Eleven years ago I wrote my first Undead Sexist Cliches post, dealing with claims that women having premarital sex destroys men. The argument that if men can get sex they’ll never achieve anything didn’t make any sense then, nor does blaming the women rather than telling the men to shape up.
But that’s “himpathy” at work — no matter what the problem, it’s never the man’s fault. Even if a man goes on a killing spree, right wingers blame women — they aren’t deferential enough, or they’re having too much sex and driving the guys who can’t get laid crazy.This combines himpathy with the right-wing conviction only men are entitled to premarital sex. Like the proverbial man with a hammer, they see “women having sex” as the nail they have to hit.
Case in point, OAN host Kara McKinney citing the same undead sexist cliche, this time in regard to incels: they kill because women won’t sleep with them. As David Futrelle points out there are reasons for that, and not because the guys are ugly: they’re misogynist and nasty even when they are sleeping with someone. But that would be politically incorrect to McKinney so she blames it on the sexual revolution, because ‘the most high status of men, that they’re going to get all the women. And that it’s the lower status men who are not going to get women. And of course what you see in those men, you see a lot of them turning to aggressive violence, trying to kidnap women … what they’re mad at, and what women should be mad at, is actually the sexual revolution. Because it’s put men and women, actually both of us, in a very bad place.”
This is, of course, a big pile of nonsense, parroting the incel obsession that they can’t get laid because the handsome “Chads” monopolize the women. But there’s never been a time when some men didn’t get more women than others. Aristocrats took mistresses. Rich men took mistresses. Handsome, smooth talking Lotharios slept around. People in authority have sexually harassed lots of women. The sad, lonely guy who can’t get a date has been a part of our culture since at least the 19th century (longer, I’m sure). The only exception was arranged marriages, which may be one reason conservatives such as Matt Walsh think they’re great.
But of course, all that’s true for women too. Some women can’t get a date, or a husband, or sex yet they don’t go on shooting sprees. As Laurie Penny pointed out some years ago, shy, nerdy girls deal with the same insecurity and loneliness as nerd boys, yet they don’t go on killing sprees (she also points out that arranged marriage is way more appealing for a lonely man).
Plus, of course, reality shows us McKinney is spouting lies (whether she believes them or not, I cannot guess). We see a world where lots of guys who are not high status find love. Me. Any number of my friends. That comes down to a lot of factors, including luck, but a big one is that we’re not misogynist shits who blame women for our screw-ups.
It’s possible that today there are indeed more guys who can’t find sex, or love, or marriage, but it isn’t sexual liberation or the Chads. What makes a difference is that equal-rights laws make it harder to discriminate women at work. More women have been able to build carers which means they don’t have to settle for marriage as the primary means of support. That was a huge game-changer — one reason misogynist James Taranto thinks those laws should go away — and a change for the better. For that matter the sexual revolution, in reducing some of the slut-shaming sexually active women live with, was an improvement.
I go into these cliches in more detail in Undead Sexist Cliches, available as a Amazon paperback, an ebook and from several other retailers. Cover by Kemp Ward, all rights remain with current holder.
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