Well, the ABC 20/20 piece on the “Manosphere” sure looks likely to be a trainwreck. Two reporters for ABC news, Alyssa Pry and Alexia Valiente, recently had a fascinating piece on A Voice for Men and the Men’s human Rights movement… and had one of the biggest journalistic fuckups we’ve seen in quite some time.
Not only do they conflate “people who are mean on the internet” with “members of the men’s movement,” but, when they quote something from A Voice for Men, they lie about it. Can you believe?
But first, let’s start with two of our intrepid “reporters”, shall we?
Alyssa Pry is a journalist, creative writer and photographer in the New York City area. She is currently working as a production assistant for ABC 20/20. Her recent projects with 20/20 have included breaking news specials on the Japan tsunami and death of Osama Bin Laden, longer form pieces like Children of Hoarders, and celebrity profiles on Jennifer Hudson and Demi Lovato.
She has previously worked as a researcher for NBC News and has held internships at ABC, Harper’s Bazaar and NBC Universal. Her work has appeared on ABC, abcnews.com, gurl.com and abroad in The Prague Daily Monitor as well as other local publications. She is also the author of the blog firstname.lastname@example.org
Alyssa graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and sociology from New York University. Originally from New Jersey, Alyssa has traveled around Europe and hopes to someday work abroad.
Well, she sounds qualified, no? She profiled Jennifer Hudson, people! Maybe Alexa Valiente will be more promising?
– Digital Associate Producer/Reporter for 20/20 and ABCNews.com at ABC News
– Sales Associate at Abercrombie & Fitch
– Editorial Digital Intern at ABC News
– Staff Writer at The Whitehead Envoy
– Intern at Newsweek and The Daily Beast
– John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University
Guys, she worked at Abercrombie & Fitch and she has a degree in Diplomacy! Off to a promising start, no?
Deep in the underbelly of the Internet is a hidden corner known as the “Manosphere”— a collection of websites, Facebook pages and chat rooms where men vent their rage and spew anti-women rhetoric.
Deep in the underbelly, huh? Last I checked, A Voice for Men had an Alexa Ranking of 12,241 in the US. That puts them ahead of Zerlina Maxwell and her crew at feministing.com who come in at 17,098. Guess “feminism” is hidden deep in the underbelly, too?
Protected by the anonymity of the Internet, men feel free to post hateful and violent comments. Posts such as “I really wouldn’t mind shooting a [expletive] dead in the face, they are evil, all of them,” and “Women are the natural enemies of men” are commonplace on sites like “A Voice for Men,” a Manosphere blog run by Paul Elam.
I really wouldn’t mind shooting a [expletive] dead in the face, they are evil, all of them,”
Yep, only commenters at AVFM use anonymous or pseudonymous monikers. It’s never happened anywhere else on the internet, ever. And of the thousands of articles on AVFM, that’s the thing they’re gonna highlight, is it? No relevant articles on issues like child custody or suicide or workplace deaths or boys struggling in school or male victims of sexual assault or male genital mutilation.
Those must be hidden deep in the underbelly, too
Oh, and guess what? Here’s the killer: not only is this hysteria over anonymous comments stupid, they couldn’t even quote that right. They got that quote from a 2010 article by Paul Elam specifically calling out such comments and making it clear that anyone talking like that would get the Instant BANHAMMER. That’s right, these people actually quoted an article that specifically condemns that kind of talk and forbids it–and plays it like it’s typical for what’s here. Can you get more bizarre?
Well, ABC has more for us: Watch the full story on “20/20? Friday, Oct. 18 at 10 p.m. ET
Elam told ABC News’ “20/20? that while he may not agree with some of the comments that are made on his site, he believes men are society’s victims and need a forum to vent.
Oh come on now Paul. You don’t agree with everyone all the time about everything? That’s so weird. It must be hard being human like that.
“There has been a change in the world, especially in the last 50 years. Women’s roles have changed drastically,” he told “20/20.” “What a lot of us in this area find is that men’s roles have not changed very much. Many find now that they have to react.”
Men’s roles haven’t changed at all. Yoo hoo! Reporters! Ask him a question about that! Go ahead! Ask him what he means! Dig into that topic! No really! Go for it! Or, you know, just focus on what you’ve already decided is the issue. That’s what you call “objectivity”.
Elam explained that men leave these comments in the Manosphere to get people to listen.
Which is quite possibly the entire point of all communication everywhere? Just a guess.
“It’s … very much designed to get someone like you to sit down and ask me questions,” he told 20/20?s Elizabeth Vargas. “We are addressing a group of problems that this society ignores.”
Elam said institutions like marriage and corrupt family courts have become dangerous for men.
“Marriage has become unsafe ground for men, because we have corrupt family courts that practice bias against men and fathers routinely,” he told 20/20. “And men are waking up to this, that they don’t get a fair deal.”
Okay, this is better. We’re actually talking about men and some specific issues again. [Oops. Spoke to soon.] Let’s make it all about women again!
While Elam told “20/20? that his site does not promote violence or hate toward women, some of his writing appears otherwise. In a post on his website, Elam wrote that women on welfare are “little more than thinly disguised layabouts.”
Wow. That’s your example of “hate”? Women on welfare are lazy? Yep. First time in human history that sentiment has ever been expressed. Clearly, this new manosphere thing is taking hate to a new level.
Elam claimed it’s not anger but satire and social commentary. “What I do is reflect and study what the attitude is in the culture,” he told “20/20.” “I am not creating the problem, I am documenting some of it.”
Fuck Their Shit Up is satire, a direct statement of “Your ideology is shit, I’m done arguing with you and am just going to fuck your bullshit up.” The rest is social commentary. Some of that commentary is bound to be angry. Some of it is despairing. Some of it is sarcastic. Some is really judgy and bitchy. Wait, you mean all the men are humans, capable of the full range of human feelings and emotions?
But experts like Mark Potok, from the Southern Poverty Law Center, believe this rhetoric is problematic. “The Manosphere is an underworld of so-called men’s rights groups and individuals on the Internet, which is just fraught with really hard-line anti-woman misogyny,” Potok told “20/20.”
Wait a second. Anti-woman misogyny? Is there another kind I’m not aware of? Calling out misandry is not misogyny any more than supporting civil rights for Hispanic workers means you hate gay people. Those are mutually exclusive topics. Pay a little closer attention, and you might notice that what the manosphere criticizes is a particular ideology: feminism.
People who support equal rights for men do not hate women. Some of them ARE women!
And when a woman is on the receiving end of this misogyny, the Manosphere is unflinching in its attacks.
Yeah, and when feminists disagree with something someone in the manosphere writes, they NEVER threaten sexual violence or mutilation. Ask Matt Forney about that one.
Miss Poppy Leigh ?@SoFullOfSht 29 Sep @CozworthGrind
I really hope he meets someone who chops his dick off and feeds it back to him in his food
But let us get back to ABC…
“Women who are targeted by these sites get a tidal wave of hate mail with rape threats and death threats,” Jaclyn Friedman, founder of Women, Action & the Media, told “20/20.”
All my best death and rape threats are from other women!
Anita Sarkeesian, a media critic and blogger, learned this the hard way after campaigning on Kickstarter to raise funds for a web series on the roles of women in video games. The attacks from the Manosphere were swift.
Swiftly outed her as a con artist, you mean.
Oh but wait, what evidence is there that this was all or even mostly or even a significant percentage of MHRAs? None, honeybunnies, and you know it!
“It was … thousands of people coming after me,” Sarkeesian told “20/20.” “Threats of rape, threats of death, threats of violence,” she said.
Possibly because they were really pissed you basically stole money?
“They would Photoshop and manipulate pornographic images and put my face on them,” Sarkeesian said. Her fellow gamers even designed a special video game about her named “Beat the [expletive] Up.”
“Players were invited to click on the screen, and an image of me would become increasingly battered and bruised,” Sarkeesian said.
Oh my god, are you saying that people beat up other people in games on the internet? Shut up! I totally don’t believe you. Gamers only play with kittens and herd sheep and grow vegetables. There is no such thing as a violent video game.
Friedman was also the subject of a cyber attack after campaigning on Facebook to remove photos and groups that promoted hate speech toward women.
Right. But all the images of beheaded men on wedding cakes and women slapping men were A-OK? How about people were disgusted by your hypocrisy?
“I got emails and tweets and posts on Facebook that say, ‘You are disgusting. You are fat. No one would ever want you. You should be raped,” Friedman said.
Yeah, yeah. I get those too. From my feminist fans. I especially love it when comments come in back to back:
“You’re an anorexic bitch and I hope you get killed.”
“You’re such a fat bitch you would be lucky to get raped”.
Both comments from, that’s right, you guessed it… women!
Friedman said the Manosphere is not satire as Elam claimed, but a space for people to cause damage to women.
Can you point to that damage? What damage has the Manosphere done to women? Did you wittle feelings get hurt?
Boo hoo hoo. I feel so bad for you.
“If you look at what they actually do, it’s all hateful rhetoric,” she told “20/20.”
Please, 20/20. Come and look at what we actually do.
“And it has real impact in the real world.”
Count on it.
Lots of love,