[Content Note for linked material: Isla Vista mass murders, misogyny, gun culture]
What I think would be helpful for a lot of men to understand (women too probably) is that sex and love aren’t earned. Can’t be earned. They are a matter of grace from the other person. And, because they can’t be earned, whether you are getting sex or love is not a reliable signifier of your value as a human being and aren’t a metric by which one person should be compared to another.
a comment by Doug, on Heartiste takes on an “egotistic, attention starved, solipsistic, passive aggressive, perpetually aggrieved … manlet” who somehow isn’t him. | we hunted the mammoth
Doug’s comments was in response to various predictable tropes emanating from the manosphere following Elliot Rodger’s killing spree and the publication of his “manifesto”. If you’re curious about the details of those manosphere talking points, there are several posts now on We Hunted The Mammoth collecting examples.
In summary, the manospheric misogyny is such that there is no recognition that women are people with interests of their own who tend to respond more positively to others who genuinely share their interests than to those who are only interested in whether they are “hot” enough to impress other men, and that the answer to feeling despair over rejections from women who have quickly deduced that you don’t share their interests is not to learn to fake a shared interest, but to actively pursue one’s own interests that make one a happier person, whether that ends up resulting in finding a sexual/life partner or not.
I’m going to lay out how that works, because people who make money by selling Pick Up Artist scripts to lonely men work hard to persuade those lonely men that life without sex is worthless, and then set up a system where they get to make public judgement on those lonely men’s lack of sexual success because the lonely men report back to the “support group” every week (so that lonely men are paying the PUA profiteers to be their ego-boosting audience). If instead of following their scripts focussing just on how the lack of sex/romance is making you miserable, and you instead pursue other interests/hobbies you enjoy, then (a) you will become a happier person, which is good; (b) you are more likely to meet likeminded people to share your interests/hobbies, which makes them even more enjoyable, which makes you even happier, which is good; (c) happier people are more fun to be around and therefore more socially attractive to others, so you are less likely to be lonely, which is good; (d) people who can be seen interacting happily with friends have more opportunities to be introduced to friends of friends, and broader social circles increase one’s opportunity to meet other people whose company you enjoy, which helps to keep you happier for longer, which is good; (e) (finally) the probability of meeting a likeminded person who is romantically compatible or at least sexually interested is increased (not guaranteed, but increased), which would make you feel more confident about yourself, which will make you even happier, which is good.
To repeat: there is still no guarantee of any of these likeminded persons being moved to grace you with romance/sex/love once you’ve learnt how to be more sociable, but pursuing enjoyment of the company of likeminded people is a fundamentally healthier process than solitary brooding while practising PUA scripts, and in the meantime the benefit of learning to find happiness within oneself and through becoming genuinely interested in finding fellowship with likeminded people just because companionship feels good as its own phenomenon is that you realise that ultimately only you can make you happy, by how you interact with other people.
A final reminder: the FriendZone is a myth.
There is no “Science of Attraction” – attraction is a complex interaction between people which cannot be forced (although it can be faked, but if faked is all you want then you deserve what you get). Companionship/fellowship/friendship is not a second prize, it is the bedrock of our socialisation, and ultimately more important for our emotional health.
Categories: gender & feminism, relationships, violence
You might also meet and get to like a girl who isn’t a ‘trophy’ girl and discover that actually you quite like her and whoa she likes you and maybe you might be happy spending the rest of your life together or at least some quality time hanging out and enjoying each others company. Or meet a boy and discover that actually being honest with yourself about who you are really attracted to pays dividends. Or just end up with a bunch of great friends. How awful would that be.
Echidne of the Snakes read the entire manifesto and makes the interesting observation that there is no evidence the Isla Vista misogynist terrorist approached women and was rejected – he seems to have been waiting for them to read his mind or something (my interpretation).
Given the kind of men who are likely to even read HaT, it’s probably okay to mention that men can make friends with women, because we women are human beings with all the glorious diversity and individuality, of feeling, opinion and beliefs, that men are. But I don’t think the PUAs know that, and I don’t think us telling them will work – we’re just not reliable sources of information about the world, as far as they are concerned.
What was that Germaine Greer wrote in ‘The Female Eunuch’? “Women don’t know how much men hate them.”
Thanks to the InterNet, we are collecting a power of evidence.
I was baffled by the double-bind I was placed in by young men when it came to sex. I was supposed to dispense it, yet not have any. ‘Woman’ and ‘person’ were not synonymous. AND NOTHING HAS CHANGED.
There is one SCUM manifesto: and how many hundreds of screeds like the one published by Rodgers, Sodini, Breivik, etc. Valerie Solanas is held up as a stereotypical feminist, they’re all just individual men whose behaviour is an aberration.
I’m going back to the Austen thread.
One thing occurred to me this morning about this whole mess.
Even if this guy had suddenly had perfect-10 blonds surrounding him and begging him for sex, I think he’d find that he was just as miserable and angry as before, and he’d end up just finding another rationalization for his anger.
Unless one is actually in awful circumstances (and this guy was not), misery comes from within, and there’s no external thing (or experience) that will make it go away. You’ll be disappointed in whatever you get or achieve, because they change what’s inside you.
You have to face up to what’s broken and do what is necessary to heal. It’s just like if you have a broken bone: cursing or beating people won’t fix it, you have to suffer through getting it set (and maybe rebroken first) and then suffer through the healing process and maybe physical therapy. (I have a friend who broke her elbow badly and is suffering through PT to get her arm more or less functional again.)
But most people who are miserable don’t want to suffer through the fixing and healing process, they’d rather grumble and blame and imagine that getting this or that MacGuffin will fix things without them actually having to work on themselves.
I think this oversimplifies. It’s true on a individual level of course. No matter how well you treat a individual you can’t “earn” sex or love. It’s possible that either will result, but it’s never gonna be a sure thing.
Nevertheless, some people have a ample selection of sexual (and probably romantic) partners, while other people have very few options, and the reason for that is more than “randomness”.
In other words, though you can’t earn sex or love from individuals, there are clearly properties you can have (behaviour, looks, gender, personality, status) that change the odds that someone will want to have sex with you dramatically. Some of these you can change to various degrees, others you can’t change.
Attraction on a individual level can’t be forced. (and it would be foolish to try), but on a collective level there are many things you can do that will significantly up the odds that people will find you attractive.
Gunnar, they’re separate issues, though, aren’t they? Whatever one does, however one gets more of the conventionally attractive attributes, it’s still the matter of grace from another person, not a matter of “I’ve done X and Y, therefore I should get sexed.”
I know we’re more or less agreeing, but I don’t quite see how the “improve your odds” bit is relevant, when engaging in sex is always about individuals, and the whole “make yourself more attractive” idea has a nasty way of playing into the entitlement mentality so many men have anyway.
Which isn’t to say “Don’t bother with personal hygiene or being a pleasant person” – just do them anyway, ewwww. 😛
What confuse me is that we so frequently seem to miss (or ignore) that being conventionally attractive is a massive privilege in the dating-market. Instead, when someone who is disprivileged but doing their best express frustration at their total lack of success, we say they’re acting entitled, or remind them that women aren’t machines you put kindness (or anything else) into until sex falls out.
Of course sometimes being entitled IS the problem. But sometimes it’s just someone who is disadvantaged and frustrated at not making any progress despite genuinely doing his best over a long time-period.
We do not typically tell poor people who lacks privilege: What if I told you that the world is not a machine where you put hard work in until money falls out ?
Instead, we show some compassion, and talk about the mechanisms which conspire to keep many poor people poor.
Well, there’s also not dissimilar mechanisms that conspire to keep some lonely people lonely.
And I think sometimes we’re a little too quick with attacking them.
This gives me a particular bad taste in my mouth when the attacks come from people who themselves have always enjoyed massive privilege in the dating-market.
Gunnar: Yes, it’s very tough being wealthy, young, and conventionally good-looking, like this shooter was. Nobody ever wants to date people like that.
I wasn’t referring specifically to this particular guy. I have no sympathy for this particular guy.
Lovely people are hoarding the love? We need a progressive tax to take more love from lovely people? Maybe get the things that take love to require less love, or make it so that those that love a lot don’t have to love so much, and those who are under loved can maybe love part time, or possibly get the mint to just print more love? Maybe we can restrict the way that love can be used to exert control of the media! Or we could stop measuring love in terms of GDL and start by other love indicators?
Money is provided by the country as a whole. I can’t even imagine a policy that gets Centrelink to share the love so that ugly women are provided their share of love.
Once you start talking about people being owed love by a person, SOMEONE has to do the owing. Not a national currency, not a group, not an economy, some ONE. A person.
Actually, midrant flip flop, can we form a department of love, to send people cards?
You’re right of course that love isn’t comparable to money in how it’s handled, it’s not as if we can all pay a “love tax” and use that to supply a minimum amount of love to the disadvantaged, like we can with money.
My point was just that when someone who lacks privilege express frustration at not making any progress despite trying hard, it’s NOT a given that “acting entitled” is the problem.
And “Sex and Love Aren’t Earned” is a vast oversimplification.
Fact is that fulfilling certain of societies norms for being “attractive” will vastly increase the odds that you will have a ample supply of both.
Sex and Love is something that the world, such as it is, makes available in ample supply to those who are privileged on the dating-market. Much of this is pure luck, like what genetics you’re born with and what social class you are, but some of it you can influence to varying degrees yourself.
Meanwhile, both can be incredibly scarce for some people. I think we can and should do a better job of acknowledging that and at the very least refrain from shaming these people by for example calling them “entitled” as a reflexive response to any complaint about a lack of dating-success.
So, Gunnar, want to explain all the not-conventionally-good-looking, not wealthy, people out there who somehow magically have partners, or even (gasp) friends? Who don’t sit around doing the pity-party thing?
“What if I told you that the world is not a machine where you put hard work in until money falls out ?”
That is one hell of an offensive comparison. A person working is entitled to a living wage. Nobody pursuing romance/sex is entitled to another person. You’ve just dropped women straight back into the category of things that *should* be giving handing out sex to men if the men do the right thing.
So yes, we do fucking say you’re not entitled to sex, you’re not entitled to romance, you’re not entitled to another human being, and we don’t make analogies that suggest women are no more than commodities.
Thanks, kittehserf – that’s exactly the sort of response I was sputtering towards but finding myself not yet able to articulate.
The idea that people are simply ignoring that being conventionally phyaically attractive is an advantage in dating/mating was what first gobsmacked me – how about if we’re not writing about that not because it’s not a genuine factor, but because we are operating on the assumption that people already know this and thus it’s not really a useful thing to be talking about? The only way to level that particular playing field is to start mutilating physically attractive people, and I seriously doubt anyone is going to start advocating that in the interests of social justice. Especially when many of the men complaining about not having sex/romance are in fact already conventionally attractive (there was nothing wrong with Elliot Rodger’s looks), and his complaint was actually about men he perceived as “ugly” getting sex/romance when he was unable to.
People like who they like and love who they love, and just because the very gorgeous people and the very wealthy people get more attention in nightclubs etc and thus tend to have more invitations/opportunities for dating/mating doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily getting the sort of attention they want from the sort of people they want to be with.
Actually, midrant flip flop, can we form a department of love, to send people cards?
Wut? And undermine Hallmark and The Free Market? SOCIALISM! END OF THE WORLD!
Nobody can “earn” my love. Not by being the Nicest Person On The Planet, not by their dress sense or their looks or anything else. It’s not a flipping checklist. There’s no wage scale of “I did this, this and this, time for my Love Pay.” Like Matt said above, this isn’t currency, it’s expecting emotions and/or access to the body of an individual person.
That is, basically, expecting sexual slavery. It’s like that clown at Pharyngula going on about the right to sexual contact, never acknowledging this “right” means depriving someone else of the (actual, existing) right to bodily autonomy.
You’re not wrong. But hey, it ain’t a discussion of the violation of women’s boundaries until someone compares women’s bodies to property/money/wallets/iPhones/plates of uncovered meat.
Gunnar: what you seem to be forgetting is there are people who aren’t conventionally attractive of ALL genders (and gender preferences). I’m one of them. I retained my increasingly-troublesome virginity until I was twenty-six, by which time I’d long since drawn up a plan to deal with the problem. I addressed what I saw as a distinct likelihood of me remaining virgin in my thirties by deciding if I hadn’t managed to get laid by my thirtieth birthday, I’d fly interstate and hire me a prostitute to find out whether this “sex” thing was worth all the hullabaloo.
I’m cisfemale and heterosexual. Just so that’s out there.
I’m one of those people who didn’t do well on the dating scene, because I’m what I describe as a “wallpaper woman” – the type of woman who just fades into the wallpaper when a conventionally attractive person comes on the scene. These days I’m in my forties (and I look it, even on a good day), so I’ve vanished off the masculine radar altogether. I managed to find a partner, who primarily likes me for my mind, and he and I have been together pretty much since we first met up. At times he’s aggravating, but I’m well aware I’m not likely to find anyone better (or indeed, anyone else).
I should also mention: at no time in the deeply depressing days of my mid twenties was I tempted toward the notion of killing people in revenge for my persistent single status.
(Incidentally, one of the things I did while I was waiting to figure out about this whole “sex” thing was to get up off my arse and start doing things I enjoyed, rather than sit around brooding about it all the time. Which, not-so-incidentally, led to me meeting my current partner via one of the points of commonality in our mutual sets of interests, namely the works of Terry Pratchett. About which I can ramble at boredom-inducing length, should I be in the right moment).
Megpie: I’m not forgetting that. Certainly some people of both genders have problems doing well in the dating-market. I also agree with your suggested cure.
Kittehserf: I already said I agree entirely that love and sex can’t be “earned” on a individual level. No matter who you are, or what you do, there’s never gonna be any guarantee that a particular human being will love you and/or want to have sex with you.
My point is merely that some people have easy access to a large selection of partners, while other people have a significantly harder time with the entire dating-thing. And one major reason for that is quite simply that the former group is privileged in various ways.
That privilege can be conventionally good looks, solid finances, low shyness and/or a extroverted personality or many other factors big and small that make a big difference to how many people want to be your partner. I am (like I said a couple of times now) not saying that anyone is entitled to either love or sex.
But I am saying that we should try to treat people who lacks privilege in this area with kindness rather than attack or shame them. There isn’t necessarily anything at all wrong with a person who despite trying and despite doing his/her best, nevertheless ends up involuntarily single.
The existence of people with under-average looks who nevertheless enjoys success in the dating-market is kinda irrelevant, that’s not how privilege works. Privilege changes the average odds, but of course there’s always people who beat the odds.
White, male people are privileged when it comes to earning money, but that doesn’t mean that Oprah Winfrey does not exist.
It’s fairly absurd when tigtog starts talking about mutilating pretty people. Clearly I’ve suggested no such thing. All I’ve done is suggest that perhaps a slightly larger dosis of empathy and kindness towards those who lacks dating-success might be beneficial.
I already feel a great deal of empathy and kindness towards those who lack dating success. I know quite a few such people in real life, and I’m certainly not attacking or shaming them. It’s the subset of those people who are online creating a hateful philosophy to explain their lack of dating success whom I find problematic, and I am not the one conflating that vocal minority with every other person who lacks dating success. You are the one who is doing that.
Gunnar: I agree, it’s annoying when dating success isn’t an option. I agree, it would be nice to have a few more people give a bit more advice than “oh, just be yourself” or “someday someone will be there for you”. What I don’t agree with is your unstated thesis that perhaps such measures might have prevented the Isla Vista killings.
So a few basics here: firstly, the killings in Isla Vista were a particularly American crime – the USA has at least one such shooting per year these days, and they’re usually carried out because of a combination of three factors. The first is access to guns, which is the most directly causative factor in the number of deaths – other countries have people with the other two conditions, without the first, and oddly enough, such massacres and mass slaughters don’t happen there on a regular basis. The second is an entitlement mindset – the majority of these killers tend to feel they have missed out on something they were entitled to by right, whether that be fame, fortune, dating success, the ideal Hollywood life, a promotion at work, political power or whatever. As “revenge” for this denial, they also feel entitled to vent their anger on people who may or may not have been directly involved in this denial. The third is enough social privilege and social capital to be able to get into a position where they’re going to be able to commit their particular crime. It’s notable that over the past fifty years, the majority of perpetrators of such crimes have been white men; there have been some Asian killers, and the occasional black perpetrator. There have been NO female killers of this sort.
Secondly, the kinds of men who perpetrate these assaults tend to come in two age groups – there’s one clump in their early twenties (the Isla Vista killer was one of these) who “peak” when they realise they’re not going to be getting the perfect life just out of high school and can’t face the work required. There’s another group who “peak” in their mid-to-late forties, when they realise no matter what they do, they aren’t getting the lifestyle they wanted anyway. Related to these sorts of killings (and often performed by these sorts of killers as a sort of “warm up” on the same day they cut loose with their guns) are the sorts of familial murders similar to murder-suicides (except without the last, crucial bit). Often there’s notes or manifestos left, explaining why the killer committed their crime(s) – family murders will generally be explained as “they couldn’t have continued without me” (where the more likely truth is the killer didn’t want to believe it was possible they could have). There’s usually an “end-game” rhetoric in play with these killers – they’ll either kill themselves, as the Isla Vista killer did, or they’ll commit “suicide by cop”. Either way, they tend not to survive their actions.
For the Isla Vista killer, if it hadn’t been his lack of dating success, it would have been something else – lack of job prospects, lack of academic success, lack of the perfect score on his computer game of the moment – he would have found an excuse to justify his actions.
Nobody is owed dating success, and I say this as someone who had troubles achieving it. Nobody is owed a perfect life. Nobody is owed a great job. These things are achievable, if you work at them, but you’re not owed them as a reward for performing the bare basics of social behaviour.
Gunnar, what is the difference that seperates NotAllSingles from NotAllMen?
What is the difference between treating singles with more respect and treating men with more respect?
Why does “If it’s not about you, it’s not about you” apply differently to singles than it does to men?
My pleasure! Usually it’s me sputtering. Or spluttering, which is messier.
Ain’t that the truth.
Should we be getting our bingo cards out yet?
I hear you on the virginity and not being conventionally attractive thing. I’m … counts … nearly 51, and still virgin, physically, and going to stay that way. Would I be damned lonely if Mr K wasn’t around? Too right. Would I be out shooting men for not fucking me on demand? Nope.
You’re talking to people who aren’t conventionally attractive. I do not expect cookies from strangers because I’m not pretty. Neither do I expect pity-fucks. Because that’s what all this “be niiiiice” rubbish is about, isn’t it? And it’s not about women who have trouble dating, oh no. It’s always about the poor menz who will
commit murderbe sad if we’re not nice to them, and nice unfailingly means sex-from-conventionally-attractive-women in these conversations. Seen it all before.
I don’t go around mocking people because they’re dateless or for their looks. I don’t actually think about people’s dating/sex lives; they’re of no more interest to me than mine is to them. I really side-eye the idea that I need to be all sweetness and light to someone because of this. I’m not their mother or their counsellor or their best buddy. There are support groups all over the internet if people want that.
The ones I mock are the so-called incels, the toxic scum like Rodger, the ones who have male entitlement to the Nth degree – a further point on the entitlement spectrum you’re demonstrating here.
To clarify what I was saying at (20) above, even if the girls around the Isla Vista killer had been nicer to him in return, or given him a pity fuck the day before he finally snapped and headed out to kill people, he would not have become less dangerous. His lack of dating success, his virginity – that was his excuse. It was no more the reason for what he did than the wrapper of the Mars bar is the actual chocolate bar itself.
This is tragically sad. Gunnar is saying women are obliged to have sex with men who ask them to do so. I’m not having a feminist deconstruction malfunction.
There are no mechanisms or systems in place that keep people single. There is no government economic policy that keeps the single- person rate at 5% of the population.
You meet someone who you like and who likes you: or you don’t. You agree to have a relationship: it lasts for as long as you are able to keep on liking each other.
Like wise, there is no mechanism or system for making relationships work. You are able to, or you’re not. It’s luck. How things fall.
Is this particularly hard to understand, or am I just extraordinarily clever? If the latter, why aren’t I richer?
You know what? Bugger it. I’m going to go with Gunnar. In the event that I am ever lonely and single, Orlando Bloom is obliged to have sex with me. Liam Neeson and Kenneth Branagh also.
What, all at once? :O
Gunnar keeps squirming around saying it’s not about individuals. Sorry, sonny, it is. Whining about lackasex and talking as if there should be quotas means someone, somewhere, is going to be required to have sex whether they (and you can bet your boots it’ll be she) wants to or not.
Somehow I can’t recall all the dudes doing this sort of whinge volunteering to sex all those non-HB10 women out there who would like sex and/or relationships. Nope, it’s always the sadboner chorus, no more, no less, and the refusal to acknowledge what they’re really wanting – for women to be returned to the state of having few options outside of marriage, and once they’re in it, for them to have no legal right to say No. They can twist all they want, but it’s where their logic leads. That, or state-sanctioned sex slavery such as GGG (I’m not writing his nym in full, he’s blogging under a different one now, but Googles himself all the time) says should be put in place, because his “incel” status is, according to him, literally murder. (If anyone knows who I’m talking about, did you half expect it to be him before you heard Elliot Rodger committed his murders in the US?)