Questioning Manhood On The Net

Masculinity is a comedy website that specializes in writing up vaguely amusing lists about popular culture and society. Think “The five worst superhero movies” or similar. Good for a quick laugh but not terribly deep. Except on Tuesday they did something a little unusual, posting an article that looked alarmingly like feminist commentary, written by a male senior editor. And damn, if it hasn’t gone viral.

5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained To Hate Women has at time of writing had more than 1,769,000 views and it features 6500 comments. The link kept popping up on Twitter, tweeted by my feminist friends, which is how I came to read it. And it seems to be inspiring some polarized views and a lot of discussion.

I’m not going to analyze the piece in depth. It is by turns enlightened and just plain silly (but it IS a comedy website, so there you go). The author falls into the trap of making gross generalizations about men and sex, blaming a rampant libido for just about everything. Nonetheless, there are some piquant observations about how men negatively talk about women online and a genuine desire to look at the societal tropes that encourage bad behaviour in men. Example: Hollywood movies almost always end with the guy getting the girl. Never mind what the girl wants, all male heroes are rewarded with a sexy woman. The author then links this to the idea that men feel overly resentful and angry if women reject them.

I’m not sure if the article is seeking to make excuses for male bad behaviour or simply wants to look at the reasons behind it. For me, what’s interesting is that almost two million people are thinking about men and masculinity. That’s great.


Support independent, ethically made, award-winning porn. Bright Desire features all of my erotic films and writing. A membership to Bright Desire gets you access to every movie I've ever made and lets me keep making female friendly porn!
Click here to find out more.

It’s well past time that we as a society really deconstructed our concept of maleness and what it means. Because feminism has been around since the 70s and since then we’ve made huge gains in addressing women’s inequality, including raising awareness about how femininity is constructed and how women are expected to behave.

Meanwhile, men remained locked in what Dr Charlie Glickman calls the Masculinity Box. Guys are expected to act and think in very rigid ways and conform to very distinct ideas of “manliness”. Step outside the box (be gay, sensitive, emotional, weak) and you will be punished by both men and women, considered a “sissy” or too feminine. Because the worst insult for a man is to be called a woman. And part of maintaining your Official Male status involves denigrating women, in the ways discussed in the Cracked article.

Another important rule of the masculinity box is to not talk about it. The first rule of Fight Club is not to talk about Fight Club. Real men don’t discuss their feelings or the way society expects them to behave. And this is why that Cracked article is a bit of a shock. Because Cracked is a very blokey kind of site; in theory, author David Wong has just been kicked out of Fight Club for daring to question what’s going on. Sure, he did it in a jokey, blokey way but he took a step outside the box. Hence, perhaps, the 6000 comments. I haven’t waded into that morass but I suspect a lot of them are abusing him for being “pussy whipped” or something.

I thought I’d write about it here because I feel like I’ve been seeing more and more of this kind of thing – guys talking about manhood and questioning it. It’s only a vague feeling and I don’t have any proof of a trend. Perhaps it’s just that I’m moving in more “sensitive” circles online. Nonetheless, I think it shows that the internet could well be the tool that helps men move beyond the rigid ideas of what masculinity is about.

An example: a few weeks ago someone recommended I read this post: Treating Men Like Four Year Olds. The male author talks about how men are allowed to get away with not expressing their feelings in a relationship, about how society makes excuses for them, saying “well, he’s a guy, of course he won’t say ‘I love you.'” This is only one man analyzing his experience and thinking critically about manhood but I don’t think he’s alone. Thanks to the way we can share ideas on the internet, I think more guys are getting the chance to read this kind of thing and to quietly think about how the Masculinity Box has shaped their life.

There are even hints of it in popular culture. I feel like the Old Spice Guy has done a good job of satirizing overblown masculinity, even as it celebrates manhood.

By the way, I’m not talking about the guys who have taken the “anti-feminist” route, the ones who bang on about how women have ruined it for men and how feminists are all evil and are Corrupting Our Boys or stuff like that. Because I think those guys aren’t questioning the masculinity trope at all; they’re re-enforcing it for themselves.

And I should also say, a true male “enlightenment” won’t come from women talking about it. I think it’s entirely up to men to have that conversation and to really think about how to improve their lives and improve society (in this I can’t recommend Charlie Glickman’s Performance of Masculinity post enough). But I do think women and feminism have much to gain from encouraging men to ask questions. Because if men move away from all the bullshit that encourages them to treat women badly, then women will naturally be better off. “Masculinism” is the natural follow-on from feminism.

In that light, well done Cracked.

PS. Just have to draw attention to this paragraph about how some men can’t write from a female point of view. In this, he uses a George R. R. Martin book as an example:

“When she went to the stables, she wore faded sandsilk pants and woven grass sandals. Her small breasts moved freely beneath a painted Dothraki vest …”

That’s written from the woman’s point of view. Yes, when a male writes a female, he assumes that she spends every moment thinking about the size of her breasts and what they are doing. “Janet walked her boobs across the city square. ‘I can see them staring at my boobs,’ she thought, boobily.”

Perfect, (she wrote boobily). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received erotic fiction submissions with female pseudonyms that invariably say “She was an independent woman who was proud of her size D breasts…”

9 Replies to “Questioning Manhood On The Net”

  1. I write, (sometimes for money), my income has been there but sporadic, and I mostly do it from home. Consequent on this my wife has been the main stable breadwinner, a role to which she is particularly suited and I brought up the sprogs, (now working or finishing university), and I did/do 80% of the housework and cooking/shoping, (I also build decks and put in bathrooms( just to show I’m manly)). My wife thinks that I should be in a job and earning money, (I spend “hers”), and we are going to split as a result. Sound familiar?

    1. Raoul, it just sounds like your wife is being unfair to you. Have you talked about that? Been to a counsellor?
      This comment wants me to view a single situation as typical and thus prove that all women want is money, right? Sorry, not buying it. Both women and men can be assholes.

  2. The amazing thing isn’t that men are talking about masculinity and manhood on the web. The amazing thing is that female (mis)perceptions of masculinity and males in general are so estranged from the reality of the situation that there is hardly even a common language between them anymore. Now that men are beginning to examine masculinity comprehensively within the Manosphere there will, indeed, be a consensus about how masculinity is revalorized for the 21st century. The bad news: feminists aren’t going to like it one bit.

    The perception that feminism has been nothing but good, sweetness and light in our society is at an end, and the only ones who cannot see that are those who are so invested in the ideology that they cannot see the reality of the situation. Feminism has done much to rectify and reform our society in desperately needed ways; however, the role it plays today is one of gynocentric advocacy based not on the ideal of equality, but on the ideology of pushing female interests and issues to their capacity, regardless of the damage it might do to the men in our society.

    The truth is this new self-wrought masculinity is actively de-coupling the concept from a complementary role with feminism — men, in general, no longer trust women, in general, to communicate honestly or effectively even on a cultural level; thanks to two generations of rampant hypergamy and the systematic estrangement of fathers and fatherhood, feminist has created a class of commitment-phobic “Guys” or “dudes” who show know signs of becoming the responsible members of society feminism’s ideology is predicated on. In overthrowing the power of the Patriarchy, feminism has unleashed the Puerarchy on the world . . . and now it has to live with the consequences.

    That means no more easy marriages, girls. No more disrespecting men and expecting chivalry in return. No more treating you like princesses, because you just haven’t earned that. There’s a reason why more and more young men are investigating foreign brides while their female peers plumb the loser pools of the US and weep that “there aren’t any decent men!” The few women of quality who are available are under constant assault from a divorce-happy “Eat,Pray,Love” feminist culture that tries to convince them that “men are like houses — you get what you can afford and then trade up”.

    No more. We’re done being jerked around by women against our own interests. Thankfully, we don’t have to any more. Craig’s List, online prostitution, porn, and dating sites have put the Sexual Market Place in a whole new realm. Dudes are learning how to manage the women they encounter much better, and are beginning to understand that no, they don’t have to be a nice guy and kiss a bunch of feminist ass to get laid anymore — they don’t even need a lot of money. They just need Game. They need the Red Pill.

    Thanks to Single Game, ala Roissey and Roosh, and Married Game ala Athol Kay’s Married Man Sex Life, the Betacized chumps of America are learning that feminists just don’t have their best interests at heart, and that a prolonged adolescence spent drinking, playing videogames, watching porn and hooking up with random chicks is, actually, pretty much Valhalla for a dude . . . so why get a girlfriend? And why the hell would you get a wife? Behold the Puerarchy, Men Going Their Own Way . . . without a real relationship with women, feminist or otherwise. Women don’t need a relationship with us for support, anymore, and we don’t need a relationship with them for sex, not when there are so many willing replacements eager to audition for the job.

    In an age where feminist stalwarts of the 1970s are begging their aging, single daughters to ignore their careers just long enough to get knocked up with the first dude they can just so they can have grandchildren, I find it highly amusing that you would blame the tired meme of the “emotionally constipated male” and masculine culture in general for the current state of masculinity.

    The fact is, we DO talk about Fight Club, because the Puerarchy is subversive by nature and thrives on spirited debate — the stuff feminists dismissively call voices of “angry men”. And what we’ve been talking about the most for the last few years is not just how to make ourselves better Men, but sharing the fact with a generation of young men desperate for paternal guidance that there are so few better Women left in America who can be counted upon to be respectful, civil, and feminine that it’s best just to ignore the feminists entirely and look for love overseas. We won’t have to worry about our sons dealing with a third generation of feminists — they just won’t be reproducing anymore.

    But y’all just keep your hamsters blaming us for it, and getting frustrated with us about how we’re just not cooperating with the Feminist Utopia anymore. It amuses us. Y’all forgot that when you were re-defining what it meant to be a woman, and didn’t bother to consult us about it, that we would get the same opportunity and just not give a damn about how women think of us anymore. Y’all have lost your credibility.

    But dudes . . . you need to slide on by the Manosphere and see what’s up.

    1. I’m just going to let your comment speak for itself.

      But I do wonder, if you hate feminism and women so much, why you spend time reading and commenting on my self-identified feminist blog?

  3. For one thing, it’s not so much that I “hate feminism” — I hate what feminism has become. Early feminism was necessary. After the necessary legal and social reforms were in place, however, feminism quit being about equality and became far more about gynocentric exceptionalism, to the detriment of (and without regard for) the welfare of men. Further, feminism refuses to acknowledge in the slightest that it has done damage to men, and then advocated a social philosophy that actively disparages masculinity, punishes men for being men, and advances the interests of women regardless of the costs. Even further, modern feminism has destroyed the foundations of our social order, particularly in regards to sex and mating, without having a workable system in mind to replace it. So now we get hypergamy, rampant divorce, remote or absent fathers, and a workplace that exists as a de facto gender-based armed camp. Far from creating a society of equity and equality, feminism has so polarized our professional and personal lives that it can no longer be said to have the best-interests of our society as a whole in mind.

    Until feminism comes to terms with its daddy issues, therefore, the collective masculinity of America, in the process of being revalorized, has decided to stop taking feminism at face value in part because the stated ideology diverges wildly from the practical application. There is no “equality” in feminism; if there was, then we would see agitation amongst feminists to include females in the selective service mandate, fair custody legislation, and other areas where men, not women, are disfavored. Instead we see one gynocentric “problem” after another pushed in front of our faces, and each time the solution seems to leave us with less and less. We’re done. We can’t take feminism seriously any more.

    As to why I haunt this and other feminist blogs, it’s because the time when feminism can spread its propaganda without critical oversight are done. Far from avoiding feminism, I seek to challenge it. Not because I “hate women” or even “hate feminism”, but because I feel that it’s important for those men who happen across this and other feminist blogs, seeking the key to “understanding women” (because, let’s face it, that’s really the only reason a hetero dude ever goes to a feminist blog) find that there is more than one valid perspective on the subject.

    I seek to show men that they are valued and respected within the community of the Manosphere and without the faux validation of feminism. I seek to show them that they are not worthless and despised as rapists and perverts, walking wallets and cannon fodder, as they have been under feminism. That they do not need overly-complex relationships with women to validate themselves as men. And that masculinity is worthy of their respect, and worthy of them demanding respect upon its behalf. I seek to show them that the definition, composition, and expression of their masculinity is in THEIR hands alone, not in the hands of feminists who have pre-judged them because of their gender and who will never accept them as Men. I seek to show them that the honest pursuit of sexuality is a fundamental pillar of masculinity throughout human cultures, and that appreciation of their sexuality as thing of noble beauty instead of a mark of guilt and shame.

    I do not hate women. I love women. I was born of one, I married one, and I have one as a child. I’ve worked in a variety of female-dominated industries for excellent, exemplary female bosses. I have literally scores of platonic female friends. I wish them all nothing but the best. After all, I love them in part because of their gender.

    But I can be pissed off when the collective femininity (of which feminism is a product) wages a decades-long campaign attacking the fundamental values and interests of the collective masculinity, and leaves millions of shattered men in its wake as a result. I can be even more pissed off when this movement leads to collectively flaky and childish behavior that affects our entire society. And I can be even more pissed off with the fact that feminism not only refuses to own up to its responsibilities — as they forced men to do — but to even admit that there is a problem. Indeed, the only problem that feminism sees is the “lingering patriarchy”, a ghost of a system they refuse to let die lest it deprive them of their straw man.

    In truth, feminism slew the power of the Patriarchy decades ago — congratulations! But what it gave us to replace it as a result — the Puerarchy — is a far more insidious and (eventually) detrimental agency, especially toward those ideals that feminism claims to hold dear.

    I don’t “hate” feminism any more than I hate women. Feminism is a political and social ideology, and as such can be assessed by its utility to the politics and the society of its time. For women feminism may still seem like a vital need, like trade unions in the depths of the Industrial Revolution. But for men . . . feminism has long out-lived its usefulness, and is now an anti-male ideology predicated on the idea of feminine privilege at the expense of masculinity. On that basis I have chosen to challenge it.

  4. @Raul

    What? She’s not being equitable and demonstrating her equality by ceding control of half of the assets, regardless of their origin? Gosh, that sounds an awful lot like the grievances feminism originally had with “the Patriarchy” — just ’cause you make the money don’t mean you get to spend it. As a feminist doesn’t she feel properly guilty and scandalized that she would use her position as the breadwinner to dictate policy and wield power within the family unit?

    Or is she just looking for a richer dude to move up to?

    Either way . . . you have feminism to thank.

  5. Ian, your definitions of what feminism is seem to differ from me and most of the women I know who identify as feminist. You see it as a malevolent monolith, a conspiracy of sorts. I rarely bother with arguments based on such paranoia and generalisations, whether it comes from men or women.

    I know that feminism isn’t perfect, mainly because it has many facets. It may be possible that you have some decent points to make with regards to the idea that feminism can sometimes be disdainful of men.

    But then I read these statements:

    “…no more easy marriages, girls”

    “Dudes are learning how to manage the women they encounter much better, and are beginning to understand that no, they don’t have to be a nice guy and kiss a bunch of feminist ass to get laid anymore”

    “a prolonged adolescence spent drinking, playing videogames, watching porn and hooking up with random chicks is, actually, pretty much Valhalla for a dude . . . so why get a girlfriend? And why the hell would you get a wife?”

    “modern feminism has destroyed the foundations of our social order, particularly in regards to sex and mating”

    “That they do not need overly-complex relationships with women to validate themselves as men”

    “I seek to show them that the honest pursuit of sexuality is a fundamental pillar of masculinity throughout human cultures, and that appreciation of their sexuality as thing of noble beauty instead of a mark of guilt and shame.”

    You seem to view marriage and relationships as merely a transaction – the guy gets sex, the woman gets money. You seem to think that sex is the most important goal in men’s lives. You paint feminism as an obstacle to that “utopia” of random sex and playing video games.

    I’m one of these human beings that quite likes the idea of “overly complex relationships” with other human beings. I find it sad that you think a grown-up relationship is just an obstacle to get over in order to have sex.

    Are you still married? why?

    By the way, have you read Charlie Glickman’s thoughts on masculinity? He talks about becoming a more rounded human being, through picking and choosing what aspects of the “masculinity box” he wants to keep or reject.

    If you really are keen on shaping your life in the “manosphere” you won’t care what I say and that’s fine. But I’m sure you want to consider Charlie’s thoughts on the topic and weight their merits against your own approach to masculinism. And by all means, leave extended comments on his blog, not mine.

  6. “You seem to view marriage and relationships as merely a transaction – the guy gets sex, the woman gets money. You seem to think that sex is the most important goal in men’s lives. You paint feminism as an obstacle to that “utopia” of random sex and playing video games.”

    Marriage is, of course, a transaction. It’s a legally binding contract recognized by the state. Often issues of sex and money are involved. And sometimes even the welfare of children. While the exact nature and particulars of marriage vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, marriage remains far more than a mere “official” romantic relationship. As such it is not “merely” a transaction, it is the basic unit of social organization for our species, regardless of culture. Feminism has consistently attempted to simultaneously promote marriage as a tool of social control while undermining it’s stability as a permanent commitment through the glorification of divorce. Regardless of whether or not this has arisen from feminist theorists, it has taken root in popular feminist culture to the point where it has become used as a wholesale tool of punishment and hypergamy, much to the detriment of the men in our society.

    Sex is, indeed, the prime motivating factor for men. Just as security is with women. Ignoring that fact is ignoring one of the basic understandings of human sexual psychology. Which is, indeed, one of the lasting issues with feminism as an ideology: it promotes an ideal humanistic equality without regard to the realities of the sexual landscape, which affords plenty of opportunity for the opportunistic and the ambitious to exploit the implicit advantages of female sexuality without assuming the responsibilities. The result has been generational social chaos and a cultural rift between the genders. Until this is addressed to the satisfaction of the collective masculinity, this rift will continue in a painful fashion.

    And feminism isn’t an obstacle to the Puerarchy — it created it. Thanks to feminism, it’s never been a better time to be a skirt-chasing boozehound without serious responsibilities. Far from respecting women, the Puerarchy takes objectification to whole new levels, thanks to the collective rejection and lack of guidance these poor boys have dealt with. In fact, it’s that very culture that spawned the Game blogs, Roissey and Roosh and those less-savory. They are all a result of feminism’s effects, and they will leave your daughters emotionally shattered and sexually numb, plagued with daddy issues and disastrous self-image issues, desperate to connect but so scarred by the sexual marketplace that they withdraw into a drone-like existence of career and meaningless social activities.

    If that’s the kind of future feminism sees as ideal for your daughters, congrats. You’ve arrived. A generation of jaded, cynical women who just can’t seem to get a handle on their relationships, and a pack of wild, drunken boys too obsessed with porn and videogames and sports to think of women as more than walking vaginas.

    “Are you still married? why?”

    I’m married because I found an incredibly intelligent, caring, highly ambitious non-feminist woman who agreed that raising happy, healthy children should be the highest priority in a marriage. All else falls from that. And no, she’s not a SAHM, she’s one of the top professionals in her career, internationally respected and making a healthy income. Feminist dream, right? Except she couldn’t do a damn bit of it without me, she knows it, and she doesn’t try to rationalize away my masculinity in some BS attempt to have “power” in the relationship. Must be hell for her, huh? Twenty years of wedded hell, with three happy, healthy kids . . . while her pseudo-feminist sister has been through three marriages and two fathers for her kids. She spends more on antidepressants and therapy sessions now than I spend on afterschool care.

    And it might surprise you, but I do care what you have to say, else I wouldn’t be here. I respect your work in porn, and I’ve even linked to your blog a few times. I’ve read Glickman, and while he makes some interesting points there are some serious issues with his basic assumptions. If he’s elected to discard a willingness to oppose a force working against his own interest from his “masculinity box”, good on him . . . but I don’t think that particular position will catch on. The Manosphere is the most vocal element in the revalorization of masculinity, but is representative of a whole class of men who have become disillusioned with the ideology of feminism, and are seeking a more practical philosophy.

  7. Just thought I’d point out (the possibly obvious) – some men aren’t in the masculinity box because of societal pressures. They’re in it because it suits them. They just are masculine. And it seems to me, a pretty good percentage of men are in it *most* of the time because it suits them, most of the time, too. I’m not sure exactly where I personally am with that. I know I definitely do play the “masculine” game at least some of the time, but a lot of the time I am pretty comfortable with it anyway. Maybe all of the time. I guess I never really thought about it in those terms before. Thanks for the link to the Cracked article by the way. It was interesting, and maybe pretty accurate in some respects, if a little simplistic, and fairly extreme. He’s right though – we definitely are strongly motivated by sex. Although I’d argue sex is not mens only motivation (at least not directly). You know, sometimes things are just enjoyable for their own sake – building something, playing an instrument, operating a vehicle.
    I’m sorry if this was not particularly coherent, it’s late here as I type this. Maybe I’ll read this again tomorrow and want to add or change something. BTW, as far as I can tell, II is full of it… :-).

Comments are closed.