Thursday, August 15, 2013

Are women unhappy with men?

That they are was one of Hugo Schwyzer's claims.
Well, yes. I think primarily I wrote for women. I designed my writing primarily for women. One of the things that I figured out is the best way to get attention from women was not to describe women’s own experience to them because they found that patronizing and offensive. Instead it was to appear to challenge other men, to turn other men into the kind of boyfriend material, father material, or husband material that women so desperately wanted. Most women have a lot of disappointment in men. And I very deliberately want to go to the place where that disappointment lives and present to them a counter-narrative of something possible.
I pulled the whole paragraph out here rather than just the highlighted sentence because the larger context is really important here. Schwyzer is a con man and he is describing the way he works his con on women. More importantly, he is still working it. This whole apology show is part of his plan to get back in the game.

He, like all con men, has a target in mind. He doesn't target women generally but a very specific subset of women. Cons only work on people who think they are too smart to get conned. That's why Schwyzer works the feminist beat; it's full of women who think they can see through the pretenses of of others. These women manage to believe two contradictory things at the same time: 1) that men are a bunch of selfish, stupid, self-defeating knuckle-dragging buffoons and 2) that they nevertheless have managed to dominate women against their wills for centuries.
What I think is really happening is this: a lot of women are discovering that putting off marriage and pursuing a career in larger cities is a sure fire way to end up single and unhappy. They are discovering that lots of men want to have sex with them but no one, including their best girlfriends, really likes them much. Not surprisingly, they are unhappy with their lives. Worse, they don't see any way to make them better. And that isn't surprising. Other than getting into a time machine and going back and telling their 17-year-old self to live her life entirely differently, I don't think there is a solution. So they get angry at men. These are the women who make up the target audience of con artists like Hugo Schwyzer and Amanda Marcotte.

A few additional  thoughts that occurred to me while walking the dog

I think the unhappiness makes itself felt quite early in the game. As early as university, these women discover that their relationships with men are unsatisfactory. This isn't surprising as they are not offering men anything but sex. They offer no guarantees of any sort of lasting emotional commitment. The sort of men who thrive on that are men who are pretty mercenary about the pursuit of sexual pleasure and the ones who aren't soon learn to be.

If you live that way—either as the sex-positive-but-not-seeking-commitment woman or the mercenary-sex-hound man—you tend to train your mind-body complex to respond in certain ways. You tend to, for example, be very poor at maintaining sexual interest in the same partner for very long. You also tend to give up on relationships as soon as they become difficult. Keep doing this through your late teens and early twenties and you will have trained yourself to be very good at temporary sexual relationships and absolutely useless at more serious commitments.

Worst of all, these women dodge all responsibility to learn to love men as truly separate individuals who are profoundly different from them. You can see this most clearly in sexual issues where women dress and behave like male sexual fantasies rather than learn to relate on a more profound level. Why actually relate when he'll be perfectly happy with slutty underwear, a Brazilian wax job and fantasy sex moves you've learned from porn? And then, having encouraged only this kind of connection with men, they turn around and hate the men for it.

I'm not feeling a lot of pity.


  1. Yes, I agree with you completely. You're absolutely right that they believe two contradictory things at the same time, and they've repeated this often enough that its accepted as a given, especially by the intelligentsia. In addition women were taught during the cultural revolution of the 60s and 70s that they can have their cake and eat it too. One of the earliest feminist arguments was that men can have sex freely with no committment because they can't become pregnant, so why shouldn't we be able to do that. Refusing to accept that, like it or not, biology is destiny, they set out to do just that and they did. So we have a generation or two of women like you describe. But the problem is not biology or even just a lack of common sense, its men.

    1. I mostly agree but I don't know if I'd go quite as far as "biology is destiny". I think biology places limits on what we can hope to do: Men cannot get pregnant and I doubt very much that women will ever be effective in combat roles. But to say "biology is destiny" is to say it defines us and it doesn't. No one has unlimited possibilities but everyone has a range of possibilities.

  2. Yes, there are limits to the possibilities, and biology isn't the only variable that imposes those limits, just one. But it is a big one you have to admit. The pregnancy and child-rearing thing continues to rear its head when the subject of employment comes up, maternity leave, the mommy track, etc. I read that Betty Friedan's goal (and I don't think this was right-wing propaganda) was to have every woman in the workplace and all kids raised in day care centers. Why? So that no man has the unfair advantage of having a wife at home to cook, clean, raise children, have dinner on the table when he got home. This would certainly level the playing field, and change the culture, which they have no qualms about doing. As I see it, this is a refusal to accept those limits and avoid the issue of women having to make choices. Its also throwing the baby out with the bathwater. So biology does still play a big role in peoples' destinies and probably always will.