Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Devil and Henry Makow, PhD

Once upon a time, Henry Makow invented the game Scruples. Once upon a more recent time, he was a prominent Men's Rights Activist, the proprietor of a website called, and the author of a book, A Long Way to Go for a Date, an account of how he, a self-described "fat and unattractive 47-year old" traveled to the Phillipines to meet and marry a woman 30 years younger than him. (They divorced shortly afterwards.)

Then Makow discovered conspiracy theory. These days, he spends much less time denouncing feminism than he does attacking the secret Satanic-Jewish-Illuminati cabal that (allegedly) rules the world. Take a look at his site for a virtual buffet of conspiracy theory kookiness.

Today being Halloween, Makow treats his readers to a lovely piece by Richard Evans entitled "Halloween is Christmas for Satanists," and, yes, he's completely serious about it. Some of the pearls of wisdom found within:
Halloween as we know it was created by interests which we now identify as 'Illuminati' and Satanic. ... American children used to be protected by laws which no longer exist.  They were protected by families and normal society. Before television it wasn't so easy for self avowed witches to get inside their heads. The Illuminati recognized Halloween as the opportunity to do that. ...
Halloween [has] graduated from benign harvest celebration into a Sex and Death festival. Sex and Death = Thanateros. Don't tell me that mix of costumes I saw at the grocery store last night dressed either as zombies, or SM sluts, (and I saw two cross dressing males) isn't a merger of sex and death. 
Despite the fact that he now lives almost entirely in crazyland, Makow still gets some attention from MRAs: here, for example, is the first in a series of YouTube intervews he gave an MRA last year on the evils of feminism. (See here, here, and here for more MRAs citing Makow approvingly.)

Still, I rather doubt there are many MRAs out there who actually agree with Makow that, for example, feminism is part of an evil plan by the Rockefellers to depopulate the world, or that the Satanic cult that secretly rules the world is introducing "Freemasonry ... as the New World Religion."

So where are the MRA critiques of Makow -- or of other MRAs who cite Makow? So far I've only run across a couple of MRA blog posts actually offering a critique of his tinfoil-hat politics. (Apparently, "conspiracy theorists are manginas" who use their "convoluted conspiracy theories to justify [their] manginaism." Meanwhile, our good friend Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Tech is annoyed that Makow has suggested, with his typical loopy logic, that all porn is gay.)

Are there any more MRA critiques of Makow out there I've missed?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

QuoteOTD: Wisdom from the superior sex

Wisdom from misterb, aka misterbastard, taken from a discussion on The Spearhead on "Academia and the Politics of Peer Review," which quickly degenerated from an idiotic discussion about the evils of academia into an idiotic discussion about how women are stupid, selfish and evil. (Isn't that how discussions on The Spearhead always go?)

Anyway, the wisdom:

I hate to say this. Feminism dumb down society.

Misterb make feminism mad! Feminism stomp misterb!

More wisdom:

In my opinion. Women should never be allowed to hold degrees in soft sciences. And there should be no degrees in regards to soft sciences.
Just because a woman holds a degree to some cheap laden science or bad science. It doesn’t make her smart, but in fact it has an opposite effect. it makes her downright stupid.
There’s different between knowledge and wisdom. And today’s lacks both of them. Only thing she’s good at is being worthless

In another comment he corrected what he evidently saw as his one and only mistake in this final paragraph: "today's" should have been "today's woman." 

Yep, that oughtta fix it.

I'm sorry, but idiots going on about their intellectual superiority: always funny. Always.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Men's Rights Movement Vs. The People's Front of Judea

One of the strangest things about the Men's Rights Movement is how little actual debate there is within it. Oh there's plenty of discussion, to be sure, and plenty of arguments about what sort of strategy is most effective in dealing with MRA opponents and the rest of the world in general (see, for example, "Pansygate" and the ongoing sniping between Manhood101 ubermilitants and pretty much everyone else in the MRM). But actual substantive disagreements over major issues? Very few. With most key issues the MRM deals with, there's a party line, and few within the MRM fold deviate very far from it.

This sort of ideological conformity is far less common outside the insular world of the MRM. Among leftist political groups, of course, internecine battles are so common that Monty Python satirized them in Life of Brian -- you no doubt remember the bits about the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea. And such battles are hardly confined to the left: just consider the battles between the teabaggers and the Republican party, not to mention the much more substantive battles you see between the various factions that make up the contemporary right, like those between Ayn Randian libertarians and bible-thumping social conservatives.

Among feminists, of course, there have been giant, bloody battles between anti-porn and sex-positive feminists, battles over "difference" feminism, over race and class, and on and on. (For a quick look at a dizzying array of different ideological tendencies within feminism, see here.) I've participated in these battles myself: see this piece of mine critiquing anti-porn feminism in general and Andrea Dworkin in particular.

These kinds of battles are inevitably frustrating, sometimes massively silly, and often distract activists from "real" political work. But they're also necessary, a way to work out and work through issues that are inevitably more complicated than the political slogans with which most movements make their case to the world at large. Within feminism, for example, the "sex wars" have pushed anti-porn feminism from the center of the movement to the margins -- a good thing for feminists, and for everyone else. Debates challenge dogmas; they're symptoms of political health, not signs of weakness.

Indeed, if the Men's Rights Movement is to have even a small chance of transforming itself from an insular, largely reactionary movement that's actually harmful to men, into one that actually does men, and the world at large, some good, it's going to have to have these kinds of debates. Right now the Men's Rights Movement turns legitimate concern and legitimate anger at real problems faced by men into bitterness aimed at feminist bogey-women and women at large; it's as destructive for the real cause of men's rights, and for the world at large, as the Dworkinite branch of feminism was for feminists and for everyone else.

So it's always interesting to me to see an actual substantive debate break out in the angry-manosophere. The latest: an honest-to-goodness debate over the notion of a "marriage strike" that has recently become an MRA shibboleth.  In a series of posts, the blogger who calls himself Dalrock asks

whether or not there really is, or will be, a marriage strike.  My first answer is that it depends on how we define the term.  If those using it are thinking of a classical strike where men would eschew marriage out of a sense of male solidarity in an effort to extract a better social bargain, this isn’t happening and won’t happen any time in the near future.

Looking over the stats used by MRAs to provide evidence that men in general, not just Men-Going-Their-Own-Way MRA types are, in effect, boycotting marriage, he argues

that the metric published by The National Marriage Project is being widely misinterpreted, and show[s] that the vast majority of current white men and women in the us in their mid 30s have married at some time. ... We may yet see a marriage strike by white men in the US, but the data simply isn’t in yet.
As a result of his posts, Dalrock has gotten a lot of what he calls "push-back" from the MRM community, some of it quite personal, so much so that he felt he had to clarify that

For those of you who are refusing to marry, I’m not denying your existence or equating you with UFO conspiracy theorists.  As I’ve said before, we won’t see men banding together against their immediate interests to form a better social bargain longer term.  But this doesn’t mean individual men won’t decide that marriage isn’t a risk they want to take. 

This kind of "push-back" from your ideological allies is actually a sign that you're moving forward. 

I'll weigh in on the whole marriage debate in a future post or few, but in the meantime I'm just going to watch how this plays out.

Registraton is now required to post comments here

We're having a lovely discussion.
In order to cut down on some of the, er, noise in the comment section, from now on only registered users will be allowed to comment here.

It's a bit of a hassle, but I'd rather do this than to enable comment moderation, which is even more of a hassle for me and for everyone else. I hope that all of you regular posters who are actually trying to have real discussion will stick around. It really doesn't take much time to register.

Oh, and the rest of my comment policy still stands: Don't say things so vile and hateful that if you said them to Gandhi, he'd punch you in the head. No gratuitously nasty personal attacks. No really hateful slurs. (More specifics here.) Otherwise, go at it.

EDIT: If you try to post a comment and it simply doesn't show up, that's not my doing; it's Blogger's spam filter at work. I would turn it off if I could. I will un-filter comments as soon as I see them in the spam folder, so long as they aren't vile/hateful, as spelled out above.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Paul Elam's big mistake on domestic violence: A case study in MRA self-deception

I didn't think I was going to reply to Paul Elam's latest post in our abortive "debate" on domestic violence  -- see here for the details on why it fell apart, and here for details on his childish and unethical behavior since and here for the rest of my debate posts -- but he's really outdone himself this time, with an utterly spectacular misreading of an important research report on violence against women. Indeed, I've read over the relevant portion of his post several times, because I can't quite believe he's saying what he seems to be saying. If he is, and I have no other explanation for his remarks, his post becomes something of a case study in the way in which antifeminist dogma can distort even the most basic analysis of empirical data.

In the context of my debate with Elam, it's not an insignificant error. Indeed, Elam sees his erroneous conclusion on this research as a sort of trump card in our debate, the grand finale to his final post in the debate. The only problem is that he's completely wrong.

You don't have to take my word for it. To make sure there was absolutely no doubt that Elam was misinterpreting the report, I contacted one of the report's authors. She indeed confirmed that Elam's interpretation was flat out wrong. I'll get to that in a minute.

Let's get into the details, shall we?

The report in question is one I cited in my initial post, titled Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey. (EDIT: You can find a pdf of it here.) The paper, co-written by Patricia Tjaden and Nancy Thoennes, summarizes the findings of a massive survey on violence jointly undertaken by the National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which, despite the title, also dealt with violence against men. The researchers surveyed 16,000 people, divided equally between men and women, about the violence they had experienced over their lifetimes -- specifically, whether or not they had been raped, physically assaulted, or stalked.

Elam's ideologically driven misreading of the report starts with a misreading of the opening paragraph of the report, a brief historical summary of how the rise of feminism led researchers to start to seriously pay attention to violence against women:
Violence against women first came to be viewed as a serious social problem in the early 1970s, in part because of the reemergence of the Women’s Movement. In unprecedented numbers, scholars trained in such diverse disciplines as philosophy, literature, law, and sociology began to examine violence against women in the context of a feminist ideology.
All of this is a pretty straightforward accounting of what actually happened. But, the researchers continue:
Despite the resulting outpouring of research on violence against women, particularly in the areas of rape and intimate partner violence, many gaps remain in our understanding of violence against women. Until now, empirical data on the relationship between certain types of violence against women, such as childhood victimization and subsequent adult victimization, have been limited. Reliable information on minority women’s experiences with violence and on the consequences of violence against women, including rates of injury and use of medical services, is also limited.
So far, the meaning of these remarks is crystal clear: Though feminism inspired a great outpouring of research on violence against women, there was still insufficient reliable empirical data to measure the true extent of the problem.

The researchers then go on to present the details of the National Violence Against Women Survey, a study designed to provide precisely what they said was lacking: reliable empirical data on the various forms of violence against women.  (In order to provide more context for this data, and to provide a basis for comparison, the study also asked the same questions to an equal number of men.)

Elam, though, reads this relatively straightforward introduction to the report as a sinister statement of purpose. Highlighting the phrases "Women's Movement" and "in the context of a feminist ideology," he declares:
Yes, in this the very first paragraph of the study, they identify not as academicians, but feminist ideologues. With a profound lack of erudition that can only be rooted in hubristic hegemony, they inform readers from the beginning that this is a political action. Straight from jump.
Not a promising start for Elam. But we haven't gotten to Elam's biggest error. 

Elam's Great Misunderstanding starts off innocently enough: he cites data from the report on rape and physical assault that shows that, with the exception of the category of rape, men report suffering more violence than women. This is a fairly unsurprising result; numerous studies have found the same thing.

Note that this data measures violence overall, NOT intimate partner violence by itself. Most of the violence against men is in fact perpetrated by other men.

Elam then shows a chart from the study that looks at the incidence of intimate partner violence, broken down into various categories of violence; it shows women more than three times as likely to report being victimized by IPV than men.

It's what Elam does next that truly boggles the mind. After noting that the data did indeed seem to suggest that women are the primary victims of IPV, he firmly declares this conclusion "wrong." No, he says, what the dastardly feminist researchers did was to "factor weigh for under reporting [but] to their disgrace they did not figure it in to the graphs."

As proof for this, Elam quotes a relatively straightforward passage in the text that discusses some of these results, and specifically refers back to the chart in question:
It is important to note that differences between women’s and men’s rates of physical assault by an intimate partner become greater as the seriousness of the assault increases. For example, women were two to three times more likely than men to report that an intimate partner threw something that could hurt or pushed, grabbed, or shoved them. However, they were 7 to 14 times more likely to report that an intimate partner beat them up, choked or tried to drown them, threatened them with a gun, or actually used a gun on them (see exhibit 8).
After quoting this text, Elam triumphantly declares victory:
And so there you have it.  A rough sketch of the math will lead you to a very familiar situation.

Domestic Violence- Women are half the problem.
Huh? The first time I read this I was simply baffled. Elam posts a chart showing that women report being the victim of IPV more often than men do, then a paragraph discussing the very same results, which says exactly the same thing, and which specifically refers back to that very same chart, and somehow concludes that ... women are responsible for half the problem?

It took several rereadings for me to even grasp how he might have come to that utterly erroneous conclusion. Apparently, as best as I can figure it, he has interpreted the word "report" in the text to mean "overreport" instead of, you know, "report." (Or that it indicated in some way that women overreported in comparison to men, who underreported, or something along these lines.) So that, as Elam figures it, the numbers in the text basically cancel out the numbers in the chart. In fact, the numbers in the text reflect the exact same data as the numbers in the chart.

Thus Elam transforms, in his mind at least, an empirical report of survey results that challenge his central claim -- that women are half the problem in domestic violence -- into one that proves his pet theory, and which reveals the perfidity of devious, cunning feminists.

Just so there would be absolutely no question that Elam is completely mistaken in his conclusion, I got in touch with Patricia Tjaden, one of the key researchers behind the survey, and the co-author of the summary Elam quoted from. She told me that, indeed, his interpretation of the figures in the paper is flat out wrong. As she put it in an email:
Yes, you are right in your interpretation of our results: Generally
speaking, in our study "reported" means respondents disclosed that they had
ever been a victim of a specific type of violent victimization. So, for
example, as presented in Exhibit 3 in our report on intimate partner
violence ... 8.5 % of women compared to 0.6% of men
disclosed that they had been beaten up by an intimate partner at some time
in their lifetime.  It should be noted that some were beaten up more than
once, but these estimates reflect only if they "ever had."  Thus, (surveyed)
women were 14 times more likely than (surveyed) men to report ever being
beaten up by an intimate partner [8.5/0.6 = 14.17.]
I have no idea what your [debate] opponent means when he said our
estimates reflect over-reporting.  Perhaps he meant that women are more
likely than men to report victimization to an interviewer?  There is little
research on what influences women and men to disclose victimization during
telephone surveys.  We conducted a small study during the course of the
NVAWS to see if interviewer gender impacted male respondents' responses to
survey questions.  (We didn't do it for women because all the women were
interviewed by female respondents.)  We found that male respondents were
more likely to disclose sensitive information, such as age, income, fear and
accommodation behavior, and recent victimization, to male interviewers.
This contradicts findings from previous research that shows respondents -
male and female alike - feel more comfortable disclosing sensitive
information to female interviews in face-to-face surveys.
The paper she is citing here is this one, available online here (pdf format):

Tjaden, P & Thoennes, N. (2000).  Extent, nature, and consequences of
intimate partner violence:  Findings from the National Violence Against
Women Survey.  Washington, DC: US Department of Justice NCJ 181867.

The only real question is whether Elam has distorted the results of the NVAWS deliberately. I don't actually think so. He is enough of an ideologue to believe that a report based on a massive government study and which has been exposed to an enormous amount of scrutiny over the years in fact secretly proves his pet theory.

One final note: Elam also makes a big deal of the fact that the NVAW used the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) in its surveys, a research tool which I have criticized in my previous posts in the debate. As is often the case with Elam, this is a half-truth. The survey, as Tjadan noted in her email to me, "used questions similar to those in the CTS, but framed them differently," and thus got very different results.

I will end with another comment from Tjaden, which helps to put this debate in a broader context:

I know this debate over whether men and women are equally likely to
perpetrate violence against their intimate partners is very confusing and I
have spent a good part of my career attempting to convince fellow
researchers and the federal government that we need to spend time and money
figuring out why different studies (i.e. different methodological approaches)
have yielded such disparate findings.  This would be far more fruitful than
pointing fingers at each other and calling each other names.

This is a topic I will take up further in future posts.

Paul Elam's continuing childish and unethical behavior

When I agreed to debate Paul Elam on domestic violence on his web site, I clearly underestimated how childish, and unethical, he really is.

After I bowed out of the debate -- see the details here -- he decided to run the whole thing under a childish, gloating headline, and with an introduction labeling me a "fucking moron." (EDIT: See here for my posts without Elam's editorializing.)

Because of this behavior, I requested he either remove the headline and the obnoxious introduction, or remove my contributions to the debate from his web site entirely. After getting no response from him to this, I sent another email telling him to simply take down my writings from his web site.

Legally, he does not own any rights to my writings, and because of his behavior he no longer has my permission to run them. I may pursue legal action.

Paul, unfortunately, has chosen to escalate the situation, by running an even more childish post titled "David Futrelle- Covered in Pin Feathers and Clucking," in which he writes:

let it be known now that any blogger in the sphere, MRA or otherwise, has my permission to repost this debate in full on their blog or website.

Obviously he has no more right to do this than I have the right to take his car on a joy ride.

He's also apparently pitched the idea of reposting the whole debate on The Spearhead. While he doesn't have the right to do this, and I've told The Spearhead that they do not have the right to reprint my writings, I might agree to the proposition provided that I'd be guaranteed in writing by The Spearhead that it would run with a neutral headline, that my latest response to Paul's "final" post would be included, and a few other conditions.

And I would have no problem continuing the debate with Paul on The Spearhead until we each post 5 posts, as per our original agreement, were I to work out the necessary details with The Spearhead and get an agreement in writing. Or we could finish the debate right here.

I stand by everything I wrote in the debate, and have no problem continuing it, provided it be on a venue not controlled by Paul Elam and with some basic rules to guarantee fairness set forth in writing. (Paul would have to agree in writing to run the debate under a neutral headline on his site as well.)

Oh, and one final note: Paul has also removed the links back to here from the original debate, thus breaking still another condition I insisted on in order to participate in the debate in the first place. And he's banned me from commenting in the comments section under the debate posts.

This is all very stupid and very petty.

Let me offer a challenge to anyone in the MRM whose ethics are more developed than Paul's: Stand up and object to his illegal and unethical behavior. Were a feminist to pull this sort of thing on an MRA, I would certainly stand up and object to it.

If at first you don't succeed, shoot people

This is not actually Roy Den Hollander, Esq.
It's no secret that the Men's Rights Movement has been spectacularly unsuccessful, as movements go. It's produced no great intellectuals; its rare public demonstrations are sparsely attended; it's had precious little impact on legislation, on people's attitudes, on popular culture, or on anything, really. Most of those in the real world who are even aware there is such a thing as the MRM think of it as a joke.

The closest thing the movement has to a recognizable celebrity spokesperson is a fellow named Roy Den Hollander, or, as he prefers to call himself, Roy Den Hollander, Esq. RDH, Esq. is best known as "that crazy lawyer dude who keeps launching lawsuits to get rid of Ladies' Nights at bars." His sheer persistence in this noble quest hasn't garnered him much success in the courts -- last month an appeals court dismissed his lawsuit against a quintet of New York City clubs -- but it did get him a brief profile as an eccentric in the New Yorker's Talk of the Town section. Jezebel, meanwhile, has compared him to a "recurrent yeast infection." Hey, any publicity is good publicity for the Men's Rights Movement, right?

This past Sunday RDH, Esq. popped up on the media radar again -- well, on my media radar anyway. Few people in the real world notice anything published in A Voice For Men, where RDH Esq. posted a little piece about, well, the persistent unsuccess of the MRM.

His diagnoses of this malady isn't particularly insightful -- he blames it on the money that the government and private corporations allegedly shower on man-hating feminist organizations, somehow forgetting that the feminist movement started out broke and somehow succeeded (well, in a lot of ways) despite this handicap.

What is a bit alarming is his solution to the problem: Guns. "The future prospect of the Men’s Movement raising enough money to exercise some influence in America is unlikely," he writes. "But there is one remaining source of power in which men still have a near monopoly—firearms."

Yep, if you can't win over the hearts and minds of America, or even convince the courts to put an end to Ladies Night at the China Club, just shoot your way to success. (It is a bit weird, this conceptual leap from filing Ladies Nights lawsuits to predicting and/or advocating taking up arms against the government, no?)

RDH, Esq. isn't the only MRA to give up on actually trying to win the war of ideas with, you know, ideas. Not that long ago, you may recall, I wrote about a post on the Pro-Male/Ant-Feminist Technology blog fantasizing about the creation of an anti-feminist computer virus, one that would take down feminist websites and the femputers of women's studies departments and the National Organization for Women.

My post -- and the very notion of a "war of ideas" -- angered the anonymous proprietor of that little blog, and he responded with a sort of mini-manifesto titled "This Is Not A Debating And Mental Masturbation Society."
Men my age and younger have seen how their fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, male friends, male business associates, etc. have been destroyed my feminism if it has not already happened to us. ... To many men this ceased to be a “war of ideas” a long time ago and is one step away from being an actual shooting war.  This isn’t a war men are planning to start.  It’s a war that was already declared on men, and the only question is when groups of men will still fighting back in such a direct manner.  In such a situation where it’s a war or almost one, new and interesting weapons to fight feminism will be created. ...
The men who write this malware will not be concerned with silencing feminists as if they were anti-free speech.  They will be concerned with taking down the array of groups who are currently successfully destroying men.
Lawyers, guns, and viruses: three terrible tastes that taste even more terrible together.

PS: Before this starts a ruckus in the comments section, I would like to point out that I too think that Ladies Nights are pretty stupid, and, yes, sexist. I also don't really give a shit about them, for some of the same reasons as this gal.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Comment Policy: Chill the fuck out

Be fucking polite.
Enough. I know this is the internet, and all, but rein it in a little. I'm going to start actually enforcing my comment policy, which is basically: Don't say things so vile and hateful that if you said them to Gandhi, he'd punch you in the head.

Calling someone an idiot is fine. Lots of people are idiots. Just use caution when moving much beyond this level of invective.

A few specific things that will get your comment banned as soon as I see it: the words "cunt" or "faggot," references to sex organs, gratuitously nasty personal attacks.

I'm not going to go back and delete old comments, but rather leave them up as a reminder of why we can't have nice things on the internet. But no more of this shit.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Paul Elam's hypocrisy and douchebaggery bring the Not-So-Great Debate to a crashing close

Paul Elam's massive hypocrisy, combined with a bit of douchebaggery, has brought the Not-So-Great Debate to an early end. (Though not before I got in one final post since the last time I mentioned the debate here.) (See here for all my posts in the debate.)

Long story short: He threatened to ban someone who posted a comment supportive of me. I reminded him he'd promised not to do that. He refused to retract the warning. I said, I'm out. Then he changed his mind and retracted the warning. I told him I was back in, if he didn''t pull any more shit. He pulled more shit. I'm out. 

Long story long: When I agreed to debate him on his blog, it was on the condition that the discussion in his comment section would be free and open, and that people supportive of my point of view would not face any special restrictions -- normally, Paul confines opposing opinions to a special page for, as he puts it "feminists and manginas." (I know. He's a grown man, and this is how he handles people who disagree with him.) But he promised, in writing:
With respect to any people who may wish to support your POV in the debate, I am suspending the rules for post transfer to the feminist/mangina page. All comments, short of threats or advocacy for violence, will remain in the thread permanently.
Paul evidently has some trouble remembering his promises. Earlier tonight, Chris -- one of a tiny number of non-MRAs who've actually waded into the snake-pit that is his comments section to post dissenting opinions -- posted this comment:
Excellent points from David. Still, Elam will spin this in the way he believes will best move his own agenda to demonize women and restore the patriarchy (among other nonsense) forward. Most people know the truth though. A group of male supremacists is the last place most people will look to for the truth about women or domestic violence. Especially since their propaganda is so easily refuted as David has proved. And the crap spewed about women as a whole is just plain nonsense. It’s easy to see why the majority of men shun the MRM, and why NOMAS doesn’t want to be connected to it.
As anyone who has been on the Internet for more than about half an hour will tell you, this is not what you'd call an outrageous flame. It's pretty restrained, actually. It was not a threat. It did not advocate violence. But for Paul it was evidently too much to handle, so he promptly responded with this:
You get a warning now Chris. And one only. I agreed with David, offered actually, that dissenters would be welcome to this debate rather than the area I have set up for them at the FAM page.
I do want David to have the opportunity for supporters in the comment area to refute posts made by regular readers of this site.
But this is not a place where you are allowed to come in and make personal insults about me or others. Make your points about the debate. Argue the facts presented all you want.
But making generic, personal insults to MRA’s, simply for being MRA’s, is not allowed here. You have the rest of western culture for that, including the Feminist/Mangina page here.
Can it or see yourself out.
Yes, that's right, the guy who normally consigns those he disagrees with to a "Feminist/Mangina" page is complaining about insults.

This isn't the first bit of bullshit Paul has pulled during the debate. Originally, we had agreed to post two posts apiece; he changed this to five. (I went along with this, but he didn't discuss this with me before announcing it to the world.) Then he decided that he could post two responses in a row over the course of 48 hours without giving me a chance to respond. (Huh?) I challenged him on this, and he relented, but his continual changing of the terms of the debate bugged the hell out of me.

And then of course there was his post calling Domestic Violence Awareness Month nothing more than a "month long national circle jerk" and suggesting, as a "joke," that October should instead be declared "Bash a Violent Bitch Month." He helpfully illustrated the post with pictures of women with black eyes, with the caption to one of the pics reading "Maybe she DID have it coming." I'm still not quite sure why I agreed to debate anything with this guy.

Then came his "warning." Now, such a warning might make sense if Paul normally enforced a regime of general politeness in his comments section. But of course he doesn't. For proof of this, let's see some other comments that appeared in the very same thread. Remember, this is the sort of speech that he considers acceptable.
This Futrelle guy is like a pile of dogshit. Dogshit sits all by itself, fetid and foul. Dogshit’s greatest wish is to become a mess on your shoe because then you have to deal with dogshit. “Finally, somebody is paying attention to dogshit!” Even if it’s only for the amount of time it takes to scrape dogshit off your shoe.
I hope that when this exchange is over, we will not pay Futrelle any more attention. We should do what anyone else does when they see a pile of dogshit. Step around it and not give it another thought.
On Elam's blog you can vote comments up or down. That one got 8 thumbs up and 3 thumbs down from the peanut gallery. Then there was this, from a familar name, evilwhitemaleempire:
At the end of the day manboobs is just another mangina who wants to get laid at the expense of the rights and dignity of all men including himself.
That one got 17 thumbs up. Then there was this one. (I've edited out some of the more rambling bits.) You'll notice that it also contains a number of generalizations about women, not to mention boys raised by single moms:
This manboobs really hates men. I wonder if he sat at his mothers knee taking in all her version of events. I think all the worst men I have ever met, have all had one thing in common, no father. ...  Like illegitimate boys, the female roll-model-men – are always first to defend a woman’s honor against men with violence or treacherous deceit. I consider men without male roll models as illegitimate. Woman-made-men. They hate themselves as males but hate the rest of men even more. Woman love these arseholes, because they do their bidding. Feminist doctrine and female narcissistic malice are the base for manboobs attitude’s towards men.... I still have nightmares about what I went through as a boy, at the hands of a feminist bitch, who continues to be rewarded and admired to this day by woman and cowering manginas.
Then there were a number of posts that accused me of being a woman, or a group of women. Which is just, uh, weird. Of course, this is only an insult if you think that women are bad, but somehow I get the impression that Paul might possibly just have a couple of readers who do think this.

On top of this pile of crap we can place what Paul has said of me and of feminists in general in his latest contribution to the debate:
The important thing in my mind at this point is to identify and explain what is really happening with these activists, people like Futrelle, who can look at all this information and dismiss it in favor of maintaining a false set of beliefs.
We need to ask why, when male victims of DV are a well documented fact of life, would these people seek to deny they exist and even take whatever action necessary to ensure that help is unavailable to them or to their chidren.
The answer to that, at least in my opinion, is groupthink.  Futrelle and the others have had their capacity for critical thought, their human compassion and indeed their personal integrity compromised because rather than exercise common scrutiny when examining information, they have become a part of a collective of non thinkers with tunnel vision; a simple cell in a groupthink brain. It is a seriously debilitating condition with significant individual and far reaching social implications.
It is the same phenomena that allowed masses of people to justify slavery in their minds, countless wars, the collective festering and mindless hatred in 1936 Berlin, and many other forms of social malady.
Yep. Pointing out that women suffer more from Domestic Violence than men makes me a person without integrity or compassion, a "non-thinker with tunnel vision," the sort of person who in an earlier age would have argued for slavery, and yes, a Nazi.

Really, Paul? Really?

Anyway, so earlier tonight Chris alerted me to Paul's "warning," and I posted a comment that said, in part:
Paul, you get a warning from me. When I agreed to this debate is was under the condition that the discussion here would be fair and open. If you are giving Chris a warning for making generalizations about MRAs that you don't like, then I suggest you give warnings to each and every person here who has made similar generalizations about feminists. That would include you as well.
You should also give warnings to the fellow who referred to me as a "pile of dogshit," those who suggest I "hate men" and the like. Oh, and the one who suggested that I and other feminists are like Nazis. Oh, that was you again.
Either retract your warning to Chris, or give yourself and all of these other people public warnings as well, or I am out of this debate.
What followed was a weird little drama that I can only describe as "Paul Elam-esque." First he posted a comment full of Elam-esque posturing and bluster:
You were out of this debate before it started. So I really don’t blame you. If I were you I would be tempted to find something, anything to hide behind so I didn’t have to bear the continued public humiliation.
But you are a little late. You have already served the only real purpose you ever had here to begin with, which was to openly present the bigotry, intellectual cowardice, ignorance and moral bankruptcy that characterizes modern gender ideologues- yourself included.
Your giving me an ultimatum that I have to allow unprovoked ad hominem from your supporters, or you will leave, is just one more example--- a kind of bonus.
Just the same, you are free to change your mind. I am going to put up my response to your latest tomorrow, and this time I get to pull out all the stops because that porous, completely obtuse offering of drivel demands to be completely destroyed with dispassionate reason and truth. ... .
I responded with a comment saying I was out, and reminded him that he had actually promised to allow pretty much anything from commenters supportive of me short of violence and threats. I ended it by saying: "This doesn't make you look good, trust me."

Apparently me offering him proof -- in black and white, in his own words -- that he was being a massive hypocrite convinced him to change his mind. Or maybe he just felt bad that I wouldn't be around to respond to the masterpiece he is apparently now crafting.

So he relented, and retracted his "warning" to Chris. I said I would continue the debate, just so long as he didn't pull any more shit like the shit he has been pulling.

Unable to restrain himself, he responded again in typical Elam fashion:
[J]just for the record, I changed my position to honor my word, not because you hold one bit of sway or force. You are not running anything here. So I am sure you can imagine a good place to store your warning for me not to “pull any more shit.”
Now, this is settled. Get out of my comment area.
Fuck it. I have been extraordinarily patient with this guy, but I have my limits. And he's just gone beyond them. I'm not going to debate with someone who talks to me like that. I'm out.

If I respond to his next post, it will be here. And I may not even bother.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Not-So-Great Debate Goes into Overdrive

My debate with Paul Elam on Domestic Violence continues on his web site, A Voice For Men. (EDIT: See here for all my posts in the debate.)

Unfortunately, my opponent seems to have gone entirely off the rails. I will continue to reply to him, and continue to try to get the debate back on track, but I am not hopeful about that.

As the debate, such as it is, continues, I have my hands full with Paul and his derailing tactics. Once the debate is over I will discuss some of the substantive issues that have been raised by various commenters on his site and here.

At the moment, though, I am watching David Attenborough talk about trilobites. On TV. I don't have him in my living room.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Manly pic: John Wayne, Metrosexual

You may remember a recent post of mine about that Michael-Cera-hating, Alpha-jock-loving Vanderbilt gal who wanted to see men emulate more manly role models, like John Wayne. Well, a friend of mine showed me something today, a picture from an old Spy magazine, that would rock her world, though not in a good way. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this stylish fellow with the nice gams and the weird male camel-toe is John Wayne. It's not a costume. He was on vacation.

Friday, October 22, 2010

My first post in the Domestic Violence debate is up. And so is, well, see for yourself....

From A Voice for Men
My first post in my debate with MRA Paul Elam on Domestic Violence has gone up on his web site. See it HERE.

Elam, meanwhile, has made clear how seriously he takes the idea of ending domestic violence against woman and men by posting this elsewhere on his site:
In the name of equality and fairness, I am proclaiming October to be Bash a Violent Bitch Month.
I’d like to make it the objective for the remainder of this month, and all the Octobers that follow, for men who are being attacked and physically abused by women - to beat the living shit out of them. I don’t mean subdue them, or deliver an open handed pop on the face to get them to settle down. I mean literally to grab them by the hair and smack their face against the wall till the smugness of beating on someone because you know they won’t fight back drains from their nose with a few million red corpuscles.
And then make them clean up the mess.

Illustrating the post: a couple of pictures of women with black eyes, including the one I screencapped and pasted here. That of course is his caption, not mine. 

This little violent fantasy of his is ostensibly inspired by an obnoxious three-year-old post from Jezebel which basically celebrated the fact that various female staffers had beaten up boyfriends of theirs. Elam's fantasy, of course, goes well beyond anything any of them confessed to.

Victim-Blamer of the Day: She made him do it

Last night, as I was taking a break from working on my first post in the debate on Domestic Violence I'm having with Paul Elam of A Voice For Men -- you can find it here -- I happened to run across a very strange and dispiriting post on The Truth Shall Set You Free, a right-wing blog that generally lines up with the MRA worldview. Ironically, it dealt with something I talked about in my debate post: the tendency for intimate partner violence to escalate dramatically after a woman separates from her husband.

The blog post starts off:  
I have a close family friend who just went through the divorce proceedings. Her husband is an Iraqi-zone vet, but apparently was bad with money and was out of the house a lot, perhaps having an affair. So she divorced him.
As of now, she is living in an abuse shelter. He has been stalking her everywhere she lives, smashing up her cars, slashing her tires, breaking her windows. One time on a custody exchange of their two sons, he beat her up.
So far, this is a sadly typical story. But what troubled me even more than the story itself was the blogger's reaction to these events. Instead of sympathizing with the plight of the victim, the ex-wife, he asks instead, with a pinch of self-righteousness: Are you happy you divorced him? Because, you know, it's all her fault.

After all, the blogger notes, though her husband wasn't perfect,
he never beat her. Or destroyed her stuff. And he never hurt the kids. She doesn't even claim he did any of that.

But now, post-divorce, she is in fear for her life, for her kids lives (I don't think he would hurt his sons, but she apparently does), for her property, and she is living in a shelter.
But somehow this isn't his fault. Somehow, her trying to get away from the man who is now making her life a living hell is the real problem. Because, obviously, she's the one who made him crazy, by escaping from him:
Sounds like she made a big mistake to me. I wonder if that thought ever occurs to her. I doubt it. That is not how women's brains work. The idea that she is the evil party, [that] she drove him to this madness, no.
You know, if I keep on going I'll end up quoting the whole thing. Just go read it yourself. It's one of the most vile pieces of victim blaming I've seen in a long, long time.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Domestic Violence Debate has begun

EDIT: My first response is up, here.

As I've mentioned a couple of times, MRA Paul Elam and I are debating Domestic Violence on his web site A Voice for Men. Elam's first post has just gone up, a wrongheaded and rather underwhelming start to the debate; my response will appear in a day or two. (I will post a pointer here when it does.)

Instead of allowing open debate on his website, Elam generally segregates those he classifies as, er, "feminists and manginas" on a separate page. (I know, right?) But he says he's suspended that rule for this debate, so I urge anyone here in that particular demographic to go over there and start picking apart his errors. (Paul and I have agreed to keep out of the comments section for the debate.)

QuoteOTD: Teh Menz at work

Another day, another muddled mess of misogynist generalizations completely unsupported by any actual evidence. Today, at A Voice For Men, Theodore Labadie reflects on the Roman Pantheon, and how teh menz made all the cool shit in the world lol, ladies are teh suckkssss! I'm paraphrasing, of course. In his words:
Men do not see the world like women do. The gaze of men projects outward into it; they see it, they take what they need from it, and they remake it anew. The gaze of women falls inward. The world becomes them, it exists for them. And thus, women do not build; they consume. It is not the vicissitudes of society or the education system that makes women like this. It is their nature. And, I hazard a guess ... that because of the consumptive nature of women and of men's desire to give them every comfort and convenience that we are eating ourselves alive.
I wonder, if the genius of men were fully recognized where would we be now? 
Gosh, I don't know. We'd probably all be flying around with jet packs while having sex with sexy sex robots. That's just a guess, though. But I have a question for Mr. Labadie, and for every MRA who gets vicarious man thrills from stuff other dudes have made: how many Roman Pantheons have you personally built?

Also: it sort of undermines your case for inherent man genius when you use the word "bare" to mean "bear." Real men proofread.

Program Note: I will be man-debating Paul Elam, the man behind A Voice For Men, on the topic of Domestic Violence, starting tonight on his man-site. I will post links when the posts start going up.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

QuoteOTD: The Nerd Rage Virus

The last time we checked in with the Pro-Male/Ant-Feminist Technology blog -- a blog which, you may recall, is ostensibly devoted to the notion that technology is going to kick feminism's ass, and how this is a good thing -- the resident anonymous blogger was complaining about feminists (including me) who engage in "shaming tactics" that are, like, totally unfair to MRAs, because all MRAs want to do is have an honest debate on the merits of their ideas. Today, however, he talks a bit about a new computer virus, Stuxnet, and fantasizes about a virus designed to take down feminist websites:
Imagine what an anti-feminist Stuxnet would do.  It would specifically target computers belonging to NOW (the National Organization of Women) and other women’s groups, child support agencies, family/divorce courts, women’s studies departments at universities, etc.  Perhaps it could target something as specific as feminist websites and blogs ...  An anti-feminist Stuxnet would be [easy] to create. Unless it seriously wants to attack databases, an anti-feminist Stuxnet does not require even a minimum of specialized knowledge besides being able to identify its target systems. Creating an anti-feminist Stuxnet will be within the skills of at least a significant fraction of malware programmers (if not most or all).  This means that in the near future there probably will be an anti-feminist Stuxnet.
 Well, that's one way to win the war of ideas.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Manly Links: In the fashion world, manliness is the new black

Tiring of mere boyish charm, the fashion world is apparently now obsessed with big burly MEN. Well,  not that big or burly, really. This is the fashion world, after all. I have no grand theory on this, so instead I'll just give you a batch of links:

Salon: The "menaissance" hits the runway: Muscles and chest hair make a comeback as anxiety peaks over masculine roles

Jezebel: Dudes are not immune to body fads

New York Times: New Fashion Trend: Manly men

If the cut and toned dudes on the runway are giving you body issues, guys, Marissa has some advice:

It's our job to bitch about Barbie, guys; it's your job to bitch about Ken.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Famous all over town

Apparently, they can't look away. A couple of days after Paul Elam -- the MRA elder I am scheduled to debate on the topic of domestic violence later this week -- launched a weird tirade against me on his blog, I'm now getting attention (and some traffic) from Ferdinand Bardamu at In Mala Fide, in a post urging MRAs to, er, stop paying attention to me.

As is generally the case with my MRA critics, it's basically a bunch of empty insults. But as empty insults go, they're not half bad. He calls me, among other things, a "twerp," a "feminist quisling," and "a miserable mediocrity who’s trying to get famous, an ant in our blog ecosphere." He somehow manages to avoid the term "mangina" altogether.

There is one bit that's actually obnoxious. In an attempt to explain something he said in a homophobic post of his I quoted last week, he says this:
radical gay activists, in their obnoxious way of shoving their lifestyles in the faces of the heterosexual majority and demonizing them, are poking and prodding an elephant. Elephants are big, heavy and have sharp tusks, and can gore or stomp you to death without breaking a sweat. If gays don’t clean up their act and stop treating straight people with contempt ... they could inspire a violent homophobic backlash. Capisce?
Is it just me, or does anyone else suspect that the people given to "warning" gays about a "possible violent homophobic backlash" would be the first to get in line to stomp gays like an elephant in such a backlash?

EDIT: Oops! Speaking of attention, I forgot to add this actual screen capture. Hey, try it yourself.

Men's Rights Activists: "Don't tell me to 'man up,' you mangina!"

If you're ever looking for a pretty much sure-fire way to get a Men's Rights Activist to blow his top -- not that this is a particularly difficult feat -- just tell him to "man up." Indeed, the phrase is so infuriating to some MRAs that it causes them to spew typos like a mad man. "Few phrases in the world make an MRAs [sic] want to rip our [sic] their spines and beat people to a bloody pulp with them," writes TheZetaMale on his Zeta blog. "'Man Up' has to be one of them." Meanwhile, on the Men's Rights subreddit on Reddit, a fellow calling himself olythoreau seconds this emotion:
I noticed that people using the phrase "man up" or "be a man" really fucking pisses me off. A trigger of sorts. Fuck everyone who has any expectation that I or any other man perform masculinity to their liking. Yes, I'm a man, but I'm a fucking individual... and I'll perform masculinity any way I fucking please!
Thing is, I completely agree with this sentiment: telling a guy to "man up" is an obnoxious thing to do. Oh, sure, I sometimes agree with the message people are trying to send by using this phrase: stop whining about trivial shit and get on with your life.

Indeed, no group of people I've ever run across is so expert in turning molehills into Mt. Everest than the MRA crowd; they put the whiniest of "victim feminists" to shame. Do you really need to boycott half the companies in the Fortune 500* because they ran "misandrist" ads featuring doofus husbands failing in their doofusy attempts to cook dinner? Does the fact that some random hot chick finds you repellent really mean that evil women rule the world? Does the fact that some anti-MRA blogger calls a dumb old sexist cartoon a dumb old sexist cartoon really mean that "feminists and manginas .. would love to enforce a world where the very thought that men experience problems with women in relationships is taboo[?]"

So I can certainly understand the exasperation so many people feel towards the MRM, as the very existence of this blog attests. But the phrase "man up" is absolutely the wrong way to make these points, for precisely the reasons olythoreau outlines. And I'd add: the phrase is sexist as hell, suggesting implicitly that non-men and non-manly men are a bunch of, well, pussies. (It's telling that the most common alternate way to tell someone to "man up" is to tell him to "stop being a pussy.")

I'm hardly the only feminist-ish person to dislike the phrase "man up": Jezebel ran a story called "Stop Telling Men to 'Man Up'" the other day, noting the sudden ubiquity of the phrase in the political world, and making the point that the phrase implies "that the worst thing to be is not-a-man — weak, lacking in courage." (Of course, there are some MRAs who have no problem with the phrase "man up" for exactly this reason.)

But there is an irony to MRAs' distaste with the phrase. No, scratch that, a HUMONGOUS GIGANTIC FUCKING IRONY. While they complain about the phrase "man up" being applied to them, they are the first to question the masculinity of anyone who disagrees with them or who displays their masculinity in any other way than they do -- hence their almost ritualistic use of the gender-bending term "mangina" (NSFW link) to indicate anyone not-them. (For ample proof of this, just scroll down to the comments on virtually any post on this blog.) As cat points out in a comment on this very subject on this very blog:
The thing about MRA patriarchy foot soldiers is that they can't seem to get the old slogan of "the patriarchy hurts men too". First, they complain about not being able to express emotions and variety, then they turn around the first chance they get to bash the guys that do. You know, if you stopped doing all this gay-bashing gender shaming, you would be able to express your emotions verbally, dress in different colors, admit you enjoy musicals and baking, etc. You're slitting your own damned throats and blaming it on everyone but yourselves.
I'd only add one little caveat to this: the people attacking "manginas" aren't always the exact same people in the MRM who are complaining about being told to "man up." Indeed, TheZetaMale -- the first guy I quoted above -- actually took his fellow MRAs to task in an earlier post for using "shaming language like 'Faggot' and 'Emasculated Mangina.'" Unfortunately, his attitude is rarer than rare in the MRM.

So here's a challenge for any MRM who hates being told to "man up": take a stand against the term "mangina" and all the other obnoxious gender-questioning slurs that litter every message board or comment section populated by MRAs. Post a denunciation of this shit right here, in the comments to this post. Just human up, and do it.

NOTE TO EXTREMELY LITERAL READERS: *I realize that they're not literally advocating boycotting half the companies in the Fortune 500. Sometimes I keed.

EDIT: Amanda Marcotte posted an excellent piece on how "man up" fucks stuff up for everybody. Check it out.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

QuoteOTD: Hark! A Huntress Approaches!

Woman, thou art a temptress!
Oh, lordy. I don't think I've read anything this awfully, painfully, suckily overwritten since, well, ever. I present to you an excerpt from a book called Real Men Can Read Women Like a Book, by Corey Donaldson, some dude who fancies himself an expert on the whole lady-figuring-out thing:
For the beauty of the wrong woman, many men have let the song within them fade away as they meander among the living dead, having charred their soul and scorched the playful lyrics that once echoed through a vibrant smile.
I can only hope the book this guy is reading women like isn't his own. Here's more: 
For these men, the memory that once energized them with the promise and childlike hope for a future filled with romantic glee now flickers weakly in the distance, in a time when innocence had not yet been corrected.
And more:
There are women who pride themselves on their ability go out and hunt for sex from any man they want regardless of who she or he is already committed to ... These hunters are the shame of men, they are easy to identify and their future is predictably lonely as their faces literally crack like the bloody worn sole of a wrinkled old foot. They end up as old hags with sharply wounded faces of treachery spread out in the bitterness of their discontent.
Oh, ok, just one more:
These female hunters judge the short term results of their behavior as most desirable and delicious to the hell-bent bloodlust of their unquenchable taste for the chase of a man’s power.
Or for the taste of some ice cream. Everybody likes ice cream.

More excerpts here, on MarkyMark's Mens Rightsy blog. The web page for the book, here. Please do not buy it, as that will only encourage him.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cartoon of the Day: Tied Down

Remember all those outrageously sexist cartoons that used to fill the pages of our popular periodicals back in the good old days before evil feminism brought its blight upon the world? They're having a sort of second life on the Internet, and apparently some people still find them hi-larious. I found this is on an Indian Men's Rights site, which offered this little bit of commentary: "So so so true..................."

EDIT: Apparently my not thinking that this cartoon is hi-larious makes me the "Cartoon Monitor for the Confederacy of Dunces," or so says the often inadvertently hi-larious Paul Elam.

Friday, October 15, 2010

QuoteOTD: Un-macho, Un-macho Men

Enemy of all things manly?
Sometimes women actually live up to Men's Rights stereotypes. Consider Katherine Miller, a beta-male-taunting, Alpha-male idolizing, Vanderbilt-going, essay-writing gal who looks down her nose at all things wussy, from man-scarves to Joseph Gordon-Levitt: 
America’s elite has a problem. It’s skinny jeans and scarves, it’s Bama bangs and pants with tiny, tiny embroidered lobsters, it’s Michael Cera, it’s guys who compliment a girl’s dress by brand, it’s guys who don’t know who bats fourth for the Yankees. Between the hipsters and the fratstars, American intellectual men under the age of twenty-five have lost track of acting like Men—and these are our future leaders. We have no John Wayne, no Clint Eastwood. And girls? Girls hate it.
John Wayne? Clint Eastwood? Really? Couldn't you be a little less, well, cliche about your manly idols? Think outside the box. Think inside the ring. How about this guy? He's a snappy dresser with a hot retro style, he's a hit with the ladies, he's built like a fucking piledriver, and he could kick John Wayne's ass with one hand tied behind his back. (Or both, really, considering that John Wayne is, you know, dead.) Hell, the word Macho is even part of his name -- and plastered on his sunglasses to boot!

"Fag bashing," woman-hating, and Men's Rights myopia

One of the many failings of the Men's Rights Movement -- and "failing" really isn't a strong enough word for it -- is the way in which it ignores or denies real problems faced by boys and men that don't fit into its grand conspiracy theory in which all the ills faced by men are caused by evil women or by men corrupted and seduced, personally and/or politically, by said evil women.

One of these problems, and it's a big one, is the "fag bashing" that's rampant among boys of high school and college age. The atmosphere of abuse has a tragic effect on gay teenagers, as the recent rash of suicides illustrates all too poignantly. And it also has an enormous effect on boys who aren't gay but who have their masculinity challenged constantly by other boys.

While the MRM is obsessed with the notion of the smug, castrating (Western) woman, the entitled "princess" who looks down on decent, ordinary "beta" males and Nice Guys in favor of jerky, aggressive alpha males, it pays virtually no attention to the daily nightmares inflicted on boys by other boys (and men by other men) by "fag bashing."

Again, take the recent gay teen suicides. While they have inspired magazine cover stories and ongoing discussion on feminist blogs, the only MRA blog of any prominence that even mentioned any of the suicides, to the best of my knowledge, was the False Rape Society, which essentially used the suicide of Tyler Clementi as an excuse to bash feminism, as I pointed out in a recent post, and (as cat pointed out in a comment here) to turn the story of "brutality against a gay kid" into one "about how hard it is to be hetero."

While MRAs hate it if anyone calls them "fags" or otherwise criticizes their masculinity, they routinely deride any men they don't like as a "manginas," and various other terms to suggest they are not "real men." A few MRAs, like the folks at the blog No Ma'am, bash gays and lesbians quite openly; they've also, you may recall, labeled me a "poof" (among other things)

One of the smartest takes I've seen on the phenomenon of anti-gay bullying comes from male feminist blogger Hugo Schwyzer. In a recent post on "homosociality and homophobia," he puts the recent suicides in a broader context. Drawing on the research of sociologist  C.J. Pascoe, Schwyzer describes the ways in which "fag discourse" permeates American high school:
The discourse manifests itself in the almost incorrigible way in which young men label each other “fags” while seeking to avoid having that label applied to them. According to this discourse, fear of being called out publicly as a “fag” is the primary driving force behind what Pascoe cleverly calls the display of “compulsive heterosexuality.” ... Pascoe notes that among young men desperate to establish their masculine bona fides with their peers, what we see in American high schools amounts to compulsive, almost frantic efforts by young men to prove their manhood.
Anyone who has worked with adolescent boys knows how much anxiety many of them feel about their own masculinity. It’s not news to say that our sons, like their fathers before them, often have to endure or participate in physical or at least verbal violence that we tragically and falsely believe is necessary to transition into manhood. ... The real stigma in being labeled a “fag” doesn’t lie in the association with homosexuality, but with being seen as feminine.
There's no easy solution for a problem that is so pervasive, but Schwyzer argues that "perhaps the best way to “inoculate against cruelty”is ... to encourage strong non-sexual relationships between boys and girls at every age." Going back to a review he wrote of Michael Kimmel's book Guyland, a study of teen boys and young men, Schwyzer notes that
boys who have close female friends are much less likely to exhibit the worst and most destructive tendencies of the Guy Code. After all, the “guy code” is wrapped up in the notion that approval from other men ... is the most precious commodity a young man can pursue. Even heterosexual conquest is, ultimately, a means of gaining approval from the guys. Young men who have friends of both sexes are less likely to be held hostage to solely masculine approval; they can receive non-sexual validation from their female friends — and that validation is less likely to be connected to the brutal “sturdy oak” ethos of the Guy Code.
And they are less likely to participate in the relentless onslaught of cruelty towards their gay and lesbian peers.
These are lessons that the Men's Rights Movement -- or whatever rises up to supplant it -- will have to learn if it wants to be a movement that really benefits boys and men, straight and gay alike, instead of indulging regressive, self-defeating and often dangerous fantasies of manhood that demonize "fags" and women alike.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

QuoteOTD: I Love a Parade

You know, I didn't bother reading the whole thing, which has something to do with Carl Paladino, and apartheid, and elephant poking, whatever that means, but this little nugget stood out in the latest post on In Mala Fide, a generally retrograde Men's Rights-ish blog:
“Gay culture” ... has about as much cultural legitimacy as redneck jokes. A bunch of nearly-naked men marching down a major city street beating each other with riding crops and wearing makeup is not a legitimate expression of culture, any more than a group of married dudes finger-fucking their wives on a giant vagina float would be an expression of culture.
I'm not sure that's really a good comparison, and his whole argument sounds a tad homophobic to me, but I will say this: I would totally go to that parade.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

QuoteOTD: Whatever terrible shit men do, it's all women's fault. Their sexy fault.

The quote of the day today is a long and rambling one, so buckle up. It's from a comment on The Spearhead, by a fellow named Snark, which was enthusiastically highlighted by the Schopenhauer-loving, Age-of-Consent-Law-hating theantifeminist on his creepy blog. The theme of the post? Whatever nasty, violent, bad shit men do is all the fault of hot young women, who control men through the power of their evil sexiness.

Before settling into his argument proper, Snark gets one little point out of the way: he's not talking about feminists, who are, he says, generally too old, or, if young, too "neurotic and/or ugly" to control men with the promise of sexy sex. No, Snark is talking about hot young women, who control men without having to resort to feminism. Oh, feminism is evil. But pretty girls are evil squared. So let's begin:
There is a whole different game of misandry being played here. They already hold the power – sexual power – and so have no need to engage in things like feminism. They already have everything feminism could offer them, that is, control over men.
Gynocentrism Theory teaches us that even when those individuals in powerful roles are mostly men, they are doing the bidding of women, not of men en masse; thus the lie is given to Patriarchy Theory, which suggests ridiculously that the few men in power stick up for all the ‘little guys’ out there, against the interests of women.
Gynocentrism Theory then tells us what women – either the non-feminists who sexually control men, or successful feminists – actually do with this power over men. They get men to fight each other. ...
Men aren’t naturally violent or aggressive; they simply have the potential to be these things. It is the fact that women reward with sex those who prove themselves to be the most violent and aggressive which makes men act violently and aggressively.
Hmm. So by this logic, then, we can assume that Hitler was just a hapless schmo driven to genocidal fury by thoughts of Eva Braun all tarted-up in a sexy dirndl. Heck, he probably would have spent his whole life painting pictures of butterflies had it not been for all those foxy frauleins. And just imagine how much worse World War II would have been if he'd actually had two balls, instead of just the one! Let's continue:
The price of a woman’s titillation is an innocent man getting his head smashed in as he walks home. This, just so that the perpetrator can be sexually selected. Woman’s role in the crime is concealed; she didn’t perform the act, after all; she only manipulated the man’s natural stimulus and response system to get him to perform a violent display for her sexual benefit.
Poor men are stuck between their rock-hard dicks and a hard place:
The outcome of all this is that men today are being ground between two millstones: on the one hand, non-feminist women demand that men must act aggressively and violently if they are to be sexually selected; on the other, their feminist sisters demand increasingly brutal punishments for men who act precisely in this way.
Oh, and the way those ladies dress!
[T]oday we are subject to the new phenomena [of] ambient porn, that is, the promise of sexual rewards from desirable young women at every turn. Women who decry pornography do so while dolled up to look like porn stars themselves, and don’t you dare criticise them for it. There is no escaping the pink wurlitzer: male sexuality is provoked everywhere you look, whether in images from your TV screen, or in magazines, adverts at bus stops, billboards, and more pervasively and perversely than all of this, in the flesh, walking around absolutely everywhere from your home to the local store to the place you work. ...
The pink wurlitzer? Do you mean ... this? Never mind. Onward:
Our sexuality is being forever provoked, taunted, prodded at. All to ensure that we react in that ‘real manly’ way that the young non-feminist women demand, so that we can promptly be caught and brutalised by white knights employed by institutions controlled and run by or for the benefit of feminist women.
How Women Rule the Universe
And what set all this in motion? The bikini? The Wonderbra? Nope:
[T]his was all quite possibly set in stone from the moment women were granted the vote.
The vote! That sexy, sexy right to vote.

Not that this argument, such as it is, deserves a rebuttal, but if men are naturally nonviolent, and women are the cause of their violence, why do gay men get into fights?