Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Call Me! We'll Do Lunch!

It seems that folks in Hollywood are paying attention to the manosphere, as well they should: A person couldn't find a richer vein of dramatic inspiration to tap. Talk about the dark underbelly of the American psyche! Simmering resentments, mysteries, feuds, fascinating back stories, loads of sexual shame and fantasy, and a pervading sense that at any moment all hell will break loose. You couldn't dream up a crazier cast of characters, and they write their own dialogue, so think what producers will save on screenwriters. 

Sunshine Mary and her husband the Holy Hand Grenade could carry an entire weekly sitcom by themselves. (Some episodes they would have two daughters; some episodes they would have five; audiences love "inside" jokes.) The ladies from Return of Queens could play SSM's trailer trash cousins, popping in to deliver casseroles and pious homilies at crucially inopportune moments. Dalrock is the minister of SSM's congregation, of course, but he's got some dark secrets, not least of which nobody has actually seen his wife in years, although he continually refers to her in the most exalting terms.  

Paul Elam (AVFM) is the corrupt mayor who rules the town with an iron fist. Those who cross him tend to disappear mysteriously. Citing his "compassion for men and boys," he insists on leading the Boy Scout troop; the residents are bullied into signing up their sons despite their apprehensions. Dean Esmay is his bumbling, sycophantic police chief who claims to have been abducted by aliens and is secretly in love with his AA sponsor. Karen Straughan is his tough-talking deputy and minder. Janet Bloomfield is Elam's PR Chief, the villainous who lords it over the other Honey Badgers at City Hall and has half the menfolk in her thrall. She's also a loose cannon. She butts heads with the town librarian (a bluestocking post-marital spinster, of course), and scandalizes everyone by calling all the high school teachers, regardless of gender or girth, "fat feminist whores." What transpires when one of the PUAs seduces her teenage daughter will be the first season cliff-hanger.

Danger & Play is the athletic club. The manager supplements his income selling testosterone under the counter. A lot of the town lotharios hang out there, sometimes pumping iron, but more often gathering at the juice bar, swapping tips on how to "bang" the local hotties. (When one intrepid girl has the gumption to challenge the "no ladies hours" policy, she is threatened with rape; fortunately, a chivalrous beta comes to her rescue, and their ensuing tender romance becomes one of the ongoing subplots.) We get to follow the "game boys" on some of their club adventures; lots of humor and pathos to be found in the way they spin the reality of their various encounters or their lives at home in their moms' basements.

Well, you get the picture. There's a reason series like "Peyton Place" and "Desperate Housewives" ran so long. There's a reason some people are "hooked" on the manosphere. People love these kinds of melodramas. There is nothing more entertaining, or reassuring, than watching people whose lives are even more dysfunctional than our own. In fact, this idea is such a winner I'm almost reluctant to share it. But I'm totally cool with collaborating with others in the anti-anti-feminist community.

The question is casting. Who to cast in these meaty roles?

We will need strong character actors the likes of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jon Lovitz, who played passive-aggressive misogynists so brilliantly in Todd Solondz's "Happiness," a movie I positively loved, and most of my friends positively loathed. (Warning: extremely dark humor and definitely NSFW!)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dalrock Is Not an MRA!

I don't really follow Dalrock, a "Christian" blogger who describes himself as a "happily married" family man while pontificating endlessly about divorce and the perfidious, slutty ways of American women (excepting that paragon of feminine virtue, the often-referred-to-but-never-seen "Mrs. Dalrock").
David Futrelle has described him as a "nitwit with a penchant for pseudoscientific defenses of old-fashioned misogyny," but then, that describes 99% of the manosphere. What distinguishes Dalrock is that his targeting and "slut-shaming" of various young hussies is "justified" by his conservative Christian scruples. Not that there's anything new about that, either. I mean, WWJD? (never mind, let's not go there...)
The Scarlet Letter (1926) Poster
Mathematically proven to reduce out of wedlock pregnancies,

The auditory equivalent of reading a blog like Dalrock is the whine of a dentist drill, something I'm willing to subject myself to on a strictly "as needed" basis.

I'm an agnostic, or a nominal Christian myself (depending on the day you poll me) and find faith-based arguments about as fruitful and pleasant as repeatedly sticking my wet finger into an electrical socket. Freedom of religion means freedom from religion, thank God the Founding Fathers. And although I appreciate the pious' concern for the state of my eternal soul, I do wish they'd take my word for it: I'll take my chances.

I am also not very invested in the topics of marriage or divorce, maybe because I have never been married or ever been particularly interested in becoming so. As Groucho Marx once quipped, "Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?" (Marx himself married three times, so he was perhaps not as cynical as that famous quote implies. And that marriage is a socioeconomic contract that benefits many people in many circumstances is patently obvious.)  Of course, I may very well change my mind up the road:

My sentiments exactly!
And I'm a liberal, in the sense that I support every individual's right to organize their personal lives according to their own values, providing their choices do not impinge on the rights of others to exercise the same freedom.

In other words, there isn't much a pompous gasbag like Dalrock has to say that is relevant to me. He is probably younger than I am, yet even in my cataract-clouded eyes, he's a dusty relic.

And last but not least, he simply isn't very amusing. I have trouble following Dalrock because his writing style is so verbose and ponderous. This is a man who takes himself very seriously. (Occasionally he can be oddly inventive: among his contributions to the current vernacular are phrases like "post-marital spinsterhood.") Like most "manosphere" bloggers, he is, in short, an Utter Bore to everyone in the universe except that handful of Angry White Guys who share his particular obsessions and drink from the same wellspring of bitterness... These are the kinds of unlucky-at-love divorcees that, if they corner you at a party, recite variations on the theme "I got the shaft / she got the gold mine" until you are forced to practically chew off your arm to escape.

What I do know about Dalrock -- without even reading him -- is that not only is he a boorish bore, he is a hypocrite of the first order.

Back when I was doxed, Matt Forney tried mightily to make his piece "go viral." The attempt fell noticeably flat. Most of the manosphere studiously ignored it, partly because it (I) wasn't interesting, and partly because most of these pseudonymous bloggers are very leery about publicizing doxings. They know that if they were doxed themselves, they would face the ridicule (at least) or dire socioeconomic consequences (at worst) of being linked to their secret lives online. Being doxed would expose to the world their horrible ideas virulent misogyny, which chances are -- assuming that most of them are functioning in modern society -- is an aspect of their inner psyches carefully cordoned-off from public view.

Not Mister Dalrock! Perhaps he's too arrogant to worry about being doxed. Of course, he's too passive-aggressive to link to Forney's piece directly; instead, he posted several readers' comments that did so. Like many of these guys, he gets his minions followers to do his dirty work. Then he can hold up his clean hands and claim he is only promoting "freeze peach." Cuz that's how hypocrites roll...

Anyway, not to belabor my own story, but all this is in keeping with his recent behavior regarding Rebecca Vipond Brink. Brink writes short, breezy, irreverent pieces for The Frisky, XOJane, and other sites that appeal to young women. Taking umbrage with a piece in which she wrote about dating-while-not-yet-legally-divorced,* he decided to "slut shame" her big-time, and his fan-boys obliged by trawling the internet for any smidgen of dirt personal information about Brink they could dig up and post to his comments feed. The frenzy of comments are vile, obscene, and, well, not exactly "Christian." But hey, Dalrock has a moral duty to subject such harlots to an improving session of "shaming," doesn't he?

The manosphere is all about "slut-shaming" because it's all about "sour grapes." If these men cannot possess a beautiful, intelligent, sexually autonomous young woman for themselves, they can sure as hell try to tarnish her reputation. It's standard, textbook abusive behavior, in other words.

Although "slut-shaming" is a pathetically transparent way that socially impotent men vent their frustration, and Ms. Brink hardly needs anyone to rescue her from being "slimed" on the Internet, it needs to be called out when we see it. I've had a long lifetime of watching men (and plenty of other women) "slut-shame" girls for the "crime" of being sexually autonomous beings: I'm sick of this shit!

Fortunately, the volley of verbal assaults against Brink did not go unnoticed; a small campaign was launched by Adam Lee aka The Daylight Atheist asking that Dalrock's Wordpress site be reported for abuse. Lee admits he didn't expect Wordpress to take any real action, but wanted to send a message that bullies will be socially sanctioned.

Dalrock responded with a self-righteous, pearl-clutching post the other day in which he claimed that it was Dalrock himself -- that fine upstanding Christian husband and father! -- who was being victimized by evil atheists simply because of his efforts to "promote Christian morality." 

It's also amusing to note how distressed he was to be identified as "an MRA." You see, he's not an MRA himself; he's "a Christian" who just happens to have a large MRA readership. There's a world of difference. Bear that in mind while you watch the following clip from Monty Python's "Life of Brian."

Of course, my mentioning Dalrock on my blog is like throwing chum to the sharks. Like most of the manosphere bloggers, who are addicted to any attention whether positive or negative, I imagine Dalrock scours the internet on a daily basis looking for any mention of his name. Oh well, in for a penny, in for pound, I say: Bring on the flying monkeys.
* Personally not recommended, but meh! It happens. See How to Survive Your Boyfriend's Divorce if you find yourself in this unfortunate but common situation.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

These Guys...

UPDATE: A couple of commenters have reminded me that the reason my story is significant to anyone except me is because it represents a broader pattern of harassment and intimidation by various manospherians of women bloggers or critics. The significance of my story is that it represents part of a deliberate malicious campaign to silence women by using the technology of self-publishing -- which, ironically, gives everyone an equal "voice" -- as a weapon against them.
Attila Vinczer's recent attempt to intimidate David Futrelle via Twitter by threatening to post scandalous revelations about him is pretty funny.  After all, Futrelle has nothing to fear from AVFM's attempts to "smear" him, being, as he is, an established (male) journalist who is recognized as such by the mainstream media. 

But for someone who has been the victim of "these guys," and who is an obscure female (non-professional journalist) internet "voice," it's not something to be lightly mocked, is it?

Several months ago, I was the target of another "manospherian," Matt Forney, who revealed my IRL identity, including my Facebook pictures, my home address and phone number, and my employer, and attempted to paint me (carefully couched in the language of "opinion") as "a dangerous feminist stalker."  I had annoyed Mr. Forney by mocking and critiquing his blog; in response, he attempted to frighten me into removing my blog and to discredit my words by scurrilously questioning my sanity.

The most intimidating aspect of being doxed, as Mr. Forney did me, is that I was initially very afraid of physical harm. The point in identifying me as "the enemy" and publishing my photos and home address was to send me a clear warning that I was being targeted for potential violence. The fact that Forney issued a "retraction" the following day via Twitter (that he did NOT wish me physical harm) was an acknowledgement of this: an intent to absolve himself from liability, in case a follower interpreted the dissemination of such personal information, along with my identification as "the enemy," as a kind of "call to action."

And initially Forney's plan worked: For several weeks, I patiently awaited the sniper through my living room window, the bullet in my back as I walked to my class, or, at the least, the message from my employers that they were being inundated with calls for my immediate expulsion. I'll admit here, once and forever: I was fucking terrified.
And make no mistake: That was precisely Matt Forney's intent.
What Forney failed to consider (because these guys really aren't that smart) is that his actions forced me into a defensive corner. In other words, had Matt Forney warned me, "Take down your blog or else...!" To be honest? I would have taken it down in a New York minute. However, I was not given that option (which would, of course, have constituted actionable extortion). After the fact, the damage (to my "google-able identity") was already irrevocably done. And once I had consulted with a handful of local attorneys, and realized that I had little legal remedy under current U.S. law (and being disinclined to throw money at a slender chance of proving that at least part of his post was pure "libel"), I had no practical recourse other than to mitigate the damage done to my online reputation.

I did so in the time-honored (or perhaps hard-wired) "female" tradition: I sought the protection of the group.  I couldn't "fight" nor could I "flee"; I could only immediately appeal to people whom I sensed would be willing and able to come to my aid. In other words, I appealed to bloggers whose internet voices were "louder" than my own. Since my own blog was pseudonymous, I had virtually no internet presence whatsoever. How hard could it be to find a more prominent blogger to publish a "favorable" post that would outweigh Matt Forney's hit job? Well...

I sent messages to a number of people whose blogs I followed or websites I routinely commented on and admired. Very few responded, and of the few that were kind enough to at least express sympathy via e-mail, no one was willing to devote even a line to remedying my personal (and admittedly very trivial, in the broad scope of things) "problem."

My dilemma was this: I was (and still am, and will forever be) a Big Fat Nobody. I was not someone who was worthy of A Story under anyone else's byline.  My tiny audience of twenty-odd regular readers could hardly help me either although a few bravely tried (and I -- and Google -- acknowledges your efforts).

I am not complaining, or indulging in self-pity here, by the way: I am simply acknowledging the unvarnished reality of what it means to be have an online voice as a woman. 

Nor was I willing or able to make my pathetic little tale into a story that would excite the interest of commercial websites like Jezebel or XOJane.  However, I thought that my very obscurity might, in itself, make this A Story. The fact is, groups like A Voice for Men or notorious misogynists like Roosh, very deliberately target female bloggers that are "nobodies," because we are vulnerable in ways that professional journalists or celebrities are not. The idea that ordinary female bloggers are being forced off the internet appeared to me -- and still does -- a very important story indeed. Unfortunately, Mother Jones could not care less.

P.Z. Myers did agree to post something that puts the whole contretemps into some kind of palatable perspective. Approaching him was the smartest, or luckiest, move I made during this curious, furious month of "damage control": His little post on Pharyngula "saved" my Google-able identify by putting the Forney smear job into a context that most employers will understand. It also spoke volumes about Myers' personal character.* 

I also quickly slapped my legal name on my hitherto-pseudonymous blog, confident that there is nothing here that was likely to compromise my modest professional opportunities. Let's face it, my blog is (in Lindy West's words), "pretty innocuous" stuff. I called out a handful of the manosphere for being liars, and misogynists, and being pretty much dreadful, all-around evil people, and I stand by pretty much everything I have written here. I shared aspects of my personal life that were true and that are not particularly damning or even surprising to anyone who knows me. Let history be the judge.

The only question future employers might have for me is this: Why did I devote so much of my free time in the past eighteen months to an online "movement" that is so marginal and patently unworthy of my attention? That is the topic of another post, but suffice to say right now that I didn't necessarily find it as "marginal" as most people would like to believe: Rather, I found the "manosphere" to be a kind of window into a hidden subculture of seething misogyny and masculine entitlement. It has not been a perverse waste of time; it has, rather, been a journey to the edge of the abyss of human dysfunction, one which has fundamentally transformed my perspective on the state of gender relations in the West today. It would not be an over-statement that these guys have made me the self-identified "feminist" I am today. The New Misogynists have taught me a lot more than they could ever guess, and there is nothing I have read in their blogs that I haven't, on some level, "recognized" from my personal experience. Are the manosphere blogs "triggering?" Hell, yes!

Meanwhile, I hearken to the words of Arthur Goldswag, the SPLC writer whom I had initially approached who was unable to "help" me in the fashion I had hoped he would:** 

If you really care about gender equity and empowerment, then the Andrea Dworkins and Paul Elams of the world are mostly a distraction. It's easy to demonize MRAs, but they don't do anywhere near the damage to women that, say, the Hobby Lobby is trying to do, or the GOP. They're easy to hate, but engaging with them is about as useful as it is for LGBT activists to fight with the Westboro Baptist Church.

I cannot help but feel that Mr. Goldwag is speaking directly to me here, as when, in his rather condescending personal e-mail to me, he admonished me to "try not to let these guys get under your skin."
* Prof. Myers is one of those people who is willing to make a difference in one stranded starfish's life, even while the beach is littered with them. A small act of generosity, perhaps, but he can never know how much it meant to me.

**I expected that the SPLC would report specifically on the ways that online female writers were being targeted, harassed, and intimidated by misogynists. I was very disappointed that responses to my reports to this organization consisted solely of relentless solicitations for donations and an unwanted copy of Morris Dee's biography.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Foreign Brides

It's summer, and being at the moment much distracted by matters of love & real estate, I have decided to do a little "recycling." I wrote this about ten years ago, in response to seeing the following post on Seattle Craigslist Rants'n'Raves (which was the masochistic pleasure I indulged in before discovering the "manosphere").

Guys if you want a Real lady Thailand is the place to find them! The bitches here ( I wont call them ladies) are a bunch of fucking Flakes 

Ah, yes, the enduring allure of the Asian wife: slender, petite, soft-spoken, submissive. 

I don't see my neighbor Frank much, even though he lives right across the street. He's a bit reclusive... or whatever you call someone who keeps all the windows in his house papered over with aluminum foil. But I hear (through my kindly neighbor, who's really in the loop on our cul-de-sac) that he was so set on marrying a virgin that he sent for one by mail, all the way from the Philippines. Unfortunately, after several years of marital bliss, she high-tailed it back to Manila. He still sends her money, though, so he must remember her fondly.

Fresh, tender cherry blossoms... or iron butterflies? 

In my line of work, I get to meet quite a few of these odd couples. A few years ago, a middle-aged Boeing machinist with a pronounced limp and one crusty eye swaggered into the office, towing a tiny, limpid Vietnamese girl who looked barely pubescent. "She needs to learn her some English," he growled. "I warn you, though, she's a real beginner. She no speak English good," he bellowed the last pidgin sentence into her ear.

I began to assess her proficiency by asking her name. She looked at me, mute and apparently bewildered, although, as is often the case, her control of the language increased exponentially once Big Daddy was banished from the room.

It didn't surprise me that she turned out to be a stellar student and is now enrolled in college studying to be an RN. In another year she will graduate and be ready to dump the lame-ass who brought her here and subsidized her education. Sure, his heart will be broken at first, but then hoo boy! will he be pissed off! Especially since Washington is a community property state.

It's easy to feel contemptuous of these suckers and to hate their beyond-patriarchal attitudes ("I paid for her, she's mine") which are rooted in a generalized misogyny and -- let's face it -- demonstrate a sound rejection of American women. (I mean, it's not like I want to marry a mean, stupid, toothless Boeing machinist, but still...)

It's easy to feel sorry for their wives, at least initially: vulnerable, exploited girls who should still be under the protection of their loving families and enjoying their care-free youths back home instead of sexually indenturing themselves to old coots. Local murders like that of Susana Blackwell (shot in a Seattle courthouse by her estranged American husband), or, more recently, that of Anastasia King, are not very common, but underscore how vulnerable these women are.

I'm not without a measure of compassion for both parties, actually: Everyone needs love and everyone needs money. On the face of it, these marriages should be win/win arrangements. And I suppose most marriages are compromises of some sort. We all make "deals." Hell, I'm not even married, and my sexual/romantic life is just one rather unsatisfactory "deal" after another. [Update: Glad to report that is no longer true since I climbed off the "cock carousel" and found my soul-mate alpha bitch.]

But these marriages are deals with the devil. The difference is that one party doesn't get it, at least not right away (and maybe never -- I heard Frank is courting another Filipina through one of the thousands of internet sites available for just that purpose). The other party is under no illusions, although perhaps underestimates the physical risk by underestimating the potential danger of violence. She jumps at the best chance life offers her: winner take all.

A reader followed up to this post by asking, "What is it about the Russian mail-order brides on which these guys hitch their fantasies?" 

That's an easy one: They are white. 

Guys who look to the former Soviet Union are a little different. They tend to be slightly higher in class (not high class, mind you, just white-collar rather than blue-collar). They are liberal enough not to require their wives be virgins; a surprising number marry divorcees with children. Their dream is to acquire the trappings of upward mobility (house, boat, trophy wife) for which they lack the personal means (looks, charm, income). Therefore, they are bargain hunters.

Former satellite states such as Moldava, Ukraine, and Kirghistan are, for them, a shopper's paradise. Nowhere can they get more bang for their buck. The women are beautiful in all the ways they, and the peers they want to impress, most value: statuesque, blonde, fashion-conscious. (Even though their fashion aesthetic owes more to Las Vegas than to Vogue, and on our suburban campus they stand out like very expensive call girls who have wandered into a Walmart.)

One can only squirm as their proud husbands gush about how well these women "fit in" with their families here in the States. After all, they already "look like" Americans (that is to say, white)!

These men are a bit too "evolved" and far too romantic to openly value submission in their wives. Instead, they will allude to other qualities: loyalty, beauty, maternal potential. Russian (or Ukrainaian or Moldavan) wives make good mothers, you see, because they (unlike American women) understand the importance of family. (Never mind that Russia has one of the highest divorce rates in the world, significantly higher than the U.S.)

The fantasy element these guys have in common with all American men who marry women from poor countries is that they are White Knights. They assume that the women will be grateful for having been rescued. And even more fatally, they believe that this gratitude will morph into love. Only in the movies, kids! 

They are ignoring a fundamental principle of human nature: We are not automatically grateful to those to whom we are economically beholden. In fact, we often resent and despise them. (My experience as a foster parent, which I'll write about later, taught me this.)

I see quite a few of these eastern bloc ladies in my classes, though lately fewer Russians, which makes me wonder if conditions there are picking up. Often well-educated in their own countries -- especially likely if they are Russian -- they tend to place high on entry and make rapid progress through the system. I find them to be excellent students and terrifying forces of nature. They are the least sentimental, most brazenly opportunistic, of the mail order wives. They're relatively easy to talk to -- forthright, articulate, poised -- and relatively difficult to like. They come with the attitude I've gotten this far, just don't get in my way, bitch. 

I've never met one who even pretended to like her American husband. It's not unusual, although no less bizarre, to see a Russian surgeon mated to a used car dealer. He's bursting with pride at her accomplishment, but what was he thinking? (She makes no bones what she's thinking: the more English she learns, the more he displeases her.) She encourages him to adopt her adolescent children and bring them over, which he practically bankrupts himself to do. But she isn't having any kids with him any time soon. Once she gets her permanent residency and is reunited with as many members of her biological family as possible, it's all over but the shoutin'. If she remarries (though why should she?) it will be to a fellow immigrant, one she recognizes as a peer, often someone from her hometown.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What's Your Name? Who's Your Daddy?

One of the most cherished delusions of the manosphere is that women "hit the wall" (somewhere at the tail end of their twenties), while men go on and on and on, just getting more deliciously seasoned with age.  Apparently, this may not be true.  According to The Daily Mail, the age at which most men become "invisible" to younger women is 39.  Yep, that's the age at which girls begin to perceive men as "father figures." And who wants to be ogled by Daddy? I mean, like, ee-yewww... 

Roosh himself acknowledged recently that the party doesn't go on forever, even for experts of game:

No matter how good your game gets, a 23-year-old girl will have less primal attraction for your 53-year-old self than when you were 33. This suggests that there is definitely a peak for men, and while there is some argument about the exact age, consensus among men I’ve talked to suggests it’s around 43.

43? When I was 23, I thought 30 was plenty older, and 43 downright "old." But perhaps Roosh has a few good years of chasing nubile young poosy before he has to either "settle" or "sponsor a gold-digger" (which, unless he plans to come into an inheritance, he'll be hard-pressed to do on the slender living he ekes out from hawking his wretched little rape manuals). Hope he's making the best of his time in Russia, cuz any way you slice it, Roosh, it's all downhill from here...

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Edward Leedskalnin, Early MGHOW

Last summer, my partner and I spent a couple of weeks in Florida.  We loved St. Augustine, loathed Miami, and I spent a lot of time either soaking in the pool or making friends with the hotel bartender while my partner and her son enjoyed the Orlando theme parks. One morning my partner, who is a very spontaneous travel companion, woke me up at what I call "zero dark thirty" (it was probably around seven, the crack of dawn in vacation time) to excitedly announce we were going to make a pilgrimage to something called "The Coral Castle," which my partner recalled from the old "Ripley's Believe It or Not" column that used to be featured in the "funny pages" of local newspapers.

Several hours later, we arrived at the gates of this marvelous monstrosity:
Prepare to be amazed.
Edward Leedskalnin was a Latvian immigrant at the turn of the last century who, like many MGTOW, was disappointed in love. When the gal he'd set his cap for permanently and irrevocably "friend-zoned" him, he made his way to Southern Florida, where he devoted the rest of his life to building a "coral rock" Taj Mahal in order to win her affections. He worked tirelessly, mostly at night and behind a tall wall, so the townsfolk of Homestead couldn't see exactly what, or how, he was doing it, but he managed to heave great blocks of coral into place all by himself. He included within this compound all the amenities his lady love would require, too, including a bath tub, his'n'her thrones, and even a creepy little chamber in which he planned to "discipline" their future offspring. Not a detail was overlooked, and not a surface could one sit on without risking serious abrasions.  

Sadly, but not surprisingly, Ed died a bachelor, but his monument endures and and draws thousands of visitors to the pleasant, sleepy hamlet of Homestead, Florida: a testament to the awesome feats a single, ordinary man can achieve when He Goes His Own Way.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dear Mr. Barnes...

So over at A Voice For Men, Jack Barnes critiqued Matt Forney's latest and most desperate attempt to garner attention, an ode to spanking in order to control women.  I will try to summarize it here as MRAs are notably long-winded, but the gist of it is that Forney is too EASY on women.  By proposing that women's bad behavior must be controlled by men (by physical discipline), he is actually letting women off the hook. And I think Mr. Barnes has an important point. 

Barnes starts by explaining that "strict gender roles, once necessary for human survival" restricted both men and women, but that it was modern women who "chose to case [these] aside... However, they have been reluctant to accept the responsibilities that come with being a fully realized and capable adult."

I myself have come across a few entitled princesses who thought that they should be able to enjoy both "equality" and the dubious benefits of "chivalry."  Whether they are representative of most self-identified "feminists" I doubt.  

I am a never-married woman nearly sixty who has been fully self-supporting since the age of twenty. I may have occasionally been "reluctant to accept the responsibilities," but I had little alternative. Although I often longed to be "equally yoked" to a caring spouse, the men who wanted to marry me were not capable or willing to pull their share of the freight. I put one boyfriend through college, another through truck-driving school, hoping they would prove to be the "responsible spouse" I longed for, but when, after considerable financial and emotional investment, neither came through, I had to cut them off and walk away, not because I didn't care about them, but because my resources were limited: it was literally a matter of survival.  But maybe I've just been unusually unlucky or inept at husband-hunting? I don't shirk responsibility for my own poor choices here, just telling you very frankly what the reality of my life has been.

The fact is, at the time, I loved each of these men, and wanted nothing more than to contribute to their happiness and success. That they turned out to be poor investments of my money and energy does not change that reality. I take some comfort in knowing that in my long, checkered history of pair-bonding attempts, I have at least never left any man worse off for having known me. Yeah, I may be a "snowflake" but I don't think my experience makes me particularly "special."

"Despite what feminists would have you believe, men are, in fact, human beings and deserve to be treated as such."

Mr. Barnes, you have a very warped perception of what a feminist is. 

Mr. Barnes, I am a "feminist" who strongly supports, among other MRM causes, fathers' rights, and the protection of boys and incarcerated men from sexual assault or other forms of violence. I hate those commercials and sit-coms that portray men as bumbling idiots as much as you do. I rail against an economy and a military industrial complex that treats working-class males as cannon fodder. I have no beef with couples who choose to organize their personal lives according to "traditional" gender roles either. I do not believe in the inherent superiority of either gender.

Here's the deal with Men's Rights Activists like you, Mr. Barnes. You simply do not understand what (mainstream) "feminism" is. If you did, you would see that our goals are very much aligned. It's ridiculous for you to allow your "movement" to be infiltrated with misogynists. You complain that Matt Forney's ideas are immoral and loathsome, and I agree. What are you doing to disavow those same loathsome and immoral ideas from being broadcast by A Voice For Men?

"Women need to grow up. They are adults, which means they and they alone are responsible for themselves."

I couldn't agree more.

"Forney’s belief that it is a man’s responsibility to shape and mold an adult woman into behaving like an adult is a burden that no man should have placed on him. It is a burden that any intelligent man would swiftly reject along with the woman who doesn’t know how to behave."

I absolutely agree.

"Let’s try the radical notion that women are adults... Let’s expect women to behave as adults, and when they don’t, we find another woman to spend time with."

Yes, yes, let's!

So remind me... What is it, exactly, that we're fighting about?