Jessica Roy, a reporter for Time magazine covering A Voice for Men’s recent :”Men’s Issues” conference in Detroit, found herself the target of a vitriolic tirade from AVFM maximum leader Paul Elam before she even sat down to write her account of her time amongst the MRAs.
Elam, evidently incensed about a handful of sarcastic remarks that Roy tweeted during the conference, denounced her as, among other things, a “hack,” “a liar and bigot” and a practitioner of “journalistic scumtardery,” whatever that is. Commenters on A Voice for Men happily joined in the hate, denouncing her as an “airhead,” a “disgrace and a liar,” “lil’ miss hair-o’or-her-eyes,” and a “little asshole [who] will look like a right nazi in five-to-ten years time.” Amazingly, no one pulled out the c-word. Evidently AVFMers are still on their best behavior.
Roy’s “What I Learned as a Woman at a Men’s Rights Conference” appeared on Time.com on Wednesday. Far from the hack job Elam and pals were predicting, her piece turned out to be a long, thoughtful and nuanced account that, while skeptical of AVFM and its brand of hateful nonsense, displayed considerable sympathy for some of the troubled men she met at the conference, men who could benefit from a movement that truly tried to offer solutions for men in difficulty instead of encouraging them to scapegoat feminists and women.
Reflecting on her discussions with several conference attendees, Roy wrote,
When you talk to someone like 68-year-old Steve DeLuca, the legitimate need to remedy some of the issues raised by men’s rights activists becomes more evident. A Vietnam veteran who was injured in combat, DeLuca spoke movingly to me about the two brothers he lost to suicide, and the unfathomable toll the high suicide rate among men can take. There are men out there, like DeLuca and [rape survivor] Brendan Rex, who have a real stake in the movement’s success. The paranoia and vitriol of its leaders can’t possibly do anything for them.
So how did AVFM fans respond to this article? By defending their vitriol. On Time.com, several commenters denounced Roy as “bigot” and a “fascist,” and suggested that their “righteous anger” was the only appropriate response to the evils of feminism.
Never mind that the quote Markham was responding to came from a paragraph in which Roy wrote with sympathy about the suffering of male Veterans and rape survivors.
Meanwhile, an anonymous commenter received upvotes for this, er, nuanced analysis:
In a followup comment, “Guest” doubled-down, suggesting that Roy was a “stinky twit” and a “human monkey.”
Roy made clear that she learned a good deal at the conference. The defenders of AVFM’s vitriol seem to have learned nothing.
NOTE: Picture of monkey party borrowed from here.