Jessica Valenti – Guardian columnist, Feministing founder, non-man-hating feminist – has been fending off an unending torrent of harassment and abuse since she tweeted a picture of herself wearing an ironic t-shirt a couple of weeks ago.
Last weekend, a seemingly innocent tweet from her– asking her readers if they knew any countries that provided free tampons – set off yet another wave of abuse. Her question, and the cogent column she ultimately wrote on the subject, arguing that there are legitimate health concerns that justify government subsidies for tampons, inspired countless thoughtful comments from her critics. Like these:
@JessicaValenti If you're so worried abt tampon availability, maybe U need 2 stick a few fingers in UR you-know-what to stem the bleeding.
— #AVGeek SkzDaLimit (@SkzDalimit_II) August 8, 2014
These sorts of comments (and there were many more along these lines) are sadly typical of the sorts of things feminists – particularly those of the female variety – get whenever they happen to state their opinion about anything online. (If you click on the second one you can see the Tweeter defending his vagina remarks against assorted critics.)
But a reader pointed me to something, well, interesting about that second tweet: It came from a fellow named Adam McPhee, a self-professed “egalitarian” who just happens to be a board member, and the official spokesperson, for a group we’ve discussed here before: the Canadian Association For Equality (CAFE).
CAFE has won itself a certain notoriety in recent months. In May, you might recall, the group’s planned E-Day festival fell apart after its sponsors and some of the musicians scheduled to perform at it discovered that they had unwittingly signed on to a Men’s Rights event.
The group has also organized talks by antifeminist speakers, including the now-notorious appearance of Warren Farrell at the University of Toronto, which inspired some, well, let’s just call them counterproductive protests that we’ve been hearing about endlessly ever since.
But CAFE has been working hard to gain itself a bit of respectability. It somehow managed to win itself charity status from the Candadian government, and has raised money to start up some sort of men’s center. And it has been trying to distance itself from one formerly close ally, A Voice for Men.
Indeed, McPhee himself recently gave an interview to the Toronto Star in which he described AVFM’s harassment of some of those who protested Warren Farrell’s talk as “completely wrong.”
So it seems just a tad ironic, to say the least, to see McPhee happily harassing Jessica Valenti on Twitter.
PS: Adam, I agree with Jessica on that whole tampon thing. So feel free to Tweet me your thoughts about my gaping vagina.