The failures and disappointments of ICMI ‘14

Having never participated in a men’s issues conference before, I went to the ICMI ‘14 in Detroit with high expectations. The media promised me I would face a roomful of raging white male, cisgender misogynists; bitter men who can’t get laid and aren’t allowed to rape, violent members of AVfM staff who would happily bash me in the face and rapists lurking around every corner. I regret to inform you that I was largely, although not completely, disappointed.

First of all, there were chicks everywhere. I could hardly move without woman-slamming some broad who got in my way. Erin Pizzey and Senator Anne Cools woman-spread all over the place. Dr. T. assaulted pretty much everyone with her giant, poufy, utterly magnificent hair. Karen Straughan and the Honeybadgers woman-spread over an entire floor! I wasn’t the only one who found all the vagina disconcerting, either. Photographers struggled to find an angle that captured a men only audience. It was damn near impossible with strumpets in every other seat.

There was also a distinct shortage of bitter, angry white men, although a few did show up to snarl and sneer through the whole conference. One man in particular was nasty, snide and extremely belittling. His name was Jeff Sharlet of GQ Magazine. He even brought in his own submissive female, instructing her to wander around offering herself to attendees. I strongly encourage AVfM to invite more men of his ilk to ICMI ‘15 if they wish to maintain their image as a cabal of disillusioned, raging ideologues choking on bile and hate. A few more Jeff Sharlets and the equally white, male and raging Adam Serwer and ICMI ‘15 might have a shot at being a gathering place for fuming, emotionally compromised white men.

My hopes for sexual assault and harassment were raised when I saw that I was to be segregated from the hoi polloi of the conference, on a raised platform surrounded by a metal railing, at the far back of the hall. I was seated with David King, who was far too busy with technical issues to meet his required harassment quota. He failed to grab my ass even once, even though it was only inches away. James Huff was so intensely involved in the radio broadcast that he too, failed to find time to harass me. At one point, Terrence Popp came to sit with us and I thought for sure a rape would go down but he too disappointed me with respectful, civil behaviour. Of the hundreds of conference participants, not one harassed me. AVfM’s promise in that regard was a complete and disappointing failure.

I will now confess that I am partially responsible for the fact that Paul Elam did not grab me by the hair and smash my face into the wall. He had ample opportunity to do so, but I failed to live up to my part of the bargain and thus I am at fault for not getting a beating. You see, I was supposed to violently attack him first, inspired by the writers and editors at Jezebel. Had I slapped him across the face so hard his glasses flew off, like the Jezebel ladies did to their men, I most certainly would have gotten the beating I so richly deserved. I accept responsibility for this conference failure. Paul Elam did not beat me up because I didn’t punch him first. This is a systemic failure in my life. I do not hit men, and they do not hit me. I shall have to work on that.

The only aspect of the conference that was even marginally successful was its ability to attract misogynists. Jessica Roy demonstrated significant hatred on women in her piece for Time Magazine, in which she refused to even acknowledge that women play a significant role in the MHRM. Jeff Sharlet and Adam Serwer, in addition to filling the angry white men quota, supplemented the misogynist category, too. In fact, virtually every reporter attending the event was a raging misogynist openly seething at the women who support and care about men and boys. Increasing press presence should ensure that ICMI ‘15 has a sufficient group of woman-hating Neanderthals at hand.

I hope that this evaluation will not lead others to conclude there is no point to attending the ICMI ‘15. Maintaining the MHRM as a hotbed of misogyny, harassment and violence will not be easy, to be certain, but it is far from impossible. The more tickets we sell, the more likely we are to attract feminist protesters. They will bring misogyny, harassment and threats of violence sufficient for this conference and a thousand more.

ICMI ‘15 or bust! I hope to see you there.

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