As a long time purveyor, exposer, and writer about the Manosphere I have to confess that it hurts me to do this work. Scouring the misogynist hate sites that make up the Manosphere in search of the latest plots to target women is psychologically and physically traumatic. I do it because some day, somewhere, a woman will need to know and she will want to fight back. The men in the Manosphere also scour the internet for women they can harm and it’s like trying to stay one step ahead of them at all times. The Manosphere makes no distinction between online and offline. If they can target a woman and get to her, it doesn’t make much difference to them how they do it.
There are times when I must take a break, times when I’m completely numb. My ‘break’ consists of a few days of wandering aimlessly around my apartment, looking for something to re-anchor me to humanity. I clean the sink, rearrange things, and mop the floor mindlessly at times wondering when I’ll feel grounded again. I play with my pet mice, wanting a hit of innocent joy.
When I go outside and see men in the street I ask myself ‘is he an MRA?’ and I wonder if I could tell the difference between a man who inhabits the Manosphere and one who doesn’t. But who am I kidding? From birth women are taught about men’s violence and how we must ‘there there’ them and never tell them ‘no.’ Women don’t have the luxury or the time to differentiate between who is and who isn’t an MRA and I admit it’s a bit futile since male violence knows no bounds.
Just look at what happened in Montreal after Roosh supposedly ‘spoke’ there. A woman was harassed in a bar. She told him to stop and he choked her. The media picked up on it and we got to hear her story, her terror. We also got to hear the female interviewer subtlety blaming her for saving herself. She knocked a pint glass over his head to save her life, a no-no. Women aren’t supposed to fight back. We’re supposed to smile, act nice, and die. Just imagine how many young women listened to that interview? We got the message loud and clear: don’t make waves.
The message is: telling men ‘no’ can end in violence against us, or worse, death. We know this before we’ve ever had a sexual relationship with a man. We remember the first catcall from an old man. We remember the first man that stalks us down the street yelling sexual slurs at us. We know what we are to men: ‘bitch, cunt, slut, whore, slag.’
We understand that men are only interested in one thing and that we are very unlucky to be born female. We become prey and we are hunted and that’s what Roosh and his cronies do: hunt us.
In my view the Manosphere is honest. They tell us ‘we hate you because you’re a woman.’ They tell us emphatically that this hatred is all part of being a man. If we mention toxic masculinity, these same men get enraged, never having the psychological skills to take a good internal look. The problem they say, is women, not their view of us.
This type of feminist work isn’t for everyone and I think any woman that has to wade into the cesspool that is the Manosphere will find herself coming closer to embracing the fact that men hate us and it will sting and burn. She’s heard about Andrea Dworkin from men who call her a ‘manhater.’ Now she’s being called a ‘manhater.’ She’s read the comment sections on feminist articles and heard about the SCUM manifesto and asks herself if she’s a misandrist.
She doesn’t hate men, she just wants them to respect her as a human being. She can’t understand what she’s done to deserve to be targeted for such violence. The fact is, she’s done absolutely nothing but exist as a female in this world who doesn’t want to be violated. The women who protested Roosh were simply saying ‘no’ to a man who teaches other men to hurt women, tells them that women are ‘bitch, cunt, whore, slag.’
Writers like me take some solace in the fact that there are other people out there exposing the Manosphere. Knowing the burden doesn’t fall completely on my shoulders is a relief. I remember one time talking to David Futrelle and telling him through email that I had no interest in PUA, that I was solely interested in A Voice for Men. I basically said to him ‘I’ll leave it to you to cover the pick up artists.’ I said this because I had my hands full with just one site because being a woman who covers the Manosphere, I believe, is different and much more difficult.
A few Canadian women learned that Roosh was in our country to give his ‘talks.’ Due to the mass media exposure of Roosh’s visit those of us that do write about the Manosphere were finally being sought out by people who don’t normally view our content. I hope we were able to show them what the Manosphere is and why it’s such a threat to women’s safety.
It’s not just Roosh’s visit that’s the problem. It’s the way the entire Manosphere targets and harms women using their network. For those of you who think there’s a fundamental difference between factions of the Manosphere, you’re wrong. As soon as a woman is targeted by one faction the rest close ranks.
Roosh advised his network ‘on the ground’ to seek out female protestors, to gather information on them, to get images of them, to dox them, and then allow any man in the Manosphere to take a shot at them. Canadian MRA’s now had an order and they were all too willing to carry it out on the ground while others sat behind their computer screens sending threats to these women.
The Manosphere terrorizes women. That’s their goal. It’s always been their goal. The largest manosphere site’s slogan is ‘Fuck Their Shit Up.’ As soon as Roosh got a video image of a woman, the Manosphere went into full tilt, trying to find the smallest hint on her clothing to identify her. They translated the French on her tshirt. Yes, they actually took the time to type into a translator the writing on her shirt and searched for what it could possibly mean. They found out it was the name of a Montreal roller derby club. Roosh publicly told his followers and off they all went, scouring the internet for hours trying to get this woman’s dox. This isn’t a one-off. This is the Manosphere’s particular tried and tested formula and they’ve been doing it for years.
My blog is almost 2 years old and I have a long list of women who’ve been targeted and harmed by the men of the Manosphere. Remember Danielle D’Entremont, the Queen’s U student who was physically assaulted after she voted ‘no’ on a referendum to start an MRA group on campus? Remember Adele Mercier,  the Queen’s prof who had to endure MRA’s postering her neighbourhood with her image calling her a rape apologist and even going to her superiors in the Uni to try and get her fired? Remember Stacy Keltner,  another Uni prof being terrorized by Sage Gerard, a student at her Uni that used his MRA group to photograph her and dox her?
I read the petition to keep Roosh out of Canada. While I think the authoresses did a good job outlining why he shouldn’t be allowed I felt it was missing this crucial point. It’s not what Roosh ‘might’ do while in Canada or what he ‘might’ say to a group of men but what they actually do, and that is, terrorize women. The pattern is well established. The evidence is clear and accessible.
I hope that the women working on keeping him out of Canada for next time take this to heart and consider this. Roosh has left a large wake of damage and it will continue. His followers are still searching, stalking, and gathering information from images of women. They are finding women’s social media accounts, noting family members, organizations, and workplaces. They are keeping files on women just like they did with the Agent Orange files and register-her.
I don’t know why Roosh was allowed entry but I have a feeling it was due to lack of clear evidence of harm. While I agree that what he says is hate speech, saying he might break the law isn’t good enough. Also, we know as women that men are given priority and privilege to harm us. We must be extra vigilant.
Lastly, I want to offer my help to the women that are trying to keep him out. You can click on the archives in the side bar to assist in your research of all the Canadian women the Manosphere has targeted and terrorized. You can also contact me by email.
Paul Elam’s hometown has nominated him for the creepy-ass-male award. The Houston Chronicle put him at #10 on a list of assholes in their community. Check out the donotlink here.