Assholes Come in Two Flavours: Male and Female

A while back on tumbler I believe there was a young woman who talked about an unpleasant experience she’d had on the subway. A male cyclist hit on her and when she rejected his advance went a little, shall we say, sideways. This all happened in the relative anonymity of an empty subway car.

What followed was an outpouring of sympathy for her. Many men said, “his behaviour makes me ashamed to be male!” Much was made of men’s “privilege” to respond like a sociopathic asshat to being rejected.

Let’s compare that situation to one recently posted in a comment thread here.

JDCyran Writes:

This is an extreme example and obviously not representative of the typical argument, but it’s still an example. One of my first encounters with that type of argument was back in 1998, at a local gaming store where a bunch of friends and I used to host game nights. A particularly fiery and antagonistic girl was berating the hell out of this boy who had beaten her at a game of Magic. I forget the entire context of the game, but she was really upset at having lost and was pelting him with insults and trying to pick a fight (including calling him a pussy and grabbing his shirt). He let it go on for a long time (and admittedly, so did we, and as hosts should have stopped it much earlier – as soon as her voice escalated, though I’m not sure that would have helped what followed), trying to talk to her, even apologizing for having won(!!), but he eventually, loudly, called her a bitch.

And she it. She immediately started crying, which embarrassed the guy, who was obviously already close to tears himself, further, and came to us to demand, through her dramatically wracking sobs, that he be removed from the premise for being sexist and because she felt threatened by his anger. We told her that we would not, obviously, because we had witnessed what was going on, that she was provoking him, and thus had her removed instead. We ended up talking to the guy, too, telling him that, even if someone else was getting way out of hand, it would have been better to let us know so we could have dealt with it.

Well, that wasn’t the end of the kerfuffle. She decided that we were so wrong in not punishing him and instead removing her that she contacted the owner of the gaming store (who we were good friends with, and thus why we were allowed to hold gaming nights there without a fee) and the women’s resource center at the nearby college, which I assume she went to; she also threatened to call report the incident to the police, but we never ended up hearing from them. The store owner essentially told her to screw off, but the women’s resource center actually staged some small pickets in front of the store holding signs that said things like “unsafe for women” and “Welcome back to the ’50s. Men Only!” (despite having a significant number of women who came to every session).

We had several encounters with the group for a couple of weeks (it blew over relatively quickly, thankfully), and when we tried to explain what happened, we got many of the above arguments. To them, she should never have had to fear a man calling her a bitch, even if she antagonized and provoked him using gendered insults and was physically attacking him. It was also, apparently, the responsibility of the men present to have shut him down the moment he did anything as a response to her, and she would only have gotten so mad if he had done something to deserve it (which was apparently fine. To them, it was cool for her to rage all she wanted if she felt justified, but not for him to do the same).

I was frustrated by that to no end. It took me a while to separate the actions of that group with the actions of less radical and ridiculous feminists. But it still seems like that kind of sentiment is out there in a big way, even if it’s just a little more subtle.

To bring the example back in circle to the original quote there, no amount of reasonable, intelligent discussion would have solved that. There was no way, at least that I could determine, to convince that group that she was in the wrong at all. We couldn’t offer advice, such as, you know, not starting fights, because then we were blaming her for having a part in what happened. Anything less than declaring the guy a monster and prostrating ourselves before them wouldn’t have done anything (and I’m not even sure that would have satisfied them).

So yeah, rather extreme example, I know, but I still. Somehow that same sentiment gets applied to so many things.

So what conclusions can we draw from this? Well, first of all, assholishness knows no gender.

But there’s something deeper and more sinister here. Let’s re-imagine the situation with the young woman on the subway with the cyclist but replace the rules she lives by with the rules our young male gamer lives by.

She rejects the male cyclist.

He goes on emotional tirade in full view of an audience including several conductors. They don’t intervene on her behalf.

He escalates this into a physical confrontation in full view of an audience including several conductors. They don’t intervene on her behalf.

After she’s had enough weathering his emotional and physical assault she says, “prick!”

The man turns it around on her and demands she be removed from the subway car for being sexist.

Finally a conductor intervenes to tell her, “you should have told someone you were having difficulties.”

The man is finally evicted from the subway and leaves. Only to return later with a group of people from the “Men’s Centre” that pickets the subway system for being hostile to men.

It must be pretty menacing to be part of a group of people who, when subject to the violent anger of another group of people, is expected to weather it without complaint and that expectation will be enforced by everyone else in the vicinity.

And if it isn’t, a watchdog group will come around and attempt to fuck your shit up.

Finally, if you’re a woman reading this, you should feel deeply ashamed for your gender, after all your gender is responsible for rape, domestic violence, war and all human evil.

Alison Tieman
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Alison Tieman

Artist/Writer at Xenospora
Alison has been researching men's issues since her mother gave her "Princess at the Window" by Donna Laframboise in 1994 when she was 16. She's taken part in men's rights communities since she started posting on soc.men in 2003. Since 2011 she's run the gender apostate blog Genderratic with her pal Gingko the wonder leaf and she founded Honey Badger Brigade in 2013 with Hannah Wallen and Karen Straughan. According to Vice the pony she most resembles is Fluttershy.
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  • Hackberry

    Typhon said: “Finally, if you’re a woman reading this, you should feel deeply ashamed for your gender, after all your gender is responsible for rape, domestic violence, war and all human evil.”

    Yes ladies, try that one on for size and get a quick glimpse into what it is like to be a male in a gynocentric wonderland where up is down and bad is male.

    Interesting comparison Typhon. Thanks.

  • http://marjaerwin.livejournal.com Marja Erwin

    Several months ago, I was in a gaming group where we were roleplaying, and one of the npcs was sexually assaulted and some of the other npcs were facing sexual coercion. I was badly triggered. I think the gamemaster was trying to create a gritty adventure, but I was triggered, and I dropped out of the campaign. If more people were open about being survivors and friends of survivors, I think the gaming culture would be more aware of these issues and more open to survivors. But men are even less likely to be open about being survivors than womyn are, so maybe if more womyn were participating more often, than these things would change, to the benefit of both men and womyn who are survivors.

  • Shoutybloke

    You’ve got to warn players if you bring stuff like that in. Unless it’s tied into the setting at the base level, like Vampire.

  • HidingFromtheDinosaurs

    I always heard there were other factors, like diet, that affect how those things taste…

    Marja:
    Anyone running a game should definitely let people know if that sort of thing is going to exist in a setting. I think more people speaking up about being survivors and friends of survivors would make people more likely to give those warnings or to make changes to accommodate people who have problems with that kind of material, but I really doubt it would make it go away unless it really was just for the sake of being “gritty”. I know several people who will bring elements of their own fantasies, which are often at least disconcerting to many people, into games they run (most notably a very masochistic furry and a woman who is seriously into guro), and I don’t think any of them would ever stop because it’s a key part of what they enjoy about playing that role.

  • Hackberry

    Marja said: “But men are even less likely to be open about being survivors than womyn are, so maybe if more womyn were participating more often, than these things would change, to the benefit of both men and womyn who are survivors.”

    While I agree that men are less likely to be open about past abuse why do you think that is? Why would men be less open? Here’s my quick take:

    1. Men’s emotional pain is taboo in our culture.
    2. The provide and protect sex role burdens mento soldier on. A good provider and protector avoids appearing dependent.
    3. The male dominance hierarchy. Wanting to appear higher in the dominance hierarchy limits the desire to appear as needy or hurt.
    4. Biology. Women’s estrogen/oxytocin combo encourages interaction as a solution while men’s testosterone/oxytocin combo pushes men more towards a solitary active/inactive solution. See the research of Shelly Taylor regarding stress and women where she found that women handled stress via interaction more often and men via action. She connected this to hormonal differences. Google “tend and befriend” if you want more info.

    Put all those together and it is a no brainer and it calls us to teach both our adult men and even more importantly our boys about their differences but we sit in a culture paralyzed by the idiotic tabula rasa nonsense that purports all women and all men are equal but are simply socialized differently. What a crock. It’s why MRA’s call feminists biophobic. They are frightened of biology. lol

  • http://paddybrown.co.uk Patrick Brown

    There’s also what I call the Damsel in Distress Reflex. When a woman appears upset, others, both male and female, step in and try and comfort or help her. When a man appears upset, everyone stands around awkwardly pretending it’s not happening. It’s why a woman with a flat tyre will have strangers stopping to help her. It’s why Elevatorgate turned into an internet shitstorm that won’t go away while nobody but a few of us paranoid nutters on the internet even noticed what happened on The Talk. It’s why feminist complaints gets traction no matter how unreasonable they are, and men’s rights complaints get no traction no matter how reasonable. It’s why women get treated more leniently by the law, have more money spent on their medical needs, and get away with calling their lot a “comfortable concentration camp” or a “war on women”. And it’s why men don’t seek or get help with their mental health issues (I can tell you from experience, even trained mental health professionals struggle to listen to or take seriously a man in distress). Surprisingly enough, feminism has not conspicuously addressed this particular aspect of traditional gender roles, unless it’s by occasionally berating men who open doors for women.

  • Titfortat

    I have a question. I notice the term “triggered” used a lot in regards to watching or reading things about sexual violence. Considering the vast majority of violence perpetrated is not sexual in nature why is it that the individuals who have been on the receiving end of that, rarely, if ever, talk about being “triggered” when viewing similar material? I would imagine the gaming industry would probably go out of business if they tried to accomodate everyone, considering its bread and butter is showing nasty violent shit.

  • Ginkgo

    Mike, that’s an easy question. Sexual violence is triggering because the vast majority of the recognized (!) victims are female. and females get to feel emotionally aggressed. Males don’t.

    It’s a good example fo female privilege.

  • Titfortat

    @Ginkgo

    Umm, not sure who Mike is? Thanks for the answer though. :)
    I kind of had an idea why but wondered if I said it out loud would I then be called a sexist. 😉

  • http://marjaerwin.livejournal.com Marja Erwin

    There are a lot of movies I can’t watch, either, because of the types of violence in them.

    But violence tends to be more traumatic when there’s nothing you can do to stop your attacker and nothing you can do to avoid future attacks and nothing you can do to get away from it. No fight, no flight, and it’s always there. It tends to be more gameable when there’s something you can do to to stop your attacker and something you can do to avoid future attacks, and when there’s something you can accomplish despite it all.

  • Schala

    Bullying in school if you’re pacifist and/or non-violent.

    You have to go to school. The administration won’t do a thing, even blame you for provoking them.

    And “manning up and giving them a punch in the face” is just not in my blood. I sometimes used my bitten short nails and teeth to try and scare them away, when I was already on the ground getting kicked at. I got nicknamed ‘cat’ in 5th grade because of it.

  • EquilibriumShift

    Marja,

    what you describe could accurately describe any kind of violence. There is nothing more solid than good nature and the threat of punishment that is stopping anyone walking past a home from kicking down the door and ransacking the house. Doors are incredibly easy to kick in, locks or not. Cars are very easy to steal, and don’t get me started on muggings. Its a fundamental part of human success that we don’t get attacked by each other every single day. If we did, we would never have made it this far. But you can’t actually stop someone from committing any kind of violence against you, you can only deter and disincentivize it.

  • http://valeriekeefe.tumblr.com Valerie Keefe

    @Gingko

    Mike, that’s an easy question. Sexual violence is triggering because the vast majority of the recognized (!) victims are female. and females get to feel emotionally aggressed. Males don’t.

    It’s a good example of female privilege.

    As I mentioned before, I don’t think that’s an accurate assessment, as those carve-outs only really exist for the cisfeminine. It’s the intersection of cissexism and masculosexism where this privilege is gained. Cisfeminine privilege. Goddess help you if you’re female and CAMAB.

    Privileges are generally something that one group has that all groups should have. Every rape should be taken seriously. Every person who’s suffered emotional trauma should have space for healing. Everyone should have latitude to express emotions. And if you want to call that gynonormativity, saying that men should have the right to act in ways we traditionally expect women to act, that doing so will be helpful in aggregate, then feel free, but it’s no more true than when radfems decry women in the managerial class for ‘acting like men’ to get where they are.

  • http://marjaerwin.livejournal.com Marja Erwin

    Schala,

    Definitely bullying. Forty years ago there was real denial about the effects of child abuse at home. And then there were moral panics and false accusations. But now maybe we’re beginning to understand the effects of child abuse in schools. And part of that is because kids are so young – I was being beaten up when I was six – I was also being emotionally abused by some teachers – but also because there’s no escape. And the no escape is something in common with prisoner abuse, and to a lesser degree, with police brutality. But the victim-blaming is absolutely toxic.

    EquilibriumShift,

    The most traumatic experiences for me were physical assaults, not the sexual assault. It’s as much about the context of the violence – the inability to prevent it, the inability to protect people, and the class/power issues – that makes things triggering.

    Valerie,

    And that’s something which frustrates me about the language of privilege. The point of abolishing privilege isn’t to take these rights away from those lucky enough to have them, it’s to make them available to everyone. The point is really to abolish the marginalization and at the extremes, abolish the oppression.

  • cosmopolite

    @Patrick Brown wrote: “And it’s why men don’t seek or get help with their mental health issues (I can tell you from experience, even trained mental health professionals struggle to listen to or take seriously a man in distress).”

    And I can confirm from my experience that social workers, and psychological and marriage counselors change the subject when told of female-on-male violence and shaming. I raised this issue with two men I confide in, one of whom went through a nasty divorce 30 years ago. They both replied that I had unwittingly stumbled on a dirty unspoken secret of the nation we live in: feminist dogma has seized control of the caring professions. Look up “Duluth model” in Wikipedia. YouTube has some good videos on Parental Alienation Syndrome.

    When I told a counselor of the violence I and my family had experienced at the hands of my sister, I got some clear sympathy. But I could also tell that he was eager to change the subject. Several years later, I raised this subject with a marriage counselor (my wife was not present at these sessions, for bizarre reasons that would take me too far afield). He too would change the subject. I then saw another counselor, this time with my wife. When she ranted at me, he never never shut her up. Only once did he quietly tell her that her narrative did not make sense. I was not given an opportunity to rebut what she said, so I sent him rebuttals via post. After several weeks, he revealed to my wife that he had received a number of letters from me. He did so lowering his voice and staring at his shoes. This from a man who was 6’8″ and had been a former probation officer in Detroit! It was blatant that he was afraid of antagonising my spouse.

    My marriage survived all this. But now I know that if I ever get into a situation of conflict with a woman, I’m on my own, as the caring professions are held in thrall by the woman-are-always-victims narrative. Scary thought.

  • http://valeriekeefe.tumblr.com Valerie Keefe

    @Marja

    And that’s something which frustrates me about the language of privilege. The point of abolishing privilege isn’t to take these rights away from those lucky enough to have them, it’s to make them available to everyone. The point is really to abolish the marginalization and at the extremes, abolish the oppression.

    This, I believe, is the point that very few people, left-or-right, get about privilege theory. When we talk about class privilege, we’re not talking about allocations of scarce goods, for example, but differentiated treatment that is not logically related, such as food insecurity, lack of access to medicine or transportation or equal justice, or any other means of living and maximizing productivity. We are not, as the radfems like to pretend, talking about ‘dog-having privilege.’

  • HidingFromtheDinosaurs

    Schala:

    Only too true.
    I can’t even begin to count the number of letters of apology I was forced to write: “I’m so sorry I freaked out after you and five of your friends followed me around all day prodding and harassing me, I hope you weren’t frightened and I quite understand why you had to shove me down in the mud and jump up and down on top of me”; “I apologize for biting your hand when you held me down in the lunch line and tore off my clothes until you found my lunch money while a uniformed police officer stood by with a badge and a gun at her side and made no move to interfere”; “I’m sorry I disturbed you by leaving class to sit in the hall, as my ed plan specifically indicates I am permitted to do, and I apologize for forcing you to hold me down in a small dark room and hurt me for three hours”.

    Social workers and teachers (mostly women) are more than willing to join in the abuse and punish any attempt at self defense, especially when the bullies are female (I was once suspended for shouting at a group of girls who were pelting me with rocks). Counselors and other psychiatric professionals are only out to shift all the blame onto the victim and load them up with as many drugs as they can (I’ve been put on drugs for a lot of things, but none of them had anything to do with my actual diagnosed condition and all of them had damaging side-effects). It’s completely impossible to escape being hurt and then being punished for it, and there’s really no meaningful limitations on who has power over you (I once spent a full semester under the toxic “care” of two women who vanished suddenly and without warning and then turned out to have been lying about all their qualifications: the schools didn’t even check their backgrounds and references).

  • Ginkgo

    “As I mentioned before, I don’t think that’s an accurate assessment, as those carve-outs only really exist for the cisfeminine. It’s the intersection of cissexism and masculosexism where this privilege is gained. Cisfeminine privilege. Goddess help you if you’re female and CAMAB.”

    This sounds ture and thanks for the correction. I wonder though, since most of the time men are at the root of female privilege, if it all depends on how female a person presents. A CAMAB woman who presents male is not going to get treated like a woman all the way around.

    “This, I believe, is the point that very few people, left-or-right, get about privilege theory. When we talk about class privilege, we’re not talking about allocations of scarce goods, for example, but differentiated treatment that is not logically related, such as food insecurity,”

    Yes. part of the problem, maybe the main part, is the semantics of the term “privilege” itself. It not only implies unearned advantage, it implies advantage grnaetd by some higher authority. That is the common meaning, that most people bring to the discussion, rather than this specialized meaning. i don’t know that there is any better term available either.

  • Hackberry

    @cosmopolite – I think you are totally correct about the mental health professionals being biased against men. I am a mental health professional and I see it day in and day out. I can’t tell you the number of couples I have seen in couples therapy where the husband tells the story of the previous therapist ignoring his pain and focusing only on the wife. If the husband challenges the wife the therapist defends the wife. If the wife challenges the husband the therapist supports the wife. LOL I know that sounds nutty but trust me, it is all too common. This is especially dangerous when the wife has a personality disorder and even then the therapist will avoid confronting the woman and will only listen with a nod while ignoring the massive amounts of pain and anguish of both the husband and the kids. I think a good deal of this comes from the default taboo of men’s emotional pain but it also stems from the years and years of feminist domination of the mental health world. Some too from most therapists being women and not having much of an idea of what it is like to be a man. If you are a man be very very careful about going to any therapist. It’s a dangerous place for men.

  • Ginkgo

    “I can’t tell you the number of couples I have seen in couples therapy where the husband tells the story of the previous therapist ignoring his pain and focusing only on the wife. If the husband challenges the wife the therapist defends the wife. If the wife challenges the husband the therapist supports the wife. LOL I know that sounds nutty but trust me, it is all too common. ”

    Tghis was my experience, to the letter. Later my ex-wife’s lawyer proposed this same therapist as the GAL! My lawyer, a woman, said she was completley unacceptable and it wasn’t a serious sugestion; her bias against men was well known and it would be easy to fight if it came to that.

    But of course she still continued in her marriage counseling practice. We went to her as a therapist at the suggestion of a friend of my wife’s more to check the box – have yoyu tried counseling? – than in any good faith attempt to work things out.

  • EquilibriumShift

    Anyone seen the show “Braxton Family Values”? Horrible show, but it illustrates the point here about mental health professions and disregard for men’s emotions. One of the Braxton sisters, no idea what her name is, is (was?) married to a dude, I think his name was Gabe. They are in couples therapy because they both cheated on each other (I believe the timeline is: He is caught sexting with a woman, she says she needs a separation, she sleeps with another man, they get back together, and then he gets caught PG-13 sexting again).

    This is the most henpecked dude I have ever seen (except for myself, in one relationship, before I respected myself enough to not put up with that). He basically gets yelled at every session, he tries to defend himself, and then the counselor just starts talking to the wife about how to solve her problems. Its crazy! Yelling, finger pointing, accusations, blaming bad behavior on the past transgression of the husband, whatever, and no one ever calls her on her BS.

    I hoped that most therapy wasn’t like that, and certainly its edited to make it as drama filled as possible, but gawdang!

  • Ginkgo

    The trend in counseling and related work is towards more women, as in a majority. That may ultimately be the rememdey for all this. I don’t mean women in couples’ counseling, I mean women counseling men.

    The only way a woman can succeed at that kind of work is to learn one or more male roles to the extent they can see the situation from their patient’s POV enough to understand the issues. It is a form of the Marco Polo effect; they often become more pro-male than male therapists because they see so much more with fresh eyes.

    One women who did that was Dr. Helen Smith, and it radicalized her into an MRA. in fact she’s the first MRA I ever read. It led me into the MRM. Then of course there is the awesome Dr. Tara Palmatier.

  • gwallan

    re male victims and counselling…

    One of the men in our loose national group of rape survivors surveyed private counsellors/psychologists outside Victoria and New South Wales. One in fifteen was willing to take on a male sexual assault victim as a client. The most common reason was the specialist feeling unqualified to help a male victim. Good honest reponse at least. Apparently quite a few suggested there is no such thing.

  • Ginkgo

    Gwallan, could you get me a source for that? Maybe something was published.

    That’s grotesque. I wishIi could say it was surprising. It is not surprising that such a macho culture is so man-hating. I guess it always surprises me when so-called feminists support it though.

  • http://paddybrown.co.uk Patrick Brown

    To be fair to women counsellors, the one I’ve dealt with who actually helped was a woman from my employer’s staff welfare department. She listened, unlike the NHS psychiatric nurse (male) who patronised and deflected, and the NHS clinical psychologist (female), who just didn’t take anything I said seriously and seemed to believe that because I was trying to hold it together there was nothing wrong. The staff welfare counsellor made a point of starting from where I was, exploring and validating my feelings and experiences, and then helping me to devise coping strategies that are still working nearly ten years later.

    I wonder is it an incentive thing. The NHS is, from talking to others, very very good at dealing with acute conditions and very very bad at dealing with chronic ones, so I suppose as long as the patient isn’t an immediate danger to themselves or others, they’re happy. Private therapists get paid per session, so they’re not going to do anything that’ll get the patient off the couch too quickly. But an employer’s staff welfare department is there to restore you to a productive employee, so it’s in their interest to get straight to the problem so they can get you functioning again. Whatever, it worked, and the fact that I was male was only an issue in so far as it was an issue to me that needed to be dealt with.

  • gwallan

    @Ginkgo..

    It wasn’t a formal study, just one bloke spending a lot of time on the phone. He was actually only testing to see how many positives he could find so didn’t look to expand much beyond the yes or no answer. I’ll quiz him next time I speak to him.

    Australia’s a big place. Outside the south east there’s not much. Male victims in those places often have no choice but to travel thousands of kilometres and pay thousands of dollars for private treatment. Meanwhile their taxes are often funding free services in their own neighbourhoods but which reject them on the basis of their sex.

  • dungone

    Marja, about the whole role playing thing, I have to say that it comes off to me as just a thing that these groups do to make their endeavor seem more “real” and “adult,” rather than the silly thing that it is.

    Do you know what else is triggering? Half of the letters to the troops that I got from 8 year olds while I was in Iraq were pretty fucking triggering. You’d get crayon drawings pictures of atomic bombs going off with “USA” emblazoned across the flames with presumably dead Iraqi stick figures and a note that would read “I want to be like you when I grow up! Did you ever get shot?” Once I got a letter from a 12 year old girl who wrote that she’s got the hots for soldiers and wants to make love to them.

  • http://www.niebankowo.pl Anonymous

    I think you went too much in details with this article.. i like them short, but it

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