February 3, 2015

On the Garish Ubiquity of Girl Power Anthems

By Marc Esadrian

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

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

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

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


September 20, 2013

Men On Strike

By Marc Esadrian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

stars-three

 


July 1, 2013

Feminism in the Media: Does it Protest Too Much?

By Marc Esadrian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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