Call out someone for being an overweight slovenly pig, and you’re fat-shaming. Call out someone for dressing like a whore and wandering completely shit-faced drunk down a dark alley where – surprise! she gets raped! – and you’re slut-shaming. Call out someone for expressing contempt and straight up hatred for men and masculinity, and you’re …. well, now. We don’t have a word for that, do we?
Let’s make one: man-shaming.
Man-shaming is not the same as emasculating. Emasculation means to literally remove a man’s genitals (castration is to remove the testicles), and in a more colloquial sense, it means to humiliate a man by denying him the qualities that define masculinity – strength, vigor, confidence, courage, boldness and virility. Not a definitive list, obviously.
Man-shaming is something different: it’s an effort to cause men to feel shame for their very natural feelings. To make them feel as if being a man, or being masculine is somehow wrong and disgraceful. And it starts very early, in our culture. Our current school system is rigged to benefit girls at the expense of boys, and students are graded and evaluated “objectively” on how well ALL students can imitate a typical girl’s behaviour. At six years of age, students are expected to sit quietly, follow instructions and read and write and cut and paste and color and cover everything in glitter and always remember to use your words! They are NOT expected, or in some cases even ALLOWED, to track the trajectory of objects in motion, disassemble and reassemble physical structures, learn rules and fairness and victory and defeat, interact with the world and other people physically, display confidence or boldness or courage, and if they do, they will be diagnosed with some sort of bullshit “condition” and drugged into submission with a glue stick in one hand and a ribbon just for showing up in the other. I use the word “they” because girls who quite naturally display characteristically male traits will be forced into submission as well, but the fact is that most Ritalin prescriptions are filled for BOYS.
Assuming a boy survives the near continuous man-shaming of schooling, he goes out into a wider culture that paints men and masculinity in an equally harsh and derisive light. He confronts himself as violent, stupid, arrogant, ruthless and cruel. The alternative is apathetic, aimless, unmotivated, uncivilized and still really, really stupid. He sees men discarded like used Kleenex by the women around him and may even have grown up without a man in his own life. He meets head-on, the message that he is superfluous, easily sacrificed, unnecessary and possibly even dangerous.
And yet, men still account for almost all of the engineers, scientists, mathematicians and computer programmers in the world. Men are the engine that drive our modern, high technology society further ahead at speeds that astonish and delight. As Camille Paglia once said, without men, we’d all be living in grass huts.
Mike Buchanan calls for a renewed interest from the MRM in activism: stop debating and start taking on specific issues, one at a time. He wants to see naming, shaming and ridicule heaped on feminists, and this is where women like myself can help. Building awareness starts by pointing out, in very specific ways, when the people around you are engaging in man-shaming.
Here’s an example:
Mr. JB has three close friends, all male and all single. JudgyAsshole, an accountant, CleverBoy, an engineer and PrinceCharming, a senior manager in the healthcare field and an adjunct professor at the local university. They are all accomplished, intelligent and worthy men. A fourth man, PansyAss, had joined the guys one day and the conversation turned to women and the men’s physical preferences for how women should look. PansyAss was adamant that a woman’s worth was only properly taken by evaluating her MIND and nothing else mattered. He argued that focusing on a woman’s looks was superficial and objectifying and dehumanizing and all the usual feminist blah blah blah. PansyAss was raised, of course, by a strong single mother who had him in daycare from day one and who proudly raised her son to be a feminist and a friend to women everywhere.
Here’s the thing: teaching women that it does not matter how they look, and teaching men to feel ashamed of caring how women look is doing no one any favors. Biology always wins. Men have a very strong preference for women who look lush and fertile and strong and fit, and the waist to hip ratio on a woman communicates all those things. Ladies who bury their waists under 60 extra pounds of lard are deeply unappealing to most men, and when men are made to feel that it is some flaw in their fundamental character that revolts at the idea of stroking those fat rolls, that is man-shaming. Stand a slender woman with breasts and hips and a small waist next to an overweight woman solid from neck to cankles, and most men will prefer the slender woman. The entire Fat Acceptance Movement is an attempt to shame men for a very natural preference for slim women, because the alternative would be to lose some goddamn weight, and that puts the onus and responsibility on women, and we all know how much women like being held responsible for anything at all. Yeah, not a whole lot.
I entered the conversation with the guys and pointed out that their desire for a healthy, fit, strong body (in addition to all the other qualities a sane man wants in a woman) was not some personality flaw and that PansyAss was attempting to shame them for being normal, healthy men. Asshole, Charming and Clever can’t wake up one morning and just magically find fat chicks appealing, and trying to make them feel bad for that is man-shaming.
Don’t feel bad, guys. The shame belongs to the women stuffing cupcakes down their gullets and ordering bigger stretchy pants on the internet because regular stores don’t carry their size. PansyAss and his ilk can have those women. Have fun!
I find that men are so much more open to seeing when they are being subjected to man-shaming and much more willing to change than women are. Even when shaming techniques are pointed out to women, most women have an attitude of “So what? Who gives a shit?”. It’s not that women can’t see that they are deliberately and openly mocking or discrediting or ignoring men and masculinity – they can. They just don’t care. Masculinity has become a set of qualities that feminism is determined to stamp out, which is obviously completely absurd given that our entire society and economy functions as a result of a group of hypermasculine men who are on the cutting edges of science and mathematics and engineering and programming. Those men create the world we live in, and they do it by being bold, fearless, confident and taking risks that would make the rest of us blanche. Of course, there are a FEW women who participate, but they are outliers. The majority of women don’t produce anything particularly useful, except other human beings of course, and that is just as it should be.
Popular media, swallowing feminist dogma hook line and sinker, likes to try and make stay at home wives and mothers feel shame, too. We aren’t contributing anything, apparently. Just making a productive man even more productive, raising happy children, creating safe communities and making life worth living, but NOTHING ELSE. Well, fuck that nonsense!
I won’t accept any shaming of my life. Being a wife and mother is the highest manifestation of a psychology and set of needs and desires that has evolved over millennia to ensure the survival of humanity. And no man should ever accept that his psychology and set of needs and desires, similarly evolved, is shameworthy. There is honor in the feminine and in the masculine. It’s time to call out everyone, men and women alike, who refuse to acknowledge the value of both.
Honor and shame from no condition rise;
Act well your part, there all the honor lies.
ALEXANDER POPE, An Essay on Man
Lots of love,