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a voice for men a woman is always to blame antifeminism are these guys 12 years old? artistry attention seeking creepy evil single moms evil women men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny MRA paul elam shaming tactics taking pleasure in women's pain that's not funny!

At A Voice for Men, dead baby jokes are a form of “men’s human rights activism.”

Just because it's you baby doesn't mean it's your trash. Don't be that girl.
Men’s Rights “humor” at its finest.

The self-described ‘Men’s Human Rights Activists” at A Voice for Men have shown time and time again that they have approximately zero interest in actually promoting human rights, but would rather devote their time (and the more than $100,000 the site collects in donations annually) to attacking feminists and women in general.

The latest bit of evidence? The “meme” above, designed not to actually raise awareness of child abandonment but as a sort of “gotcha” aimed at one of their favorite targets, the “Don’t Be That Guy” anti-rape campaign that has been credited with significantly bringing down the incidence of rape in at least one major Canadian city.

AVFM’s Paul Elam introduces the “meme” with this little bit of vitriol:

For those unfortunates who did not get the memo that the Don’t be That Guy meme campaign was offensive because it painted all men as potential rapists, then perhaps this meme will drive that point home. Remember, Don’t be That Hypocrite.

If we pretend for a moment that AVFM’s meme is intended to address a real social problem — child abandonment — do Elam’s claims of hypocrisy make any sense?

Rape is widespread; roughly 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. Men (outside of jail) also face the risk of rape, mostly from other men, though the numbers are much lower; the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign addressed that issue as well. (Incarcerated men  — and women — face a much higher risk of rape, at least in the United States, where prison rape is treated as a joke; LGBT prisoners are disproportionately targeted.) Most rape victims know their attackers, making the “date rape” focus of the awareness campaign doubly appropriate. RAINN reports that there are more than 200,000 victims of sexual assault in the US every year.

While the number of rapes is obviously higher than the number of rapists, there’s still a tremendous number of rapists in the general population — and a lot of people who witness rapey behavior, and who might be inspired by the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign to step up and step in to stop it.

Child abandonment, while horrific, is not widespread. While solid data on the actual number of babies abandoned is scanty, the numbers reported tend to be in the hundreds, not the hundreds of thousands, per year. One 2011 story in the New York Times, for example, noted that 63 babies were abandoned illegally in Illinois over the previous ten years. One article I found on the Columbia Journalism School website cited “an unpublished 1999 report by the Department of Health and Human Services [that] found that 108 infants were abandoned in 1998 out of 4 million births.”

In any case, anyone who was truly interested in reducing the numbers of babies illegally abandoned, quite possibly leading to their deaths, would have provided information about “safe haven” laws (which exist in all 50 states in the US) that allow parents to legally give up their babies while ensuring that they will be cared for.

Rape is a crime of entitlement; child abandonment is a crime of desperation. Providing young mothers who are feeling overwhelmed to the point of panic about an alternative to dumping their baby illegally seems a somewhat more sensible approach than shaming them. AVFM’s meme graphic of course provides no such information.

That’s no surprise. As Elam’s intro makes clear, he and his fellow “Human Rights Activists” don’t actually give a shit about abandoned babies. The comments about this new meme are, well, instructive in this regard. For most of the commenters, it seems, this dead baby joke of a graphic is a most hilarious form of human rights activism.

Some selections from the comments:

baby1baby2baby3baby4

And apparently only the thought of me “twisting” their words kept some of them from making even more blatant dead baby jokes.

baby5

Truly the most important Human Rights Movement of the 21st Century.

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marinerachel
marinerachel
7 years ago

I think one of the things I like about Girls is how flawed all the characters are and not just Hannah being a little bit fat. They all have really human challenges anyone should be able to relate to.

Brooked
Brooked
7 years ago

I have no idea why SitC is the Rosetta Stone used to interpret the lives of working women of a certain age for over a decade (Booze! Sex talk! Shoe shopping!) but I’d like for it to be stopped by something other than my death. Move on people, nothing to see here.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

I’m not sure if it’s a cultural difference or a generational difference, but I don’t find the characters in Girls relatable at all. Even SatC, as boring as I usually found it, felt more relevant.

SittieKitty
7 years ago

So… totally OT, but I made caramel sauce tonight and now I’m going to have to figure out how many more things I can make to use caramel sauce on!

grumpycatisagirl
7 years ago

Hugs, Ophelia. I’m sorry bad things are happening in your life. Do let us know if we can help.

katz
7 years ago

What have you done? Don’t you know that weeping angels have a power over pumpkins which has never been mentioned before but makes a convenient plot device?

OHNOOOOO

If I give you my pumpkin, could you carve Paul Elam’s face into it?

I wouldn’t spend three hours working on his ugly mug if my life depended on it.

Brooked
Brooked
7 years ago

Granted I lived in NYC while SitC was on the air and it was pretty inescapable in its heyday because the show is something of New York institution. So I tend to whine about more than I should.

@Cassandra I think it’s generational, but I’m going on half an episode and what I’ve read about it because that’s how I roll.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

@ Brooked

I just don’t like any of the characters, plus I feel like the assumption that Hannah should be relatable just because she’s a bit heavier than the average woman on TV is really patronizing. What if we don’t like her personality? Is that not supposed to matter?

The idea that flaws = relatable also feels sexist to me. It’s just too close to the romcom idea that if you want a female audience to like a character you have to let them see her being humbled in some way, as if we’re automatically going to dislike any female character who seems too confident or competent.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

The one area where I will give Girls props is that it’s far more realistic about money than most other shows set in New York. You get kind of tired of seeing people who work in coffee shops or as freelance writers living in huge apartments in great locations if you’ve ever actually lived in a big city, you know?

Dvärghundspossen
7 years ago

I’ve only seen a couple of eps of Girls, but what little I saw I liked better than SATC. There are loads of stuff I hate about SATC, like
– how sexual harassment is supposed to be cool and liberated if Samantha does it to a man
– how it’s never okay for Charlotte not to feel comfortable about something, she ought to just get over it and do it anyway in the name of liberation (I hated her character, but she still ought to be allowed to say “no” to stuff)
– that terrible, terrible ep which was all about how bisexuals are scary as fuck
– how men were from Mars and women from Venus
– how I just couldn’t relate AT ALL to Carrie, she was just super annoying and I hated her and her fucking stupid shoe collection
– and yeah, the money issue.

I’ve never lived in New York, just in Stockholm, and from what I gather it’s a bit less expensive here. But still expensive enough for it to be completely unrealistic to have a big nice flat in the middle of the city if you don’t have a posh job or parents that pay for it.

Overall, almost every TV series and movie seems to not understand money. Like how you actually need money to pay for stuff. Most shows and movies seem built on the idea that “poor” is like a different subculture from “rich” – like, if you’re “poor” you have a differently designed home and different-looking clothes and so on (and also, quite often, that you’re more authentic, more laid-back and so on), but they don’t really get that being poor means that YOU CANNOT PAY FOR STUFF and that is A FUCKING PROBLEM.

Dvärghundspossen
7 years ago

Also, you might wonder why I watched SATC if I hate the show so much. I think I’ve seen like eight eps or something like that? Which is a ridiculous amount of eps to watch if you hate a show. But I kept thinking that I ought to give it a chance since the entire world seemed convinced that it was such a great, intelligent, funny, ground-breaking etc etc show.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

I can never figure out if TV producers put their characters in unrealistically big and fancy homes because they think it will work as a kind of fantasy/wish fulfillment thing for the audience, or if they just have no idea how most people live. I mean, they can’t all have been born rich, right*? Some of them should remember living in shared and not that impressive apartments in their 20s?

*I’m hoping the answer here isn’t “nope, they were all born rich”.

katz
7 years ago

It’s not just the money–I could never get into most sitcoms (especially from the 90s) because, even though they’re supposedly set in the real world, there are so many unwritten rules about how their world operates that don’t really match the real world at all. You know, things like “girls and women always hang out with the exact same core group of friends” and “all single people go clubbing.”

Dvärghundspossen
7 years ago

I’ve read somewhere that one reason is that it’s easier to film in a big place, and just looks better on screen. And that Kubrick went against the trend when he decided to give the couple in Eyes Wide Shut a realistic apartment.

But considering how poverty is treated overall, I think part of the answer has to be that at least most of them were born rich and the rest have suppressed what it was like not to be rich. If it was about wish fulfillment it seems more logical to give the characters lots of money, than to make them poor and then give them a huge flat anyway.

katz
7 years ago

I can never figure out if TV producers put their characters in unrealistically big and fancy homes because they think it will work as a kind of fantasy/wish fulfillment thing for the audience, or if they just have no idea how most people live. I mean, they can’t all have been born rich, right*? Some of them should remember living in shared and not that impressive apartments in their 20s?

There might be technical reasons: Big sets look better on camera, it’s easier to fit filming equipment inside (for shows filmed on location), they’re using standard-sized or reused sets (for shows filmed on set), it allows better blocking possibilities, the exteriors look more distinctive for establishing shots, etc.

Side note: Has anyone watched 2 Broke Girls? Does it fall into the same problem or are the girls, in fact, broke?

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

It’s interesting that a lot of British TV shows have people living in pretty realistic homes, whereas in the US it seems to be the exception. Can’t think of any way to explain that via technical issues (easier/harder to film), and I wonder if it’s related to the tendency for it to be more acceptable for there to be average looking people in TV shows. Maybe people here just want their TV shows to be more about fantasy, or they don’t but the producers think that they do?

@ katz

Another annoying unwritten TV rule – we know that people have jobs, because we’re told so, but unless the show is about their job we don’t ever see them doing it, instead it appears that they must work about 1 hour a day and spend the rest of their time either at home or out on the town.

cloudiah
7 years ago

I’ve never seen SatC, but I feel like I should watch it just to get a handle on the way MRAs think all women live.

katz
7 years ago

Dvärg totally ninja’d me.

The giant-houses thing doesn’t bother me so much as the unrealistic lifestyles: Everyone having a million hours of free time and infinite disposable income and being able to take all kinds of time off and go on trips everywhere. Both unrealistic and bad storytelling.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

Also somewhat OT but since we’re talking about TV – I would be very happy never to see another show with a laugh track again. If you need to tell the audience where to laugh then your jokes aren’t funny.

katz
7 years ago

It’s interesting that a lot of British TV shows have people living in pretty realistic homes, whereas in the US it seems to be the exception. Can’t think of any way to explain that via technical issues (easier/harder to film), and I wonder if it’s related to the tendency for it to be more acceptable for there to be average looking people in TV shows. Maybe people here just want their TV shows to be more about fantasy, or they don’t but the producers think that they do?

Not a Brit, so I don’t want to America-splain you, but could it have to do with our differing ideas about class? As it understand it, it’s maybe not more stratified but the distinctions are more marked over there, whereas over here we like to pretend there’s no such thing as class. So maybe for you guys a big fancy house would signal “upper class” and a working-class person living in that house would just seem wrong, but over here we have less of that idea (not because it isn’t true but because it goes against our narrative)?

For instance, I was unable to convince a friend that, no matter how well MacGyver manages his money, he wouldn’t be able to own Griffith Observatory.

dariancase
7 years ago

Reblogged this on dariancase.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

It may well be an awareness of class thing. I don’t know if you’ll know the shows, but take Brookside, or EastEnders. If you’d put the characters in those shows in a Friends-style apartment it would have seemed ridiculous to the audience, and part of that probably is that awareness of class. Whereas most American TV seems to think that people are either rich, living an upper middle class/well paid professional kind of lifestyle, or living the same lifestyle even though they have no visible means to pay for it. Sometimes you see actual poverty depicted in a “look, how tragic” way, but everything between lawyer-or-doctor-level income and genuinely poor is just kind of missing. It’s weird.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

Also, doctors and lawyers apparently only work a couple of hours a day. I guess their hourly rates must be really high.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

Although, hmm. In the UK you could still call a person who has a lot of money and lives in a huge house working class, if that’s the class they were born into, but their huge house will look very different to the huge house that someone who’s upper class lives in. They will also probably have a nicer car (that’s less likely to be covered in dog hair).

Class is complicated.

Kim
Kim
7 years ago

Someone needs to make a sitcom about what it’s like to live in a dodgey sharehouse, where everyone is constantly broke and they don’t necessarily like each other or know each other before they move in.

There is so much potential for over-the-top humour and drama and interesting characters.

Has anyone read the novel He Died with a Felafel in His Hand? Or seen the play? They made a movie of it, but it was terrible and nothing like the book because a movie is just not long enough. But a tv show based on it, or on other ‘true’ anecdotes would be a great way to show that missing middle ground.

Kim
Kim
7 years ago

Oh, and speaking of UK shows showing money differently, how about Keeping Up Appearances? Or The Good Life? (I rewatched that recently and it’s still funny and holds up really well despite the strange 70s clothes)

Brooked
Brooked
7 years ago

Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine is set in San Francisco, and the main character’s sister is a divorced woman with two kids who bags groceries for a living, yet she lives in an enormous apartment in the gentrified Mission district. We are supposed to view her as working class because the apartment has tacky decor, but rental costs aren’t set by the taste level of the renter. Bugged the shit out of me.

Girls fun fact: People who live in the Brooklyn neighborhood it’s set in, Greenpoint, blame the show for cursing it with an influx of hipsters and jacked up rental prices.

@Katz: I have different theories about why, in American movies and TV, the “middle class” is pretty wealthy and the upper class live in comically opulent mansions. The first theory is that Americans tend to define the rich as people who have more money then they do; successful people in the movie industry think millionaires are comfortable and the rich have hundreds of millions.
The second theory is that in America the “old money” upper class don’t exist outside of Edith Wharton novels at this point and wealth is associated with extravagance and excess. The Middle Class is anyone not spending endless money on luxury goods.
The third theory is that being working class may be a point of pride in Britain but it’s seen as just depressing in the US.

Kim
Kim
7 years ago

I think Friday Night Lights does a good job of showing realistic depictions of people. It’s set in a small town which helps, but all the people do seem to have houses and cars comparable to their incomes. They also never seem to resort to contrived misunderstandings to create drama, which is refreshing.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

@ Kim, re the sharehouse – The Young Ones?

katz
7 years ago

My theory is it’s the “upward mobility” idea; I think we like to pretend that if you’re poor (ie, you don’t own a four-bedroom house and two new cars), that’s a temporary thing and it’ll be better later. So we think of that portrayal as an accurate portrayal of ourselves, even though we don’t live that way and never have, because it’s how we assume we will be living and that’s our actual “normal” state.

kittehserf
7 years ago

auggz – let me get this straight: pedobear started as mocking pedophiles, but has been taken more or less as their mascot instead, is that right?

I’m not really sure what you’re driving at, I have to admit, but I have a pretty much “joking about pedophilia in any way = not funny” feeling, because it’s always going to end up hurting the victims, isn’t it?

I think you made a typo here – “*I’m not saying it’s ok, I’m just saying that a rape or suicide joke is not comparable to dead baby or holocaust

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

I feel like most of the jokes I’ve seen people make about lolicon have been along the lines of “lol, people who’re into lolicon are pathetic losers”. Maybe I just don’t hang out with the sort of people who would make that into a joke about the victims of child abuse?

Which is part of why the tentacle grape thing is so baffling to me, because it basically reads as “I’m a sad loser and proud of it, now let me give you way too much money for this overpriced soda. Please rip me off!”.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

(Hoping this won’t turn into an argument about how lolicon is actually awesome and not problematic at all like it did last time this came up.)

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

(BTW before some angry lolicon loving dude comes along and yells “misandry”, yes, I think shota is creepy too.)

katz
7 years ago

I’m not sure Pedobear is mostly used by pedophiles per se, but it’s definitely gone from a thing you post if someone is acting creepy to a meme with no punch line other than “he’s a pedophile!”

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

I think some people use it to mock and/or shame people and some people use it in a “lol that’s hilarious” way.

katz
7 years ago

I’m sure tentacle grape is just a stupid pun some entirely earnest anime fan thought up and it’s meant to be harmless and he just hasn’t ever thought “hey, some real people have been raped and I bet that when they hear a pun on the word ‘rape,’ they don’t think it’s very funny.”

But I’m equally sure that if you tried to get him to think about it, he’d just throw a fit about how you’re taking the whole thing too seriously.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

The sense of persecution that a lot of geeky guys feel plays into this too. You’re just calling him out because you hate anime nerds and men not to be allowed to have sexual feelings, and so on (and on and on).

melody
7 years ago

Lawyers: My cousin is one and works 70 plus hours a week. She makes good money though,.

@cassandrasays
I agree with you on geeky guys feeling persecuted. I’ve been hassled far too much at conventions to feel sorry for them though. I don’t understand why “cosplaying is NOT an invitation to touch” is so complicated for them. Sexual harassment continues to be a problem for me at conventions.

The problem with a lot of the guys who are into anime is that there tends to be a disconnect between seeing women as people. Being awkward is fine. Not listening when you are told to respect someones boundaries is a whole ‘nother ball park.

daintydougal
7 years ago

@ Kim
I quite liked fresh meat , it was on channel 4 in the UK about students living in a shared house. Though even in that their house was a lot nicer than many shared houses I’ve lived in, especially when I was a student.
In my experience of US/UK tv, US tv just seems to have more of a gloss on everything. Like the classic joke about British people have bad teeth, I’m sure there are plenty of Americans with ‘bad teeth’ they just wouldn’t be allowed in front of a camera!

Katelisa
Katelisa
7 years ago

My favourite illustration of the difference between UK and US tv-shows are the ones being shown daily on Swedish television. Emmerdale (most watched afternoon show on Swedish tv!) is about normal looking, mostly average-to-poor people in rural Yorkshire, while The Bold and the Beautiful is about rich, good looking people in LA. The difference is rather stark. I love Emmerdale, by the way.

I sort of assume most of the “large flat”-thing has to do with it being more easily filmed.

While 2 Broke Girls is hella problematic for loads of reasons, said broke girls wear the same clothes a lot of the time, are mostly seen at work or at home and generally seem to live like they have a limited income. (Apart from the fantasy aspect of having a horse in their yard, of course…)

Athywren
Athywren
7 years ago

The sense of persecution that a lot of geeky guys feel plays into this too. You’re just calling him out because you hate anime nerds and men not to be allowed to have sexual feelings, and so on (and on and on).

Speaking as a geeky-type person (…why am I a member of so many subcultures that are full of this misogynistic shit?) I get really pissed off by this. “No! I can’t be in the wrong here! I was bullied at school!” So fucking what? You don’t get tokens. Five years of being treated like shit in your youth doesn’t give you a free pass to treat others like shit for five years in adulthood. And how the fuck does it seem like it should? Did you idiots learn nothing from your tormentors?! Ffs, you know how that kind of treatment hurts, then you inflict it on others? Fuck that. And then to paint criticism of your behaviour as “demonisation of natural male sexuality.”
Dislike.

Bostonian
Bostonian
7 years ago

“Objectivity is very convenient for the straight white middle class male gamer. Videogame culture encourages him to see his own subjectivity as the standard, as objective. He’ll invoke science, economics, statistics, and all manner of folk wisdom to defend his little kingdom. He’ll decry any challenge as ‘politics’ or ‘bad business’ or ‘whining’ or ‘here we go again’. He never considers how often objectivity is a cover for a dominant subjectivity, for a subjectivity that stays in power by not being recognized as such. He fears what will happen if the established order breaks down and the Vox take control”

This is from this review

http://tevisthompson.com/on-videogame-reviews/

It’s really well written, and hits on a lot of things about video games, gamers and the stagnation of imagination due to privilege.

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

I’m not caught up, but I wanted to tell Ophelia not to worry about the blog, I can get the start of something up on my own, even if it’s just a sandbox for now. Also, I hope everything works out, and thanks for the well wishes on my hearing. The barrel of hugs is around if you want some, I think there are cute animals lurking in there too.

daintydougal
7 years ago

Do ‘they’ honestly think rape isn’t really a thing and that it never happens or are they just trying to persuade others? This is why I don’t comment on serious threads. My confusion sounds stupid.

Howard Bannister
7 years ago

@daintydougal

Some of them are predators. People who are trying very hard to muddy the water so they can continue to get away with the behaviors they want to get away with. (see also: PUA, Roosh, etc.)

Some of them are dupes. They’ve bought into the hysteria and the hyperbole.

Don’t spend too much time trying to parse who’s who. A person’s intentions only count for so much; in effect, they’re all rape apologists.

Athywren
Athywren
7 years ago

@daintydougal
Your confusion doesn’t sound stupid, it’s the natural result of belief in human decency. It’s a good thing.
I think most of them are, in their terms, “useful idiots.” Among the people who “all know that rape is a terrible thing,” but don’t understand what rape is, and who buy into all that nonsense about feminism being about destroying men and subjugating their sexuality. It doesn’t really matter though because, as Howard says, whatever their private, internal moralities, they’re rape apologists in practice.

BlackBloc (@XBlackBlocX)

>>>In the UK you could still call a person who has a lot of money and lives in a huge house working class, if that’s the class they were born into

Ugh.

Yeah I noticed that during the Julie Bindel + other apparently well-known feminist in the UK’s transphobia affair. They were trying to claim that they were solid working class, unlike all the Tumbler/Twitter “bullies” who were just academics (even though I know some of them are WoC and/or working class). Dude, if you’re doing talks and writing articles for a living, you’re petty bourgeois at the least. I don’t care where you were born.

BlackBloc (@XBlackBlocX)

Sorry. “Petit” bourgeois. I should not be making that mistake, considering the amount of time I spend correcting Anglo Marxists who misunderstand the definition of that class by failing to realize that it comes from the French for “small” and not from the English for “petty”.

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