I‘ve often pointed out, as many others have noticed as well, that the so-called Men’s Rights movement does pretty much nothing to help men in any practical way.
MRAs complain that there are no domestic violence shelters for men, but they (with literally one exception that I know of) aren’t willing to do the work necessary to actually set up such shelters. They point out the truly horrifying numbers of rapes in prison, but they don’t actually work with groups trying to stop rape and other forms of sexual abuse in prison — nor do they try to fight against “the war on drugs” and other policies that put an astounding number of young men of color in prison. I could go on and on and on with more examples, but you get the idea.
Well, it turns out that the Men’s Rights movement’s utter failure to help men in any practical way isn’t a bug; it’s a feature. At least according to PAul Elam, head cheese at A Voice for Men and probably the most visible and influential man in the movement.
In a post on AVFM earlier this week, an obviously angry Elam took aim at what he described as a “wave” of “concern trolls” — there were two of them — trying to suggest that the Men’s Rights movement needs to do more than talk.
Elam disagrees. Essentially appointing himself not just A but The Voice for Men’s Rights, he declared:
You want to know what this movement is about? It is very, very simple in my opinion. The MHRM I envision is about one simple thing. Talking without fear or capitulation.
Seriously. That is it. It is about nothing more than people talking to each other, openly and freely, in a world that does not want them to.
Huh. I’m pretty sure something like that already exists. It’s called “the internet.” As much as you enjoy doing it, Paul, you’re not the first person to come up with the idea of yelling at women on the internet.
Anyway, what about, you know, lobbying the government for redress of your grievances? Elam says no, declaring that what he perversely calls the Men’s Human Rights Movement
is not about passing a Violence Against Men Act or any other form of government reliance on justice and personal liberty. I, Paul Elam, am not running for office. I don’t give a fudgsicle or a rat’s ash who likes me and who doesn’t. I am not looking for a men’s rights parade on Men’s Rights Victory Day in Washington, D.C. …
Neither I nor AVFM has a legislative agenda, nor any politicians to endorse, nor lobbying to accomplish because none of that is of any value in a society that still refuses to accept reality.
What about the idea of setting up shelters or raising money for men’s health or something, anything, that might help troubled men? Again, Elam says no.
There are no plans to form a committee for research for testicular cancer or to build a men’s shelter. AVFM does not have a program to reform family courts.
But what about all the stuff you talk about in your mission statement? You know, like getting rid of rape shield laws, “dispens[ing] with child support except in special circumstances,” making paternity tests “mandatory on demand by any alleged father at any time.”
Sure, if you look at our mission statement you will see many items that will require political and judicial remedy to ultimately accomplish. That, however is not our job at AVFM to accomplish directly.
I suppose that’s just as well, given that most of AVFM’s demands are backwards and ridiculous.
If Elam and his followers just wanted to run an online publication rather than an activist group, that would certainly be their right. But unfortunately their idea of “talking without fear or capitulation” includes libeling and doxing and harassing their opponents.
That’s a form of “activism,” I suppose, but it has a lot more in common with the strategies of those who oppose human rights than it does with the strategies of those actually trying to protect human rights.