With Christmas only a couple of days away, I decided to put together a little roundup of some of the most wildly misogynistic Christmas ads from the Mad Men era — loosely and somewhat expansively defined as the mid-50s through the mid-70s.
When rumors began to spread yesterday afternoon that the YouTube shooter was “a woman wearing a head scarf,” many on the right assumed that their gut instinct was right: the attack on YouTube, although it took no lives other than the shooter herself, was an act of Islamist terrorism. When the name of the shooter was released, and it turned out to be Nasim Aghdam, this was all the confirmation the Islamophobic right needed.
In another grand public relations coup for the Men’s Rights movement, Paul Elam’s drunken party tape has been featured on The Majority Report with Sam Seder, a sharp and funny political podcast I’ve started listening to on a fairly regular basis (and that you all might want to check out).
Over on Boing Boing, Mark Frauenfelder has posted the excerpt below from A Love That Multiplies: An Up-Close View of How They Make It Work by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar — yes, those Duggars — explaining how women “defraud” men when they dress in a way that men find exciting (in their pants).
So there’s a giant, growing, and extremely creepy megathread up on Reddit at the moment, and for once, the creepiness isn’t coming from inside the Reddit. Well, less of the creepiness is coming from Reddit than you might expect.
But this time, well, thousands of “women of Reddit” stepped forward to tell the horrifying yet in most cases completely unsurprising stories of the first time men started perving on them, in many cases before they were even teenagers.
Here’s a sampling of some of their stories. TRIGGER WARNING for extreme fucking creepiness.
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.
The We Hunted the Mammoth Pledge Drive continues! If you haven’t already, please consider sending some bucks my way. (And don’t worry that the PayPal page says Man Boobz.) Thanks!
From time to time I like to check in on the Facebook page for A Voice for Men, to see how that eminent men’s human rights organization’s program to advance the human man rights of human men through badly designed and even more poorly conceived graphic “memes” is going.
Well, I can report that this program is going, and going, and going, a bit like a famous battery-powered bunny.
Looking through them today, I couldn’t help but notice the weird sexual undertones — and overtones — of many of the memes, and realized that, while none of the memes tell us much about the world, they do, in an altogehter accidental way, offer some pretty interesting insights into the ids of those making and “liking” them on Facebook.
You don’t have to be a trained psychoanalyst to see the not-very-well-hidden straight male sexual insecurities that lie behind a large number of AVFM’s memes — both the ones they create themselves and the others that seem to have arrived on the AVFM page after being forwarded via email from someone’s cranky misogynistic uncle. Let’s take a look at some of them.
GamerGate, so depressing and destructive and … inadvertently hilarious?
Like the MRAs I write about so often here, GamerGaters have a certain fondness for the propaganda of the meme, attempting to win hearts and minds with elaborate infographics, repurposed propaganda, and basically any sort of graphic they can pull together in a few minutes with Photoshop or MSPaint.
They are, unfortunately for them, terrible at it. It’s not just that the amateur graphic designers of GamerGate lack a basic understanding of good design. They are also so completely lacking in self-awareness that they are unable to see when their graphics completely undercut the messages they are intended to convey.
So today, let’s take a look at the The Top Five Most Ridiculously Ironic #Gamergate Memes that I’ve found posted recently on 8chan and Twitter.
[TRIGGER WARNING: Discussion of rape, violent misogyny]
Today, the easy winner in my informal “Worst Thing I Saw On The Internet” contest is a horrendous little hangout for dudes with a very particular sexual fetish: they like to fantasize about raping and sexually humiliating feminists.
The Breaking Feminist Superheroines subreddit (r/breakfeminazis), with 865 subscribers, describes itself as
You may remember the embarrassing spectacle a couple of months back when Warren Farrell asked the readers of A Voice for Men to help him pick out a cover picture for a new ebook version of The Myth of Male Power, the 21-year-old crackpot bestseller that more or less provided the, er, intellectual foundation for today’s Men’s Rights movement.
It wasn’t just embarrassing because AVFM is a noxious hate site that regularly calls women c*nts and whores and helps to organize informal campaigns of harassment directed at individual women. It was also embarrassing because all three of the pictures were sexualized images focusing on specific female body parts. You can guess which three, and you’d be right: tits, ass, and vagina (the latter tastefully covered in a merkin made of moss).
The implicit message of the cover couldn’t be clearer: men may seem to run the world, but women can control and exploit them through the power of their sexuality. Male power is undercut by … butt power.
Am I reading too much into a cover image? Farrell doesn’t really believe this nonsense, does he?
Well, in the introduction to the ebook, Farrell writes:
In case you’re wondering, “genetic celebrity” is Farrell’s term of art for any attractive woman.
But golly, you say, the fact that a dude feels “powerless” because he can’t have sex with every woman with a nice butt that happens to wander across his field of vision doesn’t actually mean that men are powerless or that male power is a myth. Well, Farrell has an answer to this as well. And by “answer” I mean, well, whatever this is:
Got that? I’m not sure there’s anything there to get; it’s nothing more than hand-waving to distract attention from the nonsensical nature of his previous statements. In case any Men’s Rights activist ever brings Warren Farrell up as an example of a respectable, “academic” MRA, you may wish to point out that almost nothing Farrell writes ever actually makes any fucking sense.
In the book itself, Farrell repeatedly suggested that male power can be undone almost completely by the sexual power of women. In one oft-quoted passage, he wrote about the effect that a “secretary’s miniskirt power, cleavage power and flirtation power” allegedly has on their male bosses. (Myth of Male Power, p. 21)
While that statement has earned a certain notoriety for its sheer ridiculousness, Farrell went further elsewhere in the book, essentially arguing that men are as addicted to female “beauty” as drug addicts are to the drug of their choice — and as helpless.
“Sexually, of course, the sexes aren’t equal,” Farrell wrote. “[M]any men feel ‘under the influence the moment they see a beautiful woman.” (p. 320, emphasis in original.)
This sort of temporary “intoxication,” Farrell argued, leads men into shackling themselves to these temporarily sexy tyrants for the rest of their lives — thus agreeing to support them (he suggested implicitly) even after they get old and ugly. (p. 85.)
In Farrell’s original book, this “argument,” such as it is, was merely one of many that he thought undercut the alleged “myth of male power.” Now, with the butt on the cover, he’s put it front and center. Or, more precisely, rear and center.
Warren Farrell, you’re an ass, man.
Oh, awkward segue here, I just wanted to show off the cover to the new edition of my classic book, The Myth of Human Power.
It will soon be available for one million dollars in cash in unmarked bills, upon delivery of which I will sit down and write it for you. It will probably be pretty short and not very convincing.