The Dodge and Cop-out

It is hard to deny that some women date jerks. It is easy to find scores of women who date “bad boys”, many of whom later lament their poor relationships with these men. Likewise, it is easy to find scores of men who complain about women refusing to date them. Many of these “nice guys” have the qualities women say they prefer in men, yet these men find it difficult to get dates, let alone build a romantic relationship.

This all ends in a basic question: why do women date assholes?

One feminist decided to tackle this question. Melissa A. Fabello wrote a piece about it, stating:

It happens invariably – and innocently enough – the question that makes all feminists cringe because we know that what will follow is a Nice-Guy-Syndrome-Friend-Zone-Arrgh-Wtf rant.

But why do some women go for a**holes?

I see you. I see you cringing.

But when I off-handedly tweeted the other day that I was working on this article, something unexpected happened.

I was barraged by an onset of tweets. Men thanked me for taking the question on, because they’ve been waiting to get a real answer.

Well, they will be disappointed because Fabello does not really take the question on. Instead, she falls back on feminist rhetoric and doctrine. As she wrote:

The Four Boxes of Gendered Sexuality is a theory that we, as feminists, are already familiar with, even if we don’t know it by name. In essence, it’s an expansion of the Virgin/Whore Complex, which posits that women can either be good at womanhood (by being an awesome wife and mother and having a sexuality that is saved for the “right” men) or horrible at it (by being an outspoken, brazen slutty slut-slut).

This accounts for two of Crane and Crane-Seber’s four boxes: The Good Girl—who is subordinate, dependent, and passive—and The Bad Girl—who is independent, educated, and sexually liberated. Embedded in this dichotomy is the idea that it is more socially acceptable to be the former.

But men, too, are forced into boxes. The Tough Guy—aggressive, sexual, restricting, and stoic—is our social ideal. The Sweet Guy—intellectual, emotional, artsy, and cultured—on the other hand, is considered a sort of failed masculinity.

It is interesting that the contrasts for women are rather benign while the contrasts for men are caricatures. Where in western society do we tell men to be “restricting”? And who says that only the “Sweet Guy” is artsy and cultured? The Dos Equis commercials are built around the man’s man–the cultured, intellectual, sexual, stoic, and assertive male ideal. The Renaissance man is still someone who is admired and generally thought of as the man men want to be. If the masculine ideal were as Fabello described, the Dos Equis man would break the beer bottles over women’s heads and drag them back to his cave.

It seems that Fabello is working from the strawman version of masculinity and manhood that feminists love to pummel.

I would agree with Fabello that society teaches us that a very specific masculine ideal is what people want, and that every male should strive to achieve it. I also agree that we teach this to people starting when they are children. However, I reject her concept of what that ideal is, if for no other reason than that it does not reflect reality.

Of course, all of that ignores the original question of why some women only go for assholes. Fabello finally got around to answering that:

The truth is we shouldn’t be asking why some women date bad guys. We should go to the root of the problem first.

So why do some women go for a**holes?

Here’s why—we’re told to.

That seems unlikely, and robs women of their agency. Or more accurately robs them of their responsibility for making poor choices and ignoring the type of men feminists claim women prefer. Granted, giving women agency would undermine the flawed logic of Fabello’s argument, so she has no other choice.

But how unsurprising that the root of the problem is men.

The feminist logic applied here does not parse. Firstly, this notion that “the problem, really, starts with the fact that what’s considered “masculine” in our culture is dominance, aggression, prowess, competition, abuse, restriction, argumentativeness, control, and violence” is a strawman. While our culture certainly associates those characteristics with masculinity, the masculine norm pushed by our culture is assertiveness, competence, capability, competition, command, and stoicism. Those qualities can, like all human behavior, be twisted into something negative, but they are not negative in and of themselves.

Secondly, even if the strawman were true, that would not explain why women choose the type of men they apparently have no real interest in when the men they are interested in ask them on dates. One could argue that those men do not fit the norm, yet if women prefer the abnormal male, why would they continuously reject them?

Fabello went on to describe something about opposites that I could not figure out, and then offered list of things men could do to fix this problem of women being forced by society to date assholes:

1. Distinguish between someone who is hegemonically hyper-masculine and someone who is abusive.

It’s kind of like squares and rectangles—someone who is abusive is adhering to the hegemonic mold, but someone who is “masculine” by social definition is not necessarily dangerous.

If you think that you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, then please redirect here.

But remember, just because they’re not abusive doesn’t mean they’re good for you.

This is nothing by doctrine. What is the “hegemonically hyper-masculine” and who gets to define it? That is clearly a code word to appeal to the feminists the article was actually written for, but it actually needs some explanation.

Regardless of that, Fabello’s following argument makes no sense. First, by her logic only men can be abusive. Second, she previously stated, “The problem, really, starts with the fact that what’s considered “masculine” in our culture is dominance, aggression, prowess, competition, abuse, restriction, argumentativeness, control, and violence.” That statement implies that being “hegemonically hyper-masculine” makes one abusive because that is the key aspect of that male ideal. So there is no difference between “someone who is hegemonically hyper-masculine and someone who is abusive”.

2. Be careful with the gendered language that you use around children.

They are sponges. They soak up everything that you say. Tell the young boys in your life that it’s okay to cry, and that it’s not okay to act violently.

Even though the outside world is teaching them to adhere to gender roles, you can help them think critically about these messages and develop their own individualized sense of masculinity and humanity.

This would make a better warning if it were applied to both sexes instead of just boys. It would also make a better warning if it that care with language also included avoiding shaming language like, “The problem, really, starts with the fact that what’s considered “masculine” in our culture is dominance, aggression, prowess, competition, abuse, restriction, argumentativeness, control, and violence. Also known as being an asshole.” I think telling boys that they or the men they admire are inherently bad and must be fixed will hurt them just as much as telling them not to cry.

But I do enjoy the suggestion that it never crosses anyone’s mind to tell the boys in their lives that it is not okay to act violently.

3. Be cognizant of your relationship choices and actively ask yourself if your partner is what’s best for you.

This goes for everyone, always, all the time. But within the context of this article— don’t accept that a male partner who is withholding emotion, telling you what to do, or unable to manage anger is just “boys being boys.”

Because it’s not. It’s “men being the men that they think they’re supposed to be.” Ask for more. From your partners and from yourself. Men are capable are so much more, even if society says they’re not.

I can’t tell you why you’re attracted to the kinds of people that you are. But what I can tell you is that our sense of gender roles and expectations is deeply ingrained.

And it’s worth taking a closer look at. Your happiness and relationships you’re in are worth you taking a closer look.

You cannot say this goes for everyone, always, all the time, after spending a couple thousand words saying that only men and masculinity are the problem. It rings hollow.

As I read Fabello’s article and another one with a similar “males are the problem and need fixing” theme, I kept trying to figure out what caricature of men these feminists are working from because no man I know, even the abusive ones, suffer from that dearth of character. I thought on it and for a moment thought that it may be the action hero, but I realized he is actually emotional at times and does not fit their mold.

Then it struck me. These feminists see men as this:

uruk hai

That is the only explanation that makes any sense. Men must be mindless, soulless, thoughtless minions of the Dark Lord. I suppose the plus is that feminists think the damage can be undone.

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28 thoughts on “The Dodge and Cop-out

  1. Sad really, I expected a much better answer but the deflection n refusal to give women agency is just plain annoying.

  2. It is interesting that the contrasts for women are rather benign while the contrasts for men are caricatures.

    I noticed that too.

    It seems that by that set up women are poor innocent dears that simply cannot win no matter which way they choose (and men men are just lining up to enforce whichever way suits them) while men can either “win” being jerks or “lose” by being fully human (and apparently women play no part in enforcing these).

    I get that they want to try to open up conversation on these things and try to open up gender roles and give people the freedom to embrace their fully humanity. But it seems like at the end of the day some people just don’t want to let go of their security blankets that let them avoid responsibility or security blankets that let them blame all the bad things on the other side for eternity.

  3. The purpose of real, long-term relationships, Echart Tolle says, is not to make you happy or fulfilled; they are to bring out the pain within you so it can be transmuted. They can make you more conscious, and if you can accept this you can move to another level, and the relationship will flower naturally, free of your unreal expectations.

    Blame blinds you to yourself, and what you can really change and “work with” to be free from pain. I’m seeing a fair number of feminist women caught up in this “men are the problem” view, and I avoid them, because … they’re really quite unconscious. As you notice, they recreate being victims, don’t take responsibility or their agency well. Or get overly assertive, aggressive, abusive and call it empowerment.

    Let them go. With this perspective though, I find a lot of women interested in relationships. Though, there is a lot of confusion and problems for LTR now generally. And it’s like climate change. It’s all around us, but we’re not dealing with it well at all.

  4. It seems that by that set up women are poor innocent dears that simply cannot win no matter which way they choose (and men men are just lining up to enforce whichever way suits them) while men can either “win” being jerks or “lose” by being fully human (and apparently women play no part in enforcing these).

    What I find most curious is that none of them catch that by removing women’s agency, by claiming that women are just pawns of society, that these feminists argue against their own goals. If women are so controlled by society that they will not date the men they actually like, how can women break free of “the Matrix “Patriarchy”? If women are this powerless, what hope is there? I also find it ironic that their answer to that question is men changing everything. For a group that does not like the white knight riding in to save the damsel in distress, these feminists seem to call on him a lot.

    I get that they want to try to open up conversation on these things and try to open up gender roles and give people the freedom to embrace their fully humanity.

    I am not convinced they are actually interested in opening up a conversation, changing gender roles, or giving people the freedom to embrace their full humanity. The number of comments that go into moderation and the lack of articles presenting the opposite perspective suggests that they are more interested in an echo chamber. Or perhaps simply expanding their bubble. The other two they may want for women, but I cannot see how they could want that for men when they fully reject all of the “traditional” masculine qualities as bad. It seems more like they are simply exchanging one set of rules for another: those that they make themselves.

  5. @Jacob

    I agree with the echo chamber idea. I posted several comments and the only one that got through was an acknowlegement, agreement with one of the female commenters . The others, which were critiques, I guess, got lost in never never land.

  6. Titfortat, I suspect that certain people’s names and certain words are flagged for moderation. That is really the only way so many comments could continuously end up in moderation. That would at least explain why critical comments directed at non-feminists get through with no problem.

  7. In Melissa Fabello’s article there seem to be three main groups of actors, men, women and “we”. Women are told which men to prefer by “us”. Now us consists mainly of all the men and women and for a woman who doesn’t want to date an asshole and for a man who isn’t an asshole it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to promote the idea that assholes are superior men and women should prefer them. Melissa doesn’t give a reason why “we” support ideas which seem detrimental to our happiness. It is almost as if “we” and we are two antagonistic entities.

  8. About the moderation I really dont know, but I have the impression that the robo moderation react automatically at certain words like FEMINIST (not feminism) or common insults like FUCK. My impression is it happens quite often to everybody.
    Unless you chat directly with some of the feminist commenter on msn/skyp/etc its difficult to know if the moderation keeps also their message back. Sometimes you can be in mod for few minutes other times for hours. I think the message has to be reviewed ed by a human mod. And since they are human, they are not always behind a keyboard : children crying, or a fast visit to the wc or coffey making etc. That is my impression.

  9. ” And since they are human, they are not always behind a keyboard : children crying, or a fast visit to the wc or coffey making etc. That is my impression.”

    There’s also work, entertainment (being at the movies or something, a date), sleep time that would account for mods being unavailable. Moderation is rarely a paid-for job, even when it’s given (as a position) by a for-profit company.

  10. I think you guys are probably right about the mods. I now see my other comments. Took a while, maybe the moderators were at a rally or something. ;)

  11. I’m just tired of fearing moderation because much of my comments are slapped with a big “Your comment is awaiting moderation”. Even when I haven’t insulted or offended anybody.

    It’s gotten to the point where I’m just going to let it be and cease commenting. Besides, The Good Men Project is showing it’s true colors allowing articles like this, the psycho bitch from hell, 6 things to talk to your son about violence and masculanity (paraphrasing), Anti-marriage feminist gets married, etc.

    For a magazine that Tom claims features stories from the male persepective, it certainly has kotowed to the gynocentric feminist viewpoint. Of course, that could be due to having Noah Brand as their editor in chief.

    God, I remember the old days when actual male experiences were published often including those who have been seriously hurt, and the days of it being a feminist echo chamber were behind them.

    Now it’s back to square one with gynocentric, biased viewpoints dominating the article list.

    Tom and Lisa have lost their way again.

  12. About the moderation I really dont know, but I have the impression that the robo moderation react automatically at certain words like FEMINIST (not feminism) or common insults like FUCK.

    Yet if that is the case, why are there plenty of supportive comments with those words in them that were not held in moderation? This is not the first time GMP has had this problem, and it usually the strange moderation happens to the same people and specific types of articles.

  13. Eagle, Tom and Lisa have a problem in that their primary audience is feminist because they are feminists and the authors they publish tend to be feminists or liberals. If they publish material that does not appeal to their audience, the articles will get few views. I also think you should look at this in context of the last two months. With the fallout from the rape articles they published, GMP’s feminist credentials are in question. Running more feminist articles, especially those talking about the evils of “traditional” masculinity, may help restore some of that cred. This is not the first time GMP has done something like this.

    They really are between a rock and a hard place. They get no love from the average man who visits their blog because most of the articles do not address those men’s interests or concerns, and they get no love from feminists because they will not bend to feminists’ every want and desire. Yet this is what happens when one tries to create a feminist-center men’s space. Both groups are suspicious, and you end up having to silence the men who will talk with you in order to appeal to the feminists whose support you want.

  14. Nearly all of my comments end up in moderation, but they do get posted. Relax a while folks, give them time to accept them. They get a huge amount of comments and the topics are quite controversial so they have to moderate a lot.

  15. I think some articles are set to auto-moderate as well which explains odd behaviour, post length also triggers it (I usually always trigger that one)

  16. Toysoldier :” Yet if that is the case, why are there plenty of supportive comments with those words in them that were not held in moderation? This is not the first time GMP has had this problem, and it usually the strange moderation happens to the same people and specific types of articles”.

    How do you know its not held in moderation? lots of comments even from feminist and their supporters appear sometimes delayed to me, other times their appear fast. Just as it happens to all of us. Im sorry but I dont really believe that there is something ambivalent behind this. As far I know its a robotic moderation (automod) and it has some triggers (like Archy said, to long, to short or some words as I pointed out before, or the rate messages send by the users, or if there is a link ect). I dont have a problem with the moderation, and I am sometimes a hothead… I type to fast without thinking (embarassing I know) but still my messages mostly appear and few others after few minutes. Never had a reason to complain. And I never lost a message, all my posts appear. None of them vanishes.
    But I am kinda unsatisfied by the mod, but for other reasons, sometimes seem insults and rude comments from both sides (feminists and humans) seem to appear unchanged. And to me this is the moderation doing a poor job. But beside that, I dont see them targetting some specific individuals or a group of people.

  17. OMG did a mistake, there is a double post in my message, but I cant edit. I lost connection for a few minutes, and I saved the message. Then past and copy, but I couldn see it, so I did it twice, when it finally appeared, I posted it. Is there some way I can edit this?

  18. How do you know its not held in moderation?

    You are correct that I do not necessarily know that those comments were not held in moderation. However, I can see that the more testy comments written by feminists appear more often than those written by non-feminists. I can also see that when comments are released, they tend to be the more critical comments, often without any profanity or insults in them.

    I do not not doubt that the automod has a bunch of false positives. That happens on this blog (as it did with your post). Yet when it consistently happens on certain types of articles, it becomes less likely that the moderation is random.

  19. Concerning Fabello’s claim that the masculine ideal men are taught to pursue inolves being abusive, controlling, violent, boorish, etc:, I think she’s mixing up what men are typically told they should be and what men are typically told they ARE. The mainstream, traditional attitude towards men and boys- which feminists mostly seem to share- is that:

    1. Males are by nature violent, predatory, crude, abusive, etc. and must be “civilized” into something decent people can tolerate, and

    2. This “civilizing” process is usually fragile or superficial, so that most men never really rise very far above their naturally bestial state and are forever on the brink of backsliding into it.

    I very rarely hear anyone say that being male means I SHOULD be a crude, stupid, bellicose caveman.(Even celebrations of such behavior don’t portray it as something to strive for; it’s presented as accepting what you supposedly already are anyway.) But I’ve heard folks say that being male means I ALREADY AM one all my life.

  20. John Markley,

    I’ve seen the opposite view also put forward. The assumption is made that males (or people in general) are sociable, peaceful and kind by nature and that it’s the society’s culture that indoctrinates them into being violent, predatory and so on. This view conveniently lines up with the whole patriarchy spiel. Neither assumption is really all that helpful in understanding human behaviour or determining how to change it.

  21. I once sent Lisa an e-mail about how most of my comments were moderated and deleted. This was her response:

    “The problem is that you look at every post as a way to talk about the fact that you were bullied and hurt by women. You don’t give any new information, you don’t tell any new stories, you don’t try to have a positive look at the commenter or the post at all. We just never see that.

    It’s not that we don’t believe your story — we do — 100%, and we support your efforts to talk about it so you can move on.
    But we want to hear different things. See different sides of you. See how you really think about the story in a way that tells us something new about you.

    We are trying to have this be a space where people are here because they move the conversation forward. But whining and complaining and trying to bully us into making our moderation go faster just isn’t going to do that.”

    Okay, I have gone overboard with the moderation problem and certain things. I admit that.

    Thing is though, if Lisa or the mods feel that all it takes for me is to talk, or even hint about, my past that it deserves moderation and deletion, then I can’t help but feel violated.

    What she fails to realize is that while they believe my story, there’s still the rest of society out there that doesn’t. Worse, they also support viewpoints expressed explicitily in those articles that tie into how invisible my story is rendered. Most of those segments penetrate the commentary and so I have to respond.

    I want to move on, yes, but the problem is a safe space for my story is rare and these ignorant masses are too much to take.

    I respect Lisa’s viewpoint. But at the same time, there’s still a lack of places to feel safe so I can feel my story is welcome in all segments of society. So I keep on telling it.

    Besides, I have made comments not relating to my story. Yet some are automatically put into moderation or deleted altogether.

  22. sometimes i regret not accepting the offer to be a gmp mod, the hat would have looked mighty fine on my head.

    i feel the gmp moderation would be faster if the modded comments went to a central email and not to the individual mods email, as currently happens now. mods then log-in to this central email, or the central email forwards the modeded comments to all mods.
    that way a comment is less likely to get stuck for hours because it went to a mod’s email when they are offline for the day

    the current system is slowing down the chat too much , im tempted to email lisa about it

  23. Eagle, the ironic thing about Lisa’s comment to you is that many of the feminists who write for GMP and post comments talk about their personal experiences. As far as I can tell, no one censors their comments or blocks them from writing articles. Likewise, people react to things based on their life experiences. It is only natural that if something were a defining experience that they would mention it often.

    Lisa saying that “But we want to hear different things. See different sides of you. See how you really think about the story in a way that tells us something new about you.” implies that you are either holding something back or that she is just tired of hearing about it. Here is what I suggest: give her what she wants. Do not mention your abuse on GMP anymore. If there is any topic about women’s violence, comment on it, but keep your comments general and neutral. Do not mention what happened to you, only a general discussion about women’s violence.

    Do this for two reasons: one, to see if that stops the moderation problems, and two, to see what Lisa’s reaction will be. Will she take note of it or ignore it altogether?

    I suspect the issue is not you mentioning your story, but that you often disagree with feminist authors. I am not saying do not disagree, only that you should play their game to see what it is they actually want.

  24. I’m afriad it still happens, Toysoldier.

    I think it’s something that broke the camel’s back so to speak.

    I’ll wait and see if any latest comments make it through moderation. But so far, I’ve already had another comment get moderated and deleted that had nothing to do with my past.

    If the latest comment I made doesn’t come through, then I’ve had it with that place. Let them have their echo chamber.

  25. Well, they went through. Thank goodness.

    Yeah, give them what they want. But I’m not going to comment as much as a I used to.

  26. Eagle ” “The problem is that you look at every post as a way to talk about the fact that you were bullied and hurt by women. You don’t give any new information, you don’t tell any new stories, you don’t try to have a positive look at the commenter or the post at all. We just never see that. ”

    Is there a chance that you went OT?

    Anyways since you have greater experience I stand corrected, maybe there is something rearding the moderation. Im simply not bright enough to see it and my personal experience say otherwise but since you have been at GMP for longer time than me, maybe you are right. For now we disagree, but im open for the possibility and I will keep a eye on the mod rutines on the project site.

  27. Eagle35, don’t even both posting; they’re not listening. Men’s experiences and feelings don’t count to feminists; when feminists say men shoud express their feelings, they mean onlly to allow you to express those feelings which agree with their weltanschuung.

  28. Assholes have confidence. Women desire and need confidence. It’s not only a turn on- it’s a need. I need a confident man to make me feel confident.

    There are no nice guys and bad guys. There are guys with confidence and guys who complain that they aren’t getting laid. That nice guy could just as easily be a rapist.

    People are assholes. Nice guys are people who can hide it. If there is a nice guy out there- he wasn’t interested in the right girl. He wanted big boobs and pochahontis hair… She was dating a different asshole at the time. And she wasn’t all that into the way “nice guy” was doing everything BUT making it happen.

    Nice guys? Are you out there? Slap yourself and stop whining. Buy the girl flowers and tell her you want to pull her hair.

    H

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