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The Curious Case of the Disappearing A Voice for Men Facebook Page

Wanted for questioning
Wanted for questioning

Something weird is going on.

Yesterday, A Voice for Men’s Facebook page was temporarily suspended. I’m not sure how long it was down, but by the time I discovered Paul Elam’s announcement of the suspension late last night, it had been restored.

Elam — who apparently decided to come out of retirement for the occasion — declared that the suspension

appears to be the work of censorious feminist ideologues working in a modern Facebook environment that favors their agenda.

Mike Buchanan — the head of the UK’s ludicrously unsuccessful Justice for Men & Boys party and a longtime AVFM pal — declared in a comment on AVFM and in a post on his site that the censorious feminist ideologue responsible for this dastardly deed was a woman named Rose S Garston, a self-described “thorn in the side of MRAs” who had taken credit for the suspension in a post on her own Facebook page.

As proof, she posted a screenshot of the note she got from Facebook informing her that her complaint had led to AVFM’s suspension. Garston also took credit for getting the Exposing Feminism Facebook page taken down.

So, case closed then, right? Well, not exactly.

Because “Rose S Garston” does not seem to exist.

True, a Google search of the name shows there was a woman of that name born in 1903 in New Haven, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this almost certainly dead person is not the one posting on Facebook.

The rest of the Google results link to “Garston’s” Facebook page, to several comments “she” made elsewhere using “her” Facebook account, and to and assortment of MRA and Alt-Right sites that picked up Buchanan’s post.

“Garston” scrubbed “her” Facebook page of most of its contents sometime last night, but an archived version of the page — linked to in Buchanan’s post — raises even more red flags.

The page portrays “Garston” as a “fat acceptance” activist as well as a feminist. But to my eyes it doesn’t look like the page of a real feminist or fat acceptance activist. It looks like the work of a troll.

For one thing, there’s the matter of the picture purportedly of Garston that sits atop the page — showing a young woman holding a sign explaining why she supports fat acceptance. I don’t doubt that the person in the photo is a real fat acceptance activist; a Google image search shows that the photo was originally posted two years ago on a Tumblr blog devoted to fat acceptance.

But it’s also appeared on a zillion other pages since then, including a number mocking fat acceptance. It’s on Know Your Meme. It was used in a Youtube video called “The Fat Acceptance Movement is Bullshit.” Internet-famous fat-shamer (and fat person) Matt Forney used it in a post on “Fat Acceptance, Cultural Marxism and Identity Politics.”

It’s literally the first image that shows up if you do a Google image search for “fat acceptance” — making it the obvious pick for a lazy troll looking for a picture of a fat activist to pretend to be.

Then there’s the Facebook post from “Garston” in which “she” sets forth “her” views on the subject.

Stop the fat shaming. Fat is beautiful. Fat is healthy. It is the patriarchy that has dictated women must all be skinny as rakes for the viewing pleasure of men. Fuck that. You want that donut? That chicken burger and fries? That 15inch pizza? Then, go for it. Get it down you. Enjoy 🙂

Word of advice though. Being fat wont stop men catcalling you. At my heaviest I was 717lb and men would still catcall me when I was in my mobility scooter buying groceries.

Really? Really? If this was written by anyone other than a troll, I will eat my cats.

Assuming “Garston” is not the honest-to-goodness feminist fat acceptance activist “she” purports to be, then who is behind the account?

Could it be Elam himself or some other AVFMer trying to gin up some attention and sympathy?

I doubt it. Not that Elam wouldn’t stoop this low. He would. But I don’t think that Elam has the imagination to come up with something like this. And I doubt he would risk getting his Facebook page permanently banned in order to stir up a fake controversy.

No, I suspect it’s the work of someone who doesn’t much like feminism, or fat acceptance, or AVFM.

Could it be the work of some longtime fat-shamer like Forney or Roosh? In addition to using the same picture that Forney used for his post dissing fat acceptance, “Garston” also posted a screenshot from a Dr. Oz show about a 700-pound woman. As you may recall, Roosh made a bit of a spectacle of himself during an appearance on Dr. Oz to discuss his own fat-shaming campaign.

So … maybe? Probably not, though.

Regardless of who did it, if the point of this apparent trollery was to cause a headache for AVFM and to stir up animus towards feminists, well, it’s succeeded at both.

Over on the Men’s Rights subreddt, the regulars worked themselves into a self-righteous frenzy over what proved to be a very short-lived suspension.

Someone called NixonForBreadsident got 97 net upvotes for a comment decrying what he saw as

a co-ordinated effort to render anything against feminism on Google, Facebook and other social media. As in they’ve literally had meetings to push this agenda.

This is a major fuckup on their side though, the world has been steadily getting pissed off by feminism and the one thing that unites people is when you censor content.

NOTHING is too big to fall. Remember that.

Our old friend ThePigmanAgain declared that

this is very bad news. The hammer is starting to fall all over the place and one has to wonder how long it will be before the PC fascists who run FB start to ban ordinary members who also happen to be MRAs.

r4ks4k was a bit more succinct, saying only

Well then f**k facebook.

The original comment did not contain the asterisks, of course.

I have no idea how this whole thing is going to shake out.

Your move, troll. I guess?

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LG
LG
6 years ago

Mockingbird – Heh, yeah, I was actually the one who first made the Labyrinth argument in the January thread. Check out the lyrics to “As The World Falls Down,” because those are pure Bowie and I think display a real understanding of how emotionally damaging Jareth would be/wants to be to Sarah. Consider: “As the pain sweeps through/makes no sense for you/every thrill is gone/wasn’t too much fun at all./But I’ll be there for you as the world falls down.”

I am an absolutely die-hard Bowie fan. I can forgive him, I can believe he grew up, I’m not surprised that he did what he did as a fame and coke-addled 22-year-old, and I don’t believe it was an expression on his part of predatory toxic masculinity so much as stupidity. But he (probably) committed at LEAST those two acts of statutory rape and absolutely nothing makes that anything but abhorrent and inexcusable.

Especially since it sounds like the night Maddox lost her virginity to Bowie was what *directly* gave Jimmie Paige the idea that she was exploitable, and that “relationship” was toxic and abusive as hell and even Maddox herself kinda seems able to acknowledge that sometimes.

The really significant thing for me about “Love Is Lost” is that Bowie made it more or less around the time Maddox came forward, which is also the time when his own daughter was 13. The lyrics are typical oblique Bowie, but what is definitely clear is that it’s about him looking back in horror on the actions of his 22-year-old self (and he does reference being 22) and how he once thought that, “no love was bad.” And he charges his younger self with having “cut out [his] soul and the face of thought.”

Herlander Carvalho
Herlander Carvalho
6 years ago

I saw it coming as soon as I read the 2nd paragraph xD

Crys T
Crys T
6 years ago

Thanks, LG. I don’t want to excuse or minimise what Bowie did, but I also think there needs to be acknowledgement that some people do change.

Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ LG

I can forgive him

It’s an interesting ethical question as to whether someone who’s not the actual victim can forgive a person.

I’m not convinced that’s possible myself. I also think that sometimes there’s a lot of pressure on victims to forgive; which I see as unfair. I’m pretty ambivalent about the death penalty for instance, but I think anti DP campaigners who make a big thing about forgiveness and redemption are putting an undue burden on victims’ families. They’re suffering enough without people who weren’t affected adding an extra helping of guilt on top.

It’s the same with child abusers and rapists. People may work on rehabilitation in the background so long as they do it quietly, but in the public sphere the concern should be for the victims not the perpetrators.

That’s only my view of course, other opinions may differ.

LG.
LG.
6 years ago

You’re absolutely right, Alan. What I mean is that I can forgive him for disappointing me as a fan and for what his actions mean to me as a(n alleged) woman. Anything beyond that is definitely not mine to forgive.

Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ LG

Yeah, I can see that. It’s a bit like the Steven Fry thing. I can just be disappointed with him; but I completely support the right of other people, especially victims, to have much stronger views.

mockingbird
mockingbird
6 years ago

Editing to add: Ninja’d a bunch. I wrote this on and off while jumping up to do other things. LG’s response following my triad was the last thing I’d read.

@Josh – Yeah, I’ve got to admit that I don’t know too terribly much about its making (I was 6 when it came out, watched it as an older child, and have had fond memories of it as an adult). I did a little bit of searching before this response, though, and found that Henson really pushed for Bowie (another choice being Michael Jackson) and that the script (not unusually) had 25 different versions cycle before shooting, and he apparently nearly backed out at least once until the script was reworked. Bowie also wrote all of the songs. And, c’mon – those are a huge part of what drives the story.

@LG – Thank you for claiming credit! And also thank you for being the person to bring that into the earlier conversation. For me, at least, it really helped to reexamine and reframe the film.

I also agree with your above conclusions. (1) He did something wrong and there’s no excusing it. (2) He later realized that it was wrong. (3) He seemed to communicate regret about it in the best way he knew how. (4) He seemed to conduct the rest of his life in opposition to his earlier actions. (I say “seemed” because I’m far from an expert on the man.)

That being said, I won’t argue with anyone who can’t forgive him for (a) doing it in the first place or (b) apparently not confessing the wrong done, asking for forgiveness, and trying to make explicit recompense. I do (inasmuch as a casual fan has the power to “forgive” a celebrity for any action), but it’s very much a personal thing. If someone else’s personal thoughts and feelings disallow that, it’s not my place to try to negate them.

LG
LG
6 years ago

“It’s the same with child abusers and rapists. People may work on rehabilitation in the background so long as they do it quietly, but in the public sphere the concern should be for the victims not the perpetrators.”

Hmm.

I do agree that sympathy and compassion most certainly should be most heavily reserved for the victims, but I don’t entirely agree with the idea of “quietly in the background,” especially when the perp is already famous. Sure, it’s a big problem when some abusive jerkass does the whole, “Look at me, it’s not my fault and anyway I’m feeling sooooo guilty that CLEARLY I’m the REAL victim, here!”

But our culture has a big problem with dehumanizing rapists. This contributes to victims not being believed, because if the alleged perp *doesn’t* look like our idea of an inhuman monster, and if we believe that the only option society has with a rapist is to dispose of that person with extreme prejudice, we will never face our true reality and never advance on this issue. We will simply continue to address rape by severely punishing only the occasional scapegoat, usually people from marginalized groups.

For this reason, I want rehabilitation, regret and responsibility-taking to be very, very visible.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

It is my opinion that we must never place a social expectation upon a victim to forgive. If they do not wish to then that’s their choice and theirs alone, and they’re the last person who should be made to be a villain here.

However, it is also my opinion that if we state that we will not forgive, then we encourage people to not attempt to apologise and attempt to reform.

I am by no means an oracle on the matter.

mockingbird
mockingbird
6 years ago

Alan said:

“It’s the same with child abusers and rapists. People may work on rehabilitation in the background so long as they do it quietly, but in the public sphere the concern should be for the victims not the perpetrators.”

LG said:

I do agree that sympathy and compassion most certainly should be most heavily reserved for the victims, but I don’t entirely agree with the idea of “quietly in the background,” especially when the perp is already famous. Sure, it’s a big problem when some abusive jerkass does the whole, “Look at me, it’s not my fault and anyway I’m feeling sooooo guilty that CLEARLY I’m the REAL victim, here!”

My stance: Especially if the perp’s a public figure, I agree that public regret and recompense is helpful after personally addressing the victim(s) and asking for permission to make things public as long as they’re actually contrite and make their public efforts about, “This is what I did, it was wrong, it’s never right, there’s no excuse*, don’t do it,” rather than, “LOOK AT MEEEE! FEEL PITY FOR MEEEE!”

*Though I’d say that it’d be useful if they point to the events, influences, or viewpoints that led them to commit the crime and encourage others who may have had similar experiences, be prone to similar influences, or hold similar viewpoints to either reexamine themselves or, if needed, seek help.
Reasons versus excuses.
The first empowers – it gives you something that you can work against moving forward. The latter disempowers – you are acted upon and are at the mercy of events.

LG
LG
6 years ago

“That being said, I won’t argue with anyone who can’t forgive him for (a) doing it in the first place or (b) apparently not confessing the wrong done, asking for forgiveness, and trying to make explicit recompense…”

I actually suspect that he could not remember the incident. Guy lost a lot of his memories to his insane cocaine addiction. I think the refrain, “What have you done?” in “Love is lost,” is literally, “What the fuck did I even do?”

But yeah, I don’t begrudge anyone hating him, (though it makes me sad because I think his body of work is strongly and genuinely anti-toxic masculinity), and it would have been by far the most responsible thing to do to make an explicit statement about it.

Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ LG

but I don’t entirely agree with the idea of “quietly in the background,”

Sorry LG, I should have made myself clearer. I was referring to things like sex offending prevention courses and stuff like that, rather than any individual abuser. I can see that attempts at rehabilitation may be a worthy aim; if only for the pragmatic reason that even the most heinous of rapists and murderers are likely to be released back onto society.

I don’t have a problem with people engaging in that sort of work, but I think if it’s highlighted then it can suggest that the bad guys are in fact the victims and that they should not be held responsible (especially when we talk in terms of ‘treatment’). Then the victims are just unfortunate people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, like someone who gets hurt in a natural disaster; and any hostility they have towards their abusers is seen as unwarranted.

I understand what you mean about demonising and the problems that can occur. But I’d address that by educating people that rapists aren’t necessarily jumping out of hedges in balaclavas. What we perhaps need is the sexual offending equivalent of “the banality of evil”. In the same way Eichmann showed that Nazis weren’t pantomime villains, we need a way of highlighting what your ‘average’ rapist is likely to actually look like.

Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ mockingbird

I totally get where you’re coming from. The trouble with a lot of these celebrity ‘expressions of remorse’ though is that they’re devised by publicists for damage limitation purposes and to make sure the the celebs career isn’t too badly affected.

I hate all that “but *sniffle* with the help of god and my family *cue tears* I hope to be able to overcome this terrible affliction *break down and sob*” crap.

A warning as to what factors may have led to the offending might be useful to others on the same path; but the flip side is that it’s just removes responsibility. Effectively the abuser will be blaming these external factors or environment as if they had no choice in the matter. Again, it makes them the victim, as opposed to the real victim, or at least suggests both the abuser and victim are equally the victims of some other thing.

Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

Hope I’m not being too ranty about this. Feel free to bollock me if I am. It’s just that it comes at the same time I’m chatting with one of my non-internet friends about a particular issue; so it resonates.

She’s got a dilemma. She works in an a particular industry where women are routinely exploited. She’s been approached by some interns. You can guess the rest. The trouble is they’re too scared to ‘go public’ or at least raise the issue. It’s an environment where that “I’ll see you never work in this town again” threat carries real weight. There are a small number of ‘gatekeepers’ to progressing in that career and they hold all the power. I can advise her as to all the legal solutions, but they just aren’t practical in reality. We’re at a loss as to what she should/can do.

It’s so unfair.

LG
LG
6 years ago

“A warning as to what factors may have led to the offending might be useful to others on the same path; but the flip side is that it’s just removes responsibility. Effectively the abuser will be blaming these external factors or environment as if they had no choice in the matter. ”

If this process is guided skillfully, these pitfalls can be avoided. And when I say “guided skillfully,” I mean both in terms of, say, abuse counselors working with perps and in terms of all of us continuing to improve our social understanding of abuse and our public conversation about it.

To that end, the prime difference between a truly repentant abuser and a fake-guilty abuser is that the truly repentant one genuinely understands and is galled by the fact that being abusive destroys their chances for real intimacy and trust with people. I think this is the only time when the desire to make meaningful reparations can trump the desire to avoid feeling guilt, even help one to embrace the guilt as meaningful and useful in solving the problem.

One key thing: a lot of those “factors” that can lead to abuse are ongoing and avoidable. Continuing with Bowie as the example, he cited cocaine and his own tendency to lose himself in his created personas as factors in his bad behavior, and he actually stopped doing those things, too. Sharp contrast from some abusers I know, who’ll blame the alcohol from dawn to dusk but never actually put the bottle down.

History Nerd
History Nerd
6 years ago

@Alan I agree with the basic principles of Schopenhauer’s argument for the death penalty for murderers. Except I’m pretty convinced that it doesn’t deter people so therefore the state shouldn’t use it (but I’m not going to waste my sympathy feeling bad for someone on death row who tortured and killed kids).

Josh
Josh
6 years ago

The death penalty is a waste of money, it doesn’t deter violent crime, and it runs a heavy risk of killing innocent people. Arguing for or against the death penalty really comes down to whether you think it’s morally justified to kill someone as punishment.

Paradoxical Intention - Resident Cheeseburger Slut

@Josh: Very good point!

History Nerd
History Nerd
6 years ago

@Josh I completely agree with your first sentence.

Jason
Jason
6 years ago

F-E-M-I-N-A-Z-I:

Given that most feminist women could give a fuck less about men and hope to put most men in slave camps – only to be let out to mow lawns, fix their toilets, pave the streets, pick up the trash and periodically roto-rooter their plumbing – to most men, this comes as no surprise.

Cultural Misandry + Male Disposability. Something feminist women and ass kissing white knights cherish.

Let the Nazi-like censorship of of men’s voices by feminists begin. Beware the tsunami like backlash to follow. You think men’s rights activists are bad. Wait until you see what happens when you squash free speech – censor men’s voices – and unite all men against feminism.

Censorship has a long, proud history of destroying the censors.

Imagine a world in which 90% of alimony and child support was paid by women to men. Imagine a world in which 90% of war and workplaces deaths were experienced by women. Imagine a world in which women were the vast majority of suicides. Imagine a world in which women received on average far harsher prison sentences than men. Imagine a world in which the vast majority of federal and state discretionary spending was dedicated to men’s health, education and welfare.

I fucking hate feminists – bunch of cowardly, double standard supporting hypocrites! Fuck you feminists!

Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ history nerd, josh, paradoxy

Yeah, aside from the risk of miscarriages of justice, I also think that generally violent and sexual offending isn’t really affected by deterrence factors.

To me the main utility of death penalties or incarceration is that it prevents, for at time at least, offenders committing more crimes in outside society.

I can see that the punitive element can bring some relief to victims and their families though, and I’m not going to begrudge them that or condemn them for feeling vengeful.

(I also have some views on what should happen to certain types of people who take pleasure in hurting innocents, but that’s very much a personal stance)

PocketNerd
PocketNerd
6 years ago

Thus Spake ZaraJason:

Given that most feminist women could give a fuck less about men and hope to put most men in slave camps – only to be let out to mow lawns, fix their toilets, pave the streets, pick up the trash and periodically roto-rooter their plumbing

Okay, folks, who leaked this information? Operation Put All Men In Slave Camps was classified DOUBLE SECRET KITTY, and not to be revealed until the FemiNWO black helicopters mobilized next Wednesday. Now we’ll have to start our Evil Plans all over again.

AsAboveSoBelow
AsAboveSoBelow
6 years ago

*points and laughs*

Freemage
Freemage
6 years ago

This very heavy thread’s comic relief will be provided by Jason, as he attempts desperately to connect his bog-standard dire warnings of a large-scale anti-feminist backlash and pogrom to today’s topic. Everyone, give Jason a Lego.

**********

I think the best description I read re: Bowie during the discussions I was following after his death likened his statutory rape of Maddox to shooting a gun into a crowd and only hitting a tree in the middle–he got lucky, in that Maddox seems to have rolled with it far better than many would expect, but that’s all it was–luck. The action itself was still dangerously risky, and could’ve easily destroyed her, which is why we have statutory rape laws in the first place. And I agree with those who say he changed, having realized he did get lucky and how close he came to triggering a real tragedy.

Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ Jason

Jason, a Facebook page that hardly anybody reads was temporarily suspended by the private company that owns the service whilst they investigated what was probably a fake complaint.

We’re not exactly talking Tyndale’s Bible here.

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