This Weekend Marks the First—and Deeply Disturbing—International Conference for Men's Rights Activists

GUYS, something BIG is brewing in Detroit this weekend: the first International Conference on Men’s Issues! Which, in the words of the convention’s host, the men’s rights "A Voice for Men" website, is “your chance to meet nearly every leading figure in the men's rights movement.” Like how are you not on Travelocity buying a ticket RIGHT NOW!?

The convention is the first major event for A Voice for Men and it sure is shaping up to be a doozie. For starters, there are panels like:

  • “Cultural misandry”
  • “Misandry in the media”
  • “Antifeminism”
  • “Domestic violence and feminism”

And they cap it all off with one eloquently titled “Circumcision.” 

Unfortunately, it’s been a rocky road for the conference. Originally slated to be held at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Detroit, there was some push back against you know, the entire thing, which led to the DoubleTree sending a letter to the conference’s organizers (more on those gems in a bit) asking them to provide increased security for hotel staffers. According to men’s rights blogger Dean Esmay, activists had to raise $25,000 to cover the cost of additional security officials for the event because of those damn feminists: “We’ve had ongoing problems with the feminist establishment, which is a multibillion-dollar hate industry, for years.” (In fact, the A Voice for Men’s website links to a petition to “class feminism as a terrorist group.”)

But the activists were able to raise the money through a crowdfunding website . . . and it only took them a day. Yes, in a country where one in five children goes hungry, men’s rights activists raised over $32,000 for security—the bulk of which funneled in within 24 hours—so people like Paul Elam can pontificate on how our culture “still puts women first in so many ways, and men come in last."

Sadly, the DoubleTree and A Voice for Men have since parted ways, and the conference has landed in the suburbs, at a VFW. AVFM claim that the DoubleTree’s “capacity was misrepresented” and thus the group had to find another locale. Other theories hold that the DoubleTree, under pressure from a number of petitions against the conference, decided it didn’t want to be associated with people like Paul Elam, who regularly spews shit like “Should I be called to sit on a jury for a rape trial, I vow publicly to vote not guilty, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the charges are true. And I look forward to the opportunity to do so for very good reason.”

Unfamiliar with the men’s rights movement? If the above quote didn’t quite flesh it out for you enough, it’s a movement asserting that men are oppressed in American society and seeks to regain men's lost place. And it does it through heroic acts like spamming a university's sexual assault reporting service and propagating theories that women are “without the capacity for moral agency” and unable to grasp the concepts of “personal accountability, ethics, compassion or empathy,” among a trillion other such heinous things. 

Mens Rights Activists have been described by the civil rights organization The Southern Poverty Law Center as "thick with misogynistic attacks" and "dedicated to savaging feminists in particular and women, very typically American women, in general."

Hm. Maybe our weekends have opened up after all.

Image: ThinkStock

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