Men’s Rights, er, activists are waving their arms frantically in the air over what they see as a dire new threat to men and manhood: Facebook’s recent annoucement that it was going to try to do a better job of taking down violent images mocking victims of rape and domestic violence, and other kinds of misogynistic hate speech.
Last week, as many of you no doubt already know, a coalition of feminist groups launched a campaign targeting Facebook and its advertisers for tolerating this sort of content on Facebook — in many cases even after it was reported to Facebook moderators as clearly violating the site’s already existing policies against hate speech and graphic violence. (For many truly disgusting and possibly TRIGGERING examples, see here.)
Well, Facebook actually listened, and announced it would be making efforts to better handle “gender-based” hate speech, and would be “solicit[ing] feedback from legal experts and others, including representatives of the women’s coalition and other groups that have historically faced discrimination” — among them some of the groups involved in the protest. While Facebook’s promises remain vague, those behind the protest are hailing this, correctly I think, as a victory.
A lot of Men’s Rights activists, by contrast, seem to think Facebook’s new policy means the beginning of the end for free speech for men on the internet. And no one seems more worked up about it than A Voice for Men’s Supreme Commander Paul Elam.
In a posting he declared “probably the most important article I have ever written” — not that this is saying much — Elam attempted to rally the troops to fight against what he called “the greatest challenge the M(H)RM has faced so far.” Elam claimed that taking down images of brutalized women with captions like “women deserve equal rights — and lefts” isn’t the real goal here. No, he charged,
feminist ideologues are co-opting Facebook, and they will root out any and all opposition to their worldview.
But instead of lamenting this terrible alleged threat to the spirit of the First Amendment and Free Speech, Elam moves on — immediately, in the very next sentence — to an even more important issue:
That will include, at some point, the AVFM Facebook page and its nearly 3,500 fans (2,000 of which have come in the past two months).
How important this is? In a word, very.
Facebook accounts for roughly 10-13% of our traffic on most days, and with a rapidly growing fan base that promises to represent a continually increasing number of actual visitors to the site.
That’s right: FACEBOOK’S NEW POLICIES MAY REDUCE A VOICE FOR MEN’S TRAFFIC BY TEN TO THIRTEEN PERCENT.
And if feminists succeed in their dastardly plan to root out all non-feminist thought on Facebook — a plan which so far exists only in Elam’s paranoid imagination– then what?
Where do you imagine, if they are successful at eliminating men’s rights discussion from Facebook, they will go next? Reddit? YouTube?
How about Google?
Do you think they are above trying to have men’s rights websites de-listed from Google search returns?
If any of this actually happens, outside of Elam’s fever dreams of persecution, I pledge to literally eat my kitties. Or, at the very least, one of Werner Herzog’s shoes.
Of course, if Facebook simply does what it says it will do, and not what Elam imagines it will do, A Voice for Men’s Facebook page may find itself in a bit of trouble. Because a lot of what appears on AVFM — which continues to post an open call to firebomb courthouses and police stations on its activism page — can only be described as gender-based hate speech. (TRIGGER WARNING for what follows.)
It was Elam, after all, who asked, about women who are date raped after drinking with men at bars:
[A]re these women asking to get raped?…
NO, THEY ARE NOT ASKING TO GET RAPED.
They are freaking begging for it.
Damn near demanding it. …
[T]here are a lot of women who get pummeled and pumped because they are stupid (and often arrogant) enough to walk though life with the equivalent of a I’M A STUPID, CONNIVING BITCH – PLEASE RAPE ME neon sign glowing above their empty little narcissistic heads.
And Elam — like a lot of the misogynistic “humorists” on Facebook — is not above using a picture of a brutalized woman to illustrate one of his little “jokes.” Here is a screenshot from one of his posts; the text is his, as is the caption to the picture. (He has since removed the picture from the post, though the hateful text remains.)
Of course, even as AVFM tries to whip up outrage over the alleged feminist/Facebook plan to silence the menz, the regulars there are having a hard time even pretending to be bothered by the violent images of rape and brutality that the feminist protesters have pointed to on Facebook. (You’d think, at least for PR purposes, they’d want to position themselves against violent rape “jokes.”)
Indeed, in an earlier AVFM post on the Facebook fracas, someone called Victor Zen seemed to argue that glorifying or even promoting rape is fine so long as you don’t actually go and do it. See if you can make sense of this word salad:
Rape, it’s glorification? My experience has been that people who post images, videos and text that promote rape and violence are doing it because they know the value of shock. If you conflate their intention to deceive with their presentation of an untruthful reality you rob yourself of the truth. It is tempting for some to believe as they say, but in the end those that do are denied what is actually real. I doubt real rapists are publicly announcing their desire to rape. I want numbers because I am curious.
How many examples of hate speech that WAM! and affiliates moan about lead to proven incidences of rape or domestic violence?
I don’t even … what?
The Men’s Rights movement: Fighting for the right to shout rape jokes on a crowded Facebook.