Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Real Men > X

And I was thinking it would be hard to find inspiration to write this week.  I write most easily (I won't say best, although that also may be true) when annoyed.  Not frothing-at-the-mouth furious, but just ever so slightly ticked off.  But no, I thought.  It's Easter Week.  All the news (that I read) will be happy Catholic trivia and inspirational gurgles on how the celebration does borrow from paganism, but that's actually OK.  Maybe there'll be something about vestment colors or dating Passover.  Possibly a piece or two about how it's wicked to lie to your kids about the Easter Bunny.  That'll be about the most abrasive it gets.


Rrrrrright.  My reading was going fine, until a Manhattan taxi driver tried to run over a British journalist.  If he had hit her, things would still be going fine.  But she was saved by an actor whom I had never heard of ... or anyway by someone who looked a lot like him ...

  "Jones" Face.

... which would still have been fine, except that apparently plenty of other people have heard of the actor in question ...

  That would be "Thaddeus" Jones ...

... and envied the Brit her rescue.  Which still would have been fine, except that this made her all huffy ...

  Gentlewoman of Fortune.

... and that would have been OK too, but then one of the good conservative ladies at National Review had to blog about it.

  Good Conservative Lady.

... and even that would have been OK, except that one of my friends posted the piece on Facebook. So there I was, innocently making sure everyone I know had a nice Easter, when up pops the devil.  The NR writer, Suzanne Venker, described the rescue thusly:

It was a classic “man saves woman” story. Who doesn’t love that?

My cockles were warming, but it seems the rescued journalist's weren't.

A self-described feminist, Penny was insulted by the media’s response. “I really do object to being framed as the ditzy damsel in distress in this story ... [A]s a feminist, a writer, and a gentlewoman of fortune, I refuse to be cast in any sort of boring supporting female role.”

Oh dear.  Mrs. Venker summed it up:

If Western women want to know where all the good men have gone, they need only look in the mirror. Not only can men no longer hold the door open for women or pay the check after dinner, they can’t even save a woman’s life and get a simple thank you.  ...  Feminists have totally destroyed the relationship between the sexes.

Inconceivable ...

I am not going to object that I would have been more grateful to a man who saved my life.  By all accounts Ms. Penny was quite grateful.  In fact, I'm not going to object to anything Ms. Penny said.  She's a feminist—she's making her bed, and she'll get to lie on it.  And I'm not going to object to Mrs. Venker's evisceration of feminism, because there's a great deal of truth in it.

But this I will object to:

"If Western women want to know where all the good men have gone, they need only look in the mirror."

Now I know what Mrs. Venker meant.  She wasn't thinking about herself, or me, or (probably) you (if you're a woman reading this on this blog).  When she said "Western women" she meant ... well, the Pennys of the West.

But I still wish she hadn't said it quite that way.  Words like Mrs. Venker's help to perpetuate a certain insidious notion that has been propounded for years by one good female conservative religious and/or socially traditional writer after another: namely, that somehow it is understandable when men misbehave or fail to step up to the plate or demean women.  Understandable, because they've been warped by feminism.  They've been scarred; they've been scared; and they're more to be pitied than censured if they regard us with fear, loathing, and contempt.


I know something about real men.  I have friends; I have brothers; I have a father.  Real men are not scared of feminists.  They may dislike them.  They may give them naught but a coldly courteous shoulder.  But, like Rhett Butler with Scarlet, they don't give a damn.

Real men don't hate feminists.  They find feminism repugnant, but the feminists themselves they pity.

We ladies need to stop making excuses for men who can't seem to get their act together.  We need to stop shrugging at misogyny.  Men (mostly) are not dumb.  They know that there are womynne ...

... and there are ...

... women.

So the modern world can be hard on conservative men.  Guess what?  It can be hard on conservative women too.  But you won't catch the ladies complaining that men as a sex are worthless.  And you won't catch the good men doing the equivalent.  Real men don't guilt trip Women over things that Womynne have said and done.

Is it hard to be a good man?  Mais oui, mon petit freres.  It always has been; each century has presented a different challenge to those who attempt even marginal virtue.  But the real men have always risen to the challenge, because that's what real men do.

So please, ladies, stop excusing and explaining away men's behavior.  If you must analyze it in private, and unpack the historical reasons why SOME modern men can't seem to grow up—be my guests.  But when men rant or misbehave in public, don't pat their hands publicly.  Don't tell them you understand how hurt they must feel.  Don't be so nice.  Don't make it so gosh darned easy for them!  Real men don't need your help.  Real men don't need excuses.  Real men don't hate women.  Real men don't hate feminists.  Real men don't fear feminists.

To be sure, it is a fact universally acknowledged that real men fear women—one woman, anyway—but that's a different kind of fear altogether.  A kind of fear I'm OK with, actually ...


  1. The gist of this I agree with. However, feminists are now and have been far too destructive not to give a damn about.

  2. Also, a real man is not scared of his wife - if that's what you're getting at.

  3. "Don't make it so gosh darned easy for them! Real men don't need your help."

    This is utterly false. Men need women more than the fairer sex will ever know. Read Shakespeare - he understands more than anyone else.

    For that matter, the Gospels are a good source on how much man needs woman.

  4. Jordan--fair nuff; feminists have been extremely destructive. But I still think the appropriate _personal_ response of the good man to the feminist is a resounding "So?" and not the tit-for-tat game which you see some men (not you, and not any guy I know personally) engage in.

    As to the second, I wasn't quite thinking wife ... more along the lines of best girl before marriage (and reality) sets in.

  5. Dear Anonymous,

    I don't know how much weight I'd put on Shakespeare. He was a dramatist, after all, and exaggerated things. (Love at first sight, what?) And even within Shakespeare, there are some men (old, villains, Friar Lawrence ...) who seem to have found an adequate substitute for women (continence, vice, God ...)

    I don't know about the Gospels, but Genesis 2:18 would make your case fairly well.

    However, all this is moot, because if you look at the context of the quote in question, it will be clear that I don't necessarily subscribe to the view that men in general can get along well without women. What I AM saying is that men do not become better men when women lower the bar for them. That kind of "making it easy for" a man is about as far from truly being a help or helpmeet to him as can be.

  6. I get what you're saying. A real man shouldn't be intimidated by anyone's slander, crazy feminist or whoever, and women shouldn't have to apologize for those weak men who can't take it. That said, there is a tendency in guys who think they are really awesome not to involve themselves in important discussions. A sort of "anyone who thinks gay marriage, contraception, atheism, etc., is worthwhile is obviously wrong and beneath me," mentality. This perceived "machoness" is vain and irresponsible.

  7. Oh! Oh yes. I do agree with you there, 100%.