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Equally insulting September 21, 2005

Posted by Winter in anti-feminism, gender issues.
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Stupendous post on Gendergeek today about a nauseating new book by Richard Struass entitled The Game . Strauss reduces relations between the sexes to a sexual battle, or game, and proffers to teach men how to have sex with as many women as they want through all kinds of manipulation and deceit. At no point does he figure this behaviour as sexually abusive. As far as he’s concerned men can’t help their “ugly” sexuality (oh yes, we haven’t heard that one before have we?), men are sexual predators and women are their “prey”. As Laurelin puts it, in a comment on the post, this book “insults and dehumanises both men and women.” Indeed.

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1. stephen - September 21, 2005

Hello Winter.

I’ve read neither the original blog nor the book cited in the same, so I’m responding to your blog. I think it’s extremely simplistic to imply that all sexual predators are male. Women can be as equally predatory as men, and in a bizarre way that might be viewed as the ultimate equality.

Of course men are capable of some pretty horrific behaviour; depravity, manipulation and abuse which anecdotally, women seem far less inclined to engage in. This behaviour should be condemned out of hand. Views which correlate human behaviour to perceived biological norms – the view that the alpha male must seed and copulate with as many females and as frequently possible – seem altogether too simplistic. Promiscuity is empirically evident in both sexes.

Relationships – especially new relationships – can be seen as a psychological game: our words and actions carefully chosen for maximum impact, either to impress or gain favour. I think that this again transcends the gender divide and is equally applicable to non-sexual relations.

I’m not sure that teaching men “how to have sex with as many women as possible through all kinds of manipulation and deceit” constitutes abuse. It may be an unattractive personality trait and lead to repeated sad and shallow relationships, or one night stands, but if there is mutual consent I struggle with the A word. Ultimately, male or female, our trust must be won, and perhaps we should all reserve something of ourselves until that time. Unless one night stands are your thang, and in this respect men and women are undoubtedly more equal now than ever before.

Right, that’s off my chest, and the bright lights of Newport Shitty beckon, so tatty bye!

PS, green ain’t so bad: http://www.somethingwonderful.org/blog/blog.html

2. Emma - September 21, 2005

Ultimately, male or female, our trust must be won, and perhaps we should all reserve something of ourselves until that time.

So…women are responsible for being deceived by mendacious men who misrepresent their intentions in order to have sex with them? What are women supposed to do? Keep a polygraph next to the bed?

3. Winter - September 22, 2005

Hi Stephen,

I think it’s worse than simplistic really. We know that many people of both sexes engage in sexually predatory behaviors and play power games, but what we, as feminists, are really objecting to here is the way Strauss and his ilk try and promote this kind of behavior as normal, even natural for men, and a good thing. His work inscribes pretty horrible old cultural stereotypes (men=sexual beasts, women=prey) across the board as essential, and therefore presumably eternal. Feminists know that these things go on, but we object to the notion that they cannot be changed. Strauss wants to reduce all relationships between the sexes to power games and domination. Of course trust has to be built gradually in a relationship and all relationships contain dynamics of power, but trust is not even an issue for this guy, as far as he’s concerned it’s get in there and say whatever has to be said to get some and get out. For feminists it is very important to believe that men and women can and do relate to each other outside this patriarchal paradigm. Furthermore, what kind of attitude does this work imply towards men who do love and respect women and want to have real relationships with them? That they are not natural men? I bet. Anyway, I’ll quote Emma’s original post, because she says it better than me:

reading this stuff makes me cringe because the steretypes that surround sex and relationships are so tired. Specifically, the idea that men are on some continual quest (successful or otherwise) to have meaningless intercourse while women are perpetual engaged in husband baiting. For men, human sexual relationships are a ‘game’ which they can win if they outwit their opponents. Women, on the other hand, are required to follow the rules. In these kinds of characterisations, it’s men who have all the power; to seduce, to get what they want. A false dichotomy between male desire and female submission has always been a feature of our culture’s representation of sex. Similarly, we’re familiar with the usual double standards regarding promiscuity.

But at this stage of evolution, is it not time to stop portraying sex, love, relationships as a battle of opposing wills? I don’t believe this kind of abstraction makes anyone’s sexual relationships better, or more equal. But I guess it might just help a few more rich but ugly punters to get laid.

As to the ‘A’ word, well I guess that’s my personal option. If I got a woman into bed by lying to her, manipulating her emotionally, and playing upon her insecurities (as Strauss recommends), yes I would figure my behavior as emotionally abusive because I would have no idea what damage I could be doing to her as a person.

4. tekanji - September 22, 2005

stephen said: I’m not sure that teaching men “how to have sex with as many women as possible through all kinds of manipulation and deceit” constitutes abuse.

As a survivor of serious emotional abuse, I’m not sure how anyone could not see that behaviour as abusive. Lying, deceit, and manipulation are the cornerstones of all abusive relationships; without them, the abuser has no tools with which to create and exert power over his chosen victim.

Furthermore, the predatory behaviour (seeing women, not as people, but as prey) described is indicative of an abuser. If you don’t see the woman as a human being, then there’s no need to treat her one. Indeed, the whole “men are beasts” rhetoric is key to excusing their own inappropriate and harmful behaviour.

Rape? Not their fault, the girl shouldn’t have aroused them. Physical violence? It’s their nature and she provoked them. Verbal violence? Hello? Beasts here, have no control over themselves.

It may seem absurd when I spell it out like that, but believe me when I say those kind of excuses are alive, kicking, and under the employ of these men who you fail to find abusive.

Frankly, until you experience an emotionally abusive relationship, or at the very least devote some serious study to the literature on them, you have no basis for which to judge what another’s behaviour can do to someone. It is the very acts that our society deems as “harmless” that create the most harm because, not only to they hurt in their own right, but they also pave the way for the more “serious” crimes of rape and physical violence.

5. Anonymous - September 23, 2005

the word predator glamorises those kinds of men parasite is a better discription something that does not kill but draws off your life energy slowly ,often over a long period of time, like a vampire, with the ultimate win being to lay his eggs in your body and drain you for a further twenty years.there used to be a saying ,woman and her flea refering to those kind of relationships where men like that author have simple failed to realise there are no short cuts you get what you put in .

6. Emma - September 23, 2005

Anyway, I’ll quote Emma’s original post, because she says it better than me:

Not to be all nitpicky, but it was Emmy who wrote that post. I know it is really confusing that we have almost the same name!

7. Winter - September 23, 2005

I stand corrected! Sorry to Emmy.

8. Andrea - September 25, 2005

I believe the very fact of attempting to ‘get someone into bed’ is indicative of abuse anyway. Sex is an activity mutually and equally engaged in by the participants. Those men do not desire sex with women, they desire the opportunity to use women as masturbation aids. Anyone who’d choose wanking in a vagina to mutual willingness, desire, enthusiasm and participation is, in my opinion, a bit fucked in the head sexually.

9. Emmy - September 26, 2005

Absolutely. The Game is not about having mutually fulfilling sex; it’s about sublimating objectified women to the players’ false sense of masculinity. The MPUAs do not celebrate an enhanced ability to make emotional connections with women as intellectual equals. They brag about screwing porn stars in toilets.

10. Emmy - September 27, 2005

There’s more on this in today’s guardian:
http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,6109,1579127,00.html


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