December 6, 2017

In the Wake of the #MeToo Movement

Marc Esadrian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In a discussion over the subject on Twitter, a starry-eyed fan commended Mr. Oliver for his bravery in confronting the actor. I found her take on Oliver’s abusive badgering tone deaf, as bullying someone while riding on the wave of politically correct outrage over the sex scandal du jour is hardly something I’d consider noble, much less brave. Many religious tribunals, medieval rabble rousers, and inquisitors have come before him. What Oliver was really doing falls easily under the category of grandstanding to court controversy by putting due process on the chopping block in favor of politically motivated delirium over women, sex, and propriety.

These are, by no means, new subjects. At a time when a tidal wave of righteous anger is riding high, it’s easy to go along with the crowd and kick smeared male CEOs, actors, and politicians in the proverbial balls, even if the accusers are anonymous and facts immaterial. Indeed, the heads of the accused are rolling in the court of public opinion. People are losing their jobs and being defamed, in some cases over allegations made by faceless sources. Decades of activism have lead us to this moment of vindication for feminists who have long insisted upon and decried the ubiquity of “rape culture.” But rest assured there will likely be a reckoning for the hysteria of framing an aggressive flirtation or unwanted touch with grotesque lechery, wanton abuse of power, or even rape.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 26, 2015

Speaking Up

By Katie B.

Last week I was having a conversation with my sister over tea when she asked if I’d seen _______’s new YouTube video. At 25 my sister is eight years younger than I am and, while I do a decent job of keeping up with what’s relevant, she’s usually one step ahead of me when it comes to pop culture. I explained that I had no idea who _______ was. I assumed that she was another teenage girl singing songs about her broken heart. My sister had a good chuckle at my expense before explaining that this person is a young YouTube video blogger, public sex educator, and feminist. She then expressed her surprise at my never having heard of her because she is exactly the type of speaker that my sister assumed I would love.

Wait, what?

My sister proceeded to show me the video she’d referenced, sure that I would love it and that I would be so excited to have this public figure’s material to use with the young women I volunteer with in a local youth program. With some confusion I watched _______’s video entitled, “Why I’m A Feminist….” By the end of her stereotypical rant I was bewildered. How was it possible that in all of the years of our adulthood I had somehow managed to give my sister the impression that these were the sorts of ideas and politics I supported? As my true sentiments fall so far in the opposite direction of _______, I knew I had never said anything about these topics in conversation that should have led her to believe that the thoughts and opinions in that video in any way echoed my own.

That’s when realization set in to the tune of a growing and uncomfortable hum in my head. It was true, I’d never given my sister a specific reason to believe that my opinions were in line with this speaker or any number of other popular feminists, but I’d also never given her any reason not to believe that they were, either. A few moments of silence passed between the end of the video and me awkwardly mumbling, “But… I’m not a feminist.” My sister’s response was to once again chuckle at me for being out of touch and leave the room.

I wondered if silence could be misconstrued as acceptance. If so, was it really the virtue I’d built it up in my mind to be?

Way to go, me. I didn’t know what was actually a poorer reflection of my strong feelings and opinions about feminism, sexuality, and male advocacy: _______’s chirpy rhetoric or my barely audible denial.

The hum in the back of my head grew louder. It gave me a sense that I was somehow missing the boat and that there was something more that I should be doing or saying. I’d always felt comfortable with the idea that I didn’t need to get on a soapbox about what I believe in. In fact, I felt confident that it wasn’t appropriate and that, as a submissive female, I was suited to social silence. But there was an undeniable feeling inside me warning me that perhaps, somehow, I was wrong. I wondered if silence could be misconstrued as acceptance. If so, was it really the virtue I’d built it up in my mind to be?

The truth was that the thought of the alternative made me nervous, so I set it aside and settled back into my comfort zone. However, fate conspired once again to give me occasion to rethink how or if I should use my voice. Several days after the conversation with my sister I received a text from a friend asking for my opinion of a popular female blogger. My friend said she had a feeling that I would be familiar with the blogger in question and have an opinion—and she wasn’t wrong. As it turned out the blogger in question is a person I’ve run into a lot in various blogging circles. She also happens to be a passionate advocate for new wave feminism and extremely vocal about perceived “male privilege.” To say that our viewpoints butt heads would be quite an understatement, but considering that those viewpoints weren’t something I had ever discussed with my friend, I found myself hesitating before answering.

Once again I had to acknowledge that silence had put me in somewhat of an awkward position. I had no idea what my friend’s expectations were when it came to my answer because I knew she had no basis for understanding where my views were rooted. Bolstered by the fact that (to my knowledge, at least) she hadn’t already made an assumption about my position, I decided to try my hand at a more firm response than the one I’d muttered to my sister.

“I think she’s a good writer, but I find that her aggressive stance on feminism and male privilege to be so much in contrast with my own views that I have trouble justifying what good I may otherwise find in her writing.” And then I pushed send.

Sure, it wasn’t quite a declaration, but it was enough in that moment to open a window. What happened next hit me at an even deeper level than realizing that some of my deepest convictions were hidden from even my own sister. My friend’s response first expressed her disappointment in the blogger’s politics. Then she asked to know more about my own beliefs on the issues mentioned. What resulted was a long and honest conversation in which my friend not only thanked me for being willing to share what some might consider to be controversial opinions in our current culture but also expressed how much more confident she felt about her own beliefs. She admitted to often not trusting her gut when it came to issues like feminism because the voices on the other side were so many, but she also asserted that having just one conversation was already making her feel less intimidated and more willing to stand up for what she believed.

At that point I understood what it was that felt so wrong in what I had been doing. If my family and close friends, who don’t necessarily share all of my views on female submission (but who otherwise know me very well) have no idea what ideology I support, is it possible that the submissive females I interact with could be making the same assumptions? And how many women are left confused or deceived as they search for truth while so many of us stand in the shadows, clinging to ideas about submission, such as our own definitions of propriety, what constitutes grace or poise, and self-imposed silence?

All of the reasons I had for remaining silent and for politely refusing to engage in the cultural conversation about gender roles, sexuality, and men’s and women’s issues were starting to look a lot more like excuses to stay safe than commitment to deep female submission. I had to face within myself the question of who was possibly being hurt or misguided due to my silence and, even more devastating, was it really as honoring to the man I serve as I thought my silence was? What would he say if I asked him? Certainly, I could not presume to know his mind so well that I didn’t need to ask him?

If we submissive females don’t step into the fray around the issues that concern us, not only will no one ever know that we exist, but we will actively assist—through our passivity—in inflicting harm on women like ourselves or men who enjoy us.

These were (and are) hard questions to ask and they come with uncomfortable answers. Many of us who identify as submissive have a natural tendency towards timidity and would be happy to fade into obscurity if we were given permission to. I am right there with many of you in wanting to avoid conflict and the harsh criticism of the opposition as much as possible. I’m no stranger to the fear that makes silence seem so appealing. For some of us, it’s this yielding part of our nature that makes us capable of embracing submission to a man; that makes it feel so natural. That said, I believe it’s important for us to avoid the mistake of yielding to the idea of submission, rather than yielding to our men. In some situations, a submissive woman’s ideals and perhaps incorrect conceptions about what submission is may act in direct opposition to what actually pleases her man.

I know that no one wants to fall prey to that insidious kind of self-focus, however, it can creep in so quietly. Submissive women must come to terms with the reality that showing devotion to the men we serve means expressing active devotion to their causes. The largest social cause of all for us as women should be making certain that men remain in authority over us. We cannot do that by being silent. The social attack on men that exists in our culture doesn’t rest, it doesn’t back down, and it’s a force that never tires of throwing everything it’s got at men from every angle imaginable. To oppose these hateful ideas we have to speak up. Sometimes that will mean getting our hands dirty, sometimes it may mean looking ugly and indecorous. Sometimes it might mean sticking our necks out and inviting ridicule.

If we submissive females don’t step into the fray around the issues that concern us, not only will no one ever know that we exist, but we will actively assist—through our passivity—in inflicting harm on women like ourselves or men who enjoy us. Passivity can have extremely negative consequences in our culture and communities. Martin Luther King Jr. rallied people around the Civil Rights movement with the words, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” There is good work being done by men’s rights activists to champion the freedoms of men and boys. These activists are risking ridicule and unpopularity, to say the least, in order to protect masculinity. Meanwhile, the passivity of women who wholeheartedly believe in the cause to protect male members of society has played a key role in creating a culture in which other men are defecting to feminism. The number of men taking on the identity of a “white knight”—conceding to their supposedly undue “privilege” and worshiping women as goddesses—is terribly distressing. This, however, is what society tells men they must do in order to gain the favor of the women around them. By not speaking against this message we do just what is described in Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote: we cooperate with the evil that is being done to the men in our communities.

The problem is that it’s scary stepping onto the battlefield alone. Being the first to speak up is often absolutely terrifying. But the good news, if we can call it that, is that this isn’t a problem that is specific only to submissive women: it’s a much bigger human problem.

In 1968 the concept of what is known as the Bystander Effect was popularized by social psychologists John Darely and Bibb Latane. The Bystander Effect occurs when the presence of others hinders an individual from intervening in an emergency situation. Darely and Latane launched a series of experiments in their laboratory inspired by the infamous and tragic 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese in which Miss Genovese was stabbed to death outside of her New York City apartment in plain view of 38 of her neighbors who stood by and did nothing. In a typical experiment, the participant is either alone or in a group when a staged emergency occurs and “researchers measured how long it took the participant to intervene, if they intervened.” These experiments found that the larger the number of participants in the group, the less likely it was for any single participant to intervene in the emergency.

Psychologists called this process of social influence “diffusion of responsibility.” In a large group, most people will be guided and influenced by the behavior of the majority rather than act out on their own, even in cases of extreme emergency or at the risk of their own safety. Most people would reason that somewhere in the group was someone smarter, wiser, or braver than themselves and that the responsibility to intervene fell to that individual. If that person, whoever they might be, wasn’t taking any measure to intervene, then the general assumption was that no action was really needed. In the few cases where an individual would respond and intervene, the majority followed. All it took was one brave person to move the entire group to act, but without that person’s choice to act, a whole group of perfectly sane and intelligent human beings would stand by and watch another suffer, be robbed, or even scream for help and do absolutely nothing about it.

It’s terrifying to me to think that I could find myself in a dangerous situation while an audience of observers stood by and did nothing to help. I think we’d all like to believe that we wouldn’t be one of those people waiting for someone else to do something, and yet it happens all of the time. ABC’s show Primetime: What Would You Do? is predicated upon and tests the bystander effect by way of social experiments not so unlike the ones conducted by Darley and Latane. In one particular episode an actress plays the role of an abusive nanny to a small child (also an actress). Staged outside of a cafe in New York City, people witness the nanny call the child names, throw things at her, and make threats of physical abuse. In most cases, even when it’s clear that the witnesses are affected by the situation, people walk by the scene without saying a word. Looks of disapproval and concern are exchanged by passersby, yet, because no one is willing to make the first move, they opt not to act and leave the child defenseless. As submissive females, we contribute to a similar effect when we keep silent and hope that someone else will do the dirty work of passionately and sometimes forcefully standing up against the views that oppose our own or that of the men we serve. I call this scientific understanding “good news” because it means that this behavior isn’t intrinsic to submissive personalities. It’s a socially influenced behavior that is learned and that means it can be overcome.

Along with a commitment to humility, I think it’s important for us to be committed to seeking truth. Seeking truth isn’t about winning the debate. It’s more about having openness toward learning as well as a desire to share one’s thoughts.

Speaking up isn’t necessarily an easy road to take and there are perils and pitfalls to avoid. We live in a culture that is, at least at the moment, in love with the female voice. Women are being given a platform from which to speak their minds and are encouraged that everything that comes out of their mouths is of an almost divine value. With that kind of exaltation, it can be easy for females to slip into the belief that they can do (or say) no wrong. As a result, The Voice of Women, especially online, becomes shrill and sarcastic, attacking others just because it can. Submissive females aren’t by any means immune to the poison that can spread when a girl enjoys the sound of her own voice too much and when, sadly, there are men who call themselves dominants or masters who support this kind of behavior in their women.

With such a poor example being set and encouraged, how do females with good intentions express opinions on controversial issues that are important to them without becoming shrill, snarky, or enraged by others’ disagreement? I think it begins with having a clear vision of what one’s intentions really are. If you’re a woman who is in service to a man, your intentions should, naturally, be to uphold the specific ideals that are important to him and that support his freedom as a man. Even if you’re not in a relationship, supporting causes that look out for men’s rights can be an important motivator for a woman who respects men, as is holding on to the intention to protect others from harm rather than just wanting to be right.

A desire to be right, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing in so far as you want to be in harmony with what is true, most natural, and rational. Finding that sense of rightness in the way we live our lives is, I think, a very important part of understanding dominance and submission and making it a reality. However, there’s a point where the scale can tip and being right becomes a title that a person wants to hold and show off. Many females are vulnerable to that tipping point: they have a weakness for the euphoric frenzy that being right can cause. The more comfortable a female becomes as she uses her voice, the stronger the temptation grows in her to believe she is better, wiser, smarter, or more understanding than everyone else around her, sometimes including the man she serves. To avoid that temptation I believe it’s extremely important to focus on what is at stake when it’s time to speak. If a submissive woman speaks out of a desire to protect the rights of men or the minds of other women who may be impressionable or vulnerable, she casts the attention that speaking up brings away from herself and taps into a more humble urge to shine light into a dark area rather than step into the spotlight herself.

It’s also important to realize that arguing a point simply based on the fact that you believe yourself to be right may not be reliable. It’s a bit like Christians arguing a point based on what the Bible says. To someone whose faith or worldview doesn’t include or consider biblical teaching, it makes reasonable discussion impossible: there’s no real way to make any progress on either side of the point. You may win the argument if you talk the loudest or are the most insistent, but is there any victory in that? To argue a point fairly, we females need to come to the discussion with humility: with an open mind willing to carefully consider others’ points of view and even change if it becomes apparent we are wrong, with a clear understanding of what we are arguing for, with a rational frame of mind that uses logic and information to make points, and with a heart that truly wants to see balance restored and others’ feelings, including one’s opponent’s, protected.

Not every opportunity a woman has to speak is an opportunity she should take. Initially, speaking up is a bit like introducing yourself at a party and joining the conversation around you. You’re supporting a specific idea or maybe opposing it. Whichever it is, in that beginning stage, you’re adding volume to one of the views or issues being discussed and that’s important and good for that stage. Beyond your initial statement or post, however, is when the responsibility to know whether or not you should speak comes into play. A good part of the time controversial topics get beat into the ground and the information being presented turns into a battle to find the most ways to say the same thing over and over and over again. This type of discussion doesn’t help the causes or views that are being represented very well. It may even confuse people reading or watching, if not frustrate them and push them away. No one wants to see points hammered at relentlessly; many would prefer to have their own understanding expanded as well as their own views acknowledged, particularly by a thoughtful leader.

It can be helpful to ask yourself, “Does what I’m about to say simply add to the conversation, or does it advance the conversation?” A comment that adds to the conversation might be well written, it might be thoughtfully presented, but if the information in it only supplements the points that already stand, you’re not really doing much more than stepping onto a soapbox.

There are also times when we, as women, need to choose our battles or, rather, know exactly when not to go to war at all. Some people don’t start conversations with any interest in actually hearing the opinions of others; they are simply spoiling for a fight. A legitimate conversation is started with openness and authenticity. Even when the subject matter is controversial, there’s a noticeable desire for deeper understanding in the statements being made or the questions being asked. This is quite a contrast to someone who is simply making inflammatory statements to incite a reaction. Participating in a conversation which involves the latter is to fight a losing battle. You cannot “win” with a person whose goal is to waste your time and take sadistic satisfaction in having gotten people’s dander up. These sorts of characters and the dramas they create are not only unproductive, they are also damaging to the message you’re trying to represent.

One example of the type of disruptive and distracting interactions I’m talking about can be found in the comment sections of Women Against Feminism’s Tumblr and Facebook accounts. Posts are made by women expressing why they don’t believe they need feminism. Not all of the posts are articulated as well as they could be, but many make valid points worth considering. There are always comments in these threads by individuals who are clearly only seeking to cause a commotion. Without fail these inflammatory comments are the ones that get the greatest response and before long no one is paying any attention to what was said in the original post. The ultimate result is that productive discussion never takes place and it becomes very difficult to take the group seriously in spite of their male-positive message. Such comments—open insults, language that is accusatory or hostile, even questions that might seem innocent at first but when looked at more closely have a divisive flavor to them—are meant to distract, bait, and ensnare people, making them appear unstable and effectively undermining the presentation of their beliefs.

Tempting as it may be, learning to ignore the bait offered by someone who is clearly a troll is wise. It can be difficult to watch such an individual stir up trouble and attack that which is dear to us, but the type of person who regularly does this will not listen to reason. Trying to have a conversation with this sort of person is often an utter waste of time (unless you are one of those rare, deeply skilled debaters who knows the tricky business of using a troll to promote and further one’s own agenda—and that means understanding when it can and when it cannot be done). Worst of all, in a small way it validates the troll’s position to those watching, reading, or listening. It is wise for most people to treat this sort of drama as the trivial and low bid for attention that it is, if not to spare ourselves the stress of struggling through a conversation that is doomed from the beginning, than to spare others from having to further consider the ridiculous points being made by the other side. If we don’t endorse the troll by opposing him, we indicate that his or her issue is of little or no concern to us and, who knows, maybe others will follow our example. There are times when not drawing attention to the words of someone whose only intent is to cause harm is more important than presenting any form of alternate perspective.

When it is time to speak, the way we come to an issue can make a huge impact on those listening and reading. It’s important to approach an issue from a realization that one does not know everything there is to know about the subject and that there may be some important things to learn from those we are most opposed to. Starting from this position of humility might seem obvious to a submissive soul, but debate often stirs very deep emotions for women and these emotions can eclipse even a desire as deeply rooted as humble obedience to the spirit of female submission. Sometimes the most obvious things can cause the greatest errors. If a submissive woman relies too heavily on a trait like humility to be instinctive, rather than a constant and conscious choice, it’s possible for her to slip without ever knowing it. For this reason, before saying a word, it’s a good idea for a woman to check in with that core understanding of who she is and remember that she is not infallible and that her opinion is subject to correction. This isn’t to say that she shouldn’t speak with passion and that there isn’t a place for emotion in a debate, just that those things must be balanced by humility or at very least open-mindedness in order to avoid an undercurrent of ego and combativeness tainting everything she says.

Along with a commitment to humility, I think it’s important for us to be committed to seeking truth. Seeking truth isn’t about winning the debate. It’s more about having openness toward learning as well as a desire to share one’s thoughts. By learning, I do not mean that the information exchanged necessarily influences her, but there’s often something in these types of discussions to be learned about other people and taking an attitude that is willing to hear and respond rather than simply expressing your own opinion goes a long way towards making a conversation productive and useful. Also, people like it when you listen to them. Sometimes all they want is to know that they’ve been heard.

Use clear and simple language. Those following along shouldn’t have to be put through linguistic gymnastics in order to understand your point. If a woman cannot make a clear and simple argument, it is very possible that there’s been some mistake in her thinking. To quote William Penn, “Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood.”

Even when taking great care to approach controversial issues respectfully and tactfully, voicing an opinion often means running the risk of a counterattack. There are always those who are determined to fight rather than to discuss. These sort of personalities can be exhausting to interact with and a major time sink. It seems wise to be selective when it comes to which confrontations are worth taking on. There are issues of such great importance that the fear of being attacked or snubbed should absolutely not deter a submissive woman from speaking up, and there are also issues which are trivial and not worth the effort. A good starting place for those already in service to a man is to ask him what issues matter most to him. Naturally, and if it is his wish, a submissive female will be willing to face conflict and attack in order to support the interests of her man. In general, however, I believe it is most useful for submissive women to choose issues which speak to what they are for rather than what they are against. There will be times when it’s necessary for a woman to express what she’s against, but by and large, I think her opinions have greater impact when she positively expresses what she promotes and it’s an area where (though it still needs to be kept in check) her emotion can be worked to her advantage. A good example of this is speaking up when it comes to issues regarding men’s rights, or the education of boys—things that are greatly suffering in today’s cultural climate—versus speaking against feminism.

There’s a time and a place where speaking against a particular issue, like feminism, is important and worth facing the attack that will inevitably ensue.

By speaking for the rights of men and boys, and by openly and passionately supporting ideas and systems that affirm and protect male children in a female-centric society, females can draw attention to subjects that are very important while making conversation about these issues approachable. The act of being for something is immediately positive. When we’re for something it draws out the better part of our emotions—passion that is driven by love, and respect, and an instinctive desire to protect that transcends defensiveness and taps into the very deepest levels of loyalty—and this type of emotion can inspire and rally other people around a cause rather than create an instant divide. The result is conversation that is productive and focused on the most important issues. It’s a powerful way to speak without being intimidating and it welcomes and draws people into discussion, rather than scaring them into silence.

Alternatively, speaking against something like feminism, while it has its place and while there are times when it’s important and necessary to speak against it, can fall into that trivial category. Speaking personally, standing in opposition to feminism is very important. The trouble is that there is rarely ever a time when a debate about feminism ends up being more than a bunch of people on either side of the issue ranting about their feelings. The moments when there is any rational or reasonable conversation happening are so far and few between that it can be difficult to justify drawing additional attention to an issue that already gets more than its fair share. Also, by comparison, being against something draws forth the very worst of female emotion, in my experience. These types of debates tend to be catty, ruthless, sarcastic, and shrill, which is probably a good part of the reason genuinely submissive women disappear into the shadows when a conversation like this starts. Again, there’s a time and a place where speaking against a particular issue, like feminism, is important and worth facing the attack that will inevitably ensue. In fact, your man just may require it of you, at which point you should be ready and willing. But in general, choosing to promote instead of oppose, when it comes to when and where females speak their minds, seems to be more productive.

Though it may feel unnatural and uncomfortable at first, submissive women can learn how to speak up. We can pour our hearts and souls into upholding the ideals and standards that are in the best interest of the men or the causes we serve (which makes these ideals, ultimately, in our best interest as well). As a byproduct, we also gift other submissive females in our midst with the comfort of not being the first to speak out. By assuming the risk and responsibility of being the first in speaking out and by refusing to let our silence be assumed as indifference, acceptance, or approval, we make it easier for others to step up and join us. We have the opportunity to help make others brave by being brave ourselves first. I believe it’s high time even the most shy and timid seize that opportunity and make the most of it (their men permitting, of course!), for the sake of obedience, devotion to the causes of male interest, and our absolute love for them.

September 12, 2014

Man vs. Guy

By Katie B.

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.


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)

February 11, 2014

Carpe Virum

By Marc Esadrian

find-embrace-real-dominant-menI recently stumbled upon an amusing article offering some advice to women about how to attract a man and get him to approach them. In it, women are advised to smile a lot, radiate positive energy, and avoid hanging out in groups, for, as the article goes on to explain, “men are terrified to approach a big group of girls.” We knew this from the outset of the article, anyway, where it asserted that “men are total wusses when it comes to approaching women.” But the ultimate pearl of wisdom gleaned from the author, shocking in its progressive daring, came from the advice that women should be “easy to approach, but hard to obtain!” Not that this deviates one iota from what women have been told all along since, well, I or anyone else can remember: such attitudes reflect common mores where it comes to courting. But in a world where equality between the sexes is now rigidly upheld as right and good, such convenient gynocentrism about dating and mating only manages to come across as yet another odd double standard of modern female entitlement, where serenely self-satisfied women remain static and men do the work (and take the risks) in approaching first. It’s an idea many of us have accepted as “natural.”

“But that’s how it has always been,” one young lady caught up in this discussion with me apologetically protests. “Someone has to be the pursuer and if we waited for women all the time, well, I think there’d be a lot less people on the planet.” I can’t say she’s necessarily wrong that men are naturally driven to pursue things in different ways than women, and it’s true that many men seem to enjoy the thrill of the hunt where it comes to sexual pursuits, but is this to say women don’t have strong sex drives of their own? Is it to say they don’t necessarily care about finding relationships as much as men? Only a fool who knew nothing about women would assume so.

It would be safe, however, to assume that women have become accustomed to waiting for men to find them and approach them first. This could be a natural inclination for females during the mating game, something passed along in our genetic lineage over hundreds of thousands of years under the cool, prevailing logic that careless mating for a male doesn’t involve much risk, but careless mating for the female can be genetically disastrous. Thus, the classic hypothesis emerges that where the male is eager, the female is not so sure.

While the phrase “coy” was a term applied to the mating styles of female avians and women long before Darwin, it has widely been attributed to the observations put forth in Darwinian theories of sexual selection. In his book Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin built much of his understanding of animal mating and selection upon the concept of female mate choice. Viable females considered suitors based upon their impressive plumage and finery or accepted mating with the victor in male-male mating combat for access to them. Thus, eager males and coy females were easily imported constructions that we humans anthropomorphized in our own man/woman dichotomy. But with his book The Selfish Gene, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, inspired by the work of social biologist Robert Trivers, began to describe “coy” as only one of several female mating strategies. Indeed, he saw a stable state in the gene pool between males and females in their mate acquisition strategies: not all resembled the coy female pattern. This carried clear implication to human mating, as well: women don’t only have to be mysteriously reserved, nor are they always. They can exercise the agency of choice in their mating selections by being “fast,” too, or some permutation in between. And so it gradually came to be recognized that a spectrum of behaviors existed in animal mating, and subsequently, ours too.

Women who otherwise want to be seen as equals to men in every way insist on the double-standard of not having to pursue relationships.

Despite new findings and theories in the bio-evolutionary synthesis that challenge old preconceptions, despite the established social equality between male and female in Western society, despite the demonstrable ability of advanced reasoning in decision making that is a strong suit for human beings, the fixed image of the coy female still opportunistically lingers in the arena of modern courtship. Women who otherwise want to be seen as equals to men in every way insist on the double-standard of not having to pursue relationships, but to lay back and choose one among many who approach, to hold out and see which lucky contestant will eventually earn her approval, her attention, and, if they are fortunate enough, “win” her love. The coquettish female isn’t going away, it seems. Indeed, she seems to be growing stronger in number as the invisible skein of fashionable contempt for men is ever more tightly and subtly tangled around the throat of sexual politics in modern culture.

Part of this inclination toward sexual coyness in women is biological, no doubt (again, the female should probably be cautious about the males she engages with), but another part is most assuredly reinforced by cultural memes, too. From the rigidity of the Victorian age to the golden years of American civilization, women have been encouraged to remain in glamorous, seemingly indifferent passivity to male interest. Even in the so-called “post-feminst” age, the tendency for this behavior is strongly supported, as evidenced by commentary like the one described at the beginning of this article. So deep and pervasive is this idea that even women who identify as submissive in their personalities have (perhaps unthinkingly) co-opted it into their search methods for men they desire, which involves taking up a position of passive visibility combined with a large serving of silent hope and little more beyond that.

In The Foundation of Male Dominance, I discussed the somewhat less than impressive tendency of many men to leap forward and virtually beg the women they desired for a scrap of consideration. I pointed out how this is not very dominant at all, in fact, and how it tends to often fall flat for women who do have ambitions to actually respect the men they would serve. Be that as it may, many men are employing these techniques with little to no success, only to feel a growing pang of frustration with the wall of silence and indifference they receive, and any “success” that comes from approaching the woman in this way often won’t lead anywhere good in the end, either, as some men eventually come to realize. But as a woman, you are well aware that there’s always more men with big hearts and hopes (and libidos) who will follow suit. You get a bit overwhelmed with the attention and the process of creating the polite psychic barriers to deal with the fawning trains of would-be suitors. Where it comes to the online world, you may find your inbox too much to keep up with as it overflows with requests and queries, ranging from the lazy one-liner, to the poetic novella-sized inquiry, to a crude and ugly-mouthed proposition.

By reducing yourself to a mere object that is acted upon, you lose the greater agency of choice in suitors—the power to steer your fate toward those men who intrigue you most.

But for all this attention you get as a woman, it’s important not to lose sight of what you desire to achieve: to find a strong dominant male you can actually respect. As a female, your instincts certainly do serve you well. It’s probably true that many of the ones who have approached you aren’t worth considering much. For one reason or another (you may not always know or be able to verbalize exactly why) their queries seem too contrived, too eager, too devoid of a certain something that makes you care, or just too random and out of the blue to so much as make a blip on your radar. You need context and meaning to involve your mind and in a world of cheap and easy digital communication, with its dating sites and lightening-fast messaging systems, it’s very easy to…well, not care much at all about what comes your way when it’s in such instant and high volume. You’ve seen these men before, though they have different faces and names. You’ve seen the same lines, or rather, the same hints behind the lines—however they are contrived—more times than you can count. Messages in your inbox or advances from men in bars, restaurants, clubs or social grapevines are not met with an air of hope so much as resignation that you’ll receive yet another approach from one more unsuitable would-be. And those who you do accept into your circle after proper genuflection mysteriously tend to disappoint or miss the mark in the long run.

And so the situation with men can sometimes seem like a revolving door of incompatibility and gradual letdown. All the while, there are men you may see on the fringes, men who truly catch your eye, even if fleetingly so. They may not last long in your mind once they pass the field of your vision. Like colorful birds, they may be a quick burst of radiance and curious energies that you dismiss as beyond grasp. They may also be like lovely polestars in the heavens, beings who are somewhat haunting and mesmerizing, or simply tickle something in your psyche. Perhaps men like this are unattainable in your mind because you don’t have the confidence to approach them and so fear rejection. Perhaps you’re the type of luminous woman who can have almost any man she wants, but never, as a rule, deigns to make the first move, because you’ve never had to. Wherever on the scale you may lie, the decision to put yourself in plain sight is a common tactic you use in your seduction. It boils down, essentially, to a coy game of sit and wait: those who prostrate upon your altar are rewarded with your attention, however momentarily—those who do not might as well not exist at all.

This strategy may work quite fine in one sense: catching men in the net is easy when they whirl like schools of silver sprats over your vibrant beauty and charm. Where this strategy might not shine so well, however, is in its inherent passivity, the spirit of which will often balk at making any difficult climb to have what’s desired beyond the lazy reach. By reducing yourself to a mere object that is acted upon, you lose the greater agency of choice in suitors—the power to steer your fate toward those men who intrigue you most. While “it is the woman who chooses the man who will choose her,” as French playwright Paul Geraldy once claimed, the fact remains that you are still playing with the cards dealt you by chance, and while all chance can’t be removed from life, any extra agency we may find along the way in steering it better to our fulfillment should, rightfully, be nurtured. Particularly where it relates to finding a dyed-in-the-wool dominant man you respect and deeply want, how could this not be so? For these men who stir you a little or a lot may never come your way of their own accord, no matter how well placed you are in their view. They may never step upon the path leading to you, no matter how brilliant or vivacious you might be or appear. It’s very possible that some of these intriguing beings refuse to approach you, for they grow weary of the cat and mouse games so often associated with the politics of feminine desirability and those women who demonstrate the ability to cynically exploit it. They may see, as I often do, that women so often used to being worshiped and pursued (most often for their beauty) tend to be drunk on the narcissism that often results from such attention. The idea they are hot commodities in demand that males have to compete for to earn their attention permeates their thinking, and, not surprisingly, often the fate of their relationships with men. How many women have you seen in life who claim their men “wear the pants” in their relationship, despite the painfully obvious fact that it’s just not the case and never really has been? How many charades have you seen played out where the “king” is metaphysically crawling behind his supposed servant? Chances are you’ve seen this before, and if you honor the spirit of submission, such a relationship fate probably sickens or horrifies you.

Is she willing to have the courage of her convictions—to step outside of her shell and risk the adventure in finding the heady mixture she truly desires? Or will she play it safe with an indefinite game of sit pretty and wait?

Now this is not to say that all submissive females have such a subversive and self-worshiping blind side (though it should be noted many females who claim to desire submission often do). Certainly, most women who find genuine interest in female submission are not chronically infected with the diva complex I describe above, but traces of this tendency often do find their way subtly into a woman’s conscience and sub-conscience, given our cultural history and especially the realities of sexual politics today. The tendency to unthinkingly recycle these old courtship concepts as “the norm” is quite strong in most women still, and only routed out when fully realized—permitting there’s desire to route them out in the first place. But therein lies the first question a submissive woman should ask herself when searching for a dominant male: is she ready to leave the baggage of all this egotistical and inefficient thinking aside? Is she willing to have the courage of her convictions—to step outside of her shell and risk the adventure in finding the heady mixture she truly desires? Or will she play it safe with an indefinite game of sit pretty and wait?

As a submissive female, you may realize that you need to be overtaken and humbled, but that journey begins with humbling yourself enough to see the synthetic entitlements within your own culturally supported blind sides; it requires a lucid and awake mind capable of shrugging off the tropes we may unthinkingly buy into as males and females. And one of the biggest and most subversive tropes of all is the idea that females are always to be the benefactors of pursuit—the ones who choose the ones who choose them. Not only does this coy stratagem undermine the spirit of your own submissiveness, but it limits your available options to find and appeal to the men you truly desire.

It’s my heartfelt wish that all submissive women reading my words take this message with far more than a grain of salt. If anything I’ve described above matches, in any degree, your perceptions of courtship rights and wrongs, it’s my sincere suggestion that something needs to change in the way you search for fulfillment as a submissive female. It’s true that there are many men who are not suited to even the surface appeal of dominance, much less the roles of capable husbands or masters. Many of these men are the ones you’re probably quite familiar with, if you’ve been playing this game or witness to it. They are the types who veritably beg for your consideration and who you can easily “allow” to think they are in control, and since you find them appealing in some way, you may persist in upholding this grand illusion for however long you want. You may hope, perhaps, that somewhere along the way, the man you snagged will muster the strength of character to have what it takes to truly rule your heart and mind. More often than not, however, this will likely fail, for the foundation upon which you built such a relationship had a fatal flaw right from its inception: the principle of least interest was always in your favor and the one you allowed into your life was placed upon his throne by none other than you, not by his true virtues as a dominant man.

Photo by Marc Esadrian

And so it is important you choose a man you cannot manipulate, a man you cannot lead about by the nose ringed with his own desire and eagerness to jump through hoops of your whim and design. For this reason, the men who flatter you with their ongoing and uninvited attention, the men who seem like puppies eagerly waiting for your cue to act and jump all too easily at what you toss their way should all be held suspect. By letting them in, you invite whatever deformities of character and understanding they may harbor while assuming a shaky mantle of service-oriented dominance. By lifting the bridge to your castle, so to speak, you invite only the ones you willfully desire into your world, eliminating both predator and pushover from the opportunity to disguise themselves on your front doorstep with uncertain outcomes. Doing this requires courage, of course…the sort of courage that may not feel entirely comfortable or “natural” for you, but keep in mind that fortune often favors the bold. If you embrace this boldness to step out of the seemingly safe, hermetically sealed pink bubble of the female ego and risk feeling the phantoms of rejection and failure, you may very well summon the power to find a man you can fully appreciate and respect.

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” —Anais Nin

This will not only require you to be courageous: it will also necessitate seeing men without imperiously dismissing them, fostering the talent for a more “broadband” observation of the male sex—of its intelligence, depth, and masculine splendor. It will encourage you to examine the inner male apparition of your fantasies and by what method you may obtain him in real life.

By reaching outward and exploring the many wise and honorable men who exist in our world, you will hone a finer art of discernment and feel liberated to exercise agency in acting upon informed choice, not merely the opportunities afforded by random circumstance. It is your bid to seize the day, as it were. The choice is, of course, yours. You may delay, but time certainly will not. As a human being who lives only a finite number of possible years on our planet, it behooves you to optimize that time and experience the full scope of what your female nature craves. It doesn’t mean you should be foolhardy in this exploration, for certainly, the necessity of good choice and sound reasoning not only remains but is further mandated with a more aggressive exploration. While the work for you may increase, so will the odds of finding a good man—a man more right for you.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do … Explore. Dream. Discover.” —Mark Twain

And, as a dominant male who has seen and often requires females approach him in the beginning, I can tell you that many men on the other side of the equation will be pleased and impressed you took the initiative to present yourself before the object of your interest, that you were stirred enough in your inquisitiveness about them to speak the first word. It’s true that not all good men won’t come knocking on your door. A man of tact, dignity, and grace in getting the conversation going is marked as learned, tasteful, and even seductive—should you have the insight to recognize his gesture from the cacophony of other voices, that is. It’s also true that making the first gesture in communicating with a man is not a guarantee of success with him, by any means, but it is my sincere belief and experience that knowing what you want and taking up a more proactive role in finding it will assist you in reaching your preferred destiny with less headache and disillusionment accrued along the way.