Tag Archives: misogyny

Our Mothers, Our Whores

29 Sep

I was born a male. I have lived my entire life as a male, and barring something unexpected I expect to die a male. It is not a source of pride, really, but an incontrovertible and undeniable aspect of who I am. I am a male, my astrological sign is Leo, I wear a size 11-1/2 shoe. These are simply facts about who I am.

I considered myself an “Enlightened Man” long before I’d even hit puberty. Owing largely to a strong maternal figure and a liberal upbringing, along with generally being more bookish than rowdy, I had a cadre of platonic girl friends at an early age (which, incidentally, endeared me in no way to the boys at school.) I was raised to respect women, to assume their intellect as I would assume any man’s. And for a long time, I thought I did this–even admitting an opposite sort of prejudice where I expect more from women than men, because I think women are generally smarter and better at constructing logical arguments. And so I went in my smug little way, happily traipsing along, silently denouncing the cat-calls of blue-collar workers and frowning disapprovingly at my friends’ misogynistic comments. Whatever vitriol being heaped upon men by feminists certainly did not apply to me, because I was an Enlightened Man.

Recently it began to dawn on me that I may have been, to borrow a French phrase, full of shit. There has been lots of warranted feminist outrage on the internet lately, from GamerGate to the wrongful termination of Jennifer Williams, to the #YesAllWomen twitter campaign, it seems like women are using the digital platform to take a stand for themselves. My gut reaction was to largely ignore these controversies because I didn’t think I should get involved. Surely I’ve never denigrated a woman or made her feel uncomfortable. I’m one of the “good guys,” the fellows that compliment ladies on their clothing and ask women for relationship advice and only look at their boobs for a few seconds rather than entire minutes. I believed I was supporting the fight for feminism by not diluting it with my testosterone. And then I decided to go against common sense and check the comments section.

I was absolutely stunned by the aggressive, angry responses I saw to these current events. Venomous, hateful threats of violence and rape. Denouncing what women wrote as divisive libel, women being called stupid and fake and sluts. Claims that women should take their grievances to lawyers or the police–I suppose to the Men Are Being Mean To Me Department, headed by Sergeant Don’t Worry Your Pretty Little Head–instead of bringing these discrepancies to light. It made me ashamed to have been born a male, and that’s when it dawned on me that perhaps I have been an unwitting misogynist all my life.

I have never physically hurt or threatened a woman, I don’t think I’ve even yelled at women. But I’ve definitely dismissed women for being “hysterical” or “crazy” when they complained about inequities. I’ve certainly leered at women inappropriately–and thought I was somehow better because I did it quicker than some other men. I’ve told women I like their blouse or hairstyle, never thinking that maybe women in specific and people in general don’t feel like striking up casual conversations based around the fact that you’ve been scoping them out. At a young age, I was taught that if you like a girl, go ask her out; the worst she could do is say, “no.” I wasn’t taught to respect others’ privacy and not to open a relationship by asking someone to entreat partnership with a stranger. The discrepancies between my thought and deed piled up. I considered myself a swell guy for considering most men idiots while regarding most women as geniuses. It didn’t occur to me that I was actually giving guys a pass while rigorously subjecting women to my expectations.

As it turns out, I am a male, and I feel all of the entitlement that men feel towards women–that they should be grateful for my existence, that they should be buoyed by my attention, that somehow I was doing them a favor with my condescension. I even considered my non-involvement in Feminism as some kind of benevolent acquiescence to women. “You go girls!” I thought in self-satisfaction, “Tell those nasty men off!” Never thinking that I might be one of these “nasty men,” or even that my non-involvement was more evidence that I marginalized women and their silly feelings. It’s both a comforting and terrifying thing to learn that I can have profound realizations about myself this late in life. It’s nice to know I can still learn and grow, but about what else am I kidding myself?

I find I am the subject of a lifetime of conditioning, despite my Ms. Magazine mom, and that my lifetime is but a sliver of societal conditioning stretching back to the dawn of humanity. We all come to accept some things as simply true: sex sells. Women work hard to look pretty and should be regarded for it. If a woman wears certain clothing, she wants you to gawk. These aren’t concepts I arrived to through careful consideration but by observing the world around me and being trained by the same concepts that train everyone else. We are all in this together, men and women, all of us educated from womb to tomb that boys like farts and girls like flowers, and never the twain shall meet. And, if you don’t get my point by now, that’s absolute bullshit.

How will I proceed? Well, for one thing, I’m going to cut the crap. I can silently appreciate a blouse and roundly chastise my friends for misogynistic comments. I can attempt to regard women on their merits and not based on some condescending notion about their superiority. The problem isn’t that women aren’t running the world, it’s that women by and large aren’t running shit. That even well-respected women in positions of power can be called “emotional” for speaking their minds. And I might have counted myself among those who waved off women’s problems as “Woman Problems.” The one thing I know for sure is that women aren’t going to become equal by screaming into a vacuum that no man can hear. It will be up to us, menfolk of the world, to change our perception of women and how we treat them if we’re going to see true gender equality. If you believe in fairness and respecting others as you would want to be respected, then I don’t see how you could do any less. And if you don’t believe in fairness and think women should be seen and not heard, then go fuck yourself and throw yourself into the mouth of the nearest live volcano.

Thank You, Crazy Idiot, for Dismantling the Patriarchy

27 May

A horrible thing happened last weekend: a kid named Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree in California and killed six people, wounded several others. It was another in a growing list of homegrown atrocities being committed at an increasing rate here in America. It’s gotten so common, there’s a list of questions that instantly generate once we hear about another mass slaying: Was it at a school? Were there guns involved? Were the guns obtained legally? Each one of these tragedies forces us to look at ourselves and our neighbors differently, mixing suspicion and empathy in unequal amounts to arrive at the unsatisfying conclusion that we, as a society, have our priorities out of whack. Rodger’s rampage had another wrinkle, though. It was preceded by a creepy video manifesto.

We perceive this awful, misogynistic video as unusual because it is reasonably coherent. We don’t expect our spree killers and maniacs to be so well-spoken, looking so normal. One result of this video, as well as the release of other vitriolic, hateful stuff Rodger produced, is a nationwide discussion about how women are still regarded as little more than fuck objects by our patriarchal society. And it’s been a good discussion. It led to a twitter hashtag, #yesallwomen, where women (mainly) detailed the inequities and harassment they encounter every single day. It’s caused a lot of women to speak up about otherwise routine stuff they deal with on the street, with their families and at their careers that many of us men might take for granted. It’s exposed a pervasive belief that women somehow owe men sexual satisfaction, that by not reciprocating on advances they are being prudes, or bitches, or doing something incorrectly. If the result of Rodger’s assault is that the male-dominated infrastructure weakens and crumbles, if it effects a real change in gender inequities, then perhaps we can extract some good from this terrible event. There’s one aspect of the whole thing that doesn’t sit right with me, however: it’s another case of a severely disturbed man being held as evidence of a misogynistic society.

Please don’t get me wrong. We do live in a misogynistic society. There are severe improprieties and injustices perpetrated against women in the United States that need to be addressed. But it doesn’t seem fair that the staged ramblings of a severely disturbed individual should be used to evince this fact. Yes, the way Rodgers talks in his video is in line with the way many men think–many men believe they are entitled to female attention, for sure. But many men aren’t going to commit revenge murders over it. Indeed, most men might harbor lots of misogynistic thoughts while interacting with women in a pleasant and professional way. But we don’t persecute people for thoughts, we persecute them for their actions, and the actions of Rodgers, and his justification for them, do not mirror mine in any way. I am very willing to be schooled by women in the ways I might have been less than egalitarian in my dealings. I want women to speak up, I want to know about the invisible oppressions I and my fellow males perpetrate without realizing it. But I will be damned if I’m going to let myself be lumped in with some cruel asshole who’s romanticized his first-world struggle.

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I suppose the discussion is what’s important, less so the impetus. Like I’ve said, if every guy reading the #yesallwomen feed takes it upon himself to correct his behaviors, and admonish the improper behaviors of those around him, then it’s all been for good cause. It’s a sad truth that only the most outrageous, horrifying incidents galvanize people to speak up–be it about gun control, how we care for the mentally ill, misogyny, or whatever else is sticking in our craw. I merely wish it didn’t take a hyperbolic example of a young man’s anger to get people to discuss gender politics. Because I am a man, and I have certainly behaved less-than-great to many women in my life, both knowingly and unknowingly. I deserve to be called out on these instances, I want to be instructed in the passive misogyny I carry from the earliest days of being taught. But damn it, I won’t be compared to Elliot Rodger. That guy is fucking nuts.

It Occurs to Me that Perhaps Pornography is Not the Altruistic Venture I’ve Made It Out to Be

12 Apr

My mother is an extremely intelligent, capable person. Most people warm to her immediately and she lives a life rich with activity and intellectual pursuits. It’s no wonder, then, that I have grown up expecting women I meet to be equally smart and able, or at least approach it. I have a few male friends who are provincial and barely literate, but I expect more from women. I realize this promotes a kind of double-standard in my world, and I already wrote a piece about it. I think the answer is to drop my retarded male friends and stick with a more intelligent set in general, whether they have ovaries or not.

Like pretty much every other guy, I look at pornography. I don’t view it compulsively and I don’t have a voluminous knowledge of it, but I do use porn for masturbating and have done for over twenty years now. I’ve never thought to reconcile the fact that I hold such respect for women in my life and female figures that I admire, but I have no compunctions about abusing myself to some moaning, saline-heavy broad writhing around in a kiddie pool full of baby oil. My general, abstract idea was that if a person decides to make money with their body, that’s their business. I don’t believe in a moral absolute where exchanging money for fucking is inherently wrong. I have never exchanged money to fuck, but I was okay with it in principle. I’ve certainly spent money on pornography through the years, so I figure it’s all in the same bag.

Recently, I have had cause to review my thinking on prostitution and pornography, and I see how silly it was. I created a scenario where a person would come from a loving, supportive family, grow up with a completely healthy and confident sexual identity, go on to college and grad school, graduate with honors, and then for some weird fucking reason decide that they’d like to have a career selling their nether regions rather than, say, anything else at all. Upon reasoning it out, I saw that I’d created a this fallacy, this ludicrous scenario where the women to whom I pounded my pud were willing supplicants to the most lucrative industry on the planet. As if I was, in fact, doing them a favor by examining their close-up crotches like an armchair gynecologist. Frankly, my legions of brainwashed readers, I feel a little ashamed.

I’m sure there are some rational people who make a completely cogent decision to exchange their bodies for money. But the people who exit the industry wealthy and unscathed are so few so as to be completely negligible: most people who get into porn are a mess. And these are people protected by a union; I’m sure prostitutes have it far worse. It’s difficult for me to separate my excuse for pornography from the facts: probably by unconscious design, I’ve never sought out any specific information on porn stars or the industry, save for what filters into mainstream news. I don’t condemn pornography and prostitution, but there’s got to be a better way for me to get my nut off. Luckily for me, I love to read: http://www.literotica.com/stories/index.php (not safe for work)

My Misogyny

9 Feb

It should come as little surprise to my devoted and burgeoning readership that I am a male. A white male, in fact, and I do embody all of the stereotypes and traits that implies. I have been a white male for as long as I can remember, and while there have certainly been times I wished I wasn’t a white male, by and large being a white male has served me well and I am not ashamed of it.

I do have one trait unusual to white males, or males in general: I have a lot of female friends. And not just chicks I make small talk with at work, not women I’d like to fuck but instead got stuck in the Friend Zone, but honest to goodness female friends, whose opinions and consideration I value tremendously, largely over that of my male friends. I think that this propensity of mine is derived from my mother, who had ERA meetings at my house growing up, and who is a great example of an independent, intelligent woman with her own interests and thoughts. Perhaps it also has to do with having been raised a Unitarian Universalist, where I was instructed on the great contributions made by women like Rachel Carson and Sojourner Truth. Whatever the case, I have always had a close cadre of female friends, and I’m not a homosexual.

I don’t really consider myself a feminist, though I do feel like women are equal to men in every strata. To me, it isn’t really something one should use to define one’s self. The default is that people are equal, in my mind. If you disagree, then you’re a bigot, so fuck you. Whatever you want to call me, I believe women to have all the capabilities as a man to do whatever they like, be it running a bank or playing baseball or just loafing around and watching TV. It’s not like I think women are automatically amazing or anything. Plenty of women are just as lazy as the average blog writer.

Here’s where I think my misogyny comes in: I love many of my female friends and depend on their counsel and commiseration tremendously. However, I have no patience for stupid and superficial women. I know a lot of people say that, and it’s not like one should exercise patience for a bimbo. But I really have no patience for them. None. I see a woman giving blow jobs to Corona bottles at the bar, I get disgusted. If I discover a woman has downplayed her own intelligence or personality to be more appealing to a guy, I want nothing to do with her. It’s not a matter of me being too refined or something, because I can appreciate a woman who enjoys bathroom humor. But if her interests begin and end with whatever her last boyfriend was into, I want her to go away permanently.

I have plenty of male friends who are dumb as posts. A couple of them are barely literate, to be honest. This is a trait I would never brook in a female friend. And that’s my misogyny, not that I think women are less than their male counterparts, but because I expect them to be more. And that’s a lot to put on a gender, especially one with such devotion to dieting.

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