Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Is This the Worst Relationship Advice Ever?

A couple of weeks ago, our favorite "Game Master" challenged his readers, "Are You The Player Or Are You Getting Played?"

There are only two roles that can exist in any male-female relationship:

  • The player
  • The person who gets played  

(This post seems deliciously ironic in light of the fact that it was quickly followed by the writer and his co-conspirator Tuthmosis "playing" the entire Roosh V and Return of Kings readership, as though to drive home the point in the most humiliating manner that this "zero-sum game" is not confined to sexual relationships.)

The man who is "a winner" gets to establish all terms, chief among them "the frequency and depravity of sex," the opportunity to "degrade her in bed to your satisfaction." 

Wow. Let's just get past this unfortunate choice of words -- this is Roosh, after all --  and concede (for the 100th time) that this is a person who not only hates women, but really hates the sexual act itself.  For how can one person "degrade" another without degrading himself?  How morally bankrupt and perverse is a person who perceives the act of sex as an opportunity to "degrade" another human being?

"There is no other role that you can fill. There is no 50/50."

In fact, I have seen (though thankfully few) relationships in which the individuals involved DID take turns exploiting and humiliating each other tit for tat.  But I didn't get the impression either party was enjoying himself/herself much.

A relationship in which one party pulls all the strings all the time is going to get tedious even for (indeed, especially for) the one in charge.  That's why it strikes me that doms have a much harder "job" than subs do.  That's why there is always a bigger market for "tops" than "bottoms."

"Remember that time when you started off as the player, but then you got played in the end? I know why that happened. It’s because you stopped giving her the game that got her in bed in the first place."

Now here Roosh actually touches on something that I can recognize as a kind of truth:  To keep the other's interest, especially in the early stages of a relationship, one must remain a little at bay.  It is human nature that we don't value what is too easily obtained.  Courtship is a series of small tests; it is a dance in which one partner steps forward, the other back (and reverse).  And even later, if and when commitment and trust are established, the roles of "giver" vs. "receiver" tend to fluctuate. Among many contented couples I have seen, one partner is always more "in love" than the other, and that works well too -- so long as the power balance is not too lop-sided.  50/50?  Probably not realistic.  20/80?  Not uncommon at all.

I also think Roosh has a point when he claims women dislike "needy" men who force them to run the show.  My impression is that passivity and "instant attachment" are, indeed, huge turn-offs to most (although not all) women.  Whether this reflects an intrinsic quality in women's natures, I don't know, but I'm willing to entertain the possibility.  My personal observation is that, while it is true that "neediness" in a man is more of a turn-off to women than the other way 'round, it doesn't follow that most men are looking for a "sex-bot" in the flesh, either.

To keep the spark alive, both parties must be stimulated by a sense that they do not possess "all" of their partner.  And whether male, female, or other, people in a coupled relationship need to work to maintain their individuality and "personhood" for a number of reasons.  One of these reasons is pragmatic.  Relationships never last forever.  Unless both parties perish simultaneously in a fiery crash, one is likely to predecease the other.  If the survivor has completely given himself away, built his or her life entirely around another, what will be left to sustain him?  Another reason is that a relationship without any tension or conflict whatsoever is about as exciting and as "sexy" as a tepid bath.  Predictability is the death of romance, and what could be more numbingly predictable than a relationship in which one person calls all the shots all the time?

What frustrates me about someone like Roosh giving relationship advice to young men is that he is someone who has never been in an intimate relationship himself (sorry, one night stands just don't count).  It's even worse than celibate priests acting as marriage counselors, because Roosh actually hates women.  (And while the Catholic Church as an institution treats women badly, I don't assume its individual clergy do.)  It's like taking financial advice from a person who (looks like he) lives in a trailer park.

And if there's one thing I'm pretty sure about after examining the readership of these self-appointed authorities is that most of them really do want relationships.  Of course, if you're a lonely, horny 17 year old, a casual "bang" (or even a series of them) sounds great, but I expect their dreams are a little bigger and better than that: They want beautiful girlfriends who understand them and want to have sex with them because they love them for who they are.

Isn't that what everyone wants?

I really hate to see impressionable minds prematurely embittered by cynical advice like this because their dreams are not impossible or permanently out of reach -- although following "game" theory is the worst way to achieve them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Candy Darling, Born Too Soon?

I have always adored Candy Darling, one of Andy Warhol's "superstars" of the sixties.  While she was enjoying her 15 minutes of fame, I was in middle school, too young to see her movies, but I recall her face on the movie posters and in the Vogue spreads, and thought she was the absolute pinnacle of feminine glamor.  I don't think I realized she was transsexual at the time;  I don't think I knew what a transsexual was back then.
What really impresses me now is how a chronically broke, homeless transsexual (back in the days when cross-dressing was a crime), who slept on couches and subsisted on party leftovers and speed, could always look so... perfect?  What also really impresses me now is what a dry wit she had.  She is the funniest (and best) element of any of those old Warhol movies, especially Women in Revolt, which was meant to be satire of the burgeoning women's liberation movement (but which doesn't seem so satirical to me now).
Candy Darling was born and raised a beautiful "boy" on Long Island, and she turned herself into Kim Novak.  In fact, she outdid Kim Novak.  She was the inspiration for two Lou Reed songs, and her iconic death bed photo (she died of lymphoma, age 29) has adorned many a wall and record cover.

Candy Darling on Her Deathbed
That wasn't just role playing: She really was dying.

A documentary about her life, Beautiful Darling, made by her best friend Jeremiah Newton in 2010, is now available on DVD.  Obviously a labor of love, it left me with a lot of unanswered questions, and a hunger to know (and see) more.  Sadly, it is likely to be the last word on the unfulfilled promise of her brief life.

Femitheist Divine Lives On!

A couple of years ago Paul Elam posted rather hysterically about the suicide of a "radical feminist" who had been advocating, among other drastic measures, the castration of men and the worship of the feminine principle, apparently never pausing to consider that her series of Youtube videos might be a blatant and fairly elaborate hoax.
It's been a couple of years since she was doxxed and then "faked her own suicide", but Femitheist Divine is still producing Youtube videos and until quite recently, was still engaging with MRAs.  And she is still the "feminist" a lot of gullable manosphereans love to hate.

She was very young when she started to troll the Young Misogynists, BTW -- well under 21 at the time.  I'm not sure if her relative youth says more about her precocity or the dearth of creative outlets available to teenagers in rural Arkansas.

Many of the manospheans have finally figured out they are being royally pranked by this naughty Southern Belle, but they're still pissed off.  They know that the world is divided into two groups, The Players and The Played, and, as the last kerfuffle on Return of Kings demonstrates, they don't like finding themselves in the latter category -- no, not one little bit!  

I've only watched bits and pieces of her oeuvre, but my own distinct impression is that Femitheiste Divine is neither "evil" nor "mentally ill" and that she still finds that making fun of the boys of the manosphere can be pretty diverting.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hypatia of Alexandria

Tonight I watched "Agora", a 2009 Spanish film by director Alejandro Amenabar starring Rachel Weisz as Hypatia of Alexandria, a 4th century pagan mathematician sometimes credited (probably inaccurately) with inventing the astrolabe and hydrometer, but whose work on conic curves is well established.   Hypatia was brutally murdered by Christian zealots (depicted in the scene below).

The film has been criticized for being historically inaccurate.  Although Hypatia is considered "one of the mothers of mathematics", none of her work survived her death and the only information we have is from secondary sources.  Regardless of liberties taken, the film is worth watching, especially if you enjoy ancient historical dramas as I do, simply for the recreation of ancient Alexandria in the moments before the collapse of the Roman Empire (the film was shot in Malta), and for the poignant performance by Rachel Weisz.

Rational thought quashed by fundamentalism, the distrust of education and intellectual achievement (particularly of women), sexual violence as a means to intimidate an entire gender...  Is this what the 21st century proponents of the "Dark Enlightenment" advocate?


Saturday, March 8, 2014

International Women's Day

It's International Women's Day.  I love how this "doodle" includes a brief shot of beautiful and outspoken Janet Mock, a (trans) woman activist who has become a prominent voice for transgender rights recently.  This reminds me I need to buy her new book.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Buy a T-shirt, Support the SPLC

Over here at Casa La Strega, I'm holding a little fundraiser for the Southern Poverty Law Center, and you're all invited.  (If this were real life, I would have an open bar, but as we're all on the internet, I can only send you a virtual martini, purtroppo.)  For a mere $15.00+ you can purchase this t-shirt through cafepress.  A third of the proceeds will go to the SPLC.  This is set up as a fundraiser, so you only have 21 days to make up your mind and quantities are limited.  Hey, what's more cheerful for spring than a yellow cotton shirt with a merry little bee stalking dangerously buzzing merrily about? C'mon, you know you want one!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Heartening Post by Pharyngula

This story on PZ Myer's blog today, about an Indian man who invented a way to make disposable sanitary napkins affordable to poor women, is truly inspiring.  I totally love that he recognized what a struggle maintaining menstrual hygiene was for the women in his village. 

We take disposable tampons and napkins for granted, but in fact they're a fairly recent development.  I remember my grandmother describing how the women in her family had a special bucket in which to soak blood-stained rags in preparation for Wash Day.  It was hidden in a dark corner of the basement, a shameful and disgusting receptacle, vigilantly kept from the eyes of children and menfolk.