GQ and their comical hit piece on the MRM

24 Feb


The pictures kill me. Like seriously?!?!  Hey, let’s supersaturate the color and make them look really, really, super scary evil and terrifying and oh my god these guys are mass killer rapist woman beaters waiting to happen! Run, everybody! Ruuuuuuuuuuuun! Kudos to the photographer. He made Sage look badass. Lol. For those of us who actually know Sage, this is hysterical. No offense whatsoever to Sage, but he is a nerdy science geek who looks more likely to bust out a Scrabble board than a cheesy pick-up line and an attempted rape. Don’t get me wrong, Scrabble boards make me swoony, but Sage is pretty much the last guy to aggressively and forcefully hit on a woman he has just met.

Jeff interviewed me for this story, and I recall discussing Laura Mulvey’s theories of representation and the male gaze, and then economist David Graeber and how his concept of “bullshit jobs” is directly tied to women entering colleges and the labor market en masse.

Guess I should have grabbed his dick at some point during our interview so he would have something to write about?

My bad.

Paul’s take on the article is below.



Originally appeared at A Voice for Men

OK, so GQ has released its contribution to the recent parade of hack journalism about the Men’s Human Rights Movement. This particular balloon float of pristine yellow was inflated with hot air from writer Jeff Sharlet. I am afraid it won’t stay afloat long, at least to anyone capable of critical thought. Floats don’t do well when they are full of holes.

Jeff’s antics are plentiful in this unnecessarily long and wandering piece, dedicated to shaming men who see something rotten with modern feminism and painting them as the tried and true sexual threats in waiting that feminists are always wailing about. It will be best to make a few good articles in response; mercifully shorter and a good bit more honest.

Right now I want to address Sharlet’s anti-climactic attempt at playing the master “gotcha” when he shows up at my hotel room with Blair Braverman. Blair’s the girl that narrowly escaped the clutches of the sinister Sage Gerard earlier in the day when he almost raped her at the conference in front of (or maybe with the help of!) the Honey Badgers. Alas, another piece, another day.

Blair Braverman. When she is not the sidekick of a yellow journalist, she is marsupial

Sharlet shows up at my room late. He is sans the bottle of Maker’s 46 he has promised but he has Braverman in tow. Jeff, being the astute, journalisticky guy he is sets the tone by saying, “Elam is pleased by the entrance of another female.”

Oh really? Mr. Sharlet is in my head now? I suppose he is gifted or something. Clairvoyant maybe? Anyway, I say that just to make a point. Setting the scene of your story with the writer mindreading doesn’t work unless you are Stephen King. One pass through Sharlet’s article will confirm that is not the case. Jeff continues:

“He fixes her with a gaze that says, “I really want to listen to you.””

Well, at least he hinted at some reason to suppose what was in my mind, but it hardly seems remarkable. I seldom ask questions when I am not interested in the answer. That comes with warm and gushy “I really want to listen to you,” kind of vibe. But I have to pass on the gaze thing. Too many rounds of “evil male gaze” propaganda of late.

Jeff, courtesy of his mind and eye reading, has set up his scene now. He is going for the coup d’état, the inappropriate rape conversation….with a woman!

I’m curious,” Elam says. “What did your friends think when you told them you were coming here?”

“To be honest?” Blair asks. Elam nods. She says, “I had friends who said I’d get raped.”

Blink. You can almost see the struggle in Elam’s bones: Play the nice guy? Or the perv? No question. “All right!” he booms, swinging his arms together. “Let’s get started!”

Jazz winces.

“Get the video camera!” Factory yells at his girlfriend, who giggles weakly.

I should be very clear here: At no point does it seem like Elam or Factory is actually going to rape Blair. We know they’re joking. Just a couple of middle-aged guys joking around about rape with a young woman they’ve never met before in a hotel room at one in the morning.”

Yes Jeff, there we were, a couple of middle-aged guys, joking about rape at one in the morning with the girl (much more on her later), who you brought to our hotel room — who had also just walked in with you after friends told her she was going to get raped. The same girl you had already sent after Sage Gerard earlier.

Pretty freaking funny if you ask me. Sharlet actually missed some of our best lines that night.

And I need to come back to something else you said, Jeff, if you don’t mind us speaking so intimately here in front of the world. This:

I should be very clear here: At no point does it seem like Elam or Factory is actually going to rape Blair. We know they’re joking.”

I am so thankful at your concern to be so clear with your readers, but I don’t really think they are that stupid.

Let’s see, a girl enters a room with a journalist. The room is occupied by two or three men, including the girl’s boyfriend, a clinical psychologist and another woman. The girl informs the group she has been told she will be raped if she comes there, and we all laugh it up.

If your readers at GQ need it so “clearly” pointed out that this is not a serious rape threat to pretty young Blair, then I would suggest submitting your work here. We don’t pay, but at least you won’t be writing for impressionable morons who would need that explained.

By the way, Blair is into dogs, but I want to make it perfectly clear that I don’t mean that in a sexual way.

Clearly Jeff examined what he had written at this point, and in a fit of hopelessness blathered away his account of the rest of the evening on a diatribe of “These guys actually think men have problems, hardy har har harr.”

It is good fodder, I suppose, when you don’t respect your audience enough to be honest with them. Concerns about false rape accusations are easy to paint as paranoid, even when it has happened to the men you are mischaracterizing. Easier still to attribute even more paranoia about the mainstream media, even when you are the mainstream media, and you have shown up there with a plant to help you create the story you want to write. And when you are busy cherry picking quotes, making fun of us for taking issue with cherry picking quotes.

There was a time when places like GQ and, duh, Rolling Stone, would take serious issue with a “journalist” manufacturing a story. But we all know those days are gone, don’t we Jeffy? It’s all about the clicks and the bucks.

It’s all Buzzfeed now, ain’t it?

15 Responses to “GQ and their comical hit piece on the MRM”

  1. orion February 24, 2015 at 23:03 #

    Text cuts off on the right side, don`t know how much of it.


  2. that1susan February 25, 2015 at 00:26 #

    They said next to nothing about fathers’ rights and I see that as pretty much the central piece of the movement. Isn’t that how most men become MRAs — seeing their kids taken away from them and feeling completely helpless? On a positive note, MRAs have made huge inroads in family law in some states like my own.

    If that one guy really said he’d disown his own daughter for reporting her rape, that’s just sad, and certainly not how I think most MRAs would feel if their child were raped. I also wish there wasn’t the one guy holding a sign that seemed to connect men’s sexuality with the sex offender registry.

    And I’m opposed to the sex offender registry — not because I see rape and other sex crimes as an integral part of male sexuality, but because i feel everyone who’s served their time should be free to move on with their life without being a victim of continual petty crimes, and sometimes even violent crimes, carried out by people who feel they’re serving society by making ex-convicts’ lives a living hell.

    I also know from Project Innocence that a lot of poor men get pushed through the system and convicted of crimes they never committed just to fill police quotas, so not all ex-convicts were even guilty of a crime in the first place.

    And it’s just too bad that the guy thinking it was okay for adults to have sex with 12-year-olds got interviewed, because I’m sure he’s not representative of most people in the movement. But of course these people were looking for the most perverted twist they could put on it.


  3. farkennel February 25, 2015 at 00:49 #

    Just how obvious does this toad at GQ want to make his bias?


  4. yoursexymaster February 25, 2015 at 01:27 #

    GQ isn’t that like the version of MAXIM? You know the second rate dying knock off of a better magazine?


  5. Tyler February 25, 2015 at 12:45 #

    So who is cracked a knockoff of? MAD magazine? Yeah, cracked was the inferior magazine, but as a web presence they’re thriving and pissing in MAD’s Cheerios. You should never, ever consider their articles journalism, but as entertainment they’re pretty good, and far from dying.


  6. farkennel February 26, 2015 at 04:37 #

    I thought it was just me who knew that CRACKED was a rip off of MAD piece of horseshit……apparently not.They have chosen to get down in the gutter and fight….OK…they need to learn how to take a hit.


  7. Dean Esmay February 26, 2015 at 13:59 #

    Well he posts over at radfem blogs:

    The man was openly contemptuous of every single women there, even went on a drunken rant at Alison Tieman (whom he went on to describe as “sour” and “wizened” in his article) while he was there, and he actually sits there calling others misogynists.

    Honestly the whole article read like incredible projection: Jeff Sharlet has no respect for women at all, especially any woman who dares to speak for herself, and he has no respect for the human rights or even any basic compassion for his fellow male humans. In other words, like most male feminsits, he hates men and women alike, just for different reasons.

    Most of us saw through this clown from the beginning, but we figured it was better to help him run his story than not. We’re used to the attacks, but I’ve never seen any so clownish and buffoonish.


  8. Stupid guy February 27, 2015 at 19:59 #

    Any dumb individual who reads GQ’s article will believe them at face value, as they will be lazy enough no to snoop around on AVFM to discover what MRHM is all about, while an intelligent man or woman would do exactly the opposite and likely will be able to see the truth. At this point all publicity is good publicity. Thanks a lot GQ!


  9. Jack Strawb February 28, 2015 at 11:47 #

    Isn’t that how most men become MRAs — seeing their kids taken away from them and feeling completely helpless?

    Family courts have certainly been a huge ‘recruiting tool’ for the men’s human rights movement. Their unfairness is so blatant and so destructive to men and their children that they do indeed send men by the thousands every month looking for help.

    On a positive note, MRAs have made huge inroads in family law in some states like my own.”

    “Huge” inroads? I wish that was the case. What are you thinking of, specifically?

    “If that one guy really said he’d disown his own daughter for reporting her rape, that’s just sad, and certainly not how I think most MRAs would feel if their child were raped.”

    If this wasn’t made up, the man was presumably mentally ill. In any case, this is no more representative of the men’s human rights movement than some random pedophile claiming it’s “okay for adults to have sex with 12 year olds.” You’re talking about two completely random, very sick men.

    The men’s human rights movement is concerned with equality both before and under the law. It rejects discriminatory treatment and sentencing based on gender. It rejects discriminatory treatment of fathers and their children, and of divorcing men. It rejects the destruction of due process and Constitutional protections in jurisprudence. It rejects discrimination against men through unjustifiable affirmative action programs for women, especially with regard to things like college admissions, where women are routinely favored in many fields despite being already over-represented. And on and on. Cheers, JS.


  10. Jack Strawb February 28, 2015 at 11:53 #

    Sharlet’s piece was indeed laughably, almost uniquely awful.

    Still, to date this sort of thing has been quite successful. The feminist demonization of the men’s human rights movement has largely worked AND they got to the public years ahead of us. In so doing they have effectively shaped public opinion. We have years of work ahead of us just to undo the fraud feminists have perpetrated. Instead of a meaningful discussion of the relevant issues, we’re still deeply involved in what amounts to a public relations and perception war.

    Feminists didn’t have much choice, of course, They know they’ll lose any debate held strictly on the merits.


  11. Jack Strawb February 28, 2015 at 11:56 #

    In fact, Cracked recently did a piece far superior to anything put out by GQ–it was on rape. The title is self-explanatory:

    The 5 Awful Realities of Being a Man Who was Raped by a Woman.”


  12. that1susan February 28, 2015 at 12:57 #

    “’On a positive note, MRAs have made huge inroads in family law in some states like my own.’

    “‘Huge’ inroads? I wish that was the case. What are you thinking of, specifically?”

    When parents divorce in my state, and both parents want primary custody, it’s a long, drawn-out process in which the situation is carefully evaluated, and I think there’s also a representative for the children, too. I have one friend who is definitely a good parent and not an abusive one, and her ex has primary custody of their daughter. I’m not sure of the details because I got to know her a few years after her divorce. It looks to me like maybe they saw two decent parents, and went with the one who didn’t have any other kids and could give more undivided attention to this one.

    I have another new friend whose now teenaged daughter was raised by her and her husband, who she got together with when her daughter was a baby. The bio dad had no interest in her until she was about 6 and they wanted him to sign away his rights so that the man she’d been calling Daddy all this time could adopt her and be her dad legally. He refused to sign and was able to get visitation, but then moved away and pretty much dropped out of their lives, but later decided to follow them when they moved to another state.

    And now they’re in a very tricky situation because — and my friend really regrets doing this now — but when her husband was offered a good business opportunity back here which is where they are both from, and her teen daughter really wanted to stay where her friends were, they ended up letting her stay with her bio dad, who she still calls by his first name and doesn’t really think of as her dad, but gets along with okay I guess. But after a few months, she’d decided that she wanted to live with her mom after all, and when her bio dad realized that, he filed for permanent custody, and now they’re having to go through all this court stuff. Her daughter is 15 now, and I thought a child that age could decide where she wanted to live, so I don’t quite understand, but it’s what they’re having to do.

    But anyhow, it’s all supposed to be resolved pretty soon. It’s just hard on my friend because they’re in a very tight place financially (her husband’s business is still getting off the ground), and they’re having to scrape together money for her to fly back and forth for hearings, and to pay her lawyer fees plus half her daughter’s lawyer fees. I think part of the stress is that their daughter, being a teenager, feels one way one moment and another way the next.

    I also know of a couple of cases in which an ex-wife requested to have the child support reevaluated, thinking they could get more because of cost of living increases, only to have it REDUCED because, being remarried, they were in a better economic position than their ex-husbands.


  13. Jack Strawb February 28, 2015 at 19:22 #

    Many thanks for the detailed clarification.

    While there are virtues to what you describe, in your first example the practice of a “long, drawn-out process” generally means the court industry triumphs. Why is there involvement by the state on this scale?

    In the second example there’s the same level of court industry involvement. A 15 year should, of course, be able to decide which parent they want to live with. I’m sorry your friend has to go through this. The cost you mention that’s involved with hearings bears out the absurdity of this level of involvement. It always strikes me as a diminishing returns situation. One interview each, paperwork, evaluation, done.

    The stress and dollar costs outweigh any benefit a prolonged process might be. Fwiw, I say this as a small government progressive. There are things government does well, but this is not one of those things. Best wishes, though, to all involved. There’s little that’s more painful than custody disputes.


  14. that1susan February 28, 2015 at 20:05 #

    Yes, I guess the only real “progress” is that the courts no longer just automatically give full custody to the mom (unless the dad doesn’t contest it), but you’re probably right that they just drag all that stuff out in order to rake in all the money they can. And speaking of money, one of the dads I mentioned who’s child support was recalculated in his favor has only been able to prevent his ex from taking away his shared custody by very frugally living with his mom, not dating, and investing all his resources in taking care of his kids and paying his lawyer to represent him whenever she levels another bogus charge against him.

    So on the one hand, things are better than in the past, but we still have such a long way to go, because divorced dads who want to be involved dads usually CAN’T make any kind of a new romantic life because lawyers are so expensive, while divorced moms are free to date and remarry, make new babies with their new husbands, and so on.

    I really like an idea that Janet shared about this in another post — to just have a policy where the parent who wants out of the marriage leaves on their own and pays child support, and the parent who’s committed to the marriage stays and keeps the kids. I think she did make an exception for cases where there’s actual, established abuse.

    I did watch at least part of an old Dr. Phil show about a Christian Patriarch who went to jail for beating his wife with a wooden spoon (you can find videos of the show on YouTube if you do a search for “Dr. Phil Proverbs 31 wife.” When she realized she needed to get out of the situation, if I’m remembering right, she instructed one of the kids ahead of time to film it on her cell phone the next time Daddy beat her.

    I think some people were critical of her “using” her child this way, and it probably would’ve been better if she could have somehow planted a video camera that her husband wouldn’t have noticed rather than involving a child — but I commend her for doing what it took to provide the evidence she needed to keep the kids in her custody.

    Child custody judges are getting so used to divorcing parents calling child protective services on each other and accusing each other of abuse that they don’t even take it that seriously anymore, so when there really IS abuse, parents who want to protect their child from the abusive parent really need to find a way to document it. This is especially true when the abuser is the mother and the victim is the father, since society is so skewed towards the perception of men as abusers and women as victims.

    So I’d like to see Janet’s idea made law. There’d be way fewer women filing for divorce if they knew they’d be facing the same situation as a man who up and decided to abandon his wife and kids.


  15. that1susan February 28, 2015 at 22:07 #

    In my last post about JB’s suggestion that the person who wants to leave the marriage be required to leave the kids behind with the spouse who’s still committed to the marriage, with the exception of cases of real abuse, one thing I forgot to mention was that, if both spouses have made a legal covenant to be monogamous and haven’t agreed to an open marriage, a spouse who’s decided to have sex with someone else has abandoned their marriage commitment.

    At that point, if the adulterer is sorry and wants to stay in the marriage, it’s up to the injured spouse to determine whether this is something they can live with. If they can’t, and if they have enough evidence to establish that the adultery did in fact occur, they should automatically get the kids and the adulterer should pay child support. I realize that this generally happens if the divorce is due to a husband’s cheating, but it should also be the default response when the cheater is the wife.

    I understand that sometimes cheating is a response to the non-cheating spouse not caring about the physical and/or emotional needs of the cheating spouse, which also shows a lack of commitment to the marriage — but it’s often pretty hard even to prove abuse and adultery: proving sexual and emotional unavailability is pretty much like looking for a needle in a haystack.

    I know for a fact that I’d be willing to live without sex or an affectionate relationship with a man if it was the only way I could stay with and raise my children. While it’s a harsh cross for anyone to have to bear, those of us who are truly connected to our kids are willing to make some hard choices in order to give them the very best life we can.

    Liked by 1 person

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