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“Fatherless families bring chaos” declares headline on site run by “Deadbeat Dad”

Well, not so much.
Well, not so much.

Here’s a recent headline on everyone’s favorite Men’s Rights hate site, A Voice for Men:

From A Voice for Men
From A Voice for Men

This seems to be a slightly ironic headline to find on a site run by a man who Buzzfeed infamously described as a “Deadbeat Dad” in a story titled “How Men’s Rights Leader Paul Elam Turned Being A Deadbeat Dad Into A Moneymaking Movement.”

Some pertinent highlights from that piece, by Buzzfeed’s Adam Serwer and Katie J.M. Baker, in case you haven’t read it, or if you’ve forgotten some of the sordid details:

Although Elam says that “fathers are forced to pay child support like it was mafia protection money,” he accused his first wife of lying about being raped so he could relinquish his parental rights and avoid paying child support.

When Elam and the woman Buzzfeed calls “Susan” divorced, she

received full custody of both children … Elam was granted visitation rights every other Sunday afternoon, but only if he wasn’t “under the influence of alcohol or drugs or in the company of people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.” He was also ordered to pay child support every month as well as some previously owed child support and a variety of other debts and court fines. But he didn’t. So Susan took him to court again. Finally, he wrote a petition to the court explaining that he didn’t believe he should be held in contempt of court or pay attorneys’ fees because he didn’t think Bonnie was his. …

[Susan’s] parents convinced her to end the legal battle and cut Elam out of her life without forcing him to prove his paternity. …

According to records, Elam was ultimately held in contempt for failure to pay child support. His punishment was a $100 fine and 30 days in jail. He was ordered to pay $1,200 in unpaid debts, upon which, both parties agreed, his parental rights would be terminated.

And that was that until the daughter Elam had claimed wasn’t his contacted him roughly a quarter of a century later. The two connected, with Elam finally accepting her as his daughter. She broke off the relationship some six years later, she told Buzzfeed, after Elam spanked her son for messing with his fancy new sub-zero fridge. (He denies this, though he does admit he was “grumpy” on the day in question.)

After Buzzfeed’s piece came out, Elam went back to claiming that maybe the woman Buzzfeed calls Bonnie wasn’t his daughter after all. In a post responding to the Buzzfeed story, Elam first referred to “Bonnie” as his “estranged daughter,” then simply his daughter, before adding:

I need to point out that it has not been established that I actually have a daughter. I think it is possible, even likely, but I don’t know for sure.

Somehow I doubt Elam will be winning any father of the year awards any time soon.

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Mish Singh
Mish Singh
6 years ago

Oh, my head, it hurts. This post could just as easily be titled “Fatherless families bring chaos, declares headline on site that consistently presents marriage as an evil misandrist deathtrap.”

Cakes, and eating of, they wish to have both. Get my head around it, I cannot.

tricyclist
tricyclist
6 years ago

@NickNameNick

I honestly wish there was something worse than scum, in order to call him that.

Parasite feasting on the genitals of the pond life that live in the scum.

A bit long winded compared with a simple “scum” but never mind – hope that helps 🙂

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
6 years ago

Hi, calmdown. Welcome.

Col
Col
6 years ago

Paul Elam is the definition of the word psychopath – “A psychopath doesn’t have a conscience. If he lies to you so he can steal your money, he won’t feel any moral qualms, though he may pretend to. He may observe others and then act the way they do so he’s not “found out,”

Paul bleeds money out of other men who actual want help with their life issues. Paul has no problem stealing from other men on AVFM…but, get this, Paul claims women are after only after money(lol)
Paul has used everyone in his life, but most of all women..the man is just an oxygen thief & both his children are very lucky to have a decent mother & Grandparents who raised them when Paul pissed off. Paul never sent a cent to help with everyday needs(food,etc) for his own children EVER…what a loser!

katz
6 years ago

Paul Elam is the definition of the word psychopath – “A psychopath doesn’t have a conscience. If he lies to you so he can steal your money, he won’t feel any moral qualms, though he may pretend to. He may observe others and then act the way they do so he’s not “found out,”

While I understand why you feel that way, we don’t talk like that here. See the comment policy.

Kat
Kat
6 years ago

@calmdown

I read this blog because my Dad had introduced most MRA talking points to me long before they had an official name or big internet.

Nice to have you here!

We have similar stories. My dad introduced me to proto-MRA talking points back in the mid-1950s, when I was born. (In a nutshell, it goes like this: It’s your mother’s fault.) Indeed, that shit does leave marks on your soul.

That’s why, every chance I get, I stand up for women.

Hey, I like your user name. My boyfriend always tells me, “Don’t panic!”

Kat
Kat
6 years ago

@calmdown

“Don’t be surprised if I kill your mom because I HAVE MY REASONS.”

I’m sorry to hear that your dad is terrifying.

I’m sending you my best wishes for the success of your effort to calm the eff down.

Paradoxical Intention - Resident Cheeseburger Slut

@calmdown: Nice to have you here, help yourself to a welcome package!

And don’t feel alone, I’ve had similar experiences with father figures in my life as well, most notably my biological father who abandoned my mother and I because I wasn’t a first born son, but rather a first born daughter. And I really feel you on that “you carry that with you” stuff, considering my step-father was an abusive piece of human garbage that forced me to carry enough emotional baggage to leave me feeling worthless for going on 20 years now. I’m better than I was a while ago, but sometimes that shit floats up to the surface.

Yeah, I’ll leave it at that.

Dreamer
Dreamer
6 years ago

Calm Down – welcome and hugs.

Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
6 years ago

Alan: “fairy liquid” is kids’ bubble solution, right? As a US-based Anglophile, I think I heard it called that in a British book/movie/TV show once but wanted to double-check.
ETA: searched and nope, it’s kinda like Dawn.

calmdown
calmdown
6 years ago

Thank you for the welcome everyone. : )
I know I’m not alone in knowing all about anti feminist issues long before #gamergate and the internets made them into headlines. The truth is most are much older than any of us. The old anti suffragette cartoons people often post here are especially amazing. They demonstrate so clearly how old some of these ideas are!

Inkswitch
Inkswitch
6 years ago

Hai @calmdown! I’m sure you’ll find many friends and like-minded individuals here

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@Cyberwulf

What these guys really want is to have a live-in nanny slave they can fuck any time they want and who’ll do 100% of the child care while they continue their bachelor lifestyle. They’re mad as hell that women can leave them and hold them financially accountable for the children they created.

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Dr. NicolaLuna
Dr. NicolaLuna
6 years ago

A more accurate statement would be “kids bring chaos.”
Paulie probably wouldn’t know as he’s not had to actually parent his own children. But kids come along with poop explosions, drawing on walls, putting phones in toilets (that was a fun phase), putting lipstick all over the cat, hiding food behind the sofa cushions, drawing moustaches on you when you sleep (my kids are pretty funny) and making your house look like an explosion in a toy shop.

The fact that my son’s dad made a hasty exit as soon as I got pregnant has got nothing on the chaos of general childcare.

Kootiepatra
Kootiepatra
6 years ago

@Tessa – I’d be willing to bet that the MRA’s aren’t as interested in cutting all *ties* with the child (though many surely want that) as they are with wanting to be able to cut off all *responsibility* for the child. If they were able to get a “paper abortion” law passed, I’d give it about 12 months before there are men who have financially disowned their children but are now complaining that the mothers are so cruel and unreasonable that they won’t even let them SEE the baby. And then the man’s right to drop in on occasion, without actually being a parent, will be a major point of MRA outrage.

@calmdown – Welcome! I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with so much of this stuff so close to home, but I hope you enjoy hanging around this site. (And your post made perfect sense, don’t worry!)

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
6 years ago

@NicolaLuna:

A more accurate statement would be “kids bring chaos.”

SING IT, SISTER. Whether or not there’s a father in the picture, kids are messy, exhausting, and hard work. (But also rewarding.)

There’s a lot of cognitive dissonance that goes into “paper abortions” + “I still want complete control over my kids”. They want fatherhood on their terms, without taking on any responsibility for the well-being of those they seek to control. Parenting isn’t something you can flit into and out of when it’s convenient. Kids aren’t stupid. They can see the difference between supportive dads who stick with them through thick and thin, and dads who regard them as little more than trophies in a contest of “Look everyone! My sperm work!”

Say what you will about single moms, most of them work hard, put their own needs on the back burner, and are there for the kids 24/7. It doesn’t make sense that there’s so much societal venom directed at them, and very little disapproval of the fathers who help create the kids and then flake out.

Social Justice Atheist
Social Justice Atheist
6 years ago

@calmdown

I’m late to the party but just wanted to say welcome and offer my deepest sympathy for what you are going through. I can empathize too, because my dad is not exactly father of the year either and I have been through similar things with him threatening my mom, brother, and me. I know how scary it can get. Hugs if you would like them, good wishes if not.

mockingbird
mockingbird
6 years ago

SING IT, SISTER. Whether or not there’s a father in the picture, kids are messy, exhausting, and hard work. (But also rewarding.)

http://364daysofthanksgiving.com/wpcontent/uploads/2015/11/amen.jpg

It’s especially rewarding when they start to also like cool things (read: the awesome stuff that you like), introduce you to cool things (I probably never would’ve watched Doctor Who if not for our eldest), and begin to voice the connections they’ve made that never would’ve occurred to you.
Also awesome: When you see them pursue and excel at something that’s not your bag at all.
Ex: Our eldest is becoming an exceptional anime style artist – I can do, like, a stick figure…? -, our middle can sit and think and construct/deconstruct for hours – she’s such a little engineer, and I’m pretty sure that our youngest will be a better athlete than I and her Dad put together.

But we’re currently covered in glitter and paper scraps. And where are all our cups? And my pastry cutter? Why would they need my pastry cutter? (ಠ_ಠ)

There’s a lot of cognitive dissonance that goes into “paper abortions” + “I still want complete control over my kids”. They want fatherhood on their terms, without taking on any responsibility for the well-being of those they seek to control. Parenting isn’t something you can flit into and out of when it’s convenient. Kids aren’t stupid. They can see the difference between supportive dads who stick with them through thick and thin, and dads who regard them as little more than trophies in a contest of “Look everyone! My sperm work!”

I’ll say nothing except that I’ve seen this in action.
And all praise to men who take on the difficult, sometimes thankless* role of step-father.

*And often not. Our middle has known no time that hasn’t included my husband – we got married when she was 2, her father left when she was a newborn – one day when they were walking through the woods when she was about 5, she explained that she was a wild girl from the forest. He had adopted her and she was now his daughter.
He didn’t know that he had adopted her, but she did.

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
6 years ago

*And often not. Our middle has known no time that hasn’t included my husband – we got married when she was 2, her father left when she was a newborn – one day when they were walking through the woods when she was about 5, she explained that she was a wild girl from the forest. He had adopted her and she was now his daughter.
He didn’t know that he had adopted her, but she did.

{{hugs comment}} ‘snf. Nope, nothing in my eye, nothing at all.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

I think they’re trying to use kids as a kind of protection racket. They blame feminism for men abandoning their kids and then tell women that we would just go back to not wanting rights or jobs and accepting DV and marital rape, then men would totally want to be good parents again. As has been noted here many times, they don’t care about the kids at all.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ Nikki

“fairy liquid” is kids’ bubble solution, right?

Not officially, but you can use it as shower gel; especially now they’ve redesigned the bottles so you can hold on to them.

Bina
6 years ago

Welcome, @calmdown. And damn, your old man sucks…will a kitty help?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TrxeJpxJcY

If that won’t do, here are two:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVwMuqT2dpc

Again, welcome…and please do hang around.

Skiriki
Skiriki
6 years ago

Dr. NicolaLuna:
I have no kids, but right now I got two cats, let’s compare…

But kids come along with poop explosions,

Check!

drawing on walls,

Scratching counts, right?

putting phones in toilets (that was a fun phase),

Carrying off stuff too, right?

putting lipstick all over the cat,

Cat eating lipstick, right?

hiding food behind the sofa cushions,

Yep.

drawing moustaches on you when you sleep (my kids are pretty funny) and

Smeared with cat fur…

making your house look like an explosion in a toy shop.

*looks over her shoulder at a pile of cat toys*

I’ve described Bengals as “kids without thumbs”, since they are pretty terrifyingly intelligent.

However, mine will not grow up from here, and start discovering stuff like Dr. Who and create new fanciful worlds of imagination and research new cures for different types of cancer and whatever kids-growing-up are wont to do, so anyone with kids they love and care about is definitely winning here. However, I’ll be happy with my kitties along with my Significant Otter, in my own way. 😀

Robert
Robert
6 years ago

Every time I read about other people’s fathers, it makes me more grateful for mine.

Curiously, I grew up to be very like my father, and marry a man who is very much like my mother. Our two sons are abundantly fathered, albeit in a way that would make Elam a sad panda. Both appear to be cisgender heterosexual, NTTAWWT.

Ktoryx
Ktoryx
6 years ago

Calmdown, your story reminds me of a man a member of my family used to be married to. Never worked, spent all her money on booze for himself, does nothing to contribute to his children’s life, yet somehow it’s his ex’s fault he’s broke. He refused to get a job for years, finally when she kicked him out she offered to help him with first and last month’s rent so he could get on his feet. “I don’t want anything from you, you *expletive*”

A year later, he’s living on the street. He lived at a shelter and they tried to get him into a jobs program several times, he refused. His ex has tried to get him into housing and a job many times, he just spits at her and calls her names. You see, that’s charity, and he’s above charity. He doesn’t want people’s help when they offer it to him freely; he wants to demand and force and bully people into giving him stuff. That way he can feel in control. So he opted for a year-long stalking campaign of sleeping in the park outside her house so he can watch her, showing up at the house at any time of the day and night to scream at her and demand money. He’s taken pictures of her house to try and make the house look in enough disrepair to get condemned (which would have put his own children out on the street, but whatever. The house is fine, by the way, and the city didn’t even respond to his lame message.) used the children as weapons to try and force her to give him money and let him sleep in her house for free, on and on and on and on. They’re just barely moving on now, and he’s not making it easy.

This is a very extreme case, and obviously this man is very unwell and the best thing would be for him to get treatment (and a big fat restraining order) but reading so many stories like Elam’s, as well as the frankly unbalanced comments and memes of the MRA brigade do make me wonder about the intersection between toxic masculinity and mental health. Anyone can have a breakdown, but just because a person is sick doesn’t mean they’re angry or violent. But toxic masculinity is already a hateful outlook on life, and if that’s already ingrained in your beliefs before you got sick, it’s still going to be a part of you after you get sick. These men churn with constant rage and hatred. That has to wear down on your mental state, especially if you are predisposed to certain conditions. And of course, these men don’t seek help because that would be “weak”.

I don’t know. I know it’s problematic to throw around mental health as though it’s a distraction or an excuse for violent behaviour, but when I see these patterns arising again and again in abuse situations, it really makes me wonder about the pathology of abuse. The stories these men need to have internalized and need to continually tell themselves to rationalize their behaviour are simply not rational. The irresistible urge to have power and control over others, specifically “their” women and children, is simply not rational. We go on and on about the mental states of abused women — “battered women’s syndrome” and so on — but the common dialogue about abusive men is just not there in any nuanced way. Supposedly, abusive men are just evil, and they just happen.

I don’t think all abusers are mentally ill, but they do need to have some extremely powerful self-rationalization in place to do what they do. And I keep seeing these patterns of unstable men with extremely toxic ideas about masculinity. Is it simply an incidental happenstance? Nice men get sick too, of course. Or is there a cause and effect relationship between toxic masculinity and mental health issues?

sunnysombrera
sunnysombrera
6 years ago

@Ktoryx

*sigh* Okay, so it seems that you are at least slightly aware that we generally don’t tolerate linking MRA horseshit to mental illness. The main reason being that it throws real sufferers under the bus while, as you said, distracting from the real issues that promote toxic masculinity and toxic behaviour as a result.

I know that you’re just pondering whether mental illness plays a role or not, and I accept that SOME abusive men do have issues but here is the thing: the human mind is a complex, malleable thing that doesn’t need to be “sick” in order to absorb/act out on toxic attitudes.

You say that they way they think and feel isn’t rational, which is why you ponder that they might be “unwell” as a cause/factor. It isn’t rational, especially in 2016 eyes, but look back at history and all the inhumane beliefs large swathes of the population had towards ethnic minorities, homosexuals, and yes, women as well. To sum it up they were all seen as less than human. Today that train of thought and all its sub-beliefs is totally irrational to us (well most of us anyway) but could you honestly tell me that it meant most people were mentally ill in those days?

Or could it be that they simply bought into terrible, toxic attitudes while being healthy of mind? It’s absolutely possible. People are complex and can buy into nasty rhetoric even today. I’ve met people who I know are mentally sound but have come out with some shocking statements of their beliefs.

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