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A Voice for Men Paul Elam and pals rebut GQ article depicting them as creepy misogynists by acting like creepy misogynists

"Pretty girls" are always up to something
“Pretty girls” are always up to something

If you’ve read Jeff Sharlet’s magnificent GQ account of his lost weekend amongst the “Men’s Human Rights Activists” at A Voice for Men’s conference last summer (or my take on it here), you know that some of the creepiest moments his account involved his friend Blair, a twentysomething writer who came along for the ride and ended up, by her account, being groped and propositioned by AVFM’s “director of collegiate activism” Sage Gerard.

Sharlet never mentions Blair’s last name, but Elam outs her in a AVFM post with the lovely title “GQ’s Jeff Sharlet pimps out Blair Braverman for clickbait.”

Braverman, like her friend Sharlet, is a writer. As in, a real writer, someone who’s won awards, whose work has been included in a number of anthologies, and who has a book coming out soon from Ecco/HarperCollins.

Elam must be aware of this – he links to her website, where all of this information is easily found – but for some reason doesn’t mention it. Perhaps because Braverman, less than half his age, is being published by, you know, an actual big-name publishing house, while Elam will never be published by anything more prestigious than Paul Elam Press? (Sorry, Zeta Press. Because Paul is a Zeta male, a term he made up to describe the best kind of male.)

Whatever the reason, Elam is content to portray “pretty young Blair,” whom he refers to repeatedly as a “girl,” as little more than a sort of journalistic honey trap brought to the conference in order to lure the men there into, I guess, acting like the predatory creeps they are?

He also writes that Blair, who trains and races sled dogs, “is into dogs, but I want to make it perfectly clear that I don’t mean that in a sexual way.”

Brilliant, Paul. You’re attempting to rebut a GQ piece that reveals you and your male followers to be a bunch of misogynistic assholes who are constantly saying inappropriately sexual things about (and to) every woman they find attractive …  by being a misogynistic asshole saying inappropriately sexual things about a woman you find attractive.

Unexpectedly, Elam’s comrades at AVFM, in their comments on his article, eschew crude sexual comments and focus on substantive points.

Just kidding! They’re worse. Including the women.

Tara Palmatier, a clinical psychologist who has affixed herself firmly to AVFM and who co-hosts a regular Youtube show with Elam, writes of Braverman in something other than clinical terms, describing her as “a disingenuous doe-eyed (one eye slightly smaller than the other and just a smidge crossed) wannabe double agent,” adding:

Yo, MSM, next time you want to employ a “honey trap” to infiltrate the MHRM conference, spring a few more bucks for a more tempting and believable honey trap. Think Julian Assange grade.

AVFM’s “activism director” Attila Vinczer – we’ve met him before – pipes up with a weird and exceedingly creepy, er, appreciation of Braverman that may well make your skin crawl:

I sure recall Blair Braverman joining us in the lobby sporting her dark short shorts, shifting legs crossing one over the other and back again, rosy cheeks, blushing. Flirtatious? Hmmm. What other behaviour should she have had, being warned she would be raped?

One must wonder, just what exactly was their collective intention? Well, judging by the pathetic Jeff Sharlet hack article, it is clear, they were looking for that sizzle. What better plan than bring a young woman, dressed and behaving seductively provocative, to lure some unsuspecting guy like a pretty nerium oleander. We recognized the poison this pretty flower had in store and sent her packing.

Apparently all young women wearing shorts in June, and having legs that occasionally move, are trying to seduce creepy misogynistic assholes twice their age.

Dean Esmay, AVFM’s “managing editor” and “chief operations officer,” adds his two cents:

I remember noticing Blair and thinking she was an eye candy distraction whose job was to flirt with guys, and then thinking “nah don’t be sexist, she’s just nice.”

My bad. She was there specifically to be a distraction

A young woman being a young woman in the presence of Men’s Rights Activists – a clear case of entrapment!

Longtime AVFM regular “Andybob” had some questions.

I wonder how Sharlet prepped Blair Braverman for her role – apart from brushing the dog hairs off her person and instructing her to lose the goats. Did he coach her on how to drop a variety of rape jokes and references into conversations, or did she come up with it all on her own?

I’ve seen no indication that Braverman was prepped, or made any rape jokes, or attended the conference as anything other than a curious (and ultimately quite horrified) visitor. (The bit about goats is a reference to one of the photos AVFM filched from Braverman’s Facebook page and used to illustrate the article.)

GQ’s Sharlet – you know, the actual author of the piece that has the AVFMers so enraged – got some criticism as well. AVFM regular ManWithPlan referred snidely to Sharlet’s alleged “fat rolls.” Palmatier, a bit more creative, wrote that

Sharlet-tan gave me the heebie jeebies from his first cold, slimy amphibian-like approach. (Are slugs amphibians? That’s what he reminded me of.)

Oddly, none of the AVFMers accused Sharlet of trying to seduce them by crossing and uncrossing his legs.

NOTE: Yeah, I used that cartoon once before. But. come on, it’s awesome.

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Buttercup Q. Skullpants

Even knowing the dress is deep royal blue and black in reality, it still looks white and gold to me. The tone on the trim isn’t dark enough to read as black. Even at the bottom of the dress, at most it’s still medium brown with lighter gold highlights. It could be bad lighting, it could be Photoshopped. Maybe we all have different brightness filters in our brains?

@Ghost Robot

Someone – not me, because I don’t know how to do these things – needs to create an Attila Vinzcer Comment Generator.

Rule 1: Every sentence should end with “MY 41 YEARS OF MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING”.

(Whenever I see him bragging about that, the snarky part of me wants to say “wow, you must be a slow learner”.)

Charles RB
Charles RB
5 years ago

“On that note…if an Alpha Male is better than a Beta Male, why is a Zeta man the best kind of man?”

My name is Zeta. I was built to be creepy but I don’t want to be creepy anymore.

(SOMEONE’S got to get it)

Charles RB
Charles RB
5 years ago

The MagicAmy story is just… A lot of male gamers – most, I’d bet – WANT to meet girls who are also into games. A lot of the lynch mob after MagicAmy probably want too, and will moan about it and how X and Y women won’t like them because of games.

Then, along comes a woman who is really good at games and they drive her out because they’d rather believe she’s a bloke in disguise. Because a guy in the figurative pub said so.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@sunnysombrera:

Huh. That picture must be way more washed out than I thought… dang.

Cerberus
Cerberus
5 years ago

On bigots complaining about “traps” that make them do something heinous:

I’ve always found this type of “logic” fascinating, because even if it was true that there was some nefarious force of evil SJWs out there trying to trick the assholes of the world into being horrible. Even if there really were nefarious woman creatures trying to trick men into hurling sexist abuse or being secretly creepy or rapists with their secret special skirts or even if a community really did punk them into killing one of that community and making a mockery of the justice system. Or so on as these always go…

It would be the easiest trap in the world to avoid.

I mean, these guys are obviously just trying to displace the blame onto their victims and this is just a tactic, but how could they possibly think this makes them look better in any way that they apparently can be so easily “tricked” into violating their moral code and any standard of decency at the sight of anything outside of their little box?

Cause it really doesn’t make them look the innocent pawns of secret sex sorcerers, it just makes them look as terrible and dangerous as everyone thinks AND an easily duped moron to bout. And that’s if you take their bullshit about deception as truth.

In this world not only do they seem dangerous and aggressively ignorant and bigoted, they also seem disturbingly well practiced at blaming the victim and gaslighting as a deflection tactic from abusive and rapey acts against women.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

Ok, so at the behest of a commenter on Pharyngula, I scrolled down on the image until I only saw the bottom quarter of the dress. By magic, it started looking very clearly blue and black (albeit faded). And now I can’t unsee that. One big trigger was comparing the bottom stripes of the dress to the black and white cloth at the bottom left of the image.

That’s incredible. The dress perceptually now looks much darker to me, even though nothing about the image or my monitor physically changed. There wasn’t even a difference in background; Pharyngulua has a similar black text on white background thing going.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@Cerberus:

I know, right? Imagine them being in front of a judge.

“How do you plead?”

“Not guilty, your honor! I was tricked!”

“How so?”

“Well, they put an attractive woman in front of me, and she tricked me into making rape jokes!”

“How?”

“… What do you mean, how? Hello? ‘Attractive woman?'”

“I don’t follow… was she making jokes about rape as well?”

“… No.”

“Did she lead you in some way to use words you didn’t mean to use?”

“… No.”

“Then how, exactly, did she trick you?”

“She was attractive! And in front of me!”

“So your knee-jerk reaction to seeing an attractive woman is to make rape jokes?”

“Yes! I mean, no! Uh, give me a moment…”

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
5 years ago

xkcd takes on the dress: https://www.xkcd.com/1492/

If you zoom the image up really close, and use a colour picker tool, you can see that yes, they are exactly the same set of colours.

sparky
sparky
5 years ago

Well, this is a completely predictable reaction from Elam & Co. They really have no idea how awful they sound to people outside their echo chamber.

Binjabreel
5 years ago

Totes (well, tangentially) off topic, but re: the psychologists who get involved in the MRM being idiots and hacks-

I got into a twitter argument with a women who claimed to be a retired psychologist who was trying to argue that there was systemic bias against men in divorce courts. I pointed out that most custody agreements are arranged between the parents without the courts’ involvement so her statistics were garbage, then linked her to a massive collection of studies showing that fathers still get custody even when they are abusive.

She said “that doesn’t prove systemic bias”, and demanded I provide official statistics. I pointed out that the page I linked her to had reports from eleven different states’ supreme courts finding bias in favor of the father.

She accused me of “the fallacy of composition”, lol, because apparently she’d never heard of a representative sample. I love that demonstrating that every state has a systemic bias apparently doesn’t prove that the whole country does.

Charles RB
Charles RB
5 years ago

It’s always “fun” when people decide to put their personal ideology above their profession and it completely shits up their credibility & ability to do their job. Being Right is more important than being right.

Jimmy
Jimmy
5 years ago

Ohh this poor baby. If I could snap up Blair and hide her away in gauze and chamomile tea I would do it in an instant. Damn these broken men and their venom.

sparky
sparky
5 years ago

Jimmy:

Ohh this poor baby. If I could snap up Blair and hide her away in gauze and chamomile tea I would do it in an instant.

o_O That’s not necessary. No death or rape threats being sent would suffice. And maybe not “rebutting” an article by making sexual innuendos, forming bizarre conspiracy theories about, and calling ugly a woman who didn’t write the article in the first place. Rather than actually addressing the points of the article. That would be nice. But no, Blair is not a poor baby who needs to be hid away and coddles for her own protection.

Moggie
Moggie
5 years ago

If someone could get Elam to post his opinion of the colour of the dress, it would probably tear the MRA movement apart.

Lea
Lea
5 years ago

Jimmy,

WTF?

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

“Then how, exactly, did she trick you?”

“She was attractive! And in front of me!”

“So your knee-jerk reaction to seeing an attractive woman is to make rape jokes?”

“Yes! I mean, no! Uh, give me a moment…”

Snurk.

I find it absolutely hilarious that their “activism” (note the quotes, there for a reason) is aimed at un-oppressing men and freeing them to truly indulge their unique sexuality, with no repression from nasty feminist feeeeeemales. Then, what happens when there’s a conference around exactly that? It gets attended by a guy who thinks it should be legal to rape 12-year-olds, and who has done something similar himself, and for that reason is now on a sex offender registry, which he wants to see abolished. Then another of these male-sexual-freedom advocates actually takes it upon himself to isolate an attractive young woman reporter from her colleague and her boyfriend, and proceeds to hit on her in the very way he’s also telling her NOT to “send mixed messages”. Several others follow suit, no doubt making the young woman very uncomfortable and inadvertently confirming every bad thing she’s heard about them, but decided to investigate for herself (brave soul!).

And when they get their blatant hypocrisy written up for it, they go on a rampage in the comments section and at AVFMorons, claiming SHE trapped THEM. When in fact it was one of theirs that trapped her, and several more of theirs who later made a circle jerk of it in the wee hours of the morning.

If they don’t want to be shamed for their bad “sexual” behavior, one would think they could learn to act in ways that don’t deserve a good shaming. But they won’t. They just want to behave badly and get away with it, when all’s said. They don’t give a shit about compassion for men OR boys.

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
5 years ago

All of this reminds me of a video that I watched
http://youtu.be/XPVlqKsWzTA

gilshalos
5 years ago

I can see the dress as white and gold, or blue and gold, but I never see black. 🙁
I must have bad eyes, and I never even guessed after wearing glasses for the past 37 years 😛

alaisvex
alaisvex
5 years ago

@gilshalos,

I can’t see black either, no matter how hard I try. I either see white and gold or pale blue and brownish gold.

Skye
Skye
5 years ago

OK, this is an old thread now, so I apologize, but I wanted to chime in on the dress thing.

First I saw it as white and gold (i could see pale blue and gold if I tried really hard) . Now that I have seen a different picture of the dress, I can’t see it as anything other than blue and black. Trippy. (And still less disturbing than MRAs)

ParadoxicalIntention
5 years ago

Charles RB | February 27, 2015 at 10:02 am

The MagicAmy story is just… A lot of male gamers – most, I’d bet – WANT to meet girls who are also into games. A lot of the lynch mob after MagicAmy probably want too, and will moan about it and how X and Y women won’t like them because of games.

Then, along comes a woman who is really good at games and they drive her out because they’d rather believe she’s a bloke in disguise. Because a guy in the figurative pub said so.

There’s a reason behind this actually: These men have convinced themselves that their “geekiness”, “nerdiness”, or “gamer status” is the main reason they can’t find a girlfriend or a woman who can tolerate them and their shitty behaviors, and plug their ears and go “LA LA LA CAN’T HEAR YOU” if someone dares to point out that maybe it’s because they’re shitstains on their chosen sub-culture, and that their behavior is the reason why there aren’t more girls in said sub-culture.

When they meet a woman who, like them, is “geeky”, “nerdy”, or “a gamer”, they feel the need to instantly discredit and/or challenge this girl because she challenges their world-view that there’s nothing wrong with them, but rather it’s just girls not being into what they’re into that’s preventing them from getting laid.

So, whenever someone like MagicAmy comes into a community of some kind of nerdy sub-culture, they’re almost instantly chased out by gate-keeping dudebros who then turn around and whine about how women don’t like them. And the process is only expedited if you’re good at what you do, and are demonstrably better than a majority of the shitstain dudebros, like MagicAmy was.

See, while these asshats will hold themselves up as paragons of intellect and reason, and will try to say they’re better than those meat-head jocks with their toxic masculinity, they’ve just set up another brand of the same toxic sludge in another area. Meathead jocks are Man as Brute King, while the geeky male persona is Man as Philsopher King.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/27/your-princess-is-in-another-castle-misogyny-entitlement-and-nerds.html
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/24/who-died-and-made-you-khaleesi-privilege-white-saviors-and-the-elusive-male-feminist-who-doesn-t-suck.html
http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/tag/gaming/

So, while it’s seems more appealing to women to get into these “geeky” hobbies, it’s actually just as bad, if not worse.

Viscaria
Viscaria
5 years ago

I dated a guy once who only wanted to be with a woman who played video games, because that would prove that she was sufficiently nerd-cool. At the same time, his ego demanded that no mere woman be as good as he was at video games, or know as much about them. This led to all sorts of strangeness, like when he was pleased to learn that I knew of the game Psychonauts, but refused to believe that I hadn’t just looked it up to impress him.

Catalpa
Catalpa
5 years ago

Re: The dress

This vine is really cool for showing the blue/black-white/gold effect: https://vine.co/v/O2jqUzXzXwd

ParadoxicalIntention
5 years ago

Viscaria | March 2, 2015 at 12:16 am

I dated a guy once who only wanted to be with a woman who played video games, because that would prove that she was sufficiently nerd-cool. At the same time, his ego demanded that no mere woman be as good as he was at video games, or know as much about them. This led to all sorts of strangeness, like when he was pleased to learn that I knew of the game Psychonauts, but refused to believe that I hadn’t just looked it up to impress him.

Excuse me?

Excuse me?!

Psychonauts is a goddamned masterpiece of a game, and I will hype it out to anyone who will listen. And yeah, I learned about it from a man, but y’know what? I beat it on my own.

That guy can go do a Lego firewalk.

Admittedly, I’m leery of the term “girl gamer” because I feel like it divides gamers as a whole, and it brings up this image of a sexy girl posing with a controller in her mouth, and that won’t ever get you taken seriously by other gamers. However, I feel like gamers who are female need to be separated because we’d only be harassed and not taken seriously if we aren’t?

Viscaria
Viscaria
5 years ago

he good opinion of some sexist dude somewhere.

I wonder if it really came down to a conflict between different forms of masculinity. The superiority of men was a given for him, but he needed to be with a woman who valued his particular kind of manliness, rather than valuing some other kind of manliness, like football or business acumen or something.

Viscaria
Viscaria
5 years ago

So that was the second half of my comment… The first half was about how great Psychonauts was.

j00pacabra
5 years ago

Love that this guy had to ascertain that no, he wasn’t trying to say she fucks dogs just because he mentioned she had dogs. If you have to resort to those kinds of disclaimers based off that context, what the fuck is wrong with the people you’re talking to?