December 6, 2017

In the Wake of the #MeToo Movement

Marc Esadrian

No matter where one may reside on the sociopolitical spectrum, I believe everyone can agree that the Harvey Weinstein exposé had beneficial effects. It was a watershed moment, uncovering the presence of hypocrisy living right under the noses of the typically left-leaning Hollywood elite, where sexual predation upon ambitious actresses turned out to be one of their biggest “open secrets.” Weinstein apparently paid off sexual harassment accusers for decades while continuing to run his media giant, the Weinstein Company, but social comeuppance eventually caught up. It’s satisfying to see a rich, powerful hypocrite brought down a notch over his lecherous buffoonery. Predation enjoying impunity due to its power, status, or political hypocrisy is something most sensible people can find common ground to stand against.

But as reports of sexual misconduct accusations rippling and ricocheting across Hollywood and Washington become an almost daily event, it seems the troubling rhetoric of the Me Too movement has gotten rather out of hand, infecting the political and corporate world with a strange brand of witch hunting neo-puritanism that colors men as predators and women as victims in need of swift protection. At this moment in time, the increasing lynch mob that is Me Too sees the slightest gesture of sexual or romantic interest in the workplace as grounds for Victorianesque intervention, if not inquisition. For most reasonable human beings, this should be a concerning spectacle, as most humans have accrued at least a few skeletons in their closets during their lifetimes. The climate today now has many men and women alike wondering if their sexual improprieties will crawl out of the woodwork and lead to the loss of their careers and jobs. It seems that minor sexual inferences—even ambiguous transgressions—are now fertile ground for indignation and harsh corporate review, no matter how long ago they’re purported to have happened. And far too many now accept the rightness of it all as a foregone conclusion.

Whether the reported acts or events are given mature objectivity, much less anything resembling due process, seems entirely irrelevant for the movement at hand: if a woman points a finger, there is a moral imperative now to believe her, or else we’re conspiring agents of what Natasha Lennard might robotically regurgitate as the “system of domination and patriarchal hierarchy.” To believe a rape or misconduct allegation is now synonymous with “believing women” as a whole. You’re either all in with the absolute victimhood of women or out of touch. How did we get here?

A much earlier “Me Too” movement was started over a decade ago by feminist Tarana Burke, with the intent to empower black women who were sexual assault survivors. Today, celebrities like Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan (an alleged Weinstein victim) have given the Me Too movement greater visibility with perhaps a well-meaning push, resulting in the now popular #MeToo Twitter tag. Time Magazine just named all the “silence breakers” of the movement the #1 Person(s) of the Year, in fact. So, like it or not, the politics of painting women as victims has been given a new lease. Yes, occasional men are mentioned as so-called silence breakers, too, but the real motivating force behind the movement is obvious: to unseat powerful men from positions of influence and respect in media, journalism, state leadership, and the corporate sector under the pretense of showing the world how many hidden victims there are of male sexual abuse, despite complex matters of consent and complicity in so-called victims, or the misinterpretations of honest mistakes of judgment.

What the hell is happening? We now live in a country where people lose their jobs when accused of something without proof or trial or in some cases with anonymous accusers? —Kristy Alley

The idea that women are always innocent and need special protection in the workplace from sexual innuendos and ribald humor isn’t new; it far predates Me Too, but with this movement, the polarizing rhetoric, especially in a culture of microaggressions and victimhood, has increased tenfold. Take, for instance, the incendiary declaration that anyone who questions the validity of misconduct allegations is a “victim shamer.” No one wants to catch that bullet in our politically correct climate today, especially businesses and high-profile individuals. But not every celebrity with a vagina is on board with the witch hunt. Actress Kristy Alley irreverently asserted that it’s madness for people to lose their jobs over anonymous allegations. “What the hell is happening? We now live in a country where people lose their jobs when accused of something without proof or trial or in some cases with anonymous accusers?” the actress tweeted.

During a Q&A prior to the 20th-anniversary screening of the film Wag the Dog, comedian and political commentator John Oliver pestered Dustin Hoffman on stage in front of a live audience over recent allegations levied against the actor. Hoffman was beside himself over having to defend against Oliver’s surprise attack indictments. “The so-called alleged comments that are made are truth now,” Hoffman angrily stated while managing to keep his composure, “and if you try to defend it, you’re guilty.” Oliver remained visibly unsympathetic, sucking the air out of the room for more than thirty minutes as the other guest speakers and audience members remained awkwardly silent, until eventually someone shouted at Oliver to move on. (He didn’t.)

In a discussion over the subject on Twitter, a starry-eyed fan commended Mr. Oliver for his bravery in confronting the actor. I found her take on Oliver’s abusive badgering tone deaf, as bullying someone while riding on the wave of politically correct outrage over the sex scandal du jour is hardly something I’d consider noble, much less brave. Many religious tribunals, medieval rabble rousers, and inquisitors have come before him. What Oliver was really doing falls easily under the category of grandstanding to court controversy by putting due process on the chopping block in favor of politically motivated delirium over women, sex, and propriety. These are, by no means, new subjects. At a time when a tidal wave of righteous anger is riding high, it’s easy to go along with the crowd and kick smeared male CEOs, actors, and politicians in the proverbial balls, even if the accusers are anonymous and facts immaterial. Indeed, the heads of the accused are rolling in the court of public opinion. People are losing their jobs and being defamed, in some cases over allegations made by faceless sources. Decades of activism have lead us to this moment of vindication for feminists who have long insisted upon and decried the ubiquity of “rape culture.” But rest assured there will likely be a reckoning for the hysteria of framing an aggressive flirtation or unwanted touch with grotesque lechery, wanton abuse of power, or even rape.

Were I a feminist, I’d feel a little uneasy right about now. Politically supported scandals born of whisper campaigns and anonymous accusers that destroy careers and leave reputations in tatters can result in pendulum swings we can’t anticipate, one emerging example being a new standard of evidence legitimized en masse of late: accusation sans evidence commuted to trial and execution by social media. It’s validating for them now, but might not feel so good when the shoe is on the other foot. Nonetheless, the precedent has been set, and what’s good for the goose may be good for the gander, later on down the road in some shape or form. It also remains to be seen how far we’re willing to take the disease of political correctness and to what depths certain groups wish to harness it as a tool of control and discord will sink to. Finally, after the party is over, how many of these accusations will turn out to be rubbish? What retaliations will emerge against this new culture of shaming and vilifying men? How will this change the structure of the workplace? Might #MeToo backfire and result in less women being hired in sensitive positions? That all waits in the wings for those currently celebrating this viral spectacle of revenge politics.

Me Too has realized feminism’s dream of causing real harm to men under the religion of helping victims—real or imagined. Due process is clearly an afterthought and not on the agenda.

I can’t help but wonder what will arrive next in the wake of this crusade, though in all honestly I needn’t to wonder too long. It strikes me as no coincidence that the desired targets of Me Too have been the usual suspects: powerful males. This turmoil all too cozily serves the agenda of extreme feminist politics mewing about the evils of patriarchy’s structural power and dominance. We know that what modern feminism wants is the destruction of this sacred MacGuffin in its increasingly metastasizing conspiracy theories. More clearly, it conspires to injure maleness and make that injury fashionable, desirable, and now morally necessary. Already, feminist icons are suggesting a shift in the sexes for better leadership, so as to avoid things like this from happening. Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg has gone on record for claiming the solution is to give women more power than they already have in our equality-based society. “Ultimately, the thing that will bring the most change to our culture is the one I’ve been writing and talking about for a long time: having more women with more power,” she posted.

Sandberg’s claim is hopelessly blinkered. She seems to assume that giving more women power is the cure-all, that it will steer our culture from scandal, corruption, and harassment. In between the lines, this claim asserts that the abuse of power is strictly a male problem, but in reality, it’s a human problem. Though I realize it’s sacrilegious to imagine a female engaging in workplace harassment, it does happen. If you don’t believe me, click here and here. And here’s something that reflects well upon men, but is seldom (if ever) spoken about: the reported percentage of women engaging in “misconduct” is actually much higher, as males who encounter female aggression, sexual or psychological, are generally less apt to complain about it. But Sandberg’s comments don’t seem to want to recognize women as anything but victims in need of the same old formula: empowerment, ad nauseam.

Me Too has realized feminism’s dream of causing real harm to men under the religion of helping victims—real or imagined. Due process is clearly an afterthought and not on the agenda. This isn’t anything new for feminism, as a whole, for it has always carefully harnessed victimhood for the sake of aggrandizing its agendas. In a response to the power it perceives as the root cause of evil, it too has created its own powers, attacking males and maleness by fighting perceived structural darkness with its own counter-structural darkness under the distorted assumption that a “bold, scandalous feminism” is more effective at obtaining the standard of justice it seeks—even if that standard is impossible to attain. But such unrealism is not unusual for a religion. Religion, as a rule, sets impossible goals for its followers, and feminism increasingly feels like a religion based upon a struggle against a mythical organization of boogeymen, not a rational response to matters of corruption and power in human societies. Feminism and its adherents nonetheless aggressively cut through the irreducible complexities of human nature with a blunt, rusty razor they imagine is Occam’s, but this is a brand of idealistic and destructive naivety that is now causing serious material harm.  Absent a Neo-Marxist totalitarian regime that socializes the male sex into second-class citizenry (and don’t dare doubt that many would absolutely go for that), feminism’s dream of an ideal world where all women are perfectly protected by a maternal government will never be realized. Human nature is an animal nature. It’s messy, complex, and couldn’t care less about the screaming indignation of self-righteous political movements based upon idealistic fantasies. Humans, both male and female, will use power to their advantage. Being sexual creatures, humans, both male and female, have the natural capacity to exploit the intersections of sex and power, and will. Short of Orwellian thought control that stunts our drives and desires, our species will countlessly commit these brazen, daring, and sometimes outright aggressive acts. Swapping men out with women won’t change these facts, or the reality that romantic/sexual interests can’t be safely walled off from the workplace. Our real goal should be to create mechanisms in the workplace that prevent gross abuse of power, not wage an open, opportunistic war against the male sex.

12-07-17: Updated to add that Senator Al Franken, a man I admire greatly for his stance against mandatory binding arbitration, has been pressured to resign from his seat due to (you guessed it) unproven allegations directed toward him. I invite you to watch this video and find reason to believe he’s not a good advocate for women. Nonetheless, he has been pressured to step down, despite zero evidence of any substantive wrongdoing.

12-08-17: Updated to add that signs of the backlash mentioned in this article have already begun. Click here to read more.

November 11, 2017

Are Universities Necessary Anymore?

Marc Esadrian

The premise of the title above sounds absurd, and certainly is at face value. Most will agree that the halls of higher education are vital to a healthy society. On the subject of education, Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” It’s rather foolish to argue against the wisdom of this statement. Education is, after all, a key to a happy, interesting, more meaningful, and more productive life in our society. Education helps to equip us for the future. It provides pathways to necessary skills and expands our minds. It sharpens our intellects and widens our understanding of ourselves and of the world. It teaches us critical thinking and guards us against thought-killing political propaganda and religious ignorance.

The question this editorial raises, more accurately, is whether universities are effectively teaching these skills and ideas to a significant degree any longer. In the social science faculty at Lund University in Sweden, Erik Ringmar cites a rule of thumb used by the staff that at least 40% of the articles on the reading list of a course should be written by women. According to them, this is necessary to give female academics a more prominent voice. After having barely passed the scrutiny of a university-appointed committee in order to teach a course on the rise of right-wing ideas and their ties to fascism, Ringmar was interrupted and bullied by a couple of students in his class who wanted to understand the roles of women during the period of history he was referencing, even though the focus of his lecture had nothing whatsoever to do with gender roles. Nonetheless, his course on old reactionaries was policed and scrutinized because it did not accommodate the quota for the affirmative action of female authors.

“My course passed the course committee but it was a close call. The student representative on the committee was very critical of my ‘lack of focus on gender issues,’ and a number of other committee members agreed. After an extensive discussion, the course was approved — as long as I promised to include Judith Butler, a well-known contemporary post-structuralist feminist, among the nineteenth-century male reactionaries.” —Erik Ringmar

Elsewhere, a proposed Associated Students of the University of California Riverside (ASUCR) Gender Studies requirement unanimously passed in 2014, supporting the implementation of gender studies requirement courses at ASUCR.  This year, they continued to affirm a resolution in support of gender studies requirements, which, if approved by the university’s academic senate, would make such courses mandatory for all incoming students. Not everyone finds this such a great idea. “Such an inherently liberal-leaning class is likely to be perceived as a form of propaganda or indoctrination on behalf of the liberal-leaning administration that would be charged with approving this requirement,” cautiously writes the editorial board of The Highlander. Their solution? “One [alternative] possibility would be turning this requirement into a series of modules that teach various aspects of gender studies.” It’s here we realize how steeped in the game of political correctness even dissenters are in universities, when the suggested alternative is not outright dismissal of such ludicrous thought policing, but of teaching social engineering agendas in sneakier, less invasive “modules.” Nonetheless, the editorial board adds that “there would need to be strict enforcement of this module (e.g. a hold on quarterly registration for anyone who has not completed it), so that students cannot simply ignore it.” So, an instrument of thought control it remains, only in another form. In attempting quasi-dissent against mandatory gender studies, the editors at The Highlander only accomplish demonstrating how hopelessly attached they are to the foregone conclusions of left-leaning thought control.

Meanwhile, a strange reality of compelled speech has formed through the Canadian Bill C-16 and the Law Society of Upper Canada’s new Statement of Principles. Bill C-16, a well-meaning anti-discrimination bill, adds prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the Canadian Human Rights Act, amends the criminal code to protect people against hate speech, and allows judges to make arbitrary calls on whether crimes are motivated by hate and bigotry or something more innocent. In tandem, the Law Society of Upper Canada’s updated Statement of Principles contains an oath all lawyers must undertake in their practices: to support strategies in the legal workplace (and beyond it, where appropriate) that prioritize diversity and inclusion. A strong, independent bar is commonly considered a check and balance against regulatory oppression, but now a condition of your ability to practice law in Ontario is to promise you will make the rule of diversity and inclusion a priority—or else.

Combined, these legal conspiracies invoke chilling effects on college campuses for professors like Jordan Peterson, clinical psychologist and tenured professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, who are increasingly compelled to alter their language to appease the persistent creep of ethics committees in Canadian universities. At the senate hearing of Bill C-16, Peterson was moved to explain why he would refuse to undergo “anti unconscious bias training,” citing, among other things, a lack of credible science behind it. “The science surrounding this so-called charge of implicit bias that’s associated with perception is by no means settled…and is being used absolutely inappropriately,” he stated before the hearing. The fact that a man of his stature must appear before a hearing and articulate why he will not comply with the arrival of nakedly Orwelian regulations seems obscene and laughable, if only it were some form of elaborate satire. But it’s not, and should strike us as a rather concerning mark of left-leaning authoritarianism and its incremental advance toward arresting free speech.

From the day-to-day culture on university grounds, Peterson is seeing a consuming obsession with politically correct speech, emboldened by the new law, especially in the realm of gender-neutral pronouns pushed by the transgender movement. He’s beset on all sides by mobs of narcissistic, non-binary quasi-marxists who are beside themselves as to why he refuses to say their words. “Many disciplines [in universities] have turned into ideological factories,” he explains to Joe Rogan in a discussion about the gender identity controversy, and why he feels that universities do more harm than good now.  “The repository of human wisdom and the attempt to expand that may have already moved outside the universities.” I find that to be an incredibly interesting idea. Universities have accreditation mechanisms that justify their existence, of course, but as Mr. Peterson quips, “they’re doing everything as fast as possible to make their accreditation valueless, anyway.” If universities like Evergreen are any example, he may very well be right about that.

When I think of higher learning teachers, I idealize them as men and women who possess deep and well-rounded knowledge in a particular field they study/practice (Mr. Peterson is exemplary in this respect). While subject to accepted principles of professional responsibility, professors have the natural right to teach, sans interference of some higher authority telling them what to say and how to say it. As a matter of obvious intellectual integrity, they should not be forced to instruct against their conscience, against what they know to be correct for the courses they teach, or forced to include material in their curricula that is irrelevant and/or superfluous, other than to serve a political agenda. But stories we’re hearing out of university culture seem to alarmingly contradict this simple and straightforward premise.

Meanwhile, students who attend universities are navigating the winding roads of life, eager to light the way toward fulfillment and prosperity. They want to equip themselves with the tools needed to succeed in the years to come. They want to expand their minds, not narrow them. They want knowledge, not propaganda. But is this what young minds are being taught today by universities? Or are these places of higher learning, as Peterson so aptly described, little more than ideological factories generating waves of indoctrinated “social justice warriors” agitating for change—change against the patriarchy, change against white maleness, change against the “gender binary,” change against the invisible tyranny of implicit bias? Can we honestly say this is really about education anymore and not designed discord with the intent to intimidate others into thought conformity?

It seems that accreditation is one of the few things left that non-technical universities have going for them. But how long will that conspiracy last? How long will it be before the monetary and psychic vice of so-called higher education is considered too much? How long can students be ground up through the system and expected to pay off the indentured servitude of college loan debt? Maybe the task of education in this increasingly connected age is indeed falling upon the individual and less upon top-heavy institutions. Perhaps sending our children to these bloated, costly, inefficient, and self-aggrandizing echo chambers of activist inanity is not the answer. Maybe the revolution of human knowledge is indeed right at our fingertips, as Peterson suggests. We need only reach out, listen, and learn to think for ourselves, detached from the machinations of politically correct social engineering. Universities are still a reality young minds must contend with, and certainly their value can’t be completely discounted, but I think it’s time we stopped teaching a near religious awe of these institutions and mindless conformity to them. Mark Twain’s words seem more apropos than ever before when we consider intellectual integrity in the modern age: “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

August 19, 2017

A Young Man is Fired for Questioning Feminist Affirmative Action

Marc Esadrian

By now, you’ve probably heard of the controversy surrounding the “Google Memo,” or as the far left would rather brand it, the “Anti-Diversity Screed” authored by now ex-Google employee James Damore. If not, here’s a brief rundown: James Damore, a senior software engineer at Google, wrote an open memo to employees of the Internet technology giant, titled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber: How Bias Clouds Our Thinking About Diversity and Inclusion, in response to its encroaching culture of diversity initiatives aimed at aggressively balancing the representation of females in programming and engineering. He commented on the trend of political correctness taking over the company that silenced dissenting points of view in favor of pursuing diversity initiatives favoring female programmers and engineers and further questioned the wisdom of forcing diversity upon the company over hiring the most motivated and capable talent available. Damore called to light an iron curtain of non-discussion within the company in order to support diversity and the problem of its authoritarianism therein, which, ironically, results in less appreciation for different points of view. The full document can be found here.

“Psychological safety,” Damore writes, “is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber.” He further goes on to write, “Google has several biases and honest discussion about these biases is being silenced by the dominant ideology.”

The nature of that dominant ideology isn’t a mystery to many of our readers. We comment regularly on the pall of gender neutralizing political correctness seeping into every facet of modern life. This phenomenon inspired the creation of Humbled Females in the first place, in fact, for the present feminist monolith, in attempting to engineer and redistribute power between the sexes, inevitably tinkers with the matter of whitewashing sex itself. In its zeal to flatten the contours we actually celebrate, a community of like minds had to be built for support and enrichment of what increasingly seems to be our rebellious, outlying ideals. We are intimately aware of how sex is a dense medium for the transfers of power and influence between humans. 

In other words, what we see unfolding at Google is yet another high water mark for America’s intolerant obsession with political correctness.

We understand its instrumentality and choose a differential that is not in vogue today: where male dominates and protects and female serves and supports. No one is more aware of how “wrong” we are today than those who choose our way of life. We realize that many people disagree with it, but that’s fine for us. We celebrate the liberty to live the way we want. We, in turn, respect the rights of others to choose differently, but as Mr. Damore points out, a pervasive ideology is at work in society’s power structures—in the highest echelons of education, politics, and business—and that ideology does not respect diversity as much at it thinks it does.

Damore spoke directly to a directive we see today in STEM authored by this dominant ideology: the urgent need to see how implicit (and complicit) biases are holding females back from achieving parity with males in technology and engineering jobs. He dared to question the established wisdom that affirmative action is necessary in the wake of what appears to be evidence of massive sexism in these fields and instead suggested that females may not be entering these fields due to inherent differences in the natural interests between males and females. In short, he suggested the radical notion that men and women, in aggregate, have different interests and that we should take the evidence of this (of which there is much) into account before writing off the difference of numbers between males and females in STEM as strictly a result of sexist conspiracies. His argument was rational, open, and polite, mentioning reputable studies showing sex differences in brains between males and females. Regardless, the political backlash that followed resulted in Google chief executive Sundar Pichai deciding that the conversation Damore wanted to inspire violated the company’s code of conduct and crossed the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in the workplace. In other words, what we see unfolding at Google is yet another high water mark for America’s intolerant obsession with political correctness.

Following Damore’s firing, a firestorm of debate continued on the subject of sex differences and the left’s disinformation machine spun to life. In obvious (and predictable) retaliation for the discussion he started across the social media landscape, a flood of articles in popular publications have emerged, reading often like far left-wing propaganda pieces. In The Economist’s article entitled, Not Evil, Just Wrong, a nameless author asserts that “women in tech firms feel badly treated, and they are right.” In a circular style of reasoning, the author cites as evidence to this claim the fact that women rarely have the top jobs. He (or she) further goes on to flatly state that Larry Page should have formulated an official rebuttal instead of firing Mr. Damore, to show that, “his arguments are not taboo, but mostly foolish and ill-informed.” In fact, The Economist did just that for Google later on. The short of it: if James Damore is guilty of blinkered and incomplete thinking, so are the folks over at The Economist for their left-leaning rebuttal. For those who brand themselves as so much more high brow, it’s disconcerting to see their obvious blind sides on display.

Scientific American took it a few steps further in the realm of advocacy publishing, cobbling together a hand waving sex and gender issue entitled It’s not a Women’s Issue: Everybody has a Stake in the New Science of Sex and Gender, wherein we find such balanced figures like Cordelia Fine asserting, as per usual, that behavioral differences between the sexes don’t hold up to scrutiny. The backbone of her evidence? The fact that females can be fast in mating, just like males—something we already covered here some time ago. Supplementary evidence is drawn from studying other species and applying it philosophically to humans (the source of the original Victorian error behind the stereotype of fast males and choosy females, if you recall). Later in this issue, we’re lectured on the value of daughters, treated to an article on life before Roe (vs. Wade), a screed that goes on to complain that we’re still not giving women enough medical attention, and how early intervention is crucial to close the gender gap in computer science. Daring, novel, and eye-opening concepts, indeed (note sarcasm). In defense of Scientific American, a single page article by Michael Shermer pushed to the back of the magazine entitled Postmodernism vs. Science rightfully laments the blight of campus madness from students being taught that there is no truth and that scientific and empirical facts are tools of the oppressive patriarchy.

The hostility shown toward Damore, whether he’s mostly right or mostly wrong, ultimately does a disservice to the concept of protecting diversity—this thing we supposedly all cherish so much.

He’s an appreciated voice in the storm, but one lost in the preceding screeds of feminist advocacy given the limelight in the magazine, advocacy that thrives upon the very university conditions Mr. Shermer calls out. Elsewhere, New York Magazine lambastes Damore and cites the responses of left-leaning scientists who have taken more than a few liberties with his words (or not necessarily refuting his observations about sex differences so much as bowing upon the safe altar of political correctness). After listing scientists who disagreed/quasi-disagreed with Damore, the author invokes a parting, rhetorical snark: “Looking forward to Damore’s rational and thoughtful responses,” as if the collections of quotes encapsulate unassailable evidence of how wrong the young software engineer is.

Such commentaries from popular publications only succeed in demonstrating the inherent tribalism we’re facing in the media today, and how generations of university-indoctrinated intellectuals, now behind the keyboards of the most prestigious magazines and periodicals, possess increasing power of the press to advocate for left-leaning politics. And then, of course, are the predictable responses from right-leaning media, hardly any more objective, which seem to have been swallowed up in the maelstrom of young, indoctrinated voices of PC culture articulating their blinkered spleen over Damore’s words on places like Twitter and Facebook. Between journalistic response and the rising tide of argument on social media, we can see the left react, much like the large, deeply entrenched organism it is, against sensible observations and criticisms of feminist affirmative action. In this reaction from the left and its believers, Damore is casually labeled anti-diversity, despite the fact nothing of the sort exists in his document. He’s accused of advocating the oppression of women in tech, but again, neither hide nor hair of such sentiments exist in what he wrote. His only crime, it seems, lies in challenging the popular norm of thinking, as dictated by media and university, and that is enough to put his entire career on the chopping block, apparently. Let this be a lesson to anyone else who dares speak up: talking about the science of sex differences can get you fired, for it’s antithetical to the culture of “safe space” psychology in the workplace. If that’s not a sign of the totalitarian spirit of extreme left-leaning ideology, I remain at a loss knowing what is.

But isn’t it time political and business environments used actual science to tackle sex issues rather than the ideological wind tunnel of popular culture and left-leaning advocacy? Are we, as a society, able to take off the politically correct blinders and come to terms with all research on gender gaps that can’t be explained away by the fictional slant of “the oppressive patriarchy”? Are we even willing to allow ourselves that permission? The hostility shown toward Damore, whether he’s mostly right or mostly wrong, ultimately does a disservice to the concept of protecting diversity—this thing we supposedly all cherish so much. If we cannot openly say that men and women have different interests, on average, doesn’t that stunt the very notion of diversity? Furthermore, are women truly protected in an environment like this, which seems more religious than scientific, forcing them into fields they don’t necessarily want or require? If we really want to empower women, we’ll respect the choices they make and not attempt to socially engineer them into corners, matching their interests and behaviors with that of men under the cudgel of feminist victim politics and cynical, thought-killing safe spaces.

For those of you who doubt the real and tenable science behind aggregate sex differences, or the unpopular fact that STEM actually isn’t such a bad place for women, consider the citations below that represent only a small sampling of legitimate research on sex differences.

 

August 7, 2017

Of Red Pills and Blue Pills: Cassie Jaye’s Documentary on the Men’s Rights Movement

Marc Esadrian

Cassie Jaye, who started out in Hollywood originally as B movie murder fodder, eventually found her true calling: to become a feminist film maker—not for reasons that being a feminist film maker was necessarily a specific passion, I suspect, but for the simple fact that in these times, appending feminist before any profession or vocation just earns you more kudos (and Benjamins). A cynical take, I realize, but one grounded firmly in the state of the marketplace today. She has won awards and mentions for her past films, one of the most notable being Daddy I do, a documentary about the rather twisted designs of the Christian “Purity Ball” movement. Ms. Jaye’s second documentary, The Right to Love: An American Family, covered the fight for Marriage Equality in California and won four Telly Awards. She has since gone on to produce short documentaries, such as Making Mothers Visible and The Story of GoldieBlox, all of which were well received films with feminist agendas.

But when Ms. Jaye sets out to document the supposedly misogynist and deeply polarizing realm of the Men’s Rights Movement, she begins to question her own beliefs, or so her story goes in her 2016 documentary entitled The Red Pill. Indeed, this review is a bit late, but that’s only because I just recently found interest in sitting down to watch it. And if you, for the second time, detect a cynical tone in my writing, you’re once again on the mark: I have my issues with the Men’s Rights Movement and how it has lost a fair share of dignity in its brand, namely through the ignorant tones of its constituency. The jocular, crude, angry, and vulgar mojo of its early evolution left much to be desired, and I feel that spectacle of the rudeness, childishness, and anger it became known for has sucked all the air out of the room for much else, taking valuable energy away from thoughtful, adult nuance and seriousness in discussing very real and present issues in our culture about maleness. Paul Elam, the Founder of A Voice for Men and the central guest in Ms. Jaye’s documentary, brings up legitimate and thoughtfully spoken points about the state of men today in our society; of the historic double-standards, the injustices, the negative bias, and hidden discrimination levied against men in broad daylight, right under our noses and with our blinkered complicitness, no less, even while we agitate incessantly over the perceived inequities of women. Only by calling out these injustices by their names and discussing them with raw facts do viewers allow them and their extent into thought. Hence the red pill philosophy: likening removing the veil from these social issues of power and privilege facing men to that classic scene from The Matrix, where the protagonist is given a choice between swallowing the red pill (truth) and the blue (choosing to stay in his complacent sleep state). It’s somewhat of a hokey bit of pop culture to push your brand with, but it’s their marketing to have, and it seems to have caught on.

Ms. Jaye, our supposedly skeptical feminist, postures to restrain herself and continues exploring with questions to Mr. Elam and friends, that lead to more questions, that lead to her, ultimately, questioning herself and her own suppositions, much to her own apparent bewilderment. But I felt there was something about her act that wasn’t wholly convincing. She offers a very weak defense of feminist counterpoints and seems quite open to suggestion regarding the grievances of men, something your average young, university brainwashed boilerplate feminist isn’t ought to do. Her video diary entries chronicling her descent from the cloud of feminist bias seem somewhat scripted, and the fact she is an ex actress isn’t too far from one’s mind while watching her.

While Ms. Jaye’s spontaneity is questionable, her sincerity in making the film is quite apparent, and her courage in funding this project can’t be denied. She could never find financiers with spines enough (let’s call them blue pill types) to support her project and instead turned to friends, family, and Kickstarter to get it off the ground. 

I’m pleased to see the subject of men’s rights addressed with so much compassion and civility in this film—it needs it—but I can’t help wondering if the well has been poisoned. The term “MRA” isn’t exactly a respected one in the blogosphere.

In Australia, her movie faced bitter censorship from feminist activism that is, as we well know, entrenched in media and entertainment powers today. Perhaps nothing is more sadly obvious regarding the state of feminist influence today than when a commercial entity silences material critical of feminism out of fear of offending a large segment of its audience. When said activism seeks to oppose the publication of material that is critical of their world view and uses its political persuasion to strike fear in the hearts of media organizations, that amounts to nothing more than a conscious and willing attempt to censor free speech. In the fine tradition of walking all over men, that, too, is done in broad daylight, and often with the surrounding majority’s complicitness. Somehow we’ve collectively given a pass to feminist special interest, granting legitimacy to its shrieks and howls while nary paying a moment to consider the voice of the other side.

Thankfully, Ms. Jaye’s movie earned enough petitions for it to be seen and it is now being viewed in different mediums around the world. This is certainly a victory for men’s rights activism, something that is needed to add counterweight to the hungry, many-tentacled monster that is feminism, smarming its way through nearly every facet of our culture with what feels increasingly like Orwellian progressive authoritarianism toward a gender theoried “correctness” of thinking.

The movie focuses vastly upon the experienced opinions of its key speakers, addressing such issues as paternity fraud, the unspoken reality of domestic abuse, male suicide rates, male incarceration rates, male unemployment, declining male college attendance, rape hysteria, and the ad nauseum myths about male advantage in society today that simply will not die due to the political expediency in keeping them alive. Running at 117 minutes, The Red Pill takes its time to delve deep into the life experiences and views of its speakers in the Men’s Rights Movement, revealing them to be thoughtful, sensitive, and compassionate thinkers with points about realities for men that are hard to shrug off, once one takes moment to step out of the feminist wind tunnel to consider them.

But there are flaws to this documentary. My primary issue with The Red Pill lies with how quickly Ms. Jaye swallows it—the figurative pill, that is—with scant critical questioning. As a responsible journalist and documentarian, one would think she would take up the task of being a little more inquisitive of Mr. Elam’s past comments, of which there are a few, painting him in a less than flattering light. I understand the desire to avoid falling into the same pattern of complaint and whining that his critics often do, but there are sensational and angry things authored not only by him, but his supporters on A Voice for Men, to the degree that it has damaged his image and the image of his organization. The digital blood sport of scandal, sensationalism, stoked anger, and cheering on a very loud echo chamber of grievances helps to attract attention and funding, of course, but feeding that monster comes with a price. Before long, you lose the legitimacy of your argument and are known not for the many good points you may package in with your marketing hustle, but for the effects of the marketing hustle itself, and in Mr. Elam’s case, he has some things to answer for. Unfortunately, Ms. Jaye doesn’t seem too interested in holding the cool and collected head honcho of AVFM to the fire to answer for the hostility, vulgarity, and negativity that his site, wittingly or unwittingly, has generated. It’s a huge conversation to tap, and one I was disappointed to see completely sidestepped. While Mr. Elam’s organization accomplished bringing the dialogue of men’s rights to a larger audience, I also feel it has tainted the movement of men’s rights by trafficking in a little too much vulgarity and anger, which has played perfectly into the hands of feminist critics and snarks who seek to discredit the entire movement as nothing more than a hostile bid to turn back the clock on women’s rights and their (now achieved) social equality. I’m pleased to see the subject of men’s rights addressed with so much compassion and civility in this film—it needs it—but I can’t help wondering if the well has been poisoned. The term “MRA” isn’t exactly a respected one in the blogosphere.

M.s Jaye’s primary celebrity witness in this film is Paul Elam, but I would have preferred hearing more from educator, author (The Myth of Male Power, Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say) and activist Warren Farrel, who is considered the true father of the Men’s Rights Movement. His aura is less tainted with scandal and his commentary seems much more well-rounded and less polarizing. We hear passionate statements from her other guests, and even some horror stories of bad things done to good men by unscrupulous women who take advantage of the system’s bias and double-standards.

I come away from hearing the laments of the Men’s Rights Movement in this film with a somewhat renewed faith in its progression, not lambasted as a “hate group,” but as a voice in the storm of institutionalized feminist apologia, female supremacist propaganda, and culturally enforced double standards set against men, who are, whether people want to see it or not, disadvantaged and invisibly discriminated against on account of their maleness in more ways than our society would like to acknowledge. If you question that in any way, take a tally of how many male lives were lost to war just in the past century, or how the overwhelming majority of suicide and occupational deaths are male. Further, notice how, if you’re like most people, you may tend to brush that all off as paranoid and frivilous. While I’m not one too keen on presenting men as victims and in need of the same sort of force women required to address their inequities through feminist activism, the fact that feminism continues to assert itself as a monolith means, logically, that males must formulate some form of answer to it, lest the dialogue remain forever one-sided. Feminism, despite having achieved its initial goals of social equality, despite the fact that many of the objectives of so-called third wave feminism are morally and factually bankrupt, isn’t going anywhere. We better take that seriously and realize that the vitality of our fathers, brothers, and sons are increasingly at stake in world that only views the advocacy of women as just, clinging to the specter of an outdated boogeyman of patriarchal sexism.

Is Cassie Jaye’s documentary perfect? Not in the least. She fails to convince me that she’s not still acting in this film, or that she’s not courting controversy and thus attempting to be some sort of quasi-Anita Sarkisian of the Men’s Rights Movement. There is a clear lack of criticism from her side that dares not ask tough questions of Mr. Elam and his movement, questions that a (former?) feminist would certainly have. In that light, The Red Pill serves more as an unbalanced PSA for the men’s rights shindig than an objective critique of its roots, issues, and problems. Nonetheless, there is enough substance in this documentary to start a conversation about men’s problems today and shrug off the disreputable image that vocal interests in those problems have faced.

November 11, 2016

This Trump Presidency Brought to You by the Left

Marc Esadrian

On November 8th, America elected its 45th American President Elect, Donald Trump. In the later hours of the evening, when most of the polls across America had closed, the trend of the Electoral College was baffling and heartbreaking to roughly 50% of America. Despite all the media propaganda, despite the slanted data of pollsters predicting a win for Hillary Clinton, and all the “common sense” that told us that Mr. Trump would never win (Barak Obama included), Trump won.

Did this actually happen? Across the Internet, there was shock, outrage, disgust, and fear (there still is). Celebrities on Twitter voiced their collective bewilderment and protest. Katey Perry tweeted dramatically, “Do not sit still. Do not weep. MOVE. We are not a nation that will let HATE lead us.” Paris Jackson wrote, “I’m genuinely very terrified for all females, lgbtq+, and immigrants.” Cher tweeted, “World will never be the same. I feel Sad for the young. [Trump] will never be more than the toilet, I’ve used as a symbol for him. You can’t polish [shit].” Miley Cyrus, in an emotional video post, said, “I just wish she [Hillary Clinton] had an opportunity because she fought for so long.” Seth MacFarlane tweeted, “Some didn’t like Bush. Some didn’t like Obama. But this is different. Forget dislike. Many are genuinely fearful now. This is new.”

Of course, these celebrities and public figures, among others, had a lot to say about the republican candidate prior to November 8th. Who can forget Jennifer Lawrence’s classy “hey trump, fuck you!” gesture on the Graham Norton Show, complete with middle finger? Or the mockery from Barack Obama himself at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011? Many were laughing in the room at the time, but who would have thought that the man sitting in that room getting roasted by the President would, in an ironic twist of fate, turn out to be his successor? How many are laughing now? There’s certainly a parable to be had here about mocking your enemy. Sun Tzu and Niccolo Machiavelli would have something to say about it, I think.

But beyond that parable lies a deeper lesson to be learned that I suspect hasn’t been learned by the Left or the media establishment, overall. When pundits, pollsters, and media figures started mulling over the failure of Hillary Clinton, they did so in broad, vague terms, like “Clinton failed to galvanize the democratic base,” or, “Trump succeeded in courting the evangelist vote.” Some comment on the “whitelash” that made up the President Elect’s voting constituency, or Secretary Clinton’s inability to wrest free of her email scandal. While I don’t believe these statements are wrong, I also don’t believe they complete the picture about why the leftist agenda, so sure of itself, came up short in the electoral votes for its candidate to win and only narrowly won the popular vote, to boot. How could this have happened? How could it be that almost half the nation rejected Hillary Clinton and what she stood for?

I believe the answer to that question lies more in the faults of the established Left. Our nation, while painfully slow moving, seems to be growing a little more aware of the pitfalls in embracing its out-of-touch superficiality. More specifically, there seems a rising wariness over the Left’s overplayed, if not downright subversive attempts at rose-colored social engineering in every corner of our society. The slanted poll data by slanted pollsters, the cockiness of the media establishment in clearly favoring the democratic candidate in nearly every rant they could publish or broadcast, and the skewed sound bytes of musicians and actors created a collective media echo chamber that was impossible to escape. Michael Moore’s “Trumpland,” a movie he made prior to election to sway the vote, or John Oliver’s 20-minute tirade about the republican candidate stand as general examples of this push in the media. Clearly, the American people were well informed about who they were supposed to vote for. But then it was realized in the final hours that Hillary Clinton would not be our first female president. People were shocked, outraged, saddened, and panicked. Some described it as a surreal moment, shaking out of their stupor to ask if we really did elect such a bully as our next President. So how did Hillary Clinton, with years of experience of service in Washington and the support of the Democratic party, lose to a rich, white, male sexist and narcissist who never held a single office in his life? Here’s how I see it:

Hillary Clinton, and in fact the entire movement of leftist progressivism, has relied too much on the cheap bonbon of celebrity endorsement.

Mrs. Clinton attempted to exploit her close ties to celebrityhood with the likes of Katy Perry, Lena Dunham, Taylor Swift, and Beyonce, to name a few. While there is an obvious sway over the electorate a politician may grab in doing so, focusing too much on the low-hanging fruit of actor and musician endorsements is a mistake, for it is, ultimately, courting superficiality. Further, grandstanding with the garish boneheadedness of celebrity feminism runs the risk of alienating the values and priorities of a serious constituency, and I do believe that serious constituency is slowly eroding on the Left, finally, due to glitzy girl power hoedowns that grow increasingly out of sync with the reality of female freedom and opportunity today.

Celebrity endorsement is alienating because it’s a generally smarmy tactic, making it feel like a candidate is purposefully standing next to popular people because his or her policies, packaged plainly, may not be so popular. We value celebrities for their talents, not necessarily for their political opinions. While some people may be swayed with a candidate boogieing on stage with their favorite musician or actress, others who require a little more substance than that will be clearly alienated, and it’s quite possible this is one of the reasons Mrs. Clinton lost the majority of the working white female vote—something she didn’t forecast as possible, apparently.

There is an uneasy paradox to the Left’s concept of inclusivness.

Left-leaning voters were stunned and saddened by the news of a sexist white patriarch taking the presidency over the woman they stood behind to represent their allegedly purer, nobler interests. At least, this is how they often perceive and package their political intent. What the Left fails to recognize as it panders to feminist, LGBT, and racial groups is that its call to action necessitates a villain, and that necessary villain is the convenient caucasian “ruling class” target, or more specifically, the evil white male. When Katy Perry ignorantly tweets, “we are not a nation that will let HATE lead us,” she abysmally fails to recognize, at least in her own public statements, the ironic presence of underplayed hate in the very movement she represents. She and others like her fail to see the reverse discrimination of favoring anything that isn’t white and male.

The above words of feminism’s Hollywood darling, Jennifer Lawrence, provides an example of the paradox quite succinctly. Of course her claim is absolutely ignorant and absurd. I’d invite Ms. Lawrence to descend from her movie millionaire bubble and try living as an ordinary white man for a little while. While doing that, she might want to consider how death rates have been going up for white Americans, fueled by an epidemic of opioid abuse, alcoholism, and suicide.  The problem is particularly acute among working class whites, who have lost their livelihoods due to automation and outsourcing—automation and outsourcing that has taken place during the past twenty years under the establishment of which the Clintons were certainly a part.

It’s my suspicion that the electorate has come to recognize that attitudes like Lawrence’s represent a glaring contradiction of the Left and its ploy to woo voters into its fold under a selective (and thus morally bankrupt) mantle of inclusionism. It’s no surprise that the largest group supporting Donald Trump and the Republican party today is caucasians—male and female.

The Left’s designs seem increasingly elitist and socialist.

As the first female President, Hillary Clinton would have taken the Oval Office as an authoritative embodiment of feminist special interest and the moral authority for her to invoke a flood of legislation that would further advance power grabs for women in government (as if we actually need more) would have been unprecedented. The growing religious movement that is feminism is ubiquitous and has enjoyed a politically correct unassailability over the past few decades, infiltrating colleges, generating bogus advocacy research, creating patently false statistics, and attempting to engineer culture through its ties with media, but its influential hold over western imagination (and subsequently tolerance) has begun to unravel, at least a little bit. With pay gap disparities debunked and the “1 in 5” college rape myth dispelled—two canards the Obama Administration ate right up and naively used to shape its own policies, mind you—there seems increasingly less need for such a left-leaning firebrand in a candidate. While the Left attempts to remind the populous that it’s a necessary rebel, it is, in fact, part of the established norm deeply embedded in our increasingly sensitive and political correct culture.

There is still much to improve in America, and as a self-described rationalist, I can see a great deal of room for that change. While I recognize the good of socialism on some level (or at least the good of its intent), there’s something about mixing socialism with feminism that feels decidedly creepy, and I know I’m not alone in repudiating the safe, rule-laden, maternalistic governance that would surely follow in her shadow. I suspect that some Americans, while not exactly able to articulate why Hillary Clinton disturbed them so much, nonetheless found her off-putting for this very reason.

Deception, corruption, and propaganda, even if you think it’s for a good cause, is not the way toward true progression.

In a move that actually undermined democracy, the Democratic National Committee broke its own charter rules by prematurely favoring Secretary Clinton over her rival in the primaries, Bernie Sanders. As a result, the agenda of the Left was tainted by a corrupt spirit, and subsequently lost thousands of Sanders’ potential supporters. Throughout the Democratic primaries, DNC officials, and most notably DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (a woman and a staunch feminist, no less), manipulated fund allocation and voter data access to help Clinton build and maintain a lead over Sanders. Ms. Schultz’s zeal to use her power to discriminate against Mr. Sanders in order to elect the first female president certainly poisoned the well of Hillary Clinton’s legitimacy. In its fervor to elect her, the DNC lost its credibility, too.

And then there is, of course, the dreaded email controversy that dogged Mrs. Clinton’s campaign throughout. FBI Director James Comey was summoned before Congress to discuss Hillary Clinton’s unprotected emails that potentially put US security at risk. Comey’s refusal, twice now, to indict Mrs. Clinton astounds some pundits and observers, and for good reason: her entitlement to remain beyond reproach is a result of her Washington insider status, again demonstrating the paradox for an established member of the establishment to portray herself as a game changing champion of change.

All of this is not to say Mr. Trump’s character is unassailable. Hardly. Was Donald Trump honest during the course of his campaign? No. A great deal of his claims were debunked in fact checking during and after the debates. Are his representations of “automatically” repealing Roe Vs. Wade honest? Although he is “pro-life” and vows to elect Supreme Court justices, his claim extremely oversimplifies the process of overturning law. Is he going to build a wall to stop illegal immigration from entering this country and make Mexico pay for it? Extremely doubtful. Does he get “tremendous support” from women, as he claimed? Not quite. Have the accusations lodged against him for groping women been debunked, as he asserted dismissively? Absolutely not. And yet, despite all his mistruths, womanizing, bullying, and xenophobia, Donald Trump is President today, and he won nearly 50% of the popular vote. What would push America to vote for such a man? What is it about Hillary Clinton that made her an absolutely unfit choice? Why wasn’t she embraced more wholly by the popular vote, at least, especially considering the accomplishments of the Obama administration, which currently holds a very optimistic approval rating of 55%? This is something to reflect upon, indeed, and I hope the Democratic party does just that in the years to come.

I’ve done a little reflecting myself, and here’s what I think: the path to productive, truly compassionate, and satisfying progressivism cannot be won through a political vehicle that demonizes a group, even if that group happens to be white males. Misogyny cannot be corrected with misandry, no matter how well veiled. Racism against African Americans or Latinos cannot be solved with merely reversing that racism and packaging it up into hip and palatable social justice warrior anthems. We can’t grab our inspiration from the empty superficiality of movie stars and pop musicians who only court popular opinion’s feedback loop. Liberalism—true liberalism, not the hijacked version of it from the Left—is open and all-encompassing. It considers all points of view and works to build a better humanity for all. It’s also not afraid of doing some tough math and conceding to truths that might not be the most politically convenient, either, and that’s where we, as a nation, need to grow up a little. The Left’s authoritarian progressivism needs to go away so that advancement and progress isn’t so politically polarizing. In short, we need to get rid of our distracting “isms” on both sides of the political fence.

Until we figure out how to truly work together, both parties, Democrats and Republicans alike, will continue to play the dysfunctional populist game with the electorate as they mill in and out of the White House and Congress, getting in the way of real progress, and gouging into the pockets of the middle class until there isn’t a middle class to be had any longer. If we truly want to have a unified nation in the future and not just a series of social justice coups and counter-coups, I strongly recommend we mull over the above soberly. When the effort for civil rights demonizes and unfairly discriminates against a group, no matter how politically correct it may be to do so, there will be an inevitable backlash.

October 21, 2016

On American Oligarchs, the Two-Party System, and the Presidency

Marc Esadrian

After the third and final debate between presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I, like so many other Americans this election season, still find myself struggling with the gut-wrenching decision of who to cast my vote for in November. In the end, I must concede to a crummy reality based upon patently crummy choices: my conscience refuses to allow me to vote for either candidate, and that’s simply that.

The crude, poutingly egotistical (though morbidly entertaining) narcissistic bombast of Mr. Trump elevates him to a cartoonish degree. As oddly amusing as he is, we need to push aside the popcorn and get serious for a moment: is this who we really want running our country for at least the next four years? How did he even make it this far? That aside, the fact he represents a political wing made of one part religious fundamentalism and two parts corporate interest doesn’t exactly elevate him in my eyes, but the scandal in which he finds himself wound up, even with obvious media bias considered, doesn’t help him one whit, either. Did our potential commander and chief, for instance, grope women backstage or at least invade their privacy with his privilege? According to Mr. Trump, the answer is both inadvertently yes and officially no. He denies anything to do with the allegations directly, but evidence in his own words point to a possible yes in an audio recording with Billy Bush about taking liberties with females in 2005, in which he states, “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

I’m not one to foam at the mouth over “locker room banter.” I’ve heard similar and worse among ordinary men and women, mind you, but getting past the media hype, the frantic hand waving of the political left, and the stupidly slanted sound bites of opinionated celebrities, the question inevitably remains about character. When a man has this much power, how does he treat those in his charge? How does he treat people “below” him? It is a legitimate concern, despite the media feeding frenzy having a ball with the scandal. Can we afford an arrogant bully in the White House?  And now that we recently learned he may not accept the results of the election after he “looks at it,” to what degree has he damaged the reputation of America’s political process? And then there are the possibly three Supreme Court seats, total, to manage in the next four years, all of which he has promised to appoint with conservative judges, starting with the replacement of Justice Antonin Scalia. Will his megalomania and extreme capitalist-conservative bent truly advance America and its standing in the world? I honestly can’t see how it could.

But when I look to the Democratic candidate, I see a woman equally riddled with flaws. Where Mr. Trump is obvious, Mrs. Clinton is more practiced and polished, though nonviable all the same. It’s probably no surprise to readers that I don’t like Hillary’s political mojo. She seems a calculated poster politician of feminist dogma (among other so-called “liberal” inanities) in the form of a single woman, not to mention the fact she’s a member of an obvious “royal family” in America. I’m aware that, in this day and age, when anything tagged with the mere utterance of women is immediately made more marketable, many will vote for her simply because she is a woman, and with the lack of any seriously feasible alternative on the other side of the aisle, this only gives her more gravitas, to the degree we might as well simply start referring to her now as Madam President.

While that may be so, I can’t and won’t possibly vote for a woman who will be a mouthpiece for yet more feminist victim politics long after the modern West has overshot its original goal of female social equality with males. Invented plights of the female sex aside (see debunked gender wage gap, domestic violence, “rape culture,” and college rape statistics), women are doing just as well as men today—arguably better. If you question that, consider which sex is faring better in college enrollment and median income. Consider which sex is incessantly talked about more in talk shows, commercials, weekend seminars, and university lectures. Consider which sex has complete and enforceable reproductive choice, overwhelming support of fertility clinics, larger social welfare benefits, special business benefits provided by government, and the smarmy attention of the corporate and media establishment, overall.

But Mrs. Clinton’s leadership won’t only owe much to the incessantly busy pro-female/softly misandrist political movement: it will usher in more ado over lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) interests, too, in which feminism has also cleverly insinuated itself. The power to politically legitimize and encourage even more blurring of the lines between males and females in this day and age will be unprecedented, since the highest office in the land will be indebted to the promises it has made to its LGBT constituency and all the politically correct gender bending insanity it advocates.

And then, of course, there is the dreaded email scandal that has come roaring back to her, raising the question of her honesty and competence where it comes to the security interests of the country. Her management of foreign affairs leaves much to be desired, to say the least, and the Wikileaks data over her emails (as well as Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s emails) available to public scrutiny gives us an appalling glimpse into the world of politics, overall, though it’s obvious this nonsense is by no means relegated strictly to Mrs. Clinton only. Only a fool would think so.

So it seems we are in quite a pickle at the moment regarding the impoverished choices of future leadership in the United States of America, having Mr. Trump’s intellectually insulting and dangerous megalomania vs. Mrs. Clinton’s cynical layer of butterscotch thinly covering a river of radical leftist agendas—if not duplicitous character flaws—from which to choose. It seems this is a double-damned-if-you-do election. There is no candidate I can honestly say is the lesser of two evils; both seem equally reprehensible to me, and such equality is truly a first in my lifetime.

It seems apparent to me over the years that the contentious political environment we have created in our country increasingly leads to power hungry psychopaths seeking higher offices. If this election season has not illustrated that notion starkly, I don’t know what possibly could. It seems to me that no sane, just, and honorable person truly possessing such qualities our politicians can only pretend at having can possibly find himself within reach of the presidency. I often reflect upon our society as it is today and wonder why that is. Why are our choices for leaders are so abysmally unappealing? What is it about our culture and our entire political system that brings such a lack of voter affinity to the fore? And why isn’t the other half of our country voting at all? The low voter turnout, the gridlocked shiftlessness in Washington, and the likely corruption across much of our system tells me we need, truly, some real and ground-shifting change, but it’s not the sort of change either of the two ruling parties seem willing or able to invoke.

This election year, I’m filing a protest vote. I’m abandoning Democrats and Republicans and strongly recommend voters do the same, turning their eyes toward third parties and independents, like the Libertarian, Green, Constitution, or Independent Party candidates. The chances these parties will win the White House are nil, but if enough citizens vote for them, we can, cumulatively, send a strong message to the two-party hegemony in Washington that enough is enough. Until the citizenry of America finds itself fed up with the two-party system in Washington, I fear we’ll be cursed to indefinitely choose between the lesser of two evils…or two equal evils this election year, as it turns out.

September 2, 2016

The State of Our Community

Marc Esadrian

As summer draws to an end and autumn twilight encroaches, I’ve decided to look back over the year thus far and provide everyone with an update on the state of the community and the site effort, overall.

In a nutshell, this was a very, very busy year for Humbled Females—a year of transformation, improvement, and growth (along with some growing pains, to boot). In addition to streamlining our look as promised, we made the entire design responsive on all devices. Our network went through a leviathan update process, the lengths and inconveniences of which we’ll never have to endure again. Our community functionality was markedly improved during this process and while that is so, we’re always brainstorming to make the experience better, incrementally, over time. As also promised, we migrated the entire site over to a dedicated server this year to increase the speed of the site’s performance, and we have upgraded our security with better firewalls and SSL encryption.

This year saw the launch of the Humbled Females Media Archive, an adult content area that provides supplemental material for further inspiration. All proceeds of the archive go toward supporting the free side of the network and allowing it to flourish with new writings, software updates, and hosting costs. If you haven’t joined yet, I urge you to show your support by doing so. You’ll find the archive is a site unto itself with a collection of articles, movies, and galleries that will continue evolving and receiving updates. This keeps funding clean and ad-free while at the same time benefiting and entertaining our community members. More material is in the works. If you join now, you can lock in a low monthly subscription rate. Thank you, big time, for the support.

Elsewhere on the Internet, you may have noticed that our social media presence has stepped up a notch, too—proof positive that we’re active in the wide open stream of public discourse and attracting newcomers who find the philosophy of our community compatible with their own personal beliefs. There is strength in numbers; I encourage all readers to help spread the word about Humbled Females to increase the breadth and depth of the community.

Where 2016 was/still is clearly a year of transformation for Humbled Females, the year ahead will most certainly be one of growth. With most of the technical kinks behind us, the goal of 2017 will be to grow our community by doubling its current population. This will mean more people and more conversations will be entering our community over the coming year. Our focus remains the same as it was since inception: to promote a healthy and authentic vision of male-female relations where females willingly, mindfully, and passionately submit to their male counterparts, who in turn guide them, love them, and protect them. To that end, I am happy to say that Humbled Females is alive and strong. We will continue to stand as a voice of reason about hetero-normative sex roles and the power dynamics therein, separating fact from fetish, talking about subjects with a depth you see nowhere else online or in print, and speaking with a direct and unapologetic voice, sans the silencing disease of political correctness. I invite you to continue contributing to that cause in the many years to come and remain part of something that is wholly pure and unique on the Internet.

January 27, 2016

Is There a Masculinity Crisis in European Culture?

Marc Esadrian

On January 16th, a parade of Dutch men, reacting to Syrian immigrant sexual assaults upon women in Cologne Germany on New Years Eve, demonstrated solidarity with women against the rapes and muggings perpetrated upon them. How did they descend upon the Dutch capital so their voices would be heard? By dressing up in miniskirts. Of course.

So this tends to make one naturally wonder: did this brave march turn an otherwise urgent public discourse in the aftermath of these attacks in which women were openly assaulted with nary a man to help them into an embarrassing feminist white knight exhibition? Female journalist Iben Thranholm, in an op-ed on RT.com entitled Europe’s tragedy: Too Much Angela Merkel, Too Little Masculinity, seems to think so, having this to say about the ineffectual if not concerning spectacle of questionable manhood on the streets of Europe:

“Instead of a single-minded focus on imposing liberal feminist values on Muslim males, it might well be much more beneficial for Europeans to consider if the feminist war on masculinity might be the underlying cause of the weakness of European culture—feeble and defenseless as it is—against the culture of immigrants and refugees. The irony is that the vacuum feminism has created means that women become victims of an aggressive male culture.”

In a follow-up interview on In The Now, Ms. Thranholm further went on to make a point about the importance of masculinity in society:

“Many men today in society are insecure about their own masculinity. And [this] means that society is going to be unbalanced… there is a certain order in this world. And it’s based on the kind of [complements] between masculine and feminine—and if one part is lost, there will be consequences.”

Of course, this goes against everything we are told to discuss and hold sacred in polite company today, but a question niggles in the backs of our minds: is it possible the erosive coercion of mothering, multicultural politics in Europe has resulted in a less secure civilization there, overall?

“They [the attackers] felt like they were in power and that they could do anything with the women who were out in the street partying. They touched us everywhere. It was truly terrible.”

Has the polished trap of political correctness paralyzed its leaders and citizenry from questioning the brutally foolish things that are happening before their very eyes? My answer to both questions—not surprisingly, I’m sure—is yes. When we confiscate arms from men in general society, emasculate them with feminist indoctrination from the cradle, and encourage them to parade around in feminized solidarity with women in reaction to aggressive males from other cultures, how well does this bode for the health—or longevity—of that society in general? When the barbarians are at the gates, so to speak, who will be there to answer with adequate opposing force? Enfeebled men showing solidarity with women in skirts? I think not.

Ms. Thranholm, in my view, is absolutely correct in regard to the true culprits behind this problem and the pathway to address it, but her opinions, as educated as they are from her experiences in traveling the world, are simply not the accepted wisdom du jour. Atrophied by extreme left-wing politics, we have reached somewhat of a Tolkienish moment where the ring of the feminist world view that has been so seductively slipped upon the collective finger is now rather difficult to remove. How do we begin to recover the lost code of masculinity in the wake of feminism’s emasculating influence? How do we even begin to suggest going about doing so?

Indeed, feminist apologists have only been galvanized by the sexual assaults from the Syrian Muslim refugees. In a masochistic example of maternal European tolerance caught up in the faith of its own unrealistic beliefs, they seek to impose their ideas upon the flood of immigration entering their borders rather than examine the very faults of those ideas, which stand not a single chance against the inherent aggression of desperate religio-fascist outsiders. And the faults of such ideas are evident to those who pay close attention rather than obediently regurgitate tired, politically correct platitudes of far-left ideologies.

“Men of Germany, these people are killing your children, they are killing your women. We need your protection.”

When men are seen as enemies to women, when maleness is cumulatively demonized by feminist intellectualism and men and boys are made to feel guilty for being male, when men are conditioned to bend to the whims of modern women and made to believe the very word masculinity is a lie—a grand conspiracy of a bygone age—how can they regain their strength in the face of real and present danger to their society? When the time comes for male warriors rather than marching milquetoasts in skirts, who will have the courage to take up the spear, much less possess the stamina to wield one in the first place? Who, for instance, took up the task of protecting these women that night? One female victim stated: “They [the attackers] felt like they were in power and that they could do anything with the women who were out in the street partying. They touched us everywhere. It was truly terrible.” Other comments from victims go on to reveal that there wasn’t much help to be had that night. A sixteen year-old German female pleads to the men in her country directly in a self-made video: “Men of Germany, these people are killing your children, they are killing your women. We need your protection.” Indeed, one naturally wonders where all the good men showing solidarity were that night.

Now, add insult to injury in the form of the Dutch march. Indeed, the embarrassing and laughable pageant of men in miniskirts demonstrating their public commitment to women is irksome for a number of reasons. Not only is it about as ineffectual as writing inane anti-rape hashtags on Twitter, but the idea that men need to show “solidarity” with women in the first place is a political shell game from the very start. Males in any social system naturally show unity with and concern for their females. This makes up the protective fabric of a society, town, or tribe. It is feminism that sows division between the sexes by vilifying males in the first place, becoming that which, conversely, exposes women to more danger in an overly polite, hyper-inclusive, and excessively bureaucratic society. As one Internet user expressed to feminists in frustration, “defend yourselves. Aren’t you ‘strong and independent’? Fish and bicycles? Zero fucks given.”

Perhaps if it wasn’t for these divisive, paralyzing politics (and politicians) in the first place, the men of Cologne would have acted with far less restraint to the organized attack of a thousand drunk immigrants bent on rape and assault of its citizenry. Thankfully for women in Germany, it seems there are still men left willing to show real masculine solidarity with women, but they aren’t wearing skirts, I assure you.

December 30, 2015

Year 2015: A Quick Recap and Outline for the Future

Marc Esadrian

Artwork ©Someone

As I write this, the year 2015 only has a few more hours to go. I’m not one to make a big deal out of New Year’s Eve. I don’t go anywhere in particular and I don’t throw lavish parties (or attend them) over the occasion. This does seem like a good time to sit back and take personal account of the year in review, however, and while I was doing that, it got me thinking about Humbled Females, a project close to my heart. I spent some time reflecting upon where it came from, where it has been, and most importantly, where it’s going.

Our community started out in 2006 with very humble beginnings on Livejournal. Since then, it has folded, changed hands, folded again, and re-emerged under the original founder’s direction in 2012, evolving since into the forum it is today. Our membership has almost doubled over the year, demonstrating that growth of the community is healthy. I believe that after three years since our re-launch, we have succeeded in making an indelible impression in the D/s sphere, if ever so lightly. Our success doesn’t just have to do with the purity of our message, but the quality of our members and the sane, sophisticated conversations they bring into our forum. Humbled Females continues as a community marked by its authenticity and depth where we can talk sincerely about real consensual female submission, sans the neon glare of the fetish industry or the cudgel of political correctness. This makes us entirely unique. No one else online offers that sort of integrity and I’m quite proud of the people who have had a positive hand in making the Humbled Females project the safe haven that it is today. I can’t thank you enough!

As for the future, there are things in store for Humbled Females in 2016. Our site will be undergoing a major update this January, bringing responsive compatibility to tablets, mobile phones, and even large TVs. Not only that, but our overall site layout is getting a facelift to make it more visually interesting and easier to read. In addition, the software that runs our forums and social networking is getting a monster upgrade, bringing new features along with it. The improvements won’t stop there, either. Our private media area is going to get a face lift, too. New content will be added, including more in-depth articles (with arcanity ratings of three fleurdelis!), audio lectures, and visual media. At some point during this year, we’re also going to be flipping the switch and going fully dedicated with our server, which will increase our connection speeds. So long story short, we have a lot of stuff in the works. Stay tuned and Happy New Year to all! May the bonds of your relationships be strong in 2016 and may you all find the special sort of fulfillment you’re searching for.

June 15, 2015

Against Men or Reason?

Marc Esadrian

An article mentioned recently in our community discussion was quite timely. It allowed me to comment on some thoughts I’ve had after having engaged in a debate (loosely termed) with a self-described radical feminist who unequivocally agreed with Taylor Swift’s recent smugly produced pot stir—in a lad magazine no less—that “misogyny is ingrained in people from birth.” The gratuitous count of young, blinkered heads bobbing in agreement over that pearl of wisdom is by no means a surprise to me, but it’s always far more curious to engage the dealers of extreme rhetoric rather than its buyers, and so I inevitably ended up turning my attention to someone in the discussion with fiery feminist convictions that went far above and beyond Ms. Swift’s inane social commentary.

This person, who identified as a feminist, painted a pretty terrible foregone conclusion of men, if not a conspiratorial depiction of reality, to boot. Along with much of her angry and condescending argument, she brought out the laws protect rapists canard, too (which she could never quite adequately defend, of course). Weighing her ripostes after I cited failing marriages and declining male attendance in college, I saw vindictive, if not apathetic dismissal of men—a sort of callous, mean-spirited pleasure in hearing accounts of their disenfranchisement. I inevitably concluded, based upon this person’s willful bias and absolute contempt for anything male, that no, she wasn’t a liberal at all. Liberalism is supposed to consider the viewpoints and criticisms of all with rationality and compassion, not just favor a particular group. In the sickly light of her gross caricatures and hateful rants, I realized that I, the malevolent founder of Humbled Females, was more liberal in theory and practice than she could ever possibly be.

So it was with some considerable pleasure that I read Brendan O’Neil’s commentary entitled Feminism and the Turn Against Enlightenment, for I saw it concluded something similar, among its many points: feminism today, though it stands beside and interweaves itself throughout liberal politics like a pernicious weed, isn’t so liberal in theory or practice. I know that I have, time and time again, encountered incredibly close-minded people engaging in feminist apologia who insist that they are liberal, but it was not until recently that I realized this glaring contradiction. I’m sure the irony of that observation has dawned on others long before either O’Neil or myself, but it is a bit of a moment when, after having kept your mind open to hear out the views of the other side, you realize the crumby hypocrisy of it all.

But here is where O’Neil and I part ways a little: he claims that feminism isn’t really anti-male so much as a depart from reason. He goes on quite impressively to explain this point of view, and while I often do see feminism as anti-intellectual for all its verbose logical pretzelism and political correctness, I’m not certain how one making a critical commentary of modern feminism could not acknowledge its inherent anti-maleness. Its rhetorically negative slant on men, in fact, is one of the larger reasons why I don’t think feminism is often of the liberal mind, though it may window dress as such. Despite the best of intentions that some of its constituents have, feminism so often feels like an over-glorified hate group advocating for women, and I do feel it should be called out as such. This is not to say that what O’Neil says about feminism being anti-intellectual and thus effectively misanthropic is incorrect, but it is to put a finger on observations he himself makes about how the institutions of education are attacking maleness with plenty of straw:

“The new feminism is strikingly concerned with exposing what it—and the political and cultural elites more broadly—views as the folly of ‘male ideas.’”

If we recognize how feminism is shading something to be attacked because it involves male ownership, even something so unassailable as the sound arts of reason and the disciplines of the sciences, it’s really just one step removed from the premise of demonizing men in general, all the while conveniently tearing down the very ways in which we can call it out on its folly. While feminism railing against the supposed evils of structuralism is accurately described by O’Neil, the vehicle by which this attack on reason is justified cannot and should not, ever, be ignored. Attacking what is perceived to be male (whether it really is or not) is already a foregone conclusion as being good in the halls of higher education. How is this not a misandrous accomplishment of feminism, which claims to stand for the dignity and compassion of both sexes?

Demonizing men has gone beyond propaganda in education, however: it is a practice notably employed by feminist advocacy research, like the preposterous “1 in 5” rape myth produced by a poorly constructed telephone survey with overly broad definitions of rape by the CDC (which was later used, by the way, to justify federal funding for colleges in their fight against “rape culture,” a term RAINN itself denounced). The gender pay gap myth is another often reinforced and repeated lie, as O’Neil also points out, long after it has been pointed out that any perceived gap is a result of lifestyle and career choices between men and women. As I mentioned earlier, we just had one of the most popular female pop singers in the world declare that society is steeped in misogyny, despite the fact that it’s increasingly quite the opposite in developed nations.

And that is the crux of what I see as terribly subversive and erosive about feminism today. In debating feminists and their paranoid views about patriarchy and the ever-evaporating unicorn that is “male entitlement,” it seems, increasingly, that it doesn’t even matter if you bring good countering facts to the table, or a reasoned argument, for that matter. They will skip past the facts and instead of debating, engage in indignant deflection, ad hominem, or many, many political speeches. Speak about subjects like rape, equal pay, or the supposed scourge of the objectification of women with people randomly on the streets, in the neighborhood, or in your own family, and you’ll likely hear feminist myths regurgitated unthinkingly, to much head nodding of agreement. It’s for this reason that modern feminism is more akin to a belief movement (or a psychological disorder) that, as O’Neil points out, views all of humanity through a lens of distrust and a motherly need to control it. We shouldn’t discount how much of that mistrust has been directed at men, however, as well as feminist apologists attributing anything to males as corrupt and evil by default. If we can recognize the effigy that is “all things male” in feminist theory, we can certainly see how misandry is being spread, particularly when under the insidious rhetoric that it’s all “for a good cause.”

I understand that avoiding the fall into the typical anti-male argument is a reasonable attempt to move critical commentary of feminism away from its association with the train wreck that is the men’s rights movement. That men’s rights activists have lost their brand and have often become caricatures unto themselves does not mean they also don’t have some good points about feminism’s double-standards, biases, and outright lies. Of course, most who identify as feminists are not hardened lesbians who wake up each morning with intense conscious hatred of men first thing on their minds. Many well-meaning feminists, young and old and male and female alike, will recite the mantra that they are advocating for the rights of men as well as women, but in reality, the larger gestalt of the politics they support does, in fact, perpetuate an ongoing anti-male bias, to lesser or greater degrees, no matter how much the political machine that is feminism attempts to rebrand itself away from the ugliness of it’s deeper, albeit “hidden” extremism. For those who actually believe feminism stands for equal consideration of the sexes, I would offer a simple thought exercise. Outside of pointing to examples of how both sexes are clearly not equally honored or advocated for by feminism, I’d ask anyone to consider how, if the genders were swapped out in the “ism,” it wouldn’t sound quite right. If masculinism doesn’t feel like it would be entirely sympathetic to women and girls, you’d probably be right. Why is it we can’t see this with feminism in the modern age, where men and women are, without a doubt, equal in their rights?

There is a movement unhappy with many of the current dispensations and inequities throughout the world today—a movement that desires equality not just for women, but for men, too, and for people of all colors and creeds. It’s not a deeply entrenched and divisive sociopolitical movement that manifests itself through biased research and corrupt philosophy, hiding behind a shield of political correctness. It’s not engaged in antagonistic information and media warfare, or angry polemics against crumbling vestiges of classical patriarchy. This force is as open-source as it gets and as humanitarian as any personal modus operandi could possibly be, though it’s not something up for lazy grabs by lazy minds that would rather regurgitate tired if not politically expedient platitudes. You could call it egalitarianism. You could call it secular humanism. You could simply label it the equal rights movement. I prefer to call it something else, and the sum of its goodness proves feminism has no exclusive rights to ideas like compassion and humanism, or modern thought on the sexes. That thing is, simply, reason.

February 20, 2015

Christian Grey: The Disneyland Dom

By Marc Esadrian

Anyone familiar with my original thoughts on 50 Shades of Grey will likely not find this supplemental rant much of a surprise, but I suppose it’s necessary, being who I am, to say something. After all, it would be irresponsible of me to avoid commentary on a subject that hits so close to home (or as close as it can, at least) on the silver screen. So, begrudgingly, I dragged myself to the theater to see the movie adaptation directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, starring Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele.

I laughed, I winced, and shook my head in mild annoyance over the neutered and underwhelming spectacle before me. When the movie ended, I wondered how many people in the theater found it to be little more than a flat, safe, sterile, PG-13-like buzz kill. Afterward, I put my thoughts to keyboard, struggling with what I should title this commentary. 50 Shades of Fail? Not-a-True-Dominant: The Movie? Or how about Rich and Kinky Boy-Faced Beta Male Tries to Seduce a Smug, Temperamental Virgin? It was quite a conflict.

I finally settled on Christian Grey: The Disneyland Dom, for I think that among the movie’s many flawed premises, the one that irks me the most is the inadvertent message that women might be interested in male domination…permitting you’re a hot Armani-suited billionaire. While I’m happy to see the subject of consensual female submission going mainstream, I feel the idea of it, as conceived in this tale, is tied too closely to the mystique of wealth and bling. If we strip away Christian Grey’s expensive raiment, his luxuriant urban address, his stable of exotic sports cars, his private helicopter, and above all, his top notch “red room” that would make any professional dominatrix drool, what remains? Beyond image, where in this film is Christian Grey really dominant at all, aside from the entitlements afforded him through money? We see him chasing after Anastasia Steele, a woman who, despite her waking desires, repeatedly denies him (a common romantic cliché). In the wake of her rejections and sarcastic remarks, he chases her like a cross between a stalker, a wounded puppy, and a well dressed front-door salesman. And yet he dramatically avoids her at all the wrong moments. In many ways, this man acted like der uber jerken, getting up and abandoning her when he should have enriched their bond, shutting her out when sharing would have maximized intimacy, and wallowing in his own self-pity over a shiny piano while she stands half naked, a foot away. Which brings me to my next peeve.

Second in my list of grievances about the film (but just barely so) is the absolutely dysfunctional portrayal of male dominance we are subjected to, over and over. I understand that a story needs a conflict and that stories serve more as entertainment than enlightenment, but as I originally lamented regarding E. L. James’ trilogy, 50 Shades the movie had an opportunity to present the D in D/s in a more positive light—to show the world that you don’t have to be an emotionally (and psychically) scarred person to partake in these things. We are left, especially at the gloomy end of the first film, not only assuming that Christian’s interest in D/s directly and unequivocally stems from his dysfunction and romantic ineptness, but also feeling like that man is a bit of a wimp and pushover.

Segue to peeve three: Sassy Steele’s domineering and passive-aggressive vibe is tiresomely obvious throughout the film. So obvious, in fact, that no self-respecting dominant male I know of (real dominant men, mind you) would put up with her sneers, snide remarks, eye rolling, and condescending jabs. It’s here where I see the usual girl power scripting of Hollywood, likely uncomfortable with the subject matter to begin with, tinkering more than a little with her character to make her “hipper” and more palatable to the public’s genteel standards. Anatasia’s character was a little playful and opinionated in the books, though she was also naive and subdued. The movie made her much more bold and sarcastic, bordering on hostile, but I certainly didn’t find myself surprised in the least about that. I honestly don’t think anyone churning out films from major studios today is capable of presenting a woman as anything but strong and sassy (and I’ll add domineering, while I’m at it).

This presents a problem with the portrayal of submission for the D/s-illiterate yet nonetheless intrigued female viewers. Ana is not just a brat or a typical SAM (Smart Assed Masochist): she is disrespectful, dramatic, passive-aggressive, and tries her best to be as unimpressed as possible with her seducer throughout the film. Granted, Ana is what they call “vanilla” in BDSM terms. With that in mind, many of her lame reactions to lame dominance were plausible (even if her twenties-ish virginity isn’t). Still, her contentiousness doesn’t set a very good example at all for impressionable women who are on the cusp of taking marginal interest in this way of life. Women drawn in from the 50 Shades Effect who make the mistake of approaching authentically dominant men as their personal Christian Greys (it has already happened to me, and more than once, I’m sad to report) will likely have a very rude awakening when the face of mommy porn meets the concrete of reality.

But the movie isn’t all bad. For BDSM 101, the film did well with respect to consent, negotiation, and safe words. The War and Peace sized contract scene conveyed, at least, the detailed consent of kinky play partners. It took great pains, in fact, to inform the novice yet curious public that these interactions are based upon consent. Zooming out to see the big picture, the 50 Shades Effect helped to bring BDSM—and, to some degree, D/s—into mainstream discussion. This helps to “normalize” D/s a little more in our culture and foster an environment where more men and women can at least consider the idea of dominance and submission as something other than shameful and pathological interactions between deviant adults.

But normalizing D/s for the general public’s consumption might only swap out the old canards with new ones. It remains to be seen what effect E. L. James’ trendy story-made-movie will have on mainstream views regarding actual dominance and submission. Aside of being annoyed at how much of a cheesy cartoon D/s may now be in the eyes of some, my real concern is that instead of accepting the deeper and wider practices of our world, there will be a polarization between what’s deemed good and bad D/s, where a gamut of consumable acts and ideas are sanctioned and others remain stigmatized. In other words, some progress toward wider acceptance, but otherwise business as usual.

 

February 3, 2015

On the Garish Ubiquity of Girl Power Anthems

By Marc Esadrian

I’m not what one would stereotypically refer to as a sports fan. In fact, I think my time spent at sports events, sports bars, or before games broadcasted live on cable equals less than 1% of my time spent for any given year. It’s not that I don’t find a backyard game of football—back when I used to play such things—fun, or that I’m adverse to physical activity (I run and muscle train on average four days a week), it’s just that, ultimately, I find that what a collection of athletes are doing on a field or court on any given day to be far less consequential than evolving matters of scientific discovery, state policy, or news about what conflicts arise in the world.

But on Super Bowl XLIX Sunday, I sat down and watched. When games matter—when something is on the line—I tend to find these events a little more interesting, especially when the team representing my home region of New England is in that final arena. And I must say, it was quite a game to behold, even if we had to tolerate Katy Perry’s flashy, somewhat incongruent halftime performance bringing all the usual specters of snarling female arrogance atop a leashed lion float (I personally thought the dancing sharks stole that show!).

That sort of thing is par for the course these days, but what really raised an eyebrow, for me, was the saccharine feminist commercial advertisement—featured during an overwhelmingly male-dominated television event, mind you—advocating for the confidence of little girls by none other than Always Tampons. In it, three women, a man, and a boy express all too predictably the stereotypical ways that girls usually run, throw, and fight. When good younger (see feminist idealized and pre-scripted) little girl-bots were asked to run, throw, and fight like girls, they confidently showed what they thought doing these things as girls meant: they ran a little less limply, punched a little less awkwardly, but beamed with confidence, nonetheless. These admittedly cute poster children were, apparently, teaching us the lesson not only to pre-program our children to fight against these deleterious and assuredly ingrained stereotypes that perceive women as weak, but change some of our own apparently baseless sexist attitudes about the weaker sex, in turn. All this, despite the very likely fact that, among boys, being called female will invariably be seen as an insult, for females are and always will be, for the foreseeable evolutionary future of our species, at least, the naturally physically weaker sex. Granted, the powers that be are trying incredibly hard, again and again, to make males and females goose-step to a new order, to equalize them and whitewash their obvious differences, and while this may yield some culturally reinforced results, the natural realities behind male and female difference will inevitably (and disappointingly, to some) prevail, I’m afraid.

Overnight and over the course of the day after, it seems, people on Twitter were all aflutter over the hashtag #likeagirl, though Always, our smarmy child-championing tampon company, probably didn’t anticipate the retaliatory remarks from the viral ripostes of the #likeaboy tag. The conflict is amusing in a light-hearted way, and while I don’t find myself taking the ad or its fallout too seriously, I do wonder what a company that creates intimate female products was doing spending millions of dollars for commercial time on a mostly male-oriented prime time cable event. The answer, I concluded, must have been to reach out to boys, men, and fathers with a blatant emotionally manipulative feminist message (surely, it couldn’t have been about selling tampons). But that’s not the only thing it did, in my mind. It also demonstrated the tremendous intersectionality between consumerism, the entrenched social engineering of feminism, and the smarmy servitude of corporations to its messages—even in the least likeliest of places.

May 30, 2014

On Sex Slavery, Lies, and Palatable Politics

By Marc Esadrian

Road of Lost Innocence, by Somaly Mam.

On the tail end of Newsweek’s recent cover story about sex, slavery, and the slippery truth, anti-sex trafficking activist Somaly Mam—considered among one of Time’s most influential women in the world—has resigned from her own foundation.

Mam claimed to have rescued thousands of women and girls from the clutches of sex trafficking. Not only that, she has repeatedly asserted that her passion to help these women has come from her own abuse at the hands of sex traffickers.

That a former escaped sex slave from Cambodia would later on become the co-founder of AFESIP (Agir Pour Les Femmes en Situation Précaire, otherwise known as Helping Women in Danger) and rise to celebrity status in order to fight the evils of human trafficking rings with a magnetism of poetic justice that is irresistibly seductive—especially for the political climate in the modern West. It was an inspiring story—so inspiring, in fact, that it won over many high profile women, like Hillary Clinton, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, and Shay Mitchel. Mam also attracted the attentions of Brandee Barker, whom the New York Times recently dubbed the most sought after image consultant in the start-up world, along with Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, an avid feminist (Ban Bossy Campaign), and author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

In Somaly Mam, the world had a pretty face for the fight against the sex trafficking of women and girls. Her ghost-written book, The Road of Lost Innocence, became an international bestseller in 2005. Since then, she has raised millions of dollars across the globe with her astonishing story and courted many influential figures in media, industry, and politics to her cause. She was larger than life, a saint bent on rescuing the exploited. She was a modern “from the trenches” heroine for the fight against the exploitation of women around the world, a figure standing up against untold evils of sex trafficking. And she was a complete lie, as it turns out.

Simon Marks of Newsweek wrote a scathing and rather thorough article alleging that Mam was, indeed, never kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery. Through tracing her roots back to her home village and questioning old relatives or neighbors who remembered her, Marks unraveled what later came to be discovered as a grandiose fabrication on the part of Somaly Mam.

The deception, as Marks went on to point out, doesn’t stop there, either. In 1989 she apparently coached Meas Ratha, another supposed outspoken victim—and subsequently one of AFESIP’s biggest stars—into giving a convincing performance on French television about how she was sold to a brothel and forced to work as a sex slave. Ratha eventually confessed that her story was a complete fabrication—and a carefully rehearsed fabrication, at that. In 2009, Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times wrote about a girl named Long Pross, who had her own dark tale to tell about her sexual slavery and torture, where she was beaten with electric wires and cruelly disfigured. Pross also told this heart wrenching story on Oprah to a moved audience, but as with Somaly Mam herself, Pross’s relatives and neighbors back home had a much different tale to tell, and one that eventually exposed her story as more than just a little misleading.

Following Simon Marks’ article in Newsweek, AFESIP began its own investigation, and shortly thereafter, Somaly Mam stepped down from the very foundation she found and helped to build. Mam’s scandalous fall from grace leaves quite a few high profile figures in a bit of an awkward position, you might say. What struck me about this story was how eager it seems many were to believe these sensational tales for the politically cohesive effect they had. Chief among those with egg on their faces would probably be our beloved feminist capitalist, Sheryl Sandberg, who took on the role of an advisory board member in Somaly Mam’s organization herself.

What inevitably comes to mind while contemplating the above is the absence of due diligence and the discipline of responsible scrutiny. Where was this diligence when powerful women, like Sandberg, aligned with the fashionable and politically expedient boost that Somaly Mam represented? Is it any wonder that so many of those who seek to champion feminine goals of “unity” can be so very easily duped into going along with a likely tale they are all too eager to believe in order to forward the goals of their victim politics?

And that question leads to another, far broader one: why do we, as members of the human species, so often enjoy bending truth or not looking for it well enough between the lines in order to rush along a power grab for our own causes? Where the subject of sex slavery is concerned, this raises another important if not uneasy question, too: how large of a problem is human sex trafficking, really? To what degree have we allowed the sensation of certain stories and accounts over subjects that capture our imaginations to warp our perception of what’s truly happening in the world? I’m not certain I can answer that question, as it’s really an unknown quantity and I certainly don’t have enough data to even begin fathoming it. I certainly don’t deny that the evil of forced sex slavery exists throughout the world, but what I do wonder, especially since the Somaly Mam scandal, is to what degree these ideas of sex trafficking have stimulated the West’s imagination and galvanized the politics of feminine protectionism.

If anyone questions that sense of feminine favoritism/protectionism within the forefront of our political consciousness, consider the recent kidnapping of 276 Nigerian girls by Boko Haram. By now, we’ve all heard of this atrocity from nearly every corner of the media and the Internet, but how many of you ever heard of Boko Haram attacking a dormitory and shooting or slitting the throats of 59 boys this past February 25th? If you never did, don’t feel bad: the event was almost completely ignored by Western media. Washington didn’t commit to dispatching American intelligence and military advisers to West Africa to investigate the matter, as they did recently with the news of the missing girls. It should also be added, to further underscore the point, that February 25th did not mark the first date of atrocities committed by Boko Haram—not by a long shot.

So we find ourselves wondering why the press was rallied so fervently when young women were kidnapped and possibly sold into slavery, but ignored the event of young boys being slaughtered. Could it be that anything scandalous or tragic having to do with the oppressions of women is the right reason to get alarmed in the Western media and even government today?  If so, what are the cultural reasons for this attitude? Does the scandal surrounding Somaly Mam and her cynical masquerade to pull at our heartstrings allow us all a moment to look into the mirror and ask ourselves some of these inconvenient questions?

March 6, 2014

Stalingrad

By Nina E.

There is no difference between being raped
And being pushed down a flight of cement steps
Except that the wounds also bleed inside.

There is no difference between being raped
And being run over by a truck
Except that afterward men ask if you enjoyed it.

There is no difference between being raped
And being bit on the ankle by a rattlesnake
Except that people ask if your skirt was short
And why you were out anyhow.

There is no difference between being raped
And going head first through a windshield
Except that afterward you are afraid not of cars,
But half the human race.

—from “Rape Poem” by Marge Piercy

If truth be told, there is a huge difference between being raped and these other four fates. When one of the above events happens to someone, the results frequently involve blinding pain, broken bones, massive bleeding, organ shutdown, comas, or death. Those who survive these things are often disfigured or crippled for life, living with chronic pain. In other words, the physical effects from these events are profound. But unless a rape is unusually brutal and savage (a rare event) most women do not die from it and they might even suffer no physical damage beyond a few light bruises and a sore vagina. I’m going to talk more about rape, but first I want to talk about something worse than rape, worse even than the devastating personal traumas that the poem falsely equates with rape, before I return to the subject. I want to talk about war.

Wars are terrible, ugly, and, most of all, massive things. Their sheer size and effects make them hard to comprehend. The physical destruction of shelter, roads, farms, vehicles, food, clean water, and other necessary elements of human survival is only the tip of the iceberg of misery they visit upon us. Wars ruin lives, shatter minds, impoverish people, break up homes, and take from us the things or beings we most love. They tear apart families, drive people to utter despair, or embed immense hatreds in the victims’ hearts that ring like warped harmonics through several generations before they heal. A war causes so much pain, such intense physical and emotional suffering among so many that, in most cases, the scope of the evils wrought by it are incomprehensible in their vastness. How do you get a mental grasp on the reality of war? How do you imagine thousands, tens of thousands, even millions of people dying or suffering terribly and then dying? Even the most well-researched books, lengthy tomes that took years to write, can only convey to us a small part of a war’s grinding, immense horror. Their depictions of war’s effects, even when clear and focused, only spotlight tiny slivers of the total devastation to human lives and human hope.

Among the wars humanity has suffered through few equal the scope of World War II. The vast scale of suffering that huge war caused is indeed incomprehensible, and we are lucky that it is. A mind which could grasp the full extent of that monstrous mid-twentieth century event would likely go mad. The only way I’ve found to comprehend even a small part of such a wide-sweeping hell is to do as some experts do: to look very closely and carefully at a few microscopic bits of the whole and observe how they affected a single individual or a small group. I can’t possibly imagine the unique, individual pain of hundreds of thousands who died in concentration camps, for instance, but I can get a sense of the suffering of those masses by hearing the detailed stories of one or two individuals who experienced the camps and lived to tell the tale. Or I can look at the surviving photographs of skeletal and near-naked people trying to survive the bitter winters with almost no food and little shelter and then multiply that out by six or seven figures and shudder. I cannot begin to imagine the individual hells experienced by thousands of soldiers on the front lines but I can see the plight of a few from the horrific descriptions of those who survived it. And, once in a while, I can get a clear, realistic picture of what a minuscule part of a war must have been like from a work of very good fiction that doesn’t defy informed common sense.

In this editorial, I’d like to pay tribute to one such fiction: a movie I saw last week. This movie is being largely ignored at the box office (on opening night in our locale there were probably only 12 other viewers in the theater), perhaps due to its “old-fashioned” themes or “difficult” subtitles (it’s spoken in Russian) and panned by the critics for the very things I appreciated most about it. The film is called Stalingrad. It depicts the fate of a small group of Russian soldiers who are scouts for an advance force trying to take back the city of Stalingrad from the Germans by crossing the Volga. The beginning of the film is a scene straight from hell: it shows war at its worst and heroism at its best, as dozens of Russian soldiers, set afire by fuel tanks that were blown up by the Germans in an attempt to stop their advance, continue to run, while on fire, up from the river and into the enemy ranks, screaming and using their bodies as living torches to burn the defending German forces whom they grappled with. When I looked at those courageous, agonized running men, I asked myself, “Could I do that if I were on fire?” As the film progresses, we see highly realistic and detailed views of this once-prosperous Russian city, now reduced mostly to rubble but still continuously bombed. Nobody could possibly be living in those shelled out buildings but, lo and behold, thousands still are: both Russian residents and the German occupiers. The film focuses in narrowly on the half-dozen Russian soldiers charged with taking and holding a specific key building for a few days and the encounters they have with local residents and the Germans as they carry out their orders. This part of the film—the individual lives of a few men during a handful of days—is likely fictional but the circumstances surrounding them (and quite accurately depicted by the film) were not: this five-month siege and reoccupation of the city by the Red Army was the battle that finally turned this terrible war in the Allies favor.

The story of the Russian soldiers wasn’t very likely in one sense and the critics were right to point this out: while taking a building they discover a 19-year-old girl still lives there and refuses to leave her former home. She becomes their goddess, muse, and good luck charm. They treat her first with a level of distant gallantry and later with a fawning worship that is highly unlikely from men stressed to their limits by the extremes of such a war. But it’s a charming story, nonetheless, showing that happiness, smiles, gift-giving, sharing of fond memories, and cooperation can occur, at times, even among hardened fighting men who’ve been literally drenched in blood and seen the worst the world can offer. Great attention was paid to period realism and it was a delight to observe those details in the sets and the props. The intense, stressed boredom of the soldiers, who each live with great individual grief and know that they are the walking dead, simply waiting for their inevitable fate from the stronger German force nearby; their sometimes foolish or callous attempts to relieve their fears and sorrows; and their preoccupation with the brave young girl, who takes their minds off their individual sorrows and likely hopeless fate, are all expertly depicted.

But the film isn’t just about them: there are many other subplots occurring within it, including a few glimpses into the lives of German forces occupying the building across the plaza and who are determined to roust the six soldiers. One not-so-small subplot seems almost a cliché as it unfolds: a German officer is smitten by a beautiful Russian girl who reminds him of his dead wife. Despite her terror of and distaste for him (emotions she dares not express too boldly but which show plainly in her face as she watches him), he visits her regularly and brings her food, clearly courting her and attempting, in his own way, to change her alienation and abhorrence into affection. But things do not go as he would wish and one evening, deeply disturbed by worsening events and personal pressures placed on him by his commander, he comes to the little curtained alcove where the girl lives within a building housing a group of civilian survivors and catches her crouched behind a pillar with a raised knife, hoping to kill him. He easily disarms her and then, in a combination of rage, frustration, and confused desire, he rips off her clothes and viciously rapes her. When he is finished, he talks to her frankly and with great emotion, as men who rape sometimes do with their victims after the act, while she lies crying on the bed. Her pain and horror is apparent, but she listens to him as he talks about his destroyed personal past. When he leaves, she is insulted, hit, and dowsed with water by the survivors living in the same building. In their eyes she’s now a whore, a collaborator with the enemy, although, with just a tattered curtain for a doorway, they all must have known that she was taken against her will. But they desire a scapegoat, someone they can turn their hostility toward without getting shot in return, and this beautiful young woman makes a convenient target.

As the few short days that are the span of this film pass, the German officer and this young woman bond; in fact, they fall in love with each other. I was pleasantly surprised to see the makers of Stalingrad take a brave and bold step to honestly depict an alternate reality associated with rape that happens more often than modern feminist propaganda would like us to believe. In the tunnel vision that is feminism, victims of rape are always deeply traumatized and hate their rapists. In the much larger world that we all live in, things are not always that simple—or politically convenient. When it comes to real human reactions people are complicated and women don’t always end up despising their rapists. Human emotions don’t follow the convenient political scripts set out for them. We don’t always toe feminist propaganda and turn into traumatized victims of a terrible male monster who “fattens on fantasies…like a maggot in garbage” (Marge Piercy). And men who rape are not always vile animals who callously laugh at their victims or derisively kick them on their way out to their next “act of violence.” Rape is Sex, and as such it is a very intimate act that can affect the emotions of both parties in profound and unexpected ways.

Being a former rape victim, there is no question in my mind that rape is frequently a horrible experience for the female, an experience that can scar her emotions for years, but still, things aren’t ever as cut and dried, as black and white, as caricatured, as feminist anti-rape propaganda paints them. The “bad guy” is sometimes a good guy or, at very least, a “neutral guy.” Sometimes the “abused victim” is not badly affected by the rape. Sometimes she even attempts to tease and torment a man just to see if he’ll break down and take her despite his good intentions. And sometimes, as this frank look into the realities of war depicts, the event is a mixture of both bad and good. Something as pure and liberating to the soul as deep affection and even a dedicated, constant love can arise from an act that the feminists tell us is bestial and only signifies intense hostility.

The German captain in Stalingrad bares his heart to his victim after committing his acts of rape and then does his best to protect the woman he’s supposed to, according to feminist rhetoric, walk blithely away from without a second thought for her welfare. He does so at a deep cost to himself. But, as is so often the case in war, it is all to no avail. Ironically, her life is callously mown down by one of the alleged “good guys”—the Russian soldiers—a young, angry and careless sort who automatically assumes, like the other civilians, that she’s an evil whore who willingly has sex with the enemy. The German’s chilling scream of rage and horror when his woman is taken from him with a bullet to her forehead is the sound of a man who has just lost his soul and his reason to live, not the sociopathic chuckle of a cold, calculating beast, feeding his obscene hungers without a second thought for the helpless. I applaud the director of Stalingrad,  Fedor Bondarchuk, and its writers,  Sergey Snezhkin and Ilya Tilkinfor, for honestly depicting both the complexities of war and the complexities of rape, neither of which can be easily understood by the narrow good-guy/bad-guy generalizations that those with an axe to grind (or a political objective to obtain) so love to use to box in and limit rich human experience, experience which doesn’t always follow the rigid rules set out for it by blazing, “poor little female victim” or “men who rape are all pigs” rhetoric.

 

January 8, 2014

Perspective

By Tina E.

Well, how about that: the holidays have passed once again, and after all the rich foods and drinks shared between family and friends, I resign myself to facing a season-typical struggle in the aftermath: I have gained a little weight and I need to lose it fast! I’m kept on a stricter regimen weight-wise by the man I adore these days and I really don’t want to disappoint him. I think staying healthy and looking your best for the man in your life is essential, but he gives me the extra incentive I need to get back on track!

It’s not always easy, dragging yourself to the gym or making time for a power walk. It’s not particularly fun denying myself the awakened taste for all those rich foods I made and conspired to consume over the holidays, either, but as I groan a little under my breath while putting on the sneakers after the holidays have passed, I almost always find myself reflecting upon the poor, the hungry, and the needy. It’s then I stop and consider how absolutely ludicrous my dilemma is. I realize that for someone who has a problem like mine, life is pretty darn good, in fact. My struggle with losing some extra pounds is nothing, really, compared to those who would love to be in a similar predicament. I realize that having some extra pounds while living in a place that, for many, could be considered a suburban paradise is a sign of comfort and security. I realize that I am one of the lucky ones, in more ways than one.

It’s not that I’m alone in such thoughts over the holidays. From Thanksgiving onward, people send tons of canned goods and money donations to their local shelters while getting into the holiday mood and dutifully reflecting upon the less fortunate. But what happens after New Years? The truth is, most shelters and soup kitchens see a marked drop in donations and support, and that’s just sad. Many such places are all set during the holidays, but for the rest of the year, they are in need of donations, helping hands, and financial support.

Please keep the hungry and less fortunate in your thoughts in the coming year and send donations to your local shelters and soup kitchens, if you can. Ten dollars here, twenty dollars there (these organizations have access to food at fractions of the price you find in supermarkets), a shirt you don’t want any more or those cans of soup in the cupboards that you probably won’t eat…it all can go so far and help so many people in need. But before you give, find out more about the charities you’d like to support. Be certain they use the resources you provide for charitable purposes that support the mission to truly help the hungry and dispossessed. I have provided some links below to some good organizations as just a start, but finding local shelters, kitchens, and food banks in your area is always a great way to make a difference in your own neck of the woods.

https://feedingamerica.org
https://www.breadforthecity.org
https://www.foodtodonate.org
https://www.oxfam.org
https://www.worldvision.org
https://www.goodwill.org

January 3, 2014

2014: The Year Ahead

By Marc Esadrian

Happy New Year to all!

2013 saw a lot of growth for Humbled Females. Our forum membership has tripled from last year, our site aesthetic and social features have evolved, and we managed to add more open access articles to the publications section. Overall, things are looking pretty good for the site’s reemergence. But there’s more to do, of course.

I’m hoping 2014 will bring even more quality articles written from new authors. I hope we’ll see first-class membership increase at a faster rate this year than last, and that we continue fostering an atmosphere of learning and productive exchange here. The latter point is particularly important to me. We’ve seen many “adult” networks rise and fall over the years, but when I consider their histories, I’m reminded of a particular thread of wisdom:

“Nothing is more damaging to a new truth than an old error.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It’s hard to know what the old errors are with networks and forums, exactly, but I do know one of the common pitfalls we see within many are the establishments of argument-prone cliques. I think we’ve all done a pretty good job at managing that “creeping crud” thus far. At Humbled Females, things have been done a little differently and I think it’s paying off. We don’t have ads. We aren’t just another “meat market” online. We don’t see jaded young ladies filing in to build monuments to their narcissism and little else. We don’t see the same old vacuous BDSM platitudes being parroted by self-appointed gurus. Our forums, for the most part, are free of the divisiveness and childish insults we see hurled regularly on other networks. Our membership count is not in the hundreds of thousands, so discussion is manageable. The people we do have here, however, are quality personalities with many good things to say.

I hope the trend of quality community, where newcomers are welcome to engage in conversation, ask questions, and explore a deeper shade of submission or dominance, continues strongly in 2014. I want Humbled Females to persevere being the beacon of no-nonsense talk on female submission that it has managed to be since its re-inception in the past few years. With continuing engagement, patience, and thoughtful consideration, I think that’s not only possible but a fairly easy goal.

Aside of that, new features and additions to the site are on the way. The environment is constantly being enhanced and tweaked with the end user in mind. The articles will continue to delve into the wilderness of female submission (and male dominance, for that matter) with clarity, depth, and pragmatism. The Humbled Females primer will be updated and more material will be made available in the pay area.

In closing, I wish everyone peace, fortune, and fulfillment in the new year to come. I have a feeling 2014 will bring more good things for us!

September 20, 2013

Men On Strike

By Marc Esadrian

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or willful state of ignorance for the past several decades, you’ve probably noticed that modern society doesn’t think particularly much of men—when it remembers to think about them at all, that is. Feminist intellectuals, despite tremendous strides in education and job opportunities in which they are equal to (or in some cases, even outperforming) men, still eagerly jump on NPR talk shows and bicker ad nauseum about how much more work needs to be done for women in the areas of special programs, grants, corporate policies, and activist legislation. Researchers and health professionals don’t seem to be any more aware of the paucity of attention paid to men, either. When they do afford some leftover resources toward researching men, terms such as criminals, abusers, rapists, and delinquent fathers are often common in the language and focus. Ask anyone on the street if they know what the word misogyny means. Chances are, they’ll know it well, if not by the activism drilled into their heads while attending university, then by the collective osmosis from any number of books, radio programs, or cable talk shows perma-blathering about the supposed ongoing plight of women in every nook and cranny of human experience. Ask them if they know what misandry means, and you’ll likely get some quizzical, empty stares. Not that I necessarily fault them; some spell checkers today don’t even recognize “misandry” as a word. Imagine that.

Be that as it may, the spirit of contempt for men is alive and well in Western society. One need only look to the all-too-common male bashing of men by the media or consider the near ubiquitous multi-institutional collusion with feminist agenda (going right up to the programs of government itself) to see common examples of this. I assume the reader will at least intuitively understand what I’m getting at here; I will not drone on over examples of these things, as they are fairly obvious to anyone with eyes, ears, nominally functioning brains, and a pinch of objectivity. The unspoken problem is all around us and that silence has become fairly detrimental for the advocacy of male interests and rights. That problem, in a nutshell, is the fact that women and all concerns having to do with them—both real and utterly imaginary—are being overexposed while sneering at men has become quite acceptable…even fashionable.

Every now and then, however, a body of work comes along that puts its finger squarely on this phenomenon, and the latest to do this is Men on Strike, by Helen Smith, Ph D. From the book’s description:

American society has become anti-male. Men are sensing the backlash and are consciously and unconsciously going “on strike.” They are dropping out of college, leaving the workforce and avoiding marriage and fatherhood at alarming rates. The trend is so pronounced that a number of books have been written about this “man-child” phenomenon, concluding that men have taken a vacation from responsibility simply because they can. But why should men participate in a system that seems to be increasingly stacked against them?

As Men on Strike demonstrates, men aren’t dropping out because they are stuck in arrested development. They are instead acting rationally in response to the lack of incentives society offers them to be responsible fathers, husbands and providers. In addition, men are going on strike, either consciously or unconsciously, because they do not want to be injured by the myriad of laws, attitudes and hostility against them for the crime of happening to be male in the twenty-first century. Men are starting to fight back against the backlash. Men on Strike explains their battle cry.

Indeed, one could see this very site, started in 2005, as some part of the backlash. We have long been discussing some of the observations Ms. Smith makes in her book within our community as blogs and other communities across the web have. What’s refreshing about this book is how it approaches the male discussion from what could be thought of as a “new” angle, at least for mainstream culture: not making men out to be overgrown children with Peter Pan complexes and condescendingly offering some “tough love” advice to all the degenerate penis-bearers who might be reading.  Instead, Smith holds that men aren’t removing themselves from responsibility or interest in women because they’re stuck in childhood, but responding rationally to the lack of incentive they see in society for being male, overall. They are shutting down and removing themselves from a society that punishes them, essentially, for having masculine traits. Punishing them for being male, in fact.

This is fresh and new for mainstream publishing and it took some degree of courage to publish something like this. It’s not the same old tired misandrist tripe repackaged by a patronizing feminist intellectual “concerned for men.” In her book, Smith goes on to speak descriptively and directly about many of the injustices facing men today (things you hardly hear a whisper about), like male paternity fraud, the inequity of marriage for men, the lack of men’s reproductive rights, college bias, declining male wages and eduction, and the harmful double-standards resulting from polarizing feminist interests. Smith also speaks unambiguously, if not pejoratively, about “Uncle Tims” and “White Knights,” the bleeding heart men who opportunistically lend a hand in bashing their own sex by joining the ranks of modern feminism and its culturally hip contempt of XY.

This book is not without flaws, however. Much of what is discussed in its pages is anecdotal and smacks slightly of right-wing (or at least “libertarian”) politics, mind you, and if there is one primary gripe I were to have about Smith’s work, it would be this, if not how many times she plugs PJ Media, where she is a columnist and blogger. This is not to say the material in this book is without good points or sources, however. One terrible statistic made available in this work is the alarming suicide rate of males. In 2010, Smith notes that 38,364 suicides were committed nationally, and that 30,277 of those were of men. That alone should tell us something about the hidden social poisons in culture today, should it not? Frankly, I find the contrast in that number quite staggering.

Another nit would be in regard to the rather casual sounding voice in Men on Strike, which borders on sometimes “bloggish” to, dare I say, crude sounding. The lack of a balanced and scholarly tone in the body is a bit off-putting. I’m sure others will agree. And that’s unfortunate, for the subject matter Smith seizes upon is critical and I fear the points she has to make in the book will be overlooked due to the lack of objective discipline afforded in her writing.

Overall, however, Men on Strike is definitely worth a read. It’s not a scholarly masterpiece, by any stretch of the imagination, but it does strike to the heart of many issues facing the male sex today and offers a scalding criticism of the subversive religion of neofeminism we have all too easily grown accustomed to tolerating in our schools, our entertainment, and our legal activism. If anything, it helps to offer those who have never stepped outside of feminism’s intellectual wind tunnel a chance to look at things from a different perspective: what it means to live in the modern Western world today as a man. Smith’s work is a great introduction to some very real and serious problems within a society that has become, more or less, anti-male.

 

July 23, 2013

Why I Love Men

By Nina E.

Despite all of the advantages that contemporary women have, despite all of their advances, despite their achievements and the respect they have rightly earned for them, many seem strangely dissatisfied with the romantic or mate potential of the men that surround them. Ironic, as increasingly more men are adapting to the new egalitarian roles of the sexes: playing by women’s rules in the office, helping out in the home and with children, and abiding by the increasing number of rules and regulations that women in charge think essential. Most men quietly bear the scathing and sometimes blatantly dishonest media stereotypes of themselves as clueless, doltish, thick-headed animals in need of training and, often without complaint, accept the modern feminine mythos that women are spiritually, emotionally, and mentally superior to their sex in all ways. Other men, still a minority, choose quietly to opt out and not play by female rules which cause them to deny their true selves. After being disenfranchised by a vagina-positive society they are now self-disenfranchising as a response: they don’t go to college, they don’t enter the increasingly feminized workplace, and they are, in rising numbers, refusing to marry or even engage in long-term romantic relationships. Young women, in fact, are becoming increasingly resigned to the “hookup” (temporary fuckbuddy) culture and even adopting it as their own.

Once the heady draught of freedom and wide-open opportunities has worn off, once the busy intensity of striving for success and competing in one’s early adult years has passed and a woman finds herself well-established in her career or other endeavors, she, more and more frequently, looks around at the available men and feels a bleak, sinking feeling in her stomach. The members of the mating pool she finds herself in just don’t turn her on. Assuming some of these males meet the modern woman’s illogically high achievement/professional standards for a man (no matter how successful women are—and the converse: how unsuccessful men are in a female-run society—the majority of women still want to “marry up” into a more privileged class), the men seem emotionally lacking. Boring. Unexciting. Toadies. Yes Men. Passive. Weak. Overly Cooperative. Feminized. Repressed. Office Boys. Factotums. Metrosexuals. Milquetoasts. Unvirile. Manginas. These are some of the words that go through a dismayed woman’s mind when it finally turns to love, marriage, and family and she starts to survey that unfamiliar and surprisingly bleak landscape, looking for something out there, someONE out there with potential. The old adage, “A good man is hard to find,” has taken on a special meaning in the minds and hearts of many contemporary women.

The core truth being experienced in these “wonderful, exciting times” by thousands of successful, modern women is that they emotionally (and, some would say, illogically) crave a “real man,” someone they can look up to and respect, someone with “traditional” male traits, someone their bodies and hearts, despite the mental overlay of feminist propaganda, tell them is an “appropriate” mate. Sadly, this man is almost nowhere to be found—particularly in the places such women are looking. The boring, repressed, politically correct behavior and roles we’ve forced on most males in developed countries just do not stir our loins. He’s a breeze to work with (or to “organize,” if you happen to be married to him), he may be extremely skilled at pleasing in bed, but he just doesn’t inspire the sort of passion, intensity and deep, exciting, committed romance that most women crave in a relationship with a man.

Why is that? There are many reasons as this is a complex issue, but the primary reason is simple: we (members of rich, developed societies) simply do not allow men to be themselves these days and somewhere deep inside both men and women know this: both sexes recognize this social-political lie. What is a man like when he is most himself? That is what this editorial will explore, in the hopes that it will provide a compass for women who feel lost at sea when it comes to love, relationships, and romance.

There are certain personality features and inclinations that most men are born with and that naturally emerge as he grows, if not artificially stifled. Some of these traits are purposefully repressed by parents and teachers as boys transform into men. Others have little place to express themselves in today’s world and so are ignored. It’s a sad fact of life that up until as recently as 40 years ago, the majority of men used to express these traits naturally, exuberantly, and, dare I say, aggressively. But male aggression is a big-no-no these days, along with many of the other traits I am about to discuss. Nevertheless, they are what make men “men,” and, when you look at the secret fantasy lives of many women or examine the “bedside books” they read when nobody is around, you’ll find they abound with romantic male characters that embody these basic male traits, despite their political incorrectness. Sadly, the only place real men are allowed to exist in most women’s mental landscapes is in this lets-pretend world of fantasy, wishes, and idealistic dreams, a landscape built by thinly-disguised BDSM dreams and male-dominance romance novels. We cannot accept the genuine article when we encounter him because he doesn’t follow the neat, orderly, and overly safe feminine rules for behavior. No matter how much our deeper selves crave his guidance and energizing touch, that latter fact really pisses us off. He is a real man: he is himself and there is nothing a rules-bound overly feminized society hates more than someone who won’t play by “their rules.”

Of course there are evil men (and evil women, too). But I’m going to speak below of the very best traits that men can possess and that the majority of good men will express, if given the freedom to do so.

 

Their Minds

What woman who has been around men much has failed to notice that they think differently than us? I’m not talking about differences in interests or focus, I’m talking about the thought processes themselves. Male brains, at their best, travel down logical, clean, brightly-lit paths. They take few side-trips down the murky emotional byways that constantly waylay female minds and, as a result, the conclusions men quickly arrive at are often sane, coherent, and objective. Listening to a man reason and then come up with simple and often elegant conclusions feels like diving into a fresh pool of cool, clear water. Men’s minds get quickly to the point. They do so often by ignoring the emotional overtones of an issue. While this is sometimes confused with a lack of subtlety, I see it more as a clean, strong focus on the point itself, rather than how it makes one feel.

I’ve tried to imitate this style of thinking, but even at my best I have a tendency, present in many female minds, to overcomplicate issues and worry about things that have not happened. This causes me to find convoluted solutions to problems that, while they try to avoid or prevent possible contingencies, do so by jumping through far too many hoops. They are not optimal solutions because they waste energy and resources getting around imagined “bad stuff that might happen.” Most men do not have this conservative, risk-avoidance instinct and, as a result, their solutions are clearer, more elegant, and, in my experience, far more likely to work than my own. They are able to see what is important about a situation because they are less distracted by the trivial. They see the forest, the big picture, not the trees. Seeing the trees has its place, mind you, but not when making sweeping decisions or when facing a serious crisis. At those times you need to see the whole picture, not the tiny aspects of it that many a female mind will hover around and get lost in contemplating.

Most men seem quite facile at thinking spatially, abstractly, and tactically. These are traits I (and many women I know) have admitted are not our best. I get easily lost, for example. I have trouble with even simple math, and I suck at strategy war games. I greatly admire the average man’s ability to think well in these practical, and, at one time, essential-to-survival areas.

 

Their Emotional Sets

One of the reasons I believe men think more clearly than women is because they are not besieged by tidal waves of emotion that rock their mental boats and steer them off course. While I enjoy the company of sincere, good-hearted women, I enjoy even more being around men because they seem immune to the emotional tsunamis that plague even the best female minds. Men are generally positive and upbeat, and, if not overly influenced by female-dominated online culture, far less snide and snarky than the average woman. Overall, men seem to give women a lot more credit than they deserve. When the typical modern woman looks at a man she thinks, “Guilty until proven innocent!” When the typical modern man looks at a woman, he feels she is innocent or good until proven guilty. This noble and charitable attitude is one that would improve many woman if they were to practice it. It is the unsuspicious and magnanimous attitude of someone well-born, someone with manners who has been taught to respect all individuals unless they’ve clearly demonstrated that they are unworthy of it. The word for this simple quality that so many men naturally possess is “nobility.”

Part of a man’s positive emotional force comes from the ways in which he thinks: he does not start out overcomplicating matters by worrying about “what-if” scenarios. If he wants to do something, he simply does it. If it’s something he’s never done before, he doesn’t spend hours researching it and figuring out from others the best route to take: he just plunges right in. This lack of overcomplication and worry is incredibly refreshing to be around and helps ground me when I get lost in the paralyzing fantasy clouds of “what if THIS happened?” Men live their lives by that old Nike slogan: they Just Do It. It’s a marvelously simple and free way to live.

Overall, men seem more patient, accepting, and forgiving than women. They certainly put up with far more emotional games and subterfuges from us than we are willing to accept from them! Men can get very angry when they are roused, but, at the same time, most men have a slow fuse. Not only do they not fly instantly off the handle but they seem willing to put up with a huge about of female BS before they finally decide they’ve had enough. Even the firm, dominant men that I associate with do this. You don’t, for example, see most men viciously and vindictively trashing a woman’s reputation online simply because she was late once for a date.

Men are far less prone to hysteria and “losing it” in emergencies. Should I find myself in a terrible crisis, I would be greatly relieved if a man were there to help plan the best course of action. Far too often women in a state of crisis succumb to panic or irrationally focus on trivialities that have little bearing on the overall problem.

Men, at their best, are wonderfully direct and transparent: what you see is what you get. I greatly admire a man’s natural, bright honesty and directness and strive hard to act the same. Men, when compared to women, have a strong sense of fairness, justice, and balance. They don’t hold grudges because someone used the “wrong” word or wore the same outfit that they are wearing. They lack the pettiness that all too often plagues the female heart and causes her to place deep import on irrelevant events, magnify imagined slights, and even delight in causing discomfort to others.

 

Their Powers of Creation

When something breaks in the house, who does the average woman turn to? A man, usually. Throughout history (and, I suspect, prehistory) men have been the primary builders, makers, fixers, and general creators in this world. Most lasting, most “great” creative works of art or music, books, theories, architectural marvels, and so on have a male mind behind them. There is a creative force in men that is at the heart of their virility, their maleness, and when they harness it to a worthwhile project or vision, they often come close to making miracles happen. Feminist “scientific” literature is full of theories about why most great creative works were done by men. This impolite little fact of life makes them furious. (Because we all know women are supposed to be better than men in everything, right?) But the fact of the matter is, the average man is better at making things, better at fixing things that get broken, better at conceiving of paradigm-shifting ideas that profoundly change the ways we think about the world, and, overall, far more creative than the average woman.

Perhaps some of this is due to a man’s ability to make sense out of spatial information, his often superior eye-hand coordination, or the fact that the skills men exercised throughout history encouraged and supported the development of creative thinking. Whatever it is, I deeply admire men for their ability to envision something new that has never been seen or heard before and then create it. Or perhaps they envision it as they create it? However it’s done, it’s extremely impressive and often makes a profound difference in the ways we all live. When I drive a car instead of walking to work or read a cell phone text instead of waiting days or weeks for a letter or ride in an elevator instead of climbing the stairs, I am quite aware that I wouldn’t have such useful conveniences if a male mind hadn’t conceived of and then solved the complex problems around building them. I rejoice in and am deeply grateful for men’s immense creativity and practical genius.

 

Their Fighting Spirits

I love and deeply admire male bravery. Men constantly take risks in life, they leap in when things are unsure, they are willing and able to fight for what’s important. They don’t constantly try to avoid danger like the average risk-aversive woman; instead, they will respond quickly and decisively in times of crisis. The typical man is far more likely than a woman to face danger with aggression and try to overcome it. Men value the development of their physical skills and thrive in competitive environments. Quite clearly, many of the recreational sports most enjoyed by men employ lightly disguised versions of battle practices. Men enjoy excelling physically: being faster, stronger, more agile, more stealthy than the other guy. They enjoy physical action immensely, even simulated physical action, and seem to thrive on danger and risk—things most women dislike and do not seek out.

If you visit Youtube.com and watch some guy’s game video where he’s running from monsters who are everywhere and dying constantly in horrible ways he’s usually chortling with intense glee. As a woman watching these scenarios I think, “Is he out of his mind? What is fun about this extremely stressful situation?” I don’t get it but I’m very glad men are naturally physically aggressive and even enjoy it, as I am not. I’d rather hide in a closet from the monsters! Seriously, I feel safe and protected when in the company of a man. I know his fighting skills are better than my own and that if we did face a crisis he would be able to direct the best course of action to take in response to it. On my own, I’d be likely to panic or freeze up, and then perhaps face, as I do over and over in video games, a needless death due to my unwillingness to take a risk and engage in a stressful, fast-paced confrontation.

 

Their Natural Abilities to Lead

All of the traits described above make a man into a natural and logical leader. A man’s objectivity and ability to think clearly and strategically without the confusing haze of emotion or fantasy; his action-oriented, risk-taking personality; his creativity and trailblazing abilities; his natural aggressiveness; and his overall largeness of spirit makes him an ideal person to follow. Unlike the current cultural myths, many men, if allowed to be themselves, will rise to greatness, will take charge of situations and make rational, fair decisions that result in more people being helped than harmed. They are natural leaders. Men are protective and possessive, as well, toward those in their charge. If he is allowed to develop naturally and with strong male role models, it is second nature for a man to take good care of those he leads and cares for. When needed, they don’t operate on automatic or “by the rules”: they are flexible and strategic risk-takers. Finally, men have an extremely valuable trait that all good leaders need: they are persistent. They do not give up easily, at the first or even the tenth frustration. They keep looking for a solution, a way through, a way to fix things. For all of these reasons, I find it deeply disturbing that men’s natural leadership talents are so often these days ignored, seen as unimportant, or even ridiculed in favor of the overly-detailed, inflexible, monotonous, fastidious rules-following corporate mentality that far too many women today identify with leadership.

 

Postscript

To anticipate a question that may be in the minds of some as they finish this piece, yes, of course, women have good qualities too. Whoever said they didn’t? In fact, these good qualities are talked about everywhere—absolutely everywhere. Every place you go, everything you read in this “girls rule-boys drool” society is immensely female-positive, often at the expense of men who are contrasted with the “greatness” of women as bumbling but trainable  fools at best; insane and violent criminals at worst. But where is the goodness, the greatness that is man, talked about? The honest answer is: almost nowhere these days. I’m simply trying to redress that immense imbalance with a few reminders of why we are all not lesbians, why so many of us women still love and even adore the  delightfully-different-from-us man in our lives…provided we can find one.

 

July 1, 2013

Feminism in the Media: Does it Protest Too Much?

By Marc Esadrian

While I’m not the type of person who watches much cable, I have taken a liking to the Starz show channel from time to time. I admit, Spartacus, the half serious, half soft adult porn series was one of my guilty pleasures. What’s not to love about gratuitous sex and violence in the ancient Roman world? These days, I’ve taken a particular liking to Magic City, a smooth and sexy hotel/casino mob story set back in the 1950’s. Between catching up on reruns of that show, however, I was subjected to the repeated teasers of an upcoming series entitled The White Queen, a story that, in its own part cheesey, part historical fictionish sort of way, tells the tale of the “War of the Roses,” a dynastic struggle among rival houses for the throne of England—the facts of which historians still quibble and argue about today.

But I’m not going to go too far into scholarly conflict about actual facts relating to these episodes in history and I’m quite sure, given the reality that cable programming is meant more to entertain than enlighten, The White Queen won’t either. What struck me as particularly eye rolling about the trailer for this series is its service to the usual girl power propaganda. While treated to flashes of hyper-stylized bits and pieces of scenery related to the series, we’re informed in heavy gold letters across the screen that “Men go to battle…Women wage war.”

It’s particularly irksome, how entertainment media today gushes, drools, and fawns over women in a conspiratorial circle-jerk to stroke the increasingly inflating egos of (particularly) young women. I suppose the marketing powers that be know now that if you want to sell anything, you really need to appeal more to notions of female supremacy than just equality. For how much more obvious must the repeated propaganda of female primacy hidden in plain view be, I ask? What particularly amused me about the men go to battle, women wage war line is how banal it insinuates the role of men to be. Men, who have been over thousands of centuries the primary agents of action—the warriors, despots, messiahs, tyrants, prophets, kings, and emperors—are reduced to brainless wooden figures in a medieval game of table hockey between scheming female nobles. The gist is, “men are petty and do the stupid fighting, but women are the real movers and shakers…high five!” What a wonderful thing to insinuate to young male and female minds. And come on, who cares if this marketing line lends to bogus history or overlooks some important details in the least; it makes a great punch line and gets across, for the umpteenth time, that chicks rule and dudes drool (in case you weren’t aware, by now).

This show is but one of many in a long line of movies and cable programs that are increasingly making female characters the polestar powers of the script in a politicized sort of way. In Oz the Great and Powerful, the bumbling buffoon that is Oz is surrounded by three witches, the truly great forces in the story who are in a war for control of their world. In Snow White and the Huntsman, the male characters are fairly incidental to the most powerful characters in the story: the wicked Queen who is evil incarnate (and I must admit, played wonderfully by Charlize Theron) and Snow White, who, we’re told, represents the essence of all life. Of course. For upcoming movies, try the charming title of Girls Against Boys, where “misandrist overtone” is more of an understatement.

Movies aren’t nearly where the silliness ends, however. Cable shows like American Dad, Everybody Loves Raymond, or The Simpsons tend to portray men as generally goofy, stupid, and inept. Much of children’s programming today isn’t free from such meta messages, either. In the very least, they are guilty of inspiring young girls to be as sassy, conceited, and as cutely arrogant as possible. Remembering Hannah Montana, a show that was and still is avidly consumed by the young female cable viewing population, we may find ourselves noting what type of girl the veritable pissant Miley Cyrus, who regularly snarls at the camera in her videos and threatens her father publicly on Twitter, has grown up to be. Some food for thought, perhaps, about the personalities that are raising our kids when we’re not?

This may seem like a petty gripe. In some ways it is, I suppose, but in some ways it’s really not. Our entertainment, as much as we may like to think so, isn’t just a harmless diversion that ends when we turn off the screen or amble out of the theater. Movies, just like music and the arts, help to inspire and influence the sentiments of the masses. The mythology these stories create conspire to tell us what is true and right, as stories throughout the centuries always have. Books, plays, and orations, which were once the primary media for this story telling, have simply stepped aside for the medium of cinema, roughly 40 years of which have been increasingly devoted to dissing men and boys in commercials, talk shows, cable programs, and the silver screen.

I think it’s about time, if you haven’t done so already as a parent, to guard your young minds against this new sexist media onslaught when at all possible. In the very least, I think it’s vital to balance out the increasingly hostile attitude writers and directors show toward the male sex by having conversations with your children and teens about what they are digesting on a daily basis. Teach them how to spot misandry (you’ll likely need to define what that word even means) and dysfunctional feminine glorification in the media today, if only to balance their perceptions.

Yes, I know…this commentary is coming to you from a site entitled “Humbled Females.” Who are we, exactly, to be complaining about sexism, of all things? A casual visit to our about page will reveal, however, that our way of life is consensual and that, societally speaking, we are not advocating revoking women’s rights to have a job or to vote. The message in this entry today doesn’t have to reside only here, but, perhaps in a space like this, what needs to be said can be said without fear of reprisal or rebuke from sponsors or employers, who are ever on the look-out for anything they perceive as anti-feminist—the new Satan, apparently. I say this not to advocate female submission so much as to put a sober sticky note on the forehead of this agenda called “anti-sexism”—an agenda that modern society, so we’re told, is supposed to support and uphold. And I think it’s time we all, male and female, black and white, liberal or conservative, god fearing or not, recognize that feminism today is often not so much about ending sexism as it is about fashionably asserting a new form of sexism. So please join me in saying that the male bashing has to stop. We can have female equality in society without lowering the perceived value of men and boys. I encourage all who are reading this to boycott films and shows that cater to this increasing cultural disease and counteract the effects of its rhetoric in your children, if you have them. Make an effort to raise awareness about misandry in the media and speak out against it when you can.

You may not subscribe to the message and attitude of our site. After all, we do believe women, generally, have a place in loving service to their men—a place of loving submission. We aren’t afraid of articulating our opinions on the female sex, which certainly aren’t always politically correct. This all is beside the point, however, that the future of real harmony and equality between the sexes in society, if you really value that sort of thing, partially depends on rejecting these condescending attitudes and messages about men.

April 16, 2013

Money: An Ultimate Litmus Test

By Nina E.

Females are, by nature, weak creatures. There are many dangers that we can fall prey to along the path of complete submission to a man. There are, figuratively speaking, deep pits we can stumble into and never escape from; fanged snakes whose venom spreads quickly through our bloodstreams; and enticing detours to restful glens along the side of the road that cause us to forsake the “straight and narrow.” If you are a submissive female, such metaphorical dangers to submission are actually within you. They are part of your mental and emotional makeup, specifically, the part of yourself that seeks to subvert your progress.

In actual life, such dangers may include jealousy, possessiveness, self-importance, resentment, deception, carelessness, bad habits, stress, and fixed ideas that run counter to slavery. While such are the traits of a normal and, for the most part, “healthy” woman, these symptoms of humanity’s common cold sabotage genuine submission and are a particular bane of women who crave to be slaves. Dangers confront the aspiring slave when she allows her inner weaknesses to lead her away from the clear and simple path set down by her master. How she handles such trials reveals a great deal about her nature and can help a prospective master determine whether she can serve him successfully.

Let’s take a closer look at one such danger. Imagine that you are a bird, flying high above the winding, dangerous road that leads to complete surrender and submission. You swoop down now, right above a spot where a well-defined fork occurs. One fork is muddy, dark, and riddled with stones. It heads toward the storm-covered peak of a forbidding mountain. A slave knows this is the way she must go. The other path is grassy and smooth. The sun shines brightly upon it and in the distance can be heard pleasant music from a guesthouse just ahead. Which fork does she choose? In every submissive reader’s mind I can hear the resounding answer, “Up the dark path to my master, of course!” Of course. In painless fantasy the choice is clear and one is certain of oneself. But when it comes time to choose the real-life equivalent of this fork, something very different can happen.

Picture yourself as a prospective slave. You’ve sworn to do anything for the man that you serve. You’re thrilled that he’s given you a chance to prove yourself worthy of him and are determined to show him what a marvelous servant you are. You follow his rules for your life to the letter, overjoyed that this wonderful man has taken an interest in you. You’ve got many of the things that trip up other slaves under control. It’s smooth sailing and everything is perfect. It’s so easy: all you need do is obey him.

Then it happens. The other day, he told you out of the blue that you would be sending him regular, large sums of money from each paycheck. Without fail. But you aren’t even his slave yet! You haven’t even been collared. And yet he’s demanding money from you. You are shocked to the core and you start to panic. You have excuses. Dozens of them. The amount is far too large. You can’t live on what’s left. You can’t save anything, take the vacation you’d planned, get your hair colored and cut, buy a needed car. The excuses, the rationales for needing the money race endlessly through your mind and the stress builds to a head. You’re now determined to show him how unreasonable all this is. It’s too much for you to bear, far too much.

But that is just the start of things. He is not talked out of this demand. He will not see reason. He continues to demand money from his potential slave. So next, the suspicions begin.

“He’s a lazy shyster who doesn’t want to earn his own living, like a real man would. Instead he sponges off hardworking women.”

“He’s going to take all my money for a year or two and then dump me. I’m just a flesh piggybank to him.”

“I don’t really feel comfortable giving money to a relative stranger who hasn’t enslaved me first/isn’t even living with me yet/hasn’t promised to control me for life.”

“He hasn’t even given me an idea of what he’s going to do with the money. OMG! Is he going to use it to shack up with that other slut who serves him?”

With such suspicions (which also provide her with convenient excuses not to obey), the prospective female slave forgets that this is the man she swore to do anything for, the man she vowed to obey fully and serve for the remainder of her life. But apparently doing “anything” for him includes everything except handing over her hard-eared money.

This is what happens with many a woman who considers herself prime slave material. She loves her money far more than she loves her master or else she sees it as some sort of bargaining chip: “You make me your slave or commit to always be there for me and I’ll gladly turn over my paychecks to you. But if you don’t, well, sorry, but I just feel, you know, uneasy about that.”

The demand for money hits most starry-eyed women who imagine they are slaves squarely where they really live.  It quickly uncovers the inherent selfishness in most females, even those who claim they will do anything for a man. It is also a good indicator of how a given female will respond to other serious commands that don’t quite fit into her romantic plans for herself—or for him. If she makes loads of excuses about why she needs to keep most of her money to herself, a man would be wise to count on her doing the same with any other order she dislikes. If she swore absolute devotion to him but then decides he’s a common criminal or user when he demands she provide proof of her devotion, guess how she’ll regard him when he requires something even more difficult. If she suddenly starts finding all sorts of problems with the relationship that she never mentioned before, it’s a sign she’s seeking a way to weasel out of sending him a cent by finding fault with the other things he does.

I’ve seen all of these responses and worse from submissive females as soon as their masters start to demand that they literally “put their money where their mouths are” by handing over a good percentage of their incomes. All of a sudden their carefully hidden greed, parsimoniousness, suspicion, and demands for special consideration that lie nascent in their shriveled little hearts crawl to the surface. It’s extremely ugly to observe.

Why does it happen? Why do most women so tediously and predictably swear to lovingly do a man’s will in all things and to give him anything he might require then completely go back on their word as soon as money is mentioned? To many of us, money represents energy, it represents hard work or perhaps something that was handed down to us and that we “deserve” to have. It is “our” energy and we feel this deep in our selfish bones despite our romantic self-beliefs that we can give up all in order to serve a worthy man. Theoretically, submissive women are thrilled by the idea of taking that hard, cold, road up the mountain. But then, when faced with their first true difficulty, their gigantic me-first SELF jumps out of the bushes and says, “HEL-LO?” The female predictably thinks, “To hell with this s–t,” pulls out a few lame excuses that make her disobedience OK in her own eyes, and then trots down the far more conventional (and certainly more comfortable) grassy path to the warm comfy guesthouse that awaits her around life’s easy bend.

Some of us deeply feel, down to our very core, that our money is ours and ours only to dispense as we will, not at the command of another. Our ability to hand it over or not rests largely on what is inside us: are we truly as unselfish, giving, generous, and trusting as we claimed we were? Or are we the standard female product of this day and age: a greedy, suspicious little grubber always looking out for her own best interests but at the same time proclaiming loudly how pure she is? Money is energy, and if we are willing, even joyous, to provide that energy to the one we serve so that he may grow stronger (even if as a result we grow weaker) and if we do this passionately and without care for our own situation or survival then we prove our real worth to a master. We prove that we actually do care about him more than we care about ourselves.

I am convinced that relinquishing money is one of the primary tests of a woman’s genuine desire to be a slave. It is not the only test she will face, but it can be a pivotal one: it can accurately predict her future behavior as a slave. There is nothing that will tell you more about a woman’s true attitude toward servitude than how she responds to a demand for a significant amount of money from the one she serves. To judge this truly, a man can’t trust what she says about her willingness to pay up. She may just be slyly mouthing the expected words.  Instead, he has to observe how she actually performs when repeated demands for money are made. Does she give it instantly, willingly and cheerfully, thrilled to be of service? Can she see it as a sacred privilege and a strong sign of her master’s trust? Even more importantly, is she still providing it six months from now, without missing a single tithe or coming up with excuses for why it’s not available? (This assumes that you have demanded a reasonable sum that doesn’t make it impossible for her to live.) And now that she’s giving you cash, does she still treat you with the same loving respect and awe that she first expressed when she was trying to win your favor and prove herself? Or has she become irritable and demanding, suspicious or even snidely condescending? Does she act like she has “bought” you? Has she started to resent you, to suspect you of treating her falsely? These are all signs that money’s corruption has seeped deep into her soul and that she cares far more about protecting “her own” than giving everything she has and is to you.

Women would do well to bear the following old, but relevant, wisdom in mind before embarking upon the hard road of slavery:

No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.  —Luke 16:13

March 30, 2013

There, away, and back again

By Katie B.

Then Hwin, though shaking all over, gave a strange little neigh and trotted across to the Lion. “Please,” she said, “you’re so beautiful. You may eat me if you like. I’d sooner be eaten by you than fed by anyone else.”

I read these words from a children’s book when I was a little girl with a sense of wonder and deep curiosity. I liked the image evoked by the words, “I’d sooner be eaten by you than fed by anyone else,” and I wanted to know what sort of person could make me feel that way about them. I wondered what it would be like to want to give myself so completely to someone that I would be willing to be consumed by them? I wasn’t sure, but my instincts told me that I would like it.

I spent most of my adolescence feeling lost. I was more “serious,” I suppose, than many of my peers and I felt like I was constantly searching for purpose. I struggled with feeling out of step with what girls my age wanted from their interaction with boys. While my peers were enjoying the full range of teenage girl emotions and the experience of having boys fawning over them, I wasn’t drawn to the guys who would let me lead the way. The part of me that the passage from the book had touched when I was young stuck with me, or more accurately, touched something within me. Even before I could really name what it was that felt missing from my life, I was searching for someone who would make me feel the way that little “Hwin” had felt.  I found myself attracted to men older than me, mostly because I felt secure around their confidence and I liked their natural ability to command authority. I felt it was important for them to notice me, not for the sake of having their attention (although I liked knowing that they were pleased with me) but for the sole reason that I wanted to be useful to them. This was completely different than the “girl power” message all around me and I was beginning to think something was wrong with me.

The moment I first learned about submission—overt submission—is not a moment that I will ever forget: it was as though a secret door had been unlocked and there were answers to so many of the questions I hadn’t even known how to ask.

After my initial introduction to the world of dominance and submission I learned that it would still take time, effort, and understanding to really find fulfillment in being a submissive female. I was ravenous for this information, so I sought out every outlet the Internet could afford to get more. I learned that there was a lot of conflicting information to wade through, but there was a glimmer of something that felt right, and so I pushed on.  I never bought into the “scene.” To be honest, it was really confusing to me. What I was looking for was something simple, with less fancy terminology and rules, more actual service. I didn’t want to be the glamorous slave girl who spent half her time in an alternate reality, and the rest in the “real world,” I wanted submission to be the reality I lived in. I did enjoy, nonetheless, having an outlet where it felt OK to be myself and interacting with other submissive females. I learned a lot from hearing their stories and I began to recognize that the females who best exemplified what I longed to experience in submission had one thing in common: Masters who understood that being a master was not just a role to play.

I realized, at some point, that I had become so distracted by everything the D/s community had to offer in the way of telling me about submission, that I had forgotten the thing that had drawn me in the first place: the idea of the truly dominant man. At that point my attention began to shift away from the shiny new world of D/s and settled back where it had started with that feeling of wanting to be utterly consumed. There had to be a man somewhere who could draw me to himself, trembling, and begging to be devoured.

Meeting Dominance

When I finally met real dominance it was an eye opening and life altering experience, as it should be! From the very first time I read something he’d written in the community we both participated in, I knew he was different than any other man I had come across and I wanted desperately to talk to him. I was drawn to him like a moth to a flame. There was something striking about the way he expressed himself. His conviction was so solid, he never hesitated to say the things that other men would only let themselves think. I felt compelled towards him, but finding the courage to actually send him a message was another thing altogether. It literally took months for me get myself to type something and press send and I don’t even remember what I wrote! I was certain that he got a million messages a day and that there could be no chance of him ever responding to mine. But I was wrong.

Under his instruction my life began to change drastically. I felt like I was finally able to focus and see clearly. I was happy and healthier than I had ever been, it seemed that my femininity blossomed under his guidance. Like the females I had wanted to be like, his dominance brought out in me real submission.  It was such a natural response, I didn’t have to contrive how I would submit: it was an automatic response to his will. It felt right to let go of my own will and take instruction. Letting go of things I’d struggled to control and putting them into his hands gave me a sense of rest and security that I’d never known before.

I was so close to realizing the type of life that I should have been living, but unfortunately, I was less mature than I’d believed and wasn’t able to see the small things that I allowed into my head that would eventually lead to doubt. I’d gotten so good at trusting myself to know real dominance when I finally found it, that trust was the one thing that I didn’t know how to surrender. I had myself convinced that I trusted him through and through, but what I was really invested in was my own ability to predict how dominance would act.

This, of course, meant that the first time something I couldn’t have predicted came up, my whole world shattered and everything I’d found security in suddenly seemed unsure. I blamed him for having broken my trust, but the truth was the only person I had trusted was myself. I started to wonder if I had been wrong about it all, so I panicked and ran. It’s funny, I realized enough to know that I needed to be dominated by someone who knew his place in the world, but I couldn’t see that I wasn’t fully accepting mine. I had trusted myself so much to know what was best for me, but when I took submission fully into my own hands, it was a disaster. Without the balance and wisdom of a man to guide me, the very things that had been making me a better female began to destroy me. I was angry and I thought I was angry at him, but the truth was that I was angry at myself: I was grasping for things to control, but the reality is that I don’t want control and the effort to try to be in control was tearing me apart. The physical and mental consequences of my failed attempt at being my “own master” were appropriately severe, in fact, though there are times when I think they should have been worse. The experience taught me, however, that submission isn’t simply beneficial to me as a female, it’s essential to my femininity.

What I Know Now

The trouble with trying to run from submission was that no matter where I ran, it was still there because it’s a part of who I am. No matter how far I thought I had gotten from it, it still managed to manifest itself in all areas of my life, and I found that I was most happy when it did. I’ve learned that the “trust” that we talk about a lot of the time really isn’t trust at all. How can trust demand security with no risk? As females, trust is something we must learn to give as an act of faith rather than expect to have earned. We can’t give of ourselves completely until we can trust blindly and openly. Is that scary? Yes. Does it make you vulnerable? Absolutely. But if we can’t cross that line, face the fear, and submit our trust, we are regarding ourselves and not our masters as the ultimate authority.

Today I realize that the only way to find fulfillment is to truly submit without expectations about what the future will look like, except that whatever future comes I will face it as submissive female. No running, no hiding, no withholding—just humility.

When I was younger I wanted to submit because it seemed right, now I serve because I know that it’s right and that there is no other way for me.

December 19, 2012

Unification

By Marc Esadrian

Over the past 12 months, a great deal of effort and planning went into making the Humbled Females website. That work wasn’t only relegated to the administrative side, however. The community itself has done its share in building what this site is today and it’s something we can all be proud of, I think. There’s still more articles to write and theory to hash out in the forums, as I suspect there always will be, but so far, so good.

One of the recurrent problems throughout the existence of the revitalization, however, was the presence of the preexisting site, humbledfemales.net, which was a reboot of the previous original effort (yes, the history is a bit confusing). An enthusiast of the original Livejournal community, back in the days of 2006, who went by the name of “Justine” acquired the domain name after it lapsed and subsequently republished the copyrighted materials from the old, original site that I owned. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that upon discovery, given that I had inevitably let the site close in 2009-2010. We got in contact and hashed out our differences. In doing so, I learned her intentions were merely to bring what was dear to her back to life, and while we didn’t fully see eye to eye on everything per se, I gave permission to republish the articles from the old site as she added new ones. As for the Livejournal community, I agreed to her co-managing the site with me, and so all was fairly well.

In late 2011, however, I decided to rebuild the original vision of Humbled Females. Why? I felt the community needed direction again, especially in light of the Livejournal’s stagnation and the fact that the new domain owner and I didn’t quite see eye to eye on everything. Since I didn’t own the .com domain name, I purchased the .net and .org domains instead, and, voila: the site we have today was born. All along, however, I had been attempting to convince the .com’s owner, “Justine,” to merge our domains together. Because of our mildly conflicting visions, it has not always been the easiest of dialogs between us.

But today I’m happy to announce that the confusing rivalry of the two Humbled Females websites haunts the Internet no longer. In a pleasing turn of events, Justine gracefully decided to give in to my call for unification. As of today, Humbled Females spans the three major domain extensions: .com, .net, and .org.

What this means

The reacquisition of the .com domain extension, along with established copyright and trademark protection, carves out a much stronger and more stable presence online for Humbled Females. Our visibility in search engine results will increase markedly, meaning we’ll be a little easier to find on major search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Dogpile, Mahalo, and DuckDuckGo. That means more sign-ups and more support for the site. Most importantly of all, however, it means we now speak with one voice. And that’s a very good thing.

I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Justine, the previous owner/manager of the .com domain from 2010-2012, for her help in unifying the domains. Her cooperation in bringing our sites together was critical, and so my personal appreciation runs high for her in doing so.

Happy Holidays to you all and I hope to see more growth and continued good news for Humbled Females in 2013!

October 10, 2012

D/s and the Digital Cult Of Personality

By Marc Esadrian

The Internet: it’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

Especially for those who practice dominant-submissive relationships, the creation of the Internet was a watershed moment for anonymous and remote communication. Pre-Internet, the fear of being stigmatized for one’s prurient interests were walls that kept social exploration of such interests effectively hammered down among all but the most daring. But when the Internet did arrive, it became a means of connecting to others by shared interests without the risk of personal exposure. If you had long been haunted/blessed by strongly submissive or dominant motives and unable to practice these things for lack of finding a willing partner to take the opposite role, the “information superhighway” and all its wonderful anonymity tore down those barriers for minds across the globe that, until the advent of such communication, would have never have had the chance to make union before.

So here we are, all together online in a big melting pot of collective consciousness, all sharing our ideas, all learning and evolving from all the experiences and perceptions we have to share. We’re so much more well-rounded now because of the Internet. Or are we?

As anyone who has even the slightest notion of how news blogs react to scandal before having any solid facts, how libelous mere Tweets can become, or how much anger and argument drives the larger proportion of Internet message boards, one will inevitably concede there’s more to the Internet than merely a superhighway for information. The Internet has a dark side: it’s just as easily a misinformation superhighway, too.

This is the digital age in a content-rich medium of countless sources and opinions. Today, we can easily “choose our news” and preset the spin that suits us best. On the Internet, we can all too easily elect association with personalities and ideas that stroke our world-views and perpetuate comforting half-truths without verifying anything grounded in reality. This monster has a tentacle in the “BDSM” community as well, on message boards and groups that associate with terms such as master and slave, owner and property, or total power exchange. Within these groups the phenomenon of politics and popularity is alive and well and it’s not long before visitors begin learning who the celebrities are. In the virtual world of M/s chat, the cool kids are those who identify as having “a lot of experience.” After all, they’re in relationships that have lasted X amount of years. Their profiles say so. But beyond that, they may seem popular, well-liked, and tend to garner applause from whatever group in which they have their roots firmly settled. This network of users quite often chats behind the scenes, forming alliances and intimate dyads with other users. Beneath the floorboards of public discourse, another current of communication is always buzzing through PM and a network of remote relationships begins to develop. Before long, the group is marbled with these alliances. Suddenly, critical discourse isn’t so much about being critical over the heart of things discussed: it’s about influence, affirmations, and communal back patting. It’s about backing up your buddy at the expense of intellectual honesty. In such places, the fate of group discussions becomes a smarmy strength in numbers game, no matter how ignorant or creatively dishonest those who make up those numbers are.

Ironically, it’s “submissive females” I see doing this quite often online (which reflects, no doubt, the indirect aggression of female cliques in real life). How many times, for instance, have we seen an individual who identifies as a dominant male make an open statement, only to have the “submissive female mafia” descend upon him and tell him how wrong he is in a dog pile that grows increasingly belittling and mocking? Within the course of a few replies, this hapless visitor has somehow managed to personally insult dozens of users who find it perfectly justified to pitch ugly jabs his (or her) way and take his (or her) words completely out of rational context for the sake of snark. Just what exactly is going on in these scenarios? Is it that the newcomer’s ideas are universally abhorrent or is it that such ideas have not properly genuflected and observed the delicate feelings of a tight-knit cyber support group? Things to contemplate, I think.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with liking the personalities people present online and forming friendships that occasionally migrate to the real world. There’s nothing wrong with friends list building and finding yourself among said groups online. But is wanting to be liked and accepted (and continue being accepted) by a group reason enough to forgo critical discourse or keeping a truly open, fair, and balanced discussion? Is it reason enough to ignore basic courtesy? Is it reason enough for a submissive female to forget that no matter wherever she goes in the world, she is a reflection of her master and should thus demonstrate the better angels of her nature? Perhaps for some, it is.

I feel a little differently, however. I like to keep politics and the cult of personality out of good debate and discussion. I think that when we make the discourse at hand about the subject and not about the person and his/her popularity or ability to tow the politically correct line in a group, a chance for the expansion of good discussion (and freedom from from groupthink) comes into play.

Where online discussion board celebrities are concerned, I’d warn to be vigilant of their sociable influence while they quietly murder rational thinking in the other room. Liking someone is not a good enough reason to ignore the validity of their opponent’s points and to do so is tantamount to being an enemy of truth. And while we’re on the subject of truth, I’d like to remind everyone to take what they see and read online with a certain grain of salt. There is no defacto arrangement of words, phrases, or story telling that guarantees someone can be verified as “sincere” in what they’re showing or expressing online, but this often doesn’t keep people from assigning certain online characters more clout in a discussion group, due to their charisma and bold claims of experience.  Online, we can dress up in words in any way we wish with impunity. That is the virtual nature of the Internet. One really needs to keep that in mind when considering expressions of “experience” online and how much we invest in them.

Ultimately, I look at the thought or argument or idea expressed, not the person’s credentials formed of a self-styled resume, their number of years lived “in the lifestyle,” or their popularity level in a group. What I care about is the thread count of their ideas, described experiences, visions, and what can be gleaned from them. And I trust they care about what I have to contribute, in turn. That is the atmosphere I hope Humbled Females continues to contain and project well into the future as our reader membership increases.

August 25, 2012

The Humbled Females Primer and Other Updates

By Marc Esadrian

It has been a long time coming, but the primer is finally here. When I announced it this past May, I had no idea it would take this long to set up credit card processing. The verification and compliance hoops a merchant has to go through and the money one needs to put forward in getting set up for this is a little obscene, but we did it! The Humbled Females Primer On Ethos is at last available for access for a very reasonable cost.

Additionally, the Subscribers area will provide a slowly growing collection of imagery, video, and audio media content. Those who sign up will have access to this material for one full month. The sign-ups are non-recurring for the moment, as the content is pretty sparse. That will change in the future, of course.

To purchase our recently published primer and access our media area, click here.

With all that said, I want to make it very clear to everyone that everything but the private subscribers area will be 100% free. We still have an endless amount of articles to write and a limitless amount of subjects to discuss in the forums. Our site does have to find a way of supporting itself, however, and having a subscription area is the best way to achieve that. When we’ve raised enough money, Humbled Females will be moving to a dedicated server, meaning we’ll have a hosting system in place running strictly for Humbled Females. Things will be faster and more responsive on the site. Download speeds will increase and social functions will be instant.

We are gradually making little improvements to the forums as well and a new profile design is in the works. All things considered, we have been pretty busy behind the scenes to make this site more stable and solid. We’ve slowly been getting more members, too, and that’s always encouraging to see. Please tell your friends (of like-mind) about this community and encourage them to join and participate in the conversations. Unlike many of the popular social pools surrounding the acts of fetish, our site is solely devoted to the subject of authentic female submission and male dominance without the usual hyper-inclusivity and politically correct nonsense one finds in the larger networks. As long as we stay true to that goal—and we plan to—I think we’ve cut out a very unique space on the web for those who take relationships such as these seriously and I hope that your support continues in the years to come!

May 25, 2012

50 Shades of Grey

By Marc Esadrian

“If I do this thing, will he be my boyfriend?”

Well, someone has finally done it, as you probably know by now: BDSM erotica has been brought out of the shadows and into the garish light of mainstream “mommy porn” publishing. Indeed, there is still a buzz going on about the book, 50 Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.  After a thorough review of the books (yes, it’s a trilogy, for those of you who have been living under a rock and still haven’t had the details of this book crammed down your throat yet), there isn’t much to be excited about for those with a lick of real-world experience.

We’ve read such things before and in various iterations with far greater intensities, aside of having lived the commonly described scenarios out in real flesh. Delve into the history of erotic literature and you’ll find the legacy of shady erotic fiction present with us since the days of De Sade and beyond. Delve into human history and you’ll find the practice of bondage and discipline during sex isn’t exactly new. But for a very wide swath of impressionable readers, these subjects might as well have come from Mars—sexy Mars, that is.

50 Shades of Grey may not be such a revolution to the erotic literature world or those who practice master-slave and dominant-submissive relationships, but it may very well be a great example of the viral power of e-publishing and the practical use of writing fan fiction. Perhaps all those Harry Potter and Twilight fan fiction writers now feel just a little more justified with their keyboard hobbies? As a tale that is apparently interwoven with “shades” of domination-submission and what some might naively label darker sexual themes, the result, ultimately, is still a typical romance story pattern dressed up in saucier threads. Good woman Anastasia Steele meets Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome, Christian Grey, who is a bit shady, but she gradually tames him as he obsessively courts her under the enigmatic guise of reserve. Of course he’s terribly young and handsome. Of course he is a billionaire with his own private helicopters, and a man who buys mansions upon a whim. Of course he speaks fluent French, is well-endowed, and incredible in bed. Of course he treated all the other women like servants and deviant paramours—until the female protagonist steps into his life. Then he’s smitten, but tells her nonetheless to keep her distance—such delicious conflict. And, of course (spoiler alert), they eventually live happily ever after and—ta da!—married with children in a palatial home dripping with wealth. A perfect teen vision, perhaps?

Banality aside, the books are amusing reads…for guilty pleasure reading, that is. It’s clear Ms. James is an entertaining writer, if not a little repetitive. The slanted subtexts in the story leave much to be desired, however, and as much as I’m happy to see the mainstream bestsellers list contain a book associated with the pariah that is BDSM (that is, the pariah it tends to be when Rhianna or Brittany Spears aren’t singing about it), I’m not entirely thrilled about the stereotypes it portrays about those who are partial to these practices—playtime or otherwise. For instance, we learn that Christian Grey, the dominant male character in the story, is the way he is, for the most part, due to severe childhood abuse. Well, of course he’s that way; his mother was a crack whore. And now the fact that he’s an eccentric deviant with a penchant for dominating women makes perfect sense! I’m sure the American Psychological Association would agree, as well as what remains of Kraft-Ebing’s cliff notes.

Little gems like these in the story are pretty toxic to the idea of accepting the practice of domination-submission positively and looking at it as thus. We learn as the tale progresses that Christian Grey is basically a freak tormented by demons of his terrible past, where his mother’s pimp would put cigarettes out on his chest, for instance. He’s taken in by rich foster parents and by the time he’s a grown young man in his late twenties he is the head of a multibillion dollar enterprise. The protagonist, Anastasia, is required to sign a “contract” that gives Grey complete control of her life—including her sex life (they haggle over the details by email—an enchanting discourse, without a doubt). Grey, being the eccentric, control-mad pervert that he is from his childhood of abuse, introduces our virgin 21 year-old flower (why are virgins always more attractive as romantic heroines in these stories?) to bondage and Sadism, and for her, it’s oh so very overwhelming, but exciting, and it’s not long before she’s rattling off orgasm after orgasm and listening to her “inner goddess” as she navigates the path of submission. Excuse me?

I could go on, but I won’t, as that might prove to be rather boring. The plot, stretched over three books, serves as little more than staging for the next sex scene—but this is par for the course with romance novels, is it not? Needless to say, this trilogy is enjoying popularity because it somehow found its way into the mainstream, and we all know the topics in these books are seldom explored in the mainstream. In that light, the 50 Shades series of books successfully exploited an interestingly untapped niche. But does it truly deserve to sit pretty there, enjoying all this hype? Is it possible a better series of books could be sitting in its place? I doubt I have to explain my obvious position on either of those questions.

Without a doubt, 50 Shades has its flaws. My primary contention is how silly—and toxic—the story casts the practice of dominance and submission. Readers are aligned to view these practices as a result of damage, emotional instability, and an inability to properly seek intimacy. In that sense, how far along have we come in this book compared to such wonderful television shows as CSI or Law & Order, which chronically pathologize master-slave and BDSM relationships for the sake of entertainment? The crumby reality is it hasn’t really come too far at all, and that’s a shame, for the opportunity to present male dominance as something positive and natural and female submission as something actualized and informed has been lost once again. I have no doubt these books have helped a large demographic of people to find interest in such practices, though I tend to wonder what preconceptions will need to be debunked and outright smashed as they proceed to explore the reality of dominance and submission. In this sense, 50 Shades Of Grey has conspired to support the mainstream’s perfect cognitive dissonance on the subject of personal subjugation, which is to say, a distanced love-hate relationship with it all. I hope you’re ready, ladies and gentlemen: the next wave of the kinky and slightly confused are already among us.


 

May 17, 2012

The Humbled Females Primer

By Marc Esadrian

I’m happy to announce that the Humbled Female’s media area will be up and running soon. Along with an initial offering of images, we are providing a small booklet outlining the overall premise of our community and its core philosophies. It’s not an incredibly large body of work (just under fifty pages), but it does officially make the founding principles and convictions of the Humbled Females community clear. A dissertation on the sexes follows a brief overview of the Humbled Females effort since its inception, after which attention will be given to describing, more than in previous efforts, what constitutes the dominant male and submissive female, as idealized in this small but particular world of ours. In reflection, the virtues of the female which make her a natural servant are explored, too.

Obviously, the primer discusses male/female behavior and interaction, relationship philosophy, and, as it goes perhaps without saying, feminism and sexual politics in society. Why do we cover all that ground in this publication? Simply, because it’s time to start dispatching some myths that have built up over the years about Humbled Females. There are some people—most from the BDSM community itself, interestingly enough—who believe we represent nothing but thinly veiled misogyny, that we are a community based upon hate, sexism, and non-consensuality.

In truth, Humbled Females is many things, but some lines had to be drawn somewhere for those all too eager to paint us with a particular brush. First and foremost, Humbled Females is about identifying, harnessing and fostering submission in females and encouraging authentic dominance in males—it’s not about simply despising women. If that were the case, we’d have much less to say on our site, without a doubt. In fact, we wouldn’t have much of a site at all, as the message would be pretty repetitive. Are we sexist? Apparently, but it’s not so much a prejudice as it is a passion and heartfelt belief that drives our philosophy and way of life. Prejudice—the heart of sexism—is a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Our practices and beliefs are quite the contrary: we have thought about male/female relationships, to put it as succinctly as possible, a lot. Our convictions, as shocking and upsetting as they may be to many, are certainly based upon some pretty good reasoning, not fantasy, disinformation, or wishful thinking. Desite claims to the contrary, there’s plenty of truth behind the convictions, goals, and overall expressed direction of the Humbled Females community. That direction has zilch to do with raw hatred and ignorance.

While we’re at it, it’s time to tackle the absurd non-consensuality canard as well. Let me be very, very clear: Humbled Females does not condone non-consensual acts perpetrated against females. Cyber snarks and self-important leather celebrities can insinuate such things until they’re blue in the face, but Humbled Females will always advocate consensual acts and relationships between male and female. We may not quite dig the “SSC” thing, or subscribe to the “100 Rules of Responsibility for Masters,” but all relationships we advocate and envision are consensual. They have to be. Submission is always far better by choice, not mindless tyranny.

With that all out of the way, look for our primer soon. It will be available for download at the price of $8.95, and your purchase will go toward helping us maintain and continue to build the Humbled Females website and community—the bulk of which will always be free of cost.

April 5, 2012

The Crux


Is your love strong enough?

Keywords: , ,

February 12, 2012

Cynicism

By Marc Esadrian

If one happens to frequent online social networks all about BDSM in mind, a few patterns may be seen eventually—some of them positive and some of them, well, not so positive. Challenging mainstream ignorance about sexuality has always been a strong suit of the BDSM crowd. I say crowd rather than lifestyle because BDSM, as it is now, has metastasized into something so large and inclusive that it’s impossible to speak of it with any particularity.

One thing the group has managed to do with its hyper-inclusiveness is foster an environment where words like “master” or “slave” mean little more than anything you want them to mean. Indeed, when perusing any board centered around these concepts, you’ll read such pearls of wisdom as “the difference between a submissive and slave are the letters,” or “we all know this isn’t real slavery,” or (my personal favorite) “there’s no such thing as truth in master-slave—it’s all up to the people involved to decide what the words mean.”

In a world teeming with cliques of milquetoast “masters” and sycophant “slaves” all conspiring to further a culture rife with somewhat lazy thinking, it’s easy to get a little cynical about the vision you hold dear to your heart, a vision where a woman may serve wholly and completely, in purity, love, and sacrifice, and a man may enthusiastically enforce the servitude and worship of his woman (or women) without any spiders in the milk, so to speak. It’s easy to become jaded by the illusions one sees in a plastic online world of paper lords and narcissistic “kajiras.” In places like Fetlife, for instance, we see these types all the time, stirring the pot, flaunting their self-obsession, ignorance, and disdain. And then there are, of course, the horror stories we hear of the mirages people have fallen prey to. We hear about the fakers and takers and about the disappointments and betrayals of trust. We hear, inevitably, about the blind leading the blind in a nefarious garden of fantasy, half-truths and outright lies. Navigating this underworld of ours is challenging, to say the very least, so challenging it sometimes feels like an exercise in futility.

What conspires to poison the ecosytem even more is the cynicism that naturally arises with all of this, and nowhere is the cost of this cynicism more toxic than in those who yearn to find a master or consensual slave who is the real deal. At some point, one may decide enough is enough and be done with the circus of commercialization and window dressing that gambols around these sincere human drives—drives that aren’t half as prolific as we would be led to believe in the fetish collective. The abhorrence of all this kinky silliness and smugness masquerading as something other than it really is becomes quite understandable, but I think we all have to be careful about throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as they say, when combing humanity for those rare beings we desire.

Humbled Females isn’t only about master and slave, but those who are inclined to pursue such a way of life would do well to reflect upon the simple fact that relationships of such extremes have never been the majority of even the select group of alternative lifestyle folk who find it easy to toss such words around. Men with enough self-actualization, dominance, caring, and leadership ability to be masters are very rare individuals and women suited to serve as consensual slaves are perhaps just as rare. In short, we have to do a reality check about the candy-coated online world of so-called power exchange. We should remember that supply and demand for the deeper shades of control and surrender, in reality, is often within the minority and nowhere near clustered around the casual mean.

It may be tempting to write everyone off in this little universe of ours as players or grudgingly conclude that master-slave is really about nothing more than creative sex for couples and deviant paramours. At times, it may seem affectation and sensual frivolity is all there is to it, but don’t write us all off as nothing but that. Some of us, believe it or not, are the real deal and take leadership and responsibility to another level. We may not be easy to find, but we’re out there, scattered far and wide amid the blandlands.

January 17, 2012

On Intellectual Property and Copyright Protection

By Marc Esadrian

As most who are familiar with my creative values will know, I am highly supportive of the idea copyright should be enforced regularly and fairly across the Internet. I detest thieves who steal the original work of artisans and content producers, only to pawn it off as their own so as to profit from it in some form. Frankly, we all know intellectual property and content theft is a problem on the Internet. We also know the digital world, overall, is a magnet for these unscrupulous practices and simultaneously a justification for stealing. With a simple drag and drop and a few clicks, Internet thieves and careless users can severely harm the creative or monetary rights of others. Something does have to be done about the way we protect copyright on the Internet, even if in small steps.

At the same time, however, we don’t want to stifle the very essence of what makes the Internet so viable and worthwhile for all of humanity. While ensuring the protection of copyright and intellectual property, we don’t want to smother free speech and free expression, or the freedoms needed in the digital age to make worthwhile human use of the Internet beyond the almighty profit motive.

Currently, there are two bills working their way though the United States Congress and Senate, both backed by large corporate interests (MPAA, GoDaddy, etc.), to give government the power to work in unison with these corporate interests to change the way the Internet works, from Google search results, to social networking sites, to websites in general, in and outside the United States. These two bills are the United States Senate’s Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bills. Unlike the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), PIPA and SOPA make little to no compromise between the Internet community and its producers. These bills, while perhaps well-intentioned on some level, go too far; they would effectively give government and big business too much power to change the Internet as we know it today, allowing authorities to block a site’s web and search traffic using the same website censorship methods used by China and Iran. These bills would likewise flood the digital economy with substantially increased legal risk. Certainly, the “Land of the Free” can do better than that.

Here’s a fairly good video summary of what these laws intend, if you would like to learn more.

SOPA, at the time of this posting, has been “shelved” (for now), but PIPA is still active, and a potential threat. Please help the Internet community reject these bills in favor of better or existing alternatives for user freedom and copyright protection. Write to your local state representative and let your voice be heard. You can write to your representative easily with Mozilla’s help by clicking here.

January 1, 2012

Humbled Females Begins Anew

By Marc Esadrian

It has been some time since the first Humbled Females website was rolled out and its corresponding Livejournal community was created back in 2006. The launch of this website on the first of January, 2012 marks a new beginning in the direction of not only a website, but a philosophy about males and females we believe contains some degree of wisdom, even for the mildly curious passerby. This philosophy was free from being framed in terms of bedroom bondage mystique, the leather/latex crowd, campy fantasy novel cults, religious mythology or 1950’s lifestyle nostalgia. In short, Humbled Females, since its beginning, was about getting away from these structures and stereotyped forms, to place a hand upon the neck of consensual female submission, unclouded by limited orthodoxies and canons of value that have long since lived out their intellectual worth, though do generally serve to illustrate a pattern of human obsession with humbling the female and keeping her (ideally) submissive. We continue the original precept of Humbled Females by focusing upon the ethos of female submission to male dominance without apology. What makes women tend to gravitate toward domestic roles, even though it’s not “fashionable” to do so? Why are female humans almost always physically weaker than their male counterparts throughout the discernible timeline of our species? Why have male-dominated religions and societies ruled the course of humanity since we can remember? Why do a great number of women secretly fantasize about being dominated and kept by their masculine ideals, even while they attempt to uphold the images of “alpha women” in modern society? Why do so many men dream of keeping and possessing their women as servants to their desires? We believe there are real answers to these questions. We also believe the answers to these questions and musings can rationally support a way of life that encourages female submission to overt male authority in intimate relationships. We believe it is a key to happiness and fulfillment between the sexes.

Not all people will agree with our point of view on Humbled Females, of course. In fact, we don’t expect a tremendous number of members to sign up for its publications and forums. For a number of sociopolitical reasons, contemporary western individuals who tend to believe in and embrace the natural good of authentic female submission beyond fetish are not exactly as numerous as those you’d find in any general “BDSM catch-all” community. For this reason, we expect the Humbled Females community to grow slowly and gradually in number, and that’s quite alright with us. We are not for everyone, nor shall we ever attempt to be.

The litmus test for our value to you is fairly straightforward. With such simple yet polarizing (and one might say “impolite”) directives, it shouldn’t take you long to decide if this site is a site you’d find worthwhile. If you do find value in intellectual discussion focused squarely upon female submission to male dominance, if you’d like to mention the words “female submission” or even “slave” without the usual fetish trappings and t-shirts, if you believe in the good of authentic male authority over the female in a consensual relationship, if you believe that a woman is happiest when pleasing the man she loves with all her heart and soul, and if you believe a woman by nature of her sex should be kept by an insightful, intelligent, and capable male possessor, Humbled Females may well be the forum you’ve been looking for on the Internet. We welcome you with open arms and encourage you to join our community.