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A Voice for Men’s TyphonBlue uses the case of a man who set himself and his son on fire as evidence of the moral superiority of men

TyphonBlue, making the face I make every time I read anything she's written.
TyphonBlue, making the same face I make every time I read anything she’s written.

Over on the Men’s Rights subreddit, the regulars are discussing the case of a Japanese man who set himself and his nine-year-old son on fire on a playground in an attempted murder-suicide; the man died, but his son, while severely burned, managed to survive.

The discussion amongst the Men’s Rightsers is actually less awful than one might expect, with only a few commenters making excuses for the man, or blaming his ex-wife. Many of the regulars are actually condemning his actions straightforwardly.

And then there’s TyphonBlue, the highly inventive female Men’s Rights activist who is one of A Voice for Men’s self-proclaimed “Honey Badgers.” She thinks the fact that the man tried to kill himself along with his son is a point in his favor and, more than that, a sign that men are better than women.

No, really. She blames “pedestalization” for it all.

typhonblue -12 points 1 day ago (18|30)  He didn't kill his son.  Unlike mothers, fathers don't scrimp on the suicide part of the suicide-murder.      permalink     source     parent     save     give gold     hide child comments  [–]osbe 11 points 22 hours ago (15|4)      He didn't kill his son  What the fuck are you trying to say? The son didn't die (yet) so this is not "as bad" as what women do?      permalink     source     save     parent     give gold  [–]typhonblue -1 points 8 hours ago (2|3)  Little more time today.  Am I puncturing your vision of women as the "more moral gender"?  How about this, when you give a group of people an automatic "more moral than thou" card, they become worse human beings.  The pedestal creates the monster.

You see, if you didn’t put women on a pedestal, they’d kill themselves along with their kids, and all would be well in the world. I guess? I really don’t see why this would be better.

Later in the thread, TB tries to explain her peculiar logic further:

typhonblue 0 points 7 hours ago (2|2)      I subscribe to the cliche that the female of the species is more deadly (or at least more vicious) than the male.  You think women are more evil than men and… what? What are you arguing about?  So we're essentially in agreement about women being "more evil" because they're more likely to kill their kids and fail at killing themselves* except I believe that it's a result of pedistalization and you believe it's a result of what?  Being female?      Why do you need to say anything that can even be twisted to look like you're defending what this guy did?  I'm saying if you want to kill your kids, don't forget to kill yourself as well. Preferably first.  *At least when you attempt to kill yourself and your kids, you can argue that it's a result of extreme mental distress. Killing your kids but not yourself… That's less excusable.

I think it’s time to pull out the old Don Draper “what?!” gif again.

don draper saying what

I will grant her one point: she’s correct that, while fathers and mothers are roughly equally likely to kill their children, men are much more likely to kill themselves as well. Why this would be a sign of moral superiority I don’t know.

I should also note that this doesn’t mean that the men and women kill children equally: while 57 percent of those who kill children under 5 are parents, the non-parents who kill children are mostly men.

In any case, “pedestalization” has pretty much nothing to do with it — unless you’re talking about the tendency of fathers who kill themseves and their children to overrate their own indispensablility.

So why do parents kill their children? Not surprisingly, mothers and fathers tend to have wildly different motivations. In Slate, Dahlia Lithwick summarizes what we know:

Researchers, building on the work of Phillip Resnick, have shown that women tend to kill their own offspring for one of several reasons: because the child is unwanted; out of mercy; as a result of some mental illness in the mother; in retaliation against a spouse; as a result of abuse.

It may be hard to understand how a mother can come to believe that killing her children would be an act of mercy, but that’s what postpartum psychosis can do to your brain.

The motivations for fathers tend to be rather different:

Most frequently … they kill because they feel they have lost control over their finances, or their families, or the relationship, or out of revenge for a perceived slight or infidelity. … more often than not, men kill their children to get back at a woman—to take away what she most cherishes.

As Charles Patrick Ewing, a University of Buffalo law professor and psychologist, told Elizabeth Fernandez of the San Francisco Chronicle

“These are narcissistic, self-centered guys who see themselves as the glue of the family. They feel they have to take their own life, but first, they have to kill the children. To them, it seems rational. They think they can’t manage and the family can’t manage without them.”

It’s also worth pointing out that when you look at murder-suicide in general — and not just when children are among the victims — it is almost exclusively (roughly 90%)  a male crime, with the victims almost always female, generally the man’s wife, girlfriend, or ex. Not surprisingly, disproportionate number of those responsible for murder-suicides involving intimate partners were also domestic abusers. (As was, reportedly, the Japanese man who set himself and his son ablaze.)

The only heartening thing here is that TyphonBlue actually got downvoted in the Men’s Rights subreddit for spouting her toxic nonsense.

EDITED TO ADD, 12/30/13: The son, who had been in critical condition since the incident, has now died.

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Alice Sanguinaria
8 years ago

You stupid iPod keyboard >_<

Anyways, off topic, but I wish that MRAs really did care about men and boys. Why don't they tackle toxic masculinity? Why do they use suicide as a "gotcha!" to feminists, instead of helping male victims? Why do they not care?

http://www.upworthy.com/theres-something-absolutely-wrong-with-what-we-do-to-boys-before-they-grow-into-men

Bina
8 years ago

OT, but oh-so-gross: Phil Robertson’s MRA moment!

pecunium
8 years ago

I’m mixed on, “tribal” as there is a large slice of society that is doing things, “to find their tribe”

Which is of a piece with the idea of, “chosen family”. Certainly the MRM has an in-group/out-group mindset, and a large part of it has a set of shared beliefs; the orthodoxy of which cannot be questioned (which is why they often seem so out of synch with the rest of the world; they speak as if a number of things most people don’t believe are simple truths).

So using a phrase to recognise that doesn’t seem out of line to me, in fact it seems needful, as being able to communicate their sense of both identity, and shared belief, is something we want to be able to do when we talk to people who are less steeped in the ways of the MRM.

Alice Sanguinaria
8 years ago

Bina – EWWWW

I definitely was not mature enough to be married at 15. Nope, freshman/sophomore Alice was definitely not mature enough to handle marriage.

dallasapple
dallasapple
8 years ago

“According to Japanese logic, the suicidal mother cannot bear to leave the child to survive alone”

Interesting . I know a woman that because of the death of her husband was severely depressed and suicidal . They had young children when he died . When she contemplated suicide the plan was to take the children with her . She said she couldn’t bare the thought of the children having to “live through” losing both their mother and father at such a young age as well as who would take care of them .

She didn’t do it . But her thoughts on that sound similar to what you stated .

I’m curious on what the logic is when men do murder suicide ?

Bina
8 years ago

I definitely was not mature enough to be married at 15. Nope, freshman/sophomore Alice was definitely not mature enough to handle marriage.

Me neither…nor at 18 or even 25. My worst nightmare at 18 was literally that my parents would force me to marry an older man when I hadn’t even had a real boyfriend yet.

gillyrosebee
8 years ago

Okay, I didn’t like the Duck Dynasty thing before, and I certainly swore off it with the recent controversy, but that is nauseating.

dallasapple
dallasapple
8 years ago

OT, but oh-so-gross: Phil Robertson’s MRA moment!

Why am I completely non shocked ? I know why ! Cuz I figured as much that would be his view.

Bina
8 years ago

Bigotries definitely come in clusters. And oh, the irony of a man advocating pedo-marriage when he thinks there’s something wrong with being gay…

dallasapple
dallasapple
8 years ago

Bigotries definitely come in clusters. And oh, the irony of a man advocating pedo-marriage when he thinks there’s something wrong with being gay…

The bigger irony is pedophilia is supposedly synonymous with gay by people like him .

lightcastle
lightcastle
8 years ago

@RobertRamirez

Actually, he does give a reason.

“These studies are problematic, however, since they tend to feature incredibly small sample sizes that make any statistical conclusions suspect. Further, even if we accept discrepancies in the brains of transsexuals as an assumption, this is a far cry from establishing that these differences are inherent.”

Which is perfectly legitimate criticism. It doesn’t excuse the rest of the article’s terribleness, but I can’t find fault in that paragraph. Most brain-structure studies have these problems.

Nepenthe
Nepenthe
8 years ago

Argenti, I realize that you weren’t referring to deaths by violence; it’s just an illustration. Telling you to go read “Better Angels of our Nature” and “War Before Civilization”, as they pretty solidly demolish your thesis, seemed less useful. I’m also confused as to how your link, which shows far more violence in ostensibly tribal society, supports the idea that tribal and state-based people are equally violent.

gillyrosebee
8 years ago

Well it’s only pedophilia when its a gay person. If it’s an older guy looking for a teenage “bride”, well that’s just “traditional family values”, after all.

gillyrosebee
8 years ago

Nepenthe, I’m curious as to the locational aspect of the violence in that particular dichotomy. It is possible that state violence exists in equal amounts on a per-capita basis, but state violence seems to be applied at a distance, at the borders of territory, instead of between rival cities or encampments.

I’m reminded of the transition from city states to the nation in late medieval Italy – there were fewer cities besieging each other, but there was a lot more fighting, and considerably more bloodshed as opposed to mere property damage, at the frontier with medieval France.

Marie
8 years ago

@nepenthe

Telling you to go read “Better Angels of our Nature” and “War Before Civilization”, as they pretty solidly demolish your thesis, seemed less useful

Okay, I’ve been pretty lurk-y this thread, but telling zir to go read a whole book (or two) and saying it demolishes zir thesis without any logic/follow through* to back up what you’re saying is…idk, kinda skeevy to me.

*I mean, like, you don’t even say what the books are about :/

dallasapple
dallasapple
8 years ago

Well it’s only pedophilia when its a gay person.

Oops I fergot! If its a penis in a virgina that ain’t unatural! ! HEE HAWW!!

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

The Duck Dynasty guy is a real charmer, isn’t he? I love the comments over there with people doing the BIASED LIBERAL MEDIA TWISTING PEOPLE’S WORDS thing when it’s literally just a clip of the dude speaking.

Also, I’m confused. Did Argenti and Nepenthe have a fight that I’m not recalling? Because the level of hostility in this thread just went through the roof and I can’t figure out why.

Nepenthe
Nepenthe
8 years ago

Both books, but particularly “Better Angels” are about the decrease in violence in modern times and societies. They have a fuck ton of data about violence in all sorts of societies and time periods and the take aways are basically that the peaceful hunter-gatherers that have appeared in modern consciousness are political fantasies and that society has gotten way, way less violent. Granted that Pinker’s evo-psych babbling is a annoying, but that’s interpretation.

I despise ass-data, especially the lies liberals tell ourselves to feel nice. This particular one is just intensely irritating to me, about on the level of “It’s cold, so climate change isn’t happening.” The level of hostility increased because I am an asshole.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Nepenthe — the link about Native Americans shows that while NA women face higher rates of rape than white American women, most of the rapists aren’t NA. The second, longer one, was showing that inter-group violence is more substainal than intra-group violence.

I wasn’t sure if you were taking issue with my saying that tribal societies are, on average, as violent as industrial societies, or my saying that the violence tribal societies face from industrial societies is worse than intra tribal violence.

Pecunium — problem is that “finding one’s place/group” works just as well, without ignoring that tribal societies still exist. Part of my issue with using the word tribal for groups that aren’t actual tribes is that the US, at large, treats Native Americans as some homogenous group that’s an artifact of the past.

gillyrosebee
8 years ago

Okay, it’s been a while since I read Better Angels, but I seem to recall that (to the particular point at play here) Pinker spoke less about the fundamentals of intra-tribal violence and more about the struggle to ‘pacify’ the west (meaning to either drive out or kill off the indigenous peoples). Intra-tribal warfare in the north American pre-colonization period was so frequent as to be ubiquitous, but often relatively bloodless. With a few notable exceptions, nations across most of north America tended to take prisoners instead of killing, and though those prisoners tended to be used as what we’d now consider slave labor, they could also be adopted and married into families so that later they would resist returning to their birth nations.

Only once the Europeans came to conquer and claim territory did you get widespread ‘total’ war to enslave, annihilate or utterly remove a particular nation from its range.

No one here argued that indigenous north American people were peacefulness personified (hell, that “noble savage” bullshit has been out of the mainstream for quite a while now), but despite often intense intra-tribal warfare, there was no real history of genocide or genocidal-level violence across most of north America until the arrival of Europeans. The decrease in violence Pinker notes is largely attributable to ‘civilized’ world learning to actually be so, coming down off its high horse and reining in its desire to enslave or annihilate the other nations sharing the relatively elbow-room of Europe and the “benighted peoples” of the non-European world.

pecunium
8 years ago

argenti: Pecunium — problem is that “finding one’s place/group” works just as well, without ignoring that tribal societies still exist. Part of my issue with using the word tribal for groups that aren’t actual tribes is that the US, at large, treats Native Americans as some homogenous group that’s an artifact of the past.

Part of my problem is with the reification that creates. Indigenous peoples 1: aren’t the only tribal groups in the world, 2: not all indigenous peole are tribal 3: restricting a usage as useful (and varied) as tribe/tribal to a small slice of people is, in it’s way, inherently othering, in a way that also ends up with disparaging overtones (the “savages” who won’t adapt to the modern/better world).

I also don’t think that the lack of strong group identification which tribe evokes is present,”finding one’s place/group”, which feels a lot more like a personal quest, not a vision shared with others. Being a Dr. Who fan is very different from being a white nationalist.

Part of that is because the notion of tribe, in the sense we are using it now, is one Europeans borrowed, and restricted, from Roman ideas about non-romans.

Tribes are a notional idea, often defined from the outside; and the groupings imposed by an external hegemony ( e.g. the “Sioux” are a large group of different polities, not a single “tribe”; and the word itself isn’t one they used for themselves, but one used by a different group about them.)

From an ethnographic standpoint the MRA are very much inside the anthropological definition of a tribe; and such a usage is in keeping with the present common usage.

Which is why I find it useful.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Pecunium — I emailed you about my mental mess right? I’m not really any more put together, so idk if I can muster a proper response at present. In any case, yeah I know Sioux is externally imposed on the Dakota peoples, but I’m not seeing wtf that has to do with the fact some tribes refer to themselves as tribes, others as nations or bands…yeah, tribe is a short hand, but a frequently used one that I’ve never seen NA groups complain about (that I can’ trite, being personal observation, the self reference part — http://www.epa.gov/tp/whereyoulive/tribes-a-z.htm )

But I lost my train of thought, great.

“Being a Dr. Who fan is very different from being a white nationalist.”

Neither’s a tribe in even the lay sense of being tribal. Insular perhaps, but not tribal (also, it’s DOCTOR Who, not Dr.! Go to your room! [or at least ask one of your housemates “are you my mummy.” And wait for them to explain…you’d like those episodes, maybe, WWII gas masks made terrifying…])

See, brain, scrambled. I’m gonna stop talking now.

kittehserf
8 years ago

Argenti – I agree with Pecunium on this one, and also, the US is not the world, it doesn’t dictate how a word is used, nor do its conditions or mindsets apply to everyone (and I say that acknowledging that out situation vis a vis indigenous people here sucks hugely too).

gillyrosebee
8 years ago

For a lay definition of the term tribal, perhaps not, but in the case of the (anthropological) technical term, white nationalists are indeed tribal. They share a core identity and ideology that binds them (the broad idea that “the white race” is superior in all ways), a standing set of rituals, symbols and cultural practices, a language that codifies their beliefs and cultural practices (the delightful term “mud people” among others). They divide the world between “us” and “them”, rigorously enforce ideological conformity and strictly police speech and behavior to conform with their group norms.

Tribalism as a technical term refers to a set of beliefs and behaviors, ideas about who belongs and who is other, and practices that help the members recognize each other, communicate about the way they see the world, and protect against encroachment by “them”, all of which is separate and distinct from the issue of whether a grouping of indigenous peoples acts as or refers to themselves as a tribe or not.

Alice Sanguinaria
8 years ago

Argenti – “[or at least ask one of your housemates “are you my mummy.” And wait for them to explain…you’d like those episodes, maybe, WWII gas masks made terrifying…]”

GAHHHHHHHHHH that two-parter! Blink is still scarier though.

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