Gazooks! I have gotten feedback!

Something entirely unexpected has happened. Something that, when I started this blog, I could not possible have anticipated.

SOMEONE ACTUALLY WENT AND READ THIS CRAP!

Okay, so it’s not the first time, exactly. I’ve cunningly left links here and there, as traps for the unwary to stumble upon, and every so often I see that someone has clicked one of them. But what I can’t see is whether they spent any time here, or whether they just took one look, decided it looked stupid, and closed the window.

But no, this guy apparently read the whole thing and made a post about it. Which actually caused me to get more views in a day than I’ve gotten in the preceding four months, so thanks for that, mate.

His opinion of me is… mixed. He distances himself from my general insanity, while still expressing admiration for how I express that insanity. For some reason, that tickles my ego more than gushing praise would have. Ohhhhhh yeah, I’m a provocative and controversial thinker, me. You may not like what you see, but you can’t bring yourself to look away!

The reason I bring this up is that it’s another example of the type of writing voice that I wish I knew how to adopt, one that makes a lot of incisive points while at the same time sounding so carelessly and outspokenly feisty. He doesn’t sound like he had to labor much at writing his screeds in such a polished manner – they appear to just flow onto the paper.

Aw, chucks. I don’t know, I have a lot of feelings and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to learn how to express them? I’m glad I apparently succeed.

I do go back and edit a little before publishing a post, mind you – looking for typos and adding clarifications and erasing things that seem, in retrospect, too deranged or mean-spirited. (yes, even in comparison to the deranged and mean-spirited stuff that does make it to publication! I know, I know, marvel at the concept!) But most of it is just stream-of-consciousness writing, yes.

what with the spitting hatred of feminism that drips from almost every paragraph

I would protest the description, but let’s be honest here: in using the term “spitting,” he exercised great restraint to not use the term “foaming-at-the-mouth”… Look, I feel strongly on the issue of feminists being awful, okay?!

He doesn’t let opposing tribes off the hook though in their contribution to Humanity Being Hopelessly Terrible; he spends a good bit of time blasting Trump, MRAs, and anti-feminists in general.

Darn tootin’!

For what it’s worth, if I seem to hate feminism more than those other malefactors, it’s because feminism is so close to getting it right. Feelings are important, inequality is bad (and yes, damn right I want equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity – the outcome is what actually matters!), conflict is to be avoided, diversity is desirable… all things that feminists seem to understand that the louts on the other side do not. And then they take that understanding and throw it away in favour of a campaign of passive-aggressive harassment against the people who deserve it the least. Yes, that makes me madder than Trump pissing all over me at every turn, though that makes me mad too – from that orange gorilla I never expected anything better, but feminists are supposed to get it!

I mean, you will not in my writing see passages like this under any circumstances (context: certain critics of a particular game which is the one thing he actually praises in his entire blog):

“I lack the words to describe my sheer loathing of these people. Or rather, I have the words, but they’re not civilised words. The fact that I am not even now penning lurid death threats to the excuse for a human being who wrote that criticism is a testament to my self-control and high moral character.”

Hey now, that’s not fair.

I praise several other video games on this blog, too! So there!

I mean, I’m not sure why video games is the only thing in the whole world that isn’t uniformly awful, especially since the video game industry is supposedly corrupt and dysfunctional to the core, but all the same… despite being caught between one horde of morons screeching “I AM VICTIMISED BY THERE NOT BEING ENOUGH TITS!!!” and another horde of morons screeching “I AM VICTIMISED BY THERE BEING TOO MANY TITS!!!”, many video game companies somehow manage to keep producing games with interesting characters and evocative storylines (and a moderate and reasonable amount of tits). I feel a little embarrassed even saying that, because liking things is very uncool and all, but… yeah.

As for my, ahem, somewhat unflattering remark about video game journalists… Look, it’s like this. I love video games and all, as per above, but most of them are pretty clearly marketed towards man-children. Nothing wrong with that, I’m a man-child and I deserve to have some stuff marketed to me, but when feminists complain that video game plots frequently read like they were written by someone who has never met a woman in real life, it’s hard not to feel just the tiniest bit guilty as charged.

And then something like Life is Strange comes along, and it’s beautiful, and it tells a woman’s story and makes you empathise completely with her struggles and her goals and her sheer unvarnished personhood, and you think, “how sweet, how perfect, how wonderful, finally a game I can feel genuinely proud about playing, finally there will be at least one thing I and the feminists can join together in love of.” And you go online to talk about it, and you find…

The feminists managed to get triggered by it.

The feminists managed to get triggered by it.

THE GODDAMN FEMINISTS GODDAMN MANAGED TO GET GODDAMN TRIGGERED BY IT!!!

You mention H.L. Menchen in your post? Well… for me, realising that the feminists were going to shame me even for playing this game was a “raise the black flag and start slitting throats” moment for me!

it’s essentially one long rant on how his way of thinking uniquely Correct and Virtuous

Yeah, well, it IS!

and the rest of the humanity – in particular on all sides of today’s culture wars – is hopelessly and offensively wrongheaded.

Yeah, well, they ARE!

And the best part is that he fully acknowledges this by masterfully deprecating his own self-righteous-pity-fest tone just often enough to allow us to take him seriously while simultaneously recognizing that he doesn’t take himself too seriously.

This is actually a great relief to hear. Because yes, that’s certainly how I try to come across. I have a lot of feelings and they all deserve to be expressed, but where I differ from the average loudmouth is that I know (in direct contrast to the above protestations, yes) that having feelings don’t give me any unique insights into the world or grant me any special authority.

And that’s a constant balancing act. All the bluster of this blog is meant to keep me from sliding down the trap of “no one cares what I think, so I might as well cease to exist.” The occasional self-deprecation is meant to keep me from sliding down the opposite trap of “I don’t care what anyone else thinks, so I might just go off and live in my personal fantasy land and lose all touch with reality.” I mean, in theory I should be able to achieve the same thing by saying only measured and reasonable things, but I just don’t seem to be wired to allow that. Wobbling back and forth between two extreme options is the only way I’ve ever found that lets me exercise moderation. It’s a fraught method, so yeah, it’s a relief to hear that it seems to be working.

Also, “self-righteous-pity-fest” is probably how I’d describe my tone, too. Intentionally and unabashedly so, mind you!

Meanwhile, he defends himself against the ubiquitous criticism of “Why do you care so much what others think of you?” in an easy and elegant way that speaks to how I’ve always felt on the matter myself – while I certainly don’t endorse a lot of the object-level beliefs appearing in the content of the blog, this point alone (and the way it’s expressed) gains me a good bit of empathy for this blogger on the whole.

I’m not sure if he’s saying here that I come across as sympathetic or just as pathetic.

… eh, hell with it, I’ll take it regardless!

 I’m often critical of feminism myself, except that I feel the need to specify each time that my judgment is aimed at specific strains of rhetoric coming from some feminists in some modern subcultures and apply the Principal of Charity (or at least Empathy) to even those.

Speaking seriously for a moment, I respect that. I really do. It’s just… I feel like I’ve spent the better part of my life giving way to feminism. I used to be a big fan, if you can believe it. And not because feminists didn’t criticise men and manhood, but because I in large parts agreed with them that there was entirely too much testosterone sloshing about and it was an absolute shame that half the human race got so much less than half the representation. And they told me one thing I must do to help them, and I agreed, and they told me another thing I must do to help them and I agreed, and a third thing, and a fourth, and every time I grumbled a bit but then changed my ways to accommodate them, because damn it, it was just the right thing to do…

And then one day, the thing I had to do to help them was agree that I was a horrible rapey monstrosity that all women rightly lived in fear of. And people who I’d known for years, people who I thought were my friends, were absolutely horrified when I refused to throw out any claim to self-worth or a right to exist, because didn’t I realise that women absolutely NEEDED me to declare that I was worthless scum who was a blight on half the human race?!

So with all due, and considerable, respect for your approach, viewpoint and principles… no. No Charity, and no Empathy. Not for feminists. Not until they admit that I’m not a monster and that they were wrong to say that I was. If there are indeed different strains of feminism, then I’ll happily accept as my allies any strains that declare that a) one or more other strains did in fact call me a monster, and b) those strains were wrong to do so. They can claim that it was never them who said it, I promise to accept that claim as true even though I suspect it’d be more like a half-truth, but they do have to admit that it happened and that it was wrong.

Simply put, I gave way to feminists until my back was to the edge of a cliff. If I refuse to give another inch, it is because I have no further inches to give – if I take another step back, I will fall to my death. And given my history of depression and suicidal ideation, that may not be at all figurative.

But every once in a while, I read something like what I found in This Is Me and wish I could go throw off the shackles of such considerations so that getting on my soapbox could be that much fun.

To speak unseriously for a moment: do it! Doooo iiiiiit! Join the Dark Side! We have cookies!

Okay, probably not. Not if you are trying to effectively argue for your point and try to get others to share it, at least. This blog is an act of self-indulgent self-expression, built at least partly on the assumption that no one’s going to listen to me or take me seriously anyway so I might as well scream and shout and rant like a crazy person just to get it all off my chest. If I still had any hope of actually getting anyone to pay attention, I’d be toning down things considerably and not basing everything on my personal, subjective feelings.

But apparently this blog at least works as a sort of performance art, in a “come listen to the loony” way. That’s more than I expected, so I consider it highly gratifying.

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Hating nerds (and why I’m allowed to and you’re not)

I hate nerds. I am one, and I still hate them. I hate them because I am one, and therefore I’ll never escape them.

doctor chtulhu
Because adding together two things that weren’t all that brilliant to begin with automatically makes it awesome, of course.

My basic stance on nerd culture is best summarised by this article. I hate the complete lack of taste and decorum in nerd circles. I hate the braindead guwaffing about how too much is exactly the right amount. I hate the slavish worship of whatever is considered awesome this year, and I hate the equally slavish hatred of whatever is the done thing to hate. I hate the mindless pursuit of anything that provokes big, dumb emotions – an activity that I can only compare to driving a nail through your skull and into the pleasure center of your brain, and then pounding on that nail with a hammer with all your strength.

the nerd
Yes, I’m perfectly aware that this is also the reaction a lot of people have towards me!

I hate the nitpicking and the anal-retentive hoarding of pointless trivia. I hate the nostalgia for anything that happened during or previous to the nineties, and the way it looks suspiciously like a yearning to go back to being a stupid, self-indulgent child. I hate the endless arguing about semantics and the stubborn refusal to understand anything that can’t be expressed as a mathematical equation. I hate what seems to be a love of anything that is bad because it’s bad – the abject worship of all that is stupid and ugly and gaudy and pointless.

And you know what else I hate about nerds? The way they keep putting themselves down. Have some self-esteem, you stupid, worthless idiots!

Okay, seriously though… What I specifically detest is self-proclaimed nerds who self-righteously put their noses in the air about how they are absolutely not the bad kind of nerds. They know how to talk to girls. They have meticulous hygiene regimens. They have only the proper, correct political opinions, the ones that were designed in a lab by qualified feminist researchers to be as impeccably progressive as possible. And it’s really quite distasteful for them to have to mingle with these fat, pimply, foul-smelling subhumans that someone let into their nice clean hobby.

Well, guess what, you worthless poser? Those oh-so-beneath-you dorks are the hobby. They made the hobby. The moment you entered the hobby, you entered a world shaped in their image. The moment you entered the hobby, you implicitly asked for a world shaped in their image. You’re sitting on top of a landfill and complaining that it looks like no one’s vacuumed it for a while.

Of course, the uncomfortable truth is that that’s partly true about me, as well. I hate all of geekdom, but I don’t exactly try to stay away from it, do I? I want it to have some polish to it, some pretense of dignity, but at the end of the day, I also want space ships and superpowered mutants and magical swordsmen running on the ceiling. I’d like it all to be a little cleaner, but it’s never going to be clean. If I wanted clean, I’d go read a realistic story about realistic people having realistic career trouble and realistic family issues (and I do, sometimes, just to remind myself that there’s room for stories without swords and laser beams in them – but those are brief vacations before I go back to geeking out).

And the reason why I’m reluctantly a part of geekdom is the same as that of the original, founding geeks – I’m there because it’s one of the few places where I, as an autistic person, can function. I remain devoted to childish things because part of me is incapable of growing up. I crave shock value because exaggerated emotion is the only kind that can wash over me and drown out my thoughts for a while. I lose myself in rote memorisation of details because that’s what I’m good at, and because the alternative – seeing patterns and overarching connections and context – is very hard for me and I need a break from it from time to time. I like to think that I’m less like that than the sort of out-of-control uber-geeks you see around the Internet, but am I a bit like that? Yes, and I always will be.

Hence my strange love-hate relationship with nerd culture. It at once allows me to be myself, and threatens to encourage exactly those tendencies in myself I try to get away from. The perfect situation, for me, would be if nerd culture was precisely as neurotypical as I could bring myself to be at any given time, thus supporting me just as much as I needed and challenging me to improve for the rest. I admit that that’s a tall order, though.

I suppose what it comes down to is that I despise pretension in any form. People who wallow in nerddom and think it makes them in some way admirable are foul – at best, they are simply not capable of being any better, but at worst, they have chosen to become kings of a dungpile. But people who dip their toes in nerddom and sniff and scoff at how uncouth the people out there in the depths are? They are in many ways even worse. If they hate it so much, if they think they are so above it, let them stay away. Go on, be off with you, you snotty bastards! Don’t you have a fancy dinner party to attend or something? No one’s forcing you to come here and slum it with the dregs, you know.

Nerddom, from my perspective, is like a disability (in fact, it seems to have a strong connection to actual mental disabilities – it’s amazing how many nerds have laundry lists of personal ailments like autism and ADD, and let’s not get started on our tendency for anxiety and clinical depression…). No sane person should want to have it, or be glad to have it. But if you have it, you are besieged on both sides.

On the one side, by clueless able-bodied people saying things like, “hey, why do you get to be rolled around in a wheelchair? I have to walk everywhere I’m going! I should get some of that wheelchair action!” And then they start hogging all the wheelchairs, all while sniffing and scoffing at all those weird, wobbly people that are suddenly all around them and who for some weird reason keeps complaining that they need the wheelchairs for themselves – how selfish of them! You can barely have a fun wheelchair-race without some of them collapsing in the middle of the track. We need to shame them good and hard, and if that doesn’t help, we’ll need to turn all of society against them so that we can call the police if they get too unruly!

On the other side, by (God help me) the handicapped people who are in a constant competition for who can be the most handicapped. The ones who make convoluted arguments for why not being able to walk is actually better than being able to walk. The ones who refuse to even try to get out of bed. The ones who hold court among adoring throngs of not-quite-as-handicapped people who only wishes that they could be as dysfunctional as them. The ones that horrify you to the depths of your soul with the realisation that when able-bodied people look at you, this is what they see.

Of the two, I am the most hostile to the former, even though I am also deeply disgusted by the latter. The grossest of the nerds are, in their own bizarre way, punching up. Sure, they’re punching up at people who have done nothing wrong except have the grit and integrity to strive to be as good as they can be within their inborn limitations – but up, all the same. I don’t forgive them for that, but I can, most of the time, manage to ignore them. After all, my less extreme nerddom comes with its own rewards, such as the ability to not have my entire psychological well-being dependent on whether the next edition of Dungeons & Dragons includes attacks of opportunity or not. As a moderate loser, I can afford to be gracious to the extreme losers.

But the snobs, the people who don’t need the morphine of geek culture to cope with their chronic pains but have gotten addicted to it even so? Those I despise from the bottom of my heart. And no, I’m not going to start ranting about Fake Nerd Girls or anything, because I don’t actually understand what those are supposed to be, but there’s no denying that in recent years geek culture has started to feel like an asylum that’s run half by the inmates, half by a bunch of jaded aristocrats who’ve paid to come in and gawk at the inmates. The former is bad, but it’s at least democracy in action; the latter is just insulting. Yes, yes, oh normal well-adjusted person who likes to think that he’s a nerd, you like the brightly coloured superhero costumes. Do you know why they’re so brightly coloured? Because my brain refuses to process subtle differences, so I need ridiculously sharp ones! And if that’s not something you can relate to, then you don’t understand what you’re criticising, you don’t understand what all of this is for. Shut up until you do.

 

Why “This is Me”?

Warning: the below post is the wankiest I have written on this blog to date. And that’s saying something. But it’s still one I felt I needed to write, especially since it’s about why this blog exists in the first place and what its fundamental premise is. Proceed at your own risk – what follows is extremely emotional and slightly incoherent.

Okay. So why “This is Me”?

Aside from it being just about the most shamelessly unimaginable name to give a personal blog ever? I mean, let’s face it, it sounds like I’m an absolute egomaniac who thinks that I’m so inherently wonderful and fascinating that I should rightly be a national treasure that people paid money to come look at. So it gives a pretty accurate impression of me, there’s that to be said for it.

But mostly, it’s because my impetus to start a blog – which I’ve been thinking about for ages, but always dismissed as a stupid idea, because seriously, who reads blogs anymore? – came from hearing This is Me from The Greatest Showman.

It’s a marvelous song by any standard. But for me, personally, it took on a special meaning. It no doubt helped that it’s sung by a portly, gender-atypical individual with a very nice beard, thus letting me relate immediately. But aside from that, just listen to how it begins:

I’m not a stranger to the dark / “Hide away,” they say, “’cause we don’t want your broken parts” / I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars / “Run away,” they say, “no one will love you as you are”

That got to me straight away. Because that’s the devil of it, you know. The worst part of being abused is – that it turns you into the sort of person that deserves to be abused. You might be the nicest, sweetest, most undeserving person in the world when it starts, but at the end of it, you won’t even be able to remember what being good felt like. You’ll have turned into a snarling, gibbering thing that snaps at anyone who tries to show it kindness, and your abuser will point to you and say, “see how despicable it is? That proves that what I did to it was justice.”

Unless you refuse. Unless you fight for what’s good inside of you. And that’s what this song is. It’s not just about standing up in the face of your accusers, it’s about refusing to be made guilty of their accusations. It’s about the monster standing up and, instead of going on a rampage that will make it look powerful for a moment but will inevitably lead to it being brought down by a mob of angry villagers, finding it in itself to sing.

the-greatest-showman-keala-settle
Seriously, this is basically a picture of me in a dress!

I’m not saying that hearing that song made me decide to do that, you understand. I decided that much earlier. What’s more, I realised much earlier that I had never quite stopped fighting to be undeserving of hate – that no matter how angry and bitter I got at the unfair mistreatment I was exposed to, there was just something inside me that wouldn’t sink lower than a certain point. But the song expressed it so perfectly that I just couldn’t help but be inspired. It felt like a battle cry. There’s a sense of defiant joy to it, of reveling in your own beauty even in the face of a world that falsely claims that it’s ugliness.

Because this is the truth: I never went bad, even when the world gave me every reason. Look at every festering hive of resentment and loathing on the Internet, and you’ll find it filled with men who used to be like me – the once innocently accused who used the accusations as an excuse to become guilty. After everything feminists did to break me, I should have become a conservative at the very least, and probably some sort of crazed MRA as well. But I never did. I never forgot which way was right, that civilisation was good and savagery bad, that other people’s pain was regrettable and their happiness desirable. I kept sight of that even in the face of a world of hypocrites who claimed to believe in those things and obscenely used them as an excuse to persecute me. I stayed good where every single other person in my situation turned bad. Because gosh darn it, I am glorious.

Another thing that struck me about the song is how unapologetically individualistic it is. You don’t see much of that in the current day. That might sound strange, because isn’t this the age of selfishness and egomania? And yes, it certainly is, but the egomania is always covert. It’s moral egomania, I-am-outraged-and-that-makes-me-righteous egomania – the sort of egomania that deceitfully claims that it’s not about yourself but about the fine work you do. People take their personal grievances and anxieties and project them onto a group or an ideal, claiming that “no-no-no, this isn’t about me being hurt or afraid, it’s about the big issues! Don’t you care about the big issues?” It’s a state of affairs that leaves you conflicted between feeling disgust at how freely people elevate their neuroses to the level of an epic battle between good and evil, and feeling pity for those people and the way they seem to think that their feelings don’t matter unless they can somehow link them to some huge, world-shaking movement.

This song, in contrast, is magnificently honest. It doesn’t claim a higher purpose, it admits freely that this is about me, this is about the fact that I don’t deserve this abuse, this about the fact that I am beautiful and special and perfect and if you don’t agree then BUGGER YOU. It’s completely shameless, and therefore it’s irresistible.

And that, too, is something I’ve tried to take to heart. I used to hide my grievances and insecurities behind lofty ideals, because I didn’t think that my own problems mattered; for them to be relevant, it felt like, I had to claim that they were expressions of larger, universal, high-minded problems. It was like letting a load off my back when I admitted to myself that while I do care a little about the greater issues of the world, I care a lot more about the fact that I, personally, am frequently in pain and about the fact that people are frequently mean to me and that they don’t have a right to be. And if that means that I can’t bully people into feeling sorry for me under the guise of “don’t you care about the socio-political significance? What sort of selfish, short-sighted bastard are you?!”… well, that’s probably for the best, frankly. It doesn’t matter if I can’t get a single person to think that my feelings are important. They are important to me. And that’s enough.

In my post on intrinsic worth, I first claimed that you needed a social consensus to have a right to exist, and then later admitted that that wasn’t quite true – you can hold on to the knowledge that you have intrinsic worth even in the face of a world who says otherwise, it’s just very, very difficult. This song is about doing that difficult thing. Just listen to that beat, and you’ll hear it – that’s the sound of carving your right to exist into the walls of the world, and then underlining it with every roar of “THIS IS ME!”

Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention what might just be the most subversive part of the song.

And I know that I deserve your love / There’s nothing I’m not worthy of

Oh no! A Nice Guy! (well, Girl) Doesn’t she realise that no one deserves anything from anyone and no one is worthy of anything and thinking otherwise leads to RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPERAPERAPERAPERAPERAPERAPERAPE!!!!!!

Yeah, shut up, feminists, with your half-baked absolutist answers to every complicated question. Let me mansplain something to you: in order to fully pursue something, you must first believe yourself to deserve it. Otherwise, you are essentially hoping for the world to be unfair – for you to be given what you rightly should not have. And that desire for injustice to rule instead of justice will fester in your soul and turn you ugly, until you genuinely do not deserve to be loved.

Now, by all means, there’s a difference between you deserving something and someone else being obligated to give it to you. Obligations are static and finite, all about what needs to actually happen. Being deserving, on the other hand, is a state of mind. It’s an open door, not a cattle prod; if you deserve something it means that it’s a good thing, a mark in the universal plus column, if you get it, but in an imperfect world with limited resources, we can’t all get what we deserve. All the state of being deserving actually guarantees us, in the end, is the right to feel bad when we don’t get what we want.

But, and this is important – the right to feel bad is not nothing. In fact, it’s incredibly important. You need to believe that when you cry, the universe cries with you. You need to believe that your problems matter, that your losses are sad and your victories joyful.

And – are you still listening, feminists? – that sense of deserving, when it is genuine, is what enables us to take rejection gracefully. “Oh well, it’s your loss” – that is the correct response to rejection. I know that I deserve your love – and therefore, I don’t need to treat it as validation, as something I absolutely must have in order to have a right to exist, but only as something that it would be good if I got but that I can live without. There’s nothing I’m not worthy of – so there’s plenty of fish in the sea, because everywhere I turn there is someone else I can pursue without shame, someone else whose love I deserve and which I therefore don’t have to be afraid to ask for.

Or you could continue try to beat all the self-esteem out of men so that they have no choice but to run after you and beg for your validation, I guess. You know, if that’s something you enjoy – but considering how much you complain about it, it doesn’t seem like you do. Either way, I’m out of that game.

I make no apologies. THIS IS ME.

Feminism is Trump’s fault

Sadly, I think that this article is probably accurate.

It’s true – before the 2016 election, I was nurturing just the tiniest hope that feminism was dying, choking on its own venom and irrelevance. Of course, the Internet was still full of people shrieking about the horrible, terrible, unimaginable suffering that women were undergoing, seriously, you have no idea, the world tortures them every second of every day, oh why oh why aren’t you weeping tears of blood for them, HAVE YOU NO HEART??!! But I thought maybe, possibly, just conceivably, that was just the Internet being crazy as usual and outside of it people weren’t freaking out because some man looked at a woman in a way that triggered her paranoid delusions.

And then, there was Trump. And thus did hope die. It didn’t take long after he was elected before we got #MeToo, and now feminism is more powerful than ever and I’m going to be hated forever and ever for daring to make vaginas feel bad by existing in the same space-time continuum as them.

I blame feminism for Trump. I have said so before. But these things are circular, and I also blame Trump for feminism.

I sometimes wonder if Trump was actually born, or if he was custom-made in a lab somewhere to fit the feminist narrative as closely as possible. Everything he does is calculated to offend – deliberately and maliciously, in a way that makes it clear that he’s doing it simply because he knows he can get away with it, and you know that he knows he can get away with it, and you know that he knows that you know that he knows that he can get away with it and THAT MAKES IT SO MUCH WORSE. Just look at that I-just-cummed-on-the-dinner-table-and-you-can’t-do-anything-about-it smirk he’s got plastered on his face on every photo. You just know that this is a man who is thinking, in every waking moment, “wow. I have a penis. And I can’t believe how amazingly awesome I am for having a penis.”

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Seriously, how can anyone not want to punch this face?

Even his masculinity is perfect in its anti-feminism. Trump manages to embody every male trait – arrogance, boorishness, sloppiness, aggression, lawlessness – except those few that feminists actually approve of. There is no hint of chivalry or stoicism about Trump. He punches down with glee, laughs at the less fortunate, and screams to high heavens whenever someone causes him the slightest bit of discomfort (a great big snowflake is what he is!). He is unfailingly male without being even the slightest bit manly.

In a very real way, Trump is the living embodiment of what feminists think that every single man is like. It’s a horrific stereotype, so hateful and so unrealistic that it equals the worst bigoted fantasies throughout the ages, and what’s truly horrible about it is that one example of it exists in real life. Not in some easily ignored corner of society, either, but smack dab in the middle of it, right in the spotlight, in what is quite literally the most relentlessly noticeable position in the entire world. Whenever someone points out the obvious fact that the feminists slander and misrepresent men, the feminists now have a single, simple response: “Trump.” And that can’t help but win arguments, even though it doesn’t actually prove anything. Against the sheer visceral loathing that Trump’s very existence inspires in anyone who is remotely right-thinking, the boring but accurate observation that he’s one man and most men are nothing like him just doesn’t stand a chance.

One might say that he’s the feminists’ trump card. Hah. Hah. Hear my hollow, humourless laugh.

Really, the only people who are as widely hated these days as straight white men are Muslims, and for about the same reason – they’ve had first Al-Qaeda and this ISIS parading around on television, flaunting the very worst thing that a Muslim could possibly be until no one was willing to believe that they weren’t all like that (or at least, willing to believe that the distinction mattered – making your daughter wear a veil isn’t even remotely as bad as setting off bombs in public areas, but after seeing enough Muslims do the latter, people lost all tolerance for the former). That’s what Trump is, when you get right down to it – the Osama bin Laden of straight white guys.

What really kills me is that all the anti-feminists had to do was shut their big stupid mouths and wait for feminism to rage itself out and disappear. It was happening! But instead, they gurgled and gibbered and thrashed about and elected this subhuman piece of toxic waste, and now feminism is up and roaring to consume another generation or two with its entitlement and its self-indulgent persecution complex. Perhaps when I am eighty, I will finally know what it is like to not have society despise me for being an autistic man? Damn it, anti-feminists – all you had to do was nothing, and you still managed to fail at it! You drank gallons of poison, and it doesn’t even occur to you to wonder why your enemy hasn’t died yet – you assume that it’s just because you haven’t drunk enough yet. Oh, you absolute morons!

Here’s the thing, though, that gets lost in the Trump-hating (no matter how understandable and indeed inevitable it is – I mean, how can anyone not hate Trump?): just because Trump exists it doesn’t make feminism an iota more right. It doesn’t change the fact that feminists are selfish, neurotic, hateful people. It doesn’t change the fact that they consistently attack a problem from the wrong direction, because the right direction would force them to admit that they might not be perfect and all-powerful and the best at everything (if only the evil men would stop cheating!!!!). It doesn’t remove any of the shame that should rightly attach to them for the way they have treated gentle, sensitive men who wanted to do right by them and made the mistake (so absolutely logical in theory, so catastrophically misguided in practice!) of asking them how best to do that. It doesn’t ennoble their malicious shrieking or justify their self-indulgent self-pity.

Trump is worthless. This fact in no way makes feminism less worthless. Anyone who picks a side between them, picks the wrong one.

A whole blizzard’s worth of snowflakes

The insult of choice at the moment seems to be to call people snowflakes. We’re all of us snowflakes, these days. I guess as insults go, at least it has a bit of poetry to it?

The way I understand it, it started out as a sarcastic reference to the worst kind of liberals being fond of claiming to be unique – special snowflakes, no two of them the same. Which is true, to an extent, though I’d nitpick and say that the more annoying sort of liberal seems to be less inclined to think that they’re something entirely unique than that they’re something very, very specific – this particular ethnicity and this particular gender identity and orientation and this particular laundry list of handicaps, all of which means that they’re all part of vanishingly small groups, but given seven billion people on Earth, you’ll have to pile on an awful lot of categories before you ended up with a group of one (not that some people don’t seem to be trying, mind you).

The category pileup, by the way, is one of those things that started out as a really good idea but got exaggerated to the point of insanity. I talked about it in an earlier post. I mean, it makes sense. There really are broad groups of people with similar experiences, so it makes sense to talk about them collectively. At the same time, no group is homogenous – there are many subgroups within it – so it makes sense to try to devote some time to each and every one of them. As with many things, the problem comes when people don’t know when to stop. After you go down below circa the second layer (e.g., “gay men,” “African-American women”), there are so many competing factors that just piling them on doesn’t add clarity but removes it. At that point, you’re really better off just abandoning identities altogether and treating each person as an individual, as unique as… well, as a snowflake, I suppose.

(as an aside to the aside, one reason why I am leery of intersectionalism and identity politics is that no matter how many categories I add to myself, I never seem to end up with a combination that fully defines me. I always seem to end up in a group of people who I feel are nothing like me whatsoever. And that’s when I can even figure out which categories I should be in. About the only thing I can say for sure about myself is that I’m white, because hoooo boy, am I ever white. I’m the whitest person you ever met – breed Swedes to Swedes for eight generations, and you end up with someone who is almost too Swedish to function. But am I a cisman? Kinda-sorta? I’m fairly comfortable with being a man these days, but there was a time when I wasn’t, and I feel like my comfort is mostly the result of me getting my feelings in tune with my body instead of expecting my body to get in tune with my feelings. Does that make me genderless? Ex-genderless? Cis-by-default? Am I heterosexual? Mostly, I suppose, but I get a bit flustered by good-looking guys, in a similar but lesser way as the one I get by good-looking women.  I find the idea of sex with a person I don’t know to be absolutely unthinkable – does that make me “demisexual,” or just not a freaking slut? (my personal stance is that it’s the latter, by the way) I’m autistic, but my autism seems to express itself in the same way it normally does in women, so what does that say about my gender identity… All in all, I’m pretty sure that society is hostile to me because I am a Something, because there’s definitely a lot of hostility being directed at everything I do and think and say and feel, but I have no idea what group I should sort myself into and claim that it’s a hate crime against)

Where was I? Oh right. Snowflakes.

What I was going to say was that apparently these days, the insult has mutated into an accusation of vulnerability. Because snowflakes are fragile and melt in your hand, I suppose. It started with conservatives accusing liberals of being fragile snowflakes, since they were always clamouring for safespaces and claiming to be triggered, but now it seems to be equally common for liberals to call conservatives snowflakes because they are always getting offended by everything that isn’t 100% WESTERN and MANLY and declaring that it’s an attack on their culture and identity and all that is good and pure in this world.

And the sad part, the really sad part, the absolutely freaking heartbreaking part is that, well… they’re both completely right. Everyone’s a snowflake these days! Everyone can dish it out – and dish it out, and dish it out, and dish it out – but no one can take it. Skins have grown so thin that they can’t withstand so much as a light touch, but at the same time no one thinks twice about administering the most brutal of beatings to anyone who doesn’t fall in line fast enough.

snowstorm
It’s snowflakes all the way down!

I actually feel disappointed in conservatives. They used to be these soulless guys in suits who worked 20-hour days without complaining, because they were just so damn manly and industrious. And let me make this perfectly clear: I hated those guys. But I hated them because they were strong and I was weak, and they were using their strength to push me down and punish me for my weakness. They were social Darwinists, utter sociopaths to a man (and woman – oh yes, there were a fair number of those kicking down too). I won’t even say I respected them, because I don’t respect brutality… but at least I had to admit that they were, in fact, superior to me in all practical matters even if they were inferior in all moral matters. How did they turn into the sort of crybabies who passes for conservatives these days?

One theory I have is that as liberals got crazier, more and more semi-sane liberals emigrated to the conservative side, where they adopted the hard policies but kept their soft sensibilities. Thus, the new generation of conservatives who want to bar the gates to the needy and torture anyone who looks suspicious, but are hyper-sensitive to anyone suggesting that there might be something morally dubious about wanting that. I mean, I’ve been tempted to become one of those born-again conservatives once or twice, but I never forgot that conservatives hold the position that the likes of me should drop dead rather than burden society with our presence, and that’s stopped me from getting too chummy with the guys on the right. Still, I can understand why other ex-liberals might go for it, especially if they’re capable of making it in a cut-throat capitalist society in a way I’m not.

Another theory is that this is the equal and opposition situation to the one that started in the early aughts. Back then, liberals started noticing that conservatives were beating them on every front, and they were doing it by shouting out their opinions as if they were facts and refusing to compromise. The liberals, who naturally didn’t want to keep getting beaten on every front, adapted the conservative fanaticism, and thus we have the sort of left we have today. What we see now might be conservatives noticing that liberals are gaining a lot of ground by wailing and weeping and accusing everyone of unfairly persecuting them – so they, in turn, have started mimicking the behaviour. I would say that it’s unlikely to work, because come on, at least liberals have genuine grievances even if they are blowing them out of all proportion, no one’s going to pity anyone for the absence of hot chicks in video games – but then I remember that Donald Trump whined and moaned and pitied himself all the way to the White House, and suddenly I’m not so sure anymore.

(though I don’t actually think Trump won because he made anyone feel sorry for him. I think it was more that there is a powerful sense of catharsis in seeing a straight white man tell the people who are forever wailing about the unbearable plight of the black disabled lesbians, “aw, shut up about your stupid problems! This is about ME and MY problems, and we’re going to talk about them now whether you want to or not!” I mean, I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I hate Trump and I despise anyone who voted for him for their lack of integrity and self-control, but I understand very acutely the temptation of giving toxic leftists a taste of their own poison)

I suppose I could reaffirm my absolute uniqueness by being the one true hardass, then – the one person on the Internet saying, “actually, you all need to suck it up and stop whining.” But I find that… I don’t want to do that. My ass is not hard. It is a very soft, plentiful and friendly sort of ass. And also, I actually quite enjoy whining myself. You may have noticed.

What I am suggesting instead is an uneasy sort of moderation. When encountering something that offends us, we should try to ask a few questions before we explode into ranty rage.

First off, am I going around saying things that are very much like this? If so, it means that I’m dishing out more than I’m willing to take, and that’s shameful. This is in fact something that progressives seem to ask themselves on occasion, but their response to the answer being “yes” is to resolve to stop saying things like that. And that’s certainly consistent and follows the good ol’ Golden Rule. But it’s also the sort of thinking that leads to safespaces, and with them there are two problems: firstly, they are so restrictive that in theory no one would be able to say anything that isn’t painfully bland and inoffensive, thus dooming us all to death by boredom, and secondly, in practice it always turns out that whatever group is dominant in the safespace starts deciding that while everything that offends them is objectively bad, everything that they want to say is actually nothing like those bad things at all on second thought, so they can say them as much as they want, and there goes the Golden Rule right out the window. No, I say that the better option is to toughen up to the point where you could stand to be around the bizarro version of yourself, someone who hated everything you liked and liked everything you hated. Don’t try to be perfect, but learn to tolerate anyone who has the same amount of imperfections as you do.

Secondly, can I walk away from this? Abuse that you can avoid by doing things differently is abuse that’s self-inflicted. People who hate-read literature that sets them off have only themselves to blame. The reason why I have this blog to rant on is that I simply cannot escape the stuff that ticks me off – when I swerve to avoid a feminist rant about how problematic everything about me is, I run straight into an anti-feminist rant about how I’m causing the doom of Western civilisation by not wanting to be a manly man doing manly things. I have a right to be offended, because I have done everything I reasonably could to avoid being beaten over the head by offensive remarks.

The third is one that I’m actually not entirely sure of, but which I think is worth considering – is this possible to change? If something is never, ever going to change, then there’s not much use complaining about it, is there? The problem is, how do you know what can and can not change? Is it not conceivable that at some point, feminists will stop screeching at everything and everyone who don’t make them feel safe and respected, and louts will cease emptying their bowels over anything that they are too emotionally stunted to understand? After all, I could swear that I remember a time when there was less screeching and less bowel-emptying going on. But perhaps I am just looking at the past through nostalgia filters? Man, I don’t know.

And then there’s the question of whether fooling yourself might be psychologically necessary sometimes. Sometimes I feel like if I ever fully accepted that feminists are always going to rule the intellectual world, louts are always going to rule the material world, and sensitive and meek people like me are always going to be at once despised and unsuccessful, it would mean giving up my entire sense of self-worth. Perhaps we all need to believe that one day there will be a reckoning, that injustice can’t just continue winning forever. Maybe if you don’t allow yourself to be hurt by cruelty, you start believing that you deserve it. I don’t know, I don’t know.

I guess what I can cautiously say is that if something is exactly what could be expected, and exactly what’s going to continue to be expectable for the foreseeable future, you should at least grow some callouses against it. You can resent the constant screeching and the endless defecating in general without crying out in pain at every single screech and every last bowel movement.

What it all comes down to is this: I think we need to build up at least a degree of resistance against things that offend us. We need to have a lower limit for how trivial a slight can be and still be worth getting worked up over. Now, you may say to me, “but don’t you think that everyone has such a limit already?” To which I say… no, I really don’t think so. As near as I can tell, everyone is actively working on being as oversensitive as possible. What do you think “woke” means? What do you think “red-pilled” means? It means that you’ve “realised” that you’re not enough of an oversensitive wussbag, that you’ve been foolishly tolerated a bunch of things that you should have been outraged about, and that you need to become a far more toxic person in a hurry. (except for men who become woke and women who become red-pilled, I guess. They instead realise that they need to become more perpetually offended on other people’s behalf. That’s even more annoying) Not only is everyone a snowflake, but everyone is working at being the flakiest snowflake they can be!

Enough already. We need to admit that we have feelings, yes, but this is ridiculous, unsustainable and downright destructive.

Stuff anti-feminists say

I’ve learned not to read feminist sites. It’s bad for my sanity and worse for my faith in humanity. One day I hope to also learn to not read anti-feminist sites, but sadly, that day has not come yet.

Here’s what I want to hear from anti-feminists: “Feminists wallow in victimisation and then, having made themselves as weak as possible, take out their misery on those few men who are even weaker than them. They need to shape up, recognise their own strength and the responsibility to use that strength in the morally correct way.” And while I’m wishing for what I’ll never get, I’d also like them to add, “and they should also admit that insofar as they are being discriminated against, it is not for their gender but for the moral qualities that come more naturally to that gender, and that therefore they have common cause with those men who share those moral qualities.”

This is never ever what I get to hear when I fall to the temptation to read anti-feminist sites. Here’s what I get to hear. And here’s what I would like to respond.

“FEMINISM IS BAD BECAUSE IT SAYS WOMEN SHOULDN’T STAY HOME AND HAVE TONS OF BABIES!”

No, it doesn’t. And that’s bad, because they shouldn’t. Stay-at-home parents are parasites if their partner is amiable, helpless victims if they are not. Get up and stand on your own stupid feet, Suzy Homemaker! You’re a human being capable of doing many different things with your life, not a queen ant too big and fat to move from your throne room!

rosie
Rosie didn’t do all that riveting for you to march right back into the kitchen!

Oh yes, I have opinions! You got a problem with that? My mother worked outside the home for the entire duration of her marriage, because she valued her independent – and because she did so, me and her did not face financial ruin when my father died from a heart attack when I was eleven. If you care about your children, get your ass out the door and make sure that they have two providers, not just one, because you never know when they’ll lose one of them.

In fact, the real problem with feminism is that it stubbornly refuses to realise that in order to become equal to men, women might actually have to, well… MAN UP a little. Instead, it assures women that they’re absolutely perfect in every way and whatever they want to do is all fine and dandy. And then, when women make weak and stupid choices, it blames the patriarchy and its sinister man-hypnosis for preventing them from being strong and influential.

“WOMEN HAVE MORE LEGAL RIGHTS THAN MEN!”

Jesus Christ, you’ve counted? And to think that sometimes I worry that I don’t make the best use of my time… Okay, look, the number of rights a group has says zero and nothing about its actual level of well-being in our society. What sort of rights does it have? Are they any good? Why does it have those rights in the first place?

Look, circumcision is bad and stupid, okay? But the reason why we don’t talk about male circumcision is that it doesn’t noticeably reduce the functionality of the penis, whereas female circumcision involves pretty much getting rid of the works. The right not to get crippled for life is regarded as being important, whereas the right not to get what amounts to very slight adaptive surgery is not. And yes, even equally limited versions of female circumcision are outlawed, but that’s because they got covered by the overall ban that was motivated by ending the crippling – if snipping the tips of the labia had been the standard form of female circumcision, I promise you that no one would have been bothered to outlaw it.

Family law favours the mother? I’m sorry, aren’t you supposed to be the side that recognises differences in biology? Mothers tend to be more involved with their children than fathers. Feminists have spent decades trying to change that, but it just won’t happen, so why shouldn’t we keep the laws that work better for the way things are here and now?

(I’ll grant you, feminists have spent decades trying to change that by passive-aggressively pointing out to women that they can totally have careers if they want them, they don’t have to plop out dozens of babies, they’re perfectly allowed not to do that, honest. But of course whatever they choose will be fine! This has failed to work because it assumes that people will opt for humanity and civilisation rather than for obeying their stupid hormones if given the chance, and as it turns out… this is not the case. And lest anyone think that I’m just hating on women here, let me state for the record that if the whole #MeToo debacle taught us anything, it’s that the same principle holds true for men. “Treat other people with respect,” says society. “Spurt your semen all over everyone and everything,” says the male lizard brain. Guess which one every single freaking man in a position of authority turned out to have been listening to all along?)

Male victims of rape aren’t given the same rights as female ones? Yes, that’s a real problem for the two or three male victims of rape in existence. Again, the law has better things to do than to try to stretch to cover every edge case – it’s unfortunate, but there’s a limit to how well a system of rules can cover the infinite variety of human experience. Also, have you ever considered that maybe rape is an objectively worse experience for women than for men? Yes, men can have their private parts meddled with and not like it much, but they don’t have to suffer that visceral fear of being turned into incubators for their victimiser’s spawn.

Are you getting my meaning yet? Women have more legal rights because they need them more. Yes, part of that is because they make themselves weak, as I have already complained, but weakness should not be punished, irrespectively of its cause. If women ever shape up and become as collectively powerful and independent as men, then I’ll favour many of their extra legal protections being scrapped, but not before.

“FEMINISTS WANT TO DESTROY MANHOOD AND WOMANHOOD!”

ifonly
Sadly, this is a complete and utter lie and feminism doesn’t work anything like this… but only an idiot would say it would be bad if it did!

If only! I mean, in theory I suppose it’s true – feminists claim that there are no differences between men and women except what the patriarchy has created. And that’s a bit of a problem to start with, because that’s not true, and bad things happen when you act in accordance with claims that aren’t true. But it’s an even bigger problem that in practice, feminists actually work to widen the gap between the genders, and seem to be succeeding at that. Men and women are more different than ever, and that’s in large parts the feminists’ doing.

The thing is, feminists love all the best parts of manhood, while considering everything that is the least bit bad about it to be entirely unacceptable, and love all the worst parts of womanhood, while considering the good parts to be a patriarchal trap. They demand that men be stoical and chivalrous, while shaming them for being manly in every other way (and also giving them some token shaming for stoicism and chivalry, because it wouldn’t do to let men think they can do anything right, ever! But if you’re already learned to be stoical, a bit of completely insincere tsk-tsk-ing about how you push yourself too hard won’t bother you unduly). They encourage women to give in to their most selfish and self-indulgent impulses, and to kill every sign of kindness and nurturing within themselves, because women being nice furthers the patriarchy.

This double standard has of course not gone unnoticed, and has caused a generation of loutish men to double down on all the bad parts of masculinity. Case in point, anti-feminists.

So don’t you worry, masculinity and femininity aren’t going anywhere. They’re just both getting more toxic.

“FEMINISTS LOVE ISLAM!”

No they don’t, you frickin’ moron. I have yet to hear feminists say a single kind word about Islam – if anything, they keep bringing it up as a reason for how super-relevant and important feminism is! No, they don’t like Islam, they just hate people like you, who go on rants about how a sizeable portion of the world’s population are rapists and murderers and bad bad bad bad no-good bad bad horrible primitive bad bad people, let’s nuke them all back to the Stone Age or they’ll conquer us! This is, by all means, hypocritical of them, because they get every bit as paranoid and foaming-at-the-mouth hateful over fully half of the world’s population, but I can’t fault them for despising islamophobes in and of itself.

And no, I have no love for Islam either. It’s an especially dumb and loud religion. I just have even less love for islamophobes, because they’re even dumber and even louder. See how that works?

“FEMINISTS TELL MEN TO BE UNMANLY, THEN BECOME UNATTRACTED TO THE UNMANLY MEN!”

Yes! True – as my entire life is proof of! But what you should take away from that is not “feminists should admit that they like alpha-douchebags,” it’s “feminists should learn to be attracted to men who aren’t alpha-douchebags.” In the same way that men should learn to be attracted to women who aren’t shaved skeletons with two giant balloons glued to them – which is a another thing that feminists say that’s actually perfectly right, even though it is hypocritical for them to say it.

And yes, it’s perfectly possible to train yourself to be attracted to people, once you take some responsibility for your own irrationality. You might not start drooling over pictures of fat women and stories of underachieving men, respectively, but once you start giving those people a chance and get to know them, you’ll realise that you like some of them as people – and someone who you like as a person starts looking pretty good. The only serious girlfriend I’ve ever had was the polar opposite of all my physical preferences, but I would have sworn blind that she was the most beautiful woman on Earth.

Again – your lizard brain shouldn’t be the part of you making the big decisions. We are neither entirely blank slates nor entirely bound by our biology.

“MEN GET PAID MORE THAN WOMEN BECAUSE THEY WORK HARDER AND NEGOTIATE MORE AGGRESSIVELY!”

Again, true. And – are you listening to me here? – and that’s wrong. Women (and sane men such as myself) get punished for not working horrible jobs for endless hours and grubbing for the almighty dollar at every turn. Act like a nice person, and you’re treated as a doormat who don’t deserve as much money as some douche who throws his weight around at every turn. Treat your actual life as more important than the mindless drudgery you do to sustain it, and you’re seen as less valuable than the hollering, chest-thumping alpha males of questionable sapience who’ll work twenty-hour days for a chance to say that they’re better than others. A society where this is the case is an immoral society, and we should do something about it.

It may sound like I’m disagreeing with myself here, because a moment ago I was complaining that women sabotage themselves. But what I really want is for feminists to just admit that it’s feminine behaviour that’s being punished, not the physical fact of having a vagina. Because if they would just do that, then they would have to admit that I’m their fellow sufferer, not their abuser, and maybe even take a good, hard look at how they’ve been treating me and feel suitably ashamed of themselves. (not that I’m holding my breath)

But as for the highly paid men who lick their boss’ boots and shut down their own ability to feel emotion to get a bigger office? They should be seen as what they are – traitors to the working class, and the reason for the discrimination of women and sane men alike. Thou shalt not enable the unreasonable expectations of the capitalist pigdogs – that should be the feminist slogan, instead of feminists whining about how unattractive slackers are. Us slackers are the natural allies of women everywhere – we’re the ones not stealing their part of the salary budget or shoving past them in line for promotions! And we’re the champions of workplace standards, because we’re the ones who can’t be bribed to crawl over broken glass! God damn it, we deserve a reward for all the hard work we don’t do!

Okay, maybe I got a little carried away there. What I’m saying is this – we, as a society, should push for shorter workdays, better conditions and above all a solid understanding on the part of employers of the fact that our real lives start when we leave the office, not when we arrive at it. This would help close the wage gap and it would be better for everyone (except for the alpha douches who want nothing more in life than to get paid more than others, but seriously, bugger those guys!).

“WOMEN ARE ILLOGICAL AND IRRATIONAL!”

You mean, they’re not loathsome, bean-counting pointdexters who can recite endless lengths of data with zero understanding of what any of it actually means in practice? Their brains don’t explode when they encounter individual cases that don’t match their elegant, all-encompassing theories? They take such things as context and human nature into account, instead of assuming that all of reality can be modeled as an over-simplified equation? Oh, I agree. Women have their own unfortunate tendencies, and it’d be nice if feminists could admit that instead of claiming that they’re either a) only seen as unfortunate due to patriarchal propaganda or b) perfectly logical behaviour in the light of the horrible, patriarchy-induced suffering that women go through, but you can say this for the female gender – women are far less likely than men to act like online atheists. And that, I feel, is something that women as a group should take pride in.

“WOMEN LIE ABOUT BEING RAPED!”

Yes, that happens in, what? Five percent of reported cases, at a very generous estimate? That’s certainly very bad for the five percent of accused men who are innocent. But, and not to sound like a feminist here, why is that more worth talking about than the ninety-five freaking percent of reported cases that are sincere? I mean, I hate feminists and all their viles and all their works, but I’m forced to agree with them here – I’m more concerned about the nineteen women who got raped than the one man who got falsely accused of rape.

And, just to add victim-blaming to my list of sins, may I suggest that a good way of avoiding those false accusations you’re so damn worried about is to not go out and get hammered and have sex with equally hammered women who you barely know? How about, in fact, reserving sex for women who you like and respect?

“FEMINISTS SABOTAGE ATTEMPTS TO CARE FOR MALE VICTIMS!”

Prove that. With something other than a link to a MRA site, if you please. Because I have literally never heard that claim from anyone who didn’t have a psychotic hatred for feminists, and that makes me skeptical. Now, I would put nothing past feminists, it’s true, they are boundless in their self-pitying malice, but I’d prefer to despise them for things I actually know that they’ve done, not for whatever some lunatic on the Internet claims they’ve done.

“WOMEN RAPE MEN ALL THE TIME!”

Prove that too. Actually, no, don’t bother, because there is literally nothing that you can say that would make me believe that bizarre a claim. Oh, a few edge cases committed by uncommonly crazy women on uncommonly vulnerable men, I could see that, sure. Everything that can physically happen does happen, somewhere. But am I supposed to believe that there is some secret epidemic of women being so mad with lust that they force themselves on helpless men, despite the sheer physical difficulties involved, despite the unfortunate (well, unfortunate for me) fact that women generally have zero sexual interest in men who are weak and passive? No. Forget it. This is an overheated fantasy of men who is simultaneously terrified of women and possessed of such an exaggerated idea of their own personal quality that they assume that women are plotting to steal their superior sperm.

“I’M A MAN GOING MY OWN WAY!”

Then why won’t you BE ON YOUR WAY? Why are you still sitting here hoping that some feminist will see you and get offended by your going-your-own-way-ness? How is it that you don’t realise that YELLING AT WOMEN THAT YOU’RE IGNORING THEM MAKES NO DAMN SENSE?!

 

There is no hope for the world, I tell you.

Blank slates and bioessentialism

The current feminist view on psychology is that everything about me is wrong and it’s all my fault.

That’s not quite how they put it, of course, but it’s what it amounts to. Feminists believe that the mind is a blank slate that gets filled up by the mores of society – which are, of course, all completely horrible and wrong and evil. We can liberate ourselves from our ingrained patterns of thought, though, by accepting their inherent badness, admitting our culpability in sustaining them, and having long, tearful discussions on feminist dogma where we affirm that it’s objectively correct about everything.

This, needless to say, is the most insulting philosophy in the history of philosophies. It manages to at once demonise and infantilise me. Not only am I bad, but I don’t even get the dignity of having chosen badness for reasons of my own – no, I have had badness inflicted on me by the evil world. Because it’s not like I am, if anything, inclined to overthink and overanalyse things, of course – no, no, I’m totally the sort of person who just swallows social conventions whole for no other reason than because all the cool kids are doing it! Feminists have really perfected the fine art of passive-aggression. “Why are you getting so offended? I didn’t say you were bad! I just said that everything about you is bad! That’s totally different! Oh, why must you maliciously misunderstand me like that?!”

Yeah, let’s just say that I don’t have a lot of fondness for the philosophy.

And that, of course, makes the bioessentialism of anti-feminists very tempting. Anti-feminists tend to take the equal and opposite view that everything we do, we do because it’s what comes natural to us, and any attempt to make us do anything else is doomed to fail. And that’s actually oddly liberating, because it means I’m off the hook. I’m just an animal, I can’t help but do precisely what I’m doing! You can’t even say that being myself is immoral, because by this viewpoint, morality is just another thing that springs from biology. If my nature compels me to look at boobs, then looking at boobs is moral – the only immoral thing would be not looking at boobs, since it would mean I was living an inauthentic life!

And even aside from the personal aspect, after twenty years of hearing liberals talk about how they want a different culture, and then seeing all their efforts just lead to a more toxic version of exactly the same culture, the fatalism inherent in bioessentialism carries a certain ring of truth. If we were capable of changing things, wouldn’t some of the efforts to change things have, you know, actually succeeded? How come after all the cheering for strong women and sensitive men we’ve done, women just keep getting collectively weaker and collectively more prone to drooling over stoical manly-men? What is this force that keeps pushing us two steps back for every step forward we take, if not the force of human biology itself?

But the thing is, feminists are wrong about me. I do not in fact just passively absorb any half-baked idea thrown my way. I think about things. And the more you think about bioessentialism, the more you start to notice more than a few flaws.

For a start, just as the blank slate theory can be called into question by noticing that different cultures have a lot of common denominators, bioessentialism can be called into question by noticing that different cultures are still, well, different. Americans and Japanese, Swedes and Italians, Indians and Arabs all have a number of behaviours that feel completely natural and inevitable to themselves, and yet seem bizarre to foreigners. Short of resurrecting the idea of the all-importance of race – and some anti-feminists seem to want to do exactly that, but those are the worst of the worst, so let’s leave them aside for now – how do you explain that, if not by admitting that how we’re raised affects us? That maybe the slates are, in point of fact, just the tiniest bit blank-ish?

blank slate
Er… it’s sort of blank and sort of not, I guess?

I have yet to hear about any culture where the men are anti-boob. But the supposed genetic imperative to be attracted to anorexic supermodels? Go back to a time when food wasn’t as trivial to get hold of for most people, and suddenly healthy roundness was attractive. The manly need to be in charge? Tell that to an egalitarian culture like Sweden. The absolute necessity for men to show no emotions and disdain pretty things? Italian men take great pride in dressing more elegantly than that bastard who hurt their feelings a decade ago.

In fact, it’s easy to get the impression from the anti-feminists that American men, and the women who for some deranged reason like them, are the only truly authentic people in the world. Which funnily enough looks more like an expression of the American cultural tendency towards ignorant, unfounded arrogance. Certainly that part is not inherent in the human genome (because no other nation is as arrogant as America!), nor can it be easily seen as a racial trait even if you are of the decidedly iffy inclination to look for racial traits, since there isn’t really such a thing as an “American race.”

I think the truth of it is that while we do all have biological urges and tastes pushing us around, how they are expressed depends very much on how they are interpreted. Crying with grief is unmanly when it is seen as something you do instead of engaging in manful action – but if you frame tears as an exuberant, forthright rush of powerful emotion, suddenly they are manly as heck. For that matter, even inaction can be manly, if you present it as a willful decision not to act, preferably in defiance of society’s demands that you get off your butt and do something with your life. Hey, those lazy surfer dudes get girls somehow! (though the nice tans probably help. Then again, tans haven’t always been considered attractive either…)

I also think that there is something missing from both sides of the argument, which is the idea of taking some responsibility for your thoughts. We can choose to see the world through a number of different lenses. We don’t choose our reality, but we do choose how we interpret it, and in doing so we at least partly choose our emotional response to it.

I do think that the blank-slaters could stand to open their minds to the existence of biological explanations. Feminism’s blind spots make a lot more sense if you assume that men and women have different but equally valid ways of looking at things, meaning that shutting out the masculine perspective and declaring it to be nothing but the product of patriarchal mind control will inevitably produce an increasingly skewed and self-serving perspective. (and the same is true in reverse, of course – male-dominated environments tend to develop testosterone-coloured lenses very quickly)

In particular, I think that it is very hard for women to understand how absolutely essential it is for a man to have a position in the world, to have a defined territory (literal or figurative) to wield authority over. Likewise, I think it’s very hard for men to understand how absolutely essential it is for a woman to know that the inner workings of her mind are being granted significance. Men have a primal fear of being reduced to non-entities, because historically men without power either starved to death or were used as cannon fodder to further the interests of men who actually mattered; women have a primal fear of being reduced to soulless objects, because historically women who didn’t manage to be heard were used as living incubators with no rights beyond mere survival. Those fears are not that far apart (in both cases, they boil down to intrinsic worth), but they are far apart enough that they are triggered by different treatments. Men can’t stand having what they regard as their business meddled with; women can’t stand feeling disrespected. Realising that would be helpful in not getting on each other’s nerves so much.

It goes the other way, too. If we acknowledge that our gendered behaviour isn’t “just common decency” or “just common sense” but in large parts irrational, we can curb it a bit. And frankly, it does need curbing. Sometimes I feel like all the men I see have such an inflated idea of what constitutes “their personal business” that they can’t stand anyone telling them to do anything differently than they want to, ever; and sometimes I feel like all the women I see have such an overblown notion of how much respect they deserve that they throw a fit whenever someone fails to put their comfort and well-being ahead of every other consideration.

In theory, at least. In practice, bioessentialist anti-feminists don’t tend to use their recognition of biologically hard-wired instincts to either gain greater sympathy for the opposite sex or to curb their own gendered behaviour. Rather, they tend to use it as an excuse to do whatever they want to, whenever they want to, and accuse anyone telling them not to of being a fascist trying to restrict their free, natural self-expression. And never mind that if two equally-sized groups of people want two different things that often come into conflict, at least some people are going to have to forego their natural behaviour to at least some extent. Anti-feminists, being brats and louts, seem to work on the unspoken principle of “yeah, well, it ain’t gonna be me! Gimme more boobs! It’s been all of five minutes since I last acted out my masculine imperative to spurt semen over everything – I’m starting to feel inauthentic here!”

As usual, I stand for disciplined moderation where we recognise each other’s needs as well as our own and try to fulfil as many of both as possible. And as usual, I stand alone.