Friday, May 15, 2015

The Rational Feminist Unicorn

After five years of carefully and cautiously - okay, perhaps not that cautiously - but deliberately attempting to elicit a reasonable, rational response from feminism to the issues of the Manosphere, I may have finally found my unicorn.

Here's the backstory: I occasionally indulge in some friendly Twitter engagement with feminists, taking a strong anti-feminist position.  I'm openly and un-apologetically acting as an agent provocateur, Understand, while this may be seen as trolling, I am extremely polite in my engagements with feminists and never cross the line into "bullying".  That doesn't mean that some don't get hurt feelings, but in most cases that was a pre-existing condition.

Now, while many of you will shake your heads over the utility or the practicality of attempting such engagement, I do so for higher purpose, not just because I like yanking pigtails.  I'm not there to make feminists mad, I'm there to challenge and give honest criticism, to make them think more than to make them angry.  I'm laying out, in as practical and simple terms as I can, why the Manosphere and men in general have taken issue with feminism, as it has presented itself.  I've done this over and over again, searching for a unicorn: a feminist who is willing to look past the rhetoric of the feminist movement and address the issues with it that men and the Manosphere have.

Why would I want to do such a perverse thing?  While it would be much easier to just hurl mindless vitriol, as I said, I'm not into yanking pigtails for fun.  My goal is to actually open some sort of reasonable dialog between the two spheres.

So, after responding to a fairly reasonable post by a young feminist woman who was confused and upset by the anger she detected from the anti-feminist movement on the #HowToSpotAFeminist hashtag which started to get meme-y (and then posting my reply to as many retweeters of the original as I could find) a bold feminist unicorn stood forth from the herd, and responded on her blog.

To avoid any miscommunication, I'd like to reprint her post in its entirety before I respond:

Hi Ian,
thanks for your thoughtful response! I appreciate your civil discourse and lack of ad hominem attacks. Seriously. 
Due to your lack of actual citation beyond the link to a blog post that itself looks at largely anecdotal data, I will also respond using broad strokes and summaries. I can provide factual citation and data from research on historical trends from non-biased sources as requested, if necessary. Also, while gender and sexuality are multivariate, not binary, in order to most directly and efficiently respond to your letter, I will mostly be talking about feminism in largely binary terms. 
So, I see your hurt feelings. They are true and valid. I will not dispute that they exist. However, I think that there’s some conflation going on assigning causality in incorrect ways. I am not saying that nothing was done, or that no one did anything. Things were done. People did them. But from where I’m standing, there’s been some conflation of separate entities in what all went down. 
Yes, feminism has pointed out that there are issues that exist with men, masculinity, fatherhood, and male sexuality. It has not, however, said that those categories are the issues. They have the issues. And lots of those issues have affected women at a systemic and subsequently individual level. Yes, women, femininity, motherhood, and female sexuality also have issues. And those issues have affected men on a systemic and subsequently individual level. But feminism posits, with the whole of history that I won’t repeat here to back it up, that men’s issues have had the harder hit, when it comes to the way society has shown bruises. The phrase “it’s a man’s world” is an incredibly crude phrase, but it is a good summary of what the main problem throughout history has boiled down to. 
You say that feminism has not been inclusive of men’s issues. I say that this is an unfair critique. Every activist movement only has so many resources to go around. You wouldn’t criticize a puppy rescue for not seeing to the homeless kittens out there, too. It’s not their scope. Do they care about kittens? Yes. Do they want organizations to exist to get the kittens help? Yes. Do they think that by addressing the cause of homeless pets while working specifically with the target population of puppies their work will also help kittens? Yes. When they go out to the public to talk about their mission, are they going to use their limited time and resources to talk about kittens? No. Feminism works on the overall condition of human rights by focusing on a target dynamic. We think men and their plights are important too. We’re just not that organization. 
Finally, there is the important distinction between “the actions of an individual who claims a label” and “the definition of the label itself.” A person can claim that they are a certain thing, and then act in no such manner. It’s been the recognized case with religion for years. People claiming to be Christian and to believe in love and forgiveness have gone and slaughtered millions in crusades and KKK rallies and abortion clinic bombings. Were those actions produced by Christianity? No. They were actions produced by angry individuals who falsely claimed the nearest convenient label as a justification for their own independent action. 
Feminism is not about taking advantage of or attacking men. Feminism is in fact exactly the opposite, about righting a systemic abuse of power to bring us all back to a playing field of being reasonable, decent humans to each other who don’t make assumptions based on stereotypes, whether about males or females. The actions of not-actually-feminists only “stain” the movement as much as the action of male rapists and serial killers and bigots and otherwise terrible humans “stain” the whole of manhood.
As Katherine mentions in her blog post, true feminism does not discount subsets of feminist interests. Women are allowed to want to be mothers and wives and mascara-appliers and hair-doers and skirt-wearers. They are allowed to care about their high heels and children. That is fine. Acceptable. Laudable. As is not wanting to be a wife or a mother or to wear makeup or do anything remotely similar. Or, to be a male and to want to be a husband and father and to wear makeup and do hair and wear skirts. Or, to be someone who falls in none of those categories. Feminism is the idea that boxes are idiotic, and no one should be trapped in them – or outside of them. 
You say my idea of feminism is na├»ve, but I would counter that perhaps your experience of it is limited. I do not deny that there are angry people out there calling themselves feminists and acting the opposite. They are visible. They are loud. They are really quite noticeable. Yes, they exist. But feminists who are reasonable and don’t go gutting others in the style of exactly what we’re trying to end exist, too. The “warm, happy, sunny feminism” you claim I know because I practice it, or at least try my damnedest to. Katherine does as well. There are others – women and men – in my day to day life who practice it, too. I see them. I know they are real. I’m sorry people like them apparently don’t exist in your personal world. Though when presented with two people – one who’s smiling at you and the other who’s about to stab you with a knife – I can understand how the knife-wielder might take more precedence in what you’re remembering came at you that day. I promise there are more of smilers out there, somewhere around you. 
But don’t get me wrong – people who are good feminists, are decent humans are allowed to get angry, too. Just like you, we’re allowed to feel hurt at our own knife wounds. And we’re allowed to fight back. Just as you are.
Miceala Shocklee

Dear Miceala:

Thank you for your polite and civil response.  I do try to avoid ad hominem language, even if my language is often considered caustic, because the fact is my issue is with the feminist movement and a few particular leaders more than it is with individual feminists.  My purpose has always been to arouse discussion, not foster an environment of hate.  So your civil and reasonable response to my posting is very, very much appreciated.

I'll begin by saying that I avoided actual citation and stuck to generalities on purpose, to avoid getting entangled in dueling statistics.  Thanks to the internet, citing stats and studies and then undermining their worthiness has become an artform, one which rarely accomplishes anything.  I am trying to discuss the inter-gender situation in general, so I appreciate you keeping your response equally high-level.

First, let me thank you for acknowledging the validity of our feelings.  That's bigger than you know.  Men in the Manosphere (for our purposes, the combined MHRM/MGTOW/PUA/OMG and other advocates of positive masculinity) frequently express their strong emotions and feelings, though with varying degrees of eloquence.  These expressions, ironically, are largely due to an upbringing in which we were encouraged by feminism to "express our feelings" instead of bottling them up in traditional masculine Stoic (and, according to feminism, "unhealthy") fashion.

now those expressions of genuine feeling, when expressed about feminism, are used against us.  To feminism-at-large we are "bitter, whiny, angry, frustrated men consumed with rage".  Rarely is the question of whether or not our feelings are valid and justified considered by feminism - it uses our bitterness as proof of our "toxicity", not as a token of our righteous anger.  Instead, the emotions that feminism encouraged us to share, back in our youth, are now being used to shame and denigrate us because we dare share them.  So your acknowledgement of their validity is refreshing, and I do genuinely appreciate it.

I can also appreciate your frustration with the Manosphere/anti-feminists consistently finding fault with an ideology that you have invested so much in, and that you see as being responsible for so much good in the world.  Your point about conflation of causality is well-taken . . . but then when it comes to the details, that's where things start being a problem.

You agree that stuff was done, and people did them. That's a good start - too often feminists are unwilling to even admit that feminism has caused harm because of their investment in the ideology.  I'll agree that the specifics are open to debate, but the very fact you admit stuff was done and something went down is a HUGE step . . . because feminism has been very, very reluctant to take responsibility for what the feminist movement has done. The specifics, you see, are very important.

When feminism began to critically examine the the role of men in the late 1960s-1970s, I think we can all admit that some serious examination was necessary: the economy and society of the world had changed with industrialization, and our social system had to adapt to keep up.  Moving forward into a post-industrial age in which women and men could both compete in the labor marketplace required some dramatic and frightening changes to our agrarian-oriented society.  Technological innovations like the birth control pill fundamentally altered how human sexuality functioned, and our culture, our laws, and our society did, indeed, need the first two rounds of feminism like a shot of antibiotics.

Keep that in mind: despite the churning anger of the Manosphere, the vast majority of men involved do not, as feminism accuses us, want to curtail the basic gains made in women's rights and women's empowerment.  By and large we don't want to restrict women's rights to vote, hold office, own property, or compete on an equal footing in the workplace.  The vast, vast majority of men in the Manosphere and in the anti-feminist movement approach their activism with a humanistic perspective that has no desire to undercut the equal rights of women.

When feminism examined the issues of "toxic" masculinity in the 1970s, it didn't stop at a mere critique; it unilaterally decided on a reconstruction.  Fatherhood, masculinity, men, and male sexuality were not only put under the microscope by feminism, to the vast majority of men it felt as if we were going under the knife.  Traditional refuges of masculinity were attacked and criticized by feminism without understanding of their utility and usefulness to men, or the long-term effects of their assault on our society.  In the pursuit of gender-based justice, feminism threw men and masculinity under the bus.

I can appreciate your point that both men and women have issues - but the difference is that feminism has cultivated a climate in which women are allowed to comment on male issues and women's issues, but the moment that men voice an honest opinion about either they are attacked without consideration.  And while I can also appreciate that, in feminism's perspective, that men seem to have gotten away with an awful lot of masculine "privilege", that belies the truth of our own perspective.  For millions of men over hundreds of years, their "male privilege" began and ended on the battlefield, while women were largely protected by their sacrifice.

When feminism speaks of equality, which it does often as a fundamental ideal, it assumes that the social and legal dynamic places men in a "higher" class than women institutionally, that men enjoy "more" rights than women, and that women must therefore "equalize" our institutions to correct this imbalance.  Yet rarely, if ever, does feminism appreciate the large number of gender-based masculine obligations, both legal and social, that men incur as a penalty for our sex.  In other words, while the rights to vote and sit on a jury and have a credit card are necessary for a woman's equality in our society, then logically the duty to register for conscription and the willingness to sacrifice your life for your society and nation are two profound areas in which men and women remain glaringly unequal.

Feminism has always ignored the profound effect this existential threat holds over men; when the subject is brought up it is dismissed either by denying the importance of an archaic institution only intended to serve in direst emergency, or the evils of conscription are thoughtfully acknowledged with a shrug of feminist shoulders and an occasional finger pointed at "the patriarchy".  Yet when it comes to defining our gendered experience, the solemn fact is that women are protected from this specter by the virtue of their gender in a very un-equal way . . . while men are still expected - even by feminists - to be the first to sacrifice their lives and their interests for the sake of the greater (largely feminine) good.

I can appreciate the frustration implicit in such foreboding sayings as "It's A Man's World", and how that seems like a near-insurmountable challenge for women.  Yet while that phrase is easy to employ, rarely does feminism stop to give consideration of just what this "Man's World" has accomplished, or appreciate the breathtaking achievements masculine ingenuity and inventiveness have wrought on behalf of all of humanity.

This "Man's World" feminism rails against gave us the industrialization that allowed women to earn their own incomes; it gave us advanced medicine and technology to reduce or eliminate problems women have complained about for literally thousands of years; it has reduced infant mortality and increased life expectancy, ensured food security and provided physical security, and granted the women of our time a standard of living not even monarchs could boast of two hundred years ago.

When feminism attacks the "Man's World", it is also attacking all of those things.  It is attacking the social welfare system, the social and legal institutions we men established, and the underlying masculine pride we men rightly feel in what our ancestors accomplished in building our great civilization.  Feminism has successfully demonized the legacy of men who toiled and gave their lives to build the society in which they live and thrive.  It has reduced the breathtaking explosion of masculine achievement and ingenuity that has transformed our culture since the industrial revolution to a handful of imperialistic overlords and despotic oppressors.  Feminism has, in other words, fostered and encouraged an environment in which masculine perspectives are at best untrusted, and at worst actively challenged.

Your point about feminism lacking room or energy for pursuing "men's issues" is well-taken. Yet advocating for equality for one side of the equation without consideration of the other is inherently frustrating.  Unfortunately, feminism has not just ignored men's issues in the past, oftentimes it has actively worked against them, and the hard-working, dedicated men who are trying to bring them to light on their own.  Many of us in the Manosphere were, at one time or another, affiliated with feminists and feminism, and when these issues with pursuing true equality were brought up, we were told smugly "sure, go start your own movement, then!" with a matronizing grin.  In the face of feminism's indifference to our issues, that's exactly what we did.  You wouldn't rescue puppies, so we started rescuing puppies.

The MHRM is the result.  Yet feminists regularly blast this network of organizations and its activities (pursuing basic equal human rights for men) regularly and repeatedly . . . on the basis of your claim that men's issues have had "the harder hit".  The perception of historical "oppression" by men has allowed feminism to rationalize such radical notions as enforced male sterility and male genocide without criticism.  I admit, these are radical voices of an increasingly radicalized movement, and hardly representative of the feelings of feminists overall . . . yet these voices are not only uncriticized and left unjudged by feminism in general, the authors of these horrific ideas are celebrated and touted for their advanced thinking.  The crimes of the Manosphere may be many, but advocating genocide among women is not one of them.

When men attempt to go rescue our puppies, feminism has consistently tried to cut us down.  When Warren Farrell, originally a member of the feminist movement, dared to criticize some of feminism's fundamental concepts, he was ostracized from the movement and denigrated.  Now one of the leading figures of the Men's Human Rights Movement, he is regularly attacked by feminists for the crime of suggesting that maybe men suffer from inequality in some important ways, too.  When feminists attack shared parenting initiatives or advocate for lighter sentencing for female criminals, using a "patriarchal society" as their straw man, they not only undercut their stated dedication to equality by demonstrably working against it, they profoundly alienate otherwise reasonable men who are passionately advocating for their human rights away from feminism's stated goals.

We understand you "aren't that organization".  But the issue of, believe it or not, equality comes to the fore.  Feminism regularly beseeches society at large (which is made up half of men) to pay attention to feminism issues and the plight of women and girls all over the world.  But when the MHRM attempts to call attention in return to the plight of men and boys, feminism attacks us for attempting to steal their thunder.  Pleading with us for change and understanding, on the one hand, and then refusing to even listen, much less improve your understanding, on the other is a very poor way to solicit the meaningful cooperation of men.

I can also understand your desire to distance yourself from the radical positions and proposals that Third and Fourth Wave feminism have inflicted on men.  You ask that we not conflate the imperfect actions of some individuals with the noble ideals of an entire movement.  The common summation of this position is "Not All Feminists Are Like That".  You ask for us, as men, to accept the ideals of equality and ignore the hurtful, hateful speech directed at us for forty years by your radical wing.  You ask us to sacrifice our interests and issues for the greater good of social equality, while allowing your self-labeled sisters to call us rapists and violent psychopaths to our faces.  You ask us to ignore the hateful language of those who feel entitled to accuse us unjustly, and then help you create a "better" world.  Seeing the individuals - folks like Amanda Marcotte and Jessica Valenti - as representative of all feminists is unfair, you seem to say.  Yet just as only a tiny minority of male rapists has succeeded in tarnishing the good name of male sexuality for all men, these aggressively vitriolic heralds who claim to be feminists have seriously tarnished any hope of us men seeing the feminist label, no matter how lofty its ideals, as anything but a brand by which we are being savaged.

Your perspective on feminism's goals and ideals is noble . . . but the execution has indeed both taken advantage of and attacked men as a natural social and cultural consequence of its ideals.  While insisting on the goal of a world without damaging stereotypes, feminism itself propagates the most damaging kinds of stereotypes about men.  You ask us to use our judgement about just who the "real" feminists are, after calling our collective judgement into question for forty years and demanding that men have no role in determining women's self-image, interests, or issues.  Plenty of men in the Manosphere strongly and profoundly condemn the rapists and murderers among us as a natural course of instinctive masculine protection of our society, but even mild criticism of the not-actually-feminists by the "real" feminists is thin on the ground.

Our issue isn't necessarily with what women want to do with themselves and their lives - but the insistence that you do so without fear of consequence or criticism from us is unreasonable.  The lives of men are inextricable interwoven with those of women, and your choices, your decisions effect us intimately, whether you are our mothers, our sisters, our girlfriends, our wives, or our co-workers.  While it might seem of only academic interest to feminism what individual women do with those choices, it is of very real interest to the individual men who must contend with them.  It's not about whether or not you want to become corporate powerhouses or domestic goddesses; it's about which of those we're more comfortable associating with, and which we prefer to pursue romantically.

Feminism is great about advocating for men and boys to become more feminine in their outlook, but it punishes us when we try to exercise our inherent masculinity.  Yes, it's fine if boys want to stay home and be house-husbands . . . but the fact of the matter is that not only is that almost entirely untenable for a man in our society to do so, but when given a preference most men want to pursue more traditionally masculine pursuits and activities, not become househusbands . . . for which we are castigated.

Feminism's willful ignorance of masculinity's interests and issues projects common female concerns onto men in the mistaken belief that our goals and aspirations are equal.  They are not.  They are very different.  Little boys don't want to grow up to be househusbands because they're being poisoned by the patriarchy with toxic masculinity . . . they don't want to grow up to be househusbands because they see the disrespect and condemnation that such men receive not from their fellow men, but from the women around them.  This has not changed in forty years of feminist activism.  For while feminism will fight to the death for a boy's right to cry out his feelings, it goes up in arms when that same boy wants to invest in his masculinity in ways that is not in service to women.  Feminism has attempted to ignore the very real factor of intersexual and intrasexual competition, and as a result the personal lives of millions of men have suffered because our natural masculine inclinations are viewed as uniformly toxic.

I would have to counter that my experience with feminists and feminism isn't limited - I spent six years in an environment of academic feminism, and continued to support feminist-oriented causes and activism for years.  I know literally thousands of feminists, from Old Guard 2nd-Wave Equity Feminists to Radical 3rd Wave Riot Grrls, moderates, radicals, intersectionalists, Marxist feminists, and every shade in between.  My problem is not too little exposure to feminism, but such a grand exposure that I have seen up close and personal it's inherent flaws and failings.

The fact is, plenty of "sunny, happy feminists" exist in my world. And they are part of the problem.  Not because their intentions or ideals are in error - they're good people, trying to make the world better the way they've been taught to.  But because their intentions and ideals are not fulfilled by their actions and activism.  Standing firm behind the inherently misandric concepts of "patriarchy", "rape culture", and "misogyny" while the vocal component of your movement uses them as weapons to actively shame and emasculate all men means that you are providing political and social cover for folks who are stomping all over the ideal of equality . . . and we're watching you do it.  While you were smiling at us, assuring us that you were not a threat, the radicals have been hiding behind you and stabbing us repeatedly while you watch them do it.  Would you trust a voice who endorsed that?

In the end, the issue is one of accountability.  Feminism's goals and ideals are lofty, but as they have been executed they have caused incredible damage to men that feminism - and feminists - are unwilling to be accountable for.  More, despite your assurances about labels, feminism has regularly and routinely savaged women who disagreed with them and viciously attacked their decisions.  Pretending that all feminists (or even a majority of feminists) think its equally acceptable and valid for a woman to choose whichever path she likes belies the thousands of articles from within feminism's own ranks which prove otherwise.  Women who marry early, don't go to college, and condescend to devote their lives to their husbands and families are frequently harassed and demeaned by the feminist narrative.  Motherhood and domesticity - hallmarks of femininity and parts of the essential self-image of women for thousands of years - are regularly debased as unimportant by feminists, scalding the millions of women women who decided their reproductive future was more important than their career future.

But feminism won't own its own savaging of women.  It won't own the millions of men who have suffered because of feminist-inspired culture of serial monogamy and divorce.  It won't own the blatantly unfair and unequal treatment it has given fathers over the years, the cynical attacks on fatherood and father's rights.  It won't own the reality of false rape accusations, because the supposed effect on the alleged victims far outweighs the legal and moral rights of anyone accused of a crime to due process.  It won't own the millions of families shattered by the feminist movement's unintended consequences.  Or the dramatic social and cultural impact feminist initiatives and programs have had on men and children.

So regardless of the smiles, we see far more knives . . . and even one knife is too many.  After forty years of relentlessly using men and masculinity as a punching bag without fear of serious consequence, the result is what you see before you: two generations of men confused, angry, bitter, and nearly hopeless about our futures.  Being lambasted for our male privileges while 70% of homeless and suicide victims are men galls us.  Being accused of perpetrating "rape culture" while the majority of us have been so heartlessly attacked for our sexuality that some of our best minds consider chemical castration and self-imposed exile from the gene pool because of the terror feminism has inspired in men about sex is insulting.  Feminism has succeeded in nearly criminalizing and certainly demonizing normal, healthy male sexuality - and undermining the social stability of family life and long term monogamy that men have been traditionally dependent upon for our motivations.

If feminism is to be true to its ideals and pursue a culture of equality, not only can it not do so without taking the issues and interests of men into consideration, it will never happen without the active and enthusiastic cooperation of men.  Using shame, ridicule, disrespect and outright antipathy to motivate us just doesn't work. In fact, it produces things like the Manosphere as a direct result.

Nor are we as "fringe" as you might imagine.  Over the course of the last several years the Manosphere has exploded, thanks to information technologies, and part of our continuing efforts involve educating young men and boys about our perspectives on feminism.  And it's catching on.

 We are purposefully - out of sheer desperation - doing our best to inoculate young men from feminism and demonstrate that feminist perspectives do not have their best interests in mind.  We are encouraging them not to marry, and when they do, to have ridiculously high standards for their wives.  We are encouraging them to pursue their natural masculine goals and interests without regard to the concerns of women.  We are encouraging them to reject women with a high partner count as poor long-term risks for matrimony, but good short-term prospects for sex.  We are teaching them to be more callous and calculating in their personal choices because in our collective experience it is the attitude that will serve them best in this environment.  We are teaching them that there are enough women in the world to consider for sex and dating that becoming reliant on any one is a poor idea.  We are teaching them that girls are not their friends, but their competitors and sex interests alone . . . because we've seen how women treat their male "friends".

I know, all of these things will horrify your average feminist.  But just as the radical wing of the 3rd Wave (Dworkin, McKinnion, et. al.) saw the cautious attempts of men in the 1970s to contend with feminism as proof of the inherent "male oppression" that justified thirty years of misandry in the feminist movement, as reasonable men we look at the future that our sons have, and we don't want them to experience the same hateful and hopeless dance with feminism we were forced into.

Instead, we will teach them to be masculine Men, according to their own desires and needs.  Which includes a healthy amount of male sexuality.  Yes, getting laid is a primary male interest.  So, ironically, is getting married.  So is having children.  But the days when a man could safely count on good opportunities for all three of those are over, and we have to teach our sons how to deal with the world they will live in, not the ideal we want for them.

So we're telling them to drop out.  Drop out of college, turn their back on corporate achievement, and withdraw their active support and energy from society until feminism relents and decides to actually talk to us, not merely scream at us.  We're telling them to withdraw their participation and focus solely on their own well-being.  We're establishing the meme that a man who works on a woman's behalf has betrayed his self-interest and that of his fellow men.  We're telling our boys that feminism is a foe, that women are all suspect, and that they should have fear and suspicion in their hearts when approaching the topic . . . because any other perspective for men in a post-feminist world is not going to be in his best interests.

It's sad, it really is.  But this is not the world we wrought - this is the world that feminism gave to us.  Our mothers were divorced and bitter, our fathers were estranged and disrespected, and you've tried to make us feel ashamed of our masculinity for so long, we just don't trust you any more.  Every time we do, we get hurt - it's like an abusive relationship.  It will take a lot of effort and a lot of energy to reconcile these perspectives, I know.  And yes, that might be easier to do if men and the Manosphere would take a more conciliatory, less-caustic tone.

But the problem is we tried doing that in nice respectful language for forty years, and you ignored us and humiliated us.  We CAN'T trust feminism any more, and we HAVE to treat it with suspicion, because it's clear that the future it wants for men is not one that men want for themselves.

I hope this inspires you to continue the dialog, and I invite your thoughtful response.  But if it follows the usual pattern of our discourse with feminism, you will likely shrug your shoulders, write us off, and ignore what we've been saying while you go rescue another kitten.  That's your prerogative, of course.  But don't say we didn't try.

Very Best Wishes,

Ian Ironwood

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Of Feminism and Femininity: A Brief History

One of the comments that popped up in my triumphant return take-down of Amanda Marcotte (who loves ya, babe?) was from a young woman upset with my tone. To whit,

While I agree your ideals, I can't keep reading your work. The caustic tone and phrasing of things as absolutes that works wonders in inciting men (presumably your intention) pushes me into a spiral of frustration hopelessness every time I read it (presumably not your intention).

I do feel compelled to answer this, here, because I don't purposefully try to alienate anyone, particularly my female readers.  But I do understand that my tone seems caustic, and borderline misogynistic, as I address the larger male audience for whom this blog was originally intended. 

It might seem a contradiction, that I advocate tirelessly for men and their interests, and yet want to advise women on the same subject.  But please understand that they are two sides of the same coin, and that not every post is going to be targeted toward every segment of my audience. 

The frustration you feel is real, of course.  It's real because women today are being forced by circumstance into a really, really bad situation, and the realities of that situation just aren't.  Yes, there is plenty of shadenfreude over here about the continuing antics of feminism, as well as some genuine militancy about the issues of men's human rights, but in the spirit of the forthcoming International Men's Issues Conference topic of building bridges between men and women, allow me to pour some objective foundations for your consideration.

(Trigger Warning: Mansplaining Ahead. Proceed With Caution)

Today's women are kinda screwed, partially by circumstance, partially by their own history as an identity movement (feminism, of course, but not feminism exclusively). I don't need to do yet-another tear-down of what's wrong with feminism, here, but even if you don't identify as a feminist you, as a woman, are affected by the feminist movement who includes you in their crusade whether you want it or not.  

More, our society as a whole has been affected by feminism, particularly how women see themselves in the world. The struggle for Women's Rights and the adjustment our civilization has been making since the early 1900s, from an agrarian to a post-industrial economy, has broken some serious new ground in terms of humanity's capacity to deal with the change.

Industrialization changed everything, including femininity.  It went through the same kind of transformation of self-identity and adaptation that masculinity did when the labor standard went from the day-farm laborer to the industrial factory worker.  That might seem a subtle thing, but industrialization changed the nature of our mating patterns, our reproductive patterns (smaller, more nuclear families as opposed to extended families) and, ultimately, encouraged the functional shattering of the "traditional" family into its current scattered shards.

For femininity, the change involved re-imagining the gendered role of "Woman" from farmwife and matriarch of a large family, effectively co-managing an agrarian estate or business, to fellow laborer-for-wages outside of the home.  The economic transition was profoundly transformative to the concepts of femininity in our culture, and with each succeeding generation the revolutionary impact of such factors as the Birth Control Pill, Liberalized Divorce, increased mobility, and other changes in society made the situation even worse.  

The cornerstone to this identity-crisis in femininity is caused, in part, by the confusing nature of the social signals she's getting.  Part of the evolved purpose of this blog is to help a young woman untangle that confusion by pointing out pragmatic, objective things that she can leverage into a better understanding of her own goals and how to achieve them, among other things.  It's not to make you feel wretched.

But that's part of the general Manosphere criticism of female society, that women do not - in general - want to face the unpleasant realities of the situation unless they are forced to.  And part of OUR great frustration is seeing young women equivocate and avoid those realities after generations of defiant declarations that they can, indeed, handle (formerly masculine-oriented) adult levels of responsibility.  Most men don't have the patience or interest in trying to explain our perspectives (which, as you've admitted, you've found helpful, even if they hurt your feelings) to the extant that I do, but I have a daughter and I dread the realities that she will have to face.

But back to the Industrial Revolution, because that's where this gets kinky.  Femininity, as it was popularly understood, still clung socially to the traditional Agricultural ideals that had served it so well for thousands of years, even if the application of that femininity was changing.  Before WW I, during the days of the High Patriarchy, a lot of the perfectly legitimate gripes about female oppression and inequality were utterly valid.

Imagine the ancient Hellenic goddesses Hestia and Ceres reigning over Femininity - the aggregate self-image of women in general - during that time.  A woman's self-worth (according to advertisements and documents from the period) was largely tied into quasi-mystical ideas about Hearth and Home, Abundance and Prosperity . . . along with the hard work every farm wife was expected to do.  That was in addition to her sacred reproductive responsibilities.  "Hearth & Home" was the gold standard for Femininity for thousands of years. 

But with the change in industrialization and demographics, the laws and social structure were forced to change as well.  First WW I, then the excesses of the 1920s, then the Great Depression all took their turns with Femininity.  And eventually the goddess Athena took over guidance, after Pear Harbor.  It was time for Women to see themselves as more than just tenders of hearth and home.  Their hard work and ingenuity was needed first to dig themselves out of the Great Depression and then even more for the War effort. Femininity, at that time, defined itself as "Woman As Determined Warrior".

When you examine advertisements and commercial art from this time period (see my archives for ample examples) what you see is a focus on femininity as an essential part of the war-time economy.  With the shortage of men in play, due to either economics or conscription, the reflected focus of femininity was in its strength, it's determination, it's power to endure hard times - all noble characteristics intrinsically attached to the feminine self-perception.  

But this Depression and War-time femininity also expresses a deep longing for better times . . . not as factory workers or secretaries, but as wives of well-employed husbands.  Rosie the Riveter might have wanted to sling steel to beat the Jerries and the Japs, but she wasn't doing it out of a sense of feminine empowerment, she was doing it to further her long-term reproductive goals.  As soon as the War was over, she planned on getting married and having an ass-load of kids, because that was her reward for sacrificing her best reproductive years for the good of her nation.  A heroic husband with a good job and ass-load of kids.  Your grandparents.

After the social crises of the Great Depression and WWII, during which the normal cycles of mating were suspended due to economics and war, the definition of femininity settled back down a bit, as a generation of pent-up social desire to reproduce was manifested in the great Post War economic boom. The strength, determination, and endurance implicit in femininity was replaced with a much more light-hearted and romantic ideal.  American women had put off their reproductive futures for four years or longer, thanks to the war, and for them a defining characteristic of femininity, outside of marriage, was motherhood.

Yes, that same icky, evil, oppressive Motherhood that the feminists revolted against.

Femininity indulged in an explosive outpouring of pent-up maternal longing, after WWII.  So many young men hadn't returned from the war, or did so with war brides, and so many women had been forced to endure a essential halt to their reproductive plans, even though their bodies were screaming to make babies.  It's as if Athena, goddess of war and determination, laid aside her spear and (after a brief but intense reign by Aphrodite, as the frustrated desires of the Western World were allowed to play out in millions of hasty weddings) let Hera, Goddess of Motherhood, take over.  

For a generation Hera shaped femininity into a baby-making machine.  Maternal sensibilities and domesticity replaced feminine allure as the defining character of 1950s Femininity. With post-War prosperity, a return of the man supply, and ample government subsidies, the Greatest Generation proved their worth by making a whole lot of babies. The Boomers.

The backlash to this was that the mad cultural expectation to fill the longing for rugrats after the war caught up a lot of women who weren't necessarily inclined to get married and have kids.  That wasn't unprecedented - about 20% of women in advanced preindustrial societies don't marry or reproduce, and society has always had an economic role for these women, usually as childcare, nursing, teaching, or other professions.  In fact, the Depression and the War saw these women attain sudden prosperity by virtue of their badly-needed professional skills.  

They suddenly became leaders of whole legions of former farmgirls whose marriage prospects had enlisted and who wanted to help out and make a little cash for their future.  A future replete with the things they had been denied by the Great Depression: healthy babies, clean, well-built homes, husbands with good jobs that could provide a wage that could elevate them economically.  By the 1940s, with the need to draft women into the workforce as part of the pursuit of Total War, the capabilities of women to handle traditionally male responsibilities had broken that wide open.  Little girls could grow up, go to college, and become doctors, lawyers, reporters, or technicians.  Before they got married.

In the 1960s, a generation later, there was a revolt against the social pressure to either be mommies or professional spinsters, largely revolving around the near-universal idea of "patriarchal" early marriage.  Femininity was once-again in crisis, this time not from a lack of reproductive prospects, but from a lack of coherent self-identity in the face of a multitude of choices.  This is where the real birth of the modern feminist movement began, with the Feminine Mystique, as a popular reaction to the cultural expectations of the Greatest Generation that had been built up for the purposes of winning a war.

The culprit for this identity crisis was, unsurprisingly, the institution of Marriage.  Marriage became increasingly unpopular because the former agrarian-based, patriarchal post-War nuclear family had devolved into the suburban, dual-income family in a culture of infidelity, contraception and liberalized divorce laws.  Women could and were making their own money, attempting to exercise their own goals, and the internal family conflicts with the old patriarchal model had a hard time acclimatizing to this.  Cue Archie Bunker.

And Hugh Hefner.

First, there was another brief reign of Aphrodite, who returned to binge on the erotic excesses of the first industrial generation to enjoy wide-access to contraception in human history.  The Kinseys, Masters & Johnson, Marilyn Monroe, the Playboy Mansion, and the turbulent counter-culture fueled this introspective quest of Femininity and it's sexuality.  Quite the party, as exploding sexuality allowed Femininity to define itself as "Woman As Sex Kitten/Sexual Being" in a long-overdue way.  Infidelity and premarital sex had been all but banished as serious impediments to experimentation, and the issue of illegitimacy became far less of a social problem. 

But that didn't help much with the basic problem.  As Agrarian/Post-War ideals about marriage and family were still standard, enjoying a lot of sexual freedom in a public way caused problems for women trying to establish their femininity.  Women - some women - began to define their Femininity with Family as a minor aspect, if present at all.  That was at odds with the feminine Prime Directive of reproduction, so the real damage to Femininity began.

So feminism tried to take over the issue by striking at the heart of the perceived oppressor, and the fun, fearless, divorce-happy era of the 1970s began.  Laying aside the political ramifications, the hit that Femininity took was staggering.  Women's self-image was muddied irreparably by the insistence that they could both pursue their reproductive strategies (get married and have children) as well as pursue their career and financial goals (Work outside of the home).  "Woman As Mother" took a backseat to "Woman As Independent Earner".  Hera's reign fell with the ascent of Diana, the goddess who demands equality with men.

That was problematic, and it remains problematic to this day.  

The source of the problem is that "Woman As Independent Earner" encompasses little, if anything, of the previous incarnations of Femininity.  And it is increasingly distant from the long-established roots of feminine identity, so much so at this point that one can easily say that Femininity has fractured, and is experiencing a severe crisis.

"Woman As Independent Earner", the Strong, Independent Woman archetype, has been promoted by feminism and non-feminist women alike as a lofty goal to aspire to.  Loftier than any other, save only in the most conservative enclaves.  The "Feminine Mystique" that was once a point of rebellion has now eroded into a caricature of former feminine glories.  Encouraged by feminism to reject marriage and the pursuit of reproductive goals in favor of education and vocational aspirations, the remnant of the old standards still hold women up to personal and social expectations far more in line with the Agrarian past.

Femininity is experiencing an identity crisis again because now that it has successfully established "Independent Earner" into its matrix, it doesn't know how to make it relate to the other cast-off identities a woman has in her metaphorical closet.  The problem is that "Independent Earner" is now the dominant paradigm in Femininity, at direct odds with "Home & Hearth" and "Motherhood".  And it's sharing a mostly-unhealthy relationship with "Sex Kitten", these days.  

Marriage is at the heart of this problem.  Little girls are not encouraged, trained, or educated to grow up to become good wives.  They're educated, trained and encouraged to enter the workforce (usually through a credentialed college) and compete with boys to the exclusion of all else.  The the vague idea of "getting married someday" is, of course, floating around in their heads along with "when I win the lottery", but a young woman's more immediate concerns revolve around her social life, not her future.  Feminism and popular culture keep the wedding as the fantasy, and marriage as the rite-of-passage, but without explanation of marriage's utility or benefit, only it's dreaded dangers and threats of stealing female independence,  It's an emotional expectation, not a pragmatic one.  Unfortunately, it's also the only real discussion of marriage most young women have today.

Womankind's uneasy relationship with marriage can be traced directly to feminism.  Feminism viewed marriage as "slavery", both sexual and practical, to the "patriarchy", denying women agency, rights, or self-determination. But, interesting enough, early feminists rarely wanted to get rid of marriage altogether, because they still saw marriage and family as necessary elements of Femininity.  Even in the throes of the 1970s "Women's Liberation" phase, as Second Wave feminism took hold, feminism didn't want to eliminate marriage . . . they merely wanted total control of it.

Feminism grew to despise marriage, as it radicalized in the 1980s, and that had a powerful effect on Femininity.  Marriage wasn't mere slavery for individual wives, it was PATRIARCHAL OPPRESSION, in the classic Marxist sense.  Using financial independence and security as a basis, feminism began strongly encouraging girls AWAY from investing in the skills and attitudes that might prepare them for successful marriages, and replaced them with the more masculine-oriented desire for professional achievement and financial domination.  "Power" became the focus of a young woman's education - the power that came from their vulnerability as a protected class, the power that came from controlling the cultural consensus over "women's affairs", the power over any marriage or relationship she happened to enter into.  Feminism preached the sermon of Feminist Empowerment so loudly in the 1980s that it lead to a schizophrenic approach to marriage by Femininity.

On the one hand, the "romantic desire" for a permanent relationship is there . . . but feminism has successfully re-written the social rules enough to use any woman's apparent success in a relationship as prima facia evidence of her failure as "Independent Earner".  A woman who is successful in her professional life is NEVER lauded for her relationship or her family, even if she has them.  Particularly not her husband.  Admitting that you actually fell for the patriarchal oppression of marriage makes you automatically suspect in feminist circles, until you successfully divorce. The only successful perspective on marriage a feminist has is the actual "getting married" part, not the "being married" part.  

Not convinced? See how much die-hard feminists recoil when you use the "traditional" trappings of a marriage commitment.  Words like "wife", "husband", "our marriage", a woman taking her husband's last name, the term "Missus", all of the old hallmarks of a successful commitment have been utterly demonized by feminism.  They have successfully distilled the institution to its celebratory and financial basics: the ring, the dress, the party, and the honeymoon.  After that, there is no more feminist celebration of marriage.  

You see, the thing that bothers them is not so much the "oppression" of the thing . . . it's the permanence.  

To feminism, making a permanent commitment does not confirm a woman's adult ability to face up to her adult responsibilities . . . it implies an irrevocable commitment to one potential breeding partner in a way that precludes feminist "agency" to make a better mate selection at a later time.  They want to make as much space as possible for commitment-smashing Hypergamy.  Feminists don't want to get married any less than their ancestors, they just don't want to BE married if something better comes along, as an exercise of their independent feminist agency.  With the presupposition that all men participate in the Patriarchy by virtue of the XY chromosomes, to a feminist a "successful" marriage is one in which a woman divorces her first husband in time to marry her second, "real" husband. For awhile. 

If that sounds like a massive rationalization for opportunistically screwing around on your husband in the name of political power, you wouldn't be the first to note that.

This affects non-feminist women, too, because you are all part of the same big Sexual Marketplace and Marriage Marketplace.  When feminism first flooded the SMP with young, nubile, sexually active girls in the late 1960s who had access to birth control, it utterly screwed up the MMP because it also liberalized divorce in such a way that made predatory hypergamy a bloodsport back in the Mad Men days.  That is, it encouraged the "men are like houses; get what you can manage and then trade up!" ideal in female romantic relationships.

And when there is a sudden flood of sexually available pussy on the market with no firm goal of commitment, that completely screws up the carefully-laid plans of marriage-minded women to get carefully laid on their wedding nights.  Feminism hijacked Femininity's code and re-wrote important parts of it so that now nothing really works right.  

Your confusion and difficulty is the result.

Perversely, the divorce cycle and reluctance to pursue marriage that feminism tacitly endorses and culturally celebrates among young women is highly detrimental to their over-all welfare.  Looked at objectively, the smartest thing a young woman can do for her financial and reproductive future security is to form a strong alliance with an ambitious young man early, get married, and have children within the protective confines of the marital home, under the protection of her husband. She will have a more secure home for her children, enjoy a lower chance of DV or sex-related health issues, raise healthier, more secure and higher-achieving children who will have far lower chances of encountering violence in their lives.

But that don't fly in Feminist Town.  Respecting marriage denigrates Womanhood, even as it elevates Femininity.  Womanhood is far more important for feminists, because Womanhood is about Power, and Femininity is about Happiness.

By denigrating the power of lifelong marriage as a goal for a young woman, advising her to max out her SMV early and ignore her MMV until all the decent dudes are long gone, feminism manages to screw young women out of reproductive options even as it fights to secure reproductive rights for them.  Because while feminism was screwing around with our basic social operating system for the benefit of women, it got drunk on its power and ignored the fact that men, too, have agency a individuals and societies, not just as part of the Evil Patriarchy.

That doesn't mean that women suddenly stopped wanting to live Happily Ever After and be mommies when they grew up.  It just meant that if they did that in preference to a career, they would be scorned and lose status in large parts of the Matrix.  And an increasing number of them ended up disappointed and cheated out of their best shots at that, because feminism was demanding that they Fight Patriarchy, not fuck it.  The 1980s was replete with encouragement for girls that they could, indeed, have it all - and that marriage, motherhood and family would be available for all, once the career-building financial independence was done.

Problem was, by the early 1990s, when those dudes were supposed to be lining up to marry the women of that cohort, a whole lot of them just didn't show.  The male fear of divorce and reluctance to engage with a feminist-oriented female culture that went out of its way to humiliate and emasculate men (particularly young men), as well as cool stuff like free porn and video games, made young men take a good hard look at the Femininity that their stunted Masculinity was supposed to be attracted to . . . and they recoiled in horror.

Women, meanwhile, recoiled in confusion.  After feminism instructed them that boys would be oh-so-horny for their big paychecks and astonishing achievements, the boys just didn't show up with rings in their pockets.  The "femininity" that was supposed to be the traditional bedrock of masculine attraction and mating was . . . gone. 

What was left - what you are left with - is pretty desolate, from a masculine perspective.  There was no dedication to children, except in abstract, no devotion to domestic skills, no cultivation of a warm and loving heart to encourage his own perseverance in the face of adversity.  Instead young men looked at what their futures held with these determined, driven, highly-competitive girls who saw marriage and family as check boxes and his role as "guest husband" in her domestic fantasies.  The looked at it, saw the pain and agony of their divorced dads, saw the misery in the eyes of their married friends, and realized that it just wasn't worth the effort. 

By that point feminism's odd ideas about sex had progressed to where sex within marriage was the absolute most boring, patriarchal, non-feminist sex you could have.  They denigrated husbands and men in general in popular culture and made the term itself one of cultural disrespect.  With that kind of painful humiliation to look forward to in the institution formerly known as marriage, the young men had a decision to make.  So the dudes shrugged, went back to porn and video games and women went crazy, a little.

Male rejection of Femininity, in the form of suddenly-declining marriage rates and suddenly-increasing delays in first marriage should have sent a signal to women about the trouble they were in, but they were enjoying the power trip of wielding real political power, and paying attention to something as mundane as a marriage without masculine abuse was a waste of time - after all, as long as women were happy, men shouldn't have anything to complain about, according to feminism.  

Not that women were particularly happy.  Thankfully, the antidepressant revolution was at hand, too.

In the early 1990s Femininity had become a pale shade of its former self.  While overt sexuality ("Sex Kitten") was still strongly present, all of the supporting structures that lent to male attraction were missing.  In its place was "Independent Earner", and "Power Broker".  While those elements flattered feminism's ideas about what Femininity looked like, they did damn little to make those young women at all attractive prospects for good long-term relationships. By the turn of the century, the men who felt driven to become husbands and fathers had wed, while the ones on the margins were procrastinating and being accused of being "commitment-phobic" when, in fact, they just knew a bad deal when they saw one.

Things got complicated with the rise of so-called "Fourth Wave Feminism", the Grrl-power social movement that attempted to re-combine Femininity and Feminism.  Instead it made things worse, as girls tried to selectively compete with boys and then try to mate with them, all under a complex wave of threats and demands that made the boys recoil further and further into their collective Man Cave.  Even making Femininity boldly sexual, with the Sex In The City lifestyle, ultimately failed to appeal to a generation of boys who saw themselves as merely one of the many dicks the FemmeFour rode, never Mr. Big (and if he was that Big, why the hell was he tappin' THAT?  Has Charlie Sheen taught us nothing?)

The fact was, the only men to whom marriage held any appeal were the ones that women least pursued for their requisite sexual agenda.  The Nice Guy/Bad Boy schism got so codified, Open Hypergamy so blatantly waved in their faces, that boys didn't care if you threw the poon at them.  Even before the Manosphere and the Red Pill, we were starting to figure out which side of Femininity's imposed line we were on, and we were sick of playing already.

The marriages that happened around the turn of the century were, culturally, highly tentative affairs.  Women who married then were often making the best of a bad situation, and men who married (myself included) were highly wary and suspect of the institution, after feminism essentially ruined it as a good prospect for an intelligent man.  Even as women were beginning to figure out that their ailing Femininity wasn't enough to pull the strong, firm commitments from quality men they wanted, men were figuring out that even in the best of circumstances, marriage was just not in the male best interests, as it currently stands.  Quick divorce, particularly among the working class, or delayed marriage among the professional class, led to a dragging on the whole male impetus for marriage.

Then the Great Recession hit.  Yay.

Femininity, as it currently stands, is at a schizophrenic-like state in the middle of a crossroads.  Little girls cannot, despite what feminism tells them, expect that The One will be waiting for them when they turn 27 and hit their Epiphany.  In fact, the investment in career and achievement feminism pushes is now an economic necessity for them, not a "choice", because there just aren't that many men out there willing to offer a traditional commitment to give women a real choice.  Their chances of actually getting married and staying married are far less than their chances of some mediocre corporate achievement, so telling girls that they have any kind of choice does them a disservice. 

In the future, I predict, only around 1/3 of women will be able to leverage what remains of their attractive Femininity to find any kind of husband for any decent length commitment.  With the rise of new birth control methods like Vasalgel (which, apparently, as a method of contraception, Obamacare would pick up the tab for) and a new sense of masculine independence, the traditional means some women resorted to in order to extract a commitment ("Honey, I'm Late!") will be gone.  By some estimates, such events lead to a very large percentage of weddings that would not ordinarily have happened.  I also predict a new era of masculine economic independence as men explore the possibilities of small-scale technologies like 3D printing.  With money in their pocket, Tindr on their phones, and time on their hands, just what does Millennial women's Femininity offer them to secure any kind of commitment?

Little girls today are looking at an increasingly bleak future, thanks to this.  While their ability to earn an income in the corporate world has never looked brighter, their ability to secure a quality mate, a secure reproductive future, and a stable commitment has taken a bullet to the knee.  In a few years, when the leading-edge Millennial women start hitting their Epiphany stage after their tumultuous and sex-fueled youth, they're going to find that the dudes they were looking for just aren't there.  

Their practical choices after school will be state-supported single motherhood for the working classes and childless spinsterhood for the professional classes, with a small section of women who have managed to leverage their Femininity and youthful sexuality enough to secure a commitment in the middle.  Her choices are  effectively (non college) Single Working Mom or (college) Professional Spinster.  Since the former is soaked in poverty, and the latter is soaked in student debt and expensive social expectations, neither one is really Femininity's idea of Happily Ever After.  but whether they're looking at a life as an Hourly Wal-Mart Clerk or a Salaried Accounts Payable Executive, neither path fulfills the common feminine requirements for Happily Ever After.

You need a husband for that.  And that's a hot market, right now.  

There are those who think I should, therefore, throw my weight behind encouraging men to marry despite both their reluctance and their cynicism, to help save women from this plight.  That I should quietly dispense the answers to the problem of the impending Husband Shortage to women and help push dudes toward being more inclined to marry.  The problem with this is that until marriage is once again in a man's best interest, encouraging him to marry is just unwise.  The market is all screwed up.  What passes for Femininity now is a pale shadow of its former self, a mockery of the idealistic images we men develop about marriage and family, and as much as we bitterly miss those things, we are coming to the collective conclusion that Western Femininity is just too broken for us to try to fix, or even contend with.

Sure, Masculinity ain't what it used to be either, and we own that.  We allowed ourselves to be talked out of our better masculine nature in the false hope that it would lead to a better domestic life, social harmony, and more sex.  What we got was more demands, more requirements, and less sex.  After two generations of watching that not happen, we started asking questions . . . and the Manosphere was born. 

Feminism taught men that all people had Agency, back when we were little squishy Blue Pill pushovers.  Now the dudes are using that agency to pursue their own masculine interests, regardless of what it means to women, feminism, or Femininity.  MGTOW is a symptom of that, but so is PUA.  Your dashing Prince Charmings and Mr. Bigs figured out we can bang hot girls all day, now, and then only settle down for someone truly exceptional. That is, someone truly Feminine, in the most idealistic sense of the word.  

So that is where we stand.  As women, your chances of finding a partner who is willing to commit his masculine energies to your Femininity are pretty dismal.  Thanks to two generations of institutionalized gender warfare and your own unwillingness to face the truth of the matter, you'd collectively prefer to blame all of your problems in that direction on men, or "timing", or "chemistry".  But those rationalizations don't stand to scrutiny, and the women who are wedded to them are the ones who won't be wedded to anyone else.

THAT is the purpose this blog serves, for women.  Not to make men better for you - because we're done with that, culturally speaking, as a result of the mass-rejection of masculinity 3rd Wavers pushed on society.  The men here are here because they want to be better for themselves - and sometimes that includes the pursuit of a long-term relationship, commitment, marriage.  For women, I try to advise them how to stitch together the remnants of their lost Femininity in an effort to make them better companions and partners for the men who

would commit to them.  

The goal is NOT "equality" in the marriage.  The goal is a stable, happy long term relationship for both parties . . . which is in the masculine interest.  The proven way to do that is with benevolent sexism, masculine leadership, and feminine receptivity.  That's hard, because men have been discouraged from being leaders and women have been discouraged from being receptive.  But the only way it is ever achieved is to embrace the idea of equilibrium, not equality.  Embrace and explore your natural femininity, not the laundry-list of check marks on your personal agenda, which lists "get married" somewhere toward the bottom.

Why am I doing this?  Because nobody else is fucking doing it.

Mostly I'm doing it to help dudes get laid, and in a long-term relationship, that means Married Game.  For the women who have come to the realization that feminism holds no solace for the damaged Femininity, I do offer some insights from the masculine perspective you might find helpful.  I might be able to untangle some of the confusion you feel, I hope, and help you figure out how to pursue Happiness - not really something feminism concerns itself with.

But I do so because it serves masculine interests to encourage those women who really WANT to be wives to do so effectively.  Please understand that those same masculine interests are far more invested in your sexuality, your domesticity, your personality, and your behavior than your credentials or your inherent worth as a human being.  I'm not saying that women who are poor wives are worth less as human beings (as some critics have laughably suggested) I'm saying that men shouldn't marry women who would make poor wives.  

You might be a great human being.  That doesn't mean you are automatically going to be a great wife.  Men make their mating and commitment decisions based on much different criteria than you do.  Accept that, and accept that your own failures or successes in romance and relationships have not a goddamn thing to do with your value as a human being.  BE a great human being, if you want - we need more of them.  But that doesn't mean that you deserve to get married or be a wife.  It doesn't even mean that you deserve to get laid.  And I'm not about to tell men at large that they should focus on what's inside, when they're looking for a relationship, because that's just bullshit and we all know it.  

If you want advice about reclaiming and revalorizing your lost Femininity, I'm happy to help.  But if you're looking here for comfort and a quick "It's not as bad as you think!" you're going to be disappointed.  Though my caustic tone and absolute phrasing does, indeed, incite men to action, it's not because it's caustic but because it's unapologetically true.  And it's not only as bad as you think, it's far, far worse than you might imagine.  If you are frustrated with my perspective, understand that what you are really frustrated with is the fact that I've called out a truth you've wanted to ignore and deny.  If you feel hopeless, it is only because you have started to suspect the cold truth of the matter: Western Femininity is losing its power to get what it wants, and every woman who is a part of it is losing as a result.

If you want hope, then embrace and acknowledge these cold facts and realize that it isn't an indictment of you, it's a reflection on the sorry state of general mating affairs.  But then also realize that such knowledge gives you some power.  

Because the thing you and most other women don't want to acknowledge is the reality of intrasexual competition, even though you experience it daily like a fish does water.  Your Femininity has been convinced that women aren't really competing for men, and that men aren't really competing for women, so therefore no real effort or development is necessary for a non-competition - we're all just free to "be ourselves" and be accepted on that basis.  But the proof of that lie is how miserable women are, how many fewer marriages there are, and how much men fear divorce. 

When feminism tried to convince Femininity that the best route to its unchanging goals was unrelenting outrage and rejection of masculinity, not embracing the realities of intrasexual competition, because it's sexist.  Of course, that doesn't stop hot feminists from using every feminine wile in the books in an attempt to secure some sort of commitment and relationship, all the while dismissing intrasexual competition as a "tool of the patriarchy".  

These are the women who will not hesitate to steal your husband or boyfriend even as they insist that women shouldn't compete.  And meanwhile, the men your femininity is supposed to attract would rather read comic books for the rest of your lives than take a chance on you.

THAT is all the Femininity feminism has left you with.