Thursday, 19 October 2017

The Big Shut Up is coming



Superheroines are fiction for a reason


"Dude, are you doing the Weinstein thing now? That was so October 8th...?" Yes, I realise I missed the meme train, but it's better to be correct than be part of the debate, especially when there is no debate.

Go get the rum, we're going to need it.

No, all of the rum.


I

Newspapers are running wall to wall op-eds about Harvey Weinstein's grabby-hands, 90% of which are written by females. Yup, I checked. All of the articles.

One angry keyboard basher is New Zealand journalist Nadine Higgins. She's a nice person, I suppose. We both worked a trade conference once, she was the emcee and I was covering it. All I remember is her red lace dress and tight camisole. I shouldn't have to mention that, but when she wrote about the Weinstein scandal her clothing choice became very relevant:
"His sloppy drunken descriptions of what he wanted to do to me, up against the bar where we'd been drinking with our workmates, mortified me. I told him as much, and his indignant response is seared in my memory. 
"Oh, come on, you wouldn't come to work dressed like that if you didn't want it."  
Um, what? 
I offered my senior colleague a random selection of expletives in response. They sounded brave, but I felt like I'd had the wind knocked out of me. Was that how everyone saw me?"
I call bullshit, Nadine. You're lying. First, "senior colleague" is just code for "white older male." Just say what you mean. Second, every attractive girl knows how she looks to men. Do you realise how much power men need to give up in order that you can refuse to engage with a man's perception of sexual relations in a bar? That guy had a point: how can you dress like that and not expect the attention? Are you just going to play dumb? I bet you have hopes and dreams about being seen as something other than a sexual object, don't you? Aren't you suspicious that the reason no man has corrected you on this is that they want to have sex with you?

Let's start from first principles: what does she wish to be true?

You notice her outfit, I notice they cropped away her wedding ring.
That's why you're normal and I write on this stupid blog
"Hey baby, nice dress" is one thing and groping another thing entirely, but sexiness isn't a homing missile, a woman can't select the targets. I don't know what Higgins (pictured) was wearing that night at the bar, and the dress was probably worn for not-him, but she knew there was going to be collateral damage.

Higgins is just a normal hot girl. She doesn't want to be seen as a sexual object but has no clue of the irony of her thinking. She wants people to have a certain thought, yet also demands they don't have a certain thought. She's trying to control other people's minds just as much as she claims men label her. As much as she wishes she could make everyone else accept the identity she's invented for herself of being a smart, capable journalist, the ugly existential truth is everyone has their own mind and they have decided she is a sex object. They may be wrong or correct, and she can certainly try and change this perception, but she cannot tell other people not to have it.

I'll accept she won't want to hear that I sat at her table because I wanted to see the shape of her neckline. I'll even accept I may be wrong to have thought like this. But I will not accept that my experience as a human and the information she was broadcasting led me to make conclusions about her that I am not allowed to have. No one has that kind of power, not even women.

She might retort that even if her sexual messaging was misplaced, I at least shouldn't conclude anything until I knew her better. But that's my point, if she knew who she was she wouldn't be playing multiple characters: eye candy and serious journalist. It may be wrong to expect a reporter to be sexy on stage, but if you say you have to be sexy as part of the job, you can't double back and say you weren't being sexy.

Hot girls are never told they are responsible not just for the words they say, but for what other people hear  not for the sexiness broadcast, but the sexiness received. Because if I were to ask if she'd like some magic to remove her hotness right now, she'll tell me to piss off. The things she wants are mutually exclusive, they cannot coexist. This is the root of her anxiety.

II

Why should I enjoy living in a world where being a man is a horrible thing, and no matter what a woman does, it's a wonderful thing?

Something bad happened to Gweneth Paltrow years ago, sure, but her aside, the real question is not how many women have ratted on Weinstein, but how many women haven't. Obviously, if some blonde from Nebraska agrees to follow him to his hotel room to "get a videotape" and Paltrow doesn't want to do this, that blonde will get all the good acting roles. Don't get angry about that. Paltrow is conveniently forgetting the Pretend Contract she already signed: we all make-believe her looks aren't part of the reason she gets acting jobs, and she pretends no one is looking at her that way.

The key is not to break that contract. Paltrow knows deep down the movie industry made big head goofy girls the standard of pretty. If she were a fat girl, she wouldn’t exist. She forgot that when a woman is chosen for certain reasons, she is also the kind of woman who wants to be picked for those reasons. That's the contract. You can't market yourself on looks and then pretend it wasn't the looks that go you here. You might wish people saw you as more, but you can't control what they see. No, yelling won't make this any less true.

Let me offer a contrary position, unpalatable but worth considering, and entirely invisible to Paltrow and Higgins: Harvey Weinstein needed to own and operate a multi-million dollar company, work for decades at a skill, earn a fortune and outmanoeuvre every other male competitor just to have the chance to have sex with a woman like Gweneth Paltrow. Do you see? He needed to lift his stature from a default level of zero just to get to the level a woman is already at by existing. And women complain that men control the sex?

In this world, a woman's sexual value is unbelievably overpriced, but it still doesn't give them any power. Put it this way: men have no ceiling on how valuable they can become in the eyes of a woman. But a woman can never be better than her vagina. What's enraging for men like Weinstein isn't that women are sluts, but that they are not sluts  that they are able to manipulate men and get what they want, without paying for it.

Weinstein shouldn't have done what he did, but his actions were only bad if you accept that a woman's sexual value is higher than zero by default. The answer isn't "teach men not to rape." The answer is to remove value from sex. All Nadine Higgins had to do was lower her vagina's sexual value to zero and her anxiety would disappear like the Madison Avenue-fuelled illusion it really is. That would be equality.

III

Higgins pretends to want to be free of male pressure, yet the pressure to look a certain way is actually much worse from women. A "patriarchal" controlling force, unacceptable if coming directly from men, is maintained by giving the whip to other women. Imagine if a boss man who isn't Weinstein said to her: "hmm, you should put on some makeup, doll yourself up a little bit." He wouldn't survive the time it took to pivot on his brown suede Hush Puppies. And yet women say this to other women all the time. Why is that less damaging? Don't show me the final calculation. Show your work.

But even if boss men don't tell Higgins to wear makeup, she does anyway. To her job. Why does she need makeup to host a trade conference? If women aren't objects then why is she painting herself? Makeup accentuates a woman's sexual attractiveness, so the only appropriate time to wear it is to look attractive to men. I'm not saying you have to look good for men, I'm saying that if not wearing makeup for men makes you feel better about yourself, you don't have a strong self. Everyone knows you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, now you're saying the cover of the book influences how the book feels about itself?

How is a father expected to raise a daughter in this reality?
Neither Paltrow nor Higgins can ever know if they succeeded in life because of their talents or because they have a vagina. That information is literally unavailable to them. Every day Higgins has to play a game in her head that men see her as an equal and not as a potential sexual partner, living in an exhausting state of permanent disavowal. No woman can ever know if it wasn't just a decision-making man who saw it as a chance for sex.

They want to both be part of the male world but retain their feminity, to exist in a state of "almost." Their complaints aren't part of a big power struggle. It's simpler than that. Women don't really like being women. They see men as unconstrained, free individuals, and themselves as constrained baby-carriers. And if they can't be free of their biology, then men can't be free either. It's the tri-force of ignorance, arrogance and resentment.

But embracing feminine sexuality can be a powerful thing when used correctly. Higgins and Paltrow should study former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher. They could learn something important. Christopher Hitchens understood when he wrote about it back in 1997:
Yet, at the party conference and in Shadow Cabinet meetings and in Parliament, she regularly reduced these chaps to mush. It was at the annual conference that, as I stood in the body of the hall, it hit me. That feline smile, the composed but definite body-language, the voice at once stern and cajoling... to say nothing of the Valkyrie helmet of blond locks. My god! She has them in her thrall! And she knows it! The minx knows it! It was for writing this that I got into the hot water of what nobody then called political correctness.
Mark the sequel: Not long afterwards, I was at a reception in the Rosebery Room of the House of Lords. She came. (I’ll try and keep this brief.) A mutual Tory friend offered to introduce us. I agreed with some alacrity. The subject of the moment was Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. I held one view on this. She held another. The introduction was effected. Did I imagine it, or did she recognize the name of the scribe who had hymned her feminine allure? At once we were embroiled in an argument on the subject of racism and decolonization. I was (I only mention it) correct on my facts as well as my principles. She was lousy on both. But what a bonny fighter! She wouldn’t give an inch. I found myself conceding her a trivial point, and bowing as I did so. She smiled.
“Bow lower,” she said.
Suddenly robbed of volition, I complied. 
“No — much lower.” 
By now near to drowning in complicity and subjection, I obeyed. She withdrew from behind her back a rolled-up copy of the Parliamentary orders of the day, and she gave me a sound smack before I could —how does one put this? — straighten up. I regained the perpendicular in some blushful confusion and difficulty, to see her swing away and look over her shoulder, the words “naughty boy” floating over me in my near trance-like state, as the journo witnesses closed in to say, “What was that all about?” I told them they would never understand, and — what do you know — they never did.
And if you're thinking, "eww, gross. How could anyone find Thatcher sexual?" then you're missing the point. Your mistake is to assume men think the same as women. They don't. Stop lying to yourself. Which brings me to my next point.

IV

Put Nadine Higgins aside for a moment. The male commentary on sexual harassment always makes the same basic mistake that men think women are just female versions of them. They think women are attracted to good looks and repelled by chubby, overweight men with shower fetishes. Wrongolongadingdong.

If your first thought about the Weinstein scandal was, "how could that man get those women" then I know for a damn fact you are both a man and have never been powerful, and more importantly, will never be powerful. A man cannot be powerful and think women are his equal. And I'll risk the blowback by saying a man cannot be powerful and think of anyone as his equal. You have to say out loud - "I am better than them/him/her." Say it straight to their faces, but say it righteously. The magic won't work if you don't believe it. They will eat you alive if they smell even a molecule of insincerity.

People want to be told what to do so badly, they'll listen to anyone. All you have to do is believe the message you're screaming. If your superiority isn't true, then make it true. That's how magic works. And do you know what happens once you think you're better than women? They like it. They respond to it. Women want a leader, they don't want to lead. They want to be able to look at their powerful man and say "he's mine." And if you think I'm only talking about women, then you're more broken than you realise. I'm free next week at 2 pm for a follow-up therapy session.

Most men don't know that women face an incredible amount of pressure to be looked at. The smart ones, like Thatcher and Victoria's Secret models, capitalise on this by trading their sexual attractiveness for resources and power. Which means we're not looking at the Weinstein thing correctly. We have to appreciate how the women who didn't complain see things. The silent ones.

Maybe they're silent because they're scared. Or maybe it's because women are attracted to what a man is, not what he looks like. An ugly millionaire like Weinstein can still get girls because of the status and resources he has, but an ugly female millionaire better have enough rooms in her mansion for ten generations of cats. She's gonna need the wall space.

Women and men aren't the same, even though that's the progressive narrative. But if this were true, did anyone stop to ask what the default desires would be? Would it be the males' or the females'? Why? If you're scratching your head, then try asking it from the system's perspective: which default mode would sell more consumer goods?

V

That's why I wanted to write this. All this talk of sexism and the patriarchy and culture wars are just distractions. The system doesn't care if you're a girl or a boy, it only wants you to act in the required direction. You gave the system you hate a spectacular blowjob, and then try to punish it by making it want you more. From the system's perspective, not only did it still get blown, it liked it even more. Why were these women fighting? "Is it freedom of choice?" Here's a hint, that's never the answer. Who cares what they were fighting for? All anyone wins is more ways to be obedient consumers. Wrong battlefield, ladies.

Men have been leering at women like Nadine Higgins and "abusing their power" for millennia and no one has ever done a thing about it. And yet this event, this stupid story, covered the headlines like a cold wind. Why now? I can't be the only one who noticed the curtain swaying.

Over the weekend, I watched the 1981 movie Quest for Fire. It's a French-Canadian film about cavemen. Shut up, I thought it was cool. Plus it got me thinking.

What bothers me about Higgins lying about her reality is I can feel the Quest for Fire coming out in men. Women keep getting louder and more shrill with their nonsense. Everybody is fake mad with fake outrage because they have nothing else to do. "I'm outraged!" That's such a vaginal term. Men never say that. It's all a game. No one should be "outraged" if they aren't shaking pitchforks. Anything else is just frantic energy.

Did you answer my question about consumerism? In all their "outrage," did Paltrow and Higgins ever pause to ask why so many women are allowed into historically-male positions of power and status? I assume they still believe men are in control, right? So why don't they tell me about the Great War of the Sexes when the Female 3rd Mechanised Infantry Brigade rolled their tank forces over the crushed and defeated Male Army and took power? I think I missed that part in the history books. Oh, wait, that didn't happen. Women didn't take power, they were given it. And now they're yelling? What happens next, ladies?

Did you see the wind move the curtain? I did.

That bitter taste isn't misogyny, it's just consumerism. The system wants you to be a battery. That's why you feel anxious. I think it's great when an individual woman succeeds, but I am asking, how does that help women in general? Female prime ministers reach that level because the system wanted her to. Affirmative action. Feminism. Civil rights. Gender equity. These "political" movements are only allowed to exist because they don't threaten consumerism. More women, gays and minorities as batteries? Sure, bring it on. Don't worry, they won't ever own the capital, and the minimum wage can be lifted gradually so long as the price of goods rises in concert. Oh, you thought that was to help the worker? Yeah, Girl Power!


How long would Paltrow last?

VI

People don't like it when I say this, but I want you to ask how much more money men need from women until they say: "Shut Up!"

Who knows what the maximum wealth of consumption really is? It could have 40 zeroes, or maybe 100. But that's not the end of the spectrum I'm worried about. The dangerous side is the minimum. Once GDP slips and enough people (men) go unemployed, this whole "emancipation" thing goes the way of the dinosaur right quick. Same goes for minorities, by the way. Or did I miss the Great Coloured Revolutionary War as well? Damn history books, always leaving out the good stuff.

Women and minorities don't notice the curtain swaying. And it sways for thee.

The men they keep messing with won’t take the whining forever. Women can yell and scream only because of the restraint of men. And they’re not giving us any credit for abiding by our social contract to choose not to slap them upside the head. Women have to understand that for them to be in positions of authority is not a guaranteed thing. It’s not natural. A few thousand years ago it was Quest for Fire everywhere. Men today are restraining themselves because consumerism rules the world. No one owns any of this, we're all just renting.

If women continue to put us in this little pokey spot with their harpy cackles of "misogyny," "sexism" and "patriarchy," one day men are going to stand up and say, get out of my face. Shut Up.

VII

I saw two tiny, 5'3 female cops walking down a street today. Tiny, tiny lady cops. And I thought: no one should be a cop if they can’t arrest me when they aren't wearing a uniform. Even some male cops are tiny, little baby cops. These people are police because I let them be police. I think all cops should be big enough to stop the largest dude in the city if he decides to get high on meth and start a rampage.

The only reason girl-cops can arrest me is if I let them. In any world of nature, there should only be giant cops. A small blonde lady telling me what I can’t do is just ridiculous. Sweetcheeks, you have five seconds to call two bigger actual cops, or I'm going to chew you like bubblegum. “Ten-four, there’s a guy treating me like a girl!”

At least that would force her to think about WHY calling the precinct solved her problem. In a world that reflects the nature of reality, the social contract and my respect for the law are the only reasons she gets to jab me in the ribs with her stupid stick. It used to be Quest for Fire. I can’t fight a cop. This has nothing to do with hitting females. The social contract stops me from hitting anyone who wears a blue uniform. If the lady cop thinks she has power, it’s only because of the uniform.

I really want you to meditate on what happens when GDP drops for too many quarters. I want you to comprehend what happens when enough men decide the social contract no longer makes sense for men. Because when that happens, there isn't a girl cop in the world who could walk safely by herself. Her authority is based on men allowing the handcuffs to be placed on him. This stuff you call society is really thin. And people like Nadine Higgins and Gweneth Paltrow with their nonsense want to scratch away at this veneer? I hope they know how to catch small mammals for dinner.

When women get a little power, they lose their minds and forget it can all go in the other direction. They are being allowed to invade male spaces because consumerism wants them there. Minorities and women will always feel anxious about living with white men for this reason. They have been given something that can be taken away. The freedom they have is entirely conjectural. It doesn't exist. It's a made-up theory. Deep down, they know this to be true.

The Big Shut Up is coming. You can smell it.

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