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Lying as PR: AVFM's Janet Bloomfield libels Jessica Valenti — then brags about it

Janet Bloomfield, self-acknowledged liar
Janet Bloomfield, self-acknowledged liar

A Voice for Men’s “social media director” Janet Bloomfield is proving to be quite the innovator in the world of public relations. You may recall her cheeky approach to publicizing the recent AVFM conference, which involved awarding herself “whore points” for calling critics of AVFM “whores.”

Now she’s moved on to straight-up libel, making up fake quotes in order to make feminist writer Jessica Valenti look bad, and then bragging about it on her blog.

This whole sordid episode began several days ago when Valenti, on vacation, decided to send a message to “all the misogynist whiners in my feed today” in the form of a photo of her on a beach wearing a t-shirt saying “I bathe in male tears.”

The AVFM social media attack squad seized on this at once, with Bloomfield telling her followers, wrongly, that the picture had been posted in response to a question about male suicide. When Valenti corrected her on this point, Bloomfield offered a half-assed apology (“My bad”).

Then Bloomfield, demonstrating just how insincere her apology had been, decided to up the ante, concocting four “quotes” from thin air and attributing them to Valenti.

[EDIT: JB’s Twitter account was suspended, so here’s a screenshot of the tweets; I’ll keep the original links up in case she’s ever unsuspended, though that seems unlikely.]jbfakequotesTwitter

https://twitter.com/JudgyBitch1/status/495366752168329216

https://twitter.com/JudgyBitch1/status/495367262187302913

https://twitter.com/JudgyBitch1/status/495367996337295360

https://twitter.com/JudgyBitch1/status/495374177013346304

Naturally, as you’ll see if you follow any of these Tweets back to their original context on Twitter, many of Bloomfield’s fans assumed that these quotes were real.

Needless to say, some responded to Bloomfield’s dirty tricks with all-too predictable harassment of her target:

https://twitter.com/JessicaValenti/status/495559012449267713

https://twitter.com/JessicaValenti/status/495559068841680896

After brazenly libeling Valenti, Bloomfield went on to boast about it on her blog. In a post with the smug title “Jessica Valenti is not having a good day,” she wrote:

So when Jess posted that picture, I needed to goad her into replying to me directly so I wouldn’t violate Twitter’s spamming rules. I used Poe’s Law to attribute a few false but utterly plausible quotes to her, and sure enough, she replied.     Jess is not terribly smart.     Now Twitter is a little outraged at Jess’ callous indifference to the suffering of men and boys and she is catching a bit of hell. Predictably, she is having a big victim party and sulking.  It was just a joke, after all.

Now, these fake quotes may have been “utterly plausible” only to those who are ignorant of Valenti’s work, but in the hothouse world of the Men’s Rights movement there are people who would probably believe that Valenti eats babies. As I noted, JB’s followers had no trouble believing them.

Later in the post Bloomfield added, with more than a hint of maliciousness:

Jess is not having a good day, and it looks like it will be getting worse before it gets better.     Much worse.     Awwww. Too bad, Jess. Sucks to be a grown-up and have to own your shit, doesn’t it?

It’s not clear how having made-up quotes attributed to you counts as “owning your shit,” but I guess I just don’t understand Bloomfield’s higher morality.

Needless to say, in the real world, deliberately publishing false information about someone in order to harm their reputation is libel.

When confronted with this on Twitter, Bloomfield offered some inventive excuses:

Later on she attempted to prove that her libelous fake Valenti quotes didn’t matter … by making up things about me:

https://twitter.com/JudgyBitch1/status/495684048237633536

As I noted,

Of course, I’m no lawyer. I can only hope that some people who are lawyers are taking a good hard look at Bloomfield’s lies.

I would encourage you all to screenshot or otherwise archive Bloomfield’s self-incriminatory blog post, as well as her tweets, just in case she decides to talk to a lawyer and take them all down.

At this point, I think it’s probably safe to assume that anything and everything anyone from AVFM says should be taken not with a grain but with an entire shaker of salt.

 

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cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

It’s that time again! Place your bets for today’s edition of “name that sock”.

titianblue
titianblue
6 years ago

You do realize that evolutionary biology and evo-psyche is not the same thing? Sexual dimorphism is part of evolutionary biology. Please explain to me why men are larger, stronger and more muscular than women. Is it because of patriarchy and socialized gender roles or is it because of evolution? If you agree that it is because of evolution you must agree that men and women have faced different adaptive problems, being physically strong has simply been much more crucial for men in order to survive and reproduce than for females. If that was never the case the difference would not exist. Otherwise I would love to hear from you why men are the larger and physically stronger sex. Please give me your explanation.

Oh good, another troll that does not understand evolutionary biology.

Linda Wong
Linda Wong
6 years ago

The fact that todays feminists deny sexual selection and sexual dimorphism in humans is the reason the disciplines of women’s and gender studies are all laughed at and scoffed at by scientists in the natural sciences.

Nathan Hevenstone
6 years ago
Reply to  Linda Wong

sexual assault includes an unwelcomed pat on the back.

Said no feminist ever.

Also…

https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/172837.pdf

And further…

You do realize that evolutionary biology and evo-psyche is not the same thing?

INCORRECT! I’m taking a class on Evo-Psych this semester, as it’s likely Evo-Psych will have to be part of my studies on fanaticism.

Evo-Psych, or Evolutionary Psychology, is the synthesis of Evolutionary Biology and Psychology.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

I don’t care whose sock it is, I just want to see it laundered. With lots of bleach.

And yeah, big brave men these guys are, hiding behind the skirts of women. Some of whom might just be female pseudonyms for themselves, by the smell of things.

Anarchonist
Anarchonist
6 years ago

Wow. Is Janet Bloomfield still under the impression that all publicity is good publicity?* It really, really, really isn’t. Taking a condescending attitude and claiming satire when called out on a horrible piece of writing is not working for Paul Elam, and it’s not working for her.

You do realize that “male tears” refers to all males including males who have committed suicide no?

Again with the semantics. “Male tears” is not meant in earnest. Feminists are not against men crying; quite on the contrary, men bottling up their emotions (except rage) is part of the violent macho male image, which is not a feminist, but a conservative male ideal (see below).

As a pretty loose rule, “male tears” (or, sometimes, “man tears”) is used as a response to an entitled misogynist whining about his loss of privilege. One example of this could be “Men are not allowed to talk to women on the street without being called rapists or sexual harassers!” (translation: “My privilege to creep on and harass women and generally make them uncomfortable is more important than the right of women to feel safe in public spaces, and even though catcalling and the like are not illegal activities per se, you’re still being mean for pointing out that I’m acting like an asshole when I engage in said activities”).

Unlike “hysterical”, which is used in response to any emotion a woman may show at any given time, “male tears” is a counter to the entitled, ignorant rantings of misogynist asshats who take an unhealthy amount of pride in their male privilege.

Is the phrase provocative? I suppose. Should it be clearer? Not really. “Male” and “manly” are generally positive attributes in social discourse (just compare the blatantly positive “manly tears”), and assigning “male” as a prefix is not attacking the vulnerable. Men, as a group, are not belittled or silenced in our patriarchal society, so claiming it’s “just as bad” as MRAs talking about “female tears” is completely ignoring unequal social institutions, not to mention the implications of misogynists stating that they’re enjoying the misery of women.

Before any additional accusations of imagined institutional oppression (AKA misandry) are made: The macho ideal is not a form of institutional discrimination against men, but a result of the fucked-up social ideal of what a man is supposed to be. An ideal that, incidentally, seems to be what many MRAs embrace. Not that surprising, given that many of them identify as politically conservative. A man who does not fit into the traditional male role is not represented by the MRM. I’m always amused to read about MRAs conflicted about what to blame feminism for: the unhealthy, toxic macho male ideal, or the more modern, emotional, “wimpy” liberal male. It’s almost as if they can find a woman to blame for everything they think is wrong with society.

tl;dr: Assigning the “male” prefix to something is not belittling, since “male” is considered a positive quality in our patriarchal society.

*Here I would normally go off on a tangent about how the opportunistic and ego-centered qualities of the capitalist mindset destroys what little common sense an otherwise merely silly human being might have, but not today.

marinerachel
6 years ago

Lol, of course it does, Linda, and no one expects you to back up your ridonk assertions like an unwelcome pat on the back is sexual assault (it’s not – a slap on the ass or kiss or a grope of the breast or crotch and many far more overtly sexual acts that are unwanted do but great job dismissing the assaults of literally millions of people as unwelcome pats on the back – that’s EXACTLY what happened when I was fondled by my great uncle at eleven, you are so smart it kills me) with evidential support. That’s only the responsibility of those spoonfeeding you!

Linda Wong
Linda Wong
6 years ago

“Oh good, another troll that does not understand evolutionary biology.”

Well explain sexual dimorphism in humans for me then. Why are men larger and physically stronger than women. I’m eager to hear your explanation.

Linda Wong
Linda Wong
6 years ago

marinerachel

You are doing a disservice by conflating rape with sexual assault. those are not the same thing.

sparky
sparky
6 years ago

What the hell does sexual dimorphism have to do with JB libeling Jessica Valenti?

Linda Wong
Linda Wong
6 years ago

It’s fucking hilarious that here noone seems to be able to give an alternative explanation of sexual dimorphism in humans. I say it has to do with higher variance in reproductive succes and thus higher intrasexual competition in males. If you deny that, please offer me your scientific explanation? Is it because of socialized gender roles that men are more muscular?

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

You’d think it would be entertaining to watch someone having an argument with themselves, but sadly this does not appear to be the case,

Nathan Hevenstone
6 years ago
Reply to  Linda Wong

Well explain sexual dimorphism in humans for me then. Why are men larger and physically stronger than women.

The point is why does it fucking matter at all? We are humans. We have evolved to a point where we can ignore that shit. Because it has also been used to justify racism, thank you very much… and homophobia, and transphobia, and xenophobia, and so on.

The point is that maybe you should stop using evolutionary biology to justify inequality. You aren’t wrong about sexual dimorphism. You are wrong in your application of it and your insistence that it matters.

It doesn’t. Not for humans. Not anymore.

Linda Wong
Linda Wong
6 years ago

sparky

It hasn’t, but it sure as hell has a lot to do with whiny feminists whining about discrimination whenever there is any inequality of outcome. Equal outcome is not to be expected in a sexually dimorphic species.

titianblue
titianblue
6 years ago

It’s fucking hilarious that here noone seems to be able to give an alternative explanation of sexual dimorphism in humans.

that’s because we’re ignoring your unfounded claims, fool. Your ignorance of biology is so absurd that so far noone can be arsed to correct you.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

Sexual assault, defined. You will notice that “unwelcomed pats on the back” do not figure ANYWHERE in that. Take all the time you need to read it closely, Linda.

Sexual dimorphism, partially explained. Although quite honestly, what this has to do with “sexism good, feminism eeeeeevil” is beyond me. Why so invested in it, Linda…do you have trouble opening pickle jars? Because if that’s all it is, then you should know that tapping the edge of the lid with the handle of a butter knife is usually enough to dislodge the seal.

Now fuck off, Linda. Or at least, invent a few fresh talking points instead of repeating the same old stale shit, eh?

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

@Linda:

The fact that todays feminists deny sexual selection and sexual dimorphism in humans is the reason the disciplines of women’s and gender studies are all laughed at and scoffed at by scientists in the natural sciences.

Follow the links around in this forum. Not only do scientists in the natural sciences “not” scoff at the feminist conception of gender (notably not a denial of sexual selection or observed dimorphism), but they actually find evidence of a whole variety of weird and exciting things related to gender all across the animal kingdom.

There are butterflies that are half female, half male. Divided lengthwise. Left half male, right half female.

Non-scientists who assume the science agree with them scoff at feminists. Actual scientists continually find that gender is not simple, and continually find evidence justifying the feminist conception of gender, whether it is finding direct evidence of transsexual brain differences, or noting all the wacky and wonderful ways genotypes and phenotypes don’t simply down to “xx = female, xy = male.”

Do some dang research.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

Dang, borked a link close. My commenting godhood has been removed. Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten that hair-cut.

Linda Wong
Linda Wong
6 years ago

Nathan,

I see that you have zero scientific arguments. So you do concede that scientifically I’m correct?

And no we haven’t evolved past that shit, it’s a ridiculous claim. Just open your eyes and look at the world and you will understand that we haven’t. The idea that we can socialize men into behaving like women and vice verse is as absurd as the idea that we can socialize homosexuals into becoming heterosexuals.

titianblue
titianblue
6 years ago

M

The idea that we can socialize men into behaving like women and vice verse is as absurd as the idea that we can socialize homosexuals into becoming heterosexuals.

</blockquote?

"Let's socialise men into behaving like women" said no feminist ever!

sparky
sparky
6 years ago

Well, then Linda, you’re wildly off-topic and talking your ass.

You sure are flailing around for anything to take the focus off of JB’s lying about someone to make them look bad and then admitting that on her blog.

titianblue
titianblue
6 years ago

All hail the blockquote mammoth

Nathan Hevenstone
6 years ago

The idea that we can socialize men into behaving like women and vice verse

I… don’t even know what this means…

Howard Bannister
6 years ago

Sorry, I want to go back to “I used Poe’s Law to attribute a few false but utterly plausible quotes to her.”

I mean, in a world full of really, really stupid statements, that one stands out as, well, really, really stupid.

Poe’s Law is an observation that satire is hard to distinguish from genuine hate. Making up things (that aren’t really all that plausible’ and attributing them falsely–notice, right there, she just outright admits to false attribution?

So she’s deliberately trying to create plausible quotes to convince people Valenti said it.

That’s the meaning of the words she just used.

The literal meaning of the words she just used.

And pretty well the definition of libel. Knowingly making false attributions? That you thought a reasonable person could construe as being true?

It’s beyond mind-boggling.

bunnybunny
bunnybunny
6 years ago

Is it because of socialized gender roles that men are more muscular?

So why does a larger percentage of muscle in men mean women should not be CEOs? It’s difficult to have an argument with someone who can’t stop extrapolating physical realities to cognitive capabilities.

Linda Wong
Linda Wong
6 years ago

Bina,

her you have a more elaborated and complete explanation of sexual dimorphism in humans http://arxiv.org/pdf/1203.6231.pdf

marinerachel
6 years ago

What’s your educational and professional background, Linda? Just wondering where you get your understanding of evolution from. Because what you’re spouting is simplistic and therefore believable to someone lacking knowledge of evolution and animal behaviour.

I’m running through my head all the examples of species where one sex is bigger and stronger. Lots of them aren’t species that engage in violence or warfare. There are a billion and four reasons one sex is bigger and stronger than the other. “So they can take bigger physical risks” is not the answer most of the time.

People make the same mistake when looking at longevity in humans. The assumption men live (like, 5%) shorter lives than women MUST be because there’s no male-centred medicine is another great example of simplistic thinking by know-nothings with a chip on their shoulder. I can think of a bunch of species in which one sex lives a MUCH shorter life than the other, like, half that of the other. Neither the females nor the males receive healthcare throughout their lives though because they’re wild fucking animals. There are a whole bunch of reasons one sex will lives a shorter life than the other. There’s no need to be lazy and assume the one true answer when animal behaviour and ecology and biology are so much more complex. Unless you have an axe to grind.

It’s OK to not know what you’re talking about. I don’t on lots of subjects but I tend to admit I don’t know what I’m talking about instead of remaining convinced I do and lecturing people about something I’m certain about for no other reason than it sounds plausible and I have great self-confidence.

Ally S
6 years ago

@Linda Wong

Biological sex is a social construct, so any research on sexual dimorphism is pretty much doomed to be inaccurate and methodologically bankrupt. You haven’t proven shit.

Xanthë
6 years ago

In case you’re wondering… yes, Twitter does very nice image embedding, and that is a reply to our troll du jour Linda.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

Judgy Bitch is confusing Karl Rove for Poe. Rove’s Law claims that if you keep repeating lies, they become truth.

For other examples of Rove’s Law on this thread, see “Linda Wong”.

Linda Wong
Linda Wong
6 years ago

Bunnybunny

because men developed larger muscle mass in order to compete for status and domination. The fact that in todays society we don’t use muscle mass in order to fight for status and domination doesn’t mean that men still are much more inclined and more willing to make sacrifices and take risks in order to gain positions of status and dominance.

titianblue
titianblue
6 years ago

Is it because of socialized gender roles that men are more muscular?

Actually, in modern western society, yes to a considerable extent it is. The socially conditioned standards of attractiveness mean that men are expected to be muscular and women are expected to be thin. In addition, changes in modern westernised society mean that women are no longer expected to do the amount of hard agriculture labour they did historically, and technology means that doing the laundry is not the muscular activity it once was (you should have seen my granny’s forearms after pounding sheets in a dolly tub as a teenager).

You are particularly dense, aren’t you?

Save The Queen
Save The Queen
6 years ago

“I’m not an MRA but I’m going to articulate and agree with every one of their talking points, and ask for citations on commonplace statistics..”

Lol evopsych..

“What about the menz? Menz have it worse than women” 🙁

Why Doesn’t MRA bingo have a “It was just satire” square”?

LInda’s working her way up to a nice diagonal. Keep it up! The prize is a banana.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

@Linda:

In case you missed my comment, I gave you links to read about science and sexual dimorphism on the previous page.

The idea that we can socialize men into behaving like women and vice verse is as absurd as the idea that we can socialize homosexuals into becoming heterosexuals.

No, what’s absurd is labeling things like the color pink or opening jars or wearing dresses as either manly or womanly. That we label “behavior” as manly or womanly, when clearly any gender could take on any behavior. The key point for you should be in noting that homosexuality is not a behavior. You can certainly socialize gay people to avoid gay sex and have straight sex, just look at history. The “behavior” can be modified (sometimes with tragic consequences), but the sexual preference can’t.

bunnybunny
bunnybunny
6 years ago

I’m running through my head all the examples of species where one sex is bigger and stronger. Lots of them aren’t species that engage in violence or warfare. There are a billion and four reasons one sex is bigger and stronger than the other. “So they can take bigger physical risks” is not the answer most of the time.

This. I was going to recommend a few of Stephen Jay Gould’s essays to Linda (Big Fish, Little Fish to start) but something tells me our troll is not going to be particularly receptive.

Ally S
6 years ago

Scientists can laugh all they want at people who “ignore” sexual dimorphism because of the social constructedness of biological sex, but all those scientists are doing is demonstrating how little they understand the discourses that shape their own scientific inquiry.

Howard Bannister
6 years ago

Also, see the first comment on this thread, which wasn’t visible initially.

She really does think there is no such thing as bad press.

Really.

Linda Wong
Linda Wong
6 years ago

marinerachel

You are aware of the fact that men have higher variance in reproductive success than women are you? You are aware that this is a factor that causes higher intrasexual competition? You are aware of the fact that higher intrasexual competition causes increased physical strength, increased bone density, increased risk taking and increased motivation for dominance and status?

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1203.6231.pdf

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Pretending not to be MRA trolls are the most tedious trolls of all.

marinerachel
6 years ago

Oh god, Linda, are you for real? You really think all sexual assault is mere unwanted back pats?

Rape IS sexual assault. Much sexual assault that ISN’T rape is every bit as harmful and portraying sexual assault as unwanted non-sexual touching is a fucking disservice. Thanks a fucking lot say every person to be sexually assaulted but not raped ever. Thank you so very much for tossing masturbating a child, sexual assault that isn’t rape, under the heading of an unwanted back pat, you brave, brave hero.

bunnybunny
bunnybunny
6 years ago

You are aware of the fact that higher intrasexual competition causes increased physical strength, increased bone density, increased risk taking and increased motivation for dominance and status?

No.

Omnicrom
Omnicrom
6 years ago

Linda Wong

I see you are dismissing the entirety of the effects of culture on people. Pro-tip: they’re massive. Infants are already in the midst of being taught cultural standards, baby boys and girls by the age of 2 have usually already been predisposed to like Blue/Pink. American culture is such that the standard assumption is that men will be competitive, take risks, and attain positions of status and dominance. The fact that there are men who are not competitive, do not like to take risks, and don’t choose to try and attain positions of status and dominance shows us that it is NOT a biological imperative.

Linda Wong
Linda Wong
6 years ago

titianblue

“Actually, in modern western society, yes to a considerable extent it is. The socially conditioned standards of attractiveness mean that men are expected to be muscular and women are expected to be thin.”

LOL!! So i guess that’s the reason why female athletes and bodybuilders take testosterone to increase their muscle mass, and socialized gender roles is the reason why the olympics are sexually segregated.

When will you ever stop denying reality?

maistrechat
6 years ago

You have yet to demonstrate that physical dimorphism has anything to do with anything at all. At this point you’re just throwing out a non-sequitur. You could use the exact same argument to justify discrimination against people with red hair, or brown eyes, or any other human physical trait. “People are not all identical” doesn’t justify discrimination.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

@Linda:

The fact that in todays society we don’t use muscle mass in order to fight for status and domination doesn’t mean that men still are much more inclined and more willing to make sacrifices and take risks in order to gain positions of status and dominance.

More socialized behavior. In Britain, there is (or was, not sure) a thing where men weren’t going to the doctor much, because they’d been socialized to view going to the doctor as weakness. That isn’t a thing as far as I’m aware in the US. Assuming men actually were “more willing to make sacrifices blah blah blah,” you’ll find it much easier to look towards society’s influence than the muscle mass of our ape ancestors.

It’s a nature vs nurture question, and we’ve only just cottoned on to how powerful nurture can be, due in part to the feminist movement.

Ally S
6 years ago

Hey Linda, what are your thoughts on transgender people?

Linda Wong
Linda Wong
6 years ago

“The fact that there are men who are not competitive, do not like to take risks, and don’t choose to try and attain positions of status and dominance shows us that it is NOT a biological imperative.”

This is as scientifically sound as saying that the fact that there are women with beard, deep voices and who are 6 feet tall shows us that those secondary sex characteristics are not a biological imperative.

Omnicrom
Omnicrom
6 years ago

Congratulations, you’ve demonstrated a physiological trait. Now explain how a physiological trait magically has more power than cultural forces, or why we should strive to assemble a society built entirely around said physiological trait.

eseldmorwenna
6 years ago

Linda,

Appealing to “sexual dimorphism” is a naturalistic fallacy. You can’t imply an ought from an is. You can’t say, “Men are bigger and stronger, therefore it’s ok that there is inequality in the world.” If you believe in equality, which is generally considered the ethical thing to do in nearly all modern forms of secular ethics, then it doesn’t matter that (cis) men and (cis) women have some varying secondary sexual characteristics.

About all you’re doing is trying to explain why there is inequality. That’s fucking great, but making descriptive claims about the differences between men and women isn’t a justification for why inequality should be accepted.

In other words, you quite literally fail at ethics with your nonsensical appeals to biology. You’ve demonstrating in no way why feminists (or anyone) should ignore the inequalities that exist simply by pointing out some biological features of human reproduction.