Manosphere Mondays #1: Return of Kings and Manosphere Media Success

An entry on a Monday? What madness is this? It’s something new I wanted to try. See, once again some friends of mine were talking about a subject related to the “manosphere” (which I described here). It inspired me to jot down a quick post on the subject, but I don’t really want to spend too much time on it; my other interests are more important, IMO. Thus, I thought I’d do something I call “Manosphere Mondays.” On the first Monday of every month, and no more, I’ll do a brief post on something related to the “manosphere.” Only if something there catches my eye or a friend of mine brings it up/wants me to talk about it, of course. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll just forgo it entirely. Still, this way I can occasionally talk about manosphere-related stuff in a sensible, limited fashion instead of interrupting my regular blog schedule and having it hog a disproportionate amount of time and energy.

This entry was inspired by a link one of my friends shared in a Skype chat last week. A little while ago the manosphere site “Return of Kings” posted an essay titled “Five Reasons You Should Date Chicks With an Eating Disorder.” It is, obviously, exactly what it says on the tin.

I’m not gonna try and refute it, I suspect it’s just satire or playful trolling. It’s possible Tuthmosis (the author) is genuinely sincere, but even if he is I don’t really think it matters too much. Folks around the Internet, however, viciously disagreed. My friends just laughed at the post, but many women and feminists got really, really pissed off. They even wrote articles about the article, which you can read here, for example. Tuthmosis and the guy who maintains Return of Kings have, predictably, received more than a few death threats and calls to shut the blog down. In fact, the furor generated was so great that RoK actually did go down for a little while—their server couldn’t handle all the pageviews and had to get upgraded.

What interests me most about all o’ this, and what I’d like to talk about today, is the reaction of Roosh and the “manosphere” to this little brouhaha. RoK is still up, and for the most part they’re portraying this as not only a triumph of free speech but some sort of victory for the manosphere as a whole. The reasoning is that any attention is good attention, pageviews are awesome even if they come from people who hate you, the more coverage their articles get the more men join their cause, and the fact that everyone is so up in arms about Tuthmosis’ article is proof that the Manosphere is gaining influence and “winning” against feminism.

The thing is, this isn’t the first time a manosphere article has “went viral.” It’s happened before. And I continue to be mildly amused by the lack of impact these “victories” seem to have traditionally made.

Some years ago a guy named “Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Tech” wrote a long article on how women ruined science fiction. As it happened, PMAFT’s piece “went viral” and got a whole lot of attention. I heard of it on Livejournal, and IIRC even Brent Spiner (Star Trek’s Data) got in on the fun, calling the author an “asshat.” The Spearhead, the site on which PMAFT posted his entry, had a response to the hubbub boasting about how their traffic had surged and how they were “making waves.”

Now, this was in 2009—over 4 years ago. Has anything changed since then? Has The Spearhead become a famous blog? Has PMAFT gained a great deal of fame and notoriety? Truthfully, no. After the furor over his article died down, so far as I can tell the original blogger has returned to obscurity. The most attention he’s gotten in recent years has been some other manospherian calling him a “parasite.” So much for making waves, I suppose.

A little later another “Men’s Rights Activist” by the name of Paul Elam started a site called “Register-Her.” This was to be a wiki (with high editorial standards, of course–lol) where people could name and shame female sex offenders, criminals, and “bigots” in order to strike a blow against feminism. Elam’s goal was to “fuck their shit up.” And, just as RoK did, when those guys started getting a lot of negative attention they took it as proof they were “winning” and that the feminists were running scared (or, to use Elam’s phrase, “bent out of shape”). All well and good, I guess, but look at the date on that article—it was written in 2011. At the end of 2013, what has register-her accomplished? As far as I can see, not much. How many people have heard of register-her? Looking at its Alexa rankings, it’s essentially unknown.

This is a fairly telling historical record, IMO. Over the years people from the manosphere have consistently claimed all the negative attention they’ve been getting is proof they’re finally “making waves” and getting noticed, but they seem to be forgotten and subsequently ignored pretty much every time they’ve said this. I have yet to see any manosphere prediction of “breaking out” actually come true. Every time one of them writes or does something “offensive” there’s a brief uproar, which quickly subsides and returns everything to essentially the exact same status quo.

Given how much the manosphere has failed to accomplish anything or even change anything over the course of the past few years, despite their loud protestations to the contrary, I feel pretty safe in assuming Return of Kings and Tuthmosis won’t make any kind of long-lasting impact that people will remember for more than a month. Sorry, Quintus, but everything will probably remain pretty much the same.

Still, I’m no fortune teller. Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps “Five Reasons to Date a Girl With an Eating Disorder” really does mark a new era for the manosphere. Perhaps Return of Kings will finally break out into the mainstream, and lead the charge that finally brings the evil edifice of feminism/leftism/International Jewry/whatever crashing down…

But I don’t really think betting on it is a wise idea.

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17 comments

  1. Yeah, these sites are never going to gain traction so long as it the content is framed as combatively and hatefully as it is. They will remain supported only by a group of fringe sociopaths whose fringe-ness will only increase. Especially when the employed rhetoric sounds like it’s coming from the mouth of an angry 14-year-old boy. You lose all chances to be considered an equality movement when every action you take suggests malevolence for “the other side.”

    1. The funny thing is, the manospherians themselves would probably take exception to being called an “equality movement.” Matt Forney and Roosh (both quoted/linked to in my post) have written screeds decrying the “Men’s Rights Movement” as a bunch of “pussies” and “losers.”

      What they themselves want is even less clear, though. At least I’ve never been able to figure it out. You have the standard male supremacists who want women back in the kitchen, the MGTOWs who think women in the kitchen are “parasites,” the transhumanists who think some combination of artificial wombs, sexbots, and buttsex will liberate men from women*, the “Human Bio-Diversity” enthusiasts who are called “white knight nationalists” by everyone else, the Christians who want to establish a theocracy, the atheists who think religion is a sneaky plot by women to enslave men, the Aspies who think even men without autism are just “women lite,” and so on, and so forth…

      It’s a complete train wreck. As you know, I don’t even like women that much and am more than happy living the bachelor’s life. Even a “mgtow” type guy like me thinks these cats are a bore.

      *I’m not kidding about that last one. I’ve seen gay neo-nazis on 4chan’s /pol/ board arguing that gays make the best, most loyal Nazis because of “Ernst Roehm and the S.A” and that they’ll create a lily-white homotopia with neither women nor Jews once the artificial womb is invented. I’ll not be holding my breath, obviously.

  2. Well, if it hadn’t been for that article, I would never have discovered Return of Kings and how poor would my life have been then?

    1. Judging by RoK’s traffic jump, you and thousands of other people, I guess. XD

  3. RoissyRoosh · · Reply

    “A woman lose all sexual value after age 25. After 25, a woman will have an old hands and feet appearance that grows older each year after 25.”

  4. I seriously cannot tell you how much I like this post, and how much it gladdens my eyeballs to see people actually writing critically about manosphere content, instead of just being critical. I agree that these sites are not going to make much impact, because they consistently confuse outrage with interest. Every time one of their more inflammatory articles go viral they crow with victory, as though making a large number of people angry is some kind of achievement. Perhaps it hasn’t occurred to them that people who are looking at their site solely because they find it offensive are probably not taking their advice to heart. For manospherians to actually “make waves” they have to get people to agree to their ideas, not just read them and then share them because of how ridiculous they find them. Which is almost a shame because not all of their articles deserve such hatred, there’s actually some interesting ideas there (though I’ve had to sift carefully to find them). But the more they revel in pissing people off, the less likely they are to develop any kind of popular momentum or make any real changes. In their own way they’re just as bad as the extreme feminists they so often criticise – they don’t care how many potential supporters they alienate in their quest to peddle their version of the “truth”. Great post!

    1. Thanks very much! I agree, there’s some good stuff in the manosphere (I might make a post about that later), but most of it is buried under too much nonsense to justify that scene as a whole.

      1. Too right! And for a group that puts such emphasis on being “manly” there’s a surprising amount of bitchiness – I’ve seen some guys get really aggressive with other dudes who don’t agree with their particular version of what it means to be a man (because obviously there’s just one definitive version and all the others are wrong).

        Also can I recommend you have a read of this RoK article?

        http://www.returnofkings.com/7877/the-mens-rights-movement-is-no-place-for-men

        Not because it’s good but because it’s so fucking awful. There’s a plethora of articles that are obviously offensive to women but I find this one really interesting because it’s incredibly derogatory towards men – or at least any man who doesn’t subscribe absolutely to the author’s particular version of a ‘real’ man. I’m hoping to do a post on it sometime soon, since it pretty much illustrates the very worst aspects of the manosphere.

      2. Yeah, I’ve seen it. It’s just like I said to my friend above, the “Manosphere” is rent by so many internal divisions it’s just a trainwreck. The MRAs take flak from these guys, who take flak from MGTOWs for being “pussy beggars,” who in turn are mocked for being “omega losers,” and so on, and so forth. It’s ridiculous.

        I think there’s something to be said against excessive valorization of victimhood; the “plight makes right” narrative is one of my major issues with “The Left” as it is today (particularly on tumblr). But these manosphere cats are hypocrites: They insist they’re not “victims” and that they’re “positive” and “improving themselves” and all that, but then spend most of their time whining about fat chicks or socialism or whatever the “masculine conservative” boogeyman of the day is. That strikes me as “victim-y” as anything the MRAs do.

  5. I’m with you on the victimhood thing. It’s actually one of my biggest problems with feminism as a movement – the idea that every time something bad happens to a woman, it’s because we’re all victims of patriarchal oppression. Having something shitty happen to you doesn’t automatically make you a figure worthy of admiration. I see a lot of articles on Jezebel and the like along the lines of “Look how much of a hero this famous woman is because of all the criticism she’s getting about her body/children/whatever.” They’re not praising her for because she responded well or turned adversity to her advantage – they’re praising her because she had to face adversity in the first place.

    One thing I find really fascinating about the attitude of RoK and similar sites to victimhood is that they seem to think that collective action implies victimhood. They constantly criticise feminists and sometimes MRAs for not being “strong” enough to change their own lives and instead trying to change the world to suit them; or else they put shit on them for appealing to the government or some other kind of “daddy” figure (seriously?) to change the world for them. Meanwhile they view the fact that they, personally, alone, are making changes to their own individual lives as taking “action”. I fail to see how changing your own life is MORE active than banding together with other like-minded people and trying to change something about a whole society. And what’s to stop people from doing both – from moulding their own lives into what they want them to be, AND joining with others to agitate for social change? Sometimes I think these guys must have the most incredible egos, if they think that the way they personally choose to live their lives is somehow going to inspire a nation-wide change in gender politics. You can’t change a law if you don’t appeal to the government that makes the law. Collective action is the most effective non-official way to create social change, and it certainly does a lot more good than some dude with a blog whining about how hard it is that women don’t look how he wants them to.

    But I also think it’s very telling about their whole attitude to masculinity, because I think it comes from the idea that not doing things by yourself is weak, and asking others for help is weak. A “real” man doesn’t need anyone and he does everything by himself, for himself. Do they not see how that kind of attitude not only does damage to their cause, but also to men as individuals? There’s a reason why men suffer higher rates of suicide, depression and substance abuse, and it’s not because women are putting on weight or because gays can serve in the military.

    1. There’s a reason why men suffer higher rates of suicide, depression and substance abuse

      For at least a few manospherians, those are features, not bugs. I definitely know Jack Donovan has written stuff about how suicide can be “manly” and all that. Reason #23 I don’t take the manosphere too seriously: They say higher rates of male suicides prove men are oppressed and then turn around and say suicide is “masculine” (spoilers: telling men it’s manly to kill themselves will not bring the male and female suicide rates closer together).

      Silliness, really. I suppose I can spare enough time to laugh at it and make a post about it every now and then, but I certainly don’t have enough time to join their little club. If that makes me a ~*mangina*~, I somehow can’t bring myself to care all that much.

      1. He actually said suicide can be “manly”? Dear God, I give up. You’re quite right, at this point all one can really do is laugh. It seems pretty much everyone counts as a ‘mangina’ to these guys unless they’re simultaneously banging five different thin white women, whilst building a car from scratch and writing an article about the 15 ‘alpha’ lessons they learned in the process.

        Actually if you want a good giggle, you should check out my new favourite crackpot, Sunshine Mary (assuming you haven’t already). She’s great, basically horrific conservatism and sexism dressed up as Christian morality and old-fashioned values. She’s my new hot favourite for Person Who Most Resembles A Malignant Tumor.

      2. I’m aware of Mary too. She’s plain loony, and after that post hoping PUAs would get killed by her “fellow Christians,” even the Manospambots are shying away from her.

      3. Oh of course! I totally forgot about that super famous part of Jesus’s message that says we should all go out and slaughter everyone who doesn’t completely agree with our own worldview. At least she does us all the favour of being so obviously batshit insane that it takes no effort at all to write off her opinions.

  6. […] very nice site called Gunlord lists the various components of the Manosphere. In this piece, we will examine 5 of the sub-movements – Aspies, […]

  7. […] very nice site called Gunlord lists the various components of the Manosphere. In this piece, we will examine five of the sub-movements – Aspies, […]

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