November 12, 2014

"I think a feminism that started with a love and appreciation for classic male culture..."

"... and then sought to persuade men that it doesn’t have to be sexist toward women – would be more productive than treating all men as inherently suspect or privileged, and attempting to police their culture from the outside," writes Andrew Sullivan, trying to understand heterosexual feelings from the outside.
[T]he young testosteroned male’s desire for and incomprehension of the opposite gender can be mitigated, it seems to me, but not abolished. And in the case of male attitudes toward women, of course, the “other” is also the object of often-crippling and overwhelming sexual desire. These are powerful – often internally conflicting – forces and they will not easily be constrained by abstract rules or “social justice warriors.”

And so I think we just have to live with a certain amount of straight-very-male homophobia and sexism, and leave it be. Young men want to live out fantasies of rescuing big-boobed women while being encased in a steroidal muscle culture (precisely because, for so many, it is utterly beyond their actual day-to-day lives). And my inclination is simply: give them a break...

What I think is counterproductive is precisely an agenda that refuses to see real, biological differences, physical and mental, between men and women, whose first item on the agenda is to get men to “check their privilege,” and who want to police speech and urgently stamp out sexism and homophobia. This will often compound the problem, create a zero-sum environment, and in a world where Twitter gives everyone a completely unaccountable megaphone, generate levels of public toxicity we can all live without....
This interests me even though it's partly about "Gamergate," the controversy that I refuse to get up to speed on. 

25 comments:

CStanley said...

That was a good read. At first I thought you'd caught him out on being an outsider without recognizing it, then read his piece and realized that he did see and acknowledge that.

SJ said...

On the one hand, is he saying that "sexism" and "homophobia", however they are defined, are innate to men?

Does that imply that men who do not show these features are...deviant, malformed, unnatural somehow?

Is he being judgemental towards most men?

On the other hand, I think he identifies something very important:
What I think is counterproductive is precisely an agenda that refuses to see real, biological differences, physical and mental, between men and women, whose first item on the agenda is to get men to “check their privilege,” and who want to police speech...

After all, there used to be a strong cultural delineation between the World of Men and the World of Women.

Even if it was restrictive, did it restrict men and women from fighting with each other in unproductive ways?

Heather said...

Althouse, you are very wise. Stay far away from the gamer gate stuff. The whole thing is a mess. There is so much wrong information out there. It is hard to get out of the rabbit hole.

It looks like original premise was wrong. However, the media's response was so over the top no one could tell that the.. And since gamergate was about the media's bias anyways every thing they did feed into the narrative the gamergate people had about the media anyways.

Let boys have their toys.

Brando said...

Excellent points by Sully--and it's part of a more prevalent pattern on the Left these days to not be satisfied advancing friendly opinions but instead to shut down anything they consider offensive (which more often than not amounts to "something I disagree with to such an extent I'm offended by it"). This is not healthy for any ideology, and fortunately some on the Left are starting to push back (an example is Freddie de Boer).

If "feminism" is defined as promoting sexual equality and empowering women, then the "male shaming" and "privilege checking" movement that permeates the Left these days does not deserve to call itself feminist. It can call itself something else, but if they continue to use the label of "feminism" then don't be surprised when everyone outside their drum circle rejects that label for themselves.

Scott M said...

What I think is counterproductive is precisely an agenda that refuses to see real, biological differences, physical and mental, between men and women

I wonder if a choir of angels started singing when he wrote this.

chillblaine said...

Bravo Andrew Sullivan!

Gamers feel threatened by the SJW's, like Leigh Alexander, who said, "Gamers are over."

Now where have I heard that before?

Balfegor said...

And in the case of male attitudes toward women, of course, the “other” is also the object of often-crippling and overwhelming sexual desire.

Is it though? "Often-crippling," "overwhelming" -- that's some strong language there. One experiences sexual desire, certainly, but if it's "crippling" perhaps one should see a doctor? "Overwhelming" I might grant in the moment, but otherwise, we're men, not rutting animals.

Scott said...

Has it really come to this? Has feminism fallen so far that even Andrew Sullivan can have the voice of reason?

n.n said...

Women. Men. Human. Respect individual dignity. Acknowledge certain intrinsic differences. It's not that complicated. It's morality and Nature.

chillblaine said...

After I read this piece, I realized that gay and straight men have a lot more in common than I thought. I have bonded in a fraternal way with homosexual men, and it is no big deal. I always wondered about the emotional health of straight women who pal around with gay men.

kiss kiss

n.n said...

Sullivan is projecting or displacing his own feelings. The part about delusions and homophobia is revealing.

RecChief said...

Andrew Sullivan, the guy who simultaneously questioned whether Sarah Palin was actually the mother of her son Trig, while calling anyone who questioned Obama's birth certificate deranged? That guy?

RecChief said...

What I think is counterproductive is precisely an agenda that refuses to see real, biological differences, physical and mental, between men and women

Andrew should be careful, Ivy league university presidents have been fired for expressing that exact thought.

n.n said...

RecChief:

Ivy league, but not national league. Notably, an American president can keep a woman barefoot, sucking, and under the desk. Sullivan probably has sufficient leverage to avoid the ivy league president's fate, or the narrative is changing... Perhaps reflecting a moral and mental recovery in the population.

Scott M said...

Perhaps reflecting a moral and mental recovery in the population.

Nah...more likely DHS just ran out of whatever compound they've been putting in Sullivan's local water supply.

campy said...

I think a KKK that started with a love and appreciation for classic Black culture ... would be more productive.

John Lynch said...

Don't bring gamergate here. Please. It's everywhere else. This is like the zombie-free zone.

John Lynch said...

Not a bad piece. Not demanding that people change because they are evil. Nice change.

n.n said...

Scott M:

That's one explanation, but I have observed the climate is shifting, if ever so slightly. Perhaps it's just the current weather, or it may be something more durable.

Is that enough double-meaning in one paragraph? I do my best to cover all the pertinent basis. Some people misinterpret it as an obsession, but it's just a thrifty use of semantic space. I reserve obsessions for irreconcilable conclusions.

MadisonMan said...

I don't know what Gamergate is either.

Scott M said...

I don't know what Gamergate is either.

Oh, it's your basic tale, told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Jupiter said...

Scott M said...
I don't know what Gamergate is either.

"Oh, it's your basic tale, told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Au contraire. It is precisely a situation in which self-proclaimed feminists found a bunch of men doing something the men found amusing, and tried to do it with them. They quickly decided that the men were doing it wrong, because the femen don't like killing people and monsters and chasing big-breasted half-naked women around some howling wilderness. So, they are now insisting that the men must do it their way, although, as usual, it is not at all clear that they even have a way. And for the first time in this century, the men are telling them to go get stuffed. Sideways. With the hair still on.

Jupiter said...

I gather that GamerGate has something for everyone, and I haven't followed all the subplots. It seems the Boyz have built a Virtual Frontier, where they can be Warriors or Cowboys or whatever. The Gurlz are not pleased, and have pulled the usual "racist, sexist, fascist, colonialist" bullshit that has served them so well for decades now, but they are discovering that while the Playspace is definitely Hostile, the EEOC's writ does not run there, and the Dean of Students has no power to expel anyone. They call down the lightning, but the lightning does not fall. If they want to get anyone's attention out there in cyberspace, they will need to grow a pair. And stretch something filmy across them, so the nipples stick out.

Donna B. said...

Surely, if anyone can see the "real, biological differences, physical and mental, between men and women" it's a gay guy.

socally773 said...

Stumbled into Gamergate thru Driscoll at PJM. When SH Summers weighs in, should take note.