See the previous installments in Mark Ellis’s exploration of Adam Carolla. From January 21, 2015: Adam Carolla: The Quintessential Counterculture Conservative?. And from February 6: President Me: Adam Carolla Vs. the Scourge of Narcissism.
Submitted again for consideration, Adam Carolla, born as his very cohort, Generation X, was beginning in 1964.
Joining him in this chapter is writer Chuck Palahniuk, born in 1962, another prominent Gen X cultural figure.
Consider now, as the swath of humanity that followed the boomers reaches full majority, in fullest possession of its powers, how variant Carolla/Palahniuk countercultures confront what we see on the horizon. How will the legacy of Generation X be written from this point forward?
How will a generation’s power-players and cultural icons impact, for example, policymaking on healthcare, strategies for dealing with the radical Islamist threat, and the social landscape that the Millennials following them will inherit?
In September 2013, PJ Lifestyle editor David Swindle, riffing on Strauss and Howe’s Millennials Rising: the Next Great Generation, laid out his self-described “oddball” take on generational theory. Swindle argues for more detailed time-frame specifications in generations, recommending five year break-downs in place of the usual twenty — “boomer-leaning Gen-X-ers,” “Millennial-Gen-X blends,” “Gen-X-leaning Boomers,” “Millennial-leaning Gen-Xers” and so forth.
However you want to slice and dice the decades — for the sake of this discussion, Carolla and Palahniuk are instructive examples of the reactions, rebellions, and disillusionments of a generation shaded by oblique pathos.
On the earliest cusp of X, Carolla is part of the generation that inherited a choice between three ideological frameworks: progressivism, reactionary traditionalism, and unaffiliated rebelliousness.
Palahniuk predates the official kick-off of X, but is arguably too young for the boom. He served as a transitory figure, a harbinger of Gen X‘s devastatingly critical, tribal quest for definition.
Adam Carolla and Chuck Palahniuk, an unlikely duo but for their Gen X lineage, hold claim to tributary subcultures that were natural responses to the boomer counterculture that rejected button-down corporatism and neo-Victorian social mores.
Where Palahniuk twists culture to his visionary fictional ends, Carolla goes hammer and tong to make sense of it.
My first adult experience with Gen-X came primarily from two sources. First, when I met younger parents from across the socieo-economic spectrum in my children’s schools. Second, when I hired or began to compete with young guys coming up in the paint contracting trade.
Something I noticed about both cohorts right off: Gen-X cynicism on the subject of national pride, a rejection of the reflexive patriotism that I had been inculcated with since birth.
We said the Pledge of Allegiance, with God and without irony, every morning at Hillview Crest Elementary School in Hayward, California. This ritual recitation was not yet under assault when Carolla and Palahniuk were schoolchildren in the late sixties and early seventies, but criticism of the Pledge on grounds of church/state separation was coming.
Another noticeable difference I discerned between my fellow boomer kids and many in the generation supplanting mine was a devolved sense of the wisdom and integrity of the elders. Though we’d rebelled against parental and societal units, they were intact units for most of us, and thus recipient of residual respect.
X was rebelling against the failure of the units. Who can blame them for skepticism about narratives handed down in the midst of social transformation?
Another striking thing about the Gen-X parents with Millennial children: they were having fewer kids. At least in my neck of the woods—white suburbia around Portland, OR. Gone were the large families I remembered from the grade schools of my youth, with three, four, and even five children. There were lots of single moms in the mix, many with only one child.
Even as Gen-X emerged from the flatlands of generational history, predecessors found the crop coming up to be at a vague, not-immediately-readable disadvantage. There was the sense that despite the boomer legacy of conformity as fifties children and upheaval as sixties teens, somehow the squarely-situated boomer-kids had it better than their children.
Palahniuk summed things up in Fight Club, when antagonist (if the term even applies here) Tyler Durden says,
“Our Generation has had no Great war, no Great Depression. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives.”
Though Palahniuk’s theme of alienation and purposelessness can be extrapolated universally, Durden’s morose dictum is understood to most apply to the generation stuck between the boomers’ long fade and the heel-snapping Millennials.
The Greatest Generation had Pearl, the boomers had JFK. September 11, 2001 belongs to all of us, but history bequeaths it to the Millennials.
Applied mythos for Gen X doesn’t focus on any history-making date.
Their crisis moment is like Palahniuk’s depression, which moves from functioning to acute. They came from broken homes, the first, true Children of Divorce.
Tyler Durden again, “a generation raised by women.”
Divorce and the ascendancy of feminist theory combined toxically in the era’s primordial soup; norms which boomers only dipped their toes into, Gen-Xers became immersed.
As we move towards a near future as threatening as any that contemporary observers have seen, what is the result of the experiment?
Irony in Carolla’s generation has always aspired to an intellectual gravitas out of proportion to its value as an assessment mode for the human condition. Humor, in the hands of either Carolla or Palahniuk, is internally targeted, at an irremediable state of disenchantment, a diaspora of disillusionment bred by failing social institutions into their very bones.
Though boomers were concurrent in history with social upheaval and the erosion of traditionalism, such counter-ideology had not yet become ingrained into the culture. Boomer kids with positive associations to traditionalist America benefitted from a durable connection, which proved decisive for many with the Reagan Renewal.
But too many Gen X progeny approaching adolescence and young adulthood in 1980 missed the Gipper’s wave. Raised by culturally progressive parents and academic liberals, they flocked underneath the nanny state’s skirts.
Palahniuk’s associations to visceral fear–violence versus ennui, terminal support groupiedom, soap-rendering from fat, corporatism as the ultimate evil–are different from what boomer kids feared in their gut.
Nobody at Hillview Crest Elementary School got divorced. Parents stayed together, for the kids, and we liked it. Crawling under elementary school desks and lore about Khrushchev’s hammering shoe sat heavily in our stomachs. Boomer kids inherited the potential for being incinerated thirty minutes after war broke out.
Carolla and Palahniuk were born into that, but the possibility of death from above peaked with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Threats from within domestic body-politic were coming home to roost. Gen X could still be atomized by the Russians, but were more imperatively left with the fallout created by existential threats to the pillars of society: marriage, faith, the social contract, industry, and national sovereignty.
There is no generational exactitude. Generations flow; there are overlaps, demographic choke points, trail scouts, and cave fighters. The decimations of disease and war skew the transitions. But there comes a point in life when a person realizes that generational culture has overtaken them.
Songs that boomers lauded as visionary Gen-X anthems are now twenty years old.
Exhibit: Filter’s “Hey Man, Nice Shot”, wherein the twenty-something sons of a post-boom generation offer anguished commentary on the self-inflicted wounds of the patriarchy. Rockers with short hair, a niche signal that the end of boomer hegemony in hard rock had arrived.
It was a message of transition made clear throughout the culture. Now the transition is complete. Generation X is entering middle age, and is running the show.
Prophet and artist are two archetypes delineated in Strauss and Howe’s treatise on the generations. In more exacting archetypal breakdowns, the traits of idealism and the propensity to be reactionary are applied.
Though Palahniuk and Carolla can be described as prophets, artists, and reactionaries, the missing component in Gen X is the idealism. Boomers cornered that market, ran amuck with it, sucking up a lot of air in the process.
A saying as old as the generations equates age with conservatism and youth with liberalism. As Palahniuk’s dystopian literary experiment runs its course to an inevitable end, we find a generation grappling with the ghosts of America’s greatest strengths.
Carolla’s more conservative assault on social dissolution, rampant narcissism, and the lost bearings of culture offers hope that a center capable of holding still exists.
When the focus turns from arts and culture back to the mechanics of real power and the survival of Western culture, Gen X’s response to its own reactionary artists/prophets will determine how history records a generation’s tipping point.
The essay above is the third in volume 2 of the cultural discussions between the writers of PJ Lifestyle and Liberty Island exploring the history of counter-cultures, the future of conservatism and the role of new, emerging counter-cultures in restoring American exceptionalism.
- Frank J. Fleming on February 26, 2015: What Is the Future of Government? Why It Won’t Look Like Star Trek
- Aaron C. Smith on February 26, 2015: What Is the Future of Superheroes? Why They Need To Start Killing Super-Villains
See the first volume of articles from 2014 and January and February 2015 below:
2014 – Starting the Discussion
- Sarah Hoyt, March 22 2014: Interview: Adam Bellow Unveils New Media Publishing Platform Liberty Island
- David S. Bernstein, June 20 2014: What Is Liberty Island?
- Adam Bellow at National Review, June 30 2014 kicking off the discussion: Let Your Right Brain Run Free
- Dave Swindle on September 7, 2014: Why Culture Warriors Should Understand the 10 Astounding Eras of Disney Animation’s Evolution
- Dave Swindle on September 9, 2014: The 50 Greatest Counter-Culture Films of All Time, Part I
- Dave Swindle on September 19, 2014: The 50 Greatest Counter-Culture Films of All Time, Part II
- David S. Bernstein on November 19, 2014: 5 Leaders of the New Conservative Counter-Culture
- Dave Swindle on November 25, 2014: 7 Reasons Why Thanksgiving Will Be My Last Day on Facebook
- Kathy Shaidle on November 25, 2014: Is America Overdue for a Satanic Revival? (Part One)
- Dave Swindle on December 2, 2014: My Growing List of 65 Read-ALL-Their-Books Authors
- Kathy Shaidle on December 3, 2014: Is America Overdue for a Satanic Revival? (Part Two)
- Mark Elllis on December 9, 2014: Ozzy Osbourne and the Conservative Tent: Is He In?
- Aaron C. Smith on December 22, 2014: The Villains You Choose
January 2015 – Volume I
- Paula Bolyard on January 1, 2015: 7 New Year’s Resolutions for Conservatives
- Susan L.M. Goldberg on January 1, 2015: The Plan to Take Back Feminism in 2015
- Kathy Shaidle on January 4, 2015: Did the 1960s Really Happen? (Part One)
- Andrew Klavan on January 5, 2015: In 2015 The New Counter-Culture Needs to Be Offensive!
- Clay Waters on January 5, 2015: The Decline and Fall of Russell Brand
- Mark Ellis on January 5, 2015: How Conservatives Can Counter the Likable Liberal
- Audie Cockings on January 5, 2015: Entertainers Have Shorter Lifespans
- Aaron C. Smith on January 6, 2015: How Mario Cuomo Honestly Defined Zero-Sum Liberalism
- Stephen McDonald on January 10, 2015: Why the New Counter-Culture Should Make Strength Central to Its Identity
- Stephen McDonald on January 16, 2015: The Metaphorical War
- Kathy Shaidle on January 19, 2015: Did the 1960s Really Happen? (Part Two)
- Frank J. Fleming on January 20, 2015: What if Red Dawn Happened, But It Was Islamic Terrorists Instead of Communists?
- Mark Ellis on January 21, 2015: Adam Carolla: The Quintessential Counterculture Conservative?
- Aaron C. Smith on January 29, 2015: Objection! Why TV’s The Good Wife Isn’t Good Law
- David Solway on February 2, 2015: For a Song To Be Good, Must It Tell The Truth?
- Mark Ellis on February 6, 2015: President Me: Adam Carolla Vs. the Scourge of Narcissism
- David Solway on February 6, 2015: ‘Imagine’ a World Without the Brotherhood
- Kathy Shaidle on February 9, 2015: Was Rod McKuen the Secret Godfather of Punk Rock?
- Aaron C. Smith on February 10, 2015: Kick NBC While It’s Down: Use The Williams Scandal to Set the Terms of the 2016 Debates
- Spencer Klavan on February 12, 2015: How to Apologize for Your Thought Crimes
- Kathy Shaidle on February 16, 2015: David Byrne: Creepy Liberal Hypocrite
- David P. Goldman on February 18, 2015: Understanding This Bloody Truth About the Bible Will Save Your Life
- Lisa De Pasquale on February 20, 2015: Why American Sniper Is a Much Better Love Story Than Fifty Shades of Grey
- Spencer Klavan on February 24, 2015: How Bad Ideology Destroys Good TV: Why Glee Crashed and Burned
Let her walk uncovered down a Saudi street and come back and tell us how about feminism in Islam. pic.twitter.com/yz57JlCX8R
— Tommy Robinson (@TRobinsonNewEra) February 5, 2015
Owen Jones opines in the UK Guardian that women are “taken less seriously than men” and, as a result, the “pandemic of violence against women will continue.” Coming on the heels of the famed Arquette faux pas at the Oscars, his essay easily reads as more of the same old “War on Women” schtick, and to a great extent it is. However, his opening argument is worth noting for what it does say and for what Jones does not. Somehow, like most contemporary feminists with a platform, he manages to acknowledge the grotesque abuses of women living in Islamic cultures while completely refusing to point out that radicalized Islam is the number one serious threat to women across the globe.
— Revolution News (@NewsRevo) February 21, 2015
Jones begins by recounting the story of Özgecan Aslan a 20-year-old Turkish college student who was tortured, raped and murdered, her body then burned as evidence, by a bus driver.
Across Twitter, Turkish women have responded by sharing their experiences of harassment, objectification and abuse. But something else happened: men took to the streets wearing miniskirts, protesting at male violence against women and at those who excuse it or play it down. Before assessing how men can best speak out in support of women, it’s worth looking at the scale of gender oppression. The statistics reveal what looks like a campaign of terror. According to the World Health Organisation, over a third of women globally have suffered violence from a partner or sexual violence from another man. The UN estimates that about 133 million girls and women have suffered female genital mutilation, and believes that nearly all of the 4.5 million people “forced into sexual exploitation” are girls and women.
He stops there, short of pointing out that the WHO statistics cited clearly show that the greatest threat of violence against women exists in primarily Islamic countries. While he mentions female genital mutilation, he again neglects to tie in the fact that FGM is most commonly practiced in Muslim countries and among extremist Islamic cultures.
Jones bases his argument in a story of a Muslim girl tortured and murdered by a man in a Muslim country that is growing more religious by the day, only to devolve into the same demeaning politically correct tropes of contemporary gender feminism. He finds it ironic that men dare to call themselves feminists and decides “…men will only stop killing, raping, injuring and oppressing women if they change.” Change what? Their gender? For Jones, as it is for so many other feminist activists, it is easier to just throw a blanket of blame onto men than to confront the source of evil that exacts a real “campaign of terror” against women: radical Islam.
What’s worse, Jones doesn’t hesitate to make his case for women all about gay men. In yet another ironic twist, after accusing men of co-opting the feminist movement for their own egotistical needs, he uses gender feminist theory to defend a tangent on gay rights:
And while men are not oppressed by men’s oppression of women, some are certainly damaged by it. Gay men are a striking example: we are deemed to be too much like women. But some straight men suffer because of an aggressive form of masculinity too. The boundaries of how a man is supposed to behave are aggressively policed by both sexism and its cousin, homophobia. Men who do not conform to this stereotype – by talking about their feelings, failing to objectify women, not punching other men enough – risk being abused as unmanly. “Stop being such a woman,” or “Stop being such a poof.” Not only does that leave many men struggling with mental distress, unable to talk about their feelings; it also is one major reason that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50.
If gender stereotypes are a cause of male suicide, they only have gender feminists to blame. Wait – wasn’t this supposed to be an argument in favor of feminism and the female voice?
— Jason (@Vision365) February 14, 2015
Last week social media jumped on the story of a woman who supposedly decided to have a late-term abortion specifically because she found out she was having a boy. Based on a near-anonymous comment posted on an Internet forum, the story is highly questionable at best. Nevertheless, both pro- and anti-abortion advocates pounced on the missive. The dialogue generated took on a life of its own, inspiring the following comment from feminist site Jezebel:
“The virality of this story is sort of a nice reminder about confirmation bias: when something fits our preferred narrative just a little too snugly, it’s probably time for skepticism,” wrote Jezebel’s Anna Merlan.
How, exactly, does gendercide “fit our narrative” in the West, especially in relation to boys?
This year you could spend your Valentine’s Day in a theater full of middle-aged women oozing over a hot-bodied twenty-something whipping his blindfolded secretary to the point of striking blood in the name of “love.” Daytime television loves to play up to the Soccer Mom demographic (a title first dubbed to describe Clinton fans, ironically) seeking fantasy fulfillment in the form of sexual fiction. It was corny enough when shirtless Fabios graced the covers. Now that the most popular sex trilogy focuses on a woman who willingly allows herself to be sexually abused, is pop culture humoring those bored housewives too much?
While the majority of Fifty Shades fans are typical middle-aged marrieds dissatisfied with their partners (or even themselves), anywhere from 5-25% of Americans “show affinity” for BDSM (Bondage/Domination-Discipline/Sadism/Masochism) in the bedroom. On an issue that poses a particular sexual threat to women, feminists are split 50-50 between being against sexual abuse and for a narcissistic “if it feels good, do it” sexual ethos. Hence, a pervert who trolls Fanfiction.net (the original home of Hobbit-inspired Elvish/Dwarf porn) can turn her twisted sexual fantasies into an overnight sensation. After all, it’s all about love in the end. Or is it?
Porn? Playstation? ‘Pain-In-The-Ass’ Dates? What Are the REAL Reasons Millennial Men Aren’t Marrying?
I was in LA last month and stopped by the PJTV studios to do a roundtable discussion on Millennial men and marriage:
Dr. Helen Smith, author of Men on Strike discusses the state of the young American male with PJTV’s Andrew Klavan, Bill Whittle and Matt Orr. Are men shunning marriage because of the economy, or do they have alternatives to marriage, like porn and easy sex? Could it be that women simply giving-up on the hopes of having a relationship with the current pool of men in America? Hear the answers.
Or maybe American men have given up hope on the current pool of women in America: as one of the panelists notes, “Dating is a pain in the ass.” Here is our discussion:
Self-dubbed “meninists” have gone on defense after a Superbowl commercial inspired women to proclaim to the world the power of being #LikeAGirl. Ironically, the sexism inherent in their response pales in comparison to the gender bias expressed in defense of the commercial. Once again, gender feminists out themselves as a group bent on erasing gender, specifically female gender, from American culture. The problem is that they are so bloody brainwashed in indoctrination that they don’t even realize they’re doing it.
In an attempt to defend the pride a woman should take in acting #LikeAGirl, gender feminists only manage to uphold the notion that women are weak and oppressed and need public approval in order to be “empowered.” Moreover, in order to gain that much sought-after public approval, women must take on androgynous appearances, hobbies or careers that require them to leave their femininity at home under lock and key.
Assemble a roomful of feminists to discuss the situation of women on university campuses, and what do you get? A case study in self-righteousness and intellectual hollowness.
Such was the scene at Dalhousie University’s recent panel in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in which seven feminist activists outlined the steps necessary to overcome rampant campus misogyny. One of the ideas put forward “several times” and greeted with applause, according to a report on the proceedings, was that university policy should mandate female priority in all classroom discussions.
The panel was organized in the wake of the suspension of 13 dentistry students over a scandal involving tasteless Facebook posts. These included a poster promoting the use of chloroform as a form of seduction, fantasies about violent sexuality, and a joke about how penises are helpful to women.
As has now become standard practice at North American universities, the actions of these few male students, which seem to have had absolutely no relation to any real-world violence, were eagerly trumpeted as evidence of campus-wide gendered discrimination.
What discrimination? Women are now vastly in the majority at universities all across the continent, outnumbering their male peers at a ratio of 2–1. In some disciplines, there are virtually no men left. In those where women remain in a minority, such as engineering, aggressive affirmative action programs are underway to attract them. There are likely a variety of reasons for the notable decline in male participation, but it is probable that awareness of the preference for females and a disinclination to experience both the subtle and not-so-subtle anti-male bias of these academic environments are having their unsurprising impact.
If there ever was a time in the past half-century when institutional sexism discouraged women from pursuing higher education, it is emphatically not now. A myriad of programs and special scholarships and bursaries exists to support women’s post-secondary endeavors. Whole departments devote themselves to the study of women, and most departments offer special courses on women’s history, women’s cultural production, women’s participation in war, women’s spirituality, and so on. Feminism has so pervaded the academy that every subject, at least in the humanities and social sciences, now emphasizes—even prioritizes—women’s concerns, theories, and perspectives. The vast majority of instructors in these disciplines teach from a feminist perspective; only a tiny minority would dare to teach as anti-feminists, and any disparaging classroom remarks about women would bring swift censure. Disparaging remarks about men, in contrast, are commonplace and acceptable.
So why the panel on misogyny in academia? It’s a big leap to see the sexual fantasies of a few dentistry students—swiftly and harshly punished by the university administration—as evidence of any widespread campus culture other than, perhaps, the normal sexual preoccupations of healthy young men. But feminists do not make political gains by being tolerant or reasonable. From the moment the Facebook fiasco became public, they went into full-blown rape crisis mode, insisting that emergency measures were needed to combat the stigmatizing and silencing of women.
That’s how we come to a professor’s suggestion in all seriousness that first-place in classroom discussion be reserved for women by administrative fiat. The professor who put forward the recommendation, Judy Haiven of the Sobey School of Business at St. Mary’s University, already prioritizes women’s voices as an unofficial classroom practice, and she thinks it should be extended to all. Why? Because despite all the apparent gains women have made, they are still hesitant to speak. And that must be because of the insidious social conditioning and overt sexism that tell them their opinions are unworthy.
One would think that someone like Professor Haiven, with her prestigious, well-paid job as professor of business management, who in herself seems evidence that women are not held back from academic advancement, would be reassuring women that success is possible for those with brains and dedication. Not so. Despite the fact that women now outnumber men in post-secondary achievement, Professor Haiven persists in seeing disadvantage: women are “taking a back seat” and not “taking a more active role [ …] in running things,” she laments. Jacqueline Skiptunis, the vice-president academic of the Student Union at Dal, has taken an “active role” in student government but agrees that much more is needed to promote women’s well being. She has at times felt hesitant to speak, and “when she did speak up, her statements were often questioned, and believed only when a man agreed with her.”
There you go. Incontrovertible evidence of pervasive contempt for women in the halls of academe. What is so helpful about feminist theory is the penetrating insight it provides into human realities that might otherwise seem less than clear. Might it not have been that the “questioning” Skiptunis experienced was evidence of her colleagues’ unbiased respect for truth and their belief in her integrity and tough-mindedness? Might the fact that at least some men agreed with her show that men valued her opinions and contributions? Perhaps her sense of hesitation was coloured by general insecurity rather than by any actual bias against her? Perhaps men also feel insecure about their verbal contributions to discussion?
Nonsense. Women know what their experiences mean, and feminist orthodoxy dictates that they be believed.
But some of the (risible) complexities of that orthodoxy were also made evident by the discussion following Haiven’s suggestion to privilege female voices. Judy Ashburn, a transgender outreach coordinator for Halifax’s sexual resource center, one-upped Professor Haiven by suggesting that black women should speak first. Feminism has “come a long way” since its early days, you see, moving to ever finer calibrations of victimhood according to the theory of “intersectionality.” Sure, (white) women are disadvantaged in relation to (white) men, but they have race privilege in relation to black or brown women—and thus racialized women must have priority. But it’s more complicated than that. Heterosexual women of color are privileged over their womyn-loving fellow warriors, so lesbians of color must speak before heterosexual women of color (where white lesbians fit in the hierarchy has been much disputed though never absolutely determined; perhaps they may alternate in preference with racialized straight women). And what about racialized women with disabilities? To the head of the line.
In our present climate, of course, Muslim women can claim far more damaging and virulent discrimination than even disabled black lesbians with mood disorders, so their position trumps all others, especially if they wear the niqab or burqa. (In fact, a case might be made that merely speaking first is not enough for these victims of Islamophobia and that discussion be given over to them exclusively.)
Professor Haiven may be surprised to discover that, far from reaping their due reward for centuries of oppression, white women under the logic of her theory may not be allotted much classroom time at all, and may even have to spend most of it apologizing for unearned privilege.
Two jaundiced thoughts present themselves at this juncture, prompted by my own experience of feminism and classroom gender dynamics. The first is that, under the cookie-cutter dogma of feminist ideology, it isn’t really necessary, or even desirable, for all to have their (predictable) say. Feminism is so certain of the uniform meaning of women’s experience—all of it neatly and ineluctably determined by identity categories—that all that is needed is one representative woman to speak for each specified group to guarantee feminist coherence and equitable coverage.
The second jaundiced thought is that many women remain silent for good reason. Having been nurtured and cossetted and praised all their lives, protected from the criticism or questions Skiptunis found offensive, given good grades and special scholarships to help them into university, told that all opposition was a form of misogyny to be outlawed or at least ignored, they may never have developed the determination, resilience, or independence of thought necessary to have meaningful contributions to make to complex class discussions. Given their moment to orate, they may well reveal, as teachers sometimes discover, that they have nothing of value to say. And in this, their vociferous betters have led the way.
Arthur Chu wrote a wandering epithet over at Salon on “bitter nerd” Scott Aaronson’s rant against feminism. Aaronson’s complaints as detailed in Chu’s piece are far from new. As a graduate teaching assistant I had many male students (rather nerdy types) walk out of film theory classes declaring they were “horrible people” and “secret rapists” because they were born male. In the wake of the campus rape lies of 2014, who can blame these guys for believing feminism is conducting its own War Against Men:
This is not a debate about gender roles. It is not about economics or the esoterica of hateful radicals in an ivory tower. This is a war, an ideological campaign to smear all men as moral monsters. It is not a war against “patriarchy” or some imagined evil rich guy. This is a war on men as such – of all races and social classes. It is a war against your brothers, sons, fathers, friends and relatives. And right now, the bad guys and girls are winning.
— s.a.d. anne geddes (@zannekamp) November 19, 2014
“…[H]ow could [Aaronson] be targeted by books written by second-wave feminists when he was a toddler?” Chu asks incredulously. Camille Paglia answers Chu in her book Vamps and Tramps, and most recently in her Time magazine piece on the overblown campus rape epidemic. Second-wave feminists believe themselves to be superior human beings through a pseudo-science that negates biology, psychology and religion in favor of a sterile view of the world as a grand social order which must be maintained and controlled through Marxist politics. To put it rather simply, the second wave threw out biology and psychology and mocked God, making a target of every man like Scott who reads feminist literature only to walk away convinced that he’s an inherent rapist because he was born male. As Paglia explains:
The horrors and atrocities of history have been edited out of primary and secondary education except where they can be blamed on racism, sexism, and imperialism — toxins embedded in oppressive outside structures that must be smashed and remade. But the real problem resides in human nature, which religion as well as great art sees as eternally torn by a war between the forces of darkness and light.
Paglia details that Marxist feminists “…simplistically project outward onto a mythical ‘patriarchy’ their own inner conflicts and moral ambiguities.” Men have no such external myth on which to blame what Chu calls “internal demons” which is why for men these moral struggles are easily chalked off as “slippery things.” Chu writes
I do know that what could help women… is to find the guys who are doing bad things to her and stop those guys from doing that. That’s why feminism is more focused on women’s issues than men’s, because women’s issues are the things happening out in the world where we can do something about them.
This absurdity is an outgrowth of the second wave’s politicization of male rape. Female rape, highly eroticized in the ’70s, was legitimized by the feminist movement as sexual fantasy only to become an illicit crime when acted out by a male counterpart. Paglia notes, “…the illicit is always highly charged,” which is why the issue of campus rape has become the most highly charged issue of feminism today. This also explains why rape has become the source for such incredible moral ambiguity and why men, the mythical figures onto which the moral ambiguities of the female sex are projected, are increasingly blamed for women’s bad sexual decision-making.
The story of Molly Morris and Corey Mock is nothing new to the campus rape scene. Having met on Tinder, a social media app designed to fulfill hook-up scenarios, Mock pursued classmate Morris, who played hard to get until agreeing to a breakfast date. Morris took Mock up on his invitation to a party, but wound up not arriving until 2 a.m., only to find a bunch of male wrestlers with few female faces in the crowd. Partaking in plenty of booze, Morris implies she was drugged and woke up the next day naked in bed with Mock. She decided not to go to the police because “she was not emotionally ready to enter a criminal justice system that would scrutinize her life and choices.”
Her’s is a pathetic excuse that permits the consequences of her bad decision-making to be projected onto the mythical patriarchy represented by Mock and the criminal justice system. When Morris finally did approach their university’s administration Mock was found innocent, then guilty, then granted a stay and finally expelled from the school in what amounted to a politically motivated public relations debacle. Mock’s side of the story is only given by his father via the comment field at the end. He explicitly details his son’s sexual encounter to make it clear that it was, indeed, consensual. After explaining what happened to his son, he concludes, “Morally and ethically I want to say, don’t have sex until you get married. We all know that would be naive.”
— David Mastio (@DavidMastio) September 23, 2014
Would it? The reality is that abstinence has become the only 100% guaranteed way to avoid being falsely accused of sexual assault. That reality check highlights the long-forgotten intrinsic value of abstinence culture. The moralists who promoted that antiquated agenda understood that the allure of sexuality and the power of sex needed to be contextualized through marriage so societal order could be maintained. When society rejected marriage culture, it implicitly accepted the second-wave feminist alternative. Hence, every man is a rapist and every woman a victim.
Paglia argues that “rape will not be understood until we revive the old concept of the barbaric, the uncivilized.” Likewise, the problem of campus rape – that is, second-wave feminism’s grotesque predilection for falsely accusing male sex partners of assault in an attempt to soothe their own wounded pride and troubled souls – will not cease until moral order, built on a solid biological and psychological understanding of the individual and an acceptance of moral responsibility on the part of both parties, is restored.
— Liz Dosta (@Liz_Dosta) January 13, 2015
Waiting in line at Tim Horton’s a few days ago, I noticed that the man in front of me was standing with his legs wide apart, astride the aisle. I nudged my husband, David: “He’ll be getting a fine for manspreading if he’s not careful,” I whispered.
“Maybe they’ll let him off with a warning for a first offense,” David whispered back, “especially if he agrees to take re-education training.” We looked around and noticed quite a few men standing incorrectly, taking up more than their fair share of space, declaring their manly anatomy too recklessly, and failing to manifest an appropriate shame at having been born male in the West.
Okay, tickets are not actually being issued for manspreading. Not yet. But feminists have certainly vociferated about the practice as if it were nothing short of criminal: “The fact is that most of the perpetrators taking up too much space in public with their bodies are men,” asserted feminist activist Davis Carr, who has expressed her contempt for men on Twitter. “It’s hard to accept that something you do so naturally can cause other people harm.” In response to the “harm” experienced by “survivors” like Carr, manspreading has become an advertising target in cities across North America, particularly in New York, where “Dude … Stop the Spread” posters have been put up by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Ostensibly focused on men’s habit of sitting with their knees apart, pushing into other passengers’ seating area, the anti-manspreading movement is only the most recent in a spate of public service campaigns (the “Don’t Be That Guy” anti-rape poster blitz perhaps the most outrageous) to demonize (white) men by focusing on male attitudes and behaviors as social problems requiring censure.
— Rebecca Griffin (@dorothyofisrael) January 13, 2015
The manspreading campaign, which has apparently cost New Yorkers more than $76,000, has already received well-deserved ridicule by such anti-feminist luminaries as PJM’s own feisty Dr. Helen Smith (“And don’t give me the crap about the patriarchy. If you shame men in this way, you are a nasty sexist who deserves contempt”), the indefatigable Cathy Young (“The anti-spread campaign has little to do with etiquette. It’s part of a recent surge in a noxious form of feminism”), and Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente (“A new scourge stalks the land”). These writers, along with many witty bloggers and journalists (hats off to Katherine Timpf for best satirical survey of the feminist position) have ably pinpointed the Freudian triviality of feminist ire. But the fact that the cause has been taken up so seriously by transit authorities in New York City and Seattle tells us something about our present cultural moment.
It is inconceivable that any other identifiable group would be singled out in such a humiliating fashion for public correction. Obese people whose thighs spill past their seat boundaries? Women with large packages piled on adjoining seats or in aisles? Mothers neglectful of their children, who squirm, howl, and disturb other passengers unreproved while their mega-strollers block exit doorways? All these are relatively common transit inconveniences that most of us accept with equanimity. Reasonable people would find it churlish and unnecessarily divisive to mobilize against them.
When it comes to maleness, however, the big guns always come out, and seemingly with broad public support. Our feminist-compliant authorities see men as fair game to be “lessoned.” No foible or incorrect action—whether it be catcalling, telling rude jokes, hanging a girlie calendar, proffering unwanted compliments, or even kissing a workmate on the cheek—escapes the ever-expanding net of the compliance enforcers. One of my gloomy predictions for 2015 is that the move to discipline and re-educate boys and men will proceed ever more vigorously and punitively.
Expect to see many more campaigns in which feminist activists, local police, academic administrators, politicians, government bureaucrats, journalists, and community leaders form partnerships to quell unruly male behavior. Boys and young men at public school and college will be made to attend an increasing number of anti-sexual assault classes, violence-prevention programs, “affirmative consent” seminars, and “Check Your Privilege” workshops. We will see many more poster crusades telling (white, heterosexual) men what they are and are not allowed to say, do, and think (see for example, Make Your Move, ostensibly targeting sexual violence generally but focused exclusively on the supposed violence of white heterosexual men—and now being enthusiastically embraced by the same police who had sanctioned the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign, also targeting white men exclusively).
— Alicia Kershaw (@AKerroseNYC) January 13, 2015
We will see an increasing number of man-blaming organizations dedicating to re-educating men away from violence. We will undoubtedly witness more parades of wounded female accusers—some of them stepping forward 25 years after the fact!—claiming abuse by media celebrities; and news commentators will weigh in on the problem of sexual predation as if the charges were already proven. Our newspapers will fill with yet more reports about the epidemic of women harassed in the workplace (43% according to a recent report—but look at the innocuous behavior defined as “harassment”).
Every university across North America will enact “affirmative consent” policies, effectively criminalizing a vast swath of non-coercive sexual activity defined after the fact as non-consensual. Young men at these institutions will attend performances of the Vagina Monologues, where they will see female sexuality celebrated and masculine sexuality demonized. They will sit through dozens or even hundreds of classes in which women’s achievements and experiences are portrayed as worthy of sympathy and admiration while men’s are mocked or dismissed (I know—I live in the belly of the beast). In a multitude of ways, they will be made to feel secondary, superfluous, offensive in mind and body, always in danger of a social or even criminal mis-step for which constant apology and vigilant self-monitoring are required.
It’s not the end of men just yet, but it is surely the end of the unselfconscious masculinity of young men, who are increasingly under siege by a society determined to make them uncomfortable in their own skins, guilty, apprehensive of wrong-doing, convinced that they are to blame for the world’s ills. Many feminists will applaud such a result (shame on them) as necessary for positive social transformation, but the deliberate emasculation of men is certain to have repercussions (already seen in everything from social withdrawal to self-slaughter) far more serious than matters of subway etiquette.
This Little Girl Just Schooled Tesco Over A Sexist Sign Because “Anybody Can Like Superheroes” http://t.co/Gp9rGmNvlA
— Natalie Brown (@Natalie_Brown) January 11, 2015
When you’re constantly relying on a third party to define your sexuality, you’re inevitably going to write yourself onto the sidelines of social activism, which is precisely what contemporary feminism is currently doing. With its insane Marxist belief that biological “sex” and “gender” are two separate entities that do not overlap or influence each other, contemporary feminism has bought into postmodern subjectivity. Issues are left to be parsed in terms of value judgments rendered by individuals on the basis of sheer whim. This includes defining what it means to be a woman.
It’s bad enough when contemporary feminists attack shopping malls for categorizing “boys” versus “girls” clothing. The complaint is always the same: “My daughter wanted a superhero shirt that was unavailable in the girls’ department!” Pants were unavailable in the girls’ department 100 years ago. Women wore them anyway. Instead of raising independent thinkers, contemporary feminists raise dependent complainers who derive their entire sense of gender identity from a store’s marketing department. This is the dark side of allowing society to define your gender. Suddenly a generation of women is convinced they have male tendencies because they have a penchant for Superman. It couldn’t be that they want to wear his logo because they find him strong, appealing, or — God-forbid — attractive. Because his logo is sported in the boys’ department only, it must mean any little girl who wants to wear his shirt is obviously a trannie.
Don’t let the stereotypical G.I. lunks distract you with their butt-smacking, “don’t you need to file something” portrayal of 1940s masculinity. Marvel’s Agent Carter is far from your oh-so-played-out second wave feminist portrayal of manhood – and womanhood, for that matter. Which is why it’s the best show going on television for feminism today.
For every lunk there’s a hero, Carter’s colleague Agent Sousa being one of them. One brilliant expository exchange sets the tone, demonstrating exactly how appealing real men find Carter’s fearless independence:
Carter: “I’m grateful. I’m also more than capable of handling whatever these adolescents throw at me.”
Sousa: “Yes, ma’am. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
Carter: “Well that’s another thing we have in common.”
Carter is a fully empowered female. Sousa knows it, respects it, and likes it. And Carter likes him for it. This kind of His Girl Friday exchange gets equity feminism the screen time our culture so desperately needs. Unlike her Avengers’ counterpart the Black Widow, Agent Carter isn’t squished into slicked up body suits and forced to perform gymnastic feats in order to intrigue her male audience. And unlike gender feminists, Carter draws authority from her sex and uses it to save the day.
As if NYC doesn’t have enough to worry about, a campaign is underway to curb manspreading:
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you take the subway, bus or train, you’ve probably seen men who take up more than just their seat.
As CBS2’s Vladimir Duthiers reported, the issues is now the focus of a new MTA campaign.
Sitting on a crowded subway can be a lesson in sharing. Each person is allotted 17.5 inches — the width of an average seat.
But for some, that’s simply not enough.
So what is “manspreading?”
“Manspreading is when men take up too much room on the subway by spreading their legs in a wide V. Like geese traveling,” explained actress Kelley Rae O’Donnell.
O’Donnell has become an anti-manspreading activist, making stopping the spread a personal mission.
“I guess you would call it subway shaming? It’s what my friends accuse me doing,” she said.
So, if it’s okay to subway shame men, is it okay to slut-shame women? Slut shaming is “defined by many as a process in which women are attacked for their transgression of accepted codes of sexual conduct.” So now men are attacked. Why is one form of sexism okay and the other not? And don’t give me the crap about the patriarchy. If you shame men in this way, you are a nasty sexist who deserves contempt.
The commenters to the manspread article seem to get this:
“P3n1$ envy” says one commenter and another states: “MY BODY MY CHOICE. What happened to that concept? feminazis targeting white males only GUARANTEED” and another one states: “Right…because you never see women with 5 bags/purses and set them all on the seat beside them as an excuse to not let people sit there. Just the men who are wrong, right?”
Right, the war on men is alive and well in NYC.
Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson, two wannabe-famous New York twenty somethings, teamed up to talk sex via their “running soap opera,” “almost reality TV show” podcast Guys We F*cked. Broadcasting under the “anti-slut shaming” banner makes Guys We F*cked appealing to the contemporary feminists at Salon who never turn down the chance to normalize twisted sexuality. Salon assistant editor Jenny Kutner sat down with the comedy duo more commonly known as “Sorry About Last Night” who, as they enter season 2 of their famed podcast, are looking to crowdsource funds from fans while noting that their careers are “…getting better because of the podcast, which is really exciting.”
Performing an editorial feat, Kutner defines the duo’s narcissism as “comedy with a purpose” in her attempt to define the two as feminists. In doing so, the assistant editor at Salon exposes exactly why contemporary feminism is failing 21st century women: Today’s feminists have worked to sever feminism from its historical roots as a biblically-grounded movement for women’s independence. What they’re replacing it with, a “social media feminism” as artist and feminist April Bey has dubbed it, is a mere mask for narcissistic, death-obsessed, goddess worship.
Milo Yiannopoulos at Breitbart.com explores (in a second segment) why men are on strike:
But although the sexodus, a new retreat into solitude by Western males, has a different flavour to it and dramatically different aetiology from previously observed social crises, many characteristics are identical. And what’s troubling about men throwing in the towel in both East and West is the rapidity with which the malaise is spreading across entire generations, fuelled not just by sexual dissatisfaction but also the economic and educational pressures felt by so many young boys.
He makes some good points, someone should write a book about this.
Editor’s Note: See James Jay Carafano’s article from yesterday for the opposite of the films on this list: 10 Tinseltown Turkeys That Make Real Men Choke.
10. Straw Dogs (1971)
Dustin Hoffman made his bones as a misfit Hollywood Holden Caulfield in The Graduate (1967). Who would have thought of him as an action hero? “Bloody Sam” Peckinpah, that’s who. The director of the Wild West’s wildest tough guy movie, The Wild Bunch (1969), followed up with a controversial film starring Hoffman as a meek math professor on sabbatical in rural Cornwall. When a bunch of rowdy locals storm his home, Hoffman goes all Rambo proving his “manhood” in an orgy of violence. Even Hoffman’s character can’t believe what happens. “Jesus, I got ‘em all,” he mumbles at the end of the movie. This film cemented Peckinpah’s place as the king of his generation’s tough guy moviemakers. For some unfathomable reason, the movie was remade in 2011. Stick to the original.
A few weeks ago, the potty-mouthed princesses came to the Internet. The pro-LGBT equality, anti-racism and anti-sexism advocacy group FCKH8 used the young girls to shock us out of our supposed reverie over our hateful ways. The little girls used the sassy black women stereotype (watch their body language, head bobs and all. I was surprised the cultural-appropriation guardians didn’t denounce it for that reason alone) and dropped f-bombs among repeatedly debunked facts.
As Julie Borowski asked in a parody video, “What’s more offensive? Having little girls drop f-bombs for shock value or using the same debunked facts over and over?”
The potty-mouth princesses have returned, this time to drop f-bombs on domestic violence. This new video is even more offensive than the first video, both for makeup and its stereotyping of men.
Editor’s Note: See the first two parts in Susan L.M. Goldberg’s series exploring ABC’s Scandal through the lens of Biblical feminism: “What’s Evil Got to Do with It?,” ”Women and the Scandal of Doing It All Alone.” Also check out an introduction to her work and collection of 194 articles and blog posts here.
The husband/wife relationship is central to feminism. Historical, first-wave feminism studied matrimony in terms of legal rights. Contemporary, second-wave feminism approaches marriage in terms of sexual and economic power. Biblical feminism seeks to understand the spiritual relationship between a husband and wife, and how that spiritual relationship manifests into physical action. To do so, we must begin at the beginning, with Genesis 3:16:
To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
“Rule over you” is a phrase that sends chills down any feminist’s spine. But, what does it truly mean? A study of the original Hebrew text provides radical insight into one of the most abused verses of Torah:
This brings us to perhaps the most difficult verse in the Hebrew Bible for people concerned with human equality. Gen 3:16 seems to give men the right to dominate women. Feminists have grappled with this text in a variety of ways. One possibility is to recognize that the traditional translations have distorted its meaning and that it is best read against its social background of agrarian life. Instead of the familiar “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing,” the verse should begin “I will greatly increase your work and your pregnancies.” The word for “work,” izavon, is the same word used in God’s statement to the man; the usual translation (“pangs” or “pain”) is far less accurate. In addition, the woman will experience more pregnancies; the Hebrew word is pregnancy, not childbearing, as the NRSV and other versions have it. Women, in other words, must have large families and also work hard, which is what the next clause also proclaims. The verse is a mandate for intense productive and reproductive roles for women; it sanctions what life meant for Israelite women.
In light of this, the notion of general male dominance in the second half of the verse is a distortion. More likely, the idea of male “rule” is related to the multiple pregnancies mentioned in the first half of the verse. Women might resist repeated pregnancies because of the dangers of death in childbirth, but because of their sexual passion (“desire,” 3:16) they accede to their husbands’ sexuality. Male rule in this verse is narrowly drawn, relating only to sexuality; male interpretive traditions have extended that idea by claiming that it means general male dominance.
In one of his most memorable roles, as the eponymous character of Tim Burton’s 1990 film Edward Scissorhands, Johnny Depp plays a semi-human manboy with shears for fingers, stuck in eternal youth as those around him wither. I thought of this film last week, as I watched a fifty-something Depp, drunk and clad in his usual get-up of randomly placed crosses and scarves, stumble to the microphone at a televised awards show and deliver a slurred “speech” in which he giggled, cursed, rocked, and swayed his way through a painful two minutes. Here was another manboy on display, albeit one lacking the charm and innocence of Burton’s creation.
It was a shame to see Depp, a genuinely talented and by most accounts kind and gentle man, reduce himself to this display. He is well into middle age—not that any age is an appropriate time for public drunkenness. I suspect his career won’t be dented much, if at all, by the episode. This is not just because he is a celebrity. One can’t imagine, say, Morgan Freeman stumbling onto the stage, delivering a gin-soaked introduction, and walking away with his career totally intact. No, it is Depp’s enduring “bad boy” image that affords him the extra latitude. Those crosses and scarves go a long way. If you can set yourself up as some kind of outsider, those on the inside will start to think they’re caged animals and become desperate for your kind of freedom. The bad boy’s appeal comes from nonchalantly scuffing the social rulebook with his cowboy boots and daring us not to like him because of it.
First off: I’m a longtime fan of Crowder, for what it’s worth.
But sometimes we conservatives are a little too eager to be “Not Progressives™,” and his new “catcalling” video — made in response to the real one everyone’s talking about — is an example of this phenomenon.
Second, just to preempt any, well, shouting by strange men in the comments:
I am 50 years old and have probably been genuinely catcalled about six times in my life.
I’ve been more apt to be called ugly and/or a lesbian, or — because I have “bitchy resting face” — ordered to “Smile!!!”
The last time a strange man shouted something complimentary to me was about 18 months ago, when a construction worker (no less!) said, “I like your shirt.”
I was wearing my red “It’s Not Racist If It’s True” tee — on the streets of downtown Toronto in broad daylight, I’ll have you know.
He made my week.
But that wasn’t catcalling.
And neither are the actions Crowder portrayed in his video:
Men on Strike has a new cover and preface and is coming out in paperback soon. Thanks to everyone who bought the book and made it successful enough to come out in paperback.
The American Enterprise Institute has a new study that looks at the benefits of marriage:
This study documents five key findings about the relationships between family patterns and economic well-being in America.
The retreat from marriage—a retreat that has been concentrated among lower-income Americans—plays a key role in the changing economic fortunes of American family life. We estimate that the growth in median income of families with children would be 44 percent higher if the United States enjoyed 1980 levels of married parenthood today. Further, at least 32 percent of the growth in family-income inequality since 1979 among families with children and 37 percent of the decline in men’s employment rates during that time can be linked to the decreasing number of Americans who form and maintain stable, married families.
Growing up with both parents (in an intact family) is strongly associated with more education, work, and income among today’s young men and women. Young men and women from intact families enjoy an annual “intact-family premium” that amounts to $6,500 and $4,700, respectively, over the incomes of their peers from single-parent families.
Men obtain a substantial “marriage premium” and women bear no marriage penalty in their individual incomes, and both men and women enjoy substantially higher family incomes, compared to peers with otherwise similar characteristics. For instance, men enjoy a marriage premium of at least $15,900 per year in their individual income compared to their single peers.
The study announces some public policy changes to encourage marriage, such as launching a national campaign to pursue school, work, marriage and parenthood, in that order; doing away with the marriage penalty; adding childcare credits; improving vocational programs; and expanding the maximum earned income tax credit for single, childless adults to $1,000, increasing their marriageability.
The study seems to miss the point: marriage is a liability for men (and for some women, though the law is on their side). The extra income might be nice, but when it gets you stuck with extra child support, alimony or just plain half your stuff taken away, what’s the point of making the extra dough?
Public policy should include making the marriage arena a more fair and equitable place for men. How about doing away with or reducing alimony, giving more equal access to children, making more fair domestic violence laws, doing away with jail time in child support cases and making them more fair, and providing at least some civic education for men and boys on their limited rights so they can make an informed decision?
But the real question is, is marriage worth saving?
More from Dr. Helen:
I stumbled on an article over at the site returnofkings.com and had to read what 6 habits were holding men back (via vivalamanosphere). The author of this particular post is an “engineer and personal trainer known for his bestselling books on men’s fitness and self improvement.” Okay, so what does this guy think is holding men back?
1. Watching Porn
2. Eating Shitty Food
3. Playing Video Games
4. Watching TV Shows
5. Browsing The Internet
6. Living With Your Parents
I am not sure how I feel about this list. All of us, men and women, engage in some of these habits. If these habits are making a man’s life worse, then maybe they are holding him back — but maybe some of these habits are making his life better for one reason or another. Maybe watching porn is calming for some men or entertaining. Maybe a guy is living with his parents to save for a house and have a better future. Maybe some guys are surfing Facebook to connect with old friends or visiting Reddit to find like-minded souls who understand men’s rights. Maybe a guy is playing video games to escape a society that thinks little of men who play video games. So what?
We can all make a list of things (habits or otherwise) that might be holding men back. Here are a few:
1) Shitty laws that rob men of their due process
2) A relationship with a Borderline girlfriend or wife
3) Listening to negative comments from men or women about men
What are some more things that are holding men back?
A story about two old Jewish ladies is making the rounds in the Jewish press, but not for the reasons you may think. Sure, they’re bubbes. They’re children of a Holocaust survivor to boot. But the real reason they’re attracting so much attention is that they happen to be retired professional whores.
Dutch twins Louise and Martine Fokkens (probably not their real last name, since “Fokken” is a Dutch term for “old whore”) have become international celebrities since the 2011 release of their biographical documentary Meet the Fokkens. Women’s magazines like Cosmo picked up on their story shortly after the film’s release, publishing quick little details like:
Louise and Martine (mothers of four and three respectively) became prostitutes before the age of 20 in order to escape violent relationships.
It’s an interpretation that, at best, qualifies as a half-truth. Louise was forced into the sex trade by an abusive husband. Martine, however, became a prostitute out of spite:
Martine followed her sister into the trade, working first as a cleaning lady at brothels before she began turning tricks herself. “I was angry at how everybody around us shunned Louise,” Martine said. “I did it out of spite, really.”
Both women eventually divorced their husbands, whom they now describe as “a couple of pimps.” But they continued working in the district “because that had become our lives,” Louise said.
“Our life in the business became a source of pride, a sport of sorts,” Louise added.
In retrospect, both women say they regret becoming prostitutes.
Reading their story, one can’t help but wonder if mainstream feminist advocates for slut walks and “Yes Means Yes” legislation would condemn the pair for regretting the life they chose. After all, their body, their choice, right? They took control of their bad marriages, divorced the husbands they referred to as “pimps” and chose, fully of their own volition, to remain in the sex trade after their exes were fully out of the picture. Martine and Louise, it would seem, are the originators of the Slut Walk.
Testicular cancer survivor Thomas Cantley is pushing a giant ball across America to raise awareness for men’s health.
He quit his job and sold his house to push a six-foot ‘testicle’ from Los Angeles to New York City after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, according to his website.
He’s travelled more than 1,500 miles so far, but the story doesn’t say how much money he’s raised. “Awareness” is a more difficult measure, but there is a giant rolling testicle involved.
Traveling slightly north, we have this potentially related story from Wake Forest:
Researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, are assessing engineered penises for safety, function and durability. They hope to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration and to move to human testing within five years.
Professor Anthony Atala, director of the institute, oversaw the team’s successful engineering of penises for rabbits in 2008. “The rabbit studies were very encouraging,” he said, “but to get approval for humans we need all the safety and quality assurance data, we need to show that the materials aren’t toxic, and we have to spell out the manufacturing process, step by step.”
The penises would be grown using a patient’s own cells to avoid the high risk of immunological rejection after organ transplantation from another individual. Cells taken from the remainder of the patient’s penis would be grown in culture for four to six weeks.
This is great news for men with congenital defects or disfiguring injuries, but I fear what will happen when the porn industry inevitably gets hold of this technology.