Showing posts with label traditional gender roles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label traditional gender roles. Show all posts

Monday, February 3, 2014

Back to the Kitchen Ladies!

So this week is "Return to Traditional Values" over at Return of Kings, and the boys are twittering up a storm.  This is the sweet, nostalgic side to the New Misogynists.   They just want to find a girl like Mom Grandma.  And judging by the success of Domestic Goddesses like Nigella Lawson and Martha Stewart, there are a lot of women who share this fantasy of Getting Back to the Kitchen.  Too bad the New Economy makes that pretty much impossible for all but the most affluent.

  1. Retweeted by
    Does being a partner in a dual-careerist household of symmetrical domestic duties and expectations sound romantic to you?
    In fact, it does to me! 
  2. Retweeted by
    When you die, it will be your children, not your co-workers, who mourn for you. 
    Funny, I was just talking about this last night with a girlfriend of mine who is also childless, and we agreed that counting on your kids to mourn you (or even come around and visit you in the nursing home) is kind of an iffy proposition. 
  3. Retweeted by
    The death of a grandmother elicits heartfelt eulogies of the foods she lovingly prepared.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Response to an Anonymous Roosh Reader

A couple of weeks ago, an anonymous reader left a comment on my post, "On PUA."

He acknowledges "negativity and hate in the manosphere," but claims "There's no workable alternative" for men seeking advice on how to be men in a society that views "masculinity" as "inherently evil."

The existence of the "manosphere" is evidence that there are thousands of young men who feel marginalized, who need "safe spaces" in which to discuss their issues.  There is indeed more to the conversation than simply admonishing young white men to "check their privilege."  I see no evidence that the majority of women believe men are "inherently evil," although the majority of women are, to some degree, afraid of some men's predilection to violence.  May I refer you to the redoubtable Louis CK on this matter?

This is how I see it after fifty years struggling to be "a woman" on the planet:  There isn't nearly as much difference between the sexes as we like to imagine...  In general, men and women have essentially the same needs and desires: for engaging work, a sense of belonging to a community, a certain degree of physical comfort, intimate relationships.  These commonalities bring us together in the family of man. 

However, the "manosphere" denies the commonalities and instead promulgates the crudest stereotypes of gendered behavior.  Hence, the edict that "femininity" connotes subservience, delicacy and/or cunning/manipulation, whereas "masculine" men are dominant, muscular, don't eat quiche, etc.  (In fact, some men are gentle and nurturing; some women are aggressive and competitive; most people are happiest, most complete and most self-fulfilled when allowed to exhibit both "feminine" and "masculine" qualities).

BTW, as a woman, I have, over the years, also sought advice on how to "perform" my gender.  Most of the advice I got was crap, too: confusing, condescending, ultimately doing more harm than good to my psyche.

As a feminist, I reject social strait-jackets based on gender.  Feminism is the promotion of equality among the sexes, not a dystopian "women-on-top" social scenario.  It means that men and women bear equal responsibilities (yes, I include military service here), as well as equal opportunities.   

But getting back to the heart of your angst, which is how boys learn to be men in a society where many of the traditional masculine traits are no longer valued, and where many boys are growing up without a strong male role model?  I'm afraid I have no easy answer to that.  Your generation (I assume you are in your twenties), are going to have to make your own path here.  The good news is that, for the first time in milennia, you get to define your own masculinity.  In doing so, Quit looking backwards.  The false nostalgia promulgated by the manosphere is a path to obsolescence and further alienation. My best advice is to quit worrying about being "a man" (or "a woman") and instead focus on defining yourself as "a human."

Go outside of your head a little bit.  Leave the echo chamber that is the internet behind.  Literally, go outside into the air and sunshine, and look around.  Talk to other people (old, young, male, female) and really listen to them.  Connect to humanity.  Find your professional vocation by experimenting fearlessly and energetically.  Exercise patience, but maintain faith that good things (including a girlfriend) will find you when you are open to the possibilities.  Develop your core values; it helps to be judicious about what you expose your mind to.  Recognize that the best intimate relationships are based on sharing common core values.

By the way, I am shocked (although somehow not surprised) that you believe "social justice efforts are adding to the problem instead of solving it."  Honestly examine what you mean by "the problem" (whose problem?  yours?)   Cuz I guarantee that millions of women, people of color, disabled people, poor people will agree that their lives have certainly improved as the result of the past fifty years of "social justice efforts." 

Friday, February 1, 2013

False Nostalgia

Roosh, like most of the New Misogynists, seems to believe that there was some golden era when men were "kings" and women accepted their subservient roles.  This is pure "false nostalgia" -- that is, a nostalgia for a time and place that never really was.  Let's take one of their premises: that ordinary men used to have a greater selection of beautiful, submissive potential wives (before fat, grumpy feminists came along and ruined it for the average joes).

In fact, U.S. history demonstrates that a competitive marriage market has always existed, especially in the West.  The lonely, eccentric Norwegian bachelor is not a myth.  Furthermore, the idea that a wife should be "beautiful" (that is, sexually desirable to other men) is a relatively modern concept.  Throughout our history, men and women have tended to value more practical qualities in mates, i.e., the capacity and willingness to work hard, shared religious values, property or the potential to acquire property.  Marriage was too important a commitment to be based primarily on sexual attraction, and literature abounded with stories about the perils of letting romantic or erotic love take sway over pragmatic considerations.

Let's face it:  George Washington, the most admired American man of his day, did not marry Martha Custis because she was centerfold-worthy!

My own grandfather, as surviving photographs attest, was an exceptionally handsome young man.  My grandmother, on the other hand, was quite plain.  He married her because she was clever with her hands, extremely industrious, both frugal and enterprising, and had skills (including carpentry) that were useful.

So when Roosh and others hearken back to a time when an array of chaste, lovely girls were available for any man's taking, like the houris of an Islamic paradise, they betray their ignorance of the realities of American social history.  Roosh blames coveted status symbols such as I-phones for rendering women "incapable of love," yet his own values have been equally "corrupted" by consumerism and popular media.  

In fact, all of us are to some extent similarly corrupted, awash in advertisements and commercials (some 3000 per day!) that teach us that we not only deserve whatever the sponsors are selling, but will be miserable failures without it.  And this has nothing to do with feminism.