Categories
a voice for men antifeminism antifeminist women creepy Dean Esmay divorce evil wives FemRAs men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny MRA sexual harassment

One Last Damn AVFM Conference Update: Man With a Camera Edition

It wasn't this guy.
It wasn’t this guy.

One last AVFM Conference update, with links to two more stories about that historic event.

The first, a gently skeptical Washington Post story by Monica Hesse titled, with a certain irony, “Men’s rights activists, gathering to discuss all the ways society has done them wrong.”

The whole thing is worth reading. My favorite bit:

One presenter, a military veteran speaking on the treatment of veterans returning from war, put up a PowerPoint slide alleging that 70 percent of men returning from war get divorced, and 90 percent do so within five years. When asked about the source of this statistic, he said, “That particular statistic is from my personal observations. I’m just speaking here as a dude.”

Ah, the prestigious Journal of Statistical Dudeness!

The second, well, it’s a bit more disturbing. DarkHorseSwore – a regular in the AgainstMensRights subreddit who raised money to go to Detroit to cover the convention only to be turned away at the door – managed to finally get an audience with some of the conference attendees and organizers – after the convention, as they celebrated at a bar and then in a hotel lobby. She got this access because none of them knew who she was. (Eventually Dean Esmay showed up and had her escorted off the premises.)

Now DarkHorseSwore has set up a website – DarkHorseSwore.com – and has started posting about the strange 5 ½ hours she spent amongst the AVFMers. She tells the tale of a strange encounter with one of the Honey Badgers and then an even stranger tale of an even stranger encounter with an old man and his camera. You’ll have to go read it. Be warned: It’s creepy as hell.

Oh, and she picked up some amazing conference swag as well. And by “amazing” I mean “possibly the worst conference swag I’ve ever seen, I mean, what the hell, and also why are they all beige?”

A wooden necklace thing, symbolizing who the hell knows what!
A wooden necklace thingy, symbolizing who the hell knows what!
A "What Would Honey Badgers Do?" button!
A “What Would Honey Badgers Do?” button!
And last but not least, a Shrink for Men chapstick! It's minty!
And last but not least, a Shrink 4 Men chapstick! It’s minty!

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

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

225 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Isabelle
Isabelle
6 years ago

Its a Rorschach woodblot!

WatermelonSugar
WatermelonSugar
6 years ago

On the god-awful necklace thing:

My vote is that it’s a next-gen Pokemon. It’s Misandrite, the evolved form of Misandraby. It’s a psychic-fairy type and is famous for its attack Mansplainatoin, which stuns and confuse the opponent.

That’s my best guess, at least.

tealily
tealily
6 years ago

Jared,

Con artists are a dime a dozen in this world. They are nothing new.

Elam is not an entrepreneur and he’s not running a corporation. (Didn’t he lose that for not paying taxes?) While he may be managing a good living conning the deluded chumps at AVfM, I don’t believe for a moment he has the “money and power” you think he does. Whatever media coverage he got for last weekend he had to instigate. In short, nobody really cared.

And speaking of last weekend, they can say whatever they want over at AVfM about the conference, but was a joke, and everyone knows it.

I live in metro Detroit and have worked in the auto industry for over 20 years, which is still mostly male dominated. Between the white collar and blue collar workers, who mostly lean conservative, this is probably the biggest amenable demographic for MRAs to engage (which I’m sure is why he decided to have it here in the first place) and they couldn’t even do that. They should have been in a huge hall with at least a few thousand just from this area alone. Instead, they pulled 150-200 internationally. That is not power, and that is not success and business savvy. They have been trying to pull this off for years and to finally do it to those kind of numbers is fucking hilarious.

Which brings me to my last point. I’m not sure why you think it means something that Elam has lasted so long running his blog, but it doesn’t. Everyone who has gone before has managed to figure out that most men probably agree with a handful of positions of the MRAs, but that most of what they have to say is bullshit.

I’ve been listening to men talking among themselves at work for over 2 decades, and most of them love and care about the women in their lives. They also like the money their wives and girlfriends are bringing in to afford the cottages, jet skis, boats, and hunting trips most of them like so much. They are also good fathers who love their daughters and would probably kill any man that did to them what many MRAs advocate.

So, not sure why you are overestimating Elam, or what you think we’re all supposed to be doing while we’re “worrying” about him, but I don’t buy it.

tealily
tealily
6 years ago

Not sure why I’m awaiting moderation, but ok.

Unimaginative
Unimaginative
6 years ago

There is a great book, The Lifelong Activist, by Hillary Rettig that you may want to check.

LOVE Hillary Rettig. She says exactly what I need to hear, in a very no-nonsense way. I’m working my way through 7 Secrets of the Prolific.

tealily
tealily
6 years ago

I agree, brooked.

Ken L.
6 years ago

God, help me, not only do I have to help fight injustice in general but I have to now redeem my favorite head wear this fedora thing blows me mind. I had no idea that it was linked with MRAs. this is like finding out about hipsters and mustaches. to be fair ti hipsters their to ironic to hate anything. I wear fedoras and have a mustache because I want to since i was little, not to be identified with some movement. in even in the smallest most unimportant ways, the MRM can ruin everybody’s fun.

Tefoo
Tefoo
6 years ago
Pippin
6 years ago

I assumed the necklace charm was supposed to be in the shape of a Michigan district, county, or the city of Detroit itself but I just looked it up and it doesn’t look like any of that… wtf? I’m lost.

bunnybunny
6 years ago

It could be the head of a lion with a big floofy mane. It’s feasible.

jared
jared
6 years ago

@Isabelle

Perhaps I got to get the mountain bike and head to upstate NY to enjoy the blue orange adirondack, catskill summer mountains. Ahh the feeling of wind in my hair and the scented country air to realx and make me full of joy. Thanks for the tip yeah at one point I have though why even come here at whtm but it has a supportive community and people have been open aabout stuff here but everyone has a different reason for being here. It is a good blog.

mayimoktoo
mayimoktoo
6 years ago

starkidina, I’m going through the same thing with my nephew – fedora, Nice Guy, hyper-atheist, all of it.

I sent him to reddit.com/r/justneckbeardthings. Seeing his peers mocking his attitude (and fedora) was far more effective than anything I could say.

jared
jared
6 years ago

@tealily

Other people are saying the same thing as you-why worry about. I think he is a dangerous man. Check out a plethora of stuff about this guy in the archives here. As I said most of these mra/mgtow blogs dissolve I have seen time and time. But this guy’s not going away and he was able to snag a Canadian Senator to speak on his panel.

People say why worry about Elam he really as no influence. I don’t agree these hate group seven if they have a few official members because they are manipulated to give big donation

Some here say Elam is no threat and it is going overboard to say he is. I disagree tealily
this guy has craftily built a hate group under the mask of helping men and he is a politician and he also greedy which I think is dangerous. If no one does or says anything about Elam and just thinks he is harmless ,that might be a bit shortsighted imo.

Yeah I agree probably 98% of mra blogs mean nothing and eventually dissolve. But this guy wants to make people eat glass who come after him. I can perhaps say he Elam may be the only mra leader that has any type of influence. It is only guy but one is too many with these mra’s.

Isabelle
Isabelle
6 years ago

@tealily

I believe that without becoming too alarmist about the MRM, its not wise to dismiss them as harmless. Its like weeds in the vegetable garden; those tiny sprouts left unchecked tend to grow. A couple of years ago, there was a very interesting paper published which set at 10% of committed believers the tipping point for an idea to become mainstream.
http://news.rpi.edu/luwakkey/2902

If the model is accurate, they don’t need to convert the majority of men, but just enough. So, no cause for panicking, just weeding. Thank goodness so far their pr sucked.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

@Ken L

Not to sound like nag, but if “Aunt Tammy” is your variation of “Uncle Tom”, don’t go there. You can critique the so-called honey badgers without cannibalizing the civil rights movement and Malcolm X.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

@jared

I believe Elam and AVFM are dangerous, too. If they continue on unchecked, a woman is going to be injured or die. There are bound to be unstable people in that crowd who could make it their mission to exact revenge in a violent way.

I’m hopeful that their flagrant disregard for the law will eventually bite them in the ass before something bad happens.

jared
jared
6 years ago

@Auntie Alia

Great points. I was astounded in the article that David has on this thread, the reporter Ms Hesse called Elam as a “tall and polite man” like he comes across as distinguished which is why he so easily can fool people and be cunning with his intelligence and all.

However, who she called “polite” is a demon who an increasingly number of angry young men and he is trying hard to recruit women to his club . These people are vulnerable to his prey and as you said someone could get hurt if people just remain silent about him and do not care because they think he is harmless.

Ken L.
6 years ago

@brooked

I would not call you a nag, however the comparison is correct.also note it was all so a half joke seeing how i admitted i bastardized it in the post it self.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Even if they weren’t dangerous on a wider societal influence level, it’s pretty much just a matter of time before one of their followers goes after one of their official female rage targets with a gun.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

Here’s a Flavorwire article that calls out MRAs on their shit.

It’s easy to write off MRAs as lunatics — any group who can call feminism “a multibillion-dollar hate industry” isn’t exactly asking to be taken seriously, especially since I’m writing this on a day when the Supreme Court just decided that a corporation’s right to believe in whatever bullshit it likes is more important than a woman’s right to insurance-subsidized birth control.

Dean Esmay jumped into the comments section to defend their claim of this “industry” and then said:

We will be doing a profile of one of these groups near where we held our conference, which attacked our conference and tried to stop it happening; their budget for “social activism” alone is about 4 times higher than our entire operating budget worldwide; their total budget, most of which goes to pay staff, is $4,000,000 annually, most of that from government funds. That’s in one county (Oakland) in one state (Michigan). They are typical; they are proudly ideological feminists, believing pseudoscientific non-falsifiable concepts like “The Patriarchy” ( just like you do, apparently) and while they give lip service to male victims they have practically no services for them, keeping them very much on the margins and using their few males as tokens, and still rely on hateful concepts like “toxic masculinity” to explain sexual and intimate partner violence in the face of a mountain of scientific research (which I can also point you to) which calls all that into quesiton.

Feminism is an ideology as well as an industry. The network of groups controlling the money (Haven in Oakland County Michigan being one of them) are very deeply invested in the myth that domestic violence is primarily perpetrated by men (it isn’t) and the myth that sexual assault is primarily male-perpetrated (it isn’t). Their services are geared toward these ideology-based beliefs rather than evidence-based and solution-oriented programs.

This article links to another with a video clip of Warren Farrell blaming Elliot Rodger’s mother. Sigh. This must have been filmed secretly because it shows the faces of attendees in Farrell’s workshop and the camera angle is weird.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants

Can anyone read the button? I’m curious to know what it is Honey Badgers won’t do.

Also, good to know that abuse is on the same level as chapped lips.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

@Buttercup

I’m seeing “We wouldn’t (?), that’s (what?)”

Ken L.
6 years ago

@Auntie Alias
the funniest part of Esmay’s rant is he is right about the whole budget thing. when you host your major event at a VFW post your not exactly rolling in the money but of course esmay misses the irony of the government funding feminist and not him. for all it faults the government 90% of the time doesn’t fund made up bullshit. you would think that would be a big clue that what your promoting my not be a real problem.

creepycupcake
creepycupcake
6 years ago

I lost it when I saw that chapstick.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

“Even if they weren’t dangerous on a wider societal influence level, it’s pretty much just a matter of time before one of their followers goes after one of their official female rage targets with a gun.”

QFT! He’s got down the right wing “it’d be logical if [bad thing] happened, now, I’m not saying do that, but I totally understand why someone would”.

WatermelonSugar
WatermelonSugar
6 years ago

I think that MRAs and AVfM become dangerous because they are a self fulfilling rage group that offers no solutions.

They get bad press, and it confirms their belief that the “Evil Empire” is out to get them (not acknowledging that they might be deserving of bad press). High-profile rape cases are unable to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was a rape, and it confirms that the majority of rape cases are false (not that it is difficult to prove or that false accusations are a rare occourance). Protesters chose or chose not to show up at their events, and either way it proves that evil feminists are trying to suppress their free speech (not that said protesters are exercising their free speech or are putting their safety first).

Meanwhile, the movement as a whole offers no solutions. I have been trying really hard to find any MRM-supported information on men’s mental health, but all I have been able to find is that therapy is a function of the Evil Empire and that men heal by doing…without ever examining any underlying issues.

So these MRAs become foamy at the mouth with rage, and then the very same beast that stoked them to this state offers them not solutions, but more things to become angry about. They speak against violenc, but welcom it online in the form of harassment and doxxing, removing humanity from the equation.

So it’s rage plus no outlet plus disassociated violence. It’s a toxic and unhealthy combination–for both takers of the Red Pill and those on their environment.

I will also say I am nervous that they are getting coverage on Fox News. That’s a disaster waiting to happen.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

@Ken L.

What slayed me was his outrage that it’s “4 times higher than our entire operating budget worldwide” as though AVFM’s “social activism” is legitimate; e.g., JB calling people whores on Twitter.

Ken L.
6 years ago

@Auntie
“the 4 times” thing made me really laugh just now because I thought being that the AVFM budget is somewhere between nothing and the change they found in the sofa, the kids selling lemonade in front of their house have 2 times AVFM budget.

Save The Queen
Save The Queen
6 years ago

@Ken S.

“God, help me, not only do I have to help fight injustice in general but I have to now redeem my favorite head wear this fedora thing blows me mind. I had no idea that it was linked with MRAs. this is like finding out about hipsters and mustaches. to be fair ti hipsters their to ironic to hate anything. I wear fedoras and have a mustache because I want to since i was little, not to be identified with some movement. in even in the smallest most unimportant ways, the MRM can ruin everybody’s fun.”

I too has a sad that fedoras have become synonymous with these types of groups. My son and I love wearing fedoras. Time to take them back!

YoullNeverGuess
YoullNeverGuess
6 years ago

Signal boost for Auntie Alias’s link on Farrell blaming Elliot Rogers’s mother. Remember that this is the intellectual heavyweight of the MRM, such as it is, and its most compassionate face. It’s disgusting:

http://animalnewyork.com/2014/mens-rights-speaker-discusses-mothers-mass-murderers-responsible-mass-murders/

He got called out on Rogers specifically, but I’m curious to know if what he said is even true more broadly. I seem to recall a lot of school shooters coming from middle-class, two parent homes. I haven’t seen any kind of formalized study, though.

Toddles Manboob, esq.
Toddles Manboob, esq.
6 years ago

Apologies if I missed something and am totally off mark, I don’t have time to read through all of this and the last few days’ stuff yet, but a thought/hypothesis I’m having about the camera guy and the hairy arm-stroking guy:

It seems like Elam et al. may have had some degree of success in selling the idea that this conference, and their group/movement generally, really is something other than rampant anti-feminism, and as a result have attracted some men who aren’t the usual angry conspiracy-theorist misogynists. Unfortunately for them, what that “something other” seems to be getting interpreted as is some sort of combination support group and social club for, for lack of a better way of putting it, lonely dudes. I’m sure A Voice For (Human) Men will be thrilled, or will pretend to be, at the presence of anyone not already in their cult, but the newcomers they’re getting aren’t, like, ‘regular joe’ types open to being convinced by the rhetoric. The attempt at a ‘kinder, gentler’ (re)branding for this conference seems to have somewhat inadvertently attracted a new audience of odd, lonely, troubled guys drawn in more by the promise of acceptance than anything else. If it ends up being anything other than a small minority of anomalous oddballs it should be interesting to see how this might affect the culture of the manosphere. Are we going to see something like a rash of AVFM forums bans for people who get off topic by constantly trying to bring the discussion around to something like their collection of photographs of fire alarms?

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I hope so.

Save The Queen
Save The Queen
6 years ago

Sorry, I got your name wrong Ken. I’m not so good at this reading thing today. Too much time staring at a computer screen at work lately.

estraven
estraven
6 years ago

This is totally off topic, but having had Detroit as ground zero for the MRAs, I just wanted to say that in two weeks hubby and i will be attending Netroots Nation in that city, seeing people like Elizabeth Warren giving a keynote speech and such. The conference will be at Cobo Hall. Spouse and I are looking forward to dinner in Greektown, riding the People Mover, and walking the riverfront, as well as seeing inspiring panels and participating in workshops. (If you don’t know, Netroots Nation is the annual convention for people who are members of The Daily Kos community on the intertubes.) This just may cleanse the city of the recent evil!

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

@Toddles Manboob, esq.

I honestly figured they’d sold so few tickets that they were handing them out for free to random strangers just to fill the hall. That might not be the case with the creepy dude, though, since it sounded like he was from out of town.

I was rather surprised when someone argued with Farrell about Elliot Rodger’s father. Rather impertinent of him to question the grand-pappy of the MRM!

LBT
LBT
6 years ago

Am I the only person who’s actually really creeped out by that “Kiss Abuse Goodbye” chapstick? I don’t know, it just seems so… flippant.

WatermelonSugar
WatermelonSugar
6 years ago

@LBT
I think it’s pretty creepy, too. And I find I ironic that the woman who spent most of her lecture talking about how the vanity of women is destroying men gave out a beauty product as a token.

Jimmy
Jimmy
6 years ago

That Honey Badger button says, “He wouldn’t care, that’s what!” and it’s just general Cafe Press merchandise. A friend of mine had one of those buttons a few years ago when everyone was so taken by the Youtube video that put honey badgers in the limelight for a while. Meaning the animal, not those confusing women.

tiko72
tiko72
6 years ago

Hello,very long time lurker and nearly new commenter here.
I think I know what that necklace thingy is supposed to be.It’s a symbol of the fucked up disorganised mess that is the men’s rights movement.

Robert
Robert
6 years ago

There’s an old saw among Social Justice Warriors that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Couple it with laughter, and there’s not a lot cheesemites like Elam and Co. can do to counteract it. It seems clear that the more people hear about what the MHRM is about, the less influence they have.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Robert — it really is though, and thank you for reminding me to go stir the last of the fish tank stuff that’s being sunlight’ed and see if it can come back inside!

Tiko72 — hi! I’m sure a welcome package will be by shortly, I think there might be one in the last page even 🙂 That aside, your theory is as good as any at this point!

“I was rather surprised when someone argued with Farrell about Elliot Rodger’s father. Rather impertinent of him to question the grand-pappy of the MRM!”

Yeah my brain basically went “huh? Questioning if the mother’s to blame?” And then I realized that dude might’ve been trying to say that Rodger’s father kicking him out was harmful (possible) but then that’d be blaming a man!!!1!!1!1!!111!!

Horrid views aside, Farrell is far from an impressive orator.

Ken L.
6 years ago

@Save The Queen

no worries my friend

tiko72
tiko72
6 years ago

Thanks Argenti Aertheri
I’m hoping to be a bit more confident and start commenting more.

thebewilderness
6 years ago

I can’t quite put my finger on just what it is that is creeping me out, but jared stinks of socks to me.

Gunter
Gunter
6 years ago

I think I know what that necklace thingy is supposed to be.It’s a symbol of the fucked up disorganised mess that is the men’s rights movement.

Took the words right out of my brain! Seriously, it’s like they’re trying their hardest to be so confusing and bizarre that anyone outside their strange little movement just gives up trying to reason with them. And DarkHoreSwore’s commentary is excellent, but it makes me shrivel up and die inside. SO MUCH CREEPY. The elderly photographer being a creepbeast with “Blurred Lines” possibly still playing in the background is the crowning moment of gross for me.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

@ thebewilderness

Or of something, anyway, which is why I’m not engaging.

Gunter
Gunter
6 years ago

*horse! Not “hore.” Though in the context of dealing with the MRM, the typo is slightly amusing.

Robert Ramirez
Robert Ramirez
6 years ago

@jared

I don’t think AVfM is dangerous at all. Just get a load of the person they selected as their PR representative. They are too inept and ridiculous to be dangerous. I mean seriously get a look at the person they selected for their PR management.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

@bewilderness

I don’t know what to say, so I withdrew.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

@tiko72

Good eye!

@Gunter

I like how a honey badger (TB, I assume) acted as if it’s super-edgy and rebellious to like the second biggest hit song of 2013. That’s so honey badger (AVfM edition).

smiling, she explained the consent-questioning song was a favorite of hers and was part of last night’s karaoke.

::several gasps:: She doesn’t fear North America’s all-powerful Feminist Overlords!?! Such bravery. ::even more gasps::