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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