December 6th is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It commemorates the 14 women who were murdered by Marc Lepine. The women were engineering students at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada.
As women gain more power in the political, economic and public sphere there is a backlash by men who don’t want them there. Every gain, every stride of feminist accomplishment has been accompanied by a shrill patriarchal response that says ‘women, stay in your place.’
Today we have a handful of internet groups called Men’s Rights Activists. This particular group of men congregate on what they call the ‘Manosphere’ to despair the effects of feminism on our society. Paul Elam is an MRA and a leading voice of the Men’s Rights Movement with his website A Voice for Men (not to be associated with actual men’s programs such as NOMAS). AVFM has been designated a hate site by the Southern Poverty Law Center in the US.
Paul has taken over where Marc Lepine left off in his online rage against feminists and women. Marc Lepine most certainly would’ve been attracted to Paul’s website and would’ve probably been invited by Paul to write for the site. They would’ve both agreed that feminism is bad for men as Paul claimed in a recent video debate between himself and Charles Clymer, contributor for the HuffPost. 
We know exactly how Marc Lepine felt about women and feminists since he left a suicide note before he murdered 14 women at Ecole Polytechnique. He thought, like many other MRA’s, that a woman’s role is in the home taking care of children and obeying their husbands within the nuclear family.
Marc Lepine was raised by a single mother. He did have to deal with a divorce and was fraught with an abusive father who taught him by example that women are to be seen and not heard. Lepine’s father regularly beat his mother. You’ll never hear MRA’s talk about the negative consequences of fathers beating mothers in front of their male children but you will hear them blame single mothers for every ill of their children.
Paul Elam and Dean Esmay recently did a video/article about Anders Brievik, the mass murderer from Norway. They blamed his single mother. MRA’s also think that single mothers are to blame for effeminizing their male children and that the State is a gynocracy hell-bent on preserving women’s superior status and eliminating fathers. In the mind of Paul Elam feminists manufacture domestic violence statistics to get money from the government bent on serving them.
Lepine believed, like MRA’s do, that feminism made his life miserable when in reality it was his own inner problems that he couldn’t solve. In his suicide letter he wrote:
Being rather backward-looking by nature (except for science), the feminists have always enraged me. They want to keep the advantages of women (e.g. cheaper insurance, extended maternity leave preceded by a preventative leave, etc.) while seizing for themselves those of men.
This is precisely the same furious misogynist rhetoric that comes out of Paul Elam. Here are some of Paul’s feelings about feminists and feminism:
‘You [feminists] should also be able to ascertain, if you are not too terribly stupid that I like, no, love, doing this. You should see that I am not doing it for money or fame, but because I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.
Now, let me ask you something. Do you think I am going to stop?
It’s a serious question, because the answer to that question, again if you are not too stupid to grasp the impact of it, should inform you of what will work for you or not work for you in dealing with me.
And the answer is, of course, no, I am not going to stop. You see, I find you, as a feminist, to be a loathsome, vile piece of human garbage. I find you so pernicious and repugnant that the idea of fucking your shit up gives me an erection.
So, again, do you think I am going to stop?’
Paul has also stated in videos that it was a feminist that ruined his previous job as an addictions counselor. According to Paul, a feminist counselor was using feminist theory to help her clients and that enraged him to the point where he quit. I personally don’t believe that is the whole truth. I think what happened is closer to Paul being forced out of his job because of his own behaviour towards women.
MRA’s idolize men like Lepine, who have either killed women or killed themselves because of some perceived threat by women and/or feminists. Just ask any of them about Thomas Ball who self-immolated on the steps of a New Hampshire courthouse because he owed back child support and was refused unsupervised visits with his children. He was part of a Fathers Justice movement which is virtually synonymous with the MRM. Ball had only to go to therapy in order to see his kids but he refused.
In the case of George Sodini, the man who walked into a female-only gym and killed 3 women, many MRA’s have justified his solution as a last resort. If you read articles by Paul Elam you’ll find that while he polices himself and his readers regarding violent language he also uses the very language that would justify violence. He’s very careful to tread that thin line and his cohorts know it. They regularly talk about how to allow violent men to participate on the site without giving the game away. Paul is more concerned about how the violent men will look to outsiders than he is about the actual violence they write about. Here’s an example of Paul’s endorsement of violence:
‘We are coming for you, and we are coming for all the liars out there that have been ruining people’s lives with impunity.’
This is the same ideology of hatred that motivated Marc Lepine to murder 14 women who he labeled feminists. The links are too strong to go without notice.
The Canadian consciousness was undoubtedly scarred by Lepine. The response was to create a White Ribbon Campaign which denounces male violence against women and involves men in the solution. In fact, it was Canadian men that created it. Other countries, at seeing the success of the campaign and its urgency, adopted it too.
If there had been a White Ribbon campaign in Lepine’s time he would undoubtedly treat it with scorn and derision. This is the same response of MRA’s like Elam. They think the White Ribbon is somehow pointing the finger at them; that it’s a feminist ploy to get men to feel ashamed. Paul Elam writes:
‘Programs like the White Ribbon Campaign and Walk a Mile in Her Shoes are not only not worthwhile and not important, they are the epitome of the slanted, sexist, gender-based view of violence promulgated by disingenuous, corrupt ideologues that now infest academe like a disease.
They are programs of control via shame, targeting men as an oppressor/abuser class in the false model of patriarchy. Both of these programs are primary examples of the academic and cultural misandry that we are pledged to combat.
As such, they should be rightly and unambiguously condemned and exposed, as well as the hate-driven agenda they represent.’
So we see once again that MRA’s like Paul Elam think the White Ribbon campaign is specifically speaking to him as if he is an abuser. This is revealing, obviously. Paul Elam and Marc Lepine are both abusers. The only difference between them is that Paul hasn’t enacted (as far as I know) an act of violence against a woman and yet his writings speak to violence. If Paul Elam is willing to take on the label of oppressor and abuser then we should allow him to have it.
- Dr. Michael Flood’s response to Men’s Health Australia’s claim that domestic violence is symmetrical.
- 2011 Canadian Report: Engaging Men and Boys to Reduce and Prevent Gender-Based Violence
- Speech by John Hendra at the Government of Canada Side Event “Engaging Men and Boys in Preventing Violence against Women and Girls”
- Scott Carlson on Male Violence Against Women in the Yukon (CBC Radio)