Eminem - Amityville
"That's the mentality here
That's the reality here"
also Eminem - Amityville, on a different topic
"It always seems impossible until it's done."
A recent visit to some relatives got me watching some good old-fashioned teleo-vision, including a nature documentary about mountains, itself including mountain dwelling snub-nosed monkeys. It featured an adorably snub-nosed little monkey (truth in advertising) who gets abandoned when his mother shacks up with her former mate's murderers. The juvenile now has to find a group of bachelor males with whom to huddle for warmth against the night's freezing temperatures. The voiceover repeatedly drives home the point of just how wild and brutish the murderous bachelor males are. Especially the leader. And how amazing it is that they'd take in a useless little orphan monkey-boy. Amazing. Just amazing.
... Wait, it seems like we fast-forwarded past something here. Can we go back to the part where a helpless little monklet was bounced from his clan? That part is apparently not amazing. In social mammals, as a rule, females band together around their charming princes and the rest of the males are on their own. Didn't warrant much commentary. It's just business as usual. And in fact it is perfectly natural from an evolutionary perspective, fitting both male and female reproductive strategies. Male offspring are a high-risk, high-payoff proposition. They're a gamble. The successful few are really successful. The rest? Our savage mother nature doesn't give a shit.
Polite, civilized society, on the other hand, is supposed to give all of the shits.
And what could be more polite and civilized than the English? My recent exposure to tha teevee also included the pilot episode of Jamestown, which being advertised as created by former Downton Abbey hotshots, inevitably caters to much the same middle class female audience. Now, when one has less to say, one tends to say it louder, and as Jamestown is of lower budget and quality than its predecessor, it compensated by ramping up the female chauvinism. Leaving aside other offenses, I was amused at the dramatic line used for advertisements:
"these men have been on their own for so long they've ceased being men"
First, just try reversing the polarity on that. Imagine a show being promoted with the line "these women have been on their own for so long they've ceased being women" and then imagine the ten ton boot that would be used to kick the hapless writer out the studio's doors.
Second, and more importantly, just try to gauge the unmitigated conceit of that statement. Those men have been suffering the privations, dangers, isolation, humiliation and terror of frontier life for a dozen years to provide you with a safety net upon your arrival. Oh, how saaaad for <you> that <they> suffered a dozen years of dehumanizing experiences!
But ok, let's switch media. Webcomics, for their relatively high creative freedom, youth appeal and need to incorporate audience expectations into rapidfire four-panel humor, present an interesting delineation of modern social acceptability and transgression. Take Questionable Content for instance, which recently had a male character yank a grey hair out of a female friend's head and mock her existential despair at getting old, pawing at her head for more grey hairs as she sat there whining pitifully. Cue laugh track. Then on the next page she innocently points out it's no worse than that one wrinkle he's gotten, at which point he pulls a knife on her and threatens her into recanting the observation while cowering from him.
Hah! Hilarious, amirite?
Oh, wait, I should have noted I'm doing that "reverse the polarity" thing where I reverse male and female roles to test the objectivity of pro-female chauvinism. I guess the original version with the female mocking a man and threatening to fly into a rage is... cute. Right? When a double standard favors women, we're supposed to applaud it.
Or try a 2014 strip from Candorville, a left-wing political comic wavering between sanity or blindly mouthing the Democratic Party's talking points. A strawman conservative complains about the truth gap in the supposed gender wage gap, and is shot down by the author's avatar - not by actually addressing the point but by complaining that "a lot of industries still won't hire women" with a specific jab at the tech sector. In the fine print rant below, the author treats us to this gem:
"Even though women outnumber men at the top schools and in the workforce and use the latest gadgets and apps in equal if not greater numbers, they still represent a small fraction of executives, entrepreneurs, investors and engineers."
Well, at least this time I didn't have to reverse the polarity; he did it for me. Yes, how sad for women that despite being handed every social good and advantage without working themselves to death, they're still refusing to work themselves to death to prove their worth by amassing superfluous money and fame.
How sad for them. On the other hand, the men whose buying power has been hooked and crooked into women's hands, whose seats in universities have been wrested to give the lady a subsidized fainting couch called gender studies? Darrin Bell didn't need to worry about those men. He can't worry about them, for fear a feminist lynch mob will shove his Pulitzer up his ass.
I also enjoyed the webcomic Leftover Soup through to its somewhat sappy end. Quirky characters straddle that nerdy line between reality and fantasy enough to make me swallow what is otherwise merely a "slice of life" comic. Like most urbane, media-savvy modern men, the author's got a huge fucking blind spot when it comes to... fucking, or more broadly,
Is that rape? The comic goes into several dozen panels of discussion on the topic, but I always meant to comment on this page in particular and its author commentary for its apt display of doublethink. The victim doesn't want to use the R-word to describe what happened to him because
A) the event wasn't traumatic until he found out about it and
B) He's a dude, dude.
A lot of effort, planned or unwitting, sinks into supporting feminists' self-justifying "rape culture" paranoid fantasies, to feed the entitlement of women as heroines over men as villains. As one example, the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S. years ago fabricated a separate category of sexual assault called "made to penetrate" for abuse of the penis to ensure that women who rape men can be arbitrarily excluded from r-a-p-e statistics when politically convenient. So when Brunhilde holds a gun to your head and rides you like a unicycle until your skin tears, take solace knowing you won't be permitted to infringe on women's absolute moral superiority by the galling suggestion that you, a lowly male, might be entitled to the same consideration as your female superiors in the natural order. Glory in your government's righteous defense of the gender oppression fairytale. Man bad. Woman good. Shut up.
In the case of Leftover Soup, the author's commentary below the comic was often as interesting as the comic itself. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. He may think "The R-word is what happens to chicks" is one of the most horrible sentences he's ever written, but as far as the government's concerned it's public policy. Women don't rape men, at least not as long as you don't define women forcing sex on men as rape.
Of course the real issue, as I often say, is to imagine the reverse. Reverse the polarity. I have to wonder if Tailsteak, as edgy and risque as he markets himself, would have supported one of his female instead of male characters stating that she didn't suffer enough at the time of her explicitly nonconsensual sex act for it to count as rape. She was too drunk to remember it so who cares. Roofied girls don't remember it so it's cool, yo. I mean, that IS what the beginning of Kill Bill taught us, right? Comatose girls are fair game. Take it like a man, babe. Or, in the author's words:
"I think Trent's mindset is realistic and understandable, though. There's a male ego thing involved - as Dave Chappelle once said, there's an impulse to walk it off."
I love the passive voice here in particular. "There's" this-and-that. There just is. Imagine this same argument sixty or seventy years ago. There's a female ego thing involved in keeping house for her man and having him handle the finances. And yes, there may very well be some nesting instinct factor to women's traditional role in relationships, but we're supposed to be capable of acknowledging that where instinct leads to self-harm or a loss of personal agency, instinct should be curbed or at least counterbalanced by reason and polite discourse. We would see as the pinnacle of political incorrectness any claim that female reticence to raise the hue and cry about an unwanted sexual contact just "is" and leave it at that - to say that if she doesn't want to condemn her abuser then eh, it's a chick thing. There's a female ego thing involved.
Yet Tailsteak was at least right in calling his own enforcement of self-destructive male competence and the taboo on male neediness realistic because you see this bullshit day in and day out, all our lives. Listen to how the topic of husband-beating's handled, the few times it doesn't just yield laughter and mockery of male victims. Men are stronger than women so it hurts less when women hit so therefore shut up and take it like a man.
Oh? So it's fine if male wife-batterers agree to hit their wives just little less violently?
Well you see there's a female ego thing involved in just taking her husband's abuse and keeping up the facade of a happy relationship to make her girlfriends envious.
It's not a valid argument to distinguish men from women if you wouldn't accept it as a valid distinction between females. If it's physical strength that matters, how hard does a man have to hit a woman before it counts? How many newtons per zygomatic centimeter delineate an acceptably feminine strength of abuse?
Bring up the topic of genital mutilation as another example and hear the utter silence from self-righteous social activists on the topic of worldwide, entrenched male circumcision - even as they wail and tear their hair out about the much less popular female version limited to northern Africa and the Middle East. People will waver and stammer and inevitably hit upon what seems to them like an irrefutable argument.
Well, I mean, it's not as bad for boys, is it? They're not cutting the whole penis... it hurts less, doesn't it... they don't lose as much sensation, not all of it.
In other words, walk it off you big literal baby.
Who the shit gives a crap? You're gratuitously chopping pieces off an infant with the express purpose of limiting its future capacity for pleasure, even if you couch it in superstitious babble.
Would you accept the argument that certain forms of cliterectomy shouldn't count as abusive because they don't inflict enough suffering? If so, how little or how much pain and anhedonia amount to justification in mutilating women?
Yes, but you see, there's a female ego thing involved in it. There's an impulse to just walk it off. They feel more like princesses if they're missing their pea.
Made to penetrate? There's that passive voice again. So very very useful. Almost as though there was no second person involved at all. Rape involves a rapist, but what's this supposed to imply? A makist? On the other hand "penetrate" in fact certainly makes it sound like that man was doing something instead of being attacked. He's verbing all the way.
We're obsessed with playing knights in shining armor. Anything in our society which putatively harms women must be made the target of trillion-dollar decades-long eradication campaigns. If anything harms men more than women on the other hand, then "there's an impulse" to ignore it. Male suffering is just how the world works. Incarceration rates, medical research, workplace safety, lower higher education, hospital care, preventive medical care, divorce laws, violence, homelessness, circumcision, military brainwashing campaigns, dying at least five years younger and the endless injustice of female conditioning of male behavior to make us swallow all this bullshit, it all just "is" as if it were an immutable law of the universe. And when what we consider a stereotypically male-on-female crime like rape, child abuse or spousal abuse turns out to contain as many or more female-on-male acts, when social ills like religion, consumerism or the anti-abortion movement turn out to be majority female, well, that half of the equation? That ain't even "is." We just... walk it off. Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain.
It just feels right, in our subconscious naturalistic fallacy, that men should incur higher damage and receive less help. In our neural infrastructure, we are still to a large extent furry little tree-dwellers huddling together in terror of the night. We are apes, primates, monkeys, and for thirty or sixty million years we have ensured our genetic continuation by having our females band together in safety and tossing males to the wolves. When our genus branched off, when the tyranny of our prolonged gestation and infancy wore so heavily upon women that they grew dependent on male protection and providence, this entitlement was not reversed but only reinforced, each man competing for female attention then shackled to a designated recipient of his labor. Any harm men incur while carrying out that instinctive role, well... just walk it off. We don't even have to think about it. It's our default setting. It seems impossible that it would be otherwise.
And yet, to what extent is the impulse to walk it off instinctive and to what extent does it stem from our socially inculcated mores, our chivalry both medieval and modern, our desperation to reinforce women's tacitly presumed higher value, higher entitlement to peace, safety and happiness and men's subservient role in securing women's safety and contentment? And if it is an instinct, isn't this one of those cases where instinct should be curbed in favor of more civilized self-respect instead of slavishly "walking off" abuse by the unfairer sex? We are minds, not merely ape bodies. We are not natural creatures, lest you think yourself natural in your polyester clothing, sipping your latte while thumb-scrolling through this on your smartphone in an air-conditioned steel cave. We need to address such matters rationally. The issue isn't whether men can "take it" more resiliently than women, but that no-one should be brainwashed into taking abuse in the first place.
How valuable is the victimology pecking order to you? I guess that depends on your definition of equality.