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A Voice for Men publishes an article so extreme and hateful that it makes even Paul Elam gag

Emma Watson: The woman who nearly destroyed A Voice for Men
Emma Watson: The woman who nearly destroyed A Voice for Men

Yesterday, A Voice for Men published an article so extreme, so hateful, so beyond the pale, that even Paul Elam, the site’s founder, was taken aback by it. Elam, who said he hadn’t read the article before other editors on the site posted it, claimed in a comment that when he finally did read it, it made him literally sick to his stomach.

Today, he took the extraordinary step – for AVFM – of taking down the article and offering an apology for publishing a piece so “counter to every aspect of our mission and values.” (It’s still up, for the time being, in Google cache; the original can also be found here.)

So what did this terrible, terrible article say? Brace yourself.

It said that Emma Watson’s recent United Nations speech on feminism … made some good points.

While the author of the piece, a tech dude turned “dating expert” named Jeb Kinnison, took the standard MRA swipes at the alleged evils of third-wave feminism, he argued that Watson’s version of feminism represented a kind of “equity feminism which is equally concerned with men’s rights.”

Then he described Watson as “very, very smart, and wise beyond her years … .”

I know, I know. Horrifying.

But that wasn’t even the worst part of Kinnison’s piece. In his conclusion, he actually suggested that

The smart and civilized aren’t spending their time nursing grievances based on sex, gender, race, or religion. If only the most intelligent voices were as amplified as the voices of ignorance and hate promoted by the grievance-mongering misandrists of third-wave feminism as well as insecure male misogynists.

Yes, that’s right: An article in AVFM actually acknowledged that some of those in the Men’s Rights ranks might actually be – gasp! – misogynists.

Naturally, such heresy could not stand. In the comments, a fight broke out between those who hated the article, and those who also hated it but felt that criticizing AVFM about anything was terrible and counterproductive and, hey, remember to donate to AVFM during the Fall Fundraiser!

In the former camp, the most outspoken critic was Nick Reading of Men’s Rights Edmonton, posting under the alias Eric Tiberius Duckman, who bluntly warned that

This article is disgraceful. If uncle Jeb here imparts any more of his mangina wisdom on AVFM, I’ll be seriously considering pulling my support and encouraging others to do likewise.

Elam was having none of this – very poor taste, especially during AVFM’s Fall Fundraiser! He responded to Reading’s threats to take his ball and go home with an indignant comment defending the editors who ran Kinnison’s piece and tearing into prodigal Nick:

[O]ur editors did their job and I am 100% supportive of that.

To be even more frank, even less appealing to me than this article is tantrums and ultimatums from readers attempting to exert editorial control by threatening to leave if they see content they don’t like.

Then apparently Elam decided that he didn’t support the editors 100% after all. In another comment, he declared that

This is the most overly generous, myopic interpretation of Watson’s speech I have seen, including feminist websites. It is literally embarrassing in its reductionist dismissal of issues unique to men and boys. …

I could write an entire article on what is wrong with this piece, but I am just too busy right now.

Throwing up.

Once he finished up with this, he took the piece down.

And AVFM’s Fall Fundraiser was saved!

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weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

There’s also locational factors that determine how easy it is to be an outspoken feminist. I live in a very liberal city so there’s no social punishment (at least not enough to be isolated) for me being a feminist, atheist, an anti-racism ally or LGBTQ ally. If I lived in the bible belt, it would be another story.

samantha
6 years ago
Reply to  dorabella

Yes, this. Totally agree. But, in my opinion, the solution should be to stop giving a damn if you sound bitchy angry and aggressive. I think we need to go towards a world where women accept the fact that men might find women bitchy and aggressive, and NOT CARE. If we keep raising women whose first and foremost goal is to be “nice”, we’re screwed.

Absolutely! It can be very difficult at first, since we are raised to deeply care and worry about what men think of us. When I was growing up, many girls were taught that it was our responsibility to guard the morals of both boys and ourselves! If a boy touched a girl, it was HER FAULT!!! And a girl who spoke out or was good at math and was smarter than the boys was an outcast who did not deserve love. So much for grade school in the southern US…shudder.

LBT
LBT
6 years ago

RE: lordpabu

What is it when men and their obsession with large things?

Hurr hurr. :B

RE: samantha

It can be very difficult at first, since we are raised to deeply care and worry about what men think of us.

No kidding! I’m a guy, but it is still so fucking hard to break that ‘nice’ conditioning in a lot of circumstances, since my kneejerk response is fear that I’ll get curbstomped and then blamed for it. Hell, even Kid’s Goon Spray, brought an instinctive, “What if I spritz an asshole and he escalates to violence?” reaction in me.

All this and it’s just some dude trying to sexually harass me! Eesh!

Amanda
Amanda
6 years ago

@Samantha – Same here. Back in eighth grade, there was a teacher who got fired for having an affair with one of his students. Rather than outrage over the teacher taking advantage of her, many of the students (both boys and girls) were outraged at the girl for “seducing” and ruining the reputation of a great teacher. She was THIRTEEN YEARS OLD!!! This boggled my mind at the time, and it still does today. Thank goodness my mom told me how wrong this way of thinking was, and in no way was the girl at fault.

Unfortunately, I must have internalized this, because when I was assaulted years later at a frat party my freshman year of college, I did not tell anyone. For years I felt I was to blame for being drunk there in the first place, and kept making excuses for the guy (he stopped short of rape, he’s probably a good guy who just had too much to drink, etc.). This is what upsets me so much about these men saying women are always making false sexual assault allegations for the hell of it – in reality, there are FAR more people who are assaulted but don’t come forward than people who are making it up. Thankfully, I no longer blame myself, and it is really disturbing to me when people try to make excuses for sexual assault. There IS no excuse.

katz
6 years ago

Yeah, I’m firmly in the “if being openly feminist makes a man think that I’m bitchy, aggressive, or whatever, I don’t give a shit” category, but the thing is a. everyone’s personality is different, and that may not feel right for some people and b. everyone’s situation is different, and I’m very well aware that there’s a whole lot of privilege underlying my ability not to care*.

Right — for instance, if you’re at work, your ability to not care if you sound bitchy is directly tied to your ability to not care if you lose your job.

Advice of the form “You should just not worry about the consequences!” (like this XKCD, for instance) always sounds good, but to me it screams privilege because it contains the unspoken corollary “…because the consequences aren’t going to be too bad.”

dorabella
dorabella
6 years ago

Yes, I understand what you all are saying. And of course I can understand that sometimes the consequences can be bad, and I would never shame somebody because they didn’t speak up, because their circumstances can be much worse than I can imagine.
I still think that there is too much pressure on women to be “nice”, to be “deal makers and not deal breakers”. I think that our society pressures everybody (and women in particular) into never say anything controversial, or stressful.

Nobody ever says “no”, for example, have you noticed?
“Do you want to come to the movies after work”
“well.. I have a lot of stuff to do… maybe some other time”.
What the heck is wrong with saying NO. It’s just a word.

We need to fight against this. I think this attitude is crippling women, it makes us vulnerable and it keeps us down.

Without shaming and blaming anybody, but we need to stop this.

Not blaming who cannot make themselves change their behaviour doesn’t mean that we should stop trying to change the way people think about these things. Exactly like not blaming who cannot leave an abusive partner does not mean that we should stop try to create a world where people do run away from abusive relationships more often than not.

I think we should try to help people understand that it’s ok to sound bitchy and aggressive, at times.

I have seen, personally, many cases where the inability to speak up was certainly not caused by terrifying consequences like losing your job, but just losing a certain “image”. The words “classy” and “lady” come to mind. A classy lady never says anything controversial.

Fuck this shit, like the stick man says. We need to stop passing on these ideas. Enough.

(And yes, I know that no one here passes on these ideas. It just drives me nuts.)

ryeash
6 years ago

https://twitter.com/weirdwoods/status/516622177807118337

The sockpuppets are back in force (when the hell is 4chan going to learn that anime pics/names and straw feminist arguments are dead giveaways? And they call us stupid…) So I figured I’d remind them of their utter transparency.

spukikitty
6 years ago
Reply to  samantha

Thanks. It should be memetic. “MPM” it is!

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
6 years ago

Saying no is dangerous. When they stop assaulting us for saying no I think it likely we will feel safe in saying it more often.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I feel like we have a just barely 101 level conversation attempting to impose itself on top of a much more nuanced, sophisticated conversation. It’s awkward, and I personally was finding the more nuanced conversation a lot more interesting (and, you know, actually relevant to people’s real lives).

LBT
LBT
6 years ago

You know, the whole “shake shit up and hang the consequences” thing? That’s why we have Kid. She was created in this system to be the gamechanger, the reality-breaker, the goer for the gold.

She was also created to be a huge trauma sponge. THIS IS NOT A COINCIDENCE.

It is also not a coincidence that she got killed at fifteen.

Kid is very, very handy to have around as a system member, but her way of interacting with the world is dangerous as hell. “Fuck the consequences” means no really, you have to accept you might end up raped or dead or homeless or whatever. Some of Mac’s church members say you never get sent traumas you can’t handle but. Aheh. HAHAHAHA. No.

It’s a risk/benefit analysis that I have run a lot of times. Our answers are weirder and weirder as we get weirder and weirder, but we still have to be careful. We have a 50% death rate in this system, and I’d really rather NOT have more peg dolls to add to Sneak’s system dead shrine.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

It also indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of what the problem is. The fact that women are punished in various ways for speaking out is not caused by women’s unwillingness to speak out. That is not what is happening, which is why urging more women to speak out, though a worthwhile thing in itself if the individual woman determines that to be a thing she wants to do in that situation, is not going to do a damn thing to address the underlying issue, or solve it.

Which is what makes this conversation frustrating for people who’re taking a more big picture view.

Aunt Edna
Aunt Edna
6 years ago

You may be interested to know that Jeb K. re-published his post on Watson at Just Four Guys with a hilariously amended ending designed to placate his displeased audience and regain favor with the manurespheric overlords (such as they are).

In the process of scrubbing the original to replace it with a more palatable, MRA-PC-approved version, Jeb inadvertently revealed the truth about both the tender spots of his primary audience, namely its insecurity (and denied misogyny), as well as his own character. To no one’s surprise, perhaps.

Here is the original ending:

“If only the most intelligent voices were as amplified as the voices of ignorance and hate promoted by the grievance-mongering misandrists of third-wave feminism as well as insecure male misogynists.”

And here is the amended one:

“Would that the most intelligent voices were as amplified as the voices of ignorance and fear promoted by the grievance-mongering misandrists of third-wave feminism, as well as the (small number of) true misogynists online.”

The new improved version also comes with a note from the author “explaining” (not really) the change.

And so the cookie crumbles… 😉

(Just Four Guys can be accessed via donotlink at WHTM “Misogyny Central” sidebar on the right.)

P.S. Hey, Jeb, if you are reading this: please explain to us what a *true* misogynist is and how it differs from its “untrue” version. Thanks in advance.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Jeb needs to dial the prose down a bit, it’s turning sorta purple.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
6 years ago

Is he suggesting that MRAs are false misogynists? They are not going to like that casting of aspersions.

kittehserf - MOD
kittehserf - MOD
6 years ago

Hell, even Kid’s Goon Spray, brought an instinctive, “What if I spritz an asshole and he escalates to violence?” reaction in me.

That’s the reaction it brought in me too, Rogan, even though it’s the sort of thing I’d love to do.

Nobody ever says “no”, for example, have you noticed?
“Do you want to come to the movies after work”
“well.. I have a lot of stuff to do… maybe some other time”.
What the heck is wrong with saying NO. It’s just a word.

dorabella, those are all NO. They’re soft noes, the noes men understand perfectly well, the noes women use partly because of conditioning and partly because there’s good reason to fear the consequenses of hard noes.

Thanks. It should be memetic. “MPM” it is!

For you, spukikitty. Not for the entire board, if you’d not noticed.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
6 years ago

They looked in to it and men understand all those ways of saying no. They just don’t care,
http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/mythcommunication-its-not-that-they-dont-understand-they-just-dont-like-the-answer/

katz
6 years ago

For you, spukikitty. Not for the entire board, if you’d not noticed.

There is no more surefire way to guarantee that something doesn’t catch on than to try to make it catch on.

emilygoddess - MOD
emilygoddess - MOD
6 years ago

“Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen”, etc.

katz
6 years ago

There’s something implicitly blamey in focusing on women’s ability to say “no” to men when nobody ever advocates being able to just say “no” to Aunt Ethel’s invitation to the church potluck. Not that the ability to directly say no to men wouldn’t be valuable (after all, Aunt Ethel won’t murder you), but what we really need is for men to respect our responses, regardless of how they’re phrased.

kittehserf - MOD
kittehserf - MOD
6 years ago

There is no more surefire way to guarantee that something doesn’t catch on than to try to make it catch on.

LOL ain’t that the truth!

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

Well, there is one more surefire way to go about it. Make it appealing to parents. That way it’s instantly uncool and the younger generation will avoid it like the plague.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
6 years ago

You will all be delighted to hear that the UN is forming a Heforshe boys club (men only) to meet and discuss what to do about the womens issues. I am imagining Emma Watson rolling her eyes and shaking her head.

Aunt Edna
Aunt Edna
6 years ago

And the soap opera continues over at Just Four Men where Dean Esmay himself weighs in with an apology of sorts for removing Kinnison’s outrageous piece from AVfM site:

“8 Dean Esmay says:
September 30, 2014 at 8:47 am

Mostly this all came down to me; the AVfM audience is constantly and relentlessly–and almost invariably wrongly–accused of “misogyny.” Jeb’s rewrite would have fixed that, but we jumped the gun and published the un-rewritten version.

The story of how that clusterfuck came to be is long but it comes down to this: we try to run as a professional publication on a shoestring budget, enthusiasm, and fumes, and sometimes at a breakneck pace. I was hot to get several pieces up at once and didn’t give enough care or thought to Jeb’s piece, which on its own makes good points but was framed wrong for our audience–which isn’t his fault, it’s mine.

I can make numerous excuses, but the bottom line is the piece completely unintentionally–repeat, COMPLETELY UNINTENTIONALLY–insulted our audience. It generated more heat than light as a result. I’ve apologized to Jeb privately about it, now I make that apology public.”

Such admirable, um, integrity — or what passes for it among (wrongly accused!) misogynists. (Fumes?)

Anyway, Jeb — still waiting for your explanation of the difference between “true” and untrue misogynists. Much obliged.

Aunt Edna
Aunt Edna
6 years ago

P.S. It is Just Four Guys, and not Just Four Men. Obviously.

Eh, fumes.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
6 years ago

Never stop fundraising and always be closing.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

P.S. Hey, Jeb, if you are reading this: please explain to us what a *true* misogynist is and how it differs from its “untrue” version. Thanks in advance.

And lo, it was very quiet; a forlorn breeze tumbled some tumbleweeds, and the song of the crickets was heard throughout the land.

GrumpyOldMan
6 years ago

For organizations like the MRA or the Tea Party, your red meat can never be too red. Apparently Esmay didn’t realize that.

Finisterre
Finisterre
6 years ago

Gosh. For a bunch of tools who love to tell women that they ‘don’t have a right not to be offended’, they sure were getting their y-fronts in a twist over that mild little rebuke!

strivingally
6 years ago

He was acknowledging that there are some insecure misogynists out there, that they get a disproportionate amount of attention, and that’s what caused AVfM to flip their shit?

Proposed new slogan – A Voice For Men: because anything that makes me feel slightly uncomfortable is MISANDRY

strivingally
6 years ago

Also love (by which I mean loathe) the idea that the assholes who call feminists professional victims, and accuse them of keeping themselves bubbled in dissent-free echo chambers, apologise for putting an article on the website that’s “framed wrong” – that is, might possibly be construed as an implicit criticism of some members of AVfM.

Jack Strawb
Jack Strawb
6 years ago

What a sad little hit piece. You write so badly, and so obscurely, it’s almost impossible to know what it is you’re complaining about. Do grow up, and join the adults in conversation. Surely you know you can do better than this.

cloudiah
6 years ago

To which I’ll respond with Aunt Edna’s words from a more current thread:

OT: I’ve gone to the beginning of WHTM / manboobz to read the earliest posts where David heroically battled MRA trolls alone (boy, did they come out of the woodwork…)

And I found this gem of an exchange between David and Paul Elam that should be an instant classic, IMO:

http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/dfxw2/mens_rights_activist_suggests_taking_away_womens/

It is full of all kinds of awesome, including plenty of the usual stupid and pompous posturing by Elam, complete with his advice for David to, essentially, cease and desist, a conceited and supremely condescending lecture on blogging (seriously), and a “challenge” for David to present “real” ideas and arguments (you know, like MRA do 😉 ).

Elam was so full of hot air that he sounded ready to burst — which apparently happened when David did offer those longed-for arguments, because there was no more response from him. All that urgent interest in “ideas” and “debate” suddenly evaporated when he was faced with facts and figures.

MRA, such a waste of oxygen.

Paul, is that you?

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