“I saw having a girlfriend as a status symbol”


Noodlemaz published a guest post in February 2013, Confessions Of A Former Misogynist. I find in it confirmations of what we’ve been saying in the wake of the Elliot Rodger murders. For instance, what really made him angry was

firstly, feminists challenging my point of view and, secondly, the fact that I found it really hard to get a girlfriend and, when I did, it usually ended abruptly with drama.

Getting and keeping a girlfriend was my ultimate goal, not because I genuinely loved any of the girls in question, but because I saw having a girlfriend as a status symbol. I could tell my friends that I had a girlfriend, was getting sex and that I wasn’t a failure as a man. I now realise that most of my friends wouldn’t care about my man status anyway, despite the lad banter, but this was what was going on in my head at the time. The feelings of the girls in question were irrelevant; to me girls were property that I had to cling on to and control. And if they dumped me, they deserved to be shamed in every way possible.

Disturbing, isn’t it.

When I inevitably got dumped, I’d tell my friends horror stories about how she’d said my depression was just a form of emotional blackmail, and make up lies to try to turn her friends against her. Being dumped, especially if we hadn’t had sex, was the worst thing that could happen. I wanted sex, and only women had the power to give or take it away, and in my mind this made them more powerful than anything else. Being dumped would push the anger button, because I ultimately couldn’t face the truth of looking at who I was and what I was doing.

And then it gets even more disturbing.

I remember when I first heard the word misogynist. I was talking to a friend about a girl who’d dumped me, and my feelings about feminists creating a society where nice men couldn’t get girlfriends, and he described me as “quite a misogynist”. I asked him what he meant, and he said “it’s simply hatred of women.” I instantly loved the term. I didn’t consider myself a sexist – I thought of Benny Hill as sexist – sexism was just silly but this was serious.

I very seriously thought women were irrational, mad, over-emotional and pseudo-intellectual creatures who would do anything, via new feminism, to crush weak men who suffered from depression, and I hated them. These days, I see a lot of people saying “I’m not a misogynist, but…”, because they don’t want to be called a misogynist, but not me. It was the term I’d been looking for, and I was proud to call myself a misogynist.

This was before the age of social media, but I know what I’d be doing if it was available at the time. I’d be following feminists and strong women on Twitter, combing their tweets for any kind of slip-up that I could use to ‘expose’ them. If I saw a blog or comment by a feminist that challenged my world view, my anger button would be pressed and, rather than responding rationally, I’d lash out with gendered insults, all while completely failing to empathise with them.

I’d be angrily commenting on blogs and YouTube videos about feminism, sticking up for the men who just want to get girlfriends and sex, but can’t because of this repellent radical feminism. And I would probably never change, because the large scale of social media has effectively provided a veritable support group of people who feel the same way, with the same irrational anger that prevents them from assessing their views.

Ok now I’m depressed.

There’s a lot more. Read it. It’s good.

Comments

  1. says

    There’s that meme again, about how feminists are causing men to not have sex. I suppose I could work out some rationalization where I could get from A to B there, but I think it is more reasonable to just say “WTF?”

    Also, I wasn’t aware the world was so flooded with feminist women. It’s like these guys can’t move 2 inches without running into one. All the women they have tried (and failed) to date are feminists. It just makes me doubly certain that they have no clue what a feminist really is. I’m pretty sure it just means “women I totally hate”.

  2. says

    A few thoughts: even the astute observation that having a girlfriend is a status symbol for these men (and I’m surprised to read of one who happily owned the term misogynist) doesn’t tease out all of the dynamics of heteronormative, toxic masculinity at work in boy’s and men’s socialisation. There is teasing and mockery aimed at men who (for whatever reason*) have not had penis-in-vagina sex and their self-worth being concomitantly tied to whether or not they’ve done so – I don’t want to use the term virgin-shaming, because the dynamic is not the absolute inverse of the slut-shaming of girls and women, but is more related to a reverse of the ‘purity’ myth – but this is far from being the only toxic meme around.

    There are also aspects that if a guy does have a girlfriend his status will be elevated or lowered (in the milieu of maledom) on the basis of her status, usually calculated in terms of male gaze rather than her own worth as a person; and also that while having a particular type of girlfriend is viewed a status symbol for a man, this is also treated by the same macho culture as being somewhat inferior to being a single man who has casual sexual and short-term relationships with a variety of women; the long-term relationship involves a commitment to one woman and involves engaging in other social activities with her (other considerations like polyamory or open relationships aren’t very much on the radar) which is seen as being tied down rather than being free to socialise with your mates as ‘one of the boys’. Rodgers (and Noodlemaz’s guest blogger) think of relationships in terms of entitled, proprietorial ownership over a status symbol, possessions to be used and dumped as needed, rather than an equal partnership with another human being imbued with agency of her own.

    * If the reason a man doesn’t have a girlfriend or hasn’t had PIV sex is homosexuality, then toxic masculinity can extend several more layers of homophobic or misogynistic shaming on the man in question.

  3. says

    Also, with different emphasis added from Noodlemaz’s blogpost:

    I very seriously thought women were irrational, mad, over-emotional and pseudo-intellectual creatures who would do anything, via new feminism, to crush weak men who suffered from depression, and I hated them.

    This little phrase added in passing made me sit up, since it alleges the existence of a new strain of anti-male feminism that in truth doesn’t exist, since all too often we have seen critiques of feminism from these quarters that are flailing at a straw version of it: the school of ‘I hate feminists because one objected when I complimented her on her appearance!’ or ‘you can’t even hold a door open for feminists without them telling you off!’ At a slightly more sophisticated level of criticism, but still largely fallacious, we have the slimy assertion of difference existing between ‘equity feminism’ and radical ‘gender feminism’ which results from buying wholesale a problematic interpretation of feminism espoused by Christina Hoff Sommers (and a brand of feminism that can be willingly embraced by male supremacists obviously has fundamental problems).

    And finally, the guest blogger finishes with:

    And I would probably never change, because the large scale of social media has effectively provided a veritable support group of people who feel the same way, with the same irrational anger that prevents them from assessing their views.

    In terms of the atheist-skeptic world: hello, the place that need not be named.

  4. Claire Ramsey says

    “. . . the large scale of social media has effectively provided a veritable support group of people who feel the same way, with the same irrational anger that prevents them from assessing their views.”

    This nicely phrased point is disturbing. It also describes internet reality and suggests how easily and rapidly fallacious claims and pure hatred can spread and recruit new believers.

    And of course that speed and ease is the reason that the rest of us have to continue pointing out the misogyny that underlies popular or religious or criminal or everyday culture. No matter what the ignorant and mean want to say about pointing out misogyny.

  5. suttkus says

    @1: F [i’m not here, i’m gone]

    There’s that meme again, about how feminists are causing men to not have sex. I suppose I could work out some rationalization where I could get from A to B there, but I think it is more reasonable to just say “WTF?”

    You don’t have to work at it hard to get the rationalization.

    In the good old days, men had all the power (optionally add “as God intended”), and a woman needed a husband to function in society. Thus, all women were under pressure to be providing sex to some man! Also, cleaning, cooking, and other women’s work. The good old days ruled! People knew their place and everything was working great. Nowadays, thanks to Feminism (*spit*), women can function without needing to agree to be some man’s bed-warmer. Since women are no longer desperate to latch onto any guy at all, the pressure is on ME to be actually worthy of a woman’s attention. TOTALLY UNFAIR! They should be helpless without me!

    Now, they probably wouldn’t phrase it that way (certainly, they wouldn’t put the sarcasm in there), but the sense that feminism has screwed up society’s dynamics pervades this kind of thought. Part of the problem is that we’ve done quite a bit to give women more social options in society, but male identification hasn’t changed as much. Male social options just haven’t opened up as much.

  6. says

    My husband was a single guy for a very long time. When we got together he was 29 and I was his first serious girlfirend. The first one to meet his family. (He also managed NOT to shoot anybody in the meantime. Funny how that works). He told me how he would invent a girlfriend while he was in the army (German draft system). The guys there didn’t know him in real life, so if he scrached his back bloody ’cause of mosquito bites he said it had been his girlfriend over the weekend. Because then they wouldn’t tease him and accept him as a “real man”

  7. John Morales says

    suttkus @5, your adumbration perfectly accords with my own view, so I endorse it.

    (+1)

  8. sawells says

    @6: Sounds familiar, I was a single guy for a long time and very depressed about it. Looking back , I can see exactly why I was single: I was intolerable, arrogant, antisocial, visibly desperate, and so far up my own fundament I needed a miner’s lamp.

    I also managed not to shoot anybody, partly because we don’t all have guns here and partly because I took up kendo, where you can scream loudly and beat your friends round the (heavily armoured) head with a length of bamboo, it’s hugely therapeutic :)

    In the end – after I’d decided to give up looking – I met a very nice woman, we dated, got engaged within months, married in a year, life is pretty good now.

    It Gets Better!

  9. otrame says

    What is so sad is that there are plenty of women available to any half-way decent guy. But they don’t want those women. They want an impossible woman with huge boobs and skinny asses who adore them and don’t require they be treated like a human. They are surrounded by women who want a boyfriend, who would accept them, warts and all, who would even have sex with them. But those women are maybe not gorgeous or a little pudgy or may be as socially awkward as the men are.

    And it should be noted, that many women are every bit as bad in the “status symbol instead of a friend” thing. The difference is women don’t usually kill others. They dont usually place the blame on a monolithic idea of MEN.

    In both cases they seem to be stuck at the middle school level of social interactions . They don’t have adult relationships because they don’t know what adult relationships are.

  10. johnthedrunkard says

    So long as ‘sex’ is a THING to be ‘gotten’ there is going to be limitless resentment, pain and disappointment for all. Until, or unless, we can see sexuality as a range of behavior and feeling between human beings, we are doomed.

    Unless men and women can actually behave ‘as if’ we were members of the same species, in the same social and economic spaces, there is no space for sex without commodification and power.

    Feminism is working TOWARDS a culture where the buying-selling-entitlement-domination notions are dim memories from the past. BUT, without basic safety and personal security for women, there is no space for an egalitarian sexuality.

  11. says

    It’s fascinating watching him mull over some of the more difficult questions in the comments. I hope he has more to say on this eventually. Figuring out how culture and experience shapes a person is a difficult thing.

  12. Margaret says

    All the women they have tried (and failed) to date are feminists. It just makes me doubly certain that they have no clue what a feminist really is. I’m pretty sure it just means “women I totally hate”.

    I think by “feminist” they mean a woman who would dare to say “No” to them. A non-feminist woman is one who is properly subservient and always says “Yes, master, whatever you want.”

  13. Marianne says

    Can I please encourage people to read the whole post, and not just go on the quotes pulled out here – while, yes, they are enlightening, to avoid the ‘depressed’ ending that this post has, it’s important to note that the person who wrote this now knows exactly how disturbing all of those views were (and are) and is very much ‘reformed’.

    I have had others point out they couldn’t finish it, and I think that’s a shame. It’s so easy to get bogged down in how much crap goes on in the world. But people can and do change. While there’s been horror to deal with, let that be a source of optimism.

  14. Marianne says

    And please do comment on the article itself, especially with encouragement/thanks or more questions!

  15. says

    Yes, do read it all.

    Sorry, Marianne, I didn’t mean to mislead. I said “depressing” because not all people with views like that get over them. That always depresses me.

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