Why Are So Many Men Applauding Masculine Women?
The professional feminists who scold us from the headlines of Time, Salon, Slate and The Atlantic aren’t exactly breaking gender stereotypes. They specialize in nagging, moral hygiene, and high melodrama. Feminists claim there’s a WAR against them every time they don’t get something they want, and when they’re not playing victims for sympathy or dreaming up new ways to say they’ve been raped, they’re busy gossiping about celebrities and giggling about pretty boys like Ryan Gosling. They would naturally object, but most feminists are, truly, basic bitches.
Beyond the feminist world of words and micro-aggressions, there are women--who may or may not identify themselves as feminists--who are not just verbally, but physically and aggressively challenging gender roles and overcoming sex differences.
These women are becoming more like men--physically, emotionally and in many cases, chemically. In the process, these manly women are distorting our perception of what women are, and what men should want from them. They are female fighters, lifters, soldiers, Crossfitters, bodybuilders, competitive athletes, movie stars, and the countless women who flock to trainers trying to emulate them.
Feminists will claim and celebrate the successes of these manly women, but it is often men--masculine and hierarchically-oriented men--who are coaching and pushing these women to become more masculine.
Check out the photos in this article about women and lifting from women’s blog XOVain. Notice who’s spotting her? Behind every strong woman, there’s some guy telling her she’s a strong woman.
From regular gym-bros and NRA members to prominent trainers, fitness writers, and successful athletes, the guys most likely to complain about the pussification of men consistently pole-vault over each other to promote, defend, and generally fawn over any woman willing to handle a barbell, a ball, or a rifle.
Why are so many guys who are disgusted by effeminate men so supportive of masculine women?
I’ve been thinking about it for a while--every time I see men I know share some “strong is sexy” pic of a broad shouldered woman with an 8-pack. I wonder about it every time I see them point to a woman who is obviously taking male hormones as an example of a “real woman.” And I have to peel my palm off my forehead every time some tough guy turns radfem and starts telling any man who questions this that he is just “threatened” by “strong women.”
Exactly how manly do women have to be for us to be sure men are “secure with their masculinity?”
I’ve talked about this with a bunch of guys, including some strongmen, martial artists, and powerlifters, and here are some of the reasons why I think so many masculine men are encouraging women to be more like them.
Men are Being Solipsistic
Men are judging women as if women were men.
Guys have been taught from an early age, thanks to the scolding of feminist educators, that there are no “male” virtues, only human virtues. Men are naturally drawn to the old masculine virtues of strength, courage and mastery. They place a high value on traits and behaviors that men have always valued in each other. So, instead of letting women be women and appreciating the differences between the sexes, men are imposing their own idea of what is good on the women in their lives.
Radical feminists would, somewhat ironically, call this sexist and oppressive, because it is men telling women how to behave based on their own preferences and biases.
Why is a woman only a good woman if she acts like a man? That’s the patriarchy talking!
Men who appreciate manly excellence are doubly impressed when a female shows interest or aptitude in a manly sport or pastime. It’s not uncommon to see some alpha male type overlook 100 guys working just as hard and performing better to fawn over a female marksman, lifter or fighter because, well…“isn’t she something?”
It’s also easier to give a woman special attention, because you don’t have to deal with man drama--that whole push/pull, dick-measuring thing men do as they perpetually work out their chimpanzee hierarchies.
Men Don’t Actually Like Women
A dirty secret about men is that a lot of them don’t really like women. They like looking at women naked and they like having sex with women and they may even fall in love with women, but for the most part, they don’t really like women.
I’ve had a lot of heterosexual men tell me that they almost wish they were homosexual, because they find most women irritating and they feel like they have almost nothing in common with them. This actually seems to be the case more frequently with extremely masculine men, and it makes sense that they would have less in common with women. A male psychotherapist who works primarily with men in the military called me recently to talk about men and masculinity, and he mentioned hearing this from a lot of his clients too.
Actually, as I was writing this, a buddy of mine was texting me about this girl he was trying to talk into having sex with him. He was pretending she was interesting, but the truth is he just thought she was hot. Men do this all the time. His last text read, “I think I already hate her.” He went on a date with her later that week.
Feminists would call this “misogyny,” but I’d call it “normal.” It’s normal to want to hang out with people who are more like you, who have the same kinds of aspirations and who have similar interests. So it seems like when a lot of these guys fantasize about a perfect woman, they fantasize about some kickass chick who likes sports and guns, who won’t ask them to watch chick flicks or talk about the last episode of The Bachelor or say that everything is “amazing.”
Men Today Want “Activity Pals,” Not Girlfriends or Wives
Men and women used to understand that they were different, and that they would spend time apart doing different things. Men learned to love their women as women, and enjoyed them for who they were on their own terms, but they didn’t need or expect to have the same kinds of relationships with their wives that they had with their best pals.
Feminists have preached for decades that men and women were supposed to be “equal partners” in everything, and that seeped in and contributed to the idea that husbands and wives were supposed to want to do everything together.
But this desire for women to like and do “guy things” is as much a product of modern life as anything else--especially in America. Americans work a lot of hours, often odd hours, and it takes a lot of time and energy to maintain any kind of relationship.
Most men used to work with other men all day long, and work time has been “guy time” since men were hunting aurochs. Male friendships were forged and maintained in the process of aggressing against animals or nature or other men. As Lionel Tiger theorized in the 60s, that’s how men “bonded.” Today, most men get few if any opportunities to do “guy things” at work. Most corporate jobs are actually pretty emasculating. Most men also work with women, so work time usually isn’t “guy time.”
Because any relationship requires an investment of time and energy, it is difficult for a lot of men to maintain strong male friendships as working adults. If they want a girlfriend or a wife they’re going to have to invest a lot of their free time in building and maintaining a relationship with her, and there are only so many hours left in a week. If a man enjoys sports or working out or shooting guns, getting a woman to enjoy those things too probably means he’ll get to do them more often, and as a couple, they will likely spend more money on those activities. A lot of guys come to the conclusion, consciously or not, that if they want to do guy stuff and have a girlfriend, it would be better to find a girl who either already likes doing guy stuff or who can be encouraged to like doing guy stuff.
It’s like the dad who wants a son but ends up with a daughter, so he makes the best of it and teaches the daughter to do all of the things he wanted to teach a son to do. Some tom-boys are born, but a lot of them are made by dads in the same way that mothers sometimes make their sons into girlfriends. We’re not supposed to blame parents for this--we’re supposed to call that a myth and say “that’s just who they wanted to be”--but humans are heavily influenced by peer affirmation, and if you spend an unusual amount of time with your father or mother or boyfriend, you’re probably going to end up a little more like them.
Men want guy friends and girlfriends but girlfriends demand a lot of time, so some men end up slowly turning their girlfriends into guy friends. Women who want boyfriends who actually seem to like them and give them a lot of positive affirmation and attention end up learning to like doing things their boyfriends like doing.
I’m not looking to blame anyone for this--for the most part it just seems like modern couples are making the best of their situation.
There is a point, though, where making your girl into your bro gets out of hand. When you’re telling other dudes to “check out your wife’s sick lats” or bragging about how she could out-lift them and probably kick their asses…maybe you need some guy time before you and your wife end up shaving each others’ chests.
Unless that’s what you’re into.
Men are Fantasizing about “Shieldmaidens” and Sci-Fi Supergirls
Even as progressive Hollywood writes a tough-talking, man-tossing supermodel superhero into almost every action movie, and Marvel makes Thor a woman, much of the far right is also fapping away to fantasies of bosomy blonde Valkyries and sexy shieldmaidens. It’s difficult to tell how prominent a role women warriors played in Germanic cultures, but some scattered information is being played up to flatter women and encourage an absurdly modern feminist inclusiveness among so-called radical traditionalists. There have always been tales of female warriors, but they have generally been exceptions to the rule, and the women who fought successfully alongside men probably looked more like Brienne of Tarth than a sword-wielding succubus from a Heavy Metal magazine cover.
If men really want a co-ed warrior caste of eugenically bred, chemically enhanced, man-jawed super-persons to transcend the human condition and prepare our race for interstellar war with the Klingons, then they need to be more honest about that, and work out some of the contradictions and inconsistencies in their worldviews.
I’ll admit I’ve toyed with the seemingly eugenic notion that it would be better for everyone to be terrifyingly strong, fast, smart, and aggressive.
Leave it to a man to think up something like that.
It has some merit and appeal, but like all utopian dreams, it seems likely to decay rapidly when exposed to human nature. As with today’s military, the newspapers would get their carefully curated success stories even as internal morale and brotherhood failed, and women would hide behind sterile double-standards as they used sex to manipulate their male peers. The idea that women would be better and better off if they were encouraged to become mentally and physically more like men--but with men with shapely breasts and tight round asses--is just more sci-fi male solipsism.
Something in men tells them that might is right, and something lower tells them that women are hot, so I guess it makes sense that a lot of young men would decide that hot ‘n mighty women are the pinnacle of human perfection. I’d like to blame this on a post-feminist world of sexual confusion, or even ronery Asian animators, but Robert E. Howard was writing sword-swinging chicks into Conan stories back in the 1930s. The sexy warrior woman is an ancient archetype that’s long held a place in the pornographic pantheon of male fantasy. We’re just at a patch in history where it’s easy to lose perspective and imagine the exotic anomaly as a new norm.
Men Can’t Get Enough of the CrossFit Butt
The CrossFit butt sold more average men on weightlifting for women than a decade’s worth of oily blondes pumping iron in muscle mags.
You’ve seen the photos. You know what I’m talking about.
It makes perfect evolutionary sense for men to fixate on the rear-mount impregnation point padding of healthy young females. Some black men have a thing for gigantic Hottentot hindquarters, and I know some white guys who go for the Rubenesque Jell-O butt thing, but it makes sense for the majority of men to want that perfectly rounded, unblemished rear end that signals youthful fertility.
Women today are marrying later than their predecessors, if at all, and by the time they decide to settle down and have kids, they’re probably been sitting on their asses in some office eating those muffins from Starbucks for a decade or so. The prevailing wisdom says the only way women can keep that perky posterior is to do squats. Lots and lots of squats. When women object that grunt and thrust power moves like squatting seem a little...butch...men who normally hate feminists find themselves talking about breaking down gender boundaries and “reimagining our idea of female strength.” Because, well, “dat ass.”
Men Know Where The Money Is
Guys get into the fitness industry because they like training. Some got turned on to training when they used working out to transform themselves or to work through a rough part of their lives, but many more trainers, gym owners, writers and fitness entrepreneurs are just jocks who decided to try to do what they love doing for a living.
The bug, or the feature, depending on your perspective, is that unless you’re selling supplements or you’re a big shot with a name and a book or a new program, the real money is in marketing to women. Especially if you’re a trainer or a gym owner.
There are two obvious reasons for this.
First, the men who are most willing to give up everything and train to be elite athletes also tend to be young guys with little if any disposable income. Kids who pin their hopes on something as chancy as becoming a professional fighter or an extreme athlete often come from broken homes on the wrong side of the tracks. People with a lot of disposable income to spend on expensive gym memberships and personal training tend to be older, and most men over 30 have either figured out how stay in shape on their own or have let themselves go to focus on making money. Men are sexually objectified now more than they used to be, but plenty of wives are happy with a doughy husband as long as he brings home the dough.
Second, the body is a machine, and if a man cares about his body, he will tinker with it until he figures it out. Most men will buy books and talk to other guys at the gym and read websites and watch thousands of videos and argue furiously for endless hours with other men on the Internet about which technique or program is the best before they will pay a personal trainer to hold their hand and walk them through a basic routine. A lot of them would probably really benefit from a few sessions with a trainer, but it’s kind of like...asking for directions. Men want to figure it out themselves. Women generally prefer to be shown.
So, most male trainers end up counting reps for middle-aged women. Unless you’re at an elite level coaching professional athletes or entertainers, that’s the job. Go to any Globogym and see who is training who.
Most male trainers, no matter how jacked they are, no matter how much they can squat, no matter how much Hatebreed or Metallica or they listen to, eventually realize that they are in the female empowerment business. And to keep doing it day in and out, a lot of them probably convince themselves that’s a good thing. Who doesn’t like empowerment? It’s their job to lure cardio bunnies off their ellipticals and out of their Zumba classes. They sit through countless consultations listening to housewives tell them they’re worried about “getting too big” and masculine looking.
Of course these trainers know that noticeable hypertrophy is something they had to train for specifically, even as men, and there is no chance that a woman in her 30s, 40s or 50s will “accidentally” get yoked. With a lot of work, they might get the backs of their arms to stop jiggling and maybe even get something approaching a CrossFit butt.
These women want to look like taut TV and pop stars whose aging bodies have the support of top trainers, plastic surgery, Botox, human growth hormone, Clenbuterol, Adderall, and possibly Oxandrolone or Stanozolol--the testosterone derivatives especially popular with female bodybuilders. It’s rumored that the last two are also frequently used by female CrossFitters, and may well be responsible for many of the inspirational photos trainers use to motivate their female clients.
This leads to an important consideration. If men take female hormones to gain the characteristics of females, we call them transsexuals. If women are be told to admire women who take testosterone and testosterone derivatives to gain the characteristics of men, aren’t they being encouraged to look like borderline transsexuals? Is the fitness community’s “ideal woman” really a vascular tranny with the 6-pack, biceps, and modified rear end of an 18 year-old dude? What does that say about this brave, new post-feminist bonobo culture? Why the double standard?
As personal trainers work with their clients, they help feminine women overcome their natural resistance to increasingly heavy resistance training by pointing to these strong, empowered, masculinized women as examples of a reimagined femininity. They sweet-talk their clients and make them feel good about themselves, because that’s what keeps them coming back and paying for the pleasure.
“Don’t be afraid of your own strength.”
“You’re stronger than you realize.”
“Women can be strong, too.”
And, as they shape them into fitter versions of themselves, whispering words of encouragement in moments of vulnerability, guiding their movements with a firm, caressing hand, carefully watching the form of every hip thrust, a lot of these trainers are setting up their next job perk.
Most male trainers end up banging a choice selection of their most loyal female clients. I watched one CrossFit coach take home one after another for months. I delivered fitness equipment to private gyms for years and watched the dynamic between these guys and their attentive, blushing clients. It’s become a fairly well-known phenomenon since then. It’s like bagging cougars in a zoo.
I’d bet many of the memes and slogans about women, strength, and training that “strong women” repeat and reformat and post to their Pinterest accounts and Facebook pages are the echoes of trainer game. We see this “Strong is the new skinny,” “Lift Like a Girl,” and “The myth that women shouldn't lift heavy weights is only perpetuated by women who fear work and men who fear women” stuff over and over again because some guy, somewhere, was trying to fuck another man’s wife.
Trainers are the worst offenders, but it’s not just trainers. Almost every testosterone-fueled, hardcore, shit-talking lifting or fighting blog or site that I’ve read and enjoyed has posted some go-girl female empowerment article about “strong women” in the past year or so. They use them to drive traffic, expand their audience, avoid butthurt from a handful nagging female readers and clients, bathe in female affirmation (“likes” and “shares”), and probably to get laid. Almost none of their hero-worshipping fanboys will object, because they know they’ll be called insecure cowards, fags, micropenised misogynists, and anyway, “Look! There’s a hot girl lifting weights!”
Redefinition, Sex Roles, and The Flip Side of Feminism
The problem with this is not that some female outlier will shatter our illusions by being stronger than some men.
The differences between the sexes are on curves--they’re not mutually exclusive. The fact that strength is and has always been one of the defining virtues of masculinity does not mean that all men are stronger than all women. It just means that most men are stronger than most women, and women don’t have to be strong to be considered womanly, whereas the same is not true for men. It doesn’t matter if some atypical woman who realizes she’s not like other women decides she’d rather play with the boys. That’s probably been happening for all of human history.
The problem isn’t at the extremes, it’s about using the extremes to redefine the middle.
The strong men who stand up for their “strong women” are usually also the first guys to complain about the way American society is promoting effeminate men. They’re the first ones to mock the pajama boys and the Justin Biebers and limp-wristed hipsters. They’ll happily scoff at flamboyant feather boa-ed fruitcakes, metrosexuals, goths, and emo-kids. They’ll call other men “pussies” and “vaginas” all day long.
These guys think that men should act like men and women should act like women...until it comes time to pander to their female audience, or they need a gimmick to make a little extra money, or someone calls them sexists or misogynists--which is like being called a racist, only slightly less terrifying. Then suddenly strong is the new skinny, and no one should tell a woman where she should be or what she can do. Girl power!
Most of these jocks and tough-guys would object to being called feminists, and dismiss them as fat, ugly, whiny bitches.
But if feminism is about anything, it’s about eliminating socially prescribed sex roles. Feminists would argue that people are just people, regardless of their plumbing, and no one should tell women how to be women or men how to be men. No woman--especially women, because in feminism women are more equal than men--should be told she shouldn’t be somewhere or do something based on the fact that she’s a woman. Feminists also say they believe that feminism helps everyone, because it means men shouldn’t be told how to behave or where they should go or what they should do.
Feminists are conveniently selective about how they apply this, but we’re not talking about them right now. We’re talking about big, tough dudes who don’t think they are feminists.
The guys who I’m talking about would be the first ones to make fun of the male feminists in the “I need feminism” photos.
If it’s not OK for men to act like bitches, why is it applause-worthy when bitches act like men? Applauding masculinity in women is just the flip side of the feminist project to encourage effeminacy in men. The net effect is the same: the progressive negation of sex roles.
This glaring hypocrisy is something men need to think about honestly.
It’s not a hypocrisy of progressive men, who already call themselves feminists, and are all for Mr. Milkers and women fighting wars.
It’s a hypocrisy among otherwise socially conservative men, men of the right and far-right, men who believe that men today are by-and-large an embarrassment to their forefathers. I see it among readers of mine, who agree that the way of men is the way of the gang, who agree that masculinity is about strength, courage, mastery and honor, who rant about feminism, who are concerned about fatherlessness and a lack of male mentors, who worry that male testosterone rates are dropping globally, who are angry that there are no initiations for modern men, or men’s only clubs, or places where men aren’t constantly policed by the interests of women.
I see these same guys, guys who I generally like and agree with about most issues, turn around and cheer for female UFC fighters, for women who enter strongman competitions, for female powerlifters, for any girl who handles a gun, for sexy stock car racers, for chicks with vascular arms, 8-packs, and man shoulders. I see them encouraging every woman who enters a previously male space and simultaneously complaining that there are no places where men can be men anymore.
What, gives fellas?
Decide what you really believe.
If you believe that everyone should be manly, and unmanliness should be discouraged in men and women alike, that’s a novel position. I’d like to see a man who actually believes that work it out on paper.
If you truly believe that no one should tell a man how to be a man or a woman how to be a woman, be honest about it and stop playing both sides to look cool. Call yourself a feminist, or at least a men’s rights activist, since MRA’s believe what feminists believe, but realize that feminists aren’t being completely fair or honest.
If you believe that men should act like men and women should act like women, except when it’s convenient or profitable for you, then at least be honest with yourself. Pick up a piece of poster board and write, “I need feminism when it gets me attention, money or poon.” Then face the mirror and understand what you are.
I believe that sex differences run deeper than some obvious reproductive plumbing. Males and females have had different roles for most of human evolutionary history, and our brains, hormones, and psychologies have adapted to work differently. Different things draw our interest, different things make us happy, and we need different things from each other. I believe that gender is a total life experience, “from cradle to grave,” and that while it is possible to masculinize women and emasculate men, no normal female can ever really know what it is to be male, and no normal male can ever really know what it is to be female. It’s as degrading to females to think of them merely as handicapped males as it is to think of men as females with “testosterone poisoning.” I believe that the most feminine thing a woman can do is nurse her own baby, and the most masculine thing a man can do is face death in battle. Modern life degrades both masculinity and femininity--turning motherhood into a part-time job that women are supposed to squeeze in when they aren’t doing the “important” work of making money in some corporate career and turning masculinity into a video game that men play alone.
I’ve come to the conclusion that masculinity is the product of both nature and nurture, and that most men need to be surrounded by other men who will challenge them and hold them accountable to reach their full masculine potential. Without that brotherhood, the majority of men will become increasingly weak, effeminate, insecure, withdrawn, and apathetic.
By most accounts, that’s exactly what is happening to men in America.
I am not a feminist. I believe that sex roles generally increase human happiness, social stability, and are necessary for a thriving culture. Men should tell men how to be men and women should tell women how to be women. I think it’s great when men “police gender” and call each other pussies and push each other to be stronger, braver, and more competent.
And I am absolutely certain that the regular presence of women in male spaces short-circuits this process. The introduction of females into a group of men will always change the culture of the group, weaken male friendships, chill male speech (because men talk differently to each other than they do to women), and turn men against each other.
Encouraging a woman to do something men do and inviting her into one of the few surviving male spaces is a feminist act that is ultimately, if not immediately, harmful to men and masculinity. Men should call out men who do it, instead of congratulating them for being so “open minded” or being afraid to be called “sexists.”
There’s nothing brave about being “gender inclusive” in America. It’s like being “anti-racist.” It’s the safest, most establishment position you could possibly take. The President of the United States would pat you on the back and call you a “good boy” for doing exactly what you’ve been told to do. Anti-discrimination is fashionable, commercially viable, legally enforceable, and an easy way to get approval from women.
If you want to do something brave, try discriminating.
Try saying “no.”
Instead of jumping at the opportunity to help some tough girl live her best life and be a strong, independent woman who will brag about being manlier than men, try giving her the cold shoulder.
Then grab a brother and help him rise up.
Because men are failing.
Masculinity is failing.
If you’re angry about it, do something about it and stop playing both sides.
American women have thousands of laws, organizations, books, magazines, movies, television channels, gyms, websites and celebrities working to “empower” them. You don’t need to be Captain Save-a-Ho because American women do not need your help.
I’m not saying that women shouldn’t take care of themselves or learn self-defense skills or exercise. The historical reality is that the majority of women always worked hard. They worked in fields, milked cows, scrubbed laundry, and cleaned when cleaning was harder than running a vacuum. Women knew how to work hard without trying to be men or do everything men did. Women didn’t think “women’s work” was degrading until a bunch of bored Jewish women told them making money was more important.
If women want to stay in shape, let them Zumba. Leave them to their group exercise classes and yoga and things they actually feel drawn to and enjoy doing. Let women be women. Stop trying to redefine femininity by putting lipstick on masculinity.
I’m sure some women will read this and disagree. I’m sure it will make some women angry. Some of them will probably say they want to kick my ass. But that would just prove my point about how masculinized many American women already are.