Week 10 Day 2 Discussion Question 1

In “Why I don’t care what you think about my style,” Paul Elam explains that his purpose is to help men who have been traumatized by “gynocentric privilege” and “politicized garbage.”  Please use this space to react to his commentary.

4 thoughts on “Week 10 Day 2 Discussion Question 1

  • April 20, 2022 at 1:59 pm
    Permalink

    My initial reaction to Paul Elam’s piece is something along the lines of “Oh boy, here we go” followed by an eye roll. Elam writes about men being the real victims in society, blaming women for their pain and mistreatment, especially in the legal system. It’s remarkable to read his take on men being convicted and held accountable for violence and assault as being bigger victims, and that it’s unfair for anyone (the judges, their wives, their children, the people they’ve hurt) to call them “a piece of shit”. But how is it unfair? If you enact violence against someone because you’re having a bad day (especially if it’s repeated within a relationship/domestic setting), then yes, you are a “piece of shit”, and very well deserve to be held accountable for those actions. It’s not gynocentrism that is making you a victim here, it is your own actions. Elam’s writing seems to direct blame towards feminism and gynocentrism, but really I think this is a manifestation of the fear of men becoming decentralized in society. I think he is afraid that if society isn’t centered around men, then men’s personal troubles will become ignored and that they will always be blamed – it is also the fear that they will be more likely to be held accountable for their actions.

  • April 20, 2022 at 1:14 pm
    Permalink

    I agree with Daniyal that Paul Elam’s website and the Men’s Rights Movement as a whole is just a way for men to victimize themselves and not take ownership of their actions and problems. These activists are also problematic because they are basically a direct counter-movement to the feminist movement. In this article, Elam is defending a husband who is an alcoholic and has beat his wife. He asserts that it is his wife’s fault because she is an “emotional terrorist,” and his actions result from the “gynocentric” society we live in. I found his defense of this hypothetical man’s actions to be really disturbing. If he was really being abused in his relationship, he should have sought outside help to improve the situation or end the relationship. Just because a man is struggling mentally does not mean he is justified to act in unacceptable ways. Asserting that these actions are justified because of his wife or how our society is structured towards the interest of women is alarming. I was not aware of the Men’s rights movement before doing the readings for class today, and I find it shocking that people like Paul Elam have so many subscribers and followers. A quote from the Kimmel reading that I think relates to this is, “it’s important to acknowledge the authenticity of the pain and anguish that propel their (MRAs) misguided empirical analysis” (Kimmel 133). I agree with this quote and believe that it is important to acknowledge and help support men who are struggling mentally because of abusive relationships. However, a man’s struggles do not account for this kind of behavior and are certainly not a result of the feminist movement.

  • April 20, 2022 at 12:58 pm
    Permalink

    Paul Elam’s brash writing in “Why I don’t care what you think about my style” portrays a false narrative in which men alone are the victims. I am not trying to discredit the idea that men go through trauma, nor that men are not in need of mental health assistance, but Elam’s argument goes leaps and bounds beyond this notion of support, and pivots the blame completely on women. He holistically describes the male experience as living with an “emotional terrorist, a woman who emotionally and psychologically abuses everyone in her realm, especially her husband.” He uses this frame of perceiving women to excuse the wrongful actions of men, and paints a picture in which men were driven to this extent by their wives. Elam describes a hypothetical man writing, “Waking up to the cold fact that he had every reason to drink as an escape”. Again I want to reiterate the importance of there being a structured support system for all people, men and women alike, and a world in which people are given second chances and not just left to live in shame for the rest of their lives. Yet, this is not Elam’s message. He instead shifts the entirety of the blame on women who are, “swallowed up by (their) gynocentric privilege”. Elam’s message does not create unity. It instead poses women as the enemy, and creates a destructive following that looks to combat the feminist movement and gender equality.

  • April 19, 2022 at 7:30 pm
    Permalink

    It is clear to me that Paul Elam and his followers are utilizing their platform to victimize themselves and create a database of excuses for men to utilize when they are held accountable for their actions, primarily against women. Now, it’s important to state that no one is failing to acknowledge that men can and do have mental health difficulties and/or troubled relationships. However, it seems that Elam is attempting to connect the crisis of men and their personal struggles (i.e not relating to gender or women at all) to the failures of society and the aggressiveness of the feminist movement. It would seem that, according to Elam, men are made to feel inferior to women as a result of feminism and other movements that promote equality. This sets a dangerous precedent, in change allowing men to act out in an aggressive and misogynistic manner when they are presented with the opportunity to recognize others as their equals in the eyes of society. The comment section of Elam’s post as well as that of https://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/ share similar themes of men victimizing themselves, berating women due to their ‘aggressive’ nature as well as attributing feminism to political movements and government policies.

Leave a Reply

Sites DOT MiddleburyThe Middlebury site network.