Applying Bill of Ockham’s sharp thing

Carey Roberts, a withered geriatrarch of the he-man-she-haters club, is once again complaining that women are meanyheads: in Misandry in the least likely of places Roberts clutches his pearls over the lyrics of a Country song about a revenge scenario on an untrusted lover.

But it’s the title “” Before He Cheats “” that turns this song into a bitter gender tirade. Just imagine a male star reaching platinum for crooning, Before She Aborts.

Country songs about Cheatin’, oh my, Carey Roberts! Such razor-sharp insight! Who’s ever heard of such a thing! Why, it’s not as if it’s such a trope in country music that there’s actually songs about cheating songs or anything.

Cause she just started liking cheatin’ songs
And what’s bothering me
I don’t know if its the cheatin’ she likes
Or just the melody

As various commentors over at Sadly, No!‘s excellent fisking of Roberts have observed, it’s hard to see how just the title makes this particular country song an outstandingly bitter gender tirade in comparison to such shining lights of relationship modelling as “Momma’s in the Graveyard (Poppa’s in the Pen)” or “He hit me (and it felt like a kiss)”.

You’d think drawing such a long bow would have tuckered Carey out, but no – he’s only warming up for the Hyperbole Steeplechase:

It’s one thing to peruse a scholarly analysis of gender contempt. It’s quite another to experience it up close and personal, like a bare-knuckled fist shoved into the gut.

That happened last week. I came across an article that announced, “The Spirituality of Moms Outpaces that of Dads.” Based on research by a California-based new-age outfit called The Barna Group, the article purports to show that compared to women, men are spiritual dwarfs.

That’s right, a couple hundred years ago we were debating whether American Indians had souls. Now, it seems the spirituality of men is being called into question.

Over the last decade, we’ve watched as our churches have fallen captive to female bonding rituals, Aphrodite worship, and revisionist versions of the Ten Commandments that begin, “Adore me, the Mother. Know that I, the Mother, am immanent and transcendent.”

I’ve seen this with my own eyes, and worse.

And no surprise, men are leaving the church in droves. And now along comes the Barna Group that pompously informs us that “Men generally lag behind the spirituality of women.” Want proof? Because in a typical week, “mothers are more likely than fathers to attend church.”

Girls, how’s that for a plan “” we’ll feminize the church, send the men packing, and then proclaim our moral superiority!

Another commentor at Sadly,No! offers a different hypothesis:

As far as the “men don’t go to church” thing, it is simple: 90% of self-identified Christians think church sucks, but they want their kids to get a religous upbringing. So the wife has to drag the kids to church, while Poppa stays home to watch football and go fishing, because, you know, he’s in charge and can do what he wants. Misandry, my ample bottom.

So, is it more likely that

  • 1. A country song called “Before He Cheats” is more likely to be
    • (a) playing into a long country music tradition of “cheatin’ songs”
    • or

    • (b) a bitter gender tirade?
  • 2. The preponderance of women in churches is more likely to be
    • (a) due to women driving the men away from church,
    • or

    • (b) to men delegating the boredom of ensuring children are religionised to the womenfolk while they indulge in leisure?

My answers are going to be 1.a and 2.b, but I’m probably just indulging in a bitter gender tirade.

Amanda at Pandagon especially takes on Robert’s equivalence of cheating with abortion, in light of more restrictions on abortion being proposed in Ohio, which is serious and takes all the fun out of mocking obsessed anti-feminists like Roberts. The Ohio legislators aren’t quite so obviously unhinged, more’s the pity?

P.S. I want an Australian equivalent of Roberts to poke at every now and then. Where are they all? It’s not that we don’t have loons, but they don’t have such high-profile platforms. Maybe Aussies are getting some things right even when they have voted in Howard for the last 11 years.

Categories: gender & feminism, religion

Tags: , , ,

10 replies

  1. Very funny. I found my way to a forum for a mens’ rights website recently, sadly it wasn’t Australian so it isn’t an answer to your request, but a more amusing read I have not had for a long time. There were some very, very long bows being drawn and eventually some macho trolls disrupted the discussion, only to be accused of being women in drag, which of course upset those trolls no end, because being women is a very big insult. Sadly the mens’ rights members were not witty or assertive enough to handle the trolls. It all disintegrated in the most ludicrous of ways.

  2. There’s a thing called the “Godly Man Curriculum” that’s run by an Australian guy, but I don’t know if it’s based here. He uses the power of Jesus to inform us that the only men the media don’t berate are homosexual, and that feminists are castrating young boys so they grow into mutant girly-things and snorrrrrre

  3. Bill Heffernan?

  4. There is a low-level misandry in popular and everyday cultures. A perfect example would be the ‘Mere Male’ type of section in a magazine. I have noticed two things about this:
    1) It stems from traditional patriarchal stereotypes of masculinity and femininity, and not from anything to do with feminism or new cultural formations: ie it relies on the assumption that women properly dominate the domestic sphere, and thus men’s stereotypical incompetence can be safely ridiculed.
    2) It is a misplaced form of resistance to this system of patriarchy, and to the division of labour, that cathects to socially acceptable forums for women to air grievances instead of emerging as critique of the system as such.
    3) Misandry of this kind is irritating as all hell, but it’s not exactly making things difficult for guys.

  5. or three things even!

  6. Adam, there is nothing you have said in comment #4 that we patriarchy-blamers have not wearily noted many years ago. The “mere male” section of the women’s mags existed back when I was a child, and far from being a sign of matriarchal domination, it was the use of (attempted, rather lame) humour against the powerful by the powerless. To use it as an example of female power resurgent, is again, drawing a very long bow. (And Tigtog, that’s a terrible mixed metaphor; drawing a long bow as part of a steeplechase! Tsk! Unless it’s some kind of SCA-type medieval sport.)

    It’s one thing to peruse a scholarly analysis of gender contempt. It’s quite another to experience it up close and personal, like a bare-knuckled fist shoved into the gut.

    Welcome to our world, Carey.

  7. ‘Oh Ruuuuby, don’t take your love to town’, ‘Jolene, Jolene, Jolene etc. please don’t take my man’. Nope nothing in country music about cheatin’.

  8. I agree Helen, and it’s by drawing on a feminist tradition that I come to these observations. I have an interest in feminist analysis at the moment, because I’m back to teaching this semester.
    I’m curious as to where this resurgent masculinism will lead for women’s everyday cultures in a patriarchy. (I’d like to say it will eventually yield more feminist awareness!) But if resistance can’t be redirected into diffuse misandry – if it becomes ‘politically incorrect’ because of masculinist ‘hysteria’ – what new forms of resistance will emerge? What is the ‘Mere Male’ of the C21st? Will they be more useful for feminism?

  9. Adam, maybe something like this: this is a true story that I could post if we had something like “mere male” on feminist blogs, instead of taking on individual cases and extrapolating more (which is more useful than just random snark):
    We had just moved into a new area for a project, and the tea room area was newly set up. One of the (male) programmers informed me that the stirring sticks (ice cream sticks, which he prefers to teaspoons) hadn’t been ordered in. I replied “Gosh! So they haven’t!”
    A few days later, he repeated the observation, pointing to the place where the ice cream sticks weren’t. Again, “Gosh! You don’t say! Those stirring stick people are slow!”
    Eventually I think he got it…
    (OK, OK, not a huge blow against the patriarchy 😉 )


  1. Pandagon :: Put down your superhero costume and come to church :: August :: 2007
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