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Paul Elam: "If a woman five feet tall and 110 pounds soaking wet hits me, I am going to hit her back."

Should these books be required reading for MRAs?
Should these books be required reading for MRAs?

Attention tiny ladies! Paul Elam wants you to know that if you attack him, he will totally punch you right back. And not in a satirical way, either. With his actual, non-satirical fists.

A Voice for Men’s maximum leader has long insisted that his notorious “Bash a Violent Bitch Month” post was nothing more than misunderstood “satire.” That is, when he argued that men who are abused by women would be totally justified if they “beat the living shit out of them. I don’t mean subdue them, or deliver an open handed pop on the face to get them to settle down. I mean literally to grab them by the hair and smack their face against the wall,” this was somehow a “Juvenalian” satire of some sort. There’s a famous quote from The Princess Bride that might be appropriate here.

Well, now Mr. Elam has announced to the world that every month is a potential “Bash a Violent Bitch Month” for him. Even if the “Violent Bitch” in question is less than half his size. In a post that he insists is super serious, he writes:

I want to offer a few words on this subject, and this time not in satire. I want to convey as honestly as possible, how I feel on the subject of violence between the sexes, from one man’s point of view.

I am 6’8” tall and 285 pounds. If a woman five feet tall and 110 pounds soaking wet hits me, I am going to hit her back.

Now, Elam does stop short of saying he would “beat the living shit” out of this hypothetical tiny woman, but, you know, in the heat of battle with someone less than half his size, he suggests that he might not be able to control his non-satirical fists:

I would do my best to return the violence proportionally, to just use enough force to stop the attack, but I can make no guarantees. Depending on the suddenness of the attack, the level of fear or threat I might feel, the impulse to self-defend in measured amounts is difficult, if not impossible to predict with any accuracy.

So, if there are any tiny ladies out there who might be considering jumping in a pool and then punching Paul Elam, I would suggest you not do that. Of course, I would suggest you not do that even if he weren’t going to hit back, because hitting people is generally a very bad thing.

Don’t worry, dudes – tiny or otherwise – Elam would totally punch you too!

It is the same reaction I would have to a man. No more and no less. The only way to prevent this and the consequences that may result is for people to keep their hands off me.

Presumably this would also apply to bears, giant squids, killer robots and anyone or anything else that tried to put its hands or paws or tentacles on him.

Now, if someone less than half my size were to attack me, and the situation weren’t life-threatening, I might, you know, back off and call the police instead. But apparently, this isn’t an option for men, because we’re all slaves, or something:

Most people who frequent this site know that men who call for help from police when being assaulted by female intimate partners are likely to be arrested for their troubles. … [T]here are prosecutors that will happily give the victim a criminal record and make them pay dearly for having been attacked.

This idea is completely insane on its face. Not only that, it is the closest thing we have today to the mentality of slave owners who could flog their slaves because they were property.

Never mind that women, who make up the vast majority of the victims of severe domestic violence, make up 20% of those arrested for DV. Never mind that even where there are mandatory arrest laws in effect, police still need probable or reasonable cause to show that domestic violence occurred – like physical evidence of injuries – before arresting a suspect. Never mind that even in states with “dual arrrest” policies, only about half of all domestic violence calls result in any arrests.

And never mind that if you use disproportionate force against someone less than half your size – as Elam suggests he very well might do – you deserve to go to jail, and for more than a night. “Beating the living shit” out of someone much smaller than you isn’t actually self-defense at all. It’s beating the living shit out of someone much smaller than you.

Now, Elam isn’t the only Men’s Rights Activist who seems to spend a lot of time imagining scenarios in which it would be ok for them to hit women. It’s a subject that comes up on the Men’s Rights subreddit all the time; the misogynistic douchebags who populate Reddit’s Videos subreddit are if anything even worse. And don’t ever do a Google image search for “equal rights equal lefts” unless you want to be really depressed.

The Men’s Rights movement: bravely fighting for the right of men to punch women half their size.

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cloudiah
7 years ago

Time for a laugh: #NOTALLHUMANS

marinerachel
marinerachel
7 years ago

My dad beat the shit out of me due to his own lack of parenting skills, low mood and belief it was OK. He still. Doesn’t. Get it. Any attempt to discuss his actions turns into a discussion about what shitty kids we were which, I guess, is justification in his mind.

Interestingly his mom in her sixties denounced hitting kids and expressed regret for having engaged in it.

No lasting physical harm here either but all it taught me was to be extremely fearful of being honest and to panic hardcore whenever I screw something up not because it’s a big deal and can’t be fixed but because someone is going to come down on me with disproportionate anger for having made the mistake.

Hitting kids is actually a great way to teach them to lie.

Tkitty
Tkitty
7 years ago

This makes me thing of my bf, when he says something smartass-y or gives me a hard time, I’ll punch his arm or belly, its not ok I know, but ever since the first time I’ve done it he’s always said: “pft, that’s it?, come on, hit me hard. Give me all you got. ” Everytime I punch him he doesn’t even flinch. I’m 5’6; 150lbs, he’s 6’3, 190lbs. Like the difference isn’t even that great yet, I can’t hurt him, and I’m not a weak person. I can’t imagine someone who can take a light-ass punch and immediately think: ” ITS ASS KICKING TIME”. What if the poor thing was joking! She’d be decimated :c

Luzbelitx
7 years ago

panic hardcore whenever I screw something up not because it’s a big deal and can’t be fixed but because someone is going to come down on me with disproportionate anger for having made the mistake.

This. I had no words to explain this but you expressed it so clearly!

When I first met my compañero, we were both activists in our union. I used to do very good work there, maintaining and updating the website and generally handling all communications between the union and its members/prospective members.

But I totally got freaked out by minor issues, like when an email wasn’t sent on time, or the texts weren’t in the perfect format, or….

And my compañero kept asking “Why do you punish yourself so hard for this?”, and I didn’t see it like punishing me at all, it was just the only reaction I had been taught for being in the wrong.

I’ve been working on it since then, though, but it took a lot of self-forgiving and healing before I could take small mistakes as small stuff of life.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

It’s one of those things where it’s not uncommon for the parents to believe that they’re not doing any harm and that their actions are justified, but if you talk to the kids who experienced it you’ll see exactly what harm was caused.

ryeash
ryeash
7 years ago

I joke sometimes that I’m a shit actress but the best damn liar you’ll ever come across thanks to my upbringing. When we admitted doing something wrong, we were spanked until we screamed. If we were caught in a lie, we got the belt. BUT if we could successfully lie, we usually got away with a grounding (which was fine with me, I had books and video games and not many friends anyway because my stepdad’s tantrums scared other kids off). I practiced facial expressions in mirrors, vocal control by myself, and trained my mind to accept lies as truth. Later on, that caused a lot of problems when I stopped being able to tell if *I* was being lied to.

Also, being hit as a kid taught me to hit people when they annoyed me. I used to smack my brother over the head when we were really little every time he got on my nerves. I was pretty awful to him, and when I got old enough to understand that, I tried to make it up to him. We were really close growing up, though we had plenty of physical fights even during my early teens. I have a scar on my left arm from where he raked it with his nails because I was teasing him about having a crush on Quistis from FFVIII. He ended up getting it the worst from his dad until the day I went to the hospital, and he tried to kill himself after that because he felt like he should have protected me. We grew apart after my mother forced me out. That still kills me.

Flying Mouse
Flying Mouse
7 years ago

I used to spank my kids. I stopped a few years ago, for all the reasons people have already expressed in this thread.

My parents were both corporal punishment proponents; they said it was due to the “more in sorrow than in anger” thing that bluecatbabe mentioned above, but I knew they were mad when they spanked me. I was mad when I spanked my daughter. I wasn’t trying to do her serious harm, but I was angry all the same. If someone can strike someone else, especially someone vulnerable in every way, and retain a zen-like calm the entire time, then they possess skills that are outside of my ken.

I don’t have the instant obedience from my kids that my parents had from my brother and me. But I also don’t have kids that are afraid to tell me when they’ve messed up. My daughter even asked for an apology for past spankings, which I gave her (that was embarrassing). I would have never had the guts to do that with my parents; I usually ended up apologizing to my mother when she was the one in the wrong, just to keep the peace.

So, yeah. Don’t hit your kids. There are other ways of getting your point across.

Fibinachi
7 years ago

God yes that. My family doesn’t punch. But I’m semi sort of used to mistakes resulting in screaming, frothing rage of the force and duration of a minor hurricane, with attendent insults and so on. Minor example!

Yesterday, someone invited me to a thing next weekend. I said yes, then called back an hour later and said shit, wait, no, next weekend I turn 23, so I’m busy. I forget that near every year in August because I only ever have an ice cream.

So what did happen? Nothing! We rescheduled like people do. What was I expecting? raaaaaageeeee.

That’s the odd thing about having been sonewhat primed to “expect” disproportionate responses. Mistakes magnify, because the ususal situation I encounter them in, they would. Now that I live in my own place, one of the constantly surprising things is how incredibly little people… Shout. Or rage. Or threaten to do whatever. It fucks with my head. Suddenly, the proper response to making mistakes is to fix them. Not apologize profusely for hours and be reminded weekly.

So the impulse to cower dies down, and I feel less of a need to remaib on guard at all times. Not needing to feel pre-emptively apologetic for, say, existing is a hell of a drug.

And ultimately, that’s what responses out of alignnent with the first offense attempts to do to people, render them unable and unwilling to risk resisting again because the demonstration of power have already been made. It’s right out of why does he do that. Not because people don’t have a right to defend themselves, rather because the entire thing is a pre-stated excuse to inflict excessive violence.

“I’ll try to respond in kind, but I might just slip so better not test me

Besides! Speaking as someone who’s gotten punched by people before the only responses one should ever engage in is:

“Please don’t do that again, or I’ll leave”
Or
“I’m going home, have a pleasant time”
Or
“I’m calling the police”
Or
A fast, low shinkick worth three points in the dojo since you’re clearly in a staged tournanent fight.

Fibinachi
7 years ago

Mind, the shinkick is because of my experience telling me most people punching expect a punch back, in some form.

Please, use whatever proper technique you feel is right at the time :b

Fibinachi
7 years ago

( also, again again, if someone is actively trying to seriously harm you, shut them down quickly then gtfo. Just a bit of lurker benefit there )

(( that’s a lot of caveats on one post ))

((( sorry )))

GrumpyOldMan
7 years ago

(1) The sweater is nice, but I’d really go for it if it made me look as good as the model does.

(2) Comedy special: trying to explain to a London subway cop what a fanny pack is (for the non-US folks, it’s a small backpack that you wear around your waist).

(3) I spanked each of my sons once. With my older son, we lived on a river bank, and I had a strict rule about how close to the river he was allowed to go. He disobeyed and I spanked him. I probably could have gotten the same results with a lecture, but I felt I really needed to make the point. With my younger son, I caught him trying to stick a screwdriver into an electrical outlet and I freaked out. I think spanking is acceptable to deal with a situation where the child has put him/herself in danger, particularly if you make it clear that you were upset because you were afraid that s/he would be injured, but I can understand that many people would disagree. Physical punishment should be very rarely if ever resorted to.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

I’m still stuck on the bit where someone tried to insist that they would only use the proper, proportionate level of violence against a 9 year old. There is no proper, proportionate level of violence that an adult can exhibit towards a 9 year old.

Flying Mouse
Flying Mouse
7 years ago

No lasting physical harm here either but all it taught me was to be extremely fearful of being honest and to panic hardcore whenever I screw something up not because it’s a big deal and can’t be fixed but because someone is going to come down on me with disproportionate anger for having made the mistake.

I joke sometimes that I’m a shit actress but the best damn liar you’ll ever come across thanks to my upbringing.

marinerachel and ryeash, what are you two doing in my brain?

My parents’ disciplinary methods were a miles gentler that what y’all had to endure, but it still had the same result. Perfection is the only accpetable outcome; everything else requires an elaborate coverup or groveling in the first order. It’s slow going, but I’m finally admitting to myself that it’s OK to be human.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

My dad spanked me once, when I was about 6. I’m sure that he rationalized it as the most effective way of teaching me not to do what I’d just done (go off without telling my parents where I was going and not come back till late at night) again, but honestly? It was because he was scared and angry and he lost control of himself. It taught me nothing at all, except maybe that next time I should lie about what had happened. The fear I could feel coming off of my mother when she hugged me later and said “I thought something terrible had happened to you”? That actually taught me not to do it again.

contrapangloss
7 years ago

Hey! Screwdriver in electrical socket? Sounds like me, only mine was a paperclip.

Three spankings, ever, each was a single smack followed by a “don’t do that because —, we love you” lecture. They didn’t hurt so much as surprise me… and they didn’t teach me to be megaliar because it was only for seriously dangerous things they witnessed and didn’t ask me about first so I never had a chance to try to lie to avoid it.

Big difference there, I think, though.

I might someday swat a hypothetical kiddo of mine for paperclip to electrical socketing, or running out into the road, or crawling out the dog door at o’dark thirty…

But never hard enough to hurt, and never without explaining the heck out of why to the kid (so that eventually they’ll get it, even if right then they don’t), and never without hugging the bejeepers out of them after for not dying by doing whatever the fuzz they were doing to accidentally kill themselves.

There is no excuse for “hitting” a kid. Hitting suggests vengeance, pain, and is always way disproportionate for use against a kidlet.

manhattansbalcony
7 years ago

This is my problem with AVfM in a nutshell. I agree with them about the lack of facilities for male victims of DV (at least from a quick google search for my area). I agree with them that society doesn’t take men who are assaulted by women seriously. So, how is putting violent revenge fantasies on your website supposed to help? It just makes you politically toxic. If I work for some congress-critter or state rep and my boss wants to use their political power to help men in need; something like that is going to make me advise him to never be seen with you in public, let alone give you money. Money that could have been spent helping the men you profess to be in this for.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

I’m pretty sure that when most people use the word spanking they’re not talking about a single light swat on the butt.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

And my issue with the hitting that came up here is that it wasn’t even spanking as punishment, it was “kid is attacking me so I will fight back”. In that scenario my question is, why is the kid attacking you? Toddlers do that kind of thing, sure, but if a kid who’s nearly 10 is going around attacking people then that’s a problem, and not one that can be solved by going “well I’ll fight back then”.

Flying Mouse
Flying Mouse
7 years ago

There is no proper, proportionate level of violence that an adult can exhibit towards a 9 year old.

Truth.

twincats
twincats
7 years ago

@proxieme:

I’ve read here for awhile but never posted, but since I’ve been up all night with a broken foot…

I feel ya; I rolled my ankle last week and found out Monday that I actually broke it. The good news is that I got a boot instead of a cast like they kept telling me I was getting. Yay proper showers! The only drawback so far is that it’s hot and hard to sleep in. But yeah, counting my blessings.

And ooooooh, that sweater! I’m fantasizing that I possess the skills to knit it (let alone the time; I have carpal tunnel and have to limit my daily knitting time 🙁 it would probably take me a year to do that! But I think the odds of me completing that dreamy sweater are way better than Paul Elam growing to 6’10” and even better than him being that tall at this very moment.

Viscaria
Viscaria
7 years ago

My mom spanked me only once, when I was about the same age. She doesn’t even remember doing it, but I remember it distinctly. I was asking her why I, as the child, had to automatically do what she, as the parent, asked me to. I (at least in my mind) wasn’t being defiant, or angry, or even saying I wouldn’t do as I was told without good enough reason; I just wanted to have this fundamental rule of my every experience explained to me in terms that would make sense to me. I didn’t understand why my mom was getting increasingly angry and demanding that I stop asking instead of just answering my question.

Spanking me in that situation was an answer, in a way. It told me “children have to do what parents say because parents have the power to hurt them.” I’m just glad that I had enough other inputs, both from my mom and from other sources, that the message got drowned out.

bunnybunny
bunnybunny
7 years ago

That’s the odd thing about having been sonewhat primed to “expect” disproportionate responses. Mistakes magnify, because the ususal situation I encounter them in, they would. Now that I live in my own place, one of the constantly surprising things is how incredibly little people… Shout. Or rage. Or threaten to do whatever.

Yep. I grew up in a super emotionally charged family and things escalated very, very fast with my mom. Things got loud and things got physical. I haven’t lived at home for years but my default is still to defuse situations and as a result I under-react to basically everything, which has kind of stopped making sense in the context of my current living situation. And causes its own problems. Oh well.

Viscaria
Viscaria
7 years ago

By “when I was about the same age,” I mean 6. There were about 5 comments that came in between when I started writing and when I hit post comment.

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

If I work for some congress-critter

Are you a fellow Stephanie Miller Show fan perchance? That’s the only place I’ve heard the term.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
7 years ago

I lived with a sibling who believed strongly in proportionate violent responses, ie “you hit me so I hit you.” Except it was always a harder hit, and that sibling felt that when I hit them in response to their hit, that hit deserved a proportionate response as well.

We were around 10.

It’s super great to know some adults don’t grow out of that phase.

Actually, I think there’s research that shows that people are extremely bad at dishing out “proportionate” responses. If they get hit, and are given the chance to hit back with equal force, they almost always hit harder. Can’t quite remember where I read that though…

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