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Men in Dresses: A Voice for Men stands up for trans women by declaring them to be deluded men

Men in dresses: How A Voice for Men sees trans women
Men in dresses: How A Voice for Men chose to promote its post about trans women

Men’s Rights hate site A Voice for Men has not exactly shown much of an interest in trans* issues in the past. Indeed, the only time I can recall founder Paul Elam ever even mentioning trans* people was in the context of a vicious attack on a Men’s Studies expert who happens to be a trans woman; he suggested she was a mentally ill man-hater whose “so hated the sex they were born with that it sparked a life long academic quest to deconstruct it into something that did not disgust them.”

So it’s a little surprising to see a post on AVFM now with the seemingly dispassionate, slightly turgid, title “Male/female discrepancies in transsexualism.” The post starts out as dry as its title, but it soon becomes clear that it is “scientific” in style only. It’s not an attempt to understand trans women or trans people in general; it’s an attempt to use the existence of trans women as a helpful prop in an old Men’s Rights argument.

After declaring that “the inherent,prenatal explanations for transsexualism are highly questionable” — without actually examining any of these explanations beyond mentioning one study —  Jesse Folsom offers his own crackpot theory to explain why, in his words, there are more “male-to-female [than] female-to-male transsexuals.”

In short, he asserts, our society is so biased against boys and men that a lot of boys and men have decided that they want to become girls and women. And naturally, feminists are largely to blame.

[W]hy would a young boy associate more with the stereotypes assigned to girls? Well, one good reason would be because he wants to, because he regards his stereotypes of women as superior. For instance, in a feminist household, expressions of masculinity may be viewed with derision, or, when there is a father present, as a source of shame.

Also, in case you hadn’t realized this, most mothers are women as well:

Even without such associations, however, a child often just spends more time with his or her mother.

Oh, and so are teachers. It’s like there’s some sort of plot!

While it does not occur until after a large proportion of gender ideas are formed, school also exposes children, primarily, to female role models. Not to mention the fact that many behaviors typical of boys are frowned upon and even drugged out of them in modern school environments.

As a result, young boys have no real role models in society.

And where do boys find themselves today? Today, women can be anything they want. Women can be action heroes, happy homemakers, corporate executives, and powerful politicians.

Obviously there are no examples of men in any of these roles for boys to look up to.

There are two categories of fashion, fashion for everyone and fashion for women only. Women are the ones seen as beautiful and glamorous. Women are kind, gentle, empathetic, and allowed to freely express emotion. With the traditional strengths of men now seen as irrelevant or even negative, why wouldn’t a boy rather be a girl? Is this not as good an explanation as any for the discrepancies between MtF and FtM transsexualism?

Well, actually, no. But Folsom continues, insinuating that this evil feministy brainwashing does terrible damage to all the poor little boys who have decided that they want to be girls:

It is simply implausible that a child that associates with the opposite sex label has any real understanding of what that means, but unfortunately, such associations often stick. Further, this gender dysphoria is extremely harmful, frequently leading to severe depression and high suicide and poverty rates for transsexuals. As one might expect, researchers believe that male-to-female transsexuals are the hardest-hit by these problems.

Aside from all the general bullshittery of Folsom’s not-very-original theory here, it’s telling that he never refers to trans women as, well, women, preferring instead to refer to them either as male-to-female transsexuals — or to actually refer to them as male. Like Elam, clearly doesn’t see trans women as real women, but rather as men suffering from some sort of delusion, driven by internalized misandry.

And that’s really the only way that AVFM can have any sympathy for trans women at all: if they’re seen as male victims of feminism, and not as women at all.

Regular Man Boobz commenter Ally S ventured into the Men’s Rights subreddit to offer a rather more nuanced view of the subject. Some highlights:

This article is almost exactly like countless articles written by trans-exclusionary radical feminists. The only real difference is that the arguments are being used to further support MRA talking points rather than TERF talking points. …

When I was little, I didn’t identify as a girl because I associated more with femininity and stereotypes about girls. It was the other way around: I came to associate more with femininity and stereotypes about girls because I identified as a girl. Just as cis girls associate with stereotypes related to their own gender. …

I guarantee that virtually any trans woman will say that adherence to stereotypes and misandry have nothing to do with identifying as female. That’s because there’s a difference between gender identity and gender expression. Personally, I am a trans woman, but my clothing style is basically agender and I engage in what are often considered masculine activities, such as programming. And when I was a child, I actually saw feminine traits as inferior, not superior – yet I still identified as a girl. I have many friends who have had similar experiences. …

Lastly, deliberately misgendering trans women (you know, what the author does in every other sentence) is completely unacceptable, even if one is speaking about young children. We are not and never will be men.

You can see Ally’s entire comment here, as well as a number of detailed followups. Amazingly, they actually got upvotes in the Men’s Rights subreddit, where Folsom’s article received a generally hostile reception. Apparently some of AVFM’s bullshit is so bullshitty that even Men’s Rights Redditors can recognize it as such.

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Ally S
9 years ago

Oh my, check out this terrible comment I just got in reply to me talking about how the MRM should be intersectional:

Notable excerpts:

The elevation of minor issues like body image because that play on human insecurities itself was about relatively well off white women desperate to establish their victim status. Men have bigger issues and ought not seriously waste time on that now anymore than they would dealing with sexual rejection.

Translation: The issue of body image is as insigificant as being rejected by someone you want to have sex with.

Save the academic talk for when we have a academic body of note dealing with men’s issues. Until then simply getting people to care takes more than we got to offer. Talking like feminists is to expose their hypocrisy and is not a endorsement of their perspective and tactics. We want a new order that doesn’t exclude people based on some centralized moral authority or ideological consensus run by the latest batch of college grads from liberal arts schools. The lie/scam of intersectionality isn’t a way forward.

Oh my. That’s telling.

9 years ago

Well, we know that MRAs treat sexual rejection as completely insignificant. They certainly never waste time on that.

9 years ago

When political movements try to pay attention to the concerns of people who’re not straight white men that’s a scam, because people who are not straight white men don’t actually deserve to be paid attention to. Also, nobody’s identity is complex, and people who claim that it is are liars.

(Nods wisely)

Ally S
9 years ago

Also, if you look at the entire exchange carefully, you’ll see that, in response to me talking about trans men being abused in homeless shelters, he says “The issues of trans women in homeless shelters is super niche. It’s a subset of a tiny group better handled by those focused on that tiny group.”

Purposeful misgendering plus marginalization of trans men issues. How adorable.

9 years ago

“We want a new order that doesn’t exclude people based on some centralized moral authority or ideological consensus run by the latest batch of college grads from liberal arts schools.”

Translation: We want the 1950s back…and old white ultraconservative men in charge of everything.

9 years ago

Sometimes I think it’s the 1850s they want back … you know, the good ol’ days before women could vote, or own any property post-marriage, and when middle-class women were almost wholly excluded from earning a living and had little choice but to marry, and the children they bore were the property of the husband, as was any money they made through writing, for example, or anything they made, like clothing. Coverture is what these guys want, though I doubt any of them’s ever heard the word.

Plus of course in the US context it would be antebellum, which would appeal to their racism.

Keith Tyler
8 years ago

The author spends much length assaulting and nitpicking the article, and even somewhat rightly, but never actually bothers to provide his own answer to the question: if being male is more desirable / enjoyable / privileged than being female, why do more men want to be women than women want to be men? (Further, who is more likely to miss their previous gender?) Is there no established gender-politics dogma for this yet?

6 years ago

I never thought I would get to say this, but…
MRM… I am…


5 years ago

This really disproves the radical feminist idea that trans rights is a men’s rights thing then doesn’t it?

5 years ago

It’s hard to tell if you’re being serious witth that comment. Care to elaborate?

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I think he was saying that TERFs believe trans women are men so feminism is for them, but clearly the MRAs don’t believe trans women are women are really women either so that proves TERFs wrong?

I don’t think I’ve seen TERFs call trans women MRAs so the statement doesn’t make that much sense, but I think it was what he was trying to get at?

PeeVee the (Perpetually Ignored, Invisible but Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Perpetually Ignored, Invisible but Noice) Sarcastic
5 years ago

Holy necromacy, Batman!

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