Gay Men and Their Not-So-Cute Misogyny Problem
What’s up with all the misogyny, gay dudes? Seriously. I’m not saying you have to be deep-throating a copy of Feminine Mystique while blasting Julie Ruin, but could some of you (emphasis on SOME) not have such thinly-veiled contempt for women?
Maybe you don’t even realize it. You probably don’t. You probably think you’re just being cute when you belittle your best girlfriend’s appearance or call her (jokingly!) a whore, but no, it doesn’t work that way.
As glorious as a friendship between a gay man and a straight girl can be, it also has the tendency to get a little dark. For example, we are all aware of the whole “OMG, GAY BEST FRIEND” epidemic where women fetishize their friendships with homos and treat them like a Pez dispenser of fabulousness rather than, you know, a nuanced human being. What I don’t hear getting talked about as much, though, is when the gay guy treats the girl like shit. When his seemingly harmless taunts turn into something that resembles verbal abuse.
Last year, I was in San Francisco with one of my best girlfriends and her gay friend, whom I had only met once or twice before. We were drinking at some house party, having an A-OK time, when all of a sudden her gay friend starts shouting to her, “You’re a fucking slut. Look at you, you slut whore!”
This, I guess, was supposed to be “sassy” and “cute” but really it just made everyone in the room profoundly uncomfortable. He was drunk, too drunk, and his words felt like daggers. My girlfriend had no idea what to do so she just laughed it off and prayed it would stop.
We Went to a Men’s Rights Lecture in Toronto (and Discovered That They’re a Bunch of Losers)
In November of last year the University of Toronto hosted a lecture by Dr. Warren Farrell, a divisive figure who has been described simultaneously as a sage of the men’s movement and a rape apologist. On the night of the lecture a group of students barred the doors of the lecture hall in protest while chanting, “No hate speech on campus.” Police were called, the situation was brought under control, and the lecture went on as scheduled. Another lecture took place in March of this year, this time an overly critical look at feminist studies by Janice Fiamengo in which she described the discipline as “intellectually incoherent and dishonest.” Again, protesters were on hand waving placards and this time a fire alarm was pulled but, once more, the event went on as scheduled. These controversial lectures were organized by a student group called theCanadian Association for Equality or CAFE for short. CAFE has come under fire from student groups andmedia who not only disagree with their actions and ideology, but have associated them with the extreme, vitriolic American men’s rights website A Voice For Men. Where AVFM is upfront and open about its hatred for feminism and -ists, calling them “rape farmers,” CAFE takes aim at feminism with misleading information and careful rhetoric, barely ever using the word “feminist” itself.
CAFE has sprung up in several campuses across central Canada in the past year. They have groups on-site at universities in Guelph, Montreal, Ottawa, and Peterborough, as well as two Toronto organizations and off-campus groups in Ottawa and Vancouver. Most recently, Ryerson University caught a controversial mix ofpraise and indignation for banning the group from their campus. CAFE claims to be “committed to achieving equality for all Canadians” and identifies as a human rights group that focuses on men’s issues. However, despite their claims or how they identify, the events that CAFE has been planning have been covered to anunusually extensive degree by A Voice For Men.
Gorging on Wild Animals with the Sultans of Sausage
Here’s what you need to know about the Rhode Island Rumford Hunting and Fishing Club’s annual meat feast: it’s not for outsiders. This manbash is for swinging dicks. It’s for straight white men with beards and guns and shirts that read PETA: People for the Equal Treatment of Tasty Animals. It’s for men who wear backward baseball caps with polarized Oakleys resting on the bill, like they’re watching you, and the rest of this country, with the eyes in the backs of their heads.
It’s also not what you think. This particular gun club, which was founded in the 40s, has been doing the game dinner fundraiser for 30 years. Among other outdoorsy items, they raffle off rifles, guitars, and kayaks. But the main attraction is the feast—for 30 bucks, you can sidle up beside a bearded, suspendered man and dig into 150 pounds of venison, or 120 pounds of goose, shot by one of the fellows themselves (plus 100 pounds of store-bought rabbit, for good measure). The profits go to cancer programs, food banks, and scholarship funds, but most definitely not to PETA, and of course not to anybody interested in infringing on the second amendment. They are interested in “lobbying to protect the gun rights of Rhode Island residents,” according totheir website, which features plenty of cheery photos of strung-up deer carcasses and animated geese flying serenely over their lifeless bodies.
My friends seemed a little alarmed when I first scored a ticket to the meat dinner, though it was never clear if that’s because I am a slim, bespectacled man or a transsexual one. But as a masculinity expert I can’t pass up the chance to embed in the dark, hairy, grunting underbelly of the type of man who kills for sport.
Kate Carraway’s Obseshes
In the hierarchy of meat, chicken dekes in and out of position in this counterintuitive and culturally unresolved way. Like, everyone wants to give you chicken in everything all the time; it is the basis for every dumb meal at a restaurant; it is what you are supposed to know how to make, I guess, but chicken is also the grossest and full of gristly knobs and the skin and what I think of as pinkish diseaseyness. How is it that on the road from queasy vegetarian to blood, chicken is so close to the beginning? I feel like a rare steak is easier to make sense of than a fucking leg of something.
SELF-CARE / SELF-CRUELTY:
I wrote a thing about “self-care” for a magazine and then started doing it all the time. (My version is refusing to listen to my friends talk about their crushes unless they are in a relationship or life context that supports having crushes, and also I now refuse to come within 20 feet of boys who are hunkered down at Fort Asshole even if it’s fun there.) It felt amazing when I was doing self-care “at” people, removing myself, creating boundaries, and thinking of a less corny way to be like “I’m creating boundaries,” and stuff like that.
Unfortunately, a lot of the doing of self-care “at” yourself can bend backward like a summer-time backyard gymnastics performance and turn into the most vicious kind of self-hatred, which, in action, I’m calling “self-cruelty.” An example: My problem with self-care is feeling as though I don’t, in a macro sense, actually deserve it, because my profession and workday is already devoted to thinking about myself and my ideas and my feelings, and the closest I come to having any limitations on my workday freedom is, like, too many text messages, or planning my coffee schedule poorly, or how starfish formation feels better than sitting up, even though in a micro work sense I experience a lot of total fucking bullshit. So being all “Unnnnngh” about work and being like “Now I will ‘self-care’ and think about sunsets” becomes this straight, dirt road lined with mean witches that leads to exponential, counterproductive self-cruelty. Working at home makes you so weird.
Why do guys make plans within two texts and a couple of hours and girls make plans with 30 emails and several weeks and two cancellations? Boys are like this, and girls are like this. Boys are dogs, and girls are cats.
Why Are All These Gays Taking Grindr Photos at a Holocaust Memorial Site? We Spoke with the Guys Behind the Website Grindr Remembers
VICE: How did you guys start this site?
Lewkowicz: It wasn’t started with an idea. It was actually pretty spontaneous; I saw this one picture and I sent it to Ariel. Then we started exchanging more and more pictures and wherever we went, we found a gallery of photos that we just couldn’t keep to ourselves. It was just too outrageous. We had a lot of fun making this blog, and then it started rolling over the internet and getting more and more pictures.
When did it become so popular?
Ashbel: Only a few days ago. Before it was just friends of ours who would send it to friends of theirs, and we just got pictures that way. I think someone on Twitter found it. I believe it was related to International Holocaust Day. It’s quite old, though. It’s really old news.
Lewkowicz: When it reached the mainstream media and the backlash came, Grindr changed their stance on the site.
Ashbel: There’s a righteous backlash not only from mainstream sources, but the gay community as well.
Lewkowicz: I think it’s really bullshit. I don’t see it.
Ashbel: I don’t think the pictures are problematic. It’s a prudish approach to assume that anything that has to do with sex is immediately disrespectful or obscene. I just think it’s really sad that people are so old-fashioned.
Read the whole thing
The War Against Street Harassment
Despite the insistence that cat calling is a form of flattery, it’s actually sexual harassment and most women wish it would stop. Emily May is the Executive Director of Hollaback!, an organization working to fight street harassment. Hollaback! educates the public about street harassment and collects data to present to legislators, encouraging them to take action against the constant bombardment of lewd comments many women endure every day. They work with local activists all over the world — 62 cities in 25 countries and counting — and want to create a world where everyone can walk down the street without the fear of being leered at, harassed, or assaulted. In addition to on-the-ground activism, Hollaback! uses digital storytelling on their website to help victims of harassment share their stories and find a supportive community.
VICE: How did Hollaback! come into being?
We heard this story of a young woman who was riding the New York City subway [in 2005] and she saw a guy publicly masturbating across from her, and she took his picture with her cell phone camera. She took it to the police, the police didn’t care, she put it on Flickr, it went viral, made it to the front cover of the Daily News and ignited this city-wide conversation about public masturbation. And here was this girl, she was in her early 20s, and she was just able to take out her cell phone camera, turn the lens off of her, put it onto him, and in doing that ignite this huge conversation. It resonated with so many people because so many people had had that same thing happen to them. And we were like: that is so awesome. Why don’t we start a little blog where everyone can submit their stories and we’ll see how it goes, and it just exploded.
I think part of it was that we were using technology in a way that was interesting to people, but most of it was just the fact that this was an issue that everyone was sick and tired of, everyone was at a loss for a solution, and all of a sudden we had cell phone cameras and blogs and people were like ‘awesome, game on. There is a glimmer of a hope of a solution in here somewhere, let’s do it.’
What do you mean when you say ‘street harassment?’ How is it different from a man respectfully approaching a woman on the street, and is there a way to do that?
I think street harassment kind of ruins it for the good guys in the world. I would love to live in a world where dudes said, “Good morning, you look awesome,” and it was totally nice and pleasant and that was that. But the reality is that with street harassment, as soon as you respond to a comment like, “Good morning, you look awesome,” or even just “Good morning,” you run the risk of it escalating into something worse.
We just heard this story that happened in San Francisco last week where the woman just ignored this guy. The guy turned around and slashed her in the face and stabbed her in the arm. I mean that’s an extreme example, but in my own life I’ve seen “Good morning” escalate into “I wanna fuck the shit out of you” really quickly, which is not only unpleasant, but actually really scary because I don’t know where it goes from there.
You’re a Pussy if You Think There’s a War on Men
For some men, women—especially feminists—are terrifying. Not in the normal oh-my-God-I-can’t-ask-her-out-what-if-she-says-no way that middle schoolers and characters on Friends experience, but “afraid” in the sense that women will take their money, try to get pregnant on purpose, invent false rape claims, and use feminism to generally abuse men. In this narrative, men are either an oppressed minority (or about to become one), or have to “fight back” against feminists to preserve their rights.
If you want to see what this kind of thinking looks like, take a dip into the river of the Men’s Rights section of Reddit, where a bunch of dudes go to complain about getting raped by women and talk gibberish about how their “clans” are getting attacked by “Statism and Feminism.” Currently, some of the most popular posts on the subreddit include a complaint about how if you owe more than $2,500 in child support payments you can’t get a passport (in the Men’s Rights universe, deadbeat dads are often victims of a misandrist court system); adiscussion, inspired by a Walking Dead plot point, about how getting beaten up is worse than being threatened with rape; an account of some guy squabbling with an obscure feminist blogger (these guys are always getting into internet beef with feminist bloggers, and vice-versa); and a screenshot of some gobbledygook about patriarchy that probably sounded smart to the high-schooler who wrote it. Like a lot of Reddit, the Men’s Rights forum is a way for predominantly white, predominantly rich young men to pat themselves on the back for how smart they are. It gives them something to do, I guess, and it gives the Shit Reddit Says subreddit something to react against.
But the idea that feminism is harmful to men, and women have declared war on people with penises, isn’t confined to Reddit’s nether regions anymore. It’s now mainstream enough for Fox News’s website, which published an awful, troll-baiting op-ed about “The War on Men” written by Suzzanne Venker. Her thesis is that while women want to marry men, men don’t want to marry them because, “Women aren’t women anymore.” She goes on:
“Women are angry. They’re also defensive, though often unknowingly. That’s because they’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy. Armed with this new attitude, women pushed men off their pedestal (women had their own pedestal, but feminists convinced them otherwise) and climbed up to take what they were taught to believe was rightfully theirs.
Now the men have nowhere to go.”
What she’s describing is a pretty standard anti-feminist narrative: The evil feminists “convinced” women to want things like the same careers and pay and power that men had (they didn’t really want these things, see, but they were persuaded otherwise), thereby causing them to lose the status they were too short-sighted to have valued.
My Abortion Story
Last year I got knocked up by a dating coach. I can’t claim naivety since I knew what his profession was and had even sat in on a conference call while he attempted to guide a group of men from around the world into the skirts of their local drunk girls. However, while I was repulsed, I was also intrigued.
We met at a 12-step meeting. He was well spoken and short but handsome. We began a three-month Skype courtship while traveling around different parts of the world—me in San Francisco, him in Rio, me in Austin, him in Trinidad. I learned that he had two kids he didn’t exactly show up for, with a woman he verbally disrespected. He loathed his mother, and told me how he encouraged his first girlfriend to have sex with multiple men in front of him in order to help her “process” a gang-rape she went through years prior. Though he recounted this story with a sense of shame, I still should have taken it as a cue to bow out.
In a week of us sleeping together I did that thing that I hate that I do—I checked his phone. I know it’s a violation of privacy. I know it’s horrible. I know it’s dishonest and shitty. But I did it anyway. What I found was an email from his long-distance girlfriend that read, “I know something is wrong. Something feels off. I can’t lose you. If you want me to lose weight I will. Please don’t leave me. Without you I have nothing to live for.” I felt waves of nausea wash over me. I didn’t want to tell him what I’d done, so how could I get him to somehow tell me. A while later, when he was cooking us dinner her name popped up on his cell phone and he rejected the call. I carried on that night like everything was normal until, in the middle of sex, I just couldn’t stop myself from talking.
“I can’t get serious about you.” I said, continuing to ride him with a slow rhythm.
“You know I’m falling for you.” He looked up at me.
“You already have a girlfriend.” I said.
“You say that with such conviction.”
“I have to tell you something. You’re going to be mad.”
“What is it?”
“I checked your phone. And read your emails. I know you have a girlfriend.”
“How do you feel about that?” He grabbed my hips starting to slowly thrust into me again. This is so fucked up, I thought.
“I can’t date you if you have a girlfriend.” I said.
“I wasn’t afraid of you knowing. I was afraid to tell you.”
“I still can’t date you.” He pushed me off and got on top.
“I understand that.” He leaned down and kissed me.
What the fuck am I doing?
Girl News: GIRLSPLAINING PART TWO: RETURN OF THE GIRLSPLAININGS: DAWN OF THE GIRLSPLAINS: GIRLFATHER PART TWO
Last week we did the first round of me answering your girl questions, because I’m not actually a real person but an all-knowing deity; here is round two. Let’s do this again sometime, but not toooo soon, because all y’all seem to care about is getting your lawn watered.
What is the right response time for social media or phones? Like, what is with the crazy timelines/deadlines people have and their wild responses to not hearing back from someone and jumping to conclusions?
Post-AIDS panic, sexual anxiety seems to center around, like, emotional user’s manuals. Obvs better than AIDS panic buuuuuut this is in its own way extraordinarily boring. Guess what? I have totally liked a guy and not written him back for two months because I just didn’t. But other times you feel like texting right away because your joke is just *smooch* and needs immediate transmission. If a girl cares a lot about when you text her back, that sucks, UNLESS you say you’ll call and don’t, because in that case, you shouldn’t have said “I’ll call you.” That is just regular logic. But seriously, the next time you are like “Why” about this just throw some glitter in the air and spin around three times while it falls slowly into your hair and wonder about something more interesting.
Providing comfort in the form of sex to a friend you otherwise wouldn’t do it with: Is it appropriate/problematic/completely fine? I feel like it could get a bit tricky… I don’t know.
No, it’s not appropriate! You stupid bitch. What? No! Here is why books and TV are dumb: I never understand why any of the women do anything they do. Like why would you have sex for any reason other than if you don’t do it with this particular person, your pussy will vacate your body and move in with someone else—even on the couch in the basement—because it is mad at you? Trading sex or using it is the WOOOORST and that includes relating to men you aren’t specifically interested in via pussy instead of via, like, heart-plus-brain or whatever “friendship” is.
ALSO: “Comfort” isn’t sex. Sex is awkward and manic and transcendent and challenging and absurd. “Comfort” is human attention, a next-level hot chocolate preparation, many hours of listening in a real way.
I feel like some girls are more willing to like eye-rollingly fuck a dude than do the sometimes genuinely hard work of being nice.
Why are girls so complicit in enforcing the systems that bind them to insecurity, self-doubt, and shame?
Because when you are the sucker in an eternally established power dynamic, it is a lot easier to take a lil’ nap than be showing up cocked and pissy every day. Here is what my friend Gchatted yesterday: “I don’t want sisterhood sometimes. I just want to be a regular lady.” The idea of onus is really interesting, like, being complicit isn’t some shady on-purpose sociopath thing, it is just the least resistance.
I get why you’re asking but that’s just an axel jump, spewing nega-ice everywhere, away from the actual thing of Because Sexism. The thinnnng is, it shouldn’t have to be up to me to actively oppose the grimiest misogyny at all. Every girl is already subject to the huge, hard daily sexism tablets; liiiike why is it my responsibility to fix? That is for straight men to do (gay men? I don’t know. Men, though) with other men. That is how a message is transmitted to the people who need to know it the most. Men should be talking to other men all the time about women and sex and consent and anger and fear. Girls just aren’t allowed in the dirt. That is not me being an essentialist jag, that is me knowing that even my best best best guy friends don’t tell me everything and couldn’t because I would cry and throw up.