If men are increasingly hostile toward women, it might have something to do with the fact that many women are emotionally hostile toward men.
However you understand the extent of what is called the rape culture, the hookup culture surely manifests hostility toward women. One suspects that women are increasingly being pressured into performing sex acts that their boyfriends or boytoys have seen in porn.
In those cases they do consent. They do not have grounds for prosecuting their lovers. And yet, they do not like doing what they are doing. They feel degraded. But they think that they should not feel degraded. They might very well lash out in other ways and in other places.
And yet, certain groups within the society have encouraged women to perform sexual acts that they do not want to perform. It’s called exploring your sexuality. It would be one thing if men were pressuring women to do these things. It’s quite another when other women are encouraging it… as long as it is consenting and as long as you use a condom.
What with the movement of large numbers of women into the workplace, men and women also find themselves competing with each other. They might be cooperating in order to get a job done, but they are competing for promotions.
One way for men to overcome the competition is to work insane hours, to work hours that no woman—concerned with work/life balance—would want to endure.
So, the war between the sexes is alive and well. No one believes in decorum. No one behaves like gentlemen and ladies. The result: too many men and women are at each other’s throats. While men are perhaps more likely to resort to physical violence, women are perfectly adept at emotional abuse.
So says Mark Judge, and one is strongly inclined to agree with him. In truth, as he says, we do not know how to quantify the incidence of emotional abuse inflicted by women on men. It does not leave any bruises or scars and most men, humiliated by the abuse, are loath to discuss it.
Amazingly, it often happens in public. It is not enough to put the man down, to strip him of his dignity and self-respect. Some women do it in public.
Judge’s description will make you cringe:
You’re in a restaurant. There’s a man there with his girlfriend. As people are eating and socializing, you can’t help but notice. When the man tries to speak, he is cut off by his girlfriend. She mocks him when he tells a story that might make him look good, and finishes his jokes for him. When the waiter brings the menus, she makes fun of his selection. While she complains about spending money on him all the time, you can’t help but notice that he is paying for all of her drinks. By the end of the night she is berating him outright, and as they exit the restaurant, the woman is in a full rage spiral, yelling about something unrelated to anything that has happened in the last three hours. No one says anything.
Of course, the scene is fictional. But it does make the point. If you have ever witnessed such a scene, your normal reaction will be to want to tell the man to man up and to defend himself. Curiously, you will not be blaming the woman.
Next Judge recounts a case study, told by a man he knows:
When he met his future wife ten years ago, he was captivated by her beauty, but also by her wicked sense of humor and ability to intelligently cut others, mostly pop culture figures, down to size. They were like a team, and had a child together. After a couple years, something changed. Her wit was now more often than not turned on him, first as sarcastic jibes and then as outright abuse. She complained that he didn’t make enough money, and soon he felt like nothing he did was enough. She began to withhold affection, and her mood was so unpredictable that he felt like anything he said or did would be attacked. The sarcasm that once brought him a jolt of joy now cut him apart. More than once his wife called him in an incoherent rage about something he didn’t understand. Strangest of all, she began to lie about certain things yet seemed convinced she was telling the truth. Weeks after a weekend in Las Vegas—which he had paid for—she complained that she was “tired of paying for our vacations.” After the divorce, she insisted on having their daughter on the days when he wanted to take her to play basketball, her favorite sport.
My friend had married an emotionally abusive person, and someone who may have even had a serious personality disorder. The effect on him was devastating. He was depressed and felt confused, and even mentioned suicide. He felt anxious whenever she was around. He’s still dealing with it years after the divorce.
Allow me to make the point that has just crossed your mind. When a man find a woman who likes to cut people down and cut them up, he ought to expect that her withering contempt will one day be directed at him. He should run away as fast as he can.
Dr. Tara Palmatier has researched the problem and has described how emotional abuse inflicts trauma:
You’re constantly on edge, walking on eggshells, and waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is a trauma response. You’re being traumatized by her behavior. Because you can’t predict her responses, you become hyper vigilant to any change in her mood or potential outburst, which leaves you in a perpetual state of anxiety and possibly fear. It’s a healthy sign to be afraid of this behavior. It’s scary. Don’t feel ashamed to admit it.
Intemperate and unpredictable emotional outbursts deprive you of any sense that your life is orderly and routinized. If there is no drama right now, there was yesterday and there might be more tomorrow. You cannot predict what will set it off. You are demoralized and dislocated.
Obviously, you should not merely be afraid of this behavior. The healthy thing to do is to avoid people who indulge in it… no matter how good looking they are.
How did we get to this point? Perhaps my memory is not what it used to be, but, back in the day before feminism and the counterculture, women did not behave this way. Effectively, women acted like ladies and knew better than to humiliate their husbands and boyfriends in public. Of course, men acted like gentlemen and respected women.
Nowadays, it has all changed. From one perspective, we live in a rape culture where women are constantly being raped or threatened with sexual assault. In another sense, we have become so aware of the potential for men to abuse women that men know better than to perform any action that might be construed as retaliation for emotional abuse.
In one sense this has produced more overt hostility between the sexes. But, it has also created open season on men: shielded by the culture, women are now free to haul off at men, knowing that if said man fights back he will be publicly denounced as a wife beater and perhaps even thrown in jail.
Judge does not believe that it is entirely fair to blame feminism. He does not want to attribute it to cultural politics. Fair enough, but still, one must note that feminists broke the old system of courtship where gentlemen and ladies treated each other with respect. To feminists it was demeaning and degrading; it diminished women.
But, as Colin Powell once said, if you broke it you own it. Since feminism broke down the set of rules that defined the way men and women related to each other, it must bear responsibility for the fallout. And let us not forget that feminism fought long and hard for women’s sexual liberation. This made it more difficult for women to refuse sex.
Moreover, feminists have been selling the idea that men oppress women and that women must fight back, even to the point of making their kitchens into war zones. In that narrative context, when women abuse men emotionally they are engaging in an act of justifiable rebellion, in an act fraught with Nietzschean resentment.
It might not be what feminists had in mind, but by recasting relations between the sexes in a conflict narrative, a narrative of oppression and exploitation, they were condoning and even inviting women to manifest their feminism by emotionally abusing men.