Category Archives: violence against men/women
Someone posted this image in the comments at A Voice for Men. As far as I can figure it, it depicts brave MRAs pulling down the allegedly evil Violence Against Women Act, which for some reason is represented by the Venus of Willendorf. Because women are fat? Or is just feminists who are fat? Or battered women?
Is every supposed MRA cause really just an excuse to talk shit about women?
While Reddit’s reluctant, long-overdue banning of subreddits devoted to sexualized pictures of children drew applause from many Redditors, there has, of course, been a considerable backlash from pedophiles, ephibophiles, and other assorted apologists. ShitRedditSays has already started covering this, and I’ll be doing some posts of my own.
So far the most appalling thing I’ve run across (thanks to ScrappyB for pointing it out in the comments here) comes from the BeatingWomen subreddit — which is, unfortunately, a real thing. Some people, you see, are suggesting that maybe Reddit shouldn’t be hosting a forum devoted to sharing images and videos of women being brutalized, so that Redditors can cackle over their victimization, make rape jokes, and whatever else they do there.
The idea that r/beatingwomen “might be next “ roused one racist, misogynist jailbait enthusiast to post this little manifesto.
He’s not trolling. If you look at his comment history you’ll see he’s completely sincere. (Actually, don’t look at his comment history. It’s horrifying. I’m not going to link to it.)
In case any one is wondering, r/beatingwomen is the subreddit that r/mensrights mod AnnArchist (a guy, despite the name) posted to on several occasions, because he considers r/beatingwomen-style “humor” to be hilarious.
Spearheader on Josh Powell: “What I don’t understand is why he didn’t take out a few judges instead of his innocent children.”
Last September, WF Price of The Spearhead wrote a post about a Seattle area man named Josh Powell, widely suspected of murdering his missing wife. Price’s complaint? Powell’s two boys had been removed from his custody after his father (with whom he and the boys were living) was charged with voyeurism and possessing child porn. Price excoriated the authorities for what he saw as an abuse of their powers, and concluded his piece by saying that “[t]yranny has arrived in the guise of protecting women and children.”
In the comments, there was a lot more talk about tyranny. Natalia, meanwhile, worried about the children:
The kids are already dealing with the pain of missing their mom, and now they are taken away from their dad. How can anyone believe that’s better for the children?
On Sunday, as you are probably well aware, Powell killed these children, and himself. During a supervised visit, authorities say, Powell locked himself and his kids in his house, incapacitated them by chopping their heads and necks with a hatchet, then set the house (primed with gasoline as an accelerant) ablaze.
The regulars on the Spearhead don’t seem much interested in talking about Powell any more. But of the few comments that have been made, several have been rather telling. Responding to a feminist commenting on his original post, Price wrote:
Typical for a feminist to see this as a triumph. Josh Powell was hounded for years up to this point. If he didn’t kill his wife, and there’s still no evidence he did, does the court bear some responsibility for the outcome here?
That’s right. The court is to blame for trying to protect the children from the man who later murdered them.
And not a word of sympathy from him for the murdered children.
Meanwhile, another Spearheader seemed to suggest that the main problem was that Powell had picked the wrong people to kill:
EDITED TO ADD: Thanks to Kendra, Cloudiah, and Crumbelievable for pointing me to Price’s post and these comments. I should also note that there were a couple of comments from others at The Spearhead expressing sorrow for the murdered children. And to my knowledge no one in the MRM has hailed him as a hero, so that’s something, I guess.
EDITED TO ADD AGAIN:
Price digs his hole deeper. Responding to a critical comment by none other than Men’s Rights Activist Lieutenant, he writes, among other things:
If the cops knew he was capable of real violence, and they must have if they suspected him for murder, they bear some responsibility for provoking this.
So if the cops knew he was capable of real violence (which they clearly did) … they should have let him keep the kids? That he ultimately killed?
I’ve heard this argument before from MRAs. Essentially, if a man in a custody dispute threatens violence, or is thought to be violent, the courts should simply hand the kids over to him. So he won’t get mad. That’s the logic of an abuser, or at the very least of an enabler.
When you think they can’t get any creepier, they do. Here’s a disturbing new Men’s Rights meme-in-formation I’ve recently run across.
In a late-December rant about anti-porn feminist Gale Dines, the self-proclaimed “Male Renaissance Agitator” who calls himself Fidelbogen wrote:
In olden days of rough village justice she’d have gotten the scold’s bridle, or the the ducking stool, or the stocks. And quite right.
A couple of days later, regular A Voice for Men commenter DruidV, perhaps inspired by Fidebogen’s post, made a strikingly similar suggestion on that site:
I urge all Men here to have a look at wiki’s description of what was commonly known as a scold’s bridle, or the Branks. For whatever foolish reason, this item was done away with some time ago. This invention to end Men’s suffering, needs to be brought back into public acceptance and application, post haste, imo.
So let’s take a look at the Wikipedia page he linked to and see just what exactly this “Scold’s Bridle” was:
A scold’s bridle, sometimes called “the branks”, as well as “brank’s bridle” was a punishment device used primarily on women, as a form of torture and public humiliation. It was an iron muzzle in an iron framework that enclosed the head. The bridle-bit (or curb-plate) was about 2 inches long and 1 inch broad, projected into the mouth and pressed down on top of the tongue. The “curb-plate” was frequently studded with spikes, so that if the tongue moved, it inflicted pain and made speaking impossible. Wives that were seen as witches, shrews and scolds, were forced to wear a brank’s bridle, which had been locked on the head of the woman and sometimes had a ring and chain attached to it so her husband could parade her around town and the town’s people could scold her and treat her with contempt; at times smearing excrement on her and beating her, sometimes to death.
I will be charitable and assume that both Fidelbogen and DruidV were joking. That is, they don’t literally want to strap women’s heads into ghastly torture devices, smear them with shit and beat them to death. They just think that the very notion is hilarious.
Whether the suggestions were made seriously or not, they’re still pretty hateful. Given that Fidelbogen was recently taken aboard as a regular writer for A Voice for Men, and that DruidV’s comment on that site got mostly upvotes (and no criticism) from the regulars there, would it be fair to call A Voice for Men the “underbelly of a hate movement?”
I’m not sure why that particular phrase popped into my head, but somehow it seems all too appropriate.
Most people who hate Katherine Heigl hate the actress because she seems like a bit of a diva, or because she keeps appearing in annoying rom-coms, including one with Ashton Kutcher that hurts my head when I even think about it. The fellas at Register-Her.com have another reason: she hates balls. As in, testicles.
Well, not really. What the Register-Her fellas are worked up about is a PSA she did for Funny or Die in which she claims to be in favor of neutering pets not because she loves animals but simply because she hates balls so much. At one point she declares, tongue firmly in cheek:
I can’t cut the nuts off human men … yet. So, I’ve dedicated my time to the neutering of dogs, cause that’s legal.
The joke here, as any rational person can plainly see, isn’t that cutting off balls is inherently hilarious. The joke is that an actress with a reputation as a diva is basically doing her critics one better by portraying herself as a deranged, narcissistic, supremely creepy ball-hater. And she’s spoofing her own bad reputation for a genuinely good cause: reducing cat and dog overpopulation and therefore the number of unwanted animals that are put to death in our nation’s animal shelters.
Of course that’s not how the fellas at Register-Her.com see it. And so they’ve put Heigl on their faux “offender registry” as a “bigot.” Their explanation?
The actress’s willingness to endorse male targeted sexual mutilation betrays a bigoted indifference to sexual violence, and justifies her inclusion on this registry in the category of bigot.
Presumably the fellas at Register-Her will next go after the people who have posted the more than twenty thousand YouTube videos that feature dudes getting hit in the nuts. Surely these videos, which feature actual violence against actual human balls are a far graver threat to the balls of the world than even Katherine Heigl.
The Register-Her Action Squad might start by tracking down the (admittedly quite ingenious) ball-hating dudes involved in this video.
And then move on to all the ball-hating bigots featured here:
And here are 50 more:
Better track down the ghost of Scott Joplin, too, for providing the music to the last one from beyond the grave.
I have a certain fondness for old-timey hillbilly music, the kind of stuff you can find on any number of great compilations on Yazoo records. But sometimes, alas, the lyrics to the songs reflect some old-timey bigotries that are much less charming than the music itself. Poking around on YouTube earlier today looking for the stuff I ran across this little ditty:
Well, it’s a shame to whip your wife on Sunday.
Yes, it’s a shame to whip your wife on Sunday.
When you’ve got Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
It’s a shame to whip your wife on Sunday.
It’s a shame to get drunk on Sunday.
Yes, it’s a shame to get drunk on Sunday.
When you’ve got Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
It’s a shame to get drunk on Sunday.
Pity about the lyrics, because it’s got such a nice little banjo riff.
Cleanse your ears out with this song, a perky little number called “Hallelujah to the Lamb,” that I think would leave even Satan himself tapping his cloven hooves.
Men’s Rights site A Voice for Men offers $1000 “bounty” for personal information on Swedish feminists
A Voice for Men, one of the most influential and popular Men’s Rights websites, is now offering a $1000 “bounty” for anyone able to track down the personal information of several Swedish women involved in a tasteless video advertising a theater production based on Valarie Solanas’ SCUM manifesto. As the anonymous poster calling himself John the Other – the second-in-command at AVfM – put it in a posting yesterday (emphasis in original):
We are asking for the full legal names, home addresses, places of employment, email addresses and contact phone numbers of the women and man who produced and starred in the video described above. We will pay 1000 dollars to any individual who provides and confirms this information, to be paid either directly to themselves or to a charity of their choice.
John explains that this information will be posted on the AVfM-affiliated site Register-Her.com, an “offenders database” that is being used to vilify individual feminists and “Fuck Their Shit Up,” as AVfM head honcho Paul Elam likes to put it. John notes that Regsiter-Her.com also intends to post the “government identification numbers [and] drivers licences” of the women they are able to identify.
John admits plainly that posting such information may put the physical safety of these women at risk from vigilante violence. As he puts it (emphasis mine):
Some individuals may criticize the intent to publish not only names, but also addresses, phone numbers, employers and other personal information – on the grounds that such exposure create a risk of retributive violence against individuals who openly advocate murder based on sex. It is the considered position of the editorial board of AVfM that any such risks are out-weighed by the ongoing hazard to the public of these individuals continuing to operate in anonymity.
The comments posted on the article at AVfM suggest that such “retributive” violence is a real possibility. Indeed, here’s the very first comment (which currently has 17 upvotes from readers of the site):
i would love to hunt down these women myself.
JinnBottle responds to this comment by advising “all men to start carrying guns.”
The commenters on AVfM have already uncovered the identities of all of the women involved in the video. The blogger Fidelbogen has been the most active internet detective so far.
There is no question that the video itself is offensive, and designed to provoke. You can see it here; I’m not going to embed it on this site. If you don’t want to watch it: it depicts a young woman shooting a man in the head for no reason. Afterwards the woman and her gleeful, giggling accomplices do a victory dance, then lick the blood from the dead man’s head. A message at the end urges viewers to “Do Your Part.”
Every feminist I know who has seen the video has been appalled by it. I’m appalled by it. It’s hateful, and it’s wrong.
But John the Other, and the other commenters on AVfM, claim that it is more than this: that that the video of the staged murder, intended to provide publicity for a theater production based on Solanas’ notorious SCUM manifesto, is quite literally an open call for the murder of men. As John the Other puts it:
Open advocation of murder cannot be allowed in a civil society, without that society devolving into a culture of brutal violence.
Evidently he has no problem with, or has somehow not noticed, the comments on AVfM fantasizing about shooting and killing the women involved in the video.
Is the video a literal call to murder? Is it, as one AVfM commenter puts it, evidence of a “conspiracy to commit mass murder?” No. Violence and murder have been dramatized in the theater since its beginnings. No one accuses Sophocles of advocating fratricide and incest, though both are dealt with in his play Oedipus Rex. No one accuses Shakespeare of advocating mass murder, though many of his most famous plays have body counts that put many horror films to shame.
Does the tag line at the end of the video – “do your part” – transform the video from a depiction of murder into an open call for it? No. The “threat,” such as it is, is vague; it’s not aimed at any specific individuals. It might be seen as akin to someone wearing a t-shirt that says “kill ‘em all, let God sort them out” – tasteless and offensive, but not a literal threat. “Kill ‘Em All” is actually the name of Metallica’s first album. While a lot of people see James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich et al as pompous idiots, they have not been jailed for conspiracy to commit mass murder. That would be ridiculous.
Someone claiming to have been involved in the SCUM-inspired theatrical production in question has posted several detailed comments on AVfM, explaining that those involved in the production are “not out to get you” and that the video itself was “meant as a viral “wtf?!” to give attention to both the questions that it raises and the play itself.”
By contrast, AVfM is targeting specific individuals, and intends to offer information that would allow anyone intent on doing them harm to quite literally track them to their homes and workplaces. Those fantasizing about killing these woman are not simply making a joke along the lines of “women, can’t live with ‘em; can’t kill ‘em.” They are fantasizing about killing real people, and providing would-be evil-doers maps to their doors.
AVfM is an American site, in English; these specific women live in Sweden. While it is a real possibility, it seems unlikely that anyone reading the site will literally find and murder any of those involved in the SCUM production. At least I hope that this does not come to pass.
I don’t believe that either Paul Elam or John the Other literally wants any feminist to be killed. The real intent behind AVfM’s publishing people’s personal information, it seems clear, is to intimidate feminist writers and activists into shutting up, to make clear that if they post something that offends the internet vigilantes at AVfM they will face the possibility of some deranged individual quite literally showing up at their door intent on doing them harm.
Paul Elam and John the Other claim that they’re not advocating violence. But they are playing a dangerous game here. If some deranged individual, inspired by the hyperbolic anti-feminist rhetoric on AVfM, and armed with information provided by “Register-Her.com,” murders or otherwise harms a feminist blogger or activist or video maker, Elam and his enablers will have blood on their hands. As will those MRAs who continue to publicly support and/or link to AVfM and/or Register-Her.com.
This is not the way a legitimate rights group deals with those who disagree with them. This is what hate groups do.
I wrote earlier this year about the controversy swirling around Lucky McKee’s film The Woman. After a midnight showing at Sundance last January, one angry man in the audience stood up and denounced the film as a “disgusting movie” that “degrades women.” Given McKee’s nuanced treatment of gender issues in his previous films May and The Woods, I suspected that this outraged critic had completely missed the point.
Now I’ve finally gotten to see the film and, yep, he did. The Woman isn’t a misogynist film; it’s a film about misogyny. The Woman revolves around a cheerful , self-satisfied and and superficially charming country lawyer who captures a ferocious feral woman he spots on a hunting trip and chains her in the cellar in what he perversely sees as an attempt to “civilize” her. A patriarchal king of his castle, he introduces her to the rest of the family and assigns them all chores relating to her upkeep.
I don’t really want to give away much more than this; suffice it to say that as the film progresses we learn just how much of an odious psychopath this “family man” really is. But while the film offers a savage critique of his cruelty, and his misogyny, none of the women in the film are unambiguously noble victims, and when they begin to fight back the story is no simple tale of feminist empowerment. It’s a bit more subtle and unsettling than that.
While less overtly violent than, say, your typical Saw film, The Woman is a film that’s often, and by design, hard to take. Yes, there are some grisly deaths, but this isn’t a film that glories in gore for gore’s sake; it’s really about cruelty and complicity and feeling trapped, the ways in which fucked-up families can ensnare even outsiders in their toxic dynamics.
Naturally, the film has drawn sharply mixed reactions from critics. It got a glowing review from Andy Webster in the New York Times, who described the cast as “remarkable” and praised the way McKee invests the film’s “a powerful parable with an abundance of closely observed details.” Marc Holcomb of the Village Voice, meanwhile, dismissed it as “torture porn for people who’d never admit to liking torture porn.” (He also noted sardonically that the feral woman is “apparently tame enough to shave her armpits.” And her legs too, I might add; under the caked-on-grime, she’s what the PUAs would probably rate a HB10. )
But the strangest review I’ve seen so far is one by Rene Rodriguez in the Miami Herald, who perversely describes the film as, er, fun. While acknowledging the film’s feminist themes, she dismisses them as mere window-dressing:
[C]ome on: You want a feminist movie, go rent Norma Rae. The Woman is the sort of horror picture designed to make you throw popcorn at the screen, groan with disgust and shriek out loud when McKee springs a shock on you. … Good times.
Really? Were you throwing popcorn at the screen during Antichrist too?
Of course, it doesn’t exactly help – as Rodriguez and a couple of other reviewers have noted – that the film’s publicists sent out the DVD screener with a barf bag “just in case.” The Woman deserves better than that.
EDITED TO ADD: Regular Man Boobz commenters might want to check out this thread on the IMDb forums, in which a (somewhat oversimplified) discussion of the feminist themes in the film is quickly derailed by a dude who thinks it laughable that a mere woman could possibly overpower the family patriarch:
I feel sorry for you and any other woman who truly believes that they can physically overpower a man.
You know, if women are just as physically capable as men, I’d love to start my own inter-gender boxing league. Sign me up, baby! Equality at its finest.
And the trailer:
The National Coalition For Men – formerly the National Coalition of Free Men – describes itself as “the oldest Men’s Rights organization in North America.” It has been around, in some form or another, since 1977. The group has a board of advisors, which includes academics and mental health professionals and bestselling author Warren Farrell. It has a number of local chapters. Its website is professional-looking; they even have an elegant little logo.
The group appears, at first glance, to be a real and reasonable advocacy group.
But it doesn’t take long to find evidence that the group is infected with the same hateful extremism that is endemic in the Men’s Rights movement.
Take this bizarre and creepy image – and its equally bizarre and creepy caption – that I found illustrating a recent press release about Senator Patrick Leahy and the Violence Against Women Act.
As far as I can figure it, the Joker is supposed to represent Leahy’s supposed feminist puppetmasters; regardless, it is a jarring image depicting violence against an elected official as somehow humorous.
The article (picture and all) has gotten 14 Facebook “likes” and no comments; evidently none of the MRAs reading the article were bothered enough by the illustration to publicly challenge it.
How exactly does posting a picture of the Joker threatening an elected official with a knife advance the cause of Men’s Rights?
Do the group’s advisors — including Warren Farrell and well-known domestic violence researcher Martin Fiebert — know that the group’s website features this repugnant image? Do they care?
I would encourage readers here to investigate the NCFM site in more detail. I wonder what other evidence of hate might be found. (If you do find more, please make screenshots, and post what you find in the comments below, with a link to the page on NCFM’s website.)
EDITED: I originally referred to the images as photoshopped, but evidently it’s from The Dark Knight. Oops. Corrected.