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How A Voice for Men's Facebook memes inadvertently reveal the deep sexual insecurities underlying the misogyny of the Men's Rights movement

Detail of a perhaps inadertently revealing A Voice for Men meme
Detail of an unintentionally revealing A Voice for Men meme

The We Hunted the Mammoth Pledge Drive continues! If you haven’t already, please consider sending some bucks my way. (And don’t worry that the PayPal page says Man Boobz.) Thanks!

From time to time I like to check in on the Facebook page for A Voice for Men, to see how that eminent men’s human rights organization’s program to advance the human man rights of human men through badly designed and even more poorly conceived graphic “memes” is going.

Well, I can report that this program is going, and going, and going, a bit like a famous battery-powered bunny.

Looking through them today, I couldn’t help but notice the weird sexual undertones — and overtones — of many of the memes, and realized that, while none of the memes tell us much about the world, they do, in an altogehter accidental way, offer some pretty interesting insights into the ids of those making and “liking” them on Facebook.

You don’t have to be a trained psychoanalyst to see the not-very-well-hidden straight male sexual insecurities that lie behind a large number of AVFM’s memes — both the ones they create themselves and the others that seem to have arrived on the AVFM page after being forwarded via email from someone’s cranky misogynistic uncle. Let’s take a look at some of them.

1) AVFMers have apparently convinced themselves that the history of mankind is the story of nice guys being nice to snooty women who won’t date them.

 

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2) The straight men who make up the bulk of AVFM’s audience are pretty much terrified of women.

 

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3) A lot of these guys seem to really enjoy fantasizing about women being forced into crappy jobs and/or sex work.

 

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4) One of AVFM’s meme makers, the fellow who goes by the name of “John Galt,” has trouble distinguishing between the real world and certain (perhaps unacknowledged) sexual fetishes he appears to be a little obsessed with.

 

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5) Straight cis male AVFMers hate fat women who don’t please their boners, and are angry at feminists for convincing at least some fat women not to hate themselves.

 

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6) These AVFMers evidently prefer women who are very young, very thin, and photoshopped into anatomically implausible proportions and positions. But they simultaneously hate these women for giving them boners.

 

(Slightly censored version of the AVFM original.)
Perfect woman, or photoshop disaster? (Slightly censored version of the AVFM original.)

 

8) AVFMers really, really hate male feminists — and pretty much every man who doesn’t hate and fear women like they dO — and not-very-subtly project their own sexual insecurities onto them.

 

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9) They also really, really, really hate me.

 

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But I think that’s probably because they’re jealous that I have that second pair of arms.

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thebewilderness
thebewilderness
7 years ago

David, I feel quite strongly that you should write that book. With a title like that the possibilities are limitless. It could be memes or a companion volume to confused cats. Limit less, I’m tellin’ ya.

Bina
7 years ago

How much of a hair trigger do you have to be on to jump instantly from “someone wasn’t allowed into a country” to “EXTERMINATE YOUR ENTIRE RACE!”

And these are the same dingleberries who also fetishize the women of said race, for their alleged “submissiveness”.

The mind boggleth, yea verily.

I.M.
I.M.
7 years ago

I am not as young as she, but I am nearly as thin as the woman in Hilariously Stupid MRA Meme 6– without Photoshopping. No, none of my organs are missing. This includes my brain; I am not a genius, but I’m also not some “bimbo” who “can’t STEM”, or read, or care about social issues.

And, no, I don’t have an eating disorder. In either direction, by the way: if pathologically starving oneself is an eating disorder– not a crime, but a dangerously unhealthy condition warranting clinical treatment– then so is pathological overeating.

Big or fat women definitely get shamed more than skinny ones. The shaming is not equivalent in terms of harmful social impact. But the body-shaming of thin women upsets. All women get bombarded by messages that their worth lies in their attractiveness and that they aren’t attractive enough– I thought this was something feminists were supposed to be aware of. (To be fair, there are some comments by people who seem to be.)

Also, it sometimes strikes me as so. . . ethnocentric. Aren’t there several racial/ethnic groups of non-white women who are predominantly thin, for whatever reasons? In white societies, they get told they’re ugly for other reasons.

People who body-shame are generally taking out their frustration or anger or self-loathing or jealousy on someone else. I’m going to believe that feminists who do this are doing it out of the self-confidence and compassion and righteousness they claim not much more than I’m going to believe the MRA movement is awesome.

Tracy
Tracy
7 years ago

They. cannot. make. effective. memes. Seriously guys: memes are short, funny visual summations of concepts and/or a joke. Augh, I can imagine the hell that would be an improv class with one of these people.

David, another vote for ‘No Mum I’m busy’ as an actual book!

Alex
Alex
7 years ago

Seeing the Soviet officer in one of the memes makes me want to watch “The Hunt for Red October”.

I.M.
I.M.
7 years ago

I came back here because I did something wrong. I don’t like any body-shaming, and I think there’s some body-shaming in this thread, but it was wrong of me to write that last sentence. That’s because, even though I have never believed this, it implies those body-shaming comments are not significantly less reprehensible than AVFM comments.

Well, the MRAs advocate violence, sexual assault, bigotry, etc. Meanwhile, I’ve lurked here and never read anything near that hateful from commenters on this blog.

I will go back to lurking now.

marci
7 years ago

I.M: I don’t think people were body-shaming, but making fun of the fact that the photo appears to be shopped to an unrealistic extent. If you look at the width of the woman’s arms compared to her torso, it does look pretty odd. Most women that thin also have smaller arms. I suppose there are some exceptions, but I think this photo is very suspect.

Citizen Justin
7 years ago

Show a thuggish-looking authoritarian male and words like “Bitch. Whore. Cunt. Sperm bank. Hypergamous. Riding the cock carousel. Rationalization Hamster. Victim card” with the AVFM logo and you just about have it right.

BTW, sorry if someone else has already said the exact same thing. Lots of comments here, I might have missed an earlier one.

Bogdan Cvetkovic
7 years ago

This video may be off topic but it does reveal MRAs and GamerGate a lot for the angry and potentially lethal man-children that they are. I think David Futrelle should really make an article about it because MRAs defend the domestic violence shown in the video. It’s especially heinous even by MRA standards.

***TRIGGER WARNING: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE***

Bogdan Cvetkovic
7 years ago

Show a thuggish-looking authoritarian male and words like “Bitch. Whore. Cunt. Sperm bank. Hypergamous. Riding the cock carousel. Rationalization Hamster. Victim card” with the AVFM logo and you just about have it right.

Sums up pretty every far right/reactionary “movement” out there.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
7 years ago

Mistress CommieDomme’s internal monologue needs to be doge-ified. “So loser. Such alimony. Very jail.”

I.M., I think people were making fun of the MRA belief that attractiveness *only* exists a few standard deviations out on the thin end of the bell curve. By their definition, 95% of women are undateable ugmos, which is ridiculous (and patently false, as anyone who’s ever been outside and observed happy couples can see).

I do agree body-shaming can be hurtful for thin women, and it tends to get dismissed more because of the perception that thin women “have it made” in terms of being lauded as the gold standard by the media, advertising, and fashion industries. There’s a lot of untrue stereotypes that get bandied about, from “thin = fit” to “real women have curves”, to armchair speculating about MRAs being hebephilically attracted to thin body types because of their arrested emotional development (or some other pathology, as if thin women are somehow immature or less womanly or only fit for lesser relationships).

Anyway, I’m sorry if some of the comments wounded you. I don’t think anyone meant to body-shame. I think it was more intended to be photoshop-shaming. MRAs absolutely suck at portraying women.

Tyra Lith
Tyra Lith
7 years ago

seconding I.M.

M. the Social Justice Ranger
M. the Social Justice Ranger
7 years ago

I.M: I don’t think people were body-shaming, but making fun of the fact that the photo appears to be shopped to an unrealistic extent.

Yeah, this; I was mocking the Photoshop work, not the woman. Apologies if it came off that way, though.

sunnysombrera
sunnysombrera
7 years ago

Bogdan: I watched that video. Although I know that Bewildered Ape was being satirical, we know that MRAs are dead serious when they say what they say. Two things stood out to me:

1) Paul and Justicar talk about how the guy “could have really hurt her if he wanted to but he didn’t” like the attacker deserves a fucking cookie.
2) Paul Elam is stupid as fuck when it comes to reading body language. Arms by your sides is NOT a “passive stance” when your fists are clenched and you are backing her into a corner. Also, when your partner slaps you on the chest to try and push you away that is NOT equal to “a raging bull”.

But it’s Elam. He’s spent his whole life blinded by a fantasy world of his own creation. Nothing he says can be taken seriously, ever.

ej
ej
7 years ago

1) Paul and Justicar talk about how the guy “could have really hurt her if he wanted to but he didn’t” like the attacker deserves a fucking cookie.

This bothered me too. They are talking like knocking a woman unconscious is doing her a favor and minimizing the violence. Sorry, guys, that’s not how it works. If your response to a light shove is hitting someone hard enough that they lose consciousness, you’re ESCALATING the violence, not minimizing it.

Bernardo Soares
Bernardo Soares
7 years ago

This comment about how he “could have really hurt her if he wanted to” disturbs me not just because they talk like he deserves praise for his “restraint” but because there is a certain pride about this ability, an absolute power fantasy that if I want, I can kill you just like that, so you better do what I say. And even then I might just decide to kill you and you can’t do anything against that. That’s terror, pure and simple.

mcgingersnap
mcgingersnap
7 years ago

I also apologise if my comment came over as body-shaming. My target was MRAs thinking that only a particular (photoshopped) body-type is acceptable, but I could have made that clearer.

mcgingersnap
mcgingersnap
7 years ago

I believe CH Sommers is a fan of Justicar. Colour me unsurprised.

davidknewton
7 years ago

@davidnewton @mildlymagnificent
I follow a youtube vlogger by the name abaddon5 and he was in an argument/debate with these mra assholes (he calls them Male Supremacists) and the first thing they did was claim his wife was a wh#re who rode the C*ck carrousel before she settled for him as a beta. So you are right that is LITERALLY the argument this asshats make. They try to delegitimize your relationship if it stands in stark contrast to their bullshit.

Right, that’s about what I would have expected.

In my line of work, a ‘beta’ is what you get after ironing the kinks out of the alpha, which is something that’s got the potential to be grown up and well-rounded but is usually a bit broken and needs some work before it can operate in the real world 🙂

Nequam
Nequam
7 years ago

1) Paul and Justicar talk about how the guy “could have really hurt her if he wanted to but he didn’t” like the attacker deserves a fucking cookie.

A much-abused Chris Rock routine comes to mind here (people seem to think it meant they could use the n-word if a black comedian was doing so, where to me it seemed like n-words came in all sorts of colors, going by Rock’s definition…).

maistrechat
7 years ago

TMBG:

I get “Your racist friend” stuck in my head every time an MRA goes on about race, or how explains how their racist jokes weren’t really racist because they were jokes.

Bernardo Soares
Bernardo Soares
7 years ago

Now is the time, now is the time…
Also, the Special AKA is fantastic, but my all time favourite band (Germans will maybe understand) did a great punk version:

sunnysombrera
sunnysombrera
7 years ago

Bernardo: the beginning of the video is Brother John talking about how violence was normal for him during his childhood therefore domestic violence is okay full stop. That’s the belief these guys are running on – it’s okay for men to beat their partners so if all a man does is punch her then the SJWs should be seeing it as a good thing!

blahlistic (@blahlistic)

Regarding body shaming of women:
The point is, no matter your body type, there is some sort of body shaming out there for you.

You can be shamed as too tall, too short, too thin, too fat, too muscular, too weak, too big in the butt, too small in the butt, too big or small in the breasts…et cetera.

Commercially, this insecurity is used to sell women makeup and clothes. Individually, this is used by unscrupulous people of varied gender to make women feel cruddy. Low self-esteem makes people easier to control.

Guys are getting this now…but not yet as intensely.

blahlistic (@blahlistic)

Ps: sorry if I’m repeating, late to the thread.

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