Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Some notes on personal relationships

By John Ray

From November 5, 2023

TikTokers are Romanticizing the Stay- at-Home-Girlfriend Experience

The feminist writer excerpted below refers to history a lot but is very judgmental about it. She seems oblivious to the fact that men and women are different. And part of that difference is that women have always accepted the role of being economically supported by men. She is firmly convinced that that is always a bad thing. That women might live happily in that situation seems beyond her.

Her principal evidence for her beliefs is that her mother was unhappy as a bored housewife and became happier only when she got a job. I have no argument with that. I am sure there are other women who have had that experience. But generalizing that to ALL women is just plain dumb. As the old saying goes: "One man's meat is another's poison". Some women may be perfectly comfortable living in traditional sex roles. To deplore them doing so is simply arrogant.

Let me counterpose her examples two other examples from my own life

1. My mother was a classic stay-at-home mother. And she wanted nothing else. Hints from my hard-working father that she might get a job were firmly rebuffed. She lived entirely on the money his work brought in. A dependent life was her firmly and deliberately held choice. So was she happy? She mostly was. How do I know that? I know that because she was a compulsive talker, like rather a lot of women I know. And she did not stop talking when she was home alone. But a lot of the time I was home so she talked to me, kid though I was. And she talked with great frankness. I heard just about everything that passed through her head. She was quite a critic of other people but I can remember no occasion when she said she was unhappy or even looked unhappy. She read novels, had afternoon naps cooked very basic dinners and attended to her four children with great devotion. Her traditional role was a choice and she was happy with it. I think she was rather wise.

2. Not entirely coincidentally, I married a rather voluble lady who also thought that the traditional female role was a great racket for women. When I met her she was a single mother working with three children. We formed a good relationship and I soon told her she could quit work and become a full-time wife and mother. She leapt at it. She accepted my offer without reservation. She was profoundly glad that I enabled her to spend lots of time with her children while they were growing up. And she was NOT bored. I also gave her a small car and while the kids were at school, the car was rarely at home. She would frequently go out to go shopping, see friends, pursue hobbies and do anything that pleased her. She was a happy woman

So in MY experience, women who choose to be supported by men may make GOOD choices, choices that can suit them very well. I feel rather sorry for women who take the hard road, as feminists do

When I first discovered the stay-at-home-girlfriend (SAHG) viral trend on TikTok, I thought it was a new form of entertainment. I just couldn’t look away as I watched several of the videos.

I’m the last person who ever intentionally judges anyone for how they live their lives, but what I saw upset me. I couldn’t help it, I found the videos to be disturbing, regressive, and anti-feminist.

Was I really seeing what I thought? Is this a genuine new lifestyle trend or a gigantic ruse to drive Social Media views and make buckets of money?

Why would anyone want to be a stay-at-home girlfriend?
What is the stay-at-home-girlfriend trend? It’s typically a young GenZ woman who doesn’t work, relying primarily on her partner’s income.

The self-proclaimed leader of the SAHG movement who receives millions of views is TikToker Kay Kendel, 26, who showcases her routine in meticulous detail (as shown above).

Her daily life consists of performing household chores, drinking green drinks, managing hair and skin care, performing exercise regimes, and catering to her millionaire boyfriend, Luke Lintz, 23.

The trend, which started in 2020, is growing. TikTok videos with the hashtag #stayathomegirlfriend have more than 200 million views, which has raised lots of red flags for people like me.

The videos primarily portray decadent and luxurious lifestyles — showcased by mainly 20s, Caucasian, childfree women living off their partners.

How do aspiring young women hop onto the SAHG experience? The formula isn’t all that complicated. To succeed, they have to look hot, find a rich boyfriend (or girlfriend), and then create endless videos about their perfect lifestyle.

Even if you can pull it off and snag a rich boyfriend who hands over his credit cards, is the fantasy anything like reality?

Another TikTok trend is the sugar baby lifestyle, similar to the SAHG experience.

The #sugarbaby tag has been viewed 1.9 billion times on TikTok. The difference between the two submissive lifestyles of the SAHG and the Sugar Baby is whether you live with someone caring for you.

Naive people don’t realize the potential death-related dangers tied to entering the sugar baby arena. If you strip away the cool labels, SAHG and SugarBabies are just different names for the working girl.

A common denominator in all viral aspirational pay-to-play girlfriend trends is that they’re created by and designed for young girls and women. They emphasize attaining the shallow goals of picture-perfect hair, skin, make-up, and bodies.

The SAHG trend is harmful because it glorifies extreme weight loss, eating disorder culture, and unhealthy attitudes about food and weight. It also promotes a life of emptiness and subservience, which puts women at potential risk of abuse.

Influencers hop on the latest microtrends constantly being introduced.

Shockingly, many of the latest potentially harmful beauty trends are mistakenly labeled as ‘empowering’ and ‘feminist.’ They also imply female aging is the worst thing a woman can experience.

Feminists are constantly fighting against the reinforcement of gender norms and beliefs that aging is anti-feminist and ultimately supports patriarchal agendas.


October 02, 2023

"Selfish society’: Tradwife says marriage must be protected ‘at all costs’

The article below tends to portray Tradwives as if they are a rarity totally out of step with modern society.  I doubt that they are actually rare. My impression is that many mothers would gladly embrace a full-time wife and mother role if family finances permitted it.

I am admittedly harking back 40 years but I once had a Tradwife  -- long before it was called that.  When I met my third wife she was a working mother with three small kids. And  I was already affluent.  So I told her to ditch her job and I would support her to be a full-time mother.  She jumped at it.  The traditional female role had always seemed a good one to her.

She was not housebound. I gave her a small car so when the kids were at school, she would shop, visit friends and explore her other interests. She still buzzes around at a great rate to this day but always has time to look after me in my frail old age

I think that adds up to a good recommendation for tradwifery. Any man who can afford it should have one. Many single mothers would volunteer. It sure beats spending your money on boats, planes and other toys

Tradwife and influencer Estee Williams says being a traditional homemaker doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with the 1950s and 60s. Ms Williams said traditionalism is putting “family before yourself”. “I think it is having those traditional values that were once definitely more in place in God, family and love,” she told Sky News Australia host Piers Morgan. 

Ms Williams said we now live in a “very selfish” society. “You see self-love promoted everywhere – women are leaving marriage far more easily than men and are doing it because they think there is something better out there for them," she said. “Marriage is a bond and it’s a sacred bond – you have to protect that at all costs, and I think part of that is putting your partner’s needs before your own every single day.”

“I think it is having those traditional values that were once definitely more in place in God, family and love,” she told Sky News Australia host Piers Morgan.

Ms Williams said we now live in a “very selfish” society.

“You see self-love promoted everywhere – women are leaving marriage far more easily than men and are doing it because they think there is something better out there for them," she said.

“Marriage is a bond and it’s a sacred bond – you have to protect that at all costs, and I think part of that is putting your partner’s needs before your own every single day.”

September 03, 2023

The hugely inflated egos of older women

For various reasons I have been keeping an eye on internet dating sites over the last 3 years. And it has never ceased to astound me to see how highly older women praise themselves on such sites. They seem to see themselves as perfect examples of what a desirable female partner should be. They have a great list of praiseworthy descriptions of themselves. What they describe has no correspondence to actual women of that age whom I know. They are flawless.

I am moved to comment on it by a particularly egregious example of it that I have just encountered on a dating site. It is by a 68 year old Australian woman. I have no idea who she is and certainly do not want to know. She writes::

"I’m quite resilient, confident and strong. Lateral/logical thinking, I can be perceptive, creative & problem-solving. Often quirky and sometimes left-field. Witty, absurd, off-beat comedy is cool. Capable, sometimes passionate/sassy/playful & often resourceful.

Notably, I have a soft side where compassion, equality & fairness are highly regarded. I'd like to think I'm otherwise generally agreeable albeit discerning. Open-minded & kind to others, including myself is what I strive to be, along with a good listener. Young-at-heart, fun-loving & not so typical for my age, also describes me.

I’ve a long social sciences career. I mostly live a healthy life, grow food plants & walk or cycle to keep fit & energised. Versatile in interests with a wide range, e.g. art, science, architecture, culture & a great many music types, especially some techno, house & alternative. Ask me more if you like music. Like to experiment with & am currently studying photography at uni, which I really enjoy for a sense of purpose. As I'm curious, like learning & being adventurous, I’ve had my fair share of exploring cultures & remote localities. Have swum with piranhas! Also like city haunts, e.g. funky laneways & quirky places. Would love to share further fun experiences with you, with or without the piranhas! My ultimate goal is for a supportive, committed relationship"

How could any man find love from someone as deeply in love with herself as that? Who could offer a range of virtues big enough to complement that? Just how did she get so wonderful? She presumably means to impress by her self-description but an inflated ego is the last thing that impresses favourably. Humility is much more attractive.

The sad thing is that she presumably believes every word of what she has written about herself. That being so, she would be insufferable company and ultimately very boring. Only a lapdog would suit her as a partner. I wish her the joy of such a partner. Any normal man would run a mile from her.

As women's looks decline, it is understandable that they would want to promote themselves as having other virtues, but, when such promotion degenerates into unbridled self-congratulation, it becomes simply nauseous


August 14, 2023

"Success"with women

Ok. Ok..  I have had a bit of correspondence about my recent posts involving mention of my personal life.  Several men have been fascinated by my story of finding an attractive female form under the covers of my bed when I got home.  They want to know how they can arrange something similar!  Seriously, though, despite having only average looks I have had a lot of fine women flitting in and out of my life over the years, including 4 marriages.  My life story would make incels suicidal.  So how do I do it?

I can and will give an exact and succinct answer to that but before I do, I want to stress that I personally do NOT regard myself as a great success with women.  I see myself as more of a failure.  As my 4 marriages attest, I am very marriage-minded and at age 80 I find myself unmarried.  That is a great regret to me.  I do still have 4 fine women calling on me regularly but none stay all day which is what I would like.

So on to the point of this post:  How have I managed to attract many fine women into my life?  I am afraid my answer is a rather brutal one, that will not be of much help to anyone else.  I have always said that I am attractive to only about 2% of women but 2% is a lot of women. So who are those 2%? 

They are unusually bright women.  

Women greatly dislike having man in their life who is dumber than they are and in the end they usually cannot stand it.  They just cannot respect him.  And the smarter the woman gets the bigger the problem that is for her.  The top-scoring ones have a devil of a job finding a man who is at least as smart as they are.  Smart men are a small minority to start with and such men often use their smarts to find a suitable lady fairly early on in life so are not long "on the market".

And that is where I come in. I am a genuine top-scorer in IQ.  I ran Sydney Mensa for a number of years.  So when a very bright lady encounters me it can be like finding water in the desert to her.  And I don't have to be all that good in other ways -- such as looks.  For the sake of having conversations on her own level, she will put up with a lot.

Let me give just two examples of the sort of conversation concerned:

I was sitting in her living-room with a very highly educated lady.  We were both reading but reading different things.  She piped up at one stage and asked me:  "What does "peynted" mean?  I replied immediatey:  "It is Middle English for "painted".  That was the correct answer and what she needed -- as she had been trying to decipher a Middle English poem at the time. But 99% of women would not even know what Middle English was.  They would certainly not be prone to reading poetry written 600 years ago.  But high IQ people can be  that weird

Another episode was with one of my current girlfriends.  She is very bright and intellectual but is from Serbia.  So her cultural awareness is East of most of mine -- from Germany to Russia.  She has only a nodding acquaintance with English literature. So  recently she asked me something about Rilke.  Rilke who?  Rainer  Maria Rilke to be precise.  I not only knew who he was but had read some of his poems in the original German.  I even showed off a bit by pronouncing his name using <i>Die gehobene Sprache</i>, which was more than she can do.

So very bright women can be very advantageous.  They are usually pretty good-looking too.  But to be accepted by them you usually need to be on their level or higher and only your genes can take you there.  I do know women who have accepted a less intelligent man into their lives in return for various advantages but they know the bargain they have struck and live with it.  They are however derisive of their man on occasions, which is sad.

August 13, 2023

Forgiving infidelity

I have  little to say about infidelity in marriages and other committed relationships because  my morality is very old fashioned.  Once in a committed relationship I don't usually look aside.  I am not "unfaithful" so there is never anything to forgive.  When women leave me they will usually have some gripes but infidelity is not one of them

But I am not always in committed relationships.  In the interval between such relationships it is not unusual for me to have two or three girlfriends at the same time.  And that is  a situation where women might conceivably feel hard done by and feel anger at the "betrayal"  So I think I might have something to add to the discussion below.

I think the discussion below is pretty moronic.  It presents itself as new and exciting wisdom but in a nutshell simply says that infidelity should be forgiven because the unfaithful one is simply "finding" themselves.  That would have to be the oldest excuse for infidelity in the book and does not even to touch on the big problem of infidelity:  The loss of trust.

It appears close to universal that lying and deception is associated with infidelity.  An unfaithful man will hide his affair from his wife for some time.  And it will be devastating to the wife when she discovers the deception.  A man in whom she confided her trust was not trustworthy at all and that will tend to upset her entire mental world.  She will have lost her condidence in her own judgment.  And recovery  from that will be very difficult and bromides about the man "finding himself" will be no help at all

So what can a man do to prevent such a devasting upset in someone for whom he still presumably cares?  I have an answer to that and it has always worked wonders for me: I don't lie to women.  And that is not as hard to do as you might think.  

Let's say you met a gorgeous female on a business trip and coupled with her.    What I would do would be to to tell immediately the other woman or women in my life something like:   "Sweetheart, I met this  attractive woman on my trip and we did go to bed together.  I think it will be a passing thing but at any event I will not hide it from you. I will make sure that you are kept aware of anything relevant."  

The admission might be upsetting but her confidence in you as honest and trustworthy will have been preserved. You will gain credit as an honest man. There may still be upset about your revelation  but the lady with be profoundly comforted by your trust in telling her everything.  You will be trusted in return.

And even in a committed relationship that strategy should be enormously beneficial.  What works for me in more casual relationships should work well in general.  It is certainly what I would recommend

And let me allude once more to what I pointed out recently:    It is amazing what a woman will put up with from a man they like.  I gave a rather vivid example of that. So I have some confidence that even in a committed relationship, honesty about infidelity would often preserve good will and trust

On the topic of honesty, let me give one more anecdote.  I was for some years married to a bright, shapely and good natured lady.  I was a lucky man.  And she had an equally bright friend who I came to like.  I eventually decided that I would like to sleep with that friend.  So what did I do?  Did I scheme to make an arrangement behind my wife's back that  would enable me to sleep with that friend?  Not at all.  I told my wife that I fancied her friend. Did she rage and scream?  Not at all. She arranged for her friend and me to get together.  In the event I didn't feel right to go ahead with it but  I think you can again see the great benefit of being honest.

I obviously have somewhat unusual relationships but I think there is something to be learned from them.   I have certainty had a good life with no angry woman in it at any time

I discovered Esther Perel a few years ago through a TED Talk.
She spoke about relationships and examined why people cheat. But it wasn’t just any TED Talk — it was more like an awakening. Perel, a Belgian psychotherapist and author, has left her mark on me. I ended up reading her books, saving her podcasts, and coming back to them every now and then.

I started reading The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity about three years ago, and I still haven’t finished it — only because I don’t want to. Every single page holds insurmountable wisdom and information. I would spend many days and nights reflecting on an idea or a particular discovery.

Perel has revisited modern relationships and given them a new meaning. She discusses marriage, infidelity, love, and monogamy like nobody else. Her ideas are new, rational, and sometimes shocking. To read and accept them, one must be brave.

Perel was the first to tell us that having an affair doesn’t mean the end of a relationship. And having an affair doesn’t always mean there’s something missing in the relationship — it means there’s something missing within us. She puts it like this:

“We are not looking for another lover so much as another version of ourselves.”

In a world that associates cheating with endings, Perel shatters our inherited perceptions and tells us that cheating could serve as a window to something totally different and new.

After years of reading and watching Perel, I wholeheartedly believe that we need a certain level of openness and readiness to welcome her ideas.

Here’s a glimpse of what Perel has in store for everyone who has ever been in a relationship:
“Divorce happens now not because we are unhappy, but because we could be happier.”

“Sometimes, when we seek the gaze of another, it isn’t our partner we are turning away from, but the person we have become. We are not looking for another lover so much as another version of ourselves.”

“There is never ‘the one.’ There is a one that you choose and with whom you decide that you want to build something. But in my opinion, there could also have been others.”

“The grand illusion of committed love is that we think our partners are ours. In truth, their separateness is unassailable, and their mystery is forever ungraspable. As soon as we can begin to acknowledge this, sustained desire becomes a real possibility.”

“However authentic the feelings of love, the dalliance was only ever meant to be a beautiful fiction.”

“When we select a partner, we commit to a story, yet we remain forever curious. What other stories could we have been part of? Affairs offer us a window into those other lives, a peek at the stranger within. Adultery is often the revenge of the deserted possibilities.”

“Until now monogamy has been the default setting, and it sits on the premise (however unrealistic) that if you truly love, you should no longer be attracted to others.”

“Sex is about where you can take me, not what you can do to me.”

“Today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning, and continuity. At the same time, we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling. Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the weight of it all?”

“But one theme comes up repeatedly: affairs as a form of self-discovery, a quest for a new (or a lost) identity. For these seekers, infidelity is less likely to be a symptom of a problem, and is more often described as an expansive experience that involves growth, exploration, and transformation.”

“Monogamy used to mean one person for life. Now monogamy means one person at a time.”

“Our partners do not belong to us; they are only on loan, with an option to renew — or not. Knowing that we can lose them does not have to undermine commitment; rather, it mandates an active engagement that long-term couples often lose. The realization that our loved ones are forever elusive should jolt us out of complacency, in the most positive sense.”

“It’s hard to experience desire when you’re weighted down by concern.”

“If you start to feel that you have given up too many parts of yourself to be with your partner, then one day you will end up looking for another person in order to reconnect with those lost parts.”

“Acceptance doesn’t mean predictability. Sex isn’t always for 11 at night — it’s also ‘meet at a hotel room at noon.’ What you feel during dating can exist at home, if you don’t suffocate it.”

August 12, 2023

Why the men are no good

Some excerpts below from an article that condemns the immaturity of most men on the dating scene.

The female author below, Karen Marie Shelton, does her best to explain why men become so unsatisfactotry to women but can come up with nothing definite. I am going to suggest that it is because she is a woman. It needs a male point of view to understand men. And I think I know a major thing she misses.

I know I will raise some hackles by saying so but I am going to suggest that men have been made selfish, unreliable and demanding because women have made them like that. Women spoil men. Men are inconsiderate, insensitive etc because they can be. Is is the "sisters" of the dissatisfied women who have made men so unsatisfactory.

OK. Why do I say that? For one reason: It is amazing what women will put up with from a man they like. Good looking men experience that regularly but even average-looking men like me experience it.

I am just going to give one example from my own life that I think drives home the point.

At one time I had a girlfriend who I would visit regularly at her house. Our routine was for her to cook us a dinner followed by a trip to her bedroom. And we went well together in that department. But she would get such a blast out of sex that she would fall asleep at about 9:30, whereupon I would make my exit and go home.

And when I walked into my bedroom at home I would find another woman in my bed waiting for me, naked under the covers. She knew perfectly well where I had just been but still wanted sex with me -- and I was able to oblige. And she was no dragon. She was rather pretty and quite bright

So what does that tell you? It tells you that women can be amazingly flexible in what they ask of a man. They can forgive the unforgiveable

So how does that affect the men concerned? It obviously makes them expect a lot of indulgence from women. And they get it. They have no reason to behave more considerately. Women not prepared to behave indugently will mostly not get what they want, sad to say.

And let's face it: What woman would not want a man who is "emotionally intelligent, kind, understanding, compassionate, and empathic" That's what the woman writing below expects.

And there are indfeed some men like that. But the competition for them will be fierce. Men like that will get lots of offers and will therefore be in a position to pick the best of the available women. Most women will sooner or later have to settle for a less ideal man. And many do.

So do I have a message for the women who think most men are no good? I do. You are right. But are you any good from a man's point of view? The frankness of your answer to that will determine whether or not you have much in the way of relationships. We are all imperfect and the path of wisdom is to truly accept that. Two of the ladies in my life at present are very imperfect from certain points of view but I enjoy the company of both of them greatly

I’ve recently been watching the latest 2023 season of Peacock’s show ‘Love Island USA.’ The reality dating show features male and female singles in the 18–29 category looking for love.

Watching even a few episodes makes it painfully clear why so many men are single today.

As the show unfolds, the couple’s male or female can decide to dump their partners for other Love Islanders. This encourages a lack of loyalty, lying, cheating, hurt feelings, and drama.

Toward the end, couples have a few days to decide whether to have a more permanent relationship outside the villa. At this point in the reality dating show, the shit hits the fan.

Although there have been five seasons of the show — and I confess I binge-watched all of them — the current 2023 season has a toxic and unhinged cast.

While most female islanders seem genuine in their search for a permanent boyfriend, a long-time love, and maybe even marriage in the future, the male participants are not close.

It’s hard to begin to pick the worst of the boys.

The man-child syndrome is in full bloom

We’ve already experienced over-the-top toxic-male bullying and gaslighting from 28-year-old Victor Gonzalez.

Even though his partner, 22-year-old Carmen Kocourek, expressed a wish to go slow with the relationship, Victor continued to violate her boundaries. The rest of the women couldn’t seem to connect with him either.

Leonardo (Leo) Dionicio is a 21-year-old salesman who has already demonstrated some serious Island bed-hopping. He can’t seem to decide between two women, which allows him to act disrespectful, inappropriate, childish, or all of the above.

Harrison Luna Hans’ is also exhibiting relationship red flags. The 29-year-old diamond merchant has made it clear to all the men that he cannot be honest with his true feelings for his unsuspecting partner, Destiny Zammarra, 27.

There are so many other subplots of male immaturity and overt toxicity it’s hard to keep track of them all.

The man-child pattern is famously known as the ‘Peter Pan syndrome.’ Psychologist Dan Kiley first described in his iconic 1983 tome ‘Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up.’

Some psychologists use more informal terms to describe boys who refuse to become men.

A Peter Pan man-child is unreliable, struggles to form meaningful relationships, is socially and emotionally immature, may exhibit narcissistic behaviors, and often ‘mommy-zone’ their partner.

Those traits sound like many, if not most, of the guys from ‘Love Island USA.’

Although there isn’t much research on the triggers, some experts believe it might result from boys being coddled by their parents. Or conversely, they are raised in environments with strict gender roles.

The old theory that ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘boys mature slower than girls’ may have some value in this scenario.

Some might find it ‘adorable’ when men need a woman because they can’t cook, clean, do their laundry, express their emotions or handle adult responsibilities. Are all those things really that complicated?

Maybe it is if you’re a male who’s been socialized to believe it’s a woman’s responsibility to act like the mommy of the man you’re dating.

Being a man’s mommy, maid, cook, housekeeper, personal assistant, and whatever else they may want becomes incredibly exhausting, especially when a woman has their own life to manage.

It’s not like men can’t possibly know what most women seek in a relationship. It’s not some great mystery buried deep in a file cabinet somewhere.

Women have been outspoken about what they want in a man. They want one who is emotionally intelligent, kind, understanding, compassionate, and empathic.

They don’t want a self-centered man-child who’s needy, has zero emotional control, throws tantrums when things don’t go his way, and is overly focused on a woman’s looks.

Of course, not all men are like that, nor is that the only reason so many men are lonely, single, and sexless. But it’s definitely one of the reasons.

I doubt any woman in their right mind wants to babysit a fully grown-a** man. Most ‘Love Island USA’ couples don’t form long-term, off-island relationships. It’s not all that shocking, is it?

Some people speculate that the show’s producers intentionally cast immature toxic men because they want the viewers to get angry.

Is that true? Maybe. But the current season illustrates a broader problem women often face in heterosexual relationships: having to mother their partners.

August 09, 2023

Are looks the whole of male-female attraction?

Amanda Platell below says that looks are the whole of it but I think that what she says applies to some couples only, maybe most of them but certainly not all. There are a lot of people of average looks who get married. Where do they fit in?

I am in a way a living refutation of her thesis. I have never been good looking but I have had lots of relationships with fine women -- including 4 marriages. So something other than looks has been at work for me

I have certainly noticed how some women turn aside after one glance at me but I think they are the shallow ones. Other women give me a chance to spark their interest. And I sometimes do.

At age 80 I have in fact recently acquired a new girlfriend aged 33. So looks are impossible there as a cause of the attraction. I won't attempt to say how that relationship happened as, regardless of what I might say, readers will almost universally conclude that she must be a gold digger. I will say, however, that it was an instant attraction for both of us. My point is simply that there are other sources of attraction than looks and most of us can be pretty glad of that

The truth is that what most men are attracted to is the way a woman looks. Her radiant face, her curvy body, her bosom . . . that is a simple fact, an inalienable truth. Having brains is a bonus which you may, or may not, discover after a few days or weeks in bed.

If you're looking for equality, perhaps find it in the fact that women are just as guilty of judging men on their physical attributes. It has nothing to do with feminism or being enlightened or enthralled by a clever mind.

Allow me to educate Baddiel on something he has clearly never thought about: the existence of the female gaze.

Men of a sensitive disposition should not read on because — sorry — this will be brutal.

For when a woman first meets a man, she is not interested in his mental muscle but purely in his physical brawn. We are as callous as men and judge potential paramours only on their appearance.

We first look to see if he is fit, with nice muscly arms to embrace us and firm thighs to entangle us. Does he have a man-belly overhanging his trousers? Are his fingernails tatty? Is he one of those men who never go to the dentist?

And, yes, the clothes — are they well-cut or shabby? If he's in jeans, does he, um, fill them out nicely? Yes, women are as susceptible to such carnal considerations, too.

Does he have, heaven forbid, tattoos? If he's an older man, does he need to hold onto the restaurant table before getting up for the loo? Again.

In fact, when it comes to assessing a potential partner, women are like the Terminator. We can coldly and cruelly decipher a male human form in minute detail in seconds, deciding whether to accept or reject him purely on his body.

Too short, too fat, too thin, too sweaty. Shabby shoes, greasy hair, the shadow of a wedding ring, a shoddy suit he's been wearing for decades — we give them five minutes before moving on, and that's when we're feeling generous.

Men mistakenly believe their wit and banter will win us over, that these are the 'most important things', but don't believe it. They're not. We women will size you up in the blink of an eye.

Like most of my female friends, I have never, ever, dated a man I didn't find physically attractive at the very first meeting. If there is no physical chemistry, then there is nothing.

With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who wrote How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43), when I count the ways I have loved men in my past, it is always based on physical looks — at least at first. Names are changed to protect the innocent.

First love, Mark: smitten at first sight by a fit young man singing A Hard Day's Night on a late shift while typing out the weather report for our local newspaper. Blond, burly, scruffy hair, cheekbones you could cut Cheddar on.

Our first date was to the ballet Swan Lake; he turned out to be highly intelligent, but that was not what mattered. It was pure lust.

Second: a languidly beautiful man I met at a bar in Sydney which was frequented by journalists. I don't recall at any stage considering how clever he was. Call me shallow, but I was bedazzled by his beauty. I think he felt the same about me — I was young then — but either way there was an instant chemistry and we married.

Third: a bloke I thought at first was a brickie on a building site but who turned out to be a wealthy property developer. He thought I was a secretary when I was in fact deputy editor of a national British newspaper. Our eyes met across a dusty suburban street. Not once during our six years together did anything matter but the sheer physical longing between us.

To conclude, what I and any woman of any age is looking for in a man is someone fit, sexy, gorgeous, gregarious, confident and supportive, with a glint in his eye. We make no apologies for it because that's what men look for in us.

If, in the end, he has a brain, that's a bonus. We can read Crime And Punishment to each other in bed.

But be warned, the female gaze is deadlier than the male.


August 01, 2023

Men have a problem – and it won’t be solved by either Andrew Tate or Caitlin Moran

Talking about "men" in general is typical feminist brainlessness.  Men are all different and the differences between them are great.   Is a professional footballer and a celibate priest the same?

I can think of nothing that is true of all men.  These days some "men" do not even have penises.  According to the screed below, men "make endless jokes about their balls".  I have NEVER made such a joke.  And do I have a "fondness for super-skinny jeans "?  I have nothing like that in my wardrobe.  The generalizations below are just stupid and entirely counterfactual.  Nothing is to be learned from them.

And even if she confines her universe of discussion to men's  relationships with women it does not help.  One example of how reality is more complex than any feminist allows:  I regularly open car doors for women but I have long been tolerant of my girlfriend going out with other men.  What generalization covers that?  There is none.  I am an individual, not an "example" of anything.  My attitudes are mine, not anybody else's

So do I have problems?  Sure do.  I sometimes fall in love with wildly "inappropriate" women.  That is not common so what does it tell you about "men"?  Nothing at all. Despite my XY chromosomes, I don't exist in the sad little world of feminist stereotypes

Caitlin Moran has some questions for men. Why do they only go to the doctor if their wife or girlfriend makes them? Why do they never discuss their penises with each other – but make endless jokes about their balls? Is their fondness for super-skinny jeans leading to an epidemic of bad mental health? Are they allowed to be sad?

Published earlier this month, Moran’s What About Men? sees one of the nation’s most prolific feminist writers turn her attention to the problems facing men and masculinity. Marketed as a deep dive into the modern man, the book interrogates a range of issues, from mental health to sexuality. It’s a noble pursuit. And yet, it’s one that has been ruthlessly torn apart. Critics have labelled it everything from “patronising” to full of “flagrant stereotypes”. One reviewer described it as “rhetorical essentialism that lucratively pigeonholes men and women even at the risk of misconstruing both”.

But in 2023, a time when misogyny is rife online and the likes of Andrew Tate and Jordan Peterson are upheld as stalwarts of masculinity, Moran’s questions are the kind we need to be asking more than ever. Why is it, then, nobody wants to answer them?

Moran has since responded to the backlash in an article in The Times, claiming that she’s been confronted by two different kinds of critics: “The first were all like, ‘How dare you suggest men have problems with communicating their emotions? That is an incredibly old-fashioned and patronising generalisation’,” Moran writes. “And the other half were like, ‘How dare you suggest that men should communicate their emotions? We’re not biologically designed to be emotional – you’re just trying to turn us into women.’”

Even this response, though, came under fire, with further critics arguing that Moran seemed to misunderstand why so many people were troubled by the book. That, rather, What About Men? flouted individualism to instead present men as one universal body with shared belief systems and behavioural traits, all of which seemed wildly outdated. And that the implication of her book was that men are in trouble and Moran is here to fix them.

According to gender studies academics, there are several issues with this thesis. The first is that men might not really be in trouble at all, at least not in the way Moran suggests. “Historians have found people worrying about [the] ‘crisis of masculinity’ throughout history,” says Dr Ben Griffin, associate professor in modern British History at Girton College, University of Cambridge. “But if a crisis is perpetual, it’s not really a crisis – it’s just the way of things.”

The real problem, he claims, is that masculinity cannot be discussed in such singular terms. “If we asked a football fan, a vicar, and a banker to define ‘manliness’, we would probably get three very different answers,” he says. “When people talk about a ‘crisis of masculinity’, they are usually complaining that their preferred variety of masculinity seems to be losing prestige or influence relative to other forms of masculinity.” Today, we have ideas of masculinity coming from all angles, whether it’s in sociology, pop culture, advertising, charities, TikTok, government campaigns, or around a table in the pub. “Amid this cacophony of competing voices, it is harder than ever for any one form of masculinity to establish itself as culturally dominant,” says Dr Griffin. “To some people, that looks like a crisis.”

A lot of men hear phrases like ‘toxic masculinity’ and they simply withdraw. Or worse, it serves to confirm their sense of victimhood, so they chase insalubrious gurus who provide cheap hope and unhealthy ideology

That’s not to say, though, that there aren’t issues that need solving. In her book, Moran cites a range of shocking statistics, among them that boys are more likely than girls to be medicated at school for disruptive behaviour, less likely to go on to further education, and more likely to become addicted to alcohol, drugs or pornography. Men also make up the vast majority of the homeless and prison populations. And on top of all that, the leading cause of death for men under 50 is suicide.

Other concerns have also emerged of late. Since the pandemic, there has been a notable rise in penile enlargement surgeries, for example, a trend that highlights society’s obsession with defining masculinity in sexual terms by placing social currency on penis size. “A different kind of ‘crisis’ talk occurs when men find themselves incapable of performing their preferred variety of masculinity,” explains Dr Griffin. For some, this might be aligned with sexual prowess and performance. Any sense of a shortcoming could then lead someone to feel as if it’s not possible to do the things that make you a “real man”. But then another question emerges: what does?

It’s this lack of identity that seems to be at the heart of some of the biggest problems facing men today. “We don’t know how we are meant to be anymore,” says Max Dickins, comedian and author of Billy No-Mates: How I Realised Men Have a Friendship Problem. “What Moran’s book represents is a stylish exemplar of a discourse that has become stuck. The think pieces [and] the books all tend to have the same form: ‘Here are men’s problems!’ ‘The reason for said problems is that men are stuck in a box of toxic masculine norms!’ If only men could behave more like… women!’”

Of course, the fact any book is prompting further interrogation into these issues is largely a good thing. But perhaps something has to change about the tone of that interrogation if we’re ever going to make progress. “We need a shift that encourages men to get involved in the conversation, or at least, stops casually insulting them,” says Dickins. “A lot of men hear phrases like ‘toxic masculinity’ and they simply withdraw. Or worse, it serves to confirm their sense of victimhood, so they chase insalubrious gurus who provide cheap hope and unhealthy ideology.”

In her response piece, Moran speculates that one of the reasons why her book prompted such a backlash is because it was written by a woman. “It was the first question on [the] first night of the tour that resolved my confusion over the backlash,” she writes. “‘You joke that you wish a man had written this book,’ said a man in the audience. ‘But how could he? Can you imagine a man saying, ‘What about men? Pay us attention! It’s our turn now!’ We’d be torn to bits. It had to be a woman who said it first.’”

It’s a fair point, one that highlights how far we have to go in order to achieve meaningful change. After all, no one’s denying that Moran’s book isn’t at least attempting to do something important. But perhaps the response illustrates just how complex an attempt it is given how charged conversations around gender can be; whatever you say, and whoever says it, there’ll inevitably be a group of people armed to attack or discredit your argument.

That being said, Moran’s book went straight to Number One on the Sunday Times bestseller list. Evidently, and despite people’s protests, there is clearly an audience for her perspective. And progress is being made, even if it might not feel like that. Would a book like this even have been published five years ago? And if it had, would anyone have wanted to actually read it? Would Moran fill out rooms of people on a nationwide book tour, all of whom had paid to listen to what she has to say about men?

The truth is that there are always going to be certain belief systems holding people back, no matter how hard Moran or anyone else tries. That’s just the nature of conversations around masculinity. “In general, it’s a good thing for people to recognise that there is no one way of being a man,” says Dr Griffin. “It might also be useful to acknowledge that the same man performs many different masculinities in the course of a day. The individual who is a devoted family man caring for a dying parent might be a ruthless businessman in the office and a clown in the pub.”

The important thing that’s often missing from these conversations, both online and off, is nuance. Accepting that one person’s definition of being a man is different from another’s, and that no two men perform masculinity in the same way, is key to becoming a more progressive and inclusive society that can benefit all genders. But getting there could take some time.


March 20, 2023

The hidden cost of sex for women

Katie Jgln often mocks the current heterosexual singles scene. She is bisexual so part of that unhappiness could reasonably be construed as the effect of living in a world into which she does not fit. Normal women might see the situation differently. And I think she misses two major points below.

1). She describes modern-day relationships between the sexes as unequal and oppressive towards women. Most of what she says is probably pretty true in her environment. But it is surely not true of all male/female relationships. There are relationships in which the woman is dominant and some relationships in which men treat women lovingly and considerately.

Negotiation is the secret to getting things right. All human relstionships involve the striking of bargains. They all have to be negotiated in some way. To take a very simple example, a bargain that still exists to this day is one where the wife does most of the housework while the man does various outdoor chores such as taking out the trash.

I am of course neither recommending nor criticising that "bargain". The point is that bargains of that general sort are routinely entered into. Division of labor between men and women goes back deeply into our evolutionary past. And some degree of compromise will be needed for such bargains to be entered into. Large numbers of married couples do succeed in finding agreements that suit them.

So what jiggling Katie is describing is the situation of a woman who has not or cannot find a bargain that suits her. She is far from alone in that. There is much complaint of dating failures

But if individual negotiation cannot deiver a comfortable heterosexual relationship, is there an alternative?

2). There is. What Katie describes is a common modern situation but she appears to miss competely how it all came about. Traditional society once offered a balance of its own. It had all the unequal treatment of women that Katie deplores but it had something else as well. It had ways of treating women which recognized and compensated for inequaity.

I am of course talking about something that feminists fiercely mock: Chivalry towards women. Women did not personally have to negotiate a fair deal with men because men were brought up to believe that they must give women a favourable deal in some ways.

Male violence towards women is a real and great concern for women these days and no-one seems to have found any way of preventing it. The usual hilarious "solution" offered is to tell men to be more like women (!). But violence WAS prevented once -- by the traditional attitude that violence towards women was shameful and a great weakness. Such beliefs were not always effective in protecting women but often they were. Traditional society had answers where the modern world has none.

So the world Katie knows is one where women get treatement that is still unequal but shorn of the protections that once went with it. Feminists took away chivalry and have offered nothing to replace the very important functions it had. Women are much the poorer for that. They still have typical female burdens but none of the support that once went with it.

There are still some men with traditional attitudes. Women would be well advised to seek them out. Feminism has stripped women of important protections and thrown them to the wolves but, fortunately, not all men are wolves. Christians in particular tend to have a traditional orientation

In my notes here about relationships, I often add personal anecdotes by way of illustration of my points. And I am pleased on this occasion to relate that I did personally do very much as recommended above in my own life.

I had a long marriage in which I did nothing about the house while my wife did it all. I seemed to do nothing. Yet at the time she regarded me as the love of her life. Why? What was the bargain involved? What did she get out of it?

Simple. I enabled her to give up work and become a full-time wife and mother. That is about as traditional as it gets. She was also a single mother of three lively kids when I met her so the chance to spend lots of time with her kids was a a huge boon to her. Most mothers want that. I also treated her kids as my own. So a very traditional marriage can be a very good one from the viewpoint of both parties involved.

In an ideal world, hook-up culture would likely work just fine for those who genuinely want to participate in it.

But we clearly aren’t living in one now. At least not yet.

Our society is still saturated with gender inequality, rife with patriarchal double standards and filled with men who are socialised to disrespect and dehumanise women. And all of that, unfortunately, shows up in many aspects of our lives — including hook-ups, relationships and sex in general.

And it’s the reason why there’s a hidden cost of sex for women.

On a societal level, the still existent purity culture implies that women ‘lose’ something while having sex with men, making the social stakes for women to engage in it much higher. Because while for men having a high ‘body count’ is a point of pride, for women, it continues to be a point of shame. And even something that can damage their reputation.

Even if you aren’t religious or don’t subscribe to sexual double standards, you obviously can’t control the fact that many people do and will judge you on it. (Ironically, that often also includes the men who want to sleep with you in the first place.)

Thanks to patriarchal social norms, women also bear most of the financial and health-related costs of birth control. We’re the ones who are expected by our male sex partners — casual or not — to stuff our body with hormones and risk its many side effects, ranging from depression and breast cancer to diabetes.

And then there’s, of course, the fact that depending on where you live, you might not even be able to access it. Or reproductive and sexual health care in general, including emergency contraception and abortions.

Women also face a much greater burden — and more severe health consequences — than men when it comes to getting diagnosed and dealing with sexually transmitted diseases. And it doesn’t exactly help that some straight men — according to some surveys among Millenials, as much as a third — never even got a full STI test, meaning they could be spreading HPV or other infections that rarely cause symptoms without knowing about it.

(Without the HPV vaccine, you might even develop cancer from contracting it. So if you’re a woman who’s never got it and hasn’t done a pap smear in a while, perhaps it’s time to book it now.)

Heterosexual women are also the least likely to orgasm out of… literally everyone else. According to one recent study, while heterosexual men orgasm nearly all the time, and lesbian and bisexual women about 86% and 66% of the time, respectively, heterosexual women only reach orgasms at a 62% rate.

There’s also a far greater taboo around female pleasure than the male one, and both men and women often grow up believing it simply doesn’t matter.

Not to mention that sexual violence and intimate partner violence both affect women disproportionately more than men — according to some global estimates, as many as 1 in 3 women experience it across their lifetime — or that thanks to a myriad of rape culture myths, rape remains one of the least frequently persecuted crimes.

And if all that wasn’t enough, many men now believe that feminism has ‘gone too far’ — in the UK, for instance, half of the young men do — and are being increasingly groomed by violently misogynistic online ‘gurus’ that equate women with…. animals. Or men’s property.


February 08, 2023

The Narcissism of the Angry Young Men

Excerpts below from an article in which Tom Nichols describes at length the problem of young men going on murderous rampages. He lists many such events and points out that great anger seems to lie behind them all. He has no solution to the problem they pose however. He can see what the young men are but has no idea of the forces that make them into human timebombs.

Even in his title, however, he goes astray. He refers to them as Narcissists. Narcissism has of course been the subject of much research by psychologists after Freud wrote an influential article on it over a century ago. And Freudian thinking has remained influential. But at least some of it is simply wrong.

And a 1991 study by Paul Wink was very informative about that. He combined three existing measures of narcissism, including the MMPI and CPI, and factor analysed the responses of a heterogeneous sample to them.

The sample responses showed no such thing as as unitary trait of narcissism. Varimax rotated eigenvectors revealed two distinct and uncorrelated traits underlying the "narcissism" questions: Vulnerabiliy and grandiosity.

So it seems that Freud's picture of the narcissist is fiction. The traits he describes do exist but they do not form the coherent syndrome described by him. So talk of narcissism needs to be avoided.

But Nichols is undoubtedly on to something. His use of the term "narcissism" is over-broad but egotism is undoubtedly to be seen in the “Lost Boys” he describes. It has long been my contention that excess ego is at the root of a lot of social problems: Crime generally, for instance. The criminal thinks that what he wants transcends the rights of others.

When (on October 30, 2008) Obama spoke of his intention to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography. He was talking about transforming what he thought American people can and must do. He thought he knew better: Clearly egotistical.

But when we see how widespread the problem of excess ego is, it becomes clear that it is NOT the defining characteristic of the “Lost Boys”. Most egotism does not result in shooting rampages. So we have to look for more than excess ego for our understanding of them.

And a major cause of their disgruntlement is pretty obvious: Men and masculinity are in both the media and the educational system routinely described as "toxic" and men are told that feminine characteristics are the only praiseworthy ones. How would YOU feel if people kept calling you toxic?. Anger is surely an understandable response.

Young men are in effect told by the whole society that they are contemptible. Is it any wonder that some will want to hit back at society as a whole in any way that they can? You reap what you sow.

Most young men do not go on murderous rampages but those who combine great anger with few rewards in life may do so

So the problem is largely traceable to the way feminism of various extremes has become normative thinking in our society. The “Lost Boys” are however only a minor penalty for that thinking. The way feminists have substantially destroyed marriage is the major evil that they have inflicted. Given the punitive divorce laws that have been enacted under feminist influence, it takes a brave or foolish man to get married these days

So no cure for the “Lost Boys” is in sight. But we know what would help. If feminism were to moderate its intolerance of all things masculine, the world would be a much happier place. How about a bit of "equity" for men?

Some years ago, I got a call from an analyst at the National Counterterrorism Center. After yet another gruesome mass shooting (this time, it was Dylann Roof’s attack on a Bible-study group at a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, that killed nine and wounded one), I had written an article about the young men who perpetrate such crimes. I suggested that an overview of these killers showed them, in general, to be young losers who failed to mature, and whose lives revolved around various grievances, insecurities, and heroic fantasies. I called them “Lost Boys” as a nod to their arrested adolescence.

The NCTC called me because they had a working group on “countering violent extremism.” They had read my article and they, too, were interested in the problem of these otherwise-unremarkable boys and young men who, seemingly out of nowhere, lash out at society in various ways. We think you’re on to something, the analyst told me. He invited me to come down to Washington and discuss it with him and his colleagues.

The meeting was held in a classified environment so that the group’s members, representing multiple intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, could more easily share ideas and information. (I was a government employee at the time and held a clearance.) But we could have met in a busy restaurant for all it mattered—the commonalities among these young men, even across nations and cultures, are hardly a secret. They are man-boys who maintain a teenager’s sharp sense of self-absorbed grievance long after adolescence; they exhibit a combination of childish insecurity and lethally bold arrogance; they are sexually and socially insecure. Perhaps most dangerous, they go almost unnoticed until they explode. Some of them open fire on their schools or other institutions; others become Islamic radicals; yet others embrace right-wing-extremist conspiracies.

I emerged from the meeting with a lot of interesting puzzle pieces but no answers. Since then, there have been more such attacks, more bodies, more grief—but precious little progress on preventing such incidents. A few recent examples: In 2021, a 15-year-old boy murdered four of his fellow students in his Michigan high school. In 2022, an 18-year-old man carried out a massacre in a Texas school; another, the same age, committed a mass murder in a grocery store in upstate New York. A 21-year-old male attacked a Fourth of July parade in Illinois. A 22-year-old went on a rampage at an LBGTQ nightclub in Colorado.

These attacks are not merely “violence” in some general sense, nor are they similar to other gun crimes classified as “mass shootings” beyond the number of victims. Drug-war shoot-outs and gang vendettas are awful, but they are better-understood problems, in both their origins and possible remedies. The Lost Boys, however, are the perpetrators of out-of-the-blue massacres of innocents. Their actions are not driven by criminal gain, but instead are meant to shock us, to make us grieve, and finally, to force us to acknowledge the miserable existence of the young men behind the triggers.


January 15, 2023

The male response to Andrew Tate

I suppose it is obvious that Tate is a product of feminism. Feminists have so devalued men and masculinity that there had to be a backlash among men. That Tate has gone to an opposite extreme is also obvious.

The sadness is that the attitudes to women among men were once much more benign -- kind and courteous. But feminists destroyed that as "paternalistic", as "chavinistic". Opening car doors for women became "oppression". I still do it but I am old.

Daisy Turnbull below thinks that the onus is on women to repudiate Tate. I agree in part but I think there is a greater need for feminists to repudiate toxic feminist attitudes towards men. If feminist thought became rejected insofar as it is anti-men, Tate's ideas would be deprived of the energy that is driving them

It’s easy to hate Andrew Tate. Rebuking his rantings as misogynistic and violent is not difficult because they are. But me telling you this is not going to change young men’s adoration of him. There is a more difficult question: where are other men on this?

It makes sense that Tate has attracted the admiration of so many young men. He speaks to the generation after the devotees of “podcast bros” Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan: males who feel feminism has done them wrong, who believe that women gaining more rights has taken away theirs.

Not every boy will think Tate is right, as this article showed. Some may “test out” his ideas around family or friends and be so shocked by the reaction that they never mention him again.

But for those that do get hooked on his ideas – and see his problems with modern life as their own – we need to ask ourselves why? How can he become a de facto mentor to so many young men?

It is easy to say that what we are lacking for young men are male role models. It might be argued this has been caused by an increase in the proportion of female teachers (over 71 per cent in 2019), or by absentee fathers working too hard or being constantly distracted on their phones. But the fact is there are many male role models around for young men – whether it be in sport, politics, business, media or even on social media.

The problem seems to be the silence of these role models. Where are the men discrediting Tate? When I Googled Tate’s name, I found dozens of articles criticising his toxic masculinity. But only a handful were written by men. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of criticism and discrediting of Tate comes from women.

Why is it on Greta Thunberg and podcasts like The Guilty Feminist to discuss these issues? Although hilarious, being “murdered” on Twitter by Thunberg doesn’t help young men see how objectionable and destructive Tate is. While it sings to the choir of his objectors, it does not speak to the young men who follow him. Ultimately, it galvanises his base.

As a vertically challenged teacher, I know I don’t have the same ability to project my voice across an oval to tell students they need to go back to class as some of my colleagues. I also know that as a mother, there are some things I won’t be able to communicate as effectively to my son as his father, grandfathers, or other men in his life. I don’t see this as a failing on my part, but part of life. Young boys need strong male role models.

Part of that role modelling must help them understand how corrosive someone like Tate really is. There are two ways this needs to be done.

The first is explicitly – men must tell their sons, students, nephews, family friends, and their broader communities that what Andrew Tate says is wrong, violent, misogynistic and unacceptable. Explain why it is so, have awkward conversations. Lean on the “how would you feel if someone spoke about your sister/mother/friend like that?” if you must: whatever you need to do to get the message across.

One friend told me his teenage daughter made it clear that she and her friends would have absolutely nothing to do with a guy who spouts Tate’s ideas, even as a joke. Because as we all know, in every joke there is a grain of truth.

Young men need to know that it doesn’t matter if Tate’s workouts are good, or his points about getting a job or starting a business are somewhat inspiring because they come from the same person who says women can be owned by their partners. They come from an alleged human trafficker. Everything he says must be coloured by that.

Just as we shouldn’t go to politicians held hostage by the gambling lobby for advice on helping families bankrupted by poker machines, we shouldn’t go to Andrew Tate for relationship advice.

The second way is implicitly – support women in equality, and in authority. When young men hear their male role models use derogatory language about young women in the media, (like that the woman is being “harpy”, “shrill” or “bossy”) it can echo what Tate has said, surrounded by takeaway pizza boxes when apprehended by Romanian police.

Instead, promote the women around you. Support equality; follow female sports teams as well as their male counterparts; discuss these issues with your sons.

There are some amazing men who are already doing this work – including Zac Seidler at Movember, Darren Saunders, and Steve Biddulph, but we need more men to speak up now so the next generation hears them.

It is only when a teenager watches an Andrew Tate video and sees it as diametrically opposed to everything in their daily lives that his irrelevance will become obvious, and they will happily scroll to the next clip.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Still trying to understand WWI

by Richard Koenigsberg

I. Aztec warfare: feeding the sun god

In our conventional thinking, warfare occurs when one group of people attacks another group of people. We imagine that this attack is occasioned by the perception of a threat to one’s own group, by a desire to conquer or plunder the other group, or to obtain revenge for past injustices. In any case, people believe that warfare constitutes a condition or state-of-being characterized by human beings performing acts that are "aggressive."

I propose to reconceptualize the nature and meaning of warfare. Aztec warfare provides a beginning case study. Aztec warfare did revolve around conquest and plunder, but more fundamentally, its purpose was to capture warriors from the opposing city-state—in order to sacrifice them.

When the Aztecs waged war, they did not try to kill their adversaries. Rather, they captured soldiers and brought them back home to the sacrificial block at the top of a pyramid—where priests cut open their chests, extracted their hearts and offered the warrior’s heart to the sun god.

According to historian Alfredo Lopez Austin (1988), as long as men could offer the blood and hearts of captives taken in combat, the "power of the sun god would not decline"—he would "continue on his course above the earth." To keep the sun moving in its course so that "darkness should not overwhelm the world forever," anthropologist Jacques Soustelle explains(2002) that it was necessary to "feed it every day with its food"—the "precious water," that is, with human blood.

Unlike the Aztecs, we in the West imagine that wars are fought for "real" reasons or purposes. We understand the death or maiming of soldiers in battle as the by-product that occurs as societies seek to attain practical or political objectives. We do not claim that warfare’s purpose is to produce sacrificial victims, although the result of every war is a multitude of dead soldiers.

II. Sacrifice for gods called France, Germany and Great Britain

In the course of the First World War (1914-1918) approximately 9 million men were killed, 21 million injured, and 8 million captured or reported missing. This war was one of the greatest instances of mass slaughter in the history of the human race. The death toll for one five-month period in 1916—during which the Battles of the Somme Verdun took place—was almost a million men. This represented more than 6,600 men killed every day: 277 every hour, or nearly five each minute.

World War I is famous for the strange way in which battles were fought. Men were asked by the leaders of their nations to get out of trenches and to advance toward the enemy line, where they were met with and torn apart by artillery shells and machine gun fire. In spite of the futility of this strategy, it was never abandoned. The result: four years of perpetual slaughter.

What was going on? Why were leaders willing to continue to push men into battle—and why did young men continue to fight—knowing there was a high probability that they would be killed and a low probability that anything would be accomplished?

We're dealing with something extraordinary. Historians to this day despair when they attempt to explain the monumental carnage. Joanna Bourke in Dismembering the Male (1996) states that during the First World War the male body was "intended to be mutilated." How can we comprehend an event—created by human beings—whose primary product was death and the maiming of men’s bodies?

When war was declared in 1914, excited crowds celebrated in every major city. One million volunteers joined the British army during the first year. War Office recruiting stands were inundated with men persuaded of their duty to fight. The soldiers were cheered on as they rushed off to battle.

The First World War cannot be understood apart from peoples’ attachment to entities called "countries." Leaders, combatants and populaces alike believed that they were acting to defend and preserve their nations. A monumental orgy of destruction was undertaken and justified in the name of regenerating gods called "France”, "Germany”, and "Great Britain”.

Perhaps the Aztec case throws light upon the First World War. British Prime Minister David Lloyd George described the war as a "perpetual, driving force" that "shoveled warm human hearts and bodies by the millions into the furnace."

III. The individual must die so the nation might live

In the midst of the First World War, nationalist writer Maurice Barrès praised French soldiers (in The Faith of France,1918) who were dying on a daily basis:

Oh you young men whose value is so much greater than ours! They love life, but even were they dead, France will be rebuilt from their souls. The sublime sun of youth sinks into the sea and becomes the dawn which will hereafter rise again.

Soustelle notes that the Aztecs believed that the warrior who died in battle or upon the stone of sacrifice "brought the sun to life" and became a "companion of the sun." The rising sun was the "reincarnation of a dead warrior."

Barrès declared that French soldiers—the "sublime sun of youth"—would sink into the sea to become the dawn that would "rise again." Just as the Aztecs believed that the bodies and blood of sacrificed warriors kept the sun god alive, so Barrès believed that the French nation would be regenerated based on the bodies and souls of dead soldiers.

According to historian Burr Brundage (1986), Aztec warriors who died or were cremated on the field of battle "spilled their blood on the bosom of mother earth" and then in flames ascended to "enter the sun god’s entourage." Commenting on the First World War in 1915, P. H. Pearse, founder of the Irish Revolutionary movement, gushed that the previous 16 months had been the "most glorious in the history of Europe." The earth, he said, needed to be "warmed with the red wine of the battlefields." He described the carnage as an offering to God: millions of lives "given gladly for love of country."

The First World War was undertaken, justified and perpetuated in the name of countries. The assumption seems to have been that the "lives" of nations were more significant than the lives of human beings. Germany, France and Great Britain were fed with the bodies and blood of soldiers—sacrificial victims—in order to keep these entities alive.

"The individual must die so that the nation might live" has been uttered throughout the history of modern warfare. But what does this proposition mean? The First World War represented an extraordinary enactment of this idea or fantasy: the nation was imagined to come alive insofar as it was fed with the bodies and blood of sacrificed soldiers. Warfare represented the enactment of a fantasy of death and resurrection.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Was WWII Japan Fascist?

By Walter Skya

What was the ideology that mobilized the Japanese masses to fight to the death—and inspired the elite to wage war in Asia and the Pacific? Writings on Japanese history have referred to it by a number of names such as “Japanism,” “State Shintō,” “ultranationalism,” “emperor-system fascism,” but most often just plain “militarism”—which of course tells one nothing about the ideology.

The question of Japanese ideology has generated debate among scholars since the end of the Second World War. One reason for the lack of clarity is the fact that there was no single individual or group of individuals who came to power on a specific date—such as Benito Mussolini and his Fascist Party in 1922, or Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Worker’s Party in 1933. Further, one cannot point to a single piece of writing such as Mein Kampf that served as an authoritative text.

The central debate has revolved around the question: was Japan fascist or not? Some scholars argued that the Japanese case was so different from Fascist Italy or Nazi Germany that it could not be characterized as “fascist”. This view dominated the discussion for several decades. Scholars Daniel Okimoto and Peter Duus, for example, in “Fascism and the History of Pre-War Japan: The Failure of a Concept” (1979) argued that comparing prewar Japan to German Nazism and Italian Fascism was misguided.

Other scholars disagreed. Maruyama Masao, Japan’s leading postwar political scientist, argued that Japan’s prewar ideology was “fascism from above,” emphasizing that Japan’s ultranationalistic bureaucratic elites engineered Japan’s slide into World War II. Harvard’s Andrew Gordon found enough similarities among Italian Fascism, Nazism, and prewar Japan to conclude that “fascism” was a useful concept to describe the prewar Japanese ideological-political system.

In short, in the early decades after the postwar period, the majority of Japanese historians held the opinion that prewar Japan was different from European fascism, and that the parallel was a misleading one. Recently, the scales have shifted. In The Culture of Japanese Fascism (Tansman, 2009), Marilyn Ivy observes that the consensus that the term fascism was not applicable to Japan has been broken. In Japan in the Fascism Era (Reynolds, 2004), Joseph Sottile shifted the debate by looking at prewar Italy, Germany, and Japan within a broader framework of “Axis Powers” studies.

Curiously, there has been almost no analysis of the influence of prewar Japanese thinkers on Italian Fascists and German Nazis—despite the fact that arguably Japanese thinkers had a much more profound effect on both Italian Fascists and German Nazis than either had on Japan. A close examination of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf shows that Japan was very much on Hitler’s mind in the early 1920s. He referred to Japan numerous times and praised the Japanese for making right choices in history. In 1936, he recognized the Japanese as “honorary Aryans.”

Heinrich Himmler was another admirer of Japan and the Japanese. In 1937, he wrote the forward to the book Die Samurai: Ritter Des Reiches in Ehre und Treue (The Samurai: Knights of the Empire in Honor and Loyalty) by Heinz Corazza. Although Corazza was not a member of the SS, the book was written primarily for SS troops. The focus on Japanese samurai (or bushi) loyalty mirrored the ideology of Himmler’s SS. The SS are identified with the Japanese samurai—glorification of the Japanese! Accordingly, the moral authority and leadership of the samurai in Japanese society became simultaneously the expression of the role of the SS in German society.

Giovanni Gentile, the great Italian philosopher, dreamt that the immortal spirit of Rome would be reborn in Fascism. Gentile pointed to Japan as another model for his Fascist dream, stating that the Japanese spirit lived on in “immortal unification of the living and the dead.” Gentile was in awe of Japan.

In Japan in the Fascist Era, Klaus Antoni observes that German admiration for Japanese ideology can be seen in a report compiled by the SS from 1938 to 1945 (Meldungen aus dem Reich, Reports from the Reich). In one report (August 6, 1942), the SS authors seek to understand the reasons for Japan’s astonishing power—entering the war against the West in alliance with Germany despite fighting a war in China for many years.The report revealed a German inferiority complex—in face of the Japanese willingness to sacrifice the self. The Japanese appeared to be “Teutons squared.” There was even fear that the “Japanese power might one day turn against us.”

Considering the massive influence of Japan on German Nazism and Italian Fascism, one wonders why American scholars have been so keen to equate prewar Japan with European fascism. Why not think of Fascism and Nazism as local manifestations of Japan’s wartime ideology? So—what was the nature of the Japanese ideology that awed both the Italian Fascists and German Nazis, and that prompted Fujiwara Chikao to proclaim that Japan was the ideological leader of the Axis Alliance powers? 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rescuing the Nation from Death

by Richard Koenigsberg

“There is a profound connection between the idea of one’s nation and the idea of an enemy. The enemy is the Siamese twin of one’s nation—what must be destroyed if one’s nation is to survive. Nationalism revolves around rescuing one’s nation—saving the country from death. The enemy is the source of death. For Hitler and the Nazis, Jews were the enemy par excellence.”

Writing about the Final Solution, Hannah Arendt explained that anti-Semitism “explains everything and therefore nothing.” To say Hitler and the Nazis hated and wanted to eliminate the Jews because they were anti-Semitic is equivalent to saying, “Hitler and the Nazis hated and wanted to eliminate the Jews because they hated and wanted to eliminate the Jews.” Recalling freshman philosophy, I believe this is what is called a tautology.

The question is: what did anti-Semitism mean to people like Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels? Why did the idea of “the Jew” arouse such a passionate, hysterical response? Why did Nazi leaders—and many other Germans—feel it was necessary to destroy or eliminate the Jews, conceiving of the Final Solution as a moral imperative?

Hitler said, “We may be inhumane, but if we rescue Germany, we have performed the greatest deed in the world.” Hitler’s ideology grew out of a rescue fantasy. He wanted to “save the nation.” This is not an unusual motive. Much of politics grows out of this idea that one must act to “save” one’s nation—from external and internal enemies.

Indeed, this motive—the desire to “save one’s nation”—is so ordinary that we barely reflect upon it. What is it that individuals wish to save? What is the nature and meaning of these threats to one’s nation—that often evoke such radical, violent forms of action?

There is a profound connection between the idea of one’s nation and the idea of an enemy. The enemy is the Siamese twin of one’s nation, that which must be destroyed if one’s nation is to survive. Nationalism revolves around rescuing one’s nation—saving the country from death. The enemy is the source of death. For Hitler and the Nazis, Jews were the enemy par excellence.

In a previous essay, I hypothesized that “identification with one’s country” is equivalent to equating one’s actual body with a body politic. This is why threats to one’s nation evoke such passion. The idea of an attack upon the nation is experienced as if an attack upon the self—upon one’s own body.

Thus, “national defense” can be understood as a form of paranoia. The enemy is imagined to be violating the boundaries of one’s body. Likewise, the struggle against “internal enemies” (foreign “cells”) may be experienced as if a “disease within the body of one’s people.” In either case, the enemy is experienced as a threat to one’s body.

Hitler identified deeply with the Germany body politic: “Hitler is Germany, just as Germany is Hitler,” as Rudolf Hess put it. Hitler experienced threats to Germany as a threat to his body. Politics was deeply personal for Hitler. There was little separation between the ideology he put forth and his experience as a human being.

When he spoke to the German people, he conveyed this experience—through words and gestures. It’s not as if Hitler invented his ideology for an ulterior purpose. His ideology grew out of his bodily experience. Hitler transformed his deeply emotional experience into an ideology and plan of action.

Hitler understood Jews in terms of a force of disintegration that threatened to destroy the German body politic. He called the Jew a “ferment of decomposition among peoples,” the “demon of disintegration,” symbol of the “unceasing destruction” of a people’s life. As he rose to power, Hitler believed the German nation was in the midst of a “process of dissolution.”

Hitler called communists the “international disintegrators of a people.” Jews “destroyed the state organization.” Bolshevism sought to “tear the world asunder.” Democracy acted continually to “disintegrate the European states.” Hitler looked out into the world, and saw the “increasingly rapid falling to pieces of the organic structure of the nation.”

Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not separate from his attachment to Germany. His response to the Jews was based on his belief that they were acting to bring about Germany’s demise. What did Hitler’s life amount to, after all the history books have been written? His struggle to “save Germany from death” by destroying Jews.

Hitler declared that Germany would not capitulate: he would act to prevent the “threatening dissolution” of Germany’s political life in order to ban the “spread of the process of disintegration.” It was necessary to establish a “clear separation” between the two races. A new body politic would be formed that could overcome the “ferments of decomposition.”

The Final Solution grew out of Hitler’s experience of German disintegration. Because he identified so deeply with his nation, he experienced threats to Germany as a threat to his body. Hitler imagined that if Germany disintegrated, he would too.

The Final Solution revolved around removing the “force of disintegration” from within Germany, Europe and the world. Hitler’s ideology was rooted in paranoia, or hysteria. “The Jew” was experienced by Hitler as a painful entity within his body. There was no separation between Hitler’s inner world and the policies he enacted.

When it comes to Hitler, there are no secrets: what he said was what he was. This is why the German people loved him. He embraced German nationalism hook, line and sinker. When he spoke, he spoke for the German people.

The Jew was the cause of Germany’s pain, and therefore had to be removed from the body politic. Germany’s suffering was Hitler’s suffering. He experienced the pain of the German people (the Jew) within his own body.

The Final Solution was undertaken to “save the nation” by removing the force of disintegration operating within the body politic. When thinking about eliminating the Jews, Hitler said, it was necessary to “act radically.” When one pulls out a tooth, one does it with a “single tug,” and the pain goes away quickly. In order to eliminate the malady, the Jew had to “clear out of Europe.”

Email from Library of Social Science

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Can whole groups be insane?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV, 2000, cited in the “Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy”) defines a delusion as a False belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everybody else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not one ordinarily accepted by other members of the person’s culture or subculture.

Delusions are beliefs “held with great conviction in spite of little empirical support.” A delusion is a “false belief based on incorrect inferences about external reality that is firmly sustained.” A person is deluded when he hold a particular belief with a “degree of firmness utterly unwarranted by the evidence at hand.”

We have observed that Hitler and the Nazis embraced a delusion about the Jews and Jewish power. They believed that Jews were acting to destroy the German people and the civilized world; they asserted that Jews were equivalent to bacteria or viruses; they claimed that “international Jewry” stood behind Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, working to unite these leaders and their nations in a conspiracy to cause Germany to disintegrate.

The term “delusion” usually refers to a clinical syndrome associated with paranoid schizophrenia. How, then, are we to characterize a delusion that is widespread within a society? What can we say about delusions that are embraced by large numbers of people within a culture?

Collective Delusion

Although Nazi leaders such as Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels were deluded regarding to their beliefs about Jews, they were not psychotic. Indeed, according to the conventional psychiatric definition, these men could not be considered psychotic. In response to my essay on “Social Madness/Collective Delusion,” a newsletter subscriber commented that ‘Madness’ understood as mental illness — a psychotic break from reality — does not apply in situations where a substantial portion of individuals from a given group share their beliefs, no matter how irrational or fantastic or bizarre those beliefs may seem. A common belief within a group becomes a norm, and as such, the act of believing is not abnormal. Therefore the postulate that Nazis were ‘mad’ or ‘insane’ does not apply.

In spite of this psychiatric definition, we can’t help but feel that — however “normative” their cultural beliefs or behavior — the Nazis’ ideas and actions were “mad.” Somehow, gassing people en masse, incinerating them in ovens (“the Jew goes out the chimney”), endlessly torturing and brutalizing Jews (before killing them) does not seem normal.

Yet we hesitate to apply the term abnormality to actions performed within the framework of politics and history. If the Nazis’ beliefs and behavior were mad or insane, how are we to characterize the twentieth century itself and the numerous episodes of revolution, war and genocide that resulted in the deaths of over 200 million people? On the one hand, one might say that if certain forms of behavior occur with great frequency in history — however bizarre, weird or destructive they may be — they are normal simply because they have occurred so frequently.

Or we can consider the possibility that psychopathology is contained within the political or historical process. Perhaps “madness” is a central characteristic or quality of this domain. Yet we hesitate to say that political history is a place of madness or psychopathology.

The Politics of the Slaughterhouse

Our difficulty in using the term psychopathology is related to our belief or fantasy that the behavior of political leaders is governed by “rationality.” In Terror and Liberalism (2004), Paul Berman discusses not only suicide bombers, but also Nazis and the history of the twentieth century. He points to our reluctance to say that political behaviors are irrational and manifest severe psychopathology.

Writing in a satirical tone:

It is very odd to think that millions or tens of millions of people, relying on their own best judgments, might end up joining a pathological political movement. Individual madmen might step forward – yes, that is unquestionable. The Reverend Jim Jones might lead the demented residents of his pathetic Jonestown in Guyana to their collective suicide.

But, surely, millions of people are not going to choose death, and the Jonestowns of this world are not going to take over entire societies. Is the world truly a place where mass movements bedeck themselves in shrouds and march to the cemetery? The very idea of a pathological mass movement seems too far-fetched to be believable.

I have frequently written about the destructive, suicidal quality of political behavior, for example, in my online essays “The Goal of War is Death,” “Mass-Murder by Government,” and “Civilization and Self-Destruction.” I have hesitated to use terms like pathology or psychopathology — because they are not useful from an analytic perspective.

Still, there is value to the term pathology — lest we begin to conceive of episodes of mass murder as normal simply because they occur frequently. Berman writes again satirically:

Is the world truly a place where mass movements bedeck themselves in shrouds and march to the cemetery? This seems unthinkable. And, all over the world, the temptation becomes great, irresistible, to conclude that, no, the world remains a rational place, and pathological movements do not exist.

Finally, Berman concludes that, yes, “from time to time, mass political movements get drunk on the idea of slaughter.”

The evidence of the twentieth century suggests that Berman is correct: Societies frequently get “drunk with slaughter.” Indeed, why should he — we — hesitate to draw this conclusion? Simply because we would prefer not to acknowledge or look closely at this reality: the political history of the twentieth century as the politics of the slaughterhouse.

Normality as Pathology

In THE 'EVIL' MIND: Pt. 1: GENOCIDE AND MASS KILLINGS, Johan M.G. van der Dennen says:

We may imagine that so-called normal people could never believe in anything as ludicrous as the delusional systems of the insane. Yet, historical evidence suggests the opposite. Whole societies have been persuaded without much difficulty to accept the most absurd calumnies about minority groups (e.g., witches, heretics, Jews, 'enemies of the people') portrayed as enemies of the majority. Such accusations originate from a particular type of fantasy which is comparable with, indeed equivalent to, paranoid delusions of the kind found in psychotic subjects.

How may one characterize beliefs or delusions that seem fantastic and generate destructive acts of extraordinary magnitude — but that are embraced by many people within a given society? When an entire culture embraces a massively destructive ideology that seems bizarre, one can’t call the people who embrace this ideology psychotic. On the other hand, certain ideas embraced and actions performed by cultural groups do possess a psychotic quality.

We aren’t used to saying that ordinary forms of political behavior are pathological. Psychiatric institutions are ready, willing and able to classify the behavior of individuals as disordered, yet hesitate to identify collective forms of behavior as manifestations of psychological disorders — even though the cost of these episodes of political destruction and self-destruction have probably been greater than the costs of individual disorders.

By gentleman’s agreement, we decide that only individuals can suffer from psychopathology — not entire societies. We have created a sphere of reality — the domain of international relations — where human beings are released from the rules and laws that govern behavior outside. In this privileged place, strange and crazy things occur, but we agree not to call these forms of behavior strange or crazy — much less to characterize them as psychopathology.

International politics and “history” constitute domains where the massive acting out of fantasies occurs. Humans collectively release their despair, anger, violence and self-destructiveness here — knowing that behavior in this realm will not be labeled pathological. The political sphere allows the enactment of psychopathology — while simultaneously denying psychopathology. How can things that occur so frequently be pathological?

Many people deeply identify with the political world in which “nations” play a leading role. We don’t want to abandon our identification with this world (it is the place where “immortality” occurs). If we were to acknowledge that this domain is the site of profound, destructive pathology, we might be tempted to abandon our identification... We simply prefer not to do so.

Richard A. Koenigsberg, Ph.D., Director, LIBRARY OF SOCIAL SCIENCE