Yesallwomen. And Yesallmen.

By Maria Padhila

A rampaging murderer in Isla Vista, Calif., took the lives of two women and four men and terrorized countless others. This is the most important thing to remember, and I won’t forget that.

Poly Paradise at Burning Man. Photo by Eric.

I also don’t plan to mention the murderer’s name in this, nor to quote his words or writing, because in his narcissistic grandiosity, he craved attention, and it’s just my little way of saying: “Nah.” I choose to present writers here that are more interesting.

There’s much being written about this that I don’t need to repeat or refute. One valuable outcome is that the spotlight has been shone on two destructive trends: so-called “Men’s Rights Activism” (MRA) and “Pickup Artists” (PUA). The murderer’s real-life and online presence was entangled with activities and people in both; his writings and posts are larded with their rhetoric, concepts and terms of art. Bringing you some awareness about these groups and concepts is a way I think I could be useful to you right now.

A few months back, polyamory writer Franklin Veaux did a sharp, pointed Twitter hashtag that gets to the heart of these groups’ messages: fake “pickup lines” from so-called men’s rights activists. (I don’t mean disrespect by repeating these here; it’s really the quickest way for you to be introduced to where these people are coming from, these were posted two months ago, and I also like the musical “The Producers,” for instance. I believe what separates us from the animals and the sociopaths is not only the ability to grieve, but the ability to laugh — genuinely.)

The following went flying back and forth under #MRApickuplines:

Your lips say “no, no, no” but my entitlement says “yes, yes, yes.” (FV)

Me and my exaggerated sense of injury both think you and I would be great together. (FV)

I desire you greatly. And isn’t it about time men got what they wanted for a change? (FV)

Others got on the train with no less trenchant one-liners:

Do you have a mirror in your pocket? Because all I see are my own needs and desires. (@wfenza)

Hey girl, are you a birthday present? Because I think you’re a prize I deserve for having been born. (@chaosprime)

Girl, you must be a false rape accusation because you’re all I think about. (@DrewFranzblau)

From this, you can get an idea of the prevalent world-view among MRA and PUA types. As Polyskeptic puts it:

The men’s rights movement is a social movement seemingly committed to little more than denying male privilege and opposing feminism. The movement is basically a wasteland of straw men and privilege blinders.

So what’s the problem? It’s the “A” part of MRA. Being a supporter of the mens’ rights movement is shameful, but it doesn’t make you an activist. Activism is a title that is earned through hard work, commitment to a cause, and passion. “Activist” is not an insult. It’s a term of respect. Activism is something I admire. Making privileged comments online is not. It takes a lot more than that to be an activist.

Trolling is the top activity of MRA types; they even produce instruction sheets for each other on how to do it. They assign themselves targets to follow and harass online. Most people who write about women, rape or relationships eventually acquire a little snail trail of the persistent little creeps. Their tactics range from imperious demands that you “justify your argument” or “address my question” to asking a writer, over and over, “when were you sexually abused?” or “when were you raped?”

We could see them as annoying mosquitoes. The Southern Poverty Law Center rightly lists several as hate groups. One brave writer tracks them on her humor site, We Hunted the Mammoth. Here’s one thing she posted after the murders:

If anyone was hoping — against their better judgment — that Men’s Rights activists would be inspired by the tragedy in Isla Vista to reconsider any of their beliefs, or even to reflect for a moment on the many striking similarities between passages in [the killer’s] book-length manifesto and comments posted every day by MRAs and others in the manosphere, well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you should not keep that hope alive.

It’s not that they’re not talking about the tragedy. A look through the top 100 posts in the Men’s Rights subreddit, the largest Men’s Rights forum online, reveals that roughly a third of them, including the top stickied post, relate in some way to [the] rampage and the discussions that have come up online and in the media in its aftermath.

“But the message of virtually all of these posts is: “Nothing to see here! Move along!” There are numerous posts expressing outrage that anyone would see any connection between [the killer’s] toxic misogyny to the Men’s Rights movement; there are others mocking and attacking the #YesAllWomen hashtag; there’s even one suggesting that [the killer], who wrote about how he longed to watch all the women of the world starve to death in concentration camps, wasn’t actually a misogynist at all.”

The worst thing here is it’s not just the hate groups that practice this deflection — we’re all a part of it in some way. It’s what’s behind the rush by men to say “not all of us are like that!” and establishment of the #notallmen hashtag.

Because really, all of us are “like that,” and if defending yourself against perceived generalized accusations that no one has even had time to make yet so your feelings won’t be hurt is the first thing that jumps into your mind when there’s a murder, I have to ask: Do you have a mirror in your pocket? Because all I can see is your needs and desires.

To help understand this, a post by “poly geeky kinky” blogger Mitchell G. is the most concise and thoughtful unpacking of this deflection process that I’ve seen:

Because he is white, his violence will not be attributed to problems with his culture, or to hypothetical or wholly fabricated assertions about the violent tendencies of his race.

Because deflecting responsibility is easier than taking a hard look at the roles we all play in creating people like this, he will be written about as a “madman” using rhetoric that deflects the responsibility that our words, media, and culture play in reinforcing the mindset he expresses in his video.

Because the role of culture in creating people like this is insufficiently respected, this instance of violence will rarely be connected to other, similar instances of violence precipitated by similar attitudes toward women.

Because of that same culture, there will be a lot of talk about how difficult it is being lonely and rejected as a guy, which will in many places outstrip the amount of conversation that is had about the difficulty of living in a culture where some people think it’s okay to kill you for not being attracted to them.

We can do better than this as a society, but conversations about all of the above need to happen before we will be able to.”

As for Pickup Artist culture, some defend it as a place where awkward men can actually learn social skills. That’s much like saying a fraternity is a place where young women can learn how to handle alcohol, or what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

PUA is basically someone trying to sell you a set of foolproof steps that will turn straight women into putty in your hands — the kind of thing that used to be advertised in the back of comic books (and besmirched some great comic content!). Besides being based on the ideas that women have no agency and that getting sex is best done by manipulation and trickery, it has accumulated around it a midden of garbage beliefs and become a way for some men to bond that’s obviously destructive and harmful to them and others.

I won’t guide you to any sites in particular, because most of them flash and tinkle with scams and viruses to get you to buy things. Instead, you can reverse-engineer the PUA with this guide to how to avoid them, which is useful to men as well as women. (These guys are either boring as hell, or trying to get your money, so why bother with them?)

There are forums where PUA acolytes discuss having plastic surgery to give them the features that PUA “alphas” have deemed (based on some kind of World War II-era “science” vaguely tied to evolutionary biology) to be attractive to women.

I want you to think about that for a while. Men discuss cutting up their faces because they believe it will result in the magical ability to possess women. When I think of this, my heart breaks for them, and I fear for the children I care for.

The definitive word on PUA comes from Dr. Nerdlove, I think. He’s a reformed/recovering PUA who became a relationship blogger. As the tragedy was happening, I was wandering around a Burning Man event sharing and listening about consent and concerns, and handing out a sort of pocket guide to Enthusiastic Consent. One of the sources I used to create it was some quotes from Dr. Nerdlove.

Five pages of Google searches, and his was the only relationship writing that mentioned men being coerced into sex, and the pressure put on men to want sex all the time, even when they don’t.

That’s another thing to think about. Another heartbreaking thing.

Dr. Nerdlove was interviewed in New York Magazine for his ex-PUA perspective. Here are some clips:

As a culture, we’re very bad at teaching people how to improve socially. We live in this weird binary where either you have good social skills, are charismatic and good with women, or you aren’t, and there’s nothing you can do to change that. If you admit to the fact that you’re not good at it, if you admit there’s something wrong with you, there’s this impulse that people will say, Hey, look at this loser. The pickup community is really the only place where men are getting information, no matter how inaccurate or toxic it is at times.

[PUA teaches] coercive techniques to break through what’s called last-minute resistance: No isn’t no; it’s a negotiating point. Or people use a freeze-out: When a woman says, No, not right now, then the pickup artist completely pulls back, making things incredibly awkward. Don’t let her see you be angry, but be cold and distant — use that awkwardness and social pressure to make her give in even though she doesn’t want to. Even I used that! Now I shudder. Why did I even think that?

The solution, he feels, is to get men out of thinking in terms of competition and reward. That means not competing in the victim Olympics anymore — oh, men are such an oppressed class, oh, why are you blaming all of us for the actions of a few Bad Apples, oh, I’ve had a really hard time as a man, I’ve probably suffered more than any 15 feminists rolled together. Denying the realities of privilege isn’t going to do it, and neither is blaming all those mean girls for the fix you’re in. He says:

It’s not on women to change men; it’s on men to change themselves. We already put so much unfair responsibility on women when we say things like boys will be boys and women have to dress modestly because men can’t control themselves. That’s bullshit. Saying that it’s women’s responsibility is a way for men to absolve themselves. Even if someone had slept with [the killer] it wouldn’t have fixed anything. If he had had a girlfriend she probably would have been his first target.

The best thing men can do for other men is to be open to each other to support each other instead of treating each other as competition or pawns in status games. Being willing to be honest and not shame each other for having feelings and doubts and for not living up to this hypermasculine ideal.

Finally, as a writer, I skimmed the killer’s writings as did several other writers I know, and we discussed them briefly. We were all unsettled by the fluency, precision and liveliness of the language. He probably could have been a decent screenwriter — or more.

Except. He was missing something essential. It might have been missing since birth; it might have eroded as part of a process, deliberate or accidentally triggered, self-imposed or from outside forces. But it was missing.

To be a good writer, you need to be able to create a real story, something people can engage with and see themselves within. Even writers who tackle the most horrific subjects have these two abilities: empathy and a sense of humor. You need to be able to put yourself in others’ shoes to craft characters, and you need to be able to shift your perspectives at will to see the big picture — and the big absurdity.

If all your resources are used up propping yourself up and denying your own shadows and fighting against acknowledging your privilege and ignoring other people’s realities and humanity, you won’t have anything left to create with. Or love with. Or live with.

—————–

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44 thoughts on “Yesallwomen. And Yesallmen.

  1. In support of what maria said I will offer something I read on Facebook that puts it in perspective very well:

    Suppose you are hungry but of all the food available, you KNOW (having the facts at hand and having experienced some light food poisoning or known of an actual person who was poisoned) that 10% of it is poison; the kind of poison that KILLS. Would you eat it? Suppose you complain to the farmers and food processors about the 10% poisoned food and they come back with “But not all farmers/processors poison food!” Would that make you want to eat it? Would their protestations make you feel like they were even hearing you? Would the farmers/producers having their knickers in a wad because you are complaining about that 10% of poisoned food make you feel anymore likely to want to eat their food?

    Women are hungry for men but we know through our own personal experiences that a percentage of males are dangerous to the point that our survival is really threatened.
    As Margaret Atwood said; “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” Laugh in one hand and kill in the other; which one has a life still alive? Women are practical; we prefer being alive, thank-you-very-much.

    That’s what men cannot seem to understand because as my gender and minority studies taught; subordinate groups ALWAYS know everything about the dominant groups because they HAVE to for SURVIVAL; dominant groups know little or nothing about subordinate groups because their survival does NOT depend on the subordinate groups.

    This is about attitudes and unwillingness to see entitlement when a subordinate group is calling it out.

    If men need to find their way, they should. Yet they are the dominant group and they do have the ability harm because of their dominant position; they must keep that in mind. They must also be willing to lose that dominant position in order to gain a better life.

  2. Yeah, my discernment is pretty shallow. Walks like a duck, zebras not horses, that kind of thing.

    It was a man, Dr. Nerdlove, who suggested men might examine competition. However, I know I don’t want to be the prize at the state fair that someone “wins” through their “skill” or guile.

    I want what most humans want–a shot at staying alive and healthy, some good times, to be paid fairly for the work I do, safety and comfort for children and older people. Institutionalized misogyny threatens all that. MRA groups (which are mostly men, but as I’ve said twice now, also have a few women prominently involved with them) are highly active in politics as libertarians, conservatives, and tea partiers, and they’re pushing policy and legislation that restrict reproductive rights, the right to be paid fairly, and other rights–of women. That’s rights of women, in particular. This is not a chimera or a projection or a paranoia or a feeling. This is a reality.

    I don’t find male sexuality inherently violent or something to fear. Every time I’ve encountered it directly by my choice, I’ve found it a lot of fun. Maybe I’m doing it wrong.

    What I don’t like are attempts to control and manipulate me, beyond people requesting the basic human kindnesses and graces that keep the tribe humming along. Most other humans don’t, either. MRAs and their ilk spend most of their time trying to control others. The trolling and abusive threats they make are part of these attempts. The rest of their time they spend taking umbrage. These people can take umbrage around the world and back. They’re like the FedEx of umbrage. Never too much umbrage to carry, never too far to take it.

    Also, to explain the problem I have with #notallmen in very concrete terms (despite the apparent unpopularity of using such methods): If you run into a friend and they ask how you are, and you tell them, wow, I messed up my shoulder something awful, and the first thing they say is “Well don’t blame me!” and then immediately go into telling you about how they hurt their finger, and they go on and on for an hour or so, and that’s all they ever talk about anymore, what happens? You stop hanging out with that person. You figure they’re really into their finger injury now, and maybe you try to go there with them a little bit, but it’s just getting ridiculous. Meanwhile they’re leaning on you and it’s really hurting your shoulder, and you say: You know that shoulder thing I’ve got going on? That could end up being a problem for both of us. And maybe for both our families or our friends, too, because I won’t be able to do the things I set out to do, and those things benefit all of us. And they tell you: What shoulder thing? Oh, that doesn’t really hurt. Why do you keep insisting that pain is real? It’s so insulting. It’s MY pain that’s the BIG pain.

    So um, OK, cool, maybe we’ll talk later, sure.

  3. We need to see the shadow side of the inner masculine/feminine dance, in my view, and how New Age spirituality has been driven by a subtle political agenda to emasculate men in the current corporatocracy. If we took a basic Mars/Venus archetypal approach and spoke of the active/receptive dyad within that, we would see that said polarity currently serves the interests of a political hierarchy that is invested in emphasising a ‘passive’ view of LOVE and acceptance. One that is more interested in forgiveness/mercy than justice. Of course, these issues are always about balance. Once, however, we so emphasise a particular variant of love, mercy and forgiveness, there is an attendant cultural passivity. Suddenly activism becomes an unholy attempt to change situations rather than simply elevate consciousness. Buddhism would be a well-established tradition easily used to buttress such distortion – a philosophy of mind that effectively denies the body like much ancient gnosis).

    While Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed emphasises conscientisation and transformation of human beingness, over direct action, in further seeming support of such indirect mechanisms of personal, social and political change, the fact remains that ALL such ideologies are incomplete and are thus welcomed in the current cultural hegemony of corporations, which do not want to be challenged in a typically ‘masculine’ way. We simply cannot exclude the sociocultural and socio-political dimensions of this whole issue of gender polarities and the purposes they serve in supporting the status quo – well, we can, but the whole issue becomes detached and unreal because we fail to see all our investments and those of others – these are not MERELY PERSONAL. Masculinity and femininity are constructs, sure. However, while there is an imaginary spectrum between these polarities, such is merely a representation, or approximation, of our experience. And, our experience cannot be separated from history, geography, culture, social organisation, beliefs/ideology AND (importantly) human biology.

    There IS something about the maleness of males that just IS. And, there IS something about the femaleness of females that just IS. This is being suppressed under layers of construct, prescription, cultural exchange, oligarchical dominance etc and their vested interests and attendant red herrings. You can argue against this fact complex all day but it doesn’t change the facts themselves.

    Thus when Maria argues against the competitiveness model underlying the Pick Up Artist model, for example, and imposes a cooperative model, that may sound plausible. But it is in fact a violation of what is. We cannot afford to obliterate real differences that – once obscured – harm people’s ability to access parts of their authentic being, rooted as these things are in BASIC PHYSIOLOGY. It is NOT the basic orientation that is at fault, but rather the distorted ways in which we have been taught to internalise our guilt and shame about the HEALTHY embracing of these facets of our being.

    Eric spoke earlier about the loss (especially since the Industrial Revolution) of traditions of passing on skills etc in a living and organic, culturally intact (rather than fragmented) way. The Pick Up Artist movement and its talk of Game, is itself subject to distortion because men have been prevented from accessing valid masculinity. It is no surprise that toxic interpretations of a truth kernel, long lost, emanate as a result. This is part of the overall lens of distortion and NO PROOF at all of a fundamentally invalid exploration by people investigating the science of relationships.

    The goal should be at all times to uncover who we truly are beneath the layers we have been smothered beneath. This manifestation of backlash in personal violence evidences nothing more, nor less, than a sick society’s twisted inability to access our own life force responsibility. This is not the result of any ‘movement’ as such. To claim it is, is merely to project our own disowned rage or perplexity about our core self into a blame modality of causality that is ridiculously simplistic:

    “A caused B”: Simply because we see a superficial correlation and a media portrayal.

    Really? Is that how deep our discernment goes? (Shakes head)

  4. Just found this linked from a Paris-based website I like, SexPornErotica.com, quoted from The Guardian — Why Are We Afraid of Male Sexuality:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/jul/18/male-sexuality-desire

    At the other end of the age range, sexually active older women are now widely eroticised (albeit often with a rather misogynistic undertone) as “cougars” or (forgive me) “Milfs” while their male equivalents are disparaged as dirty old men. Observer columnist Viv Groskop recently went further, opining about any older man who has sex outside marriage, even the mild-mannered old janitor John Major, saying “Unfortunately it’s not against the law to be an old lecher. Maybe it should be. Or at the very least you shouldn’t be rewarded with the highest office in the land.”

    Perhaps the greatest concern for men and women alike should be the way male sexuality and sexual expressiveness balances on a narrow tightrope of acceptability. One step off the wire and you tumble into the realm of perversion. As feminist blogger Clarisse Thorn noted last year, any man who hits on a woman and gets it wrong risks being branded a “creep” – sometimes deservedly so, of course, but often for no greater sin than being insufficiently attractive or socially skilled, or having misread a perceived signal of invitation. I’ve never heard of a woman being stigmatised or disparaged for expressing an attraction to big men, rough men, geeky men or whatever. A man who expresses similar desires for women who don’t conform to standard norms of beauty is a perv, a fetishist, a weirdo.

    ==

    Male sexuality is no less diverse, complex and wonderful than women’s or, for that matter, no more base, coarse and animalistic. Sure, most men might be slightly more likely to let our gaze linger on eye-catching curves, and slightly less likely to giggle about our lovers’ proclivities with our friends, but in the grand picture women and men are surprisingly similar, in this respect as in so many others. Women have been entirely justified in asking that we blokes respect their rights, autonomy and wishes, that we respect them as sexual beings. It shouldn’t be too much to ask for a little of the same in return.

  5. I’ve just read this back at the Juno page – Green star gazer says it so well –

    What I’ve learned is that while Eric did indeed create this website and he has the final word about what gets published here, PW is a cooperative venture with many people of both genders participating. They strive for inclusion while also trying to keep things civil. Sometimes, for people who have been here awhile, we just silently agree to disagree….unless something really seems worthy of comment and then usually someone calls it out, like you did and others will add their observations. This keeps the place fresh and lively. The trick is to not let it get personal or to gang up on any one person. We are all here expressing different points of view and we may not all agree with everything all at the same time. And, silence does NOT always equal agreement, it is just that sometimes, to keep this place flowing well, it is better for the collective to let just a few voices speak in dissent. I find that a lot of times one or two people pointing out a problem is enough to make the point. That said, I too have personally experienced how difficult it is to present an opposing view here… Or to use an Astrological phrase, maybe a “squaring” view. 😉 But sometimes one just has to and the good news is, if the point is valid, you will usually find one or two others who will speak their support and probably there are MANY other nodding in agreement on the sidelines.

    The other thing I’ve learned being here is that sometimes when I get triggered it is a chance for me to look at what triggered me and see if I can unpack it for myself first. While I find that many of the writers here live in very different perspectives than my own, I can still value what gets shared here even if personalities rub me the wrong way from time to time. Part of the art of living is learning how to accept strong personalities without feeling diminished in one’s self. That said, misinformation being passed off as truth needs to be pointed out and corrected and this community is usually pretty good at that.

  6. Green-Star-gazer I hope I didn’t dehumanise – I didn’t mean to – just accept eg a problem around our donkey and work our way through it. (what a lovely story you were part of!)

    Not sure about a dating code SubGothius – my feeling is to get away from formulations that aren’t just working hypotheses! I raised my hand in greeting to our donkey because he saw me on the way to the river after this discussion here. And it is the same gesture for stop and hello isn’t it, tho different circumstances.

    It’s all a mish mash. I read yesterday that babies cannot recognise botoxed faces (and mirror their smiles) and so learn about emotions that way. My mother had no milk so I was always bottle fed and it took me a long time to learn lots of things, and my own theory may backfire on me mayn’t it – Mum you were too present, or there but not there, or too many arguments… I was an only child (not my parent’s choice) and siblings help alot in learning things too even if it is tough. A friend who worked with the really far out ‘mentally ill’ has taken early retirement because he feels he doesn’t have the tools to help those he meets (not a question of fixing but accompanying?). Then we have the drive for perfection – the best partner, lifestyle, filtered encounters etc which can end finally in lonely in the crowd.

    I’ve often wondered too how accident and death impact on the lives of the whole – in the obvious way that x doesn’t show up where they would have helped because they died in an accident (say). And the other more subtle where we fail others. I dreamed one night years ago) that the sister of a friend came into our kitchen, picked up the big vegetable knife and enraged, stabbed me through the heart twice. i woke up quite clear about the twice I had failed her – once she greeted me in the street effusively and I was fragile that day and ‘flinched’, and the second I thought to send her The Myth of Sysiphus by Camus (which talks about suicide and reasons why not) and hesitated and wondered if it would be taken badly, and didn’t. When her sister rang to say she had committed suicide the day before I was almost expecting it. Snowflakes on a branch, the final straw…

    And refusals, possibly a better example would be – and please remember I am far from anybody’s ‘ideal’ – I met a guy on the way to an airport – he drove me there in a taxi – a great guy, warm, amusing, liked women, gentle, open. He said to me that he thought we would get along fine and he was a bit stuck because if he said nothing he would never know. (I thought we’d get along fine too – it was a great offer, I really liked him, but I just knew I wasn’t going that way, had set out on a different trajet somewhere).

    There are some objective realities in a life if you know yourself a bit – everything is possible but some things aren’t true to who you are. Am I mistaken in this?

    And then there is the fact that you can’t rely on anyone coming to help you, nice if they do perhaps but if not, what else is possible but to do the best you can.

    A musical instrument, an animal friend, a craft, reaching out to others.

    Eric your webroom is also a great place, both for learning and meeting

  7. I have detected not a trace of male chauvinism in the comments in this discussion, which would be the keynote of pickup artists (PUAs) and so-called men’s rights activists (MRAs). From what I understand, these are not social theories that go into issues like healing, family structure, gender themes and many other topics we have discussed here. This has been a sensitive and inclusive discussion consisting of a large majority women participants, who would clearly not be allowed into an MRA or PUA forum.

    Where these groups or theories get my full and unflinching support is their First Amendment right to say whatever they want to say, whatever it may be, short of libel, fraud, criminal conspiracy and hate crime as defined by statute, which are all covered by various state and federal laws.

    Their right to free speech is our right to free speech; there are no categories of better or worse free speech, again, excluding libel, fraud, criminal conspiracy and hate crime as defined by statute.

  8. There is a difference between MRAs and PUAs and actual men’s groups where the men are actually working on themselves. The other two are frankly, as I mentioned before, a gross parody, like hate groups who proclaim they aren’t racist.

  9. When American mainstream society of the mid-20th Century stared rejecting outmoded customs of courtship and gender roles (and for good reason), we didn’t really take that opportunity to collaborate on replacing the old with something new and better that suited who we’d become; instead, we largely left that cultural space open and unstructured, perhaps so stultified by the old constrictions we’d just cast off that we wanted nothing other than utter freedom.

    However, that lack of structure has turned out to be a challenge for many, mostly men in particular, who feel lost without any map or method to find their way into and through relationships with others; moreover, those who expected a new frontier of feeling our way through relationships have been disappointed (understating the matter considerably) to find that many just aren’t sufficiently empathic (in the sense of being adept at identifying and responding to others’ internal states intuitively) to manage such uncharted navigation.

    What we thought would be freedom has turned out to be a cultural vacuum, into which all sorts of questionable and arbitrary structures have rushed to fill unmet needs for making order of a seeming chaos. Many have responded by recoiling back to the old, cast-off ways as the last semblance of any sense they could identify, from gender reactionaries trying to reinstate and enforce the old roles, to books like “The Rules” proposing to revive old-fashioned courtship practices, but none of that really works when they’re not broad cultural norms, which it’s really too late to reinstate at that scope; those cats were already out of the bag, and no measure of effort will put them all back. Yet, those old ways had satisfied sociocultural needs that remain; we just need to build new ways to meet them.

    The old ways, problematic as they were, at least provided structural thinkers (mostly men) with clear methods to follow; they generally knew what to do when, what roles were available to play and how to play them, and could generally get their needs met and find a place in the world by simply going along with the system in place. Once those old structures dissolved, and after a time of wandering aimlessly through the new frontier in increasing frustration, the PUA/”Seduction” phenomenon emerged in response to that need for methods and maps to navigate the new wilderness, and thrived because nothing better emerged, and because there’s always a buck to be made where needs are unmet and plenty of “suckers” are desperate to meet them by any means available, let alone necessary.

    Many essays I’ve seen on the recent tragedy and its attendant themes have challenged the PUA paradigm of “game”, which carries with it the implicit baggage of adversarial competition, winners and losers, profit and loss, along with the notion that it’s just an idle diversion of no real consequence. Moreover, the very terms “pick-up” and “seduction” are transitive, things one does “to” someone, rather than cooperatively “with” them, and much of the PUA rhetoric operates in that framework.

    That’s really a misdirection, wanting X and thinking it has something to do with Y, and then only inquiring into Y without ever pausing to consider that maybe Z, something else entirely, is more pertinent to satisfying X; so many men are desperate for intimacy and connection and at a total loss for how to go about finding that, but knowing it involves sexuality and women, then PUA comes along promising ways to “get” sex and women, when what they really need to “get” is the sense of intimacy and connection that women and sexuality can foster, yet not when the latter are sought for their own sake as mere objects of conquest.

    Ultimately, I think our society needs to open a broad dialogue about establishing new rules and norms for courtship, a term I chose pointedly here as a concept for meeting other people with the primary purpose of exploring potential relationships. We have plenty of relationship and dating advice to go around for those already involved in that, yet so little sound guidance for simply meeting people and finding our way into dating and relationships in the first place.

    We need these new concepts of courtship, because it isn’t a game; it’s a dance. It takes two to tango, but first we have to learn some basic moves and steps that we can agree on.

  10. “Someone who goes on a stabbing, shooting and running-people-over spree is not doing so because he or she espouses some view or has certain experiences of sex and gender; he or she is doing so because of some profound psychosis.”

    The direction of that psychosis and the target IS fueled by the view this guy had of sex, gender, and his sense of entitlement (being the male-default and his class). His views and experiences of sex and gender were a definite factor in his choices. Just as having a sex-slave male zombie was a factor in Dahmer’s choice of victims and having power over women was the factor in Bundy’s choice of victims; this killer’s choosing his targets had everything to do with his views on sex and gender.

  11. “Just to get clear, because some of this is too abstract for me: is anyone defending MRA and PUA or the concepts and messages they’re putting across? Because they’re out there, they’ve gained some credibility and traction through their attachment to libertarianism and the tea party in the former and the entertainment industry in the latter, and I think they’re hateful, dangerous, and destructive. I’d rather my thoughts on that not get lost in all this.”

    I agree with you, Maria.

    “I don’t want MRAs or PUAs anywhere near me. I don’t think there’s anything to defend there. Why on earth would I bother “dialoging” with people from hate groups? I don’t have the need to go into a troll hole with any variety of that. Nothin to talk about. I see it, I call it. They can change, or they can leave.”

    I strongly agree with both statements you have made. These people have a dangerous mindset that world-wide has led to women being harmed and killed. There’s no good in that.

    I look at it this way; a murderer may have issues and emotional baggage and abuse in the way s/he grew up and they may have fears and feel lonely and be dealing with all that stuff but they are still a murderer. No amount of sympathy for the murderer’s background changes the fact that they MURDERED a life or lives. While knowing their background can help all of us know what we as a society need to do better, the fact is, patriarchy-fueled misogyny was a subconscious main thread that supported the whole cloth of who this guy was. It was a factor that if removed, might have meant he was less apt to murder. Entitlement (both the male-as-default kind and the class-based kind) also was a supporting thread in this tapestry of violence that he was. Remove these and would he have been as likely to kill? I can’t say for sure but my guess is it would have been a lot less likely. His thinking patterns got fuel from the MRAs and PUAs he was reading. They are accessories. They added gasoline to a fire which made it deadly.

  12. Just to get clear, because some of this is too abstract for me: is anyone defending MRA and PUA or the concepts and messages they’re putting across? Because they’re out there, they’ve gained some credibility and traction through their attachment to libertarianism and the tea party in the former and the entertainment industry in the latter, and I think they’re hateful, dangerous, and destructive. I’d rather my thoughts on that not get lost in all this.

  13. It seems comments are intertwining through various articles posted at the moment and I would like to respond to Eric’s photo of himself and a woman holding a mirror. In a larger context, the art posted on PW could be more interesting and provocative if opened up to the PW community. Many readers are artists in one medium or another and could submit images to be kept on file to use on an ongoing basis.

    In art, what is left unsaid is often far more interesting than what is said. I understand Tracy’s comment and appreciate what Green-Star-Gazer wrote. Exchanging the personal for the universal is of interest to me. Everyone knows the picture is of Eric. Is Eric the standard we somehow use to measure intimacy? There is more going on here. Perhaps, Tracy, that is part of what you are responding to in your comments.

  14. As many have noted, there have been end-to-end decades of limited fathering, or extremely limited involvement of the father. This has gone on since the divorce boom beginning in the 40s and 50s, but as Robert Bly points out, fathers out of the home involved in work they cannot or will not talk about was the norm even in many “nuclear” households. It’s only starting to reverse itself now as many men are more involved in rearing their children than their fathers or grandfathers ever were.

    Consider this. We have generations of women who were raised by their mothers, often in the absence of fathering, teaching boys how to be men.

    In earlier, more agrarian times, boys would apprentice to their fathers, whether on the farm or in the blacksmith shop, as soon as they had the wits to avoid mischief. There was a real passing of values and skills. There was a modeling of personality and responsibility. Today, how many fathers pass their professional skills to their sons or daughters? How many pass their life skills? What men do at work can be a real mystery to everyone, especially if it’s involved in something shady or evil but that is culturally sanctioned.

    As others in this thread have hinted, part of the crisis of maleness involves not having productive things to do; the role of provider for the household, the man who runs the farm, the proprietor of the family grocery store, have all been subverted by cultural changes, agribusiness and 7-Eleven. Then the image of the Hero is dangled in front of their faces on every channel.

    I think many men feel bored and trapped by their realities, and this propagates frustration and resentment.

    Alternately, many women are consciously on a frontier, if only driven by the challenge of simultaneous career and householding. Some men may see themselves as being on a frontier, but it’s an inner one because that’s all that’s left to explore. Yet that inner frontier is walled off by a culture-wide prohibition on grieving (and plenty to grieve — it’s mainly men who are sent to war and who must police the streets), on embracing one’s inner feminine, by a vicious homophobia and by a kind of gender role anarchy that not everyone can handle.

    Not everyone can handle lack of structure and predetermined imposed rules. That presents a kind of invisible frontier that again turns inward because it demands maturity that our society does not support — but which people sometimes find and develop out of abject necessity.

  15. Reading these comments, I can’t help but think of the line from the great late poet Sekou Sundiata: “Story by story, men make other men”.

    Grandfather to father, father to son. The roles we take on, unthinking, in modern day society once had a purpose, but the meaning of that purpose has been de-constructed through time, technology, economy and policy. What we see now that remains are those of us lost in the original “stories” (or roles) of men as men and women as women, (or what REAL men and REAL women are). And just what is THAT?

    Looking at the changes in our social dynamic over the last 40 years starting from civil rights, the great society, the invention of the birth control pill, the coming out of gays and lesbians over the decades, the push and pull over perceived roles — the stories we told ourselves, each other, and what stories we are being handed by the culture and the images of Madison Avenue make the conventional stories of men and women a parody of themselves, and in the case of Isla Vista, MRA and PUAs, a terrible parody leading to tragedy for both sexes.

    So what is to become of us? Where do we start having the conversations that can bring a renewed sense of value for our femaleness and maleness recognizing those traits in ourselves and each other with appreciation, support and encouragement?

    I have met men who for the last 40 years have been working on themselves through group process, talking to other men, working with men who have had violent and criminal tendencies. They have pupose and values, which guides them to improve other areas of their lives. That particular group of men (at Delancey Street), still meet, bond, help each other through relationship struggles, communication issues between themselves and with women, and continue the work on themselves now well into their late 60s and 70s. These men have strong independent wives and partners and respect for women, yet are comfortable in their group-supported masculinity, honoring the feminine in themselves. I have been a member of a women’s group that does the same thing in parallel with other women.

    The foundation on which these two groups meet is based on authenticity, recognition of what is off-balance, coming to grips with what took them “off the path”. We have that support on a continuing basis to create a community that works on itself. Its sharing stories face to face (obviating the BS one can often find in posers online for ANY group) that they recognize they have one story told in various iterations.

    We need more communities like that, communities with purpose, bonding as a microcosm within to enable us to understand, cope with and overcome the challenges of the macrocosm without. The only way, in this new century, we’ve been doing that has been online, but some real face time with each other is what we could use. And get something done. Together.

    This century, with all its technology that enables us to communicate anywhere anytime, is conversely, further distracting and isolating us. Human beings, the apes that we are, need our “meat”communities to face the onslaught of storms ahead on every front possible. Time to end the division.

  16. Cosmic jaguar:

    “How many young women today are told by their parents to find a guy that nourishes your soul, gives you peace in your heart, is well versed in existentialism and eastern philosophies and creates beauty in the world when he expresses his inner soul? Yeah, that many.”

    Maybe society has not ‘subliminally’ projected such value in this, as you allude to is not typical characterization of it’s Masuline role. Which is perhaps why I am still single. From my perspective it takes a man just such as you describe for me to want to spend time with, and there seem not many around courageous enough to show this side of themselves unfortunately. But times are changing, and I am thankful for sensitive, strong, soulful men like you.

    Similar to Eric’s photo this morning it is a beautiful expression and encouraging to encounter.
    Thank you both for sharing your honesty.

  17. Thank you, Carlos and Green-Star-gazer, both, for your stories, they’ve added much to this conversation. Both illustrate how this is, first and foremost, a HUMAN problem, not one defined only by the sexual polarities. And with all the words we could write about it, breaking it out and down, we are still … always … looking at both love and fear as Cause.

    Those who master this in themselves, healing their various woundings and misperceptions … or who outlive their glandular imperatives, which creates sexuality as a whole new ballgame … come into a larger sense of Self, eventually. But, first and foremost, we must find a way to approach one another as equals — which means neither side has the upper hand but both are subject to stupid human tricks (and the growth patterns they indicate.)

    I also appreciated commentary about the patriarchy, that is a good bit of this darkness. But let’s remember that before there was the patriarchy, there was the matriarchy and that didn’t last forever, either. Now, we find our balance and this conversation is part of that process!

  18. Hello Maria, Eric, everyone else,

    I have been hesitating to write about this issue of the Isla Vista killer’s MANifesto. The whole scenario strikes a dark chord in my subconscious.

    First let me say that for over fifteen years I have been teaching about the balancing of Masculine and Feminine energies as part of the prophecies of the Maya calendar. On Dec.21, 2012 I led a Mayan Fire ceremony and we symbolically planted a new World Tree/Tree of Life that had the First Father and First Mother energies.

    The previous raising of the World Tree 5125 years ago was planted by the First Father without the first Mother, so we have just ended the great cycle of Patriarchal dominance and are currently in the process of finding a new balance between Masculine and Feminine in all aspects of our lives.

    I also led a big ceremony during the Venus Transit, June 5, 2012. That was all about integrating the Divine Feminine, Venus, with the Divine Masculine, the Sun, in a spirit of Oneness. The first Venus Transit in this pair was June 8, 2004 on Maya calendar day, 6 Ik/Wind, symbolically a day of healing the divine Feminine That Maya calendar day came around again four days after the Isla Vista rampage, Tuesday May 27, 2014 when the memorial service for the victims was held!

    The day this tragedy went down, May 23, was 2 Tijax/Flint Knife. The symbolism is far too applicable to what happened to be missed, including that the killer used a knife on his first three victims! Flint knife can also be an obsidian mirror. This event has certainly made this whole nation reflect upon how we relate to one another. We all are “wounded” in some way or another by our difficult relationships, romantic, family or with society in general.

    Getting to the dark chord that I felt after this event, I have not been immune to the wounding from toxic relationships. As a young man in college, I felt the brutal isolation that this young man in Isla Vista apparently was feeling. Fortunately, I had a guitar and a plan to get out of the isolation that did not involve mass murder. I will admit, for the first time ever, that the idea floated through my mind quite often that if I did not have musical talent, then I would probably have turned to some kind of serial killer because the pressure from not being allowed into the popular social cliques was so great.

    Now that was over 25 years ago, so nobody had better jump on my case about it. I still face enormous pressure to conform, but I have risen far above that now. I spent decades in meditation and learning from as many spiritual traditions as I could to overcome my base emotions of hate, jealousy, rage, etc. I also spend hours a day improving my musicality and Enlightening my mind and heart any way I can find.

    Nobody told this kid in Isla Vista that he could only change himself from inside. Nobody told him that he attracts the energy that he resonates from within his soul. Maybe nobody told him he had a soul. Part of what mass media teaches about masculinity is that men must “make their own way” in the world, “make” money, provide food, shelter and other glitzy stuff for “his” woman and family. All this is external to a man’s soul, but this kid wanted to be a philosopher and story teller, a lover, but these things do not “make” money or gain you any respect in the materialistic world!

    How many young women today are told by their parents to find a guy that nourishes your soul, gives you peace in your heart, is well versed in existentialism and eastern philosophies and creates beauty in the world when he expresses his inner soul? Yeah, that many.

    As for the Maya day, 2 Flint knife, the number two represents a dichomy – light/dark, male/female, yin/yang, etc. It shows that on this day, the kid was way dissconected from reality. The glyph Tijax/Flint is one of five signs associated with the cardinal direction North and the color white. Other White/North days are Jaguar, Death, Dog and Wind. Any of these signs in combination with the number 2 can represent a divided spirit, alienation from society or bipolar disorder. I have known some of these people and have been affected by their behavior and actions, (more I cannot say about that now).

    I hope this adds to the conversation and that my words are not miscontrued in any way. I honestly see this as a necessary part of the process of healing and bringing into balance tbe Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine.

    Aho Mitakuye Oyasin!
    To all my relations!
    Carlos

  19. Eric, I appreciate what you say, but I want to clarify that I myself don’t make comparisons to the Underground Railroad and generally avoid similar comparisons. (This is my choice and doesn’t need to be argued about here.) How about that these guys are brave human beings?

  20. Pam, my father was just like your Stallion. He was movie-star handsome in his day and could charm anyone, male or female to do his bidding. It was his gift and his curse. I was their first child, a daughter. He was always inappropriate with women, but in mild ways and always with charm and flattery so the women tended to accept it because they liked being flattered by a handsome and charming man. I watched this dance all my life trying to understand it. All the “adults” seem to be saying this is “OK” and yet, it felt somehow “wrong” to me and I could see that the energies were all twisted and mixed up. (and it was the 60’s for goodness sake!)

    Years go by. Dad ages and looses some of his looks but none his charm. He still thinks it is OK to hug and hold friends of his daughters a little too long and find excuses to toch them and stand too close. He looks at their breasts constantly. His work as a photographer allows him to have pretty women do what he asks them to (all with their clothes on but still the fantasy of compliance looms large in all of this). It is starting to get creepy. Someone has to kick him in the ribs and no one will. His family talks behind his back. Everyone sees it… we love him and he’s behaving badly…but no one will stand up to him. He’s in deep deep denial, something he’s expert at and if you confront him, he turns into rage. We are afraid for him and afraid of him.

    It takes me 3 years of therapy to untangle the dysfunctional neediness between us. My therapist coaches me on how to speak to him, call him out, but do it cleanly. I feel as if I’ve been training in martial arts of the spoken word. Finally Dad and I arrange to meet. His new wife is there just to bear witness. We agree to ground rules. I say what I see. I have specific examples. I hold up a mirror. He gets to see, for a few moments what it looks like to be him as others see him. This is the crucial moment he needed. Up till then for all his charming ways, he was unable to see himself thru others eyes. Up until that point, he could only see what he wanted out of his own eyes. This was the beginning of him trying to make some changes. He didn’t always succeed. We had to kick him in the ribs, often. We also held up the mirror, often. We also continued to love and adore him for the incredible person he was. He would also challenge us and we had to learn how to grow in our authenticity and also to not try and control him, but just be clear, clear clear.

    Once that threshold was crossed, everything changed. His wife, his other daughters and other female friends started to help draw new boundaries where they felt better. The truth was, he desperately NEEDED women to validate him as a man and he hated them because he needed them so much. It was desperate need for love covering over deeper hate for his own needieness (seen as impotence) covering up even deeper fear that he was not lovable. This put him into a terrible predicament because without the validation of women, he imploded first, then would explode in reaction to his sense of powerlessness, then he’d implode further into depression and regret. It all went back to his relationship with his mother and though I could see it, he had no interest in unraveling that story. So we had to work with just us, the women in his family. We all were motivated to do this difficult work because we all really loved one another. I learned from working with him that for some men of his and my generation, especially for some who are very handsome and charming, their identity is really tightly wrapped around their sexuality and it is very hard for them to truly see from an others perspective. Not impossible, but difficult. I also learned that I needed to find courage to speak up and clearly show where my boundaries were and that he did not make them for me. What took time was for him to learn that love would not be withdrawn just because there were new boundaries. In fact, MORE love, person to person, was now possible because people, especially women, felt safer. This was key for him because under his anger and rage was the need to be loved, just as we all have.

    We all worked really hard at cleaning up this little corner of the patriarchy. And my dad, bless him, tried his best and so did we. We all had to learn how to speak and listen to one another in new ways – trying really hard to not take offense and to not blame, but also to not back away from the hard to talk about stuff. We didn’t do it perfectly, but we did make progress.

    I feel that as horrible as the behaviour is of these MRA and PUA practitioners is, under all that totally unacceptable arrogance and entitlement is a person who just wants to be loved, needs to feel loved and doesn’t know how to get it authentically. The cycle of hating what one desperately needs is very old and is very much a part of this dance.

  21. A comment I was writing just got glitched, so apologies if this repeats. Just wanted to say I deeply regret the error on We Hunted the Mammoth writer (and he is not only brave, but funny). Also, there are indeed women all up in the MRA, including Helen Smith (“Dr. Helen”), partner of Instapundit Glenn Reynolds. And it’s still some sick shit.

  22. (talked with) and brushed him for 20 minutes a day, and all the various interactions throughout the day. There were two turning points (ones I know of). One when he reared and I fell over and he could have killed me but instead landed beside me and looked in surprise – what are you doing there?

    And the other I heard his trumpeting, knew he was hunting a foal. i had a migraine, I ran outside, stood on the hill in the woods with the foal slipping behind me and away. I could not hold any line, and I was below him. When he arrived I just stood on the path, held up my hand and said: you cannot pass. He moved from foot to foot, I could barely see, after a while he wailed just like a frustrated child and turned. It was his decision.

    The first who he was (big hearted), the second accepting a line which helped him save himself. And both enabled me know him better and lose my fear bit by bit.

    His ‘cure’ came later through one of his daughters. She stood between her parents, her mother’s new foal on the far side (of her mother), and all day from time to time he would go to attack the mother ‘AND ANOTHER THING….’ and his daughter would thump him in the ribs with her heels – very hard: DAD!!!. All day, whenever necessary. The adult females were too in awe of him to do that. He wouldn’t let them anyway.

    Finally, after hours of this he said reluctantly: OK I’ll let it go. Did his daughter feel able to do that because all her life she had seen us getting between him and who he was angry with. Did he change because my husband is always calm in a crisis. Or was it all him, and he loved his daughter without the complication of the adult females and his role with them?

    Anyway it was he who saw a reason to change We hung in there, talked from time to time of ‘sausages’ but always decided to carry on just one more time.

    We loved him too of course

  23. Dangerous territory for women too. Does your desire to help extend to not ostracising me for my opinions? Or not posting pictures of topless women in the middle of discussing your support for women? No.

  24. ps it will take several decades to see no doubt (papua new guinea model).

    Eric what I feel is that either we are sound enough/honest enough in our lives or not. Rather than a question of blame or victim. Or good enough or not.

    The only (too precise?!) question in anything is ‘am I sound in this’ if not what needs to change.

    Do women need championing – or men – except in specific moments. Isn’t the whole idea that we are all ‘resolved’ enough (ie on the way enough) to ‘work’ either of ourselves or with our issues or each other. Everything in a sense is an ongoing issue, definition etc rather than a block.

    I feel too (sometimes) that the stuff written here has anger towards women behind it – that comment that Amanda printed made that fingernails on a blackkboard feeling for me too – it would be ok to ask for clarification like Tracy did, or ask as I did if there is only a sexual response possible to women – what if she was in a one piece with a shirt against the sun just sitting on a rock in the sea up to har waist in water and a guy found that sexual. I was just minding my business – was being alone enough to make me available. Can I not say no without it being offensive rather than just genuine.

    I agree that male sexuality has a physical immediacy about it. Elemental too. But it cannot be wild ie savage unmastered full of hate. if it is there is work to do. not being a guy – the field is open for you guys!, but I have worked with a stallion (donkey 1m30ish at the shoulder, strong, completely wild with anger – I was afraid – I talked to him day after day) and I see there is a certain strength (of character, ie knowing yourself) necessary, communication skills and palpable respect on both sides. Courage too. And continued effort on both sides – finding a point of comprehension.

    We women cannot step into your maleness for you, nor can you guys be women for us

    Again back to self knowledge and being true/sound yourself? And each generation finding the words.

    This is tentative – open to refinement and comment!

  25. There are men reading who have spent their lives subverting sexism and misogyny, supporting women and being an ally in the struggle against the ways in which they are held back and held down.

    If you are one of these men, I would like to invite you into the conversation to share your observations. I would, while I am here, point out what dangerous territory this can be, invoking all the risks of ‘rescuer’ in the Karpman triangular concept of codependency (rescuer tends to become victim).

    There are men reading who have taken an active role in the struggle for reproductive rights, whether that is on the systemic level or for being a voice of advocacy among their male and female friends. There are men who recognize an inherent mental and physical superiority in women (correctly or not) and honor that perception. Depending on how bad you think the oppression of women is, you can relate holding such values to being part of the Underground Railroad.

    There are also men reading who identify much more fully with the experiences that women describe, for example, being shamed for existing (often for not being or seeming masculine enough), who have taken roles in society traditionally designated for women, who have endured sexual abuse as children (as many as one in six men, according to dependable studies — between 16% and 18% suffer sexual abuse before age 18), men who are gay, bisexual, trans or questioning who have been marginalized by heteronormative culture, men who are raising children as single heads of household and men who support women in their careers as ‘house dads’.

    There are men who have relinquished their ownership rights of women and agree to and support their female partners being polyamorous.

    In the decades since the Chiron-Eris conjunction and its marking the watershed 2nd wave feminist era (Roe v Wade, Adrienne Rich winning the National Book Award and many other markers), many millions of Western men have broken ranks with tradition and have become part of a world that is reaching for gender balance, sexual equality and freedom for everyone to be who they are. I would invite you into the conversation.

  26. In my 20’s I read a article about how there is no mental illness in Papua New Guinea and the thesis was that this was because the children are held by their mother, or put on her feet if she needs to use both hands, or exceptionally, held by another relative, until the child is ready and walks away from the mother at 5 or 6 years. The mother/parent is always there.

    I was quite clear that if I had children I wanted both parents to be available for them all the time. We share a small farm with others and so both parents are available.

    Tracy I don’t think your comment the other day was misplaced.

  27. Hi Tracy – no, absolutely not, and I am very sorry that it came across that way. I put in the addendum because I was afraid my previous comment might seem to trivialise forms of abuse other than that of women by men, and wished to avoid that happening. I hope that makes things clearer!

  28. Amy,

    Please forgive me if I’m completely off the mark and being paranoid, but I read your comment about abuse and wondered if it was in any way related to my recent critical comments in another thread, which I know a lot of people didn’t understand or appreciate. I would like to (and obviously need to) know if that is what is being called / perceived as abuse.

    Thanks,
    Tracy.

  29. play. But security too (refuge and also finishing stages and moving on to the next, taking time, being, abandon).

  30. One other thing I feel ought to be said. I have a good friend (male) who has suffered abuse by women. He is a kind, gentle, loving, sensitive person – a feminist, too, who furiously defends the rights of women everywhere. What happened to him was just plain wrong. No abuse of any human being, no matter who they are or who is hurting them, should be tolerated. Period.

    Also – in spite of the recent disagreements, I am convinced that we all have more common ground than we realise. I know this space was not designed to exclude.

    Finally, it is not easy to put this into words, but – Eric, I understand what you are trying to do, and honour you for your integrity and clarity of vision. I love the ideal you are working towards, and hope with all my soul it will come to pass. I think we may all trust in that.

  31. Maria – hi, just to let you know that the blogger who runs Mammoth is a guy – David Futrelle. Small nitpicky thing 🙂

    I would like to write reams on this issue, having watched Everyday Sexism grow up, etc., but I’ll try to keep it brief. I agree with Eric that there is definitely an underlying rage and there are reasons for it. I just don’t think the reasons do the MRAs any credit. They are like climate change denialists – desperate for the status quo of women being second class citizens not to change. The rage is born of fear that their privilege will be taken away, that the trouble of asking consent and (gasp!) possibly being rejected will become the norm. As Maria rightly points out, this so-called movement is populated not just by young impressionable guys but middle-aged men (some with long-suffering partners, no doubt) who really ought to know better.

    The pain these people feel, assuming it has any substance, must be seen in context. Two women a week are murdered by partners or ex-partners in the UK. Everyday Sexism chronicles the harassment and abuse women face on a daily basis. Meanwhile, in India an act to outlaw marital rape was recently stopped from passing. In Saudi Arabia, women are still owned by their male relatives or husbands. Then there’s good old Boko Haram…

    There is so much more. Too much more.

    Maybe when the playing field is a lot more level…
    Maybe when women no longer have to be scared…
    Maybe when there are no more ‘honour’ killings…
    Maybe then the underlying suffering of MRAs will receive due attention.

  32. Great piece Maria, thank you.

    Going right back to childhood, one thing that might help all round is if we breast fed our kids longer and worked at getting back to parent/family care rather than just creches. I know it isn’t evident with our work patterns etc but…

    All those neurones from touch and sleeping with another heart beating, the two way interactions from mouth to nipple and from skin on skin. And emotionally from a year – the kids maybe don’t need the milk but there is a whole dimension of play and give and take and laughter that is just at a cellullar level. Of course everything can be learned, but in our industrial societies there isn’t much natural in the environment.

    Around us the rye is shoulder high in the fields (some blue green mystic movement with sudden pathways opening up in the lines) and the mountains and chicks, green green leaves and all the signs of spring – that fill the eyes and the heart. And physical work in the garden, growing plants, or just under the trees.

    ?

  33. One of the major PUA figureheads, Tucker Max, is pushing 40, and the MRA leaders skew even older. These groups have been going for about 20 years at least. They’re allegedly grown men.
    What I mean is this isn’t a matter of negotiation or discussion. I think most people can change their ways and views. But I just call it out. Good lord, it’s not my job to train them or school them. I’m not a therapist. My commitment is just to give them a rousing “fuck you” and move as far away as possible.
    Dr. Nerdlove realized that he was living a crap life, and he set out to change, and he handled his business.
    Maybe I wasn’t clear: The MRA and PUA guys are POSs who conspire to threaten and assault women. That’s “what’s really going on there.” Not so complicated.
    When the killings occurred and all the killer’s rantings came out, a lot of people were exposed to this MRA rhetoric and concepts that they hadn’t encountered before. Some writers, both women and men, pointed out that this had been going on for a while. There were some different reactions there.
    Some people’s reactions were along the lines of: “hey, these are some real POSs, and what’s worse, some of what they’re saying sounds uncomfortably similar to what I hear at work, at the bars, on the basketball court. That’s some sick shit. Now that I realize this, I’m going to take care not to be part of that, and when I hear or see it, I’m going to call it out.”
    Other reactions were more like: “Hey, that’s not me! I’m not like that! Not all men are like that! Stop accusing all men of being like that! You’re mean! Girls are mean! I don’t have privilege! You’re the one with privilege! You’re putting me in a box! Ow! That’s not fair! It’s all your fault anyway! Stop it!” That’s how the #notallmen struck me. It’s bizarre–their point was that it wasn’t even about them, right? But you had to make it all about you anyway. Weird. Defensive. Irrelevant.
    When there’s a crisis, folks tend to show their ass. Their words and behavior, it all comes out. It’s valuable, though, because when you see that, you can figure out where you stand, and where you want to stand.

  34. Forgot to mention the obvious: Current Pluto Uranus square (and Mars, Jupiter) aspecting the Neptune/Uranus conjunction in Capp of the early 1990s.

  35. Hi Green Star Gazer,
    My two children are two and a half years apart, my oldest a few months older than the Isle Vista shooter. There is significant planetary movement between early 1991 and late 1993 inclusive of Chiron moving from Cancer to Virgo and Jupiter from Leo to Libra. My younger has a stellium in Scorpio (containing his Sun and upon the Dragon’s Head). Pluto is in Scorpio for their generation. Also generational is a conjunction of Neptune and Uranus in Capp…my son’s is exact. As in EXACT.

    They are both beautiful young adults and their differences, from each other and from older generations, is vibrant. I’m proud to have brought them into life on this planet and feel ongoing confidence that they are teaching me more every day than I have ever taught them in return. Issues like the ones Eric has discussed recently (walk of shame et al) are front and center for them. I think it’s important to remember that most of our younger generation reflect the positive side of whatever generational planetary aspects there may be.

  36. Thank you Maria for educating me… I had no idea this was going on at this level.

    Excellent points Eric!

    I need to look in my Ephemeris and see what was happening with the planets 17-22 years ago. I seem to recall a time where there was a massive stellium in Capricorn for awhile, but these twisted and polarized movements are scary. It is obvious that not all males born during these years are going to have problems, but there must have been something significant in the stars to hint at this concentrated and crystallized shadow material. Makes me so glad I chose to not have children… they would be navigating these dark and scary waters now.

    re: the shooter was at one time reported to be mentally ill with high-functioning Asperger’s syndrome which usually implies some exceptional abilities that make it harder to detect the illness. Somehow there needs to be a “breaker switch” so that people being treated for mental illness are not allowed legal access to firearms. In this case legal issues probably would not have stopped him since he had privilege, affluence and motive, but we have to start somewhere and this seems an obvious place to draw the line.

    I have a nephew who has been in and out of state hospitals, in and out of jails, in and out of therapists offices, on and off medications all his life. He is 23. Last year he inherited a small pile of cash, more than 5K… spent it ALL on guns. We caught him trying to stockpile them in his infirm Grandmother’s back yard. I turned him in. Very hard because he wasn’t doing anything legally “wrong”, all the guns were purchased legally. But everyone in his small town was terrified, including the police once I informed them of what he had in the trunk of his car (where he kept them because he didn’t have an apartment at the time). We had to work carefully to time it right so no one got hurt. His rage at us was something I’ve only ever seen in wild caged animals before. Of course he blamed us. He was unable to see the danger he was capable of creating. All he wanted was to “be a man” and owning and using guns became the way he thought he could get there because all other social and vocational venues were closed to him due to his mental illness. I have great sympathy for him, his road is very difficult with no older men to shepherd him.

    What these times are providing to us is a great opportunity for conscious men to stand up, speak up and be better role models than what these MRA and PUA types are offering to the younger boys and teens who are just beginning to navigate these waters.

  37. I don’t want MRAs or PUAs anywhere near me. I don’t think there’s anything to defend there. Why on earth would I bother “dialoging” with people from hate groups? I don’t have the need to go into a troll hole with any variety of that. Nothin to talk about. I see it, I call it. They can change, or they can leave.

  38. Someone who goes on a stabbing, shooting and running-people-over spree is not doing so because he or she espouses some view or has certain experiences of sex and gender; he or she is doing so because of some profound psychosis. Psychosis is total detachment from reality, or a personality so split that the parts don’t know what the other parts feel and think. I think the shooters’ views and opinions are more symptomatic graftings-on to a much more profound agony, detachment and delusion.

    Even if he were not a confirmed psychotic and walked into a therapist’s office and made all those statements, it would be up to the therapist to get underneath them and find out what is really going on; they would still be considered the surface level.

    Given his context as a psychotic mass murderer, they are even more suspect.

    Let’s consider a parallel scenario. When Lanza killed 25 little kids, we did not connect that to child abuse, even though it was a vicious form of such — not only killing those kids in one another’s presence but also striking terror into the heart of every kid who heard about it. We recognized him as a psychotic.

    His mother gave him his guns. We did not exactly blame his mother; I think that her role stood more as a question. Obviously this was bigger than her, or anything she could have said or done.

    The question of why these things happen rips at the human mind, which demands an answer and is often too soon content with a simplistic one, or one that justifies additional pain and rage. This goes all the way to the core of our society, which many have pointed out seems to have a core sickness that surrounds sexuality and sex. If that is true, we are all in some way affected.

    Hatred of women, and the vocalized entitlement over their bodies and feelings, and even marriage laws which declare women chattel property (even in the United States) is a painful and serious problem, but I think it’s necessary to gently differentiate these things. This is especially true if we want to get underneath the hatred, frustration and rage at women and find out what’s really going on there — so that we can do something about it.

    And if this is indeed about sex and gender, we must look for the equivalent and opposite reactions within that polarity, including pain, shame, guilt, rage, denial and self-attack. Energy movement like this cannot happen with just one pole of the battery working, though it will seem to flow out of one end.

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