American feminists almost never stop talking about how the most pathetic, most feminized, most emasculated generation of men the world has ever seen can become even better feminists. You see, it’s not good enough for men to stop being self-centered jerks, or to be “gentlemen” or even to accept unquestioning subservient stances in our relationships with women. We need serious reeducation in every aspect of our lives. And this work, apparently, is never done.
So, naturally, when Texan59 showed me this very helpful list on the womyn’s blogsite http://www.xojane.com, I immediately studied the 35 “practical steps for men” compiled by young academic Pamela Clark to see how I could become a better feminist.
The first thing that struck me about Ms. Clark’s list is how thoroughly advanced and fine-tuned it was. There’s not a whole lot in her list about serious knuckle-draggers, rapists or Taliban coffeehouse behavior. Being a young PhD candidate, Ms. Clark, has only known pre-feminized men. All the heavy lifting of shouting down that kind of behavior was done by her feminist sisters decades ago, so she’s blessed with a young crop of university girly-men to work with, and her list reflects that. When she rolls up her sleeves, she gets to focus on the minutiae of cost-sharing etiquette and reading lists. How great is that? Feminism is now so advanced it’s like the the mysterious and demanding disciplines of the Samarai or Bujinkan. You may spend your whole life studying l’art de la femme, but you will never be a master.
In gratitude for the list of 35 ways to improve my life, I feel obligated to reciprocate with my own small list for the gals.
Grunt’s Helpful List for Womyn: 5 Steps to Get Over Yourself
Before I get into the slammorama, let me just say that Ms. Clark’s advice has some real value, and I don’t mean to disparage all of it. A surprising number of her suggestions could really be distilled down to “Just be a gentleman.” I can’t argue with that, although I think it does rather beg the question about how she views the equality of women when so many of her suggestions for men seem to involve the enshrined pampering of women in one way or another. Perhaps she’s working on the assumption that women have always been the pamperers, and men just need to give some back to be “equal.” Perhaps we’ll deal with that question later with a “Where’s my sammich?” poll to see how well that usually works for the guys.
1. Finally admit that nobody has any idea what The Patriarchy really is.
People are individuals. Individuals who, understandably, resent being blamed for the sins of others, particularly the sins of groups of people we have extremely loose connections to. That’s why racism is so widely and rightfully despised, but also why the idea of racial “reparations” is ironically just as bad, though it is intended to resolve the injustice. Racism paints all members of a group with the same brush. Reparations for past racial injustice is impossible to apply because groups can’t be made to stand trial and made to pay. Only individuals can be found guilty. Inevitably, the wrong individuals will be singled out when racial criteria are used to determine guilt.
The same thing happens in the war of the sexes. Just look at the ridiculous demand that Pamela levies in item #8 and her basis for defending it in the comments. She really believes that men have been so privileged in the past and bear the weight of so many sins against women that they can be asked to make up for that by paying, in this example, 100% of the cost of contraceptives in their relationships. Just because she thinks they can afford it and “deserve” to pay. Seems legit, huh? But you see what she’s doing. She’s making individuals pay for the sins of the Patriarchy.
And about that Patriarchy thing; what is it, exactly? As near as I can tell, it means many things, including but not restricted to the “oppressive domination” of Almighty God, himself. I think it’s fair to say that if you entertain this view of God, and see no benefit from your relationship with him, then we’re not going to agree on very much, so you can feel free to skip right to the comments where you can begin the name-calling right now.
But that’s not what most feminists mean when they speak of the Patriarchy. They probably refer to the global, innate, male, old-boy’s club, not unlike the Illuminati, that pervades all societies and instinctively suppresses the desires of all women everywhere. Now look, I’m not saying that such a thing is a complete fantasy, but I grew up in the early 1960s, and I admit that there was some male-domination action going on. Women were not always taken very seriously. At some level, that exists today in some places, especially in those countries that American liberals seem to admire so much for their surgical practices on young girls, or something. But, for the love of Pamela, have you noticed what has happened since then in America? Even as a kid, I hated being surrounded by the crushing feminist propaganda that permeated everything here to an extent that never really happened in Europe. When I went to graduate school, I worked for a female engineering professor, and when it was time to get a job, companies hungrily scooped up female engineering graduates, hiring them over men and paying them more. In the defense company where I put in over 20 years, we were always, seemingly, under the command of women in director and vice-president roles, and today, the CEO of the corporation is a woman.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that not everything has changed for American women. There are still rich men (and women, now) who wield power over us and make our lives less than fulfilling. That’s a fact. But it seems that feminists, like Ms. Clark, don’t care to focus on the rich dudes and gals at the top of the food chain who rule our lives. To them, the young men of dating age are just as much a part of the Patriarchy, and they bear the brunt of the call for reparations. The way I see it, this view of the Patriarchy is a fantasy, and it’s as unjust to load them up with guilt as it is to blame a young Irish immigrant for the past crimes of slavery in this country.
2. Internalize the reality of the unearned privilege you were born into as a woman.
*snork* I can’t do it. I just can’t keep a straight face while stating total bullish*t lines like this, which of course, is taken from Pamela’s item #34. Ask any average guy about the “privilege” he’s inherited by being born male and see what kind of answers you get. I won’t command you to believe them as Pamela does in item #6; I’ll let you decide whether to believe them or not.
3. Accept that you are neck deep in a big, cherished double standard.
You know that men will never really accept some of what you’re pushing here, right? And you should know that they mock you about it when you’re not around. Pamela’s items #23 and #24 are fun to consider at this point. “Don’t treat your spouse like a nag. If she is nagging, you are probably lagging.” Also, “Know that acknowledging your own sexist opinions and stereotypes you hold is not enough.” There are other items that make it clear, as well, that you should keep your stupid opinions to yourself, if you’re a man. No criticism or shaming of women is allowed, of course.
So, what’s the point here? It seems that a woman is always right, and you should accept her criticism like a man and go improve yourself. But don’t get it in your head that you can say anything about your expectations for her or criticize her views on anything. Because women are fragile, you know. They simply can’t handle the truth about how you feel. So keep your feelings to yourself, you big brute. Yeah, I think that’s a bad message. Especially in the same sentence with demands about equality.
4. Ditch the whole “equality” scam.
Nobody’s ever been equal in any way except in value before God, and that’s the only way that counts. This is an ancient, mostly Judeo-Christian concept, so stop acting like you’re the ones who made up the idea of “equality” and the only ones who know how to administer it. And, by the way, the struggle for equality (or for equitable terms or good jobs or adequate clean water or decent liquor) is a struggle that transcends sex all over the world. Every one of us is in that struggle. It’s hard for all of us, except the few fortunate who hit the cashola jackpot. Equality is really a meaningless thing to be grasped at, and a terrible thing to try to enforce, after all. Tell me you are looking for love and respect and a decent cold beer and I will nod my head and think you wise. Tell me you seek equality, and I will think only that you are the biggest imbecile I’ve seen all day.
5. That hypocrisy makes your butt look big.
You don’t know what I’m talking about? That doesn’t surprise me. If Pamela knew, I doubt she would have stated #6 the way she did. “When a woman tells you something is sexist, believe her.” Uh huh. And when Al Sharpton tells me something is “racist,” I have to believe him, or I’m racist, right? The considered opinions of men don’t matter much to you, do they? Or maybe you just think they are usually wrong, because men are too stupid to know any better. That’s fine, at least in the ladies locker room. But in the real world, especially the academic world, when you say something like #6, you’re stating a rule for someone that you have no intention of following yourself, in a reciprocation sense. You’re saying “Never argue with a woman, because she knows.” But you have no intention of granting men such an inherent knowledge, or authority, about anything. That’s the very definition of hypocrisy. Stop it. Really. If you do not grant some respect for others’ opinions, regardless of how much you “think” their “group” has abused their “privilege,” then you cannot expect any in return.