A Look Inside the 'Men's Rights' Movement That Helped Fuel California Alleged Killer Elliot Rodger

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This article was originally published on October 24, 2013, under the title: "A Good Men’s Rights Movement Is Hard to Find."

Only once the production crew taped the microphone on my dress did I have second thoughts. As part of an upcoming 20/20 special, I’d agreed to a sit-down with Paul Elam. Elam is founder and publisher of A Voice For Men (AVFM), one of the main hubs for the burgeoning “men’s rights’ movement.” In a blog post on the organization’s site, he made his feelings clear: “I find you, as a feminist, to be a loathsome, vile piece of human garbage. I find you so pernicious and repugnant that the idea of fucking your shit up gives me an erection.”

This was not going to be a productive conversation.

With the cameras rolling, I told Elam that it was hard to know how to engage with someone who hates you so much it turns him on. He waved the statement away, saying he’d made it in the heat of conversation (this despite the fact that “Fuck Their Shit Up” is AVFM's official mantra). Elam is good at making excuses: Confronted with his own words, he typically says he has to use “extreme” language to attract attention to his cause. When that fails, he likes to claim that his work is “satire” (to which I can only reply, in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, "I do not think that means what you think it means").

Elam’s site is one of dozens of blogs and message boards that constitute the “manosphere,” where participants rant, bond, and spew ideas so misogynist they make Silvio Berlusconi look like Gloria Steinem. There are three main constituencies. There are the Pick Up Artists (PUAs), who'll try to sleep with all the women they can, by any means necessary, and Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW), who claim to have sworn off women altogether. Then there are the Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs), who are animated by many of the same misogynist beliefs as their manosphere brethren, but draw different conclusions about what men should do in relation to the scourge that is womankind.

David Futrelle, creator of Manboobz, a site that tracks (and mocks) the manosphere, cites the myth of female hypergamy as one of their motivating forces: “It’s the idea that all women are these fickle, opportunistic creatures who are constantly looking to glom onto some ‘high status’ guy, and exploit him for all he’s worth, and that they’ll immediately desert whoever they’re with as soon as they find someone better. The men’s rights people talk about this as a horrible injustice in the world, whereas the PUA’s are like, these evil women are looking for guys with status, so if we can figure out how to fake that successfully we’ll get to have sex with them.”

What makes the MRAs particularly insidious is their canny co-optation of social-justice lingo. While Pick Up Artists are perfectly plain that all they care about is using women for sex, MRAs claim to be a movement for positive change, with the stated aim of getting men recognized as an oppressed class—and women, especially but not exclusively feminists, as men’s oppressors. It's a narrative effective enough to snow the mainstream media: Just this past weekend, The Daily Beast ran a profile of MRAs that painted them as a legitimate movement overshadowed by a few extremists. Trouble is, even the man writer R. Todd Kelly singled out as the great "moderate" hope that other MRAs should emulate—W.F. Price, of the blog "The Spearhead"—is anything but. According to Futrelle, "This is a guy who ... blames the epidemic of rape in the armed forces on women, who celebrated one Mothers Day with a vicious transphobic rant, and who once used the tragic death of a woman who’d just graduated from college to argue that 'after 25, women are just wasting time.' He published posts on why women’s suffrage is a bad idea. Plus, have you met his commenters?"

In some ways, the manosphere is old news. As long as there has been feminism, there has been a misogynist backlash. Warren Farrell, considered by many to be the father of the modern men's rights movement, has been at it since the '80s. But the Internet has proven a powerful accelerant for these discontents: According to Alexa.com, a web analytics service, A Voice For Men's traffic has more than doubled in the past year; the site's U.S. traffic ranks at 10,303 as of this writing (by way of comparison, the Prospect is ranked at 16,142).

The list of grievances for MRAs is long. It includes the elevated rate of suicide for men, educational discrimination against boys, economic and workplace conditions for men, violence against men, false rape reporting, fathers’ rights in custody battles, rates of male imprisonment and prison conditions, and the horrors of war. Many of these issues deserve a thoughtful response and the force of an organized movement for address them. It’s too bad that’s not what men’s rights activists are offering.

Case in point: Last month, AVFM and CAFE (the Canadian Association For Equality, an MRA group) held a “historic” rally in Toronto. Attended by a few dozen people, the rally featured speakers airing grievances about violence against men, and men’s unfair treatment in family courts, the workplace, and educational institutions. "Men matter,” the crowd cheered. One speaker, who was quickly ushered away from the mic, called for violent uprising against communism. But what was most notable about the rally was that not a single speaker proposed a solution to any of the problems they identified.

Instead, no matter what the issue is, the response from Men’s Rights Activists is the same: blame, threaten, and harass women, mostly online. (Though there has been a worrying uptick in offline activity, especially in Canada, it still represents a small percentage of what they do. The exception to that are the men who focus on “fathers’ rights” in custody cases, who, as Boston Magazine documented this summer are well organized and have been having real impact on the way family courts function).

 

Comment threads and message boards serve as the public square for MRAs, a kind of bizarro-world combination of locker room, group therapy, and organizing. Recently, on the Men’s Rights subreddit, one MRA complained of how much he had to pay in child support, and how trapped he felt by the situation. His fellow MRAs helpfully suggested that the solution to his problem was to murder his wife, a tactic many on the subreddit were eager to echo, upvote, and get disturbingly specific about.

Blogs like AVFM and The Spearhead serve as what passes for the “think tanks” for MRAs, developing and promoting the MRA agenda. I’m using that term loosely as the ideas they promote tend to be things like arguing against women having access to college education, accusing feminists of encouraging domestic violence so that we can make money, and calling prominent feminists “child abusers” for promoting feminism.

Indeed, MRAs seem to enjoy spreading disinformation about feminism, framing it essentially as whatever they hate about women. In our conversation, Elam cited only Andrea Dworkin and Valerie Solanas, two long-dead women who were extremists even in their day. At the same time, this poster from AVFM’s “Victor Zen” seems to think feminists endorse the pop culture idea of a Mars/Venus divide, while in reality we deconstruct it at every opportunity. Many MRAs are enamored of the idea that feminists are desperate to trap them in marriage, because you know how feminists are all about promoting traditional marriage.

And then there are the personal attacks: One of their tactics is to put out a cash bounty for personal information—including home addresses, places of employment, email addresses, and phone numbers—of feminists who upset them. The deluge of hate mail, rape and death threats for those on the receiving end of these witch hunts is hard to describe.

One young woman, who got in a heated argument with a men’s rights activist at a protest in Canada, was subsequently dubbed as “little red frothing fornication mouth” by AVFM and had all of her private contact information published by MRAs. She received hundreds of elaborate threats of violence. One anonymous commenter invited her to “enjoy being anally defiled.” Another gloated: “I would actually cum cutting that bitch’s throat.” Another outspoken feminist told me personally that she had to get the FBI and the state police involved when AVFM targeted her. Authorities found the threats she received so credible that they advised her to leave home for two weeks, taking her husband and young child with her. Increasingly, men's rights activists target women offline as well. Last month, members of the organization Men’s Rights Edmonton hung large “wanted”-style posters of a professor all over the University of Alberta campus, calling her a bigot. Her crime? She was involved in the university’s anti-rape campaign.

I’ve got a tiny taste of this last month. When word spread that I was going to be featured on 20/20, A Voice For Men published a hit piece, calling me a bad feminist (for criticizing Naomi Wolf), accusing me of demonizing male sexuality, and simultaneously suggesting that my bisexuality means I haven’t slept with enough men to have valid opinions about them, that I’m too fat and ugly to get a man to sleep with me, and that I’m a miserable slut who needs to manipulate other women into validating me. The comments thread features someone with the pseudonym Theseus saying “I would love to see a you tube [sic] vid with a heckler in the audience shouting out ‘Hey uh Jackie, I think a dude raping you is the least of your fucking problems’!!” Another commenter promised to do just that. As a survivor of sexual assault, threats like this shake me almost physically. While they never silence me, they always unsettle and exhaust me.

These targeted hate campaigns are common enough that they’re a risk I and everyone else have to contemplate when we consider speaking out against the men's rights groups or simply sharing a feminist opinion online. Making it terrifying to speak out discourages women from doing so, limiting our ability to participate fully in the digital public square. It’s not hyperbole to say that this kind of terror campaign prevents women from participating in our democracy on equal footing with men.

 

And make no mistake: anti-woman hate is the defining feature of the MRAs, and the examples above are the rule, not the exception. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a storied civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, told 20/20: "The Manosphere is an underworld of so-called men's rights groups and individuals on the Internet, which is just fraught with really hard-line anti-woman misogyny.” A Voice For Men makes no excuses for their hatred of women, from posts ranting about women who are “begging to be raped” to treatises about how fat women want to be sexually violated because it would mean we are desired. Warren Farrell, the aforementioned “father” of the modern MRAs—he openly called date rape “exciting” and said that incest can be a good thing—has recently signed on as a regular AVFM contributor. For over a year, AVFM hosted in their “activism” section a call to firebomb courthouses written by a man who actually lit himself on fire in front of one. Paul Elam himself wrote an infamous post in which he vowed that, should he ever be called to serve on the jury for a rape trial, he would vote to acquit even if he believed the defendant was guilty.

As bad as Men's Rights Activists are for women (and, really, for our collective humanity), they’re also doing harm to the causes they claim to care about. When an AVFM contributor in Australia called a hotline posing as a man being beaten by his wife and needing a shelter for himself and his son, he claims he was denied help. But if you listen to the recording (or read the transcript), you can clearly hear the counselor on the other line offer multiple forms of assistance, including a free hotel for himself and his son, a direct connection to a police officer specializing in domestic violence, and more. Far from their tagline “compassion for men and boys,” this incident reveals that MRAs are happy to abandon men and boys to real danger when it suits their hate campaign against women.

Every man who visits a men's rights site concerned about male victims of rape is a man who’ll be told that women are the problem and will be offered no practical solutions, a man who won’t be connected with direct services for survivors if he needs them, a man who still doesn’t know about Just Detention International, which works to end prison rape, or Service Women’s Action Network, which is taking the lead to end sexual violence in the U.S. military for both men and women. Every man who comes to them concerned about the high rates of on-the-job fatalities for men is a man taught to blame women but who is never encouraged to support or join unions. Every man who comes to them concerned about the male suicide rate is a man who won’t be encouraged to help out with the life-saving work The Samaritans do every day.

It’s hardly the End of Men these days (really, Hannah Rosin, get a grip). But as Ann Friedman (no relation, alas) writes in New York magazine, “America is finally getting around to having the conversation about what it means to be a man that, decades ago, feminism forced us to have about womanhood … [E]ven the most ideologically progressive men are just now starting to talk about how to break with masculine stereotypes and still hang onto a sense of gender identity.” It’s the very real pain caused by these systemic problems and cultural anxieties that Men's Rights Activists are all-too-eager to exploit.

Of course, you’ll find women (and, gasp!, even feminists) in leadership in most of the institutions actually working to make life safer for men. It’s feminists who fought a long and recently successful battle to ensure that male victims are included in the FBI’s definition of rape. Some feminists are working to integrate the military so that the burden of war doesn’t just fall on men, and some are working against the militarism that not only enables rape in the armed forces, but underpins the narrow, confining cultural ideas about masculinity that make so many men feel trapped. Feminists have ensured that, through the Violence Against Women Act that MRAs oppose, the overall rate of intimate partner violence in the U.S. declined 64 percent between 1994 and 2010, and that decline is distributed evenly between male and female victims.

It’s hard to know what to do about MRAs beyond taking every possible opportunity to expose them as the hatemongers they are. But I think that the above list of feminist victories for men provides a clue. When she interviewed me for the 20/20 segment, Elizabeth Vargas asked me if I wanted to curtail MRA’s right to free speech, noting that even Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) has the right to protest. I agreed with her then as I do now, and I advocate the same response that’s been so successful against the WBC: rather than try to stop them, we make a peaceful human chain to blunt their hate and counter it with love. In the case of MRAs, we can do that by continuing to work to improve the lives of both men and women, and to end all forms of gender oppression. There’s nothing like the truth to expose a lie.   

Comments

There are legitimate issues that warrant discussion, but it doesn't appear as though the groups mentioned have any clue how to properly address them. I would focus on a couple of issues. First and foremost, the educational gap between men and women. Specifically, the gaps in reading and writing among boys and girls. Also, the percentage of domestic violence perpetrated by women is far higher than many people think. The notion that domestic violence is about men abusing women is simply inaccurate. Granted, abused women are far more likely to need medical care as a result of abuse, but addressing domestic violence can't be based on who is more likely to need medical care as a result of abuse.

The reason these issues receive little attention is due to ideology. It isn't feminist ideology, but multicultural ideology that prevents these issues from garnering as much attention. We hear plenty, as we should, about the gaps in science, racial achievement gaps, and female victims of domestic violence. The reason we do is that those gaps and issues fit safely ans snuggly into multicultural frameworks. As anyone who has been to college in the few decades knows, or should know, multiculturalists frame the world as a struggle between race, gender, and occasionally class defined oppressor and oppressed groups. So, when women are behind men in science or are being abused by men, this fits snuggly into that framework. An oppressed group (women) is being harmed by an oppressor group (men). However, when girls are doing better than boys in reading and writing or when women are abusing men, the framework really doesn't work. How can a group classified as "oppressed" have a leg up in education or perpetrate abuse over a group classified as an "oppressor?" This isn't some malicious conspiracy at play. Multiculturalists genuinely believe they are giving a voice to groups that don't always have a voice in society as a whole. However, ironically enough, their frameworks render certain groups invisible, such as male victims of abuse. I would add that these frameworks also render poor, especially rural whites, as invisible as well, since class is often treated as a proxy for race.

First and foremost, the educational gap between men and women. Specifically, the gaps in reading and writing among boys and girls.
I've brought this up before and oddly I'm told that the fact that boys are lacking in education is not a problem because most of today's CEOs and business leaders are men. I'm not sure how the status of today's men proves that tomorrow men are okay but that's what I get.

Also, the percentage of domestic violence perpetrated by women is far higher than many people think. The notion that domestic violence is about men abusing women is simply inaccurate. Granted, abused women are far more likely to need medical care as a result of abuse, but addressing domestic violence can't be based on who is more likely to need medical care as a result of abuse.
Abusive women are a tabboo that not many people like to talk about. It happens more often that believed and now that more and more stories are coming to light its almost sad to see the damage control that comes in the form of the constant reassurance that most dv is committed by men. Its almost like they don't want people to know just how much dv is committed by women or something. Addressing dv can't be based on who is more likely to need medical care and it certainly can't be based on the gender of the abuser.

How can a group classified as "oppressed" have a leg up in education or perpetrate abuse over a group classified as an "oppressor?" This isn't some malicious conspiracy at play.
Im not convinced that its not malicious intent (not conspiracy though, that's too far). At this point it seems that brushing the suffering of men under the rug is becoming a prefered practice.

However, ironically enough, their frameworks render certain groups invisible, such as male victims of abuse. I would add that these frameworks also render poor, especially rural whites, as invisible as well, since class is often treated as a proxy for race.
When a framework doesn't seem to address things that are being rendered invisible then shouldn't that mean its time to at least question the framework? But what seems to be happening is that the victims are left invisible until their invisibility and suffering can be molded to fit the framework.

"I've brought this up before and oddly I'm told that the fact that boys are lacking in education is not a problem because most of today's CEOs and business leaders are men. I'm not sure how the status of today's men proves that tomorrow men are okay but that's what I get."

Yeah, I get that too along with a mention of the pay gap.

"Abusive women are a taboo that not many people like to talk about. It happens more often that believed and now that more and more stories are coming to light its almost sad to see the damage control that comes in the form of the constant reassurance that most dv is committed by men. Its almost like they don't want people to know just how much dv is committed by women or something. Addressing dv can't be based on who is more likely to need medical care and it certainly can't be based on the gender of the abuser."

Just last week, I was having a discussion with a group of predominantly liberal friends and when I brought up the increase in the amount of domestic violence instigated by women, they looked at me like I have three heads. Many people simply do not know, since the places they get their news from never mention this. Everyone should get their news from a variety of sources, since no one source will shine the light on every important issue. Sadly, I think more and more people stick with friendly (like-minded) sources.

"Im not convinced that its not malicious intent (not conspiracy though, that's too far). At this point it seems that brushing the suffering of men under the rug is becoming a prefered practice."

I try not to ascribe malicious intent on people with a different opinion than mine. I think it is simply that legitimate issues that concern men don't necessarily fit into multicultural frameworks.

"When a framework doesn't seem to address things that are being rendered invisible then shouldn't that mean its time to at least question the framework? But what seems to be happening is that the victims are left invisible until their invisibility and suffering can be molded to fit the framework."

Absolutely, the frameworks should be challenged. I don't think any framework sufficiently addresses all issues that affect every group. As you point out, it is aggravating listening to people try and jam everything into one framework. Somehow, every gender disparity is attributed to sexism or patriarchy, regardless of which gender is ahead of the other on any particular issue.

You are making fair points but your information is either incomplete or Wrong. Women are mostly the cause of domestic violence, feminism is to blame. Go look up research on "non reciprocal domestic violence". When we ignore violent behavior of women we are actually fueling the cause. Men know that there will be police officers at the door in minutes if he even raises a hand. OR even if the woman falsely claims that she felt threatened. By ignoring this we are telling women that they can HIT and be violent without consequence - and the DO. Because they know they will WIN. Society treat women as victims in EVERYTHING even where they are beneficiaries of most programs, better education etc etc. Ideology today and societal norms are HEAVILY influenced by feminism and women voters. Women vote collectively. Look at how many supporters Sarah Palin had - find me a STUPID man like and he will NEVER get anywhere. Women support unreasonable behavior toward men - collectively they glorify bashing of men with "you go girls" and high fives. Men will come down on fellow women bashers - in jail you can get killed. These women vote for everything in their favor. AND this is the problem unfortunately. Women today are overwhelmingly very educated and get everything. BUT they produce nothing. They will not do the hard dirty jobs that society needs NEITHER will they achieve excellence in inventing, patents, business excellence etc. AND For that Western society is doomed.

Well it's very difficult to know where to start with a hit piece like this, except to say that the author is being deliberately very misleading in almost every single example she provides.

For example, the only site which has ever put out a call for information on 'feminists' was putting it out to identify a group of Swedish feminists who'd made a gory online video depicting the murder of an innocent man, and calling on other men to be likewise butchered. Another call was put out for information on 'Vliet Tiptree' - a feminist who'd called for the 'extermination of men and slaughter of infant boys'. Convenient that Jacklyn left those details out eh?

As for the claim that Warren Farrell says that incest is 'good' - this is simply an outright lie. He's said no such thing, and it's a gross misrepresentation of his work to say otherwise. Feminist ideologues like Ms Friedman simply will not address the substantial points made by Farrell in books such as The Myth of Male Power, and so they simply try and slander his reputation. It's tired, and it's getting old.

MRAs only opposed the Violence Against Women Act, because it doesn't include support and funding for services for men. What's wrong with that?

Or the "young woman, who got in a heated argument with a men’s rights activist at a protest in Canada," right, this will be the woman who shouted 'f**k you' repeatedly in the face of men attending the protest, and sang 'cry me a river' when one man tried to tell her about a friend who'd committed suicide? Her details weren't published by AVfM, she identified herself repeatedly, and engaged in this hateful behaviour in public. If you behave like that, you can expect to get some strong responses, but the only word we have is hers that she received death threats - she's never published them after all.

And if I wanted to publish a list of violent, hateful screes against men by feminists, I'd be here all day. For example:

“I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honourable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.” – Robin Morgan, Ms. Magazine Editor

“To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he’s a machine, a walking dildo.” -– Valerie Solanas

“I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig.” — Andrea Dworkin

“Rape is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear” — Susan Brownmiller

"The more famous and powerful I get the more power I have to hurt men.” — Sharon Stone

“In a patriarchal society, all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give meaningful consent.” — Catherine MacKinnon

“The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10% of the human race.” — Sally Miller Gearhart

“Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometimes gain from the experience.” – Catherine Comins

“All men are rapists and that’s all they are” — Marilyn French

“Probably the only place where a man can feel really secure is in a maximum security prison, except for the imminent threat of release.” — Germaine Greer.

Nice.

And the claim that '“fathers’ rights” in custody cases, who, as Boston Magazine documented this summer are well organized and have been having real impact on the way family courts function."

God forbid that fathers should campaign for children to have the right to have a relationship with them. After all, fathers don't matter do they? Do they?

The fact is that the only hatemongers around are feminists, as this article proves, and the mens rights movement is simply fighting for the recognition of the very serious issues that men and boys face. MRAs do not hate women, they hate feminism. That is NOT the same thing.

It's a point that the SPLC seem unable to grasp, but then they were inspired to attack the mens rights movement after being pushed into doing so by radical feminists from the group 'RadFemHub' who had early proposed culling the male population by 90%. Oh, Ms Friedman doesn't mention that does she? Well, it's completely true.

I did some research into your quotes, and look!

Robin Morgan - 1977
Solanas - 1967
Dworkin - 1987
Susan Brownmiller - 1975
Sharon Stone - this quote isn't properly sourced anywhere, maybe you can find where she said it
Catherine MacKinnon - the quote you use is misattributed to her by conservative writer Cal Thomas
Sally Miller Gearheart - 1982
Marilyn French - SHE never said this, a fictional character in her 1977 book said it. I get that there's no difference for you.
Germaine Greer - 1970

Shall I make a list of all the shitty things MRAs said about women in the 21st century? It would probably be too long - all those modern examples from Return of Kings, A Voice for Men, PUAHate... You use those dated examples as strawmen, as most MRAs do, every example you used here is over twenty years old (except the 2001 Catherine Comins quote, good job, so current). Nice. "False rape accusations" (Comins' quote) is a TINY portion of the whole of the MRA argument, her comment is taken out of context, and it is used specifically by MRAs to counter the "unreported rape statistic." If feminists didn't push for reporting rape, the Men's Rights movements would never have cared enough in the first place to talk about "false rape." Heck, we probably would still assume that men can't be raped.

Fathers' rights are an important issue. Somehow, the only way you can find to defend it is by pulling dated references, pretending that feminists themselves have not reacted to it. Solanas is an oldie but a goodie for your movement. SINCE Solanas, we have had the 1989 Polytechnique massacre, and now this Elliott Rodger manifesto, two deliberate anti-woman endeavors, both instances happening AFTER EVER QUOTE YOU MADE. Why should anyone care about 1980 anymore if you're actively ignoring 1989-2014? (Ok, except your ONE quote from 2001, GOOD JOB you found a 21st century quote!)

And then you point out "radical feminists" and try to say "all feminists are like this." Not all feminists are radical feminists, that's why we call them "radical." There were MORE radical feminists in the 80s, but the movement has changed a lot since then. I get that understanding that makes your position more difficult to defend, and really, what's the point of supporting men if you don't get to hate women and their equal rights movements while you're at it? Right? Right???

The Men's Rights movements are all radicalized, which is people who support it need to emphasize that feminism is radical too, or else it just comes off as the bigoted mostly-white male supremacy movement you desperately want no one to think you are. Maybe you could demonstrate it instead of merely calling feminists liars and assuming everybody believes you because their misogyny is as internalized as yours? While you're at it, perhaps you can direct me to a non-radical men's rights group page? It doesn't sound like you disagree with the article at all, you haven't offered a counter to "A Good Men’s Rights Movement Is Hard to Find." She says "most men's rights pages are radical," and you say "so is RadFemHub." Wow, Radical Feminist Hub is radical? Whoda thunk, eh?

And finally, unfortunately, fatherhood coalition groups are more concerned with lowering child support payments than "building a relationship." http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2012/08/angry-men-feminist-agenda/ Maybe you should read the article instead of plaintively wailing "what about the CHILDREN, they need their FATHERS, Fathers Groups are good!" It's more that fathers want to the right NOT to have a relationship with their children, in person or financially, the opposite of what you say the real issues are.

Great Reply. I appreciate the quotes. Some people are really retarded and think that quotes in comments and discussions are actually attributed by website owners. Those quotes are priceless and it really makes no difference whether the quote was in a character in the authors book - she got her point across.

How different really is Fuck Their Shit Up from Question Authority, or Subvert the Dominant Paradigm, or Monkey Wrenching.

It's not an encouragement of violence, it's championing the notion of changing the status quo.

And it's pretty clear when you go down the list of places Jaclyn Friedman gets an uncritical pass to rant including the Prospect, Salon, Slate, Jezebel, The Guardian, Raw Story, The Washington Post, The Nation, the Huffington Post, NPR, etc. that Jaclyn Friedman and Feminism for their good or bad are the status quo, and like most elements of the status quo, fight, fight dirty, to preserve their position.

And that is what FTSU aims to fuck up.

It is interesting to see that AVFM is ranked far higher than the Prospect. I admit I am somewhat shocked by that.

Go down the list of MRA issues and you'll see many that the Prospect, as a progressive organization interested in equality for all, should be championing.

+ father's rights
+ rebuttable presumption of joint shared custody
+ the boy crisis in schools and college
+ stranger danger and how that affects society and employment (eg. male teachers)
+ domestic violence against men by women (and lack of gov't support of men)
+ treatment of people that make malicious false accusations of rape (cotwa.info)
+ male rape
+ alimony and child custody reform to reflect 2013 norms
+ reproductive rights
+ legal representation before being thrown into debtor's prisons
+ negative perception of men portrayed by feminists
+ feminist driven negative perception of men in the media
+ feminist driven negative bias towards men by journalists
+ equal pay
+ prostate cancer funding
+ circumcision
+ anti-male double standards

There is not a single issue here that is not real, and not significant, and not an issue the Prospect should examine. That you fail to, that you uncritically recite talking points from a politically correct, feminist agenda does not speak well of the American Prospect or of liberalism in general.

If the editors and publishers of the Prospect are dismayed with A Voice For Men, there is ample room for the American Prospect to work in to fairly explore and discuss the issues above, and there are plenty of liberal, progressive men and women that would be overjoyed if you did so.

Step one would be to skeptically examine Friedman's claims here, starting with her first one, which comes from an email Elam sent to a feminist trying to silence Elam from the wiki. It was not sent to Friedman, nor to feminists in general, though frankly, with Friedman's constant lying about so many things, I can certainly understand anyone holding those feelings.

Let's face it, the many lies of feminism, the defense of feminism for the undefensible (Duke Lacrosse anyone?), the constant level of bullshit and bullying, the constant belittling and demeaning of men is what has caused the majority of American Women to refuse to be called feminists regardless of how most Americans support equality between the sexes.

What role will the American Prospect play in this?

Support the tired and repressive feminist status quo?
Explore the men's issues that many men and many women say are real and significant?
Challenge the ideas of both feminism and the men's movement and support equality?

Again, AVFM has a ton more traffic than the much more respectable, much older American Prospect. Maybe it's time your writers and editors fucked your own shit up.

P.S. Seriously? A word verification AND a captcha?

Dear prospect editors,

Why on earth when commenting at the Prospect, do you ask commenters to accept the privacy policies of mollom.com?

DO YOU REALIZE HOW SCREWED UP THAT IS?

Dear prospect editors and moderators, I have a comment in moderation that I request you "rescue".

The comment is not spam, not libelous, not threatening, on point, relevant, and I believe of value. It also uses the word s--- as in an acronym used in the article itself. FTSU.

Thank you

Surprise, surprise! Living in a time when the highest assent to virtue comes from claiming to be a victim, that this bunch would assert their “victimhood!” Seriously, we are reaping what we sowed. I’m old enough to remember when achievement was a virtue, and overcoming obstacles was venerated. Maybe I am too old fashioned;;, but I can’t help but think that achievement should be preferable to victimhood.
Actually, this is right up the evolution ally: in today’s politically correct world, to enhance one’s survival prospects, become a victim. These brutes are just evolving with the times!

I knew that list of feminist "quotes" would make it here, since it's such common copypasta anytime feminism comes up. Just offhand, I can give you three pretty extensive fact-checks of similar lists to help people here gauge the credibility of these lists (and those who post them):
http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/blog/archives/76
http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/archives/221
http://manboobz.com/2011/02/15/factchecking-a-list-of-hateful-quotes-from-feminists/

In a nutshell, most of the quotes are (a)not from feminists, (b) mis-quotes/paraphrases by other people, (c) from works of fiction, and/or (d) 30-40 years old.

Also, to anyone who thinks MRAs only hate feminists not all women, you may want to read this article by A Voice for Men leader John Hembling/John the Other:
http://www.donotlink.com/bPF

It is pretty clear they know how hateful it is, since they've now put a long explanation/disclaimer at the top of it. It's also easy to find posts over at AVfM blaming women (not feminists, but an entire gender) for global warming, etc.

"Pick Up Artists are perfectly plain that all they care about is using women for sex"

Like the ones on Craigslist, huh Jaclyn?

http://www.hookingupsmart.com/2010/08/02/hookinguprealities/deconstructing-the-sluthood-of-jaclyn-friedman/

.

Unsurprisingly, there is much dishonesty in this attack on the men's rights movement. For example, Friedman mentions the phone call to the domestic violence shelter. She failed, however, to note that the "counselor" kept referring Reno to MensLine Australia (which is a relationship counseling service), however, that group only provides a one-time session via the phone, and six call back sessions if necessary. The point of the call, however, was to demonstrate that the shelter itself would not assist men, which the "counselor" freely admitted.

Friedman claims that "every man who visits a men's rights site concerned about male victims of rape is a man who’ll be told that women are the problem and will be offered no practical solutions," and presents this as an untruth. Yet there is evidence supporting that position:

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2009/apr/05/domestic-violence-charity-funding
http://mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/230912569-break-silence-manchester-male-sexual-abuse-centre-slams-decision-exclude-men-rape-
http://www.canadiancrc.com/The_Invisible_Boy_Report.aspx
http://suite101.com/a/male-childhood-sexual-abuse-survivors-an-untreated-epidemic-a229162#ixzz0m1pxP8w5
http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/10293430.Cash_fears_as_male_sex_abuse_cases_rise/
http://www.wcmt.org.uk/reports/840_1.pdf

Friedman's hit piece proves a basic truth: this is not about the men's rights movement or the handful of silly statements. The issue is that the men's rights movement focuses "the elevated rate of suicide for men, educational discrimination against boys, economic and workplace conditions for men, violence against men, false rape reporting, fathers’ rights in custody battles, rates of male imprisonment and prison conditions, and the horrors of war," and those are not issues feminists take seriously. But the men's rights movement does take those issues seriously, and now people are listening to them, and that really irritates feminists.

So in order to discredit men's rights activists (affiliated advocates for men's issues), feminists mock, deride, and misrepresent them and their concerns. Hit pieces like Friedman's show that feminists do not want to help men, and apparently do not want anyone else to help men either. This is solely about silencing men and male victims, and making sure feminists control the conversation.

Speaking as a male survivor of abuse, I would rather have Paul Elam making moronic comments online that hurt no one than a red-headed buffoon shouting profanities at people attending a conference or feminists like Friedman taking credit for the hard work male survivors and their advocates have done to make sure that abused men and boys are recognized.

To the editors,

It shouldn't take three hours to have a reasonable comment rescued from moderation.

Letting a reasonable, non-spammy, relevant, non-threatending comment languish in moderation, or placing a comment in moderation forever is abusive of your readers. Worse, it contributes to the comment diarrhea we see at so many websites, and probably contributed to the overall terrible partisan politics of our time.

I think we all want to see friendly, vigorous, interesting discussions.

When comments are moderated, specific information as to what the problem was should be presented to the reader. "This comment contains too many urls. This comment contains banned words."

I would encourage you to post your moderation policies clearly, including giving an estimated time in moderation queue and a maximum time in the queue that you can stand by.

You would be better off with software that allows users to edit their comments even after they are in the moderation queue to better comply with the queue's filter that caught them, removing urls, removing banned words, etc.

And you would be better off still to implement a system that presents the comments and allows your reader community to flag offensive comments or spammy comments.

It is actually offensive to allow a user to click submit on a comment and then trash that comment to moderation without allowing the user to make a copy of that comment.

Finally when I want to comment at your site, you should not force me to agree to the privacy policies of some third party I have no other relationship with.

I find the American Prospect's website repellent for this reason.

Shape up folks, don't be that website.

For those who are defending Elam, and also those not convinced that AVfM is just an angry, hateful mob: They also a vicious to men. They're claims to be compassionate are hardly substantiated by their violent rhetoric towards nonheterosexual and transgender men. It should come as no surprise to feminists that misogyny bleeds into everything AVfM does. Jaclyn is 100% spot on here, these folks are bad eggs.

http://fembee.blogspot.com/2013/09/some-mras-really-dislike-feminist-men.html

You couldn't possibly be unaware that 'A Voice for Men' has many gay/bisexual contributors and supporters. I am one of them. You see, most gay men don't like feminists either, because, unlike them, we actually like men - a lot. Spout nothing but violent, man-hating bigotry and lies, along with endless bullying and shaming language, and gay men - who are not self-loathing doormats - are going to have a problem with you.

Why do feminists and their enablers even bother to accuse AVfM (and an honourable egalitarian like Paul Elam) of being homophobic, misogynistic racists who support rape, when it is so obviously untrue? I suppose they are hoping that if they throw enough mud at AVfM, then some of it will stick. Feministbees invokes a threat narrative by using artfully-chosen scare words, like 'angry', 'vicious', 'violent' and 'bleeds'. Anything to avoid having an honest discussion about the rights and welfare of men and boys.

No other movement has more talent for alienating people than feminists.

Sure there is, it's called "Men's Rights Activism." Just being loud and obnoxious enough to get a lot of internet hits doesn't mean you're liked. I read more right-wing, misogynist, anti-gay, xenophobic stuff than I read things I agree with. I suspect a large portion of your readership is there for the lulz, too. MRAs cannot talk about men's issues. They simply can't. It is only about women/feminism. And if men disagree, well, the misandric term "white knight", which vilifies men who choose to go against your status quo, is trotted out. Ever think about how misandric the MRM is? Take a closer look at the rhetoric. A lot of it really does hate on men and bereave them of their masculinity simply for disagreement. Quite savage, really.

Liked?

So, you believe that the rights and welfare of men and boys should be contingent on whether or not they are liked. By whom, may I ask? Feminists? Jaclyn Friedman? You?

I notice that you don't advocate that only likable women should be accorded fundamental human, civil and legal rights - because that would be sexist. As Alison Tieman (aka Typhonblue at AVfM) would ask, why is one form of sexism acceptable, and the other one not? Women's rights are an entitlement, while men's rights are contingent on whether or not they are liked. That's feminism in a nutshell.

If you have come across "right-wing, misogynist, anti-gay, xenophobic stuff" on MHRA blogs, then it certainly wasn't at AVfM. The editors at AVfM ban-hammer anyone advocating violence and bigotry, accompanied by unambiguous condemnations. You see, that's the difference between feminists and the MHRAs at AVfM: we self-police, so that no-one should have any doubts about where we stand. It doesn't stop feminists like you and Jaclyn Friedman from slinging unfounded accusations at us anyway.

I'm hardly surprised that you are defending white knights. Some of them rode in recently to defend Femitheistdivine - the eugenics enthusiast who advocates for culling 90% of the male population and enslaving the remaining 10% to serve women. Their rationale? She's a girl, she's pretty, and she sounds really nice on the phone. These guys are hanging out with a feminist who believes that it is a great idea to reduce nearly half the population through genocide - and you're actually surprised that a human rights organization, like AVfM, had a problem with that?

Seriously?

I need hardly add that not one single feminist has ever challenged Femitheistdivine on her ideology and her murderous disregard for men. As I said before, feminists do not self police - ideologues never do.

This is the mindset MHRAs are up against. It is the reason why feminists should not participate in any way in helping men resolve our issues. It is the reason why decent human beings, like the men and women at AVfM, have come to revile feminists. We don't have to prove to anyone that we are right in our conclusions - feminists do it for us.

Seriously? Who even "rode" to Femitheist's defense? I wouldn't even have known about Femitheist if it were not for MRAs. Which is funny, because she doesn't identify with feminism, says right on her website.

We are in no way affiliated with the Mainstream Feminists. Therefore, and in addition to what we have said before, our actions and the actions of the Femitheist movement shall reflect none upon them.

Anything that Mainstream Feminists do in relation to attacking or associating with Femitheism is their own responsibility.

I am not a Feminist.

It's as simple as that.

I'm not sure who these feminist "white knights" are, but they're not defending a feminist. I guess I've never bothered to challenge Femitheist for the same reason I don't bother to challenge many crackpots and bigots. I'd spend all my time hunting down bad ideas and calling them out. Instead, I'd rather talk about these issues, and then depend on others to recognize bigotry for what it is. I just wish MRAs would learn these things, and start calling out those in the own movement.

Even though femitheist isn't a feminist, how exactly do you propose feminists "self-police"? Like how are feminists suppose to keep "bad" feminists to stop using the term? We can't even keep C. H. Sommers from using it, and she's the most anti-feminist feminist I can think of. Issue membership cards?

Individual feminists get judged on the merits of their work and scholarship. Feminists self-critique, that's a 100% true statement. In fact, I would argue that significant advances in feminism occurred specifically because "good" feminists critiqued the work of "bad" feminist, producing stronger and more robust feminist theory (i.e. K. Crenshaw's intersectionality). More so, I've yet to read an ligitimate critique of feminism by an MRA (as uncommon as they are), that hasn't already been made by feminists themselves.

I provided a link above, supplying ample evidence that AVFM is a toxic place, not only for women, but also for men:"When MRAs Attack Masculinity: Using heterosexism, cissexism, and sexism to police feminists."

As a gay feminist man and as a feminist, it's quite clearly untrue that Elam is an "honourable egalitarian." AVfM is full of homophobia, misogynistia racism and rape apologetics. Equating feminist gay men with "self-loathing doormats" is exactly "misandric" homophobia. You can't even give these men credit for their own experiences, so you marginalize them just like every other "contributors and supporters" of AVfM, whether token queer or not. Try harder next time.

There is significant anti-feminist rhetoric is our culture, which is so obvious to most of us. I can't quite figure out where MRAs get the delusion that they are making the "truth" of feminism visible to everyone. Anti-feminists has been around since the dawn of feminism. You're claims that we "spout nothing but violent, man-hating bigotry and lies" is old and worn out. Somehow MRAs are so ignorant of anti-feminist history, that they think themselves mavericks.

So, feminist that you are, you have the infantile belief that simply repeating your false accusation of homophobia will magically make it true.

How charmingly pathetic - and predictable.

It didn't work the first time, and it hasn't worked this time. But don't let me stop you from trying. Anyone with a keyboard can go to AVfM and see for themselves that there are several posts by gay men and women currently featured. One of them is mine (a collection of comments concerning the 20/20 segment). I wonder why you even bother to accuse AVfM of homophobia when it can be so easily debunked. Could it possibly be that, like all feminists, you are not used to being called on your lies, and can only respond with more lies? It's not what I call a winning strategy.

Do you actually think that feminists give you are pass because you're a gay man? You're part of the patriarchy, dontcha know? You're a privileged penis owner. Go on, ask them. I'm sure they'll be happy to tell you all about it - after they've finished gay-shaming you. Feminists love doing that to men - or haven't you noticed? I have absolutely no idea why some gay men choose to side with an ideology that makes no bones about the fact that it hates men. My only possible suggestion is that you have so completely internalized their anti-male rhetoric that it has convinced you that you are not entitled to any rights as a man - that is what makes you self-loathing. Trotting out, without even being prodded, to take swipes at people who advocate for your own rights, is the very definition of a useful idiot - that is what makes you a doormat.

If you don't want to stand up for your own rights, then at least stand up for the rights of the straight men in your life. Don't you have any, or are they just not worth it? Oh, I forgot, you're a feminist. Unlike you, I have many straight men in my life, including a twin brother, whom I love with all my heart. I have seen the devastation that feminist policy has wrought on their lives, and it makes me angry.

Anger is not hate. You need to learn how to distinguish between the two. Paul Elam does, and urges his supporters to do the same. You would know that if you ever bothered to visit AVfM, instead of relying on David Futrelle to interpret everything for you - and repeating absurd lies about non-existent homophobia. If shaming and lies are really all you have, then the future of feminism looks very grim indeed. I'm not surprised you are starting to panic.

BTW, referring to anyone as a 'token' anything has an unmistakable KKK ring to it. People might think you're a bigot.

Oops, too late.

Yes, I'm a feminist. But calling my "beliefs" infantile doesn't make it so, regardless of what the AVfM echo chamber tells you.

And yes, AVfM is a toxic place, with ample amounts of misogyny, heterosexism (homophobia), cissexism (transphobia), and racism. For just a sample of this, "When MRAs Attack Masculinity: Using heterosexism, cissexism, and sexism to police feminists."

Yes, I've read the few posts that are present there from gay and bisexual men (and a few women too). Sadly, while these people may be well aware of certain dimensions of oppression they face because of their marginalized sexual orientations, they often misdirect their anger at feminism (even if they do have legitimate disputes with individual feminists). The MRM does a lot of work perpetuating certain myths about feminists, which leads those unfamiliar with feminism to some bad ideas. However, there are plenty of trans and queer feminists who identify as feminists and oppose heterosexism within feminism (both historically and cotemporally). So, the evidence of feminism and those who identify as such seems to counter the MRA anti-feminist propaganda.

Just because there are some AVfM contributors like yourself does not mean that AVfM itself isn't heterosexist (homophobic) or cissexist (transphobic). As I clearly demonstrate in my article, AVfM is eactly those two things. I cite one article where a self-identified bisexual man policies the gender expression and presentation of gay men, and another article where Paul Elam himself attacks R.W. Connell and her trans identity.

I'm not claiming you're self-loathing, unlike you and your baseless personal attack. Rather, I think you're just ignorant and myopic. You can't even imagine gay men as honest self-respecting feminists. For you, being a man is in conflict with being a feminist, so instead of treating us like people, you treat us as "doormats." And don't make the mistake of thinking that it's feminists who've done this work. This is 100% MRA work, transforming legitimate feminists (men or women) into straw-feminist, whether they're your "femin-hissts, man-haters" or "femanginas, self-haters."

And, no I don't get a "pass." I do reap benefits of male privilege. Also white privilege. But just because I live in a society that privileges me, doesn't mean it's my fault. Rather, it only becomes "my fault" if I were unwilling to fight against systems of oppression. That's what MRAs just can't get (or refuse to understand): privilege isn't about blame, it's about understanding inequality. Stop watching GWW and your other FeMRAs who keep preaching their ignorant understanding about feminism. They're kinda pathetic, and really no different than Elam or John the O. All of them (and you, apparently) don't know crap about feminism.

I have plenty of straight and queer friends, and many of them are men and feminists. It's you who doesn't seem to have any. Either because you've never put yourself out to meet them, or because your anti-feminist rhetoric drives them off.

BTW, referring to anyone as a 'token' anything has an unmistakable KKK ring to it. People might think you're a bigot.

I don't think you know what the term means, let me help you with that. And if you don't think that AVfM and Elam aren't participating in blatent tokenism... In Elam's article title "The Problem With Gay Rights:"

It is my hope that this movement comes to invite and include gay men within the ranks, not as gays, but as men.

That's right bro, you're welcome, so long as your leave your queerness at the door ;) Just need your token acknowledgment, not your input as a gay man.

Third time might be the charm, eh?

You equate heterosexism with homophobia? So, that's how you and Mr Futrelle reached the conclusion that AVfM is homophobic - I was wondering how you did it. You define homophobia as straight people talking about straight people stuff. Sounds like a lot of bigoted queer theory nonsense to me. Perhaps you need to stop looking to others to tell you what to think, and start using your brain more productively.

No-one is ever required or expected to leave their "queerness" at the door of AVfM - you can walk right on in with it in blazing lights. It just won't be the focal point of attention for the simple reason that AVfM is not a gay rights organization - there are already plenty of those around. It is a men's rights organization. So, obviously, the focal point is men's rights. Being a man, that makes it about me.

By the way, you are not my bro. My bro is straight, which by your definition makes him a 'hetero-normative, homophobic oppressor' - so you probably wouldn't like him.

Hi Jaclyn,

It's the same on every media piece that even dares to touch the Men's Rights guys with a 10 foot pole. They come here in droves spouting the same old tired rhetoric while saying you lied about them when you sourced your piece.

These guys live in another world where women and feminism are to blame for every ill that befalls men. I see the typical feminist quotes have made it here and they've already been debunked. These guys are so uneducated and so uninformed that when you read their comments you really have gone into another universe.

Paul Elam, the founder of A Voice For Men, called October Bash a B**** Month. He once again claims it's just satire but anyone who's followed him for any length of time knows that he uses that as an excuse to let his woman hatred run amok on his site.

Im finding a common thread here.

Anytime someone calls themselves taking a look at MRAs they seem to only be able to source Paul Elam, A Voice for Men, and what feminists say about MRAs.

You do know there are other MRAs out there right? Ones that actually do say something about their horrible beliefs as well as chiming up when they say some reasonable stuff (which is something feminists and media seem to never be able to do, nothing but attack).

When you get down to it there is dishonesty and hostility on all sides.

I guess the momment another group of MRAs manage to pull off a rally will be the momment we start talking about those "other MRAs."

I believe if you look at the events the rallies were not AVFM, but MRE, Men's Rights Edmonton, which is friends with AVFM, but is a very different organization.

You mean the group that took part in the recent AVfM rally? The group that's actions have already been featured in popular media ("don't be that girl," and other poster campaigns)? The group that showed up to Edmonton's Slut walk with signs reading "we love sluts!"? You mean the group who formed the "Patriarchy Party" out of some misplaced juvenile humor/"satire"?

Yeah... so different.

Or you can start by recognizing that there are others that disagree with those that push those violent messages.

I've spoken up about some of the nonsense in Elam's work before. Its funny how feminists ask for MRAs to speak up against that stuff but when we do they manage to not be able to hear.

I've spoken up plunty about AVfM and Elam's rhetoric. I've yet to see a prominent MRA take principled stand against their misogyny and anti-feminism (or really against any). The fact is, the MRA isn't very big, and doesn't have many off-line activists. There are no real feminist allies among MRAs, and pretty much all anti-feminists. I thought for a while that Canadian Association for Equality might be something different, but then they jumped on board with Elam and his pals.

There have been the occasional detractor from within, but they get edged out by the loud, misogynistic anti-feminists like Elam, GWW, John Humbling, and others. It isn't really an intellectual project (like feminism) and is instead a reactionary echo chamber. I'd like to hear something new, but so far the echos just keep getting louder.

"There are no real feminist allies among MRAs..."

No kidding? Feminists are so funny.

Fish in a barrel.

Now we're getting somewhere. It's not that you want MRAs to speak up against their vile you want prominent MRAs to speak up against their vile.

And why is alliance with feminist a requirement?

It isn't a requirement at all - that's why they're so annoyed.

But the problem is, MRAs have been trying to debate politely with the powers that be for decades.. only to get turned down again and again.
Warren Farrell worked for decades, and Obama turned down his request for a White House council on men and boys recently.. something that women have had for decades.
Fathers Rights groups have been following the conventional path for political change for decades.. no dice..
Harry Crouch, president of NCFM.org explains how both the political parties focus on 'women first'. Both parties have different values, but converge in women-centrism.
for e.g DCRally2007
and the problem stays as drastic as ever. esp for the guys who have been through the wringer and seen first hand
Stephen Baskerville "Taken Into Custody" book promo

The powers that be need to understand the varieties of backlash they are generating. MRAs use heavy rhetoric, but are mild and strictly non-violent.
Others are not going to be. You cant kick a dog forever and expect it to not bite back.

My links didnt go through..

Harry Crouch, president of NCFM.org explains how both the political parties focus on 'women first'. Both parties have different values, but converge in women-centrism.
http://youtu.be/1TwgSKx4FBs

DCRally2007
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8vLV5DDU1Q

Stephen Baskerville "Taken Into Custody" book promo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA6_ZGa7jbc

People complainging that the MRM "don't do anything for boys or men" miss the fact that our society is so skewed to helping women and demonizing men, that it's nearly impossible to get anyone to aknowledge the prolem. Earl Sliverman tried to get help for men's shelters, and got a pittance, I think it was around 700 dollars. He eventually hung himself after he had to close his shelter due to lack of funds.

But, that's the point. You are whining about how no one will do it for you. A real movement does these things for itself, instead of waiting around for the government and everyone else to do it for them. Is this so difficult to understand?

Lemme spell it out for you. You go find donors, do fundraising, write grant proposals, find an attorney, draft a non-profit corporate charter and apply for tax-exempt status. You network with the people who share your ideals, you find whatever office space you can, you keep raising the funds to build a men's shelter. You meet your goals and don't let anything stop you. You find a contractor who gives you the best bid on the project, pay them, they build the shelter (alternatively, find existing space in a correctly zoned district), you find staff, you put out the word to the local news and on the internet--and you run a men's shelter. It's hard work. It's important stuff. So it's worth it.

There, I fixed it for ya.
Everything you're trying to do has an analogue in movements that have come before. You just have to be willing to get off the keyboard and go do something substantial.

The thing you may not realize is that men--particularly the kind of men who feel they've been "screwed over" by "the system"--find it almost impossible to undertake the strategies you point out as not "so difficult to understand". They don't lack the will: they lack the capabilities.

This huge gap in the general understanding of the average man's lived experiences and the expectations the world has of them is at the heart of both the inchoate hatred of women (and everyone who isn't an MRA) that MRAs so often exhibit, and the dismissive kind of reply you have given here. You have assumed that those stupid men are just too whiny and entitled, rather than genuinely incapable and clueless in ways you can't even imagine from your lofty perch.

I'm assuming, if you're a man, you're like me: educated, experienced in organizing, nurturing and capable. The critical thing to realize is that there are lot of men out there who aren't any of those things. Who've grown up with violence and coped with an educational system that has served their unique capabilities badly, and who have experienced a whipsaw of social expectations that values strong, silent men who openly and freely express their feelings, and creative, nurturing men who "man up" and stoically do dangerous, difficult jobs to support their families, and so on.

Our expectations of men have escalated at precisely the same time we have undermined many of their traditional supports. Men are used to, and trained to, get things done by working within the system. For millenia this made sense, because the bargain men made was that we could be shoved into identical clothing and treated as objects on the battlefield during war, and then treated as useful objects of production during rare intervals of peace, but in return we got to be kings of our own domestic domains.

We can barely conceive of a world where that bargain is no longer relevant, where men are valued not as objects on the battlefield or the production line, but as unique individuals: not soldiers, not providers, and not a problem to be solved.

The problem is not that "feminism" (which is of course so vastly diverse that it is easy to find decades of intensely misandric feminist writing in amongst the genuinely progressive stuff) but rather that the feminist recognition that women are human beings in their own right has been at best very imperfectly extended to most men. Educated, upper-class men have been self-actualizing for centuries. The poor guys lower down on the food chain: not so much.

So we have a large population of men who find themselves adrift, and lacking precisely the skills and attitudes required to help themselves. MRAs feed their helpless anger. People like you reply to them with contemptuous... well, in another context I would call it "man-splaining". Which also feeds their helpless anger.

I've been blunt here, and likely more aggressive and angry than entirely appropriate. I want to engage your critical sympathies, not alienate you. If we were arguing this over a beer you would have interrupted me half a dozen times by now to protest or clarify, and I hope I'd be able to meet your objections fairly. In this forum, I'm arguing against a human being who I have to fully imagine from a few short lines of text, and I hope I've hit the right balance between fierceness and fairness to get through, at least a little bit.

I'll try to organize my thoughts, but what you are saying is really, really frustrating, so bear with me.
1. I have a GED, I'm poor, and marginalized as f***--and yet just as capable of doing my part as anyone else. Everyone faces challenges, these are not good excuses for inaction.
2. Gosh darn it. You're making a bunch of excuses. Let me spell it out again: everything you complain about being up against? Women faced that and spent decades putting in hard work to fight it. They gained ground. You want to complain, but not act. You act like the feminist, civil rights, and every other movement that had some measure of victory didn't face obstacles. You think desegregation happened overnight, and was easy? You think suffrage happened overnight, without so much as a whisper of protest? My goodness. You lack historical perspective.
3. The onus is on you to fight, not your opponents--most of whom you have constructed out of whole cloth. I'm personally really close to starting my own men's advocacy organization, just to shut MRAs the f*** up and show you how it's done. To help men who need it, with the added benefit of making even bigger fools of you. I mean, I thought men are the pioneers, the relentless entrepreneurs--according to MRA leaders, it's true. But, for some weird reason, MRAs cannot seem to make heads or tails of actual work.

DUDE. STOP WHINING. START WORKING. IT'S HOW MOVEMENTS ARE DONE. THE END.

(this is a long response, but this is a complicated topic)

The real problem with the MRM and MRAs, which is demonstrative in many of these posts by men on this thread, is that they cannot identify the root cause of their concerns – which is that PHMT, something pretty much all feminists agree with and readily discuss because we too want men to be able to self actualize without having to feel like they need to conform to society's expectations. The way we teach gender in this country, which starts in our youth and is solidified in adolescence, speaks to a society that wants to force both men and women in the “act like a man” and “act like a woman” box. If these MRAs were honest with themselves they would admit that part of their concern is that women have been (largely) liberated from feminine conformity whereas men still feel they are stuck having to conform to some outdated definition of masculinity. Yet rather than attempt to redefine it to fit our modern society and our changing economy (fact – women contribute almost half of their household’s income when they live with a male partner) they instead cling to concepts of ole in re masculinity that only serve to continue to frustrate them.

“ You have assumed that those stupid men are just too whiny and entitled, rather than genuinely incapable and clueless in ways you can't even imagine from your lofty perch.”

No, YOU assume they are incapable. They, themselves, are indeed whiny people given that one of their complaints is why feminists and/or other women don’t take up the helm of their issues. Uhh, because your movement is based on blaming feminism for your woes and is full of men that really do hate women– ie it does not correctly identify the real problem – the way we are taught gender, something men still very strongly want to cling to. When the worst thing you can call a guy is a girl, that is a problem that society should be addressing. Instead MRM and MRAs double down on this disgustingness by claiming women or feminists hate men and masculinity. Yeah, we hate you clinging to a concept of masculinity that has little relevance anymore in which you apparently have a very narrow view of what men can be. OTOH, women, especially feminists, certainly think higher of men and know that men can be amazing nurturing loving fathers and/or partners and friends (to both men and women), even when they are engaging in what is/was typically considered feminine behaviors.

“ Who've grown up with violence and coped with an educational system that has served their unique capabilities badly, and who have experienced a whipsaw of social expectations that values strong, silent men who openly and freely express their feelings, and creative, nurturing men who "man up" and stoically do dangerous, difficult jobs to support their families, and so on.”

Sadly, it is men who are more likely to shutter other men’s emotional expressions and in turn it is something (some) women have also internalized as well. All babies are born with the same capacity to express a wide range of emotions but it is the way that we teach gender that starts in the formative years that forces some boys to shutter the honest expression of their emotions and this folly comes from both mothers and fathers – and outside forces, peer influence, coaches (especially coaches), teachers, etc. That thing about education is just not true and I wish that belief would die out of this absurd movement.

“Our expectations of men have escalated at precisely the same time we have undermined many of their traditional supports. “

And men have reacted very badly to the unreasonable burden of being the sole provider lifted off their shoulders, something they should have been applauding and finding new ways to work with their female counterparts to make their relationships and families better. Some men’s abject dislike of women gaining agency over their own lives will cause them to be confused, hurt and angry.

Pretty much all people work, so please, suspends your rhetoric about men having to work etc. The majority of women work, just like men, and poor women always worked, just like poor men. If men don’t like their laborious jobs they need to not subscribe to that gendered bullshit they learn at a young age that learning and getting an education makes them girly or a nerd – then they might be able to focus on being a success in their own right AND happy with their chosen occupation to boot.

Misandry is the most incorrectly used term in these debates. Go read the wiki about it, which pretty much sums it up. There will never be a system of hate that will ever be supported by history that speaks to any hatred of man, especially since men control all aspects of power throughout the entire world, in re business, banks and politics. When I see men use this term as relevant to anything I just think wow, another guy that doesn’t realize how much men are brainwashed by made up concepts of gender. Really, open your eyes.

“ People like you reply to them with contemptuous... well, in another context I would call it "man-splaining".

That isn’t what mansplaining is. Mainsplaining is when women say something that is true (either demonstrably true or something anecdotal) and men try to explain why that couldn’t possibly be true, even when the woman has said, I have experienced this.

I am not trying to alienate anyone in this conversation. I am trying to get men who think like you to identify and understand that the root cause of your anger/concerns is not feminism but a result of a male dominated and male centric society through which women have now gained agency over their own life choices, which has resulted in men realizing that they are not happy with the status quo (male dominated/male centric society) either. If men in these movements could only properly identify the why they might be able to direct their hate at the correct systems of oppression because aside from engaging in revisionist history (since even the poorest man had significantly more agency over the poorest woman) their beliefs in the causes of why men don’t have it so well either simply arent factually true.

So, the patriarchy is to blame. Do you really think that men created a system in order to guarantee us the privilege of oppressing ourselves? That is an absurdly illogical conclusion that only proves the inadequacy of the feminist narrative to explain anything to anyone living in the real world.

Even a cursory examination of history demonstrates that the "poorest man" has never had more agency than the "poorest woman". Both have had scant agency of any kind. The MHRM dispenses with convenient feminist framing, and looks at the world as it really is. Try it sometime.

“Do you really think that men created a system in order to guarantee us the privilege of oppressing ourselves? “

Do you really believe the above nonsense? Please, stop being obtuse. Men have ONLY realized that patriarchy hurts men too BECAUSE of feminism! Without women gaining agency over their own lives men would still be the same way they were “back then.” I find it so sad that I gave a thoughtful lengthy reply but you are so angry and brainwashed that you cannot FOCUS on what is really important.

Actually, if men in the MRM actually think feminism is to blame for any of their woes, THEY are not living in reality – they have the same rhetoric as these tea party people, it is not surprising that the MRM is largely dominated by white men. Loss of unearned privilege will make men angry, we all get that, but to change the status quo men must change the definition of masculinity. The current concept of femininity and thus women’s sexuality is fluid. It is much more rigid for men, and this is damaging both to boys, men and society as a whole.

Let us look at one aspect of this movement that is of utmost importance – men being able to spend more time with their children upon divorce. Based merely on the fact that women gave birth men have been restricting women to private spaces (ie the home) since the dawn of man and significantly so after the advent of organized religion. Men abdicated their parenting to the mother under the (now understood to be erroneous) belief that because women gave birth they were entirely more suitable to be the primary caregiver of children. Fast forward to thousands of years later in which this belief has perpetuated in a male dominated world and only AFTER second wave feminism did men (and I speak primarily of the US) start to actively parent their children more, including primary caregiving, especially among millenials. Though parenting is nowhere close to being equal time shared, even in homes where both parents work full time, the quality time and parenting time fathers are spending with their children is increasing and that can only be a good thing.

Now we look at a court system that has long been dominated by men as jurists and men are still confused why women are more likely to get primary custody? DUH, our society still believes that women are more suited to caregiving!! Thus dads need to show society this is NOT TRUE. Also, shared custody is more common now than ever, and it will increase in likelihood as men continue to actively and visibly parent their children more.

And for real, try not to take offense at what I am saying here, as I am pointing out a truth that some men don’t want to admit – that a male dominated society has resulted in all these woes men are now realizing are adversely affecting them and they are angry because they feel powerless to change it but then scapegoat women and feminists and wonder why nothing is changing.

Now, men’s response might be that men did all this for women because women were the weaker sex, etc, but that is all made up stuff that men really wanted to believe in order to feel that they were doing the “right” thing. But we know now, that simply isn’t true! None of it is true. Therefore men have to get off the bandwagon of blaming women for any of these issues and blame society that has so long benefited men over women to the point that now that the scale has shifted towards equality, men are realizing they got concerns to address too.

Sadly, men seem very unwilling to think very deeply about issues like this or why they think the way they think or believe the things they believe. The truth is that our actions are largely unconscious and we are constantly engaging in rationalization, justification and confirmation bias in order to reduce cognitive dissonance. In the gender debates I notice that a lot of men engage in all of these in order to never have to put the onus or responsibility on men to do something. Unfortunately this is more reflective of the way we teach gender which allows men not to have to engage in much self introspection about these things and even when other people’s experiences are shoved in their faces they engage in MORE of these actions in order to believe that what that person is saying couldn’t possibly be the reality. Men, especially white men, are constantly negating the experiences of the “other” and that is another reason the MRM is largely white and has no outside allies.

People unable to identify and understand the concept of unearned privilege are either haters or engaging in intellectual laziness, plain and simple.

I wanted to make one more comment about the convo you were having with mr. anti-mra. I am not sure you understood much of what he was saying, which was essentially that men in the MRM don’t want men to self actualize however those men want to self actualize. I too have seen the homophobia on various MRM sites and conclude that men are STILL trying to shove other men in the “act like a man” box. Accordingly, this movement will never get off the ground because it isn’t inclusive. It is like white people talking about race. They welcome people of color into their social groups, but do not like it when those people raise issues that are of concern to them as a byproduct of their race. If part of someone’s identity is that they are male and gay, well, that is how they identify. What is the purpose of the MRM in trying to shutter this other identifying factor of that particular man? It is conformity which men, especially white men, are very susceptible to. The difficulty with the MRM is that they are still trying to conform men in a movement that derides conformity. The irony would be palpable if it weren’t so depressing how confused these men are.

Before you respond with snide and/or snippy remarks please try and actually think about what I am saying because I am not the enemy.

"If these MRAs were honest with themselves they would admit that part of their concern is that women have been (largely) liberated from feminine conformity whereas men still feel they are stuck having to conform to some outdated definition of masculinity." I think this sums up the whole MRA dilemma. Most of these guys were raised to believe that if they fulfilled a certain role, they would be successful and respected, and it hasn't worked out. Now they're angry about it and don't know who they're supposed to be. What makes it, and so many of the commenters, so frustrating, sad and yet funny is their utter inability to understand that women are actually whole people with an actual point of view, and to some extent make this same mistake about themselves, seeing themselves as generically "men" instead of actual, individual people with unique problems and circumstances. As the song goes, "you're not entitled to a point of view if the only thing you can see is you."

"Now they're angry about it and don't know who they're supposed to be"

Exactly. Similar to current political conservatism there is HUGE lack of consistency in their positions. A LOT of these guys are traditionalists, that is why there is so much homophobia and exclusivity in their "movement." They seem not to get that they are largely about pro-conformity into some rigid concept of masculinity that simply isn't relevant anymore and one thing men need to feel is that they are needed. Due to many of them being forced into some rigid "act like a man" box in their youth many are incapable of expressing this unhappiness other than through anger,and the MRM is mostly helpless anger because they don't know to address their issues because their blame is misguided.

Unfortunately I find that these men find it difficult to understand women's POVs in these type of discussions because they actually grow up believing that women are overly emotional and illogical/unreasoned so in their adulthood they can just easily write off women's concerns as emotional responses and/or my favorite....drama.

I think the backlash against feminism has never been greater than it is right now.

The MHRM is a grassroots movement. Our issues will never be dealt with through large-scale lobbying, organizing and fund-raising for the simple reason that people don't care about men - never have, never will. Feminists tapped into this decades ago and have exploited it to their advantage ever since. How do you think they became so wildly successful so quickly? Most men have been socialized to accept their role as disposable utilities, a role which most women support and encourage more wholeheartedly than ever. Look up 'Honey Badgers of AVfM' to get an insight into the erudite opinions of women who neither support, nor encourage male disposability.

Putting "out the word to the local news and on the internet" to support a men's shelter will attract nothing but placard-wielding feminists chorusing 'Cry Me a River' and accusing us of supporting rape culture while their white knights hold their handbags in the desperate hope of a scrap of female approval - and of course men like you, telling us to man-up and stop whining, and that male victims of female-perpetrated IPV must have done something to deserve it anyway.

Nothing will ever be achieved until this changes, which is why MHRAs know we are in for a long, hard slog. But, thank you anyway for the massive amount of time and effort you put into providing us with your quick-fix solution. We will be sure to put it exactly where it belongs. Don't get me wrong - I don't condemn it completely. At least it demonstrates the ignorant dismissal that passes for a feminists' idea of 'helping men', and is more constructive than the 'f@#k off and die' advice that we're used to (visit Jezebel.com for more information).

So your answer to this is that MRAs are a grassroots movement (like any other group that changed anything, including the women who built women
's shelters when there were none) and therefore you are automatically defeated. Wow. I'm saying the answer to there being no domestic violence shelters for men is to build them. And that is too much for you to handle? Damn. Men deserve better advocates than you guys. You guys don't even try, you just throw in the towel. That's sad.

Though I largely agree with your comments on this thread there likely won't be a lot of monetary support for a men's abuse shelter, anywhere I would think simply because men do not flee their homes at the rates that women do because most men who are victims of intimate partner abuse are not being physically harmed at any significant rates and are more likely to experience long term psych abuse not physical abuse. The level of injury is indeed relevant to this issue of shelters and i cringe when MRAs claim it isnt, especially since their argument in re IPV is that if women stopped slapping their guy in the chest he would stop punching her - seriously, their entire movement is all reactionary - they cannot take personal responsibility for their own behaviors, it is mind boggling. The amount of rationalization these guys engage in is beyond ridiculous.

And while I am in no way saying that psych abuse isn't a serious thing that should be addressed, because it should, there is simply no strong numbers of men who will be seeking shelter from a violent household to warrant the cost of their own shelter. I understand this is not what these men want to hear but it is the reality. Shelters are for women and children who are fleeing from a physically abusive home and men are usually not allowed there because it would make these recovering women and children scared. With that being said, I DO think it is the duty of shelters to assist men in finding an alternative and to my knowledge that is exactly what shelters do, in the US.

I'm reading your comment a second time and realizing that you think that creating men's advocacy organizations and shelters is a "quick fix." In my description of starting a shelter, did any of that strike you as something that would be quick, or even a fix? WOW. I cannot get over this. You guys just want everything handed to you in a neat little bow, without doing any work at all.

Your goals take hard work to reach. That is the toughest part for the MRM. Getting off their asses. But, that would imply that things can be changed, and MRAs don't want men to believe that. Because it might eradicate the need for an MRM and replace it with a plan of action for improving the lives of men.

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