So the self-described “human rights activists” at A Voice for Men have found three more women to harass. Here’s the story, which for many of you will have a depressingly familiar ring:
Members of Men’s Rights Edmonton, a small group that is for all intents and purposes a local chapter of A Voice for Men, has been putting up pictures targeting Lise Gotell, the chair of women’s and gender studies at the University of Alberta. The pictures, which seem inspired by “Wanted” posters of yore, feature a large portrait of Gotell and the caption:
Theft isn’t black. Bank fraud isn’t Jewish. And rape isn’t male.
“Just because you’re paid to demonize men doesn’t mean rape is gendered. Don’t be that bigot.
Gotell’s crime? She was involved in what appears to have been a remarkably effective rape awareness campaign focusing on date rape and featuring the slogan “Don’t Be That Guy.”
A Voice for Men took exception to the campaign because, even thought it did deal with the male victims of rape, it didn’t devote equal time to the problem of evil, false-accusing “girls.” No, really. Men’s Rights Edmonton Activists put up “satirical” versions of the campaign’s posters with the slogan “Don’t Be that Girl.” Now, MR-E and AVFM, at least according to the “argument” advanced on their new poster, seem to be upset that the campaign didn’t devote equal time to the problem of female rapists. [Note: this paragraph has been corrected; see note at end of piece.]
Gotell spoke out against the posters, and now Men’s Rights Edmonton and AVFM are doing their best to smear her as a “bigot.” Because she doesn’t believe that women are responsible for half of all rapes.
Since this is not actually true — more on this in a later post — it’s hard to see how this makes her a bigot.
As a rule, I don’t support tearing down the posters of one’s ideological enemies. Free speech and all that. But these posters are different: they’re slanderous personal attacks designed to harass an individual. Were they posted in my neighborhood I would tear them down.
And evidently that’s what some people in Edmonton have been doing.
Indeed, one recent night, several members of Men’s Rights Edmonton claim to have caught two women doing just that. While they don’t seem to have video footage of the women tearing down the posters, the MRAs filmed themselves following the women down the street and angrily confronting them for this alleged crime.
They posted the video to YouTube, and AVFM posted it as well, under the typically overheated title “Men’s Rights Edmonton confronts fascists.” They screencapped images of both women from the video and announced their intention to uncover their personal information:
MR-E would like to know the names of these two women so that charges of destruction of property can be laid against them. Also, the world should know the identities of those who seek to silence and censor messages advocating for human rights.
Of course, this is ridiculous. Tearing down a poster that was almost certainly posted illegally in the first place isn’t “destruction of property.” No one is going to be prosecuted for this. The police have better things to do.
But of course that’s not the real intent here. The real intent here is to scare the shit out of these women and other feminists by exposing them to harassment online — like the woman labeled “Big Red” and countless other women who have been targeted by AVFM and other MRAs (sometimes completely erroneously).
AVFM’s Paul Elam gave the game away with an “editor’s note” added to the post:
[A] woman who vandalizes man’s property and then flips him off when he confronts her about it on a dark street at night only acts in this manner because she is certain she has absolutely nothing to fear. Feminists terrified of MHRAs? My ass.
Elam could not have made it any clearer: the main point of this kind of “activism” — which has become AVFM’s bread and butter — is all about intimidating women, not helping men.
AVFM, where terrifying individual women is “human rights activism.”
Here’s the appropriate response to that:
CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION: I rewrote the paragraph starting with “A Voice for Men took exception,” which confused AVRM/MR-E’s current objection to Gotell’s views with its original “argument” against the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign.