A Voice for Men is described by its leadership and staff as an organization which addresses “a wide variety of issues that affect men and boys — and ultimately women, as well as the culture as a whole.” It mentions a wide array of problems facing men, some of which, like homelessness and suicide rates for men, are legitimate. Of course, one might expect a self-proclaimed civil rights organization to actually do something to advance civil rights. What — beyond holding seemingly never ending fundraisers, harassing women, and parasitically sponging off anti-domestic violence groups — does AVfM actually do?As founder Paul Elam once admitted, the Men’s Rights Movement “is not about passing a Violence Against Men Act or any other form of government reliance on justice and personal liberty.” Moreover, neither he “nor AVfM has a legislative agenda, nor any politicians to endorse, nor lobbying to accomplish because none of that is of any value in a society that still refuses to accept reality.”
Perhaps this is why AVfM has gained a reputation over the years for being nothing more than a group of angry men who snipe at women and feminists online, with absolutely nothing to offer the men it purports to defend. Critics of the group have often pointed out the lack of genuine activism on AVfM’s part, a point that the group hasn’t done much to address.
The group’s COO Dean Esmay — who attempted to trend the hashtag #SpankAFeminist and called black feminists a bunch of “Aunt Jemimas” — finally issued a response to his group’s critics: “Fuck you.” It turns out that Esmay is perfectly comfortable screeching about how the Southern Poverty Law Center — a civil rights group that actually fights for disadvantaged men — “spreads hate”, but when it comes time to actually walk the walk he folds like a cheap suit. In the article, with an accompanying picture of a comically angry woman yelling at a hapless man, Esmay called his detractors “breathtakingly arrogant” and accused them of doing “nothing to help men and boys’ issues.”
Esmay claimed that critics ignore “everything we’ve done to get innocent men out of jail, to get government officials fired, the counseling and support we give to individual men, the articles we publish to help educate the public, the money we’ve raised to fund people’s legal defenses…the petitions, the lobbyists we’ve worked with, the male birth control researchers we’ve worked with, the domestic violence and rape researchers we’ve worked with, the men’s shelter groups we’ve worked with, and more.” Indeed, even if he were to acknowledge that his critics were correct, and that AVfM has done little in the way of helping men, he offered several excuses — they’re poor, they’re busy, feminists don’t help people either — as to why they haven’t done more. One might wonder if they could have made a better use of their time and resources than holding pointless conferences and retreats, starting baffling Twitter campaigns about spanking enemies, and raising money to pay a disbarred attorney to defend a group of sexist agitators who were kicked out of a Canadian comic and entertainment expo.
Maybe they could use their time and resources to actually try lobbying politicians and companies, building domestic violence shelters, helping male victims of rape and sexual violence, alleviating rates of male homelessness, and providing help to suicidal men. But of course, that would actually resemble civil rights activism, and they clearly have no interest in that.
One of the more common abusive, bullying tactics of feminists is to claim that MRAs only complain on the internet and don’t actually do things to help people.
This is an abusive lie on multiple axes, and looks like an attempt to change the subject from feminist lies about rape, feminist lies about sexual assault, feminist lies about child abuse, feminist lies about fathers, and feminist abusiveness toward people in general.
In a way, this “you don’t do anything but complain” bullying tactic is a good sign: they’re figuring out that they have no good answers to most criticisms, and that their ideology is and always has been a minority ideology. So they feel the need to change the subject they strike a pose of “look, at least we’re doing something! You do nothing!”
Never mind how much of what feminists do is hateful and destructive.
The problem with this “I demand you show to my satisfaction that you do things I consider important” is multifold. It ignores everything we’ve done to get innocent men out of jail, to get government officials fired, the counseling and support we give to individual men, the articles we publish to help educate the public, the money we’ve raised to fund people’s legal defenses (Ben Radford is one famous example but there are many others), the petitions, the lobbyists we’ve worked with, the male birth control researchers we’ve worked with, the domestic violence and rape researchers we’ve worked with, the men’s shelter groups we’ve worked with, and more.
. . .
So this demand by feminists that we prove we do things to help men, with a list that feminists will approve of no less: It’s an effort to change the subject. They have no actual interest in helping anyone but themselves, which is very obvious by their words and their deeds, and they actively work to stop and censor anyone who is working to address these issues from a non-feminist perspective.
The “show us what you do” thing is also breathtakingly arrogant: you, who do nothing to help men and boys’ issues, who are part of a movement that actively combats efforts to address these issues, now demand that I do activism your way and to your approval–even though you actively work to thwart my activism and actively advocate harmful policies and repeat debunked lies about boys and men and debunked lies about the people I work with.
You, who spew lies about what I do, demand that I report to your satisfaction how I do my activism? Fuck you.
And I won’t even dignify your claim that I do nothing.
So seriously, to your “you don’t do anything!” bullshit? Pull the other one.
. . .
We identify real abuses, real lies, real people who are hurt. And you’re changing the subject to us and what you perceive as our flaws. What does that say about you as a person, or about your movement?