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

Friday, July 3, 2009

Recommended Essay

I was troving the MRA blogosphere when I stumbled across a wonderful essay by F. Roger Devlin ("The Feminine Sexual Counter-Revolution and Its Limitations"). Devlin has written for a publication called Occidental Quarterly and apparently the essay in question was supposed to be published by that journal. The piece is over year old and perhaps some of you have already seen it, but it nonethless gets to the heart of one of things this blog has been trying to fight. That is, the whole neo-chivalrous, "damsel in distress," marriage mandate, Makenite tripe that has gripped the imagination of religious conservatives. Devlin's article busts the stupid myth that women are just precious little angels that need to protected from unscrupulous, immature men.

A juicy quote:
When the sexual revolution began, women imagined that the "slavery" of marriage was unfairly standing between themselves and endless erotic fulfillment. Forty years later, many are imagining instead that the availability to men of sex outside marriage is standing in the way of their wedding. "If other women were not sluts," they reason, "the man of my dreams would be forced to discover my true value and come crawling to me with a diamond ring." One of the interviewees from Shalit's first book, for example, complains: "After three dates when I wouldn't sleep with [a certain man], he dumped me, just like that! If you ask me, it's because it's way too easy for them. Why should they waste time with a girl like me when they can get it for free?" (RM, p. 104)

Now, how does the woman know this is the reason he "dumped" (stopped courting) her? Never once have I heard a woman say: "I am such a pain in the derriere that after just three dates men are charging for the exit." Appealing to the supposed universal availability of sex has become a way for women to avoid facing the reality of rejection. Men break off courtships for all kinds of reasons: they may sense that a particular girl might not be faithful, is not careful with money, has too many bad habits, or just plain is not for them. Holding out for wedding rings is not going to solve these women's problems and allow them to live happily ever after. If we could wave a magic wand and cause extramarital sex to disappear overnight, many women would be shocked to discover that handsome movie stars were still not flocking to their doorsteps with flowers and chocolates. (emphasis mine).
Devlin's essay is actually a review article of Wendy Shalit, but it could have just easily been a response to Debbie Maken, Albert Mohler, certain staff writers for Boundless.org, and the Evangelical Establishment Media to boot. It's a lengthy piece, so don't scan over it and miss the good stuff. Enjoy.


Novaseeker said...

Devlin is one of leading intellectuals, without question.

To me the money quote for men is this one:

"In order to understand what is really going on, it will be necessary to shine a harsh light on a matter women instinctively prefer to keep under wraps: the female sex drive. Shalit almost never refers to it, and there is even a certain appropriateness about this, since such reticence is part of the feminine modesty she is trying to reestablish. But it means a veil is drawn over some important circumstances that must be honestly confronted if marriage and the natural family are to be restored as social norms.

When a young girl becomes erotically aware of boys, she is endowed by nature with a set of blinders that exclude the majority of them — including many who can make good husbands — from her sight. What gets a male within her narrow range of vision is called "sexual attractiveness." What is it?

It is not possible to find out by asking women themselves. They will insist until they are blue in the face that they want only a sensitive, respectful fellow who treats them right. "Intelligence, kindness, personality [and] a certain sense of humor" make up Wendy Shalit's list of supposedly sought-after male qualities. (RM, p. 116) In a passage on the decline of male courtesy she delivers the following ludicrous assertion deadpan: "When ... a man does dare to open a door for a woman, he is snapped up right away." (RM, p. 156)

When women claim to be seeking kindness, respect, a sense of humor, etc., they mean at most that they would like to find these qualities in the men who are already within their erotic field of view. When a man asks what women are looking for, he is trying to find out how he can get into that field of view. Women do not normally say, either because they do not know themselves or because it embarrasses them to speak about it. The advice they do give harms a lot of lonely men who mistakenly concentrate their mating effort on showing kindness and courtesy to ungrateful brats rather than working to gain the things females actually respond to."

And there you have it.

When female sexuality is totally freed up, you get unrestrained hypergamy, which is an underlying assumption when women say "what they want". In effect many women are saying "we want a hypergamously attractive man who has also these other qualities", as Devlin points out.

We shouldn't be too harsh on women for that, though. Men are similar in having our own standards and then the "pluses".

The issue is what model works for a stable society, and this current one seems to be failing.

Amir Larijani said...

Novaseeker: I absolutely agree. To me, the issue is not whether women have their stated standards--on top of the range of men to which they are normally attracted.

After all, we men do the same thing.

The issue is (a) getting women to admit that it works both ways, and (b) getting both sides to realize that while it is not wrong to have standards, the key word is reasonable.

Are there "Christian" men who play the field and pass up otherwise good Christian women who do not?

Certainly, just as there are "Christian" women who date non-Christian men and pass up otherwise good Christian men who are active in the church.

I've seen my share of men who pass up otherwise good women for the hottie who shows up to church only when volleyball season is about to start.

I've also seen my share of women who pass up good Christian men for the "cool" drug dealer who would bust the headboard at her expense.

Do these instances explain the dilemma of protracted singleness among Christians?

To that question, I'm not so sure. After all, the opposite sex attraction dynamics we're discussing here are hardly recent occurrences: if this were not the case, then (a) the men of ancient Israel would never have had a problem marrying outside the 12 tribes, (b) no men or women would ever be guilty of adultery, (c) and premarital sex--or serial monogamy--would never have been an issue.

Nor can one point to the "shortage of men" in the church, as women have tended to outnumber men in church attendance for hundreds of years. Murrow points out that this trend began with the Vatican-era deification of Mary.

Moreover, even in exigent circumstances--such as the aftermath of wars that took hundreds of men out of the marriage pool--women have had easy times getting married.

Fact is, even the "difficult to marry" types would have had an easier time getting matched 50 years ago.

There are larger social trends that have created our more recent dilemma.

Feminism is one factor--probably a big one.

The demographic trends that have led people to grow up less-tied to their communities and churches, are probably another.

50 years ago, fewer people in real and percentage terms would go to college. Those who did often (a) found their mates in college, or (b) married someone they knew from high school.

Today, more people are going to college. Women in college are not as predisposed to getting the "Mrs. degree", as the feminist culture discourages that actively and passively. Men and women are more likely to move often in their childhoods, experience divorce, change churches, and therefore become less-attached to the community in which family bonds and personal ties would have been established otherwise.

Topping it off, church ministries--especially to youth and young adults--just plain sucks.

We have the perfect storm.

stj said...

who the hell is "f roger delvin"?

Anonymous said...

"who the hell is "f roger delvin"?"

He's the author of at least 4 articles that every Christian man should read and digest before he ever considers marriage.

They are, in no particular order:
1) Rotating Polyandry;
2) Sexual Utopia in Power;
3) The Feminine Sexual Counter-Revolution and its Limitations;
4) Economics in the Home.

Read them...Print and distribute them...email them.


TMink said...

Good points guys. Another, if I may add, is the effect of lying media on our expectations.

I was a photographer, and did a little work with models. The shoots were way complicated by the amount of support people involved to try to get the models to look different than they actually did. We would take several rolls of film to get one shot that might be used.

Today, with photoshop, it is easier to lie, but the results are the same.

This process produces an unrealistic expectation and focus on how a person looks. I wonder if there would be the huge market for voluntary cosmetic surgery if the advertising and movie industry were not built upon lies.


Anonymous said...

Devlin is no MRA role model. He's a scary racist who writes for scary racist publications. Come on guys, we can do better than that.

TMink said...

Anon, could you please give some examples. I found some times when Devlin addressed race, but I did not find racist messages. What are you referring to?


Anakin Niceguy said...

If Devlin is a racist, then that would be a valid concern ... however ... Anonymous@6:05 pm needs to consider that his/her own position is technically weak as it is essentially a case of "poisoning the well."

Anon2 said...

Whats wrong with being a racist these days?

Non-racism is just P.C ness all dressed up. I dont dislike black people because they are black, I dislike them because my chance of being assaulted around them is 900% higher than whites (I am neither).

And ditto my daughters (if I had one) chances of being raped.

And calling Devlin a racist is an ad hominem - the man has said a lot thts worth mulling over.

Will you not listen or read any of the founding fathers works? Or any presidents before 1960? Or countless other people who built the bedrock of your civilization. Heck, even Mahatma Gandhi?

Newsflash - they were all confirmed racists.

SavvyD said...

But what if I am a generally nice girl. I SHOULD send the wrong kind of men packing. And one can tell when a man is genuinely interested in you as a whole person as opposed to only a part. I'm going to post a video on my blog referring to this.

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog! I'm curious, given the topics, if you have explored sociobiology much? I see you and most of your readers are Christians, and many Christians don't accept evolutionary theory. But so many things you comment on are also explored and explained in these fields.

Will S. said...

What anon2 said. Yes, Devlin has written for websites which may be considered 'racist', but which don't appear, to me as a mixed-race (white and East Indian) individual, to preach hate as neo-Nazi websites do. No, they're just anti-egalitarian, and don't buy into the egalitarian social consensus of our time; just, as anon2 pointed out, most people of the West, incl. many bright lights, also didn't.

Devlin discussed why he writes for TOQ here, and it seems that most of his essays there are on historical matters, e.g. the French Revolution, which have nothing to directly do with racial matters. IMO, while not being egalitarian on racial matters, from what he has said, it seems that the main reason he has thrown his lot in with them, in terms of joining up with them, is because such venues are the only places where taboo topics of any kind - racial, sexual, and otherwise - can be explored. So it's more a matter, as far as I can see, that he feels at home, comfortable with the company of others who leave him alone and let him do his thing, rather than those who persecute him when he tries to do so.

BTW, somewhat off-topic, though it does deal with male/female differences, for Devlin fans, here's some further thoughts of Devlin on academia, what's wrong with it, and how we might go about resolving the problems. (And yes, there's more ammo perhaps for those who see him as racist; oh well. Can a man not be, from our opinions, wrong in some things, but right in others; must we dismiss everything he says because we don't like some things he says? That smacks of political correctness to me, something we who are not Leftists should be above. If I as a 'darkie' can look past such 'sins', as it were, and consider the man's arguments on their own merits, surely egalitarian white conservatives can, too. (Pardon my shaming language. :) ) )

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