This is the promised address to the other Sex Nerd, Emily Nagoski’s blog postingabout what constitutes “a good man”. Here is an excerpt, emphasis mine.
Lesson: we need our good men. Not because we rely on men's approval or even because they're the gatekeeper allies, but because men bring an important and different energy.I must acknowledge that for most of my life, most of my friends have been guys. I really, really enjoy not having to worry about hurting someone's feelings, and for a long time my experience was that girls were terribly fragile, guys were made of rubber, and I am a bulldozer. And the good men were the ones who valued honesty over diplomacy.
Now one of my favorite things about good men is the extent to which they recognize their privilege, the extent to which they listen to women in the same way they listen to men, the way they keep their (inevitable) thoughts about how sexy a woman is to themselves. The good men are alert for the ways that a woman's physical appearance might be impacting how they interact. They pay attention to making sure women feel comfortable in a social environment - not in a chivalrous way, but in a plain old polite considerate way.
(BTW, if you're a good man and looking to learn what makes you good, the above list is a pretty decent summary.)
There are a lot of good men in the world. In fact, most of them are good. And only a minority of the ones who aren't good aren't good because of their own psychology, rather than some interaction between their psychology and their culture.
Kiss your good man tonight, if you have one. (I can't kiss mine, I have this fucking virus.)
It’s as sweet, heartwarming, and impressive list of (Beta) male characteristics as you could ask for.
But while I appreciate Emily’s sentiment – there’s no denying that her intentions are noble, and she does have a Beta Male fetish – I do have to take issue with her list of what makes a “good” male. Go back and read the bolded parts again. Notice anything in common? Here, let me help:
A “Good” Man (feminist version):
“…not having to worry about hurting someone's feelings …“
Can take abuse (from a woman)
“…And the good men were the ones who valued honesty over diplomacy.”
Values honesty (from a woman) without being expected to disagree
“…is the extent to which they recognize their privilege,”
Realizes that being a man is so much better than being a woman and feel appropriately guilty about it in a kind of feminist version of Original Sin . . . no matter what your personal experiences.
“…the extent to which they listen to women in the same way they listen to men,”
Listens to a woman (and presumably does what she says) regardless of their willingness or ability to earn the respect a man must earn before he’s accorded that level of thoughtful consideration. I won't listen to just any man about any subject just because he's a man, until he's earned my respect on that subject and by the nature of his character. But women, feminists in particular, have a long history of insisting that their views be given the same credit and validity as all men, regardless of whether or not they have earned sufficient respect, simply because they had vaginas.
“. . . the way they keep their (inevitable) thoughts about how sexy a woman is to themselves.”
Doesn’t express his sexuality (to a woman). The implication is that he should feel ashamed of his sexual feelings and thoughts unless he is given permission to have and voice them.
“…are alert for the ways that a woman's physical appearance might be impacting how they interact”
Doesn’t respond to a woman’s sexuality, even if she's aggressively using it against him.
“They pay attention to making sure women feel comfortable in a social environment - not in a chivalrous way, but in a plain old polite considerate way.”
Extends special consideration to women just because they are women – not out of the grace of masculine Chivalry, but out of a sense of social obligation. And I'm assuming that she means in all venues, even places where women are not necessarily supposed to feel comfortable. Sounds like a doormat to me.
Now, I’m positive Emily didn’t mean to phrase things in a demeaning or sexist manner – she’s not feeling well, and it might be affecting her writing – but if you haven’t spotted the commonality above, it’s essentially this: in feminist ideology, Men only are “good” based on their relationship and utility to a woman.
I can already hear the gasps of exasperation by my feminist readers. “That’s not what Emily meant!” they’re saying, “she was speaking of what she likes in a man, not what she thinks are the inherent qualities of good masculinity! You’re purposefully mis-interpreting her words to suit your own nefarious purposes!”
Well, perhaps. But perhaps not. Since its inception feminism has viewed males almost entirely as either a) oppressors or b) servants. If you weren’t one, you were the other – but both conditions depended entirely upon your relationship to a woman. Indeed, I don’t think I’ve seen a hardcore feminist assessment of positive masculinity that isn’t utterly dependent on how a man interacts and relates to women. It’s as if masculinity were a dependent condition, unable to exist (at least in any meaningful way) in the absence of a woman.
Only it’s not. Masculinity can and does exist in men who have little direct relationships with women. The MGTOW movement, for instance, often emphasizes the development of a personal sense of the masculine without consideration of an individual woman in any important way.
That’s one of the reasons why feminists in general can’t stand the MGTOW movement. To them, a bunch of men who aren’t working on behalf or in the interests of one or more women is a waste. They call them “commitment-phobic” (without mentioning the dangers of hypergamy), they call them “Peter Pans” because they “refuse to grow up" (and subjugate themselves to a woman), or at the very least they're “willing participants in Rape Culture” (because all men who watch porn and whack off are willing participants in Rape Culture, according to feminism).
But that’s not the real reason I’m writing this. It isn’t really about MGTOW. It’s about the idea of masculinity in general.
You see, when feminism exploded in the 1960s from an intriguing intellectual exercise into a culture-tipping social ideology, women were essentially using it to make broad societal readjustments to the rise of the industrial (and later post-industrial) economy. There are a lot of other issues that came into play at the same time, derivations of Humanism, Marxism, and Enlightenment philosophy as well as some unique thinking by early feminist thinkers, but absent the birth control pill and the assembly line feminism would have remained in the academic ghetto. But it didn’t, and it allowed women the unprecedented opportunity to re-define their femininity away from the roles of the Agricultural Age and something much more to their liking – and fitting with the 20th century.
Fair enough. Women redefined femininity away from their roles as mother and wife and towards a more equal participation with men as “workers”, “taxpayers”, “consumers”. They redefined their sexuality, they redefined their vision, they redefined their relationship to men. “To Death Do We Part” became “Until I Get A Better Offer”, for instance. Considering how hidebound and archaic the social rules were, after the heroic effort women made in WWII it is easy to see how they would want to flex their newfound financial, social, and academic muscle.
accomplished: femininity was redefined, assumptions were overthrown, the old patriarchal order was challenged at its core and men never looked at women the same way again. Mission
But during this intense process of feminist introspection and redefinition, feminism did not solicit – nor accept – input from men on what it meant “to be a woman”. They did not ask permission nor seek our insights about what we thought the feminine should be. Indeed, they bristled at every suggestion we had, were all-too-willing to condemn us for our ignorance, our atavism, our sexism. To feminism Men – and masculinity – were the enemy. After all, you can’t have a Patriarchy without masculinity, and without the Patriarchy (at least in theory) feminism falls apart.
So Women didn’t ask Men just what we thought made a woman a “good woman” when they were redefining femininity.
I’m afraid we’re going to have to insist on the same right.
You see, masculinity is in just as much a state of flux now as femininity was in the 1960s. Partially in reaction to feminism and its effects, and partially due to our own responses to the change from an Agricultural to a Post-Industrial economy, men are seeking to redefine the Masculine – what it means to be a “good man” – and, frankly, women in general and feminists in particular don’t get to tell us what that is.
I can’t take issue with any particular thing on Emily’s list, in the proper context. I’ve been known to do all of those things in the course of my relationship. But they are such a minute portion of what it takes to be a “good man” as to be laughable – like saying that the hood ornament is more important than what is under the hood. And to place them all in the context of “a good man is only good in relation to a woman” is sexist and insulting. A better title would have been “Qualities That Make A Man Good . . . For A Woman”.
And it’s ironic that some of the qualities that Emily points out concern things that feminists have traditionally been against, when put into other contexts. “Not having to worry about his feelings” is a simple way of saying that it’s OK to hurt boys feelings because boys are encourage to repress them, and therefore girls can hurt their feelings without feeling guilty. Yet a major part of the feminist revolution was an insistence that men bare their feelings in a decidedly feminine manner.
And “valuing honesty over diplomacy” sounds like a very diplomatic way of saying that it’s okay to be rude or obnoxious to a man as long as you are being “honest”, again because men’s feelings don’t matter. Yet a few sentences later Emily points out that she likes men who don’t honestly share their sexual feelings about a woman, or even respond to a woman’s sexuality. So much for “honesty over diplomacy”.
The fact is, none of those things she talks about make a “good” man. They are a few qualities that “good” men can manifest, obviously, otherwise we wouldn’t be awash in broken-hearted Betas that women leave at the first sign of authentic masculinity they get from someone else. But without the context of a more mature, more sophisticated – and utterly male-derived – masculinity, they’re just a pantomime of legitimate “male energy”.
Feminist can proclaim how much they love Betas from the highest mountaintop (while simultaneously acknowledging that all men are part of the problem, even their pet Nigels, and no man will EVER rise to the level of “equal” with women) but that doesn’t stop them from divorcing their Beta asses the moment they quit getting the tingle and some Alpha comes along and incites it in them. Then it doesn’t matter how much a man listens to her, how much he keeps his damn mouth shut about being a sexual man, how much he “recognizes his privilege”, his Beta ass is in divorce court. Thus goeth the Blue Pill.
And of course if we tried to define what a “good” woman was – and were honest about it – I seriously doubt feminism would recognize either the validity or the reasoning behind the approach. Feminism alone reserves the right to instruct us what a “good” woman is, according to the ideology. The male opinion doesn’t matter and is not wanted. Indeed, masculinity is the last thing feminism wants to deal with. Our attempts to redefine masculinity are mostly being ignored, where they aren’t being met with outrage and frustration.
Here’s the brutal fact of the matter, Ladies: men are indeed redefining masculinity, in response to feminism. Parts of it you’re really going to like.
Parts of it . . . not so much.
But regardless of whether or not you like what we do with it, it is OUR masculinity to define the way WE see fit. A wish list from feminists about the qualities they desire in their ex-husbands is just kind of insulting, after what they’ve done to masculinity over the last four decades. We will (and are) revalorizing the masculine, and the feminists will either accept it gracefully (unlikely – not a lot of grace or room for compromise in that ideology) or they will stamp their feet and keep complaining even if we aren’t listening anymore.
Part of the new masculinity is formal Game. Men have decided that Sex is a major issue for us, and a large part of how we run our masculinity. While Women desire security, and make it a fundamental aspect of their femininity, Men desire sex and make it a fundamental aspect of ours. That means a lusty and authentic unapologetic appreciation for the vagaries of male sexuality, in all of its hairy, sweaty glory. A lot of that abuts what feminist speak of as “rape culture” (porn, prostitution, Playboy bunnies and pretty much any expression of male sexuality, including missionary-style intercourse in the course of a marriage) is considered an unacceptable participation in “rape culture” by some feminists).
A new masculinity doesn’t accept shame or blame for our sexuality, we’re proud of it. That doesn’t make us “bad men”. That just makes us men. Feminists have complained that men have let our sexuality define us for too long. It's time we embraced that, without guilt and shame.
Men like sex. Men like violence. That doesn’t mean we always conjoin the two, or approve of it when it does happen. But we’re sick of having every pair of boobs on our computer being compared to keeping an unwilling teenaged sex-slave in our basement. We’re sick of being seen as sexual predators simply because we have a penis. We’re tired of being lambasted for the perfectly reasonable enjoyment of sex – casual sex, married sex, kinky sex, solo-sex with a side of porn, one-night-stands or a lifetime commitment. Enjoying sex, and our very visual exercise of our sexuality through porn, is something that isn’t going to get guilted out of us. That doesn’t mean that we’re all rapists, or enjoy hardcore dungeon porn, or secretly want to oppress all women as part of a global misogynistic cabal of sexists.
And that’s just part of it. There’s a lot more to “good” masculinity than talking sweet to a woman the way she wants. Believe it or not it is possible to be a “good” man without the permission, advice, or consent of any woman. In fact, that’s likely the best and most appropriate way to become a “good” man – but even if it isn’t, that isn’t for a woman to say. Men alone should construct masculinity, and feminists and other women will have to adjust accordingly. Because we’ve let them tell us what a “good” man is for forty years, and all it’s gotten us is confusion, frustration and heartbreak.
What does constitute a “good” man, according to men? Gosh, that sounds like a rich topic for a future post.