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It’s not self-esteem that’s the problem, Matt Forney. It’s what women esteem themselves to be.

11 Oct

Let me state right off the bat that I like Matt Forney. He’s quite young, so I cut him an enormous amount of slack, given the quality of his female peers, but I think he missed a few key distinctions in his now gone viral post The Case Against Female Self-Esteem.o

http://mattforney.com/2013/09/16/the-case-against-female-self-esteem/

Here’s the quick and dirty summary of Matt’s argument:

1. Most girls have done nothing to deserve self-esteem

2. Insecurity is integral to femininity

3. Women don’t want to have high self-esteem

I’m going to take them one by one, and hopefully show you that Matt is talking about young women, and that his arguments don’t apply to certain women, as they age. This is not NAWALT, but rather a mapping of the journey that most women will eventually embark upon, and it’s a journey that needs a few landmarks pointed out.

1. Most girls have done nothing to deserve self-esteem

That is true, but only when esteem is measured in terms of genuinely competing with men. Matt, like many observers – myself included – quite rightly points out that most of the real, hard work of running our world is done by men, but he ignores what genuine self-esteem in women looks like when they are NOT competing with men. And Matt acknowledges as much.

In the world of men, respect—and by extension self-esteem—is based on actually achieving something of worth or having some kind of skill or talent.

What is respect – and by extension, self-esteem – based on in the world of women?

baby

The overwhelming majority of women will eventually become mothers, and being a good mother will become the principle source of a woman’s self-esteem. That is what fuels the so-called “Mommy Wars” – women desperately trying to justify their choices so they can think of themselves as good mothers. Single mothers insist they are good mothers. Working mothers insist they are good mothers. Stay at home mothers don’t really have to insist they’re good mothers, because simply being present is 80% of the job, but they will insist that their lives have meaning.

Here’s a wonderful article about the daughter of a feminist who has made the kitchen the focus of her life, with no regrets. Why the kitchen? Because it allows her to be a good mother.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/fashion/a-feminists-daughter-finds-love-in-the-kitchen.html?pagewanted=all

Whenever a girl I’m talking to brags about how she’s “confident” and “strong,” I can feel my dick deflating like a punctured tire.

Matt is right to point out that the girls he is talking to have absolutely nothing to base their “strength” and “confidence” on, but that is very likely to change. I would not hesitate to tell Matt that I am both of those things, but I have life experiences to back that shit up.

I am a supremely confident mother. And I am incredibly strong, in an emotional sense. I can be utterly, stupidly exhausted and still have the mental discipline to respond with love and patience and maximum kindness. And that is not easy, trust me. When the baby has been up fourteen times with an ear infection and the older children are squabbling over who gets the Batman cereal bowl and who is gonna be stuck with Spiderman, it’s easy to scream at everyone and have them all in tears.

Does that sound trivial? That might be because you are a man, and you do not measure your worth in terms of kindness and patience. I’m not saying that all women are kind and patient – ha! My own mother was devoid of both those qualities. But I’m pretty sure she knows she was a shit mother for not having them.

A woman who is strong and confident in her abilities to be a good mother, and who demonstrably IS a good mother has every right to esteem herself highly. Confidence in genuine accomplishments that arise primarily from the fact of being a woman should be very attractive to any sensible young man.

The women Matt is talking about are bragging about accomplishments they don’t actually have, and that is the problem. It’s not the confidence, per se. What are you confident IN?

2. Insecurity is integral to femininity

Ay-yah. This one is tough. In my view, Matt is mistaking interdependence for insecurity.

insecure

This is emotional insecurity:

I was thinking about a couple of my past relationships when I had this epiphany; the girls I’ve loved the most were the ones who were the most insecure, the most emotionally vulnerable. When I first went on a date with the only girl I would have ever married, her hands were trembling in nervousness. She later admitted that she was openly intimidated by me and the idea that I found her attractive. She had been an ugly duckling in high school, forty pounds overweight and used to being ignored and mocked; I had met her shortly after she’d lost the weight, when she still viewed the world through a fat girl’s eyes.

This is interdependence:

Part of our identity as men based in women needing us, if not necessarily in a material sense, then in an emotional one, though material and emotional vulnerability often go hand in hand. That female insecurity is a crucial ingredient for unlocking our inner masculine instincts.

I am not an emotionally insecure or vulnerable person, nor have I ever been. The former fat girl is unsure of herself, intimidated and in need of validation, given her previous experience. That’s fine, but it’s not to be confused with being vulnerable on account of simply being the weaker sex. My husband is considerably larger than I am, and I am very much aware of how incredibly safe it feels to have his arms around me, his chin resting easily on my head.

Being emotionally vulnerable is insecurity. Being physically vulnerable is not the same thing. In fact, I would say that emotionally vulnerable women are more trouble than they’re worth. It might feel trigger feelings of superiority and dominance to begin with, and I’m the last person to deride those feelings in men – they are central to feeling masculine – but women who can’t command their own emotions? That shit gets old really fast.

I personally cannot stand emotionally vulnerable women. I hate the whole “let’s make everything about my shaky quaky feelings” bullshit that goes on with so many women. It feels to me like a power play, and I hate it. I consider myself very feminine and it has nothing at all to do with feeling insecure. I’m not insecure. Not in the slightest. That doesn’t mean I’m not dependent on my husband, because I very much am. I depend on him to take care of me in every way EXCEPT when it comes to handling my own emotional life.

sulking

And I think he’s grateful he doesn’t have to put up with regular weeping or sulking from me. He doesn’t have to constantly be on guard for when my wittle feelings might be hurt. They don’t get hurt all that often, and when they do, I open my mouth and say so.

If I’m not the center of a girl’s world, I’m not going to be in her world period.

Absolutely, Matt, but she doesn’t have to be an emotional fucking basketcase to justify making you the center of her world. In fact, it’s better if she’s not. A woman who has made a conscious, rational decision to make the person she loves the reason for her continued existence is a woman worth having.

3. Women don’t want to have high self-esteem

This is the kicker; in their bones, girls know that their toxic, feminist you-go-grrl ideology is a lie.

I agree, and the telling of that lie over and over again is one of my principal beefs with feminism.

Girls will all but die without masculine attention. Hell, I’m even starting to think that the feminist agita about “rape culture” is part of this as well. Pushing lies like the claim that one in three women will be raped during her lifetime and their constantly expanding the definition of rape are ways for feminists to indulge their desire for vulnerability in a way that doesn’t conflict with their view of themselves as “strong” and “empowered.”

This is an amazing insight, and one I hadn’t considered. Rape culture is not just about women’s fantasy of being irresistibly desirable, it’s also about being vulnerable in a way that doesn’t force them to confront the lies they tell themselves.

They want nothing more than for a man to throw them over his knee, shatter the Berlin Wall around their hearts, and expose the lovestruck, bashful little girl within.

And here again is where I disagree. This to me strongly suggests that you think a woman’s desire to be dependent on a man infantilizes her, and I would say the opposite. It matures her. Understanding that human pair bonds are complementary and not competitive is a key part of growing up, for both men and women. Joining your life to another in a way that acknowledges both individual strengths and weaknesses doesn’t make the woman a bashful little girl.

It makes her a sensible, powerful woman, who understands that it takes courage to be dependent on another person. You need faith, and trust and an immense dedication. And it’s not just women who are dependent. Men are dependent on women, too. We are the carriers for your children. We can make your lives a misery, or fill them with love and comfort and happiness in a way that nothing else can.

Men have to trust women in so many ways. Loyalty, fidelity, devotion, allegiance –none of those things can be guaranteed. You simply have to trust. To depend.

A big part of the problem in our modern culture is that men are still expected to depend on women for access to children, but women have no reciprocal obligations to depend on men. They can refuse to grow up. Refuse the obligations that come with responsibility. Refuse to be dependable themselves.

And that is the real problem. Confident women have no problem depending on men, because they know they themselves are dependable. It’s a mutually reinforcing system, and the basis for women’s self-esteem.

Legitimate self-esteem. Being a wife and mother is in the cards for most women. But they can’t base their self-esteem on that, because they are living a lie about what self-esteem really means, and by pursing “careers” and “independence”, they are shit mothers and crappy wives.

Ergo, this false sense of esteem.

So it’s not confidence and esteem that are the problem. Quite the contrary.

It’s the false basis for those beliefs.

Most women eventually see at least half of the lie. Once they actually have children, they understand that to be a good mother is all that will ever mean anything to them, but they’ve fucked up planning their life and leave themselves with no real choices. They can’t afford to be good mothers.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2012/09/12/is-opting-out-the-new-american-dream-for-working-women/

Fewer women come to see that marriage is the most valuable, important relationship they will ever experience in their lives, with fully half of all marriages ending in divorce, mostly for spurious reasons, like “I just don’t love him anymore”.

http://www.professional-counselling.com/causes-of-divorce.html

The two things women can legitimately base a sense of self-esteem on are precisely the two things feminism rails heartily against: depend on a man and raise the children you have together yourself.

Legitimate, justified self-esteem and confidence in women are undeniable virtues. How do you know if you are with a woman who is going to eventually grow into a person who understands the basis of her own worth?

Game isn’t going to do it, because you will never weed out the basketcases. You will no doubt get laid a whole lot, but when it comes to picking a reliable, dependable partner, the technique won’t help you much.

What will?

chivalry

Good old-fashioned chivalry. Open her door. Let her go first. Pull out her chair. Walk on the outside. The second you get anything other than gratitude from a woman on that front, you know it’s time to move on.

Remember, you are not looking for a Princess who wants Daddy to take care of everything at the first hint of a pout. You’re looking for a Queen, who will rule by your side.

That takes confidence. And some pretty healthy self-esteem.

Lots of love,

JB

About that “this is why we write the blog in the first place” post

9 Oct

Pixie decided to take the post down, because she has not had a chance to discuss with the actual person involved whether he would care to have his words and situation published.

 

We reacted without thinking the implications for Friend through very well.

 

She has saved the post and all the comments, and if Friend is okay with it going back up, we will do so.

 

But it’s his life, and he has the ultimate right to decide how much of that he cares to share.

 

Just wanted to let you know what happened to it.

 

Lots of love,

 

JB

If gender is a social construct, why do transgender people KNOW they are the wrong gender?

23 Sep

Hey, remember last year when I complained about all the boring whore costumes women sport on Halloween?

http://judgybitch.com/2012/10/26/ladies-you-can-be-hot-this-halloween-without-dressing-like-a-whore/

For the record, I went as Lara Croft, and I was awesome!  This year, just to prove that pretty much nothing I write makes any sense at all (ha!), I have selected one of the sluttiest costumes I could find at our local Halloween Superstore:

gretchen

Yes, I am dressing as Sexy Gretchen, the trampy beer maiden!  You know what made the decision for me?  This particular store is one of the only costume emporiums that CARRIES PLUS SIZES in ALL the “sexy” categories.

And you know how much I hate fat shaming, right?

http://judgybitch.com/2012/10/23/why-are-you-so-goddamn-fat/

http://judgybitch.com/2012/11/18/why-are-you-so-goddamn-fat-part-two/

http://judgybitch.com/2013/03/28/why-are-you-so-goddamn-fat-part-three/

Giant ladies have every right to cram their butts into skimpy costumes and continue on with their delusional belief that having massive tits makes up for the rest of the body.

Ah, that was mean.  Fat people are still people, but seriously SIZE 18 SEXY GRETCHEN COSTUMES!

That can only mean one thing:  yes, Mr. JB and I are going to wear the SAME COSTUMES!

The reaction from our friends has been pretty interesting.  Mr. JB actually has a long history of cross-dressing for Halloween, beginning with his award-winning turn as Carmen Miranda in the 9th Grade.

carmen

He has also taken his turn as Wonder Woman, Little Red Riding Hood and Little BoPeep, all of which have been absolutely hilarious, given his size and how normally conservative he is in appearance and dress.

Our younger friends all think matching costumes is an outstanding idea, and a few of them are even hatching plans to acquire their own sexy Gretchen costumes.  The Monster Ball may be awash in sexy beer maids this year. Clever Guy was over last night and he insisted on donning the costume and the blonde braids to pose for pictures which we immediately sent out to family and friends.  Clever Guy’s mom gets exceptionally giggly over her son dressed in silly costumes.

It’s really not that big of a deal, right?  Well, our older friends get downright hostile.  BigDaddy from down the street, who has two sons of his own, was actually rather angry when he saw the costumes.  Of course, his own sons dressed as Marilyn Monroe and The Evil Queen (from Snow White) last year, and they were totally gorgeous, but there is definitely a generational divide when it comes to the whole idea of cross-dressing, even when it’s done in jest.

Younger men don’t feel the slightest bit threatened by donning the wardrobe of the opposite sex, while older men seem to feel that wearing a dirndl and some sheer stockings with cute little bows somehow hurts men and masculinity.

I think there is a happy medium, and it comes down to how fiercely we believe that gender is something that can be consciously determined.  The men who are angry and threatened by Mr.JB’s antics are reacting to a certain concept of gender that is 100% rigid, and while I can agree that certain aspects of masculinity have been carved too deeply into the concrete of our social psyche, I do NOT believe that the extreme alternative of believing NOTHING about gender is innate or inherent is a better way of understanding how gender works.

Some ideas about masculinity really are very destructive. Men are more naturally stoic and less likely to allow their emotions to govern their actions than women are.  That has all kinds of benefits when it comes to demonstrating leadership qualities and accurately assessing risks and being willing to shoulder a disproportionate amount of work and responsibilities.

Being stoic and governed by rationality is a net positive, but it becomes destructive when men believe that is the ONLY acceptable way to be.  The most brutal consequence of defining masculinity so rigidly is suicide.  When men get staggered by life, and decide they no longer wish to continue, they tend to be extremely good at making effective plans to end their own lives.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_differences_in_suicide

http://www.bcmj.org/articles/silent-epidemic-male-suicide

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2067182/Suicide-greatest-killer-young-men.html

Male suicide is a public health crisis reaching epidemic proportions, yet it still receives very little in terms of funding or attention.  Pink ribbons line the landscape from one side of the country to the other, despite the fact that the mortality rates are pretty much the same.

Deaths from suicide (mostly men) in 2010:  38 364

Deaths from breast cancer (mostly women) in 2010: 40 170

http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@nho/documents/document/f861009final90809pdf.pdf (p.2)

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_04.pdf (p.58)

It’s really kind of sickening that masculinity itself gets blamed for male suicide, when the problem has far more to do with a broader society that defines men only in terms of the utility they can provide for others. Here’s an actual quote from a study exploring why men commit suicide so much more frequently than women:

One way of taking back one’s own masculinity is to take one’s own life.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2012/09/24/the-gender-inequality-of-suicide-why-are-men-at-such-high-risk/

Yes men, if you really want to prove you are a man, please do it by killing yourself.

The majority of the report examines how working class men have lost their traditional manufacturing jobs, how divorce devastates men in particular, how downsizing squeezes male middle managers out of the corporate structure, how schools and colleges are failing to provide men and boys with the training they need to take their places in the new economy and then comes to the conclusion that masculinity is the problem.

Yeah, that must be it.

think

Let me think for a minute:  is there a  particular ideology circulating in the culture that claims masculinity is something you can just choose to do or not to do?  Is there some sort of political philosophy that claims one gender’s ways of doing and being are acceptable and the other’s is not? Is there a view of education that sneers at training and vocational skills, which tend to be the domains of boys?

Help me out here.

Over and over again, reports into the issues and challenges facing men come up with the same solution:  masculinity is the problem, so let’s get rid of it.

book 3

book 1

book 2

http://denisdutton.com/baumeister.htm

All of which rests on the assumption that masculinity isn’t something you are born with, it’s something you learn.  Something you perform. And with the right social programming, you can unlearn it.

man book

Which brings me to the title of today’s post:  if gender is something you learn, not something you are born simply knowing, how is it that some people KNOW they were born the wrong gender?

True story:  a member of Mr. JB’s distant family (his mother’s cousin) has two children.  The daughter was born with something called Turner Syndrome, which is a chromosomal abnormality in which all or part of one of the sex chromosomes is absent.

Webbed_Neck

The daughter has no ovaries and she has a strangely masculine look to her.  She suffers from something called “neck webbing” and the disorder has obviously profoundly affected her life and understanding of herself as a person.  She very much considers herself a woman.  She is female.  She is 100% a she.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turner_syndrome

By all appearances, the son was a perfectly normal little boy, suffering from no disorders or problems anyone could detect.  But for as long as he can remember, he has harbored a terrible secret.  He is really a she, too.  The son is transgender.

trans

I very sincerely doubt those two conditions, being transgender and having Turner Syndrome are unrelated.  Something having to do with sex hormones is very fucked up in the mother and she passed that along to her children.  They have different fathers, so it is almost certainly a problem with the mother. I absolutely believe that transgender people are suffering from a very serious illness, and they deserve all the compassion and treatment options that we would extend to anyone else suffering from a severe birth defect.

We are born knowing that we are a particular gender.  The idea that gender can be “performed” is true, to the extent that we can don the clothing and markings of our opposite sex.  That’s so trite an observation, is scarcely seems believable we need to acknowledge it, but something very malignant has happened in that intersection of feminism and playing dress-up.

Judith Butler is perhaps the most famous of the “gender is a social construct” theorists, and also one of the worst writers you will ever have the pain of attempting to understand.  The obfuscation that marks her writing is not a mistake, though.  It’s a very deliberate strategy to disguise the real agenda behind the “gender is a social construct” philosophy.

When Simone de Beauvoir claims, “one is not born, but, rather, becomes a woman,” she is appropriating and reinterpreting this doctrine of constituting acts from the phenomenological tradition.’ In this sense, gender is in no way a stable identity or locus of agency from which various acts proceed; rather, it is an identity tenuously constituted in time-an identity instituted through a stylized repetition of acts. Further, gender is instituted through the stylization of the body and, hence, must be understood as the mundane way in which bodily gestures, movements, and enactments of various kinds constitute the illusion of an abiding gendered self.

http://people.su.se/~snce/texter/butlerPerformance.pdf

One gender is acceptable.  One gender is laudable.  One gender is to be preferred.  One gender is favored.

One gender is unacceptable.  One gender is detestable.  One gender is to be eradicated.  One gender is hated.

The idea that gender is something you choose is the very essence of feminism, and it’s the most perfect expression of how much feminism hates both men AND women.  Feminism is an attempt to redefine HUMAN as feminine, thereby eradicating any meaningful distinctions between men and women.  It’s kind of like insisting that everyone bleach their skin white and voila – racism disappears!  We’re all equal now!

Equally white.

Halloween is one of those great holidays that challenges the idea that gender is something you choose by deploying the irony of dressing up as the opposite gender.  Performing gender in the form of a costume doesn’t challenge gender difference:  it confirms it.

wonder woman

Seeing men dressed as women is hilarious precisely because you can’t just change your clothes and presto, you’ve changed your gender.

Younger men seem to get that we are all humans who exist on a continuum, clustering mostly in the tails with some important overlapping characteristics that allow us the opportunity to relate to one another and love one another.  I think we can credit early feminism with freeing us all from overly rigid expectations about how men and women “are”, but we can also condemn modern feminism, very loudly, for not being satisfied with equality and chasing down supremacy.

When there is room in our culture to tell men that one way to capture their masculinity to kill themselves, something has gone very, very wrong. Inciting people to kill themselves is the very definition of hate, isn’t it?  When a transgender girl in California is crowned homecoming queen, and then trolled mercilessly on YouTube with exhortations to “kill herself”, we quite rightly respond by condemning the people who hate her as bigots.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/transgender-homecoming-queen-breaks-backlash-article-1.1463948

http://jezebel.com/bigot-jerks-are-being-bigot-jerks-to-trans-girl-homecom-1368554577

And I personally feel no compunction whatsoever calling out feminists who think masculinity is something that can be chosen, or more importantly NOT chosen, as bigots in the exact same vein.

This Halloween, consider dressing up as the opposite gender.  Or in a really trashy slutty costume, as long as you can find a date who will wear the matching costumes.

I highly recommend “Sexy Gretchen”.  Who doesn’t like sexy beer maids?  Even the ones with hairy chests.

Lots of love,

JB

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