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Oct 06 2013

The Case Against Female Self-Esteem, Part III

I recently received an email from reader and occasional commenter captainahags titled “Please take this idiot apart!” The post in question is by Matt Forney, a self-published “entrepreneur” who seems to have taken bragging “pick-up artists” seriously when they said there was money in all those poor, lonely guys on the internet. So last year he started up a blog to test the idea that you can publish any old crap, call it “game”, and make money. He’s already put out a “best of” book.

The post in question is a perfect example of “any old crap”. It’s whiny, contradictory, and backed up by fuck all. But here. Rather that tell you about it, let’s show you what flies in PUA land–with commentary, because it wasn’t the post that sent captainahags to me as much as the fact that Forney doesn’t allow critical comments on his blog.

Friday’s post covered the long-winded, poorly asserted introduction to Forney’s post. Yesterday’s covered the hilarious first of his “reasons”. On to “reason” number 2 today.

2. Insecurity is integral to femininity.

I was thinking about a couple of my past relationships when I had this epiphany; the girls I’ve loved the most were the ones who were the most insecure, the most emotionally vulnerable.

“Love” is one of those words with almost as many meanings as people using it. I have no doubt that we’ll learn more about what Forney thinks it means.

When I first went on a date with the only girl I would have ever married, her hands were trembling in nervousness. She later admitted that she was openly intimidated by me and the idea that I found her attractive. She had been an ugly duckling in high school, forty pounds overweight and used to being ignored and mocked; I had met her shortly after she’d lost the weight, when she still viewed the world through a fat girl’s eyes.

So Forney met her when she didn’t think she could do any better than some guy who’s proud to demonstrate that his education is sorely lacking. She went out with somebody who intimidated her and who she expected to mock her. He would have married that woman.

Then…something happened. I wonder why Forney wants women to stay insecure.

Insecurity is the natural state of woman. How could it be anything else?

By this I assume that Forney doesn’t mean some kind of existential insecurity. We’re not talking about facing our own mortality or anything like that.

Given their lack of physical strength, a woman on her own should be frightened as hell without men to protect her. If society were to collapse, all the Strong, Independent Women™ who read Jezebel and xoJane would last about five minutes before they either found a man to cling onto or got raped and killed. In the bellum omnium contra omnes that is mankind’s default existence, a woman who is alone is a woman who is already dead.

Okay, so it is facing our own mortality that Forney means, but not in any existential sense. Instead, he means booga, booga, booga. However, just because it can be written in Latin, this does not make it ancient wisdom, much less right.

Ever heard of bonobos? They’re one of our two closest living relatives. They don’t rely on law and order to get along like an orgy, and they don’t do forced copulation or murder. Chimps do, but I’ve yet to see a compelling reason why humans should be considered to be more like chimps than bonobos. We’re social animals who bond and form alliances even in the absence of anything Forney is likely to recognize as “society”.

It is fascinating, however, that it never appears to occur to Forney that women could or would band together. Either he hasn’t noticed that the feminism he complains about is one long history of women doing exactly that–to great effect–or the idea terrifies him so completely that he can’t consider the possibility.

One of the most commonly repeated tropes of feminists and manboobs goes something like this:

“You should be happy that women nowadays are independent, because it means that they’re with you because they WANT to be with you, not because they’re dependent on you.”

This is a fundamental violation of the relationship between men and women.

Hey, did you know there is only one relationship, and it’s between all men and all women? Or maybe Forney just thinks that all relationships between men are exactly identical, so any woman can be swapped for any other, just as any man can (though apparently not man for woman or vice versa, not in Forney’s world). That’s why he spent a couple thousand words writing about the kind of women who make his penis go all floppy.

Part of our identity as men based in women needing us, if not necessarily in a material sense, then in an emotional one, though material and emotional vulnerability often go hand in hand. That female insecurity is a crucial ingredient for unlocking our inner masculine instincts.

Where “inner masculine instincts” equals Forney’s erect penis. We have now reached the TMI portion of the post, required in almost any post about relationships and particularly cringe-inducing when those posts are written by male supremacists. Forney has just told us that he doesn’t matter enough in the rest of his life to have a relationship based in equality. No, he needs the woman in his life–on those occasions when she hasn’t realized she can do better and walked–to prop up his ego for him. He can’t feel like a man unless she’s dependent on him, and while it would be cool if that were an emotional thing, he’s perfectly happy to purchase the egoboo.

If a girl needs me, feels that her life would end if she were to lose me, I’m doubly inspired to be there for her, to shield her from the cruelty of the world. Frankly, it’s pretty hot. If she just wants me, could take me or leave me, my gut response is one of apathy. “Yeah, whatever babe.”

He’s so super motivated by that need that he’s never left a relationship. Or maybe all the women he’s ever dated have left his needy ass.

Confidence doesn’t give men erections; vulnerability does.

Speaking from personal experience, um, no. But now I know way too much about his sad sex life.

In order to love someone else, you need to be emotionally vulnerable, more so women than men (as girls are attracted to confident men). You need to be willing to open yourself up, to give yourself over to their judgment, to risk being hurt and rejected. Without this emotional openness, any relationship you have will never go beyond the infatuation stage.

Here Forney demonstrates that he doesn’t know the difference between risk and dependence. It’s one thing to take a risk on a relationship with someone (different from love, which is an emotion that can be held without being reciprocated). It’s quite another to put yourself in a position to be devastated because you’ve got nothing in reserve if that relationship goes bad. You know, like Forney’s have. Nor am I (merely) picking on Forney. The overwhelming majority of relationships, despite Forney’s plug-and-play statement above, end long before “death do us part”.

But girls today are told to erect gigantic walls around their hearts, cutting them off from an crucial part of their humanity.

Can someone point me to where, in all the princess mania, the young adult fiction aimed at the primarily female market, the career advice given to female students anyone tells girls to “erect gigantic walls around their hearts”? Or, since Forney apparently thinks it’s “edgy” to pretend his vocabulary is so limited he doesn’t know the word for adult female human beings, anywhere this is said in romcoms, self-help books, or even blazing feminist propaganda? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

The emotional dissonance from this feminist social engineering is why antidepressant usage and mental illness are skyrocketing among young women. Ordinarily a depressed or insecure girl would seek solace in the loving embrace of a man, but daily hits from her good friend Saint Xanax short-circuit her feminine instincts.

Can I tell you how much I love that the citation given for the musings in that first link is intuition? I mean, really, Forney goes to the trouble to provide backup in this one section, and his go-to is somebody’s intuition?

Also, while the Guardian article does say that more women than men are being diagnosed with mental illness, it doesn’t say that rates are increasing disproportionately among women, much less young women. Much less that they’ve been driving the increase in antidepressant usage. It couldn’t. The article isn’t reporting on a longitudinal study. So what do we find when we do look at longitudinal data? Let’s ask the CDC, which reports on health care usage.

"Data table for Figure 10" in the attached pdf. Relevant figures discussed in the text. Full pdf should be readable.

For anyone who can see the table, it compares antidepressant and anti-anxiety prescription drug use in the period from 1988 to 1994 to the same in the period from 2005 to 2008. The results are broken out by gender and age range. For this purpose, we’re interested in men and women ages 18 to 44.

The first thing that jumps out at me here is that the 1% figure for men taking antidepressants from 1988 to 1994 is based on too little data to be reliable. Still, it’s the best we have, so we’ll work with it. How much did antidepressant use in young women increase between the two periods the CDC tracked? Between 2005 and 2008, the rate was 517% what it was from 1988 to 1994. Wow! Huge, right?

Of course, the young men’s usage rate was 360% between 2005 and 2008 of what it was from 1988 to 1994. Also pretty huge. A smaller increase than we see in young women’s usage, but not that marked a difference. Can we also blame that on “emotional dissonance from this feminist social engineering”? Well, we could try, but we might want to prescribe different drugs if we did. Modern antidepressants (which Xanax is not), particularly SSRIs, are notorious for not helping with that little symptom Forney complained about at the start of his post.

Also, we have this little problem with underdiagnosis of depression in men, partly because the symptoms of depression often differ between genders. The male supremacist movement doesn’t help that by insisting that the differential symptoms of depression in men are just normal male “nature”.

In squelching her inborn insecurity with you-go-grrlisms and drugs, the modern woman has become an emotional cripple. Like a fat slob eating Big Macs instead of a juicy steak from the supermarket, she substitutes having a dominant and confident man in her life with lotsa cocka and dating where she considers herself an “equal.”

Forney would like you all to assume that he’s juicy, juicy steak, all the evidence he’s provided so far notwithstanding.

She views men as a life support system for a penis, an accoutrement, no different than her Manolo Blahniks or snazzy new iPhone. When she gets bored of her boy-toy, she tosses him in the trash and moves on to a newer, shinier model, and if she can get cash and prizes for trading in her old clunker, that’s just the icing on the cake.

Essentially, “confident” women are incapable of viewing men as human beings.

So what Forney is saying here is that he sees women behaving in the way men have traditionally behaved. From there, he has projected their inner emotional state from his own. And this is only a problem when women do it, because then it affects him.

When manboobs and feminists say you should be happy that women today are “independent,” this is what they’re arguing for; a world in which romantic relationships are impossible.

With Forney.

Where men are nothing more than fashion items to help women show how cool or sophisticated they are. Sorry, but homie don’t play that game. If I’m not the center of a girl’s world, I’m not going to be in her world period.

If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, he seems determined to complain and demand the rest of the world change to accommodate his shortcomings.

I can already see the Jizzabellers angrily pounding away at their Macbooks: “You just can’t handle a Strong, Independent Woman™!” We men can handle you just fine; the problem is that we don’t want to. So-called confident women are as threatening as a pile of dog turds. Sure, you can scrape them off your boots when you get home, but it’s better to not step in dog shit to begin with.

And yet, Forney’s response when he realized a woman had written a post about his nonsense wasn’t to argue with it. It was to go find out whether he wanted to fuck her. Do you think we should tell his target audience that their boy doesn’t walk his talk?

Hang on, there’s still one “reason” left. Think it will be as solid and well-researched as the first two?

14 comments

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  1. 1
    Marcus Ranum

    I thought I’d browse some of his media presence and see if there were any pictures of him – since I assume he’s a great-looking, buff, hunka smoking male meat. Unfortunately, he seems to prefer to remain in the shadows.

    Then one image caught my eye and made my heart nearly stop; it’s a frame from “irreversible”
    http://mattforney.com/2013/10/01/matt-forneys-podcast-extravaganza-episode-seven-the-game-within/
    [Trigger warning: looking up more about "irreversible" or watching it - horrible, intensely violent rape scene.] It’s not a movie I want to ever see again; in fact I’d rather forget I’d ever seen it at all. It’s extremely unsettling that he’d use one of the frames from just before when Belluci’s character is assaulted as a website decorator. I wonder if he’s decorated some of his other pages with scenes from “clockwork orange” :\

  2. 2
    Marcus Ranum

    Wow, I think this is one of his sites:
    http://www.returnofkings.com/about

    This guy is like a version of Vox Day that’s extra stupid. Not that Day’s smart, but this is some weapons-grade stupid and projection we’re talking about, here.

    Nice site rules like:
    Women and homosexuals are prohibited from commenting here. They will be immediately banned.

    And it has deep filosofikal ideas such as:
    2. Women are sluts if they sleep around, but men are not. This fact is due to the biological differences between men and women.

    5. Testosterone is the biological cause for masculinity. Environmental changes that reduce the hormone’s concentration in men will cause them to be weaker and more feminine.

    6. A woman’s value is mainly determined by her fertility and beauty. A man’s value is mainly determined by his resources, intellect, and character.

  3. 3
    Marcus Ranum

    I had no idea that there were assholes like this out there. I sort of assumed that there were, but never went around turning over rocks to see what was living underneath. Ick. I want to go wash my brain out now.

  4. 4
    Stephanie Zvan

    I think the Return of Kings site belongs to someone else, someone who is a bit ignorant about what inbreeding has done to hereditary monarchs–among other things. Forney seems to have written for almost all the big misogynist sites, though. I think he sees it as marketing for his books.

  5. 5
    Ani J. Sharmin

    So what Forney is saying here is that he sees women behaving in the way men have traditionally behaved. From there, he has projected their inner emotional state from his own. And this is only a problem when women do it, because then it affects him.

    ^This. So much of this is just his claim that men can treat women however they like, but women being equal is persecution.

  6. 6
    Gretchen

    And yet, Forney’s response when he realized a woman had written a post about his nonsense wasn’t to argue with it. It was to go find out whether he wanted to fuck her.

    Yeah, it’s his modus operandi apparently. No woman who disagrees with him can be attractive, and their unattractiveness is proof of their positions’ non-viability.

    Oh, in that (my) case….unattractive and autistic.

    *sigh*

  7. 7
    Erin (formerly--formally?-- known as EEB)

    OMG, this is giving me flashbacks. When I was a still a Christian, going to a conservative Christian University, there was a huge fad going through the church: the John and Stasi Elderidge “Wild at Heart” and “Captivating” books that would teach men how to be men and women how to be women, and how to relate to each other. Kind of “Men are From Mars” for the conservative Christian set, I guess. Anyway, they were insanely popular, kind of like the whole Purpose Driven Life, fad…everyone was reading them, talking about them, starting groups to discuss the books, etc.

    I tried to join one of the groups going through “Captivating” (I still have the book and the workbook…maybe I should do a deeper look at it on my blog sometime…). I lasted two weeks before I couldn’t take it anymore. One of the main premises of the book is that men were designed by God to take care of women, and women were designed to need men. So if you’re too confident and self-assured, if you act like you can take care of yourself (which is all an act, because women are created to be dependent on men, to desire and cleave to a man, so you’ll never be self-sufficient), men won’t want you, your husband will be depressed and not know how to fulfill his purpose. And that’s why men become abusive and have affairs, or stop providing and sit around playing video games all day. All your fault, ladies: shape up, be dependent on your man (but not too dependent–you also need to be an effective helpmete) and all your marriage difficulties will disappear.

    Bleagh.

  8. 8
    smhll

    OMG, this is giving me flashbacks.

    Well, when I first scanned your phrase, I thought I saw “OMG, this is giving me flatulence.”

    I had to giggle.

  9. 9
    AMM

    Has anyone tried to write up “The Case Against Male Self Esteem”? (Yeah, it would be a parody essay.)

    I was looking at the quotes in parts I and II, and at least for those, you could simply swap the genders. (You might need to switch anatomical parts, too.) Add some supporting “arguments,” and off you go.

    For example:

    1. Most girls have done nothing to deserve self-esteem.

    In the world of men, respect—and by extension self-esteem—is based on actually achieving something of worth or having some kind of skill or talent. Are you a bodybuilder or jacked? Men and women will respect you because the effort to mold your body like that requires an enormous amount of work and dedication.

    turns into

    1. Most boys have done nothing to deserve self-esteem.

    In the world of women, respect—and by extension self-esteem—is based on actually achieving something of worth or having some kind of skill or talent. Are you a supermodel? Men and women will respect you because the effort to mold your body like that requires an enormous amount of work and dedication. By contrast, most “jacked” men have only good genes and youth to thank for their appearance.

    In school, girls get better grades because they work harder. Boys just hang around with their “bros” and talk about sports and practice being contemptuous of girls. Fact: when elite (male) universities in the USA first went co-ed, they had to set higher standards for female applicants so that a reasonable number of males could get in.

    Some require a little more work.

    Women claim they want equal rights as men, but they don’t want equal responsibilities.

    becomes:

    Men claim women should not have an equal voice in how the world is run, but they don’t feel any need to be competent at it. Ted Cruz. George W. Bush. Rush Limbaugh. Need I say more?

  10. 10
  11. 11
    Martha

    My favorite two words in this post? “With Forney.”

    So we might have some work to do to build a world in which we make as much money as men. Stll, one in which no women want to be with Forney is a good start. I’m strangely encouraged.

  12. 12
    doublereed

    Insecurity is feminine?

    I must say, as a man, the most fundamental part of so-called “masculinity” I have ever seen is insecurity. It’s why men tumble with each other on the football field and then make fun of the ballet dancers (that toss women around all day) and call them “gay” and “feminine.” It’s why men get into pointless social dominance games that result in unnecessary violence. It’s why men pretend that treating women like shit somehow makes you look better, not worse. That’s insecurity.

    Insecurity is practically synonymous with masculinity.

    And what’s so stupid about it is that I see men all the time change their behavior based on some idiotic abstract notion of masculinity that nobody actually cares about.

  13. 13
    Athywren

    She views men as a life support system for a penis

    Is he really stooping to “no you!” here? I’ll grant you that he’s not the most rational MRA in the cage – into which all feminists secretly desire to stuff all men – but surely that’s too obvious and lazy a tactic, even for him?

  14. 14
    wscott

    So what Forney is saying here is that he sees women behaving in the way men have traditionally behaved. From there, he has projected their inner emotional state from his own. And this is only a problem when women do it, because then it affects him.

    You just summed up 90% of the whole MRA movement in 46 words. Not bad!

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