These last few weeks I’ve been reading ‘Unpacking Queer Politics’ by Sheila Jeffreys. Much of the book explains the development of Queer culture ie. the worship of gender polarity through ‘identity’ and the basis for it which she thinks comes directly from gay male practices and their need, post-Stonewall, to attain political power through emulating the symbol of that power: the straight white male.
Many gay men grew up thinking they were ‘faggots’ or ‘sissie boys’, not quite attaining the stereotypical masculine gender imperative because they didn’t embrace the social teachings (gender) of masculinity. In fact, the worst thing they could see in their mirror reflection was a woman. Many of their trusted theorists complained about the ‘feminization’ of gay men. This is exactly the same complaint we hear from A Voice for Men, among others, that are completely in line with gay male development and Queer Theory described in Jeffreys’ book. Coincidence?
After Stonewall, gay men desired power and since the source of that power’s face was represented by a straight, white male it was unconsciously and then consciously recognized that the status of gay men, the
image gender of gay men, had to change. In many ways, gay men focused on the characteristics gender of the powerful straight white male. They started with emulating military men, precise and powerful in uniform. They embraced straight white male lessons of sexuality and especially sadomasochism of which the whole system of patriarchy is built.
The gay male art of the 50’s and 60’s by Tom of Finland was a focal point for this change. His art emulated the homoerotic images of the Nazis in their pressed uniforms, ripped muscular structures, with large penises. They were the ultimate symbols of virility, power, and performance in which the ‘true man’ resides. It was an edict to completely reject anything related to ‘feminine’ gender because women, and hence ‘femininity’, didn’t have power. Chiseled features, muscular bodies, and the constant desire for sexual domination became the gendered vision of gayness and manhood.
We can see the same striving for the ultimate masculine over at A Voice for Men. The same image that gay male culture holds dear is precisely what Paul Elam prescribes and sells to his followers.
Sadomasochism was crucial to gay culture because it clearly delineated the weak from the strong and masculinity depends on a weak object (women, children or sissie boys) upon which to enact its will and exist. Capitalists noticed this shift in gay male culture and gay S&M porn was born. Sexual prowess in the form of public sex with as many men as possible was also critical since the more sex you had without any interpersonal ties, the more manly you became.
We see Elam engaging in the masculine fantasy by playing the dominant over his submissive followers. He abuses them, calls them ‘manginas,’ psychologically shaming them, and they come back for more just like submissives in the gay clubs who are initiated into manhood by being fisted, urinated upon, and debased publicly. This is how men prove their manhood. Just yesterday Elam posted a video of a man in his garage tinkering with a car. He titled the video a ‘Manly Man.’ On Twitter, Elam questions the manhood of other men and writes articles teaching men how to ‘man up.’
In a recent post by Elam he tells men they need to have ‘self respect.’ It’s curious that he’s charging $90/hr for Skype calls yet admits this:
It is particularly fortuitous then, that “self-esteem” is largely a joke. It is nothing more than an elusive butterfly, concocted by self-help hucksters and hacks in order to keep people engaged in their services. If they can keep you chasing the promise of something that does not exist in any measurable way they can keep you paying them to find it.
Elam is a hack. He doesn’t have a degree in any social or medical science. He’s basically just someone who’s done a lot of drugs and alcohol who was hired to listen to other drug addicts and alcoholics. He probably has a couple ‘certificates’ that anyone who pays for a seminar can acquire.
Elam prescribes lessons in ‘man-hood.’
‘Spine is not bestowed or gifted from others. It is not something you earn by graduating from man school.‘
The metaphor of a spine is often used in conversations about manhood. Having a ‘spine’ means ‘man up.’ It means don’t show emotions, don’t engage interpersonally or intimately and be completely independent, an island unto one’s self. This is gay male masculinity being packaged and sold a la ‘man school.’ Elam is selling ‘man up’ to men.
‘And it will happen for any man who is willing to turn his back on every situation in life that demeans him. For some it may involve rejecting the abusive treatment of a dysfunctional parent or even a dysfunctional child, and rejecting any notion of guilt that goes with it.’
Masculinity, it seems, is like the walking dead.
‘This website is dedicated to the idea that the truth often has a chilly edge.’
By him teaching his unhealthy form of masculinity to other men, it boosts Elam’s ego and makes him think all his bad decisions in life were correct and his followers are there to prove their own manhood by servicing him.
Gay men new to the site persude other men on Elam’s thinly veiled ‘man up’ article to embrace the masculine teachings:
This, in essence, is what I learned when I came out gay at 20. And why I say, straight men today are like the hiding, anti-gay, self-hating closeted gay men I met often back then.
David Futrelle just uncovered a recording of Dean Esmay explaining that the ‘MRA cause’ is Paul Elam and his ego. No matter how abusive Elam gets, they line up to service him. He constantly bans the ‘sissies’ from his site for the slightest thing and they sneak back under new names. Enduring public abuse is critical for a man to be known by others as a ‘true man.’ In this way he belongs to the tribe. The dual purpose is served.
This brings up the question of male disposability. In gay male culture, like with AVFM, men are seen as interchangeable through public impersonal S &M sex. In sadomasochism, one body is the same as all the others when you’re dominating the smaller, weaker men or those who wish to be initiated. There is no intimacy. The MRA’s cry about disposability and yet they don’t recognize Elam as the disposer. If you don’t enact Elam’s wishes or show that you’re a ‘true man’ you are quickly banished. It’s not women disposing of men, it’s men themselves. As soon as a man has fulfilled his function to Elam or questions him in any way, he throws them away and finds a new one. Haven’t you ever wondered why Elam’s staff changes so much and why he bans people who question him? If you won’t serve Elam by agreeing with his every ego maniacal whim, you are banished, only to come back and know your place.
The various complaints about women serve a purpose for the Manosphere. They’re cover stories for the homoerotic. Though this guise they are able to continue the practice of ‘gay male bonding.’ If you read my last post you can see in the comments the blatant homo eroticism with the direct mention of Prep H and other comments projecting ‘it’s really feminists who are homophobic.’ AVFM, and the Manosphere in general, is a place for gay men to congregate under the cover of hating women. I’m not saying that gay men aren’t misogynists or that their woman-hating isn’t real but it serves the homoerotic cover story purpose to the general public.
Even MGTOW is a cover for the homoerotic gay male. This Manosphere group claims the need to ‘preach’ to other men about ‘evil female nature’ and they claim to swear off women but they only ever talk negatively about women which is part of gay male culture. It becomes a gay male fantasy whereby they’re all together under one cover story while giving themselves permission to have the gay male fantasy in the first place. Here’s a comment from a self proclaimed MGTOW
‘I am actually jealous of the gay guys b/c the amount of expectation of the responsibilities they should assume in their personal life is non existent IMO. No one will ask a single gay man why he isn’t married. Nobody will ask him if he is straight. I have been single way more than being coupled over the last twenty years and more than one professional co-worker has asked me if I am gay over the years. ‘
Elam makes good money doling out dominant abuse just like public sex clubs. Elam is a capitalist and like other capitalists he’s welcoming each new crop of men who have something to aspire to, something to prove, a gender to perfect. Gyms, bathhouses, bars, the fashion industry, all sprang up to sell masculinity to men just like AVFM does. The system Elam rails against is the very one he’s actively perpetuating because Queer theory markets itself as ‘freedom’ and ‘choice.’ To us feminists who haven’t skipped out on the analysis, Queer theory is just another form of bourgeoisie capitalism, selling things like porn, public sex, and the transpolitic under the cover of ‘identity.’ It’s touted as revolutionary and freedom-loving. AVFM thinks it’s transgressive by selling gender through the lens of ‘freedom’ but in reality, it’s just an online outpost for gay men.
I took at look at the men’s rights subreddit and found this post by DavidByron2, who I believe is gay. Apparently the percentage of gay men in their subreddit is pretty high. He also linked to this post by gruffbillygoat about gay men in the MRM.
I think the MRM is appealing especially to those of us who are sick of being treated as some kind of honorary women (especially by third wavers) and having it assumed that we are somehow separate from “men”. We’re not.
The responses by other gay MRA’s were quite telling.
I don’t care what feminists think about me as a gay man. I only care what they’ve done. And what they’ve done is influence the legal system in my country to view gay erotica as misogynist.What they’ve also done is take a united queer movement, and encourage division and fragmentation (not a rainbow) based on things we claim to want equality for. What they’ve done is make it so that I am feared and treated with suspicion, like any of us men, because we’re assumed to be rapists of everyone. What they’ve done is tell us gay and bi men to wait for our equal protection in employment and housing, because women want to be paid the same for different work and that’s more important. And of course what they’ve done is permanently ban a group seeking equality for men from the Toronto Pride parade (sometimes mere division isn’t enough for femnists…)~ rg57
It’s not unusual that Byron’s first words are about his precious porn. Porn is the bastion of gay male politics because it sells
masculinity gender to them, it sells an idea of manhood. Muscled men dressed in leather and uniforms proudly display what’s happening in bath houses and cruising spots. The standard sadomasochistic element of the dominant male and the submissive female is the template of gay porn. To say that’s not misogynist and the fundamental rule of patriarchy is, well, ignorant.
Gay theorists thought pornography was the key to their liberation as well as the ‘queering’ of public space for sex. They thought public sex transgressed prudish society. This is how it was sold and since LGBT politics are really about gay men they bought it, and continue to today.
It’s too bad Byron didn’t elaborate on the fragmentation of the Queer movement but it’s clear lesbians, who are tired of defending gender, are demanding their rights not to be treated as submissive objects. Radical women have been pushed out of the LGBT movement and our concerns about males colonizing our spaces has been labeled ‘bigoted’ and ‘transphobic.’ The only way a woman is accepted in the LGBT circle is if she dismisses her own concerns about her oppression as a biological female and does whatever men tell her to do.
Elam’s backlash response to the documentary ‘The Mask You Live In’ is yet another promotion of gender
masculinity. The responses from MRA’s suggest a bunch of men wanting dominance. It also shows their worship of gender and the rejection of anything ‘feminine’, just like gay male/Queer politics:
Making boys more like girls is not the answer. If you don’t recognize the masculine, if you treat boys like they’re defective because they don’t regurgitate emotions like girls, you’re devaluing their innate energy force. Hypermasculinity is a reaction to suppression, and oppression.
the biology of male and females, choosers and competitors. The choosers keep trying to put a guilt trip on the competitors while all along they love the power the choosers have. I think some of the violence between competitors could be reduced if prostitution was legal.
I am in France and used to cringe when people would start yelling at each other at dinner parties! But then they’d just laugh and pour each other a glass of wine as if nothing happened.
I learned that, on the contrary, it is a sort of bonding ritual! And I mention it because it does seem to be especially useful to males, as a way of getting out both natural competative instincts, as well as the need for social bonding.
Men do not aspire to be an alpha bully, they aspire to be a champion. And, I’m not gay but some of histories greatest champions were gay. The history of masculinity is the history of civilization!
For men and boys, glory is worth a chance of injury, –even death. Crazy yes, but you have to have something, women can conceive for crying out loud!
Put simply, men and boys can identify emotional arousal in themselves and others as well as do women, but they choose to regulate that emotional arousal not by verbalizing it so much (like women) but by intelligent action.
Thanks Peter. Exactly right. Alexithymia is the code word for “males are bad.” There is so much they miss. Just the idea that testosterone limits a man’s ability to articulate his emotions as he is in the midst of feeling them is a killer of this concept. Men’s brains and hormones are built to get the job done in spite of emotions. Women don’t seem to have the same build. <chuckles>
“Don’t cry.” I tell my son that he is not to cry if he does not get the toy he wants. He is not to cry because he was forced to clean his room or eat broccoli. He can cry if he feels lonely or he gets hurt. But I prefer he not ball over the silliest shit. It is OK to tell boys not to cry — do it wisely,
“Pick yourself up.” Damn right. I tell my son that he should “pick himself up.” If you fall, you get up. If you fail, you try again. WTF is wrong with “pick yourself up.”
“Bros before hoes?” Well what does that mean? Does it mean “be a guy, fuck chicks and leave them?” No… it means: the brotherhood of masculinity should be pursued before fucking chicks for the sake of fucking.
The drive to win, be the best, to compete etc,etc is pretty natural in boys. Participation medals which are all the rage go against what’s natural. All it does is celebrate mediocrity. Even kids reject them. Why is masculinity such a problem? Why are males being socialized to act like females? A pacified population is a controllable population.
Masculinity is culture!
We need to start giving men and boys spaces where their masculinity can be honored and expressed. Bring competition back to the schools as well as recess.
The alternative is to not emasculate our boys by constantly reinforcing the view that they are inherently damaged and somehow in need of fixing. The alternative is to stop telling boys that female traits and behaviours are the de facto ideal and that they are subhuman for not aspiring to these ideals. The alternative is to leave the kids alone.
What I notice about the comments is that these guys actually think males are born liking toy trucks and soldiers and can’t express emotions. They also admit there’s a patriarchy by their insistence that
masculinity gender is the only thing that creates society. One of them mentions we should put women’s bodies on sale to assuage the entitlement these men have to sex. Purchasing a woman’s body is about dominating her, owning her but in Queer-politics it’s about capitalism and the ‘freedom’ to sell. It also suggests men cannot live their lives without sexual access to women. You can also see that they think there’s such a thing as a male brain and a female brain as well as complaining about the ‘feminization’ of boys I mentioned earlier.
It’s odd to see Elam and his members rail about male suicide while his own site teaches men and boys to completely shut down. There’s not a single place on AVFM where they advertise suicide hotlines or any other preventative resource. Instead, Elam wants to charge $90/hr a skype call under the guise he’s therapeutically intervening when in reality he’s just selling his personal brand of masculinity, which curiously happens to coincide with gay male masculinity.
Elam himself says the ‘problem’ is men not being ‘real men’, not knowing how to ‘handle’ the world. This is why he made a public shift away from addressing women to address men, to make them ‘real men.’
I was astounded at the similarities between gay male culture and AVFM. The constant bellowing of the feminization of men marks them as one in the same. The intense debasement of anything remotely resembling ‘femininity’ or woman marks AVFM as a great site for males to pay their dues, to get initiated.
Have you ever wondered why Elam spends his time mocking men he calls ‘manginas, white knights, beta males?’ It’s not about liberating men although that’s how it’s advertised. It’s about beating on them, using them, and making them ‘take it’ and through that Elam affirms their masculinity. Elam’s ‘activism’ is really about selling a set of behaviours (gender) to men who are looking for initiation into manhood.
And AVFM attracts a lot of gay men, consciously and unconsciously. There are many gay males who may not see the connection between Queer gay culture and men’s rightsers but who frequent AVFM all the same. You cannot distinguish the comments between straight men and gay men. I’ve wondered why there were so many gay males at AVFM and now I know why.
In the comments section of a recent article, as I posted a few days ago, there was no question that what they’re after is homoerotic bonding. The proposed ‘meet-up’ was cancelled and they were really disappointed, making outright references to gay sex and directly mentioning ‘homo eroticism.’
Instead of the Man Bawl conference Elam has an invite-only ‘retreat’ planned. The cover story is that they’re ‘activism’ has them physically exhausted and they need a break. Of course no women are allowed.
where it brainstorms strategies on how to silence strong, independent women, harass equality-loving feminists and punish Godless sluts – and still finds time to express its inherent violence by blowing the heads off as many endangered species of cute-as-a-button wildlife as possible.
Visions of toxic masculinity running amok are the stuff of which feminist wet dreams are made. These retreats will frustrate and torment feminists as they offer tantalizing evidence that AVfM engages in secret men’s business to which they do not have access. Enjoy rubbing their noses in it. Most of all, have a great time and rub out a cuddly critter for me.
This is exactly why you, as a gay MRA, should attend. Since they consider you an honorary woman (if you bark when you’re supposed to bark), it would twist their little heads to see what they believe is their dog off the leash and romping in the woods with the dangerous (straight) creatures. Worse, I think, than the MGTOW, who after all are just playing hard to get ;-). I truly believe that the idea of men, undivided by sexual orientation, gives feminists the willies.
It wouldn’t surprise me to know that 80% of AVFM is gay. They’re forever making sexual innuendos to each other under the chatter of imaginary oppressions. Men are seen as weak if they need each other so Elam has invented a perfect mechanism, a perfect raison d’etre to allow these men to congregate and in their own way, engage in public homo eroticism.
The reason I put a link to gay male porn in my last post, which I am loathe to do, about the disappointment of these men not being able to meet in person is because I recognized, through Jeffreys, the focal point of the Manosphere. Not only are these men supporting Queer culture, which they mistakenly call ‘cultural Marxism’, but they are simply sites for gay male eroticism. This is not to say the misogyny isn’t real, it is, but it’s an excuse to gather since men aren’t supposed to ‘need’ each other and gay male sex is still very much a taboo in the USA, especially since the AIDS epidemic.
Many MRA’s will read this and instantly get angry. They will label me a homophobe or some other nonsense. The anger at me only confirms the taboo. It sometimes comes as a surprise to women that gay men can be some of the worst misogynists. The revulsion that gay men feel about women (feminine) and women’s bodies is quite palpable and extensively covered elsewhere. I’ve seen gay men on YouTube speak about women in the most vile ways imaginable and we’ve seen LGBT orgs completely dismiss the ‘L’. LGBT orgs cater to, and are usually run by men and this has resulted in women being forced out, our issues are mocked or are never addressed.
Jeffreys writes extensively on the breakdown of lesbian feminist politics and centers the problem of male domination and power as the cause. Gay men, through their desire to worship and embody the ultimate masculine gender, drives Queer politics with the malevolent hand of capitalism (porn, SRS, prostitution). It’s not odd that AVFM is part of the backlash against feminism nor is it odd they’re woman haters. They are, quite simply, striving for male power by adopting gay male politics and Queer culture using misogyny as a pretext.
This is true for the entire Manosphere, not just AVFM. CAFE was forever banned from Toronto Pride because people activated against them but Justin Trottier found a smaller group, York Pride, run by a gay man, who dismissed CAFE’s misogyny with a hand wave. The justification went something like this (paraphrasing) ‘CAFE doesn’t need to cater to everybody (women) and so the fact they’re anti-feminist doesn’t mean they’re misogynists’ and ‘but women are in CAFE so it can’t be misogynist!’ And this is the way most LGBT orgs are run under Queer Theory. You don’t have to include women at all, except on paper, to run an LGBT org.
The arguments MRA’s employ, such as women have a ‘female brain’, are precisely the same as LGBT orgs under Queer Theory. The ones driving these orgs are gay or MtT, men who adore gender, power, and capitalism. Queer politics and theory is antithetical to feminism and women’s liberation. This is why many educated radical feminists call them one in the same.
NB I’ve worked on this post for almost a month and I’m quite proud of it. I recommend reading ALL Sheila’s work but ‘Unpacking Queer Politics’ was an eyeopener for me. It’s not a surprise that we’re here in the midst of Queer Politics. It didn’t come out of nowhere. It’s the same male supremacy we’ve been dealing with under Patriarchy. In my view it’s a backlash movement, meant to reposition men in a position of power, by infiltrating lesbian (women’s) spaces to get at feminism and colonizing them through transpolitics and gay male politics.