Men and boys.

Last fall there was a post in Glamour by Mindy Kaling on Why You Need a Man, Not a Boy.  It was the sort of tripe you often find in popular magazines, and typically I couldn’t care less.  But this particular article was featured in The Hairpin — Thank You Mindy Kaling — and then promoted by Jill Filipovic over at Feministe — Straight to the heart.  Here’s a snippet:

When I was 25, I went on exactly four dates with a much older guy whom I’ll call Peter Parker. I’m calling him Peter Parker because, well, it’s my story, and I’ll name a guy I dated after Spider-Man’s alter ego if I want to.

Peter Parker was a comedy writer who was a smidgen more accomplished than I but who talked about everything with the tone of “you’ve got a lot to learn, kid.” He gave me lots of unsolicited advice about how to get a job “if The Office got canceled.” After a while, it became clear that he thought The Office would get canceled, and by our fourth and last date, that he clearly thought it should get canceled.

Why am I bringing up Peter Parker? Because he was the first real man I dated. An insufferable yet legit man.

Peter owned a house. It wasn’t ritzy or anything, but he’d really made it a home. The walls were painted; there was art in frames. He had installed a flat-screen TV and speakers. There was just so much screwed into the walls, so much that would make you lose your deposit. I marveled at the brazenness of it. Peter’s house reminded me more of my house growing up than of a college dorm room. I’d never seen that before.

Okay, this is PROBLEMATIC.  But isn’t it just fluff?  Aren’t I “eagerly reading way too much into this”?  Well, considering that feminists critique society by critically examining things such as sitcoms and pink toys, a fluff piece that purports to separate men from “boys” might be worth a look.  So consider the writing above and what it says about the first real man, the first legit man that Mindy Kaling dated.  What behaviors did he show that qualified him as a fully adult man?  Let’s review:

- Talked down to his date in a condescending, belittling way.

- Was unsupportive of her career.

-  Assumed she was incompetent and would fail.

-  Had a mortgage, a flat-screen TV, speakers, and a bunch of stuff screwed into his walls.

Nope, nothing wrong here.  Unless you think that men should be valued for more than having the cash, the credit rating, and a solid ability to bargain, and…

…Wait a minute.  Where have I heard that before?  Oh right, Amanda Marcotte!

[Pick Up Artist] guides read like guides on buying a car—show up looking like money, demonstrate to the salesman that you fill out the checklist of requirements to get a car, talk down the price (which PUA guides suggest you do by insulting women, hoping the loss of esteem in their product will cause them to sell at a lower price), and you’re done.  Actual improvement of one’s self is as strange an idea as suggesting that you have to have good character and a tight waistline to get a car.  You just need to have the cash, the credit rating, and a solid ability to bargain.

Isn’t it funny how these transactional ideas of relationships just seem to pop up out of nowhere?

Okay then.  I think I’ve filled my sarcasm quota for the day.  But seriously, this is the sort of thing that makes men think feminism is humbug.

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4 Responses to Men and boys.

  1. lrn2giveup says:

    so you can be a misogynist prick, try to impress her with stuff you have, and fail; or you can respect her career goals, praise her for her accomplishments in and outside the office, be broke, and be a “Nice Guy” who still fails.

    The only winning move is not to play.

  2. GLaDOS says:

    Wait, sorry if I’m misreading you. But are you complaining that there is no persona you can affect that will make the women you’re attracted to date you? Isn’t that kinda screwed up and entitled?

    Also, when feminists complain about ‘Nice Guys’ they don’t mean guys who are nice. They mean men who fake being interested and considerate because they think it’ll get them laid then act douchey and shocked if it doesn’t work because the woman in question just isn’t attracted to them. These ‘Nice Guys’ then throw their hands in the air and complain on the internet that there is no persona they can affect that will make the women they’re attracted to…

    Oh, wait a minute. :/

  3. Neko Onna says:

    Hmmm. that’s not what I get from reading this at all. as a matter of fact, the following seems to be the thesis of Ms. Kaling’s article:

    Owning a house obviously wasn’t enough to make me want to keep dating Peter. Like I said, he was kind of a condescending dick. But I observed in Peter a quality that I knew I wanted in the next guy I dated seriously: He wasn’t afraid of commitment.

    She’s not saying you have to be rich, just responsible. Ready to make the next step, to put down roots, to stay put. She’s not even saying you have to foot the bill for the mortgage all on your own, but rather, that you are willing to entertain the idea at all. She certainly doesn’t seem to want an asshole PUA, as she clearly notes Peter’s behavior was otherwise dickish.

    And Amanda? She is clearly arguing against the transactional model.

    I feel bad for you that the economy has kept you from getting a job in your chosen field. I am sorry that you had a rough patch in your dating life. However, that doesn’t invalidate feminism, or make all women gold-digging whores, which seems to be what you so badly wish to prove.

  4. WTF? I’m trying to prove women are gold-digging whores? Did you even read my fucking post? Sorry, but I get impatient when people put words in my mouth, especially if those words are ugly and hateful.

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