The “Ultimate Women’s Expo” Taught Me While Men Still Ruled the World
A woman is a blank canvas; emphasis on blank. Her face, in its natural and undisturbed state, is a tragic waste of Sephoric potential. Her body, with its propensity to store what medical professionals refer to as “belly fat,” is rubelike in its inelegance. The love she feels for chocolate is rivaled only by the love she feels for her children (or, if she’s unfortunate enough to possess a cursed, non-functional uterus, the dog she purchased from a breeder on Craigslist). Her mind is a cloud of confusion; she knows not what she does, nor who she is. She has a job, but she wants a career. Ah, but what career does she want? She cannot say. She is a walking existential crisis, adrift on a sea of meaninglessness in which she will eventually drown. She is a cipher, placed on this Earth by her male Creator solely to purchase products and services. And what better place for her to do just that than…THE ULTIMATE WOMEN’S EXPO?!?
I am, in the interest of full disclosure, a woman. (If this shocking revelation offends you, feel free to stop reading this and cleanse your palate with a Hemingway short story or eight; I’ll understand.) But I am no ordinary woman. I am a woman who was, mere days ago, #blessed enough to attend the Ultimate Women’s Expo. This is my story. (NOTE: Story edited by a man.)
The Ultimate Women’s Expo literally puts women in boxes.
I arrived at the Los Angeles Convention Center at the unethically early hour of 10 AM on a Saturday, ready for my agency to be stripped away and replaced with heavily discounted leggings and reminders of my overwhelming unattractiveness.
What Kind of Person Goes to a Men’s Rights Rally?
On September 28, an international coalition of men’s rights groups converged in Toronto to discuss the topic of “Men and Boys in Crisis.”
Prior to the rally I didn’t know much about men’s rights activism, except that these groups have an established tradition of responding to writers with personal attacks, seen in creatively titled blog posts like “Jonathan Goldsbie: Head in the sand, talking out ass” and “Brad Casey wants to mind-rape our women!” It is because of blog posts like these,previous events like this, anti-feminist diatribes like this, and individual men’s rights supporters with a fondness for Nazi iconography that I had developed a skewed impression of who actually goes to their rallies. I expected to encounter an all-out hate group, when in actuality the men’s rights activists I spoke to held beliefs ranging from reasonable to downright oppressive and sprinkled with a dose of crazy.
Most attendees seemed motivated by a concern for the well-being of men, or a fear of women rooted in their own personal traumas. A surprising number of men at the rally came forward as victims of domestic violence. These men felt stung by misandry—they talked reasonably about the weakness of men’s support networks and the lack of sympathy that they experienced following abuse. Almost everyone at the rally expressed concern for things like the high suicide rate among males, boys falling behind in school, and a systemic bias against fathers in custody battles. Then again, some statistics used by the activists to bolster these issues were hard to swallow: “In 50 years the last bachelor’s degree will be issued to a male in this culture,” said Paul Elam of the organization A Voice for Men.
The MRAs who met in Toronto attribute all of these problems to a single threat—a radical feminist ideology that has taken hold of our institutions and is actively oppressing men, even if most people with power in these institutions are still men. Attila Vincer, who organized the rally to take place outside of Ontario’s legislature, didn’t know if Canada or Ontario had more female or male legislators (spoiler, it’s men). Of those we talked to, not a single person protesting knew what laws they wanted to see enacted.
Floyd Mayweather Used Justin Bieber as a Decoration
It was just before midnight on Saturday and no one gave a shit that Justin Bieber was in the room. Less than an hour earlier, Floyd Mayweather had badly abused Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in boxing’s biggest event in years, improving his record to 45 wins in 45 paying fights. No one seemed to mind that it was a lopsided matchup unworthy of the months of breathless hype. Now the immaculately coiffed pop star who, aside from the thick chain dangling from his neck, could’ve easily passed for Pony Boy in The Outsiders, was seated on stage as the finest boxer of his generation stood at the dais, testifying to his own greatness and fielding compliments disguised as questions from the media and fans who had negotiated their way into the news conference. That scene provided a sense of perspective on the situation: Bieber is one of the most famous celebrities on the planet, but amid the chaotic aftermath of a Mayweather fight he was a decoration, not unlike a potted plant with designer sunglasses.
Moscow’s Real-Life Fight Club Looks Insane
It will surprise approximately zero people that Russia took the film Fight Club really fucking seriously. It is a place that has depressing violence hardwired into its DNA, whether that manifests itself in outbreaks of homophobic abuse, army hazings that lead to young men being castrated, or its president attempting to win hearts by striding around topless in the countryside killing things with a rifle.
In 2008, two former members of an underground bare-knuckle club in Moscow came up with the idea of starting their own IRL fight club. They called it the Ronin Family, and for just $900 any high-powered businessmen can enjoy a week of getting beaten up and humilitated in front of total strangers. According to its founders, the Ronin Family’s goal is to turn educated urbanites into real men by physically and psychologically torturing them.
Maria Turchenkova, a young Russian freelance photographer, spent a week documenting this bizarre boot camp. I spoke to her about what she saw.
VICE: Hi, Maria. First of all, how did you first hear about the Ronin Family?
Maria Turchenkova: I stumbled upon an ad for it on the internet. It read: “You are not what you have—your job, your car, or your bank account. If you want to change your life, find the warrior inside you and fight your inner enemy—come and join the next course!”
So I called the organizers and asked to do a story on them.
Easy breezy. And people have to pay to get access to the club?
Yes, all participants have to pay something like $900 for a week-long course. The trainers, however, were members of a real fight club, which I guess was the main attraction for the less battle-hardened. Any wannabe fighter would then have to present the club with a health certificate and go through an interview to be admitted.
Continue + more pictures
Scott Disick: American Psycho
We first encountered Scott Disick in 2007, four minutes into the series premiere of Keeping up with the Kardashians, a show about sunglasses, insincerity, and women exiting sport utility vehicles. He is having dinner with his girlfriend, Kourtney Kardashian, at a restaurant called Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion. Kourtney spends most of the meal trying to check her phone and applying shiny globs of lip gloss. Once or twice, she says something like “You’re so awful” or “I love this,” stone-faced, because the first rule of being a Kardashian is to never display a real human emotion, unless that emotion involves crying, because the E! Channel has determined that female tears are what America drinks to quench its thirst for People Feeling Feelings.
Scott has on a comically oversized button-down, unbuttoned to a region we’ll call Enrique Iglesias Music Video. He is wearing cufflinks just slightly smaller than manhole covers. He speaks to the waiter in a dismissive, I’ll-take-it-from-here-bro tone. The screen cuts to a plate of complicated sushi rolls, then to Scott drinking wine. Stock music plays and the scene begins to end in that comfortingly telegraphed reality show way, but first, Scott tells Kourtney her hair looks nice. Then, if only for a moment, she sort of smiles.
Death to the Man Cave
When the aliens arrive, they will marvel not at the Earth’s quantity of fetish pornography or the comments section of WorldStarHipHop videos, but at the American male’s infinite commitment to dedicating new things to his own existence. The aliens will ask the grown men why they have rooms decorated with the hoods of NASCAR cars and deer antlers and posters of Will Ferrell movies and replica football helmets. The men will tell them that these are their man caves, you see; places where only men can go, to do man things, with other men, for hours at a time, because a man’s life is so devoid of pleasure otherwise. And then aliens will incinerate everything in sight, because fucking obviously.
Civilization is worse off because of the existence of man caves. They are the male ethos writ large: no ambitions beyond hiding in a place surrounded by miniscule triumphs and pedestrian hobbies, while females are present only in two dimensions on a television screen with the volume turned down low. Their vision of paradise is microwavable appetizers, a beanbag chair with Dale Earnhardt stitched onto it, watching that Kate Upton .gif again, not being reprimanded for their music being too loud, and avoiding women at all costs, whom they see as diabolical, enigmatic creatures that speak some unintelligible dialect and only exist to tell them they were supposed to be home an hour ago. The existence of man caves almost confirms that, essentially, all a man desires is to reenact his twelfth birthday party. The men depicted in beer commercials exist, scurrying from women like boarding school students around a schoolmarm. They are inattentive to female needs beyond offering to take them to the mall or halfhearted foot rubs given specifically to facilitate three minutes of spastic gorilla sex. The man cave exists as a kind of salvation for suburban dads who resent their families for interfering with their fantasy football drafts.
Man Have Sex with Girl in Cave: Dissecting ‘Gigolos’
It is conceivable that, one day, I will meet someone who has walked on another planet. The person will describe for me the cosmic insignificance of our individual lives and how simultaneously splendid and bleak the universe is. I will make a face and wait for the person to finish, and then I will say “Yes, but have you seen the fifth episode in the fourth season of Gigolos?”
Gigolos (Showtime) concludes its fourth season this evening at 11 PM. It is sort of an Entourage: People Maybe Addicted to Amphetamines Edition, hitting all the familiar notes of day-drinking and homophobia and doing whatever it takes to make it. The show focuses on five Las Vegas members of Cowboys 4 Angels, a straight male escort agency. The escorts are all meticulously waxed and ostentatiously accessorized, their muscles pumped up like inflatable mattresses. Their lives are measured in deadlift reps and UV rays and financing rates on silver Range Rovers. Their whole existence is tribal tattoos, “breaking a sweat six days a week,” pensive stares, loving life, having mottos, jiu-jitsu, getting “totally transformed,” limousines and bottle service, implausible dick bulges, bootcut jeans.
One member, Bradley Lord, says in a voiceover, as footage plays of him spanking a black woman during a web cam show, “I enjoy life. I even have tattoos on me that say that. You know, live every day, live to the fullest, be true to yourself.” They inhabit a world in which the grandest, most emphatic gesture you can make is to write meaningless bromides onto your body.
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.