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Are Men's Rights Activists incapable of understanding irony — or are they just pretending?

You can buy your own Misogyny Bunch pillow for only $19.19 at the A Voice for Men store.
Goodnight, Paul! You can buy your own Misogyny Bunch pillow for only $19.19 at A Voice for Men’s Red Pill store.

Let me take a moment to ignore my regular readers and speak directly to the Men’s Rights Activists who might be reading this blog. I suspect there are a few.

What I would like to talk to you about it ironic humor. Because, here’s the thing, sometimes people say things they don’t actually believe in order to make a little fun at the way other people see them.

When a feminist writer posts a picture of herself wearing a shirt that says “I bathe in male tears,” noting that the picture is directed at the haters who leave nasty comments on everything she writes, she is not actually announcing that she, literally or metaphorically, bathes in male tears. Nor is she saying anything about the vast, overwhelming majority of men. She is saying “fuck you, I’m on vacation” to a small subset of men. That is, those who leave nasty comments on everything she writes. You know, like she explicitly stated she was doing.

I point out what seems to me patently obvious because so many men in the so-called Men’s Rights movement continue to pretend that somehow Jessica Valenti has launched a war against all the good and honest men of the world by wearing a t-shirt that she knew might annoy a teensy tiny fraction of the douchiest of men. And when people point out that she was making an ironic joke, these dudes react as though they’ve never heard of ironic humor.

This isn’t the first time MRAs seem to have had trouble getting ironic humor. In 2012, A Voice for Men launched a campaign of defamation against a college student inspired in large part by a joke she made on Twitter declaring that her political position was “kill all men hail satan.”  AVFM’s Paul Elam presented this as proof that the young woman “hate[s] men [and] want[s] them dead or silenced or marginalized or ignored.” Not as the joke it obviously was.

But the thing is, MRAs do know what ironic humor is. Because they indulge in it themselves, all the time.

Over on AVFM, for example, the regulars jokingly refer to themselves as “kitten eaters,” presumably in an attempt to mock what they think people like me think of them.

Now, as you all presumably have figured out, I happen to be a giant fan of cats young and old, regardless of their beliefs. But I don’t for a second think that the assholes at A Voice for Men, despite being some of the worst human beings I’ve ever encountered, actually eat kittens.

I recognize that they are making a joke, albeit a poor one. Because, here’s the thing: I live in the real world, and I can distinguish between things meant seriously and things meant as a joke.

And I think most of those who continue to rail against Valenti and her eeeeevil t-shirt can tell the difference, too. They just choose not to, because they’re not looking for a reason to attack Valenti. They’re looking for an excuse.

Now, is it possible that things meant as ironic jokes can sometimes contain a kernel of truth? Well, yes, but there is no evidence that this is the case with Valenti. There’s no evidence at all that she hates men. None. Zero. Sure, she admits to being less than fond of a few men who are assholes, but that’s because they’re assholes, not because they’re men.

Indeed, in one recent column, she wrote this:

I have the most amazing men in my life. My father, who bought me chemistry sets and robots for every tea set or doll. My husband, an incredible feminist who is an equal partner in parenting and the home. My male friends, who believe that gender justice is important and worth fighting for. I don’t have a hard time finding these amazing men because – shockingly – most men are pretty cool guys.

In another recent column, she stood up for male victim of sexual blackmail online, reminding her readers that “it’s still revenge porn when the victim is a man and the picture is of his penis.”

I know, you can just SMELL THE HATRED there.

But there are some people, I will admit, who don’t do quite so well with their attempts at ironic humor. Ironically, the first people who come to mind are amongst those who profess to be the most shocked, shocked by Valenti’s t-shirt. I speak, of course, of the Misogyny Bunch over at A Voice for Men.

That picture at the top of this post? I didn’t photoshop it. Nor did I come up with that little nickname. They did. Indeed, on their online store, AVFM sells not only pillows but t-shirts, mugs, tote bags and even playing cards emblazoned with the catchphrase. No, really:

misogynybunchcards

Yes, that’s right, the guys (and gals) who are railing against Valenti’s allegedly misandrous t-shirt sell not only t-shirts but also playing cards declaring themselves misogynists.

This shouldn’t be that much of a surprise, given that the head of this little bunch, Paul Elam, posted on YouTube for years as The Happy Misogynist; he posts under his own name now, but TheHappyMisogynist is still part of the URL.

Oh, but it’s an ironic joke! They’re not really misogynists!

Well, except that they kinda are. Well, more than kinda. Unlike in the case of Valenti, there is ample evidence of real, honest-to-goodness hatred coming from this bunch. Ironically, the shirts they intend as ironic jokes aren’t ironic at all.

Proof? Look at my archives. (Well, skip those posts at the top about commemorative plates and coins.) Look at this collection of quotes from Elam – or maybe just the story he published, or the posts he’s written, offering justifications for men to beat their partners. Go to A Voice for Men and type in your favorite anti-woman slur and see just how many articles have featured those slurs, almost always in highly unironic ways. Oh, ok, I’ll do it for you: Bitch, Slut, Slattern, Whore, C*nt. My favorite one in that last group starts off memorably:

Women are facing a very real and grave problem in our culture: They are obnoxious c*nts.

Needless to say, there is no asterisk in the original.

While Valenti describes “most men” as “pretty cool guys,” Elam once suggested that

feminism, consumer products, psychology, media, advertising, politics and social custom [have] all merged into one Great Big Bitch Machine … [T]he modern female psyche is nothing more than a product of that machine … .

Last Father’s Day, Valenti wrote proudly about her feminist father. One recent Mothers Day, Elam suggested that mothers should

Place a bunch of daffodils at a dumpster near you, perhaps one in which one of you, or one of your kind, has tossed an unwanted baby, leaving it there to slowly die alone in a pile of trash.

Perhaps you could lay a single rose at the base of a bridge that has been used by a mother to throw her baby into an icy river. Perhaps you can lay it there with hands that have beaten or shaken a baby to death.

You get the idea.

There’s nothing ironic, or even particularly happy, about this man’s “happy misogyny.”

Irony, you’re doing it wrong.

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Bina
Bina
7 years ago

Yeah.. no one here called her “crazy.” We call people boring, dumb, obtuse, jerks, assholes but not “crazy.”

Aaaack! Another two-dotter! It’s spreading! Must…find…kitties…

Ken L.
7 years ago

What I meant to say she is crazy like that guy eating candles to set a record. in other word not crazy at all just really stupid.

kittehserf MOD
kittehserf MOD
7 years ago

dustedeste, not bothered, just thinking the term (which I don’t much like either) wasn’t that loaded. Well, except in as far as everything the uber-traditionalists say is loaded. 😛 I agree with Ken, they wouldn’t have been talking about any of that Ebil Pervy Stuff that isn’t heterosexual monogamy (or probably monotony, in their cases).

pallygirl
pallygirl
7 years ago

So, can I find someone who will bet against me that IB will turn up on the next post, spouting BS, and then run back to her blog and write another post disparaging us?

kittehserf MOD
kittehserf MOD
7 years ago

Ken, yeah, just stick to stupid. Crazy’s not really okay here.

KITTIEEEES

Cole’s first Christmas!

http://youtu.be/nRIPjg-huTM

kittehserf MOD
kittehserf MOD
7 years ago

pallygirl, no way, that’s a sucker’s bet!

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

If it fits, Maru sits…and so does Hana! And sometimes, they do so on top of one another.

Take that, two-dot monster!!!

brooked
7 years ago

There are many people who found the MRM through your website. Dean Esmay for example. You are a great source of advertising for us. Hell we should consider donating to this site. Maybe some of us do.

You should definitely donate, Paypal button on the left.

I didn’t know David distracted Esmay from spreading lies about HIV/AIDS and intelligent design, inspiring him to misrepresent feminism instead. I wonder what would happened if Jenny McCarthy got to Dean first, assuming Esmay didn’t already have an anti-vac phase.

redpoppy
redpoppy
7 years ago

Bina, I had no idea I used two dots! I guess I’ll need more kitties to cure of said illness. =3

Ken L.
7 years ago

@kittehserf

Yeah I know. I was try to making a joke pointing out how many people use crazy when they mean stupid.

redpoppy
redpoppy
7 years ago

*me

brooked
7 years ago

The Paypal button is technically on right, or as I like to call it, the other left.

redpoppy
redpoppy
7 years ago

KenL, I see a lot of people use “crazy” for not just stupid, but also for someone who did something genuinely vile or terrible. Which is why it’s good we don’t use and ableist term. I suffer from mental illness and I most certainly do not wish to be thought of as vile. Unless I do something vile, I’m not vile. But I get what you mean. It’s a term we all grew up using. Old habits die hard.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Whew, kitty videos. Urge to double punctuate fading.

pallygirl: that’s a sucker bet. I hope she comes back, trollsplodes, and writes a giant mixed word salad. I’ll make popcorn.

redpoppy
redpoppy
7 years ago

*don’t use ableist terms here. Dammit. On a roll tonight.

dustedeste
dustedeste
7 years ago

Oh, I 100% agree that it’s completely irrelevant in relation to the people who were using it, and I also agree that it’s not, at all, a big deal. It just struck me, as I was reading, that although I am all for what those people seem to mean by “sexual democracy,” I don’t actually think it’s all that good a description of that ideal that they’re decrying.

pallygirl
pallygirl
7 years ago

Will the popcorn be buttered, be caramelled, or be icing sugared?

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

Speaking of Christian patriarchy, Michelle Duggar recorded a robocall to try and turn people against a proposed civil rights law in Fayetteville, AR that would allow (among other things) trans people to use the public restrooms that match their gender identity. http://roygbiv.jezebel.com/michelle-duggars-robocall-compares-trans-women-to-child-1624257036/all

Content note: Transmisogyny

She called trans women men who wanted access to women’s restrooms in order to prey on women and girls.

I’m so tired of liberals who watch the Duggars because they think they’re a kooky but sweet and fun family. They endorsed Rick Santorum for president, they are associated with Bill Gothard and now this? Fuck them. People need to stop making excuses for their bullshit just because TLC edits out a lot of their worldviews.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

The popcorn will be buttered. Real butter.

Ken L.
7 years ago

@redpoppy

I’m mentally ill too. However , I meant no harm to you or anyone and do apologies, also I already no not to use ableist terms.it was a joke clearly if I really had meant to change my mind I would have just wrote she stupid and not used an ellipsis.

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

Bina, I had no idea I used two dots! I guess I’ll need more kitties to cure of said illness. =3

Ask and ye shall receive…

(And on a side note, don’t you love Hana’s pretty little face?)

redpoppy
redpoppy
7 years ago

KenL, it’s ok I’m not mad. Was just saying. I know that you know they’re not ok terms here. 😛

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

I know I’ve probably said this before, but I love Maru so much. He reminds me of my beloved childhood cat. Whiskers was also fat and sassy and he had very similar coloring and markings.

Ken L.
7 years ago

@hellkell

It ought to be real butter if you got to sit through IB’s stupidity.

redpoppy
redpoppy
7 years ago

I love Maru. He’s one of the quirkiest cats I’ve ever seen. So much personality!

pallygirl
pallygirl
7 years ago

Yummm buttered popcorn.

Re that civil rights law in Fayetteville, I also didn’t realise that public restrooms were the key area where women and girls got sexually assaulted.

I don’t watch any of those shows. We have a Tivo like thing and I don’t know if what we record and watch is automatically used to give audience figures for shows. I refuse to record or have the TV on any channel where that type of shite show is shown, just in case.

We’ve almost given up on TV now, we tend to buy DVDs of shows we like and have marathon season watching sessions.

dustedeste
dustedeste
7 years ago

Maruuuuuu <3

But really I want to pet my friend Cam's kitten, Julian, who wakes him up by licking his teeth. What a weirdo.

But they're in Texaaaassssss, too far awaaaayyyyy.

redpoppy
redpoppy
7 years ago

pallygirl, same in our house. We have a big screen TV but we don’t cable or any extra channels at all. It costs too much and we really don’t like most of what’s on the TV. That being said, there have been some really great shows coming out these past few years. If I wanna watch them, I just use Netflix or the internet. No need to waste my money on the TEEVEES.

redpoppy
redpoppy
7 years ago

*don’t have cable….maybe I need a nap.

pallygirl
pallygirl
7 years ago

A catnap? 🙂

We don’t get Netflix in NZ. 🙁

brooked
7 years ago

Welcome to the slippery slope argument, where you ignore the “why” and “how” and pretend that one “what” leads to every other “what.” Paying taxes is fine? Then men should have control over women and prevent them from having jobs or voting, ya know, for their own good. Please enjoy your stay, and watch your step!

*crash*

Oh dear, bestiality is now legal.

I’m a few pages behind but I want to belatedly compliment Kirbywarp on this fanfuckingtastic slippery slope joke, the bestiality punch line is a thing of beauty. (Note, actual bestiality is not a thing of beauty.)

redpoppy
redpoppy
7 years ago

pallygirl, sorry I didn’t know you lived in NZ but as you said, DVDs are always available for purchase! And yes. I will need a catnap. I’m currently catless. Once we move I can have a kitty then. 🙁 SO LONELY

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

I’m so tired of liberals who watch the Duggars because they think they’re a kooky but sweet and fun family. They endorsed Rick Santorum for president, they are associated with Bill Gothard and now this? Fuck them. People need to stop making excuses for their bullshit just because TLC edits out a lot of their worldviews.

Amen to that. Those people are NOT cute. Maru is cute. Hana is cute. Kittehs are cute (even Sphynxes, who have got to be the weirdest looking cats in the history of ever). The Duggars are nothing but hatemongers in uniform dress and names that all start with the same damn letter. And they are a blight on what is already aptly known as the Idiot Box. Just reading their utterances makes me feel like someone forcibly shaved 50 IQ points off me. I do NOT want to see them given a televised platform any longer.

pallygirl
pallygirl
7 years ago

/hugs and virtual kitties to redpoppy.

Yeah, NZ IP addresses are blocked from using Netflix.

redpoppy
redpoppy
7 years ago

Also, Michelle Duggar (like the rest of that ugly circus) are a bunch of vile pieces of shit. Seriously, fuck her.

redpoppy
redpoppy
7 years ago

Thanks pallygirl! Soon I will have my own overlord!

sparky
sparky
7 years ago

Are the Duggers still tv? That’s…disappointing.

Shiraz
Shiraz
7 years ago

What the fuck is The Duggars?

I’m asking this even though I REALLY keep up with pop culture.

kittehserf MOD
kittehserf MOD
7 years ago

(And on a side note, don’t you love Hana’s pretty little face?)

Yep. She’s so like my Katie.

It ought to be real butter if you got to sit through IB’s stupidity.

Ken, so true! 😀

We can’t have kitty vids and leave out Shorty and Kodi.

http://youtu.be/M8uWG2icAbk

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

The Duggars are a family know for having 19 kids. They have a long running reality show on TLC. They’re part of that Christian patriarchy/Quiverfull movement. TLC edits out the more objectionable parts of their worldview like the misogyny, homophobia and now transphobia and focuses on the quirky stuff.

One good thing about the Duggar’s popularity is that it inspired the Free Jinger forums which are full of amazing snark. http://www.freejinger.org/forums/viewforum.php?f=8

Kim
Kim
7 years ago

I can’t believe I’m taking IB22 seriously enough to actually respond to her question but…

The difference between men “protecting” women against their will by not allowing them independence and the govt providing social safety nets is that the govt encourages people to support themselves. If they are capable of doing it, they work to support themselves and if they have big dreams they can follow them. If at any point the govt stops a person from that, it’s called oppression. Systematic oppression that prevents people from achieving, such as what POC face, is a bad thing. A lot of countries, on of which is the USA which you have a fixation on, have a philosophical goal of making oppression illegal.

The men’s protection racket on the other hand, insists on “protecting” women regardless of their ability or desires. Attempts at independence or following of dreams is punished as a matter of course. That’s called abuse.

In both instances, a person who needs it or wants it, being looked after/cared for by others is a good thing. In both instances, the “protector” forcing the other to be dependant is a bad thing.

It’s entirely possible that you understand all this, just you think all women need looking after. Which just shows you’re an arsehole who is incapable of grasping reality or facts.

pallygirl
pallygirl
7 years ago

Is it just called TLC now, and not by its full name, in recognition that it isn’t teaching anyone anything?

cloudiah
7 years ago

Wow, I was at a conference, and I see InanityBytes22 decided to respond-without-responding. I am torn. On the one hand, I enjoyed watching you all sharpen your teeth on her; on the other, I thought her attacks on LBT were really beyond the pale, and then running off to her own blog — well, let’s just say I was reminded of the way Paul Elam decided to change the rules to stack the deck in his favor when he was debating David. It’s cowardly.

I think at the least she deserves a challenge.

kittehserf MOD
kittehserf MOD
7 years ago

cloudiah, yeah, I agree. Drop the Dark Lord a line, maybe?

Kim, great comment.

Phoenician in a time of Romans
Phoenician in a time of Romans
7 years ago

The Duggars are a family know for having 19 kids.

Less pop culture and more pop ’em out culture…

kittehserf MOD
kittehserf MOD
7 years ago

Dammit Phoenician, I can’t afford a new keyboard right now!

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

I was going to find the Duggar endorsement of Rick Santorum for mocking purposes but YouTube, who knows me so well, recommended this delightful video depicting the misandry of the furinatti and I got distracted.

kittehserf MOD
kittehserf MOD
7 years ago

“Cats never complain about your cooking”

Oh yes they do!

😀

kittehserf MOD
kittehserf MOD
7 years ago

Look at this super-serious biffo between Cole and Marmalade on the castle ramparts.

http://youtu.be/vCD3y6zRAdo