I’ve come to the conclusion that the easiest form of blog fodder for me is to simply link me to an article by Kay Hymowitz. I suppose that’s a protip for those of you who want more content from me and don’t really care if it’s repetitive and angry. It seems, after all, that every time I run across an article by Kay Hymowitz the article itself is repetitive and stupid.
I (unwittingly) followed a link to one from the comments over at Sadly, No! and was surprised by two things: 1. good god, the woman’s been writing these articles for at least three years, and 2. holy shit, she’d been recycling the same article. I had to check the byline, since I knew I’d read parts of the article she wrote (and blogged on them) before, but the articles in question weren’t from 2008. This “most recent” one was.
Since I can’t leave well enough alone, I find it absolutely necessary to, yet again, wade in to this horrid stew of misogyny, stupidity, douchebag apology, and Uncle Tom feminism. Why? Because this sort of shit matters.
There is a certain subset of men who are horrid, vile people. There’s absolutely no way around this.
[Um, this next bit is just a big wad of trigger-riffic stuff.]
Witness, for instance, the latest tempest stirred up by Rebecca Watson. I’ve written about her run-ins with dickhead men in the past. Quite frankly, Rebecca doesn’t need me to defend her. She’s a grown-ass woman, after all, and she has some people with much louder voices than me in her corner. Still, she brought something to wider attention that I think I do need to add my voice, no matter how small, to.
The situation is this: a 15 year-old girl posted a picture of her smiling face with her new copy of a Carl Sagan book on the atheism thread over at reddit. She was then inundated by a whole bunch of men, many claiming to be significantly older than her, making rape jokes, kidnap jokes, and any number of increasingly disturbing anal rape jokes. There are literally absolutely no excuses for this. Absolutely no one should be subjected to that sort of bullshit from anyone, ever, anywhere.
This is the behavior of sociopaths.
No one should ever, for any reason whatsoever, be subjected to a pile-on of strangers making commentary about the value of their own blood as a sexual lubricant during unwanted anal sex. It’s not funny, it’s not cute, it’s not cool, and it’s not even remotely civilized. It’s making rape jokes. It is threatening someone with unwanted bodily harm of a most intimate sort for giggles.
The worst thing about this, though, is that Watson chose to highlight only the comments that were upvoted by a margin of at least 2:1. It put into stark relief the problem of anyone trying to make the, “But it’s just a few bad eggs making tasteless jokes,” defense. Yes, it was a few bad eggs making tasteless jokes. And several hundred other bad eggs, well, egging them on and supporting them.
So, again, let’s recap: a bunch of guys on the internet threatened to forcibly sodomize a teenage girl and a whole shitload of other guys stood around, watched, and laughed. When someone pointed it out the big shitstorm was, “How dare you rain on our parade?” Yes, men such as PeeZed and Ed Brayton vocally smacked down the dipshits and their apologists, but the fact of the matter is that it should not have been necessary. People should know better than to threaten to visit anal rape women just because they’re cute and have the temerity to, y’know, exist.
This is a huge problem.
But what does it have to do with Kay Hymowitz, or an article Kay Hymowitz wrote in 2008? I’m glad you asked. No, really, I am.
Men who threaten to anally rape teenagers on the internet can only get away with it in an environment where there’s no social cost to threatening to anally rape teenagers. They can only thrive in an environment where they’re celebrated for the humorousness level of their anal rape jokes. It’s really not that hard to stop the problem, but somebody has to stop letting it happen. Consider, for instance, how quick people are to cry racism when some random Tea Partier goes after Barack Obama for something. Shouldn’t we be crying, “Holy shit, there’s something wrong with you?” whenever men treat women like garbage?
Is it weird that I even have to ask this question? I think it’s weird that I have to ask this question. I mean, seriously. It’s nearly 2012, people.
Anyway, Kay Hymowitz…right.
Some of the biggest actors in the “treat women like pieces of meat who only deserve to be fucked” sphere are the MRAs. I’ve mentioned them many, many times, but for the uninitiated, MRA stands for “Men’s Rights Activist.” The “rights” of men they’re activisting about are pretty much the same as the “rights” of white people to treat those stupid darkies like sub-humans. They see feminism and the feminist movement as this terrible thing that is well on its way to ruining men as we know them.
MRAs enjoy a strong Venn Diagram overlap with another group of dipshits known as Pick Up Artists, or PUAs. Basically, PUAs sit around and share tips about how to pick up hot women, fuck them, and then never talk to them again. Think Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother, but without the redeeming qualities of being NPH, scripted, and Wayne Brady’s white brother. MRAs and PUAs, while often sharing bodies and everything, most definitely have one major thing in common: they believe women are good for absolutely nothing outside of the whole “temporary penis receptacle” thing.
It occurred to me today whilst juxtaposing a terrible Kay Hymowitz article and an absolutely awful collection of men on reddit that there might just be a commonality here.
In the Hymowitz article in question, entitled “Love in the Time of Darwinism,” pretty much tries to prove the point that men are simply trying to evolve in the face of feminism. This, I shouldn’t have to tell you, is incredibly stupid. “Darwinism” doesn’t apply to this situation in any way, shape, or form, beyond the whole idea of competition for sexual selection. The collection of dim bulbs and ne’er do wells that occupy Kay Hymowitz’s tragically depressing world are trying to have sex, but aren’t actually trying to perpetuate the species. I imagine that your average PUA lives in terror of the day he gets a call that starts, “Hey, um, we hooked up about nine months ago…”
Basically, “Darwinism” here is used, whether Hymowitz realizes it or not, in the sense of “Social Darwinism.” Social Darwinism, of course, gives us such non-evolutionary bullshit as, “Them darkies ain’t as good as us white folk,” and, “Hey, let’s kill all the Jews, since they’re obviously inferior to us due to their strange lack of blond hair and blue eyes.” Let’s not dress this up as something more interesting or less infuriating than it is. I mean, really.
Anyway, it’s articles like this that provide cover for jackasses. Let’s consider this gem for a minute:
For one illustration of dating à la Darwin, consider what’s known as the Seduction Community. The Community is a loose network of dating coaches, gurus, and their followers whose philosophical origins lie variously in Darwin, Norman Vincent Peale, and hyperlogical geekdom. Women want alpha males, the Seduction Community agrees; with some effort at self-improvement, any man can learn the game—Game, as it is reverently known—that will turn him into a Pick Up Artist (PUA).
I’d go pull out my bottle of Woodford Reserve and turn this in to a weasel word drinking game, but I’m afraid I don’t want to die of cirrhosis of the liver before I get a chance to see 2012. But let’s unpack this. It’s the “Seduction Community.” Oh, that’s sweet. Women like seduction, right? That plays off of the notion of romance and whatnot. And community? Who doesn’t like community? And, hey, if you name-check Darwin and Norman Vincent Peale and say it has “philosophical origins” that makes it sound like people sat down and thought long and hard about this shit.
Then, of course, there’s my favorite bit: “Women want alpha males, the Seduction Community agrees.” Yeah…did anyone in the Seduction Community think to ask, y’know, women? No, of course not, BECAUSE WOMEN DON’T FUCKING MATTER. Only fucking women matters.
Also, I love the, “with some effort at self-improvement,” bit. Because, well, let’s go look at what “self-improvement” means in this funhouse mirror world:
It teaches the ordinary nice guy—in Gamespeak, the Average Frustrated Chump (AFC)—how to reinvent himself to survive in a ruthless dating environment. That means desensitizing the AFC to rejection and, alas, building up his jerk quotient. Teachers encourage clients to project confidence and sexual energy, what is called, depending on the guru, “cocky funny” or “amused mastery.” In The Aquarian, a New York–based music magazine, Kevin Purcell describes his experience at a Game workshop: “One of our first tasks was to walk around the hotel silent, repeating in our heads ‘I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about me.’ This mentality, it was assumed, would help lower the wall of anxiety and make us less prone to the pain of rejection. Like soldiers responding to a drill sergeant, when asked ‘What are you?’ we were instructed to loudly proclaim, ‘A fucking ten!’ ”
Does anyone, anywhere (outside of the world of PUAs, obviously) actually see anything even closely resembling “self-improvement” in this little vignette? I sure as shit don’t.
You know what? I spent a year and a half walking around in Texas repeating variations of the words, “I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about me,” in my head. Did it make me more confident? Yes, actually. Did it make me a better person? Abso-fucking-lutely not. It made me an asshole. I do not like being an asshole. Apparently, though, I’m supposed to want to do this:
Remember those women who want a guy who will open the car door for them? They may be lucky if they find one willing to add “please” to “Pass the ketchup.” Women complain that instead of calling to ask them out, or even make plans for a date, men simply text, “Heading downtown. Where r u?” as they walk to the subway. That may be deliberate. “There is no longer any reason to answer the phone when a woman calls you or return her call when she leaves you a message,” insists one dating pro at World of Seduction. “What should you do? Text message, of course.” Text messages, he argues, deflect unnecessary personal involvement and keep women on edge.
True story: it just occurred to me that I accidentally did this to someone. It was more of a, “I’m really busy at the moment and I’m not sure I really want this person in my life, and as such I’m kind of distracted,” sort of unintentional thing. She yelled at me, which totally pissed me off at the time, but holy shit, I totally deserved that. And probably a swift kick in the nuts. Realizing that I basically emulated the PUA thing makes me want to go take a shower. And then go track someone down and apologize to her.
For those who are paying attention, that’s self-improvement. Realizing you’ve done something horrible and deciding not to do it anymore is a sign of improvement. Resolving to become a more horrible person is not.
Indeed, the Darwinists wonder, why pretend we’re interested in anything other than sex? Jillian Straus recalls meeting a man at a Hamptons pool party who, early on in their conversation, asked: “So, are you getting any?” One of Cohen’s lessons in contemporary politesse came on a first date with a man who asked her how many guys she had slept with and whether she owned a vibrator.
Seriously. What. The. Fuck?
I hate men right now. I’m not even joking. I have to be associated with people like this?
Anyway, it’s a pretty short hop from this sort of shit to joking about anally raping a teenage girl on the internet. Ultimately, the jackasses who do and encourage that sort of thing are totally at fault for their actions. People like Kay Hymowitz, who provide cover for this completely and totally irredeemably vile garbage are complicit in the problem, however. By acting like PUAs have a point and all they’re doing is choosing to respond in a completely acceptable fashion to something that women have done to them, Hymowitz allows them to think they’re doing the right thing.
Not that they’d actually care, anyway. Kay Hymowitz is a woman, after all, and not therefore not worth listening to.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take a shower.
I have a theory: any time you see an article that includes “Darwinism” in the title and features the word prominently in its body you can instantly dismiss the writer as someone who knows fuck-all about what Darwinism actually means. This theory is null and void if you’re reading an article by an actual biologist about actual Darwinian evolution, however. But, really, I don’t think too many of those articles actually have the word “Darwinism” in their title…