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The Power of Butt: MRA granddaddy Warren Farrell picks a new book cover, and can’t decide between tits, ass or vagina.

Men: Oppressed by butts?
Men: Oppressed by women’s butts?

Warren Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power, published twenty years ago, defined much of the agenda for what’s become the contemporary Men’s Rights movement. If you hear a Men’s Rights activist prattle on about “male disposability”or “death professions” or complain about draft registration (even though the draft itself has been dead for decades), you’ve got Farrell to thank, or blame.

So when Farrell decided to release a new ebook edition of his most famous book, it was perhaps not all that surprising that he decided to turn to the folks at A Voice for Men, probably the most influential Men’s Rights site around, for advice on a picture to use for a new cover.

But what was surprising was the pictures he asked the AVFMers to choose from, three sexually charged, and slightly NSFW, pics highlighting what Farrell evidently sees as the key female challenges to male power: their vaginas, tits and ass.

I’m not speaking metaphorically: one of the pictures shows a nude woman’s pelvic area, her vulva both highlighted and hidden by what is essentially a merkin made of moss; a second picture shows the ass of a young, topless woman in her underpants slaving over a hot stove, and the third shows a famous picture of Marilyn Monroe, also topless.

AVFM’s Paul Elam explained the, er, logic of these images:

Imagine the juxtaposition of the title, “Myth of Male Power” over one of these images. The cover alone will challenge the idea of male power in men and women alike on a gut level.

By “on a gut level” he apparently means “in men’s pants.”

You sort of have to see them to see how utterly tacky they are; here’s the one of the butt, which either Farrell or Elam helpfully captioned “Where’s the power?”

You can find the others on AVFM here; if you don’t want to give them the pageviews, you can find them here.

You couldn’t really ask for better symbols of the essential misogyny of the Men’s Rights movement today — or of its obsession with blaming women (and women’s sexuality in particular) for the restrictions on male power that so chafe the hides of MRAs. Farrell, in the past, generally avoided demonizing female sexuality quite so obviously and directly, but these days he’s apparently been spending too much time amongst the A Voice for Menners.

Farrell’s choices for potential covers also tell us a good deal about him as well; in the past he’s essentially been able to hide his crackpot pseudoscholarship behind a certain veneer or respectability — releasing his books through major publishing houses, touting his PhD — but here he seems to be falling to his natural level, amongst the self-publishers of crappy e-books with stock-photo covers.

While some AVFMers had other suggestions — perhaps a picture of the Wicked Witch? — most seemed to think that the pictures were perfect for his book. Tom Golden — along with most of the voters in the poll — preferred Marilyn and her tits:

Tom Golden says November 23, 2013 at 9:06 PM I think the point that Warren is trying to make is that simply the sight of a very attractive female puts most men into a mental position of subservience and blind willingness to be of service to her in whatever way he can. In essence he becomes a slave. How can men be in so much power when just the sight of a lightly clad young attractive woman throws them into such a state? I think any of the images accomplishes that task but I personally like #3 because when I see that image my awareness of my surrender to her power is palpable.

Others were more taken with the ass pic. Alek wrote:

alek says November 23, 2013 at 1:36 PM My choice (nr. 2) is losing heavily :( :D DDD I like 2 since its the most powerfully influential… The gist of the book “myth of male power” is that “oppression of women” is an interpretational myth – “poor wimminz had to stay in the kitchinz, while man goes outside and has a blast being all hero and shit” (i’m dumbing down female gender role to “kitchen” as representative of all oppression interpretational myths covered by Warren) This photo challenges that whole notion of the kitchen as an oppressive enviroment, while immediately and visually telling the viewer just how powerful she – the woman is, merely by seeing her silhouette, casual relaxed demeanor and posture projecting utter sexual power.

And Elam, while voting for the moss-encrusted vulva himself, was apparently also quite, er, affected by dat ass.  (Those with especially sensitive stomachs may wish to skip the following quote, as it contains an unsolicited update from his boner.)

I am about as red pill as men come I think. There has not been a woman that could sexually manipulate me in decades. But one look at that woman’s ass in image #2 and I feel every instinctive reproductive trigger trying to go off in my brain. It is not a feeling of power at all for me, but a feeling of something I might have to overcome in order to just self-preserve.

So there you have it: Two of the most influential figures in the Men’s Rights movement — indeed, arguably the two most influential figures — actually believe that men are oppressed by women’s butts.

Indeed, Elam is apparently so overwhelmed by the sight of an attractive ass that he considers it a literal threat to his life.

Adding to the creepiness factor here: Farrell is 70 years old, making him literally old enough to be grandfather of the model in her underpants. Elam is in his late 50s.

Now, the weird tackiness of the images Farrell chose for his book cover did not go entirely unnoticed at AVFM. There were critics — including, amazingly, AVFM’s own John Hembling, who was a little baffled by the idea of using a sexualized picture of a woman on the cover of Farrell’s book about men, and asked if Farrell was possibly trolling them.

One MRA blogger, Kevin Wayne, posted a link to his blog, where he excoriated all three choices as “Budweiser Ad rejects” and begged Farrell to try something else:

This is just going to backfire. Don’t we have enough issues of being branded as a bunch of no-necks wanting to take women back to the 1950’s?

Elam, while gentle in his handling of Hembling’s criticism, threw a fit over Wayne’s post, banning him from AVFM and bashing him — on AVFM and on Wayne’s own site — as a do-nothing newcomer to Men’s Rights who was too “borderline retarded” to  understand the profound deeper meaning behind  Farrell’s T&A pics.

Farrell himself seems to have been a a bit more willing to listen to the critics. Indeed, he’s asked AVFM’s readers to submit some more pictures to choose from. There will be a runoff between the winner of the first AVFM poll (Marilyn and her tits) several of the new pics.

So far there hasn’t exactly been a flood of submissions. They’ve included a painting of Diogenes, a painting of Lilith, a photo of a homeless man, and this:

Office_Bitch

Yeah, that’ll work great.

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Ally S
8 years ago

@Tugley Logger

The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of ass struggles.

This made my evening. XD

Arete
Arete
8 years ago

Re: Atheists. I think if there is any relationship between being an MRA and being an atheist, it is just that theist misogynists can get their woman-hate validated by going to any number of conservative religious organisations, whereas atheist misogynists have to find some other community for it. If you are a Christian and want to justify dismissing women, why bother reading up on game or hypergamy or alphas, when you’ve got Paul to tell them to shut up for you?

Re: The book cover. I have lived in HippyLand waaaaaay too long, because I think if I saw the moss-vadge picture with a title about male power being a myth, I would probably assume it was some sort of misguided “earth mother get in touch with your inner goddess” self help bullshit. But that’s just me.

Salacious
Salacious
8 years ago

I was just searching through AVFM for no good reason, and came across this little piece about bronies by the honey badgers and my jaw nearly came unhinged.

They have a rape culture mascot named Mr. Tentacles -___-” WTF!?

http://www.avoiceformen.com/allbulletins/honey-badger-radio-bronies-and-the-shame-game/

Bina
8 years ago

Salacious – yeah, it’s fifty-fifty whether MRAs are of the “I am intellectual atheist dude who knows women exist to please my boner, because SCIENCE” or the “I am intellectual Christian dude who knows women exist to please my boner, because GOD.”

Oh lordy…and then there’s that odd duck, the pagan reconstructionist type, who also shows similar tendencies because the particular Old Religion he’s trying to resurrect happens to have been an intensely patriarchal one. It’s guys like him that kept me the hell away from reconstructionist groups, and firmly in egalitarian-feminist eclectic Wicca, where I don’t have to take that shit in the name of ANY old god.

sparky
sparky
8 years ago

I’m a little surprised that men managed to invent All The Things and hunt the wooly mammoth, what with being thrown into a helpless and subservient state at the site of a woman’s ass.

Salacious
Salacious
8 years ago

@ Bina it seems like there’s just no winning!

Bina
8 years ago

They have a rape culture mascot named Mr. Tentacles -___-” WTF!?

Like I said: “Abandon all sense of irony, ye who enter the Men’s HUMAN Rights Movement™!”

Alice Sanguinaria
8 years ago

Also, in the newest installment of MRA history…

Once upon a time there was nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing. Really.

The universe didn’t exist in this time. There were no atoms, no particles, no quarks. Physics did not exist, scientific laws did not exist, nothing existed.

Nothing.

Then somehow the nothingness began to imagine a human woman’s buttocks. I don’t know how the nothingness was able to imagine buttocks, given that they didn’t even exist, nor would they exist for billions of years, but stick with me here.

These buttocks were there. Large and voluminous and dressed in just ASKING someone to touch them. They seemed to wriggle in the nothingness, teasing the nothingness.

The nothingness was aroused. The nothingness was so aroused that it grew hot, just thinking about those buttocks. This heat intensified as climax approached, and finally the nothingness ejaculated quarks and antiquarks, which eventually became atoms, stars, planets, solar systems and galaxies and the universe as a whole.

And all because of a butt.

kittehserf
8 years ago

Oh lordy…and then there’s that odd duck, the pagan reconstructionist type, who also shows similar tendencies because the particular Old Religion he’s trying to resurrect happens to have been an intensely patriarchal one. It’s guys like him that kept me the hell away from reconstructionist groups, and firmly in egalitarian-feminist eclectic Wicca, where I don’t have to take that shit in the name of ANY old god.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh I’d managed not to hear about those ones!

Alice – so it really is ASSFAX! :O

sparky
sparky
8 years ago

They have a rape culture mascot named Mr. Tentacles -___-” WTF!?

WTF indeed. They do indeed have that. I didn’t actually think anyone could be so…so thoughtless and tacky. Wrong in so many, many ways.

Bina
8 years ago

I’m a little surprised that men managed to invent All The Things and hunt the wooly mammoth, what with being thrown into a helpless and subservient state at the site of a woman’s ass.

Zoinks!

And yes, consistency is the fourth thing you have to abandon when entering the Manosphere™.

Salacious
Salacious
8 years ago

@auggziliary The honey badgers were talking about bronies and for some reason linked to their promotional merch which features a “rape culture mascot” that is plastered on every imaginable piece of wearable and nonwearable item (he’s actually kind of cute which is just more irritating – don’t besmirch adorable octopi!)

Bina
8 years ago

Come to think of it, I could/should write a parody of the Descent of Inanna, from an MRA perspective. I have to think long and hard about all the things one has to abandon to become a member of the Manosphere™. (How many gates did She have to pass, again? Must look it up…)

Salacious
Salacious
8 years ago

The honey badgers are annoying because you have to listen to their radio to hear what they think and I’ve listen to a couple GirlWritesWhat youtube videos they are the most monotonous sounding clips. I would rather do school work than listen to that.

This pretty much highlights what they have to say about bronies:

If it’s feminine, then they’re fags and pedos; if it’s masculine then they’re wife beating rapist neanderthals.

Pretty sure feminists aren’t against dudes liking ponies.

Alice Sanguinaria
8 years ago

Bina – I want to say nine gates. I don’t know why.

kittehs – YEP! Assfax! And that, ladies, gents, and non-binaries, is how the Big Bang happened!

Salacious – Wait. So their “mascot” for rape culture is… a fucking rape joke?

Ew. Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew to the gazillionth power. And ew.

Salacious
Salacious
8 years ago

@ Alice Yep! He even has a slogan: Mr. Tentacles; Eight times the raping!

Salacious
Salacious
8 years ago

@ auggziliary Yeah I think that’s what passes as satire in their world.

wordsp1nner
wordsp1nner
8 years ago

Can you imagine a feminist putting a sexy man on the cover to drive home the point that women were powerless*? No! Because it makes no fucking sense, and even less when the MRAs do it.

However, it does drive home the difference in MRA versus feminist issues.
Feminist issues: pay inequalities, “second shift”, men as default, rape culture, devaluation of the feminine.

MRA issues: some women don’t want to sleep with us, women are allowed to leave us with more than the clothes on their backs, we have to support our children. (Yes, they talk about male rape, but they don’t really do anything.)

*I can see a feminist using a photo of a sexy man to illustrate the difference between attraction and objectification, or as part of an argument about straight women’s sexual desires, etc. Or because sexy man.

sparky
sparky
8 years ago

Inanna went through 7 gates (starts on line 114):


http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/section1/tr141.htm

Which is kinda interesting, cause there’s a legend about various places being the site of “Seven Gates to Hell,” which if a person passes through all seven, they will find themselves in hell. Only everybody chickens out at the sixth gate and runs away.


http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Gates_of_Hell

Alice Sanguinaria
8 years ago

Salacious – *SHUDDER* ^ 100000000000000000000000000000000000000

wordsp1nner
wordsp1nner
8 years ago

@Sparky,

One of my favorite YA series is The Abhorsen Chronicles, where there are seven gates in the afterlife, and the dead can come back if they haven’t passed the seventh gate (this is… bad. They have to prey on living to gain power) and some people can go into death. The main characters have to fight the dead. It’s awesome.

Looking back, Lireal is the angstiest of angsty teenagers (she tries to kill herself really early) but it felt (a) genuine and (b) was not about men at all.

The romance always felt a bit tacked on, but I didn’t read it for the romance–I read it for the zombie fights. And the disreputable dog (“well, disreputable bitch if you want to get technical”).

Salacious
Salacious
8 years ago

Recent contributions by MRAers for the front cover:

http://siryouarebeingmocked.tumblr.com/post/57974571764/jennofsol-snip-are-you-fucking-serious-after

http://siryouarebeingmocked.tumblr.com/image/59346150336

http://imgur.com/ZFMzlsV

Not sure I’d take a book too seriously with some memes as the front page. . . unless it was a book about memes.

Bina
8 years ago

Alice — it’s seven gates. So far, I have:

1st Gate: Self-Reflection

2nd Gate: Sense of Irony

3rd Gate: Sense of Humor

4th Gate: Consistency

5th Gate: Logic

6th Gate:

7th Gate:

Salacious
Salacious
8 years ago

@ Bina Empathy?

Bina
8 years ago

Empathy! Yes. And I think I’ll make Dignity the last.

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