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.

 


September 12, 2014

Man vs. Guy

By Katie B.

real men-guys-masculinity-dominance

Artwork ©Francoise Nielly

I am an avid reader, you might say, one with a particular love for fiction and the art of story-telling. I admire the ability of a writer to craft a story that captures the imagination of a reader and lures it into a rich world of discovery. The best fictional stories, in my opinion, are ones grounded with elements of realism. Instead of creating worlds and ideas based strictly on the impossible, these works of fiction give us a flavor of things we recognize while building upon their possibilities. These writers have a gift, not merely for painting into the picture that already exists, but also for clearly seeing the original picture and directing a reader’s attention to those details that will enrich his or her real-life experience, for those details aren’t make-believe; they are true.

Most often I see this flicker of truth come to life in a story’s depiction of men. Writers can justify writing about men as they are or should be without the usual nod to modern sex politics because, hey, it’s only a story, after all. These male fictional characters are brave. They pursue their target—whether it be a female, an enemy, or an achievement—with confidence. They are in control of their emotions without being passionless; they don’t wait for authority to be given to them, they take it. They are generally wise. They recognize strength, for they know it within themselves and they don’t fear it in others. Men like Jane Austin’s Mr. Darcy, Sherlock Holmes, Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, King Arthur, Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird), and James Bond both entrance and inspire us. They are, each in their own way, great men, strong men, deserving of admiration and even love for the ways in which they better the world and the people around them.

The “guy” is a breed of male who, to me, makes an impression that is fleeting and almost ineffectual. Having been verbally castrated with a gender neutralized reference that banishes him somewhere between boyhood and metrosexualism, the guy is hard to take seriously by serious women—outside of, perhaps, interest in his wallet.

As I recognize these traits of real masculinity, I can’t help but ask, what has happened to men? You know, men in the real world (not in fiction). Why is crossing the path of a man who embodies the truths these stories echo such a rare occurrence? I have encountered only a handful men who were examples of the masculinity I naturally crave as a woman and it is more than just a little frightening to me that evidence of that type of masculinity seems to be ever dwindling.

From my vantage point, the standard of masculinity that is modeled in modern men is slowly being morphed into something that bears little resemblance to generations of men past. In American culture, at least, it seems we have traded in our understanding of traditional male identity for a washed-out version that inspires despondency. Today, instead of men, we have somewhat dubious “guys.”

The “guy” is a breed of male who, to me, makes an impression that is fleeting and almost ineffectual. Having been verbally castrated with a gender neutralized reference that banishes him somewhere between boyhood and metrosexualism, the guy is hard to take seriously by serious women—outside of, perhaps, interest in his wallet. He is a living effigy burdened by misandrist caricatures like the simple, needy fool with a raging Oedipus complex that women condescendingly accept into their lives and then proceed to wisely manage or the well-meaning, comic bumbler who always screws important things up. The guy wasn’t always this way. At one time, we called adult males men. Men were respected and hardly the constant butt ends of degrading jokes used in countless commercials, movies, and modern sitcom punchlines.1

So where did the term “guy” come from, anyway? The origin of the word is actually quite peculiar in that it’s an eponym from a person in history once named “Guy.” His full name was Guy Fawkes, a Catholic dissident who was hanged in England for his involvement in what came to be known as the “Gunpowder Plot” in 1605.  Fawkes and his co-conspirators had schemed to blow up the Parliament while King James I and the aristocracy held opening council inside.  Fawkes’ plan, we’re told, was foiled only at the last moment of attempting to light the fuses of gunpowder-filled barrels that had been smuggled into a cellar beneath the Parliament.2

The thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot made November 5th “Guy Fawkes Day,” which became a holiday in England marked by bonfires, fireworks, and burning straw effigies of Fawkes. These incendiary dolls were called “guys,” and the term guy later on came to be associated with a person of bizarre appearance. Somewhere in the 19th century, “guy” became associated with “man,” and more recently, the term has taken on a gender-neutral quality. On that note, if you research gender language you’ll find the term “guy” is one of a growing number of male-oriented terms that are being embraced as “gender-neutral.” In 1999 Steven J. Clancy wrote an article for American Speech entitled “The Ascent of Guy” in which he said:

“The word guy so pervades American speech that a detailed account of it would hardly seem necessary, yet the multiple meanings of the word guy are quite complex… Contemporary English is in a schismatic state between those who make use of or prescribe generic nouns and pronouns, such as man and he ‘human being’, and those who view these constructions as signs of a deeply sexist structure of English.”

At the height of feminist critique and criticism of the generic use of “man” and “he,” the gender-neutral use of guy rose in popularity. As Clancy put it: “Contrary to everything we might expect because of the pressures of ‘politically correct’ putative language reforms, a new generic noun is developing right before our eyes.”

Fast forward to 2014 and we notice that somehow the word guy has largely escaped common scrutiny and is widely accepted as non-gender specific. Perhaps guy is considered permissible because, unlike man which denotes arguably dominant masculinity, guy reflects, instead, a state of neutralized masculinity.

Now, you might be thinking, “it’s only a word,” and that’s certainly true. It would be easy to think of something so small as relatively harmless if it weren’t for the fact that the gender language being neutralized is exclusively (and originally) male terminology and that younger generations of men are strongly identifying themselves with a term that has been, for all intents and purpose, emasculated. I know that when I hear the term guy, I think of phrases like “he’s a nice guy” and words like “irresponsible.” The pictures the word brings to my mind are of young men, acting somewhat like overgrown kids without a care in the world. Guys are casual and easy and the term just doesn’t carry the weight that “man” does. It seems to me that I’m not alone in these observations. Many seem to be noticing the decline of the masculine in our modern age, from the average person you may pass on the street to solid research that is calling to light the decline of men in workplaces and universities,3 and even the decline of male  fertility.4 The encroachment of gender-neutral social engineering is evident as well, especially in younger generations, where young males are far more amenable to such engineering. Outside of clinical studies, the decline of men and the lack of interest in issues facing men today have been questioned by several authors like Warren Farrel, Christina Hoff Sommers, Helen Smith, Suzanne Venker, Leonard Sax, and even Camile Paglia. But what would cause men to want to accept lessened masculinity through the modern “guy culture?” Guy culture is cultivated, I believe, through two major things: the first is a lack of good male role models; the second, which comes later, involves  a man’s  increasing willingness to become a sort of passive gender-neutral individual with a penis who talks and acts like much like a woman does in order to be accepted, respected, and, most of all, desired by contemporary women.

While true masculinity is marked by its understanding of and ability to cope with reality, the modern guy seems more inclined to run from it—and who can blame him?

In this day and age, fathers rarely have much presence in the life of young children and education lends very little in the way of male role models. According to the US Census Bureau, 24 million children in America—one out of every three—live in biological father-absent homes.5 USA Today reported in 2012 that the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that only 2% of preschool and kindergarten teachers and 18% of elementary and middle-school teachers are men.6 At the present time, a child’s most formative years are dominated by female authority figures.

“In the modern techno-industrial culture, it is possible to proceed from infancy into senility without ever knowing manhood.” —Edward Abbey

Generations of boys in the past spent large amounts of time with their fathers. They learned to emulate their father’s behaviors, thought processes, and interactions with other people. In many cases they saw the harder parts of life, but eventually learned that work worth doing was worth doing well. They learned how to set their minds to a task and achieve their goals. Most importantly, time spent with their fathers instilled in them a confidence of what it meant to be a man. Today, many boys at their earliest stages of life are left to be shaped by the hands of women: mothers, childcare workers, and teachers. In the absence of a father’s presence, women, for the most part, become the responsible parties for sending a boy forth into the word as a man, but again, for the post part, they don’t live up to the task. After his studies on fatherly influence, Ronald Rohner, the director of the Center for the Study of Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection at the University of Connecticut, told LiveScience in an interview, “We’re now finding that not only are fathers influential, sometimes they have more influence on kids’ development than moms.”

Should anyone question the importance of fathers, we might consider the fact that youths in father-absent families have significantly higher odds of being imprisoned than those from dual-parent families (a little over 2 to 1) and about 90% of these youths are male.7 Further, a carefully designed Swedish population-based study of almost one million children reported a twofold increased risk of psychiatric disease, suicide, attempted suicide, alcohol- and narcotics-related diseases for boys and girls living in a one-parent household, and for all causes of mortality in boys when compared with those in two-parent households.8

The statistics are plentiful, but the one truth that rings throughout all of them is the need for men to mentor other men—something which has always been vitally important for major human civilizations to thrive. Beyond the single-parent home and its issues lie cultural influences set upon males today, and one of the most toxic is instilling fear and self-hatred in the male half of our population. The negative result of this misandrist influence is perhaps most clearly evidenced by the higher rates of male suicide (3.0 to 7.5 times that of women) across much of the modern world.9 Health professionals have noted a paucity of advocacy and research devoted to the issue of lack of male role-models facing men. Instead of being guided in their natural strengths and being taught how to have confidence in taking authority and responsibility, boys are subjected to having their most natural instincts demonized. From a very early age they are groomed to believe that their intrinsic impulses are harmful at best and worthy of shame or punishment at worst. Society tells boys as often and as loudly as possible that true masculinity is unrefined and unintelligent. If no one is there to interfere and offer a counter message, these boys grow up believing that the word “man” is negative and synonymous with uncontrollable aggression, if not unadulterated stupidity. Collectively, we threaten boys and young men with all that their natures could cost them if they follow their natural desires too strongly. In response, men become more comfortable with identifying as guys because it poses less of a threat and allows them to fly obediently under the radar of ubiquitous feminist criticism.

While true masculinity is marked by its understanding of and ability to cope with reality, the modern guy seems more inclined to run from it—and who can blame him? In a world that is becoming more female-centric under the guise of equality, is it any wonder that guys would rather disengage? When boys are being surpassed by girls in school due to teacher bias10 and when men are losing jobs to women for the sake of political correctness11, can we really be surprised that authentic manhood has been rendered obsolete and that rather than fight the confinement, young men would rather take on the role of something more palatable? That something is guy culture.

A society in which manhood is discarded is a society made vulnerable from within, for it weakens that half of the society that are its protectors and builders.

In guy culture masculinity gets a makeover. Men trade their better judgment for trendiness and society condescendingly applauds their “evolution” into civilized human beings. The more they buy into the idea of absolute equality of the sexes, the more they are praised for their open-mindedness and better-than-average male intellect. The more they apologize for the crimes of their sex, the more they are accepted and “respected.”

“This PC gender politics thing—the way gender is being taught in the universities—in a very anti-male way, it’s all about neutralization of maleness.” – Camille Paglia

In the midst of this guy epidemic, male/female relationships are often thrown completely out of balance. A deep-seated unrest grows in both sexes as men opt for a less aggressive role in relationships while women grasp for control that is, in spite of what society has programed them to believe, often beyond their real interests. Women nonetheless use sex as a tremendously influential bargaining chip today and men say whatever they think will get them sex (just ask any one of us women), but I think that, ultimately, both are left dissatisfied and confused. Even for submissive females, the quest to find a man who understands what it actually means to be a man is a daunting task and many girls find themselves at a loss for how to find dominance in their mates. True masculinity seems so rare that even the slightest flicker of it is enough to make women of all ages and walks of life fall over themselves for whip-wielding billionaires and sparkly vampires, but even then the message being digested is this: true masculinity is a mythical creature. Females who date or search for mates find themselves frustrated and lost in a sea of flattering, overly cooperative, rules-following guys who, as willing as they are to tell them what they want to hear, somehow leave them feeling empty. Without unadulterated masculinity, femininity loses it’s corollary sense of purpose. A man can be self-sustaining, but women, I’ve experienced, often need a sun to organize their universe around. In spite of the best efforts of guys to assume the roles that modern culture would have them fulfill, females (eventually) become listless, unhappy, and disorganized. Depression, anxiety, and stress become common problems for women, I’ve observed, as their exposure to and relationship with noble masculine strength gradually lessens.

“In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” —C.S Lewis, The Abolition Of Man

So, what to do? I do not claim to have the answers for how to stop guy culture from spreading, but I know that it is gravely important that we do not let it pass unnoticed. We must not pretend that we do not see that men themselves are slowly but surely being neutralized and we must do whatever is necessary to avoid participating in that process. Men are the sentinels of the human social body; they assemble our world brick by brick and defend civilization from harm. In many societies, men are considered the spiritual heads of families.  I believe there is an old animal pragmatism behind all this, because a society in which manhood is discarded is a society made vulnerable from within, for it weakens that half of the society that are its protectors and builders.

I believe in giving honor and dignity back to men. I believe in fighting the surrounding influences (or lack thereof) within our modern world that tacitly allow men to enfeeble themselves. I believe in fighting misandry, the hatred of men, both well-hidden and clear to see. I believe that by accepting men as naturally ascendant again in our own relationships, we can do our little part in the world to take a stand against the extinction of the strong and reliable masculinity we know and love so much. We can show the world that a man can be thoughtful, sophisticated, kind, and wise—all while being strong, confident, courageous, and sanely dominant. We can show the world that a man can preside over his woman without being abusive and destructive, and that the woman who accepts her place at his side finds blissful fulfillment in her role of submission. We can reject the stupid stereotypes and demonization foisted upon men and choose to see the good in them instead. We can reject the “guy” and go for the man without feeling guilty in doing so.

This is not to say I believe in stereotyping men or keeping them in rigid line with an expected role ultimately for the service of women. This isn’t about “benevolent sexism.”

This matter, I believe, is one of simple supply and demand. If we as women, sincerely in our hearts desire sincere Men, I believe they will rise to meet those desires, and naturally so, but we mustn’t confuse our messages. We can’t keep this a secret desire we’re too embarrassed to admit openly while at the same time screaming at the top of our lungs that we don’t really need men. We shouldn’t settle for the virtually neutered guy when a strong masculine force of wisdom is what we really crave in our lives. Cutting out the nonsense and hearkening to the call of our natural instincts may not be the “correct” or “polite” thing to do this day and age, but I strongly feel that it will be far more rewarding for us in the end as women and men.

 

1. https://stupidmancommercials.blogspot.ch
2. https://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/250010/Guy-Fawkes-Day
3. Autor and Wasserman (2013). Wayward Sons: The Emerging Gender Gap in Labor Markets and Education (MIT Department of Economics)
4. Swan, Elkin, and Fenster (1997) Have Sperm Densities Declined? A Reanalysis of Global Trend Data (California Department of Health Services)
5. https://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p70-126.pdf
6. https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.pdf
7. https://www.ric-fish.com/strengthenamerica/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/C3_father-absence-and-youth-incarceration.pdf
8. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2803%2912324-0/abstract
9. https://epirev.oxfordjournals.org/content/30/1/133.long
10. https://www.terry.uga.edu/~cornwl/research/cmvp.genderdiffs.pdf
11. https://www.weeklystandard.com/author/christina-hoff-sommers


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.

 


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 20, 2013

The Foundation of Male Dominance

Marc Esadrian

male-dominance-foundation-masculinity

Sculpture by Arno Breker

At Humbled Females, we often speak a great deal about authentic submissiveness in women and how to best channel and hone it. As we should. Female submission is a subject of tremendous breadth and scope. Much more can and will be written of it, but in this article, I’m going to do something that deviates from the trend of our publications, thus far: I’m going to address men.

That’s right. If you’re a male and happen to think of yourself as “dominant” (or wish to be) and you’re reading this, my message in this article is directed to you. I’m even talking to males who don’t necessarily think of themselves as dominant, but find themselves reading the pages of this site, regardless. My friends, something has to change in the way many of us relate to and interact with the female sex. Many of us men seem to be found wanting where it comes to projecting the depth, power, and confidence that marks an authentically dominant male. So very many men, in fact, seem so very weak and pliable when tested. It’s possible you might not be the type of person I’m speaking of in this body of text, and if so, I suspect you’ll still have little to no difficulty recalling any number of occasions in which you’ve seen other men make fools of themselves in their bids to acquire members of the female sex or keep them under their control.

To all the male readers, seasoned or green, I simply ask this: are you in control of your desires or do your desires have a tendency to ride roughshod over you, instead? A simple question, it seems, but below the surface, it points toward something a little more complex. On the genomic level, we are never free of desire, of course, for to be free of it would mean we’d be dead. But what I’m getting at, particularly, is the ability to still your thoughts and modify your urges, to channel them and hone them as a complimentary mirror to what we desire in the female sex. Put more plainly, for a woman to surrender to a man’s dominance, there must first be an understanding of dominance in the man. There must be an understanding and successful application of control, not only of her, but of himself. I’m bringing all this up because, frankly, I see a lot of men doing some pretty silly stuff under the assumed mantle of dominance, a mantle which is often little more than a cheaply painted veneer, a prop to give the appearance of mastery, but not much more than that, once one cuts gently below the surface to reveal the tender flesh of inadequacy.

I know my words may sound a bit judgmental and event arrogant, but I don’t mean them to be. I write this because I care about how men are presenting themselves to women and carrying themselves around women, in general. I have been watching you, as a whole, for some time now, and the grade I give more than half of the assuming, self-assured “dominant” male population is a decided F. Many are failing—miserably, I might add—at projecting dominance and control, but the image problem is not where the problem for many men stops: it is the symptom of an underlying problem, and that problem, overall, is a fundamental lack of understanding about what dominance really is and how to have grace (through internal permission) in wielding it. Further still, it is a larger ignorance of the politics of desire and the power that flows from it…or does not. A blindside to the intelligence and subtlety of the female sex often tends to be present, too. If a man is to truly have power over a woman, he must route out all these failings and weaknesses. Only then can he begin to have any real power over the opposite sex.

On the nature of desire and control

In seeking authority over a female, it is imperative to have a good understanding of what dominance is…and what it is clearly not. Dominance, put succinctly, is a power or modifying influence one has over others. If one does not have influence over another, one does not have power and thus, one does not retain an authentic state of dominion over that person. Without influence, without the ability to inspire movement and devotion in another, one cannot lead. Any influence lent to another for the sake of sensual effect is just that: an effect. Your authority and your control cannot be reliably built upon the shifting sands of a sensual illusion or the delicate embroidery of common romantic mores stitched in wilder thread; it must be something of much more substance. Good leadership—good dominance—never proceeds from artifice, naivety, or dull awareness, nor does it find itself lowered to the state of appeasement to get what it wants. Dominance is never destitute, deprived, or indignant, needing to resentfully stoop to sell itself. It does not have to apologize for its presence and ask for customers, so to speak.

On that note, I’d ask you to consider, if you will, the following lines from interested male parties below. I’ve cut and pasted these words from actual emails sent to my girls by self-described “dominant men.” Can you find the flaws?

“I haven’t heard from you for a while and now I see you have changed your status to seeking a master. You will have to decide yourself if you think there is any point in speaking with me, but I am available for you.”

“I would love to own a beautiful female such as yourself. I see that you mention you want someone that has owned a slave before and I haven’t, but I think I can convince you that I am the perfect owner for you. Why don’t you respond so we can discuss this? Give me a chance, at least.”

“I hope your day is good and I certainly am willing to be a friend and possibly a teacher or mentor to you, if you’d want. I know you have posted looking for one. Are you interested in me or not?”

“Sorry to see you are no longer under consideration. I don’t think he deserved you, anyway. You deserve much better. I hope you’ll consider me as your master. I would jump at the opportunity to have you under my wing.”

Men: do you recognize yourselves anywhere in the above quotes? If you don’t, congratulations. If so, you undoubtedly have some personal work to do. That is, if your future intentions skirt anywhere toward asserting the reality of power and not a comedy sketch of Briffault’s Law.

To those who might be scratching their heads, do any of the above quotes strike you as a bit weak? Pathetic, even? It’s obvious the men above are prostrating before the object of their desires. They flatter and suck up, sometimes condescendingly so, but at the inevitable expense of their own image. The woman reading such messages or hearing such things said to her realizes that what alights before her is but a pale and desperate shade of the firedrake she truly wants. If she has a submissive nature within her, a noble nature that holds no contempt for men or smug superiority to them, she may feel a mild to strong revulsion at being approached so fawningly. She may not understand why these men, communicating the way they do to her, make her feel less than inspired, but she does, instinctively, feel a need to avoid the contradictions they seem to convey in words alone.

When he stumbles over himself for the interest of a woman, he puts himself figuratively (and sometimes literally) beneath her. Contrary, perhaps, to what surrounding culture tends to tell us, it’s not attractive to most women when they see men doing this.

Women, simply by being women, by having the fleshly allurements that come with their sex, inherit a pernicious charm that plays with the free will of men. When a man is sensually weak, he can easily be controlled. When he stumbles over himself for the interest of a woman, he puts himself beneath her. Contrary, perhaps, to what surrounding culture tends to tell us, it’s not attractive to most women when they see men doing this. Those women who do manage to find weakness in men desirable would use your desire to control you while you only assume a facade of control. Some women may find the man led around by his male-part endearing for a season, but they will tire, eventually, and the amusement will lead to inevitable contempt. For this reason, you must be vigilant and use self restraint when appraising those who you would hunt or those who find their way to you. Do not jump too quickly toward a pretty face and facade, lest you pierce a ring through your own nose.

Rein in your impulses a bit. A wise man, a man who would be master, leans easily toward comfortable politeness and graciousness in his dealings with women, but is watchful of his dignity all the same and does not lick up the pleasing lures of flesh unthinkingly or in ways that lower him. With a certain imperviousness, sharp insight, and good judgement, the master truly masters those he would have, and above all, takes care to not find himself mastered by them. Again, words make things sound so simple, but anyone with a dash of experience in bringing the female mind truly to heel will understand the gravity of the task.

Much like Diogenes with his lantern in search of an honest man, a woman wanders in her search for a man of the right quality, often a man who would be her mentor. But how much a mentor can a man be if he is like the proverbial emperor with no clothes, given to chasing his desires so much that they lower him like a simple beast? It marks a great heart and mind when one possesses patience, never spurred by foolish haste over beauty or a blinding lust for it, and thus never making an ass of himself. If you would be master of a woman, you must take care to master your own impulses, or they’ll surely be used against you in some way by her natural wiles, which, even among the best of women, wait secretly to be roused from their slumber. In the very least, you’ll be judged as unsuitable, should her heart be pure in the desire to serve and her mind clear on what marks true dominance in the male. So much for being an agreeable lapdog always seeking her approval. Challenge her mind and simultaneously comfort it with your clear sense of direction. This is not to say you must be a contrarian, a bully, a player, or a braggart, but it is to say that being comfortable in your own skin, having a well-seated confidence, and a well-balanced head is not only attractive, but pivotal in the realm of influence. Of utmost importance is the necessity that you must break the pattern of weakness and naivety seen so frequently among men in these modern times.

Curtailing antipathy and vulgarity

Negative energy is unattractive and alienating. There are men who, having wealth or good looks (or ideally, both), still fail miserably in retaining female interest for long due to an incessant ugliness within their souls. They take too much pleasure in their greeds, hatreds, and prejudices, seeing virtually everything as a crime or conspiracy to meet with strife or agitation. Those who see nothing but the bad in life and who thrill at argument and division provoke little more than aversion and are quickly marked as fools; there is nothing powerful about them. Past the stinging bite of their words, they are only remembered as pitiful, disagreeable, or deranged. We mustn’t walk constantly in darkness, lest we be branded town cynics. Just as there is a moon, so too is there a sun. Be sure to see the good in things along with the bad. Take care to compliment others of their virtues with sincerity. Be supportive of what deserves support, not silent until the time comes, again, for complaint. Be a light that attracts, but not falsely so, and certainly be more a force of harmony than chaos. Being a problem-solver, letting your resources flow, having answers with a kinder face…these things make tremendous difference in the realm of opening and lasting influence.

Take care to speak thoughtfully and well. Let there be a poetry to your words that beguile and a wisdom within them that inspires. This cannot be said enough when speaking of enticing the female mind, for the female searches not so much for wit but wisdom in a male and knows this is often marked by his words as much as his actions. Not all of us are perfect writers or speakers, but we should avoid soiling our speech with vulgarities, in the very least. Paying heed to speaking well speaks, in turn, of good breeding and refinement. Only a dullard writes off this subtle charm as inconsequential.

Don’t play the part of the constant jester. Women love to laugh, indeed, but let your humor be a pleasing discovery that finds its moment, rather than what marks your personhood in social circles, lest you be thought more an entertaining fool than wise. Keep your actions in check with mindfulness and know when a little bit of levity or foolishness is appropriate. Timing, as they say, is everything in life. We certainly mustn’t take ourselves too seriously, but it is generally good practice to be known more for wisdom than endless laughs.

Be a force of reason that is never too quick to harshly judge. This will mark you as thoughtful and gracious rather than a belligerent and cynical egotist. It is the worldly charm of the wise to be tempered in their aggressions, not gobbling up every bait they find to argue and find fault in others. In short, confident and calm dominance is attractive. Belligerent domineering by reflex is not. Making a regular show of your aggression or cynicism is always in bad taste and policy.

On finding the art in yourself

Care for your body. Women have desire for the male form in its ideal health and so it behooves you to tend to your health and appearance. Good grooming not only makes one more pleasant, but marks the man who is in control of his person. A man who is slovenly or grossly obese outwardly displays his inability to manage his own person. How can he be expected, then, to manage others? In being dominant men, the first foundations of the lives we build reside solely in ourselves. From that bedrock all else may be built upon soundly, including the servants we keep in women.

Nurture art within yourself. Neglect, disorder, disarray, and disease: these are the flies that encircle the carrion of inept men. Such men are incapable of mastering others, for they cannot master themselves. Be aware of your appearance and what it says about you. It is the first clue one can give in the day-to-day world about what resides beneath the skin. It is impossible to know the depths of a man who is a stranger, but we can easily judge him based upon his outward appearance, can’t we? Just as we may judge the discernment of a house’s owner by the its outward impression, so too may you be judged on the outside. Women are subtle observers; they are savvy about outward appearance, for they, by nature, are servants to the visual. Keep abreast of style and fashion within your culture, not to nurture vainglory or a brittle narcissism, but to be marked as one who is awake to taste and refinement and the care of these things. Ignorance is often artless; the learned are often artful. If we understand how the soul is revitalized and inspired through art, should we not, then, seek to embody art in ourselves?

On responsibility and dignity

Above all things, a man must retain a good reputation. It is half the key to being desirable in your circle. You will be loved if you nurture a repute for responsibility, taste, discernment, wisdom, and courtesy. Veer from the affectations of these things; their substances can only be procured through experience, reflection, and forethought. The female is highly social; her tentacles for rumor and gossip often run farther and deeper today than ever before, given her modern freedoms. It’s fitting, then, to guard your reputation with your life and better to be thought of as a respectable mystery than someone commonly regarded for known faults. For this reason, it is imperative you deal only with those who would guard your honor with equal interest. Watch carefully how women you would let into your circle behave with the personal secrets they have gleaned from others. Steer clear of drama queens, manipulators, and the entire lot of the mentally damaged, no matter what affectations of submission they project or beauty they possess. Sharing energy with such parasites is an endless loop of madness and insult, draining your sense of good will and smearing your image by association.

Don’t recede into self-debilitating laziness. A man who has dreams and acts to pursue them is a man in motion on some level. Waters that are not flowing soon give rise to a swamp caught up in its own dead inertia. From this swamp, a multitude of disease follows: paralyzation, doubt, apathy, ignorance, depression, and addiction.  A man who is resourceful and ambitious, a man who is inclined to action for his well-being and the well-being of those around him is a man who is attractive to a woman, for he is charged with a positive energy that her passive energy will naturally wish to mate with. A male with vision and the energy to pursue his dreams is exciting and inspiring; he is a wellspring of influence, pleasure, and hope.

Do not allow women to walk on you. No lasting happiness can come from humoring the natural tendency for females to manipulate men or cause doubt in them. Enjoy the charms and pleasures of the female sex, but do not become a slave to them; it is, surely, a path to folly. Females will naturally respect a male who is intelligent, difficult to corrupt, and carries with him the light of a noble spirit, but to those who scrape for their desires, know that they will give little respect, only intent to use. Regarding the latter, it is crucial to avoid women who take pleasure in subtly dominating and emasculating men. It’s not enough to ask such women what lies in their hearts if you are already defeated to them, for a sly opportunism often resides in their persons and it will play truth like a fiddle. It is, therefore, wise to make a sober and detached study of the female and the many ways in which she rises to the occasion of the male’s weakness and of his need, if only so she may yoke it. Do not compromise who and what you are for sexual access; it may give you short-term pleasure but will likely not give you long-term happiness. Win manipulative games of the female sex by not playing their games in the first place. Move on to nobler choices.

Avoid cowardice. Shying away from conflict or challenge, living in shadow, being passive, always manipulating to get what you want, or never showing the courage of your convictions…this is the path of the coward and it is unbecoming and unattractive in a man. Men are the warriors of the species. Females rely upon us to venture into the dark and strike at the heart of encroaching danger, to have a fierce spirit and live in some fellowship with it. This speaks to our responsibility, overall, as the stronger sex. Shirking the call to arms only marks you as shirking your masculine nature. It’s good to be calming and serene, but also fierce when need be, for the protection of what belongs to you.

Respecting masculinity

Reject the contempt of men in society, for it is contempt of you. To that end, avoid being an stooge of modern feminism and the air of sterile androgyny that often accompanies it. Don’t be convinced that male strength is a lie or that what you feel comes natural as a male is merely a social construct. There are those who would have you believe the world between men and women is only right when stood upon its head, that women should take on the roles of men and men of women, or that there is no “real” difference between male and female. Don’t be part of the appeasing, permissive silence that surrounds generally anti-male attitudes and never go along to get along with such attitudes. Men today must be vibrant, strong, and healthy, but we can’t look to gynocentricity to bring us to these things. Resist what, in your heart, feels twisted and poisoned in modern thought about the male sex. Just as your body is a temple, so much more is your mind and spirit. Guard it with dignity and honor. Don’t let it be smeared with the social diseases of the day.

Beware of custom played against you. The past and the present are not the same place, though sometimes we may wish them to be. Following the ways of men in a bygone age to procure honor may only stifle you now, given how the surrounding rules have changed so much. Relinquish nostalgic ideas and customs that blinker men into invisible servility to women and beware those women who would still insist upon such things under the false mantle of “equality.” This is not to suggest polite convention should be thrown out. By all means, open doors for women and cover the bill for a night out, should you be so inclined. Be kind to women and girls in society. Make your mate a happy housewife if you are able. Being a gentleman is never out of fashion, but being a woman’s personal ass certainly should be. It’s wise to beware of the cunning in women’s freedom today, which, on one hand, speaks the wish to be equal in all things, but on the other, takes advantage of romantic convention to invoke double-standard. Do not be the fool who is parted from your money, time, or hard work due to a woman’s blinding narcissism, gross moral relativity, or exploitative dishonesty.

Appreciate the masculine and give it honor. Not being at war with your own sex, take appreciation in maleness and of the male form, which is another way of saying take appreciation in yourself. Learn, again, to love yourself and reject the condescending attitudes about maleness that society viciously inflicts. Each man is a distant brother; treat him as such until there is no reason to afford him this kindness. Don’t step upon him to gain favor with women; doing so elevates you at the expense of your own sex. Avoiding ignorance, egomania, a bitter heart, envy, or anger in your soul: this is the path to inner peace and outward grace, the path to making peace with yourself and being a more desirable man.

On maintaining structure

The shape and design of your world must accommodate your authority well and cultivate submission in your woman. A man must have within him the ability to organize his life in a way that allows the two respective energies between male and female to flow into good confluence. Not slovenly or crude in his habits, he is healthy in mind and body and his house is in order. What he possesses has a place and a purpose and is maintained in good keeping. This will naturally extend to caring for a woman who would be his flesh property.

But flesh alone is not only what is kept. The mind itself is the greater possession, and as such, must be brought to heel within sound confines built of clear rules and expectations. This speaks to a man’s ability to clearly communicate what he wants and enforce what he desires through the discipline of structure, a foundation of rules and ideas that are clearly expressed. Under the firmament of rules and clear consequences for transgressions, a woman will all the more easily come to know her place and feel secureness in it. Without structure in place, without an overarching framework of understanding between clarity and authority, a confusing abstractness slowly pervades, giving rise to a silent chaos and discontent. If you are to be a dominant male, and even more so a master, you must have a plan, a general understanding of where you wish to take your life in this regard, and consequently, hers. Charged with the authority you know is yours to have and command, you must lead.

Ending note

The advice given here is only a rough guide. Certainly, all that could be written on the subject is beyond the scope of a single article, but I truly hope that what was provided above has served well in some capacity to men who may just be starting to come into their own with dominance, or men who may find themselves unable to “seal the deal” with those lovely women who have true blue aspirations to submit. The search, especially today, certainly isn’t easy. The modern female is bombarded constantly with messages that she is above submitting to a man—that doing so is the way of the past. A glance in the eyes of many young ladies today reveals that haughty meme of the cool diva they have learned so well. There is so much vainglory, contempt, and deception in many women, even in those with the audacity to call themselves “submissive.” After everything I’ve written above, it must be kept in mind, also, that as a man of standards and of convictions, as a man of integrity and authenticity, the search for an authentically submissive female or a female with potential to be submissive in the contemporary age will be a trial. There are no shortcuts on this path. Women with the makings of humbled females are out there, indeed, but they are somewhat rare birds. Keep this in mind. Keep in mind, also, that beyond the study of philosophy and stratagem, another important part of finding your good girl is good old fashioned patience. Your wait may very well be shortened, however, by adopting and taking to heart the things mentioned above.


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.


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.