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Is the Men's Rights Movement driven by the rage of the rejected?

Memorial in Marysville
Memorial in Marysville

Was Marysville school shooter Jaylen Fryberg trying to exact revenge on a girl who had rejected him? Various news accounts suggest that Fryberg was reeling from a recent breakup; a number of angry, anguished, and frustratingly enigmatic recent comments on Fryberg’s Twitter account seem to back this up.

So it may be that the shootings on Friday were yet another reworking of an old story.

It’s no secret that many men, for an assortment of reasons, react badly and often violently to romantic and sexual rejection. This can range from self-described “nice guys” of OkCupid sending vicious messages to women who say no all the way to angry men who stalk and harass and sometimes kill ex-wives and girlfriends. Women who leave abusive relationships often suffer greater violence at the hands of exes unwilling to let them go.

I’ve written before of the striking ways that Men’s Rights Activism recapitulates the logic of domestic abuse; it’s no coincidence that so much MRA “activism” consists of harassment of individual women. So the question naturally follows: does the rage that drives so many MRAs come from the same dark place in the psyche as the rage that so many romantically and sexually rejected feel towards their exes?

Think of the fury many divorced MRAs feel towards their exes and women at large. Think of the self-pitying rage of “nice guys” MRAs in their teens and twenties who feel they’ve been unfairly “friendzoned” by stuck-up women.

As I pondered the tragedy in Marysville, I found myself thinking again about a disturbing short story written by A Voice for Men’s Paul Elam several years ago (and which I posted about recently).

In the story, you may recall, a jilted husband tells the other men in an anger management group session just what had landed him there. His story, as rendered by Elam, is a melodramatic and often mawkish tale of a man betrayed by a narcissistic “hypergamous” wife who left him for his business partner while he had been out of town at the funeral for his father. Oh, and she stole all his money, to boot. (Elam is not what you’d call a subtle writer.)

When the story’s hero finally confronts his ex, whom he finds ad his business partner’s house, she comes to the door in a nightie and tells him she left him because he just wasn’t cutting it in the sack. Then she makes a point of refusing to kiss him goodnight (and goodbye) because, she tells him sadistically, he probably wouldn’t like “the taste of another man’s cock on her lips.”

And so, the hero tells the other angry men in his group, he punched her in the nose so hard he broke it.

It’s clear Elam identifies wholly and completely with the hero, and we are supposed to see his punch as a form of righteous justice administered to his sadistic, emasculating ex.

There are a lot of angry divorced men in the MRM – including some with several divorces in their past. The standard MRA explanation is that these men come to the Men’s Rights movement after being “raped” — their word, not mine – in divorce court, or kept apart from their children by angry exes.

But I don’t think that’s it. Many of the angriest don’t even have any children. I suspect that the rage they feel is more like the rage of Elam’s hero – a rage borne out of a deep sense of sexual humiliation and the loss of control over the women who have rejected and abandoned them.

The anger of many younger MRAs seems to have a similar psychosexual source. These are the young men who rage against “friendzoning” and wax indignant about “false rape accusations” and “yes means yes.” In their mind, women are the “gatekeepers” of sex, and this frustrates and sometimes enrages them.

On some level they feel that women are collectively depriving them of the sex that they deserve, and they feel resentful they have to, in their mind at least, jump through so many hoops to get it. Some, I suspect, think that there’s no way they can actually “get” sex without cutting a few corners, consent-wise, and resent feminists for making this harder for them.

The self-righteous rage of the rejected is a dangerous thing. It’s dangerous when it’s directed at individual women. And it’s dangerous when it’s directed at women at large.

 

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John Allman
6 years ago
Reply to  pawsjones

@ pawjones

“he’s the type of man that deliberately looks for relationships where the women have as little power as possible and he himself as much as possible”

It’s not my problem if you jump to false conclusions about somebody whom you do not know.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I feel like we should put together some sort of a care package for John’s ex, including a card congratulating her for having gotten away from him.

Shiraz
Shiraz
6 years ago

You don’t understand the term mansplain, mister. That is all. And I thought you were exiting this site because we were giving you too much attention. What gives?

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

Is John a sock? He reminds me of that other dude who’s only method of argument was saying “no I didn’t” and posting a billion times. On the other hand, this dude does have a blog… Ooh look, he’s a homophobe who thinks you can cure the gay away. Wonderful.

Now to catch up on the thread so I can play around with the troll too.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
6 years ago

I would not be at all surprised if he has told his ex, more than once, that he would leave her alone, and then just couldn’t stfu.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Ah, but can you pray the misogynistic creep away? Perhaps he should try that instead.

sarahrocco
6 years ago

John, being asked to back up your claims with some real numbers, not anecdata, using an unbiased source, is not actually something that was done because we don’t care about men and boys. You STILL have not backed up your claim that women are more favored in the courts at all, with any kind of data beyond ‘well it happened to ME’. You refuse to look past yourself and your situation, and then you blame US for not caring. I’ve asked you repeatedly, and politely, to provide some kind of unbiased data on the distribution of custody, and the fact that you can’t find real data to back you up doesn’t mean we don’t care about men and boys, it means you’re fucking wrong. Full stop. But your childish, self-centered views on what happened won’t let you see that.

Seriously. Give us some unbiased data that backs up your claim, or begone with your egocentric gasbagging.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

Pretty late to the party here, but way back John described the “threat” he felt his child was in as a dire peril by describing his ex as an “alienator.” And red flags spontaneously sprung out of the ground all across the land.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I think the red flags have raised children of their own by this point, to be honest.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

@cassandrakitty:

Do you think red flags are patriarchal?

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

“law states that two doctors need to agree that the abortion can be carried out. They will reach this decision if they believe there is a greater risk to the woman’s mental or physical health if she continues with the pregnancy than if she has an abortion. The doctor can also take social circumstances into account when making this decision.”

Interesting. Is it just a formality, pretty much? A woman tells a doctor she’s not equipped emotionally or mentally to have a child and the doctor signs off on it? Because I’ve never heard anything about it being difficult to get an abortion in the UK. In fact, I’ve heard of Irish women frequently traveling there to get one since Ireland is refusing to get with the times.

In any case, that’s fucked up. A woman’s reason for an abortion isn’t really anybody’s business but her own. She shouldn’t have to justify it.

duckbunny
6 years ago

John hasn’t lost child custody in the divorce courts. He was never married to his ex.

What happened is this: A woman had a relationship and a child with an older man. She later became pregnant by the same man and considered terminating that pregnancy, which turned out to be non-viable. The man regarded this consideration as exactly equivalent to considering murdering his born children, and probably made this opinion clear, and further considered that as the probable genetic donor he ought to have legal rights to control the woman, and probably made this opinion clear. Later still, the woman cut off contact with the man, helped by the lack of legal ties between them, and began raising her child alone. The man called social services to claim she was abusing his child, although what he meant by this was that she was not letting him raise the child. Social services may or may not have investigated the woman; either way they were unsympathetic to the claim of abusive behaviour and did not remove the child from her custody.
The man is now engaged in legal proceedings, attempting to gain legal force for his view that raising the child without input from its biological father constitutes abuse.

Hey John, why didn’t you marry her? Was she your bit on the side? Did you think she was too young to be mother to your other kids? Was your youngest boy an accident?

If you were a politician, just having your youngest would be grounds for a scandal, and it wouldn’t be his mother at the cenre of it.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Oh. I see I made my first sacrifice to the blockquote mammoth in some time. Drat!

I do not regard the woman herself as anybody’s “property”, except that of the embryo or the foetus to some extent, because his survival depends upon her well-being.

You think a woman is the property of a male fetus inside of her? OH, HELL NO. Please stop pretending you aren’t as misogynistic as you are homophobic. This right here gives you away completely.

There is a limit to how much I am going to able to teach or to learn anything here.

That limit is zero. You are refusing to see the misogyny underpinning your “civil” teal dears. We never asked you to come here and teach us anything. Patriarchy being good and glorious is something we’ve all heard and rejected long ago.

This is a blog about mocking misogyny. It’s not a forum for respectful debate. It’s not a social justice education space. We mock misogyny. The top of the page makes that very clear. If you come here spouting MRA nonsense, expect to get mocked. If you can’t deal with it, by all means, leave.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

I must confess the age thing really bothers me with this dude. Not so much his own actual age in itself, as the age difference between him and his youngest son’s mum in combination with all the other creepiness about “entrusting my seed” and “I do not regard the woman herself as anybody’s “property”, except that of the embryo or the foetus to some extent, because his survival depends upon her well-being.” This, on top of all the other awfulness, says to me that he’s the type of man that deliberately looks for relationships where the women have as little power as possible and he himself as much as possible. Gross, just gross.

Little did he know that his ex, despite being young did in fact know her own mind and didn’t acquiesce to his glorious patriarchal manliness. I guess the problem must be with women these days. They just don’t know their place. He reminds me of Shigeharu, the male lead in Audition. Lucky for him, his ex is probably not Asami and it was just a movie.

The verb “mansplaining” was coined as a put-down of men, because they are *only* men.

Hahaha! John is mansplaining mansplaining to us!

No dear, mansplaining is when a man tries to educate a woman on a subject she knows more about than him. This occurs because men are socialized to believe that they are the authority on everything and the more rational gender and because they are socialized to believe that women are inferior. This is something many men do unconsciously. An enlightened will stop doing it when it is pointed out to him. You, I’m guessing will not stop.

We’re calling you a mansplainer because you don’t know anything about feminism and you keep trying to educate us about how feminists should act. Cut it out.

proxieme
proxieme
6 years ago

*wonders why earlier comment is still awaiting moderation*

*realizes it’s probably because she recounted an insult*

Edited:

proxieme on October 28, 2014 at 8:04 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
MTSJR – It’s funny how they do that.

And by “funny” I mean “sad and painful.”

My husband’s father was horribly physically and verbally/emotionally abusive.
Fell off of his bike and cried?
That’s a beating while being called a crybaby f—-t.
Making too much noise?
That’s a beating.
Sister spilled some coffee?
That’s being thrown up against the wall so hard that you’re knocked out…followed by a beating.
It all culminated (honestly, perhaps mercifully) in his father taking off, popping in and out for a few years, and then disappearing completely for most of a decade.

My husband /still/ attempted to reestablish contact (several times) only to be repeatedly brushed off.

But in his dad’s eyes (according to secondary sources) my husband’s the one who’s “abandoned” him.

grumpyoldnurse
grumpyoldnurse
6 years ago

state wants to smash the patriarchy

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! LOL!! ROFLMAO!!!!!!!! Hahahaha!! Oh, dear dog, I can’t stop laughing!!!! ::gaspschokes:: LOL!! ::gasp::

Ow. My tummy hurts, now.

andiexist
andiexist
6 years ago

@cassandrakitty

As I said on the other thread, he’s much more entertaining when you replace “masculinity” with “miso soup.” I guess we can start on that, since he’s already in the cauldron.

LET THE MISOFICATION COMMENCE!

John Allman
6 years ago

@ DuckBunny

“What happened is this”

No. that’s not what happened.

andiexist
andiexist
6 years ago

Whoops, wrong troll.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I wonder if he realizes how creepy his avatar looks? It really is a bit “why were the lambs screaming, Clarice?”

duckbunny
6 years ago

John: Which bit did I get wrong?

pawsjones
pawsjones
6 years ago

@weirwoodtreehugger

I want to marry your post and have it’s babies. If it continues to be awesome it can have shared custody, if not, all the spawn are belong to me!

John Allman
6 years ago
Reply to  sarahrocco

@ SarahRocco

“Give us some unbiased data that backs up your claim”

What “claim” are you asking me to “back up” with “unbiased data”? Have I even made the sort of quantitative “claim” that would be capable of being backed up using data? What “data” is there to back up David’s claim that the men’s rights movement is driven by “the rage of the rejected”, the claim in the headline that I am disputing?

sarahrocco
6 years ago

I am asking you to back up your claim that women are more likely to get custody in all cases, including when men actually bother to ask for it. This is now at least the fourth time I’ve spelled this out for you.

John Allman
6 years ago
Reply to  kirbywarp

@ KirbyWarp

“way back John described the ‘threat’ he felt his child was in as a dire peril by describing his ex as an ‘alienator’.”

That’s right. I am glad to receive a comment on something I said for a change, rather than words somebody else has tried to put into my mouth. Thank you.

“And red flags spontaneously sprung out of the ground all across the land.”

Karen Woodall told the class at one of her Family Separation Clinic workshops I attended, that the prevalence of fathers who attempt to alienate their children from their mothers is roughly equal to the prevalence of mothers who attempt to alienate their children from their fathers. The chances are that there are mothers here who have, and whose children have, been subjected to this type of abuse. They ought to recognise the problem of an alienating parent easily enough.

The only possible “red flag” is that it challenges any entrenched notion in which people are emotionally invested, that alienation is a type of abuse that men inflict upon women, but not vice versa.

The workshop had quite about 25% female attendence, even though this particular one was hosted by the charity Families Need Fathers. The prevalence of alienating behaviour isn’t gendered, apparently, although the official recognition of the problem, and the efforts to combat it, does seem to be gendered.

You, or at least those who have experienced parental alienation, might find the following post (not one of mine), helpful:

Alienation as a gendered experience
Karen Woodall
http://karenwoodall.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/alienation-as-a-gendered-experience/

Puddleglum
6 years ago

@cassandrakitty, I was more reminded of the dude in the later Poltergeist sequels.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
6 years ago

Awww, John still thinks he has things to teach us. Isn’t that adorable?

Puddleglum
6 years ago

Well, creepytrollAllman, you got the validation you wanted here (feminists are evil and don’t care about you), so please fuck off.

John Allman
6 years ago
Reply to  sarahrocco

@ SarahRocco

“I am asking you to back up your claim that women are more likely to get custody in all cases”

I haven’t made that claim.

duckbunny
6 years ago

John’s basic claim is that he IS NOT ANGRY HOW DARE YOU SAY HE IS ANGRY HE WOULD TOTES BE FEMINIST IF THE FEMINISTS ADDRESSED HIS PERSONAL VENDETTA, ABOUT WHICH HE IS NOT ANGRY.
Which is obvious bullshit, but then John thinks he’s clever and civil. Probably because most of the people he’s ever spent time with have not been allowed to swear at him.

samantha
6 years ago
Reply to  John Allman

I have heard it asserted that the decision that no woman takes lightly the decision to have an abortion. That it is always an “agonising” decision to take. I am a living witness to the fact that this is simply not true. A decision to abort MY child was taken, within my earshot, for the flimsiest of reasons imaginable, without the slightest agonising. Whatever others say, I know the truth.

What you know, John, is the possible truth of one woman and her attitude about whether or not to end her pregnancy. You do NOT, and cannot, know the truths of any other women. As I have accompanied a number of women to the clinics for abortions, I do know that each and every one of them agonized over the decision. And now the religious right wants to take contraception away. Which is better – to end a pregnancy or to prevent one? According to many of the MRA’s and religious right, neither. Every woman should HAVE to have every child a man wants her to have. I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, believe that an embryo is a person. Even the Catholic church, until the late 19th century, agreed that whether or not a pregnancy could be terminated depended on the quickening – usually 4 to 5 months along.
And I still maintain that it has to be, in the end, a woman’s choice. Only she can know the circumstances of her life, the state of her readiness and willingness to be a mother, and her general health.

I remember, as a teenager, reading very frequently in the newspapers the stories of women who had died from self-induced or back alley abortions. Many of these women had already borne as many children as their bodies could handle but, due to restrictions on birth control, the illegality of medically safe abortions and the fact that women were considered the legal property of their husbands and could not say no to sex, they died.

You speak in glowing terms of patriarchy. Try to live as a woman under the rule of a man. My own grandmother – a loving and kind woman – told me that it would be better for me to be a highly paid mistress than a wife…and she loved her husband. When I asked her why, she told me that a woman is always the property of her father first and her husband for the rest of her life. If I wanted to be free to choose who I wanted to be and how I wanted to live, never marry.

sparky
sparky
6 years ago

Oh yes, you did, Johnny.

From your first post here:

John Allman | October 27, 2014 at 1:49 pm
No parent at all, neither fathers nor mothers, has any absolute, enforceable “rights” against the state, in relation to bringing up their own children, or any other aspect of their private or family lives.

I also discovered that the state routinely withholds from fathers more often from mothers, the privilege that is in the gift of the state, of being allowed to bring up one’s children. In attempting to understand how this damaging state of affairs could possible have come about, I stumbled across MRA sites that documented the “feminist” movement to smash any form of fatherhood that is anything more than powerless sperm donation

Emphasis mine.

John Allman
6 years ago

@ WeirWoodTreeHugger

“his ex, despite being young did in fact know her own mind and didn’t acquiesce to his glorious patriarchal manliness”

Wrong again. Please stop guessing.

sarahrocco
6 years ago

Thanks sparky, I’m on my phone right now and couldn’t c/p.

John, what Sparky quoted from you: how is that not saying that the courts favor women even when fathers bother to ask for custody?

ceebarks
ceebarks
6 years ago

I really have my doubts about parental alienation even being a thing. I think there are a lot of people out there who basically have incredibly inadequate relationship skills, resulting in broken relationships with their partners, (which of course is purely other other person’s fault.) But then they are surprised when their poor relational skills also result in poor connections with their kids later.

Let’s just say, I’ve got a difficult parent who thinks it’s the other parent’s fault that the (adult) kids don’t call or visit, but the difficult parent has strained even their extended family ties past the breaking point, due to shockingly poor behavior over at least a ten year period. Everyone in the family has struggled with the decision to limit or cut ties to this destructive person, but none of us has been brainwashed by some diabolical mastermind.

You can’t tell that to a difficult person, though, and not expect a hailstorm of abuse. So everyone just quietly slips away

John Allman
6 years ago

@ weirwoodtreehugger

“This is a blog about mocking misogyny. It’s not a forum for respectful debate. It’s not a social justice education space. We mock misogyny. The top of the page makes that very clear. If you come here spouting MRA nonsense, expect to get mocked. If you can’t deal with it, by all means, leave.”

LOL! Thank you!

You simply MUST watch this. Immediately. Everybody watch it, please!

Mary
Mary
6 years ago

John, no one would deny that parents sometimes do very stupid things when acting out in anger/hatred toward an ex, and some of the stupidest things they ever do is use any children involved as tools of revenge. It does happen, and it’s not the exclusive domain of mothers or fathers.

That said, I doubt that the “alienation” you’ve experienced from your child is so simple as his mother practicing a policy of alienation. Your blogs, past and present, provide compelling evidence that you do and/or say things that quite reasonably have resulted in an imposed lack of access to your child. You have blamed this “alienated” situation on “the state” and your ex-girlfriend’s (obliquely suggested) lack of mental stability, but you really should turn that gaze upon yourself. Undoubtedly that won’t happen, but there it is.

sarahrocco
6 years ago

Yeah, John’s problem is pretty clear: his view of himself will not allow him to accept even the possibility that he might actually not be the best choice to raise the kid. That is not even conceivable, therefore vast feminist conspiracy. But he’s totes not angry about it!

samantha
6 years ago
Reply to  Puddleglum

@cassandrakitty, I was more reminded of the dude in the later Poltergeist sequels.

Oh, you mean Julian Beck, who played Cain? The guy who stood outside the door calling “Let Me INNNNNNNNN!!!!

(shudder) He was so wonderfully creepy!

GrumpyOldMan
6 years ago

John: We identified your posts as a misogynistic crock of shit right from the first paragraph. We don’t need to guess about things that scream out from every sentence you write, even though you don’t seem to realize it. We were willing to tolerate you as a chew toy for our amusement for a while, but you have become extremely tedious and boring, constantly repeating things that we have heard hundreds of times and rejected decades ago, so it is time for you to go pester someone else with your puerile argumentation.

Aroint thee, bilgewater!

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

It really is a shame that holy water only works on vampires, not assholes.

DJG
DJG
6 years ago

This is a very sketchy first thought, but my immediate response to such things as the Buffy reference is that it slides very easily into shaming suicidal people, and has to be done really well to prevent it becoming something like “Everyone has as much pain as you do and nobody ELSE here is suicidal.” Sorry to be so sketchy but I may go back down that path myself if my life can’t regain some kind of normalcy soon.

Puddleglum
6 years ago

Oh, you mean Julian Beck, who played Cain? The guy who stood outside the door calling “Let Me INNNNNNNNN!!!!

(shudder) He was so wonderfully creepy!

Exactly. At least he was just an actor, and not a modern personification of creepiness, like this troll is.

Josh
Josh
6 years ago

Since feminists spend so much time shaming men for their dating preferences and even going so far as describing them as oppressive I would say rejected women form a quite big part of feminism as well. The total rejection of all theories of sexual selection seem to hint at that as well. as does all the talk about oppressive beauty ideals and gender norms (which is mostly what’s considered attractive in each sex).

Being rejected make both men and women angry, it’s just that they join different movements. Here MRA:s and feminists have something in common.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

“I shall have to leave soon, because I am becoming the focus of too much attention, much of it unreasononingly hostile. There is a limit to how much I am going to able to teach or to learn anything here.”

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!DON’TLEAVEMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

Hm. As a feminist I’ve always accepted people can and will reject me for whatever reason and that I’m not entitled to an explanation why or a second thought or them examining what influences caused them to reject me. I can and will do the same to others.

Never met anyone who identifies as a feminist because the quarterback won’t date them.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Never met a feminist who wrote a manifesto about how they were going to go shoot up a frat house because the young men who lived in it wouldn’t date them either.

John Allman
6 years ago
Reply to  Josh

@ Josh

+1

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

That +1 from John makes your post troo, Josh!

(No, Josh, it really doesn’t.)

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