Why are Prominent Men’s Rights Activists Appearing on a White Power Radio Show?

Mens Rights Activists
Paul Elam, Christina Hoff Sommers, Warren Farrell, and Suzanne Venker

Not too long ago I reported that prominent men’s rights activist Janice Fiamengo appeared on the white supremacist podcast Radio 3Fourteen hosted by Lana Lokteff. Radio 3Fourteen (a program that is part of the larger Red Ice Radio network) has hosted notorious Holocaust-deniers, Neo-Nazis, and other fringe figures in the past, and the show’s host is no stranger to making racist and homophobic remarks. Yet Fiamengo isn’t the only men’s rights leader to appear on the program. In fact, between 2013 and the present, four prominent MRAs have been guests on Radio 3Fourteen: Paul Elam, Warren Farrell, Christina Hoff Sommers, and Suzanne Venker.

Paul Elam, the founder and figurehead of A Voice for Men, has had flirtations with white supremacists and anti-Semites in the past, so his appearance on the August 27, 2013 episode of the podcast wasn’t nearly as surprising as the others. While on the program Elam launched into his usual anti-feminist diatribe, telling Lokteff that feminists demand “everything.” Feminists, he claimed, are “domineering” and seek “complete ownership of the discussion about sex and gender.”

He also floated the idea that feminists are merely seeking a man, mainly a father, in their lives. As Elam said, feminists “want their fathers. They want government to be their father. They want men, generally speaking, to be their father.” They want this so they can have someone “take care of their problems” and “fix things for them.”

Lokteff asked Elam an unusual question about what “elite men” think of feminism. Men from families such as the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds. Elam replied that “the corporatocracy loves feminism,” and while hesitant to give a full-throated endorsement of what sounded like a bizarre conspiracy theory, he nonetheless said that “anything is possible” and that it is “illogical to assume” such elites “don’t have an inordinate amount of control” in the world.

For roughly two hundred years the Rothschild family has been the subject of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, most notably that Nathan Rothschild exploited the Battle of Waterloo to strike it rich on the Stock Exchange. The source of this rumor — which swept across Europe in the form of a pseudonymously authored pamphlet — was the deeply anti-Semitic Georges Dairnvaell. The smear was eventually turned into a 1940 Nazi propaganda film called The Rothschilds: Shares in Waterloo.

On the July 30, 2014 episode of the podcast, Warren Farrell — widely considered the founder of the men’s rights movement — appeared on the program to discuss the supposed “myth” of male power. In spite of Farrell’s soft and unassuming tone, his ideas on feminism are no less ridiculous than those of overtly misogynist cranks like Paul Elam.

For example, on the subject of patriarchy, Farrell scoffs and claims that if the rules of society were set up in men’s favor then women would be paying for dates and subjected to the draft. (In June of this year the Senate voted to require women to sign up for selective service.) In a world where men “made the rules to benefit men at the expense of women,” he explained, “men would make sure that every girl and young woman was trained to really desire a lot of sex” with men, especially older men. They would also “reverse the power balance between men and women” so that “women would be paying for men on dates” and women would be giving men engagement rings.

He also claimed that, if you simply redefine power, men really aren’t more powerful than women. According to Farrell, if power is measured by the fact that men, especially white men, are overrepresented in Congress, the court system, and large corporations, then white men certainly have more power relative to their numbers. However, if you define power as “having control over your own life, being able to make the choices that you want with your life, having the encouragement to go inside of yourself when you’re a child and decide who you are and what you’re motivated by, and then being honored by the rest of society for the choices that you make,” then Voila! Men really don’t have power.

On January 12, 2016, prominent anti-feminist Christina Hoff Sommers appeared on Radio 3Fourteen in an episode titled “Feminism & Its Impact on Society.” In some ways her appearance on the program isn’t surprising. She’s written books like 2000’s The War Against Boys and defended the anti-woman harassment campaign known as Gamergate. On the other hand, Sommers is Jewish and Radio 3Fourteen is often openly hostile to Jews.

Nevertheless, Sommers — who most likely did not research the podcast before appearing on it — came on the program to deny the existence of the gender pay gap. Or, at least, claim any such gap exists because of personal choices and the invisible hand of the free market. Lokteff asked Sommers how feminism went “awry,” to which Sommers responded that while she supports “classical, equality feminism,” another form of feminism “derived from Marxism” took its place.

Sommers mocked the idea that the gender wage gap is a “salient issue,” and asserted that there “really isn’t a wage gap” at all, despite all evidence to the contrary. Instead, any gap between men and women in earnings she attributes to “differences between men and women.” “To me, it’s a sign of freedom and pursuit of happiness,” she remarked.

Sommers also (predictably) blasted feminists for”approach[ing] men in a spirit of hostility.” The “theory of toxic masculinity” is “very destructive,” she said, adding that she “became a feminist in the ’60s and ’70s” because she “didn’t like male chauvinism,” but that she also opposes “female chauvinism and female misandry.”

Finally, Suzanne Venker — niece of anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schlafly — made a guest appearance on Red Ice Radio to speak with Henrik Palmgren. On September 26, 2013, Venker came on the show to talk about the fabricated “war on men.” She began by laughably claiming that men are somehow excluded from political discussions surrounding gender, sex, and reproductive rights. Venker said it is “unfortunate” that “when men speak out” they are told that they are “not allowed to have that opinion.” Specifically on abortion, Venker said “you don’t hear men on their soapboxes about that issue.”

Between off-the-cuff statements on “legitimate rape,” women who use birth control being “sluts,” women swallowing cameras to do gynecological exams, women having to be “punished” for having abortions, and women being forced to give birth to microcephalic babies, it seems that men are not at all hesitant to make ignorant pronouncements concerning reproductive rights. Especially troubling are lawmakers, often men, who attempt to restrict those rights with TRAP laws, mandatory waiting periods, forced sonograms, transvaginal ultrasounds, and other draconian measures.

Venker considers this irrelevant, as she believes that while abortion is “considered a woman’s issue,” it actually isn’t. Instead, it is a “human issue.”

Like many right-wing anti-feminists (and homophobes), Venker considers feminism an affront to traditional values and the family. Feminism as it stands today is “victim oriented” and “Marxist.” Betty Friedan (author of the seminal book The Feminine Mystique) was herself a “Marxist” after all. And the goal, of course, is to destroy the traditional family.

“Well [feminism is] about undermining the family unit, basically,” said Venker. “That’s really the gist of it. And, again, they don’t come out and say that ’cause who the heck is gonna, you know, jump on board if you say it that way?”

Palmgren asked how feminism was causing the gender roles to become “confused.” Venker responded by saying that feminists have a “need” to “prove themselves” by “being strong and in control and making money” like men. Venker said this would prove disastrous in their home and dating lives, with men and women not knowing “who’s supposed to do what.”

Palmgren said this meant feminism was “turning women into men, and men into women.” Venker agreed, stating that this confusion has led to men complaining to her that “women aren’t women anymore.” And, as Venker said, “men don’t want another man unless they’re gay!

Now, are all these men’s rights activists racists or anti-Semites? Of course not. But they do owe an explanation to people for why they appeared on a radio program geared toward white supremacists and far-right conspiracy theorists. I’m guessing we won’t get one, however.