Doris Lessing, on Men
In the posts Life Is Unfair! The Militant Red Pill Movement and Madmen, Red Pill, and Social Justice Wars I discussed the Red Pill movement, a kind of men’s reaction to modern extreme feminism. Red Pill ideology, hammered out by a variety of more-or-less intellectual leaders online, is based on some partly-baked evolutionary psychology mixed with quite reasonable grievances about how the liberation of women starting in the 1920s turned into a male-bashing, male-stereotyping cult in the new millenium, and how this new feminist grievance bubble portrays women as deserving of equal treatment when it is to their advantage, but asks for special treatment when it is not, and ignores continuing disparities in divorce and child custody decrees. The posts Modern Feminism: Victim-Based Special Pleading and Purge: the Feminist Grievance Bubble cover that aspect. Another post of interest, Stable is Boring? “Psychology Today” Article on Bad Boyfriends discussed the tendency of modern women (and men) to avoid commitment for years while engaging in sex with partners chosen for sexual magnetism, then settling down with a more stable, more likely provider when their youthful sex appeal fades — a phenomenon called “alpha fucks — beta bucks.”
I am not a “social conservative.” I don’t believe there was some Golden Age in the past where everyone was happier because of rigid sex roles and societal expectations of early and forever-after marriage. Those customs and expectations were evolved under completely different conditions, and wasted the potential of many people. Nevertheless, there is an important lesson in enlightened conservatism, which acknowledges that self-organizing, evolved systems should not be torn down without understanding how they operated, and that top-down, government-sponsored innovations in social arrangements might have unintended consequences the “social engineers” fail to foresee. This post, “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor, gets at the destruction of communities after well-meaning meddling in their affairs by distant governments — not understanding the incentives and social signals in place, then overwhelming them with impersonal “aid” and destroying the existing system of financial and moral support (by family, friends, churches, and community businesses and organizations) in favor of dependence on government (or government-created black markets.)
I’m old and I’m married, and so these wars between extremes don’t affect me. My personal history is far from mainstream and I certainly didn’t benefit from the old-school rules — my father left when I was 5, and I had to work very hard to grow myself up without a lot of guidance outside of books. But because I am largely self-created, I can probably see more objectively than most. And I can see the Red Pill guys’ point, as well as note the lingering injustices to women that fuel some extreme feminist posturing. A social movement that has achieved some or all of its aims (women are free to enter any profession, women are competitive in political races, women’s salaries in exactly comparable jobs are very similar to men’s, rape is taken very seriously) will tend to persist while fixating on and exaggerating ever-smaller issues until reaching a point of absurdity, and the grievance bubble once begun goes on until the proper response to it is ridicule.
I’m not the only one who sees this. Sites like Women Against Feminism and the associated hashtag #womenagainstfeminism explore many younger women’s rejection of the anti-male extreme feminist position, and assert their strength as individuals and respect for men as partners. Where original feminism was a fight for freedom, modern feminism has turned into a fight for restrictions on freedom.
Vice has a great longread on “The Women of the Men’s Rights Movement.” by Alex Brook Lynn. Notable excerpts below:
It was just after she’d had her first child that Janet Bloomfield realized she didn’t want to go back to work and pay some nanny to raise her kids. She had gone to college to study film theory and assumed, like practically every American woman does, that she would start a career before marrying and having a family, but that wasn’t how things turned out. She met a man, fell in love, and stayed at home.
She didn’t feel ashamed of this decision, nor did she feel denied in any way—a close college friend of hers nicknamed Pixie had wound up in a similar situation when her son was diagnosed with some severe health issues. But other people, especially other women, apparently had a problem with Janet’s choices. She felt that her friends were disdainful of her and thought she was crazy or stupid to rely on a man for her income; they insinuated that her husband would “trade her in for a younger woman,” and that she would wind up broke and abandoned.
Janet and Pixie started writing letters back and forth while Pixie’s son was in intensive care, where Pixie wasn’t allowed to bring her cell phone. They talked about how housewives had fallen out of cultural favor, and about how Janet was a “victim of parental alienation,” as she would later say—her parents had gone through a vicious divorce and her mother had turned her and her three brothers against her father. In October 2012 these paper and ink musings became a blog, JudgyBitch.com, with Janet writing rants and Pixie doing the graphics and maintaining the back end.
As she was starting the website, Janet was searching for answers as to why her peers disliked stay-at-home moms and why her mother had had the power to separate her from her father. She found herself exploring a part of the internet that was full of complicated theories about social hierarchies, propaganda, and gender bias, in the process reading story after story of men being discriminated against in family courts and custody battles. Respect for traditional family structures was waning. The very concept of the family, in fact, was now regarded as a means by which men oppress women.
As she read more, disparate threads started clicking together—all these things were the result of a systematic vilification of the male gender. The misinformation, the lies, the poison, it all came back to radical feminism. Even her film-theory courses had taught her to watch movies through a feminist filter. She gradually acquired a set of beliefs with the help of a loosely organized online community of thinkers and writers called the Men’s Rights Movement (MRM).
Her new worldview ran counter to the way people were supposed to think and talk about gender and society. As she used her website to strike back against feminism, people got angry, which was fine with her—the more animosity she got for pushing boundaries, the more boundaries she pushed.
Today Janet is a slender blond just entering middle age who’s far more affable in person than on the web, where she is fierce, self-assured, and cutting. Even as she adopted her strident views, she didn’t share them with her neighbors in her small town out of fear of the imagined consequences. “My husband could lose his job,” she told me. “I don’t need all my kids’ teachers, and all the parents of their little friends, treating them differently because of my views.”
Later that year, three of these women formed the Honey Badger Brigade, a website and podcast on which they discussed men’s rights, feminism, and geek culture. Janet became a regular on the podcast, putting her at the heart of the YouTube channels, blogs, vlogs, subreddits, Facebook groups, and Twitter accounts that make up the MRM. Though the movement is all about defending men and boys from social misconceptions, discrimination, and feminism, in an odd twist it’s the female activists—pissed off, extremely well read, and spoiling for an argument—who are driving the conversation.
The most common concerns of the MRM [Men’s Rights Movement] include:
(1) The family court system, which activists say frequently forces men to pay too much alimony while not considering their feelings when awarding the custody of children;
(2) Government programs that assist only women rather than both genders, especially those that give aid to female victims of sexual assault—MRAs claim that men who suffer the same abuse are often ignored;
(3) The right to opt out of raising a child, since, some MRAs say, women can opt out of a pregnancy;
(4) False rape accusations, which MRAs think don’t get enough attention from a culture increasingly inclined to believe women who say horrible things about men;
(5) Fighting back against radical feminism, the ultimate evil as far as the movement is concerned.
These aren’t mainstream issues, but the modern-day MRM has acquired a constituency online that its forebears couldn’t have dreamed of. “We are growing exponentially because of the difference in modern communications,” Janet told me.
The internet, of course, has made it possible for people to broadcast their words to the entire globe without the restrictions that come with finding a publisher or being part of a larger organization. The floodgates are open, and everyone is free to write and disseminate long-winded manifestos, form tough-talking groups, and break away from them into increasingly splintered factions when disagreements arise.
Thus, you’ve got run-of-the-mill MRAs like most of the readers of AVFM, but you’ve also got a constellation of related online phenomena: the pickup artists (PUAs), who concoct elaborate systems for interacting with and seducing women; the anti-PUAs, who feel ripped off by PUA gurus promising to get shy young men laid but don’t deliver (they achieved notoriety recently because Elliot Rodger, the Isla Vista shooter, frequented one of their forums); Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOWs), who have vowed to stay away from women entirely, often after being sexually traumatized or otherwise abused; and Red Pill, a catchall term for those who see the world as being dominated by women and oppressive to men, and exhibit some of the most extreme language of anyone affiliated with the MRM.
The Latest from Jeb Kinnison:
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations
[Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations, In Kindle and trade paperback.] The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game.
Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of Death by HR
Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat. For it is now fairly impossible for any company not to erect an HR wall as a legal requirement of business with the sole purpose of keeping government diversity compliance enforcers as well as unethical lawyers from pillaging their operating capital through baseless lawsuits… It is time to turn the tide against this madness and Death by HR is an important research tool… to craft counter-revolutionary tactics for dealing with the HR parasites our government has empowered to destroy us. All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.
More reading on related topics:
Social Justice Warriors: #GamerGate Explained
Emma Watson’s Message: Intelligence Trumps Sex
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)
Modern Feminism, Social Justice Warriors, and the American Ideal of Freedom
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Evolve or Die: Survival Value of the Feminine Imperative
Feminism’s Heritage: Freedom vs. Special Protections
Perfect Soulmates or Fellow Travelers: Being Happy Depends on Perspective
Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner
“The Science of Happily Ever After” – Couples Communications