Yesterday, a young man barged into a Gender Studies class at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. After ascertaining that the class was indeed a Gender Studies class, he pulled a couple of knives out of his backpack, broke into what one witness called a “disgusting mischievous smile,” then stabbed the professor and two students before being arrested as he tried to slip away.
You probably haven’t been wondering what good old A Voice for Men — yes, it’s still alive, if barely — has to say about Will Smith’s famous slap. But I’m going to tell you about it anyway, because I found it quite … educational?
If the Men’s Rights movement is looking for a celebrity endorser, I think I’ve found just the guy for them: the mixed martial arts fighter, and erstwhile porn actor, War Machine, currently sitting in jail on charges of brutally beating and attempting to kill his ex-girlfriend, porn star Christy Mack.
And in so many ways War Machine is perfect for them. An MMA fighter, he’s already only one letter away from being an MRA. A misogynistic asshole with rage issues, he’ll have no trouble fitting in with the Men’s Rights crowd. And, especialy important for a movement that has a lot of trouble getting any good PR, he’s a bit more comfortable on camera than the Paul Elams and Dean Esmays of the world, with experience on television (on the reality show The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra), and in seven films (albeit pornographic ones).
Best of all: he’ll need no ideological education from what A Voice for Men likes to call Fuck Shit Up University. War Machine – real name Jonathan Koppenhaver – is already an outspoken proponent of many of the Men’s Rights Movement’s core beliefs.
Consider these selections from a little Men’s Rights manifesto War Machine wrote a few years ago during a previous stint behind bars, serving time for felony assault after two bloody bar fights. His rant, which a friend posted to the internet, would fit right in with the sort of stuff we’ve seen regularly posted on the Men’s Rights subreddit, or The Spearhead, or A Voice for Men. I’ve bolded some of the Men’s Rightsiest bits:
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.
Today is Martin Luther King day here in the United States. In remembering Dr. King’s legacy, alas, his story is sometimes reduced to a few simplistic soundbites, and we forget how much of a struggle his famous struggle really was.
The one thing no one seems to want to remember is how much opposition there was to King and his message, and how ugly and violent and hateful this opposition was.
King and his family faced real threats and real harassment on a daily basis. He was subject to real violence, yet continued to preach a message of nonviolence.
As a reminder of the courage it took to be Martin Luther King, here’s an account of a march he led in Chicago in 1966, taken from Rick Perlstein’s book Nixonland. (Content warning: Racist language, violence.)
August 5. Six hundred open-housing activists, ten thousand counterdemonstrators. Some wore Nazi helmets. Others waved Confederate battle flags, carried George Wallace banners, swastika placards that helpfully explained THE SYMBOL OF WHITE POWER.
Martin Luther King, Mahalia Jackson by his side, led his legions forth: “We are bound for the promised land!”
“Kill those niggers!”
“We want Martin Luther Coon!”
Police trying to keep the two sides apart were screamed at: “Nigger-loving cops!” “God, I hate niggers and nigger-lovers,” a reporter overheard an old lady say.
Martin Luther King walked past.
“Kill him! Kill him!”
“Roses are red, violets are black, King would look good with a knife in his back.”
Instead he got a baseball-size rock above his ear. He slumped to the ground—the Gandhian moment of truth. … King got up and kept on marching. We shall overcome.
Why did King put himself at such risk? “I have to do this–to expose myself–to bring this hate into the open,” he later explained.
He also, as a result of his activism in Chicago, got local real estate agents to agree to abide by the city’s fair housing ordinance. Not a dramatic concession, but a meaningful one, and one that illustrated the kind of everyday discrimination that blacks faced in America.
This is what a real civil rights hero looks like.
EDIT: Here’s some footage of one of King’s marches in Chicago, and a Chicago Tribune video about King’s Chicago activism. The footage here is supposedly of King’s march in Gage Park; the march described above took place in Marquette Park, where he got an even more hostile reception.
Today is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada, an annual event to honor the victims of mass murderer Marc Lépine, who gunned down fourteen women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989. Lepine, driven by a poisonous misogynist ideology, specifically targeted women, yelling “I hate feminists” before opening fire on one classroom of female students.
Reading over his suicide-note-cum-manifesto today, I was struck again by how, well, familiar it all sounded. While only a few MRAs have explicitlycelebrated Lepine as a hero, his views on women and feminism would not be out of place on most Men’s Rights forums. Here’s Lepine, in his own words. (I’ve broken the wall of text into shorter paragraphs.)
[T]he feminists always have a talent for enraging me.
They want to retain the advantages of being women (e.g. cheaper insurance, extended maternity leave preceded by a preventive leave) while trying to grab those of the men. … They are so opportunistic that they neglect to profit from the knowledge accumulated by men throughout the ages. …
Thus, the other day, people were honoring the Canadian men and women who fought at the frontlines during the world wars. How does this sit with the fact that women were not authorized to go to the frontline at the time??? Will we hear of Caesar’s female legions and female galley slaves who of course took up 50 per cent of history’s ranks, although they never existed?
I’ve seen complaints virtually identical to these — I hesitate to call them arguments — reiterated many times over on places like A Voice for Men and the Men’s Rights subreddit.
Speaking of the Men’s Rights subreddit, here’s how the regulars there honored the victims of the massacre today: someone posted a message that today was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (this is actually a different day, in November), and, well, this is some of what ensued.
So I was watching a little video roundup of some of the worst video games ever the other day and I came across some footage from a justifiably obscure little first-person-shooter called Operation Matriarchy.
The premise of this 2005 PC game, made in Russia, may as well have emerged from the fevered imagination of some Men’s Rights activist. Here’s how the promo blurb at MobyGames explains it, with the especially MRA-ish bits in bold:
Vox Day, the reactionary fantasy author and pickup guru who was recently expelled from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America , has convinced himself that education for women leads to “demographic implosion” because uppity educated women don’t have enough babies.
By this he means not only that they’re right to keep girls out of schools, but that they’re also probably justified in shooting teenage girls for the terrible crime of speaking up publicly in favor of education for girls like themselves.
[I]n light of the strong correlation between female education and demographic decline, a purely empirical perspective on Malala Yousafzai, the poster girl for global female education, may indicate that the Taliban’s attempt to silence her was perfectly rational and scientifically justifiable.
It’s quite telling that it is the “shooting-girls-in-the-head” issue that turns Beale — a right-wing evangelical Christian — into something of a fan of the Taliban.
A couple of days ago, Rachel Swirsky — an award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer who posts at Alas, A Blog and sometimes comments here on Man Boobz as well — sent along a link to a brilliant, brutal, and horrifying short story she’d recently published in Apex Magazine. Titled “Abomination Rises on Filthy Wings,” the story is essentially her attempt to get inside the mind of a violent misogynist.
As the editor’s note to her story explains:
Swirsky wrote this piece after talking to multiple editors who worked with horror stories, all of whom reported receiving many submissions about men murdering their wives or ex–wives. Despite the fictional veneer and supernatural justification [for the murder], many have the feel of personal revenge fantasies, and most characterize the women through disturbing, misogynist stereotypes. Swirsky wanted to see if it was possible to write a story that included all the markers of the trope but nevertheless subverted it.
In writing the story, Swirsky told me, “I drew heavily on Manboobz for mood and imagery, to try to get the sense of the narrator.”
So, enjoy. But first, I should warn you that the story is very violent, very disturbing, and could very well be triggering. So giant TRIGGER WARNING.
Men’s Rights elder Warren Farrell is fond of mentioning his academic past — he has taught at a number of colleges — and is not exactly shy about mentioning his Ph.D. (Check the covers of his books if you don’t believe me.) But the books he’s written are for the most part polemical “pop psychology” and “pop sociology” rather than academic works, and most don’t meet academic standards by a long shot.
How far they fall short of academic standards I didn’t fully realize until I started investigating a suspicious footnote in The Myth of Male Power.