On 21 May 2012, the online magazine New Statesman ran an article announcing their intention to run a series in the following week on the modern state of men. As the men’s rights movement commands a growing segment of public attention, such features will become increasingly common. Unfortunately, in the series posted on the New Statesman, beginning with the chatty-titled “Let’s talk about men” Helen Lewis-Hasteley starts with a tired and predictable insult.
Lurking in the cellar of the internet are a group called the MRAs
This clumsy metaphor is Lewis-Hasteley’s attempt to appeal to one of the standard ad-hominem arguments levelled against activists pointing out the growing legal disenfranchisement and public censure of male identity. When faced by arguments based on evidence or logical challenges to standard anti male zeitgeist, attacks of character are the expected standard, purposefully changing the topic, and attempting to shame and silence through ad-hominem argument. This is so common that within the growing men’s movement, a Shaming Tactics Catalog has been authored and circulated for reference in quickly swatting aside such logical fallacies. Lewis-Hasteley’s basement-dweller reference is of course, a variation of the circumstantial ad hominem listed in the catalog.
The target is accused of being immature and/or irresponsible in some manner that reflects badly on his status as an adult male. Examples:
• “Grow up!”
• “You are so immature!”
• “Do you live with your mother?”
• “I’m not interested in boys. I’m interested in real men.”
The New Statesman blogger next casts former London School of Economics gender studies student Tom Martin as a typical MRA. In 2011, Martin launched a suit against that school on the grounds of anti-male bias in the curriculum. According to a hit-piece against Mr. Martin published in the Guardian
[C]ourse material he studied during his six weeks at the LSE was systematically anti-male overlooked men’s issues, and ignored any research that contested a “women good, men bad” line of reasoning.
Of course, according to Lewis-Hasteley, the LSE student was suing over the hardness of the seating.
From Lewis-Hasteley ‘s New Statesman article: “The man who recently tried to sue the LSE in case which partly rested on the hardness of its chairs.”
Let’s talk about men, indeed. However, Lewis-Hasteley gives herself an out in her yellow pixel’d introduction by adding “but it would be a mistake to dismiss all of their concerns.”
The New Statesman blogger briefly mentions the loss of a “family wage,” but characterizes the attendant economic marginalization of men as perpetual adolescence. It is the same language used by “conservative” women’s organizations like the Concerned Women of America (CWoA), which exhorts men to stop going their own way, and get back on the treadmill of working themselves into early graves for the benefit of wives and corporations. The CWoA is also one of the organizations recently tarred by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate organization – along with this website. Whoopsee, better be careful whose rhetoric you borrow, Helen.
Lewis-Hasteley also notes the preponderance of men in low pay, high risk jobs – which women and feminists seem uninterested in, despite feminism’s half century of campaigning to equalize outcomes at the high-pay high-safety end of the employment spectrum. L.H. Also notes the cultural acceptance of male targeting violence, something else not yet addressed by feminism’s campaign for, ahem, equality.
The recent drugging and sexual dismemberment of her husband by California woman Katherine Becker, because he wanted a divorce – provided fodder for the hysterical laughter of the hosts and live studio audience of a CBS women’s day-time talk show. Clearly, the vicious sexual mutilation of a human being is pure slapstick comedy, provided the victim is male.
Lewis-Hasteley notes however, “None of this is to say that feminism has failed, or has gone too far.”
Indeed, feminism has succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. The movement whose early second wave was funded by bankers and statesmen has driven a wedge of hatred into the heart of society, pitting men and women against each other, destroying the social cohesion of the family, leaving many women to lives of dependence on the state.
L..H. says “to admit that there are problems specific to men as a gender is not to deny that women suffer too.”
Indeed, some reactionary, and fringe elements of the blogging community occasionally cast the human rights concerns of men and women as a zero sum game.
In the funding of domestic violence shelters, almost all resources are provided exclusively to women, despite the fact that 35% of domestic violence victims are men. Women’s shelter industry advocates claim that consideration of male victims would detract from the necessary assistance offered to women. Male victims, in this ideology either do not matter, do not exist, or these female-favouring DV advocates see human rights as a zero sum equation.
That domestic violence is not sexually specific or sexually directional is shown in hundreds of studies of the issue, and this is widely known by professionals working in the grievance industry. However, provision of support for men is repeatedly framed as withdrawal of support for women.
According to reporting in the Guardian’s online edition: “Nicola Harwin, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said its branches were still allowed to exclude men from refuges, but were being told when council contracts came up for tender that they must provide services such as advice and outreach to men or lose their funding. [she said] decades of progress in setting up refuges were being undermined.”
L.H admits that acknowledging men’s problems does not exclude the issues face by women. However, she declares that those who brought that discussion into the public sphere – namely, Men’s Rights Activists, cannot be allowed to discuss their own issues without the input of adherents to the mainstream they struggle to be heard by.
And talking about them [men’s issues] can’t be left to the MRAs.
After all, if men are not supervised by their betters, they might all poop their pants, collect together in caves to form rape clubs, or set themselves on fire, the poor darlings.
Of course – who best to discuss men’s issues than two female bloggers on the left leaning New Statesman calling themselves by the collective moniker “The Vagenda.” They are the concatenation of the words vagina and agenda, apparently without any outward hint of parody. These two feminists are claiming to hold authority over what issues are, or should be relevant to men – or indeed be discussed by them. This is comedy that writes itself.
Rhiannon and Holly, following the lead from the loose and hasty introduction by Lewis-Hasteley, posted their contribution in the Statesman’s “Talking about Men” series by talking about women. The article, incongruously called “Men’s Rights Zeitgeist” opens with the declaration: “It’s been one hell of a week for women,” then catalogs several items of female celebrity gossip. Checking that title again, yes, it’s called: The Men’s Rights Zeitgeist, and subtitled “Don’t buy into this pretend battle of the sexes.” The article’s accompanying photo is of a pick-up artist named Neil Strauss. This is presumably included in the erstwhile men’s rights article to legitimize the continued efforts to conflate human rights activists with pick up artists. When the Vagenda bloggers finally do manage to address areas of concern to men, it’s in a sneering reference to David Benetar’s book “The Second Sexism”.
In spite of the heavily layered snark, Vagenda-twin powers activated, Rhiannon and Holly managed to admit to bias in the family courts, and the primarily male rise of national unemployment.
However, female favoring sentencing bias in the criminal courts is skipped over as two-girls-one-keyboard deify gender ideologue Suzanne Moore. Moore’s guardian.co.uk rubbishing of Benetar’s book includes the telling paragraph: “Still, abundant tripe trickles down from on high, even academe. Every so often a new tome details how men, not women, are discriminated against (apart from rape, murder, equal pay, genital mutilation, the power imbalance in politics, business, education, law and arts they may have a point).”
Apart from rape – which when men are the victims is treated as comedy, and which according to the Daily Kos the CDC’s recent report impacts men outside of prison far more than anyone outside the MRM ever contemplated.
- 4.8% of American men claim they have been forced to penetrate someone else. That’s more than three times the number who have actually been raped according to the FBI’s “penetration” definition of rape.
- The 1 in 5 number for female victims in the CDC report also uses a definition of rape which conflates sexual harassment with sexual assault and rape, revealing a strong ideological bias.
- While the CDC survey counts 1.3 million rapes of women in 2010, the total number of rapes and sexual assaults (of males and females combined) in the Justice Department survey was 188,380”. These two numbers are an entire order of magnitude apart.
However, even in mainstream reporting which mentions male targeting sexual violence, the claim of under-reporting of female victimization is repeatedly trotted out to impute a higher rate for women, while the same argument is not made for male victims.
In addition, sexual violence in war, used against men to demoralize and break the will of occupied civilian populations is purposefully suppressed in reporting by UN affiliated relief organizations, while female targeting wartime rape is played up.
Prison rape, due to the overwhelmingly male prison populations in western nations, also targets predominantly men and results in roughly twice as many men raped in prison each year than women raped outside of America’s prisons. After decades of public activism by prisoner’s rights advocates, this was finally addressed this month by the Obama administration’s new guidelines aimed at reducing prison rape. Oddly, the guidelines include a prohibition of male prison employees to perform searches of female prisoners, but no rule addresses the reverse case. “male guards are now banned from patting down female inmates, female guards can still have free reign over male inmates”
To re-iterate what the deified Suzanne Moore noted:
Every so often a new tome details how men, not women, are discriminated against (apart from rape, murder, equal pay, genital mutilation, the power imbalance in politics, business, education, law and arts they may have a point).
Murder, according to the USDoJ criminal victimization survey, impacts men 3 times more than women. According to the abstract of a University of Tennessee study: “A total of 215,273 homicides were studied, 77% of which involved male victims and 23% female victims.”
In fact, men are overwhelmingly the majority of the victims of violent crime, at all ages, and for all types of violent crime according to the collected statistics of the DoJ. “The victimization rate for males (11.6 per 100,000) was 3 times higher than the rate for females (3.4 per 100,000)”.
Moore also lays a claim to Equal Pay as an area in which men face no problem, referring by inference to the pay gap myth. This is the re-framing of male favouring lifetimes earnings imbalance into the narrative of male favouring sexism. This myth ignores the longer hours worked by men on average, the higher risk and career choices of income over life-style, access to family and flexibility of work favoured on average by women. The narrative of “pay gap” also ignores that women control the disposal of 80% of discretionary spending.
Genital mutilation is Moore’s next point, somehow failing to register that throughout the western world female genital mutilation is banned as an archaic, brutal crime, while infant male genital mutilation is still common, and promoted – falsely – as a preventative measure against the transmission of HIV by western outreach programs in continental Africa.
Moore also itemizes power imbalance in politics, but neglects to note that women are the majority of registered and active voters. Is she simply hoping nobody will fact-check her laundry list of lies?
The Vagenda article also mentions the revised version of the Violence Against Women Act, making a factually false claim that the National Coalition for Men (NCFM’s) support is based on recognizing that men are also victims of domestic violence. However, in a and b’s characterization, the NCFM is “claiming it will give the “true victims” of abuse the long sought for protection they need.”
Placement of “the” in front of the phrase “true victims” serves to foster an impression that the NCFM, or the Republican party’s version of VAWA claims that men are exclusively the victims of DV, which is not an honest mischaracterization by new statesman contributors Rhiannon and Holly. The un-attributed National Coalition for Men document supporting the reformed VAWA uses the following language:
We cannot adequately address violence related issues by excluding half the population, allowing precious resources to be squandered for ideological purposes, empowering false accusers at the expense of true victims, and letting malfeasance and maladministration run unchecked without holding applicable program administrators accountable.
The R and H writing duo also take shots at AVfM with the lazy, ignorant, and much recycled argument that the site is anti-female. After an obligatory small-penis shot taken at broadcaster Tony Parsons, the twins state:
…but that’s the minor end of the spectrum when you consider the anti-woman agenda peddled by websites such as “A Voice for Men.”
In fact, the site’s editorial position opposes the ideology of feminism, which is not the same as women. Women are a group of people, several of whom regularly contribute article content at AVfM, whereas feminism is an ideology, whose proponents are also of both sexes. Rhiannon and Holly are both encouraged to refer back to this paragraph any time they become confused about which is which, or about how they are not the same.
Our dynamic duo also manage to get it wrong when mentioning the online registry Register Her. According to the pair, the register-her project:
…purports to be an alternative to the male-dominated sex offenders’ register, in which they publicly name and shame women who have cried rape.
This description by the Vagenda duo is misleading, whether purposefully or not.
The project’s purpose is clearly stated on the entry page of the site, as well as on the submission guidelines page. Namely, to draw public attention to the rising problem of false accusation without consequence and the damage this does to communities and public confidence in the courts.
The need for register-her.com was born out of the unfortunate social and legal custom of failing to punish female criminals and to safeguard society from their continued criminality.
From the submission guidelines page of the site:
Register-her.com is a registry of individuals that have caused significant harm to innocent individuals either by the direct action of crimes like rape, assault, child molestation and murder, or by the false accusation of crimes against others for personal gain in one form or another.
It is not the intent of this registry to emulate those who commit false allegations, therefore this policy is written to provide guidelines for the approval of submissions designed to ensure the authenticity of the information provided.
Only those submissions that can be corroborated by either a link(s) to a recognized news affiliate and/or digital copies of court records, with correct contact information for that court, or other compelling, substantiated documentation, will be accepted as proof.
Rhiannon and Holly dismiss the action of individuals who willfully made false accusations of rape, confirmed by reporting in reputable news media with the flippant appellation of “cried rape.”
What the writing partners do get right, almost, is the inclusion of bigots in the registry. However, rather than “high profile feminists” as claimed by Doublefem, the Bigot category on that site “is used to designate individuals whose active ideology is one that results in socially inflicted harm on men and/or boys in the general population”.
Inclusion of “high profile feminists” as is claimed by our heroines would indicate a category for “feminists” which that site does not use, and would obviate articles on AVfM such as “Why isn’t Betty Friedan on Register-Her?”
However, rather than their public recognition as “high profile feminists” as is claimed, individuals such as Jessica Valenti and Amanda Marcotte earned their way into the registry by their public agitation in the erosion of the legal rights of men and boys.
Valenti merited inclusion principally for the public advocacy of the overturning of the burden of evidence in criminal accusations of rape and sexual assault. According to her authorship of a 2010 washington post article:
…we should look to [Sweden] as a potential model for our own legislation. In fact, some activists and legal experts in Sweden want to change the law there so that the burden of proof is on the accused; the alleged rapist would have to show that he got consent, instead of the victim having to prove that she didn’t give it.
This re-invention of jurisprudence, which would effectively turn western law upside down, has, since been implemented in American universities though the Obama administration, although not yet in the criminal courts proper.
Valenti advocates a system of totalitarian law, for one sex, creating a tiered society along lines of a sexual apartheid.
Amanda Marcotte, also listed in the category of Bigot, earned her spot in the registry by an established pattern in her writing of exploiting the personal tragedies of men, either when they have died or have been brutalized by demonstratively false criminal accusations. Typically she will re-characterize events to portray men killed or destroyed as aggressors and oppressors, and then characterize tragic outcomes in their lives as if they are events victimizing women.
Said Marcotte of the now infamous Duke Rape scandal:
I’ve been sort of casually listening to CNN blaring throughout the waiting area and good fucking god is that channel pure evil. For awhile, I had to listen to how the poor dear lacrosse players at Duke are being persecuted just because they held someone down and fucked her against her will—not rape, of course, because the charges have been thrown out. Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair.
Marcotte has also done her share to emulate Valenti’s ideas on the evisceration of presumed innocence and due process for men.
Journalist Cathy Young described Marcotte as a leader of a “cyber-lynch mob,” writing:
…in Marcotte’s eyes, the real crime of the independent feminists is helping preserve the idea that the presumption of innocence applies even in cases of rape and sexual assault.” The post attracted so much commentary, including from The New York Times, that Marcotte ended up deleting it.
Marcotte is as racist as she is sexist. Her mentality is one that serves to de-humanize male victims, and re-enforce the mainstream narrative that all men are evil, particularly White men, and that all women are their victims. In short, she is a Bigot.
The Vagenda also identifies this site, the parent site of Register-her as the “English Defence League of the men’s rights movement.” That is accurate enough, except for AVfM not being a right wing site, or left wing, nor racist, nor tolerant of violence in either action or in rhetoric, nor sexist, nor homophobic, nor associated with a single political party, nor attached to one country and also not exclusionary of anyone by religion, ethnicity, political leaning, sex, sexual orientation or other characteristic of identity. Aside from that, yes, this site is exactly like the EDL.
The New Statesman’s week long campaign addressing men’s experience and the rising Men’s Rights Movement appears to be, rather than informative or investigative, a torrent of snark and condescension driven by the fear of lost privilege.
It may be that the volume of insinuation, pejorative and mockery is intended to by its volume to thwart any serious attempt at scrutiny.
However, in spite of poor intentions, the writers contributing to public scorn of men and boys and the derision of male pain must still be thanked. Readers of high traffic sites such as New Statesman are now exposed to the issues of concern of the MRM. Those readers, a few at a time, become readers of this site and others like it. Some few even become contributors, having much to say. They just didn’t know they had a place to say it with a significant audience till they found us, and discovered that we validated their struggles.
The Statesman Sisters are now our publicists.
For writers opposed to the Men’s Rights Movement, in spite of an adversarial editorial stance, several guides on this site have been posted to foster stronger opposition to the MRM. The easily debunked rhetoric prominent in this week’s NS series could have been much stronger, and it is the purpose of oppositional guides on this site to promote a more factually and logically rigorous opposition.
We look forward to working with all of you in promoting the “So Called Men’s Rights Movement” into the center stage of mainstream discourse on human rights.
In the torrent of snark, characterization and falsehood recently posted at the New Statesman, one point of apparent sarcastic amusement fixed on by the writers at the New Statesman as well as depraved and futile bloggers elsewhere is recommended self-preservation located on AVfM’s “don’t get fucked” page. The point of that derision being that self preservation denotes paranoia, folly, and apparently; ninjitsu.
Anyone clinging to such view is invited to view the following linked video. A Canadian cab driver was saved from the frivolous false accusation of a girl whose motivation to accuse him was to evade a $ 13 dollar cab fare. Any individual who advises men to not protect themselves in climate of such easy destruction is amoral, depraved and futile.