An open letter to Richard Cohen of the SPLC

Richard Cohen
Southern Poverty Law Center
400 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36104
Re: Identification of A Voice For Men as a Misogynist Web Site

Dear Mr. Cohen,

Yesterday I received the unfortunate news that your organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center (“SPLC”) listed my website, avoiceformen.com, among others, as misogynistic, or “woman-hating.” This description is found in “Intelligence Report, Spring 2012, Issue Number: 145,” on your website at http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/misogyny-the-sites.

Specifically, your report states the following:

A Voice for Men is essentially a mouthpiece for its editor, Paul Elam, who proposes to “expose misandry [hatred of men] on all levels in our culture.” Elam tosses down the gauntlet in his mission statement: “AVfM regards feminists, manginas [a derisive term for weak men], white knights [a similar derisive term, for males who identify as feminists] and other agents of misandry as a social malignancy. We do not consider them well intentioned or honest agents for their purported goals and extend to them no more courtesy or consideration than we would clansmen [sic], skinheads, neo Nazis or other purveyors of hate.” Register-Her.com, an affiliated website that vilifies women by name who have made supposedly false rape allegations (among other crimes against masculinity), is one of Elam’s signature “anti-hate” efforts. “Why are these women not in prison?” the site asks.

The excerpts you have chosen from these sites are taken out of context and misrepresent the goals of A Voice For Men (“AVfM”) and Register-Her.  Contrary to what readers of your site may be led to believe, the goals of SPLC and AVfM are quite similar: We both work to identify groups who seek to oppress others, and inform the public of the inequities they would perpetuate.  If you would allow me to do so, I would like to clear up some misconceptions about AVfM so that SPLC and its supporters can reconsider their view of my service.

A Voice for Men has more than 90 registered contributors.  Similar to the supporters of SPLC, AVfM’s contributors are male and female, Black, White, Hispanic and Asian; gay and straight; Jew, Atheist and Christian; from all points of the political spectrum; and they all hail from many different nations across the planet. We invite even more diversity. All of our contributors share a common interest and concern in the affairs of men and boys. They speak to the issues autonomously – not as a mouthpiece for the editor.  I regularly find AVfM publishing content I do not wholly agree with, or stated in terms that I personally would not necessarily use.  However, it is not my role to impose a uniform voice upon AVfM’s contributors – my role is to ensure that the site furthers its purpose of speaking truth to power.

The work of AVfM is vital and, despite what you may think, not dissimilar from the goals and aims of the SPLC.  The beneficiaries of SPLC’s labors are more likely than not to be men.  Men and boys face very serious problems in modern society.  Men are more likely than women to be homeless, on society’s bottom rungs.[1]  Men are more likely than women to commit suicide, as well.[2]  America’s exploding prison population, which overwhelmingly includes and victimizes the working class and new poor, contains more than 2 million people, but under 100,000 women.[3]  This disparity has had profound effects on African-American men, as more of them are incarcerated than in post-secondary education.[4]  Young men, ignorant rather than criminal, are placed on lifelong sex offender registries that prevent them from obtaining education and even healthcare, and ensuring that they will never contribute to society.[5]  Relatedly, male attendance in higher education has fallen to 40% and continues to diminish,[6] and men lag far behind women in obtaining advanced degrees.[7] The performance of boys in our grade, middle and high schools is deteriorating.  Meanwhile, men have become a minority in the workforce, ensuring their further social and economic marginalization, as well as any hope of upward economic mobility.[8]

Men face additional disparities in selective service, reproductive rights, healthcare funding, and many other areas.  These differences are documented and undeniable.  While society once rallied around the right of a woman to control whether she has a child – an the economic consequences it carries – there is no concomitant outcry to ensure men are not laden with the lifelong obligation of another human being.  While the NFL is awash with pink every October to raise awareness for breast cancer, nary a mention is made of its equally lethal male-only cousin, prostate cancer.[9]  The examples are endless.  These are problems that must be addressed in a just society. Sadly, until now, it would seem to have been in the purview of SPLC to help ameliorate these problems, not aggravate them.

I also believe you may have misunderstood some of AVfM’s semantics.  A “white knight” is an expression describing a traditional male, one who practices chivalry to a degree that is irrational and demeaning in this day and age. Also, the term “mangina” is not a euphemism for “weak men,” but rather a label for men who enable and excuse female misconduct – ranging from physical violence to exculpatory false reporting of crimes[10] – solely because the offender is female (and to gain women’s approval).

Regarding Register-Her.com, SPLC states the following:

“Register-Her.com, an affiliated website that vilifies women by name who have made supposedly false rape allegations (among other crimes against masculinity), is one of Elam’s signature ‘anti-hate’ efforts.”

To the contrary, all of the offenders on Register-Her.com who have been placed there for making false allegations have either 1) had the falsity of their claims proven in a court of law, or 2) publicly recanted their false police reports.  All of these actions are a part of public record. There is nothing “supposed” about these false rape accusations.

Curiously, though, SPLC has not taken any sort of stand on websites like RadFemHub.com, which openly advocates the extermination of males (including male infants), eugenics and sex-specific child abuse.  Perhaps these outlets may warrant further examination, and treatment from the SPLC as sources of Misandry.

The movement for civil and socioeconomic equality in America was and is difficult, and spans both racial and class lines.  For many years the majority resisted progress, but found that nothing could stem the human desire for civil liberty; Not slavery, not Jim Crow, not water cannons or batons or even bullets.  While the SPLC has done good work for the cause of equality across incomes and races, it was not lawyers and arms-length activists that took the brunt of standing up to an unjust system.  It was the men and women on the street that would not be bullied any more that forced the world to change. That world was as hostilely indifferent to the struggles of African-Americans as you appear to be to the struggles of men and boys.

There are hundreds of websites dedicated to real, actual hate on the Internet, with more springing up all the time.  AVFM, a human rights organization, is not one of them.  Nor are the others that you identify as sources of misogyny, such as The Spearhead and the False Rape Society.  Those who fear truth, and brand it as hatred and bigotry, hide behind the worst kind of cowardice – the sniveling complacency that for generations allowed the rich to starve the poor, for one person to own another because of the color of their skin, and for the officers at Nuremberg to claim they were “just following orders.”  For men and boys, there is no more time for complacency.

It is no surprise that a movement like AVfM’s began on the internet, as the free flow of information finally made it possible for men to see what they had long suspected: The laws and norms of society had turned against them. This movement will grow, as it has since its inception, and the time will come when the SPLC (and other groups) must admit our fundamental similarities and aspirations.  I am inviting you, with open arms, to do just that.

The alternative, I fear, is that you come down on the wrong side of history, with the likes of Dred Scott as your legacy.

Sincerely,
 
Paul Elam
Publisher,
avoiceformen.com

 

This letter available in .pdf download: Open-Letter-SPLC.



[4] Id.

[6] See Hanna Rosin, The End of Men, The Atlantic (Jul. 2010), http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/the-end-of-men/8135/?single_page=true (last accessed Mar. 8, 2012).

[8] See Rosin, supra at n. 5.

[9] Amanda Chan, The Top 10 Deadliest Cancers – And Why There’s No Cure, MSNBC.com (Sept. 10, 2010), http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39102353/ns/health-cancer/t/top-deadliest-cancers-why-theres-no-cure/#.T1mL0a6D-1k (last accessed Mar. 8, 2012).

[10] In one study, Eugene J. Kanin found that 53% of women admitted to filing the false claim for use as an alibi. About Half of Rape Allegations are False, Research Shows, RADAR, http://www.mediaradar.org/research_on_false_rape_allegations.php (last accessed Mar. 8, 2012).

 

Recommended Content

Skip to toolbar