New commenter thule222 shared a link the other day to a blog post on the “balanced”* “religion and spirituality” site Patheos by Elizabeth Duffy titled Complementarity, Not Competition. I’m alarmed at the emotionalism of Ms. Duffy’s post along with the lack of intellectual rigor it displays. It contains a number of vague statements, a quote from the Pope about how some men are bad and others are good, and a picture of a man who appears to be taking the risk of launching a new business venture. After reading the post several times, my best take on what she is trying to get across is Shame on you if you read (or write) blogs in the manosphere. She could of course have had another point in mind entirely. Instead of my take on her blog post, she may have actually meant I like pizza. Her lack of specific assertions backed up by facts and logical argument makes this impossible to know. This is tricky business, and I’ve learned recently that you can’t take a woman’s own written claims as indicating her own opinion. It could even be the case that I need to tell her what she meant before she can decide if she will or will not back up her own assertions.
It may also be that her point was that as a man I shouldn’t be alarmed by the very lack of logical thought she was cleverly displaying throughout her post (emphasis mine):
Some personalities in the manosphere write mainly to other single men, but there are married proponents as well, who suggest that becoming more of an Alpha male will improve their marriage.
I don’t disagree. Husbands should know how to lure their wives happily to bed. They should know how to lead a family with authority and respect. They should understand women’s hormonal cycles and respond accordingly, or refuse to respond with alarm, as is often the more appropriate course of action. And above all, they should be happy about being men.
While I’m pleased to have Ms. Duffy’s permission to be happy about being a man, I do have some concerns about her assertion that men shouldn’t be concerned about women’s lack of control of their own hormonal cycles. I don’t mean this from a game perspective; proper game form in response to a woman behaving irrationally is often a posture of amused mastery. But this frame of mind is specific to a context where the woman’s emotional whims can safely be disregarded. This was generally the case prior to feminism. Aside from being about a general sense of unhappiness, feminism at its core is a rejection of the patriarchal view that women at times behave like children, and a deep desire of women to be taken seriously. With this in mind, I can only assume that Ms. Duffy very much wants us to take her seriously when she tells men not to take women too seriously.
Women have demanded and been granted the right to have their finger on the nuclear button and the unchecked power to destroy the nuclear family. How can we not be alarmed at the thought that they might not have the capacity to keep their emotions in check?
The promise from feminists as men have agreed to grant women greater and greater power has always been that women weren’t really slaves to their feelings and hormones. They argued fairly convincingly that women could and would act the way men are expected to act if we only took them seriously and allowed them into previously male only positions. Unfortunately as women have checked off each item in their be like men to do list, feminists have generally lost interest in holding up their end of the bargain. Instead of teaching women to be the real deal they have focused on creating separate lower standards only for women, and teaching women to fake it.
It hasn’t been this bad from the beginning though. The first feminists felt (and many women still do feel) that they needed to keep their emotions in check and perform up to high male standards in order to blaze the trail for other women. However, they either never figured out how to transfer this ethos to the larger population of women or never really intended to deliver on this promise. What has made this much worse is newer generations of feminists don’t consider themselves feminists, they consider themselves traditional conservatives. This gives us women who have post grad degrees in women’s studies who also expect men to at times afford adult women the understanding and protection granted to an eight year old.
At the same time, the feminist line has morphed. Many feminists simply ignore the issue. Others deny that this is an issue, and even claim that it is men and not women who need to learn to keep their hormones in check. This has lead to the popular memes of testosterone poisoning and Lehman Sisters. Additionally, the same feminists who tell us that women can and should be in positions of authority and leadership also tell us that it places women under undue strain to expect them to make decisions requiring trade-offs. This contradiction very much should alarm all of us. I don’t see how it can possibly end well. Either women are capable of behaving like rational adults and we decide to hold them accountable as such, or they are something like children who require adult supervision. The current path of women demanding and receiving the option to have it both ways is an unmitigated disaster, and in my view will only get worse.
For her part Ms. Duffy appears to absolve herself of any responsibility for the great harms of feminism while both defending it and enjoying the benefits of it. At one point she uses standard feminist language to shame men who raise concerns about it (emphasis mine):
There is a corner of the internet known as the “manosphere.” In a backlash to perceived cultural bias against men due to the mainstreaming of feminist principles, some men, feeling oppressed and trampled into submission by strong women…
Elsewhere in the post she writes:
The married portion of the manosphere has gained traction among some Christian and Catholic men, who—perhaps raised in broken homes—are looking for male role models as they strive to build a marriage and a family that will last.
Not only does she ridicule and belittle those who voice concerns with the immense damage caused by feminism without seriously addressing the actual issues, in the subtitle of her post she washes her hands of any responsibility for the harms of feminism. In truly childish form, if there are any negative outcomes to the changes women have demanded she decides that it must be men who are to blame:
For feminism to have gained a foothold, men had to collude with it, and it has been in their interest to do so; this leaves the message of the manosphere ringing hollow.
*Patheos appears to strive to have something for all faiths and “spirituality”. If you aren’t satisfied with Ms. Duffy’s Catholic non feminist feminism, you might instead try this article on the search for love by lesbian and straight Muslim women in the U.S. If neither of these strike your fancy, you might try this article from the Evangelical Portal on the appropriate response to Christian sexism and lack of acceptance for homosexuality by the author of the book The End of Sexual Identity.