Preamble: In the midst of the stirring tornado of ABC’s pending 20/20 article on A Voice For Men, Paul Elam, and the Men’s Human Rights Movement (MHRM), feminist Jaclyn Friedman, who was also interviewed by the ABC show, blew in on the coat tails of a Daily Beast article to weigh in on the subject of how she has been digesting events.
In Jaclyn’s habitat, there is a foul and ominous odour beneath the sheets. Since, according to her, the MHRM are all dogs, it is easiest just to blame the stench on them.
There are many canards in the coal mine of Jaclyn’s article about the MHRM that quite quickly die of gas. She starts by declaring that “the rise of men’s rights activists is hurting women – and men.” The next trouser trumpet is her insistence that the MHRM is an attack of men against women, and she finishes with a melodramatic avowal to “make a peaceful human chain to blunt [our] hate and counter it with love.”
Above all else, Jaclyn emotes that the most “particularly insidious” thing the MHRM does is what she calls a “canny co-optation of social justice lingo.” Yes, there are scary men out there who are… gasp… using words! And, according to her, they’ve stolen these words from women.
Jaclyn’s difficulty in accepting that men are permitted to use a dictionary is meant to cause us concern. The MHRM’s terrifying ability to use words effectively even caused The Daily Beast to “[paint us] as a legitimate movement.” Oh, the horrors.
Jaclyn claims that the MHRM is hurting men because men in “real” need of help will be distracted by sites like A Voice for Men and google will somehow suddenly stop functioning normally. It would take an intellectual and philosophical behemoth cursed with a tragic deficiency of internet skills to reach this conclusion honestly. Jaclyn is none of the above.
In a stunning act of mental gymnastics, Jaclyn manages to admit that Men’s Human Rights Advocates (MHRAs) have a long list of grievances which “deserve a thoughtful response and the force of an organized movement to address them” acknowledging that the internet has provided a public square for MHRAs which functions as a “combination of locker room, group therapy, and organizing” while simultaneously maintaining that the MHRM is disorganized and not a legitimate movement. She notes that “there has been a worrying uptick in offline activity” while insisting that the movement isn’t actually doing any real activism. Jaclyn must find the postering campaigns disturbing because we use such “insidious” words. She’d likely faint on the spot if we put words on sign boards and actually marched down the street with them. Only terrorists do such violent things.
Jaclyn, and many others, claim that the MHRM is trying to silence women.
The best way to reinforce this lie is to silence the women in the MHRM. ABC and Jaclyn dutifully play their part in that ruse by insisting on calling the movement “the manosphere.” A producer from the 20/20 program was offered the chance to talk to four female MHRAs on a conference call and refused to engage with any of us so that they could retain the show title “Women Battle Online Anti-Women Hate From the ‘Manosphere'”
In Jaclyn’s article, she provides many links (via donotlink.com) but intentionally omits both a link to what was written about her on AVfM and the fact that it was written by a woman. Puff! and I’m gone with Jaclyn’s wind.
I feel so silenced.
Since Jaclyn chose to mention the article I wrote about her but not provide a link so people could verify her summary I’m going to address each of her concerns in this reply.
The article was called “Jaclyn Friedman: clit as big as the world” and it was based on a lecture she gave called “How feminist digital activism is like the clitoris” When I tried to point out to her on twitter that I wasn’t calling her a clit, I was quoting her own analogy used to describe herself and her friends, she blocked me so that she wouldn’t have to own her responsibility. Silenced again!
Jaclyn claims I called her “a bad feminist (for criticizing Naomi Wolf)”. How silly. I think all feminists are bad so if I’d said she was being a bad feminist badly it would be a compliment. What I actually said was that “Jaclyn’s seminar about the clitoris tries to explain why the resulting attack on Wolf is both hilarious and a result of not understand how the clit works.” I thanked her for the information.
Jaclyn says I accused her of “demonizing male sexuality”. Well, this is true. What I more specifically said was that “Friedman wants to brand male sexuality as evil” and should have provided a link to Jaclyn’s Prospect article “Toxic Masculinity“. I think that’s a fairly accurate summary of her words.
Jaclyn complains I “[suggested] that [her] bisexuality means [she hasn’t] slept with enough men to have a valid opinion about them.” I didn’t just suggest it, I gave a link to where she tells us that herself. Her attempt to make it sound like I, a bisexual woman, am judging her sexual choices is patently ridiculous. I’m merely stating the facts as she provided them for us.
It’s also interesting how Friedman whines that “Pick Up Artists are perfectly plain that all they care about is using women for sex” because Friedman’s article, “My sluthood, myself”, clearly shows that her involvement with men has been on the exact same level. Jaclyn is a female Pick Up Artist who defends her actions passionately claiming “it’s a choice we should all have access to because it has the potential to be liberating. Healing. Soul-fulfilling.”
Jaclyn purports that I called her “fat and ugly.” What I actually did was to post a picture of her next to Andrea Dworkin remarking on how much they look alike. That Jaclyn finds Andrea Dworkin fat and ugly is a very unkind thing for her to say. Even I wouldn’t do such a thing.
I also didn’t say that Jaclyn is “a miserable slut”, I said “she eagerly announced herself a slut and begged women to support sluttiness and become slutty themselves whilst explaining how unhappy she is with her own life as a result.” That, again, is a pretty accurate summary of the article Jaclyn wrote for Feministe. It seems that Jaclyn isn’t upset with the article, she’s upset with reality.
She concludes her complaint about my article by mentioning some comments left by AVfM users suggesting that someone stand up at a lecture and say some words within the proximity of her hearing range. Jaclyn tells us “threats like this shake me almost physically.” The words that have her so terrified? “I think a dude raping you is the least of your fucking problems.” Apparently Jaclyn is even frightened by men who state clearly that they don’t want to rape her.
Jaclyn’s main focus in life is her belief in “rape culture” and the idea that rape is worse than murder. I’d pause to feel sorry for Jaclyn’s delusion but we just don’t have the time. Jaclyn’s problem (among the myriad other obvious issues) is that she doesn’t understand the level of violence that men face on a daily basis because she lives in a gynocentric world which supports her perspective: a woman’s pain is more important than a man’s.
While Jaclyn is crying “rapey, rapey, rape, rape!” all over the internet and television, men are voicing their concerns about “death, dead, not breathing anymore!” and she’s upset that anyone is listening to them.
We’ve heard her argument many times before. Her feminism is “fixing it.” Jaclyn claims that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reduced domestic violence incidents by 64% and that the reduction “is distributed evenly between male and female victims.” The fact is that men are incarcerated more often in domestic violence (DV) cases because the Gender Paradigm and the Duluth Model require that men be assumed guilty in domestic violence situations–yet this legal reality somehow leads her to believe that such anti-male policies reduced DV crimes against men. It didn’t. It only turned male victims into wrongly-labelled perpetrators.
Male victims have been taken off the grid and are no longer represented in any gathering of statistics. Feminists have shown that their idea of “fixing” men’s problems is by erasing them from the equation. The MHRM is putting men back into the picture and we plan on using many more words to do it.
Jaclyn ends her drama with a decree – She declares that feminists should show “love” towards MHRAs by “continuing to work to improve the lives of both men and women”. This is what happens when people are invested in their own perspective: They turn into raving lunatics.
We don’t want your kind of love, Jaclyn. As Rhett Butler said, “You’re so brutal to those who love you, Scarlett. You take their love and hold it over their heads like a whip.” The MHRM is done with feminist gaslighting. Our scary words are coming soon to a signboard near you, Jaclyn. She can complain, feign emotional distress, faint, and stomp her feet all she wants, but this movie always ends the same:
“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”