At the request of several contributing writers here, I have temporarily removed Obsidian’s and Ciaran’s moderator rights from the blog.
At this time I haven’t decided what will happen going forward with the site, but they voiced concerns about having their name associated with the ideas and content being presented. I believe this is a valid concern and until further notice and discussion occurs this action will remain in effect.
Thanks for your understanding – Ted D
“They say we’re animals, uh-uh, I don’t agree with them,
I’ll prove em wrong, but right is what you’re provin’ em…”
-Heavy D, “Self-Destruction”
I have a very close childhood friend I’ll call “Kyle”. Kyle and I were inseperable coming up – sleepovers at each other’s house, playing Godzilla and the Hulk together, you name it. As we got older the games we’d play with each other and other boys in the ‘hood changed, but we remained thick as thieves.
Then, as we got into our adult years, things changed, in a very big way; you see, Kyle got involved in the drugs trade. Like many young Black Men, the siren call of the streets and the promise of the lifestyle the drugs trade made, he was caught up in it all, and on some levels, quite a few in fact, it was understandable – Black Men continue to be “last hired, first fired”. Still, I understood the all too real downsides and tradeoffs of such a profession. Drugs has destroyed what was left of once proud, respectable working class and in some cases, even middle class precincts of Black Philly, where now, even today, long blocks of boarded up homes now stand.
I understood my friend’s situation, but I couldn’t abide by it; and so, after a long night of reflection, I decided to have a sitdown with him, and tell him, that so long as he was in the drugs game, we could no longer be friends. I let him know that I respected his decision to live his life as he sees fit, that I loved him like a brother, but I just didn’t get down like that.
We didn’t speak for more than a decade. During which time, I felt horrible. Doing the right thing rarely feels good.
Among the many lessons I learned from that time, is that people can and will make judgments about you, based on the company that you keep – and they’re not going to be inclined to parse out all the nuances of your associations with certain others. It’s a lesson that has come roaring back at me over the past five years of being a Manosphere, Men’s Issues blogger: people can and will make judgments about your blog based on the nature, tenor and tone of the comments it attracts and generates. Indeed, I’ve found over the years, that it really doesn’t matter what you actually write; what matters is what kind of commenters you get.
I’ll be completely, 100% honest with you. I really, truly, do not like that fact. But a fact of life it is, nevertheless.
The events of roughly the past month or two here at J4G has been one that has made me think long and hard, the same way I did that night before I had that sitdown with Kyle. There are commenters here who I’ve known for years; others, who are more relative newcomers, nevertheless have contributed to making this place an environment that generates a hella more heat than light. It’s gotten to a point where I’m getting emails from folks who have told me, that they’re essentially living a double-life – they read this blog but they dare not tell anyone in their real life about it, not because of the actual content of the blog itself, but because of the people who populate the blog’s comments – who give one on the outside looking in the very real impression that this is a motley crew of malcontents, misanthropes, emotional and social retards, nihlists, and yea, I’ll say it, misogynists. And that’s just for starters. It deeply hurt me to read private, off the record emails from people, who like what I and other writers here at J4G are trying to do, but simply cannot bring themselves to comment here, for all the nuttery that’s been going on. There are Black people who know of J4G and actually like much of what I and other writers have to say, but can’t bring themselves to come here and participate for the racist nutters in the crowd spouting their drivel. There are Women who read J4G religiously but won’t comment for the stompdown and virulent mean-spiritedness toward Women as a whole on the part of a not insignificant number of commenters here. And there are even Men who know of J4G and want to give their two cents but are strongly dissuaded from doing so, because they don’t want to be associated with antisocial types that always seem to have a voice in the ‘sphere in general. It all adds up to a relatively small number of people hogging the public square and holding everyone else hostage, and that isn’t just fundamentally unfair, it’s also fundamentally un-American, too.
Whether the Manosphere writ large is full of such people is a matter of some debate; after all, no census has been conducted along these lines as far as I’m aware. But what can be said, fairly strongly, is this: that those who are among its loudest “voices” are those who just so happen to fit the descriptors I’ve noted above; and they are doing the Manosphere a grave disservice. In fact, the Great Tragedy of the Manosphere, is that for all the talk about the Feminine Imperative, Gynocracy, White Knights and Manginas and so forth – all of which are legitimate concerns, mind you – the single biggest impediment, enemy I would dare say, to the Manosphere, is it’s own tendency and penchant for getting in its own way. Any legitimate points or arguments they make, are lost in the shuffle of the “noise” that this relatively small band of nutters consistently churns out – and that, is truly sad.
What has been going on here, in this forum, isn’t what I envisioned for J4G more than a year ago. What I envisioned was a space for Men from all walks of life in general, and Common Guys like me in particular, to be heard in their own voices on the following question:
What does it mean to be a Man, in early 21st century American life? Now What?
The “Now What?” part of the question is hugely important, because it properly frames the discussion on what I think is a huge problem in our time – the conversation in the public square, has largely been dominated by extremists, on ALL sides. And what’s worse, these extremists, again on ALL sides, are actually small numbers of very vocal people, who just happen to have enough time, energy, resources and know-how, to make everyone else’s life utterly miserable. Civil, reasoned discourse has been replaced with hyperbole, rhetoric in extremis, and namecalling all designed to destroy the other side, not merely prove how and why they’re wrong. What’s even worse is that the “conversation”, if one can call it that, centers on old hat stuff that has been long decided – there’s no imagination, no creative or innovative “takes” on the issues…it’s just one long, insufferable, repeating loop of long-ago addressed “grievances”. Meanwhile, the world has moved on and there are very real, and urgent, challenges to face in our time. And neither side seems able or interested, in grappling with that.
Add to that the somewhat unique feature of the vocal contingent of the Manosphere commentariat, who seems intent on, to borrow a phrase from The Dark Knight, just wanting to see the world burn. Not only do they offer anything in the way of solutions, but they seem intent on making sure that no one else tries to seek out any either; that their “solution” is to Burn The Mutha Down.
I can understand their position. I can even respect it.
But I will no longer abide by tacitly cosigning it here.
Because, make no mistake about it, that is precisely what I and the rest of the team here at J4G are in fact doing, when we allow such commentary to run untrammeled in this space. We are cosigning, by allowing its existence, such comments, and others, whom I honestly think are indeed the Silent Majority, take note and vote with their feet. I may not be able to save the Manosphere at large from its own self-destructive tendencies, but I CAN save J4G. Because the J4G that I’ve worked so hard to put together and keep together, is something that’s worth saving. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let it be taken over by people who just want to see the world burn.
So, effective immediately, here’s how it’s going to go down:
All are welcome to participate in the forum, on the proviso that they actually bring at least as much light as they do heat. You got a criticism, you better make sure you bring a solution, too. I want to see more Men actually talking about the things they’re doing in their own lives and the lives of their fellow Men, to make this world a better place. I want to see Men talk about improving themselves, yes for their own benefit, but also for the benefit of Women who would like to partner with Men worth the trouble. I would like to see more talk from the Men here about their own hopes, fears and challenges – not as a pity session, but to encourage other Men, that they’re not in this alone. I want more Men in this space to talk honestly about themselves, about their lives, because that’s something worth talking about, and that the world needs to hear more of.
I want to see our commenters refine their thoughts into civil, reasoned, thoughtful arguments, be they pro or con in relation to the topics that are discussed here – and I want to see more focus and emphasis on the actual topics being discussed, rather than “idle chit-chat” about someone else’s comment(s). I find that the latter tends to cause the discussion to “drift” away from the actual topic itself, and pretty soon we’re on some other stuff altogether – which, as we’ve previously seen, isn’t always by accident on the part of some here.
If you look at my own writings closely, this is what I do – I bring often very pointed critiques of things and people, but I always offer solutions as well. To be sure, one doesn’t have to buy into either – but you can’t say that I don’t do what I just laid out above. To my friends, let this serve as a template for you to follow.
Now – if you are inclined to attempt to “debate” me about this, don’t. We’ve heard all the arguments – in my case in particular, for five years at this point. In fact, there are guys who regularly comment here that I know who have been saying the exact same thing, for five years(!). And from what I can tell, they haven’t improved or grown personally at all over that course of time; an argument could be made that they’ve made themselves worse. I don’t want to use the Button, but you all know by now that I can and will wield it like a scalpel, so please, do not force my hand. This isn’t up for discussion here – this is a “sh*t or get off the pot” moment for you here. You are either going to clean up your act, or you are going to find it increasingly difficult to exist in this space.
I’m doing this, because as I said, I think the J4G Project, is a worthy and noble one; one that is worth getting the world’s attention to sit up and take notice of. The lives of Men, being told in their own voices, is something that is sorely needed in our time right now. And because, at bottom, I want to make people THINK. Not “convert” them over to my or the team’s point of view; simply to THINK. And I’m doing this because I want to continue to partner and work with highly talented and thoughtful, reasoned people like Dr. Jeremy, and Dr. Edward Rhymes, and my team mates here at J4G, like Ciaran and Ted D and Morpheus and Han Solo and Sir Nemesis and Deti, and I want really thoughtful commenters like Novaseeker and Bastiat and Ms. Liz and Ms. LynM not to feel that their throwing pearls before swine and wasting their time. They all have something very important to share and to say, and the “noise” has been crowding out their “signal” for far too long here. That’s not fair, and, since I have taken it upon myself to be the “default setting” of J4G, it happened on my watch, and I am taking full and complete responsibility for that and will take steps to fix it.
This is not a free-fire zone, fellas. J4G is bigger, and better than that – and so are you.
A Final Word To The Critics
Today is a day for the record books, for you will be able to claim a real victory – enjoy it, because it will not last long. Now that this little corner of the Manosphere is cleaning house, you will no longer have as much running room as you did before. See, the people I’ve addressed aren’t the only ones who just want to see the world burn - so do you. That’s because, you never were really interested in engaging, honestly, the issues raised here at J4G. That explains how and why you never bothered to deal with them in the first place. Sure, you’ll be able to argue that it was the nutters who kept you from doing so, or what you perceive to be the wrongheaded thinking on the part of myself or the other writers here – but, so long as said nutters had the full run of the house, I for one will fully concede that you had a point.
But now that I have fully owned the problem that has cropped up in my midst and set out to fix it, the focus shifts back to you. I for one actually hope that you have legitimate critiques of what we write here at J4G – civil, reasoned, thoughtful counter-arguments, worthy of the time and consideration of our readers to be bothered with. Something tells me that you’re not up to the job – that, in truth, the ONLY reason you bothered to be so vocal about your “critique” of the “loud voices” in the Manosphere, is because, like them, you too have little to offer the world, at the end of the day. As I’ve said before, Game recognize Game, and Like, truly does attract Like, hmm?
I say, that as soon as the problem being addressed today is solved, we’ll be seeing a lot less of you, because your reason for being here in the first place will no longer exist.
Perhaps you will prove me wrong?
So, to recap:
If all you have to offer any given discussion is
“(ALL) Women ain’t sh*t”
“It’ll never work”
“You’ll never make it”
“The world is coming to an end”
If someone else attempts to offer something constructive and your first impulse is to rhetorically take a stinky, runny dump all over it
Then you really have nothing to offer the J4G audience, and you’d be better served heading somewhere else in the Manosphere where you can do you in peace.
IF on the other hand, you offer a civil, reasoned, thoughtful critique of a problem you see existing out in the world, you have an obligation to at least try to come up with some kind of solution. It doesn’t even have to be all the way worked out – take a shot in the dark! It’s much better than being the proverbial nattering nabob of negativity, Man. I’m just being real.
OK, that’s it.
Constructive thoughts in the comments, please. I won’t ask twice.
Now adjourn your arses…
After participating in the Manosphere for several years as a commenter and more recently as a writer, I’ve concluded that the “red pill” formulation of masculinity and its discontents is flawed. (The “red pill” is transformative knowledge that reveals the falsehood of one’s previous experiences – in this context, the evolutionary model of human mating that is often at odds with conventional sexual mores and myths. Caveat: there are too many red pill formulations to count. The alternative model I describe below is close in spirit to some of them, and my summary of the red pill risks mischaracterizing any particular red pill formulation.) The red pill thinkers were initially insightful into their diagnosis of the 21st century man’s difficulties in mating, correctly recognizing that his submissive, supplicating mating strategies were humiliating and ineffectual. Furthermore, they did men everywhere a great favor by explaining the essential role that dominant masculine behavior plays in the sexual arousal of many women, in contradiction to the strictures of political correctness. Unfortunately many of the most influential among them went beyond the support of evidence and reason by recommending the common man emulate the hyper-masculine “alpha” persona, especially in its most extreme form, the dark triad sociopath. Accompanying this exaltation of the “alpha” was the denigration of the “beta” as weak, submissive loser. This set up a double jeopardy for the common man: an aspirational goal that he was constitutionally unable to achieve, and an intensified dissatisfaction with his actual state of being.
Developing ideas I introduced in my last essay, I will present an alternative hypothesis here. The common man is neither intrinsically submissive nor weak, but is adapted to cooperating in a hierarchy of men. As such, he is capable of flexible dominance/submissive behavior – he can be both the situational alpha and the situational beta, depending on the social context. But his capacity for situational dominance has been suppressed by a society that demonizes expressions of male dominance while shaming him into a submissive and apologetic posture, especially in interactions with women. To render him more compliant, he has been increasingly isolated from the masculine cultures that once cultivated his stronger aspects. The nature of the common man is not intrinsically weak or submissive – it is contemporary culture that forces him into that condition.
The resolution for the common man is not to aspire to the alpha that he will never be, nor to withdraw from society with the Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW), but to rediscover his full potential for both cooperation and situational dominance. This rediscovery can only reach full fruition through brotherhood because the common man’s strength is his ability to coordinate with other men,. Rather than rogue red pill alphas looting the ruins of Western Culture, or MGTOWs retreating in despair, I support something much more positive: men working together to fight against the forces that assail them, as men have done throughout history. The answer is not to fabricate faux alphas, but to become better betas.
In outlining this essay, I realized that it is a template for many things I want to write about and do in the future. Many of the points below could be expanded into full essays of their own. In the interest of brevity, I will draw only a sketch, with the intention of filling in details, justifications, caveats, and references in future works.
The Emasculation of the Betas
The great majority of common men are “betas”. They favor cooperation over conflict, and unlike “alphas”, the will to power is not a prime motivator for them. They have no overwhelming ambition to lead many men nor to seduce many women. Betas are characterized by flexible dominant/submissive behavior and can switch readily between situational dominant and submissive roles as the social context requires. This allows them to work well in a hierarchy as both boss and subordinate. In contrast to alphas, who always seek dominance, and gammas, who always accept submission, betas accept the roles that advance the well-being of the group.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that no longer values a well balanced beta man. Instead, it weakens the common man so that women may be more equal in comparison. The proximate cause of this cultural transformation has been feminism. Feminists, in attempting to assert social and economic equality for women, face two serious obstacles. First, men are naturally more aggressive and assertive than women, especially in intra-sexual interactions, where the natural sexual instincts motivate dominant actions in men and submissive responses in women. While feminists deny this biological reality, they still must counteract it somehow. Their solution has been social mores that shame male dominance and promote female dominance in order to counteract biology with pro-female cultural biases.
The second obstacle for feminism is men’s superior ability to build large scale social structures and institutions (see Baumeister, Is There Anything Good About Men?). These institutions enhance the situational dominance or submission of men by placing them in a hierarchy where much of the power differentials reside in the institution, not the individuals. These man-made institutions enhance the power of men relative to women, who specialize in small networks of relatives and close family. This male institutional power is what feminist call Patriarchy.
To diminish the institutional power of men relative to women, feminists have worked to isolate men from their supportive peer networks and limit their socialization to the realm of friends and family, where women reign supreme. Most fraternal organizations have either been eliminated or forced to admit women, after which they are changed to favor the needs of women over men. In addition to feminism, society applies a range of other social pressures and diversions on men to further their isolation: using homophobia to emotionally isolate men from each other; fostering a cult of rugged masculine individuality that leaves most non-alpha men weak and isolated; divisive identity politics; pervasive negative portrayals of masculine socialization; and the anesthetizing effect of electronic media.
Many of these trends were prevalent as early as the 1830’s, when the “domestic feminism” associated with the “cult of domesticity” held sway across the Western world.
For centuries, a man had been the head of his family rather than part of it. His social status rested on his right and ability to represent his family in the outside world. Now men came to view the lives they led outside the home as morally ambiguous. Their greatest satisfactions and highest moral strivings were transferred to the sanctuary of home. Historian John Tosh argues that the cult of domesticity transformed men’s roles even more than it changed women’s. “By elevating the claims of wife and mother far above other ties,” says Tosh, the ideology of home and domesticity “imposed new constraints on men’s participation in the public sphere” and curtailed many of men’s traditional associations with other men.
Coontz, Stephanie (2006-02-28). Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage (p. 166). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.
These two strategies have been very successful. A young man today is constantly bombarded with messages on the evils of dominant male sexuality through the media, educational system, and government, all of which have fully adopted the feminist agenda. And men are more isolated now than ever before; participation in fraternal organizations is at an all-time low in the U.S. (Murray, Coming Apart), and the social group that reports the fewest friends and the most social isolation is white men.
As the Coontz quote suggests, feminism draws on centuries of chivalry and pedestalization of femininity to advance the needs and desires of women over those of men. Disparaged and isolated, contemporary men have been rendered submissive so that women can succeed. Cowed by feminist claims of victimization and privilege to care, they are incapable of asserting their own interests vis a vis women.
This socially enforced submissive behavior leads to observably bad consequences for men, especially in poor mating outcomes. Men who are unable to exert benevolent situational dominance and display initiative are generally sexually unattractive to women. These men suffer involuntary celibacy, poor relationship outcomes, high divorce rates, social isolation, and poor mental health.
The Red Pill Sees But Misunderstands
The strategies to weaken men have primarily affected betas who flexibly assume dominant or submissive roles in response to social cues, but not alphas imbued with high will to power, nor sociopaths, who are indifferent to social norms. So it is understandable that a contemporary observer would assume that betas are naturally submissive and weak, and that if one wants not to be submissive and weak, one must become or emulate an alpha or sociopath.
In many popular representations of the red pill, the social and sexual misfortunes of betas are attributed to behaviors that are ineffective in triggering sexual arousal in today’s women. These “beta” behaviors include protecting, providing, deference, and solicitude to women. But the term “beta” is often used more broadly to castigate men who exhibit these behaviors as intrinsically weak and deficient losers.
In contrast, the red pill promotes “alpha” behaviors, including sexual and interpersonal dominance, assertions of high status, irrational self confidence, and a lack of deference and solicitude towards women. If one doesn’t want to be a loser beta, then one must emulate alpha behavior as best one can. Even more extreme variants celebrate the exaggerated form of alpha masculinity, the alpha sociopath, or best of all, the dark triad alpha, endowed with psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism. In contrast to the beta losers, alphas are winners.
However appealing this idea may be, I believe it is incorrect. Betas cannot transform themselves into alphas by force of will – possessing such will would already render them alphas. And normal well-adjusted men do not become sociopaths outside of conditions of extreme duress. (Some moderate interpretations of the red pill focus on “alpha” behaviors such as asserting situational dominance. But such behavior is within the natural capability of betas, and is much different from true alpha behavior motivated by a will to power.)
The first error of the red pill doctrine is to mistake the proximate cause of men’s poor sexual and social outcomes with the primary cause. The proximate cause is indeed the submissive behavior of the beta male. But this is not the primary cause, because the beta male is not naturally that submissive. The true cause is the social manipulation of male dominance flexibility to create an unnatural state of submission. Castigating the beta male as naturally submissive, weak and deficient mistakes the effect for the cause.
A second and possibly more serious red pill error is to glorify rugged individualism and autonomy over communal action. Men are encouraged to improve themselves, but self-improvement regimens are naturally centered on the self. The red pill man is encouraged to choose his own path, his own goals, his own ideals, rather than follow communal standards of behavior. Because alphas are putatively highly individualistic, and sociopaths even more so, the common man should be so too.
Individualism may be an effective strategy for an alpha who has the high level of self confidence to pull it off. And it may be the only strategy available to a sociopath who lacks the means to sustain cooperative relationships. But it is the wrong strategy for the beta, who gains strength in number through cooperation. In fact, the red pill emphasis on individuality plays right into society’s effort to weaken men by isolating them. In a culture where the communal standards of behavior are designed to weaken men, rejecting them is understandable. But the problem lies with the standards, not their communal nature. The beta man needs the support of communal values to reach his full strength among a community of like minded men.
Finally, the idolization of the dark triad is one of the stupidest things about manosphere. It is immoral, unachievable for those not so inclined by constitution, and capitulates to the feminist framing by reinforcing the social isolation of men.
Becoming A Better Beta (BABB)
A more productive strategy is to recognize that the submissive beta men of today are created by cultural programming that suppresses their inner strength and isolates them from their social support. This condition can be counteracted through cultural deprogramming; the cure for the submission and isolation of the beta male is to re-learn how to assert situational dominance in a community of men. If men have had success through the manosphere, it is for these reasons. They have not become more alpha, but they have found a message to counteract the prevailing feminist ideology that allows them to more fully realize their potential for situational dominance. And they have not become more sociopathic, indeed just the opposite – they have found a community of men that provides support and encouragement.
The better beta succeeds more often than not at relationships with women because he is capable of balancing the three pillars of male psychosexuality: the situational benevolent dominance that excites the admiration and arousal of many women; the sexual assertiveness that makes them feel desired; and the kindness and care that makes them feel protected and safe. The balance of these three factors is at once simple and complex. Dominance must arouse but not oppress. Sexual assertiveness must communicate desire but not harass. Kindness must comfort but not supplicate. Too much dominance crushes kindness, while too much kindness undermines dominance. The red pill advice rarely presents these three factors in balance, with a particular deficiency on the importance of kindness and care.
In conclusion, the solution I espouse involves restoring betas to their proper masculine state, capable of situational dominance and strength through cooperation, not trying to turn them into erstwhile alphas, and certainly not trying to emulate dark triad sociopaths.
Postscript: More on Becoming a Better Beta
BABB is a team activity. Men are highly cooperative social beings who gain their strength from their ability to organize and coordinate with large groups of fellow men. One must resist the pressure of isolation and reach out and cooperate with one’s fellow man.
BABB benefits from a hierarchy. Effective hierarchies leverage the situational dominance of men by placing much of the authority in the position, not the individual. The leader derives his power through the structure of masculine cooperation, not through the cult of personality.
BABB is not independent study. One can build one’s strengths and skills in private, and that is good and necessary, but it is not sufficient. One can only fully build one’s masculinity in the company of other men.
BABB is an exercise in proandry, not misogyny. While it is necessary to understand the forces of the feminine imperative and the ways in which society privileges women and disadvantages men (and vice versa), it is important to understand that both men and women are under the influence of a sweeping program of social engineering. Recognizing that society incents negative behavior from women does not justify negative attitudes or behavior towards women.
A better beta likes women, appreciates their strengths, forgives their weaknesses, is able to discern good character in a woman, and is capable of close and meaningful relationships with a woman of good character.
A better beta understands the hazards of Marriage 2.0, but may choose to marry anyway. For many men, the companionship of a good woman is one of the very best things in life, and raising a family with her is their highest calling.
BABB is unavoidably political. The common man is squeezed between the forces of feminism that seek to emasculate him, and the forces of crony capitalism that seek to disenfranchise him. Unfortunately, these are the two major forces in politics today, and while opposed to each other, both are hostile to the interests of the common man.
BABB means rejecting the old “Blue Pill” model of masculinity, which is the result of a couple of centuries of suppressing and isolating masculinity. It also means rejecting defeatism. It is a positive vision of masculinity that faces the reality of the challenges that men face today.
BABB is not for everyone. It requires men who are not too deeply impressed into submission, who are not too badly damaged emotionally, and who have the emotional and social skills necessary for cooperative endeavors with both men and women.
“It’s the first time together and I’m feeling kinda horny
Conventional methods of makin love kinda bore me
I wanna knock your block off, get my rocks off
Blow your socks off make sure your G spots soft”
“I’m gonna call you Big Daddy and scream your name
Matter fact I can’t wait for your candy rain”
“So what cha sayin, I get my swerve on, bring it live
Make it last forever, damn the kitty cat’s tight”
“Mmm… daddy slow down your flow
Put it on me like G baby nice and slow
I need a rough neck nigga Mandingo in a sec
Who ain’t afraid to pull my hair and spank me from the back”
“No doubt, I’m the playa that you’re talkin about”
“But do you really think that you can work it out”
“I guarantee shorty it’s real, baby stick it out
Here comes the man of steel”
-LL Cool J, “Doin’ It”
While the debate regarding California’s “Yes Means Yes” law (henceforth referred to as “YMY”) rages on – something that, in my view, is definitely a good thing, for reasons I should like to make clear in an upcoming essay – for this particular post I’d like to go a bit off the beaten path. You see, for me, I’ve always been interested in understanding the core ideological arguments driving any movement, or in this case, public policy move(s). YMY, in my view, draws its ideological “strength” from a sexual subculture that is a big hit with Third Wave “sex positive” Feminists.
What I’m about to put forward in this post is, at this juncture at least, mainly conjecture on my part; I have nothing in the way of hard and fast (pardon the pun), empirical, “smoking gun” proof – just a series of observations of the above-mentioned third wavers over the past five years or so, and my “connecting the dots” in terms of their actions, over the past decade or so. So, if I happen to get this whole thing wrong, I will be more than happy to come back and indicate as such; by all means, correct me if I am wrong.
So, to my argument:
I argue, that the current “Yes Means Yes” law, and attendant measures on the part of sex-positive, Third Wave Feminists, to “redress grievances” in the arena of Sexual Politics in our time, draws its ideological “strength” from the BDSM sexual subculture.
I say this, based on the fact that quite a few of the more prominent third wavers – people like, for example, Jaclyn Friedman, Clarisse Thorn, Feminista Jones, et al – all have noted an expressed interest in, and advocacy of, key elements and aspects of BDSM culture, as the way to address what they and their Third Wave “sisters” see as problems or imbalances in the sexual arena between Men and Women. Indeed, they, and many a third waver, will argue that a big problem is the “power imbalance” between Men and Women along these lines. Well, as it turns out, “power” – who has it, how it is to be used, and to what end - is a crucial feature of the BDSM sexual subculture.
Moreover, the idea(s) of “Enthusastic Consent” and it’s “kissing cousin”, “Affirmative Consent”, all have direct links and ties to BDSM culture, in the form of “safe words” and the ongoing “checking in” with your partner (usually, the “sub” or submissive one) to see if she’s OK, and wishes to continue. Given the nature of the often extreme and sometimes even dangerous “play” in BDSM, these measures developed in that community as a way to keep subs – usually, but not always Women, I might add – safe.
The aforementioned Feminists have all written quite a bit about the “public benefits” of cherrypicking from the BDSM subculture for an ostensible better sexual all-of-us – and in some ways, they do make a point. The elaborate rules and rituals that permeates the BDSM subculture, which definitely involves the active and ongoing seeking of consent of its largely submissive and female participants on the part of its largely Dominant and male participants during a sexual encounter or session, is something that, in theory, everyone could benefit from. Of all the Feminists mentioned, perhaps the most prolific in this regard would have to be Ms. Thorn, who’s writings on the topic culminated in a book where she argues that the Pickup community could stand to learn a bit from the BDSM one, particularly along the lines of female consent.
However, there are a number of serious flaws and problems I personally see with this approach, if indeed my surmise is correct.
For one thing, we already have laws on the books that protect the private, intimate lives of American citizens – the Freedom of Association, of being protected from illegal searches and seizures, and, if one buys into the ideological arguments that brought about the Roe v. Wade decision, the “Right to Privacy”, are notable examples – to say nothing about the legal procedures bearing on questions of rape and sex assault, like presumption of innocence, and the conducting of criminal investigations by highly trained and experienced law enforcement professionals. Secondarily, I for one have problems with the notion of attempting to take the practices of a small sliver of the American population, and making it the template for public policy – not just because that shouldn’t be the way that public policy should be made, but for another, more practical reason:
That most people, simply won’t have the “stuff” to be built for the BDSM lifestyle.
As I’ve noted in a recent discussion here at J4G on what has become to be known in Manospherian circles as “Marriage 2.0″ (which encompasses relationships, dating and so forth as well), a major “bug” in Progressive Thought in our time, is the idea that “everyone” has the ability, interest and resources, to craft a “do it yourself” life script that is rich with high-abstract concepts and ideals – and this just isn’t the case for the vast majority of Americans. Most Americans, male or female, aren’t high-level negotiators, or have strong communication skills that would involve the kinds of “active listening” and give-and-take exhanges that Marriage 2.0, Etc. would demand. Perhaps most especially, as it pertains to today’s discussion, most people – Men and Women alike – simply don’t have the kind of sexual skill and experience, to compete with the average American’s “time of self-discovery” – a process that can take more than a decade between after leaving highschool or college and meeting “The One”, during which time they are more than likely to encounter at least a few lovers along the way, and with which their Intended WILL be measured against. (It should be noted, that this “time of discovery” is even LONGER, for Black Americans – and look at the results) Indeed, on this score, evidence abounds throughout the Internet, of just how much pressure both sexes feel, to “perform up to par” to their partner’s “previous” – and the angst is palpable, again, on both sides. The conceit, that everyone wants to, and is able to, achieve this Utopian mating ideal, is just that – a conceit.
During that same discussion, I and J4G brother Ciaran, noted something else that ironically enough, is a strong parallel to today’s discourse, this time involving Game/Pickup: that the majority of Men, for a number of reasons, simply will not be able to apply it. Some will outright refuse to learn it, due to what they consider to be thoughtful, ideological reasons, or sheer laziness – but others, because they simply won’t have the wherewithall to do so, despite their best efforts. Sure, we can quibble over the precise numbers in each camp, but in the end, it all comes out the same in the wash – the idea that “all” Men can learn and implement Game/Pickup – is a pipedream, at best. And this is coming from someone who’s written, in favor, of the topic, extensively, for years. Indeed, among “seduction insiders” it is well known and accepted, that this is the case – most Men will simply not “get it”. Theoretically, it is possible; in practical terms, out on the bricks in realtime, not so much.
Another big problem with using BDSM as an ideological template for YMY, is the fact that most people “in the life” are solidly middle-aged(!) – whereas, most people living on or near the college campus, are in their late teens and early 20s(!). This is hugely important, because of the implications here – BDSMers, if I can phrase it that way, arrive to their understanding of themselves through a lifelong process of introspection, acceptance and yes, trial and error; can we really expect, and assume, people barely out of their teenage years to be possessed of the same kinds of introspection, awareness and so forth?
Then, there’s the excellent point that RooshV brought up in his recent article on Social Justice Warriors: that many in their number are of the “alt sexuality” variety, of which BDSM is strongly represented – and that they wish to impose their notions of what constitutes “healthy” sexual mores and norms onto the society at large. Doing so, will make them less “deviant”. This is a very strong feature of Third Wave Feminism, and, when one understands the Female Mating Mind, one can see the method behind the madness; please share with me the following, from the powerful read “A Billion Wicked Thoughts”:
“The Cultural Detective
One of the more noticeable differences between male-targeted and female-targeted porn on the Web is the presence of political messages. On men’s porn sites – including gay porn – there is a complete absence of any kind of explicit politics. The only exception is the rare imploration to support free speech. Though there are far, far fewer numbers of female-targeted porn sites, those that do exist contain a relative abundance of political messages. ” We do what we can to support the activists who fight for the awareness of cultural appropriation,” proclaims graphic porn site NoFauxxx, adding, “We follow an all-inclusive casting attitude: we do not take gender, size, race, or any other consideration into consideration when choosing our models.” The Web site Crash Pad Series says the actress and director Shawn “can be found in front of the computer designing digital landscapes of desire as well as in front of the cameras sharing her passion for the ‘personal is political’ lifestyle.” The East Van Porn Collective calls itself an “anarcho-feminist porn collective.” Especially common are female-targeted adult sites promoting “empowerment” and “positivity”, concepts men do not associate with erotica.
Social psychologist Roy Baumeister suggest that women’s greater sensitivity to cultural influences is rooted in brain mechanisms. “Women’s sexuality appears to be more plastic than men’s, relying on social framing and cultural conditions when making decisions regarding relationships. Men’s sexuality seems more driven by simple physiological mechanisms.” Keenly attuned to the cultural values and social rules, the Detective Agency asks: Which behaviors and relationships are celebrated – and which are frowned upon? What values should I endorse when it comes to sex and relationships? Women are sensitive to messages on magazines and television shows, even indirect messages, such as a model’s body weight, the car a politician is driving, or a celebrity’s views on mental health – subjects that elicit more online comments from women than men. Many more women than men report feeling social pressure on how to behave, dress, and look. Women are also much more likely to attribute sexual anxiety to social pressures.
Women’s cultural evaluation mechanisms appear to be especially concentrated in the middle prefrontal and inferior prefrontal cortext and the middle temporal cortex. These parts of the brain are social evaluation centers, considering what behaviors are appropriate and inappropriate in a given situation. They handle moral cognition (is this right or wrong?) and social judgment (what will other people think of me?).
Cultural information helps Miss Marple play it safe. Who does society value more, doctors or software programmers? Can I get away with wearing a tattoo on my back or will people think it’s a “tramp stamp”? Can I post photos on Facebook of me in a bathing suit or will guys think I look fat? Since women must always consider the long-term consequences of their sexual decisons, a woman’s brain is designed to evaluate the particular cultural conditions in which she finds herself.”
A final problem, for now at least, that I have with this notion of a BDSM-powered “Yes Means Yes” law, is the idea of “importing” elements of the former into the latter, all the while ignoring the crucial contexts in which “affirmative consent” occurs in the first place. Ask anyone who is into BDSM and they will tell you, that the idea of drunken, awkward and oafish hookups, is rare at least, alien at most. Committed relationships are in fact very much the norm in this lifestyle, which revolves tremendously around trust, communication, mutual respect and comfort. Indeed, for many BDSM couples, their relationship deepened and got “kinkier” over the years they had been together – not over the course of a night or two. Even in the cases of professional Dominatrixes, it is not at all unusual for them to have (largely if not exclusively male) submissive clients they’ve “been with” for years. Compare that to today’s hookup scene on the college campus, where people who barely know each other sexually collide into one another. Women who self-identify as submissive, for example, have very good reason to be very discerning about who they partner with, and isn’t to their advantage in the least to get with someone in say, a frat house party environment. In the BDSM culture, “first contact meetings” between largely submissive Women and largely Dominant Men are in fact, highly controlled, regimented and codified – ALL for the safety and comfort of the sub Women. Again, given the very nature of BDSM, this makes perfect sense. How “importing” elements of “consent” from such a tightly-woven community and lifestyle, into one which is by definition, much more porous and transitory, raises a heck of a lot of troubling questions for me.
In closing, I’d like to state for the record that I have nothing in the least against the BDSM sexual subculture – I am a strong believer in and advocate for freedom of expression, freedom of association and the right to a private life.
But, attempts on the part of third wavers to make “the personal, political” – to take their freely chosen, private lifestyle choices and make them a matter of public policy that is then imposed on everyone else – IS something that deeply troubles me, for all the reasons I’ve indicated above.
And it should trouble you too – even if you’re inclined to get down like that.
Now adjourn your arses…
(Editor’s Note): In light of the recent passage of the “Yes Means Yes” law out in the Golden State of California, which purports to address the issue(?) and epidemic(?) of college campus sexual assaults, we here at J4G thought it important to add commentary and context to the matter. Over the next few weeks, the entire editorial team will weigh in, giving their own individual takes on the YMY (aka as the “Mother, May I?”) law and it’s implications moving ahead for us all.
We kickoff our YMY coverage with J4G brother Deti, who gives a broad overview of the “Mother, May I?” law. Here’s Deti!
Let’s take a look at the new “affirmative consent” law in California, nicknamed “Yes Means Yes” (or YMY for short). This new law applies to students at state-supported institutions of higher learning in the state of California. The state legislature passed it and Governor Jerry Brown signed it a couple of weeks ago. We here at Just Four Guys will help you cut through the misinformation and outright bad advice, and will show you just what’s wrong with this new law.
As usual, none of this is legal advice; and no one reading this post should rely on it as such. Anyone having legal questions should consult a lawyer in their state.
Affirmative Consent = No More Escalation
The defining feature of YMY is “affirmative consent”, which means “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” to “sexual activity”. That “affirmative consent” must be “ongoing” and can be withdrawn at any time. Students must take “reasonable steps” under then-existing circumstances to make sure that they have “affirmative consent”.
Under the old standard of “no means no”, the burden is on the woman to say “no” and put the brakes on unwanted or unwelcome sexual activity. Under the new standard, the burden is on the man to make sure the woman has said or manifested “yes” BEFORE anything happens. The burden of proof used to be on a victim to establish that she had said “no” and he proceeded anyway. YMY shifts the burden to the man to establish that consent was expressly given.
As a practical matter, this requires a man to make sure he has “affirmative consent” at each and every stage of any form of sexual escalation. The only way to make absolutely certain that he has “affirmative consent” is to ask for permission AND OBTAIN A VERBAL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THAT PERMISSION every time he wants to do something. To comply with YMY, a man must say “(Mother,) may I _____________?” and then receive a verbal “Yes, you may” for each and every sexual act he wishes to engage in.
“(Mother,) May I touch your arm?”
“(Mother,) May I touch your shoulder?”
“(Mother,) May I hold your hand?”
“(Mother,) May I put my arm around you?”
“(Mother,) May I kiss you?”
“(Mother,) May I touch your left breast?”
“(Mother,) May I touch your right breast?”
“(Mother,) May I remove your jeans?”
“(Mother,) May I remove your panties?”
“(Mother,) May I kiss your [list body part here]?”
Etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
There are some who say that consent can be manifested nonverbally. These claims are disingenuous at best. For example: A man goes to kiss a woman. She returns his kiss. He did NOT make sure he had “affirmative consent” FIRST. He is subject to discipline; but as a practical matter he won’t be reported.
Here’s the other side: A man goes to kiss a woman; she is surprised by the move-in for the kiss. He makes physical contact, she quickly pulls away. Under YMY, the man has committed “sexual assault”, and he is subject to discipline. Kissing or attempted kissing is clearly “sexual activity”. The man did not obtain “affirmative consent”.
What Yes Means Yes REALLY Is
Make no mistake about it: Yes Means Yes, or “YMY” for short, is intended to be a test case, to (1) condition younger men to a new legal and social environment; and (2) expand this from college campuses and disciplinary measures, to all sexual conduct everywhere, including adults and marrieds. YMY is intended eventually to supplant existing standards for sexual assault claims, both civil and criminal.
YMY is intended to make it easier to prosecute rape/sexual assault; and to expand legal civil liability for such claims, by reducing the kind of evidence for it, by lowering the standards of proof, and by shifting burdens of proof from victims to the accused. YMY is intended to completely redefine and reshape the entire legal landscape for everyone, not just college students.
YMY is about power, full stop
1. YMY essentially codifies female “tingles” and gives them the force of law complete with punitive measures. A man’s failure to induce “tingles” or botching an approach will now subject a male college student in California to institutional discipline. Being less than an alpha attractive man is now grounds for discipline at California colleges and universities.
Male students will now probably have to undergo sensitivity training for trying to kiss a girl at a party. They will now face suspension or dismissal from the university for unsuccessfully trying to escalate, or for pestering a longtime girlfriend for sex, or for failing to obtain express verbal consent for P in V sex.
2. Contrary to what others claim or believe, the intent of YMY is NOT solely to discourage and curtail “drunk sex” or “drunk hookups” on college campuses. It applies to ALL “sexual activity” engaged in by students enrolled at a state-supported institution of higher learning in California.
It applies to sober hookups as well as drunken hookups. It applies to sober one night stands. It applies to relationships of any duration. It applies to students in relationships or having sex with nonstudents. It applies to married students, whether the student is married to another student or to a nonstudent. It applies to the student wherever he goes, wherever he has sex anywhere in the world. It applies to “sexual activity”, without limitation.
3. Contrary to what others claim or believe, YMY does NOT apply only to penetration or attempted penetration. As set out above, it explicity applies to ALL “sexual activity”, which is undefined. “Sexual activity” can be anything from light touching (even accidental touching) to full-on penetration.
4. The law is sex-neutral, meaning by its language it applies to both men and women. But, as a practical matter, this law will never be applied to any woman anywhere under any circumstances. YMY won’t be applied to gay or lesbian relationships. It will be applied solely and only to men operating or trying to operate in male-female, one on one interactions.
The Long Range Effects of Yes Means Yes
YMY is not a good law, not in any way, shape, manner or form. As its scope spreads (and it will spread), YMY will only exaggerate and exacerbate the current contours, issues, and problems of the North American SMP and MMP. Relations between the sexes will become more adversarial, more distrustful, more aggressive, and less intimate.
1. This law is clearly intended to have a chilling effect on all sexual activity. This law will discourage the formation and development of relationships leading to marriage. It is intended to deter and discourage less attractive men from attempting sexual conduct with any women, and it will have that effect. Marriages will decrease, as men who might have made good matches with certain women will withdraw even further into porn, video games and minimum wage jobs. Men who might have tried before will give up trying. Lesser alphas, betas and deltas cannot run the risk of an attempted encounter going bad. They can’t run the risk of job loss, university expulsion, lawyer fees and social stigma.
2. YMY will not discourage or decrease Game; it will have exactly the opposite effect. YMY will increase Game and increase the number of men who practice it even as it winnows the number of men in the SMP. The only men willing to navigate the SMP will be men with proven success in meeting, dating and bedding women. Those men will be the most attractive men, the highest value men. They will have even less incentive to marry as more and more women ramp up their inner sluts to compete for these men.
3. Sexual and social interactions will be “all Game, all the time”. Soon, every man a woman meets will be spitting Game at her. These men will not marry because they won’t have to in order to get sex. Men who cannot or will not use Game will not interact with her at all, or will interact at the bare minimum.
4. Men who do engage in sex will increasingly video record every sexual encounter. They’ll save every sext, every text, every selfie, every nudie — because they’re all evidence of a relationship and help establish “affirmative consent”. Men will get increasingly aggressive in gathering and saving evidence of consent, and will not hesitate to deploy their evidence in response to threats of “sexual assault” claims.
This will lead to explosions of “revenge porn” postings on social media sites. There will be defamation lawsuits in which falsely accused men and men who “beat the rap” seek money damages from women and universities based on trumped up or flimsy charges. Lawsuits will arise based on malicious prosecutions and botched investigations by overzealous, agenda-driven, and incompetent university officials. Women who threaten to make accusations of “sexual assault” will be met with men threatening to go public with video and photographic evidence of sexual encounters.
5. Women will have to give up sex in a matter of hours, even minutes, just to get ANY attention from the highest value men (who will be the only men operating in the SMP; the rest of them having dropped out).
6. Marriage? Forget about it. That will increasingly become the province of the Upper Middle Class and Upper Classes. None of the top 15% of men (the only ones willing to participate) will offer marriage to any woman, no matter how attractive or valuable. They won’t have to. For every extremely attractive HB 9 or 10, there’ll be an ever-increasingly deep backbench of HB 7s and 8s who will go from “hi” to “sexy time” in a couple of hours, for far less effort. The top men will continue to clean up, and they’ll never marry. The bottom 85% of men won’t even be in the marketplace.
So, contrary to what some claim about YMY, it will only exacerbate and worsen currently existing conditions.
“Mr. Big Stuff, Who do you think you are?”
As always, NABWALT but EBWALT…
Unsurprisingly, to me at least, commenter response to my post, “A Look Into The Mating World Of The Tyrones” was rather muted – largely due to the near-deafening silence on the part of our lady readers. Yes, there were a few – and I mean a few – comments on their part; but in the main, the ladies of J4G were largely MIA. Of particular note, was the conspicuous absence of the Sistahood.
That doesn’t mean that they weren’t reading along, though.
You see, I keep a sharp eye on J4G’s site analytics; I see who’s reading/following us, and where they’re coming from – so I know for a fact that there are quite a few Black Women who read us.
It’s just that they didn’t have any rap in reaction to my latest “Tyrone” post.
Inspired by my mini-conversation with Novaseeker yesterday, and keeping in line with the general theme of “Marriage (& by extension, relationships/dating/mating) 2.0″ in our time, I thought to share a bit about the mating lives of a segment of American society that is little known about – those Men I refer to as the Tyrones.
By now, regular readers know what I mean when I use that phrase, but for those just coming along: “Tyrone” is the name of a close personal friend of actor-turned-relationship expert writer Hill Harper, and is very briefly mentioned in his NYT bestselling book, “The Conversation”. “Tyrones” are very smart, highly intelligent and industrious Blue Collar Brothas, whom the Sistas of Harper’s mileu tend to shun for mating. I’ve taken it upon myself to expand and expound a bit about the Tyrones in large part because so little is known or written about them. I mean, let’s face it – online, when it comes to discussions centered on mating, it’s very Class-focused – by that I mean, that all of the air in the room is taken up by the middle and upper middle classes - and this is true on both sides of the Color Line. On the relatively rare occasions that the working and lower classes mating lives are discussed at all, it’s usually from a “what’s wrong with them?” standpoint – everything is focused on “after the fact” kinds of things. You know, the kids that are born of their haphazard unions, and other fairly dysfunctional things that have become part and parcel of being a member of the (Black) working and lower classes in our day and age. Because virtually none of their number have the wherewithall to be heard at the “table”, very little is actually known about HOW they wind up meeting and mating in the first place – compare and contrast that the reams of chatter on the matter by their upper class betters – an alien could land from outer space today or tomorrow and would be able to glean, often in mind-numbing detail, exactly how said upper classes – again, of both principal American races – meet and mate. This yet another reason as to why I cite “Promises I Can Keep” so much – because it is one of the precious few sociological works in our time that actually gives the reader a blow-by-blow, nuts-and-bolts look at HOW the lower classes mate – where and how they meet; what their mating rituals look like up close and personal. And when you do consider that, other things, like the tempest in a teapot of our time, “street harassment”, kinda looks a bit different, if not because of the inherent Class (and to a slightly lesser extent, Race) conflicts the whole thing brings up.
“Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die…”
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Good morning Mr. Champ, everyone,
It is the countdown to the Inevitable Moment indeed! And one that, as that Moment gets closer and closer, you seem to be putting up more and more urgent posts of trepidation about it.
Let’s be frank, shall we?
You’re right to be…concerned. After all, it’s hard to deny the facts:
-Blacks marry at considerably later ages than everyone else does in America
-Blacks divorce at higher rates than everyone else in America
-Blacks have higher rates of infidelity, domestic/spousal abuse/finanical strife, than everyone else in America
And so on.
Add to this a criminal and family/child support court system that is weighted heavily in favor of (Black) Women and heavily weighted against (Black) Men, and it is little wonder as to why so many Black Men aren’t particularly eager to jump the broom in our time.
Which raises the question, One Mo Gin:
WHY, should a Brotha tie the knot, again? For who? For what?
I have asked this question before in this forum and elsewhere, and the “answers” have been, sadly but by no means unsurprisngly, wholly unsatisfactory; quaint bromides about Religion, & “Duty” (heh), or esoteric and once-removed “reasons” involving Taxes and Courts (again, heh), simply don’t cut the mustard.
After all, a Brotha can get ALL his romantic, s*xual AND reproductive needs met, WITHOUT marriage, AT ALL.
We all know this to be true.
Some will argue, that (Black) Men live longer and healthier when Boo’d Up in Holy Matrimony; but I say, if we can make a world in which “Julia” can be cared for sans a Man, why can’t we do the same for Tyrone – or Dante? Must they have a Woman Who Has Papers On Them in order to live a meaningful life? Why can’t Obamacare launch a Single Men Living Well initiative – specifically designed to reach out to Men, and Men of Color most especially, making the case for how the govt cares about them and instructing them as to their health and wellness? Why must the social, political and economic outreach in this regard be Women Only?
Others have argued, that married Men – in this case Brothas – get more Rumpy Bumpy than their single counterparts. I’m not so sure about that – after all, the S*xless Marriage is a very real phenomenon – where the Wifey, now that she’s got the ring, can and often does let herself go, and all the frisky times with it. Of course, such things are noted among our Brothers From Another Mother; Black Men are loathe to publicly discuss anything that might go against the ManDingo Mystique.
But it’s there, alright – and we Brothas all know it. Why castrate oneself in such a fashion?
I mean, exactly WHAT, is the typical Black Woman bringing to the table that makes it worth the time and considerable risk, of Putting a Ring On It? Is there a simple listing that such a Sista can rattle off? Can we Trust, But Verify this listing?
To ask the question, is to answer it, hmm?
Brothas know the deal; as a group we may not be as prolific or vocal as our White brethren; but we “speak” with our feet just the same, if not moreso. All of which is well-documented.
So long as the incentives to marry remain murky at best and downright dangerous at worst, Brothas will continue to vote with their feet – either not marrying at all (I remind the reader, Black Men are the highest cohort NOT to marry among American Men aged 40 and above), or, saving that, by staving marriage off as long as humanly possible. I’ve seen both scenarios play themselves out, many times. It is quite routine, in fact.
I’ve personally turned down several formal marriage proposals, about half a dozen “hookups” where an intermediary attempted to introduce me to a Sista with a Ready-Made Family (read: Baby Mama). They got wind of my work record and and clean living and wanted a Packmule to help raise them chirrens. But I saw it a mile away and steered clear, declining to even meet with the ladies in question. Again, how is this a good deal for me? What do I get out of this?
Ahhh, but that’s just it – we, as (Black) Men, are not supposed to ask such selfish questions! We are not to have any lives or interests or concerns of our own; we are just to “Man Up!” and do as we’re told and like it.
Enjoy the married life, Champ; here’s to you not becoming the Mall Mule with the Thousand Yard Stare!
Now adjourn your arses…
The above comments were written by yours truly and appeared on May 19, 2014 at the popular Black Bougie website, Very Smart Brothas; it was the very first(!) comment in a discussion entitled, “Getting Married…And Acting Single”, by Damon “The Champ” Young. At the time, the post dropped roughly two months out from his tying the knot, and my missive set off a veritable firestorm of response, most notably by the Sista Ladies in attendance - none of whom actually addressed, to say nothing of debunking, the points I raised.
I repost those comments, in the light of Ciaran’s “weekend discussion” that kicked off in earnest with his most recent post; and more to the point, in reaction to “Lurker’s” comments about my supposed “evolution”. Surely, given the two together – Lurker’s observations about my comments, and my VSB commentary as per above, things look just a weebit incongruous, yes?
Well, not really. Here’s what you’re really seeing:
Me being deeply conversant with, and respectful of, both sides of the argument.
See, in our deeply Ideological Age, the Truth itself, truly does come dead last. People line up on both sides, and duke it out without any regard for facts, reason, logic or evidence; there is simply no respect for the Truth. And why should there be? After all, the Truth forces one to actually think…to consider the possibility, that not only they may be wrong, but that the very people that they have demonized on the other side, just may have a valid point.
If you read the ensuing discussion over at VSB, it quickly turns from one where the veracity of my claims could be confirmed or denied, to a referendum on yours truly – the very antithesis of the masthead of the site(!). My arguments weren’t weighed based on their merits – for example, notice how NO ONE actually addressed the bullet points I made in my post – but rather how I made certain others in the forum – and let’s not mince words here, (Black) Women – “feel”. I argue this wasn’t by accident; my points weren’t specifically addressed, because they were (and are!) unassailable. The simple truth is, that for the “Tyrones” – mating choices suck. The quality of Black Women available to them, suck. Sure, some suck less than others; and the constant drone of how Men – particularly on the working and lower classes-end, aren’t up to the job of marriage and like in our time, is never ending – but the point is made. It is simply difficult for anyone with a straight face to tell me, or anyone who brings these points up, that there isn’t a “there” there. You just cannot do it.
And yet, there’s Damon, about the get married. For him, and his Class cohort, life is, all things considered, pretty good. Marriage 2.0 will serve him well, at the least much better than Tyrone, if for no other reason than because Damon has a better pool of Women from which to select from.
It will be interesting to see if “Lurker” will be as effusive of my observations this time around, as he was in the previous discussion. Time, will tell.
While he, and perhaps a notable number of others, marvel at my “evolution”, what they may not want to consider is that I can deeply resonate with the deepseated concerns of the guys – like Ted D (though he’s remarried), Honeycomb, Hollenhund and others – have stated. Simply put, Marriage 2.0 does not gurantee “hard” rights, incentives and rewards, that Marriage 1.0 did, as per my VSB commentary lays out. For guys like Damon, they may not need or even want such things; but for guys like the ones I just cited – indeed, for guys like me – it’s a different story.
In her excellent work, “Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage”, Prof. Stephanie Coontz, an avowed Feminist, makes the case towards the end of her book that the foundations upon which marriage in our time are by their very nature fragile; they exist on notions that were indeed alien, only a few centuries ago – a blink of an eye in broad historial terms. Further, Coontz says, that the public policy debate surrounding marriage, once the dust finally settles over Gay Marriage itself, will have to inevitably turn to how to equip people – and by “people” what she and pretty much everyone else among the Chattering Classes really means is Men Like Me(TM) (read: blue collar, “unwashed”, etc.), as to how to navigate this Brave New World of matrimony (and by extension, romantic relationships, dating, etc.). She notes how some have argued for actual classes in conflict resolution, communication and the like; and while for my part I cannot totally poo-poo such things, I echo the sentiments of those here in the forum:
The premise flows from an assumption the ladies on the other side are just fine as they currently are.
They are not.
Even assuming that what Coontz and other Cathedral Clericy advocates “works”, there is a real question as to whether, as Ted so aptly put it, “the juice is worth the squeeze” – whether the Women who would be mates for such Men, as well as the “new” model of relating – is worth it all in the end. That, is a question that for all intents and purposes, is Blasphemous – for ONLY Men and their worth can be called into question; Womens’, cannot, must not.
A little while back, Okrahead wrote what would become a hugely popular guest post for us here at J4G, entitled “The Resume”; I had meant to write a followup and never got around to it, so today’s missive will have to suffice. The themes that Okrahead pursued in that post, very much informs the current high-pitched discussion obtaining on Ciaran’s post – and let’s be clear here: Ciaran has repeatedly stated that he recognizes the concerns that have been stated by so many guys on said discussion thread along the lines being discussed here, as highly legitimate. Reaction to Okrahead’s post – especially by our lady readers – was particularly visceral and pointed – as far as they were concerned, he was “out of line” for suggesting that Women present a simple bullet-point resume that outlines what qualifies them for as a wifely candidate. They saw it as unromantic at best, and utterly demeaning at worst…though they didn’t outline precisely why. Others among their number, objected not necessarily to the goal of Okrahead’s post, but rather the method – it was too direct, harsh, exacting…cold.
And, I would agree – Okrahead’s post is indeed a bit clinical. But what it lacks in warmth and emotional sensitivity, it more than makes up for in cleareyed clarity – a tradeoff that I suspect a not insignificant number of this blog’s male readership, would readily make.
I know I would.
Let me bring a bit more clarity to the ladies’ consternation:
Okrahead’s position, essentially says to a Woman that her eggs aren’t good enough. When a Woman is being courted by a Man, the implicit understanding is that he finds her reproductive capacity compelling enough for him to pursue her in the first place; it is self-evident. For a Man to require “upfront assurances” from a Woman in the manner Okrahead has laidout, he is saying, loud and clear, that her reproductive capacity, at the very least, is shaky, if not outright subpar. He has to be convincned that she is bringing “more” to the table with which to compensate for this crucial lack. It is perhaps the single biggest diss a Man can convey to a Woman, when you really think about it.
Hence all the protestations.
Yet, given my VSB commentary above, how should a Man like the kind Okrahead, or I outlined above, approach these matters? Should they just blindly go about them, as if no other mitigating factors make a difference? To those like “Lurker”, I ask, what do they counsel, in the particular, specific situations I outlined in my VSB commentary above? What would they have the Tyrones to do?
I, for one, will be patiently awaiting his response.
Let the discussion continue!
Now adjourn your arses…
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When I was a boy of ten or so, an old plumber came to my parents’ house to install a new water heater. Although he was old and bent, he was powerful – he easily carried out the old water heater and carried in the new one by himself. And he was skillful, rapidly cutting, cleaning, and sweating the copper pipes, leaving perfect, gleaming fillets of solder at each joint. As I sat on the rickety cellar steps, watching his progress with rapt attention, he patiently and kindly described each step of his work to me. There was a right way and a wrong way to do things, he explained. So impressed was I that I retained every word. This to me was a man – strong, skilled, capable, and independent. I wanted to be a man too, to escape the weakness, ignorance, and dependency of childhood. Although I dreamed of becoming a scientist, engineer, or inventor, I saw in the old plumber the essence of what I wanted to be – a man who could do things, build things, fix things. His encouraging replies to my curious inquiries and his compliments on my cleverness reinforced my desire to learn how to do the things men did – to become an man who could work his will upon his little piece of the world.
My story of the old plumber is just one instance of innumerable encounters with grown men that shaped my aspirations and my understanding of manhood. Not all these encounters were with real men – the characters of the fictions and the histories I read served their role as well. Each of these imparted to me a bit of the virtue of manhood.
Over four decades have passed since that day. I have become the scientist, engineer, and inventor that I dreamed of as a boy. I am now much closer in age to the old plumber than to the boy I was. I am the father of three boys of my own, and I am a leader in an organization that builds leadership and life skills in pre-teen and teenage boys. When I work with these boys, I sometimes wonder if I inspire any of them as the old plumber inspired me.
On some days, with some boys, I am sure the answer is yes. I see their curiosity and their excitement in the things I teach them. I see their pleasure in my recognition of their accomplishments, and I recall the gratification I felt as a boy when men acknowledged me. With these boys I feel I am having a positive influence, helping them grow to become men of skill, competence, self assurance, integrity and honor.
But many other boys are much harder to reach. These boys seem to have little interest in what I teach them, and neither my praise or admonishment has much influence on them. I’ve pondered why that might be. Of course, some boys will be uninterested in the material and activities, others will not respond to my methods and personality, and some will be simply too young or immature. But I think it goes deeper than this – these boys appear to be uninterested in the realm of manhood as a whole, as well as the men who inhabit it. And why should they? 21st century boyhood offers endless amusement and adventure, while 21st century manhood is disparaged and degraded, full of liabilities and unprivileged responsibilities.
Writing in the New York Times a few weeks ago A.O. Scott touched on this phenomenon in an essay entitled “The Death of Adulthood in American Culture”. Despite his mandatory feminist framing and ritualistic self abasement as a white heterosexual man, Scott offers a number of observations of the decline of manhood in the popular American culture. Asserting his pop cultural conformity from the first sentence, Scott starts with a de rigueur analysis of “Mad Men”:
From the start, “Mad Men” has, in addition to cataloging bygone vices and fashion choices, traced the erosion, the gradual slide toward obsolescence, of a power structure built on and in service of the prerogatives of white men. The unthinking way Don, Pete, Roger and the rest of them enjoy their position, and the ease with which they abuse it, inspires what has become a familiar kind of ambivalence among cable viewers. Weren’t those guys awful, back then? But weren’t they also kind of cool?
In those days before the great Coming Apart, even an old plumber might stand accused of enjoying some of those prerogatives. To be a tradesman was an honorable occupation, a solid member of the broad middle class. Plumbers and garage owners were neighbors with doctors and engineers in my childhood neighborhood. A tradesman had pride in his craft, pride as an American, and even pride as a taxpayer. He might not have been “kind of cool”, but he was proud to be a working man. A man that a boy might emulate.
But today, manhood is the object of cultural criticism, scorn, and mockery. As Scott puts it:
Maybe nobody grows up anymore, but everyone gets older. What happens to the boy rebels when the dream of perpetual childhood fades and the traditional prerogatives of manhood are unavailable? There are two options: They become irrelevant or they turn into Louis C. K. (fig. 5). Every white American male under the age of 50 is some version of the character he plays on “Louie,” a show almost entirely devoted to the absurdity of being a pale, doughy heterosexual man with children in a post-patriarchal age. Or, if you prefer, a loser.
If my old plumber were alive today, he would be just another pale doughy hetersexual male loser. No longer an exemplar of masculine strength and skill, he would be reduced to a tasteless butt-crack joke.
It is from this position of degraded masculinity that I try to motivate and teach boys. Stripped of much of the situational authority that society used to bestow upon a man in my position, I have to rely more heavily on personal charisma, individual social dominance, and psychological persuasion. In a curious and somewhat uncomfortable manner, my efforts to motivate boys parallel the efforts of pick up artists to seduce women. In both arenas, the cultural status of men has been greatly diminished, and the supporting conventions and rituals have been stripped away. It is no longer sufficient to follow the script – there is none. Detached from the social structures that used to support us, we must instead amplify and project our personal strength to hold the attention of those we seek to impress.
A great achievement of Western Culture was the elevation of well socialized, dutiful boys into leaders of society. The “privileges” of manhood were both an inducement to boys to accept the restraints placed upon them in the pursuit of manhood, and a supportive framework for those adult men helping to guide them there. Without the supporting framework of this so-called “masculine privilege”, the adult male leader of boys now has to rely more heavily on his own resources – his ability to inspire, cajole, motivate, or even to intimidate when required.
Those who achieve the greatest success in this post patriarchal culture are not the respected pillars of their communities, but those who foster their own little cult of personality. This represents a dangerous turn for society, because the individuals with the greatest social wit, charisma, and force of personality are often dark triad sociopaths, not well socialized, law abiding family men. By tearing down the “patriarchy” that supported the latter, Western society is increasingly choosing the cult of personality over the rule of law.
No doubt the feminists will read these words with smug self satisfaction, for they have had great success in tearing down what they regard as “patriarchal privileges”. But in doing so, they have damaged the future of boys, and ultimately girls, more than they have hurt men like me. Boys are not attuned to gender politics, but they sense its consequences. What motivation does society provide them to assume the responsibility of manhood when its value is disparaged while the pleasures of boyhood are so immersive and intense? As Scott puts it,
Why should they listen to uptight bosses, stuck-up rich guys and other readily available symbols of settled male authority? ….
True contentment is only found with your friends, who are into porn and “Star Wars” and weed and video games and all the stuff that girls and parents just don’t understand.
While our young feminist women have great ambitions in education and careers, sooner or later most decide they want a husband. And as a recent Pew Research Center study shows, the single most important attribute these young women look for in a partner is a steady job. But their male peers are increasingly turning their backs and following a different path.
As Scott points out, the theme of men going their own way by seeking comfort in their friends and seeking escape from the society of work and women has a long tradition in American literature:
At sea or in the wilderness, these friends managed to escape both from the institutions of patriarchy and from the intimate authority of women, the mothers and wives who represent a check on male freedom.
While the sea and wilderness hold little allure for the modern boy, the ever expanding universe of cyberspace presents an even more attractive and accessible escape. And those that escape may never enter the world of work and marriage. Thus, the feminist victory over masculine status and privilege redounds upon the young women, who still expect men to exhibit their traditional responsibility (though they are loath to reward them for it). But such men are increasingly hard for women to find.
I must admit this leaves me with a profound ambivalence. Perhaps I should leave the feminists to enjoy the spoils of their victory, and leave the boys to eschew manhood for the pleasures of a perpetual adolescence. Do I really want to teach boys to do their duty to God, country, and all the old laws of obedience and service, just to prepare them to be exploited? I am very cognizant of the dangers that await them: ruthless employers seeking their replacement with lower cost labor; hostile feminists seeking to criminalize their masculinity in all its expressions; and vindictive ex-wives extorting alimony and child support. I can sympathize with those who choose to walk away from all of this.
On the other hand, I do not want to see these boys surrendered to a life devoid of the satisfaction that real accomplishment brings. And I do not want them always hiding and retreating while the social justice warriors infiltrate, sack and destroy their refuges. So I spend many hours each week working to help boys grow into men. Men of integrity, honor, kindness, and generosity, but also men who will stand up for their culture and their beliefs, and who can plan, organize, and fight for their own interests.
To this end, one of the most important skills I teach is leadership – the ability to determine what needs to be done, formulate plans to do it, then motivate others to follow the plan. The boy leader who tries to exercise his newfound authority is supported by the framework in which he works – the rules and practices of the organization and the authority of the adult leaders who support and guide him. Without this support, few boys would have the personal resources to develop their leadership abilities. As the boy leaders need support from the men leaders, the men leaders need support from their society. When society withdraws its support from men, it also withdraws its support from boys. And when these boys grow to men, some of them are unwilling or unable to support women and their children, who ultimately suffer the consequences of the feminist assault on masculinity.
A number of years ago it was time to replace the water heater in my own home. I still remembered the old plumber’s lesson from 30 years earlier, but my hands and mind lacked his skill – my movements were awkward, my methods were disordered, and the copper joints I sweated sported unsightly runs and drips of molten solder. Yet with each pipe and joint I gained skill and satisfaction. When it was done, I felt proud, and a little more of a man. At last I had stood in the old plumber’s shoes.
But there was no boy sitting beside me to watch, question, and learn. My sons had more interesting things to do. There were video game bosses to fight and princesses to rescue. And another game level to beat, and then another, and then just one more …
“I had early a taste for beauty of female form. Face had for me of course the usual attraction, for beauty of expression always speaks to the soul of a man first. A woman’s eyes speak to him before she opens her mouth, and instinctively (for actual knowledge only comes to him in his maturer years) he reads in them liking, dislike, indifference, voluptuousness, desire, sensuous abandonment, or fierce reckless lust.
All these feelings can be seen in a woman’s eyes alone, for they express and move with every feeling, every passion, pure or sensual. They can beget in the male pure love as it is called, which is believed to be so till experience teaches that however pure it may be, it cannot exist without the occasional help of a burning throbbing, stiff pr*ck, up a hot, wide-stretched c*nt, and a simultaneous discharge of spermatic juices from both organs. The rest of a woman’s body, the breasts and limbs, can move lust unaccompanied by love, and if once admiration of them begins lust follows instantly.
A small foot, a round, plump leg and thigh, and a fat backside speak to the pr*ck straight. Form is in fact to most, more enticing, and creates a more enduring attachment in men of mature years, than the sweetest face. A plain woman with fine limbs and bum, and firm, full breasts will (unless her c*nt be an ugly gash) draw a man to her where the prettiest-faced Miss will fail. Few men, unless their bellies be very big, or they be very old, will keep long to a bony lady whose skinny buttocks can be held in one hand. I early had a taste for female form, it was born with me.”
-”My Secret Life: The Autobiography Of A Victorian Gentleman”, Vol. 3, Chapter 12
While perusing my social media feeds the other day, I came across the following Field Report by a Brotha whom I will refer to as “Steve”; he has given me permission to post his report here, for the purpose of dealing with the larger topic of the Big Gals(TM). The text has been slightly altered to protect the names and circumstances of the principals (and of course, I cannot include the pics he posts along with it):
“Ms Jones sure is needlessly combative, >.< From the very first reply “Thank you for the elaborate email”, I think she was already being snooty for no reason; I think the word ‘elaborate’ was used in a negative sense here, a normal person would say “thanks for the kind email” or “nice email” or smthg like that…And the subsequent emails are worse, of cos.
A bit OT, but it reminded me of the lady in this Judge Judy case–who was actually quite physically nice-looking IMO. But if that’s her attitude in front of a judge and an audience of millions…”
-Ms. Alana, lady J4G commenter/reader, “The Inability To Seek Consent”
“Look here Miss Thang, hate to salt your game
but yous a money hungry woman and you need to change.
In tha locker room all the homies do is laugh.
High five’s cuz anotha nigga played your ass.
It was said you were sleeezy,even easy
sleepin around for what you need
See it’s your thang and you can shake it how you wanna.
Give it up free or make your money on the corner.
But don’t be bad and play the game, get mad and change.
Then you wonda why these muthafuckas call you names.
Still lookin’ for a way out and that’s OK
I can see you wanna stray there’s a way out.
Keep your mind on your money, enroll in school.
And as the years pass by you can show them fools.
But you ain’t tryin’ to hear me cuz your stuck,
you’re headin’ for the bathroom ’bout to get tossed up.
Still lookin’ for a rich man you dug a ditch,
got your legs up tryin’ to get rich.
I love you like a sista but you need to switch,
and that’s why they called U bitch, I betcha.”
-Tupac Shakur, “Wonder Why They Call U…”*
Before we begin today’s discussion, as always, we have to note that time-honored Red Pill Maxim: NABWALT but EBWALT.
“I love it when a plan comes together.”
-John “Hannibal” Smith, “The A-Team
“The shit’s chess, not checkers!”
-Denzel Washington/Alonzo Harris, “Training Day”
“We have ways of making you talk.”
-Old Jedi Mindtrick
Late Thursday evening, only hours away before my “#YouOKSis White Feather Campaign” post was to drop, I got word from several longtime J4G readers that Ms. Feminista Jones had elected to “air” our offlist email exchange in its entirety, on her website. Published on Aug 18, 2014 under the title “The Inability To Accept No”, Ms. Jones takes our exchange as Prima Facia evidence of how she and so many other Sistas are so besieged by varied and sundried forms of “harassment”:
“Of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research.”
With Summer 2014 now firmly in the history books, it’s a good time to review some of that season’s biggest “stories” on the Sexual Politics front. Fortunately for us, our Sistahood’s Feminist contingent never fails to disappoint - recall Summer 2013′s tempest in a teapot involving Prof. Hugo Schwyzer, for example. Great job, ladies!
So, what was this Summer’s “big story”? Well, to let Ms. Feminista Jones, the Amazonian “sex-positive” third-waver from the Boogie Down up in NYC tell it, it’s the the “epidemic” of “street harassment”, dontcha know – and her solution?
To “call on” (read: cajole, shame, demand) Brothas to “police” other Brothas; to intervene whenever they spy a Sista out and about being “harassed” by another Brotha, by “simply” (heh) going up and asking said Sista in Distress(?), “are you OK, Sis?”. Ms. Jones has been able to drum up a bit of media attention for her bright idea, which culminated in a feature appearing on the Black-themed News One channel, and some social media buzz came along for the ride. Ultimately, though, the whole thing fizzled out before Summer was done, and instead wound up alienating not just (Black) Men, but quite a few (Black) Women as well – for example, I got wind of her Twitter beef shooting war with Mr. Tariq Nasheed via a Black female follower of his. None of these developments came as a surprise to your humble correspondent; indeed, in a email correspondence to Ms. Jones, which, interestingly enough and completely unbeknownst to me at the time, shortly after her spat with Mr. Nasheed, I made the case that she was going about the whole thing all wrong. Of course, my attempts toward reason, moderation and understanding with an eye toward real solutions with the Brothas Who Actually Matter, all fell on deaf ears. Such is the Way of the Sistahood, to favor irrationality in the face of reason.
(Editor’s Note): Last week’s debut offering on the part of Dr. Edward Rhymes was so warmly received, not just here but over at the leading Men’s Issues website A Voice For Men, that his followup essay was greatly anticipated, and the good doctor didn’t disappoint. In this piece, Dr. Rhymes discusses in greater detail a topic that I’ve broached recently, and from a deeply personal place as a survivor of child abuse at the hands of his own mother. It’s something that needs to be discussed much more than it currently is, and for that to happen it will take more Men telling their stories. We here at J4G deeply thank Dr. Rhymes for his courage, as well as his thoughtful insights and sensitive handling of these very touchy issues. Here’s Dr. Rhymes.
Writer’s note: I wrote a piece last week on domestic abuse and was ready to move on to another subject. It seems that although I thought I was done with the topic, the topic was not done with me.
Born in the 1960s to a 14-year-old mother, I am one of those individuals who came into the world at a time when the word “Negro” was still being placed on birth certificates. Without the requisite skills or resources to care for her child, the tiny bundle with asthma, I was placed in a foster home and there I stayed for the first six years of my life. It was a wonderful family and I was reared in an atmosphere of kindness, responsibility and love. Although my foster parents very much wanted to adopt me, they acquiesced to my mother’s desire to regain custody.