Category Archives: imaginary backwards land
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.
5 Arguments Least Likely To Convince A Young Woman That A Voice for Men Isn’t a Misogynistic Hate Site
Not that long ago, an 18-year-old student named Carly, appalled by the rampant misogyny on display at A Voice for Men, sent a critical but thoughtful email to a number of the men associated with the site challenging them to rise above their hatred of women.
AVFM “Managing Editor” Dean Esmay decided to take her email as an opportunity to reach out to all the Carlys out there in the world in an attempt to win them over to AVFM’s peculiar brand of “human rights activism,” penning what he called an
open letter … not just to you, but to any young woman who has an open mind and is willing to be challenged on her prejudices.
Naturally, given that Men’s Rights Activists are some of the most verbose douchebags in history, it was long as hell — some 3000 words. But Esmay’s diplomatically worded attempt at outreach didn’t go quite as well as he might have hoped. Carly responded with a note saying that his open letter had merely
reinforced everything I believe. It seems we are at a stalemate, you will never agree with me, and I will never agree with you.
So where might poor Dean Esmay might have gone wrong in his attempt to win Carly’s heart and mind?
Let’s start here, with 5 Arguments Least Likely To Convince A Young Woman That A Voice for Men Isn’t a Woman-Hating Piece of Shit Hate Site, in the form of direct quotes from The Esmay himself. Since Esmay is so long-winded, I’ve highlighted some of my favorite bits in bold.
1)“[Y]ou’re 18, and so, not to put too fine a point on it, you are still a young skull full of mush.”
2) “[M]en have few to no voices speaking about issues that are specific to men, or defending men as a group, in this society. Until very recently in history men never have had such a voice. Because pretty much all civilizations for the last few thousand years have prioritized the needs and desires of women over those of men. For hundreds, even thousands, of years.
3)“If you believe men have silenced women for thousands of years … you believe something that just not true. … Furthermore, if you believe that, what you have to believe is that Asian men have been oppressing Asian women for thousands of years, black men have been oppressing black women for thousands of years, European men, Australasian men, and so on, have all been oppressing their women for thousands of years. And those weak women could do nothing about it. So what you believe here isn’t just wrong, it’s racist.”
4) “For most of history, being female was a privilege. It carried certain special rights that only applied to women, and special responsibilities that only applied to women, and through most of history, being male was a burden, a burden which carried certain rights that only applied to men, and those rights were there mostly so they could discharge their duties to women properly.”
5) “[Y]ou may occasionally see angry remarks or articles on this site. What I would hope you would do with that, when you do see it, is contemplate that there is a difference between righteous anger at real injustice, and what you seem to have misinterpreted as hate.”
The funniest thing about Esmay’s “open letter” is that this bizarre crackpottery, easily seen through by anyone with any knowledge of history or sociology or, hell, the real world, is his attempt to sound as reasonable as possible. He’s reined in the wild conspiratorial ranting he often indulges in when arguing with ideological foes; he’s avoided the misogynistic slurs (cunt, bitch, whore) favored by other AVFMers like Paul Elam and Diana Davison. And this is the best he can manage.
The Men’s “Human Rights” Movement isn’t ready for its close-up. And I suspect that it never will be.
EDITED TO ADD: A commenter has pointed out another quote I should have included as well. So here is BONUS EXTRA LEAST CONVINCING DEAN ESMAY ARGUMENT NUMBER SIX:
6) “The truth is, the most privileged class of people in the whole wide world are young women living in places like the US, UK, Canada, etc.–and if you want to be treated like an equal, you should not flinch or cry like a little girl if someone tells you that.“
How dare you accuse us of sexism, you spoiled little girl!
Men’s Rights Redditor: “Going to a strip club as a guy must be like going to a regular nightclub as a girl!”
Men’s Rights hate site A Voice for Men has not exactly shown much of an interest in trans* issues in the past. Indeed, the only time I can recall founder Paul Elam ever even mentioning trans* people was in the context of a vicious attack on a Men’s Studies expert who happens to be a trans woman; he suggested she was a mentally ill man-hater whose “so hated the sex they were born with that it sparked a life long academic quest to deconstruct it into something that did not disgust them.”
So it’s a little surprising to see a post on AVFM now with the seemingly dispassionate, slightly turgid, title “Male/female discrepancies in transsexualism.” The post starts out as dry as its title, but it soon becomes clear that it is “scientific” in style only. It’s not an attempt to understand trans women or trans people in general; it’s an attempt to use the existence of trans women as a helpful prop in an old Men’s Rights argument.
I don’t know how I missed it, but a couple of weeks back Vice posted a short video about that EARTH-SHATTERINGLY HISTORIC Men’s Rights rally in Toronto that captured the attention of
the world a tiny fraction of a percentage of people in the world (including the people at it and readers of this blog) a little over a month ago.
Alas, WordPress won’t let me embed the video here, but you all need to go look at it. Not only does it capture pretty well what a dinky event it was, but it also contains a bunch of mini-interviews with some A Voice for Men folks that are rather revealing.
The most revealing one of the bunch starts about 2:40 into the video, when AVFM’s Suzanne McCarley explains that
Spearheader: A female student’s critical column on Columbus proves women don’t deserve college educations
Our dear friend W.F. Price of The Spearhead celebrated Columbus Day yesterday with a post suggesting that “American girls” are too weak-minded to deserve college educations.
Price’s misogyny is nothing new, but what, you may wonder, is the connection to Columbus Day? Well, you see, Price ran across a column in the Daily Nebraskan by a female student named Shelby Fleig that was, well, rather critical of Mr. Columbus, pointing out, among other things, that he kidnapped and enslaved many of those he encountered in the Americas.