Someone posted this image in the comments at A Voice for Men. As far as I can figure it, it depicts brave MRAs pulling down the allegedly evil Violence Against Women Act, which for some reason is represented by the Venus of Willendorf. Because women are fat? Or is just feminists who are fat? Or battered women?
Is every supposed MRA cause really just an excuse to talk shit about women?
Given the enmity towards women in general, and feminists in particular, that’s omnipresent in the manosphere, it seems logical to assume that most of the dudes lingering around MRA, PUA and MGTOW sites online would take a certain secret pleasure in seeing women suffer.
But good news, folks! It turns out that not all manosphere misogynists want women to suffer. Why? Because suffering is an ineffective way to put women in their place. That, at least, is the argument of a fellow calling himself Höllenhund. In a comment on Susan Walsh’s Hooking Up Smart blog, he offered this argument:
Making women suffer wouldn’t achieve anything in itself – I’m pretty sure the overwhelming majority of the Manosphere would agree. Women are normally solipsistic and they fail to understand their own urges and don’t comprehend the connection between cause and effect. They’d never understand why they’re suffering in the first place.
So, basically, in his mind, women are dumber than dogs and thus harder to train. Even worse, the suffering women can sit down in the street and cry, and countless “white knights,” hoping to win their approval (and get in their pants) will rush to their aid:
Suffering only motivates them to fish for male sympathy (and thus investment) through crying and whining, to blame ‘ bad men’ for their ‘misfortune’ and thus play the game of ‘let’s you and him fight’. That’s how it has always been.
So making women suffer is largely pointless. I’d go further and say it’d actually be detrimental to men because it encourages white-knighting and intra-male competition. …
And some of the ladies even seem to sort of like it:
Not to mention the fact that many women actually seem to find some sort of twisted pleasure in suffering, that all this’d simply serve to justify more anti-male legislation and whatnot.
Poor Höllenhund doesn’t have much hope that women will ever see how totally terrible they really are
[T]he notion of making women ‘admit their faults’ is pie-in-the-sky as well. Again, I’m sure pretty much everyone in the Manosphere would agree. You have a bigger chance of seeing pigs fly.
If women are to recognize their faults in this SMP [Sexual Marketplace], they need to have a realistic picture of both their own sexuality and the SMP in the first place, plus they need to have empathy for beta males …
Er, you’re lecturing us about empathy?
Sorry, on with the rest of the sentence:
plus they need to be imbued with the sense of morality without which the very concept of ‘fault’ is meaningless.
And lecturing us about morality too?
I think we’ll sooner see Haiti become a dreaded military superpower.
I’d rather see that than live in a world in which women were so self-hating that they actually believed they were guilty of whatever unnamed sins Höllenhund attributes to them.
NOTE: I found Höllenhund’s comment because the blogger at Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Technology cited it as a prime example of the sort of brave “truth telling” that will get you banned “on feminist sites that supposedly support men.” And yes, it apparently did get poor Höllenhund banned from Hooking Up Smart. I’m not quite sure how Susan Walsh, a traditionalist devoted to slut shaming in a thousand different flavors, counts as feminist, but that’s not the point. The point is: I’m regularly accused of “cherry picking” comments from MRAs. In this case, Mr. PMAFT picked the comment for me.
While Reddit’s reluctant, long-overdue banning of subreddits devoted to sexualized pictures of children drew applause from many Redditors, there has, of course, been a considerable backlash from pedophiles, ephibophiles, and other assorted apologists. ShitRedditSays has already started covering this, and I’ll be doing some posts of my own.
So far the most appalling thing I’ve run across (thanks to ScrappyB for pointing it out in the comments here) comes from the BeatingWomen subreddit — which is, unfortunately, a real thing. Some people, you see, are suggesting that maybe Reddit shouldn’t be hosting a forum devoted to sharing images and videos of women being brutalized, so that Redditors can cackle over their victimization, make rape jokes, and whatever else they do there.
Last September, WF Price of The Spearhead wrote a post about a Seattle area man named Josh Powell, widely suspected of murdering his missing wife. Price’s complaint? Powell’s two boys had been removed from his custody after his father (with whom he and the boys were living) was charged with voyeurism and possessing child porn. Price excoriated the authorities for what he saw as an abuse of their powers, and concluded his piece by saying that “[t]yranny has arrived in the guise of protecting women and children.”
The regulars on the Spearhead don’t seem much interested in talking about Powell any more. But of the few comments that have been made, several have been rather telling. Responding to a feminist commenting on his original post, Price wrote:
Typical for a feminist to see this as a triumph. Josh Powell was hounded for years up to this point. If he didn’t kill his wife, and there’s still no evidence he did, does the court bear some responsibility for the outcome here?
That’s right. The court is to blame for trying to protect the children from the man who later murdered them.
And not a word of sympathy from him for the murdered children.
Meanwhile, another Spearheader seemed to suggest that the main problem was that Powell had picked the wrong people to kill:
EDITED TO ADD: Thanks to Kendra, Cloudiah, and Crumbelievable for pointing me to Price’s post and these comments. I should also note that there were a couple of comments from others at The Spearhead expressing sorrow for the murdered children. And to my knowledge no one in the MRM has hailed him as a hero, so that’s something, I guess.
EDITED TO ADD AGAIN:
Price digs his hole deeper. Responding to a critical comment by none other than Men’s Rights Activist Lieutenant, he writes, among other things:
If the cops knew he was capable of real violence, and they must have if they suspected him for murder, they bear some responsibility for provoking this.
So if the cops knew he was capable of real violence (which they clearly did) … they should have let him keep the kids? That he ultimately killed?
I’ve heard this argument before from MRAs. Essentially, if a man in a custody dispute threatens violence, or is thought to be violent, the courts should simply hand the kids over to him. So he won’t get mad. That’s the logic of an abuser, or at the very least of an enabler.
In olden days of rough village justice she’d have gotten the scold’s bridle, or the the ducking stool, or the stocks. And quite right.
A couple of days later, regular A Voice for Men commenter DruidV, perhaps inspired by Fidebogen’s post, made a strikingly similar suggestion on that site:
I urge all Men here to have a look at wiki’s description of what was commonly known as a scold’s bridle, or the Branks. For whatever foolish reason, this item was done away with some time ago. This invention to end Men’s suffering, needs to be brought back into public acceptance and application, post haste, imo.
A scold’s bridle, sometimes called “the branks”, as well as “brank’s bridle” was a punishment device used primarily on women, as a form of torture and public humiliation. It was an iron muzzle in an iron framework that enclosed the head. The bridle-bit (or curb-plate) was about 2 inches long and 1 inch broad, projected into the mouth and pressed down on top of the tongue. The “curb-plate” was frequently studded with spikes, so that if the tongue moved, it inflicted pain and made speaking impossible. Wives that were seen as witches, shrews and scolds, were forced to wear a brank’s bridle, which had been locked on the head of the woman and sometimes had a ring and chain attached to it so her husband could parade her around town and the town’s people could scold her and treat her with contempt; at times smearing excrement on her and beating her, sometimes to death.
I will be charitable and assume that both Fidelbogen and DruidV were joking. That is, they don’t literally want to strap women’s heads into ghastly torture devices, smear them with shit and beat them to death. They just think that the very notion is hilarious.
Whether the suggestions were made seriously or not, they’re still pretty hateful. Given that Fidelbogen was recently taken aboard as a regular writer for A Voice for Men, and that DruidV’s comment on that site got mostly upvotes (and no criticism) from the regulars there, would it be fair to call A Voice for Men the “underbelly of a hate movement?”
Most people who hate Katherine Heigl hate the actress because she seems like a bit of a diva, or because she keeps appearing in annoying rom-coms, including one with Ashton Kutcher that hurts my head when I even think about it. The fellas at Register-Her.com have another reason: she hates balls. As in, testicles.
I can’t cut the nuts off human men … yet. So, I’ve dedicated my time to the neutering of dogs, cause that’s legal.
The joke here, as any rational person can plainly see, isn’t that cutting off balls is inherently hilarious. The joke is that an actress with a reputation as a diva is basically doing her critics one better by portraying herself as a deranged, narcissistic, supremely creepy ball-hater. And she’s spoofing her own bad reputation for a genuinely good cause: reducing cat and dog overpopulation and therefore the number of unwanted animals that are put to death in our nation’s animal shelters.
The actress’s willingness to endorse male targeted sexual mutilation betrays a bigoted indifference to sexual violence, and justifies her inclusion on this registry in the category of bigot.
Presumably the fellas at Register-Her will next go after the people who have posted the more than twenty thousand YouTube videos that feature dudes getting hit in the nuts. Surely these videos, which feature actual violence against actual human balls are a far graver threat to the balls of the world than even Katherine Heigl.
The Register-Her Action Squad might start by tracking down the (admittedly quite ingenious) ball-hating dudes involved in this video.
And then move on to all the ball-hating bigots featured here:
And here are 50 more:
Better track down the ghost of Scott Joplin, too, for providing the music to the last one from beyond the grave.
I have a certain fondness for old-timey hillbilly music, the kind of stuff you can find on any number of great compilations on Yazoo records. But sometimes, alas, the lyrics to the songs reflect some old-timey bigotries that are much less charming than the music itself. Poking around on YouTube earlier today looking for the stuff I ran across this little ditty:
Well, it’s a shame to whip your wife on Sunday.
Yes, it’s a shame to whip your wife on Sunday.
When you’ve got Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
It’s a shame to whip your wife on Sunday.
It’s a shame to get drunk on Sunday.
Yes, it’s a shame to get drunk on Sunday.
When you’ve got Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
It’s a shame to get drunk on Sunday.
Pity about the lyrics, because it’s got such a nice little banjo riff.
Cleanse your ears out with this song, a perky little number called “Hallelujah to the Lamb,” that I think would leave even Satan himself tapping his cloven hooves.
A Voice for Men, one of the most influential and popular Men’s Rights websites, is now offering a $1000 “bounty” for anyone able to track down the personal information of several Swedish women involved in a tasteless video advertising a theater production based on Valarie Solanas’ SCUM manifesto. As the anonymous poster calling himself John the Other – the second-in-command at AVfM – put it in a posting yesterday (emphasis in original):
We are asking for the full legal names, home addresses, places of employment, email addresses and contact phone numbers of the women and man who produced and starred in the video described above. We will pay 1000 dollars to any individual who provides and confirms this information, to be paid either directly to themselves or to a charity of their choice.
John explains that this information will be posted on the AVfM-affiliated site Register-Her.com, an “offenders database” that is being used to vilify individual feminists and “Fuck Their Shit Up,” as AVfM head honcho Paul Elam likes to put it. John notes that Regsiter-Her.com also intends to post the “government identification numbers [and] drivers licences” of the women they are able to identify.
John admits plainly that posting such information may put the physical safety of these women at risk from vigilante violence. As he puts it (emphasis mine):
Some individuals may criticize the intent to publish not only names, but also addresses, phone numbers, employers and other personal information – on the grounds that such exposure create a risk of retributive violence against individuals who openly advocate murder based on sex. It is the considered position of the editorial board of AVfM that any such risks are out-weighed by the ongoing hazard to the public of these individuals continuing to operate in anonymity.
The comments posted on the article at AVfM suggest that such “retributive” violence is a real possibility. Indeed, here’s the very first comment (which currently has 17 upvotes from readers of the site):
A commenter called Xnomolos, in another upvoted comment, adds:
i would love to hunt down these women myself.
JinnBottle responds to this comment by advising “all men to start carrying guns.”
The commenters on AVfM have already uncovered the identities of all of the women involved in the video. The blogger Fidelbogen has been the most active internet detective so far.
There is no question that the video itself is offensive, and designed to provoke. You can see it here; I’m not going to embed it on this site. If you don’t want to watch it: it depicts a young woman shooting a man in the head for no reason. Afterwards the woman and her gleeful, giggling accomplices do a victory dance, then lick the blood from the dead man’s head. A message at the end urges viewers to “Do Your Part.”
Every feminist I know who has seen the video has been appalled by it. I’m appalled by it. It’s hateful, and it’s wrong.
But John the Other, and the other commenters on AVfM, claim that it is more than this: that that the video of the staged murder, intended to provide publicity for a theater production based on Solanas’ notorious SCUM manifesto, is quite literally an open call for the murder of men. As John the Other puts it:
Open advocation of murder cannot be allowed in a civil society, without that society devolving into a culture of brutal violence.
Evidently he has no problem with, or has somehow not noticed, the comments on AVfM fantasizing about shooting and killing the women involved in the video.
Is the video a literal call to murder? Is it, as one AVfM commenter puts it, evidence of a “conspiracy to commit mass murder?” No. Violence and murder have been dramatized in the theater since its beginnings. No one accuses Sophocles of advocating fratricide and incest, though both are dealt with in his play Oedipus Rex. No one accuses Shakespeare of advocating mass murder, though many of his most famous plays have body counts that put many horror films to shame.
Does the tag line at the end of the video – “do your part” – transform the video from a depiction of murder into an open call for it? No. The “threat,” such as it is, is vague; it’s not aimed at any specific individuals. It might be seen as akin to someone wearing a t-shirt that says “kill ‘em all, let God sort them out” – tasteless and offensive, but not a literal threat. “Kill ‘Em All” is actually the name of Metallica’s first album. While a lot of people see James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich et al as pompous idiots, they have not been jailed for conspiracy to commit mass murder. That would be ridiculous.
Someone claiming to have been involved in the SCUM-inspired theatrical production in question has posted several detailed comments on AVfM, explaining that those involved in the production are “not out to get you” and that the video itself was “meant as a viral “wtf?!” to give attention to both the questions that it raises and the play itself.”
By contrast, AVfM is targeting specific individuals, and intends to offer information that would allow anyone intent on doing them harm to quite literally track them to their homes and workplaces. Those fantasizing about killing these woman are not simply making a joke along the lines of “women, can’t live with ‘em; can’t kill ‘em.” They are fantasizing about killing real people, and providing would-be evil-doers maps to their doors.
AVfM is an American site, in English; these specific women live in Sweden. While it is a real possibility, it seems unlikely that anyone reading the site will literally find and murder any of those involved in the SCUM production. At least I hope that this does not come to pass.
I don’t believe that either Paul Elam or John the Other literally wants any feminist to be killed. The real intent behind AVfM’s publishing people’s personal information, it seems clear, is to intimidate feminist writers and activists into shutting up, to make clear that if they post something that offends the internet vigilantes at AVfM they will face the possibility of some deranged individual quite literally showing up at their door intent on doing them harm.
Paul Elam and John the Other claim that they’re not advocating violence. But they are playing a dangerous game here. If some deranged individual, inspired by the hyperbolic anti-feminist rhetoric on AVfM, and armed with information provided by “Register-Her.com,” murders or otherwise harms a feminist blogger or activist or video maker, Elam and his enablers will have blood on their hands. As will those MRAs who continue to publicly support and/or link to AVfM and/or Register-Her.com.
This is not the way a legitimate rights group deals with those who disagree with them. This is what hate groups do.
I wrote earlier this year about the controversy swirling around Lucky McKee’s film The Woman. After a midnight showing at Sundance last January, one angry man in the audience stood up and denounced the film as a “disgusting movie” that “degrades women.” Given McKee’s nuanced treatment of gender issues in his previous films May and The Woods, I suspected that this outraged critic had completely missed the point.
Now I’ve finally gotten to see the film and, yep, he did. The Woman isn’t a misogynist film; it’s a film about misogyny. The Woman revolves around a cheerful , self-satisfied and and superficially charming country lawyer who captures a ferocious feral woman he spots on a hunting trip and chains her in the cellar in what he perversely sees as an attempt to “civilize” her. A patriarchal king of his castle, he introduces her to the rest of the family and assigns them all chores relating to her upkeep.
I don’t really want to give away much more than this; suffice it to say that as the film progresses we learn just how much of an odious psychopath this “family man” really is. But while the film offers a savage critique of his cruelty, and his misogyny, none of the women in the film are unambiguously noble victims, and when they begin to fight back the story is no simple tale of feminist empowerment. It’s a bit more subtle and unsettling than that.
While less overtly violent than, say, your typical Saw film, The Woman is a film that’s often, and by design, hard to take. Yes, there are some grisly deaths, but this isn’t a film that glories in gore for gore’s sake; it’s really about cruelty and complicity and feeling trapped, the ways in which fucked-up families can ensnare even outsiders in their toxic dynamics.
But the strangest review I’ve seen so far is one by Rene Rodriguez in the Miami Herald, who perversely describes the film as, er, fun. While acknowledging the film’s feminist themes, she dismisses them as mere window-dressing:
[C]ome on: You want a feminist movie, go rent Norma Rae. The Woman is the sort of horror picture designed to make you throw popcorn at the screen, groan with disgust and shriek out loud when McKee springs a shock on you. … Good times.
Really? Were you throwing popcorn at the screen during Antichrist too?
Of course, it doesn’t exactly help – as Rodriguez and a couple of other reviewers have noted – that the film’s publicists sent out the DVD screener with a barf bag “just in case.” The Woman deserves better than that.
The National Coalition For Men – formerly the National Coalition of Free Men – describes itself as “the oldest Men’s Rights organization in North America.” It has been around, in some form or another, since 1977. The group has a board of advisors, which includes academics and mental health professionals and bestselling author Warren Farrell. It has a number of local chapters. Its website is professional-looking; they even have an elegant little logo.
The group appears, at first glance, to be a real and reasonable advocacy group.
But it doesn’t take long to find evidence that the group is infected with the same hateful extremism that is endemic in the Men’s Rights movement.
As far as I can figure it, the Joker is supposed to represent Leahy’s supposed feminist puppetmasters; regardless, it is a jarring image depicting violence against an elected official as somehow humorous.
The article (picture and all) has gotten 14 Facebook “likes” and no comments; evidently none of the MRAs reading the article were bothered enough by the illustration to publicly challenge it.
How exactly does posting a picture of the Joker threatening an elected official with a knife advance the cause of Men’s Rights?
Do the group’s advisors — including Warren Farrell and well-known domestic violence researcher Martin Fiebert — know that the group’s website features this repugnant image? Do they care?
I would encourage readers here to investigate the NCFM site in more detail. I wonder what other evidence of hate might be found. (If you do find more, please make screenshots, and post what you find in the comments below, with a link to the page on NCFM’s website.)
EDITED: I originally referred to the images as photoshopped, but evidently it’s from The Dark Knight. Oops. Corrected.