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9. Related to question 8, does work like yours attract misogynists? Why or why not? If so, is there anything that can be done to avoid it? If not, is there something an outsider like me isn’t understanding about the people that it does attract? Is it fair for me to ask the spanking question and the misogyny questions right next to each other? Are my biases making me see misogyny (for example, in the wife spanking crowd) where I should see something else? If so, what am I (and others like me) missing?
I think this primarily breaks down to two things:
1) “Normal” for conservative Christian culture is to pedastalize, really to idolize, women. This ties back to chivalry, which is why this is worse in conservative Christian culture than even feminist Christian culture. When “normal” is idolizing women, anything short of that will seem like misogyny. I’ll use two books as examples, but keep in mind the books themselves aren’t what is telling, it is the reaction by conservative Christian culture that is telling.
The authors of Every Man’s Battle wrote a follow on book on marriage titled Every Man’s Marriage. The thesis of the book is that a man’s wife is his “master”:
What I’m trying to say is that the “master” defines your rights (and remember again that though we refer to your wife as your “master,” it’s our shorthand for the fact that becoming one with her essence is actually your God-given master). Why? Because you’re called to oneness and her essence sets the terms.
The whole book is shot through with ridiculous quotes like that. See my series on the book for more examples. Outside of conservative Christian culture people would laugh at such tripe. But check out the Amazon.com reviews. Conservative Christians love this stuff.
Another book (and set of Amazon reviews) to consider is Wendy Griffith’s You Are a Prize to be Won!: Don’t Settle for Less Than God’s Best. Griffith is in her mid 50s and is so entitled/picky she has yet to meet a man who is worthy of marrying her! This should make her a cautionary tale to young Christian women not to be overly proud. But in conservative Christian culture Griffith’s massive entitlement makes her a role model. Griffith explains to young women that as entitled as she was, God wanted her to be more entitled:
…I heard the unmistakable voice of the Lord in my spirit. He whispered so clearly to me, Wendy, you are a prize to be won!
I knew the Lord’s voice, and I knew that He was speaking to me about my value. I didn’t need to be the one pursuing in a relationship or running around like a chicken with my head cut off, looking for love in all the wrong places. God has my man, and that man is going to recognize me as his prize! And the same goes for you.
Unfortunately, I have had to learn this lesson the hard way.
Pearl of Great Price
Ladies, the Lord wants you to know that you are a pearl of great price, a treasure worth pursuing and protecting. You are worth fighting for…
I don’t know if you saw the hilarious bit of trolling of feminist academia by a group that submitted the most absurd feminist papers they could dream up to academic journals. My personal favorite is their assertion that feminist interpretive dance would improve the study of Astronomy, but others prefer their paper about rape culture among dogs. The thing is, nothing is too absurd for academic feminists, and the journals couldn’t tell the hoax papers were satire because that is what real feminist submissions look like. If I were going to troll conservative Christianity, I’d write books like the two I just mentioned. I’d say headship means you are your wife’s slave and that the pearl of great price was not salvation, but women, and I’d present the advice on finding a husband as coming from a woman in her 50s who never managed to find a husband. But these folks beat me to it. How could I possibly make a parody more absurd than the real thing?
So just like anything short of the craziest things you can imagine feels like misogyny to feminists, the same is true (with a different flavor) for conservative Christians. The thing is, while lying to women makes both the liar and the women feel good, it is still cruel to women. Christian women have heard this message their whole lives, and many don’t know it isn’t true. Who really hates women, the men who offend them by telling the truth, or the men who remain silent while women are being lied to?
2) With that said, there is another aspect to this. Since pedestalization is so deeply rooted in our culture, learning that women sin too is very painful for many men. Upon learning that chivalry is a lie, many men initially react with what I call red pill bitterness. Most men either reject the truth outright or make it to the other side with an appreciation for women as they really are. But some men get stuck in the bitterness phase. It is like the “red pill” gets lodged in their throat; they neither fully swallow or spit it out. They see the truth (or at least part of it), but they hate it and therefore hate women for the fact that it is true. Christian former blogger Samson’s Jawbone described his own feelings in this regard:
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?
Not surprisingly Samson eventually left the men’s sphere. In general there is a good deal of patience for men who are working their way through this stage, but if a man gets stuck here and wallows in it eventually that patience runs out. As commenter Leap of Beta put it:
Samson doesn’t seem like he ever stopped grieving for the old him. He’s still stuck on himself and seems to think that he deserves better treatment from women, and seems to forget that God made women the way they are. He simply doesn’t seem to accept that on an emotional level even if he acts upon it on a rational level. So he goes through life acting on the facts, but never seeing the beauty of how women function when they follow the path God gave them.
Then he blames the manosphere for his unhappiness instead of just owning it. We’re degenerates. We’re cynical. We’re angry. Blah. Blah. Blah. We’re individual men in various states of grieving, acceptance, learning, growing, and teaching. You’ll get from the manosphere what you go looking for as well as what you put in. Samson has found what he’s wanted.
Interesting. I’ll have some follow-up questions, but I’ll let you answer question 8 first, and then we can hit a few things in more depth as needed.
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Note: Nathan reiterated at the end of our process that he may be adding further replies in the podcast. Also, I answered this question (question 9) before question 8, which is why Nathan notes that he will wait for that answer before asking any follow up questions on this one.