“Character” and rejection.

If nice guys were actually nice, they wouldn’t have problems getting dates and keeping girlfriends.
–  Marle, commenting on Nice Guys, March 5, 1:10p.m.

There’s a dinner party anecdote, perhaps apocryphal, that the British philosopher Bertrand Russell was asked why he gave up philosophy and replied that he “preferred fucking.”  This same Bertrand Russell also said, in regard to sexual desires, that men were attracted to women’s appearance, while a woman was more attracted to a man’s “character.”  This was a self-serving statement, of course.  On a moment’s reflection you can understand why a man with status and power would ascribe his success with women to “nobility of character,” rather than, you know, “status and power.”  But here’s the rub:  Bertrand Russell was a nice enough fellow.  I haven’t studied his biography, but in his writing he comes across as humane, fundamentally decent, and not without humor.  (To Nietzsche’s remark “Going to woman?  Don’t forget the whip!” Mr. Russell quipped that if Nietzsche had tried that, nine out of ten women would have gotten the whip away from him.)  Point is, it’s human nature for any man, even a deep thinker like Bertrand Russell, not to think too deeply about what may have attracted a woman to him, other than his inherent goodness.  (Of course, this blindness applies to both genders.)

And yet – pace Lord Russell – there’s a real problem with ascribing men’s romantic success to character and turning a blind eye to important factors such as social dominance:  Doing so stigmatizes men who are romantically rejected.  And you know what?  It is very hard for a man to graciously accept a rejection of his sexual interest if being rejected brands him as a loser with a defective character.

(And no, I’m not excusing boorish behavior here.  What I’m saying is that dropping the “involuntarily celibate = creepy loser” mentality would do a lot to make the sexual arena less fraught because men would feel less of a need to validate their worth by being “successful.”)

We’ve all seen the way in which people, men and women, will discount flaws in a romantic partner if their sexual attraction to that person is strong enough.  This is unfortunate.  What is less obvious is that way in which people will impute flaws to those whose romantic interest they don’t wish to reciprocate.  Yet for the woman who is not attractive, she at least understands that being rejected is not her fault.  A woman who is obese, for example, usually understands why she is being rejected.  But for a man who lack confidence – and in the sexual arena “confidence” seems to be overvalued – his lack of success is attributed to his character.  This comment by Esau over at “Hooking Up Smart”, while I don’t agree with all of it, captures some of what I’m trying to say here.

(Yes, I’ve been making some “ev bio” assumptions here:  Men like looks, women like power.  Some feminists have challenged the truth of these assumptions, arguing that scientific conclusions are unduly shaped by pre-existing assumptions about gender roles.  While many of my own experiences seem to confirm some of the less sally-happy tenets of ev bio, its claims about sexuality should be subject to continued scrutiny, of course.)

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33 Responses to “Character” and rejection.

  1. corn walker says:

    (Yes, I’ve been making some “ev bio” assumptions here: Men like looks, women like power. Some feminists have challenged the truth of these assumptions, arguing that scientific conclusions are unduly shaped by pre-existing assumptions about gender roles. While many of my own experiences seem to confirm some of the less sally-happy tenets of ev bio, its claims about sexuality should be subject to continued scrutiny, of course.)

    That would be Ev Psych, not Ev Bio. And given the state of knowledge in the field, it’s also somewhat irrelevant. We are ill equipped to tease out the differences between the cultural forces and heritable traits that drive our behavior.

    So the game is rigged, now what? I appreciate the frustration many men feel, but I’m not sure where you propose we go from here. How might we act on this information if we were to agree with your hypothesis?

  2. Danny says:

    First:
    If nice guys were actually nice, they wouldn’t have problems getting dates and keeping girlfriends.
    – Marle, commenting on Nice Guys, March 5, 1:10p.m.

    This sounds like a person that is not a nice guy. Isn’t it nice how people outside of a group like to try to speak definitively for that group?

    It is very hard for a man to graciously accept a rejection of his sexual interest if being rejected brands him as a loser with a defective character.
    Yes. Especially when you have quotes like that one at the top of the post that pretty much declare that the only reason he rejected was because he’s not as nice as he thinks he is.

  3. humbition says:

    It’s unfortunate that people overlook flaws in their romantic partners? Hell, unless these flaws amount to actual abusiveness, it is one of the greatest gifts to be in a romantic partnership where your flaws are overlooked!

    Ev psych is a strange projection into the Pleistocene of observations about the present culture its practitioners happen to be in. It tends to ignore, on principle, a hundred years of anthropological data from different cultures all over the world, in order to make a model of Human Behavior as it Always Has Been based on today’s undergraduates. I am not even sure that my own models of the young social scene are accurate since I was young relatively long ago — but not in the Pleistocene. (Bertrand Russell, not a contemporary.)

    I suspect the bad valuation of “involuntary celibacy” is rather new. Then again, there used to be a bigger zone of privacy and, maybe, mystery about this sort of thing. Not everyone and their brother knew this sort of thing about one, and it wasn’t exactly the kind of thing one broadcast to all and sundry. The “closet” may have hid gays in a way we don’t want to promote anymore, but there were also “closets” that protected a lot of people’s privacy in a way that doesn’t seem to be possible anymore.

    I completely agree that attitudes like Marle’s (in the quote, which may or may not be a little out of context) only feed, in men, what the good old radical feminists would think of as a particularly patriarchal masculine achievement anxiety. Oddly, those radfems, at least back in the seventies when they were first talking about fish and bicycles, used to think of this anxiety as being a bad thing, and would encourage men not to judge themselves and each other in terms of their “conquests.” Especially since one really doesn’t know how the other guy racked up his number…

    Which is why the whole “nice guy” thing is so peculiar an obsession to have cropped up among feminists of all people. Then again, the old school feminists wouldn’t have been sympathetic to male dating woes either, but at least in principle they wouldn’t have seen either successful or unsuccessful “masculinity” as being worthy…men should be changing the whole thing.

    Mind you, I’m totally sympathetic to the idea of “the feminist pua handbook” that is being bruited about. It will be good for the mental health and happiness of many. But it would also be good for the mental health and happiness of many, for it to be understood that a spell, even a long one, of romantic unsuccess can be due to all sorts of factors, not all of which should be grounds for a withdrawal of empathy and respect.

    Anyway, none of us are entirely nice. Read what Bertrand Russell’s kids say about him, though of course they said it during the Era of Freud, when everything was the parents’ fault.

  4. John E. says:

    We’ve all seen the way in which people, men and women, will discount flaws in a romantic partner if their sexual attraction to that person is strong enough. This is unfortunate.

    Unfortunate?

    My Dear Sir! It is positively necessary!

    Few, if any, relationships could withstand the cold glare of objectively looking at ones partner’s flaws, or worse yet, our partners looking at our flaws, were it not for the pair-bonding that results from strong sexual attraction.

  5. Lynet says:

    Marle was way out of line with that comment. At best, it’s a lazy (and false) generalization — and I guess it may also be a reiteration of a stereotype. You’re right that men are often judged as people on their ability to obtain sex, and you’re right that that’s often unfair. Certainly I’m well aware that a man’s ‘character’ is not the first thing I judge him on, because you just can’t tell that at first.

    There are other possibilities besides “It’s all your fault because you’re a disgusting person” and “It’s all women’s fault for being shallow”. Possibilities like “this happens because you have trouble communicating that you want a sexual relationship” and “this happens because your attributes are unfairly devalued in men by our current culture” make a lot more sense.

    Do be careful, reading ‘Hooking Up Smart’, won’t you? I don’t like clicking over there because the endorsement of slut-shaming makes me want to slap somebody.

  6. Lathe of Heaven says:

    Lynet, I’m only halfway with you here. I think this

    here are other possibilities besides “It’s all your fault because you’re a disgusting person” and “It’s all women’s fault for being shallow”.

    is certainly true. However, I don’t see much meaning in this:

    Possibilities like “this happens because you have trouble communicating that you want a sexual relationship”

    I don’t think the problem with the kind of rejection that Miguel is talking about is that anyone has trouble communicating that they want sex; the problem is that they ask for sex but always get rejected. Why is that hard to understand, that you need to loop around it?

    Also, isn’t this

    your attributes are unfairly devalued in men by our current culture

    just pretty much a long-ish way of saying that, yeah, women are shallow? So I’m missing the meaning in your alternate possibilities sentence.

    Also, if you want to argue against Susan Walsh then you should probably just go to her blog and state your case. She seems generally open-minded to me, though certainly with some definite ideas about things.

  7. humbition says:

    Lathe of Heaven, you must be a different kind of “nice guy” than most of us!

    Possibilities like “this happens because you have trouble communicating that you want a sexual relationship”

    Lots of us have had just that trouble. (Just like, lots of us enjoy having women as treasured platonic friends. You certainly do your share of generalizing about “men.”)

  8. Lynet says:

    I don’t think the problem with the kind of rejection that Miguel is talking about is that anyone has trouble communicating that they want sex; the problem is that they ask for sex but always get rejected. Why is that hard to understand, that you need to loop around it?

    Well, perhaps I just recognise the problems that I have had finding a sexual relationship and assume they apply to some other people, too!

    In any case, you could further generalise to ‘not knowing how to ask in a way that makes a woman feel safe saying “yes”‘ or ‘not having learned the intermediate steps in developing a sexual relationship that lie between saying hello, or being friends, and asking for sex outright’. You know, social skills. And I don’t think not having social skills makes you a bad person, because it’s something I have to work hard at, myself.

    Also, there’s a far cry, from where I’m sitting, between ‘women are just naturally shallow’ and ‘some traits can make you a good person without making you any more successful with women’ or ‘there are cultural reasons why some traits are undervalued, even when people are otherwise judging sensibly’.

    I don’t want to argue on Susan Walsh’s blog. Last time I went to her blog I ended up arguing with this guy and I was stupid enough to click over to his blog and O. M. G. he had this whole post about how it’s so hard to deal with women in the workplace, and it’s ok for him, because he’s in PDEs, so most of the (few) women who end up there are those rare ones who actually are intelligent, but still, you can’t be a pushover, because unlike men, who only ask for a thing when they really need it, women just ask for stuff willy-nilly and you can’t go giving it to them like you would to a man. I work in PDEs and I really didn’t need to know that there is even one man out there like that in my male-dominated field. So I think I’ll stay here, thanks. It’s not that I blame Susan for her commenters, but the assumptions she makes about women are annoying enough without having to deal with all the people who share them.

  9. Lathe of Heaven says:

    Lynet: generalise to ‘not knowing how to ask in a way that makes a woman feel safe saying “yes”‘

    Funny; why are we always talking about how he has to be careful to make her feel safe saying “yes”? why don’t we ever talk about how it should be her responsibility to make him feel safe in coming up and asking? Why is it that the generic “social skills” always seems to serve as a one-way euphemism for “men doing what makes women feel good”? Once again we are haunted by gynonormativity; see my previous post here https://emporiasexus.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/nice-guys/#comment-428 on the Nice Guys thread.

    Along related lines: if you’re going to believe in a whole swath of men who are reluctant to or fearful of initiating with women, then you must (eventually) ask how they got that way. What experiences did they have that turned approaching women into an ordeal? Who, really, had the power to instill such fear? Funny, I’m sure the answer is right on the tip of my tongue….

    your attributes are unfairly devalued in men by our current culture

    there are cultural reasons why some traits are undervalued

    Lynet, what is gained by saying the elliptical “traits X in men are devalued for cultural reasons” instead of the more direct “traits X in men are not valued by women”? Women are the actors here; pushing the agency and responsibility up to some vague “culture” does not enlighten us at all, and really smells like a weak but reflexive attempt to make sure women as a group are never blamed for anything — even when they do something bad, its always because culture or teh patriarchy made them do it.

    Tell me, are you really devoted, ideologically or religiously or otherwise, to the contention that it simply cannot ever be true, at any point in history, that women are, on balance and in the main, bad people in some essential way? Does some law of physics prevent this ever from being the case? And, if so, do you think that denying women the capacity to be, on the whole, bad people is really a step forward for feminism?

  10. John E. says:

    What experiences did they have that turned approaching women into an ordeal?

    Protip: when one drops the attachment to a desired answer, one generally finds it easy to ask the question.

  11. David says:

    Oh, Lathe. You see, I prefer it that some see men as villains and women as the heroes. I always thought that the villains got to wear the coolest shit, be in the coolest scenes, and say the coolest lines.

    Re: Villains

    Embrace villainy ladies and gentlemen. The dark side is actually better.

  12. Lynet says:

    I spent a long time learning how to make guys feel more comfortable about coming up and asking 😛 I also learned how to be more confident showing that I wanted sex. But that was because I was the one who, you know, wanted something that I wasn’t automatically entitled to. That can take work.

    Cultural devaluation of otherwise admirable traits is something that both men and women do to both men and women. You better believe there are lots of men who think that a man who is too ‘nice’ is worthy of contempt — that’s a cultural idea that simply doesn’t just rest with women. In fact, men frequently voice it explicitly and actively enforce it on each other.

    Also, I don’t wish to imply that women should value certain traits in a sexual partner just because those are traits that make a good person. That would sort of ignore the fact that women are people rather than prizes. On the other hand, if women are being blinded by an unreasonable gender narrative, that’s more interesting. It suggests there’s more at play here than just ‘oh noes, women don’t hand out sex as a reward for good behavior.’

    And yes, I am married to the notion that women, as a group, on balance and in the main, are not bad people in some essential way. On balance, and in the main, I don’t think men are bad people in some essential way either. Your views on human nature may differ.

  13. Lathe of Heaven says:

    What seems more likely is, that when one drops the attachment to a desired answer one then doesn’t even bother to ask the question, but rather go and have another beer instead.

  14. Lathe of Heaven says:

    I spent a long time learning how to make guys feel more comfortable about coming up and asking. … That can take work.

    I’m glad to learn that with sufficient work you were able to master the steps of “1. Breathe; 2. Don’t say ‘no’ all the time.” Congratulations on having cleared the low bar, and I hope you enjoy the rewards.

    too ‘nice’ is worthy of contempt — that’s a cultural idea that simply doesn’t just rest with women. In fact, men frequently voice it explicitly and actively enforce it on each other.

    I don’t disagree here, but I still don’t see the relevance either. Yes, men may dis each other for being too ‘nice’ and then equate niceness with weakness. But that’s really irrelevant to the subject of the OP, which hinges on women, specifically, making that same equation. Saying “men do something like that too” just throws up a distraction from the main point (and what could the motivation be for doing that, I wonder?).

    Your views on human nature may differ.

    They may indeed. But what I think is objectively true, independent of my views or yours, is that being preternaturally certain that women are not bad people, while simply thinking that the same is true of men after some consideration, is a sexist attitude.

  15. Lynet says:

    It actually is more difficult than just breathing, dude. And a guy who has only just met me doesn’t know if I say ‘no’ all the time, does he?

    If you want to get rid of the damaging idea that niceness is a bad thing in men, I think it’s worth calling it out when men use it, too. I also don’t think it makes sense to blame all and only women for an idea that both sexes use. But I’m not trying to distract you from fighting that idea — go right ahead.

    I think your interpretation of my final paragraph is an example of you assuming bad faith. For the record, I’m suspicious of any statement that suggests that any particular group of people is bad in some essential way.

  16. Lathe of Heaven says:

    It actually is more difficult than just breathing, dude.

    This depends on how good-looking you are, and on how picky/demanding/selective you want to be (or simply are). See below.

    a guy who has only just met me doesn’t know if I say ‘no’ all the time, does he?

    He certainly knows whether you scowled and turned away, or just ignored him, when he tried to look at you and smile. It is very useful to take a broad view of the term “say no”. It covers much more than just a response to an explicit proposition; it can describe actions that you take from the moment you walk into a room, before you’ve spoken with anyone, or even before you get there.

    Let’s assume a woman is interested in some male romantic/sexual companionship. If she nonetheless avoids venues where one can be reasonably sure there will be decent, eligible men present — say at a comic book convention or in any STEM department — then she has in effect “said no” to those men before ever meeting them. If she refuses to meet or make eye contact with the men in any public place then she’s “said no” to all of them without ever having spoken. If she freezes out any attempt to be chatted up during an ordinary interaction, then she’s “said no” even before any request had been voiced. And so on. From what I’ve seen, this above list describes the typical day for any reasonably attractive woman in America: she’s just not interested in 99% of the men she could or does come into contact with, and so her day blends into one long song of dealing out rejection, at all levels, right left and center. A lot of it is so reflexive and unconscious that she doesn’t even realize she’s doing it, but that certainly is what she’s doing nonetheless.

    Reducing her quotient of generalized “saying no” is any woman’s choice to make, and it’s not difficult or complicated. Respond with interest when someone chats you up, return eye contact and make some yourself, go to places where you can be sure that single men will be present. Etc., etc. Bone-deep unattractive women have things harder, of course; but for the upper 70-80% or so of young women, increasing the intake is simply not hard.

    For each woman, then, it’s purely a question of whether sorting through the catch is likely to be worth her time — and this is exactly the question of how picky/demanding she wants to be. Now, I personally don’t think being picky is a crime; everyone should have standards! What is a crime, however, is complaining that you can never meet anyone when the truth is that you’re turning down, explicitly or implicitly, all but 1% of the opposite sex. (This is a sex-symmetric statement in itself, of course; but practical experience is that women are far pickier than their peer men — and not necessarily without good reason — and so the effect is clearly more significant for them.)

    So, in the end, I disagree: stopping “saying no all the time” doesn’t take any great amount of work for most women, just a decision to do so.

  17. Lynet says:

    That’s actually a pretty complicated explanation. I rest my case.

  18. Lathe of Heaven says:

    Everyone has their limits, and some are reached sooner than others. Good luck.

  19. Hugh Ristik says:

    A couple years ago, I figured out that if I merely had the appearance of being a villain, I could get very far without having to actually be one. It’s amazing how wearing a leather jacket* can let me get away with being sweet and intellectual. Some men are wolves in sheeps’ clothing; I am a sheep in wolves’ clothing.

    *Just throwing on a leather jacket isn’t enough, you need to also have the rest of the outfit, attitude, and lifestyle to go along with it.

  20. John E. says:

    Well…maybe, but for me, what happened is that when I approached women with a relaxed and not-caring-about-getting-laid attitude, I wound up having more sex.

  21. elementary_watson says:

    Just wanted to agree that projecting an air of being approachable is not universal in women, and that there are probably many women who never get approached because they unwillingly irradiate a feeling of doom and gloom. And I know from my own experience that there are men who are hardly able to approach a woman, no matter how goddamn obviously she’s sending “chat me up” signals to the guy.

  22. Lathe of Heaven says:

    Of course, having the attitude of non-attachment is a different thing from actually dropping the attachment. The former is purely a tactic, and perhaps arguably a dishonest one unless the latter is also present. If the latter is really present, then there’s no preference over having another beer.

  23. elementary_watson says:

    Well, a beer costs money, chatting up a girl doesn’t.

  24. Voxnewman says:

    Well, then there’s the less rational response to being rejected ‘women don’t know what they want’ as if only men have providence in that territory. Also, I might argue that experimentally men have come to accept that there is a possibility of rejection, where that’s less likely to be the case with women in regards to the expectations western society has for the pursuit of sex and each gender role.

  25. Voxnewman says:

    sorry, spell corrected experientially to ‘experimentally’

  26. aleknovy says:

    Yep, the famous “a man got rejected, so he must be defective” thing. One of the many things that people miss about this statement is that it also happens to be a facet of female supremacy. HOW? Well, I’ll demonstrate later, but I want to say something else first.

    1) One other example of how it simply doesn’t compute is the following. The exact same woman who rejects you one day and is disgusted by you, can be all over you another day. Did your “character” change? No, of course not. Her whims did. Character is something more permanent.

    2) This is just another excuse to worship the goddess and her amazing “intuition”… apparently a woman can read character in 4 seconds or less. Truth? Most women reject men for shallow, random reasons, not character. Nobody can assess character in the 4 seconds women take to decide that a man is a loser.

    3) If female character-detection is such an amazing “always true radar”, then how-come no two women agree? I can have the exact same guy attempt to get with three women. One will call him a creepy idiot, the other will say “he’s a nice guy, but just doesn’t do it for me”, and the third will say he’s “hot and cute and cool”. Exact same guy – the women are the difference. Did his character change between the three women?

    I think this whole male-shaming technique was borne out of the need to 1) hide women’s shallowness 2) shame men into relationships.

    There’s a section of my popular article “why men increasingly prefer games and porn over dating women”, that delves deeper into the logical incosistency of the “man got rejected, must be defective loser” claim.

    ===========================================

    If you want to take another peak into this trend
    I challenge you to do the following – look at women’s magazines. I’ve read and studied the women’s magazines and websites in five languages in a dozen countries. Guess what? The most common article these days seems to be the “where have the men gone” articles. Endless whines and rants about “how come men aren’t asking us out anymore!”. Open up any major women’s forum in any country, and you’re faced with the same rants, on the same topic.

    Why are these dumb losers not asking us out anymore!?

    Now, the problem is that a lot of this doesn’t compute. How can more and more women increasingly be ranting about not getting asked out, and the culprit be that “men are losers”? Its pure logic really. If you believe that its “only losers who opt out”, then you have to accept one of the two following statements.

    1) Men as a group are inferior to women as a group?

    For it to be true that

    A) so many “deserving and great” women can’t get a date

    and

    B) only a loser would not ask women out

    you have to

    C) assume there’s many more “male losers” than female losers”.

    I’m sorry, but that’s just basic logic. Otherwise, things don’t add up. If a woman is deserving i.e. “not a loser woman”, and men not asking her out are “losers”, what happens? The math comes out to say “men are inferior to women, men as a population have a lot more losers, and women as a group have a lot more deserving, great women entitled to being courted and pursued”

    2) Men and women are equal, but… something else explains the women not being pursued anymore.

    If you believe that men and women are equal, how do you explain so many men increasingly not pursuing women? Remember, if men are “losers” or somehow “inferior beings” for daring to not pursue women, that means men as a group are inferior, right? After all, a huge percentage of men are choosing to not pursue women, whereas somehow every woman that’s not getting pursued is somehow “deserving of a date”.

    If, however men and women are equal, then

    A) male and female populations have an equal amount of losers and winners.

    That means that

    B) There’s an equal amount of male losers (men who don’t pursue right), and female losers (women not worthy of being pursued)

    So how does that explain all the “deserving women who can’t get a date”? It can’t.

    Something is off here, one of the following three has to be true:

    1) Women not getting pursued are losers, that is, they’re not worth pursuing. Men and women have equal numbers of losers

    2) Men are inferior, and women are superior. More women deserve to be pursued, than exist men who have the ability to pursue

    3) Men and women are equal in value, but women’s price is unrealistically inflated, hence men choose to not pay it (my pick)

    I’m sorry to put everything in one of three explanations

    If I’m missing another explanation, let me know. I just find the current claim to be logically infeasible. How can the following three all be true at the same time:

    – Men and women are equal
    – Every woman not being pursued is WORTHY of being pursued
    – Every man not pursuing women, is a “loser” and an inferior human being

    These 3 don’t compute. They can’t co-exist in the same world. One or more of them has to be false.
    ===========================================

  27. aleknovy says:

    I spent a long time learning how to make guys feel more comfortable about coming up and asking 😛 I also learned how to be more confident showing that I wanted sex. But that was because I was the one who, you know, wanted something that I wasn’t automatically entitled to. That can take work.

    The difference lynet is that nobody was SHAMING you, mocking you and saying that you’re somehow defective for not having the social skill of showing interest.

    Men have an entire society, an entire movement (feminism) and most women who shame, ridicule mock and even equate them to a serial killer if they don’t have the skill of showing interest in the right way.

    P.S.

    I do think Miguel went too far in oversimplifying it as “breathe, don’t say no”… because in reality, most women don’t even get asked if they don’t show enough interest in the first place.

    Contrary to feminist-worldview, most women are not getting asked out by random men left and right, without having show interest in being approached first.

    So yes, you had to master more than just breathing. You had to master how to come across as non-threatening, inviting and open.

    The difference is… Nobody shamed you if you got it wrong. You weren’t equated a serial murderer if you got it wrong… The only thing you got by failing was, well, not asked out.

  28. Lynet says:

    I’ll grant you, and gladly, that men shouldn’t be shamed for not having mastered the social skills necessary to finding sex and/or a romantic partner. I think, phrased like that, most feminists would agree with me. In fact, since this rests on a gender stereotype (“a man’s worth is related to the amount of sex he’s had”), I think a lot of feminists would agree that it’s a bad thing, and should change.

    Sometimes feminists resort to ad hominem when dealing with “Nice Guys”. It’s sloppy debating and does more harm than good. Still, you do know that the question of how to deal with guys who lack social skills, specifically, is hardly central to feminism, right? Feminism spends quite a bit of time on the related question “How to react if you feel unsafe/coerced,” and comes down on the side of assertiveness, because the way that women are taught to be ‘nice’ can have very unfortunate consequences in those sorts of situations. But we’re not specifically trying to humiliate men.

  29. aleknovy says:

    I’ll grant you, and gladly, that men shouldn’t be shamed for not having mastered the social skills necessary to finding sex and/or a romantic partner. I think, phrased like that, most feminists would agree with me. In fact, since this rests on a gender stereotype (“a man’s worth is related to the amount of sex he’s had”), I think a lot of feminists would agree that it’s a bad thing, and should change.

    You know, I do believe that intent is more important than outcome. If a person had good intentions, you can forgive a bad outcome…

    However… Here’s what happens with feminists. The moment you point out to feminists that anything they have ever done might have had even a morsel of a side-effect to hurt boys and men, you’re immediately silenced, shut-down and ridiculed.

    I’ve seen guys, no matter how much they went under the assumptions to try and be feminists’ allies, they always get shut down.

    Still, you do know that the question of how to deal with guys who lack social skills, specifically, is hardly central to feminism, right?

    That’s like trying to study poverty, without studying wealth. Its like trying to understand the left, without having a clue about the right. Its like trying to understand what makes iPhone unique, without studying or understanding the Nokias and what not.

    Feminism spends quite a bit of time on the related question “How to react if you feel unsafe/coerced,” and comes down on the side of assertiveness, because the way that women are taught to be ‘nice’ can have very unfortunate consequences in those sorts of situations. But we’re not specifically trying to humiliate men.

    The more I study this, the more I figure that perhaps society came up with telling girls to be nice for a reason.

    It seems the more liberated girls are, the more their natural inclinations to humiliate and mistreat men.

    Maybe the reason society came up with the notion to tell girls to treat men nicely is because it wants to exploit men. Maybe society knew that men who are mistreated by society, drop out of society, and become useless to society.

    (note: I’m not saying have sex, or not have sex with. Just basic human respect. I.E don’t humiliate a guy for talking to her. I’m not saying have pity sex with him)

    I realize there’s an issue with the “be nice” thing, to where it goes too far… As in a girl will say yes to a date with a guy she’s not interested in… Or she will sleep with a guy out of being nice and not being able to say no.

    I GET THAT

    But feminism is swinging too far in the opposite direction. Its saying its ok to humiliate and mistreat 5000 guys, if it means one girl gets gets saved from saying yes, when she meant no.

  30. Lathe of Heaven says:

    Aleknovy & Miguel — I applaud your patience in fighting the good fight here; but really you’re just nibbling around the edges in this exchange.

    The question of how mean or civil women might be toward men who are shy or who lack social skills, and whether feminists recognize this, is really a minor point in the scheme of things. [Gynonormativity alert: when two people don’t connect, why do we reflexively attribute it to the man’s “lack of social skills” for not knowing what to say? maybe we should start saying that the woman “lacks social skills” for not being able to listen and appreciate better.]

    The main, important issue that feminists are so utterly, willfully blind to is this: the men who show the most genuine respect for women, in exactly the spirit that a feminist would ask for, are, as a general rule, exactly the men whom women (including feminists) find sexually unappealing. And no, please don’t start with the “you shouldn’t do the right thing just to get laid” canard. I’m talking about men who do and believe the right things, as a feminist would want, naturally and truly in their hearts. The habits that these men display, particularly respect and modesty, are simply not attractive to women in the main. Theory may suggest otherwise, but I think the overwhelming evidence of fact supports this.

    Feminism will be at an ugly standstill until feminists can acknowledge and address this reality: in asking men to behave respectfully, they are also asking men to commit sexual suicide. That’s it. I await the Great Awakening, but don’t expect to hear it any time soon.

  31. AlekNovy says:

    Het lathe, I’m on your side lol

    I already quoted several of your comments about gyno-normativity. On my blog.

    Cant say more now. On iPhone,

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