It's getting old, radical activists.

I'm still being pelted by comments about this preschool potty issue (quick update if you need one: I blogged about my request to my daughter's preschool that she not be assisted in the bathroom stall by volunteer dads and cited a now-disputed statistic from the Abel and Harlow Child Molestation Prevention Study 2001, revised 2002, followed by an apology) therefore, I will reprint my latest comment on the issue as a post.

Please read, reread and repeat if you are thinking of harassing me further. Geez, last week some other blogger advocated the chopping off of penises whenever a women gets the urge and all the MRAs can do is support her right to free speech. Me? I've been crucified for two weeks and counting because I don't want men in the ladies' room.

To the psycho activists:

We are not talking about diaper changes, we are talking about potty-trained little girls in the women's restroom being helped with their buckles and undies. When did it become okay for men to enter the ladies' room?

At what point does my little girl become a little GIRL who deserves privacy in a gender-assigned bathroom - when you say so? Do I answer to you, on your name-calling high horse? The answer is no.

I do not answer to you or any of the other illogical bullies who put words in my mouth.

Please note as I have stated a hundred times with no one bothering to comprehend that the school policy may be amended to the "rule of threes". That is all the board is considering - the rule of multiple caregivers and/or other typical preschool protocol like the caregiver being visible from the class room. NO WHERE DOES THE POLICY ADDRESS GENDER. Never - not before, not now. That has been misconstrued by a hateful, libelous website which serves its own interest by LYING that I was successful in getting the school to remove all dads from bathroom duty. It never happened. It won't happen.

I personally reserve the right for my own daughter to attend the ladies room with other ladies as in the case in every public building in America. That is my choice and right as a parent to ensure she is treated like all other females in public, ensuring her dignity and privacy.

I apologized for unintentionally casting men in a negative light and that is more than you will ever, ever get out of another target of MRA abuse.

It's time to move on. It's getting old.

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Despite my treatment throughout all of this I had actually kind of taken a shine to the greater points of the mens right's movement and had begun researching future blog topics to dispel some societal myths that work against human rights. But you know what? Screw it. You're on your own, MRM. There are plenty of causes in the world who don't have such assholes as activists.

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  • What I noticed from reading the comments left by the so-called "men's rights activists" was the overwhelming misogyny. Are there men who have been screwed over by the system? You bet. My stepdad paid crazy amounts of child support for many years (would have been gladly if it had actually been used to support his sons...she was the type to spend it all on herself and not make sure the kids had shoes that fit) and faced down false abuse allegations from his bi-polar adulterous ex-wife. However, that does not mean that all or even most women are out to stick it to the men in their lives.

    Bitterness will destroy you, gentlemen of the MRA. If you want your movement to be taken seriously, then instead of latching on to the feelings of one mom regarding her daughter's privacy in the bathroom, perhaps you'd be better served by raising awareness of the unfair anti-dad bias in custody cases (as one example). Choose a tangible issue, then work to change it. Just do it in such a way that you don't make yourself look like the lunatic fringe because you can't manage to advocate for your cause without harassing, insulting, and attempting to intimidate a blogger you disagree with.

    With regards to the original issue, by the way, I'm a female public school teacher at an elementary school. I won't be alone with a student of either gender as a way of protecting myself from liability and false allegations. Why should private schools allow adults (male or female) to be alone with students in a bathroom? It's just asking for trouble.

  • In reply to Lindsey:

    Exactly. I can't tell you how over this I am.

  • There are some groups that seem to be a little less misogynistic than Paul Elam's ilk- they make their point, say their peace about the "bad" statistic and move on.

    The ones that talk the loudest and use the crudest words and spew the most hatred, well, they aren't making any inroads with me or my readers on this issue. The original message gets lost.

    You removed your post. You apologized. You offered many an olive branch. Time for them to pack it in and be done.

    The fact is schools have policies around this and like Lindsey said, if they don't it's asking for trouble.

  • "But you know what? Screw it. You're on your own, MRM."

    I think you are giving too much weight to the MRAs that targeted you and not enough to the ones that were impressed with your apology and supported you.

    So, even though you acknowledge the legitimacy of the issues men face that you learned about (which you gave a nice summary of in your apology), you've decided to stop being supportive of the larger MRM in order to punish the MRAs that unfairly targeted you.

    Hmmm.

  • In reply to hopelesscase:

    Yeah, I guess that's about right. "Punish" isn't the right word, but I only have so many hours in the day and so much I can devote. I realized I have been snippy with my family lately because I get upset at the comments, so any MRM related post is going to kick up that dust - no matter what I say.

    My family comes first. It's just not worth it to touch those issues for me at the moment. I guess I could change my mind, but that's the here and now of it.

  • One thing you might have done differently would have been to engage the MRA sites that don't primarily act as anger focal points and that work on the issues you saw as legitimate. Instead of trying to argue Paul Elam out if his anger (a futile, exhausting exercise as you learned), you might have reached out to a site like www.fathersandfamilies.org. I am pretty sure Robert Franklin (the main voice there) would have been thrilled to have an independent voice like yours focus attention on the unfairness of the court system against fathers, and might have served as a focal point of support for you.

  • In reply to hopelesscase:

    Interesting. Maybe sometime! For now, I can only be called a bitch/whore/cut/manhater on so many websites before I decide it's not worth it. Thanks for your input.

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    As you already know, I support you 100%. I hope you are able to move on from this and continue to provide us with your wonderful blogs. I always enjoy reading them. And yes your family is first and you should always protect your family.

  • I agree with this, people need to just let this die now, she made a mistake, apologised, we gave her shit for it, she still apologised, we carried on, she moved on and it's still being carried on? Blown out of proportion to the max really, if I was held accountable for all the insulting things I've said in my life I wouldn't beable to function as a human being.

    I'm not innocent either, I also gave my fair share of hate to Jenna as I was very insulted by what she said but I know when enough is enough, this isn't productive in anyway at all, if we used this much effort at targetting the feminist politicians and education systems we'd be making light years of progress in comparison.

    It's done and dusted now let it die people, at the end of the day she's just a mom having fun on a blog, that's the reality without the anger.

  • In reply to Duran:

    Duran Duran, you're just warming my heart all over the place. You do your people well.

  • Please excuse the "men's activists". Their own potty training isn't going so well these days.

  • In reply to Andy Frye:

    I was getting Elambasted. Har.

  • Hi Jenna,

    I was just reading through the 'voice for men' lambasting and the same exact thing happened to my husband, who is the director of a rape-crisis and domestic violence prevention/intervention agency. They went after him calling him a mangina, threatening him, and even raised money to start a 'smear campaign' and hire a private investigator to dig up dirt. I was so freaked out for him and my family I actually tried to talk 'sense' into these idiots, and they railed in to me like they did to you. Ignore them, and don't visit their site - it'll just give you gray hairs. It's just a handfull (thankfully) of angry douches who spew hatred and verbally reinforce their ignorance, and upvote each other to death. They hate women, and it's just futile and unhealthy to even try to debate or reason with these knuckleheads.

  • In reply to Sara:

    I appreciate that Sara. It's infuriating to read misinformed things being written about me. I could handle the truth and even the insults, but outright lies and misinformation is just so irritating beyond belief. I can't go around to a million sites and blogs and defend myself and by doing so, just kick up dust. So for now I'm leaving it all out there, wrong as most of it may be.

    People have said I'm lazy for putting her in "daycare" even though this is a co-op preschool that requires a major time commitment from me and only occupies her six hours a week. People have said I "didn't do my homework" when in fact, it was the school who failed to list bathroom duty as one of the many parent requirements.

    I have also been criticized for sending her to school in the first place at such a young age, but another slice in this pie is the ultra-competitive environment of the Chicago school system. If you start soon enough and your child shines enough, a world class education awaits at the finer public schools for free! If not, your child has few options: mediocre neighborhood schools, expensive private schools or moving the whole family to the suburbs. We have weighed all options and decided to take the gamble on early preschool (for now).

    What is so puzzling about all of this is I was pegged as a feminist when I clearly stated that my view was anti-feminist, perhaps out of guilt that my commitment to my husband's family's values is in direct contrast to modern expectations of what a woman's world view should be. (I married into a non-American family with very traditional gender roles. To give you an idea, my father-in-law's wife considers herself a progressive for not wearing a burqa).

    When I was examining my thoughts in preparation to write the original preschool potty post, I thought my only opposition would be progressives, which I narrowed to feminists. In order to bounce my traditional stance off the most fitting opposition, I posted about this matter on Jezebel's #groupthink page. To my surprise, I received lots of support to stand my ground even though excluding men from an aspect of childcare was distinctly not a feminist perspective.

    I had never heard of men's rights and it did not occur to me that I would offend men by suggesting they stay out of the ladies room. After all, isn't that the protocol for adults in public places? My toddler is potty trained and I am just asking that she be afforded the dignity older girls and women get every day.

    This whole matter has weighed on my heart because I am progressive in other areas, like when it comes to gay rights, social programs and economic issues. I have made my apologies. The reason I never brought our family structure into this before is I felt it was better to weather the storm as an individual.

    Anyway, it's been a nightmare. And ironically, this whole debacle has sparked my interest in feminism!

  • The misinformation and lies are all they have for fodder. It's not like they're after the truth. They just want to go for the jugular - very angry people. I had never heard of MRA either - it sort of cracked me up at first. Men's rights, poor things. They still rule the world and make all the money, I'm not sure what the problem is. The three main points in their movement, are custody issues, false rape claims, and marital discrimination in courts. While those issues are valid, it soon becomes apparent they're hiding behind this shroud of 'good causes' to just hate, hate, hate. I mean, really, it's palpable. We were both on the receiving end of it. Anyone who challenges them is predictably called a manhater and worse.

    Anytime you take a stand on anything, there will be those who freak out and criticize. As a mother of a small child myself, I have sort of given up hope that my decisions are going to be approved of all the time. People have their opinions. Someone calling you lazy, or criticizing you for a school decision is seriously overstepping their bounds and just being a jerk.

    I understand your feelings about not wanting men you do not know assisting your preschool aged daughter to the potty. I have a preschool-aged son, and the potty issue is just dicey at this age. I mean, I still have to take him into the ladies room if my husband's not around and I'm starting to feel like I'm offending people. All his teachers are female and they don't go into the bathroom with him pretty much for that reason. I kind of wish they did - his underwear ain't pretty at the end of the day sometimes, hehehe. It is different when we're talking about men taking kids to the potty, and I guess that is a double standard, but we women have enough double-standards to deal with, I think the men can handle this one. Not that it makes it right - just saying...

  • In reply to Sara:

    I should have said before that I'm so sorry for what your family has gone through. Thank God in my case it's only been limited to me except for one ominous comment that one of them hopes my daughter gets molested to teach me a lesson. Sick. Some things, you cannot un-see.

    We're actually thinking of moving now. What about you - did anyone ever come to your house or work?

  • Thank you. Nope, it blew over. Fortunately, these angry jerks are all talk and no action - the anonymity of the internet lends itself to that. My husband and I got railed, in much the same way you did. One guy said he hopes I die of "c%*t cancer, because she is a c%*t." Another guy said he wanted to bring down the agency and that "bitch hive." They wanted my husband to "pay for what he did" and said he should be "treated like a nazi sympathizer and given a 20 minute trial and shot." The list goes on and on. All because of a public service announcement on raising boys to be nonviolent. Really, that was it. The comments about your daughter are horrific, but not surprising considering the angry anonymous source. Strangely, I got used to it and I just ignore it now for my own sanity. It is terrifying when you're 'new' to that underbelly of radical misogynists. My husband was freaked, but took it more in his stride than I did. He's used to people flipping out about anything concerning violence toward women. And the funny thing is, the agency provides free services to men, women, boys and girls - everyone and anyone who is a victim/survivor of sexual and/or domestic violence. So, don't move away, just let it blow over. Call the police if you're worried, but it really will blow over.

  • In reply to Sara:

    Thank you so much for reaching out. SCARY indeed. If I didn't have young girls, I'd probably fight back more but nothing is worth putting my family in further jeopardy. Thanks again.

  • Happy to reach out and reassure a fellow target of misguided rage. Good luck!

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    Jenna, I am not apart of the MRA, but I was really hurt at your comments on your original post. You have since apologized for it, and that is a good thing. I didn't care to read 99% of the posts by MRA and you going back and forth, so I don't know what's been said and so forth, but while you may claim your apology is sincere, and I believe it is, you can't simply not just give a rip about it anymore, and be so over it yada yada yada. The MRA idiots can continue to be idiots, but you should still take the higher road, or your apology doesn't mean anything. I hate hearing an apology followed by attitude of self pride preservation.

  • In reply to waam:

    It's time to take my word for what it is and move on.

  • Jenna: Please do not take the actions of those men in the so called "Men's Rights" and use it as an excuse to not fight for those issues where the "MRA" happen to be right. There are issues like discrepancies in treatment of child rapists based on gender, disparity in sentencing for all crimes based on gender, false accusations of rape, unequal child custody rulings, and other serious problems within our system that should be supported by reasonable people of both genders.

    To just say that those MRA should be on their own to deal with those issues is to ignore the real victims. I was once a victim of a false accusation of rape. Fortunately for me, it never went to trial because the claim was so bizarre that the police never pursued the issue. However, it is something that has haunted me since. People like myself need thoughtful activists who do not come off as a bunch of crazy woman haters to drown out the sound of misogyny that comes from the "men's rights" movement.

  • In reply to lj4adotcomdan:

    I totally agree I shouldn't let my hurt feelings stand in the way of writing about injustice. I'm sorry for what happened to you.

    At the same time, I'm sick of how I'm being treated. My husband wrote one of those guys an email and instead of just responding like a decent human being, they decided to ruin his Google too. Petty, childish behavior. Also, doing that could be quite harmful if he tries to get a different job. How's that for treating a fellow man?

  • I am sick of how they treat you as well.

    I used to hide my story about my false accusation but part of the reason I felt it was important for me to come forward was because I saw how the tactics of these "men" (and I use that term loosely) are causing people to ignore those issues I find important. We can't just let them go unchecked.

  • In reply to lj4adotcomdan:

    I agree, they do so much disservice to anyone who has had a legitimate experience with gender inequality. I wonder if I could use your story as a post sometime to get the word out about false rape in a more generally accepted light? Hm, I need to think about that one. I don't want to stir anything up. Maybe in like 6 months or something. They seem to latch on to anything I say and twist it. They said my Cosmo cover thing was "crocodile tears".

    I don't know if you were the one defending me on their latest post yesterday, but if so I offer one correction. (They banned my I.P address so I can no longer defend myself.) I actually never called for a policy change at the school. That was one of the first things the director asked me when I requested my daughter be taken to the toilet by women. She was like, "are you trying to get a policy change?" and I was like "no, I'm only concerned about my own child.

    Then she said, "well I can't put it in writing for you, but I'll 'try' to make sure the dads don't take her". To which I replied the intro line of my *famous* potty post, "you don't have to write it down, but if I find out a strange man has pulled my daughter's panties down in the bathroom she won't attend here".

    I knew all the moms from previous meetings and functions. The dads rarely go to that stuff, but all of a sudden they just pop up in class for potty duty with my baby girl? Sorry, I don't think so. So it was more about the dads being total strangers.

    It took me weeks after this debacle to realize I just needed to cite the source of my statistic (Abel & Harlow 2001). But then again, nothing will ever settle this thing in their minds.

    I would express regret for ever blogging about it but I think some good discussions came from it and in light of the Penn State Scandal and others coming out now, it's better to err on the side of caution.

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