Monday, March 19, 2012

A Conservative Man Advises Women About Men

If you have ever cruised the misogyny sites you get a pretty good idea how woman-hating men want women to be: They must kowtow to The Man, they must never put on weight, they must not talk much at all, they must stay at home and clean house and cook (but if they do they are still sucking off the man like a leech).

They must have their vaginas (and mouths) always available for the men who own them but other men must not have access to the said vaginas. And even then they are still horrible bitches and fat slags who only want the Alpha Males when the Omega Males who want to be treated as alpha males demand equal vaginal rights. But most of all women are seen as horrible on those sites. Nothing women could do will ever alter that.

Given this background, I was somewhat surprised to see a bowdlerized version of all this on a conservative site as an advice column on how women should behave if they want to date a man or get married to one.

The column is much gentler than the hate sites, almost humorous, but it is based on the same extreme gender caricatures. Women are emotional wrecks who bubble and bubble and bubble, men are silent and simple lords of the universe who just want to get laid and obeyed. Men do not have emotions! But women: Remember not to try to manipulate those nonexistent emotions of men! And so on and so on.

It's that Mars/Venus bullshit with some slight updating. Here's one snippet:
Men are not as comfortable with their emotions as women. Typically, we don’t use our emotions as often or as fully as women, we don’t get in as many emotional situations, and we feel extremely uncomfortable with the idea of crying or getting choked up.
So, ramped-up drama can take a much harder toll on men than women. For example, men have it drilled into them from the time they’re young that they’re supposed to protect women. So, if a man says something that makes a woman cry, it may be no big deal for her. Depending on their mental state, there are a lot of women who can break into tears if a waiter brings them the wrong kind of salad dressing. But to a man, a woman crying over something he did means that he FAILED as a man to protect her and worse yet, he did the opposite and inflicted pain on someone he cares about.
This means that women are not allowed to cry. It reflects badly on a man, you see, and then he won't want to protect the woman or provide for her!

I had to read the whole column several times, what with being a feminazi and all, until I realized that this is not an advice column on romance, not even a humorous one.

This is a job application column where women can look for the job of a wingnut wife. In Wingnuttia men protect women and provide for them, in exchange for something which this column leaves undefined. But once I realized that this is about a job the column started making sense. How to dress for the job interview, how to deal with the boss. That there is no advice for the boss goes without saying. He is not applying for the job.

Some of the comments are lots of fun, too, as you might expect. There's general agreement that feminists have caused all the sexual and marital problems of wingnuts, and that men are at least as oppressed as women, most likely more so. That, too, sounds a lot like those misogynistic sites.

Then there are the people commenting-as-female who agree that men are by far the better gender and that they themselves have never felt comfortable with those odd creatures called women. These comments always leave me dizzy because other people won't give the honorary-man-women an out when it comes to this kind of mud-slinging on a whole gender. However hard they try to earn that. Because the advice is to all women, my dears.

It's sadly true that columns like this one are not unheard of on the other side of the political aisle, though they tend not to be quite as misogynistic. It is equally sad and true that we don't get many (if any) columns where a woman tells men how they should act to find a woman to date or marry.

Is there then no advice for lonely heterosexual men? Sure. You can find several sites on the net which tell men how they can cheat women into going to bed with them without getting at all emotionally entangled while doing that.

That's a little odd. All the advice we are offered tends to have a whiff of woman-hating in it!

The gender caricatures in these kinds of pieces are offensive, and not only to women. It's shocking how much misandry is hidden inside the basic story (men are simple and strong but fall apart if a woman cries) and how acceptable it appears to be as long as the gender dominance hierarchies are not threatened.

It's not that I mind silly humorous-intended pieces of the sexes though everything those say will fail to apply to the large majority of individual relationships and in that sense turn out to be sexist. What I mind is the opportunity they give for those little stabs of loathing, aimed at half the humanity, really, and the idea that the humor somehow makes them OK.