Demonizing male sexuality
The above phrase is easy to use, and perhaps I over-use it.
The first time I heard it, I felt a rush of relief, having found a term for what had been making me so uneasy, irritated, and upset as I read news articles and received public service announcements about yet another initiative to protect women on campus from male aggression. Here’s a recent one.
It seemed that whatever a man did, even something as obviously innocuous as looking at a beautiful woman with admiration, was demeaning, an expression of male nastiness, a part of the “continuum,” as the feminists tell us, of male sexual violence against women (continuums are very convenient when you want to link an innocent activity to a completely unrelated, violent one).
Here is another example of such demonization.
Last week I was visiting my mother in the hospital. In the bed next to her was a man being treated, as she has been, for an irregular heart-beat.
On this day, the man’s wife was sitting with him, and the two of them were talking to the doctor, who had just been out with the husband on a walk up the hospital hallway, measuring his heart’s performance, especially its ability to return to a resting rate after he sat down.
After some sober discussion, the doctor suddenly became jocular. “One thing I can tell you,” he said to the man’s wife, “is that your husband is a good man. When a beautiful woman walks by him, his heart-rate doesn’t increase at all! I am proud of him!”
Sitting there with my mother, feeling ornery and anxious, I almost shouted out, “Then he must be nearly dead!”
Of course I didn’t, and perhaps I was over-reacting. The doctor was merely making a joke. One could even see it as courtly, chivalrous, a reassurance to the wife about her husband’s love and sexual fidelity. If I’d been in a different mood, perhaps I would have seen it as a sweet gesture.
But it struck me as yet another example—though of course in minor, innocent form—of the constant monitoring of male sexual desire that all of us are encouraged to engage in. Women believe it to be well within their rights to tell men how they are to sit, speak, and look. Wolf-whistles and cat calls are now seen as potentially criminal acts of misogyny. “Good” men are to unlearn their toxic masculinity, and teach other men how to unlearn it too: a particular focus is to speak up if you hear another man making a demeaning joke about a woman, or engaging in “locker room” talk.
Now we’ve got doctors monitoring men’s heart rates to see whether they beat a little faster if a woman in a tight jumpsuit walks by. Even when he is undergoing serious medical treatment for a potentially life-threatening condition, a man’s sexuality is under examination, and he is to be condemned or congratulated for his response to sexual stimuli.
That’s not what the doctor consciously meant, of course, but I think he was unconsciously mimicking the general tenor and attitude of our cultural discourse. It saddens me to see men pandering to feminist ideas of what women want and what they are owed. (Frankly, I don’t expect or want my husband to stop noticing beautiful women around him; I just want him to desire me more than any of the others.)
Male sexual desire has kept the human species going for millennia; it’s ridiculous to think of doctors becoming proxies for the feminist desire police.
Siege: “”a military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling the surrender of those inside.”
How are boys under attack? Well, they learn that
- Their sex has caused the world’s problems,
- That Men are privileged.
- That men are toxic and have oppressed women.
- That Men just need to step aside and let women run things, then things would be better.
- They learn that Boys are inherently inferior and simply need to try to be more like the girls.
These messages get expressed repeatedly both actively and passively. Often subtle but sometimes blatant. They are unmistakable and are forced upon the boys without any counterpoint or any option for them to challenge or argue. These are the default. To argue would be unheard of. A third grader rarely argues with his teacher. She is queen and only speaks the truth. So boys are forced to shut up and accept the narrative that something is wrong with their sex.
Such hateful and persistent messages are hurtful and abusive to our boys. And yet no one complains.
What does it do to anyone who hears a constant drone of negative about their identity? Day in and day out you hear there is something inherently wrong with you. You are helpless since you have no way to respond. What does years of that do to a person?
There are several research driven ideas that help us understand the intensity these messages may have on boys. One is the concept of learned helplessness. In studies, animals have been given negative stimuli repeatedly without any opportunity to escape. After many repetitions the animals simply give up. They stop trying. Many are thinking this could be related to the origin of anxiety or depression. Could a similar principle be at play with boys and their involuntary exposure to hateful messages? It’s not a stretch to see how boys being bombarded with negative messages about their sex are put in a helpless position not unlike the learned helplessness situations. Might there be a cumulative effect?
Another research driven concept is that of the Stereotype Threat. An example of stereotype threat is the idea that girls are exposed to stereotypes when young that claim that girls are not so great at science and math. Some are thinking this early exposure may impact their later disinterest in sciences. Okay. Maybe so. But now think if that is true what sort of huge factor all of the anti-male messages that are being sent to boys might have on him? If the girls are negatively impacted by a minority message that they aren’t as good at math and science just imagine the impact of the multiude of misandrist messages boys receive. What might that do to them? Does anyone care? I don’t think so.
Then there is the element of self fulfilling prophecy. When people hear negative ideas about them it increases the chances that those negatives will come to fruition. Think about all of the negatives boys hear about their sex and just stand back and imagine what impact that might have?
Keep in mind that we know that the brain has great plasticity, that is it can alter itself with the advent of new information. When children are young they are particularly susceptible to negative messages having an impact on their young brains. The research shows us that children who were abused suffer from a lack of myelonization of their axons. Many think that this is one of the causes of depression and anxiety. What they have also found is that physical abuse AND emotional abuse both have the same impact on the brain. Wouldn’t it be easy to characterize the many negative anti male messages that boys receive as being somewhat similar to emotional abuse? One definition of emotional child abuse is “The caregiver refuses to acknowledge the child’s worth.” Seems to me that this is similar to what boys hear every day. The brains of our young are sensitive to stressors. It’s not a big leap to see that having one’s sex be disparaged on a regular basis is indeed a significant stressor.
The messages boys receive are a part of a huge double standard where boys are seen as the problem and girls are seen as the answer. Another frame for double standards towards boys has to do with the issue of violence.
Yet another place you see this radical double standard is around the issues of violence. It has been a long standing requirement in our culture to demand boys not hit girls. Yeah, so be it. But in our increasingly feminist drenched schools something started happening more frequently. Girls started hitting boys. And what was the administrative response to this. Nothing. No one lifted a finger. Even when boys had the courage to complain to teachers that a girl had pinched, hit, pushed, slapped, or kicked him he was told to go to his seat and not complain. I have heard many boys say the same thing. When they hit there is immediate punishment, and when the girls hit there is nothing. No one cares.
It didn’t take long for some devious girls to realize they could attack whenever they wished. And they did. While most girls would never do such a thing, those who chose to attack under the protection of the gynocentric double standard made the boys lives very difficult. What did the boys learn from this interaction? They learned that You, as a boy, do not deserve protection. Your pain is not important. It’s not as important as the girls. Shut up and quit complaining. Sound like emotional abuse to you? It does to me.
It’s important to note here that though it was a minority of girls doing this, the majority of girls did not call out the perps and would generally say nothing. They were willing to sell the boys down the river and allow the aggressive girls to do their evil.
So how do you think that feels for boys? They likely have superior strength but when attacked they are required to stand down. Pretty tough lesson for a little guy don’t ya think? I wonder sometimes if the situation was reversed how would girls respond? Boys could hit them when they wanted and they could neither complain or defend themselves. If they went to the teacher they would be ignored. Hmmmm I’m guessing they would not handle it so well. I marvel at how the majority of boys have learned to deal with this blatant and hateful double standard.
Author’s note: The following is a continuation of Why Men Can’t Say No. I strongly suggest reading it before attempting to digest this one. The last essay promised I would deliver possible solutions in a subsequent triad of essays. This is the beginning. Please note that the path to get there is not given in the fantasy ridden “Three easy steps to..” model. Neither is it so arcane that the average man cannot grasp it with some effort.
In my last writing, “Why Men Can’t Say No: A Historical Perspective,” I went to some length to describe three significant historical events that cemented the current cultural gynocentrism; the sacrificial mindset that now dominates the human male psyche, serving as the conscious and unconscious motivator of behavior and behavioral codes, particularly in regard to women.
To put it more succinctly, even brutally, we have become the unconscious physical and political service class for the human race. While ideologues moan and gnash teeth about a nonexistent patriarchy, an equally fictional rape culture and the fatuous notion of male-only domestic violence, society continues to produce men who will willingly labor at the most deadly professions, shielding women from such hardship. These are labors that diminish quality of life and lifespan itself, in order to service their immediate families and the culture at large. Underneath that veneer, of course, we find the mandates of reproductive biology in full swing.
All of this occurs in a social milieu dominated by the wholesale denigration of the attributes which predispose men to take on this role. In other words, we tell men what they must do to be men, which is sacrifice. Then we shame and derogate them for being male, for valuing the characteristics men must have in order to fulfill the demands we place on them.
Men, by and large, walk through this lifelong gauntlet without a scintilla of awareness. In fact, their psyches have been so completely molded by the gynocentric narrative that most actually believe that rewarding their selflessness with shame is a badge of masculine honor. Man up = take this pile of feces, eat it and don’t forget to say thank you.
Those that stray, even in the most trivial and innocuous of ways, are relegated to obsequious groveling for redemption because the cultural norm demands it. Note that scientist Matt Taylor likely feared for his job security after the public assassination of his character from feminist ideologues who turned the shirt he wore, a gift designed by his girlfriend, into an affront to all women and an act of hostility toward women who might otherwise be interested in STEM professions.
It is easy to target these malicious ideologues as the source of the problem. However, would Taylor have felt it necessary to break down in tearful, self-degrading mea culpas for the cameras had their not been pressure to do so by his superiors? Would it have gone down this way had it not been in keeping with the social appetite for coerced penitence from men?
I submit that if you missed the public self-flagellation of Martha Stewart, Leona Helmsley and Sharon Osbourne, there is a good reason for it. The reason being, of course, that it never happened.
Gender fascists find easy success in their efforts to destroy men at will because we are all Matt Taylor. We are all Larry Summers, Tim Hunt, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Brian Banks. We are a society that rewards incompetent, ill-intentioned, even evil women and with equal mindlessness turns on the best and brightest of men with pitchforks and torches. All it takes in our minds is the imagery of a defenseless waif and a masculine villain. It is an archetypal duo as old as Odin. Those ideologues are just a mirror of our own mentality, not a deviation. They are us, whether we want to admit it or not, and not wanting to is laying waste to men.
The way out of this is not simple. There is no way to make sweeping, cultural change to the results of 3,000,000 years of psychobiology that pits men against each other in order to line up for the disposable use of the most sexually viable female. The great unconscious mass of men will always be lemmings.
There is, however a way for most men to effect personal change that steers them out of the path of self-devaluation, if they are conscious enough to desire it. Equally, if not more important, the same efforts can cast out a chorus of demons born in the mythologies and abuses of the family of origin and played out in the resultant imagoes from one relationship to the next. This includes our relationships with other men, with institutions, and, critically, with ourselves.
The goal is self-ownership and self-authorship outside of dysfunctional narratives, including gynocentrism.
Stage One: Nascent Cognition
This first step of three in what I propose to be a method of reversing unhealthy trends in your mind and your psychobiology are written exercises. The first one will be to address a particular event.
Note that I am not talking about trying to enhance awareness, no matter how acute, of the state of gender politics or of the men’s issues so frequently addressed in my writing. It is much more personal, more intimate than that. In fact, wavering off the personal and into the global is an act of sabotage that will undermine your efforts.
Let me start with an example, taken directly from the comments of another piece I wrote on An Ear for Men. This comes from Carl Timothy Smith, who gave me permission to use this in another writing.
Just writing the story of my marriage and divorce on the AVFM message board and then reading it about 50 times helped me. I was so wrapped up in trying to make things work it wasn’t until I could read my story as a third party that I realized I should have never tolerated the treatment I was getting. It was like putting down a burden followed by the best feeling of freedom I’ve ever known.”
I urge you to closely examine the wealth of information in every line of Carl’s comment. Some of it is easy to overlook. First, saying things aloud and sharing them with someone else has a tendency to make them real. It is not that those stories, or their life-wracking consequences, are confabulations. It is more accurate to say that speaking or writing them has a way of stripping elements of denial that so often plague our perception. Bargaining for a different reality, a typically normal and healthy part of grief within reason, fades with the open telling of truth. The more real it gets, the less you bargain and the less you remain mired in the pain.
Carl also shared his experience on an open forum. Having his experience heard also made it more real, with the same benefits. It is not that sharing on a forum was his only option — but it was a good one. The same can be accomplished with a trusted friend or family member, as long as they can indeed be dependable as a listener instead of an advisor or source of shame.
Note that Carl said his benefit came from reading what he had shared with others. He did not mention a word about other people’s reactions or advice or even sympathy. Sympathy is not the goal. Support is not the goal. Support is a common positive side-effect, but it is not the destination. It is not the healing force.
Carl’s writing and repetitive reading, “…followed by the best feeling of freedom I’ve ever known,” was entirely self-created. The more he read his story, the more detached and objective he became. Detachment and objectivity are the byproducts of emotions losing their power; the power to prevent healing; the power to harm the person in which they dwell by walling them off from their freedom and peace of mind.
Carl put himself in a position to see himself clearly. Not as a victim. Not as a perpetrator. Not an emotionally crushed, crippled version of himself. Just Carl in all his humanity, recognizing his role in what happened to him with accountability and integrity.
I have not spoken to him except to get his permission to use his comment, but I would bet everything I have that he is now far less vulnerable to being led by the wrong narrative into another relationship like that one. I will wager that Carl is not the same person he was when he wrote the account of his marriage and divorce.
How ironic this is in a feelings-centered world, particularly that of feelings-centered psychotherapy that forever has the client digging through and experiencing emotional angst, turmoil and grief in the pursuit of alleged catharsis.
There is even a larger lesson here. Imagine, if you will, applying the same principle to your entire life. Imagine the story of you, in all its bloody and often painful detail, losing its power to keep you from being objective and rational. Imagine the time when you can look at any event in your life dispassionately, with the power to learn about it in ways that your emotional reactions will not allow.
Here is an example of what I mean, using a hypothetical man. By hypothetical I mean a composite of many men I have spoken with in the past. His name is Joe. Joe was raised by a single, severely disturbed and personality disordered mother. One of her many needy, selfish acts was to have Joe sleep with her until after he was well into puberty. By age 7 even Joe began to feel uncomfortable with the arrangement. He felt the need to individuate, to sleep on his own, but his mother would not allow it. Even at that young age he became aware that her insistence that he sleep with her was not for his sake, but for hers. Unfortunately there was nothing he could do about it at the time but comply.
Ultimately this had a negative impact on Joe’s relationships with all women. He felt at once smothered, and bound to yield to their desires, even unhealthy ones. That led to shame and perpetual confusion. It (and other things she did) also led to resentment toward his mother that bordered on hatred.
The abuse he experienced at the hands of his mother became an emotional anchor around his neck. It disrupted his attempts at healthy bonding with women. Any need they had was perceived by him as exploitive. Any time he denied those needs (which was rare) he was filled with shame.
Traditional psychotherapists worked with Joe, trying to get him “in touch” with his anger; trying to help him find cathartic release that would help him move on. They were completely misguided. Joe hated his mother and he knew it. The last thing he needed was to immerse himself in more of what he had felt his entire life.
What he needed was detachment from the abuse, from his story. Like Carl, he needed to find the birds-eye view of those events and to maintain that view until he could see things objectively. Once that happened he was able to put some very important jigsaw pieces together in his life. The impact on his life, and his relationships with women was profound. While the aftereffects of his mother’s acts of emotional incest lingered, they also lessened. He came to recognize that while he was powerless at the time it happened, he was no longer a young boy at the mercy of his mother’s unhealthy whims.
He was free to rewrite his own version of who he was without the unhealthy maternal bond, and without the debilitating resentment toward his mother coloring the narrative. Most importantly, he would be free to attract women who were not the reincarnation of his sick mother.
A better place for men to start never existed.
I’ve had many, many conversations over the years with blue pill men about red pill ideas. Interestingly, most of the men I’ve talked to have been pretty open to what I was talking about. At least in general terms my observations about men, women and the behavior typical to both resonated with them. I’ve routinely found men nodding agreeably as I described some of their not-so-positive experiences with women in relationship life. They did so even as some of them instinctively glanced over their shoulder, as if to make sure no one was seeing them agree with me.
Plenty of them even quietly acceded to my calling them out on their tendency to tolerate abuse, to enable and play white knight in order to stay out of the dog house. A life spent in some measure of frustration, trying to placate an errant child, of jumping through hoops to keep an uneasy peace is common to a lot of men. Sure, some men don’t share this experience. And some men claim they don’t. You can hear them bragging about how they are in charge of relationships when the woman isn’t listening. But most men I have talked to in relationships identify with this to one degree or another.
Most of them can chuckle at themselves a little bit when they talk about how they put up with the childish demands and entitled attitudes of their female counterparts. Some of them, without compunction, even cast themselves metaphorically as powerless little schoolboys, fearful of being sent to the principle’s office, represented by the disapproval of their wives or girlfriends. They do this with no sense of embarrassment, as though they think all men live this way. And of course, there are plenty of men who do.
All this introspective honesty, this good-natured self-disclosure, takes a nosedive, however, when I’ve talked to men as fathers, vs just husbands or boyfriends. In that matter things become, shall we say, pricklier.
You see, it is pretty easy for a man to admit that petulant childishness is the default setting for a whole lot of women once they settle into a relationship. Most men will just nod their heads knowingly and shrug it off because in their minds, that’s just the way women are.
It’s quite another matter when you start to talk about the role of fathers in instilling said petulance and childishness; when you acknowledge that “Daddy’s little girl,” is highly prone to grow up (or just get older) and become “Daddy’s little bitch,” or much worse.
It’s quite ironic, listening to a man complain about how his wife has crazy unreal expectations. He bemoans the fact that she cannot be satisfied, no matter what he does. He claims that he pulls his hair out trying to figure out how to satisfy her endless demands only to be met with more disapproval and, of course, more demands. He wonders aloud how she ever learned to be such a bottomless pit, and such a bitch about it.
Then you go watch him interact with his four-year old daughter, whom he will endlessly coddle and for whom he will go to any measure to make sure she never lacks anything, no matter how trivial.
And it doesn’t stop when she turns five. Or fifteen, or twenty-five. When it comes to turning human females into paragons of pissy entitlement, the western father has few rivals.
I remember well former vice-president Joe Biden talking about being routinely physically abused by his older sister, informing the world that his parents would have “gone nuclear” if he had ever defended himself. That was the family rules, and they were not negotiable. The girl got to inflict physical pain on the other children with impunity. The boys got to take it. As Biden recounted, he “had the bruises to prove it.”
My clinical experience informs me that the Bidens weren’t by any means the only family who operated on the premise that assault was permissible by girls, and self-defense by boys was strictly verboten.
Often, the main enforcer of this lopsided affair is the alleged family patriarch. Along with the idea of bodily autonomy for the girl only is often a whole slew of double standards reflecting the fact that Daddy’s little girl has Daddy wrapped around her little finger.
After all, has anyone ever coined a phrase describing how a son has a parent wrapped around his little finger? Of course not, because it largely doesn’t happen. The closest thing you’ll ever hear to that is the term “Mama’s Boy” which is an entirely different story.
A “Mama’s Boy,” which implies blind service to the mother, is a pejorative pointing to the general weakness of the son and the power of the mother. Having Daddy wrapped around your little finger implies just the opposite. It is the raw sexual power of the female, and the powerlessness of the father, even with daughter in the state of childhood. She can just crawl into Daddy’s lap, wrap her little arms around his neck and get her way, every time. He just melts. I will spare us all an analysis of the Freudian implications of that little scenario. It’s too gross to go into. Suffice it to say that both family scenarios involve females with power and males without it.
Fathers, in this regard, generally don’t take well to a discussion of the subject. I’ve talked to several of them about enabling dads who treat their little girls like princesses, effectively turning them into cunts who are destined to make a succession of men completely miserable, and who will, in the end, be miserable themselves. Nobody can hold on to any kind of happiness when chronic, insanely unrealistic expectations are the expected path to get there. That’s the curse of modern womanhood. It’s why so many of them are miserable, and why they feel justified in making others miserable when their plans fall apart.
Now, at some point in the conversations with a handful of these fathers, they seemed to reach a snapping point. “Wait a minute,” they’d say, in a suddenly serious and demanding tone, “You’re not talking about me and my daughter, are you?” They weren’t kidding.
“Why not at all,” I lied, aware that we were getting into dangerous territory.
Here I was talking to guys who were so not enabling or over-protective of or unreasonable about their daughters that they looked to be willing to go fisticuffs with a 6’8” 280-pound man if he got too close to the truth.
Either that, or they were reacting chivalrously to an imagined slight against their little princess. I’ll let you decide.
There is a great deal that goes into creating a society of women who feel so entitled to unrealistic demands of men that they make themselves and everyone else suffer.
Certainly, as I mentioned earlier, feminism has played a huge role. So, have obsequious, spineless men. The kind who never met a woman they wouldn’t bend over backwards to please. There’s also basic biology. Men are driven to scatter seeds and the greatest majority of them want and need women’s permission and approval to do it. That alone has them urging women toward very unrealistic expectations in the long term. Very few men can maintain the lengths they go through to achieve sexual conquest. We hear women complain about that all the time.
Indeed, as we look at all this from the aerial view, we see that men in one form or another, are the main culprits. It’s entirely arguable that feminists are only demanding of men what they know men will ultimately give them, reasonable or not. So, in that light, the sole enablers of all this nonsense are men.
That includes fathers.
Fathers are the first arena where women learn their expectations of men. Fathers are the gateway to hypergamy and gynocentrism. They are women’s first lessons in all-take no-give relationships, and where they begin to learn the sheer awesomeness of their sexual power.
Consider that the next time you see a father walking hand in hand with a little girl wearing a tiara and a t-shirt with the word “Princess” written in glitter across the front. Think of it when you hear a teenage girl gush about all the things her Daddy buys for her, or when you hear a father boast that “nothing’s too good for my little girl,” when they would not dream of saying the same about their sons.
Think about it a little more when you see entire families enable abusive girls; when their relational and other forms of aggression are allowed to flourish at the expense of everyone else, particularly the boys.
And if you ever wonder why corrupt, disingenuous ideologies of privilege, like feminism, are so warmly received by a generation of females who think entitlement is the natural order of things, then take a deeper look at how they got there.
If you are looking clearly, you’ll see that chivalrous fathers are a big part of the problem. They shape the training ground for feminists and narcissists. And they will indeed get angry, possibly violent, when you call them out on it.
So, in most cases, it’s better to just let it be. There’s nothing to be gained by standing between Daddy and his Little Nightmare. Life will deliver its own consequences.