Author Archives: David Futrelle
So the other day some of the fellas over on Chateau Heartiste — one of the internet’s top destinations for racist, misogynist pickup artist wannabes — ran across a little graphic celebrating some of the lesser-known “[w]omen in science that you should know … and probably don’t.”
Apparently offended by the reminder that, yes, women have actually had some influence over history, one of Heartiste’s readers decided to make a graphic similarly celebrating the men of science. But while the original graphic contained pictures of only 12 women, this new graphic featured a vast sea of male faces, as if to rub in just how male dominated the world of science has been, and still is.
Looking at the graphic, Heartiste also thought he spotted another demographic anomaly: a preponderance of white faces. “That’s one pale looking pastiche,” he wrote.
“The Men in Science poster. A Snowvalanche of Whiteness,” agreed one of his commenters,”Bwahahaha.”
Huh. That’s weird. because when I look at the poster I don’t see a lot of white. I mean, if you blow it up a little you can see that the spaces between the various squares are white, but the squares themselves are all sorts of colors. Red. Pink. Black. Brown. Blue. Green.
Are a significant portion of the Men of Science from Mars?
And there’s another odd thing about this not-so-pale pastiche: it’s full of repeating patterns. If you look closely, you’ll discover that this isn’t one vast sea of male faces. It’s a small pond, endlessly repeated.
Specifically, it’s this bit (from the upper left-hand corner) pasted over and over.
Also, when you look closely at these alleged “scientists” they turn out to be real blockheads. Yep, if you zoom in a little further you don’t find an assortment of tiny Einsteins and fig-sized Newtons. You get this:
All hail the founding pixels of science!
Heartiste, you may want to get your eyes checked for bigotry.
Thanks to dashapants for bringing this wondrous graphic and its repeating patterns to my attention.
So this is … interesting. Last night, Saturday Night Live did a sketch, featuring guest host Lena Dunham, about Men’s Rights Activists. Alas, it wasn’t actually funny, or particularly on the mark, and it was kind of, sort of, maybe, a little bit racist (well, ok, a lot), but it did at least give a pretty good impression of what people in the real world think of the MRAs we know and loathe so well. I can’t embed it here, so go take a look at it on Hulu.
The folks in the Men’s Rights subreddit are up in arms about it, and have started not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, but six threads on the subject. (There may be more; that’s all I noticed.) Well, it’s not often they get this much attention, so I guess their excitement is understandable.
Given that the sketch was actually pretty crappy in a lot of ways, the MRAs did have some legitimate complaints to make against it — like the fact that the women in the sketch mocked the MRA character for being an unattractive loser. But naturally the Men’s Rights Redditors managed to undercut even this perfectly reasonable criticism by attacking the women in the sketch for being uggos. (Oh, misogynists, why do you hate Lena Dunham so much?) Here’s a rather delightfully ironic snippet of the discussion:
Indeed, I’ve rarely seen irony so thick as in the outraged comments of MRAs in these threads. Here’s another angry Redditor:
Heavens! Sexism and shaming! MRAs NEVER engage in either of those things!
Oh, wait. That’s pretty much the entire basis of their movement.
Ruwanimo, you say you can’t imagine how it would look if the genders were reversed? You don’t have to imagine. All you have to do is go to the Men’s Rights subreddit, or A Voice for Men, or any other prominent (or not-so-prominent) Men’s Rights site. Or you could read through the Man Boobz archives. Ta da! Literally hundreds — make that thousands — of examples of MRAs directing “flagrant sexism and shaming” at women. (Also note: this shaming is directed at women, not only at feminists, whereas the SNL skit directed its shaming only at MRAs, not at men in general.)
The AgainstMensRights subreddit is also all over this thing, though they’ve limited themselves to four threads — here, here, here and here, which is where I found that first discussion I screenshotted.
You may remember the embarrassing spectacle a couple of months back when Warren Farrell asked the readers of A Voice for Men to help him pick out a cover picture for a new ebook version of The Myth of Male Power, the 21-year-old crackpot bestseller that more or less provided the, er, intellectual foundation for today’s Men’s Rights movement.
It wasn’t just embarrassing because AVFM is a noxious hate site that regularly calls women c*nts and whores and helps to organize informal campaigns of harassment directed at individual women. It was also embarrassing because all three of the pictures were sexualized images focusing on specific female body parts. You can guess which three, and you’d be right: tits, ass, and vagina (the latter tastefully covered in a merkin made of moss).
Well, Farrell ended up rejecting all of these images in favor of … a different picture of a woman’s butt. Yep, the screenshot above features the actual cover of the recently released ebook version of The Myth of Male Power. (You can see it in its full sized-glory over on Amazon.)
The implicit message of the cover couldn’t be clearer: men may seem to run the world, but women can control and exploit them through the power of their sexuality. Male power is undercut by … butt power.
Am I reading too much into a cover image? Farrell doesn’t really believe this nonsense, does he?
Well, in the introduction to the ebook, Farrell writes:
In case you’re wondering, “genetic celebrity” is Farrell’s term of art for any attractive woman.
But golly, you say, the fact that a dude feels “powerless” because he can’t have sex with every woman with a nice butt that happens to wander across his field of vision doesn’t actually mean that men are powerless or that male power is a myth. Well, Farrell has an answer to this as well. And by “answer” I mean, well, whatever this is:
Got that? I’m not sure there’s anything there to get; it’s nothing more than hand-waving to distract attention from the nonsensical nature of his previous statements. In case any Men’s Rights activist ever brings Warren Farrell up as an example of a respectable, “academic” MRA, you may wish to point out that almost nothing Farrell writes ever actually makes any fucking sense.
In the book itself, Farrell repeatedly suggested that male power can be undone almost completely by the sexual power of women. In one oft-quoted passage, he wrote about the effect that a “secretary’s miniskirt power, cleavage power and flirtation power” allegedly has on their male bosses. (Myth of Male Power, p. 21)
While that statement has earned a certain notoriety for its sheer ridiculousness, Farrell went further elsewhere in the book, essentially arguing that men are as addicted to female “beauty” as drug addicts are to the drug of their choice — and as helpless.
“Sexually, of course, the sexes aren’t equal,” Farrell wrote. “[M]any men feel ‘under the influence the moment they see a beautiful woman.” (p. 320, emphasis in original.)
This sort of temporary “intoxication,” Farrell argued, leads men into shackling themselves to these temporarily sexy tyrants for the rest of their lives — thus agreeing to support them (he suggested implicitly) even after they get old and ugly. (p. 85.)
In Farrell’s original book, this “argument,” such as it is, was merely one of many that he thought undercut the alleged “myth of male power.” Now, with the butt on the cover, he’s put it front and center. Or, more precisely, rear and center.
Warren Farrell, you’re an ass, man.
Oh, awkward segue here, I just wanted to show off the cover to the new edition of my classic book, The Myth of Human Power.
It will soon be available for one million dollars in cash in unmarked bills, upon delivery of which I will sit down and write it for you. It will probably be pretty short and not very convincing.
Wearing a Skirt Has Consequences: A Men’s Rights Redditor defends a man’s sacred right to take upskirt photos
So we, as a society, have “peeping tom” laws to protect people who might unknowingly expose themselves to the creepy peepers of, well, creepy peepers who get their thrills from seeing and sometimes photographing strangers revealing more than they meant to.
It would seem reasonable enough to consider surreptitiously taken “upskirt” photographs as violations of peeping tom laws. But not in Massachusetts: On Wednesday, the Supreme Judicial Court in that state ruled that upskirt photographs are legally ok, as the laws there are written to apply only to protect victims who are “partially nude,” not those who are merely wearing short skirts.
In the wake of the ruling, legislators and women’s rights advocates are saying that the laws — written before cell phone camera were ubiquitous – need an update.
Naturally, this has some of the dedicated Human Rights activists in the Men’s Rights subreddit in an uproar. How dare anyone challenge their sacred right to take pictures of women’s panties on public transportation without their consent!
“Wearing a skirt has consequences!” What a perfect slogan for a “movement” that is about little more than tearing down half of humanity in the name of, what, a man’s right to be a peeping tom? Put it on a t-shirt, Demonspawn, and show the world the kind of creep you are.
NOTE: Thanks to Cloudiah for pointing me to this.
UPDATE: The Massachusetts State Legislature, moving surprisingly quickly, has passed a new law explicitly banning upskirt photos; it could be signed into law by tomorrow.
So Twitter is a bit depressing today. One of the trending hashtags at the moment is #LiesToldByFemales and, yes, it’s the misogynistic cesspool that you might expect, a vast assortment of not-very-original stereotypes about women — sorry, females — and their allegedly lying ways. The female-bashing tweeters — some of them female themselves — aren’t even terribly original in their complaints, and most of the tweets seem to be reworkings on a few very basic themes.
We have the good-old fashioned trope of the female-as-narcissist, forever obsessed with how she looks — and given to lying about how much work she puts into her appearance.
Manosphere drama: Roosh Valizadeh reportedly arrested in Poland after “violent confrontation” [UPDATE: It's a hoax]
UPDATE 2: And Roosh has officially admitted it:
Tuthmosis and I conspired to prank the internet that I was in jail. The picture used is from the German DDR museum. …
I expect many of you to be annoyed, and I hope Tuth and I didn’t betray your trust with the prank, but the security and viability of the forum was never compromised and the picture was just too good not to use. Credit goes to Tuth for his “new rules” (http://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-33639-…#pid667804 ), which—if you were in on the joke—was quite amusing. I also did not expect the story to be as believed as it was, since there are many flaws in the picture that suggest it’s not a real jail cell, but on the other hand, the prospect of me going to jail is not unexpected. If you are pissed off, I recommend you read Tuth’s bulletins to see the humor in the prank (the “bill me later” option was my favorite).
I do sincerely appreciate the thoughts of concern of my Polish imprisonment. Now of course I really will be jailed and no one will believe it because of this false jailing accusation. In case of a real “involuntary absence” from the forum, I trust Tuth to continue moderation efforts. For many years he has selflessly helped me maintain the community we have and not actually gone mad with power.
On a positive note, we managed to troll the tub of estrogen Manboobz and his readers.
Interesting that the people who fell the hardest for his hoax were his own fans. Also, I’m not sure that me posting something that essentially said “here’s something that looks a bit fishy that’s being reported by someone who may well be lying” really counts as “being trolled.”
Before I go into any details here I want to say that all of this is coming from Roosh’s forum and hasn’t been confirmed in any way. So treat it with however much skepticism you deem appropriate. For all I know this could be some bizarre publicity stunt to promote Roosh’s blog and his reprehensible Return of Kings website.
But according to Roosh’s pal “Tuthmosis,” who says he is getting his info from a friend of Roosh in Poland, Roosh has been arrested after some sort of violent “confrontation.” Here’s his description of what allegedly happened:
Roosh had a violent “confrontation” in Poland
He was apprehended by Polish authorities
He’s being (or already has been) charged with some sort of crime and being held in jail
In a followup comment he offered additional details about the alleged incident:
Confrontation was with Paul/Andre, his gypsy stalker
Didn’t start violent, but escalated quickly
Witnesses pointed to Roosh
There were “serious injuries”
Roosh is definitely being charged with something
In response to some skeptics who suggested this might all be a hoax, he wrote:
I too was hopeful this was some sort of joke–even if it meant me having egg on my face–but I just got a message from a second source. This is a guy who does back-end work for ROK and I’ve personally met, so I have no reason to doubt him.
Roosh is definitely being charged with a (serious) crime. The gypsy apparently took a nasty beating. What’s more, witnesses (who may be acquaintances of the gypsy) claim that Roosh was speaking epithets at him and may have used an object to strike him. I don’t know what the Polish laws are, but these circumstances apparently add to the severity of the crime. I got a couple of calls out to see what his legal prospects are, but the language barriers and time difference are making information hard to come by.
Naturally, Roosh’s fans being a bunch of racist assholes, the alleged ethnicity of Roosh’s alleged stalker led to some lovely generalizations about “gypsies” and this comment, from “Walter White,” who suggested that anti-”gypsy” bigotry might just get Roosh off the hook:
Scary stuff. I’ve travelled extensively in the region, and gypsies aren’t well thought of in Eastern Europe. Sounds terrible, but that’s the way it is. I guess an analogy for Americans would be like if a white dude got into a fight with a black guy in the 1940′s in the South. As wrong as it may be, the white guy would be given the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Roosh will get the benefit of that with regard to a fight with a gypsy. Then again, he’s not a Pole – so he’s not gonna get much “home team” advantage.
I guess we’ll see, huh?
That is, assuming this isn’t all a publicity stunt.
Odd that Roosh appears to have emerged apparently unscathed from such an allegedly violent confrontation. His hair isn’t even mussed up.
Another open thread for personal stuff, continuing from here.
As usual for these threads: no trolls, no arguments, supportive comments only!