It's time we ditched this bogus notion of 'real manhood' | Catherine Bennett | Comment is free | The Observer
23 September 2012 1:45PM
Frankly bleating "but what about teh wimminz?' in this context is pretty ****ing crass.
As someone who smacked down a commentator yesterday on a Feminist thread for mocking others with "what about the menz", I'm going to have do do the same to you now (especially as that's probably where you got it from too).
Yes, men's issues rarely are addressed in public, yes psychological health is itself gendered in that it's assumed men aren't supposed to have feelings, certainly not the ability to address them in any constructive manner... but to just deny that women have a valid perspective and issues that need to be identified on a "menz" topic is equally as reductionist as the idiotic feminists who think women are always victims and never victimizers...
Especially as in this case, one of the drivers of this foul standard of what it means to be a "man" is in fact female sexual selection. Let's be entirely honest; if what it took to get into a teenage girl's knickers was writing poetry like all the romantic clichés hold, you'd have gangs of Wordsworths outside the empty Woolworths, swigging liquid laudanum in run down northern towns across the country. But you don't, because horny boys want to get laid, unpopular kids don't get laid, and getting laid proves you are popular, and further improves that popularity. So they adapt very quickly, and often unthinkingly (because hey, they're just teenage boys, what did you really know at that age?) to that vicious cycle of being a loud mouthed class clown who is good with his fists too... because that gets you laid more. And those values get reinforced Pavlovian style because getting laid is a damn enjoyable reward for doing it.
What does that have to do with what Pollystyrene has to say? Well, one way that women internalise "self destructive and self harming" behaviour is by being irresistibly attracted to Bad Boys who will beat them up in turn. Hybristophilia, or "Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome" occurs almost exclusively in women, and it comes directly from gender identities, possibly even biological ones which women are expected to follow too, or gain social opprobrium; Date the Alpha Male and gain the benefit of the "Sexy Son" hypothesis (if that's what's "sexy", date someone "sexy" so your offspring have the same advantage) or just because loud mouths with big fists beat down all rivals, so you date the loud mouth so you don't get beat down too...
In effect, both genders get locked into a mutually self destructive cycle. And so it's entirely right that Pollystyrene raises the issue of how women experience that cycle, because it shows that it is destructive to women's mental health too. You'd have a much harder, almost impossible time trying to tease out what the drivers of men's mental health are if you weren't able to show that it's not actually good for some of those influences themselves, that is that it's good for women at least. Because otherwise you run the risk of justifying the old cliché that "Masculinity" is the sacrificing of the self for "Women And Children First" instead.
But everyone's drowning in the pool of idiocy... quite literally in some places as we raise sea levels with our selfish ignorance. And as Polly quite rightly points out, we're not "saving women" from anything, as the society our chest beating has created has had a horrible affect on women's psychological health on top of everything else.
It's not just sexual selection of course; as the article makes quite clear, it's an article of faith amongst Tory politicians too, many of whom have gone the quite Public School (ahem) route to success, where they won't even have seen a woman other than Matron for their formative years. But again, the Alpha Male nonsense generates itself all the same, especially in social settings; That's the importance of the "Plebs" comment, enforcing a rigidly stratified society, based upon greed, power, wealth. And you can complain about those attitudes, but somehow they've never prevented these foul people rising up to the highest levels of influence in society. So it's not unreasonable to ask where those drivers actually are, and what the actual effects of their application are in turn... because they're clearly active and positively selecting for this ghastly set of traits.
And you know, as a bookish man, my mental health would be a lot better if the world wasn't seemingly built to support that level of vileness and justified it by their supposedly being "Real Men". As well as also not having to put up with being treated like a rapist, because as a beta male I get a mobile phone out on a bus, and suddenly "Stranger Danger!".... when the person in 95% of cases who actually will sexually assault you is someone known to you, most likely a boyfriend. But you feel SO SAFE when said Real Man again protects you by punching someone random on a Friday night in town, right?
Why the 'nice guys commit rape too' conversation is not helpful | Jill Filipovic | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
19 December 2012 3:49PM
In response, the town has rallied around the players, and it appears the school has done very little.
Let me talk about a concept I shall term "natural Justice", for want of a better description, for a moment... The reason the above is so infuriating is that it seems to enshrine injustice, hatred, evil into the very nature of our societies, of our worlds. I first came across just how socially powerful the "Jocks" were in US social politics long before I'd even got to secondary school myself, with Jello Biafra's blackly sardonic punk track "Jockorama"... And like the "Good Old Boys" who lynched black people and had the backing of local authorities in the Deep South, like the Banks "too big to fail", and even today with the Police apparently framing a Tory politician in a battle between two institutionally malicious organisations... it's the organisation, the inherent corruptness and constant reinforcing of evil which drains the soul, causes anguish because of how it's so casually accepted, and so crushingly powerful when applied so widely, and so unthinkingly.
And what is worse, like Domestic Violence (lived through that myself) it not only tarnishes the soul, but systematic oppression poisons you too, lays it's foul eggs inside and drags you down with it... you become in part a little of the monster you hate simply to survive in the face of that monster that threatens you.
I presume we're all on the same page here so far, yes? We can all agree that systems can become poisoned at the core, and poison those it touches too? That it's hard to stay decent and clean in the face of organised, powerful evil?
And now I'm going to tell you why I can never be a Feminist in the modern sense.
Not why I disagree with Jill Filipovic personally though; once I'd got past the trigger-reaction to the title and tried to read her actual words dispassionately and objectively, there's nothing there which isn't rightfully angry at ingrained injustice, which men and women can both recognise.
But there's a reason the "Good Men Project" exists, and uses terms like "Good Men" and "Nice Guys"... and it's because the whole conception of "Nice" is still being framed within the systematically corrupt concept of "Alpha" male identity, and what is worse is that, especially amongst the "sex-positive" Feminist movement, it's still tacitly accepted on some level as being valid even as they claim to be fighting against it... As a man, if you cry out in horror that these violent jocks, these cauliflower eared oafs and bullies and thugs are still incredibly popular sexually, that it's not just other men supporting them but that women too turn a blind eye to their evil, indeed even fetishize it in some sense (and not just in a modern setting, the great "romantic" figure of Healthcliffe in Wuthering Heights is a violent sociopath) , suddenly the agreement is broken... Suddenly you're "Victim Blaming". Now the people you were allied with use the term "Nice Guy" as a negative and assume you must be a weak male, snivelling that "you deserve sex" from being "nice", rather than having a legitimate belief that a system that rewards evil is seriously wrong... Real Men don't cry, don't complain, don't feel anything towards women, no not even individual women that you may have an emotional history with, even if it's negative, right?
My, how infectious evil really is...
Again, Jill Filipovic doesn't do this. But what difference will it make when the evil has been institutionalized on both sides? How do you prevent rape when even the Guardian censors you talking about actual rapes, as often happens in their Above-the-line trolling from clearly damaged individuals who'd internalised that the damage that they continue to pass on; how the hell can you tackle the social web of support that allows rapists to escape consequences when you refuse to address that it comes from both genders, that it's a social thing?
Jill Filipovic here addresses that. But my god, what a rarity that actually is.
Because there wouldn't even be a "Good Guys" webpage if "Nice Guys" hadn't become a Feminist cant about inferior, make-you-feel-icky types of men. And that page in turn wouldn't be attention trolling with outrageous articles if modern media hadn't devolved to desperation for page clicks at any cost, and appropriating that title feeds the rage... Let me make this quite clear; I don't need a webpage trying to reclaim the term "Nice Guy" for me. I can see for myself that rape is wrong, and I don't rape because I think I'll be getting Brownie Points on my Sex Card or whatever. It's hard enough trying to do the right thing for the real people I know without applying abstract, screwed up concepts to their lives...
But the whole system has become sick. And thank god someone has actually said so for once. So can we for once work together to change it?
Why did paid work become the only thing Britain really values? | Ellie Mae O'Hagan | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
30 August 2012 11:51AM
There's a very simple answer to this question; our social status, especially our dating status, is defined by the things you can afford to purchase. We don't appreciate spending time with someone because of the conversation, or sharing quiet moments in reflection with someone we trust... rather we have a check list of things "we should be doing", all of which require a very large disposable income. We should go out for a meal. We should catch a film. We should go drinking. We should have a holiday. And that means you have to work. Even if you hate the job you do, it's far more important that you have access to capital so you can buy back some sense of life with others.
You can say "What about voluntary work?" but if this was an acceptable alternative, the D.W.P. wouldn't keep harassing people who were doing it, and society wouldn't have the impression of "Scroungers" that it does. No, it's very clearly about converting time into income as a perceived moral good.
It goes further... if you don't have some sort of active, expensive hobby on top of work, people think you've got no character or drive; So I go roller-skating at the weekend. I work on my car. I play tennis. Often people will admit they do these things only so they can avoid being negatively labelled. If you said "I sit quietly reading, I sit thinking" you are considered anti-social. You could just about get away with "I go for walks" because it involves movement, but if you said "I go for walks so I can think" you're back into uncomfortable territory again.
All of this adds up to there simply being no acceptable alternative lifestyle any more. I remember an art show on television once, but forget the name of the art, where it showed Dutch 17th Century (i think) labourers idea of heaven, lying under a tree whilst hard boiled eggs with little legs ran up to them, and a pig offered them fresh back bacon from it's own back. Repose, rest, the escape from work. But people don't want to escape any more, because they are terrified of what that will mean; doing so means taking yourself out of society, losing friends, losing the ability to date because you become undesirable