So, there’s moments when one becomes utterly mystified by the state of other people’s sexual psychosis. Especially places that take a whole range of vocabulary you use or one thing and twist them into something else. One of them is the Manosphere’s absurd obsession with being Alpha and Dominant.
So, what’s the Manosphere?
To bring you up to speed with the subject of the post: as you are probably well aware, we live in a world that is full of inequalities. One way that these manifest is along the arbitrary binary of gender roles and expectations that are attached to them. This fucks over a lot of people, male and female. I’m a feminist and unapologetic about this. However another segment of the population, mostly expressing themselves online, deals with these challenges with other methods, mostly by making a damn fool out of themselves in a way that’s collectively embarrassing to men and women.
MRA, (Mens Rights Activists) take the inherent problems that come with maleness (other men trying to kill you, poor social tolerance for weakness, poor tolerance for acting in stereotypical ‘female’ ways), and, for the most part, blame feminism. They’re joined by PUA (pick up artists) who are by and large men who decided that the solution to all life’s problems are at the bottom of someone’s vagina and they need to figure out an elaborate algorithm that lets them access as many as possible in their search. As you might imagine, failing to see women as people is a criteria for both groups, so there is extensive overlap. As, for some reason, with Libertarianism, because governments are seen as the pesky enforcers of such things as welfare for single mothers and child support arbitrators. These (mostly)men generally share a strong thread of gynophobia but also intense social anxiety- not so much misogyny, as outright “get her before she gets you!” thinking that often extends to assuming everyone is out to get you and that they exist in a world of nasty inter-male competition. A side effort is put into describing men who do not buy into this system as chumps or ‘manginas’ who hurt the glorious man cause.
This is leaving aside the ones who have decided to swear off women completely (to everyone’s mutual relief, thanks MenGoingTheirOwnWay!), there is a rather absurd trend to want relationships with women but go to elaborate lengths to have the upper hand and the belief that women all want a particular kind of man who is Very Dominant. So dominant as to require an exhausting degree of emotional manipulation to maintain the facade that you rule all your relationships.
Now you say “Male Dominant” and outside of my sometimes unfair snickering about rope tops in utilikilts, I will imagine a true cross section of the male population. Well, in practice men who identify as doms are statistically more likely to identify as feminists and kinky people tend to be more likely to fit into the PolyPaganNerdy bubble, but they’re going to be all sorts of different kinds of guys, from cuddle kitten to catpiss. Ask your Manosphere wannabe dom types though, and you have something very different. Precisely speaking, the push to be Dominant-to-Women functions on the premise that there will always be someone in charge- and if you don’t take charge she will be in charge of you and use you- and, in general the MRA brigade emphasize that if she was a pre-feminist good old fashioned girl she would be a lot happier- she just has to find her inherent submissive. Take this advice from popular MRA/pickup artist subreddit, the Red Pill, on developing a long term relationship (Unicorn Hunting):
Women are as miseducated as men about what is effective and what they should want. The delusion is pervasive, and any woman won’t fully know she wishes for a strong leader until she feels this leadership first hand, and that’s your job. You are a Captain. It’s your job to inspire loyalty, trust, and devotion. The “natural Unicorn” has these things, but they can otherwise be developed in a good, reasonable woman. I’m not suggesting you snatch up an attractive feminist shrew (a sort of Unicorn in its own right) and expect good results, but I’d be stunned to see the transition and result. This would be TRP on Nightmare mode and would be worthy of… So. Many. Field reports.
At best, some of them conflate dominating a situation with simply having a strong opinion. That’s mostly harmless, other than basically encouraging people to go further down the path of jibbering crazy. Some of them cast themselves as metaphorical pet owners, who think that women need to be trained like dogs- if indeed dogs do respond best to Caesar Milano style training over other methods. It’s not uncommon to find either what boils down to femdom fantasies of evil matriarchies ruling the world or on the flip side, fantasies that if society were to collapse, all those Wicked Women Would Be Sorry.
Expect, if you spend time in the Manosphere, to be told that the occupations of women are make work that’s destroying the economy and that there is something wrong with western women that has made them all aggressive and, often treated like a sin against the social order, ugly. These chaps will fantasize about how Eastern European/Asian women are ideal and wax lustful about it at length, stickying their keyboards with heavily photo-shopped pictures of Korean or Ukranian models, or babble about the significance of hair length. That’s really popular at the moment, and many of these men are positively obsessed with the idea that women are Wrong if they do anything to change up an outward appearance that’s compliant with cultural signifies of femininity.
You also get a lot of debating about straw feminists, usually with a misquote or two from Dworkin, which is like trying to argue against neurobiology by referencing Jungian archetypes… incorrectly. Most MRA would not know what a feminist was if they walked into one, which is part of what makes the whole thing so unbelievably embarrassing.
As far as MRA behaving badly, at the extreme end of things, you get Mark Lepine and the guy who shot up an women’s exercise class because younger women didn’t want to date him, or for that matter, Breivik, who was generally anti-left but included the idea that women should be barred from access to graduate studies as part of his vision for the future- being Scandinavian I suppose even he couldn’t imagine anyone not getting at least some higher education. Because of unfortunate associations, this also means that much more issues focused lobby groups, such as those looking to increase custodial rights for fathers, often need to distance themselves from the cuckoo groups.
On the other hand, long term reading of MRA and PUA generally causes me to over emphasize the value of their voice in popular discourse and I occasionally have to take a step back and remind myself that while what you have is people who hate everything about me that makes me who I am and call for what is a reduction of my civil liberties and my enslavement, they are a minority of voices. And yet…
It also makes me wonder what, among men so desperate to be Dominant, they would make of my dominance, or really any kinky dominance. Some of them make a concession that there’s a small bubble of “Lantern Jawed Lesbians”, women who are unfortunate men-trapped-in-the-bodies-of-women, in their estimation. In this context that means that they also tend to accuse women who embrace feminist theory of being ugly and trying to rework the social order to avoid their just punishment for this failure to conform with how the MRA wish women were like. This also generally involves a lot of flailing about claiming that say, women of the past were much happier than modern women. Well, I mean asides from the massive infant mortality, dying early of preventable diseases, over work and malnutrition- but don’t worry, men are natural providers and protectors. 😛
It’s pretty much the same drum that’s been banged since the ancient Greeks:
The tribes of women
come in four breeds: bee, bitch, and savage-looking sow,
and mare with long flowing mane. The mare
is sprightly, swift, gadabout and most lovely in form.
The savage-looking sow is neither good nor rotten,
and the bitch is troublesome and fierce-tempered.
Yes, the bee is best: a good housekeeper
who knows how to work. Dear friend, I tell you,
to win a desirable marriage, pray for a bee.
Phocylides (Greek, ca. 600 B.C.)
But, what precisely, does the world view of someone who sees women in charge as either mentally ill or being tricked by society into being led astray stack up against sexual kinks?
I know guys who ID as sub men, who are equally proudly anti-feminist. When I say ‘know’, I mean avoid- but my point holds that D/s is hardly a perfect unassailable bastion of humanism. And yet on the flip side, these MRA focused communities will simultaneously hold up sexual behaviour that’s right out of a kink playbook (rough, degrading), while swearing up and down that they ain’t kinky. The women who buy into this are particularly bizarre, kind of like the Christian Domestic Discipline quadrant who want their spankings while claiming it isn’t sexy- these women obsess over being ‘submissive’, but get offended if people pigeonhole them into kinky.
So does it follow that you could be a MRA and sexually submissive? I posed that question on the reddit debate forum, The Purple Pill with mixed results.
Mostly, other than a shy man who sees himself as super Alpha in his relationship except for the whole humiliation via sissification thing, I got a lot of people doing things like explaining to me that since dominant women were scarce, I effectively didn’t exist. Some argued that male submission violated some sort of natural law (like gravity, guess?) and got hung up on explaining BIO TROOFS.
One thing that’s particularly striking is the habit of the guys to justify themselves based on the fact that it’s not that they really value all of the Alpha-as-fuck aspects personally, but it’s what women want… so clearly they can’t help but give women what they crave, right? Or women will never let them use them as a penis cozy!