Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Yes, Daddy, spank me harder

Quick thought: 'baby' should only be a stock term of endearment among diaper fetishists. I'm comfortable with terms of endearment referencing love and terms of and terms of endearment involving food are silly at worst, but a good, solid number of man-woman ToEs are infantilizing - and common.

As a straight man, I find it kind of offensive that my girlfriends have all been raised to expect I treat them like my daughter. Even though ritualized pedophilia is so ubiquitous in American relationships that it's barely possible to notice the undercurrent unless you're looking for it, it's yet another way in which the culture demands inequality in treatment of men and women.

I don't want to play daddy for the girl I'm fucking, and I have absolutely no desire to slip it to my future, hypothetical daughters - and unless I've severely misgauged my audience here, neither do you. But that's basically what is expected out of us.

(Oh, and also: because of the way men are acculturated to view sex -- and the fact that boys are strongly discouraged to express distress after being molested not only by the molester but by society at large -- child molesters are pretty overwhelmingly male.

Which makes it reasonable to specifically distrust you and me as men were we to apply to, say, teach kindergarten.)

Being a straight man should just involve loving women, or at the very least wanting to fuck their brains out. Loving someone does not, and fucking someone especially does not, involve pretending they are a child. Don't like it? Don't consent to it.

One thing you can do to help defuse this: refuse to call any woman 'baby' or 'girl' or 'chica' or 'kitten' or any other infantilizing term, and object to being called by any paternalizing term - 'daddy' is the first that comes to mind. Make a note of all this; straight women have no more desire than we do to turn their relationships with us into mother-daughter affairs, but for the most part they aren't consciously aware of it.

If you do use terms like that, switch to more egalitarian ones. Terms of endearment directly involving love are all right, and while terms crossing the love wire and the food wire are a tad silly and kind of surreal when you think about them, they're perfectly okay.

Generally, if either partner is being called something that the other partner wouldn't be comfortable being called, there is an inequality in the relationship and it is dysfunctional.

If we want to do away with the burdens placed on us by ritualized pedophilia - an unwillingness to go dutch, the uncertainty of consent, the predominance of men within the ranks of actual pedophiles, and the Goddamn creepiness of it, to name just a few - we must sacrifice the advantages of it. (Our girlfriends, mistresses, fuck buddies, and spouses ought to have as much a role in decision-making as we do, and if you find yourself winning a lot of arguments on topics you're not the expert on, that's a problem.)

The burdens severely outweigh the advantages. When you get right down to it, the only reason ritualized pedophilia in relationships has become so ubiquitous is the advantage it confers on this misanthropic society - it further segregates us into weak women and strong men, and prevents women and men in similar circumstances from uniting in any meaningful sense - attachment at the hips excluded.

A Quickie On Quickies

The patriarchy severely complicates our ability to fuck.

While I could go on all day about how society genders us leading to women being encouraged to behave as submissive and men as domineering, and most quick sex being basically a protracted exercise in dominance and submission wrapped around daddy/mommy issues instead of, you know, sex, there's a far more obvious way in which the culture of 'consequences' for 'irresponsible women' has limited the options of conscientious men.

Planned Parenthood is maligned pretty frequently as some kind of radical abortionist group by the mainstream culture, and its mission - to provide sexuality education, counseling, and services (primarily, but not exclusively) to women - is treated as encouraging 'irresponsibility'.

The Patriarchy basically considers responsibility submission to its desires. In the case of women, sex becomes a matter of fertility; women who wish to have sex but do not wish to be fertile are Irresponsible. It doesn't matter how much trouble the woman has taken to be infertile - condoms, spermicide, hormonal birth control - a woman who gets pregnant is irresponsible.

There is, of course, a ridiculous double standard at work here -- but that's not what matters, because the standard in and of itself is false. What society wants 'responsible' to mean for sexually-active women and what 'responsible' does mean for sexually-active women are two different things. In this case, the responsible thing for women with active sex lives and unstable personal lives is to avoid having children. (And by 'unstable personal lives' I just mean anyone who hasn't reached the end of her education and gotten onto some kind of career arc - pretty much anyone below the age of 25 and most women below the age of 30.)

Most of the time, the effort needed to avoid having children is limited to using the pill and condoms. (Condoms are an absolute must except for in the case of long-term monogamy.) But sometimes those fail - and then, as a last resort, abortion becomes necessary.

This is why free love is an especially strong non-starter in the US - we are luridly uptight about sexuality precisely because we want to make enjoying no-hassle sex as difficult as possible for women. After all, if they enjoy it they'll forget its purpose is to make mothers of them.

How do men lose out here? They lose coming and going: men who want quick, easy sex without having to worry about being a father have a tricky time finding it, precisely because most women who are paying attention know that if their partner is a dick about it, they can wind up carrying an accident to term. And on the flip side, thanks to the culture constantly hammering home to little girls how precious infants are without actually letting them know that raising them is a full-time job, there are plenty of women out there who (naturally) want quick, easy sex - and are perfectly willing to get pregnant as a result. So good easy sex is hard to find - and when you do find it, chances are better than you might like that it'll result in having to father and support a child too early in life.

It's a pretty minor loss - especially compared to that which women lose, which is the ability to have quick, easy sex on their own terms more or less at all. But it's yet another way in which the patriarchy robs us of the ability to exercise our manhood.

It's not one quite as infuriating as the constant assault on the concept of paternity, or the dismissal of basic social fraternity as effeminate. But it's still annoying, and it makes your life a little more difficult - unless you happen to be more interested in cheap labor than casual sex, in which case it works out great. (And if you happen to be in that position, chances are you can combine the two with a junket to Thailand anyway.)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Patriarchy Versus Paternity

The telling thing about the Times article (which there is no direct link to, because the Times sucks like that) is that it goes on and on at length, just like the survey, about how mothers putting their children in daycare is bad for them.

Mothers putting their children in daycare.


We are educated in the use of loaded verbiage like this from a young age. A study on the link between poor behavior and day care will, obviously, focus on its relation to motherhood - because we're taught to believe parenting is woman's work.

One of the most fulfilling, enriching things someone can do - male or female - is to raise a child. It is the ultimate test of one's moral foundations to try and bring an independent life into the world in their image.

This is a perfect illustration of What The Patriarchy Takes Away From Men: the ability to give a shit without being derided as a pansy. This goes down as deep as giving a shit about society being in the toilet and not wanting to rape the Earth or your neighbors with incessant greed. Welfare is referred to, derisively, as 'the nanny state'; even studies reported by fairly liberal bodies like the Paper of Record, when confronted with the difficulties of childrearing, default to talking about working mothers.

Working fathers are every bit as much of a challenge to the concept of modern child-rearing, which requires that a child be lavished with as much attention and care as humanly possible, as working mothers. The only difference is that, thanks to the patriarchial system dividing men and women, we are made into draft mules and they are made into brood sows - so we do not even bat an eye when thinking about men abandoning their children for most of their working day. This isn't a conscious decision by the Times editor, who would probably blanch at the idea of being called misogynist. This is something so deeply ingrained that most people never even think about it.

This is one of the many things patriarchy takes away from men: fatherly pride. In the words of the immortal Bart Simpson: Ha ha, you love a boy.

Why This Blog Is Here

(This is a repost from - an erroneous mirror.)

The purpose of this blog is to break into what I see as a fairly underexplored segment of both scholarship and public discussion: specifically, feminism as it applies to men.

I'm not just talking about feminism in relation to the straw-man men it often, out of necessity, creates for itself, or in relation to men in the aggregate. What I intend to explore in this blog, provisionally named Manhood In Crisis, is how necessary feminism is for men.

As such, and because I consider it absolutely necessary to break the idea that feminism is somehow exclusively for women, I am going to be writing from and for men. There might seem to be a contradiction here; there is not. I might, eventually, feel possessed to link to female feminist critique that I find insightful or useful, but what matters to me is reaching as many straight men as possible. The wrong I seek to right here is that so many straight men have been told by society and by one another that feminism is either a case of uppity womenfolk or sacrosanct and Not For Them.

Part of this is because feminism as a social movement has basically died. It remains alive in academia; academics don't have to be clear, and in fact sometimes delight in being gleefully obscure. When feminist academics discuss the patriarchy, men have been taught to react as if that means them, that because they have testicles they are automatically and wholly on the side of the opposition. This becomes something of a self-confirming error; if you think someone's declaring you their enemy, you'd be inclined to fight them. And if you're inclined to fight them, well, they might be inclined to see you specifically as an enemy where they weren't before.

Please forgive feminists for incindiary rhetoric, or for muddled language. If you read them closely, which society essentially forbids you to do - in the same way it forbids you to read more or less anyone closely, because it thinks your role is that of a brainless ox - you'll find the oppression they lament is a part of your day-to-day life as well.

I'm specifically writing for men here: straight men, probably straight white men too, although I suspect what I have to say pretty much crosses race boundaries. I'm lower-middle-class, but I've got a pretty commanding understanding of and personal experience with life in more or less every economic class. I appreciate woman-oriented feminism, but it is not what I am here for. There are billions of blogs doing that better than me.

When I say 'you', or for that matter 'we', I am talking to the reader - a straight man in the majority, who society tells you that feminists want to do away with or to burden or injure. This couldn't be farther from the truth.

The reality is that when feminists talk about the oppressive force - the patriarchy - they are talking about the same society that keeps your pay between the level that will sustain you and the level that will satisfy you; they're talking about the same society that wants to make sure your children stay in the same economic station as you; they're talking about the same society that threatens to draft you and shove you in harm's way for the benefit of the richest citizens. The patriarchy is those who would pull the wool over your eyes. Convincing the mass of men that patriarchy works out in their favor is the best trick they ever pulled; they managed to divide and conquer society without even putting in too much work.

The patriarchy isn't man; it is men, and only a few of them. Patriarch doesn't boil down to man but father, and in this case has an extremely negative connotation - one of usurpation, of people assuming the role of paternity without earning it or behaving appropriately for it. The patriarchy is not us; the patriarchy is not a father figure to us; the patriarchy is an abusive stepfather. While our sisters might suffer worse, we still have to endure a lot of unfortunate stuff because of that abusive stepfather's expectations.

So, with that in mind - that the patriarchy, the enemy, is the force which defines manhood as burdensome and womanhood as to be resented, which encourages us to take out our frustrations at the injustice of the world on our fellow-suffering wives, sisters, daughters, and mothers, and which ruins men and women alike.

The point of this blog is to document, and in the long term to fight, the efforts by the patriarchy to castrate us. And there's a lot to document.

Let's look at an issue where the common wisdom is that men gain the warm fuzzies and lose something substantial: paternal consent for abortion. This means that the man who impregnated a woman who seeks an abortion has veto power over that.

Now, he - or, surprisingly, she - who carries the standard for the patriarchy would argue that this gives us what we deserve: the right to decide what happens with life we create. In a weird, horrible sense, this might well be true. But consider what it does to the woman.

Any woman who has to endure one of those vetoes happens is gonna be fucked - seriously fucked - because she'll be having a kid she doesn't want by someone who is enough of a dick to force her to bear it to term and give birth to it. Suppose you meet that fucked woman; suppose you know that fucked woman. Now suppose you know dozens of them. Every law like this - which takes power over their own bodies away from women and gives it to men who would, if they were decent men at all, have no use for it - makes women think of themselves less as people and more as a lesser category.

Self-respect is sexy. I've met one (count 'em, one) woman who isn't a complete nervous wreck about her sexuality - and we're getting married in a few years. She's got self-respect, because she somehow escaped being acculturated to believe that her purpose is to roll over and take it when her husband is horny and then leverage that into QVC money. Stuff like paternal consent laws erodes that; most women aren't comfortable enough with their own bodies that they're willing to think of themselves as equal to their partner in every reasonable respect.

I carry her groceries because I'm buffer than she is. She corrects my papers because she's an English major and I'm poli-sci. That's about it, gender-difference-wise. Compare this to my other girlfriends, who worried constantly about losing me to other women, who made more money than me but felt intent on driving me into debt to have me take them out places. The attitude the patriarchy promotes is a poisonous one; it is the belief among both women and men that men are more basically personally fit than women, are intellectually stronger, and deserve to enjoy a place of leadership.

If the patriarchy had its way, every man-woman relationship would comprise a father and a daughter. Those are the grounds on which they used to not only justify a man beating his wife, but encourage him to do so and consider him suspect if he didn't: it was a good man's job to correct and guide his wife and to spank her when she got out of line. Just like a good father and all.

If that sickens you, congratulations! You love women, like the vast majority of straight men (and lesbians, although I'm not qualified to talk there). That's the most bitterly obvious way in which the patriarchy fucks us as men: it takes women away from us and gives us little girls instead. We can't get into relationships without having to worry about acting as the better of someone we'd like to respect as an equal; we can't have one night stands without having to wonder if she really wants it or if she's just rolling over because that's what she's been taught to do.

In the paraphrased words of Andrea Dworkin (no shit!), if sex is about power, sex can't be about sex. To extend that even further: if love is about power, love can't be about love. That's one of the basic dilemmas of being a man in the face of the patriarchy: we can't love without fearing that we hurt; we can't even get our Bone on without having to worry about it being some kind of rape.

Here's one of the lovely things about demolishing the patriarchy: guilt-free and awesome sex. When the idea that men are entitled to sex (and women are burdened with it) is no longer in common currency in our society, we can at last basically assume the veracity of consent when we get down and dirty. Women will no longer have to develop defense mechanisms against pseudo-men who think they are entitled to sex for being nice; when they want sex they'll come looking, and when we want it so will we.

Wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where dick-fixated car salesmen don't talk to you first when your spouse or girlfriend is looking for a car?

Wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where there are no wonderful women who can't enjoy giving head because all of their boyfriends thought they deserved it and would barely express gratitude for it - let alone reciprocate?

Wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where nobody laughs at you if your wife is out-earning you -- or assumes she ought to be putting her career on hold so you can have a child and a job?

Wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where you know your partner wants to be with you because nobody is making her?

This blog is about what it means to be a man, and, more or less, a human being. This blog is also about those who know what it means - but want to hide it.

This blog's purpose is to watch the perfidy of those who would prefer we see ourselves as cogs in a great machine and our beloved women as our inferiors - so far inferior we can never see ourselves in them.

This blog is about escaping the shackles of the patriarchy, which wishes to make masculine eunuchs out of all of us, and becoming real men.

It's a tough road, but with a good deal of introspection and debate - and that manly act as old as time, cracking the right Goddamn heads - we'll be able to take pride in our worth as human beings rather than our distance from the artifice of femininity.

Are we not men?