Pages

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dave Futrelle: Blogging Misandry


I recently had the unfortunate displeasure of exchanging words with Dave Futrelle, infamous author of the satirical Man Boobz blog. (I shall refrain from providing a link since trash doesn't need pageviews. Google if ya need to.) As you know, I participated in The Good Men Project's roundtable discussion regarding the merits of Feminism in a space dedicated to male issues.

It all began with this comment from a larger response to the topic:
And as much as you have been attacked and threatened by MRAs, many of us can attest to the same level of attack by Feminists (including male Feminists like Kaleb). I personally was told, many times, that I deserve to be raped, castrated, and abused. Not by some random radfem in Montana either — but by mainstream Feminists in places like Man Boobz and my own blog.
Later, Futrelle popped into the conversation like a ground hog who just realized that winter had ended -- or like that annoying friend who always intrudes on the conversation whenever he even thinks that he's heard his name.
That simply does not happen on my blog. Anyone who makes threatening remarks is reprimanded and/or moderated/banned.
Now, it's funny that his first response is to say that it "simply" didn't happen. I wonder if Futrelle realizes that he just called me a liar about my own victimization. First, why would I lie? Second, why would anyone be reprimanded, moderated, or banned, if it doesn't happen?? Third, why would you act like a slut-shaming, victim-blaming, abusive apologist like you regularly mock on your own blog??? Go figure.
If you believe something like this did happen on my blog, and I’ve somehow missed it, please show me a link or a screenshot of it happening. Or at the very least provide me with the screen name you used so I can see what discussions you were involved in so I can check for myself.
 Now, here's the next funny part. First he asks for proof after already saying it doesn't happen, couldn't have happened, and that people who ever do it are reprimanded/moderated/banned. He already says he doesn't believe it because it couldn't happen -- but if it did happen that person wouldn't be around anymore, so what proof does he expect me to come up with? Actually, why do I even need to prove to anyone that others have said hurtful things to me? My experience is not for you to validate or voir doire.
I should also note that I regularly get threatening comments/emails, etc from MRAs; other MRAs deliberately spread misinformation about me and the regular commenters on my site. I hope you are not one of them, and that you simply commented carelessly here when you mentioned my site.
Then the next thing he does is change the subject to himself! Hah! What a champ! What a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool winner he is! Because, you see, if random radicals threaten Futrelle, then obviously I'm probably one of them and it's even-Steven so I should just shut up, right? Seriously, air-tight logic.

Note to Futrelle/the world: not everyone is either an MRA or a Feminist who cares about gender issues. Some of us -- in fact MOST OF US -- are not.

While my initial response was one laced in righteous fury and furious anger, I was asked by TGMP mods to "tone it down", "you're attacking him", because they really thought I was saying something important. I appreciated the sentiment even though they were seemingly defending someone who just called a victim a liar about their own experiences with bullying, abuse, etc. I reluctantly complied because I hoped, naively, that Futrelle would have a shred of decent humanity that was merely absent from the typical snark of his bloggings.

Here was my response:
Futrelle,
Let me clarify a couple of things for you.
1. The worst thing you can do when someone speaks to the existence of actions or words which have hurt them is to deny that they happened. If you believe in Feminism and identify as a Feminist then you know exactly what I mean.
2. I was speaking about notable examples. My own blog and Manboobz are but two instances. There are others if I had to go back and look — however I tend not to focus on past instances where people said I should be raped/castrated/murdered, or when people attacked Masculists with inappropriate slander. If it makes any difference, the worst examples were trolls who came from your blog to my blog to leave anonymous comments.
That said, it does happen on your blog. Not just to me, but to other people as well. Toysoldiers has a couple of posts with some truly despicable instances where your commenters attacked male survivors in blatantly misandric and inappropriate ways. No action was taken and, as far as I know, they were allowed to continue commenting. Please see here for Toysoldier’s posts: http://toysoldier.wordpress.com/?s=manboobz&submit=Search
Unfortunately, the first and only time I went to your blog was the time it happened to me. I have not saved that conversation and I don’t feel it necessary to dig it up. Also, I doubt I could find it again after so much time.
3. I’m sorry you get threatening/attacking emails from MRAs. I think those people who take such action are truly despicable and I believe do not represent the men’s movement but rather an all-too vocal minority which men like me are deeply invested in helping, changing, or distancing.
But how does changing the conversation to instances when radicals attacked you change what happened when people on your blog attacked other people? I’m not sure it’s great that you’ve responded to instances of wrongdoing in your own house with a, “but MRAs do X, Y, and Z, so….” That feels like deflection and derailing to me; I know in Feminist spaces it would be labeled as such.
Anhyoo, I have not commented carelessly. I have commented earnestly and honestly. I appreciate your concern but my experience tells me not to be too trusting in instances like these. I have been burned before and having to defend my own victimization is not something I’m keen on doing again =/
 Futrelle's response?
 So in other words you have no direct evidence to prove your accusation. I am simply to take your word for it. I’m sorry, but I won’t. *My* experience tells me not to be too trusting in instances like these
Guess I was hoping for too much! Apparently in his experience, people regularly lie about bullying and online abuse! Geez, with that kind of attitude I hope he never talks about rape victims or domestic violence victims. Oh wait... he does.
It is not a question of “having to defend [your] own victimization.” You have accused the commenters on my site of something for which you have no evidence.
Actually I did give evidence. My name is clearly there for him to look up. I posted the similar experiences of others. As for the anonymous comments I got, I admit I did not save them because I did not think I'd need them in order to satisfy the disbelief of Dave Futrelle -- victim-denier extraordinaire!

If you are unwilling to look up the alleged conversation, I can easily look it up if you provide me with the username you used to comment on my site. If you cannot remember it exactly, perhaps you could give me the email you used, or take a guess as to what the name is. Do you at least remember the topic or post under discussion? WIth even a small amount of information like this I would most likely be able to track it down. If you indeed were mistreated I will apologize.
My name is very clearly shown. Look it up already if you care so much! But I digress.
As for the Toysoldier link, anyone who goes back to the original conversation he was writing about will realize that he is completely misrepresenting it.
Actually there is no misrepresentation. Toysoldiers used complete and direct quotes. No missing context. He linked to the commenters and posts in question. It's pretty easy to see for yourself. Just check the link I included.

My next comment was not so kind...
Futrelle,
*My* experience tells me not to be too trusting in instances like these,
You mean when someone tells you they’ve been victimized, bullied, or harassed? Why would you not trust somebody, no matter their views, about that sort of thing?
These are not accusations. These are things that actually happened. I have provided the only proof I have saved, specifically Toysoldier’s posts which show your commenters doing just the very things I (and others) have stated they have done. If you want to try looking up the specific instance that happened to me I commented under this name. I will refrain from providing my email in an open-forum. However, some of what was said to me was also through trolls that came from your blog to mine to leave anonymous comments. I did not save their comments though I do recall seeing what site they were coming from to get to mine. It was yours.
Your response is disheartening though. On the one hand you say if I was indeed mistreated then you will apologize, but on the other hand you say that the conversations are being misrepresented and that you don’t believe me. I’m not really convinced of your good faith because it seems like you’re trying to say to completely different things.
But let me state some of the things Toysoldiers pointed out which anyone can go see for themselves:
1. In one of your posts you actually linked to child pornography and compared people who disagreed with you or who frequents the men’s rights subreddit as supporting child pornography.
One of your commenters admitted to having watched child pornography that was linked on your blog. THAT’S A FELONY. Is that commenter still allowed to comment!? Why was there child pornography on your blog?
2. Toysoldiers posted instances of several of your commenters denying abuse that happened to him, attacking him for it, saying he’s lying, etc. He’s actually posted about this numerous times. I’m amazed he’s willing to stand up to such abuse in order to advocate for male victims.
3. In one instance your commenters attacked a male rape victim because he disagreed with them.
Now, tell me. Do I really need to defend that reality that commenters from your blog harassed me, hoping I’m raped, murdered, castrated? I’m sorry now that I didn’t save everything so I could convince you…
Seriously, I actually edited my previous comment a lot prior to submitting because others told me what I had to say was so important that it should be shared without violating the commenting policies. But now??? It seems like you didn’t read it at all. Like you didn’t check the link. Like you don’t care at all.
This is why I don’t share stuff like this outside of safe spaces. Because people WILL trigger you, they will dismiss you, they will make you feel a liar and they will only make it worse. But it’s truly depressing when people who should know better do it.
 Seems pretty straight-forward, right? I guess Futrelle's comprehension skills aren't quite up to par, because this was his response:
The auto-refresh on this site just ate a giant comment of mine; I will do my best to type it out again but I may be a bit more curt than I otherwise would have been.
This comment of yours is filled with misrepresentations. Whether they are deliberate lies I do not know, but almost all of your assertions about me and my blog are false.
Well, I guess we're calling victims liars without even being roundabout it. Not a shred of dignity. What a real Feminist this guy is! Seriously, this is curt? I'd rather have had the comment where he at least pretend to be a decent human being.
Don’t rely on Toysoldier for information on my site. His posts about discussions on my site are highly misleading, I think deliberately so. I would recommend that you follow his links back to my site, and read what you see there instead of taking anything he says at face value.
Again, go check the link. Direct quotes in context. Apparently Futrelle thinks the definition of words is up for interpretation! First sign of an asshole.
In other words, you have zero evidence for any of your direct accusations about my site. And Toysoldier’s posts are not “proof” that you yourself were harassed. And because he misrepresents what he writes about they do not even show the alleged things he says happened really happened. I will get to that in a moment.
Seriously, this is probably one of the douchiest parts. This guy is supposed to be a Feminist, a card-carrying member of a movement that is diametrically opposed to victim-blaming, shaming, or denial. I truly am sorry that I didn't save the anonymous comments left on this blog which I deleted. But, like I said, I never expected to have to prove what happened to anyone. Why? Because my life doesn't revolve around assholes who think people regularly lie about bullying and harassment.
This is not true. There are zero posts from anyone posting under your full name, or even just as Zek. You can contact me at my last name at well.com if you want to provide an email address you may have used. Is it possible you commented as yzek? Someone did indeed post under that name.
Actually, I really did post. This part is hilarious, given his next comment. (Hint: he finds the comments I left. Apparently he's not only an asshole, but he's also incompetent.)
You can tell which commenters come from which site? I can tell where traffic comes from, but not the sites specific commenters use to access my site. And the only evidence we have here is your vague memory. Forgive me if I don’t believe you.
I have an IP tracker which tells me where anybody who comments at my blog was directed from. But he doesn't believe me. So proof is really pointless.
If you want people to believe you about these sorts of things, save the evidence.
OH SO AWESOME! If you want people to believe something bad happened to you -- save the proof! Rape victims, remember to save some shred of your attacker's clothing! Abused and violated victims make sure you get a keepsake or memento in case Dave I'll-Believe-When-I-See-It Futrelle needs to be satisfied that his personal standards for burden of proof are met!
This is pure bullshit. There was a discussion in SRS about a CP video (hosted on Youtube) that was posted on Reddit. I linked to the SRS discussion, because (like those in SRS) I was outraged that this video was not immediately deleted and the uploader banned, both from Reddit and Youtube
Not BS. Again, check the link.
At no point did I suggest that people who disagreed me or you or who frequents the men’s rights subreddit supported child porn.
Actually, you did. It's funny how he keeps trying to change the meaning of words.
You are of course free to provide a link to any statement I ever made that you think suggests this. But you don’t seem big on providing evidence about any of your assertions or accusations. And there is none for this, because I never said it.
Except I just gave you some... I pointed directly to your statements to that effect. This guy really enjoys denial.
Toysoldier routinely lies about things that take place on my blog. Please offer specific, direct evidence of any of this — actual comments on my site.
I do not put much stock in what Toysoldier says about me or other feminists. But I have no reason to disbelieve his accounts of being abused.
Why would Toysoldiers lie about being attacked by people? He's got numerous posts showing that it happened. And why did your commenters do just what you said they don't do to Toysoldiers? You apparently don't believe many people on what they say, which is kind of interesting since, as a Feminist, you've always advocated that people believe rape victims implicitly (something I agree with to a limited extent). But now I need to spell it out for you? Oy. Vey.
My commenters did not “attack a male rape victim.” Most of those who responded to him after he mentioned that he had been abused (in passing in a comment) offered sympathy and advice. A few may have been skeptical of his account, not because he’s a male rape victim, but because this particular commenter had a long history of trolling Man Boobz and lying about things.
I like how he admits they did just what he said the didn't do. Apparently his commenters regularly disbelieve male victims who don't agree with them. The guy in question WAS attacked. Telling someone they weren't raped is an attack. Futrelle's attempts to deny the blatantly obvious notwithstanding, this kind of behavior is distinctly immoral precisely because it seeks to deny the very fact that someone was hurt and you contributed to making it worse.
What my commenters disagreed with him about was his belief that his abuser had *spent too much time in jail*for her crimes. That’s right. He thought she should have been let out sooner.
A number of the regular commenters on my site — including men — have been victims of rape and/or abuse. We take it very seriously, and do not joke about it or attack victims.
Again, see the link. Just because someone disagrees with you is NO REASON to attack them.
Again, all you have to do is go back to the original discussion and you can see how misleading Toysoldier’s account is.
Apparently he needs to go back, because Futrelle apparently has a problem with reality.
I will say it again: NO ONE ON MY BLOG SAID YOU SHOULD B E RAPED, CASTRATED, MURDERED. No one. That’s not allowed on my blog.
And again, you have no evidence of any of this. It did not happen. You never commented on my blog under your real name.
Provide me with evidence, or with some way I can go back through the comments on my site to find this evidence, or retract this.
Perhaps that’s because I have already read and responded to Toysolider’s misrepresentations many times. I am done arguing with him.
And unless you provide me with some evidence for your claims I am done responding to you as well.
 Wow. And I can't believe I was convinced by so many TGMP mods to respond to this grade-A douchebaggeus. Here was my response:
Futrelle,
Well thanks for proving me right that I shouldn’t be having this discussion with you. More importantly I’m not going to derail the conversation in this thread.
Suffice to say though, TS wasn’t wrong or misrepresenting. I read the threads. You actually directed people to watch CP and one of your commenters for sure admitted to viewing CP. Nothing happened to him. Your commenters were not banned for saying that people in the subreddit are fine with child porn. Apparently you agreed.
That male victim was attacked because he felt people like his attacker shouldn’t be imprisoned forever. The merits of his opinion aside, your commenters attacked him. Your commenters attacked TS to, said he was lying about his abuse. It’s all there on your blog if you just follow the links.
With regards to my own experience, I commented under this name. If you can’t find it, then I’m sorry, because it would’ve been good for you to take a look. I wish I could show you the comments I got afterwards. But I can’t. I don’t expect people to save tokens or evidence of their own victimization, and certainly I won’t either. I’ve got enough in my life without keeping evidence around to convince people who don’t want to believe it in the first place.
The best evidence I can give is from people who DID save those comments and attacks. If you want to dismiss them — fine. But remember: in doing so you are acting just like the people you mock. And it’s a terrible thing to deny what’s happened to someone, to call them a liar, after dealing with traumatic ish.
Regardless, we are done here. I won’t retract my statement. I stand by it because IT’S THE TRUTH. Your commenters came to my blog and attacked me with vile, misandric, and horrible statements after I opened up and talked about my false rape accusation experience on your blog. So don’t tell me you don’t joke about male victims, because your commenters do and did. Not just to me, but to others as well. I presume that the offenders are still commenting that you don’t care.
By the way, if anyone cares… this is exactly why sometimes I really fucking hate Feminism. Because of this kind of stuff right here. And I was only harassed and bullied online. Imagine if I had suffered like TS had suffered, or like others with far more severe experiences. The feeling that I wouldn’t be believe, that I’d be poked for proof I can’t possibly get at this point. It’s like asking a victim of a violent crime years later to show them the wound when the only wound left is inside them.
 Futrelle responded to my impassioned comment with typical Bush league ignorance, prejudice, and sexism.
I did not direct anyone to view CP. That is yet another lie.
Nope, not a lie. Just an inconvenient truth for you.
But I take back what I said about your comments. You did in fact leave three comments; I apologize for suggesting otherwise. For some reason your comments did not show up when I searched the comments earlier.
Oh, so now I'm NOT a liar? Great, how about you shut the fuck up then and just stop right at the apology?
But I’ve found them now. The first of your comments is here:
http://manboobz.com/2012/01/19/the-spearhead-accidentally-gives-men-some-good-advice-about-rape/comment-page-15/#comment-114584
Because I have to approve comments from new commenters, no one saw this comment immediately, and no one responded until the following page of comments.
http://manboobz.com/2012/01/19/the-spearhead-accidentally-gives-men-some-good-advice-about-rape/comment-page-16/
If you follow that link, and do a “find” search of the page for “zek” you will find all the responses to him. There is one more response on the following page.
There are no threats. There are no suggestions you should be raped, or castrated, or murdered. None. Zero. A few people disagreed with you, or were skeptical of what you said, largely because you cited Toysoldier, who has very little credibility on my site, for good reason. Several people were mildly sarcastic.
The responses were typical. One said, "Zek was falsely accused? How is he still alive? How does he have money to afford a computer or the internet? o_O" Commenter Pecunium preferred interrogation, asking me to provide every single detail in order to validate my experience with a false rape accusation. It was typical victim-shaming. Now if only I'd saved those comments on my blog with the obscene attacks... But alas, even evidence wouldn't be enough for Futrelle.
So, yes, you did comment. No, none of the commenters, as you claimed “harassed me, hoping I’m raped, murdered, castrated?”
Again, follow the link. You can see for yourself what they said.
In other words, in your comments here you have been spreading misinformation about me and my site.
Either you somehow misremembered a little sarcasm as threats of rape, castration and murder, or you were lying outright. I will be charitable and assume the former.
But I suppose it would be too much to expect an apology.
 Hah! So rich! I should apologize to someone who just called me a liar about my own victimization even after corroborating evidence is found! Futrelle must have gone to school with Wil E. Coyote, super-genius. Go figure.

The TGMP mods quickly ended the discussion after that, stating,
We are saddened by this argument and won’t take sides but request a cessation of this conversation. Take it offline, and any more posts by either party relating to this conversation will be placed in moderation hold.
I appreciated their effective, albeit late, attempt to end blatant victim-shaming of a male victim in a supposedly safe space for men to discuss male issues. It was unfortunate however, that others were not allowed to respond to Futrelle's terribly sexist comments. I did inform Toysoldiers of the occurrence, however, just so SOMEONE knew what had happened who could empathize.

This is the kind of bullshit facing male victims. This is precisely why the Men's Rights Movement is not only helpful but necessary. Because no matter what, proof is not enough, evidence is not enough. People will refuse to believe you because it is inconvenient for them to acknowledge that they could have caused any hurt, could have been complicit in any person's pain. They cannot accept the reality that there wide swaths of people who simply do not fit into the binary, zero-sum victim-metanarrative which only serves the purpose of pitting people against one another.

Dave Futrelle is but one cog in a terribly crooked wheel of gender politics, a comrade of sexist bigots like Amanda Marcotte, Hugo Schwyzer, and others stretched across the internet whose only apparent purpose is demagoguery. This is why mainstream Feminism, the kind enshrined in college classrooms and political offices across the country (and parts of the Western world) is oppressive and decayed. This is why many consider the label of Feminist to be a slur as opposed to something empowering. It is why I can never truly consider myself a Feminist, even though I too believe in gender equality. Because I will always be painfully reminded that my story, my life, does not fit in to the grand power scheme that drives these individuals.

I am, by my very existence, an inconvenient truth -- a male victim of Feminism.

Regardless, for those of you reading this, please believe me when I say that should you seek to justify or rationalize what happened, I will cut you from my life without hesitation. I simply do not have the patience or desire to accommodate hand-wringing. Take a stand against sexism, no matter who propagates it.

Anyhoo, I hope this helps set the record straight on this issue. I'll be forwarding this to pretty much everyone.

Cheers

4 footnotes:

Kratch said...

I've had suggestions that my mother/sister/daughter should be raped so I can know what it's like to have a loved one victimized on Futrelle's site,that was a few years back when I posted as Kratch and before he changed his site (so highly unlikely to be found.). The funny thing is, he is constantly whinning about all the threats he gets towards him, but denies it can go the other way, as if feminism and being a feminist makes one flawless and without error or hostility. It's delusional.

Zek J. Evets said...

Kratch,

Very true. Futrelle seems somewhat deluded by his own snark and fails, miserably, to show even an inkling that his site promotes an actively hostile community towards male victims based SOLELY on their opinions regarding gender issues. In fact, it seems that even being a male victim is enough for Futrelle to write somebody off as unworthy of compassion, understanding, or basic human decency. In this sense, he has become the very thing he mocks, ironically.

I empathize with your experience and appreciate your commenting =)

Bob-O said...

Zek,

You are awesome. Please keep doing this important work, not just for yourself but for others who have been falsely accused. I've got your back.

Zek J. Evets said...

Bob-O,

Hey, thanks dude. That's good to know =)