It’s just a matter of time before A Voice for Men consolidates misogynists and anti-feminists from all over the world in one hate-filled spot. The recent dismissal of a ‘male studies’ graduate program had everything to do with this hate site and the ‘academics‘ that were going to teach the program. A Voice for Men taints everything it touches and actually kills any efforts to help men adapt to our ever-changing world where women are gaining socioeconomic power. The ‘Manosphere’ is in fact a misogynist backlash that Susan Faludi warned us about in her 1991 book ‘Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women.’
For those of us who follow the Manosphere we’ve surely read MRA’s praising the work of Christina Hoff Sommers. She is a staunch anti-feminist who coined the term ‘gender feminist’ which she defined as:
‘The gender feminists (as I shall call them) believe that all our institutions, from the state to the family to the grade schools, perpetuate male dominance. … Gender feminists are constantly on the lookout for the smoking gun, the telling fact that will drive home to the public how profoundly the system is rigged against women. To rally women to their cause, it is not enough to remind us that many brutal and selfish men harm women. They must persuade us that the system itself sanctions male brutality. They must convince us that the oppression of women, sustained from generation to generation, is a structural feature of our society.’
Sometimes she uses ‘victim feminist’ which essentially means the same thing. She calls herself an ‘equity feminist’ which she defines as a ‘First Wave’ feminism that
‘wants for women what she wants for everyone: fair treatment, without discrimination.’
She’s found her appropriate place on the AVFM hate site which boasts about its popularity. I think many of these misogynists go to the site for publicity since the site is so popular. However, any connections to the hate site will ultimately damage reputations, not that Christina had a good one to begin with. In a piece for Esquire she was quoted:
‘There are a lot of homely women in women’s studies. Preaching these anti-male, anti-sex sermons is a way for them to compensate for various heartaches–they’re just mad at the beautiful girls.’
She denies this quote and I can’t find the 1994 quote on Esquire’s home site.
Her first piece on AVFM’s hate site was inspired by this teaser clip of a documentary called ‘The Mask You Wear’ by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the same woman who made ‘Miss Representation’. Newsom explores the social construction of masculinity in the new film. While Sommers praises this examination she has ‘problems’ with it. Sommers thinks Newsom is trying to ‘feminize’ boys through some massive social engineering that Sommers simultaneously rejects for biological determinist arguments for male behaviour.
‘she [Newsom] is less concerned with helping boys than with re-engineering their masculinity according to specifications from some out-of-date gender-studies textbook’
If Sommers was concerned with helping boys she really shouldn’t be posting on a hate site. In fact, the goal of Paul Elam’s site isn’t about men and boys at all. His current site byline is ‘Humanist Counter Theory.’ Prior to only a few months ago it was ‘Compassion For Men and Boys.’
In true contradictory fashion, MRA’s like Sommers insists that there’s some biological reason for why males don’t play with dolls. This is how she ‘proves’ it:
Researchers have found, for example, that female monkeys play with dolls much more than their brothers, who prefer toy cars and trucks. Are male monkeys captive to a “guy code?”
Sommers gives no citation for the study. As a psych grad myself, I can state that putting monkeys into human environments might mean that they are only given toys appropriate to their sex. Sommers’ explanation as to why males don’t play with dolls is of course, ridiculous on its face. In true contradictory fashion, she then relies on social constructivism to make this statement:
‘But teaching him to “be a gentleman” is another matter. It’s a tried-and-true way to bring out the best in males.’
This is evidence that MRA’s will use a nature or nurture argument whenever it suits them to push an anti-feminist/misogynist agenda. The AVFMers weren’t very happy with Sommers telling men to be socialized ‘a gentleman.’ Paul Elam made a snappy retort that he would only accept that if females learned to be ladies. He means this in a traditional nuclear family way where father is head of household and mother stays out of the public sphere having children and obeying her male superior.
Sommers talks about hypermasculinity which she says is pathological but that other boys display ‘healthy’ masculinity which, to her, means being protective. Anyone can be protective. It’s not a gendered attribute.
Telling men and boys to ‘man-up’ is something Newsom says hurts males. Yet, in order to be contrary to a feminist perspective, Sommers agrees and then says well, no, it’s ok for you to teach men and boys to ‘man-up.’ She uses a single study to make her point that boys don’t like to talk about problems. She says:
‘male reticence has its advantages’
According to Sommers, not talking about your emotions is healthy because when girls do it they get depressed. Again, she switches to a biological explanation as to why it’s healthy for males to ‘man up’ by saying that problem solving is ‘male instinct.’
Regarding ADHD, Sommers offers a socially constructed reason:
‘It could be that as a society, we are pathologizing age-old male rambunctiousness.’
Rambunctiousness is not a gendered attribute. While Sommers claims depression isn’t a male concern because, well, they don’t talk and shouldn’t be made to talk, she also says we should spend money and time trying to prevent it in males. Wait, I thought depression was due to ‘talking about your emotions’, something males don’t do? I also thought males have biological protection from it due to male ‘reticence’?
Sommers and other anti-feminist writers are quick to dismiss socio-cultural devlopment of males and females and yet, when it suits their anti-feminist ideas, they employ it. This over-simplification of behaviour is, well, too simple. Human behaviour is dynamic and transactional but above all, it’s social.
My own experience studying young males in University leads me to put more weight into the nurture side of the argument. I won’t deny a very minimum level of biology but I don’t think qualities such as protectiveness are biologically based. I could say that women are more protective because they bear children but we know that it means nothing because I can then say that the social bond a mother has to her child ensures protectiveness. How do I untangle the two?
The fact is that we can arrange and change the elements of our culture that we think harm us. This is the point of Newsom’s film. We can’t change our biology but we can change our society. I wonder if Sommers has ever heard of the Civil Rights Movement? Social change may be alien to her but she’ll use it when she needs to be contrary to ‘victim feminism.’
Finally, I leave you with some of the comments on her piece left by AVFMers :
‘Sommers is a woman. She is one of us, but she is still a woman. Women are more alike than different. Thus, the things that females do to expect, exploit, and get from males is present in her too.’
‘I have tried to “Talk about my feelings, and open up” to women before… they just didn’t want to “listen to my whining”. Hell I ad legitimate things I wanted to discuss, but they were “complicated and hard” not to mention “you can’t think like that” with the applied “man up”. So yeah, when women say they want you to talk about feelings, it’s just as long as those feelings are directed at her in a positive way.’
‘“Talk about feelings, and open up” is just another scene in the extended theater play they play with eachother, also known as “Playing Nice”, and allegedly wants men to be a part of, even though they can’t handle it when we actually do it.’
‘We have to fully understand that those that want to be the ones to “Take off these boys so called masks”, want them to do so, so they came paint these ????maskless????young boys into their own self image.’
‘In this climate of misandric societal and feminist driven apathy, is it any wonder boys and men are going to scoff at seeking help?’
‘They have no understanding of basic male to male appropriate interaction. In a way, They have been psychologically mutated.’
‘I believe it was Jeffry Dalmers mother who kept the young boy in the house away from other boys for so long, that when he finally met another young boy…He felt inappropriate feelings toward the young boy, All because his mother kept him in the house away from other children for so long, …….it had devastating consequences.’
‘Training young men to be a gentleman sounds too much like indoctrination into chivalrous behavior for my taste. “Chivalry” is fundamentally incompatible with the notion of gender equality’
‘Today, it is just dangerous to teach young men ANY gender based expectations on conduct. The problem is that all expectations for boys that are predicated on their sex, lead to their utility to girls who are being trained and encouraged to exploit and abuse it. Teach boys to be “gentlemen”? Only when the culture returns to teaching young women to act like ladies.’ ~ Paul Elam
‘The women love when men “man up” so they can continue to leech off us and use us. They love it. If you do then the women tend to ostracize you and make sure you get no women.’
‘“Bro’s before hoes” is this regard is simply a cry for male safe spaces.’
‘Chivalry, “man up” shaming, and the traditional female pedestal are just as responsible for the sorry state of men and the male-female dynamic as anything that came out of a feminist’s mouth’.
‘being a gentleman is synonymous with chivalry and is the basis for gynocentrism.’
‘Chivalry works in a traditionalist setting, but not in a post-traditionalist “girl power! I do what I want” setting.’
‘“The role of men has always been to civilize women; to force women to consider others aside themselves. Without that women will do what they have always done: degenerate into self-absorbed brats.” – Aaron Pizzey’
The above comment was mispelled by the MRA that wrote it. Apparently it was Erin Pizzey that said that. What’s ironic about it is that Erin places men in a position of civilized while assuming women aren’t. She’s another misogynist who is on board with A Voice for Men.
As you can understand by these comments everything is relational to their hatred of women. A while back I wrote an article on why MRA’s focus their attention on women in relation to themselves. It has to do with sexual availability. MRA’s want women to be sexually available to them, to control women. The fact women aren’t sexually available makes these men hate women.
Here’s the supposed ‘therapist’ Tara Palmatier on why nothing this documentary talks about is worth listening to.
‘Newsom was born to a wealthy SF family and is incredibly *P*R*I*V*I*L*E*G*E*D. Yes, another unbelievably privileged feminist who feels oppressed (insert extreme eye roll).’
Well, there you have it. Nothing in this documentary is good because the maker comes from a wealthy family! What an argument!
The only comment that seemed rooted in reality got the most thumbs down:
‘I’m not sure how some on this site can complain about the problems that boys and men face, and then turn around and attack the very forces trying to make life easier for them. I’m so tired of hearing about the hard wiring baloney, and using this to set up a very rigid standard of behavior, especially when I, as a guy, know how I really feel.I really do feel that the cause of almost every form of heartache and conflict in this entire world stems from people, regardless of sex, gender, poltical views, sexuality, religious beliefs/non beliefs, ethnicity, race, personality characteristics (like introversion and extroversion), etc not being able to truly be themselves.’