You know, just once, it would be nice if we heard a married grandmother’s analysis of male psychology, sharing insights from her happy life with her husband, raising sons and daughters, observing their experience of dating and marriage and so forth.
Grant that men are always irritated by female criticism — it injures our pride and puts us on the defensive — but we might be willing to heed such criticism if it came from a woman who was successful in her own relationships with men. Instead we get lectured by emotionally unstable graduate students and various professional ax-grinders who have made careers of proclaiming their oppressed victimhood.
“The personal is the political,” and so feminist analysis nearly always emerges from the experiences of maladjusted misfits.
But why bring up Laurie Penny again?
No, let’s consult the amateur feminists of Tumblr.com. Here is Lost Princess of the Lizard People (“40 .. . gay, female . . . geek”) attempting to analyze Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs):
One of the funny things about MRAs is, many of their ideals seem self-contradictory — for example — not wanting to compete with women in the workforce, but at the same time, angry about female freeloading (I’ve even heard arguments that resent women for having sex work as an alternative to homelessness — totally ignoring the existence of men who do sex work — and that argue that women even take traditionally female dominated jobs away from men), They also tend to scream pretty loudly about their resentment of the traditional male role. They call women prudes on the one hand but sluts on the other.
It would seem this doesn’t make any sense. This is not what your chauvinist grandpa from Texas would’ve ever said; this is not the sexism we’re familiar with. It seems so ridiculous. Is anyone really this stupid??
Most seem like they’re espousing some kind of progressivism out of one side of their mouth and traditional chauvinism out of the other, and it seems so self contradictory …
What I am realizing is that no, these guys aren’t actually stupid. Many MRA attitudes are part of a larger, self-consistent world view. Let’s look at the things so many are into: a particularly radicalized form of atheism (rejection of traditional religions). Your chauvinist grandpa was all for organized religion. Objectivism, though strangely, from the other side of their mouth, they sound like they want a weird form of communism wherein they are just given accolades and raises and bonuses and kudos without ever earning them. Your chauvinist grandpa was too proud for that and even had a sense of fulfillment in hard work. And then there’s all the Libertarianism and anti-statism. Your chauvinist grandpa was an old school patriotic man, all for the military-industrial complex.
Instead of looking at MRAs only in terms of their misogyny facet, why not examine the entire picture?
They want to be aristocrats. They’re under the impression that this is the birthright of all white men. They don’t SAY this, but … it’s the only way their worldview makes sense, because from that point of view, the views that seemed contradictory, actually make sense. The “alpha/beta” (heirarchies), “Return of Kings” (an MRA site) brand aristocratic or even royal branding (this language pops up a lot) … it’s the only thing that makes this whole thing make sense.
This is a reason why arguments against them fail, because most people can’t figure out what their stand actually is, and get caught up in the vacillation. They listen hard to what’s being said but miss what was actually NOT said.
This is the only way that their superficially contradictory views make any sense. . If they were — they wouldn’t be competing with women, let alone other men, except very high status men. Any women they partnered with would come with their own wealth and *born* status (but low-status women of course would be sexually used and disposed of). They wouldn’t personally have to deal with the labor involved in running a household and they would be awarded kudos and pay without having to work overly hard for it.
Taken this way, their views about women become logically consistent, and fall into a consistent and logical frame work that accommodates their other views.
Thanks for your analysis, Lizard Princess.
As I’ve said before, I’m ambivalent toward the “Men’s Rights” movement. On the plus side, A Voice for Men consistently and directly opposes feminism, per se. This is very important.
For too long, the established Right has offered a neoconservativeopposition to feminism that tries to win the argument by ceding the premise (i.e., that “sexual equality” is either desirable or possible) and offering women an ersatz “me too” Republican feminism. This is not the original (and successful) anti-feminism of conservative women led by Phyllis Schlafly. Nor is it even the anti-feminism of Jeanne Kirkpatrick, a real neoconservative who rejected the feminist movement because of its hostility to marriage and motherhood. While I appreciate the valuable work of Christina Hoff Sommers, her attempt to rescue the “feminist” label from the feminist movement was doomed from the start. The title of Dr. Sommers’ most famous book poses a question: Who Stole Feminism?And the answer is, “Nobody.” Marxist radicals, abortion lobbyists and lesbian man-haters did not “steal” feminism; they were in control of the Women’s Liberation Movement from its very inception in the 1960s. Trying to re-define “feminism” for conservative purposes is futile and perhaps even dishonest. Our proper goal is to oppose feminism, and MRAs are willing to do so without apology.
On the negative side, however, the phrase “Men’s Rights” implies that males and females are necessarily antagonistic in their interests, an idea I reject. The problem, as I see it, is that feminists have wrongly intruded the political language of “rights” into a private sphere. Remember that the title of Kate Millett’s 1970 book (the first book produced by the Women’s Liberation Movement) was Sexual Politics — which is the problem of feminism summarized in two words.
FEMINISM IS ABOUT SEX!
POLITICS CAN’T SOLVE YOUR SEX PROBLEMS!
Excuse me for shouting in ALL CAPS there, but after more than four decades of failing to solve the basic problem they set out to solve, I think people need to wake up to the truth. Human nature is not infinitely malleable. Attempting to re-arrange society to accommodate the permanent discontent of professional ax-grinders has not solved their problem, because their problem is an inability to adjust successfully to normal adulthood. Instead, feminism has only created new problems for women, problems that did not exist before the Women’s Liberation Movement began its futile attempt to bring about an egalitarian androgynous utopia.
Is anyone surprised to learn that our Lizard Princess (“40 . . . gay, female . . . geek”) failed in heterosexual relationships — she speaks about an ex-husband, a marriage that apparently lasted less than two years — and has since experienced failure in her lesbian relationships? Valentine’s Day was always unhappy with her most recent partner:
This is the kind of sh*t my ex pulled about nearly all “special days”.
me: “So what do you want to do?”
ex: “Anything you come up with will be great” (note that it was always up to me to do the romancing; I was basically cast into the traditional male role in a lot of ways)
The day rolls around.
me: “How do you like it?”
ex, starry eyed and smiling: “Oh it was wonderful! I love it when you do that.”
Six months later:
Ex picks fight seemingly out of nowhere.
ex: “I knew you’d forget about ___ (insert random thing), you didn’t even remember what I liked for [Valentine’s Day].”
me: “Wait, I asked you what you wanted to do.”
ex: “there you go, you never remember our conversations, because you weren’t paying attention. I TOLD you.”
ex: “You did, but if you’d actually paid attention to what I like, you would’ve known. But you didn’t, and never do.”
me: “Well, I can’t read your mind.”
ex: “You didn’t have to read my mind, you just didn’t know me.”
Lizard Princess elsewhere complains:
Basically, my associations with relationships and [Valentine’s Day] are memories of painful awkwardness. It only tended to highlight how bad the relationship actually was, it was something we had to grin and bear until we broke up a week later. Seriously, most of my relationships have broken up a week or two after [Valentine’s Day] . . .
So yes. I F–KING HATE VALENTINE’S DAY AS A COUPLE HOLIDAY.
Every single [Valentine’s Day] I have is a day I count my blessings that I am not in a f–ked up situation and it feels like *fresh air*. And dammit, I do want to be healed and whole enough to love someone again, but I have really bad associations around [Valentine’s Day].
This is the woman, you see, who presumes to provide objective analysis of the “self-contradictory” ideals of Men’s Rights activists. She couldn’t succeed in heterosexual marriage, but she can’t sustain a lesbian relationship, either. It’s almost as if . . .
UNHAPPY PEOPLE ARE UNHAPPY
There’s your real bottom line. Do I claim to know why all of Lizard Princess’s relationships have been such hopeless bummers? No. As I said of Jillian Dunham, maybe it’s just bad luck or maybe it’s bad judgment.
Finding a good relationship requires either (a) an ability to recognize good character, or (b) an ability to cope with the particular character flaws of the imperfect partner you have chosen. Maybe also (c) a bit of both, because very few people are of such excellent character that their partner never has any cause for complaint. What you must avoid is situation (d) — being a flawed person who attracts other flawed people and yet is unable either to admit your own shortcomings or to accept your partner’s shortcomings.
The Lizard Princess’s complaints about her partners are not necessarilywrong, nor do I doubt that she might have identified something important about the mentality of many MRAs, in their ideal of an atheist libertarian aristocracy of Alpha males. The problem, as with most feminist analysis, is that we have unhappy misfits telling us what’s wrong with “society,” rather than having successful people telling us how to succeed and be happy in society as it exists.
Alas, the unhappy misfits are so full of envy and self-righteousness that none of them would listen to good advice if it were offered, nor can we expect them to ask happy successful people to share the secrets of our success and happiness. (Hint: People used to tell me I acted like I was God’s gift to women. I seldom bothered to explain that it’s not acting.)
And what’s with this site calling itself “A Return of Kings”? When were we ever deposed and overthrown? Our reign has been continuous, no matter what that chattering rabble may say.
Speaking of A Voice for Men, Pierce Harlan reports that a New Jersey grand jury has declined to indict five students at William Paterson University who were accused of gang rape.
The accusation was false? But . . . I thought women never lie about rape.