MK Feminist

Throat-punching the patriarchy since 2011

5 Excuses David Wong Gives Modern Men to Hate Women

Having received 2.3 million hits since being published on March 27th, David Wong’s “5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women” has been catapulted into the Internet hall of fame (at least for a couple weeks).  You’ve probably read it and seen it “liked” on Facebook about a million times.  I read it too.  Knowing Cracked is a humor site, I didn’t have high expectations, so I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading.  Wong starts off strong, with a humorous, but fairly accurate analysis.  I even found myself nodding my head in agreement while reading.  You see, Mr. Wong seems to have good intentions, but that’s about the only good thing.  Ultimately, this is yet another piece of writing containing harmful ideas about gender inequality that some people will simultaneously try to excuse as ‘just a joke’ while using the ideas contained within it to justify misogynistic behaviour.  So here’s my take on some of the problems with this article.

5.  We Were Told That Society Owed Us a Hot Girl

Wong starts off by discussing what boys and men are taught about women and sex, which is good.  He’s talking about socialization.  Men get these ideas from somewhere; they don’t magically appear out of thin air.  To explain some of the ways we’re socialized, Wong looks to pop culture: “every movie, TV show, novel, comic book, video game, and song we encountered” teach men to feel entitled to sex with a hot woman.  Here, Wong refers to the heteronormative notion that all men are owed a hot girl as a societal contract.  It’s not legally binding, but men get disappointed and pissed off when it’s broken and they don’t end up with hot lady sex whenever they want.

Ok.  This idea has some merit.  There are many guys out there with the maturity to see through this pop culture narrative about women as rewards for men, but it still fuels a lot of low level, insidious misogyny.  Plus 10 points to Mr. Wong for noting that idolizing someone is just another way to dehumanize them.

So far, so good . . .

4.  We’re Trained from Birth to See You as Decoration

It’s at this point that things begin to fall apart.  Wong is on the right track; women are overwhelmingly portrayed as decorative objects rather than human beings everywhere we look.  Images of “hot” women are used to sell everything from cars to fast food.  So I’m on board with the idea that men are socialized to see women as objects.  Here’s where Wong starts to go off the rails; he says — anecdotally — “if there is a fundamental difference between male and female sexuality, it’s this: There are actual occassions where women aren’t thinking about sex.”  So, he makes an ‘if’ statement, rather than an absolute one.  Of course, the rest of the article rests on the premise that this “fundamental difference” does, in fact, exist.

This isn’t a new idea.  Mr. Wong’s entire thesis is based on something known in academic circles as the male sexual drive discourse, which we see circulated in popular culture ad nauseum.  This is the idea that all healthy, normal men have an almost overwhelming desire or need to have sex.  It should be expected that men will go to great lengths to get sex, including paying for it, and, we can deduce, using coercion and/or force.  Wong LOVES this idea, and uses it as the basis for his entire article.

As an example of difference between male and female sexuality, Mr. Wong cites commentors from the Free Republic message board tearing apart Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan for being ‘unattractive’.  Wong asserts, “even in that setting, when judging a female for a position on the highest court in the land, our instinct is still to judge her suitability as a sex partner.”  We have now gone from what men are “taught” to men’s “instincts.”  Keep in mind, Wong also continues to discuss MEN as one homogeneous lump.  The commentors on the Free Republic — commentors Wong assumes are all men — aren’t ‘discussing’ Justice Kagan’s sexual appeal because they are so naturally horny all the time that they can’t help it.  They are doing it because attacking a woman’s sexual appeal, be it too much or not enough, is still considered the greatest insult to her person.  Even in this day and age.  They are doing it to remind women everywhere that no matter what you achieve, you are still a sexual object to be judged by men, for men’s pleasure, first and foremost.  At this point, Wong redeems himself slightly by remarking that women are forced into this requirement to be always attractive and sexy: “the female always has a dual role: to function as a person, and to act as decor.”  Again, this is a great observation, but he gets the reasons behind the behaviour wrong.  It’s not because of men’s raging sex drives and it insults men to claim otherwise.

3.  We Think You’re Conspiring With Our Boners to Ruin Us

This section basically boils down to:

  • Women — they be temptresses!
  • Men — they’re so horny that they masturbate in public!

Oh, and also, men’s sex drives are “completely detached from the rest of the personality”, and “I have no facts, proof, or scientific evidence to back up this claim.”  By now, Wong has gotten completely confused by talking about society, hormones, and evolution as possible causes for men’s boners making them do stupid shit.  That’s okay though, because “nailing down the cause isn’t the point.”  Except when it is.  You see, figuring out where a behaviour originates paves the way to changing that behaviour.  But that’s only important if the problem really is that men’s penises are autonomous horny little devils that conspire with women, against men.

Does this sound incredibly stupid to anyone else?

I must feel that way because I’m a non-sexual, boring woman who just doesn’t understand how truly perverted all men are, all the time!

Wong admits that this weird, irrational feeling that women + penises = male mind control is no excuse for blaming women when it comes to unwanted sexual attention, but concludes (super helpfully) that this is just the way things are.

2.  We Feel Like Manhood Was Stolen From Us at Some Point

Here Mr. Wong tries to educate us women about how all dudes secretly wish they could be amoral womanizers.  And they resent women for not letting them!  Also, more penis-mind-control forcing men to do stuff.  I can’t even go into this any further because it’s just a waste of time.  This insults men, especially those who have no desire to act like Barney Stinson, and is a lazy cop-out.

1.  We Feel Powerless [Extreme Sarcasm Warning]

We have now departed Rational Thought Land.  Please visit again soon.

Women are temptresses!  Who control men with their vaginal super powers!  But their penises also control them (and are in cahoots with the temptresses)!  Men are SO powerless!

Also, “women are various types of food.”  You see, men can’t help wanting to objectify and devour women because we’re not people anyway — just food.  Wong isn’t really critical of this idea or even aware of how problematic this statement is.  Things just get worse and worse until we reach the climax (so to speak) of what is turning out to be Mr. Wong’s own personal version of “Boom! Goes the Dynamite!”   . . . Drum roll please . . . All the shit men have ever done in the history of the world is because of women.  Ta da!

Wait-what?!

Ohhhh right.  Because all men EVER were heterosexual and solely motivated by the potential for sex with impressed ladies!  According to Mr. Wong, even war is ultimately women’s fault.

All those wars we fight? Sure, at the upper levels, in the halls of political power, they have some complicated reasons for wanting some piece of land or access to some resource. But on the ground? Well, let me ask you this — historically, when an army takes over a city, what happens to the women there?

It’s all about you. All of it. All of civilization.

David Wong has just succinctly managed to conflate war rapes and male lust.  As in, men are so attracted to women and constantly horny that they can’t help raping them, even in war time!  Rape isn’t about power and defiling the property of your enemy.  Nope!  It’s because women have  (sexual) power over men and men feel “utterly helpless” and resent us for it.  That’s it.  As Mr. Wong says, “Sorry ladies.”

By the end, we’re right back where we started, which is where we’ve been forever.  It’s still women’s responsibility to be the gatekeepers and keep men’s sexual urges in check because men can’t do it themselves.  If we don’t, it’s pretty much our fault when bad stuff happens to us.  I know Wong claims that that’s a bullshit rape defense, but it’s what his own argument boils down to anyway.  I can’t reiterate enough how much this insult men; men who read this should be angry!  Yes, Cracked is a humor site, but I maintain that you can have an intelligent analysis of misogyny that doesn’t rely on tired stereotypes and still be funny!

Perhaps Mr. Wong should have ended the article with “Sorry guys.  I have zero faith in men’s ability to behave like decent human beings.”  Luckily, we don’t all have such a bleak view of mankind.

 

Related links:

Check out Amanda Marcotte’s awesome response here.

Get Bitch Media’s take here.


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8 Comments

  1. smash says:

    “By the end, we’re right back where we started, which is where we’ve been forever. It’s still women’s responsibility to be the gatekeepers and keep men’s sexual urges in check because men can’t do it themselves.”

    Well said.

  2. TheDom says:

    Excellent. You nailed it. (And without even a penis, too!)

    • A random guy. says:

      Since my Android are my answer I’ll reply shortly. 1) fail 2) not meta- enough to understand what you just read. 3) attacking your allies makes you the enemy.

      • A random guy. says:

        Ate not are, sorry autocorrect.

      • mkarius says:

        1) I can’t come up with a legitimate criticism, but I don’t like what you wrote, so I’ll just call this whole thing a “fail”.
        2) Because I don’t like what you wrote, I’m just going to call you stupid, rather than come up with a legitimate criticism.
        3) I don’t understand what an “ally” is but I really, really don’t like what you wrote, so I’m turning this back on you, ENEMY!

        There. Fixed that for you!

        Also, real allies can take criticism from members of whatever marginalised group they’re writing/speaking about; it’s only faux-allies that get defensive and start saying things like “why are you attacking me???”

  3. […] another M.K. on the internet who takes apart the article named above in more detail. Share this:Like this:LikeOne blogger likes […]

  4. JRents says:

    I think Wong was doing that thing where he argued for or presented a point of view he did not agree with to showcase how untenable it is/was. You correctly saw how blatantly untenable most of these opinions are. Wong’s point is that rarely are these beliefs, which are widely held, actually articulated, and thereby sheltered from criticism.

  5. Chris says:

    As a Man, I agree with everything in the first 2 points wholeheatedly (4 and 5), when it got to points 3, 2, and 1 however, all I could think about was “Wtf Wong? that’s not how I see things at all, consciously or subconsciously” .

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