Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 10.13

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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  1. Wow, that FoxNews link really is quite a trip. I like the claim that no adults should ever play video games (“I can understand the desire to play a video game here and there as a kid, but as an adult? Grow up.”)

    And of course, the far more shocking line “Feminism has been detrimental to the identity of the American male.”) Really? Apparently, the author believes that if feminists stopped chastising men for holding doors (an event which has never been recorded), we’d solve the problem of men languishing in a prolonged adolescence?

  2. The FoxNews link is written by the CEO of “Concerned Women For America,” known in some circles as “Ladies Against Women.” It’s a fundamentalist Christian organization started by Beverly LaHaye (wife of “Left Behind” author Tim LaHaye). The women who run it have full-time careers going around the world telling other women that God doesn’t want them to have careers. A classy bunch.

    1. Ah, I missed that. Concerned Women for America, a fun bunch: They believe that all forms of hormonal contraception are abortions, and therefore oppose emergency contraception after rape, and generally advocate that all pro-choicers are just looking to get rich off providing abortions.

      1. I also like the list of things that should be a part of male identity that are threatened by feminism: 1. Holding doors, pulling out chairs, 2. Paying for dinner. This is what it means to be a man?

        It’s a weird duality where they say males should be strong and leaderly and whatever, and yet the masculinity of an entire culture is threatened when couples split the check when they go out to eat. Actually seems like their version of masculinity is awfully fragile.

          1. No, I haven’t. What is it with this damn door-opening thing that you keep posting about? Nobody I know even thinks about it or gives a crap, male or female.

          2. Not in a long time.

            The only one I really remember was a co-worker of a friend of mine. If you held the door for her, she would pull it out of your hand and slam it, then open it herself. The solution was simple. Everyone just started slamming it in her face.

        1. I also enjoy the particularly weird statement which is essentially, “Laydeez, let your man buy you dinner, unless he thinks you are prostitute who will accept dinner as payment for sex, in which case you should split the check, because it will kill his boner”

  3. Clearly the men of the world would be required to grow up if half the adults on the planet would just sit out the job market for the good of society. Now, how do we decide which half? Peeing contest!

    Honestly, I have a job, but I’m still excited about Batman Arkham City coming out next week. 12-17 year olds aren’t logging as many hours on video games because A.) a lot of the good ones are M-rated and their parents have sense, and B.) a lot of the stuff kids are spending time on their computers and smartphones doing doesn’t count as “games” but is purely for fun.

    1. The fact that many video games are $60+ and require computers or consoles that are several hundred dollar to thousands of dollars limits many kids access I bet.

      Where as I, even with a house and car payments, a husband and a puppy and a fulltime job have both the money and enough free time to play.

  4. Peggy Young Nance and the Concerned Women of America are right!

    Time to put away these childish games and go get a real job and do something productive, wait a minute…

    Skyrim comes out next month…screw that adult stuff!

    *preorders from Amazon*

  5. Recorded? Perhaps not. But I’ve been chastised for holding the door open for women before; not always, not often (this is Texas; that kind of politeness is somewhat expected). When I hold the door for a guy, or a kid, or an older person, never. But a few times for a woman, who felt I was being disrespectful of her for what I view as general politeness.

    While there was a lot to disagree with in the article (especially the shit about video games), I have to agree with the general consensus that American men, especially of my age, are confused as all fuck. Many of us were raised with certain gender roles in mind… even if we were taught that women can do anything men can do, it certainly wasn’t lost on us that Mom was the one who stayed home with us while Dad worked… and that that was true for most of our friends, as well. I don’t think I’m alone in the idea that “Dad cooking” meant we were going out to a restaurant.

    This does not mean we’re anti-feminist or anti-woman. But it does mean that there’s a fair confusion about gender roles, especially as we get conflicting images of masculinity from the other side (the Spike TV images mentioned in the first one). We’re not helpless babes in the woods… but we are in the dark and feeling around… and considering that “always knows what he’s doing” is one of those prime masculine traits we’re told about, being lost doesn’t help our self-images much.

  6. Since when was it my job as a man to conform to some random woman’s definition of masculinity in order to have worth? The same “women get to choose their own destiny” thing that feminism is great for shouldn’t also include “… but men should keep doing the stuff we want men for, like paying for everything, taking the dangerous jobs, and being a household handyman.”
    Plus, don’t we all want our potential partners to be happy doing what they do? I think what’s happening is that some men are finally rejecting the bullshit we get from so many women and checking out of the “dating scene”… the same way that I think a lot of women have done over the last decade or two.

    I’m married, so this nonsense doesn’t affect me in the slightest. But it did cause me to consider my marriage, and talk to my wife about it. We’re pretty happy with the arrangement we have. Part of the reason we work together is because we don’t feel like we need to be up each other’s asses 24/7. It is OK that my wife likes chick flicks and historical fiction, and I like video games and horror movies. We both like science fiction movies and books, fancy meals out, and hanging out talking to each other. We might even be going to the range to shoot guns together! We’re not codependents who need someone to hang all their hopes and dreams and desires on. We’re two complete people with our own interests, who come together where our interests overlap.

  7. Oh, and I like the guy trying to talk to teens about gender roles and such. I think there’s going to have to be a large-scale program of men talking to men and boys about these things before we see any sort of positive change. Frankly, I don’t think that men as a group can begin to learn about gender roles from women. You’ve got to hear some things from people you consider peers and mentors, otherwise you just feel like you’re being preached at and scolded.

      1. Well, no, but if your audience is “young males who’ve already had it ingrained that women aren’t really worth listening to” then yeah, maybe they’d be more likely to take the message to heart if it comes from a man.

      2. AstroCj: It’s been repeatedly demonstrated that people are more likely to listen to people with whom they share visual characteristics. For the case of young men, that means bringing in a man. This is even more emphasized in a situation where you’re trying to help them figure out what “being a man” means. Right now, and for the forseeable future, we have a gendered society. Sometimes, you have to play the cards your dealt with.

        Now, a follow-up program, with a woman mentor, might not be a bad idea at all. But starting off with a woman in that role is just going to create resistance and friction.

      3. It’s not that men are incapable of seeing women as mentors. It’s that a male mentor on what it means to be a man is going to be able to speak from personal experience on being a man.

        I can give people advice about teaching, librarianship, or pizza delivery, because I’ve been there. I can’t really say too much about being a woman or black, or a college professor because I haven’t been there. Any advice I give is colored by the fact that I haven’t been a woman, or black, or a college professor.

      4. Well… think about what it would sound like if a man decided to explain feminism to women. Think that would generally go over very well?

        That and if part of what you’re trying to fix is the problem of young men not having respect for women, you have to recognize that those disrespectful young men aren’t very likely to listen to a woman. The idea of having a man explain this recognizes the reality of the problem.

  8. I don’t want a man who requires me to be a stereotype in order to fix his gender confusion. Let’s just be people, for fuck’s sake.

    A friend of mine summed this up in a way that I find quite entertaining:

    See, gender roles should be based on 2 things: 1) What is practical in your situation (calculations done by *brains*) and 2) what you emotionally want.
    I think people make that whole decision way the hell more complicated than it needs to be.
    For example, the whole women working outside the home concept – before we had all these appliances and so forth, somebody had to work in the home full time, and the male could make more money outside the home because physical labor was more important there too, and he’s stronger
    Simple!
    It was true then, it’s not true now. Washing the clothes is no longer a full day of hard labor.
    Hence, it makes perfect sense for women to have jobs also. You start over-interpreting these practical concepts and thinking about them with your crotch glands, and you get notions about people having some kind of Proper Place independant of all context. Then you get into fights about it, which no one can win because there is no answer because the question is meaningless to start with. And it’s all downhill from there.

    She was always good at summarizing…

    1. All those activities you mention are fairly modern concepts. The gender / family dynamic has likely changed a lot over the last 200,000 years. The nuclear family is a relatively modern luxury as is the stay at home mom doing the washing.

  9. From the “Why Does America Have So Many ‘Peter Pan’ Men?” article:
    “The statistic from Bennett’s book that perhaps struck me the most is that teenage boys, ages 12-to-17 years old, actually spend less time playing video games than 18-to-34-year-old men. I can understand the desire to play a video game here and there as a kid, but as an adult? Grow up.”

    What about those people who play video games for a living? That’s right, professional athletes! Grow up! Get a job writing shitty articles for FOX.

  10. I think the bit about video games is just typical amnesia. People forget that the immediate precursor to video games was not “doing something more productive” but “watching television”. Which was proceeded by radio and novels.

    There’s no serious link made between video games and unemployment, or between the death of “chivalry” and unemployment. It’s just typical conservative nostalgia for the 50’s, wherein our ideals were perfect at that point, so everything about our cultural aspirations that have changed since then are considered bad.

    It sometimes feels like social conservatives have stolen all the worst (and originally “leftist”) methods from the development of anthropology and sociology. Like you can just point at a correlation or coincidence, and then wave vaguely at the “culture” of a group, and that establishes causation.

    Amusingly, a gay and geeky friend of mine, who went through a really bad breakup, just went on a rant about how hard it is to find a good man. I suspect that he has a very different opinion about why.

    Also, that abortion bill makes me sick. Complete bullshit.

  11. I honestly can’t tell which link riled me up more – the abortion bill, or the Peter Pan one. And just think: these short-sighted, narrow-minded, arrogant sons of pond scum are breeding new generations of moronic bigots! Yays!

  12. “Those With A Sweet Tooth Usually Have A Sweeter Personality” – damn. So my plan to be a crusty old hardass in my approaching middle age means that I’ll have to give up chocolate? Science, thou art a cruel master!

  13. That “Peter Pan” article was ridiculous.

    First of all… conflating an inability to grow up with a lack of masculinity? More of the old “immature” = not masculine (not “manning up”, feminine), “mature” = masculine. Shades of the whole “femininity is incomplete masculinity” thing.

    And wait… “manning up” is having a job, responsibilities, being an adult, having a family? So when women do these things, get a job, become adults, take on responsibilities… they’re, um, manning up? What?

    Aside from the straw feminism, the video game “oh noes! people like these things!” reactionary BS, the general “pining for the good ol’ days of rigidly enforced gender roles” idiocy, and the completely FALSE image that women are soaring ahead of men in the workforce, that whole thing is filled with incredibly patronizing, androcentric attitudes about what constitutes “being a man”. It basically just chalks up the entirety of the male gender role up to success and employment, which tacitly says that such things are NOT the role of women. We’re supposed to just sit back, find our “prince”, let him treat us to dinner, and hope that he doesn’t expect sex in return.

    Oh, and video games are teh evilz! “Grow up” and play some golf or something.

    1. “We’re supposed to just sit back, find our “prince”, let him treat us to dinner, and hope that he doesn’t expect sex in return.”

      Hell, if there’s no sex involved I need to find me a prince too! And one for my wife as well… it is only fair, and we could go on very bizarre double dates!

    2. My dad used to play golf. All. The. Time. To the point that it was a nuisance. He wouldn’t be around. He’d use a lot of money on golf equipment (money we really didn’t have), and he neglected his responsibilities in general. I love video games. I hate golf.

      I think I’ll “man up” now by drinking some Diet Coke and reading some comic books.

    3. “So when women do these things, get a job, become adults, take on responsibilities… they’re, um, manning up? What?”

      that’s not what was said in the article, nice strawman :P

      the article is a load of garbage, but don’t make up bad things it doesn’t talk about, to make it look worse.

  14. Just as a general note:

    Has anyone else noticed that when people whine about the lack of dating prospects, they NEVER consider that they might be the problem? After all, in every relationship you have or attempt to have, YOU are the only constant. People who can’t find a “suitable” partner need to look around and figure out why no one who they like, likes them back.

  15. Reading the foxnews article I actually thought it trying to say something intelligent. “culture has so badly confused males in what their role in life should be” really fooled me for a second. But then I got to the video games crap and I actually started reading critically.

    I’m quite disappointed in myself that it took so long.

    (Oh yeah, my first post. Love the website!)

    (And I’m not happy that any ctrl-c from that article tacks on:
    “Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/10/07/why-does-america-have-so-many-peter-pan-men/#ixzz1am3BXyo0“)

  16. I just simply don’t like the premise of the Peter Pan article. The idea that men never grow up, linger in dead end jobs because their maturity level, childlike, is of course due to feminism. She suggest men ‘man up’ by getting married, have families and work yourself (into the ground perhaps as how is it you have free time).

    I don’t think that we should go back to settler times when people died of old age before the age of fifty. A time before birth control and getting married was the expectation that is if you enjoy sex. Times have changed. Technology has eased our physical work and has improved our standard of living. People have made use of medical advancements. They can control their family size and have more free time. Maybe since we have an extra 30 years of life, we take time to enjoy ourselves. Maybe this is a *good thing*. I appreciate that gender and career roles/jobs are changing for the good, bad, or indifferent, and that can be hard to navigate. With that said, I simply don’t want to go back to the way it was. I think the author is living in the past.

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