A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

An Open Response to Elizabeth Nolan Brown

It seems the article by Kay Hymowitz that I mentioned in my last post has been the subject of discussion on a blog at the Beta Culture 11 site. Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes:

The reason, Hymowitz submits, for “all this dating chaos” is that the dissolution of traditional methods of courtship and gender roles have left young men paralyzed by confusion. I submit that the reason for these particular men’s dating chaos is that they are misogynists.

They disparage “gold diggers,” and women who expect men to support them once married. Okay, one would think, so these men want strong egalitarian women, women who make their own money, have careers, etc. But then the same men also complain about how “modern women” suck and they just don’t make ‘em like the wives of yore (or like those Russian girls on the Interweb). So which is it?

I don’t begrudge anyone a personal desire to marry and start a family based on “traditional” gender roles. I get a little peeved when they begin suggesting that everyone should do the same, but if a man wants to be the sole breadwinner and find a wife who desires to stay home and cook and clean and take care of the kids—great! Likewise, if a man thinks that is a totally raw deal and would never marry a woman who doesn’t work—great! Or if he wants a bachelor’s life forever—great, too! But listen, dudes in this article: you can’t proclaim you really want a girl, and it’s women’s fault for not living up to the maddeningly-stupid paradigm you’ve dreamed up; that you can’t find a woman who’s sufficiently traditional while still being thoroughly modern. That is not a tenable position, at least not one that anyone other than other MRAs will agree with. There is not something wrong with women as a whole; there is something wrong with you.

Well, Elizabeth, if you want the "dudes" to "listen", as you say, perhaps you should return the favor, eh? Your charge of misogyny is problematic on two counts ...

1. It assumes that you speak for all women. Just because you cannot understand or sympathize with the views of the men highlighted in the article does not mean that other women are unable to do so. In fact, there are intelligent women like Dr. Helen Smith, who "get it " as well as Angela Fiori.

2. You falsely assume that any concern these men might have about certain disturbing behaviors found among women somehow translates into antipathy for the women themselves.

Please drop the "M" word, Elizabeth. It's a shaming tactic and many of the "dudes" don't take it seriously as a counterargument anymore.

Anyway, the main problem with your discourse is that you oversimplify and misrepresent the grievances of the men in question. The reason some men have a problem with putatively "conservative women" is not that these women want to live off a single paycheck, per se, but that these women don't understand the challenges men face. Men are facing an uphill battle economically. The days are long gone when a man could go out and support his family with a high school education. It takes two income to make it in a lot of cases.

Also, lot of so-called "conservative" women want to have their cake and eat it, too. These women want all the perks and privileges of feminism: the careers, the empowerment, the pushing men out of the way in the race for the cup, etc. but they then want to fall back on traditional gender roles in their personal relationships with men. I ask this: How logical is it for a woman to demand to make more money than a man, except when that man is her husband?

Now, with regard to so many "non-traditional" modern women, the problem is not their having jobs, per se, but also wanting to have their cake and eat it, too--just like the "conservative women." Many of them are not truly for equality. Many of them are not truly "egalitarian." After all, if you compete with men, don't you think you ought pick up the tab like them, too? Where are all the liberated women to woo, wine, dine, and support men? Many of these women are also hypocritical regarding commitment (they'll complain about men and yet be the first to run to the divorce court when things are no longer fun).

All of this would be bad enough but then some of these women cry a jag when men refuse to "grow up" and "settle down." In other words, when there is a shortage of men who could possibly meet "the maddeningly-stupid paradigm" [to borrow a phase from you] of these women, these women want to point fingers at everyone else except themselves. I remind you that it was Hymowitz and others who fired the first shot across bow in the war against single men.

When it comes down to it, there is the illusion of choice here. "Non-traditional" woman vs. "traditional" women is, in many cases, a shell game. Women across the political and social spectrum show little or no interest in the problems that men face. Across the political and social spectrum, many of them are woman-centered (and thus self-centered) to a fault. Let's flip it around: When women complain about how men treat them, how much sense does it make to tell them that they can't make up their minds whether they want Bob Packwood or Bill Clinton for husbands? Or try this one on for size: Just how important are your social and political views to the man you treat like dirt, anyway?

In closing Elizabeth, I must ask you if you really want the "dudes" to listen to you. Or was your blog post for the benefit of those already disposed to agree with you? Because, as I have indicated, the old listening thing needs to go both ways.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Guyland Canard

Hat-tip to Elusive Wapiti for directing my attention to this article. It's more of the same. Pretty interesting that the MGTOW movement is starting to hit the MSM, though.

What can I say? The Establishment is turning up the mike on the Mighty Wurtlizer of Shaming and Blaming Single Men. It's all over the articles, books, seminars, conferences, online guides, podcasts, what have you. "The beatings will continue until morale improves!" You know what? It won't change a thing, ya'll. Folks are yappin' like little feist dogs, barking up the wrong tree. The male squirrels are content to drop acorn shells on the whole gang.

Here is the point: A lot of young men are admittedly gullible, but a good bit of them aren't that gullible. The latter group knows very well that the nobody cares for them. Oh sure, people care about what men can provide or produce--as taxpayers, workers, consumers, family income earners, parishioners, etc. but no one cares about them as human beings. If people cared about young men as human beings, these men wouldn't have been shunted aside in their childhood as latchkey kids to be doped up on electronics and Ritalin. They wouldn't have been treated like creeps and losers in their adolescence for expressing heterosexual interest in girls. They wouldn't have been shuffled around in social caste systems that benefit only a few. They wouldn't have been forced into a cookie-cutter mode of officially sanctioned "manhood." They wouldn't have been told they are the "problem." Their concerns wouldn't have been ignored or laughed at. They wouldn't have been treated as an expendable commodity or, even worse, treated like vermin by an androphobic culture.

There is an old saying that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. People don't care about men. So men are beginning to not care about what people have to say to them. Q. E. D.

P.S. Don't look for too many expats from Guyland.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Marriage Guide for Men? Oh, Puh-lease.

You know, I think putting out a guide to help men get happily married is a great idea. That is, unless it comes from these folks (especially when it references these kind of articles).

The folks who put out the guide in question tell us: "Too many guys make their way into their 20s and 30s without the marriage modeling and insights that were once easy to find from dads, coaches, teachers, mentors and Christian leaders. When they do find advice about relationships, it's often spectacularly bad" (emphasis mine).

Yeah, the irony meter bumped into the red on that one. The folks responsible for this guide list all sorts of cheery statistics about men wanting to get married more than women (But wait, I thought men were the ones who had commitment problems!). I suppose all of this hoopla about guiding men to marriage merely serves to reinforce the preconceptions and value judgments certain pundits have about manhood. However, I am not certain their guide is going to gain much traction if developments like this become more prevalent.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Who Wears the Pants?!

A little while back, there was a piece in the Wall Street Journal about the power women wield in their marriage. The upshot of the article was this:
"Across all decision-making realms, it tilts to the woman," noted Rich Morin, the Pew study's lead author. "I was surprised by the percentage of men who made none of the decisions in any of the areas. A significant percentage were just bystanders." Not surprisingly, one reason men say they are willing to acquiesce in their spouses' wishes is that their wives usually have greater knowledge of the day-to-day activities and needs of the home than they do. They trust their wives' choices the way they would any specialist's. But what is rather unexpected is the deeper (and much sweeter) reason men have for giving in to their wives: They want them to be happy, or at least they don't want to be responsible for making them unhappy.

The general consensus of sociologists is that, whereas a woman's marital satisfaction is dependent on a combination of economic, emotional and psychological realities, a man's marital satisfaction is most determined by one factor: how happy his wife is. When she is happy, he is. Working within this framework, most husbands are unwilling to dig in their heels on any issue unless they have a tremendous incentive to do so.
Oddly, this article was mentioned by at least three religious blogs: Alex Chediak's, Tim Challies', and Ligon Duncan's. What was their reaction? Any criticism? Nothing. Is it me, or is there something terribly wrong with this picture?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Women Who Diss Christian Men As Being Weak

MLV's most recent post is a must read. It's a stark commentary on what men of faith face from their religious sisters when it comes to mate selection. He writes ...
... Women adore authentic men, even if they are authentically awful. This means they want to be dominated and controlled by men. Their emotional attachment to bad men is far more fulfilling and satisfying than they can ever admit. If they step away and realize how badly they are being treated, it is a cause for shame and embarassment.
MLV goes on to note ...
What does this mean for ordinary decent Christian men? It means if you have been taught from an early age that being a "nice guy" and being hyper religious is a way to win a good wife, you are being fed a load of nonsense. Women have ZERO interest in good and gentle men. They have huge interest in powerful, successful and sometimes abusive men. I see very few exceptions to the rule.
Perhaps this isn't true for all religious women, but unfortunately, it's true for too many of them. Even when people recognize this as a problem, it all too typical for them to suggest that we need to "restore" masculinity in our churches (as if faithful, Christian men have somehow lost something valuable that worldly men retain).

Uh, no. The problem is not the Christian men. The problem is the women. When they chase bad bays and invest themselves in destructive relationships, they are only demonstrating that they are not marriage material. These women are guilty of the doing the following to their faithful brethren:
  1. Dismissing humility as insecurity.
  2. Dismissing gentleness as ineffectuality.
  3. Dismissing prudence as cowardice.
  4. Dismissing peaceableness as indecisiveness.
  5. Dismissing long-suffering as defenselessness.
  6. Dismissing kindness as obsequiousness.
  7. Dismissing tender-hardheartedness as effeminacy.
These qualities are commanded by God for men (Eph. 4:2, 32; Titus 3:2; Prov. 24:3). These qualities are not optional. To reject these qualities or to water them down in the name of a worldly, Fight Club style masculinity is to rebel against the Creator. It's all too easily for men to sell out to make themselves appealing to women or to be respected by other guys. My fellow men, don't sell out. Christianity will always appear to be weak and stupid to those headed for destruction (1 Cor. 1:18). There are many men who are not afraid of pain or death, but who are nonetheless afraid of shame. Don't be afraid of shame (Matt. 5:11). It is the Devil's tool to make us conform to the status quo. Show your strength by refusing to give in to the false visions of manhood put out by others. Let the sinners call you a sissy for following the Prince of Peace. Remember that there will be a correction to that nonsense (Rom. 12:9; Luke 18:7; 2 Thess. 1:8).

For those godly men who have been rejected by religious women, take heart. You dodged the bullet. The chaff was separated from the wheat. You were spared being unequally yoked with women who merely had the form of godliness (2 Tim. 3:5). Here's the point: These women failed to trust in God. If they had trusted God, they would have not sought false security in the arms of ungodly men. They would have not embraced false masculinity.

I believe the shallowness of these women is worse than the shallowness of men. Why is this? When a man seeks out physically attractive women, it only becomes a problem when he places a premium on external beauty to the extent that spiritual considerations are compromised. On the other hand, when a woman chases ungodly men with certain endemic traits, she is outright repudiating when the Lord expects men to be. Let's face it: A man can go to heaven without such a woman. He can go to heaven even if all women are like this.

In short, when it comes to the temptation to be like the men of the world, don't take the blue pill, guys.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Regrettable Ad

Some time ago, Motte Brown offered a sneak preview of the new print magazine from Boundless. One ad in the forthcoming issue of the magazine caught my eye:

So, according to Boundless and Focus on the Family, bozos look a certain way. They look like the man in the picture above. In its effort to reach "twentysomethings," Focus and Family has clearly decided to use the kind of marketing and advertising techniques that one finds in secular publications.

What kind of image is Boundless really conveying when it does this? After all, men have been lectured by this organization not to get caught up in worldly ideas of beauty. Yet it has no compunction about using images to reinforce cultural stereotypes about men, stereotypes which arguably cannot be reconciled with a biblical attitude. Would it be excusable to market a book under the heading of avoiding "bimbos" or "loser chicks"? What kind of pictures of socially undesirable woman would one use in an ad for such a book?

Let me also say that I've gotten tired of beautiful, white models with clear complexions and a high degree of facial symmetry being used to represent everyday believers. Do we really need stock photos to reinforce the looks-obsessed norms of our culture? I suspect if I raised these kind of criticisms in another venue, I would be dismissed as "whiner" and a "sissy". So sorry to be a stickler about this, but an outfit that has made a practice of adjuring others to do a little soul-searching could stand to do some itself.

[A draft of this post was written many months ago but never published. I wanted the Boundless staff to have the opportunity to correct their publication, especially since some readers cautioned them about the ads. I, too, brought it to the attention of the staff, though my comments were not posted. However, as of this month, there is an animated GIF banner at the bottom of the main Boundless page which recycles the "bozo" ad.]