School shootings, the delay-and-do-nothing right, and those who blame women for “the destabilization of the sexual marketplace”

I’d wanted to write about something else entirely tonight, but then I stumbled across the above tweet, and it sent me tumbling through the looking glass, into a pitch-black world of toxic masculinity and weaponized insecurity, where women, having been debased to the point of no longer being considered human, are seen merely as instruments through which men achieve fulfillment, or, should they decide not to accept that God-given role, obstacles that need to be eliminated by force.

Before I pull you through the looking glass with me, though, let’s start by talking about our most recent mass school shooting.

This past Friday, as I was preparing to head to Kentucky for the funeral of my grandmother, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis walked into an art class at his high school in Santa Fe, Texas and opened fire on his fellow students. In spite of the fact that two armed police officers were on campus at the time of the shooting, the attack went on for four minutes, leaving 10 dead and another 13 wounded. [The attack was followed by a 25 minute stand-off with the police, at the end of which a wounded Pagourtzis surrendered.]

The response from the right was, to put it simply, unsurprising. Florida Senator Marco Rubio once again offered his hollow thoughts and prayers. [Rubio has taken has taken at least $3.3 million from the NRA.] Texas Senator Ted Cruz said, “We need to be doing everything humanly possible to stop this from ever happening again,” while doing absolutely nothing to stop it from happening again. [Cruz took $360,727 from the NRA in 2016 alone.] And Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who had been tasked with creating a school safety commission in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida this past February, said, “We simply cannot allow this trend to continue.” Of course, since announcing the March launch of her school safety committee, which also includes Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, DeVos has done next to nothing. [The commission held one closed-door meeting on March 28, but seems to have essentially stopped work as the nation’s attention drifted away from the Parkland shooting and back to the corruption of the Trump White House.]

While our politicians have done nothing, the student activists of Parkland, thankfully, have continued in their work, recently announcing a five-point plan to decrease gun violence… Here are the high-level policy changes they would like to see made by Congress.

1. Dedicated funding for the CDC to research gun violence
2. Strengthening the ATF’s ability to track and record gun sales
3. Universal background checks for gun purchases
4. A ban on magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition
5. A ban on assault weapons, including a registration or buyback program for these weapons already in circulation

As the Washington Post reported today, though, almost no Republicans have agreed to pursue even these very basic – and popular – changes to current law. While I suppose it’s possible that some could have changed their minds in the wake of this most recent mass shooting in Santa Fe, when the Washington Post reached out to all 237 Republican House members last week, asking what they thought of the Parkland proposal, only 29 responded. And, of those 29, only two said they support all five objectives. [Republican Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona, responded to the Post reporter by saying, “One more law won’t stop mentally ill or hostile people from killing others,” apparently unaware that, in other countries, laws have, in fact, been effective in curbing gun violence.]

OK, maybe I’m being a bit unfair when I say that no Republicans are coming forward with ideas as to how we might address the fact that we’re presently losing more American citizens in school shootings than in foreign war zones. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, for instance, had a great suggestion just after the shooting in Santa Fe that left eight students and two teachers dead. He suggested that maybe, instead of decreasing the guns in circulation, we should limit the number of entrances to our schools. “There are too many entrances and too many exits” to properly guard, he said… apparently not considering how much easier it would be for a gunman to kill students running to a single entrance, or how much more deadly school fires would be.

Sadly, though, Patrick’s was one of the more sane responses that I’ve heard over the past few days. Some, as you can see in the tweet at the top of this post, are actually suggesting that these episodes of mass murder could be decreased if only women could be somehow compelled to have sex with young men like Dimitrios Pagourtzis.

You see, several of the men committing these horrible acts have attempted to make the case that they were really given no choice by the women they came in contact with, who, by denying them affection and respect, had robbed them of what was rightfully theirs. By making them incels, or “involuntary celibates,” these men argue, they’ve been left with no choice but to strike back against their female oppressors in defense of their manhood. Before killing 10 people in Toronto this past April Alek Minassian took to Facebook to post, “The Incel Rebellion has already begun!”. And, back in 2014, Elliot Rodger, who killed 6 people and wounded 13 more in California, described himself the same way… as an “incel.” And, while I’m not aware of him using the word “intel,” we’re now finding ourselves talking about pretty much the same thing in the case of Pagourtzis, whose first victim this past Friday was a 16 year old girl who has the audacity to “spurn” his manly advances, apparently robbing him of what was rightfully his.

So, this is how I’m spending my first evening home after attending my grandmother’s funeral… reading about the weaponized insecurity of white males who aren’t being given what they feel is rightfully theirs… The following comes by way of Salon.

Jordan Peterson, the clinical psychologist and University of Toronto professor who was recently canonized as a member of the Intellectual Dark Web, is a serious person. Peterson said as much in a lengthy New York Times profile dubbing him “Custodian of the Patriarchy.” Times reporter Nellie Bowles penned the piece, which has since been labeled a “hit job” and an “assassination attempt” on Peterson’s character.

The article was a followup of sorts to Times opinion editor Bari Weiss’ story on the Intellectual Dark Web, an informal collective of anti-left lecturers and podcasters who have gained notoriety for amassing a significant following on YouTube and Reddit. Peterson, like many of his IDW cohorts, is of the opinion that the progressive liberal agenda of equal opportunity and tolerance contradicts human nature and the Western ideal of individual responsibility. It comes to no surprise that most of Peterson’s audience is made up of young, white males who feel subjugated in a society that is trying to prop up women and racial minorities.

A self-help guru, Peterson has spent a lot of time pondering the source of youthful-male rage, which manifested last month in a terrorist attack in Toronto perpetuated by a man who described himself as an incel–short for involuntary celibacy–a term representing a group of men and an online culture that blames women for their poor sex life.

…Over the course of Peterson’s two-day-long interview with the Times, the academic offered his insights on the relationship between man and woman and how feminism has polluted the natural order.

“The masculine spirit is under assault,” Peterson told the Times. “It’s obvious.”

One of Peterson’s most controversial opinions in the profile is his recommended remedy for the virus plaguing the masculine spirit.

“The cure for that is enforced monogamy,” Peterson said.

It was the type of assertion that usually precedes a laugh and a clarification that it was a joke. But Peterson did not say this in jest…

Oh, and, while we’re at it, just tell me that this Trump comment from earlier today about the curtailing women’s reproductive rights isn’t related…

I’d like to think that humanity can be somehow be salvaged, but, Jesus Christ, it’s getting difficult to stay optimistic these days. It feels as though the very foundation of civil society is crumbling beneath our feet…

And, for what it’s worth, fuck “the masculine spirit”.

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  1. anonymous
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    According to the father of Santa Fe High School shooting suspect, his son was the victim.

    Quote: “My son, to me, is not a criminal, he’s a victim.”'s-father-thinks-he-was-bullied

  2. Posted May 22, 2018 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    We cannot elect women fast enough.

  3. Jean Henry
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    What fascinates me about incels and their ilk is many refuse both masterbation and sex workers. We actually live in a world in which no one has to go without sex if they don’t want to. It’s all right at our fingertips.
    Peterson’s enforced monogamy idea (beyond its handmaids tale implications) seems like anxiety about female sexual and economic agency all rolled into one. Women have been dispositionally shown to me less monogamous than men. Not in action, yet. But there are cultural and economic forces at play there. There’s a lot of speculation that much of what is diagnosed as female sexual dysfunction is in fact boredom.

    It’s hard to read Peterson as anything but another flare up of white male anxiety about losing their power. But I know people who take him seriously because he’s not technically right wing or alt right and appeals to the same crowd. Since my primary concern is overcoming sexism and racism and other inequity not politics, I don’t see Peterson as anything but alarming. Others, All white and make, feel otherwise. They think the Times article misrepresented his anti-identity politics (via identity politics) position.

    I may try to read his book. I refuse to pay for it though.

    Nothing he says is the antidote to school shootings. It may point to a cause though. Entitlement.

  4. Sad
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    I blame James Franco and Aziz Ansari for the toxic masculinity they’ve subtly promoted through their work over the years.

    I’m sure the Obamas won’t be using either of them in the shows they develop for Netflix.

  5. Jcp2
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    We have friends and acquaintances that do not let their wives or daughters wear makeup or pierce their ears. Not because of religious reasons. We joke that they were on the path to incel, but for one lucky encounter.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Sad— the idea that ‘toxic masculinity’ is new is odd. Neither Ansari nor Franco seem especially indicative given the bounty of other examples out there. I’m not sure why you find this whole thing amusing. Or pithy. It’s like you chose examples that are purposely marginal to deny the whole of violent sexual abuse. I’m not interested in scapegoats personally. The proof is in the sheer body of evidence. As with any bias. It’s evident by class. Individual experiences may or may not legit, or may exist in a gray area, but the overwhelming evidence is still there. It takes a lot of effort to suppress it. And then once released it can be transformative. It’s not easy to move the dial on what constitutes acceptable behavior in society, especially around sex. But feminism is doing it. And without insisting on any kind of prudery or enforced morality, just consent. It seems unlikely the movement will get much credit because the change will seem so obvious when it takes root. How many people really remember Act-up or the Black Panthers or their stories compared to how many people have adopted the change in awareness for which they advocated against the current of society. The me too movement is going to make sex a lot better for everyone. Peterson, not so much…

  7. Sad
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink


  8. Sad
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    It’s easy to demonize Peterson. Telling that even the good guys are problematic.

    Obama and Netflix? Please.

    He might as well do a commercial for McDonalds.

  9. Jean Henry
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Sad—Who are the good guys?

    When discussing systemic bias, pretty much everyone is complicit. Even Women, people of color and other subjects of cultural bias internalize that bias. So why would there be ‘good guys’ at all in this conversation?

    There have always been lines drawn about what constitutes sexual misconduct legally. The rest is changeable only by changing Community standards of what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. It’s not easy work. It takes decades. It doesn’t usually require lots of laws or regulation or enforcement just an opening up of awareness. And then the systemic changes (also usually an opening up not restriction) follow.

    It amuses me when the process of opening up society feels like oppression to those whose advantage and privilege is threatened. It’s pribably a natural response on their part too, if not rational.

    I thought this analysis was good on incels etc though I have issues with the point to capitalism as the culprit. That bit of the analysis seems facile. I don’t think men need capitalism to objectify women or to view sex as transactional. I think capitalism will ‘capitalize’ on lots of human and societal tendencies to profit from them.
    The rest of the analysis is spot on and the part I objected to will no doubt thrill people who would otherwise resist. Win win.

  10. N.D.
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    The teen sexual marketplace? What a gross piece of turd

  11. Joshua Pardon
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I was fairly obsessed with sex in my teens and 20’s – which certainly isn’t unique among young men. But I *never* thought that sex with a woman was my “birthright” or something that I was “owed”. Petersen, when he sticks to generic self-help, actually isn’t bad (see his recent video piece for Big Think about goal setting and incremental change). However, the vast majoity of his viewpoints that have given him notoriety (i.e his Jungian takes on the primacy of ancient wisdom, his take on the relevance of the dominance rituals of lobsters to human behavior) are are pure charlatanism dressed up as “something to be taken seriously”. It’s a fairly short leap from Peterson-ism to “The Handmaids Tale”.

  12. Bonnie Wessler
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Isn’t disruption of the marketplace a selling point for many startups?

  13. M
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Yes, the sex robots are ready to step into the void created by women being too discerning as to who they choose to have relationships with.

  14. Lynne
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    First, let’s dispense with the idea that the problem here is that young men aren’t getting enough sex. It isn’t about sex. It is about status. These young men are feeling a loss of status. Or at the very least there is a disconnect between what they think the world owes them and what they actually get. They simply do not like it that women have choices. They want a world where men have all of the control because they think that in such a world they would have higher status (even if that probably isn’t the case)

  15. Posted May 23, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Sexual marketplace? What hath Capitalism wrought?

  16. Ytown
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Rick, that is about the most ignorant comment on here today. You think capitalism is the driving force behind a “sexual marketplace”? Prostitution is called the worlds oldest profession fr a reason. Do you think that there are no hookers in Venezuela?

  17. Jean Henry
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    There were sexual marketplaces before capitalism. Splint acknowledges that and then blows past it to continue to critique capitalism as though it is cause not exacerbator. But then communism and socialism and democratic socialism have not produced less sexist societies overall or even less sexual violence overall. So maybe we just need global feminism in its own forms and it’s own trajectory in many places. Some of those may include female economic capital market participation in ways other than sex.

    All that said I have zero objection to sex work and simply want sex workers to have as much ownership and security as possible. I’m cool if they make money. A lot of money. Not a concern for me so long as they have other options and legal protections.

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Bonnie— economic disruption is another word for change. It can be progressive or not but there is nothing inherently wrong with economic disruption. Renewable power is a market disruptor.
    Legalized pot is a market disruptor.
    Legalized sex work would also be a Market disruptor.
    All for the good I expect.

    I don’t think Jordan Peterson is a Market disruptor. He’s a cultural disruptor. Not for the good in my view. Except in sparking necessary conversation, as here. I also think any Market study would tell you he’s got limited capacity for long term influence.

  19. Aaron Wilson
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    What disruption? Even with my extreme awkwardness, I still managed to get MARRIED… This red pill bullshit is ridiculous.

  20. Chris Buhalis
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    We need to stop using these fabricated terms like “incel” or “alt-right”. The rebranding of age old ignorance is grating. You’re not incel, you’re just a sad sack of shit who’s blaming your problems on women.

  21. Jean Henry
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Aaron– I believe, as Lynne stated, the talk of sexual marketplace disruption is about anxiety about loss of straight male status and privilege, not less access to sex. Given the relative sexual openness we are experiencing today v historically, that’s laughable. Literally everyone can find someone to have sex with now if that’s their objective and they aren’t incarcerated (and even then…). It’s not about ability to get married but maybe more about the ability to stay married even if you are a rapey douchebag. (Marital rape was legal until the early 1990’s). More significantly, this angle of approach is a way to reach out very specifically to classic marks for cons/manipulation. The lonely and socially isolated are classic marks. This movement seeks to organize them to Peterson’s political ends. And to his substantial financial benefit.

    I was recently up very late and very early working on a deadline and had off hour cable tv on for some reason. (company???) I haven’t had cable access for a long time, so I must have forgot, but it was remarkable as demonstration of just how hard cons go after the lonely and socially isolated playing to their anxiety about virility, youthfulness, wealth, physical attractiveness, health etc etc.

    Jordan Peterson is simply the latest penis enlargement snake oil salesman.

    And Chris is right. Both alt-right and INCEL are names they gave to themselves in a conscious rebranding effort to legitimize white supremacy and old school misogyny (men’s rights). There’s documentation of this re-branding. We should not play along.

    Something about INCEL really plays in the media though. I’m still thinking about why the media loves this story so much, but I’m guessing these men are great advertising revenue generators. As are those who oppose them. People just like to look down upon the lonely and isolated. Or those more lonely and isolated than they are. Thats part fo this story too.

    Right now I’m thinking about what fear so much that we are inclined to identify INCELS as lonely rather than as angry and violent. I have no answers. I think maybe the lonely provide Peterson with a loyal following and the violent are simply looking for a reason. And Peterson gives them one.

  22. M
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I too found a mate in spite of extreme awkwardness, Aaron. I suspect, however, we have redeeming traits that these incels did not… like our ability to treat women like human beings, see them as equals, etc.

  23. Lynne
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I am actually kind of pissed off that they have taken ownership of the word “incel” because I actually do think it is worth having discussions about and acknowledging that there are people who are less able to find partners than others. The word was made up by a black queer woman for that purpose. It can be a pretty painful experience for many. So much so that if you interview groups of people experiencing major hardships, they will list their biggest concerns are their romantic relationships or lack thereof. I certainly think there is room for us to talk about our narrow standards of beauty and attractiveness and why some people find it easier to form long term healthy relationships than others.

    But trust me, these guys are not interested in that discussion.

  24. M
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    “Both alt-right and INCEL are names they gave to themselves in a conscious rebranding effort to legitimize white supremacy and old school misogyny (men’s rights). There’s documentation of this re-branding. We should not play along.”

    For what it’s worth, they did not come up with the name “incel”. They appropriated it from a woman named Alana, who coined the term in the ’90s. This does not make your statement any less true, Jean. I just think it’s worth noting the history.

    From the Guardian.

    The connection left the woman who invented the term reeling. “It’s not a happy feeling,” said Alana, who asked that her last name not be published. “It feels like being the scientist who figured out nuclear fission and then discovers it’s being used as a weapon for war.”

    A self-described late bloomer, she coined the term involuntary celibate in the late 1990s to describe her own experience of not having sex and not being in a relationship.

    It soon snowballed into Alana’s Involuntary Celibacy Project, a simple, all-text website where she posted theories and articles as well as ran a mailing list. “I identified that there were a lot of people who were lonely and not really sure how to start dating,” she said. “They were kind of lacking those social skills and I had a lot of sympathy for that because I had been through the same situation.” The term was later shortened to “incel”.

    …The magazine had covered the story of Elliot Rodger, who in 2014 killed six people and wounded 14 others in California. In online posts that raged at women for rejecting his romantic advances, Rodger had described himself as an incel.

    “Holy shit,” Alana thought. “Look what I started.”

    The term – and the friendly community of lonely people she had once fostered – had morphed into a deeply misogynistic online subculture that at times called for rape or other violence. Thousands were now on incel forums, united in their belief that the modern world is unfairly stacked against heterosexual men who are awkward or unattractive.

  25. Anonymous
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Back to the subject of school shootings, this was my favorite tweet after the murders in SantaFe.

    1 dead (Tesla autopilot accident): Federal investigation, new laws proposed

    1 dead (Zika virus): Government allocates $222 million to fight it

    1 dead (E. coli in romaine lettuce): Government spends millions to track down source

    138 dead (School shootings since 2012): Nothing

  26. Jean Henry
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Women are incredibly, perhaps excessively, understanding of human failing. The idea that they are willfully cruel and withholding is somewhat amusing. I have noted as I get older, that men are becoming much more interested in marriage than women my age. Women finally get to the point of comfort with singlehood post-procreation, and men suddenly see the value in coupledom. At some point it switches over. Men who are married live longer than their single counterparts. Women who are single live longer that those who remain married. I’m going with the numbers, personally. That may leave an INCEL or two out there hanging. Oh well. It’s just the really old ones. Most single men my age want 30 year olds. That may also explain the INCEL status of many of them.

  27. Jean Henry
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    RE school shootings, I am noticing more people I know who enjoy guns and /or hunting as past times are open to the idea of comprehensive regulation. They seem very willing to give up their hobby or limit it to make the country more safe. Surveys show this group is growing to majority of gun owners status. I think the left probably needs to link arms with sensible gun owners.If we could unify politically around this issue without attacking one another, we could upend the NRA.
    We also need to stop this assault on the mentally ill. Mental illness is not the issue. Repeat after me: the mentally ill are half as likely to be violent and 4 times more likely to be victims of violence than the general population.

    Tha narrative of the scary crazy person is appealing to many. It’s also bigotry. And to will prevent more people from getting the help they need than it could ever serve.

  28. Paul Ryan is an asshole
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Speaker Ryan on Twitter:

    Retweet if you agree→ Taxpayer funds should not be used to support abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. Pleased to see Retw @POTUS’s “Protect Life Rule” amend Title X to protect the unborn.

  29. EOS
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink


    3300 dead daily
    1 million annually

    And some of these people, who seem concerned about the 10, celebrate the right of a woman to kill their offspring if they consider them to be an inconvenience.

  30. Lynne
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    EOS, And some people are callous and cruel and try to pretend that they think fetal tissue is the same thing as a born person. You don’t hold the born in high regard do you?

  31. Eel
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of sex robots taking the place of women…..

    From Juliana Gray’s THE INCEL SONG OF J. ALFRED PRUFROCK in McSweeney’s.

    The sex robot that rubs its boobs against my cargo pants,
    The sex robot that rubs its latex mouth against my cargo pants,
    Licked its tongue into corners and pleats
    From which human females retreat,
    Powered down, and went to sleep.

    There will be time, there will be time
    For gaming and pickup artistry,
    Time to murder and masturbate.
    There will be time for betas and rejects
    Who view femoids as mere objects.
    (They will say: “Why don’t you treat women with respect
    Or get a personality?”)
    Do I dare
    Disturb the manoverse?

  32. EOS
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I hold all life in high regard, as opposed to many here. You can obtain tissue from any living animal. But taking all the tissue destroys a life.

  33. wobblie
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    “Jordan Peterson is simply the latest penis enlargement snake oil salesman. “–That was a good one JH.

    Sex is relatively easy to find in most cultures, even ours. Lasting committed relationships based on equality–that is harder to come by in any culture. (I see what they are trying to accomplish in Rojava, and can believe that might change.)

    Prostitution before capitalism was mainly a caste or a position woman were reduced too because of becoming a widow without family, slavery of course forced many woman into prostitution. Concubinage and polygamy were primarily for the rich.

    The advent of the modern nation state and the reliance upon professional armies also advanced the profession. Being a camp follower (again most likely reduced to that status because of war devastating your home) has been an obvious example of “follow the money” ie. soldiers have disposable income. Sex work, like all work done under capitalism needs a union to protect the workers.

    The average American male of today has no way to be male in any traditional sense. “Bread winner “, “family provider” have been the traditional way to demonstrate your maleness. The rise of feminism, and woman no longer culturally expected to be dependent has destroyed that traditional role for men. It is clearly a generational shift that is occurring. Men of my generation raised the “entitled” white male of today. Like most things my generation has touched, they have turned to crap. Since most Americans do not believe in equality, it is no wonder.

    White men with guns—the most dangerous thing going on in America (of course it has always been that way). If you take away the guns they will just use there SUV’s.

  34. Jean Henry
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    EOS is our own Aunt Lydia. Blessings be.

    “Now we walk along the same street, in red pairs, and no man shouts obscenities at us, speaks to us, touches us. No one whistles. There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don’t underrate it. ”

    Aunt Lydia and Mr Peterson also have a few things in common.

  35. Jean Henry
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    “The average American male of today has no way to be male in any traditional sense. “Bread winner “, “family provider” have been the traditional way to demonstrate your maleness.” Why does anyone need to demonstrate their gender?
    I spend exactly zero minutes per day concerned with my femininity. (I know, it shows) Outside of sex and birth/breastfeeding, I don’t think much about my gender as having anything to do with who I am or my value as a human. I’m not even sure I think of it in sex. More like bodies. I am a feminist. That means I’m interested in how the society frames the experience of being female. But being female or being male, that just has very limited interest to me.

    I’m befuddled by this whole idea of demonstrating one’s gender through acts.

    Ae are all parents, and leaders, and community members, and athletes and creators and workers and wage earners etc etc to varying degrees. Why are the roles any different except when pregnant and/or breast feeding? That seems so incredibly confining to me.

    I think I stopped thinking about my gender as meaningful to my nature/identity at about 17. I’m not saying thats normal. I’m curious as to whether other people really feel that gender roles matter to their sense of self.

  36. Jean Henry
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Wobblie– I also don’t understand your distinction between prostitution before and after capitalism. Are you saying it was better when women were enslaved and didn’t earn any money for forced sex? Are you saying capitalism made it more common?

    I do think that male gender roles arose from the need for many of them to fight wars and defend territory for the last few millennia. What is required to engage in such violence is an extraordinary level of emotional stuffing. But then the experience of violence on the receiving end, with which women are also much acquainted, also requires a lot of emotional stuffing, disassociation, whatever. I would think you, of all people, Wobblie would welcome the evolution of male roles past those determined by the need to perpetrate violence. Maybe you do and I’m mis-understanding. I must be.

    A friend’s therapist once said if you scratch men you get sadness, and if you scratch women you get anger. That’s not about who we are but what we suppress in service to gender roles.

    Cant wait for them all to dissipate.

  37. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    “Prostitution before capitalism was mainly a caste or a position woman were reduced too because of becoming a widow without family, slavery of course forced many woman into prostitution. ”

    I always love these grand and sweeping pronouncements of what life was like “in the old days” as if the entire world was the same and everywhere now is exactly the same. Grand pronouncements about sexual behavior are even more entertaining.

    I have been a lot of places in the world. I have talked to a lot of women who would or would not self-identify as a prostitute. Some are friends. All of them that I have ever talked to have been great and fascinating people.

    No, I do not purchase sex, I just like to talk to people wherever I go and my friends are weird.

    The only generalization one can make about prostitution and sex work is that money or goods are exchanged for sex and companionship. Outside of that, it’s a fascinatingly huge collection of stories impossible to boil down into some simple story about “capitalism.”

    Just saying.

  38. Sad
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Jesus liked to hang out with prostitutes . Just sayin.

  39. Jean Henry
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Sex workers know a lot about humanity.
    They know a lot about capitalism too.
    Of course I tend to ask people about money/business stuff, especially independent contractors.

    I remember once some anthropologist telling me she studied sex workers in Thailand and her Marxist analysis compared it to fordism, aka assembly line production.
    To which I laughed. Because it seemed so fucking obvious. And I asked what she was offering that sex workers themselves couldn’t state more plainly. Context I guess. How is that even analysis? It would be like saying a restaurant meal is ‘fordism’ v a home cooked meal. Oh man, but her Talks were packed. Those scholars love a little sex sprinkled with self-seriousness.
    Sex work is the exchange of sex for Money. Sec workers learn a lot about humanity because they hold a lot of people’s secrets. They really hold a lot of people’s shame and loneliness and feelings of inadequacy.

    Those INCELS really need to rethink their prohibition on sex workers.
    They actually hate sex workers which tells you clearly the issue isn’t denial of sex.

    All of this reminds me of that old suggestion that Mark interview some dancers at deja vu. Imagine what he could learn. Diablo Cody danced there. So did performance artist Erin Markey. I wonder if Mary Gaitskill did too. That place is a font of creative culture. Maybe Mark should interview a few about Incels and Peterson. That would be cool,

  40. Jean Henry
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of sex workers, remember when our dearly departed friend Mr Hyborian Warlord was saying that Trump was going to crack down on sex trafficking? Well it turns out that law is forcing US sex workers out of the safety of their homes performing for a webcam audience and dates created on vetted internet sites or even just self-managing and back into the underground and out on the streets, or out into clubs– where they need to pay someone for safety and venue. Or take more risks. This is a boon for those who seek to ‘manage’ the workers, aka control them. Sex worker autonomy and safety: zero. Trump’s organized crime cronies: all the $$. Sext trafficking will not be impacted. The FOSTA law was a crack down on sex work visibility, not sex trafficking. So much for HW’s Trump as working class hero and fighter of all social evil.

  41. Jcp2
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

  42. wobblie
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    “The only generalization one can make about prostitution and sex work is that money or goods are exchanged for sex and companionship.” I always love these grand and sweeping pronouncements of what life” is “like”.

    Companionship? a feeling of fellowship or friendship?

    The prostitutes who I have know were all very strong women. They did not engage in sex work for “companionship”. A typical male centric view. The IWW has been organizing sex workers for several decades. Economics was always the main determinate for them. Sexism, exploitation and oppression are rampant in the sex industries.

  43. Iron lung
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    No, they sell sex and companionship.

  44. Iron lung
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Wobblie has trouble reading.

    He even quoted the sentence but still had trouble with its meaning.


  45. Jean Henry
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I was a waitress in diners. I could turn a quarter tip to a dollar by offering either compassion or sass or an ear or a joke— whatever the customer wanted. I see sex work as a much more elaborate version of other service work. You can just do the job or you can do the job well. And the rewards of doing it well are more than monetary. The work is more enjoyable. But what the worker gets is Money and Some job satisfaction and some good stories. A lonely dude or any dude does get companionship, just like with a good barkeep, but the line is drawn at the counter. And that’s actually part of what makes it great and liberating in its way.

    Unfortunately, sex work like restaurant Work can be seriously abusive too. The worst situations arise when management abuse rather than support service workers. Then it’s the capacity for the emotional labor that gets lost.

    I don’t know what intimacy or a failure of it looks like for you but that’s pretty much it from my experience. The boundaries are just differently defined. Maybe for the better.

    The saddest part of the JCP2 article for me was the idea that neither those men nor the writer not the sex worker ever seemed to consider that the wife might be open to the man’s fantasies. Hell, she might even have her own. I’m not sure why the expectations of a sustained committed relationship are inconsistent with sharing deepest desires but damn that doesn’t sound like initmacy to me.

  46. an anonymous facebook person
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but I can see where he is coming from to a certain degree. I often hear men complain that women aren’t women anymore, I hear women complain that they want to replace men as if that will bring some sort of satisfaction to their lives, and they don’t want to become mothers anymore. Something that was a very “American” tradition was to meet someone between ages 15-25 and get married, have kids, do the breeding thing. This is something still heavily pushed by organized religions and the new aggro feminist/marxism whatever is presenting a system of values that totally and completely counter that philosophy of procreation, gender roles, obedience to nature, rejection of technology and medicine, and just old world thinking in general. As long as there’s a church on every corner, christian values are tied into Hallmark holidays, and religious cult leaders are given free reign to talk that weird shit, white christian heteronormativity will always be perceived as a cultural norm.

    Basically, you have a nation of white dudes who are getting everything they want and pretty much nobody else is getting what they want so there’s going to be some push back. Even many of the self-proclaimed “most progressive” white dudes are late af to the party and still pushing bullshit that centers around their own success whether they are fully aware of it or not. You see these groups of white dudes constantly circle jerking each other talking about how shit isn’t fair for women, minorities, or immigrants, but are always the first to claim positions of leadership and the last to open up opportunities for others. Oftentimes the white wife of the white guy will receive some benefits to this behavior and complain less, but as far as unmarried, unfuckin with that patriarchy shit single non-breeders are concerned, they ain’t playin that shit whatsoever. The white guys will spend their whole lives baby stepping to potential changes with no sense of urgency or true self-awareness of how they’re contributing to the problem and as long as everyone else is stuck behind them like a traffic jam, shit is not changing. White guys are hit the hardest by propaganda machines and they eat it up. Then they’re faced with the option of rejecting it and essentially living as a minority until they change their minds, spending their lives deprogramming and searching for the truth, and going with the flow and being the most red-bloodedest, manliest alpha male, yee hawing, proud boy ever. It’s a fucked up dilemma to be faced with when it seems like the “right thing to do” not in accordance with what is truly fair, just, and all of the things the fake ass constitution and bill of rights claim are for everyone. Then to exacerbate matters more, white moms are throwing gun toys, army movies, and camouflage clothes, at these kids before they can tie their damn shoes. You can’t only blame the men because they were children at some point and what were the parents doing? I’m more concerned with the adults running around here than I am with the children. If you fix the adults you set the children up for success.

    I don’t blame American women or any women for saying “fuck this shit. i’m not just a baby machine. i want to do shit with my life and go against the grain” and I don’t blame men for being absolutely confused as fuck about everything all the time. This is a shitty culture. Maybe English speaking countries preach freedom and diversity and all that jazz, but you’d be hard pressed to actually FIND any good organic examples of it. As long as these nations are being propped up as “the white guy show” nobody is going to get along—the opposite sexes are going to fight constantly, the races are going to fight constantly, the different nationalities,the natives and immigrants , all of that shit is doomed to fail. White people spend their whole lives trying to figure out what fairness means, what love means, what sacrifice means, what self-discipline is, what compromises mean, all of these things that should come naturally to humans in a healthy society. It’s entirely counterproductive to have a patriarchal society formed around the most extreme, impulsive, unfair, unjust, aggressive, violent, exploitive, embarrassing demographic of what is supposed to be an equal civilization. They always want to take the bigger half, make all the rules, call the shots, pick and choose who can have what and when. A woman could at least do a better job of caring about consequences, equality, fairness, patience, love, understanding, all of and these things that men are taught not to think about. They lash out in violence if the world isn’t catering to their needs.

    European settlers created a fucking monster and let it loose on the rest of the world to deal with. Looking back at history of these nations, is that really how we want to move forward? Is it sustainable? Is it possible to avoid revolutionary wars without making some huge changes? It’s 2018 and it’s not okay to act like you rule the world anymore.

  47. Misha Tuesday
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    The dark side of digital connectedness. Lone weirdos used to just keep their weird ideas to themselves. The internet makes it possible for people with similar weird ideas to encourage and develop them.

  48. Jean Henry
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    “A woman could at least do a better job of caring about consequences, equality, fairness, patience, love, understanding, all of and these things that men are taught not to think about” — historically this has not been shown to be the case by women leaders. I’m all for equal representation, but this idea that women or people of color or any other group without equal representation will inherently be better leaders or more fair is simply not in evidence. Power corrupts the same way most of the time. Concentrations of power in any form should be resisted. And, no inviolable legitimacy should not be granted to any voice from any quarter based on group membership. Not even white dudes with persecution complexes.

    Mr Peterson does not believe power is concentrated among white straight Christian males. He believes that identity politics’ is about asserting dominance. He also believes that movements for equity are not about individual rights but about group rights with a goal of completely equal outcomes. He would tell you women don’t hold more power because they are inferior. That’s as untrue as saying they are better than men. But worse… Peterson’s argument is totally facetious. But it’s clear he believes his own con. The best do. His weird insistence on ‘precise’ measurements of bias (which exist) without offering any metrics in response, just ‘logic’ is bizarre.

    I spent some of last night with Mr Peterson. It was amazing. A more uptight and flipped out and angry white man has rarely entered my view. And I’ve seen a lot of them. I have a lot to do today but the guy is like a bug in my ear. He takes things that matter to me, legitimate social concerns about tribalism, and twists them to horrid ends and conclusions. Inhumane ones. The Handmaids Tale comparison is apt. He’s a nightmare. And yes, he has appeal. Appeal to the worst of human natures.

    The hedge we have against concentrated power is a democratic system and a set of core principles (that we are really shitty about living up to) about individual rights, openness and fair treatment. The interpretation of those is what’s under discussion with ‘political correctness’ or ‘identity politics’ or whatever you want to call it. That discussion is incredibly important. I’m glad Mr Peterson is being given a proper airing…

  49. Jean Henry
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Misha– Don’t go after the weirdos. The inter webs providing a place for like minded people to get together is a gift. We live in an open society in which discourse is essential. The reality is these ‘weirdos’ are a lot more dangerous in social isolation. We know how many make it through to acting on their rage; we don’t know how many are stopped by like minded friends who are not violent by nature. The nature of being a weirdo is that there aren’t enough of them to create a powerful movement.
    Mr Tump is just an old school racist and bigot and misogynist, very much a product of his “Mad Men’ generation. He’s no weirdo; he’s quite common. I think we have a lot more to fear from true weirdos (alt right, racists, white supremacists, INCELS, fundamentalists, ideologues– whatever you wanna call them) as individuals than as a group. We have been pretty good so far at demonstrating, when they gather as a group, that they are vastly outnumbered. Because it’s true. The old school engrained white supremacy of racism is going to take a lot longer.

  50. Jean Henry
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    This was a good take on Peterson, for anyone interested in going down the rabbit hole with me.

    I have a friend who teaches at U of T and he will not even discuss Peterson with me. He… just… can’t… anymore.
    White male fragility fatigue. It’s real.

  51. Jcp2
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

  52. wobblie
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    It is nice to know that in IL world, companionship is simply another commodity that is purchased. Of course I always thought companionship was a reciprocal arrangement, nice to know that it is simply another item to be purchased.

  53. Jean Henry
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    What about exchanging money for Company is not reciprocal, Wobblie?

    I’m not sure what your angle is with personal derision this angle of approach, but it’s. Lear to everyone here that you misread IL’s comment in order to get all morally superior and now you are doubling down on the moral righteousness.

    What is your point? Why is it relevant? Is it all possible in your world view to offer basic respect to someone with whom you have political differences?

  54. Jean Henry
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Phone again.
    Sorry for typos .
    You all can figure it out.

  55. Facebook Stalker
    Posted May 26, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    From someone on Facebook:

    “Firearm accessibility and the spiritual bankruptcy of our kids to bear life’s troubles are to blame. Kids today are psychologically and morally weak … thanks to culture issues and parental handicaps of all sorts. I suggest quadrupling the price of ammo until this subsided. The next step is prosecuting the parents.”

  56. Jean Henry
    Posted May 26, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    ‘Kids today are not much different than they ever were.
    We are always more the same than different.
    Something about us makes us focus on difference and erect elaborate narratives around that. Read the Greek plays. People have always been the same.

  57. Jcp2
    Posted May 26, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    People have always thought that they were better than everyone else, and definitely better than average people. Sometimes it might even be true!

  58. Eel
    Posted June 1, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Trump is visiting the families of Sante Fe shooting victims today. Here’s how he talked to the press about it.

    “We are going to Dallas, we are going to Houston. We are going to have a little fun today. Thank you very much.”

    He describes seeing the families of shooting victims as “a little fun”.

  59. Iron Lung 2
    Posted June 2, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    “It is nice to know that in IL world, companionship is simply another commodity that is purchased. Of course I always thought companionship was a reciprocal arrangement, nice to know that it is simply another item to be purchased.”

    Believe it or not, Mr. Wobblie, many people in the world are willing to pay money to feel wanted for a while.

    It is just a fact.

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