New Mexico Hounded Father for Support for Non-Existent Child

In December, Wendy McElroy wrote about one of the strangest cases of child support gone awry in a case where a man was hounded by the state of New Mexico to support a child that didn’t actually exist.

Viola Trevino essentially invented a child that did not exist and claimed that Steve Barras was the father. Barreras denied being the father, but ended up paying $20,000 in child support before the fraud was exposed.

Trevino went to extreme lengths to pull off her fraud. She filed a false paternity test using a DNA sample from an adult daughter of Berreras, and enlisted a friend of hers who worked at a lab to process it. Based on the results of the fraudulent paternity test she obtained a court order for child support.

Trevino went on to obtain a Social Security card, Medicare card and a birth certificate for the invented child.

Barreras repeatedly told New Mexico’s child services that he couldn’t possibly be the father of Trevino’s child because he had a vasectomy years prior to the child’s birth and tests showed a zero sperm count. New Mexico authorities basically ignored him when he tried to tell them that the child did nto exist, with one worker telling him, “your daughter does exist, as I am sure you already knew.”

Only after Barreras hired a private investigator and New Mexico TV station KOBTV did a report on Trevino’s case was Trevino finally ordered to produce her now allegedly 5-year-old daughter in court.

On the day of that hearing, Trevino snatched a 2-year-old girl from her grandmother and tried to pass the girl off in court as her daughter.

McElroy reports that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has asked the state’s Human Services Department for an investigation and report on how this fraud was allowed to go on for so long.

Obviously Barreras case is an extreme example, but that fact that Trevino could pull of this sort of fraud for 5 years whille Trevino’s pleas that he couldn’t possibly be the father are indicative of just how broken the system is.


Agency culpable in child support scam. Wendy McElroy, Fox News, December 14, 2004.

Clothing Retailers Are Stupid — Throw Glenn Sacks at Them

Glenn Sacks, host of men’s and father’s issues radio talk show His Side, has been leading a campaign the past few weeks against clothing retailers stocking a t-shirt that Sacks argues is hateful toward boys.

The t-shirt, distributed by David and Goliath, shows a picture of a boy fleeing from some airborne rocks with the copy, “Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them!!!”

Sacks first targeted Bon-Macy’s in a December broadcast in which he said,

As the father of an 11 year-old boy this shirt makes my blood boil….degrading boys, insulting them, making our schools a hostile environment for them–we’re not taking it any more.

After a letter and phone campaign, Bon-Macy’s agreed to stop stocking the shirt. So far, Sacks’ campaign against the t-shirt has also convinced California clothing chain Tilly’s and Universal Studios (which owns Dapy’s) to agree not to carry the t-shirt as well.

On his show announcing Universal’s decision, Sacks said,

It really angers me that our boys have to confront this kind of bigotry. It also angers me that we’re telling girls that it?s OK to hate boys. When males insult females we call it ‘woman-hating’ and ‘misogyny.’ When females insult males, apparently it?s OK. No more.

According to David and Goliath, however, the shirts are one of their most popular sellers.

Frankly, I suspect a campaign against a t-shirt is probably not the best way for people to spend their time. On the other hand, it is surprising to see such a t-shirt stocked by mainstream clothing retailers. Obviously you’re always going to be able to order shirts like this over the Internet or find them in novelty t-shirt shops (you can order both “Girls are stupid” and “Boys are stupid” t-shirts here, for example), but I’m surprised a story like Bon-Macy’s would stock such a shirt.

But some of the rhetoric about the t-shirt is a bit silly. For example, here’s Wendy McElroy writing in support of the campaign,

Hate mongering is a lucrative business and the best remedy is to yank away the financial incentive. Boycott both the manufacturers and the distributors of any product that endorses the hatred or abuse of children, male or female. Tell vendors how you feel; ask “sponsors” like Universal Studios if they guarantee their safety of your son while on their premises.

Right, and lets all write to Universal to complain about that last hate-filled Eminem album or protest comedians who tell sexist jokes. Hey, maybe we should be urging libraries to get rid of their copies of Royce Flippin’s classic, Save an Alligator, Shoot a Preppie. Can libraries guarantee the safety of preppies who wonder down the aisle filled with such hate-filled books?

It’s a stupid t-shirt, not the harbinger of an anti-male Reich.


Christmas in a war zone. Wendy McElroy, January 4, 2004.

Universal Studios Pulls ‘Boys are Stupid’ T-shirts in Face of Radio Campaign. Men’s News Daily, January 13, 2004.

Bon-Macy’s Pulls Anti-Boy Shirts as His Side Listeners Flood Store with Calls, E-Mails. Men’s News Daily, December 16, 2003.

Wendy McElroy on the Silliness of the Gender Wars

Wendy McElroy predicts that men and women will eventually look back at the gender wars in disbelief,

Future feminists will look back in disbelief at today’s false notion of a built-in Gender War between men and women, in much the same way we regard past theories of a flat earth.

Only flat-Earthers were generally harmless people. Politically correct feminists can be vicious.

McElroy defines the gender war as the idea that men and women’s political interests are inherently at odds — the sort of thing that motivates some academics to argue that women can only enjoy true freedom of speech when some men are censored (or that the idea of freedom of speech itself is situated in a patriarchal hierarchy and is thereby itself suspect).

McElroy thinks that eventually common sense will supplant such nonsense,

The only way out of the quagmire is to abandon convoluted social theory and return to common sense. Men and women are first and foremost human beings. Biology is a controlling factor of human nature, albeit not the only one. Men and women act as individuals, not as cogs in some vast class struggle. And, as individuals, we all share the same political interest: freedom.

Certainly the world will be a better place if McElroy is right, but she might be underestimating the tenaciousness of the gender war idea. After all, illiberalism has survived and even thrived in the most liberal of political cultures, and even when it is marginalized it has a habit of roaring back to life at a moment’s notice.


A Conscientious Objector to the Gender War. Wendy McElroy, FoxNews.Com, June 17, 2003.

Wendy McElroy vs. Extremists of All Stripes

This web site got its start over an eye opening look at radical feminism. My wife and I attended a symposium sponsored by campus feminists and we were shocked and not a little disgusted at the extremism combined with the nonsense that passed for wisdom. That our own university was sponsoring nonsense like this was dismaying. Equally dismaying is that some people choose to respond to this feminist extremism with an anti-feminist extremism that borders on (and in some cases cross the line into) misogyny.

My very first experience with anyone connected with the Men’s Movement made me very suspicious of the whole enterprise. I had befriended a man who had a lot of bad experiences with the legal system following his divorce from his wife. The man was understandably frustrated at the very limited visitations he was allowed with his daughter. But his reaction to this was to advise me that my wife, who was pregnant at the time, was not to be trusted and that women in general were anathema to men in general.

This was, of course, simply the tired old feminist dogma about men and women from a male perspective. I was not really interested in dressing up feminist nonsense about the sexes and calling it liberating and gradually my friend and I grew apart and lost touch with each other.

Some of the people in the men’s movement are so hostile to women, that they attack even defenders of that movement such as Wendy McElroy and Cathy Young. McElroy tried to promote the iFeminists.Com web site on a Usenet group frequented by people in the men’s movement and in return received overwhelming hostility from people who consider anyone who calls him or herself a feminist — even an individualist feminist — to be coopted and just as bad as the radical feminists.

The extent of such hostility is on full display in an essay by Ray Remark, “The Boys in the Back Room: Divvying Up the Masculist Kingdom,” which was published recently on the AngryHarry.Com web site. Remark’s article and Angry Harry’s comments in response illustrate the absolute worst that the anti-feminist movement has to offer.

Remark offers up a dark conspiracy theory in which men lack almost all freedom and people like McElroy and Glenn Sacks are simply tools of the matriarchy. Sacks, for example, wrote an article criticizing misogyny in the men’s movement to which Remark responds that,

The evening that Mr. Sacks’ hit-piece was published, I saw Andrea Dworkin and Gloria Steinem capering down Fifth Avenue, wearing top-hats. They tapdanced all night on ground zero, in the cold ashes of what we once were.

Got that? Criticize misogyny in the men’s movement, and you’re just doing Andrea Dworkin’s work for her. Later in his article, Remark hysterically compares McElroy and Sacks’ criticism of the men’s movement to COINTELPRO and the purges that occurred in Communist Parties during the Stalinist period.

But what does Remark have to offer in its place? Not much. According to Remark,

Masculinity is broken, and so is the moral and spiritual legitimacy of the West.

We need nothing less than a resurrected manhood, a New Adam, and he will come from our gutters and prisons, from the despised and outcast amongst us. Our cure, and our redemption, waits hidden in the most marginal, unexplored elements of masculinity. The broken, the psychotic, the betrayed, the autistic, the demonized, the voiceless — these are the shards from which a new masculinity will be formed. They are brilliant spirits, but they burn very hot.

Ah, the new masculinity can be found in prisons and mental hospitals. I can hardly way to see the dawning of that New Age (come to think of it, I can wait a long time for this bizarre Nietzschean world view to come to pass).

Angry Harry simply reinforces the general view that some in the men’s movement are prone to misogyny. Remark is angry that Sacks and others have criticized elements of the men’s movement for criticizing women in general. But, according to Angry Harry, that’s entirely appropriate,

Well, AH has to say that he thinks that women should be attacked in general! After all, women, in general, have done very little to stem the tide of misandry. They have simply remained silent, and watched how the people they so often claim to love — men and boys — are being cheated, hoodwinked, demonised, discriminated against and treated as humans unworthy of consideration or proper justice.

Indeed, women, in general, continue to behave very selfishly, and they continue to take unfair advantage of today’s discriminatory systems, and AH fully supports any legitimate method which attempt to expose this.

Ah yes, that supreme favorite of radical feminists everywhere, the notion of collective guilt. For radical feminists, the average man is just as guilty — even if just by omission — as the hardened rapist, so for Angry Harry, the woman who just works 9 to 5 and tries to do the best for her family is just as guilty of promoting misandry as is any radical feminist.

What Angry Harry and Remark are arguing for is simply that the men’s movement and anti-feminism in general should be nothing more than a twisted mirror image of the radical feminism movement itself. To that I say thanks, but no thanks.


The Boys in the Back Room: Divvying up the Masculist Kingdom. Ray Remark, AngryHarry.Com, April 14, 2002.

Wendy McElroy on 21st Century Feminism

A frequent question I get via e-mail is exactly what exactly I mean by Equity Feminism. I stole the term from Christina Hoff Sommers who used it to describe a wide ranging movement that began in the 19th century, and continues to this day, which seeks to ensure that women and men have the same legal rights. This liberal and humanist ideal is contrasted both on the right by traditionalist anti-feminists and on the left by radical academic feminism, both of which end up opposing such a liberal agenda because they are wedded to the view that women and men are fundamentally different in a morally relevant way. Equity feminism, however, asserts that while women and men may be different biologically, there are few, if any, legal and moral distinctions that arise from this biological distinction.

Wendy McElroy captures this idea perfectly in her recent article for iFeminists.Com, 21st-Century Feminism. McElroy writes that,

The 21st-century feminist is anyone — female or male — who rejects gender privilege and demands real equality for men and women under the law. She makes her own choices and takes personal responsibility for them, without asking government for protection or tax dollars.

McElroy calls this view individualist feminism, and notes that this is originally what feminism was about in the 19th century. Today, of course, mention “feminism” and many people think of the illiberal views of academic feminism replete with its obsession with the triumvirate of “patriarchy,” “oppression,” and “victim.” Whereas equity/individualist feminism is concerned with ensuring that laws and public institutions are gender neutral, academic feminism is more interested in realizing a peculiar utopian vision of relations between men and women — whether men and women would prefer that peculiar vision or not.

Equity/individualist feminism is about ensuring that women and men are able to choose for themselves how to live their lives without interference from Big Brother or Big Sister. Apparently, even in the 21st century that is still too radical a notion to find support on either the right or left.


21st-Century Feminism. Wendy McElroy, iFeminists.Com, March 12, 2002.

Letting It All Hang Out

A couple weeks ago Wendy McElroy wrote an article about an extremely odd series of events involving the Boulder Public Library in Boulder, Colorado.

The controversy started when library refused to fly a large flag outside its entrance. The library claimed it was for safety reasons, but an official with the library also made comments that the flag might be offensive to some patrons. Eventually the library flew a smaller flag.

And then Colorado resident Robert Rowan became so incensed at the library for an art installation at the exhibit, that he swiped the exhibit, and then called a local radio station to confess and explain why he stole the art.

The art exhibit in question was put up by artist Susanne Walker and was titled “Hanging ‘Em Out to Dry.” It consisted of 21 ceramic penises on a clothesline which was meant to make some statement or another about domestic violence (the installation was part of an exhibit for the Boulder County Safehouse, a domestic violence center).

The display was accompanied by signs which repeated myths about domestic violence such as, “Abuse by husbands and partners was . . . the leading cause of injuries to women” (despite being repeatedly debunked, that myth always seems to turn up on domestic violence literature).

McElroy does an excellent job of summing up the argument that this sort of artwork is simply the latest in a long line of anti-male messages. She recounts a recent incident in Tennessee where the YWCA took out ads featuring a blurred photo of a young boy with the caption, “One day he’ll own his own house . . . drive his own car . . . beat his own wife.” McElroy writes of the ad and the exhibit,

The “Hanging ‘Em Out to Dry” exhibit provides the same sort of “awareness” as done an a priori indictment of all boys as wife beaters. It is hate speech directed at a category of human beings. If you doubt this, imagine a display of black penises strung up. It would be condemned as racist in an instant. Why is it less hate speech to expand the category from “black men” to “all men”?

Which is not to say that Walker shouldn’t have right to make such a piece of art, but that people should not be forced to subsidy such bigoted messages. McElroy notes that Rowan said he wouldn’t have had a problem if this art had been displayed at a private gallery, but didn’t think his tax dollars should go toward supporting its message.


Hang male-bashing out to dry. Wendy McElroy, Fox News, November 27, 2001.

Man faces charges for phallic art theft. The Associated Press, November 13, 2001.