If you’re one of the new readers who’ve come to this blog in recent days, and you’d like to get up to speed in a hurry on the Men’s Rights movement and all the other sorts of misogynists we discuss on this blog, here are some posts that you may find interesting and useful.
The Mammoth FAQ What I’m trying to do with the blog, as well as an explanation of the name.
White Hot Rage: A piece I did for The American Prospect reviewing Michael Kimmel’s Angry White Men and offering a critical overview of the Men’s Rights Movement.
These are just the tiniest tip of the iceberg. There are roughly 1800 more posts. Try clicking on the categories at the end of each post! Type random anti-woman slurs into the search box to see what comes up! Examples of misogyny amongst MRAs, PUAs, and the various other denizens of the manosphere are so common I could probably put up 20 posts a day without running out of material.
It’s Question Time again. I’ve been reading through Susan Faludi’s Backlash and her more recent book on men, Stiffed, as well as some of the discussion surrounding Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men and Kay Hymowitz’ Manning Up. Faludi, writing in 1991, obviously saw the 80s as a time of antifeminist backlash.
My question is how you would characterize the years since she wrote her book. A continuation of that backlash? A time of feminist resurgence, from the Riot Grrls up to Rosin’s predicted End of Men? A mixed period of progress and regression?
I’m wondering both what your general assessment of the situation is, and also what specific evidence you have — either hard data or personal experience — that underlies your overall view. This could be anything from data on employment segregation or the prevalence of rape to your sense of how media representations of women and men have or haven’t changed, or even how people you know have changed the ways they talk about gender. What do you think are the significant data points to look at?
The question isn’t just what has changed for women but what has changed for men as well — with my underlying question being: what if anything in the real world has changed that might be making the angry men we talk about here so angry? I think we can agree that most of their own explanations are bullshit, but could there be a grain of truth to any of them? Or something that they don’t see that’s far more compelling?
In the interest of spurring discussion and providing some data to work with, here are a bunch of articles responding to (or at least vaguely related to the issues raised in) Rosin’s End of Men, including a link to her original Atlantic article. In addition, here are some posts by sociologist Philip Cohen challenging many of Rosin’s claims, as well as more general posts of his on gender inequality. (Feel free to completely ignore any or all of these; I just found them useful resources.)
Periodically, in the comments here, someone will post a dubious list of “evil feminist quotes” they have found on some Men’s Rights or antifeminist website. These lists are always faintly ridiculous, filled with decades-old quotes from a handful of radical feminists (most notably, Andrea Dworkin), most of whom have been soundly criticized by other feminists and whose ideas have been rejected by the majority of feminists today. The lists also tend to be very sloppily put together. When I’ve gone to check the accuracy of these lists, I’ve invariably run into problems — one quote may have come from a character in a novel, another may be a quote that doesn’t reflect the author’s own point of view, and so on.
Recently, one of the antifeminists who regularly comments here (Cold) posted a link to one such list, helpfully titled “Hateful Quotes From Feminists.” It’s fairly typical of these sorts of lists: many of the quotes are decades old, there are ten quotes from a single radical feminist — yes, Andrea Dworkin — and the list is sloppily put together.
I decided to give this list a fairly thorough fact-checking. And the results were, well, more or less what I expected, which is to say that the list was a sloppy mixture of truth, half-truth and outright falsehood.
The story, in brief: Some of the quotes I checked were indeed accurate — or mostly accurate. But several quotes were simply imaginary, or uttered by fictional characters; one was a complete misrepresentation of what the author was saying; two were paraphrased, which is to say, words put in the mouths of feminist authors by feminist critics; some were from obscure or anonymous sources, and in a few cases it wasn’t clear if those quoted were feminists at all; several were improperly sourced. There were a number of quotes that didn’t specify where they were from, and which turned out to be impossible to check. And then there were a couple of quotes which were not actually hateful at all.
I didn’t check everything in the list, but –if you have the patience for it — let’s go through what I did check, as a sort of case study in the shoddiness of much antifeminist propaganda.
Let’s start off with the very first quote:
“In a patriarchal society all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give meaningful consent.” Catherine MacKinnon in Professing Feminism: Cautionary Tales from the Strange World of Women’s Studies, p. 129.
We’re off to a bad start here. This is not a quote from MacKinnon. The words were in fact written by Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge, the actual authors of “Professing Feminism,” a polemical book critical of feminism. They purport to summarize the views of MacKinnon and Dworkin, though, as Snopes points out in its debunking of the false quote, both M and D have specifically stated that they don’t believe intercourse is rape. Apparently the quote was attributed to MacKinnon in a column by right-wing columnist Cal Thomas, which is evidently how it entered the land of antifeminist mythology. Somewhere along the line, Catharine had her name changed to Catherine.
Then there’s this alleged quote from Andrea Dworkin:
“Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women’s bodies.”
The first appearance of this quote is from P: A Novel (2003) by Andrew Lewis Conn as a quote from the fictional feminist “Corinne Dwarfkin”. The original reads “In capsule form, my thesis is that heterosexual intercourse is the pure, distilled expression of men’s contempt for women.” In the slightly altered form given above, the quote is attributed in several books to Andrea Dworkin. Neil Boyd, in Big Sister (2004) attributes the quote to Letters from a War Zone, however, this quote, nor any one with similar phrasing, appears in that work.
Indeed, our listmaker seem to have a lot of trouble quoting Dworkin correctly. A bunch of the quotes are taken from her book Letters From a War Zone, which I happen to own. The first quote I checked was this one:
“The newest variations on this distressingly ancient theme center on hormones and DNA: men are biologically aggressive; their fetal brains were awash in androgen; their DNA, in order to perpetuate itself, hurls them into murder and rape.” Andrea Dworkin, Letters from a War Zone, p. 114.
It’s a weird quote, which sounds a lot like it’s coming from the the middle of a complicated argument. That’s because it is. And when you read what precedes it, it becomes clear that it’s NOT a statement of Dworkin’s own beliefs. She was in fact summarizing (in her own words) the beliefs of “male supremacist” sociobiologists like Edward O. Wilson. It may or may not be a fair summary of their views, but that’s not the point: it’s NOT what she thought. Later in the paragraph, in fact, she compared these views to Hitler’s.
The other quotes from the book are more or less accurate. Words are missing, moved from one sentence to another, verb tenses are changed; they’re very sloppy transcriptions, but at least they aren’t complete and utter misrepresentations of what Dworkin wrote.
There’s also quote from Andrea Dworkin that’s listed as being from “Liberty, p. 58.” Dworkin never wrote a book called Liberty. But I found the quote in what seems to be a scholarly work; it’s evidently from Dworkin’s book Our Blood.
Finally, there are a few other alleged quotes from Dworkin; they don’t have sources listed for them. I found the quotes elsewhere online — but only on dubious “quote pages” and other iterations of “evil feminist” lists. They sound Dworkin-ish, but given the listmaker’s track record I have no faith that they are actually real, correctly transcribed Dworkin.
It’s bizarre. How hard is it to find hair-raising quotes from Andrea Dworkin? Dworkin was so radical that mostfeminists disagree with her, sometimes violently. You could practically pick a sentence at random from almost any of her books and chances are good it would offend somebody — including me. A number of her writings are available online. How lazy and sloppy do you have to be to fuck up your Dworkin quotes like this?
Let’s now turn to Marilyn French’s famously fictional quote:
“All men are rapists and that’s all they are.” Marilyn French in People, February 20, 1983
Oh, the quote is real — she wrote it — but it is not a statement of French’s beliefs. Nor did it originate in People magazine. It is a line of dialogue from her book The Woman’s Room. Wikipedia, take it away:
Following the rape of Val’s daughter Chris, Val states (over Mira’s protests), “Whatever they may be in public life, whatever their relationships with men, in their relationships with women, all men are rapists, and that’s all they are. They rape us with their eyes, their laws, and their codes” (p. 433). Critics have sometimes quoted Val’s dialogue as evidence of French’s misandry without noting that the passage is only spoken by one of many characters in the novel.
Now, it’s true that this sentence was quoted in People magazine — in the issue of Feb 20 1979, not Feb 20, 1983 as claimed. It’s not clear from the rather sloppy People article that this is a line from the book, but it is.
In the article, French notes that the book is partly based on her experience — drawing on the emotions she herself felt after her own daughter was raped.
“Sometimes I felt so violent about it and how the courts treated her,” French admits, “that there seemed no recourse but to go out, buy a gun and shoot the kid who did it, and the lawyers too. I couldn’t help my own child.” Plenty of that rage made its way into The Women’s Room. “I’m less angry now. Being too deep in anger corrodes your interior.”
So, again, it is very clear that the “all men are rapists” quote is meant to reflect a character awash in rage and pain; it is not an ideological statement of misandry.
The “Hateful Quotes” list also contains a bunch of quotes from people I’ve never heard of; they’re obviously not major feminist figures, and may not even be feminists. Gordon Fitch? Never heard of the guy, and can’t find anything about him online.
Hodee Edwards? Never heard of her either, and I can only find a handful of mentions of her online, but she’s mentioned in the footnotes of a Catharine MacKinnon book, and it looks as though she is, or at least was, a feminist with Marxist leanings. But there is no way to even find out what the source of the quote is — a book, an essay, a quotation in a news story? — much less actually find the source and confirm that the quote is real.
EDITED TO ADD: I’ve been contacted by Hodee Edwards’ granddaughter, who tells me that her grandmother never said or wrote the quote attributed to her; while Edwards was indeed a Marxist and a feminist, she was not anti-sex. (The faux quote in question claims that all sex is rape.) Edwards has recently passed away, and her family members have been, the granddaughter tells me, “very distressed to learn that this quote has somehow been linked to my grandmother’s name on the Internet.”
Then there’s Pat Poole:
Melbourne City Councilwoman Pat Poole announced her opposition to renaming a street for Martin Luther King: “I wonder if he really accomplished things, or if he just stirred people up and caused a lot of riots.”
Who the hell is Pat Poole? I looked her up, and yes, she was a city councilwoman in Melbourne, Florida, but I was unable to find out much beyond that. Is the quote accurate? I don’t know. There’s no source given, and I can’t find the original quote online. Is she actually a feminist, or is the author of the list simply assuming she is one because she’s a woman?
And then of course there is the anonymous “Liberated Woman” whose quote ends the list. She definitely sounds like a feminist. We just don’t know for sure if she or the quote are real.
Moving on, I can’t help but notice that a number of the allegedly hateful quotes are in fact not hateful at all. Take, for example, Barbara Ehrenreich’s quote about the family, which is in fact part of a sharply written essay on “family values.” You can find it here.
Here’s another distinctly non-hateful quote:
“Women take their roles of caretakers very seriously and when they hear of someone who’s taken advantage of a child, they react more strongly than men do.” – Kathleen C. Faller, professor of social work at the University of Michigan
Faller, if she did indeed say this, may or may not be correct, but it’s hard to see how this is “hateful.” Women on average spend much more time caring for children than men do and it may well be that, on average, they react more strongly than men. I couldn’t find the quote in question — again, this is because the listmaker didn’t actually provide the source — but her faculty web page is here.
Then there’s this “hateful” quote on religion:
“God is going to change. We women… will change the world so much that He won’t fit anymore.” Naomi Goldenberg, Changing of the Gods: Feminism and the End of Traditional Religions.
The quote is real; Goldenberg is indeed a feminist theologian. But here’s a little newsflash: There are lots of people in the world, feminist and non-feminist, who do not believe in traditional notions of God. Or in God at all. Nietzsche famously said “God is Dead,” Richard Dawkins says God is “a delusion,” and about 80 zillion internet athiests (many of them not feminists in the slightest) regularly compare belief in God to belief in unicorns, fairies, and Santa Claus.
I checked out a few other quotes on the list. The Hillary Clinton quote is accurate; the source is here. The Barbara Jordan quote appears in a Texas Monthly article here.
The quote from Catherine Comins — a favorite “evil feminist quote” amongst MRAs — has its origins in a Time magazine article, but it is not actually a quote from her; it is someone else’s summary of what she told Time in the article in question. Nor do we know the full context in which she spoke.
I don’t have the time or patience to fact-check the rest of the list. If anyone out there happens to have time and/or patience, or happens to own any of the books that are cited as sources, feel free to fact check it yourself and post your findings. (EDITED TO ADD: triplanetary has risen to the challenge, and has factchecked the rest of the list, as well as offering some excellent commentary on the alleged “hatefulness” of many of the quotes. You can find the post here.)
The numerous errors in this list — some minor, some huge — say something not only about the creator of this list but about all those who’ve distributed this list without, clearly, bothering to check anything in it . (Or, in the case of Cold, to contine to distribute a list he’s pretty sure is less than reliable.) Is this the result of laziness, or dishonesty? A bit of both, I imagine.
But I think this list is also a symptom of the tendency of many in the Men’s Rights movement to inflate the evils of their opponents. So many MRAs are so determined to prove that their supposed oppression is worse than that of women, and so determined to blame it all on feminism, that they need to make their opponents larger than life and twice as nasty. Given that the feminism they fight is largely a paranoid fantasy, bearing very little resemblance to feminism as it actually exists in the world today, it’s hardly shocking that a number of the quotes on this little list are fictional — and that none of the MRAs posting this list here and there on the internet seem to have even noticed (or, if they have noticed, to care, or at least to care enough to stop distributing the list). When you’re fighting phantoms in your own mind, the truth doesn’t really matter, does it?
Given how poorly this list held up to my fack-checking attempts, from now on I will consider this list and others like it spam, and delete any comments that link to them.
If any of you antifeminists still feel the desire to post “evil feminist quotes” in the comments here, you may do so, but only if you (or the list that you link to) provides clickable links to the original sources of the quotes in question. If you can’t provide a link to the source, I’ll delete it.
When I quote from MRAs and MGTOW-ites and other misogynists on this blog, I provide links to the sources. What’s so hard about that?
EDIT: Fixed links, and a few verb tenses.
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Men’s Rights Myth: The Pay Gap between men and women doesn’t exist, but if it does, it’s because women choose to take lesser paying jobs, or because they decide to have kids, or because men work more dangerous jobs, or something.
The Truth: It’s complicated. Some of those things do make a difference. But no matter how you crunch the numbers or spin the results, there is a persistent pay gap between men and women that can’t be explained away by life choices or any of the other factors that MRAs and others suggest may “really” account for the differences.
You want the gory details? Check out these articles, studies and blog posts.
Women have made remarkable strides in education during the past three decades, but these gains have yet to translate into full equity in pay — even for college-educated women who work full time. A typical college-educated woman 25 years and older working full time earns $50,000 a year compared to $70,000 for college-educated male workers 25 years and older — a difference of $20,000! …
For the entire full-time workforce, a typical woman earned $35,745 compared with $46,367 for a typical man, a pay difference of $10,622.
The “Glass Ceiling” is still a problem (emphasis added):
We remain disheartened by the glacial pace at which women and minorities are reaching the upper echelons of power. … Of the 100 CEOs represented [in the S&P 100], 92 are Caucasian males. While women make up approximately 18% of director positions within the S&P 100, they represent only 8.4% of the highest paid positions within the same group of companies, positions that provide the opportunities to develop the expertise and networks needed for future board-level appointments.
U.S. women still earned only 77 cents on the male dollar in 2008, according to the latest census statistics. (That number drops to 68% for African-American women and 58% for Latinas.) …
Once you control for factors like education and experience … women’s earnings rise to 81% of men’s. Factor in occupation, industry and whether they belong to a union, and they jump to 91%. That’s partly because women tend to cluster in lower-paying fields. …
But industry doesn’t tell the whole story. Women earned less than men in all 20 industries and 25 occupation groups surveyed by the Census Bureau in 2007 … Female secretaries … earn just 83.4% as much as male ones. And those who pick male-dominated fields earn less than men too: female truck drivers … earn just 76.5% of the weekly pay of their male counterparts.
Of the many factors that account for differences in earnings between men and women, our model indicated that work patterns are key. Specifically, women have fewer years of work experience, work fewer hours per year, are less likely to work a full-time schedule, and leave the labor force for longer periods of time than men. Other factors that account for earnings differences include industry, occupation, race, marital status, and job tenure. When we account for differences between male and female work patterns as well as other key factors, women earned, on average, 80 percent of what men earned in 2000. While the difference fluctuated in each year we studied, there was a small but statistically significant decline in the earnings difference over the time period. Even after accounting for key factors that affect earnings, our model could not explain all of the difference in earnings between men and women. … we cannot determine whether this remaining difference is due to discrimination or other factors that may affect earnings.
The language attributing women’s lower pay to their own lifestyle choices is seductive—in an era when women are widely believed to have overcome the most serious forms of discrimination … Women work in lower-paid occupations; on average they work fewer paid hours per week and fewer paid weeks per year than men do; their employment is more likely than men’s to be discontinuous. …
However, a closer look reveals that the language of “choice” obscures larger social forces that maintain the wage gap and the very real constraints under which women labor. The impact of discrimination, far from being limited to the portion of the wage gap that cannot be accounted for by women’s choices, is actually deeply embedded in and constrains these choices.
[T]he argument is generally that the pay gap … has nothing to do with discrimination. … Women are paid less because they work so many fewer hours …
According to a [Department of Labor] web page in 2001 … comparing only hourly wages, women were paid 83.2% of what men were paid in 2000. 83.2% is a noticible difference from the 76% figure for weekly full-time wages – but it still leaves the majority of the pay gap unaccounted for.
In this view, the pay gap is only still around because women only recently entered the workforce; as such, women haven’t had as much time to work their way up the employment ladder to the well-paid positions. …
[E]xactly how long must we wait…? A woman who had been in the workforce five years when the Equal Pay Act was passed [in 1963] might well be retired by now, and the pay gap still hasn’t gone away.
[T]he effects of discrimination add up over a lifetime. So, for example, losing a single job offer or promotion usually won’t make a big difference; but dozens of such small losses over the course of women’s careers eventually add up to a big wage gap.
Some industries have, in effect, saved money by gradually replacing a male work force with a female work force. But there are many reasons employers might retain a male workforce, even though … men are paid more on average.
It’s true that men are much more likely to die or to be injured on the job than women. Surely no one would be willing to risk their life without getting paid a premium for it; and no reasonable person would argue that extra pay for extra danger is unjust. …
The problem is, there is no premium for dangerous jobs. And since the “danger premium” doesn’t really exist, it can’t explain the wage gap.
There are important kinds of direct employer discrimination which CONSAD’s methods cannot measure or disprove. For example, some employers are more likely to hire women to lower-paid positions and men to higher-paid positions. (Empirical testing – by sending male and female testers to apply for the same jobs — has proven that this sort of sexist occupational sorting sometimes happens.) …
[P]robably the most important kind of sexism going into the wage gap is the sexism of unquestioned assumptions; unquestioned assumptions about who does the housework, unquestioned assumptions about who does the child-rearing, unquestioned assumptions about innate ability, and most of all, unquestioned assumptions about how jobs are designed for people with wives at home.
I call this last factor the “Father Knows Best” economy; most jobs implicitly assume that workers have wives at home who are taking care of the kids and house, so that these responsibilities never need to be accommodated by employers. Maybe that assumption made sense half a century ago, but it doesn’t make sense now; and by continuing to implicitly make this assumption, our economy is making it unfairly difficult for caretakers (who are usually women) to have careers.
Men’s Rights Movement Claim: A high percentage — 40% or more — of rape accusations are false.
The Facts: This claim is dubious. The studies claiming these high numbers have been debunked. Better studies estimate the rate of false accusations as being in the single digits, generally in a range from 2-8%.
Here are some useful posts and papers on the subject. You’ll notice they don’t all agree with one another; It’s a complicated subject.
The reputable, methodologically sound reviews put the frequency of false reports in the single-digit percentages. There are people who, for propaganda reasons, keep saying that the incidence of false reports is much higher. They create these figures with biased reviews or intellectually dishonest mislabeling. … A new study … based on a review of every single rape allegation made to a US university police department — the study does not disclose which school — over a ten year period. The result: 5.9 percent false allegations.
Eugene Kanin famously found that 41%, or perhaps 50%, of rapes reported to police are false. Kanin’s study is both badly designed and unverifiable; more reliable studies have found that between 2% and 8% of rapes reported to police are false reports.
In the research literature, estimates for the percentage of sexual assault reports that are false have varied widely, virtually across the entire possible spectrum. For example, a very comprehensive review article documented estimates from 1.5% to 90% (Rumney, 2006). However, very few of these estimates are based on research that could be considered credible. Most are reported without the kind of information that would be needed to evaluate their reliability and validity. A few are little more than published opinions, based either on personal experience or a non-systematic review (e.g. of police files, interviews with police investigators, or other information with unknown reliability and validity).
The paper reviews recent research and notes that the most credible studies find “the rate of false reporting for sexual assault is in the range of 2-8%.”
NOTE: the link to the study on abyss2hope is broken. This one works. (It’s a pdf.)
[I]sn’t the rate of false rape charges an empirical question, with a specific answer that isn’t vulnerable to ideological twisting? Yes and no. There has been a burst of research on this subject. Some of it is careful, but much of it is questionable. While most of the good studies converge at a rate of about 8 percent to 10 percent for false rape charges, the literature isn’t quite definitive enough to stamp out the far higher estimates.
Myth: Women routinely make up allegations of domestic violence and rape, including to gain advantage in family law cases. And women use protection orders to remove men from their homes or deny contact with children.
Facts: The risk of domestic violence increases at the time of separation. Most allegations of domestic violence in the context of family law proceedings are made in good faith and with support and evidence for their claims. Rates of false accusations of rape are very low. Women living with domestic violence often do not take out protection orders and do so only as a last resort. Protection orders provide an effective means of reducing women’s vulnerability to violence.
Note: I think this paper lowballs the estimate of false rape accusations. See the YesMeansYes article above for what I think is a more reasonable take.
Myth: Women routinely make false accusations of child abuse or domestic violence to gain advantage in family law proceedings and to arbitrarily deny their ex-partners’ access to the children.
Facts: Allegations of child abuse are rare. False allegations are rare; False allegations are made by fathers and mothers at equal rates; The child abuse often takes place in families where there is also domestic violence; Allegations of child abuse rarely result in the denial of parental contact.
An article in the British magazine New Statesman, by Joanna Bourke, Professor of History at Birkbeck and author of Rape: A History from the 1860s to the Present (Virago, 2007). Excerpt:
[W]hat is the risk of an accused man being falsely accused of rape? Popular prejudices estimate that around half of rape victims are lying, but a major Home Office research project in 2000-2003 concluded that only three per cent of rape allegations were false. Indeed, contrary to the notion that men are at risk of being falsely accused, it is much more common for actual rapists to get away with their actions. Around four-fifths of rapes are never reported to the police. And only five per cent of rapes reported to the police ever end in a conviction. This is the lowest attrition rate of any country in Europe, except for Ireland.
None of this is to say that people aren’t falsely accused — of rape, and of other crimes — or falsely convicted. They are, and it’s a tragedy. Here are two groups that advocate for the the falsely accused and falsely convicted:
Rape in US prisons, jails and other detention facilities is a serious problem, and a disgrace to our country.
Men’s Rights Activists often complain, quite justifiably, about prison rape jokes. Typically, they attribute the double standard towards prison rape jokes as an indication that, as one MRA put it in a recent discussion, “nobody gives a shit about men.” As I’ve pointed out, this explanation doesn’t take us very far, given that women are also raped in prison, and that people make jokes about that too. (Indeed, there is an entire genre of “women in prison” exploitation films that sexualizes this abuse.)
More to the point, most MRAs don’t seem terribly interested in actually attempting to do much about prison rape beyond complaining about obnoxious rape jokes or making rhetorical points about the “disposability” of men. (See below for the few examples of MR blogs I could find that have addressed the issue as more than a bullet point in a laundry list of complaints; I’ve found much more serious discussion of prison rape on feminist blogs.) Anyone who is interested in doing something about it should consider getting in touch with Just Detention, a human rights advocacy group working to stop sexual abuse in detention facilities.
Some basic information about prison rape. I’ve bolded the crucial information.
An estimated 4.4% of prison inmates and 3.1% of jail inmates reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another inmate or facility staff in the past 12 months or since admission to the facility, if less than 12 months. Nationwide, these percentages suggest that approximately 88,500 adults held in prisons and jails at the time of the survey had been sexually victimized.
Female inmates in prison (4.7%) or jail (3.1%) were more than twice as likely as male inmates in prison (1.9%) or jail (1.3%) to report experiencing inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization. … Most victims of staff sexual misconduct were males; most perpetrators were females.
Note: Men make up the overwhelming majority of rape victims in prison — 90 percent — largely because the overwhelming majority of inmates are male. While the number of men raped in prison is appalling, I would like to clear up one Men’s Rights Myth: that the number of men raped inside prison is greater than the number of women raped outside of prison. This is simply false; the numbers aren’t even close: again, while the estimate of the total number of people (male and female) currently being held in prison who have been raped there in the past year is 88,500, estimates of the total number of those raped per year (outside of prison) range from about 200,000 to more than a million (the real number is probably closer to the latter); estimates suggest that anywhere from 86% to 94% of rape victims are female, and that males may make up to 99% of the perpetrators. See here (doc format) for a look at various estimates, and here (pdf) for more details from a large scale survey. As is the case with rapes in general, the vast majority of prison rapes go unreported.
EDITED TO ADD: The information in the previous paragraph is outdated. The Department of Justice has revised upwards its estimate of the number of prisoners (male and female) who are sexually assaulted each year to 216,000. Which means that considerably more men are raped per year than previously thought. There is still no clean and direct way to directly compare rapes of men and women, in prison and out, because the various studies out there use different methodologies and different definitions of sexual assault. Stephanie Zvan drills into the numbers in great detail here; anyone seriously interested in this issue should read her post carefully.
Information from Just Detention:
Sexual abuse behind bars is a widespread human rights crisis in prisons and jails across the US. Aaccording to the best available research, 20 percent of inmates in men’s prisons are sexually abused at some point during their incarceration.The rate for women’s facilities varies dramatically from one prison to another, with one in four inmates being victimized at the worst institutions.
In a 2007 survey of prisoners across the country, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) found that 4.5 percent (or 60,500) of the more than 1.3 million inmates held in federal and state prisons had been sexually abused in the previous year alone. A BJS survey in county jails was just as troubling; nearly 25,000 jail detainees reported having been sexually abused in the past six months.
Unfortunately, the data provided by the still represent only a fraction of the true number of detainees who are victimized, especially of those held in county jails. The number of admissions to local jails over the course of a year is approximately 17 times higher than the nation’s jail population … .
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer inmates are the chief target of sexual abuse in prison
Sexual abuse of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) inmates constitutes one of the most rampant and ignored human rights violations in the US today. In a 2007 academic study, funded by the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation and conducted at six California men’s prisons, 67 percent of inmates who identified as LGBTQ reported having been sexually assaulted by another inmate during their incarceration, a rate that was 15 times higher than for the inmate population overall.
Sexual violence in detention spreads disease. Prisoner rape victims are highly vulnerable to contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. … In 2004, the HIV prevalence rate inside US prisons was more than four times higher than in society overall. Hepatitis C rates are 8 to 20 times higher in prisons than on the outside … The rates of infection for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are likewise significantly higher among inmates than in the population at-large.
Here are links to, and brief excerpts of, some of the worst posts by Men’s Rights activists and/or antifeminists I’ve run across in doing this blog. These are not random comments by random MRAs; they are all by people who have a history in the MRM. In most cases, they are fairly prominent names, at least within the online MRA community. A few of these posts will be familiar to readers of this blog.
Lest anyone accuse me of taking quotes out of context, I urge you to read the originals. As you’ll see, none of these quotes are any more justifiable “in context” than they are here on their own.
If anyone out there has seen worse, please post a URL below. Conversely, if any of these posts have been publicly challenged by others in the MRM, I will happily post links alongside the original.
I am also taking nominations for a follow-up post, The Best of the MRM. Post URLs below.
In the name of equality and fairness, I am proclaiming October to be Bash a Violent Bitch Month.
I’d like to make it the objective for the remainder of this month, and all the Octobers that follow, for men who are being attacked and physically abused by women – to beat the living shit out of them. I don’t mean subdue them, or deliver an open handed pop on the face to get them to settle down. I mean literally to grab them by the hair and smack their face against the wall till the smugness of beating on someone because you know they won’t fight back drains from their nose with a few million red corpuscles.
And then make them clean up the mess.
Immediately after this quote, he claims he’s not “serious” about this, though apparently only because “it isn’t worth the time behind bars or the abuse of anger management training that men must endure if they are uppity enough to defend themselves from female attackers.” My post on the subject is here. Here’s another piece by Elam full of fantasies of violence against women.
Should I be called to sit on a jury for a rape trial, I vow publicly to vote not guilty, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the charges are true.
This post from Roy Den Hollander, a lawyer and Men’s Rights activist best known for suing clubs that have “ladies nights,” suggests that men may have to take up arms to win their, er, struggle:
The future prospect of the Men’s Movement raising enough money to exercise some influence in America is unlikely. But there is one remaining source of power in which men still have a near monopoly—firearms.
And speaking of angry men and their guns, here’s a post from Citizen Renegade, a Pick-Up Artist (PUA) site popular with MRAs: Game Can Save Lives It’s about George Sodini, the misogynist killer who gunned down women at a health club a year ago. “Chateau” suggests that all would have been well if Sodini had learned how to be a Pick-Up Artist:
If Sodini had learned game he would have been able to find another woman and gotten laid after his ex dumped him. He wouldn’t have spent the next 20 years steeped in bile and weighed down by his Sisyphian blue balls, dreaming of vengeance. Game could have saved the lives of the women Sodini killed.
Actually, Sodini had taken at least one class from Don Steele, author of “How to Date Young Women for Men Over 35.” The comments to Chateau’s article are scarier than the article itself. For selected examples and commentary, see here.
[P]roperly owning a dog is excellent training for properly owning a woman. The behavior of dogs and women is eerily similar, and their relation to man testifies to that.
Like dogs, women need to be led. They *want* to be led. In fact, though they will never admit it, women want to be owned by their men.
Other MRAs don’t seem to be much interested in adult women at all. MRA Jay Hammers, a regular contributor to The Spearhead, has taken down his blog, but its worst moments live on in Google’s cache. Perhaps the worst of the worst: Age of Consent is Misandry. Key quotes:
Age of consent laws are designed to punish beta males. A beta male in his 20s, unsuccessful with women his own age who are infused with a sense of feminist entitlement and deride all but the top alpha males who take interest in them, who seeks companionship with a younger, sexually mature female who desires him, should not go to prison for acting on that which is normal male sexuality.
Females generally do not significantly mature mentally past puberty so it should always be illegal for any woman to have sex or it should never be illegal for any woman to have sex. There is no arbitrary age where females suddenly become self-aware, realizing the consequences of their actions, and stop seeking out alpha males. Thus there must not be an arbitrary age of consent for sex.
One of Hammers’ biggest defenders has been an antifeminist blogger by the nom-de-net of Schopenbecq, who is equally obsessed with the age of consent and what he sees as the superior attractiveness of teen girls. Here’s one of his posts on the subject, which argues:
The age of consent has always been central to feminism. In fact, it has been its primary driving force right from the beginning. The purpose of this website is not to campaign for a reduction in the age of consent from the present feminist age of 16. For one thing, there is little or no chance of that happening in this author’s lifetime. However, I have no shame whatsoever in stating my clear belief that the age of consent ought to be what it still technically is in the majority of major civilised nations – namely, 14.
In this post, he mocks any man who doesn’t think Heather Locklear’s 13-year-old daughter is hotter than Locklear herself:
Results of a poll on Schopenbecq’s site.
Here, he argues that feminism is a “Sexual Trade Union,” and seems to suggest that increasing the age of consent from 12 was bad thing :
Feminism exists as a defender of the selfish sexual and reproductive interests of aging and/or unattractive women. This is its entire raison d’etre, the reason it first came into existence with the social purity movement reformers of the 19th century, led by their harridan battle cry – ‘armed with the ballot the mothers of America will legislate morality’.
And legislate morality these pioneering feminists quickly did, even before they had won the vote. That is, they successfully lobbied for restrictions on prostitution, a rise in the age of consent from 12 to 16, or even 18, and the closing down of saloons where their husbands might mix freely with unattached young women.
Post-feminist women have been so indoctrinated by specious polemics extolling their (largely imaginary) talents, that they truly believe their ‘achievements’ are somehow self-determined. This is why the loss of their physical charms wreaks such havok on them. Having been nurtured on feminist pipe dreams, the cutting realization that their youthful ‘success’ was entirely due to sexual allure must be galling indeed. … Indeed, the staunch bitterness of middle-aged Anglo-American women can be entirely attributed to this realization:
It wasn’t your ‘talent’ and ‘intelligence’ that men admired: it was your sweet young pussy. That pussy-pass departed with your first wrinkle: live with it, bitch.
Big cities like London, New York and Sydney are jam-packed with beautiful foreign girls from Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia. They are sexy, fun, good company and they treat men like human beings. They have not had their minds poisoned by feminist hate-speech. … I urge all Western men to boycott Western Women if they can. Don’t date them, don’t marry them, don’t have children with them. Find yourself a nice foreign girl, and find out what women should be like. If anyone asks you why, tell them it is a protest against feminist ideology. Once enough men start boycotting them, women will turn away from feminism.
Henry Makow has gotten too loopy for most Men’s Rights activists to consider him as one of their own. But he remains one of the internet’s most influential antifeminists. Here are some quotes from his classic in craziness How the Rockefellers Re-Engineered Women.
Feminism is an excellent example of how the Rockefeller mega cartel uses the awesome power of the mass media (i.e. propaganda.) to control society. … Nicholas Rockefeller told [producer Aaron Russo] that his family foundation created women’s liberation using mass media control as part of a long-term plan to enslave humanity. ….
The hidden goal of feminism is to destroy the family, which interferes with state brainwashing of the young. Side benefits include depopulation and widening the tax base. Displacing men in the role of providers also destabilizes the family.
While women and children often lack the capacity to grasp the inner workings of authority, they still have an instinctual, positive response to it. Authority brings chaotic, aimless things, people, events and circumstances into a state of good order. … Masculinity is properly expressed in the form of authority.
You know what I said above about reading the originals? Don’t bother in this case.
Single mothers, rampant divorce, abortion and falling birth rates are part of the cancer that is destroying what is left of Western Civilization. But very few people (even conservatives) fail to realize that the inception of this cancer can be found in the passage of the 19th amendment.
I wrote about the piece, and reactions to it, here.
More Worst Of links to come! The Men’s Rights movement produces fresh awfulness each and every day.
EDIT: Deansdale’s Blog has weighed in on this Worst-of list and is surprisingly positive about the whole thing. Oh, not my post — he hates my post, and me — but the original MRA-n-pals posts. Elam’s “Bash a Violent Bitch” post? “What’s the problem with this article? Nothing, really. … Elam has some insightful observations about the nature of women in our contemporary cultures.” Roissy’s post about misogynist killer George Sodini? “What’s wrong with this article? Nothing.”And RamZpaul’s How Female Suffrage Destroyed Western Civilization? “There are valid arguments supporting his claim. It’s not PC, sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s automatically wrong.”
He even sort-of defends good old Henry Makow and his bizarre conspiracy theoryies:
Actually this is not so crazy. You don’t believe it, that’s fine, but show me why this is soooo unacceptable. He states lots of things: some of them obvious, some of them researchable. But it’s not so radical.
The only people he doesn’t defend? The Manhood Academy guys. Apparently saying horrible, horrible shit about women is perfectly acceptable in Deansdale’s vision of the MRM, but saying horrible, horrible shit about women while also calling other MRAs “manginas,” as the Manhood Academy guys do, is totally BEYOND THE PALE!!!
Men in fathers’ rights groups and men’s rights groups have been claiming very loudly for a while now that domestic violence is a gender-equal or gender-neutral phenomenon – that men and women assault each other at equal rates and with equal effects. They claim that an epidemic of husband-battering is being ignored if not silenced. …
There are four problems with the claims about ‘husband battering’ made by men’s rights advocates. Firstly, they only use these authors’ work selectively, as the authors themselves disagree that women and men are equally the victims of domestic violence. Secondly, they ignore the serious methodological flaws in the Conflict Tactics Scale. Thirdly, they ignore or dismiss a mountain of other evidence which conflicts with their claims. Finally, their strategies in fact are harmful to men themselves, including to male victims of violence.
Men’s physical violence against women is accompanied by a range of other coercive and controlling behaviors. Domestic violence is both an expression of men’s power over women and children and a means through which that power is maintained. Men too are subject to domestic violence at the hands of female and male sexual partners, ex-partners, and other family members. Yet there is no ‘gender symmetry’ in domestic violence, there are important differences between men’s and women’s typical patterns of victimization, and domestic violence represents only a small proportion of the violence to which men are subject.
A: No. This is an often repeated claim based on either faulty understanding or outright misrepresentation of a few studies made using the CONFLICT TACTICS SCALE (CTS) or similar self-report surveys. One of the authors of the original study, Richard Gelles, categorically rejects this interpretation of his research. … Women are self-reported to be just as likely to strike their partners as men are, but they are not just as likely to batter their partners as men are. That is a crucial distinction.
[T]here isn’t sex equality in serious violence. Women are battered by their intimate partners much more often than the reverse. Given the many reasons to doubt the CTS’s accuracy for measuring severe violence in families, the most reasonable conclusion is that the Straus/Gelles studies – at least, as they’re used by men’s rights activists – are inaccurate.
So should the Straus and Gelles studies be rejected entirely? I say no. The evidence weighs strongly against the “equal victimization” hypothesis, but that doesn’t mean the results of CTS-based studies should be thrown out entirely. Although it’s clear the Straus/Gelles work doesn’t accurately measure the most severe instances of intimate violence, the validity of the CTS in measuring what Michael Johnson calls “common couple violence” – minor, sporadic, non-escalating and mutual violence between spouses – has not been disproved.
A important discussion of the “women commit equal violence” myth:
Are Men and Women Equally as Likely to Be Victims or Offenders?
The National Family Violence Survey (NFVS) found nearly equal rates of assault (11–12 percent) by an intimate partner among both men and women. … NIJ researchers have found, however, that collecting various types of counts from men and women does not yield an accurate understanding of battering and serious injury occurring from intimate partner violence. National surveys supported by NIJ, CDC, and BJS that examine more serious assaults … clearly find more partner abuse by men against women.
For example, NVAWS found that women are significantly more likely than men to report being victims of intimate partner violence whether it is rape, physical assault, or stalking and whether the timeframe is the person’s lifetime or the previous 12 months.  NCVS found that about 85 percent of victimizations by intimate partners in 1998 were against women. …
A review of the research found that violence is instrumental in maintaining control and that more than 90 percent of “systematic, persistent, and injurious” violence is perpetrated by men.  BJS reports that 30 percent of female homicide victims are murdered by their intimate partners compared with 5 percent of male homicide victims, and that 22 percent of victims of nonfatal intimate partner violence are female but only 3 percent are male. 
This is the first in what will be a series of “Further Reading” posts that will provide links and brief excerpts/summaries of posts, articles and books useful to critics of the Men’s Rights Movement. They will all be permanently listed in my sidebar. I will add more useful links as I run across them.
I’ve also started adding a series of pages that offer information and links rebutting more specific claims typically made by those in the Men’s Rights movement. These will also be permanently listed in my sidebar under the heading “Anti-MRM Info and Resources.”
Here are some useful general critiques of the Men’s Rights Movement:
These men’s rights activists, or MRAs, have long been written off by domestic-violence advocates as a bombastic and fringe group of angry white men, and for good reason. … But lately they’ve become far more polished and savvy about advancing their views.
A generally useful overview, with one caveat: Joyce considerably understates the amount of domestic violence that is perpetrated by women. See here for my thoughts on the subject.
Jezebel and Salon have pieces commenting on Joyce’s article. Amanda Marcotte offers some blunt opinions on the piece, as well as some reflections on her general experience dealing with MRAs.
In general, “men’s rights” is an anti-feminist and sometimes misogynist (woman-hating) backlash. Its analysis is wrong, its strategies are misdirected and sometimes harmful, and ultimately it does not serve men well. There are legitimate aspects to the issues it raises, but they will not be addressed when surrounded by its hostile and sexist agendas. … Feminism is a movement and set of ideas to which many men’s rights men show venomous and semi-hysterical hostility. … Men’s rights men in fact offer a bizarre caricature of feminism, a highly ignorant and selective misrepresentation.
While fathers’ rights groups often claim to speak on behalf of male victims of domestic violence, these efforts undermine the policies and services that would protect and gain justice for these same men.
Fathers’ rights advocates also: Make excuses for perpetrators; Act as direct advocates for perpetrators or alleged perpetrators of violence against women; Use abusive strategies themselves; Work to undermine and harass the services and institutions that work with the victims and survivors of violence.
More pieces by Flood and others on MRAs at XYonline.net.
The problem with the men’s rights movement is that they confuse men’s unhappiness with oppression. They assume that if men were in control, they would be happy, because patriarchal oppressors ought to be happy. Therefore, if a man isn’t happy, he isn’t oppressing. Newsflash, folks: Just because you don’t know you’re privileged doesn’t mean you’re not. Just because there are aspects of your power and privilege that you find alienating and burdensome doesn’t mean that you are any less a beneficiary of an oppressive system!