Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Scary Man-sters and Super Creeps

Pablo Picasso had a way with the ladies.
"Well some people try to pick up girls, and get called assholes," the song goes. "This never happened to Pablo Picasso. He could walk down your street, and girls could not resist his stare. ... Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole." This is more or less true, even though, by almost every account, Picasso was pretty much a complete douchebag.

Life is unfair. Famous men can behave like utter boors and predators towards the opposite sex and get away with it, even win reputations as charming ladykillers. The rest of us, well, we make awkward passes and often get rejected; sometimes we even get called creeps. This makes some men bitter; a few even become Men's Rights Activists.

In a recent article on AlterNet, feminist sex blogger Clarisse Thorn offers a defense, of sorts, of men unfairly labelled "creeps." "Why Do We Demonize Men Who Are Honest About Their Sexual Needs?" the article's title asks, and it's not a bad question. Women are naturally, and quite justifiably, wary of the attention of strange men, who could easily turn out to be predators. "So it's completely understandable that we're all on high alert for predatory expressions of male sexuality," she writes. What this means is that perfectly decent guys are sometimes seen as creeps until proven innocent.
The pressure put on men to be initiators, yet avoid seeming creepy or aggressive leads to an unpleasant double bind. After all, the same gross cultural pressures that make women into objects force men into instigators. ... So how can a man express his sexual needs without being tarred as a creep?
Her solution? We need to "accept male desire" as natural and legitimate -- not something "toxic," or some kind of macho accomplishment:
Like everyone, men deserve to feel as though their sexuality is hot, awesome, delicious, valuable, and can be pleasurable for all parties in a consensual situation. Just as women shouldn't have to feel exploited when they have consensual sex, men shouldn't have to feel like they're exploiting someone when they have consensual sex.
It's hard to disagree with that. I worry, though, that many of the guys in Thorn's intended audience will only notice the bit about male sexuality being "hot, awesome, delicious and valuable," and miss her careful caveats about consent -- which she repeats three times in two sentences in an attempt to drive home the point. Unfortunately, as Amanda Marcotte puts it in a response to Thorn's piece: 
[O]ne thing creepy dudes all have in common is they only hear what they want to hear. So even though Clarisse actually writes, "It’s also incumbent upon us to honor each others’ boundaries," creepy dudes are going to hear, "See, this lady agrees with me that it’s perfectly fine for me to use 'pick-up artist' techniques to put women that are 15 years younger than me and who don’t want to talk to me in situations where they have trouble finding a polite way to escape conversation with me. And I’m entitled to be such a miserable fuckhead, because men are so oppressed because they don’t get to have sex with whoever they want whenever they want."
Looking through the comments Thorn's article got on AlterNet, Marcotte finds ample evidence of this kind of creepiness -- men with both a sense of entitlement and a massive amount of self-pity. That toxic attitude shows up as well in a comment from the perhaps aptly named "jackwripper" in a discussion of Thorn's piece in the Men's Rights subreddit on Reddit:
[W]hen the vast majority of men have to ask hundreds or thousands of women on dates, for sex, for a dance, to talk, just to get one positive response, then, as a man, you either go through life alone, or you proposition thousands of women.
Women as a group could fix this with one of two behavior changes. Women could initiate these encounters when they see a man they are attracted to... not REALLY hot, but attractive enough. ... The other behavior change women could adopt, would be to stop rejecting out of hand every man and every approach that is not an absolute perfect match. Men learn not to be very picky, maybe women need to learn not to be picky too. This statement also includes the women who men have to be less picky about. It is very strange how a female "3" can reject the advances of a male "7" because she is convinced she is a "9" and expects a male "10".
It's a bizarre and insidious sort of argument: Women need to start having sex with men they don't want to have sex with, because otherwise some men will have to go through life alone -- or, I guess, with "2s" who aren't too stuck up to go out with them. Why exactly is it women's job to "fix this?" Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

Jackwripper's argument eerily echoes the logic of George Sodini, the bitter, dateless antifeminist asshole who shot 12 women in a health club last year because he felt young women had unfairly rejected him. And so it's perhaps not surprising that Sodini had his defenders in the MRA/pickup artist crowd. As one fan of Sodini put it in a comment at the time on a PUA blog popular with MRAs: 
I think every man DOES deserve to get laid. ... The problem is, our feminized society has given every woman the power to hold out for higher quality men than they deserve. This creates an imbalance that leads to tragedies like the one in PA. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. (Newton’s 3rd Law) If empowered women keep applying pressure, they will create an explosion.
So, women, the message is clear: Date some losers, or someone is going to get shot.

No one "deserves" to get laid. If you're a creepy asshole who doesn't understand that any woman is allowed to turn you down for sex, for whatever reason she wants, however stupid it might seem to you, then you don't deserve shit.

55 comments:

  1. No one "deserves" to get laid. If you're a creepy asshole who doesn't understand that any woman is allowed to turn you down for sex, for whatever reason she wants, however stupid it might seem to you, then you don't deserve shit.

    Just because it needed to be said again.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are right manboobz. Instead of challenging the stereotypes about male sexuality, like Clarisse suggested, we just continue to render it as predatory and toxic. Because so far that worked out so well. Oh wait...

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  3. "Women are naturally, and quite justifiably, wary of the attention of strange men, who could easily turn out to be predators."

    Easily turn out to be predators?

    Crap.

    The majority of men are NOT any of the following:

    rapists
    pedophiles
    stalkers

    Again, you are playing on a latent fear the feminism has installed on people - by constantly focusing only on the "bad" men in society - and never the good.

    The good that men do greatly outweighs the bad that men do.

    The number of bad men is minuscule compared to the number of good men.

    "No one "deserves" to get laid. If you're a creepy asshole who doesn't understand that any woman is allowed to turn you down for sex, for whatever reason she wants, however stupid it might seem to you, then you don't deserve shit. "

    "No one 'deserves' to get married. If you're a psychotic bitch or entitlement princess who doesn't understand that any man is allowed to 'be afraid of commitment' for whatever reason he wants, however stupid it might seem to you, then you don't deserve shit."

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  4. ScareCrow,

    Let's say I meet a man. A random man. And he invites me up to his apartment for a drink. And I go - because I want a drink, and to get to know him better, and hey, most guys are good guys, right?

    And he beats me and rapes me. And what I will probably hear from everyone - the papers, the police, the attorneys (if it ever goes to trial) is that it was my fault for going up to his apartment. So. I HAVE to treat every guy as if he were a potential rapist, not accept his offers, test him carefully...otherwise, when and if something happens, I will get blamed - not him.

    Women have no way of knowing which guys are rapists - unfortunately, rapists don't go around with identifying tattoos. So we have to treat all strange men cautiously - or suffer the consequences.

    And no - it's not fun. And we don't enjoy it. And believe you me I'd be a much bigger slut than I am today (and I am a slut, and proud of it), if I didn't have to be so careful around strange men. But we still have to do it, 'cause The Patriarchy sucks ass.

    Does that make it clearer?

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  5. It isn't about majority. It is about a small minority and a calculated risk. The number of bad men is minuscule compared to the number of good men. The number of bad people is minuscule compared to the number of good people.

    This does not remove the risk of the bad, or make caution unnecessary.

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  6. I actually felt really frustrated by Amanda Marcotte's article, mostly because of this:
    Clarisse is critical of the word “creep”, and she compares it to “slut”, which is to say a term used to police sexuality. Her evidence for this is that she got an email from a dude offering to fuck her in specific kinky ways after she wrote an article about her struggles to come to terms with desires she was deliberately vague about. The guy correctly guessed what those were and offered to fuck her, sight unseen, and she blew him off and determined he was creepy. Then millennia of patriarchal training kicked in, and she started to feel guilty about getting a weird feeling from it.

    Firstly, my "evidence" had nothing to do with that anecdote, which was intended to be an illustration rather than evidence. My evidence was the many actual men who I've talked to about this, and I clearly linked to those discussions.

    But worse, I'm really mad that Marcotte decided to dismiss my argument because of -- wait for it -- "millennia of patriarchal training". Apparently, if I reconsider my stance on any topic, it's only okay if I do so in line with popular feminism. If I'm not in line with popular feminism, then I've got Patriarchy Stockholm Syndrome. Where have I heard this argument before? Oh, right ... EVERY FEMINIST CONVERSATION ABOUT S&M, EVER.

    That having been said, I did agree with Marcotte about a lot of the AlterNet comments, and I do agree with your basic argument: that women aren't required to be having sex with men if they don't want to. In fact, NO ONE is required to be having sex with ANYONE ELSE if they don't want to do it.

    Obviously, I do think that we should be having open, friendly, reasonable conversations about male sexuality. Everything I said in my article still applies. And I don't actually think that most disenchanted men truly want to be having sex with women who aren't interested. But there are clearly some outliers, like George Sodini and his fans, who are too busy blaming women for their own romantic losses to understand that pressuring women into having unwanted sex isn't the solution either. And the threat of violence on top of that is truly scary.

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  7. @Gillian.

    A friend of mine recently became a police officer. They told him that only 3% of the population engages in criminal behavior.

    This means (that if the entire 3% are men), a woman has a way less than 3% chance of that happening to her (since not all 3% include crimes against women).

    That being said, here is a quote from you:

    "And he beats me and rapes me. And what I will probably hear from everyone - the papers, the police, the attorneys (if it ever goes to trial) is that it was my fault for going up to his apartment."

    What effing planet are you from?

    Ever heard of the Duke Lacrosse players?

    All it takes is an accusation from a woman to start a downward spiral of male-bashing in the media against any man that has an accusation against him.

    Do yourself a favor:

    Get out of your house or apartment once in a while - meet a guy - and get laid.

    No, seriously - get laid.

    Actually have a penis inserted in you.

    Trust me - you'll like it - and - it will make you happier - refer to this link:

    http://manboobz.blogspot.com/2010/09/no-sperm-no-peace-crazy-mra-quote-of.html

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  8. "Marcotte finds ample evidence of this kind of creepiness -- men with both a sense of entitlement and a massive amount of self-pity."

    Here's one of her examples, quoted more fullyL

    Not all guys are just looking for someone to share their bed with. I have been married for 28 years, obviously, no lack of a source to get off with sexually, but I have been almost to the point of suicide because of lonliness in the marriage.

    The problem lies in the fact that we no longer have anything in common. We have grown in different directions. As we are no longer friends, the desire to have sexual relations has disappeared at the same time.

    I really think that older guys would and do enjoy women of the same age. Older, more mature women seem to understand and appreciate a deeper relationship that involves sharing lives rather than just genitals. At least for me, the next lady I find myself will not only be a partner for sex, but my very best friend that I enjoy spending my every minute with. *That*, IMHO, is a solid and enjoyable relationship.

    What's creepy about that? He seems like a genuinely nice person, respectful of women, not treating them only as sex-objects. It's a shame about the marriage, but that's how they go sometimes. Notice that he does not blame his wife for the failure. I have no doubt that had a woman written that in a feminist space, she would get nothing but sympathy.

    Marcotte however see's a problem with this part specifically:

    The problem lies in the fact that we no longer have anything in common. We have grown in different directions. As we are no longer friends, the desire to have sexual relations has disappeared at the same time.

    According to Marcotte, this is "a line to be rolled out to women he’s hitting on who notice his wedding ring tan line". Why does she think that? Because even when a guy come across as genuinely nice, he's still a creep.

    Marcotte epitomises the very attitude that Clarisse is critiquing.

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  9. "This means (that if the entire 3% are men), a woman has a way less than 3% chance of that happening to her (since not all 3% include crimes against women)."

    No, because a single perp can have many victims.

    "No, seriously - get laid.

    Actually have a penis inserted in you."

    That's a vile comment. Disgraceful.

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  10. Daran, you're right; that quote was totally taken out of context and misrepresented. You should post something about it on the comments to Marcotte's piece. If not, I will.

    Scarecrow, you can say whatever the fuck you want to me, but don't make obnoxious and, yes, creepy sexual comments towards other commenters here. That's crossing the line.

    Also, women are entitled to be as suspicious as they want of anyone who approaches them; they have ample reasons to be wary. And even if they didn't, they're still allowed to be wary.

    And yes, everything I've written here applies to men as well as women. Men are entitled to be suspicious of women, even for reasons I find idiotic. They're allowed to turn down sex for whatever reason they want. And, yes, no one, male or female is entitled to marriage either.

    Clarisse: I agree with you that Marcotte's line about "patriarchal training" was pretty condescending. I guess I was drawn to her line about creepy men only hearing what they want to hear because I see that so often among MRAs. Indeed, when one MRA quoted your comments about ""hot, awesome, delicious, valuable," male sexuality on Reddit, heliterally edited out that last bit about consent. I don't think he did it because he really thinks consent doesn't matter, but it still is telling.

    But, yeah, I agree with you 100% that most men aren't like that. It's just that in researching stuff for this blog I come into contact with a lot of outliers.

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  11. Clarisse:

    "I did agree with Marcotte about a lot of the AlterNet comments,"

    Which ones, specifically?

    "and I do agree with your basic argument: that women aren't required to be having sex with men if they don't want to. In fact, NO ONE is required to be having sex with ANYONE ELSE if they don't want to do it."

    His argument isn't specifically that. His argument, or more precisely his "worry" is that "many" of your "intended audience" will miss the requirement for consent

    I've read about half the comments in the Alternet thread, and quite honestly I'm not seeing this at all.

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  12. "You should post something about it on the comments to Marcotte's piece."

    Pandagon is not a safe place for me to post.

    "And yes, everything I've written here applies to men as well as women. Men are entitled to be suspicious of women, even for reasons I find idiotic. They're allowed to turn down sex for whatever reason they want. And, yes, no one, male or female is entitled to marriage either."

    With that in mind, let's look at the first of Amanda's "quotes".

    Men spend their lives being expected to make the first move but risking rejection and, in today’s politically correct world, risking vile accusations however timid or gentle their approach might be......

    Being fat, short, and prematurely balding, I’ve just accepted that the creep label is going to be affixed to me, no matter what I do.......

    There is a double standard. For example...ever hear anyone referred to as “a dirty old woman?” No.......

    This kinda, sorta, hangs together in the semi-incoherent way that MRA utterances -- at least the less articulate ones -- often do. Except that it isn't. It's extracts from three separate comments, by different commenters. Here's the first in full:

    Thank you so much for that. Only a woman could have said these things. Men spend their lives being expected to make the first move but risking rejection and, in today's politically correct world, risking vile accusations however timid or gentle their approach might be. Thank you for saying these things.

    "Only a woman could have said these things" -- He obviously means that only a woman could say this and be taken seriously. In fact her whole post is a synthesis of things that men have said many times, and been dismissed.

    "Men spend their lives being expected to make the first move but risking rejection..." -- This is just a restatement of what Clarisse said.

    "...and, in today's politically correct world, risking vile accusations however timid or gentle their approach might be." This is him being "suspicious of women" probably "for reasons I find idiotic".

    According to you, he really is entitled to that. So where's the expression of unjust entitlement here?

    And where's the self-pity? He mentions rejection, which he probably finds painful. Ain't he entitled to his pain?

    "I guess I was drawn to her line about creepy men only hearing what they want to hear because I see that so often among MRAs."

    I think Amanda only hears what she wants to hear.

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  13. Here's the full comment from which the second of Amanda's quotes came:

    Well, all this is well and good, if you're at least moderately good looking as a guy. Being fat, short, and prematurely balding, I've just accepted that the creep label is going to be affixed to me, no matter what I do.

    I do club photography, and it takes a huge amount of work to not weird out the performers or club goers while taking pictures - people look at me and make certain assumptions about how pathetic / gross I am. Happens all the time, from what friends of mine have told me. Once people get to know me, it isn't an issue anymore, but appearances matter.

    Those points the author talk about are not bad ideas, but the raw facts are that someone who looks like me is so far from most peoples' realm of sexual attractiveness that the "creep" label will be around for a long, long time. No one wants to know that the fat guy's horny.

    What exactly is the problem with this?

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  14. And here's the third:

    Okay, so what about older guys? When does an older guy turn into a "dirty old man?" Ten, fifteen years older?

    There is a double standard. For example...ever hear anyone referred to as "a dirty old woman?" No.


    Where's the entitlement? Where's the self-pity?

    This, incidentally, is the "wedding ring tan line" guy. Do you think any the less of him, now that you've seen this too?

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  15. The fat guy? Self pity, check. Entitlement, check.

    Here's the thing. According to the govt., about a third of American adults are "overweight," and another third are "obese." In other words, two thirds of us are fat. Hell, I'm fat.

    And yes, fat people do have to put up with shit from other people, of both sexes. But pretty much every fat woman I've ever known has had to put up with way more shit about it than men.

    And yes, there are people who aren't attracted to fat people, of either sex. Again, this is a much bigger problem for women than for men. For this guy to assume that his fatness means that every woman sees him as a creep is, well, at the very least, self defeating. If some women do, well, no one has control over whether other people find them attractive.

    Also, he's choosing to hang around club kids, who tend to be, if you forgive a gross generalization, some of the shallowest, appearance-obsessed people in the world. Yeah, they may look down their noses at him. They look down their noses at everyone.

    The other guy seems, in this latter comment, more clueless than anything. Old women if anything have to put up with more shit than men if they're interested in younger men. Skinny, "hot" "cougar" types can get away with it; other women get all called all sorts of things if they express interest in younger men.

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  16. Marco: Your post was caught, thankfully, by the spam filter, and I'm not going to post it. That was way, way over the line and you know it. Yours is the first non-spam post I've deleted.

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  17. As much as your average MRA or PUA complains about men being expected to take all the initiative, I'll guarantee any woman who asked him out or put the moves on him would be ground up in his slut-shaming gossip mill as desperate and hot to trot the instant she turned her back. And that's if he's interested. A fat, average-looking, age-appropriate woman would just be openly ridiculed to her face.

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  18. "The fat guy? Self pity, check. Entitlement, check."

    How would you feel about this, then:

    Well, all this is well and good, if you're at least moderately good looking as a woman. Being fat, short, and hairy, I've just accepted that the dog label is going to be affixed to me, no matter what I do.

    I do club photography, and it takes a huge amount of work to not weird out the performers or club goers while taking pictures - people look at me and make certain assumptions about how pathetic / gross I am. Happens all the time, from what friends of mine have told me. Once people get to know me, it isn't an issue anymore, but appearances matter.

    Those points the author talk about are not bad ideas, but the raw facts are that someone who looks like me is so far from most peoples' realm of sexual attractiveness that the "dog" label will be around for a long, long time. No one wants to know that the fat gal's horny.

    I see fat women complaining about how they're treated all the time. Feminists do not accuse them of self pity or entitlement. Rather their feelings are validated. So why the double standard?

    "Here's the thing. According to the govt., about a third of American adults are "overweight," and another third are "obese." In other words, two thirds of us are fat. Hell, I'm fat."

    Me too. So what?

    "And yes, fat people do have to put up with shit from other people, of both sexes. But pretty much every fat woman I've ever known has had to put up with way more shit about it than men."

    Here we go with the oppression olymics. Is there a set threshold above which the shit you have to put up with has to be, before your complaints are valid? Do you test women's complaints against such a threshold? I'm pretty certain white university educated women don't have to put up with half the shit that poor young black urban-ghetto highschool-droppouts do, so let's dismiss all the complaints of the former, shall we?

    "And yes, there are people who aren't attracted to fat people, of either sex. Again, this is a much bigger problem for women than for men."

    I beg to differ. A youthful appearance is a huge advantage for women in the dating market, certainly enough to offset the disadvantage of being fat to a considerable degree. And every woman* gets a few years of it at least. Lots of women find themselves struggling to get dates as they get older. Very few, as far as I can tell, far fewer than men are shut out during their teens, twenties or a lifetime.

    *except for a few aging disorders.

    "For this guy to assume that his fatness means that every woman sees him as a creep is, well, at the very least, self defeating."

    Oh he "assumes" it does he? And you know this how?

    This is one of the things that really pisses me off about feminists. They think they know another person's life-experiences better that the person whose life it is.

    "If some women do, well, no one has control over whether other people find them attractive."

    That's also true for all the "dogs" out there, but unattractive women's complaints about how their sexuality is constructed don't get dismissed by feminists.

    "Also, he's choosing to hang around club kids, who tend to be, if you forgive a gross generalization, some of the shallowest, appearance-obsessed people in the world. Yeah, they may look down their noses at him. They look down their noses at everyone."

    Way to blame the victim.

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  19. That woman isn't trying to have sex with the club kids she's photographing is the difference. She's just doing her job.

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  20. Daran, now you're making assumptions.

    I would say more or less the same thing to the woman you describe that I would say to the guy, which is basically: Don't assume that because you're fat that no one will find you attractive. That's completely self-defeating and will make you feel bitter towards men (and/or women)who may actually not find you "gross" at all. Accept the fact that SOME people will find you unattractive, and move on. Don't let the judgment of shallow club kids affect you; they look down their nose at everyone. I'd probably also suggest that she do something about her hairiness.

    Is that blaming the victim? Maybe, but it's also good advice.

    ReplyDelete
  21. evilwhitemalempireOctober 6, 2010 at 12:51 AM

    "Marco: Your post was caught, thankfully, by the spam filter, and I'm not going to post it. That was way, way over the line and you know it. Yours is the first non-spam post I've deleted."

    A pity you 'liberals' are so tolerant of unpopular speech.

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  22. LOL, in the other thread I gave you that amptoons link about Sodini as an example of how feminists feel the need to mine the comment sections on MRA sites for quotes to use against us (which could very well be quoted from comments that they wrote themselves), since they have trouble finding anything useful in the actual articles.

    Instead of showing any indication that you learned something from that, you are instead engaging in that very behavior using the fruit of my own research to help you. Well, that's the last time I do any work for you; you're on your own now, douchebag.

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  23. evil: I've banned one non-spam comment. It was nothing but obscene abuse.

    ReplyDelete
  24. "Scarecrow, you can say whatever the fuck you want to me, but don't make obnoxious and, yes, creepy sexual comments towards other commenters here. That's crossing the line."

    Awww, David wants to white knight; that's so cute.

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  25. You get bonus douchebag points if you use the white knight link in the above comment as a resource in a future post.

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  26. fred:

    "That woman isn't trying to have sex with the club kids she's photographing is the difference. She's just doing her job."

    That's interesting. The paragraph about club photography is word-for-word identical between the male and versions. Why then do you say that they have different motivations? This looks to me like sexist gender-stereotyping.

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  27. "I would say more or less the same thing to the woman you describe that I would say to the guy, which is basically:..."

    Yet it seems to me that what you go on to say is profoundly different from what you said earlier. Your 'unisex' response, which you articulated with its applicability to a female respondant specifically in mind, takes the form of non-judgemental advice. Contrast with what you said, when you were only responding to a man:

    "Self pity, check. Entitlement, check."

    I'm honestly not getting it. I really do not see what is entitled or even particularly self-pitying (at least, no more so than women's complaints typically validated in feminist spaces) about what he said.

    Help me out with this. Seems to me that what he's saying boils down to this:

    1. People find him creepy.
    2. This is because he is fat, short, and prematurely balding.
    3. People will find him creepy no matter what he does.

    Setting aside the question of whether these beliefs are true or not. Is there anything anything inherently 'entitled' about believing these things?

    As well as these beliefs, he also expresses an attitude, namely that he "accepts" it. Is that an expression of self-pity?

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  28. "You get bonus douchebag points if you use the white knight link in the above comment as a resource in a future post."

    Now there's a plan. David, according to Coldfire's cite you are "the complete opposite of a troll". I think you just got your first testimonial.

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  29. @Daran - Because the old fat bald guy is trying to fuck the hot young nubiles and the fat hairy woman is just trying to take pictures of them, as per her job requirement. Are you retarded?

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  30. Just FYI, while a relatively low percentage of men are rapists, a relatively high percentage of women have been raped or sexually assaulted. 1 in 4 college-aged women have experienced acquaintance rape or attempted acquaintance rape, which is obviously not the sum of all rapes or attempted rapes. (The source is the DOJ, by the way.)

    1 in 8 women are affected by breast cancer in their lives, and we have an entire month dedicated to raising awareness and finding a cure. When more than 1 in 4 women are affected by rape or sexual assault, we're not supposed to worry? (I want to point out that this analogy is not intended to imply that women are responsible for preventing either breast cancer or rape. Indeed, the guilt assigned to women who do get breast cancer, or are raped, is ridiculous: did you breastfeed? had you been drinking? do you wear underwires? how short was your skirt? have you taken estrogen supplements? had you previously had sex with him?)

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  31. Daran -- My advice to both the guy and the women is the same. Women do not automatically find all fat, short, bald guys to be "creepy." They really don't. Most adult men in this country are at least somewhat fat, and they don't all lead lives of celibacy. Nearly half of all adult men are bald. Plenty are short. This guy is somehow assuming that these things, which are all really really common, mean that all women think he's a creep. That's wrong, and it's self-pity.

    The flip side of this is entitlement. He also seems a bit bitter that all women, including the club kids he photographs, don't think he's hot. That's entitlement. So what if a few superficial hotties in their twenties don't think he's hot? I'm pretty sure club kids don't think I'm hot either, and if I went to photograph them they'd look at me oddly. If I were younger and looked like a male model they probably wouldn't. Boo fucking hoo.

    And again, all this applies to the woman too. She's indulging in self-pity, for the same reason. She's also got a sense of entitlement: I'm entitled to have everyone think I'm hot, and if they don't, life is unfair. As I said, life IS unfair. People you think are hot aren't required to think you're hot in return.

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  32. That all said, I think one of the reasons women have their complaints "Validated" in feminist spaces is that, comparatively speaking, for example, fat women put up with more shit than fat men. That's certainly the case with every fat woman I've ever known. People don't come up to me on the street to say, hey guy, why are you so fat. They've done that to women I know. And there are studies showing that, for example, fat women face more job discrimination than fat men.

    In the past you've dismissed this as playing "the oppression olympics." That's silly. Some people ARE more discriminated against than others. Black people are discriminated against more than white people. Women are discriminated against more than men. That doesn't mean that, say, white men don't have some legitimate complaints, but they need to keep those in perspective. That's really not a difficult concept to understand.

    All that said, it's a bad idea for anyone individually to sit around wallowing in self pity because life is unfair. Life IS unfair, but self-pity will only make things worse.

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  33. @Daran, I didn't find all of Amanda's example comments to be the terrible cesspits that she did, and I agree that Amanda's not working very hard to think past her biases. (Although I also agree with most of what David Futrelle has said, for the record.)

    But I really didn't like this example comment:

    One especially grating thing that I’ve noticed is a very old fashioned belief among women that “the man who really wants you is the one who keeps trying.” So for example, 2 men ask out a woman in one week, and she automatically says no to both of them just to see what happens.

    Because I think it's projecting a lot of typical bullshit onto women. I think there's this idea that women turn down men in order to jack up our market value. This isn't true for me and it's not true for most women I know, though I suspect there are one or two who do think this way (but that's not a reason to project that attitude onto all of us, especially when they're in the minority).

    The reality is that most women are simply less likely to want to go out on a date than most men, but if a guy is really interested -- and demonstrates that he's really interested -- then we may change our minds. Everyone changes their mind sometimes.

    I think that the attitude about "being entitled to women's bodies", and trying to communicate that entitlement in a way that intimidates us, is a REAL thing that happens. I don't think it's just in women's heads (or David Futrelle's head, since he pointed it out in this post).

    I wish that more men who feel so frustrated about not having enough romance in their lives would try harder to understand what kind of experience women have -- especially unattractive women. I also wish they wouldn't fall back onto threats of violence. I don't think this is too much to ask, especially given the amount of time I've spent trying to understand men's experience :P

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  34. "Now there's a plan. David, according to Coldfire's cite you are "the complete opposite of a troll". I think you just got your first testimonial."

    What they mean is that the roll of white knight is the complete opposite of the roll of troll, i.e. white knighting is the opposite of trolling. David trolls MRAs while white knighting for feminists; no contradiction there.

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  35. Clarisse:

    "I think there's this idea that women turn down men in order to jack up our market value."

    Maybe so, but this isn't the idea expressed in the Alternet comment. Rather the commenter is saying that women turn down men in order to assess the man's value to the woman. According to this theory, women rate persistent men more highly than those who withdraw at the first rebuff. Rejecting men's initial advances is therefore a kind of "shit test", to use the PUA vernacular, intended to winnow out faint-hearted men.

    "The reality is that most women are simply less likely to want to go out on a date than most men, but if a guy is really interested -- and demonstrates that he's really interested -- then we may change our minds. Everyone changes their mind sometimes."

    OK, so there's no intentional shit test. She initially rebuffs him because she doesn't rate him high enough, but his subsequent persistence causes her to rate him more highly.

    The effect of this is to put men into a bind. Behaviour which women find attractive is identical to behavior which women find harrassing. (Obviously not the same woman at the same time.)

    "I think that the attitude about "being entitled to women's bodies", and trying to communicate that entitlement in a way that intimidates us, is a REAL thing that happens. I don't think it's just in women's heads (or David Futrelle's head, since he pointed it out in this post)."

    I think it's projecting a lot of typical bullshit onto men. It isn't true for me and it's not true for most men I know, though I suspect there are one or two who do think this way (but that's not a reason to project that attitude onto all of us, especially when they're in the minority).

    For example, according to Lauredhel, Hugh Ristik "seems to be an Antifeminist-Bingo! bottom-dweller of the Entitlement Variety." I understand you know him quite well. Do you agree with that assessment or is Lauredhel projecting? Isn't "projecting" just another way of saying that the person is "not working very hard to think past [their] biases."?

    "I wish that more men who feel so frustrated about not having enough romance in their lives would try harder to understand what kind of experience women have -- especially unattractive women. I also wish they wouldn't fall back onto threats of violence. I don't think this is too much to ask, especially given the amount of time I've spent trying to understand men's experience :P"

    That's a pretty one-sided deal. You want "men" to try harder to understand "women", but in return you offer only a single woman -- yourself -- who has made an effort to understand men.

    In respect of threats, well, firstly it is only a small number of men who make them. This is not to downplay the impact of them, but but that's not a reason to project that attitude onto all of us, especially when they're in the minority.

    I also think it unreasonable to construe every statement that says "if problem X is not remedied there will be violence" as a threat. This shuts discussion about whether the lack of a remedy for X is a causal factor for violence.

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  36. Please check to see if a comment has been spammed.

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  37. "Just FYI, while a relatively low percentage of men are rapists, a relatively high percentage of women have been raped or sexually assaulted. 1 in 4 college-aged women have experienced acquaintance rape or attempted acquaintance rape, which is obviously not the sum of all rapes or attempted rapes. (The source is the DOJ, by the way.)"

    You are wrong. The primary source, as cited in footnote 4 in the report you link is Fisher et al. Firstly Fisher's subjects are college women, not college-aged women. Secondly, They were asked if "anyone" had forced sex upon them, so the findings do, in fact, refer to all rapes, not solely to those by intimate parters.

    Thirdly, the actual finding was that 2.8% of college women were victimised during a reference period which averaged 6.9 months. They go on to say

    Projecting results beyond this reference period is problematic for a number of reasons, such as assuming that the risk of victimization is the same during summer months and remains stable over a person's time in college. However, if the 2.8 percent victimization figure is calculated for a 1-year period, the data suggest that nearly 5 percent (4.9 percent) of college women are victimized in any given calendar year. Over the course of a college career--which now lasts an average of 5 years--the percentage of completed or attempted rape victimization among women in higher educational institutions might climb to between one-fifth and one-quarter.

    In a footnote they emphasis that "These projections are suggestive." It is irresponsible and wrong to take the upper bound of this highly speculative exrapolation, based upon problematic assumptions, and state it without qualification as though it were an established fact.

    Fourthly, the 4.9% annual rate in the above quote is incorrect, and appears to be the result of inappropriately rounding an intermediate figure. The correct figure is 4.8% to 1 decimal place. Not a huge error, but hardly one to inspire confidence in the authors' statistical competence.

    Fithly, and this is crucial, the 20-25% range is not supported by the data. The authors do not explain how they calculated it, and the only way I can obtain a figure in excess of 20% is if I make an additional "problematic" assumption that repeat victimisations occur with negligible frequency. But this is falsified by the data. Fisher's actual finding was that 22% of victims were subject to repeat victimisation. Accounting for this suggests a somewhat lower prevalence over a five years, possibly 10-15%. See my comments in this thread for more details.

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  38. Clarisse,

    I kind of end up splitting the difference between you and Amanda in some ways. I thought your article's three suggestions were great and I am all in favour of moving to a less pathological image of male desire, even as I don't think society demonizes it quite the way you say.

    At the same time, I do think the word creep is useful and I don't think it quite gets used to police men the same way slut gets used.

    As someone with strong views on consent and good boundaries, it could be that I am just seeing nails since I have a hammer, but I do think the use of creep for "unable to accept boundaries" works pretty well.

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  39. Daran: A post of yours did indeed get spam filtered; it's now posted above. Not sure why the filter keeps grabbing your comments.

    At the moment Blogger seems to be acting screwy with comments, so anyone posting: save your text before posting a comment in case Blogger eats it.

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  40. David: I hate blogger. You should move to wordpress in my opinion, and do it before your blog is too established. Suit yourself though, of course.

    Daran: Well, of course I don't think Hugh Ristik is an antifeminist bingo troll.

    I think it's projecting a lot of typical bullshit onto men. It isn't true for me and it's not true for most men I know, though I suspect there are one or two who do think this way (but that's not a reason to project that attitude onto all of us, especially when they're in the minority).

    :laugh: fair enough. But if you insist that I ought to understand that men like that are in the minority, then do you see why I insist that men ought to understand that women who are out to take men for all they can get are in the minority?

    That's a pretty one-sided deal. You want "men" to try harder to understand "women", but in return you offer only a single woman -- yourself -- who has made an effort to understand men.

    I think more women will start doing so. I think I'm the head of a wave. Two separate feminist groups have had me lecture on college campuses about masculinity at this point, and I have no reason to believe that there won't be more. I think it has to come from a woman, and there are both good and bad reasons for that, but I am hoping that there will be a lot more space opening up to discuss this within the next few years.

    I think women will also be more likely to want to understand men's issues if men demonstrate understanding of women's issues. Just like the vice versa.

    I also think it unreasonable to construe every statement that says "if problem X is not remedied there will be violence" as a threat. This shuts discussion about whether the lack of a remedy for X is a causal factor for violence.

    Being someone who fantasizes about threats of violence a lot, I think I'm in a position to say that "if X is not remedied there will be violence" is an extremely typical formulation of threat. I don't think it's unreasonable to construe typical formulations of threat as threats. I think that men, being aware of the history of violence against women, would probably do well to phrase the idea much more cautiously if what they really mean is "if X happens, violence may occur, but of course that violence won't come from me and I won't smile when I see it".

    @lightcastle -- Here's a comment I thought was interesting from my giant manliness thread. It comes from a man:

    Lots of people seem to have missed that the word “creep” is not “a useful, commonly understood term” at all. I’ve seen people being referred to as creeps because they had a beard or a wonky eye, because they were wearing all black or because they happened to be standing near a group of children. That word is so far from being commonly understood, it’s not even funny.

    If we define the word in reasonable ways, then it'll be reasonable. But is the word commonly understood to have one of those reasonable definitions (like "person who ignores boundaries")? I don't think it is.

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  41. Clarisse:

    You are absolutely right about threats. An implied threat is a threat. It may not mean that the person making the threat (particularly if they're making the threat on the internet) is literally going to go out and attack the person being threatened, but it is designed to frighten and intimidate, and there is absolutely a fantasy of violence underlying it.

    It's a bit like these guys, only not funny:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRm5WcjOikQ#t=1m45s

    As for Wordpress. There are certain advantages I guess, but in a lot of ways blogger is much easier to deal with.

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  42. "David: I hate blogger. You should move to wordpress in my opinion, and do it before your blog is too established. Suit yourself though, of course."

    Seconded. I'd also recommend registering your own domain. That way you're not tied to any particular provider.

    "Daran: Well, of course I don't think Hugh Ristik is an antifeminist bingo troll."

    Of course not. Any more than you think I'm one of the pro-domestic violence set merely for advocating choice for men, or that David is full of shit merely because he advocated a little more understanding of creepy men. But that's what we get all the time in feminist spaces, and that's what David will get, whenever he says anything that isn't in lock-step accordance with the prevailing anti-male sentiment in mainstream feminism. (Pandagon is hardly a radical feminist blog, after all.)

    "But if you insist that I ought to understand that men like that are in the minority, then do you see why I insist that men ought to understand that women who are out to take men for all they can get are in the minority?"

    I think only a minority of men think that most women do this.

    "I think more women will start doing so. I think I'm the head of a wave. Two separate feminist groups have had me lecture on college campuses about masculinity at this point, and I have no reason to believe that there won't be more."

    I hope so, and I do appreciate your efforts, though I suspect that a sea-change in attitudes on both sides of the divide is a long way off.

    "I think it has to come from a woman,"

    I find it deeply ironic that a movement which defines itself as one which advocates for social equality between the sexes should treat them so differently that a woman is deemed to speak more authoritatively on the subject of men's perspectives than men are.

    "Being someone who fantasizes about threats of violence a lot, I think I'm in a position to say that "if X is not remedied there will be violence" is an extremely typical formulation of threat. I don't think it's unreasonable to construe typical formulations of threat as threats. I think that men, being aware of the history of violence against women,...

    What I know of the history of violence against women is that men, by and large, do their best to shield women from it, and as a result, throughout history, men have been violently victimised to a much greater extent than women.

    "...would probably do well to phrase the idea much more cautiously if what they really mean is "if X happens, violence may occur, but of course that violence won't come from me and I won't smile when I see it."

    Obviously whether an utterance should be construed as a thread is highly dependent upon exactly how it is phrased, but I honestly do think it highly unfair and prejudicial if men (and only men) are assumed to be making threats, if they talk about violence without an explicit disavowel.

    This for example:

    The problem is, our feminized society has given every woman the power to hold out for higher quality men than they deserve. This creates an imbalance that leads to tragedies like the one in PA. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. (Newton’s 3rd Law) If empowered women keep applying pressure, they will create an explosion.

    Is clearly a statement of causality. Whether or not he's right is another matter entirely. He's not making a threat.

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  43. I unspammed it. For some reason the spam filter loves eating your comments and almost no one else's.

    I have to say I disagree with you on that statement being causality. Here's another comment from the same guy -- tell me you don't think this one has a threatening edge to it:

    A decent looking man who earns a good living and does not abuse women DESERVES to get laid. Period.

    The fact that so many do not, is a crime.

    And in a just society, all crimes are eventually punished.


    And another one:

    Not being able to get laid, after jumping through all the hoops women tell you to jump through, is NOT celibacy.

    It is forced sexual slavery.


    And another one:

    A man deserves to get laid, just a a person who walks into Starbucks with $5 deserves a drink.

    Men do everything women ask them to do, in pursuit of sex, and when it comes time for women to give it up, they don’t.

    So just like that guy with $5, men have followed the rules to create the value that women have demanded in exchange for sex, and after they pay, many of them walk away empty handed.

    In any other place in ‘the world’ a crime like this would not be tolerated.


    So we've got entitlement, bitterness, rage, and a pretty obvious threat: men are being taken advantage of and deserve to have some kind of retribution. Which in the case of Sodini, obviously, meant shooting women. It's about as much a statement of "causality" as Travis Bickle's speech about a "real rain" coming to "wash all this scum off the streets" in Taxi Driver.

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  44. "It's about as much a statement of "causality" as Travis Bickle's speech about a "real rain" coming to "wash all this scum off the streets" in Taxi Driver."

    Reading the full quote, it looks to me more like a prediction than a threat.

    Looking at the quotes from the MRA commenter, I can't see that there's anything coherent there. He's certainly bitter and raging, and he has a great sense of injustice. But beyond that, it looks more like venting than a coherent argument.

    You also see entitlement; I'm not so sure. But instead of speculating about his thoughts, let me talk about mine, starting with a TV quote.

    Torchwood is Sci-fi drama with a cult following in both the UK and the US. In the episode "Greeks Bearing Gifts", Tosh acquires an amulet which enables her, unknown to others, to read their minds. It only works at short range, so what she gets is fragments of the private unguarded chitter-chatter that takes place, I guess, in all of us. Mostly its pretty trivial stuff, but one of the fragments bowled me over. Ianto, one of the regular cast walks past, seemingly untroubled, then Tosh - and we - hear him thinking:

    Can't imagine the time when this isn't everything. Pain so constant, like my stomach's full of rats. Feels like this is all I am now. There isn't an inch of me that doesn't hurt.

    I was stunned when I saw the episode, and it still overwhelms me to read it. Because that's it. That's what it felt like to be me. A constant pain knawing away at my guts every waking moment, day-in, day-out for years and years and years.

    I'll try to finish this comment later. Right now, I can scarcely put two more words together.

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  45. I got out of an extraordinary swimming pool to write this (yes! I love these conversations THAT MUCH) and don't have much time, but I was thinking about violence and statements of causality etc., and I wanted to ask you guys what you think of this phrasing:

    For men who legitimately want to talk about feelings of violence, or fears that society will become more violent if there's no open-minded way to talk about male sexuality, it seems to me that the best way to put it is this: "It makes me feel violent when I feel like male sexuality is being ignored, condescended to, or discounted." Other phrasings may be interpreted as a threat, which is understandable given the history of male violence against women and the stereotypes of male violence that permeate our culture.

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  46. Clarisse:

    That wasn't half bad.

    Clarence

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  47. Commenting on the "jackwripper" comment mentioned in the original post:

    "Men learn not to be very picky, maybe women need to learn not to be picky too."
    Historically, women have had to be the picky ones, as it is women, not men, that must bear the potential consequences of the sexual relations that result from the dating game. Not saying that EVERY date turns into a sexual relationship, but that dating has been, by and large, the search for a potential mate and sexual union with that mate. A man could walk away from the sexual union that he had with any woman and not have the tell-tale signs that had him hidden away, in shame, in the home or in a home with other men who were in like circumstances.
    With the advent of various new methods of birth control that aren't wholly dependent upon the woman not having sexual intercourse with a man, the above-mentioned potential consequences may be lessened to a greater degree, but the sexual double standard still exists. As was stated in another thread here, and I'm paraphrasing, "men don't want sexually experienced women for wives", whereas the same is not imposed upon men. I'm not judging the rightness or wrongness of this double standard, just that a man's pickiness will result in women being picky as well, and maybe even more picky than a man, as it is she who is slut-shamed, not him. Just as women need to understand that women's fairly recent sexual freedoms might affect a women's marriageability, men need to understand that their marriage standards might affect the amount that they are rejected, even in light of women's sexual freedoms.
    That's what gets me about some of the more 'militant' MRAs, sometimes they are the 'victims' of their own standards (or double standards), and yet want women to "fix this" while denying their own complicity in the problem. The only women they seem to want to listen to are ones that are sycophantic and don't try to press them to be introspective. I read one MRA who advocates getting rid of women's being able to choose by herding all females into "rape camps", where then ALL men could have access to ALL women, because that is where he thinks the problem lies, with women being able to choose at all. The problem certainly doesn't lie with men's standards affecting women's choosiness.

    "It is very strange how a female "3" can reject the advances of a male "7" because she is convinced she is a "9" and expects a male "10"."
    Or, perhaps, knowing that she is a "3", she is wary of why a "7" is approaching her, as she knows she is a "3" and expects maybe only a "4". Does he, as a "7", know that a "10" might possibly reject him, but figures that a "3" has no right to reject him? Not saying that that IS the scenario, just that it's another possibility.

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  48. I see so many guys get so wound up in their heads about asking a girl out, literally tormenting themselves with fear of rejection, fear of looking like a fool, and often this fear leads them to behave in a way a girl finds confusing or alarming. I hate it when I see my guys friends feeling like this. And this feeling comes from unfair expectations set in place by the patriarchy. Ideas about how men act with women and are treated by women.

    I, as a woman, WANT men to ask me out. I WANT to ask out men. If I reject a man, I want him to understand that I'm not passing judgment about him as a human being, I'm expressing a simple preference. And I want him to know, when I ask HIM out, I'm also expressing a simple preference. No pressure, no rumors, no angst, just a simple question.

    I hate the games girls and guys play. They're stupid and designed to make men and women fucking hate each other for creating so much misery.

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  49. "Can't imagine the time when this isn't everything. Pain so constant, like my stomach's full of rats. Feels like this is all I am now. There isn't an inch of me that doesn't hurt." Your girlfriend got turned into a cyborg and died, then you almost got fed to an alien after a period of being kept in a freezer full of human body parts, your father broke your arm in one of the beatings during your childhood because you weren't butch enough, and now you are feeling attracted to a man and risking gay bashing (similar to the heaps of shit from the father) while feeling as if you are betraying your dead lover? Okay, then go ahead and feel in deep pain. You got turned down when you asked someone to date or have sex with you? Get the fuck over it. The legitimate level of stress from watching a loved one die a horrible death or almost being murdered is in no way equivalent to the level of stress warranted from "No, I am not interested". Not all anger and feelings of injustice are equal, there are these things called reality and proportionality. Is rejection fun? No. Does it warrant a killing rage and threats of violence? Hell no. If a person can't handle being refused a date without homocidal urges, they need to get some counciling and stay the fuck away from the rest of us for our safety. Don't go on a shooting spree because the bakery ran out of your favorite muffins either.

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  50. @cat -- If all we're talking about is rejection (and frankly, I do think that frequently the "men's sexuality debate" does get boiled down to the pain of rejection), then I do agree with you. I mean, shit, I've been rejected painfully too. Men don't have a monopoly on it. And I don't see rejection as the heart of the problems with stereotypes of toxic male sexuality.

    That's the thing, though, is that I don't think we're just talking about rejection. We're talking about men who have legitimate internalized sexual anxiety and fear, which comes up whether they've been rejected or not, whether they're attacking someone or not.

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  51. Anyone who feels like Tosh in the above scenario, whatever the reasons for it, should see a therapist immediately. I'm not saying that as an insult; I'm saying: get to a therapist, get to a doctor, get to a support group, get help, because you don't have to feel that way, at least not forever.

    I've been in a state like that before. At the time, it seemed like it was because of a woman. But it really wasn't. It was depression; it was a host of other issues that I was projecting onto my situation with the woman. This particular womans' rejection triggered it all, but didn't cause it.

    We all have pain; we all have issues, but we're not going to solve them by projecting them onto the opposite sex, whether that's, say, a particular woman, or all "western women," or whatever.

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  52. For the record, I just gritted my teeth and read the AlterNet comments (I'm thinking of writing a followup, so I had to) and I was pleasantly surprised by how many of them didn't suck.

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  53. The comments under the MRM articles are often more interesting than the articles themselves. A lot of the articles on the MRM sites are just junk, but the comments, they show us the character of the MRM members.

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  54. @OP

    Interesting, it reminds me of Gavin DeBecker's book, "The Gift of Fear". He's a security specialist and the book is all about how to learn to trust your intuition/guts and notice when you're being targeted for a violent crime.

    One example he gave was of a man who kept bowling over the women's wants by not accepting "no", like pushing the girl to have a drink if she doesn't want to, as pre-incident indicators (PINs).

    "PINs
    *Forced Teaming. This is when a person tries to pretend that he has something in common with a person and that they are in the same predicament when that isn't really true.
    *Charm and Niceness. This is being polite and friendly to a person in order to manipulate him or her.
    *Too many details. If a person is lying they will add excessive details to make themselves sound more credible.
    *Typecasting. An insult to get a person who would otherwise ignore one to talk to one.
    *Loan Sharking. Giving unsolicited help and expecting favors in return.
    *The Unsolicited Promise. A promise to leave someone alone when none was asked for, this usually means they won't leave the person alone.
    *Discounting the Word “No”. Refusing to accept rejection. "

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