By David Futrelle
Men’s Rights “Activists” are the least activist activists I’ve ever met. Oh, they’re noisy enough, but for all the noise they make about the supposed injustices faced by men, they won’t lift a finger, or open their wallets, to do a single thing that might actually help real men in real pain.
In the nine years I’ve been writing about them, MRAs haven’t organized a single rally that’s attracted more rallygoers than a matinee showing of CATS; they haven’t built even a single domestic violence shelter for men. The list of things they haven’t done could fill a book.
And so it’s not surprising that when asked about their really stunning absence of activism, most MRAs will make excuses. Activism is too hard, they often say; and when we try to do anything we face opposition. Somehow these things didn’t stop the civil rights movement, which persisted despite waterhoses and police dogs and murders. But for the Men’s Rightsers even the mildest ridicule is enough for them to call it a day.
Self-declared “Men’s Human Rights Activist” Paul Elam is trying a new tactic, excusing his own lack of activism by declaring that he never called himself an activist in the first place. In a pissy post published on his A Voice for Men hate site earlier this week, he responded to the “occasional detractor[s]” who charge “that the men’s rights movement has been a complete failure at getting anything to change.”
Elam responds with a sort of inverted version of Pee Wee Herman’s famous claim: “I meant (not) to do that.”
AVFM is probably the most prominent and well-known MRA organization, and we have never even attempted to change laws any laws at all. That was never our mission.
This is simply not true. As TakedownMRAs has noted on Twitter, AVFM’s literal mission statement used to declare that the site wanted to change rape shield laws. As for activism more generally, AVFMers have described themselves as “Men’s Human Rights Activists” for years and indeed, the site once boasted an “activism director” on its masthead. So to say that changing laws was “never our mission” or that they’ve never considered themselves activists — well, both those claims are blatant lies.
All our efforts have been to reach men with a different, better vision of themselves – and to be a thorn in the side of hateful feminist ideologues.
Now we’re getting closer to the truth — at least if we take that first claim with a grain elevator of salt. Here’s a video I’ve posted before of Elam trying to inspire his fellow AVFM men to become better versions of themselves at an AVFM weekend retreat. (Elam is the man behind the camera drunkenly slurring his words and making false accusations against several prominent feminist women.)
As for the bit about being a thorn in the side of feminists, well, AVFM has definitely done that, inspiring and often leading assorted harassment campaigns against women over the years that have caused at least one feminist victim to fear for her life.
So congrats, I guess.
Of course, Elam isn’t the only AVFMer who has suggested that trolling feminists is preferable to doing anything to help men in the real world. Indeed, one (now former) editor at AVFM, who writes under the name Fidelbogen, made that clear in a blog post, writing that he’d “rather have a thousand people loudly slagging off feminism in my town, than to have one men’s DV shelter open … .”
Elam and Fidelbogen — and Men’s Rights “Activists” more generally — have managed to make the world a worse place for women while at the same time doing absolutely nothing to help men. What a legacy they will leave behind.
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