By David Futrelle
A little over a year ago, with traffic at the preeminent Men’s Rights website A Voice for Men plunging as its old-school MRA “activism” was eclipsed by a younger and in many ways nastier breed of antifeminism, AVFM head boy Paul Elam made a dramatic announcement (which I wrote about here): AVFM had won the cultural war, so he was retiring from Men’s Rights activism altogether to take up a new life as a $90 an hour Skype life coach for bitter men.
Now, with the site’s traffic even more anemic, Elam is once again declaring victory, hailing AVFM’s alleged “profound success” in a post yesterday — and announcing that he’s coming back to take over the site he started in 2009. If at first you don’t succeed, simply declare that you have succeeded and quit. Then return a year later when things are even worse to insist again that you’re still the champ you never were.
Here’s a video from Elam explaining the new direction:
Oh, wait, that’s the scene in This is Spinal Tap in which the band, having lost one of its key members, attempts to rebrand itself as a jazz fusion jam band, declaring to a sparse festival crowd that they “are witnesses at the new birth of Spinal Tap Mark II.”
But it seems like that’s pretty much what’s going on at AVFM — right down to the belabored rebirth metaphor. The title of Elam’s announcement post is literally, I kid you not, “Welcome to the rebirth of A Voice for Men.”
Elam is truly a man beyond parody.
Anyhoo, after celebrating AVFM’s supposedly “profound success” in “changing the cultural narrative,” Elam tries his best to portray the site’s increasing irrelevance as evidence that AVFM is TOTALLY WINNING.
AVFM and a small handful of others (mainly the Honey Badger Brigade) have spawned a legion of social commentators … Feminism has rightly become a dirty word. Feminist ideologues are back on their heels trying to defend their hateful ideology to a world that has grown weary of their corrupt message. We have been so successful, in fact, that antifeminism has become a cottage industry, with the new purveyors taking in huge audiences.
He evidently forgot to add “while AVFM chokes on their dust.”
Elam’s new plan for the site? Basically, he’s taking it back for himself, seemingly hoping to use what remains of its popularity to drive traffic to his An Ear for Men ersatz male therapy site. The new tagline for AVFM: “Men’s Health – No Apologies.”
Apparently Elam is convinced that devious feminists are trying to keep him from going to the doctor. (No, dude, that’s the Republicans. And your own stubbornness.)
The unapologetic Elam explains the new direction:
With AVFM’s thousands of internet backlinks in place, assuring a permanent, healthy flow of traffic to the site, we will leverage those assets to further a message addressing men’s overall health, sans the traditional gynocentrism, and sans the unhealthy paradigm of feminist ideologues who see masculinity itself as a problem in need of correction.
He follows this with a lengthy plug for An Ear for Men, where he charges anyone deluded enough to sign up for his coaching $90/hour to talk to him on Skype even though he’s neither a doctor nor a licensed therapist. It’s Men’s Health without Apologies … and without professional training. You will, however, need a credit card.
Oh, and he also boldly declares that from now on no one will be editing the posts that go up on AVFM.
AVFM will return to a very select group of contributors, by invitation only, who will have permissions to enter articles into the WordPress editor, and with solid self-editing as a standard. No more passing articles through a series of people to get them on the site. And no more need to burden editors with the tedious (and quite thankless) job of correcting spelling and grammar. Those who can’t or won’t provide well-edited material simply won’t see their writing on these pages.
Given that the site now seems to struggle to get even poorly-written articles up, I can only assume that Elam’s new insistence on KWALITY posts will mean perhaps one or two new posts per year.
What the new non-editing procedure has to do with men’s health — with or without apology — is anyone’s guess.
Looking forward, Elam offers this bit of inspiration for the troops:
This will be a somewhat challenging phase as we downshift to crest another hill in the journey of A Voice for Men.
I suspect AVFM’s journey going forward will look something like this:
H/T — @TakedownMRAs