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The Power of Butt: MRA granddaddy Warren Farrell picks a new book cover, and can’t decide between tits, ass or vagina.

Men: Oppressed by butts?
Men: Oppressed by women’s butts?

Warren Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power, published twenty years ago, defined much of the agenda for what’s become the contemporary Men’s Rights movement. If you hear a Men’s Rights activist prattle on about “male disposability”or “death professions” or complain about draft registration (even though the draft itself has been dead for decades), you’ve got Farrell to thank, or blame.

So when Farrell decided to release a new ebook edition of his most famous book, it was perhaps not all that surprising that he decided to turn to the folks at A Voice for Men, probably the most influential Men’s Rights site around, for advice on a picture to use for a new cover.

But what was surprising was the pictures he asked the AVFMers to choose from, three sexually charged, and slightly NSFW, pics highlighting what Farrell evidently sees as the key female challenges to male power: their vaginas, tits and ass.

I’m not speaking metaphorically: one of the pictures shows a nude woman’s pelvic area, her vulva both highlighted and hidden by what is essentially a merkin made of moss; a second picture shows the ass of a young, topless woman in her underpants slaving over a hot stove, and the third shows a famous picture of Marilyn Monroe, also topless.

AVFM’s Paul Elam explained the, er, logic of these images:

Imagine the juxtaposition of the title, “Myth of Male Power” over one of these images. The cover alone will challenge the idea of male power in men and women alike on a gut level.

By “on a gut level” he apparently means “in men’s pants.”

You sort of have to see them to see how utterly tacky they are; here’s the one of the butt, which either Farrell or Elam helpfully captioned “Where’s the power?”

You can find the others on AVFM here; if you don’t want to give them the pageviews, you can find them here.

You couldn’t really ask for better symbols of the essential misogyny of the Men’s Rights movement today — or of its obsession with blaming women (and women’s sexuality in particular) for the restrictions on male power that so chafe the hides of MRAs. Farrell, in the past, generally avoided demonizing female sexuality quite so obviously and directly, but these days he’s apparently been spending too much time amongst the A Voice for Menners.

Farrell’s choices for potential covers also tell us a good deal about him as well; in the past he’s essentially been able to hide his crackpot pseudoscholarship behind a certain veneer or respectability — releasing his books through major publishing houses, touting his PhD — but here he seems to be falling to his natural level, amongst the self-publishers of crappy e-books with stock-photo covers.

While some AVFMers had other suggestions — perhaps a picture of the Wicked Witch? — most seemed to think that the pictures were perfect for his book. Tom Golden — along with most of the voters in the poll — preferred Marilyn and her tits:

Tom Golden says November 23, 2013 at 9:06 PM I think the point that Warren is trying to make is that simply the sight of a very attractive female puts most men into a mental position of subservience and blind willingness to be of service to her in whatever way he can. In essence he becomes a slave. How can men be in so much power when just the sight of a lightly clad young attractive woman throws them into such a state? I think any of the images accomplishes that task but I personally like #3 because when I see that image my awareness of my surrender to her power is palpable.

Others were more taken with the ass pic. Alek wrote:

alek says November 23, 2013 at 1:36 PM My choice (nr. 2) is losing heavily :( :D DDD I like 2 since its the most powerfully influential… The gist of the book “myth of male power” is that “oppression of women” is an interpretational myth – “poor wimminz had to stay in the kitchinz, while man goes outside and has a blast being all hero and shit” (i’m dumbing down female gender role to “kitchen” as representative of all oppression interpretational myths covered by Warren) This photo challenges that whole notion of the kitchen as an oppressive enviroment, while immediately and visually telling the viewer just how powerful she – the woman is, merely by seeing her silhouette, casual relaxed demeanor and posture projecting utter sexual power.

And Elam, while voting for the moss-encrusted vulva himself, was apparently also quite, er, affected by dat ass.  (Those with especially sensitive stomachs may wish to skip the following quote, as it contains an unsolicited update from his boner.)

I am about as red pill as men come I think. There has not been a woman that could sexually manipulate me in decades. But one look at that woman’s ass in image #2 and I feel every instinctive reproductive trigger trying to go off in my brain. It is not a feeling of power at all for me, but a feeling of something I might have to overcome in order to just self-preserve.

So there you have it: Two of the most influential figures in the Men’s Rights movement — indeed, arguably the two most influential figures — actually believe that men are oppressed by women’s butts.

Indeed, Elam is apparently so overwhelmed by the sight of an attractive ass that he considers it a literal threat to his life.

Adding to the creepiness factor here: Farrell is 70 years old, making him literally old enough to be grandfather of the model in her underpants. Elam is in his late 50s.

Now, the weird tackiness of the images Farrell chose for his book cover did not go entirely unnoticed at AVFM. There were critics — including, amazingly, AVFM’s own John Hembling, who was a little baffled by the idea of using a sexualized picture of a woman on the cover of Farrell’s book about men, and asked if Farrell was possibly trolling them.

One MRA blogger, Kevin Wayne, posted a link to his blog, where he excoriated all three choices as “Budweiser Ad rejects” and begged Farrell to try something else:

This is just going to backfire. Don’t we have enough issues of being branded as a bunch of no-necks wanting to take women back to the 1950’s?

Elam, while gentle in his handling of Hembling’s criticism, threw a fit over Wayne’s post, banning him from AVFM and bashing him — on AVFM and on Wayne’s own site — as a do-nothing newcomer to Men’s Rights who was too “borderline retarded” to  understand the profound deeper meaning behind  Farrell’s T&A pics.

Farrell himself seems to have been a a bit more willing to listen to the critics. Indeed, he’s asked AVFM’s readers to submit some more pictures to choose from. There will be a runoff between the winner of the first AVFM poll (Marilyn and her tits) several of the new pics.

So far there hasn’t exactly been a flood of submissions. They’ve included a painting of Diogenes, a painting of Lilith, a photo of a homeless man, and this:

Office_Bitch

Yeah, that’ll work great.

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lana
lana
7 years ago

That grey bloke is killingly hilarious. I shall have to subscribe to him.

He’s a hoot Bina!

lana
lana
7 years ago

If you get down to the nitty gritty that’s what it is .These guys want to get laid and cant .They feel entitled. So they hate women .Its not about jobs or kids. Its about wanting to get laid and we have rape laws that they don’t like.And that women have choices besides having sex with a man for food.

So they are PISSED off! How we gonna get laid now! Can’t rape um ! Can’t buy um !(cuz that cost a lot + she make more than me!) …They are “defecting to Russia ” and “buying ” little girls from the Philipines.

Well ..desperate is is what desperate does. Ba bye..

Then they pretend women are saying “where have all the good men gone.” I don’t think so .The good men have someone if they want. Its more like ..why don’t the scum leave ?

Mnemosyne
Mnemosyne
7 years ago

Ah yes, putting a woman’s butt on the front cover totally screams “serious academic work.” /sarcasm

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

I would really love if these guys Went Their Own Damn Way, Already…preferably in silence and obscurity, no kvetching. And leaving the women and girls alone. ALL of them.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Seconded.

CassandraSays
7 years ago

Portestants are the religion that worships…port?

So, whose sock do we think Jammy is? And, given how dull he’s been so far, do we care?

kittehserf
7 years ago

The way he’s pretending he hasn’t been trolling, but is having a conversation, has a slimily familiar feel, but so many of them do that.

StarStorm
7 years ago

Portestants are the religion that worships…port?

And Frotestants are g0ys?

Tracy
Tracy
7 years ago

@Salacious:

I think that makes a lot of sense about Atheists, they don’t want to see their beliefs as socially constructed but coming from somewhere outside of themselves (reason, science, etc.).

I’m pretty sure you’re talking about Asshole Atheists here, but just wanted to make sure that us quiet, just-happen-to-be-atheists aren’t being tarred with the same brush. 🙂 Or even the folk who are public and outspoken about it – most are not like this. Like how most men are not anything like the MRA.

franticcaps
franticcaps
7 years ago

@David – not sure that this sort of thing was what you were looking for, but it’s certainly rage-boner-related: some jackass at the Daily Caller wrote a column about how liberals want to arrest men for checking out women or something: http://dailycaller.com/2013/12/08/liberals-want-to-stop-men-from-checking-out-women/. It’s pretty breathtaking in its stupidity (apparently checking out women’s boobs is an inalienable right that evil liberals are trying to take away), but it’s written in response to a study on objectification, the abstract of which can be found at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-013-0316-x.

It was also discussed on this Tuesday’s Citizen Radio, starting from about 13 mins in.

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

David, to the best of my knowledge, those “power-of-butt compels me” types are reverting to the same impulse that make male baboons chase the female with the biggest, reddest ass. I honestly wonder if they aren’t the Missing Link…and if they are, why the hell isn’t he smarter than a fucking baboon?

Arctic Ape
Arctic Ape
7 years ago

Women’s butts oppress men both indirectly, socially and directly, literally.

Socially, because of their aforementioned superior tolerance of hard chairs, which makes women’s butts privileged compared to men’s butts and in matriarchal society stifles the social movement towards softer chairs.

Literally, because women are known to sometimes sit on a man’s lap while trading their sexual power to the man’s financial, political and cultural power – and while said man is sitting on a hard chair. Hence the idiom, “between a butt and a hard chair”.

chimisaur
chimisaur
7 years ago

Portestant (n) – too drunk to either actively believe or disbelieve in a higher power.

kittehserf
7 years ago

And Frotestants are g0ys?

Aaaaahhhhhh!

Tracy – I’d certainly limit that to AssholeAtheists, not least the ones who have the usual collection of bigotries – misogyny, racism, homophobia, trans*phobia and so on.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Portestant: believes in the power of Gout.

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

Gout is…well, an almighty pain in the arse, I imagine. Glad I don’t have it.

sparky
sparky
7 years ago

David: This is sort of tangential, but this book Idols of Perversity by Bram Dijkstra does get into the whole fear/loathing/desire regarding female sexuality. It’s a study of portrayal of women in Victorian artwork, so, y’know, not specifically related to “the power of butt compels you.” It deals with a range of topics, from woman’s sexuality and attempts to deny/control it; ideas that women are “evil” or “stupid” based on the brand new scientific breakthrough of evolutionary theory; and even Eschar girls (he calls them “nymphs with broken backs” by the way the woman’s body is contorted). And it’s an old book.


http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0195056523/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1386873778&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40

kittehserf
7 years ago

Bina – yeah, it’s one hell of a painful thing to have. I know it’s not actually caused just by alcohol (Louis had it in his earthly days and he was anything but a drinker), but the port/prot God/gout link was irresistible.

Robert
Robert
7 years ago

My husband is taking medication for his gout, and he drinks very little alcohol. Meanwhile, I drink quite a bit, and no gout.

Regarding the Power of Butt – well, it’s been a big influence on MY life. Not women’s butts, though. The photo from the OP (kitchen shot) did exert a strange fascination for me – not quite “heterosexual panic”. Maybe it was the boy shorts.

kittehserf
7 years ago

“The power of butt” keeps making me think of Andy Griffiths’ books.

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

Yeah, I heard that gout is probably at least partly genetic. Some people are just naturally more susceptible to it, and certain foods (and alcohol) cause it to flare. I blame Henry the Eighth for the mental association most people have between gout and overeating/drinking.

kittehserf
7 years ago

I tend to think of eighteenth or nineteenth century men sitting with their feet bandaged and resting on footstools – like in one of Hogarth’s Marriage a la Mode series. The Wikli article on it’s intersting – it’s connected with diet (and was known as the rich man’s disease) as well as genetics, it’s a form of inflammatory arthritis, may be connected with sleep apnoea, and has increased in recent decades.

neuroticbeagle
7 years ago

@ kittehs
Beagles! There are beagles in that picture! 🙂

kittehserf
7 years ago

There are! And they’re chained, poor things – symbol of what the marriage is like.

neuroticbeagle
7 years ago

They are both chained- if it is a true symbol of marriage shouldn’t just the male beagle be chained and the feeeemale beagle be in control?

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: CassandraSays

Fantasy/sci-fi loving guys and gender roles – that sure is a conversation. Not a very cheerful one, though.

I know! And as someone who loves those things, it bugs me so much, because there’s a genre TAILOR-MADE to fuck with gender roles!

RE: DefJam

I believe Paul Elam (of avoiceformen.com)

Guys, I’m starting to suspect he’s doing this on purpose now and is in fact a Poe. I mean, come on, is there anyone on this site who’s been here longer than a week who DOESN’T know where Paul Elam digitally hails?

If you’ve got an ambrosial God sending down precepts, well, those difficult to challenge.

Tell that to the Jews.

RE: StarStorm

I am so pleased that Manboobzers know about the g0ys. They hurt way too good not to share, in my opinion!

kittehserf
7 years ago

They are both chained- if it is a true symbol of marriage shouldn’t just the male beagle be chained and the feeeemale beagle be in control?

Proving that a conservative eighteenth-century painter was light years ahead of the MRM in his thinking! 😛

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

There really is no one like Hogarth for graphically illustrating the horrors and injustices of his world, is there? That was right around the time when coverture was formally enshrined in English law, was it not?

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

“The Day My Bum Went Psycho” sounds like something I wish MY bum had done when a former boyfriend told me it was too big. That would have been AWESOME.

kittehserf
7 years ago

So true about Hogarth. I saw Marriage A La Mode in London (or Edinburgh? Brain fart) and it was just horrific.

I don’t know when coverture was formalised, but it seems to have been around at least since the Conquest. That creepy specimen Blackstone talked about it at the end of the 18th century.

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

I don’t know when coverture was formalised, but it seems to have been around at least since the Conquest. That creepy specimen Blackstone talked about it at the end of the 18th century.

Well, I just looked it up, and it seems you’re correct…Wikipedia sayeth:

The system of feme sole and feme covert developed in England in the High and Late Middle Ages as part of the common law system, which had its origins in the legal reforms of Henry II and other medieval English kings. According to Arianne Chernock, “coverture, … [a 1777] author … concluded, was the product of foreign Norman invasion in the eleventh century—not, as Blackstone would have it, a time-tested ‘English’ legal practice. This was a reading of British history, then, that put a decidedly feminist twist on the idea of the ‘Norman yoke.'” Also according to Chernock, “the Saxons, … [Calidore] boasted, had encouraged women to ‘retain separate property’— … a clear blow to coverture.”

Well, all hail my Saxon ancestors, then. Their women were also mighty warriors, and no meek “shieldmaidens”.

A queen of England, whether she was a queen consort or a queen regnant, was generally exempted from the legal requirements of coverture, as understood by Blackstone.

Now that’s interesting. It maketh me to wonder afresh why Elizabeth I was a “virgin” queen, then. If she was legally exempt, then there must have been another reason why she chose never to marry. Maybe her understanding of the law was not Blackstonian?

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

Oh! On the other hand,

Early feminist historian Mary Beard held the view that much of the severity of the doctrine of coverture was actually due to Blackstone and other late systematizers, rather than due to a genuine old common-law tradition.

…which would be in line with my earlier hunch.

Now I haz a puzzlement.

kittehserf
7 years ago

I think there were tons of reasons for Elizabeth not to marry. If she chose an Englishman, it’d get all the not-chosen nobility’s backs up over one family being raised up (look at how unpopular the Howard/Boleyn and Seymour clans had been in her father’s time). If she chose a foreigner, she’d have the same potential problems Mary had when she married Phillip of Spain, even if the religious element hadn’t come into it. Who knows if she really wanted to tie herself to a man who’d have all sorts of cultural, if not legal, rights over her, or expectations, at least? Plus, it was one hell of a diplomatic weapon, at least while she was young enough to potentially have children.

That’s without even going into the personal reasons, which nobody on this side can know about, of course. (Fuck I hope that tosser Freud never wrote about her; can you imagine?)

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

Well, to my knowledge, Freud was not an anglophile (or a necrophile), so probably that was of no interest to him. He dealt in living people, for good or ill…mostly ill, since he didn’t want to believe that child sexual abuse was as common as we now know it is.

And yes, that other part makes sense to me. As does the fact that she had quite an eye for handsome young courtiers, acquired at will. I imagine getting married would have obliged her to give that up, at least pro forma.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Freud was not an anglophile (or a necrophile), so probably that was of no interest to him.

“Not a necrophile” is about the only good thing I can think of about old Sigmund, and how negative is that? 😛

(Do you read Dead Philosophers in Heaven? He makes regular appearances there.)

Yes, it’s not like Elizabeth was deprived of male eye candy in general. Rob Dudley, Kit Hatton, etc, etc …

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

Enh, I am unable to hate Sigmund Freud due to an interesting story I read about him trying to teach his son to fight back against oppression by beating the shit out of some anti-Semites giving them hassle. He had a lot of fucked up ideas and shit… but I can’t hate someone who wanted to protect his child.

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

Do you read Dead Philosophers in Heaven? He makes regular appearances there.

Alas, no. Where do I look?

Enh, I am unable to hate Sigmund Freud due to an interesting story I read about him trying to teach his son to fight back against oppression by beating the shit out of some anti-Semites giving them hassle. He had a lot of fucked up ideas and shit… but I can’t hate someone who wanted to protect his child.

I wouldn’t say I hate him. I hate his theories, which are terrible and have had the worst influence on psychiatry and psychology for decades. Very woman-blamey shit in there, especially all that Oedipal crap. Unfortunately, the tone of the times was such that it passed unremarked for the longest time. If not for feminism, I think it still would be taught as something close to gospel.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Oh, I can hate Freud, all right, and hate his empathy-bypass followers.

Bina – Dead Philosophers in Heaven!

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

That’s bang on!

The only thing I’ve ever felt the least twinge of penis envy about is that guys can pee standing up. And maybe write their names in the snow that way. But as for the rest, even wanking…nope.

kittehserf
7 years ago

There are some hilarious comics in that strip. Poor old Nietszche cops it all the time – this is my favourite.

With penis envy, well, apart from the privileges that go with being a man (something ol’ Sigmund seems to have conveniently overlooked), the only reason I’d have wanted one – in the sense of wanting to be male – was when I thought it would improve my chances with Louis. Turned out not to matter, of course. 🙂

vaiyt
7 years ago

“I know! And as someone who loves those things, it bugs me so much, because there’s a genre TAILOR-MADE to fuck with gender roles!”

Talk about it. Speculative fiction and fantasy have it in their blood, in their very name. It’s so weird that so much of both genres seems to lack basic imagination.

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

Apparently it’s more imaginable to have elves and dragons and whatnot in fantasy than it is to either have a decent female protagonist (that doesn’t conform to gender roles), or to have some other race that isn’t white take major roles in the story. *rolls eyes*

katz
7 years ago

Alice: Well, obviously. A woman being a warrior wouldn’t be realistic! (I have had that conversation SO many times.)

Ally S
7 years ago

Did someone say “dead philosophers?”

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

katz – OH GODS YES. I’ve had this conversation with fuckheads who think that “write what you know” means that every single damned protagonist is a straight white dude, and that we should all stop complaining about how writers need to expand their horizons and consider other perspectives ’cause REASONS.

Elves and dragons: more realistic than a black woman protagonist! *roll eyeballs*

kittehserf
7 years ago

Ally – ::fistbump:: for the Bruces’ Philosophers Song!

CassandraSays
7 years ago

The “write what you know” issue could also be resolved by there being more people publishing sf/fantasy novels who aren’t straight white men.

(Cue horrified screeching.)

MacSloane87
MacSloane87
7 years ago

@CassandraSays: The sad thing is that even when someone who isn’t a straight white man writes a very successful fantasy series about people who aren’t straight, white males, the Hollywood adaptations are all about (surprise, surprise) straight white males. Case in point: the oh-so-white godawful adaptation of one of the best fantasy series out there, Earthsea.

Ursula K. Le Guin’s words on the subject: http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Earthsea.html