A Voice for Men Forum on “What Women Want”

"Shut the fuck up! You should just fucking smile, and blow me! ‘Cause I deserve it!" -Mel Gibson
“Shut the fuck up! You should just fucking smile, and blow me! ‘Cause I deserve it!” -Mel Gibson

From what I can gather, Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs), Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW), and pickup artists (PUAs) often have nothing but contempt for one another, though the groups occasionally intersect. There are, however, two commonalities that they all share: their unrelenting misogyny (and occasionally racism and homophobia) and their unfounded assumption that they have any understanding of either sex. Oftentimes they come off as exceedingly creepy when they try to analyze what men and women should desire — especially women.

It actually kind of reminds me of Mel Gibson in his faux-romcom What Women Want (2000), wherein the Mad Max star plays a chauvinistic blowhard who, through an unfortunate accident with a hairdryer, comes to read women’s minds. This newfound power allows him to discover, as the title implies, what women actually want, and he uses it, at first, to boost his seduction techniques — before he predictably learns his lesson in the third act, that is. Gibson’s character throughout most of the film doesn’t “get” women. The film itself struggles to “get” women. And the ultimate irony is that this character was portrayed by a despicable domestic abuser and anti-Semite who, in real life, has absolutely no clue “what women want.”

Which brings me to A Voice for Men Forum, where MRA and MGTOW members congregate to discuss their hatred of feminism, women, and any men who don’t indulge in their rank misogyny. In a topic thread which posits the question “Is there a silver lining to women choosing assholes?”, AVFM denizens discuss what women really want, with very little success. “Godzeta,” the thread creator, began by asking, “[C]ould being an MRA actually make a man more attractive to women?” (Implicit in that question is the belief that being an “MRA” is the same as being an “asshole.”) Following the first post was a litany of responses by guys who clearly have their fedoras on too tightly.

Someone who calls himself “salesguy” wrote, “Guys can be nice and still maintain boundaries. Women need boundaries…Women want a man that will bang them hard, be strong, and take control. They are wired that way. I know my comments may create a shit storm, but I really believe it is programmed into our DNA.” He then links to a thread on Reddit: Red Pill about how American culture encourages “bad girl behavior,” which makes them prime targets for extramarital affairs. “This is reality if you don’t pick the right kind of woman,” he said.

Commenter “Bortasz” disagreed with this assessment, stating that, “This translate to: NAWALT. Not all women are like that. With is fallacy. Every women should be treated that he is like that, and when she prove otherwise you should treat her as she is that kind of women in disguise.” Coming to the subject of marriage, “Bortasz” compared it to “putting [a] gun in [your] mouth and giving [your wife] the trigger.”

In response, “fschmidt” assailed Western culture in general, and claimed that “[m]odern, Western culture is sick and evil.” “To maintain a decent marriage,” he wrote, “one needs to join an anti-Western religion with one’s wife. Orthodox Judaism and Islam are the obvious choices with Eastern Orthodox Christianity a distant third.” He also believes that American men should forgo dating American women and, instead, marry foreign girls because “foreign women do make better wives regardless.” Of course, “fschmidt” is active on a multitude of other forums, chief among them his own CoAlpha Reactionary Forum, where he authors pro-rape screeds such as this one entitled “Rape and Adultery”:

Why is rape a crime beyond just being assault?  The answer is that it is an evolutionary crime against a woman to force her to have children with a man not of her choice.  In evolutionary terms, our main purpose is to reproduce.  The success of our genes is determined by how well we reproduce.  For a woman, one of the most important things that she can control for reproduction is the choice of the man to have children with.  To force her to have children with a man not of her choice causes extreme emotional pain precisely because it is so important in evolutionary terms.

Compare this to the rape of a man.  If one thinks of a woman raping a man, it is almost comical because it is so meaningless.  It is meaningless because it has no evolutionary impact, or may even have a slight positive impact for the man.  Women can only have a limited number of children, so they must be selective in sex.  Men can have an unlimited number of children, so men have no need to be selective in sex.  A feminist may raise the issue of a man raping a man.  But this is simply assault and nothing more.  So the point is that rape is a crime against women, not men[…]

So now we can consider if rape is every justified.  Imagine a society where prostitution is illegal and women constantly provoke men.  Of course, there is no need to imagine this society, because it exists in the USA.  A single man in this society is in a similar situation to the woman described above for whom adultery is justified.  Single men in this society have no outlet for their evolutionary need for sex, so just as the married woman above was justified in adultery, men here are justified in rape.  Banning prostitution harms men the way banning divorce harms women.  If women don’t want to be raped, they should push for legal prostitution and they should dress more modestly.

“fschmidt” is also of the opinion that while “Nazi Germany serves as the benchmark of evil,” American women are probably “worse.”

Another user, a “nice guy” whose handle is “bigboy83,” lamented that, “In their younger years [women] go for the ass holes (prime years). Then wants they hit 30 there asking around about those nice guys. Problem is they lost their looks, gain weight and all used up. Nobody wants them anyone, they go on the Internet begging a guy to date them.”

“Milford Cubicle” attempted to justify women dating “assholes,” and did so by bringing out the old “men were hunters and protectors” trope:

IN defense of women choosing bad asses.

Men predominately made the better hunters, the best survival skills, the best inventors, and the best defendors against invaders. These were essential responsibilities for men to have to step up to. So women are in that much more need of a protector. A bad ass appears to be a better protector. For instance who’s going to make a better navy seal? A deeply compassionate person or a person who can kill someone without their conscience being troubled?

The compassionate guy would make a better medic I guess, but not the better warrior. I can’t fault women for being attracted more to the tough guy. Evolution may have given them that ability because for so many thousands of years, the tough guy is the better defender and protector and probably hunter as well. A lot of sensitive guys wouldn’t be good at shooting an innocent animal with a bunch of arrows or spears and then slitting it’s throat and skinning it and decapitating it. That was one silver lining.

If only he mentioned mammoth-hunting.

It’s clear, however, that much like Mel Gibson’s sexist character “Nick Marshall,” these folks haven’t the slightest clue what women want. They should probably spend more time around women, if only there were more women who wished to spend time with them.

Random Headlines — 12/28/14

RH Reality Check – Bob Jones University’s attitude toward assault victims reflects fundamentalist theology.

Buzzfeed – At least 594 LGBT people were murdered in the Americas in a 15-month period.

Think Progress – Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says repealing the carbon tax was the best thing he’s done for women this year.

Feministing – A new study shows that sharing abortion stories changes peoples’ minds.

Joe. My. God. – New Jersey Assemblyman Tim Eustace introduces legislation to ban the “gay panic defense.”

Media Matters – Bill O’Reilly says African-Americans should wear the slogan “Don’t Get Pregnant at 14” on their shirts.

The Raw Story – Arizona police officer killed during domestic violence investigation.

Alternet – On the misogynist movement that’s making conservatives even more sexist.

LGBTQ Nation – A Florida newspaper calls Pam Bondi a “modern-day Anita Bryant” and the “loser of the year.”

Random Headlines — Christmas Edition

Credit: Matt Lubchansky
Credit: Matt Lubchansky

VICE – What we learned about trans culture in 2014.

Media Matters – 9 ways the media failed women in 2014.

Salon – Feminism’s strange 2014: What we want to see happen next year.

Joe. My. God.Salt Lake Tribune names same-sex marriage plaintiffs “Utahns of the Year.”

RH Reality Check – Six states to watch for anti-choice laws in 2015.

Slate – Mass murderers often begin by stalking or assaulting women.

New York Times – The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down North Carolina’s ultrasound abortion law.

Feministing – Pregnant women are not being arrested to protect their fetuses.

The Raw Story – Two women’s rights activists who attempted to drive into the kingdom have been detained and transferred to a special “terrorism” tribunal.

Mother Jones – Is male birth control around the corner?

Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, and the New Atheism’s Gender Problem

New Atheists
Worst game of “Spot the Difference” ever.

I’d like to start this piece by disclosing something: I’m an atheist. Ever since I was a child, I knew I never believed in God, though not for lack of trying. I did try, and I did pray, but at the same time I felt nothing. I grew up with that feeling, not knowing what it was. It was only when I was in my late teens that I began identifying as an atheist, and, at about the same time, a book called The God Delusion hit the shelves.

Written by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, it was popular among atheists and was vilified by the Christian Right — spawning knock-off apologetics books like Alister McGrath’s The Dawkins Delusion? and David Berlinski’s The Devil’s Delusion. The book, though overly confrontational in places, was, in my opinion, necessary for me to come to terms with my own atheism. And the same could be said of books like Sam Harris’ The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, and the late Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

Of course, while I found myself nodding in agreement with their theological perspectives, I would often hang my head in shame when these “New Atheists” tried to tackle other subjects, such as international politics, feminism, or bioethics. Sam Harris is an unapologetic supporter of torture and racial profiling. Christopher Hitchens, once an unabashed Trotskyite, turned coat following the grisly 9/11 attacks and promptly surrounded himself with neoconservatives and chicken hawks such as Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle.

He championed imperialist aggression in Iraq under the guise of liberation, veering dangerously close to “White Man’s Burden” territory.* He also authored a rather disgraceful and sexist article entitled “Why Women Aren’t Funny.” This is, quite simply, a load of horse manure for many comedy lovers, myself included.

Richard Dawkins, for his part, opened the floodgates of controversy in 2011. That year, Rebecca Watson — the founder of the Skepchick website — mentioned in a video blog that she had been approached by a man in an elevator during a recent conference who invited her to his hotel room for coffee. Watson had declined his invitation and stated in the video that this interaction had made her uncomfortable. In a sane world, this would have been the end of the discussion and everyone would have gone their separate ways. Instead, Watson found the following comment by Dawkins on her website:

Dear Muslima,
Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and…yawn…don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with. Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so…And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

If Professor Dawkins prides himself in being rational, then I certainly would have expected better of him than this. This is a very privileged response coming from a stodgy, white male. In addition, he commits an age-old fallacy of relative privation. In other words, Dawkins appealed to worse problems to distract from the point at hand.

Anyone can do this for any type of problem, of course, even concerning topics more near and dear to Dawkins’ heart. For example, I could just as easily tell Richard Dawkins to calm down over the treatment of atheists in America and Great Britain — which he equates to the treatment of homosexuals in the 1950s and 1960s, in that it was a form of deep cultural stigma. After all, in Pakistan you can be executed for apostasy for being an atheist. The same is true for Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Mauritania, and the Maldives. So it therefore doesn’t matter that Britain has a state church, or the United States makes students pledge allegiance to “One nation, under God,” or that most voters would never stomach an atheist candidate. Better that outcome than a noose around your neck, no?

If that weren’t enough — well, that or his petulant response to hearing that Rebecca Watson would be attending another conference alongside him — he took to Twitter this year and mouthed off about rape. As Dawkins so eloquently phrased it, “Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think.” Richard Dawkins, who has never been the victim of rape, either by knifepoint or date rape drug, believes he is in a position to tell rape victims which method of rape is more detrimental. Unfortunately for him, this is not the case. He does not know what that trauma is like, and is in no position to judge. He has no business telling a date rape victim, “Yes, that was bad, but really it could’ve been worse, right?”

Neuroscientist Sam Harris, who recently authored the book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, was asked in an interview why there was such a visible absence of women in the atheist/skeptic community. He first responded jokingly by saying it was due to his “overwhelming lack of sex appeal.” However, he then followed suit by stating that there is “something about that critical posture that is to some degree intrinsically male and more attractive to guys than to women” and that the “atheist variable just has this – it doesn’t obviously have this nurturing, coherence-building extra estrogen vibe that you would want by default if you wanted to attract as many women as men.” Yikes. This should attract about as many women as a tacky, sexist t-shirt.

Yet the most egregious example of New Atheist misogyny does not lie with Hitchens, Dawkins, or even Harris. Rather, it seems to be a professional YouTube star named T. J. Kincaid or, to his fans, “The Amazing Atheist.” Kincaid is blunt about his opposition to “Feminazis,” and describes the history of the feminist movement in a style reminiscent of sitcom character Archie Bunker:

A lot of women got together and they decided they didn’t want to make sandwiches for their men anymore, and they said, “We’re fed up and we’re not gonna take it.” And they took to the streets with their little signs, and the men said, “Alright, you don’t have to make our sandwiches anymore. We’ll just open up a bunch of fast food restaurants all across the country, and get other minorities to make our sandwiches for us.” And the women said, “Alright, that’s fine.” And that’s what we did. And everyone was happy with that solution except for the feminists. Most women don’t call themselves feminists but a lot still do, even though the goals of feminism have already been accomplished.

He also made his views of women — especially victims of sexual assault — abundantly clear during an online meltdown during a discussion on Reddit about a so-called “feminist morality brigade.” The discussion became increasingly volatile, spiraling out of control as Kincaid replied to one commenter by saying “I’m going to rape you with my fist” and “I will make you a rape victim if you don’t fuck off.” He then began berating another commenter who identified herself as both a feminist and rape survivor, and unleashed this repugnant tirade:

I’m tired of being treated like shit by you mean little cunts and then you using your rape as an excuse. Fuck you. I think we should give the guy who raped you a medal. I hope you fucking drown in rape semen, you ugly, mean-spirited cow. Actually, I don’t believe you were ever raped! What man would be tasteless enough to stick his dick into a human cesspool like you? Nice gif of a turd going into my mouth. Is that kind of like the way that rapists dick went in your pussy? Or did he use your asshole? Or was it both? Maybe you should think about it really hard for the next few hours. Relive it as much as possible. You know? Try to recall: was it my pussy or my ass?

He capped this off by telling her to admit she “got a little wet” when he told her to “drown in rape semen.” No matter how antagonized Kincaid may have been, these types of responses are callous and inexcusable at best. For someone who claims he is “neither a feminist nor a sexist,” he seems oddly comfortable in hurling gendered slurs and reveling in the details of sexualized violence against a female detractor.

There are many lessons to be learned from outbursts like these — for example, that we in the atheist community are not, by virtue of our atheism, the most rational and logical beings, or that one can reject religion and nonetheless regurgitate bigoted dogma — but here I’m focusing on the fact that misogyny, male privilege, and rape culture permeate society at all levels.

Certainly the Abrahamic religions have plenty to answer for in their treatment of women over the centuries, and there is no denying this. However, even those who eschew religion are not impervious to our culture’s constant degradation of women, and the words of these New Atheists are a small reflection of this. So before you laugh at the backwardness and crude sexism of Pat Robertson or Mark Driscoll, try to reflect on your own privilege and how you treat women.

And, if there is anything else my lifetime of atheism and skepticism has taught me, it is this: We should not simply be content to question the existence of God or the authority of religious figureheads; we should question anyone who speaks their opinions authoritatively. That includes secular windbags, too.

*For the record, I do not actually believe Hitch was a racist. He is also, in spite of his clear flaws, one of my longtime favorite authors.

Random Headlines — 12/22/14

Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters – “License to Discriminate” Bill is defeated in Michigan.

Equality Matters – Now that the Duggars have helped kill a nondiscrimination ordinance, will TLC react?

Feministing – Let’s talk about Title IX and fair process.

Mother Jones – Could bacteria help convict rapists?

Right Wing Watch – Rick Wiles says a nuclear holocaust will kill us all thanks to gay people.

VICE – A new national poll sheds light on Canada’s rape problem.

DiversityInc – Justice Department declares employers cannot discriminate against transgender people.

Breitbart Unmasked – FIRE, a right-wing Koch-funded organization, is targeting campus speech and sexual assault policies.

Salon – “Princeton Mom,” Kevin Williamson, and the rise of rape truthers.

The Daily Beast – 26 companies which, like Hobby Lobby, won their right to deny employees contraception.

#GamerGaters Invent New “Scandal”: #PunkGate

No bigot can kill punk rock.
No bigot can kill punk rock.

It’s very rare that I’m rendered speechless by something, but props to the #GamerGate crowd for making that happen. Apparently not satisfied with tilting at windmills in the gaming community, some members of the flailing #GamerGate movement constructed a new nontroversy called #MetalGate. Essentially a handful of #GamerGate-supporting metalheads got all bent out of shape because of a single sentence in Spin Magazine and a Washington Post article published nearly a decade ago, blah blah blah “Social Justice Warriors” something or other. (Go to We Hunted the Mammoth for the full run down.)

Anyhoo, after that SJW witch hunt fizzled, I decided to see if these trolls were trying to infect any other musical genre. And, lo and behold, we now have #PunkGate. Or at least some desperate individual(s) trying to create #PunkGate. Namely someone with the Twitter handle “The 7th Gamer” who loves #GamerGate so much that his current Twitter background is a hilariously awful cartoon consisting of #GamerGaters (represented by Vivian James and some fat, bald dude) dressed as knights and doing battle with what appears to be a multi-headed dragon or something. And in an attempt to stir up another faux-scandal, The 7th Gamer decided to reach out to punk rock legend Jello Biafra. Yes, Jello Biafra. As in former lead singer of the Dead Kennedys Jello Biafra. That guy.

This is the part where you should all laugh yourselves to death.
This is the part where you should all laugh yourselves to death.

Good luck with that, 7th Gamer. First of all, Jello doesn’t have a Twitter account, so he isn’t going to read your ill-informed plea to join your self-righteous crusade. Second, Jello is a staunch left-winger who supports all sorts of social justice-y causes (racial and gender equality, the peace movement, environmentalism, etc.), so even if he did read it, I doubt he’d give a rat’s ass. You know, like how Joss Whedon, Seth Rogen, Wil Wheaton, and others all gave #GamerGate the finger.

So, in response to this feeble attempt to co-opt another decent musical genre, and speaking as a longtime punk rock fan myself, I’ve decided to create a little punk playlist for #GamerGaters to listen to. It’s a baker’s dozen of feminist and LGBTQ anthems guaranteed to make their blood (or whatever runs through their veins) boil. Cheers!

1) Feminism is for Everybody (With a Beating Heart and a Functioning Brain)” – Anti-Flag (2004)

2) Gay Rude Boys Unite” – Leftöver Crack (2001)

3) Rebel Girl” – Bikini Kill (1993)

4) “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” – Against Me! (2014)

5)Fight Like a Girl” – Emilie Autumn (2012)

6)Homophobia” – Chumbawamba (1994)

7)Dead Cops/America’s So Straight” – MDC (1987)

8)Sexist Appeal” – Aus-Rotten (1998)

9)That’s So Gay” – Pansy Division (2009)

10)No Means Nothing” – Feral Future (2013)

11)Operation Rescue” – Bad Religion (1990)

12)Seneca Falls” – The Distillers (2002)

Bonus) “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” – Dead Kennedys (1981)

And this doesn’t even include punk rock songs taking a stand against organized religion, institutional racism, capital punishment, militarism, and animal cruelty. Oh no, the SJWs have infiltrated the punk rock scene, it’s only a matter of time before they take everything else!

Random Headlines — 12/19/14

The Boston Globe – Following an en banc review, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a prior decision mandating that convicted murderer Michelle Kosilek receive sex-reassignment surgery. The full opinion may be found here.

New Republic – What does society owe transgender inmates like Michelle Kosilek? (Originally published Oct. 30, 2013)

Right Wing Watch – Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) offers a weak defense of his upcoming prayer rally with the American Family Association, a rabidly anti-gay hate group.

Mancheeze – Paul Elam, whose CNN appearance was just cancelled, believes that rape victims should not be believed unless they are willing to go to court.

Mother Jones – Expect the war on women’s reproductive rights to get much worse next year.

The Vagenda – What can women learn from the celebrity nudes of 2014?

We Hunted the Mammoth – Pickup artist Roosh V considers most women to be “cum buckets” and “mediocre sluts.”

Random Headlines — 12/09/14

École Polytechnique Memorial Credit: theglobeandmail.com
École Polytechnique Memorial
Credit: theglobeandmail.com

VICE – It’s the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, and nothing has changed.

Think Progress – ‘No Homo’ personalized license plate is issued by Alabama.

The Daily Beast – Why the right is wrong about abortion risks.

We Hunted the Mammoth – On Rolling Stone, the UVA rape fiasco, and why rape survivors should be believed.

Right Wing Watch – It’s Rick Perry redux as Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) announces his prayer rally, “The Response: Louisiana.”

LGBTQ Nation – The First Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the “crimes against humanity” case against Pastor Scott Lively can proceed.

The New Civil Rights Movement – The International Olympic Committee has voted to add sexual orientation protections to its charter, yet protections for gender identity remain absent.

Feministing – 7 things you should know about evidence in campus rape proceedings.

Jacobin – Historian Camille Robcis on France’s “gender trouble.”

Skepchick – No woman, no matter how terrible she is, deserves rape threats.

Random Headlines — World AIDS Day Edition

Credit: Wellcome Library
Credit: Wellcome Library

Vox – What it’s like to have HIV in 2014.

Mother Jones – The Reagan White House’s disturbing reaction to the AIDS crisis.

Gay Star News – Gambia foreign minister Bala Garba Jahumpa says gays are “Satanic” and “detrimental to human existence.”

Talking Points Memo – Libertarian Reason magazine wonders whether or not the UVA rape scandal is a “hoax.”

Think Progress – A 23-year-old German woman was beaten to death after she defended teenage girls from harassment.

Jezebel – Former NFL player Terry Crews discusses the damaging impact of modern-day masculinity.

Right Wing Watch – Dr. Ben Carson links the unrest in Ferguson to “women’s lib.”

Salon – Accused serial rapist Bill Cosby resigns from Temple University Board of Trustees.

The Daily Beast – Shia LaBeouf  says he was raped during his performance art project #IAMSORRY.

The Raw Story – A Voice for Men’s Janet Bloomfield has a solution to rape victims speaking out: “Gag the bitches.”