A Voice for a Select Group of Men With Too Much Time On Their Hands

by | September 1, 2012
filed under Feminism

by Matilda Branson

There is a website that I don’t like very much. Originally I was not going to write about it, because I hated the thought that through writing a blog post about it, I’d be indirectly promoting something that makes me feel nauseated when I read it.

But then I thought – if you don’t speak up about things you come across in life that strike you as fundamentally damaging and unnecessarily vicious, then it will always nag at you – that you said nothing, did nothing.  And so I write.

This is the site: http://www.avoiceformen.com. The Southern Poverty Law Centre considers these guys a hate group.

Their Mission is “Don’t Get Fucked”.  It doesn’t get any better from there.

Despite misgivings, before making a snap judgement on the site, I had a good read of a number of articles on the site written by various members of “A Voice for Men”. In all things gender, it is important to give things the time of day, consider new perspectives on gender issues – new theories, articles, research findings- to be open minded and try and see where people are coming from.

The more I read, the sadder I felt. A site filled with misogynistic and vitriolic articles railing against women and the feminist movement (just the whole thing generally, of course, with little nuanced analysis of different aspects of the feminist movement or its different forms. So I feel no shame in analysing the site as a whole in turn).

Paranoid ramblings, self-pitying accounts by hard-done-by men, personal attacks on women, self-righteous articles parading a few facts and figures to support bogus claims and sensationalist article titles make up this site. And the authors, just hanging out for people to respond to their claims with outrage and feminist rhetoric, hoping desperately to engage with their own perceived quick wit and words in troll wars. So petty, with too much time on their hands. So for any potential trolls out there, don’t bother me, because I’m really not interested in responding to you.

Whilst gender inequality exists throughout the world, when I read of the oft-claimed woes lacking any legitimacy of poor little men suffering at the hands of women in their comfortable bubbles of their Western, developed worlds, I have little sympathy. Get out and see what’s beyond your own backyard, and see what actual oppression is, the situations of marginalised men and women in the many developing countries throughout the world.

If you feel so passionate about giving a voice to men, then dedicate yourself to a real cause. Hop on a plane and go to a country where you can put as much effort as you put into your articles, into work on the ground. Work to legalise homosexuality in countries where to be gay is a death sentence. Support young angry men who were recruited as child soldiers and taught nothing but violence and how to fight whilst being plied with alcohol and drugs all the time so they were alcoholics and drug addicts by the age of 10- help them to develop new livelihood skills and integrate back into society. Help bright young boys who come from families living in absolute poverty receive an education, to become future leaders. Advocate to governments about the non-obvious, un-sexy issues issues (please – everyone gets on the circumcision bandwagon- there are so many other things to advocate for).

Be constructive and do something to be proud of. There are so many men from marginalised groups you could work with to help find a voice, help them build their own capacity, to help create spaces for the voiceless to speak, in what are often very closed, limiting and threatening environments.

If you want to contribute, then do it meaningfully and constructively. Don’t act like wronged ten year olds and shit-stirrers, campaigning for a site that is based on hatred and misogyny. Don’t ring up women pretending to be someone else, to oh-so-cleverly ‘catch them out’, record the phone call, and put it on your site touting it as “the real voice of feminism”. Grow up, and use your talents and time for more productive endeavours.

(photo via Wikimedia Commons)

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