Several readers have asked me to elaborate on a point I made in Backlash against the Christian Manosphere regarding “the red pill” and empathy for women. See the previous post for full context, but my point was regarding this post by Samson’s Jawbone where he wrote:
Roissy is fond of saying that he’s not a “misogynist”; no, learning the unvarnished truth about female psychology has given him a *higher* appreciation for women. Not so for me. Sociosexual philosophy has disillusioned me beyond all reckoning. Peering deep into the psyche of woman has rendered me grievously scornful in feeling and mercilessly unscrupulous in behaviour towards these unholy, ungodly beings. I venture to say that… I hate them. Yes, I hate them! And how could I not?
Samson wrote that two years ago, and at the end of December 2012 he left this comment on my site:
I do actually agree that over-immersion in the manosphere makes one cynical and removes some of the romance from life, forever. Whether this outweighs the benefits of learning the truth is unclear, but I think it’s more important than I used to. I often wish I had my innocence back.
As I mentioned in Backlash, understanding women better has only increased my empathy for them. This is true even though I’m willing to call out bad behavior by women. In fact, failing to confront bad behavior by women is the primary way Christian men are failing women today.
My increased empathy for and understanding of women has helped me when composing advice for women both here on the blog and on Yahoo Answers. I haven’t done a formal count, but I believe I’ve offered more advice on both the blog and Answers to women than to men. My willingness to offer honest and (hopefully) helpful advice to women has at times frustrated my readers. In June of last year I offered advice to unmarried women on how to avoid the marriage crunch so many of their sisters are already experiencing. Commenter Nas asked:
You know this one thing really bugs me about many in the manosphere, the desire and need to give females advice. What team are you playing for anyway?!
I asked Nas what about my post made him angry; that I was giving women good advice, or that they won’t take it? He responded:
- Both but especially the latter.
But Samson’s issue was far deeper. Understanding women left him with at worst an intense hatred for women, and at best a greatly reduced ability to feel love for women. The first is an overreaction to starting from a position of overlooking all sins committed by women. If you nurtured a fantasy that women are innately good then seeing their sins for the first time is bound to be jarring. This is especially true given that the widespread pass given to women has encouraged an immense amount of bad behavior. If you are struggling with this be careful not to paint all women with the same brush, and to understand the pass which modern men have offered women for what it really is, cruelty dressed as kindness.
This doesn’t mean there is no place for anger at injustice, but to keep the larger picture in perspective. This means not seeing “woman” as a faceless collective, but making a serious effort to see individual women for who they are. The “red pill” helps us understand their different temptations from ours, but understanding this should help us empathize and relate to our own imperfection. Key to this process is keeping in mind the importance of repentance. One of the most powerful biblical examples of sin and repentance (for me) is the scene in Matthew where the rooster crows and Peter suddenly realizes he has betrayed Christ exactly as Christ had predicted. Overwhelmed with this sudden recognition, Peter wept bitterly*.
My advice in this area is to first consider your own failures, those you have truly repented from. With this in mind try taking the knowledge you have learned in the manosphere and apply it trying to help one individual woman at a time. Part of what you should have learned is how women are likely to react to your message, so you can tune it for maximum likely effectiveness. This requires putting yourself in her shoes as much as possible, and this is at the core of empathy. There is of course no guarantee that she will accept your good advice, no matter how expertly framed and communicated. However, if you are doing this well you should see that a good percentage of women are surprisingly willing to hear advice which goes entirely against the grain of our culture. As you do this you will start to see just how profoundly unhappy very large numbers of women are with the status quo.
The second problem with Samson’s reaction to learning the truth about women is his stated difficulty loving women. He says knowing the truth has left him cynical and removed some of the romance from life, forever. But what he longs to recover is something he never really had. He was in love with a fantasy, something which wasn’t real. If you can’t love a woman after understanding the truth, you never really loved her. Ironically the common complaint by men bitter about the red pill is that they can’t accept the fact that women aren’t attracted to “their real self”. There is a bit of fantasy-demolishing truth here, but it also overlooks something critical; it is in men’s natures to be leaders, to strive for dominance. Being a whimpering emoting wife-following beta shouldn’t be your natural state, your “real self”. If it is, then this is your real problem, not learning the truth about the problem. Note that I’m not saying beta is bad, but there are both negative and positive aspects to beta. Learning that the more craven side of beta turns women off shouldn’t disabuse you from retaining the more noble side. But to do this you need to take a hard honest look at who you are. If you are feeling bitter, this is almost certainly coming from the ignoble side of beta.
Also keep in mind that if you truly love your wife you will want to understand how to make her feel loved. If you are selfishly hung up on retaining a childish fantasy about women, you can’t understand her well enough to understand what she craves from you. That she is much more likely to be craving decisive leadership from you than fawning footrubs shouldn’t be a problem unless you are in a very unhealthy mental place as a man.
*See also this scene in John where Christ confronts Peter.