Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Woman's Tales

Somehow I stumbled on an interesting series called "Woman's Tales" of which this is part.

Monday, February 10, 2014

An Early Childhood Memory

My earliest memory is this:  I am three years old and playing in the front yard of our old house on a spring day.  I spy a bee crawling lazily in the damp, warm grass. 
Early portrait of a dangerous feminist

"Don't step on the bee," my mother warns.  "It will sting you."  

I consider my mother's warning for a moment.  Up to this point, I really haven't even thought about stepping on the bee, but now that I've been warned not to, I can hardly resist.  I don't know yet what it feels like to be stung, and my curiosity outweighs my fear.  I raise one fat, pink, bare foot over the bee and press down tentatively.  

The bee stings me and I burst into tears.  

My mother scoops me up, deposits me inside in my high chair, and removes the stinger with a pair of tweezers.  "It was a bad bee," I wail.  "Don't worry," my mother says grimly.  "Now it's dead. Bees die once they lose their stingers."  This information triggers a fresh volley of tears, as I am now filled with remorse over the fact that I have not only been hurt by, but have myself killed, another sentient creature, simply to satisfy my own relentless curiosity.

I share this memory with my girlfriend yesterday over a late lunch, and she rolls her eyes.  "You haven't changed much, have you?" she says.

Indeed, I have trundled through my entire life recklessly squashing bees, and have sometimes regretted it.  Fortunately, all the bees I've trod on have had very small stingers.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Too Bad I No Longer Smoke!

Because damn it, I used to love a cigarette with my morning coffee.

I'm just going to ask you to consider this:  If someone were being "stalked" by a "dangerous narcissist" -- if he only suspected it -- wouldn't the rational response be to contact law enforcement authorities?  Wouldn't it be rather irrational to instead write and promote a post that really is tantamount to a borderline libelous character assassination?

I think you know as well as I do that Mr. Forney is lying when he claims to be motivated by a need to "protect the public."  And some of you must surely recognize that this was the action of a very little, very vindictive person.

I will quote another MRA on this issue:

"If there is a serious risk to the public the correct action is to call the authorities. Anyone with half a brain cell could tell you that is what responsible people do. They do not go onto their blog and give out any personal information on that person, hand their readers pitchforks and torches, and then expect any real justice to be served. The only thing that will come out of that course of action is the very real risk that someone will get hurt, or worse.

Could it be that AVFM never reported the Femetheist to the authorities because they know the authorities would not see her as any sort of risk to the public? Of course they did, and that is why they doxxed her so that their form of 'justice' can be exacted since the real world would never take their concerns seriously - because the cornerstone of western jurisprudence is that a person is innocent until proven guilty - in a court of law - not on the internets."

Saturday, February 8, 2014

OK Stupid; or All's Fair in Love and War

First, a little shout out to Shadow_Nirvana, who has been known to visit and comment here:  I was very sorry to see how some of the ladies piled up on you over at Manboobz yesterday.  What offended me most was one comment that referred to you as "some random dude" when, as far as I know, you've been reading and commenting in that space as long as I have.  

For other readers, to make a long story short:  David Futrelle posted a link to a story about a math whiz who "gamed" OK Cupid in order to get more hits from the kinds of girls he preferred.  What this has to do with "misogyny" I have no idea.  I find this fellow's behavior a bit obsessive and eccentric, but hardly "creepy".  Anyway, most of the ensuing criticism centered on his "cheating".  What "cheating" means in this context is also highly subjective.  I mean, don't we all post our most flattering pictures?  Don't we all omit the least savory aspects of our histories?  When it comes to online dating, as in any form of marketing, caveat emptor.

Shadow_Nirvana simply pointed out that women will "game" systems in order to increase the odds in their favor, so it was perhaps unfair to characterize this as something only men do.  And for this he was immediately and sharply quashed.  (Curiously, everyone assumed Shadow_Nirvana was a male, and I didn't notice that h/she claimed otherwise, but up until then I had no idea of his/her gender and didn't really care.)

Manipulating systems in order to give oneself an advantage is hardly a gendered behavior, of course.  Nor is it necessarily an unethical one.  Shadow_Nirvana's comment could have led to an interesting conversation about the ways women also try to turn tables to their advantage.  But, as we all know, manboobz is not a forum for self-reflection or even tolerance of divergent points of view.  (This is not a criticism, BTW, because I enjoy the website very much and think David does a superlative job monitoring the whacky world of the manosphere, but it's just the nature of a group of this size to become rather rigid and controlled by a few dominant voices.)

Back in the day, when I was a buxom, bodacious blonde, I had a colleague who was always trying to pull me on to blind double dates with various successful, older men, none of whom, unfortunately, I found in the least bit attractive.  I didn't understand why Frances, a tall, slender Scottish lass with masses of gorgeous red hair, exceptional tits, and a rapier-sharp wit, was willing to squander her precious Saturday evenings fending off the lecherous advances of fat, sweaty, balding businessmen.  "I'd go out with a gorilla for a free meal!" Frances would exclaim.  Neither could I understand how Frances could characterize those meals as "free";  from my perspective, they were damn hard work.

However, Shadow_Nirvana would probably assert that Frances was demonstrating one of the most time-honored feminine forms of "gaming the system" and I'd say he was exactly right. 

As I've mentioned before, I used to be a bit of a slut, but I like to think I was always an "ethical slut".  I never let anyone buy me anything once I had made up my mind not to take things to the next level.  In other words, if I knew for certain I did not intend to sleep with a man, I would not allow him to buy me a drink; in fact, I was more likely to buy him a drink (perhaps as a consolation prize?).  I was very careful that way.  On the other hand, if I knew I wanted to have sex with a man, I had no qualms about letting him pick up the tab: I was going to make it all very much worth his while in the near future, and by paying for my meal or my movie, he was demonstrating he was interested too.

That's all in the past now, of course.  Thank God I have finally found someone I can contentedly pair up with and don't have to return to the dating trenches.  

What also struck me about this OK Cupid story (and the many, many references to this particular dating site I have seen) is how technology makes dating even more exhausting and tedious than it was twenty years ago.  I'm sure I'm not the first person to observe that having to sift through huge databases of prospective love interests not only requires hours of monotonous labor, but also the sheer volume of potential suitors has a tendency to ratchet up one's expectations to a stratospheric level.  

When I come home to a pile of unmarked essays, I have been known to steel myself with a stiff martini or two.  I can't imagine having to process a dozen daily missives in my OK Cupid inbox on top of that.

We are drowning in consumer choices, and dating has become no different.  Of course, at some point, most people must "settle".  Has it not been ever thus?  To keep oneself "on the market" forever is to consign oneself to a special level of Hell (and yes, that goes for men as well as women, regardless of what "The Game" boys imagine).

Truly it is one of the few consolations of aging that, even if something were to happen to my SO (God forbid), I am no longer hormonally driven to seek a sexual partner.  If you're not yet post-menopausal, you may not believe this, but just take my word for it:  Loss of libido can be very liberating.

OK, true confession time:  I met my SO online.  She hates me to share this, but we actually met through an ad I placed on craigslist.  This was nearly ten years ago, before craigslist personals had become the sea of utter depravity it now appears to be.   What makes the story unique is that there was no category for what I was seeking (woman for trans), and so only someone who was seeking the exact same unrecognized configuration could have found it.  I didn't have many responses, of course.  The fact that I had hers gave our meeting a magical sense of destiny, or kismet.  I mean, what were the odds?

What's even more amazing is that, in contrast to the unusual way we met, what drew us together was the absolute and utter sense of familiarity we discovered with one another.  Talk about "six degrees of separation"!  My SO and I were born and raised within a few blocks of one another.  Her family attended my sister's church.  She went to summer camp with my brother-in-law.  We hung out at the same roller skating rink.  We played the same games, with many of the same people, and watched the same favorite television programs.  We are both of German-Scandinavian Protestant heritage.  We know exactly what the other's childhood home looked like and smelled like.  I could go on and on, but suffice to say that when we're out and about, strangers often assume we are biological sisters.  It's a vibe we give off, I suppose, which may strike others as unromantic, but is exactly what both of us long for in a partner at our respective ages (mid fifties / mid sixties).

Well, for Pete's sake.  I sat down meaning to muse about the ways women game the dating system, and I wound up telling you all about how I met my partner.  So I'll just have to return to this topic at another time...

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Manosphere Runs on Porn

Mary McCarthy was famously sued for libel for claiming that "Everything Lillian Hellman writes is a lie, including and and the."  Hellman died before the suit went to court, her reputation rather the worse for wear; McCarthy never had to pay damages nor do I believe she ever regretted making the initial accusation.

Let me summon the shade of McCarthy this morning by stating categorically that everything Matt Forney writes about sex is, well, pretty much a lie too.  It has to be.  Because this is a guy who has had very little sexual experience with women, especially not with the women who meet his exacting standards.  Over the years, perhaps, a handful of fat girls have tossed him a bone, which is partly why he rants so much about fat girls (even though & especially because he himself is rather fat).  He can hardly live with the fact that the only young women who would deign to fuck him are fat themselves.

Self-disclosure:  To be honest, I wasn't much different than Matt when I was in my early twenties.  I was rather chubby, the typical "fat girl with a pretty face," and as such, found myself on the margins of the dating market.  I compensated ferociously in various ways, and always managed to keep my dance card full, but I refused to consider the attentions of any man who was fatter or less attractive than myself.  To go out with a fat guy was to admit defeat, to admit I couldn't compete, either.  Until I was well into twenties, I only went after men whom I considered to have a higher "SMV" than I did because until then, the primary purpose of sex for me was to validate my own sense of worth.  (Fast forward to age forty, when I fell madly in love with a guy who weighed 400#, but that's another story...) 

Almost everything Matt Forney knows about sex is based on watching movies. 

He actually rates movies based on which ones have "the best rape scene."  No, you don't have to scratch the surface hard to find the perverse adolescent who is the "Real Matt Forney."

The influence of porn seeps into every nook and cranny of the manosphere -- and, to be fair, of popular American culture in general.  None of us is immune to its influence.  But nowhere is that influence so blatant and striking as in the writing of the New Misogynists.
Think Raquel Welch as Myra Breckenridge.
The physical ideal of femininity for Roosh, for example, looks more like a call girl from the sixties than a Vogue model: big hair, loads of makeup, talon-like nails, surgically augmented breasts, high heels glued to her feet. I'm always amused by the way he and other lady's men like Nick Krauser crib photos of porn actresses or models to illustrate their alleged escapades with captions like, "And she looked just like this!"

Krauser Girls

hmmm.... blocked are we?
Dark and sultry

Sure she did, sonny.  Now pull the other one.

The sex the manosphereans describe involves lots of tried-and-true porn moves:  choking women (with either hands or mighty dick), spitting, squirting, ejaculating on faces or clothing, overcoming resistance through physical force.  The women are often reported to scream with ecstasy as the author bangs away like a jackhammer -- and that one last detail, boys, is a sure tip off that someone is lying exaggerating.  (You have seen "When Harry Met Sally", haven't you?  Or the classic "fake, fake, fake" scene between Jerry and Elaine on Seinfeld?  If you want to learn about the true nature of sex from the silver screen, start with those two clips!)

Look, I'm not bragging, but I had quite a bit of sex in my day, and although I am now retired, I proudly maintain my Elder Slut status, yet none of my adventures resembled a porn movie (unless my partners and I were consciously "acting out" a scene, which happened almost never).  

I would bet any amount of money that our "most hated man on the internet" has had extremely limited intimacy with a woman.  Like most of his readers, he is relying on a combination of years of absorbing violent, sexualized imagery and experienced frustration to fuel his fire.  And like most of these "leaders of men", he relies on the fact that his readers are even more naive and limited in their experiences, even more dependent on their wishful imaginations, than he is.

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, February 2, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman is Dead

I am really grieved to learn of Philip Seymour Hoffman's death today.  This song seems fitting.