necessary to quote them at length.

At about 37 minutes in, the three are discussing Sarkeesian when one of them — my notes aren’t clear — brings up a favorite anti-Sarkeesian talking point: that she went onto 4chan to publicize her videos. At this point an indignant Dean Esmay launches into a rant:

Anyone who knows anything about 4chan knows that the whole culture on 4chan is that people love insulting each other, and insulting everything in the popular culture, and you win on 4chan by being the most offensive person. So just by going on 4chan you’re looking for that. You are asking for it. … And I don’t mean that in the “she was asking for it” [sense] but she was!

Aside from the victim blaming, there is one other big problem with this argument: it doesn’t seem to be, you know, true. When I looked into this claim, the only “evidence” I could find was this thread on 4chan in which someone using the name of Anita Sarkeesian promotes her Kickstarter. But this “Anita Sarkeesian” explicitly says that they’re NOT actually Sarkeesian, and throughout the comments they refer to her in third person.

Back to the AVFM video, where Esmay is continuing his rant:

Esmay: And furthermore Anita Sarkeesian had a long history of closing comments on her videos so that no one who wanted to argue with her could rebut her, but amazingly when she started the kickstarter campaign she opened the gates and allowed all the commentary.

Elam: Just a coinicidence, I’m sure, Dean.

Esmay: Just a coinicidence. So anybody who ever had any anger at her suddenly had an outlet. She created a damsel in distress situation for herself.

That’s right. Closing her comments was an act of evil manipulation, leading to pent-up angry dude anger. And opening the comments up was an act of manipulation, by giving the angry dudes an outlet. Because clearly she wanted nothing more than to be harassed endlessly by angry dudes on the internet. Because women totally love that shit.

“But in any case,” Esmay asks,”is there a shred of evidence that that was mostly Men’s Rights Advocatists?”

Yes, he really says “advocatists.”

I don’t know about the “mostly, but there’s certainly plenty of hints that suggest MRAs were pretty heavily involved in the anti-Sarkeesian harassment. Like, for example, the fact that there have been 70 posts about Sarkeesian posted to the Men’s Rights subreddit, many of them receiving hundreds of upvotes and inspiring hundreds of comments of which most can be assumed to be hostile, at least based on the rather large sampling of them I’ve read over the months. And AVFM, while not quite this active on the anti-Sarkeesian front, did run as assortment of its own posts on the subject, with titles like “Anita Sarkeesian and the feminist war on facts” (a bit ironic, that) and “Anita Sarkeesian: still a moneygrubbing liar” (some irony there too, huh?).

Elam, for his part, claims there’s “no shred of evidence” that any of the “supposed threats” that Sarkeesian, Watson, or a particular red-haired Canadian activist AVFM has been fixated on came from MRAs. Well, given that a lot of these sorts of threats are, you know, anonymous, that is a little hard to prove, though when I looked at people making nasty and threatening remarks about the red-haired activist on YouTube I found that (at least in the cases of those I was able to find out any information about them) a significant minority of them seemed to be MRAs or at least regular readers of MRA and/or manosphere blogs  — and/or to be fans of the misogynistic asshole who calls himself the Amazing Atheist, a noxious YouTube personality that A Voice for Men has celebrated and linked to on more than a few occasions.

And then there‘s Elam‘s characterization of Watson as a “lying whore,” a characterization he is more than happy to repeat several times on the video.

At about 41 minutes in, Hembling then tells an assortment of untruths about the now infamous elevatorgate incident that led to years of harassment directed at Watson. Having just had some of his most famous untruths publicly exposed to a national audience, you would think Hembling might want to be a bit more careful about his factchecking. Nope.

Hembling: There was a convention in Ireland I believe, where late at night in the hotel convention center she got on an elevator after being in the bar quite late and someone from the convention approached her in the elevator and said “I think you’re very interesting and attractive and would you like to come and have coffee in my room, which is obviously code for let’s get naked and hump.

[At this point Elam lets out a cackle[

Hembling: Obviously he was drunk, possibly blind drunk.

Elam: [Laughs uproariously] It was Irish coffee.

Hembling: Watson then went online and did a video admonishing the male members of the atheist community, of which she was a part, “guys don’t do that,” and characterized this conversation in the elevator as if it was some sort of great, terrible, frightening threat, and crafted her victimhood out of that, and essentially used that story to launch a professional speaking career on the atheist circuit.

Cool story, except for the fact that Watson actually did none of those things beyond the bit about saying “guys, don’t do that.” Here’s a transcript of what she actually did say, which I found here in about 30 seconds by typing the words “rebecca watson transcript elevatorgete video” — typo and all — into a very helpful internet site you may have heard of called Google. Watson was mentioning how much she had enjoyed talking to everyone after her presentation at the conference

except for the one man who, um, didn’t really grasp, I think, what I was saying on the panel…? Because, um, at the bar later that night—actually, at four in the morning—um, we were at the hotel bar, 4am, I said, you know, “I’ve had enough, guys, I’m exhausted, going to bed,” uh, so I walked to the elevator, and a man got on the elevator with me, and said, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting, and I would like to talk more; would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?”

Um. Just a word to the wise here, guys: Uhhhh, don’t do that. Um, you know. [laughs] Uh, I don’t really know how else to explain how this makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but I’ll just sort of lay it out that I was a single woman, you know, in a foreign country, at 4am, in a hotel elevator with you, just you, and—don’t invite me back to your hotel room, right after I’ve finished talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner.

That’s it. Being propositioned by a guy alone in an elevator at 4 AM made her feel “incredibly uncomfortable.” No elevation of the proposition into a “great, terrible, frightening threat.” No elaborate narrative of victimhood. Just her saying: hey, this makes me uncomfortable. The reaction to these remarks are what caused the Elevatorgate shitstorm, which is evidently still ongoing, as evidenced by Mr. Hembling’s desire to retell the — false — narrative of the evil Watson.

Indeed, Hembling actually thinks that the incident never happened, because Watson never named the dude. And so Watson’s seemingly innocent remarks, at the end of an informal, unscripted video, were apparently part of her secret master plan to take over the atheist universe.

It’s just a story to further this narrative of victimhood that Watson used to launch this speaking career and make herself supposedly famous and important.

Projection ain’t just something they do in movie theaters.

Enjoy your time in the limelight, fellas! You’re really, truly not doing yourself or your ostensible movement any favors. Maybe someday you will realize this. But probably not.

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pecunium
7 years ago

Ally: Me? I don’t flay the skin off them and eat their livid flesh, consigning their seed to the trash-midden. No, I would leave them to their natural fate, living a rich life with the chance of becoming their very own tree.

I am anything but a Mismangoist.

Brooked
Brooked
7 years ago

@pecunium

Ally: Me? I don’t flay the skin off them and eat their livid flesh, consigning their seed to the trash-midden. No, I would leave them to their natural fate, living a rich life with the chance of becoming their very own tree.

I am anything but a Mismangoist.

Your more of a Mango Their Own Way then.

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

No no, I don’t flay them, I just steal their precious bodily fluids. They are, after all, liquid fucking gold.

oserchenma
7 years ago

“Rock star”. “Superstar”

Show me some music then. Show me some talent. Whoa. This ain’t talent. This is posers.

Talent? Whoa, hands off, too many germs. A person wants to write, but they have a fatal flaw: they are sick with prejudice.

Ain’t nobody gonna buy these CDs.

Sorry nobody wanted to publish y’all. Esp Fidelbogen, lurking as usual in the white middle class failed scifi writer mode, wife-supported background. Y’all wannabe writers, gonna get buried cuz y’all talentless haters. Maybe the women you attack are making some money? Can’t have that. Good luck trying to stop people with something real to offer.

mildlymagnificent
7 years ago

Meow, Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow…BONG, Happy Wok.

Well, it had to happen one day ….

Of course, that performance was in 1967, so no bong or wok at the end.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Your more of a Mango Their Own Way then.

Aaaaand Brooked wins the thread! Please to accept one gift-wrapped internets and a complementary order of bonbons and Scented. Fucking Candles.

No no, I don’t flay them, I just steal their precious bodily fluids. They are, after all, liquid fucking gold.

Now if we’re talking about whose precious bodily fluids are liquid fucking gold, it’s going to be koalas.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-23/an-gold-found-in-gum-tree-leaves/5039226

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

I now has a sads.

So I was typing up a parody post for my blog (because I’m on break and whatnot, shut up I’m not procrastinating on my essay Mother), and I found out that the “Bash a Violent Bitch Month” thing got republished.

http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/domestic-violence-industry/if-you-see-jezebel-in-the-road-run-the-bitch-down/

They decided that they were going to “cover their bases” by tagging the parts where Elam calls for women to be beaten with [sarcasm] tags, as if it makes the overall message any better. Also, because obviously calling for women to be beaten is legit satire and not at all something that people advocate every single day. *rolls eyes*

But sads. 🙁

titianblue
titianblue
7 years ago

Note to MRAs: It isn’t satire if you think that what you are proposing is really hilarious and something you love fantasising about really doing. Nor is it hmour or a joke. It is sharing a violent fantasy, for kicks.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Cute animals needed, stat!

http://youtu.be/8KgeUqeitrs

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

kittehs + neuroticbeagle – D’awww. So cute.

Radical Parrot
7 years ago

If anybody needed proof that the “head honchos” of the MRM are far less concerned with helping men and boys and far more concerned with hating on women and getting as much personal praise and recognition as possible, this video should eliminate any doubts. It should also serve as proof that these guys really have no clue how they look to the outside world.

Discordische Welle
7 years ago

That they are angry about the elevatorgate-video in the first place is strange, but it’s even stranger to be angry about it after four years.

Chie Satonaka
Chie Satonaka
7 years ago

Have you guys talked about the current Twitter meme #MensRightsMovies? They are pretty funny so far:

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23MensRightsMovies&src=hash

Howard Bannister
7 years ago

Your inability to see the facts that are identifiable, like men being denied custody simply for being men,

This fact is incorrect.

When men apply for custody, they get it in the majority of cases. It is the preponderance of NOT seeking custody that makes it appear men are slighted.

Shorter: fuck you and your fake MRA facts and talking points.

Also: lulz at your ‘this will be deleted, I’m such a brave warrior posting it anyway.’ Yeah, yeah, David censors every dissenting voice, you just slipped through the cracks, that’s all.

Radical Parrot
7 years ago

It’s amazing that MRAs almost never talk about men, and overwhelmingly focus on women. Obvious, I know. If I had the patience and the stomach for it I’d watch the entire vid with a stopwatch, timing how much of the video they spend talking about men or “men’s issues”. I bet it’s about 10% of the time.

Very well said. I can imagine how a conversation with a man seeking help and the MRA circlewankers would go.

Man seeking help: “Hey guys, my wife…”
MRA: “Really? Cool! Aren’t women just a bunch of harpies?”
MSH: “Huh? Umm, anyway, I heard you offer help for men who…”
MRA: “You should totally punch her. Really beat her up.”
MSH: “What? No!”
MRA: “What’s the matter? You chicken? *chicken noises a la Tommy Wiseau*”
MSH: “Stop it! Are you going to help me or not?”
MRA: “Okay, I’ll write an angry rant about it on my blog.”
MSH: “But…”
MRA: *Types furiously* “The feminist matriarchy has given women all the freedoms and taken away all the responsibilities! We need to put females back in their place!”
MSH: “What? Listen, I thought…”
MRA: *Keeps typing* “Females are all hypergamous whores who won’t have sex with deserving men and instead choose abusive assholes! Also, they totally spermjack and stuff!”
MSH: “I thought we were discussing men?”
MRA: *Still typing, ignores man* “Andrea Dworkin! Creep shaming! Sharon Osbourne! False rape accusations! Misandry!”
MSH: “F*** this, I’ll go ask feminists what to do.” *Leaves with a bang*
MRA: *Stares dumbfoundedly at the door for a moment, then has a lightbulb moment and resumes typing* “Man seeks help, gets none! Read how deep the rabbit hole of misandry goes!”

Kim
Kim
7 years ago

Did you say cute? I took more pics of my babby bird. Here is one of hir doing a hedgehog impression – http://www.flickr.com/photos/kimmau/10377361045/

Ally S
7 years ago

Your more of a Mango Their Own Way then.

Lol, this is just perfect.

sakurabelle
sakurabelle
7 years ago

Wow, Jesse James, you sure are brave for posting something despite “knowing” it will be deleted! Really, I’m truly in awe of your courage. [cough]

But you do know that it makes it very obvious that you have actually not spent much time reading Manboobz, right? If you had, you would know that it takes a lot more than simply being an MRA to be put on moderation. (After your first comment, that is. But everybody’s moderated when they make their first comment, so try not to feel too special.)

Robert
Robert
7 years ago

He’s acting as if he’d ridden into the thick of the battle and counted coup on David F. Woo-hoo! He’ll get all the plaudits back at the He-Man’s Woman Haters’ Clubhouse now.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
7 years ago

Your inability to see the facts that are identifiable, like men being denied custody simply for being men, and your inability to see that the reason these women run to you is because you are the ideological dog they all know they can kick.

Is anyone else still waiting for the end of this sentence? “Your thing” is not a complete sentence, dude, no matter how long the “thing” part is.

All I have left to say is Meow, Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow…BONG, Happy Wok.

Is this a “Chinese people eat cats” joke? ‘Cause that’s racist, you asshole.

Brooked
Brooked
7 years ago

@emilygoddess

All I have left to say is Meow, Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow…BONG, Happy Wok

Is this a “Chinese people eat cats” joke?

Wow, that was a word vomit, wrapped in stupidity, inside an unintelligible screed and yet I think Emilygoddess may have somehow successfully deciphered that unholy mess of words.

Emilygoddess, are you fluent in gibberish or an expert at cryptanalysis? I don’t know how you did it, but I’m duly impressed.

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

emilygoddess – I promise that we won’t eat your cats. Cats are too cute, plus why the hell would you do that? 😛

kittehserf
7 years ago

My guess is it’s another cretin who thinks jokes about killing animals are funny, or threatening them a good way to upset people (ie. women). What a surprise that’d be, coming from a racist, sexist fuckwit.

Brooked
Brooked
7 years ago

@Alice S

emilygoddess – I promise that we won’t eat your cats. Cats are too cute, plus why the hell would you do that?

I should have made it clear that ‘Jesse James’ wrote the “Meow, Meow… Happy Wok” stream of WTF stupidity. Emilygoddess merely figured out what he was trying to say which is impressive because JJ is not so good at communicating. Sorry for any confusion!

Fi
Fi
7 years ago

I know I’ll be harshly moderated for speaking the truth (ha!), but sometimes I nibble on my dogs’ ears. I’ve tried it with cats but they have far less tolerance for that sort of thing. So I can’t really promise the good people here that I won’t try to eat their fluffy overlords.

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

Brooked – hence, I was joking, promising you that we Asians have no desire to impinge on the greatness of Cat, Thy Over-ruler. 😛

kittehserf
7 years ago

Fi – first it was cannibalism, then cattibalism, now doggibalism! 😯

freemage
freemage
7 years ago

You know, I owe Rebecca Watson a huge debt of gratitude. See, just as I was coming to grips with the fact that I’d lost the last dregs of my prior faith, and was now a full-blown atheist, Elevatorgate happened.

And thus, at the precise time in my life when I would’ve been most susceptible to the classic “My clear-headed atheism makes me the smartest and most humanist guy in the room,” fallacy, I got a face-full of indisputable evidence atheism is absolutely zero protection from both gargantuan folly AND overall asshattishness.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Also, does it count when you get cat furs in your mouth or they just appear in your food? I’m sure my lungs and digestive system are furry inside.

kittehserf
7 years ago

freemage – ::applause:: ! Avoiding the Asshole Atheist fallacy is a win. (Fallacy? Syndrome? Whatever.)

freemage
freemage
7 years ago

The fallacy leads to the syndrome, I think.

vaiyt
7 years ago

“They don’t come here because you speak the truth, they come here because you tell them what they want to hear. Your a fake, a phony, and soon the movement will roll over you”

Change the names, and the fable is about you…

pennywiser
pennywiser
7 years ago

I’d be a raging woman hater, too, if I had four failed marriages and a partner I only pretend to love so she’ll pay the mortgage while I diddle around on the internet. But I’m sure in Paul Elam’s world, it’s not he himself cast as the common denominator, but rather those pesky walking vaginas who are responsible for his misery.

Wonder how many times he’s been “falsely accused.”