A few days before alleged “men’s human rights” website A Voice for Men held its first convention last summer, the site’s founder and head boy Paul Elam put up a post imploring the alleged human rights activists planning to attend the event not to go around calling women bitches and whores and cunts, because the news media would be there, and this might make his little human rights movement look bad.
I’m paraphrasing here; Elam was a teensy bit more euphemistic, telling his followers that anyone caught “trash-talking women, men, making violent statements … anything that can be used against us” would get a very stern talking-to and, if they persisted, would be asked to leave.
Elam’s warning didn’t stick. Indeed, the woman in charge of publicity for the event – you may know her as JudgyBitch or Janet Bloomfield, neither of which is her real name – went on a bit of a Twitter rampage, happily denouncing critics of the group as, yep, “whores.”
As GQ magazine’s long-awaited, finally published account of the conference makes abundantly clear, JB wasn’t the only one who broke Elam’s rule. Elam himself broke it, as did, apparently, almost everyone who came within shouting distance of GQ correspondent Jeff Sharlet, and the infractions went well beyond slurs and “bitch make me a sammich” jokes.
So I present to you The 5 Creepiest Details from GQ’s Account of AVFM’s Conference Last Summer
1) The Men’s Rights Activist who boasted that he would have disowned his daughter if she had pressed charges against the man she said raped her.
Af a convention afterparty, the man in question told this little story to Sharlet, Elam, and a few others:
When one of his daughters came home one night and said she’d been raped, he said, “Are you fucking kidding me?” Sitting with us, he hikes his voice up to a falsetto in imitation: ” ‘Oh, I just got raped.’ ” He laughs. There’s a moment of silence. A bridge too far? “I told her if she pressed charges, I’d disown her.”
Elam, whose attention has drifted, grins through his beard. “That’s good fathering,” he says.
2) The presentation on male suicide in which the presenter referred to a woman’s alleged propensity for “cocoa penis puffs,” by which he evidently meant black penises.
Speaking about male suicide and the troubles faced by returning veterans, conference speaker Terrence Popp asked the men in the room to
“imagine coming back from war to find out your wife, I’m trying to think of a good way to say this, but, uh, you know, went cuckoo for cocoa penis puffs.” I think Popp, who is white, means the wife in question had sex with a black man. “Crazy for some Rice Krispies treats,” he continues, “and a couple Polish sausages thrown in there.”
3) The Men’s Rights Activist/sex offender who thinks the age of consent should be 12, because “I would rather err on the side of 12-year-olds having sex than on the side of ruining men’s lives.”
4) Sage Gerard’s “unconsensual hug.”
GQ’s Sharlet brought his friend Blair along with him to the convention, where the 26-year old evidently attracted a good deal of attention from the men there, receiving, Sharlet says, “several marriage proposals” (presumably unserious) and some hands-on attention from AVFM’s “Collegiate Activism Director” Sage Gerard, including what Blair later described as “the most unconsensual hug I have ever known.”
If Blair’s account of her encounter with Gerard is any indication, the AVFM collegiate organizer has been reading up on pickup artistry; in addition to a good deal of touching – what PUAs call “kino” – he tried to “isolate” her by drawing her away from the crowd to … write a poem. (His idea.)
Here’s how Sharlet, relying on Blair’s notes, described what happened after their awkward hug:
Sage loosens his grip. “I apologize for dragging you away,” he says. “I wasn’t going to feel okay until I talked to you.” He warns her not to send mixed messages. For instance, she shouldn’t put her hand on a man’s knee if she doesn’t want to have sex with him. Sage puts his hand on Blair’s knee. This is not a mixed message, he wants her to understand. She’s here, in the VFW. She’s taken the red pill. She needs another hug. He needs to give it to her.
5) Rape jokes, rape jokes, and more rape jokes.
I’ll just mention this one. When Sharlet arrived at the conference afterparty with Blair, who had successfully managed to escape Gerard’s unconsensual embraces, Elam asked her a question:
“I’m curious,” Elam says. “What did your friends think when you told them you were coming here?”
“To be honest?” Blair asks. Elam nods. She says, “I had friends who said I’d get raped.”
Blink. You can almost see the struggle in Elam’s bones: Play the nice guy? Or the perv? No question. “All right!” he booms, swinging his arms together. “Let’s get started!”
“Get the video camera!” Factory yells at his girlfriend, who giggles weakly.
I should be very clear here: At no point does it seem like Elam or Factory is actually going to rape Blair. We know they’re joking. Just a couple of middle-aged guys joking around about rape with a young woman they’ve never met before in a hotel room at one in the morning.
You can read the rest of Sharlet’s account of this groudbreaking human rights conference here. And you should.