Liberal Dude Erotica
November 21, 2014 5:09 AM   Subscribe

 
A little ax-grindy, with the evocation of the expected tropes, but "sort of a cross between Olivia Munn and the Fox News anchor he’d hate-masturbated to last week" made me laugh a little. Wait, did I just mansplain? I'm sorry. Can I buy you a cup of coffee as an apology?
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:19 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Touched a nerve pretty much straight off the bat, I guess.
posted by ominous_paws at 5:25 AM on November 21, 2014 [13 favorites]


Isn't this just a knockoff version of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.?
posted by Cash4Lead at 5:28 AM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


I thought it was funny, but a touch too real. It seems to articulate what my gut was trying to tell me about what the internal monologue of some guys I've met/dated probably sounds like.

But I really hope not.
posted by discopolo at 5:29 AM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Read a lot like satire written by a really awful conservative dude. Some guy who thinks he's really exposing those hypocrite liberal pussies who are only pretending they respect the feminazi bitches because they think that'll get them laid.

If this was written by an actual woman, she did an awfully good job of writing just like that guy.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:33 AM on November 21, 2014 [22 favorites]


The Toast is just consistently excellent. I have a feeling that those who it skewers so well are those least likely to realise. Oh well. Good fun nonetheless.
posted by twirlypen at 5:37 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


This was on point. I feel really bad after reading it that for a number of my years, some version of this was me - I really believed I was progressive, but often I would use the things I'd learned as a way to create connections with women that were mostly women I was also romantically interested in.

One day I woke up and realized I only had a couple of women in my friend circle who I wasn't on some level attracted to. So - for all the progressive conversations I was having, and books I was reading, I still had a filter that led me to want to connect in this way only with women who just happened to also be attractive. It was a moment of deep shame, and took some therapy to forgive myself for.

While it may seem like tropes, it's the lived experience of way too many of my female friends that many liberal guys (myself included) aren't so much changing their views and behaviours as much as learning new behaviours that get women to put their guard down.
posted by buoys in the hood at 5:38 AM on November 21, 2014 [61 favorites]


Yeah, this does read a lot like satire written by somebody who doesn't get feminism.

Alternatively, it reads like someone just really doesn't think men can be feminists.

Maybe I'm being skewered, and if so I'd appreciate an explanation.
posted by Renegade Duck at 5:39 AM on November 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


Ah, so skewering the guys who try to be feminists so they can get in women's pants. I guess that makes sense. It's not my read of this, but maybe that's just because it seems so very offensive to me. Maybe it's best to sleep on it…
posted by Renegade Duck at 5:45 AM on November 21, 2014


Renegade Duck, this is not exactly subtle satire, I'm surprised it's possible not to "get" it.

The best I can figure is you're reading this like "male-female relations are always shitty, exploitative, and condescending, and people who think otherwise are lying and covering up the reality with a false progressive face."

But it's supposed to be "there are supposedly progressive, feminist men who really have a shitty, exploitative, and condescending attitude towards women, and this is the mental universe they live in, this is the way they wish the world was."

Does that help?
posted by edheil at 5:47 AM on November 21, 2014 [29 favorites]


I should add that I'm not actually assuming the author is a conservative dude in disguise. It just reads like it.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:50 AM on November 21, 2014


Yeah, this does read a lot like satire written by somebody who doesn't get feminism.

Read a lot like satire written by a really awful conservative dude.
About Author
Charlotte Shane is the pseudonymous identity of a writer and prostitute living in the United States. She has contributed to The New Inquiry, Salon, and Bookforum, and is one of the editors of Tits and Sass. Yes, of course, she is on Twitter.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:54 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I would have fapped to it, if I were the sort of man who took pleasure in such despicable acts.
posted by orme at 5:54 AM on November 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


I was about to link to the same info that Brandon quoted...

Now I'm trying to figure out what, if any, significance that revelation has to the discussion....
posted by HuronBob at 5:57 AM on November 21, 2014


Ted shook his head as yet another pierced the air with her dismay, “So, nothing is pumpkin?”

No! Ted knows that belittling these flavors simply because they are preferred by women is gross sexism. He celebrates the women enjoying them. But of course he also knows that their enjoyment fails to appreciate the exclusionary nature of pumpkin enjoyment in USian culture: what about Native Americans who suffered genocide at the hands of the settlers who brought the alien pumpkin carving and Hallowe'en traditions to these shores?

Ted resolves to share this insight on the Metafilter thread about pumpkins on his iPhone right away.
posted by alasdair at 6:01 AM on November 21, 2014 [38 favorites]


I subscribe to edheil's reading.

In my 20s, I met and/or dated a few guys who were stunningly like this. One of my exes in particular, was such a great example of this type of mindset - that I have an mental file of his ridiculous quotes/actions, that I call "My Ex, The Noted Feminist".

That's why I agree with the discopolo's earlier sentiment that this is almost too real to be funny.
posted by Coatlicue at 6:06 AM on November 21, 2014 [28 favorites]


Just to be clear, it's a different Ted in the post.
posted by TedW at 6:13 AM on November 21, 2014 [30 favorites]


Yeah, I've been on at least a dozen disappointing dates with the spirit of this guy in different bodies -- it wouldn't remotely cross my mind to think this piece was satire written by a conservative dude or anyone else who "doesn't get feminism."

Ted is unquestionably real, with depressingly little exaggeration, and he isn't just trolling for chicks at the coffee shop, he's all up in ur presumably feminist social circles, seducing ur starry-eyed philosophy major co-eds and mansplaining to female graduate students about the vagaries of Marx Karl. So what Charlotte Shane does for a living doesn't have anything to do with her viewpoint on the topic; I'm a cubicle drone and I could've written the same thing, albeit much less skillfully.

From the comments: "I dated this exact man in college. He also cheated on me then claimed polyamory..." Yep, that's him! He has Sex At Dawn on his bookshelf, has never read it, and will nevertheless hold it in front of him like a shield when you confront him with the fact that he's been banging one of his students since he asked if you'd be interested in fluid bonding and you just gave him the side-eye.
...he felt his pocket buzz and he reached for his phone. It was a text from his housemate, thanking him again for telling her about how bad tampons were for the planet. It came up sometimes, living in a house with three other women, which he did because he was a guy whom ladies felt comfortable around, even comfortable enough to sometimes go braless, talking about periods. Ted didn't often discuss menstruation but when he did, he made sure women knew how they were doing it wrong.
YES. I don't wear a bra ever for any reason, and whenever I meet a random dude who a) audibly notices and then b) goes on to yammer about how he doesn't even mind it when women don't wear bras, always with the presumption that it's going to make me think he's somehow enlightened? Ted, and in particular this paragraph about him, is what pops into my head. I love this piece so much. It's a little too on the nose to be truly hilarious, but damn, it's true to life when you're a feminist woman trying to date feminist-aligned men.
posted by divined by radio at 6:17 AM on November 21, 2014 [54 favorites]


“I teach. And work on finishing my PhD in atheism."

OK, that's a little funny.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:19 AM on November 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


Some guy who thinks he's really exposing those hypocrite liberal pussies who are only pretending they respect the feminazi bitches because they think that'll get them laid.

Or it could have been written by a woman laughing at hypocritical liberal men who adopt superficially progressive ideas without changing their underlying misogyny. But I dunno, The Toast is of course right next to the National Review on my mental magazine rack
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:19 AM on November 21, 2014 [37 favorites]


"Ted" does not strike me as a good stereotypical progressive dude name. I've only known one Ted and he was an ex-biker. Josh or Noah would work better.
posted by jonmc at 6:20 AM on November 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


or woody, whit and wes?
posted by kliuless at 6:23 AM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was at a public event put on by an established left organization recently. The event was one where the general membership had been encouraged to come to participate in an important decision. Naturally, the parts of the membership who did show up were basically the most committed ones outside of the regular meeting-runners - members who would turn out for events, kept up with the issues and had been heavily primed with information about the issue in question.

The organization is unusual in that it is woman-led and perhaps 90% female.

So, the discussion of the important decision is opened up. It is very obvious that everyone in the room is there to vote for accepting the proposed policy change, which is a deeply necessary one if the organization is to continue at all.

And one of the very few dudes in the leadership - also much younger than most of the members and from a fancier background - gives us all this patronizing little lecture in baby words about why we need to vote for this thing, as if we had no information at all and were all incapable of elementary reasoning.

It was very, very frustrating - the more so because he was obviously not a terrible person trying to be terrible and patronizing, and would not have been involved in the organization had he not basically had his head screwed on right. But the socialization of "I am a man from an upper middle class background and in a leadership role, and therefore I am ipso facto smarter and more informed than anyone else in the room regardless of any other aspect of the situation"....that was obviously so ingrained that he couldn't even hear himself. It stood out very sharply to me because I was one of the members who had shown up to vote and was therefore listening carefully to the women leadership who also spoke about the issue - the difference in tone, vocabulary and the amount of information we were assumed to have was startling. For myself, I didn't mind too much - I mean, it was irritating, but I am in some ways a bit of a lightweight, politically, and I seem younger than I am. But seeing this young guy from a posh background lecturing a room full of working women and long-term members in their forties and fifties really rubbed me the wrong way.

The linked piece is satire about a guy's unconscious misogyny. It's pretty broad strokes, and it focuses on dating and attraction. But it really resonates with me because I've been in so many situations like the one I outlined above where there's just this deep-rooted, unconscious, automatic assumption of social and intellectual superiority on the part of a man.
posted by Frowner at 6:24 AM on November 21, 2014 [69 favorites]


#NOT ALL LIBERAL DUDES
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:24 AM on November 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


Renegade Duck, this is not exactly subtle satire, I'm surprised it's possible not to "get" it.

In fairness, it's not hard to find groups of (mostly) men where the first reading is the dominant, and apparently entirely serious narrative. Heck, just this morning on Slashdot there was an article about Amazon's uneven hiring practices (arguing that their rapid expansion is single-handedly increasing the wage gap in their home city), and the comment thread was full of people stridently accusing anyone even vaguely feminist of White Knighting in the lame hope of winning sex, using pretty much the same tone and terms as this article. If you're used to seeing that sort of thing routinely levelled at sincerely feminist men, it's not crazy to simply read this article -- saying the same things, and in the same tone -- as just more of the same.

(Just to be clear, I'm not arguing that the article is bad, or needs a disclaimer, or anything. Just that it's not crazy to misread who its targeted at.)
posted by metaBugs at 6:26 AM on November 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


#JUST SOME LIBERAL DUDES, YOU KNOW WHO i MEAN
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:27 AM on November 21, 2014


Progressive Guy Names better than Ted: Aaron Adrian Benji Diego Eli Emmett Finn Harper Kerry Malcolm Milo Pablo Simon Xavier
posted by leotrotsky at 6:28 AM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Looks like Ted isn't the only one who likes to explain how wrong you are
posted by waraw at 6:30 AM on November 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


Hugo Schwyzer.
posted by kmz at 6:30 AM on November 21, 2014 [20 favorites]


I'm just generally getting pretty tired of "X people talk/walk/think/etc. like this" type attempts at humor these days. There seem to be lots of them lately, but it's probably just observation bias.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:33 AM on November 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I've had much much more experience with people who assume this sort of inner life is the only reason a guy could possibly identify as a feminist than with guys who actually are like this (as far as they act around me, at least), so I was confused as to the targeting. Reading the comments (a) cleared that up; and (b) makes me glad I'm not attracted to men, because dang.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:33 AM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


So, so, SO right. Pitch fucking perfect.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:43 AM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


By the way, for those not using the US code book, change "liberal" to "young urban" and it might make sense.

Not "urban" from the US code book, of course.

Listen, folks. Man, woman or somewhere on the scale physically or culturally, we've all been horny, callow youth with more energy and confidence than intelligence or experience. Everyone wants to be a special snowflake, and we are rarely shy if sharing our special specialness with any number of over-zealous peers.

Nothing new here. Bukowski was writing about dudes exactly like this decades ago. Only the accoutrements change.

If you think you were never the annoying, loud kids at the back if the bus talking too loudly about shit they don't understand, you aren't paying attention. And if you think being closer to 30 than 20 means most of you aren't those same kids, you really aren't paying attention.

Now get off my lawn.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:48 AM on November 21, 2014 [24 favorites]


Whelp, at least he didn't call her Princess.
posted by redindiaink at 6:48 AM on November 21, 2014


It was funny how he had this way of making women both so comfortable yet so intimidated. He wished he could put his hand on the back of her head and shush her, chase away all her anxieties about her brain.

As Joseph Gurl says, this is pitch perfect. I've known this guy, many times over. (I'd like to hope I've never been that guy, but I'm sure it is possible.)

It's not a new thing -- I can remember it being something people joked about (not necessarily in the funny way of joking, of course) when I was in college and I've seen it referenced in memoirs and fiction written before I was born. It was super visible in grad school, though -- there was a very particular type of grad student (and more than a few professors) who had this approach down to a science in order to cycle through an endless series of undergrads and first-year master's students. It was painfully obvious what they were doing, and yet there's no denying that it worked amazingly well, much better than the "pickup artist"-style techniques ever could.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:52 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


this guy is EVERYWHERE. he's passing out condoms at the bitch&animal show, he's doing feminist critiques of disney movies and then gets the youngest looking coed back up to her dorm to watch those movies while he paws at her. he's explaining the feminist mystique. he's bringing up the ethical slut at every opportunity. i hate this dude.
posted by nadawi at 6:52 AM on November 21, 2014 [47 favorites]


I have totally dated this dude. He was always, always an art major.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:53 AM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher, if you scroll just one comment up from yours you'll see that I added a comment that I did not think this was actually a conservative dude. Just that it read exactly like one.

Just slap the name of some conservative male writer on this thing and folks in these parts would be (rightly) condemning it instead of tossing around the #NOTALLMEN stuff.

Anyway, I'm out. So out. Life is too damn short, and once I stick a foot in this stuff it's like freaking quicksand.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:53 AM on November 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


This could have come across as twice as funny and not half as tone deaf if it wasn't just hopelessly overwrought. Maybe the author could have another go, scale all of the dopey tropes back a stitch or two, and use half as many. I'm not sure why the go-to approach is to lather it on like all potential readers are hopelessly dim and need to have the equivalent of someone stopping to mansplain every goddamn thing as they go.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 6:53 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


he doesn't even mind it when women don't wear bras

Hey, I just want to say that I don't mind either. In fact, I think it's really brave of women to eschew the standards of "conventional" beauty! I actually think you look BETTER without makeup. Can you believe that? I think ALL women are beautiful, actually, because the most erotic zone of all? The BRAIN. Dig this: women are meant to be celebrated, not shamed. You should know that hey, that's just how I feel. REAL women. Me, I don't go for those fake ideas fed to us by magazines or television. I'm, heh, just different, I guess. More in touch with what Women is
posted by Greg Nog at 6:54 AM on November 21, 2014 [97 favorites]


I dormed with this guy in college, but with much more of a stoner jam band slant. Every day made me wish for death in new exciting ways.
posted by Ferreous at 6:55 AM on November 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


I think what I take away from the linked piece is that it is totally unconscious on the part of the guy. He's not cynical. He really, sincerely believes that he believes his beliefs. And I surmise that among the men who are [sort of] like this, they mostly do mostly believe their beliefs and will probably go to some small degree of trouble to live them - you do encounter guys like this in contexts where they actually have to, like, go to the protest march or sit through the meeting or call their elected representative or get flyers printed and distributed, and frankly, there are easier ways to meet girls.

The two things that come to mind from there:

1. It is really hard to catch yourself doing this kind of unconscious shit. Again, this is a broad-strokes satire, and some people in life are genuinely just kind of terrible. But when I think about that dude at the meeting, I think (flinchingly, with horror) about times when I've sat up on a platform and been fatuous - usually about race - and completely unaware of it. The best point of this satire for me, and what I found myself thinking about last night at the meeting, was to try to examine my own behavior for unconscious contradictions between what I think I believe and how I act.

2. For men in particular, but I think for any dominant group, it's super easy to be recaptured by patriarchy (or white supremacy, etc) as you get older. The guy in the satire is living in the bubble of school, where the social cost of believing as he does is very low and the rewards may be high. There's a lot that reinforces his view of himself as a "feminist". Once he's outside of school, there will be very little that reinforces his feminism, and it will be easy and pleasant to let himself drift into very standard non-feminist gender practices because those are reinforced and rewarded. I find this both alarming and depressing. It's one of the reasons why I've lost some of the male friends from my youth and why I don't find it as easy to make friends with straight cis men of my own age (queer and trans men have different experiences, of course). At the same time, I end up thinking, like, you could write this piece with the two characters being a white queer graduate student and a queer undergrad of color, and replicate the same dynamics.
posted by Frowner at 6:56 AM on November 21, 2014 [66 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher, if you scroll just one comment up from yours you'll see that I added a comment that I did not think this was actually a conservative dude. Just that it read exactly like one.

# NOT ALL URSULA HITLERS
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:56 AM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


The conflation of patriarchal manipulation with radical-left politics is probably why some people interpreted a conservative voice. I still like Chomsky.
posted by gorbweaver at 6:56 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I hung out with an old friend from highschool recently, and he has totally become this guy. He came to my apartment, got upset that I had a scale in my bathroom, told me I was too skinny and lectured me about body image, told me not to put on too much makeup, went on and on about how perfume was unnecessary, and then got upset that I didn't want to sleep with him.
posted by elvissa at 6:57 AM on November 21, 2014 [63 favorites]


I have totally dated this dude. He was always, always an art major.

How about grad students in the humanities? I had a friend in my PhD program who introduced himself as a feminist, and then spent 3 years whining about the fact that women in our program kept winning fellowships and "men weren't even given a chance."

(He also once implied that a man in our program was gay because his best friend was gay, and was stunned when I told him that was a bizarre and bigoted thing to say. LIBERAL DUDES.)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:58 AM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


This could have come across as twice as funny and not half as tone deaf if it wasn't just hopelessly overwrought.

I thought that's exactly what they were going for by titling it "Liberal Dude Erotica." Overly-descriptive, trope-laden run-on sentences are damn near a requirement for that genre.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:00 AM on November 21, 2014 [19 favorites]


What if I am this guy and don't know it? Is it possible to tell if I've completely disappeared up my own asshole? How do I not be this guy?
posted by indubitable at 7:03 AM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


What if I am this guy and don't know it? Is it possible to tell if I've completely disappeared up my own asshole? How do I not be this guy?

If you're reading it and saying "I'm not that guy, obviously" then you're obviously that guy.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:05 AM on November 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


How about grad students in the humanities? I had a friend in my PhD program who introduced himself as a feminist, and then spent 3 years whining about the fact that women in our program kept winning fellowships and "men weren't even given a chance." 

Ah, philosophy.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:06 AM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Lord, I hate looking in mirrors. Ruins my whole day.
posted by Mogur at 7:08 AM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


What if I am this guy and don't know it?

I am or have been This Guy (and various other This Guys) to some degree during most of my life, and I've found the only tonic is to somehow make enough good lady friends who will periodically tell myself to please consider shutting the fuck up for fucks sake
posted by Greg Nog at 7:10 AM on November 21, 2014 [60 favorites]


Some people here are quite adamant about their refusal to understand the joke.
posted by almostmanda at 7:10 AM on November 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


What if I am this guy and don't know it? Is it possible to tell if I've completely disappeared up my own asshole? How do I not be this guy?

I think a big part of it is making sure that when you talk to women you recognize that listening is an important component of actually communicating with someone; if every time you talk to a woman you are just using it as an excuse to share stuff about how great you are to impress her, you are this guy, whether you're trying to impress her with how smart you are or how feminist you are or how sensitive you are.

I think this kind of gets into Kantian ideas of using people as ends and not means but if you say that to a woman to make her impressed with how much you know about Kant you're this guy.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:12 AM on November 21, 2014 [36 favorites]


How do I not be this guy?

Blatantly stare at her "generous cleavage" instead of not noticing it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:14 AM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


I am so very glad that I am no longer in the dating pool.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:15 AM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


What if I am this guy and don't know it? Is it possible to tell if I've completely disappeared up my own asshole? How do I not be this guy?

like frowner, i've been that person about race and trans issues before. the best thing i've done to try to not be that person is to listen, just listen - even when i feel like i have a good point to make, even when i want to say to a black woman complaining about white feminists "yes, ugh, i hate when white people do that!" - listen. wait. give conversations not including me time to grow. realize i'm used to being a big voice in the room and stifle that raising my hand first impulse.

i've found metafilter, twitter, and parts of reddit a good place to practice this - it lets me observe conversations that probably wouldn't be had in front of me in person and it lets me practice just listening. it also allows me to see perspectives i've never considered. when i don't turn conversations that aren't about me back on me or white/cis/etc people or whatever, they are so much more interesting!

anyway, that's what i do to try to not be that person.
posted by nadawi at 7:15 AM on November 21, 2014 [38 favorites]


Men can't ever be feminists, despite their best intentions. At best, they can internalize some of the more balanced perspectives that studies in feminism can uncover--much like learning about common logical fallacies.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 7:16 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Thanks, nadawie, you've made me feel a lot better. :) That's something I can work on.
posted by Mogur at 7:17 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


like frowner, i've been that person about race and trans issues before. the best thing i've done to try to not be that person is to listen, just listen - even when i feel like i have a good point to make, even when i want to say to a black woman complaining about white feminists "yes, ugh, i hate when white people do that!" - listen. wait. give conversations not including me time to grow. realize i'm used to being a big voice in the room and stifle that raising my hand first impulse.

Oh yes 100% true! It's slightly different because it's not sexual but I've definitely been consciously sensitive before in a way that makes me kind of a dick and I think the best solution I've found is shutting up and listening. You can't man/white/cis/whatever-splain if you are letting the other person talk.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:17 AM on November 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


I have the perfect reaction to this story that will impress you.
posted by michaelh at 7:18 AM on November 21, 2014 [29 favorites]


For me a good first step in not being That White Person or That Masculine of Center Person (at which I do not always succeed) has been finding points of resistance within myself and trying to get at why...by which I mean, if I find myself thinking "not all white people" or "well, that essay was certainly rather unfair to masculine of center people", I try to examine that feeling and why I feel so invested. After all, if someone complains about a privileged group identity that I share but am not defensive about, I don't get that "must respond immediately angrily on the internet" feeling - like, I have no trouble reading critiques of white science fiction fans, because while I have that identity I am in a place where I can accept criticism and not freak out. But when someone starts talking about masculine of center people, I have a much angrier, more cathected and more irrational reaction - I want to pick apart their argument and destroy it. I think that it's really important to be able to say "well, in this essay, I recognize that Not All Masculine Of Center People, etc etc, but I am still going to pay more attention to the actual critique in the article rather than nitpicking".

This is much, much harder than it sounds as I type it out.

Basically, I think paying a lot of attention to where you get irrationally defensive is important.
posted by Frowner at 7:23 AM on November 21, 2014 [42 favorites]


I have dated so many of these guys.

They have all their feminist talking points lined up to ensure you are comfortable around them, they are knowledgeable about women's issues, they seem really cool people and you're good friends, and yet...and yet they get horribly shitty and indignant when you don't sleep with him, or if you do sleep with them, they suddenly become not so available to hang out with you or talk to you, all the while reassuring you that they respect the sexual freedom and choice you have, but hey, I have band practice this week but we'll hang out soon, 'kay?

I hate these guys.
posted by Kitteh at 7:24 AM on November 21, 2014 [17 favorites]


has been finding points of resistance within myself and trying to get at why

yes!! that was the part i was trying to figure out how to articulate as well in my message but scrapped it because i couldn't get there. the times i want to respond most, especially to disagree, those are the times it's the most important to listen and to contend with myself why i'm suddenly so, "well, actually..." it's a really powerful exercise i've found to sit with that discomfort instead of voicing it.
posted by nadawi at 7:27 AM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


If you think your idea of a woman's life is more important or true than her actual experience of her own life, that's when you become this guy.
posted by emjaybee at 7:29 AM on November 21, 2014 [39 favorites]


Listen, folks. Man, woman or somewhere on the scale physically or culturally, we've all been horny, callow youth with more energy and confidence than intelligence or experience. Everyone wants to be a special snowflake, and we are rarely shy if sharing our special specialness with any number of over-zealous peers.

I've personally never felt anything but depressed at the idea of hate-fucking or hate-sex. That, I just don't get and will never understand, but hear about it from guys all the time. That kind of sexual aggression, whether it is real or just talk, is not at all something I get on any level whatsoever. And it just plain does not compute and isn't something I relate to.
posted by discopolo at 7:31 AM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's about ethics in Sunny In Philadelphia.
posted by symbioid at 7:33 AM on November 21, 2014


The Toast is sometimes a lot of fun, and occasionally spot on. This instance is a wall of excruciating gibberish.

Somebody, somewhere, owes me at least a six-pack of Sno-Cap for the time I spent examining this kapok.

I won't hold my breath.
posted by Pudhoho at 7:35 AM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


The Toast is sometimes a lot of fun, and occasionally spot on. This instance is a wall of excruciating gibberish.

Pudhoho, a number of people have just come in and said that this is very true to their experiences. I think referring to it as "a wall of excruciating gibberish" is a bit disrespectful to all the people in this thread who have said that this resonates with them.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:37 AM on November 21, 2014 [42 favorites]


I forget where I'd heard the term, but he seems like an "I-wanna-get-you-in-the-sacktivist". We've all met people like this, to one extent or another.

"Ted" is but one example of an even larger genus. Judgmental, aggressively outspoken moralists with a penchant for condescending lectures and one-upmanship are, unsurprisingly, largely motivated by vanity, self-deceit, demonstrative pseudo-asceticism, reaction formation, and projection. To Ted, it is of disproportionate importance to convince himself that he didn't notice the woman's cleavage, even though he obviously did, and it doesn't matter. What is most important to him is the image he presents to himself. He cannot imagine a way to just, you know, notice it, without leering or staring. He is far too selfish and image-obsessed to focus his mental energies on actually being decent to people, without having to be a wandering shepherd whose flock is the world.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:42 AM on November 21, 2014 [28 favorites]


I would say that for most of my life, I've been a solid feminist, because I genuinely believe in equality. I had more than enough women as role models (including an amazing single mom) to ensure that.

In the last few years, however, I've become an OMG-am-I-a-good-enough-feminist? feminist, because so much of my personal internet echo chamber is filled with this and that article on the subject. Some of it has been enlightening. Some of it has been crap. I have learned, for instance, not to spend any more time on Jezebel.

I look at this, and I don't know whether to share it or not, because I can't decide if my friends will get a laugh out of it or if they will think this is so real and not funny at all that things will go horribly wrong. It feels like a trap.

So I guess I'm the sort of feminist who fears my social circle is now overthinking it (SFW comic, possibly NSFW banner ads).

Yeah. I dunno. Funny to me, I guess, because I can look at this and laugh about the "not getting it" humor...but I'm afraid far too many people will see this and say yeah, this is what feminism really means to guys and that it's not a joke at all. :/
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:42 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


after reading the post a couple of times, especially the part about hate masturbating, i keep thinking of kathleen hanna talking about being raped by a "feminist" friend .
posted by nadawi at 7:42 AM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


They have all their feminist talking points lined up to ensure you are comfortable around them, they are knowledgeable about women's issues, they seem really cool people and you're good friends, and yet...

Similarly: I put on a little bit of weight a few years ago and it was AMAZING how quickly some of my progressive feminist dude friends suddenly stopped wanting to hang out.
posted by troika at 7:44 AM on November 21, 2014 [21 favorites]


I really want the author to write a sequel, maybe of the Feminism for Men meeting. Ted Josh could single out the one trans man in the meeting and make him stand up and be acknowledged by everyone. You know, to show just how accepting and progressive he is.

I'm envisioning a whole series of vignettes. Josh tells a stay-at-home mom how proud he is of her for sacrificing her career, even if she is conforming to normative gender roles, oh and she should really be feeding her kids organic food. Josh tells a male nurse how inspiring it is that he's working a traditionally female job instead of going to med school, which is what you really wanted to do, right bro? Josh organizes, and takes part in, a seniors-only orgy to prove that he knows true beauty is something inside of person. Josh punches a 12 year old girl in the face, because he respects her as a person.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:47 AM on November 21, 2014 [14 favorites]


If being thrown into a bit of self-doubt is the worst thing to happen to you today, you might be privileged.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:50 AM on November 21, 2014 [17 favorites]


I thought I lived in a relatively progressive bubble, but this post is completely bewildering to me. It feels like walking into a room where everyone is wearing seemingly-identical blue jumpsuits and someone elbows you and whispers, "Get a load of that guy's jumpsuit collar stitching! Who does he think he is?"
posted by the jam at 7:53 AM on November 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


Pudhoho, a number of people have just come in and said that this is very true to their experiences.

My opinions are my own. When I express them, they are most certainly not intended to gratuitously insult those who do not share them. The main reason I enjoy MetaFilter so much is that I am allowed to express my opinions, especially when my opinion may be unpopular.

I'm glad others enjoyed the content. I didn't and I said so. My distaste for the content isn't an indictment against anyone else's tastes - just an expression of my opinion.
posted by Pudhoho at 7:53 AM on November 21, 2014 [21 favorites]


I dated this guy - philosophy majors. Fucking spot on, and thankfully I have enough distance for it to have wrapped around into hilarious. I'm also really enjoying the parade of men Not Getting It in the comments here.
posted by stoneweaver at 7:55 AM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


This dude has been around, in my personal experience, since the '80s; in my reading, since the '60s, and I'm sure in some guise or other since forever.


Yeah, you really shouldn't flint tools for skinning bears; removing flint disturbs lichen growth, man, and damages the micro-ecosystem. My name is Ogg, come back to my cave and I'll show you some cool tools you can make out of wood, grass, and bone.
posted by Mister_A at 8:00 AM on November 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


My distaste for the content isn't an indictment against anyone else's tastes - just an expression of my opinion.

I totally get this, and I see where you're coming from, but I'd like to suggest that when you refer to something as "gibberish", which is an objective term, it might sound judgmental to people who do like it a way that saying "I don't like it" doesn't. You are completely welcome to your opinion and I'm glad you feel comfortable sharing it, even when it's unpopular, but when it sounds like you're making a judgement of the piece as a whole rather than your reaction to it, it can feel like you're attacking people who do like it or find it valuable.


I'm going to try to stop commenting now so I don't dominate the conversation so if I don't respond please don't think I'm ignoring you.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:00 AM on November 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


I'm also really enjoying the parade of men Not Getting It in the comments here.

To be fair-ish, the real deal Teds of the world tend not to show their true colors to other men. Ted requires a captive audience, one whom he wants to hump.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:00 AM on November 21, 2014 [16 favorites]


Basically, I think paying a lot of attention to where you get irrationally defensive is important.

Really beautifully put, thank you. The places where I feel a defensive hitch, where the fabric gets snagged: Those are the places where my ignorant and unexamined assumptions and unearned privileges are coming into play.

If I let those feelings flourish, I'm going to be That Guy, talking over people who know a hell of a lot more about my topic du jour than I ever could. And I'm not going to be able to learn anything if I insist on getting my hackles up about everything that makes me uncomfortable with my worldview and its accompanying clumsy flailing toward the goal of being a Good Progressive Ally. So whenever I'm lucky enough to find myself in a position where people above whom I'm materially privileged are patiently explaining their lived experiences, I think it's a good idea to just shut the hell up and acknowledge it as a rare, beautiful, and generous thing for them to be doing in the first place. They have to deal with clueless, tactless assholes like me all day, why not give them a break?

I see the spectre of Ted a lot of times when people here talk about what poor people should be doing, saying, or purchasing, or how poor people should behave (use cloth diapers, cook all meals from scratch using fresh ingredients, work full time outside of the home, never have more than one child, etc.). And these are intelligent, educated, generally progressive folks! But it's still just clueless blathering from the perspective of people who have no idea what life is really like when you're poor, or from people who think being poor is like that one time you had to put your college textbooks on your credit card because your student loan money didn't come through in time. Sometimes I feel like jumping in and being obstinate about it, sometimes I just sigh and let it slide. That's exactly how dudes like Ted make me feel about being a woman.

It is hard to recognize these naive kneejerk defensive tendencies in yourself, and it is uncomfortable to work through them. But to me, it just kind of feels like that's the entire point of learning how to live in a world outside of your own head -- how to live in a world with other people in it.
posted by divined by radio at 8:03 AM on November 21, 2014 [34 favorites]


there is an 80s punk rock version of this guy. he is the most punk of the crew, most activist, and the most "off the grid". he works his way thru the punk rock girls, much in the manner that the article's ted works. i wanted to be this guy, i wanted to get the girls like he was, but i was not this guy.
don't get me wrong, no pity party necessary. i'm fine. i am sure i have used a sub-set of these tactics from time to time over my life, but i really, and honestly enjoy listening to people, which i think is what helps keep me from being this guy.
posted by rude.boy at 8:05 AM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


but when it sounds like you're making a judgement of the piece as a whole rather than your reaction to it, it can feel like you're attacking people who do like it or find it valuable.

That only sounds like problem for those who wish to interpret it that way or those who wish to defend those who might feel that way.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:05 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


or, upon review, what Mister_A said.

it might be fun to do a decade-by-decade roundup of this guy thru the ages.
posted by rude.boy at 8:09 AM on November 21, 2014


I'm bothered by the tag #allmenaregarbagebutthiskindespecially. I hate feminist posturing as much as the next person but that hashtag seems unnecessarily mean.
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 8:16 AM on November 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'll tell you what makes me hopeful about this. Yes, this guy is an asshole, but the way he's an asshole shows how far feminism has come—that guys now consider pretending (even to themselves) to be a feminist is a good strategy. In the '60s (Before Modern Feminism), guys tried to get women by acting macho: "Love ya, babe, but I can't be tied down.... welp, gotta be movin' on!" Now that women have gotten really sick of that shit and actually started acquiring some real-life power, men are forced to at least pretend to take their minds and wishes seriously. And the more women call them on that game, the more seriously they'll have to get into it, and who knows—if they pretend hard enough and long enough, they may actually start respecting women!
posted by languagehat at 8:19 AM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


it might be fun to do a decade-by-decade roundup of this guy thru the ages.

The first example I can think of: Heinrich from Possession (1981).

...

Ted exists across time and culture and political beliefs. It's not that Ted only pretends to be a feminist in order to get laid, it's that he's a shitty person whose caddish nature is especially hypocritical in light of his tartufferie.

Negaverse Ted would be a sanctimonious born-again who gets caught spending the church's money on his mistresses. He doesn't actually respect the substance of his espoused beliefs, nor his wife, nor his church, nor even his mistresses: he just likes lording his moral status over everybody else. It doesn't matter what his actual existence as a moral being is: all that matters is the status.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:19 AM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Sticherbeast: "I forget where I'd heard the term, but he seems like an "I-wanna-get-you-in-the-sacktivist""

I was thinking "feminice guy"...

Like Greg Nog - I have been that guy.

I am that guy, and will probably in the future be that guy.

I try hard NOT to be that guy. I mostly succeed, I think. I would like to say I'm perfect in not being that guy, but I am, at times.

I've recently been exchanging some nice OKC messages with someone and it brought to mind, on my way to work this morning, my last OKC dating experience last year.

I won't go into details, and it wasn't predicated on feminism or anything like that (that is we both consider ourselves to the left/liberal, but it wasn't political in nature or we never discussed issues surrounding feminism)...

I made a good night kiss (peck on the lips) move when it wasn't right for multiple reasons, but primarily she had already told me she isn't interested in me in that way, previously...

After that she had not written back in a while so I asked if it was about the kiss and she said that yes, she was hesitant to write back. I apologized and told her she was right (because she was). We ended up not communicating and that's ok (again for multiple reasons). I would like to think she doesn't think I'm scum of the earth and that I'm a guy who is mostly trying to be good an do the right thing, but fucked up. But if not, that's her right to think that, because what I did was a dick move (even if "tame" in comparison to the way a lot of guys act)

Either way, it's that behavior that's disrespectful of bounds that can just get on women's nerves, and frankly, beyond that, they shouldn't have to deal with such bullshit.

I think the closest I can compare it to is this girl in 3rd grade who had a crush on me, and she would chase me all over the play ground, and I ran away because I didn't like her that way That's what girls have to deal with so often. But it's much more difficult, because it's like the guys are pretending to play with the same toys, but they have different motives, and so it's not a clear cut chase. And man how draining it must be to always have to be cognizant of this, even amongst people you presume are your allies.
posted by symbioid at 8:22 AM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


What if I am this guy and don't know it? Is it possible to tell if I've completely disappeared up my own asshole? How do I not be this guy?

At a guess, if you're reading this and asking yourself if you're that guy, you're probably not. Or, at least, you're self-aware enough to notice if you are, moving forward.

Men can't ever be feminists, despite their best intentions.

What?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:27 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


A next-level Ted *doesn't* call himself a feminist because he's been reading (or at least read summaries of, or tumblr posts about) radical feminists who insist that only women should be called feminists. So if a woman does refer to him as a feminist he corrects her to "feminist ally."

This guy is strictly amateur hour.
posted by edheil at 8:28 AM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


As to how to "not be that guy," just have some humility about yourself, it's not that complicated. Think of yourself as a fallible and flawed person, and realize that the things about your self-image that are very important to your ego, probably blind you to truths about yourself that you wouldn't like.

Having grown out of a youthful self-image or two really helps, though it's not a process that ever really ends.
posted by edheil at 8:31 AM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


here is an 80s punk rock version of this guy.

I think it's actually a super generalizable phenomenon, something that you are going to see at Burning Man and in the campus Young Republican and Christian Fellowship clubs and in all kinds of other settings. It's about learning the language and patterns of a group in order to appear like you are genuine, but with the goal of getting laid. It's super manipulative and gross, but it's also incredibly effective, so you will keep seeing men do this.

It's basically scaling up from pretending to be someone's friend in order to get into her pants -- it's an approach that works for an entire group or class of people, not just the one person you are "befriending."
posted by Dip Flash at 8:31 AM on November 21, 2014 [26 favorites]


I am surprised that Hugo Schwyzer has only been mentioned once in this thread, since he seems to be this guy but older and more cynically manipulative and sinister.
posted by edheil at 8:33 AM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


I suspect that problems like this are at some level probably best thought about on a case-by-case basis and judged on their own individual merits. But that said, I definitely used to think I saw this type a lot in my social circles as a young adult (made me resent outspokenly self-identifying liberals in my own circles for a time in early college). For my part, I think (hope) the closest I actually came to being that guy at the time was when I made some "tone arguments" to a couple of my feminist activist friends on a couple of occasions--but not over any particularly high stakes and definitely not to get laid; we were just discussing matters theoretically in polite conversation. At the time, I sincerely (if stupidly) believed the cause of feminism might make more inroads with critics by adopting a slicker, more ingratiating approach to PR outreach. I have since come to be just about as ashamed as it's possible to be over those particular arguments (and many other deeply misguided arguments I made in those days). However, I haven't spent enough time embedded in activist circles recently to really know how common the pattern of the skeezy pseudo-activist dude is today. I'm sure it's common enough though.

On a bit of a tangent, seems to me we could use more dudes engaged with critiques of patriarchy and aspects of contemporary male culture that aren't necessarily explicitly taking up the mantle of feminism to make their critiques (not to say they should disavow feminism in the least, just that there are other angles to the problem that can get overlooked if the discussion is framed a certain way). When a guy criticizes male culture in the name of "feminism," it seems to cast doubt over the entire project from the get-go for a variety of reasons, not least of all concerns like those discussed in this post. But there's plenty to criticize from within contemporary male culture from a feminist-friendly but distinctively male POV, too.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:36 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm bothered by the tag #allmenaregarbagebutthiskindespecially. I hate feminist posturing as much as the next person but that hashtag seems unnecessarily mean.

Think of it this way-- women are still facing a barrage of "women are so overly emotional" and "oh, all women just really want to be mothers" and "ugh there is no use arguing with a woman" and on and on and on. I love reading books of the 1930s, but they are FULL of otherwise nice characters saying "all women are X".

Think of #allmenaregarbagebutthiskindespecially not as being literally about all men (despite being a parody of #notallmen, obviously), but as being a way of pushing back against this constant refrain of cultural "WOMEN, amirite????" poison. Sometimes reversing the direction of painting with a broad brush a)is an intentional parody and b)feels like a relief.

Plus, as this piece and this thread show, women are constantly discovering that their "progressive" male friends are secretly just as misogynist as conservatives, but do it in sneaker ways. Sometimes you feel like rhetorically throwing up your hands for a little bit. Hence the hashtag. Hence the women here going "ugh, YESSSSS."
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:37 AM on November 21, 2014 [13 favorites]


No one likes to be the target of another person's strategy, doubly so when that strategy has anything to do with sex.

Enacting a strategy is inherently objectifying. You are interacting with a person as if they simply are the model that you have of them. The failure mode of this is that you just discard this person from your consideration, and continue searching for someone who fits the model and who thus presumably the strategy will "work" on. Also, the implication of using a strategy is that you want to get something from someone which you would not get, without the strategy.

It doesn't really matter what the strategy is. The gross thing is the combination of objectification and entitlement.

In this case, we are skewering guys whose strategy is "pretend to make common cause with feminists and present myself as a man conforming to their stated cultural preferences => get sex"

If your model is too simple to find any good fits, or to guide you to successful outcomes, you can increase the complexity of the model. You might also try to amplify the power of your strategy by offering "more" of what you think your model wants. Is it not enough to conspicuously display feminist literature in your apartment? Up the ante by volunteering at a clinic, attending a rally, etc.

The big flameout that is the MRA "movement" is basically what you get when people start to realize that the "strategy"-strategy is not working, when they have lived much of their lives being given false guidance on what would get them what they want. "You mean I worked hard all my life, went to college, got a job, bought a house, I'm willing to provide for a family, and I still can't get a woman(object) to sleep with me and give me children? What more can I possibly do? If this strategy doesn't work, what will? Pickup Artist? Mail Order Bride? Things were better in the good old days when women were punished for failing to conform as objects of this strategy."
posted by rustcrumb at 8:38 AM on November 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


Of course the fun part of this realization is that you'll never know if the person you love genuinely likes you, or is just enacting a really complicated strategy that models you well enough to manipulate you into giving them what they want.

Thanks, Peter Watts! Thanks a lot!
posted by rustcrumb at 8:40 AM on November 21, 2014 [27 favorites]


Since it hits home for so many people ... it seems most guys seem to be feminists when, in reality, they just want to get into someone's pants. Most straight guys, invariably, one time or the other, evaluate a woman in terms of her sexual attractiveness to them.

Does that mean that only gay guys can truly be feminists?


Perhaps they should have shown Ted not being feminist and understanding when in company of someone unattractive.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 8:41 AM on November 21, 2014


if the only thing you got out of that is that any straight guy who evaluates a woman in terms of her sexual attractiveness is a ted*, then i think you should read it again. it's not about wanting to bone - nearly everyone wants to bone at some point, at many points even - it's about how much is a put on and how much is authentic - how much is an exercise in ego rather than trying to connect with another person. it's also about walking the walk instead of talking the talk. i have had just met that day, no strings attached, respectful, filthy sex with men who align with feminism. it's not the desire to fuck that's the issue.

*my vote for an alternate name is "topher."
posted by nadawi at 8:46 AM on November 21, 2014 [27 favorites]


This could have come across as twice as funny and not half as tone deaf if it wasn't just hopelessly overwrought. Maybe the author could have another go, scale all of the dopey tropes back a stitch or two, and use half as many. I'm not sure why the go-to approach is to lather it on like all potential readers are hopelessly dim and need to have the equivalent of someone stopping to mansplain every goddamn thing as they go.

Except for two things:

1. They didn't overexaggerate all that much, and

2. Some people (in this thread, even) still didn't get it.

So I can't tell whether you're coming from a place of either a) "Come on, guys aren't REALLY like this, that's ridiculous" or b) "the people who don't get this are stupid".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:49 AM on November 21, 2014


My brain soundtracked the article and comments with this, which is more about the sex and less about the condescension. (That may be the OP article title.)

I was married to a guy like this in the 90s. All over gender-neutral pronouns and defending abortion clinics because he was a feminist, but he had some really insidiously sexist (and frankly misogynist) ideas about how to run his personal life. I get that the article is over-the-top, but yeah, on some levels it hits a little close to home.
posted by immlass at 8:50 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


it's not the desire to fuck that's the issue.

Yeah, I'm baffled by a few of the comments in here, which characterize a man being attracted to a woman as being inherently anti-feminist, or whatever. Indeed, that is exactly one of the viewpoints being directly mocked in the article, viz. the cleavage bit. Be attracted to people, have sex with people, whatever, just treat people like people. Yes, of course there are many negative trends which are related to sexual attraction, but it does not follow that we must categorically abandon sex and find the very idea of sexual attraction to be inherently abhorrent.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:51 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am surprised that Hugo Schwyzer has only been mentioned once in this thread

That's because old Hugo is dead to us.
posted by discopolo at 8:52 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've got a question: How does this guy finance his life? How do you stay in school that long? Piling up debt? Rich parents? Grants?
posted by Trochanter at 8:56 AM on November 21, 2014


Nadawi, I only know one Topher and he's a gay guy who looks like Chris Elliot.
posted by jonmc at 8:58 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


sometimes they work at the cool coffee or pizza shop, but a lot of them have family money in some way.
posted by nadawi at 8:58 AM on November 21, 2014


It doesn't matter what his actual existence as a moral being is: all that matters is the status.

Right, exactly, and the weird thing, and I think what is provoking a bunch of the critical reaction, is that the piece itself apparently shares a bunch of this politics-as-personal-positioning outlook even while it seems to want to satirize it. The butt of the joke is Ted's (really, I always think of them as Ezras) hypocritical indifference to the substance of his supposed views, the way he espouses a set of seemingly political stances but he only does it as a way of socially signaling his membership in the right tribe, his status as the right kind of guy. But then the piece does the same thing, jamming Chomsky and Marx and atheism and feminism and a bunch of purely cultural stuff kind of indifferently into the same "liberal dude" pigeonhole. This might be the rare case where the listicle approach would've worked better, so that for instance the aggressively-atheist-dude (call him Josh) and the pontifical-Chomsky-dude (he's usually Ben) could be satirized separately and more pointedly, since at least IME they're generally not the same dude much at all.

But I dunno, The Toast is of course right next to the National Review on my mental magazine rack

This was funnier than anything in the article but it also demonstrates the same problem of seeing "politics" as a matter of tribal identity. Like, is it truly impossible to believe that The Toast might publish a piece that perhaps inadvertently echoed some of the aspects of a conservative worldview, just because it's The Toast? The critique that a seemingly progressive-positioned thing actually has an underlying conservative worldview is not really well answered by "no, it's obviously a progressive thing because of who published it." That's exactly what Ted would say: it's impossible to critique him for acting like a douche in some specific moment because he's a feminist, that's his identity, it's already been established by how he positions himself socially.
posted by RogerB at 8:58 AM on November 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


i actually known 4 different tophers that were some form of ted. maybe i just have bad topher luck.
posted by nadawi at 8:58 AM on November 21, 2014


Yeah, I'm baffled by a few of the comments in here, which characterize a man being attracted to a woman as being inherently anti-feminist, or whatever. Indeed, that is exactly one of the viewpoints being directly mocked in the article, viz. the cleavage bit. Be attracted to people, have sex with people, whatever, just treat people like people. Yes, of course there are many negative trends which are related to sexual attraction, but it does not follow that we must categorically abandon sex and find the very idea of sexual attraction to be inherently abhorrent.

I'm baffled at you being baffled, if I'm understanding what you're saying. Sexual attraction doesn't manifest itself exclusively in that objectifying manner, which is a very crude, gross way---salivating over just cleavage. I mean, it's pretty bizarro to me to just look at someone in pieces or be attracted to someone in pieces. I can't really understand that. There was a really fantastic looking guy in one of my classes once but he was so not attractive whenever he let who he was be known, that nobody cared about him or found him sexually attractive anymore.

Maybe that difference is why some men keep insisting on sending dick pics, though. As though we're wired to get excited by seeing a picture of some rando's dick without knowing anything about who he is. It's weird. It doesn't seem like a genuine attraction.
posted by discopolo at 8:59 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Deception is regrettably common in mate selection. Oh perfidious orchid!
posted by jcrcarter at 9:03 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm baffled by a few of the comments in here, which characterize a man being attracted to a woman as being inherently anti-feminist, or whatever. Indeed, that is exactly one of the viewpoints being directly mocked in the article, viz. the cleavage bit. Be attracted to people, have sex with people, whatever, just treat people like people.

Exactly.

Okay, you know what this is mocking: you know how when you're in high school and you have a massive crush on a girl and you find out that she's really into something specific, like cheese or dobermans or something, and you don't necessarily care about that thing either way but you start obsessively making a show of liking that thing, all fake-casual, whenever you're around her, because you think that'll make her like you - "yeah, just eatin' my cheese sandwich here, 'cause I loves me some cheese - oh, look, you like cheese too? What a huge coincidence!"

Yeah. This is like that. Except instead of the guy being the nerdy freshman who's all "what a coincidence!" about something minor like "hey, we both like cheese!" it's a grown-ass man who's all "what a coincidence!" over something more serious like the rights of women. And if you thought the girl you were trying to win over by talking about cheese all the time was annoyed, that's NOTHING compared to how sick women are of grown-ass men who should know better putting on this kind of "what a coincidence!" act about important shit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:04 AM on November 21, 2014 [20 favorites]


You're also not treating women as people if you're just licking your lips over their cleavage or ass or evaluating them like that and making stuff up to just to trick them into having sex with you. You're not treating people well if you're just trying to get what you want from them without considering how you're manipulating or misleading them so you can get what you want out of them.
posted by discopolo at 9:06 AM on November 21, 2014


Josh tells a stay-at-home mom how proud he is of her for sacrificing her career, even if she is conforming to normative gender roles

"You don't need to go in the other room, I'm totally comfortable with you breastfeeding in front of me."
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:07 AM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Maybe sexual attraction doesn't manifest itself exclusively in that objectifying manner, which is a very crude way---salivating over just cleavage. I mean, it's pretty bizarro to me to just look at someone in pieces or be attracted to someone in pieces. I can't really understand that.

I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about here - it doesn't seem to relate what I was saying. Nobody was talking about salivating over anybody's cleavage. What the article mocks is the fact that Ted perceives himself as the kind of guy who doesn't even "notice" cleavage, even though obviously he just did, otherwise he couldn't make a subconscious mental note of it. He's doing mental somersaults in order to prove to himself that he's so morally superior, even though all he really needed to do was not gawp/leer/stare/etc. at the person before him. It's a joke similar to when Stephen Colbert says that he's so color-blind that he doesn't even know that he's white, he just takes other people's word for it.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:08 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've got a question: How does this guy finance his life? How do you stay in school that long? Piling up debt? Rich parents? Grants?

As the article notes, “I’m a pretty liberated guy, probably not like the ones you’ve known before. I’m okay with a woman buying me things.”

And at least for the guys I knew like this, it wasn't a permanent thing: it worked great for the seven years they had fellowships and TAships during their PhD, and then maybe for a couple years of postdoc, but once they got their tenure track job they either got married or started going after slightly older women.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:10 AM on November 21, 2014


"You don't need to go in the other room, I'm totally comfortable with you breastfeeding in front of me."

He gently strokes the baby's head and murmurs something hushed and passionate about the beauty of motherhood and the sanctity of the connection between mother and feeding child. A single unashamed tear slides down his cheek.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:12 AM on November 21, 2014 [15 favorites]


I'm bothered by the tag #allmenaregarbagebutthiskindespecially. I hate feminist posturing as much as the next person but that hashtag seems unnecessarily mean.

The truth is, I don't like it much either, because I don't like calling large categories of people garbage, even in jest, and because I think that it tends to suggest that somehow men are more "garbage" than white people or cis people...I mean, just because I have had some misogynist shit happen to me doesn't mean that I get to talk as if I'm primarily a victim rather than at least as much a perpetrator.

But I think the trick is to get past getting hung up on in-group rhetoric that you yourself don't use. In this instance, it's in-group rhetoric among women of a particular generation and background, and the meaning I assign to it is different from the meaning that they assign to it. If I spend all my time getting all overwrought about a tag because it's mean, it either seems to be because I unconsciously want to avoid dealing with the substance of the critique or because I am getting unintentionally derailed from the core of the conversation.

It's totally legit to think that "I hate [privileged group], they should all die in a fire" is unappealing rhetoric, I think, but it's not okay to get into "I think you people should use this other rhetoric because it is totally my place to weigh in" or "I am not going to listen to the substance of the critique because I don't like the language".

I think that when you're coming from a place of privilege, it's important to just sort of mentally be accepting of many different rhetorics and approaches by marginalized people, without trying to come in from the outside and pick and choose among them and without letting yourself get worked up. It's like, maybe this rhetoric is useful for the group, maybe it's not useful, maybe you'll look up in a year and realize that your opinions have changed and you think it's great, maybe the group will decide that it's internally divisive or just boring, maybe it will turn into their most effective mobilizing language ever - you don't know. I think respecting people's autonomy means just leaving all those possibilities out there without saying "I want this to happen". It's okay for marginalized groups to use uncomfortable rhetoric - not just because it's never a good idea to tone police, but because it's okay for marginalized groups to make their own judgments about how they do stuff and then succeed or fail or a bit of both on their own terms.

I think a big piece in all of this is reminding myself to respect others' autonomy unless there is some overriding reason for me to intervene. "This makes me feel uncomfortable and I think it's a bit useless" is not an overriding reason.
posted by Frowner at 9:12 AM on November 21, 2014 [20 favorites]


it might be fun to do a decade-by-decade roundup of this guy thru the ages

Thanks to the association of "that guy" with philosophy majors, I'm having a hard time not picturing Jean-Paul Satre* with Simone de Beauvoir up against a lamp post at the École Normale Supérieure, whispering in her ear, "But what I find beautiful about you, the part of you I’m hard for right now, it's that you're so ... so .... authentic."

* I actually have no idea if Jean-Paul Sartre was one of those kind especially guys.
posted by drlith at 9:13 AM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Argh there are so many good things I want to reply to here!

I definitely think I was this guy in my early twenties. I probably still am at some points, because we all fail. It's both nothing to be ashamed of (because eh, people fail) and something to be ashamed of, because it is a bad pattern of behaviour.

what I take away from the linked piece is that it is totally unconscious on the part of the guy. He's not cynical. He really, sincerely believes that he believes his beliefs.

No one likes to be the target of another person's strategy,

I think both of these are true at the same point, and get at the heart of the issue. The line between "I am cynically doing this as a get-you-in-the-sacktivist" to "I am doing this noncynically and if you are attracted to it, happy bonus" to "I am doing this entirely on moral belief and don't give a shit if you're attracted to me" is fine and more importantly, fluid. They can all be true in my head at the same time1 which is weird. The only good solution is essentially, fuck what I actually think. What I need to care about is how other people interpret it. Because if I'm offending people, or making them feel uncomfortable, then there's a problem.

It's like - yes, I'm attracted to a number of my friends. I'm unattached, we're at least reasonably compatible (I mean, they're my friends for a reason!), and I spend a lot of time with them. Of course I'll be attracted to them! The challenge of making sure I'm not treating them differently is obviously my burden to bear. That's ok. I don't really have a conclusion here. But as a cishet male feminist, this rings uncomfortably true and is hilarious for it!

Also I am a little surprised nobody's mentioned like Russell Brand or the like. That's similar to what I was picturing.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:14 AM on November 21, 2014


Stitcherbeast, My understanding of your previous comment is that you're taking issue with the criticism of how men are attracted to women, as described by how Ted pretends he's better than salivating over Elizabeth's breasts. I thought you were saying male sexual attraction is the whole salivating wolfishly over a woman's ass or breasts, and I'm just saying I don't get how it is hard to understand that that behavior is anti-feminist.
posted by discopolo at 9:14 AM on November 21, 2014


I've got a question: How does this guy finance his life? How do you stay in school that long? Piling up debt? Rich parents? Grants?

So the first rule of grad school is never pay for grad school. Unless you're doing it terribly, terribly wrong (or are going into a professional program that will make you lots of money later), they're supposed to pay you, instead of you paying them. A graduate student stipend isn't much, but often it's just enough for you to support yourself on.

The problem comes in when you run out of grad school and discover that most people in your age cohort have, like, savings, and assets, and stuff, and you don't, and that (unless you win the tenure track job lottery) you never will.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:14 AM on November 21, 2014


the pontifical-Chomsky-dude (he's usually Ben)

Oh my god, Chomsky dudes are so often Bens, it's horribly true.

On the other hand, I know the most wonderful Ben in the world. Perhaps Bens are either very good or very bad?
posted by Frowner at 9:15 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes, definitely not all Ben.
posted by RogerB at 9:20 AM on November 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


only for certain values of ben
posted by poffin boffin at 9:21 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Derp. Forgot my 1

1: This 3-fold thing comes up a lot in my mental model of "why am I doing nice things". 1-Full cynic/benefit to me; 2-I get the benefit of feeling moral superiority; 3-purely because doing nice things is a good idea. I'm ok with all of them being true at once, if only because once I get into the trap of being unsure why I'm doing things I generally stop doing anything.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:23 AM on November 21, 2014


Stitcherbeast, My understanding of your previous comment is that you're taking issue with the criticism of how men are attracted to women, as described by how Ted pretends he's better than salivating over Elizabeth's breasts. I thought you were saying male sexual attraction is the whole salivating wolfishly over a woman's ass or breasts, and I'm just saying I don't get how it is hard to understand that that behavior is anti-feminist.

No, you are not reading me correctly at all. You also seem to be missing the article's joke about noticing cleavage: Ted is the one who thinks it's morally superior to pointedly not "notice" cleavage. Ted is the one who would conflate noticing with leering, salivation, etc.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:23 AM on November 21, 2014


Okay, you know what this is mocking: you know how when you're in high school and you have a massive crush on a girl and you find out that she's really into something specific, like cheese or dobermans or something, and you don't necessarily care about that thing either way but you start obsessively making a show of liking that thing, all fake-casual, whenever you're around her, because you think that'll make her like you - "yeah, just eatin' my cheese sandwich here, 'cause I loves me some cheese - oh, look, you like cheese too? What a huge coincidence!"

That's how I first got into Duran Duran in late elementary/early middle school. A girl I had a big crush on adored them and I tried to cultivate an interest in them too, to appeal to her. Many years later, I started genuinely appreciating the music (especially the bass lines) on its own terms and that inauthentic appreciation became an authentic one. But definitely, my fifth/sixth grade self was faking it (not strictly to get laid, as I didn't really understand what that meant yet, but to appeal to a girl). Seems like it's a pretty common phenomenon that isn't limited to activist communities or any particular flavor of ideology or interest. Not sure if it's more helpful or harmful to frame this as being somehow an issue specific to "liberal" guys, though that focus may be merely for rhetorical emphasis.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:28 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am exactly like this guy because I too am very attractive and everyone enjoys my company
Great post about an important subject :)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:30 AM on November 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


nadawi: "if the only thing you got out of that is that any straight guy who evaluates a woman in terms of her sexual attractiveness is a ted*, then i think you should read it again. it's not about wanting to bone - nearly everyone wants to bone at some point, at many points even - it's about how much is a put on and how much is authentic - how much is an exercise in ego rather than trying to connect with another person. it's also about walking the walk instead of talking the talk. i have had just met that day, no strings attached, respectful, filthy sex with men who align with feminism. it's not the desire to fuck that's the issue.
"

I dont agree with the point that "any straight guy who evaluates a woman in terms of her sexual attractiveness is a ted*" and neither am I making it.

This article basically presents both the behavior of a guy and the internal monologue or thought process of that guy .... and the contrast between the two is what creates the narrative ... So, as presented in the article, Ted is the guy who acts like a feminist while objectifying women in his mind.

My point is that since so many comments are essentially "OMG, I have seen that contrast before", such thought processes are quite common. In fact, thats why it hits close to home ... almost all guys, at sometime or the other, have objectified women while professing to be feminists.

In sum, my point is more about how the article is written ... it basically talks mostly about the sexual thought process than the objectifying thought process of Ted ... and in process, it neither caricatures the hypocrisy of progressive Ted completely nor works as a good caricature of erotica.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 9:30 AM on November 21, 2014


In the '60s (Before Modern Feminism), guys tried to get women by acting macho: "Love ya, babe, but I can't be tied down.... welp, gotta be movin' on!" Now that women have gotten really sick of that shit...

let's not kid ourselves, there are still plenty of this guy around too
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:30 AM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


demonstrates the same problem of seeing "politics" as a matter of tribal identity...

grad school is full of people being supported by their parents in one way or another. "politics" is a way of putting some distance (in your mind) between yourself and your parents and the kids you went to high school with in the suburbs.

the thing is, though, i've met Ted's Josh's "coed" date and she is a grad student in english lit. she has the same suburban parents and is dead set on reproducing the power relations that got her where she is, just on her own terms.

I once got to spend a couple days with Josh and the coed as I renovated the bathroom in their apartment. It was hell. The worst part of it is that they don't even read any of the books they throw at each other.
posted by ennui.bz at 9:31 AM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Seems like it's a pretty common phenomenon that isn't limited to activist communities or any particular flavor of ideology or interest. Not sure if its more helpful or harmful to frame this as being somehow an issue specific to "liberal" guys, though that focus may be merely for rhetorical emphasis.

The differences between your case and this situation are:

a) you were in fifth grade when you pulled this shit, and these guys are grown men. Most people grow out of the "pretend to like shit just to impress girls" phase because they eventually realize it's obnoxious.

b) In your case it was about a band. In this case it's about a sociological approach to how to behave towards an entire class of people.

It's like being cool - if you go around constantly proving how [x] you are, maybe you're not really as [x] as you think.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:32 AM on November 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


since at least IME they're generally not the same dude much at all.

And yet a lot of the comments here and on The Toast say "Oh yeah, that guy. I dated a guy like this. I know guys like this." Sure, there's a bit of a red-baiting flavor to it because it associates hypocritical male feminism with radical leftism, rather than liberalism, which is obviously different, and in this it resembles a conservative's satire of radical leftism in general. But the piece's caricature of a superficially well-meaning upper-middle-class misogynist isn't inaccurate.

Like, is it truly impossible to believe that The Toast might publish a piece that perhaps inadvertently echoed some of the aspects of a conservative worldview, just because it's The Toast?

No, hardly. I've read a number of critiques of Charlotte Shane's politics and have been left ambivalent about both the critiques and Charlotte Shane's politics. I take your point.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:34 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


The key to the success of a Ted is the existence of an Elizabeth, the smart, ambitious, attractive, naive frosh who may well have been the most progressive girl in her high school class, but whose genteel upbringing has sheltered her from the hard and possibly romanticized truths that the Teds of the world purport to represent.

Guys like Ted prey on naive, earnest young women.
posted by Mister_A at 9:37 AM on November 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


Seems like it's a pretty common phenomenon that isn't limited to activist communities or any particular flavor of ideology or interest.

I read a lot of really great books in college because of this phenomenon.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:38 AM on November 21, 2014


"Ted is the guy who acts like a feminist while objectifying women in his mind. "

that's not the entirety of the article or what people are responding to.
But then he felt his pocket buzz and he reached for his phone. It was a text from his housemate, thanking him again for telling her about how bad tampons were for the planet.
this is not about objectifying, attractiveness, or sex - this is about using feminism as a crutch to tell women about their own lived experiences so much that he's all the way into telling women what the best way to menstruate is. there are touches like this all over the article. it's also not just that his internal monologue is gross, but that his outward actions are similarly pretty lacking.
posted by nadawi at 9:44 AM on November 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


In this instance, it's in-group rhetoric among women of a particular generation and background, and the meaning I assign to it is different from the meaning that they assign to it.

The problem is that the in-group rhetoric is being posted to public forum with a larger and more diverse population. It makes hilarious sense as a simple tag on The Toast. As the sole verbiage in a post on Metafilter, it's bound to annoy and possibly anger.

This isn't so much about marginalized groups using their own rhetoric, but following principle of respect and don't be mean. No one can force you to, but don't surprised if people are pissed off or annoyed and please don't tell them they're wrong to feel how they feel. Everybody hates when that shit is done to them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:03 AM on November 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


To give this a name other than "Hugo Schwyzer," I think it's pretty similar to what George Lipsitz called strategic anti-essentialism in his critique of cultural appropriation. It's cloaking yourself in symbols of a non-dominant social group as an implicit claim that you're not just another member of the dominant group but rather a cooler kind of person than that, when in fact the appropriation only makes it harder to see that you're mostly still doing the same old junk.

I hope it's obvious though that I think everyone should engage with feminist thought--just don't be a jerk about it or imagine it makes you immune to critique. It's not like feminist theorists aren't painfully sharp in critiquing each other too.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:09 AM on November 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


This sort of thing (i.e. the unconscious misogyny of TFA's protagonist) is exactly why I think it's important for people to outright and out-loud say "I am racist, sexist, etc." Acknowledge that you harbor a nest of vipers of prejudices trained into you by society, and then strive to deal with them on a daily basis. Telling yourself you're enlightened and noble and whatever just leads to this exact sort of behavior. I for one think that it's entirely possible (in fact, almost necessary) to be both a racist and an anti-racist, a misogynist and a feminist.
posted by cthuljew at 10:26 AM on November 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


It's like being cool - if you go around constantly proving how [x] you are, maybe you're not really as [x] as you think.

How do you "prove" a nonsense claim? (Just kidding. Sort of.)

I completely agree that this happens, I just wonder if it doesn't have some overlap/common roots with a more basic thing that isn't just about ideology and isn't limited to liberals. I mean, aren't there probably libertarian Teds, too? Why is it important that Ted is "liberal"?

Also, I seriously doubt any of the Teds in the world are even remotely as consciously manipulative and hypocritical as the Ted depicted in the article, which probably makes the account ring false to people who might otherwise recognize themselves in it. People aren't necessarily honest even with themselves in their own running interior monologues.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:27 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


And yet a lot of the comments here and on The Toast say "Oh yeah, that guy. I dated a guy like this. I know guys like this."

A lot of Forer effect there, I think. Pretty much anyone who dates guys or knows guys can think of a guy they've dated or known who resembles Ted, precisely because Ted's depiction is so scattershot. Whereas a really pointedly specific satire might actually have needed explanation, or prompted more of a "huh?" response, or had a larger fraction of readers thinking "nope, never met anyone like this, thank god."

she has the same suburban parents and is dead set on reproducing the power relations that got her where she is, just on her own terms.

And she reads The Toast religiously

posted by RogerB at 10:28 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


That's how I first got into Duran Duran in late elementary/early middle school. .... Not sure if it's more helpful or harmful to frame this as being somehow an issue specific to "liberal" guys, though that focus may be merely for rhetorical emphasis.

It's the irony that makes Ted funnier than the otherwise analogous examples.

That's why it's important to the humour that Ted is a liberal and a feminist. Irony.

Put any non-feminist, non-liberal man in there and you lose the irony. And irony is delicious.
posted by clawsoon at 10:29 AM on November 21, 2014


Telling yourself you're enlightened and noble and whatever

Well, giving yourself a pass to be racist and sexist because it's just "natural" and "inevitable" might not be an improvement on hypocrisy either though.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:29 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Put any non-feminist, non-liberal man in there and you lose the irony. And irony is delicious.

I'll buy that. Aesthetically, it works.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:30 AM on November 21, 2014


Whereas a really pointedly specific satire might actually have needed explanation, or prompted more of a "huh?" response, or had a larger fraction of readers thinking "nope, never met anyone like this, thank god."

As opposed to this thread, where we have 140-odd comments of everyone getting it and needing no explanation.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:33 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, giving yourself a pass to be racist and sexist because it's just "natural" and "inevitable" might not be an improvement on hypocrisy either though.

Ah, no. It's not saying that to yourself as a pass, but merely as recognition of an inevitable fact. It's not okay to ACT racist/sexist/etc. But it's not really avoidable to have those attitudes or reactions (given the present state of our society). You can't control what sorts of views you're inculcated with; you can control how and whether you act on them in the presence of better options.
posted by cthuljew at 10:33 AM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Well, giving yourself a pass to be racist and sexist because it's just "natural" and "inevitable" might not be an improvement on hypocrisy either though.

It's not giving yourself a pass, it's acknowledging your flaws and admitting to yourself and others that you are not some mythical paragon of perfection from birth onwards. Everyone on earth, everyone in this thread, has said a racist thing in their life, has said a sexist thing, an ableist thing, a homophobic thing. Every single one of us. To deny it is to lie to yourself and to everyone else. It's learning from that that's important. It's not giving free rein to asshole tendencies. Everyone still has something to learn about how to be a good person not for ulterior motives of getting laid but because being a good person is a good thing to be. I'll even settle for "decent human being who actually tries".
posted by poffin boffin at 10:34 AM on November 21, 2014 [25 favorites]


I mean, aren't there probably libertarian Teds, too?

No, because libertarianism isn't really a ideology known for large amounts of women. Things like born-again Christianity, environmentalism, have much better gender balance.

I'll also say, it's amazing to see the quibbling this article gets when all manner of other articles lampooning targets that aren't Metafilter's target demographic (libertarians, Christians) don't have nearly the complaints.
posted by zabuni at 10:36 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


So I can't tell whether you're coming from a place of either a) "Come on, guys aren't REALLY like this, that's ridiculous" or b) "the people who don't get this are stupid".
Since you ask: a resounding "B". Like a lot of (most? All?) the other commenters, I have known/been this guy. My objection is not that it carries no truth, but that the truth it carries is denatured by the broad, self-satisfied smirkiness, and the fact that the bits we're all supposed to be recognizing as that guy are larded on with a trowel. I think it's unfortunate that it comes off as so deeply unfunny in an oh-god-I'm-stuck-in-a-room-with-endless-Letterman-reruns-forever way.

More interestingly, the fact that it is so broad, unsubtle and cudgel-y makes it seem more like "erotica for people who want to feel superior to this dude" than "Liberal Dude Erotica."
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 10:37 AM on November 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


You can't control what sorts of views you're inculcated with; you can control how and whether you act on them in the presence of better options.

You can definitely work on these things deliberately though, even unconscious biases. For instance, I used to get a little nervous whenever I would run into a black person out in the world because I had always been so culturally isolated from direct contact with black people growing up. It bugged me because I couldn't lie to myself and pretend I didn't feel it, and as a college student, it wasn't like I could avoid more diversity than I was used to. So for a couple of years, I made a point of noticing every time it happened and trying to consciously correct the thoughts and feelings when they occurred. It eventually worked and now I don't get any more freaked out about running into a black guy in the street at dusk than I would about running into a white guy.

I'll also say, it's amazing to see the quibbling this article gets when all manner of other articles lampooning targets that aren't Metafilter's target demographic (libertarians, Christians) don't have nearly the complaints.

I'm not quibbling with it, just trying to engage with it, which I assume is the point of these things.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:40 AM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


i feel like the writing style is pretty spot on for both the toast's tone and as something based on erotica. some people might not find it funny but that's not the same as it not being funny.
posted by nadawi at 10:41 AM on November 21, 2014


saulgoodman: That is EXACTLY what I mean. Glad we agree.
posted by cthuljew at 10:41 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


the fact that it is so broad, unsubtle and cudgel-y

I think this is intentional, though. The men described are really that self-deluded and nakedly hypocritical. A subtle approach wouldn't be doing it justice. And it's telling that, even as clunky and unsubtle as you're making it out to be, there are still people here claiming they don't get it.
posted by almostmanda at 10:45 AM on November 21, 2014


I don't get what is upsetting people about this piece. The guy is an arrogant, self-deluded faux-feminist douche! I know guys like that. They exist! Anyone who reads the piece and feels personally attacked maybe needs to do some self-examination.
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:58 AM on November 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


Back in the day, I was convinced that this was what was going on with all the sociology majors with a concentration in gender studies who I knew. Later, I decided that was uncharitable and the result of my own cynicism and jealousy (those guys really do seem to have a lot of success in getting women to sleep with them). But maybe I was right about at least some of them.
posted by Area Man at 10:59 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Oh, in that case, go on back." he said. He pressed a button. A wall of books opened, and I walked like a lamb into that bustling pleasure palace known as Flossie's. Red flocked wallpaper and a Victorian decor set the tone. Pale, nervous girls with black-rimmed glasses and blunt-cut hair lolled around on sofas, riffling Penguin Classics provocatively. A blonde with a big smile winked at me, nodded toward a room upstairs, and said, "Wallace Stevens, eh?" But it wasn't just intellectual experiences. They were peddling emotional ones, too. For fifty bucks, I learned, you could "relate without getting close." For a hundred, a girl would lend you her Bartok records, have dinner, and then let you watch while she had an anxiety attack. For one-fifty, you could listen to FM radio with twins. For three bills, you got the works: A thin Jewish brunette would pretend to pick you up at the Museum of Modern Art, let you read her master's, get you involved in a screaming quarrel at Elaine's over Freud's conception of women, and then fake a suicide of your choosing - the perfect evening, for some guys. Nice racket. Great town, New York.
posted by 99_ at 11:06 AM on November 21, 2014 [19 favorites]


Ted is just the feminist sub-variant of your standard passive-aggressive narcissist i.e. a Nice Guy. These guys will do anything to avoid approaching women in a traditional and straightforward manner, since that is hard and sometimes scary and carries the risk of rejection. Some even pretend to be gay (yes, it's a thing), but that seems hard to pull off and carries a high risk of being found out. Much easier, and no doubt more common, to pretend to be a feminist. And as Hugo Schwyzer proved, it works really, really well.

As to how to not be him, well... if you're a dude and got upset and defensive about this article, that's not a good sign...
posted by mrbigmuscles at 11:16 AM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


On the other hand, I know the most wonderful Ben in the world. Perhaps Bens are either very good or very bad?

Yes we are. [/eponysterical]

I too am shocked at the strong reactions and Not Getting It in this thread. I am a straight, white, feminist guy, and I thought it was hilarious. Everyone knows that REAL feminist guys feel guilty afterwards for looking at a woman's cleavage. ;)
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:18 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


But I think the trick is to get past getting hung up on in-group rhetoric that you yourself don't use.
posted by Frowner at 12:12 PM on November 21 [4 favorites +] [!]


I'm pretty much in the target audience for an article like this (hetero, liberal, feminist woman). I really like The Toast and without fully reading the tag I thought I was clicking onto an ironically misandrist article like Misandrist Lullabies.

The article is hilarious and paints an accurate picture of men I know. Yes, perhaps the intent was to turn the "Woman are so crazy and emotional" sayings on its head. Still, I stand by my belief that the tag is problematic and I agree with Brandon that this was not the best way to frame the article on MeFi.
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 11:22 AM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think some people are just taking the opportunity to take the piss since the Totes fans are a little defensive as of late about some fairly unoriginal humor ideas, so you know, it's fun to point out that maybe other people have done this sort of thing better before
posted by 99_ at 11:24 AM on November 21, 2014


Ah, no. It's not saying that to yourself as a pass, but merely as recognition of an inevitable fact. It's not okay to ACT racist/sexist/etc. But it's not really avoidable to have those attitudes or reactions (given the present state of our society). You can't control what sorts of views you're inculcated with; you can control how and whether you act on them in the presence of better options.

I am a chauvinist, my support of pay equality and a couple of years of paid parental leave notwithstanding. I may not be a racist (by the narrow definition of the term) but I'm certainly prejudiced. If the discussion excludes people with flaws, only sociopaths can participate.

For some reason this discussion reminds me of the debate on international development. The "Western Savior" is a terrible paradigm but we can't let it stop us from trying to help.
The goal is not sinlessness, it's introspection.
posted by Octaviuz at 11:45 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


The key to the success of a Ted is the existence of an Elizabeth, the smart, ambitious, attractive, naive frosh who may well have been the most progressive girl in her high school class, but whose genteel upbringing has sheltered her from the hard and possibly romanticized truths that the Teds of the world purport to represent.

Well, this is why so many Teds are graduate students in the humanities. I was 23-25, handsome enough, confidently in command of the material and good in front of a crowd, and there was an Elizabeth who would show up in my office hours regularly just about every quarter to flirt and dangle herself. The TA is catnip for Elizabeth. I never took any of them up on it due to being in a committed relationship, but I certainly enjoyed the attention and didn't do enough to dissuade them. I even took the one I liked best to lunch once, such an indulgent dummy I was. And all that definitely impacted my relationships with women generally and with my girlfriend especially-thinking that the Elizabeth's were about how great I was rather than about the lucky power dynamic I was in, where I got to demonstrate being just a little older and just a little more confident and put together in front of a roomful of potential Elizabeths every week. Exacerbated my Ted tendencies, made me more arrogant.

I don't remember that 'me' very fondly and he basically went away once I quit grad school.
posted by Kwine at 11:47 AM on November 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


Back in the day, I was convinced that this was what was going on with all the sociology majors with a concentration in gender studies who I knew.

Jian Ghomeshi comes uncomfortably to mind as exactly this.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:58 AM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


I haven't been the guy who uses left politics as a sexual strategy but I have been the guy who gets caught up in his (genuine) left politics that he ends up shouting at a woman about don't you get it we need more feminism. So, uh I don't think this is about how you shouldn't want to have sex with people I think it's about how you shouldn't be an asshole.

I *is* true that the idea of this guy is a meme on the right, but come on it's The Toast that's not where it's fucking coming from.
posted by atoxyl at 12:00 PM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I forget where I'd heard the term, but he seems like an "I-wanna-get-you-in-the-sacktivist".

I never heard of a general term for this phenomenon, but there was a guy in that category I went to college with who had the nickname of "Campus Leftist Stud."
posted by jonp72 at 12:06 PM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm a good looking straight guy who was a grad student in the humanities (now an assistant prof), I took numerous courses in the Gender Studies department (and taught a couple), and I've NEVER had a student -- male or female -- flirt with me. And I even taught for a year at an all-women's college! At least, I've never noticed anyone flirting with me, but I'm a little like Abed Nadir when it comes to reading other people's behaviors. In any case, I'm actually fairly content with that, I really wouldn't want to have to deal with the awkwardness of a student flirting with me and having to turn them down.

Anyway, this reminds me of a guy I knew in college, who used to tell women that he really wished he could menstruate so he could better understand women. Or another guy I met recently who said that he identified as a lesbian because he was soooo connected to women's sexuality and straight guys are soooo awful. When I tried to bring up that maybe it was a little presumptuous to just, you know, adopt someone else's identity, he told me that it was cool because his lesbian friends back in New York had told him that he was one of them.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:29 PM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Anyway, this reminds me of a guy I knew in college, who used to tell women that he really wished he could menstruate so he could better understand women.

Ah yes, the guy who has a good attitude toward menstruation!
posted by dialetheia at 1:08 PM on November 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


As a pretty liberated guy, I understand this completely and will send this out to all coincidentally extremely attractive women I know. I don't often talk about feminism, but I'll help them understand how their reaction to it is wrong.
posted by halifix at 1:09 PM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


(Ouch. This stung. I just blew up on a MetaFilter thread three weeks ago.)
posted by halifix at 1:10 PM on November 21, 2014


More interestingly, the fact that it is so broad, unsubtle and cudgel-y makes it seem more like "erotica for people who want to feel superior to this dude" than "Liberal Dude Erotica."

But This Dude seems to get such a boner from feeling superior, can you blame us for being a bit smug-curious?
posted by Freyja at 1:10 PM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's the internet, we can blame you for any reason at all.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:16 PM on November 21, 2014


#all men are garbage but this kind especially

I thought this was a riff on something Roast Beef would wear.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:18 PM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


^with an arrow pointing up (or down)
posted by Reyturner at 1:30 PM on November 21, 2014




More interestingly, the fact that it is so broad, unsubtle and cudgel-y makes it seem more like "erotica for people who want to feel superior to this dude" than "Liberal Dude Erotica."

" I am not made uncomfortable by this satire, I just think it is bad because of Objective Humour Badness Reasons" is probably just about my favourite Internet response to satire these days.
posted by ominous_paws at 2:35 PM on November 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


That's exactly what Ted would say: it's impossible to critique him for acting like a douche in some specific moment because he's a feminist, that's his identity, it's already been established by how he positions himself socially.

This is the same dynamic where, when you point out someone said or did something racist, they reply, "I'm not a racist!"

It's hard, mindful work to put our principles into practice. It's much easier to align yourself with a tribe and try to blend in. It's not necessarily because you're a hypocrite or have an ulterior motive (although those things also happen), but (1) it's sometimes hard to see all the practical implications of the principles we're trying to embrace (especially when it requires understanding the experiences of people who are different from us), and (2) it's easy to rationalize or ignore the harder demands our principles may make on us.

I think some of us guys genuinely want to be feminists, but don't yet see (or aren't yet willing to see) all the changes that would require in the way we think and act. (That recent thread about the default parent has been a needed wake-up call for me.)

None of which is to say any woman (or man!) ought to put up or with or excuse any sexist thing a guy does, regardless of whether he's mindfully trying and failing to be a feminist, thoughtlessly/lazily joining the feminist camp because it sorta seems right, or cynically and hypocritically using feminism as a PUA strategy.

If you're a guy wondering if you're That Guy, the best thing to do is keep listening to and reading women talking about their experiences, about the consequences of things men do. You'll recognize yourself soon enough, if they're telling any stories relevant to you.
posted by straight at 2:54 PM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


In the eighties, I belonged very briefly to a men's group. The leader/convener of this group had the belief that for heterosexual men, it is biologically impossible to be "just friends" with a woman. All aspects of the relationship are about the man overtly or covertly getting into her pants. Not that a man would fuck anyone he could, but the behaviors are set up for this.

I still see some of this in my own behavior, lo on these many years since. And, at other times it seems like nonsense. But for a het woman, well, I see her point in the linked piece.
posted by Danf at 4:48 PM on November 21, 2014


...don't yet see (or aren't yet willing to see) all the changes that would require in the way we think and act.

I've considered myself a feminist for as long as I've known the term (I mean, it seems like pretty much a no-brainer to at least try to live up to the term, right?), but I consider myself first and foremost an anarchist. I see feminism as a strict subset of anarchism, but also as strongly implying anarchism. See, one way I define anarchism is as a belief in radical equality — that is, the total moral equivalence of every single human being, and the destruction of all structures in society that prevent such equality. To my ear, that sounds A LOT like the rhetoric of feminism. You want men and women to be equal? To destroy the patriarchy? Again, to my ear, "the patriarchy" sounds almost entirely equivalent to Capitalism + The State (although the "almost" is important). The only way to achieve the goals of feminism (from my obviously anti-authoritarianism-biased perspective) is to eliminate private property and authoritarian hierarchy and rebuild society on an egalitarian, socialist, libertarian basis; to eliminate ALL power relations from society, which necessarily includes power relations between men as a class and women as a class.

Sorry for the derail; I just happen to spend a lot of time thinking about this particular intersection of moral concepts.
posted by cthuljew at 4:51 PM on November 21, 2014


I stumbled across this article ("The One Basic Thing Men Still Don't Seem to Understand about Women") earlier this week and I think it pairs kind of nicely with some of the points made in the comments and with the story above.
posted by discopolo at 6:28 PM on November 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


It’s not fair for women to push back against objectification, or demand respect and representation, in media into which they’re pouring both money and emotional investment. A lot of men are sad, or lonely, or socially awkward, and they need women’s attention to feel better, or as a sounding board to practice their social skills.

That article is dead on target. Every single thread about harassment here we see someone pull out the tired old crap she references in the quote above.
posted by winna at 7:14 PM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


And we also see the same tired old crap in the comments.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:21 PM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Indeed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:50 PM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think how much I enjoy a Toast article about men is generally fairly proportional to the amount of men who are confused or upset by it. It's not an exact correlation-- I loved the misandry nursery rhymes one and had a lot of fun with the resulting "kill all men" poems, but I didn't enjoy it nearly enough to assume that my enjoyment is directly proportional to the resulting male tears; the male novelist jokes is a similar outlier in the other direction. But I'd estimate that if I made a graph correlating total (indignant responses + whining about meanness + men who don't actually get it + men who are pretending not to get it) to Total Happiness Experienced By NoraReed Because Of This Article, I could probably get a correlation coefficient of at least about .6 or so.
posted by NoraReed at 10:51 PM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


The story of my life in graduate school: I wanted to be a Ted, because I was an Elizabeth; and I completely failed at being a Ted, because I insisted on staying an Elizabeth.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 11:19 PM on November 21, 2014


No, because libertarianism isn't really a ideology known for large amounts of women.

Speaking as a libertarian woman: yes, there are very few of us, and an unfortunate percentage of libertarian dudes are pretty creeptastic. :(

However, my state LP did ban one dude as promptly as possible under our bylaws after he sexually harassed me and creeped on a few of our other female volunteers. So I guess that makes us better than most tech conferences and scifi conventions! :)
posted by Jacqueline at 1:06 AM on November 22, 2014


Reminds me of the pseudofeminist referenced in Typical Male (audio version).
posted by el io at 2:32 AM on November 22, 2014


I initially read this to be an attack on male feminists in general (kudos metaBugs); in other words, an attack on me.

I get the joke. Ted is pretending to be feminist, but he's only paying lip service.

How do I know that Ted is supposed to represent one small subset of men, and not all feminist men?

This is something that I'm especially sensitive about. Feminism is really important to me. I've been a feminist (descriptively) since before I knew the word. I lost friends when I was a little kid because I refused to segregate myself by gender like the other kids did. It's a sore spot for me, and that's my own problem.

Still…

There is this strong idea floating around our culture that men can't really be feminists. That men can be allies at best. That men have to be forced to give up their privilege (which is, you know, not how privilege works).

The dominant cultural narrative about men like me is that we will do anything to have sex, that we think women beneath us, and that every interaction we have with women is sexually motivated. Similarly, if I'm concerned about the hardships men face, then the cultural narrative is that I must think that men have it worse than women, that I'm trying to maintain the existing privilege structure, or that I'm completely unaware of the privilege that I have.

I see those nasty ideas being reinforced way too often.
posted by Renegade Duck at 5:09 AM on November 22, 2014


Ah, I'd forgotten where i'd seen the “#all men are garbage but this kind especially” tag. It's the text of this post, not just in the tags at the bottom of the piece.

That didn't help my perception that this was an attack on me, and was why I flagged this post.
posted by Renegade Duck at 5:13 AM on November 22, 2014


How do I know that Ted is supposed to represent one small subset of men, and not all feminist men?

Maybe by reading the article which makes it pretty clear that Ted thinks he is superior to the women with whom he deals?
posted by winna at 5:39 AM on November 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


Please give me the benefit of the doubt.

Ted thinks he's superior. How can I tell if the point of the piece is that men think they're superior as part of acting badly, or that men-who-think-they're-superior act badly? Is feeling superior a criteria for being part of the satirized class, or is it one of those attributes that should be highlighted and made fun of?

(For convenience, I'm ignoring deconstructionism here. Maybe I shouldn't, but I think that would only make for a more confusing and nastier conversation.)
posted by Renegade Duck at 5:59 AM on November 22, 2014


The ubiquity of #notallmen aside, this is something I try to keep in mind whenever I'm entering discussions from a position of privilege: "If it isn't about you, it isn't about you. That said, if you think it isn't about you but you're getting pissed anyway, it might be about you after all."
posted by divined by radio at 6:11 AM on November 22, 2014 [13 favorites]


Ted thinks he's superior. How can I tell if the point of the piece is that men think they're superior as part of acting badly, or that men-who-think-they're-superior act badly? Is feeling superior a criteria for being part of the satirized class, or is it one of those attributes that should be highlighted and made fun of?

If one feels superior to another person solely because of their gender/race/ethnicity then it is both. divined by radio said it - if it's not about you, don't make it about you.
posted by winna at 6:34 AM on November 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Divined by radio, you've nicely illustrated my point. I can't be trusted to know myself because I have privilege. I can't contribute to feminist discussion because I'm a straight white guy.

Not to mention that it smacks of a few other nasty ideas. I should be strong. I shouldn't show my emotions.

Winna, that doesn't answer my question, or perhaps I just don't understand. Nobody actually feels superior here. Ted only feels what the author makes him feel. Is the author's point that all men feel superior, or that men who feel superior are bad? I know you're saying that it's the latter, but how do you know that? It's not obvious to me.
posted by Renegade Duck at 6:44 AM on November 22, 2014


I can't contribute to feminist discussion because I'm a straight white guy.

In almost every one of these discussions at least one person drops a line like this, and it often happens several times. It's histrionic and is a) a way to deliberately not engage with either the FPP or with the comments here, and b) a derail because it pushes the conversation to be entirely about your reaction as a man. It's cheesy and we can do better.

The article is very, very obviously about a particular variety of dude who uses the language and symbols of feminism as a way to get laid. We've all met that guy, and more than a few of us have been that guy at some point. It's generalizable beyond the example in the article, because you can see versions of that guy in many group situations. Like all humor you can find it funny or not funny, but just because it mentions feminism isn't really an excuse to bring out the weirdness.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:52 AM on November 22, 2014 [15 favorites]


I found the article hard to take because of this line:
It was a text from his housemate, thanking him again for telling her about how bad tampons were for the planet.
Hard to imagine a female housemate doing that instead of throughly cussing him out at the very least.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:08 AM on November 22, 2014


the reason i'm suspicious of (#notall)male feminists is their tendency to hold a giant banner that says they're a feminist while simultaniously making it all about them and their feelings and reactions instead of realizing that's rarely helpful (and often completely off point). if you think this is about all feminist men forever and always, i don't really know what to tell you because it's obviously not. if you're not the kind of dude to use feminism to get laid by younger women that you simultaneously insult to feel superior, if you don't tell women the most ecological, feminist way to deal with their periods - you're probably not this dude. if there are things in the linked post that sting, maybe reread this comment by frowner and just sit with that discomfort for a while and figure out why you're having that reaction.
posted by nadawi at 7:14 AM on November 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


I found the article hard to take because of this line:

that's the erotica part of liberal dude erotica - this isn't how this guy's life goes, but rather an erotica version of his life - where young things trip all over themselves because of his awesomeness and buy him things and all the women in his life think he's the best resource to tell them their own lived experience.
posted by nadawi at 7:16 AM on November 22, 2014 [11 favorites]


Is the author's point that all men feel superior, or that men who feel superior are bad? I know you're saying that it's the latter, but how do you know that? It's not obvious to me.

I don't know how to make something that seems self-evident to me obvious.

It was funny how he had this way of making women both so comfortable yet so intimidated. He wished he could put his hand on the back of her head and shush her, chase away all her anxieties about her brain. If only there was some way he could let her know how used to this he was, to being smarter. If only he could tell her it wasn’t her fault.

I mean seriously if you can read the above excerpt and not see what is being satirized then there's really nothing I can add.
posted by winna at 8:03 AM on November 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


Divined by radio, you've nicely illustrated my point. I can't be trusted to know myself because I have privilege. I can't contribute to feminist discussion because I'm a straight white guy.

Insisting upon turning something that isn't about you into something that is about you through sheer force of will has nothing to do with you, personally, not being trusted to know yourself (?!) due to your possession of straight white male privilege or the stereotype that men are generally expected to appear strong and stoic at all times. Rather, it has to do with the fact that men are often raised to internalize, as well as the fact that we live in a patriarchal culture that nurtures and supports, the idea that everything is about them no matter what.

That's why #notallmen is a meme. Reasonable dudes who understand that not everything is about them just shrug, like, "Yeah, duh, of course it's not literally all men everywhere forever, and if it isn't about me, it isn't about me" but there's always a sea lion who's quick to jump through a cafe window and say, "Actually, when you use the word 'men,' you mean 'literally all men on the entire planet, including me,' but since the behavior you're not describing does not apply to me personally, you'll need to at least acknowledge--" and then the conversation is refocused on making the sea lion comfortable. As an added bonus, now we've all stopped discussing the thing that makes him uncomfortable (sexism, usually) and started talking about him instead. Crisis averted, score one for the patriarchy. I'm being hyperbolic to make a point, but this is how it can feel to be on the receiving end of that 'not ALL [dominant group]' behavior.

Privilege, and in particular straight white male privilege, tends to be accompanied by a deep-seated, often unconscious tendency to behave as though the privileged person's own voice is, if not the most important, then at least a very significantly important sound in most every conversation, including conversations that are taking place between people who belong to a less privileged segment of the population. Privilege begets an attitude that the privileged person's thoughts, feelings, and opinions must be accommodated in most every situation, including situations in which less privileged people are talking about their own lives and experiences, and especially situations in which they're talking about their experiences with members of the dominant, privileged class.

So in this case, it's a lot of women talking about their experiences with a lot of men. As has been stated many times above, "Ted" is a satirical version of a very real kind of guy. For some of us it's funny, for some of us it's a little too real. Regardless, it isn't the responsibility of women (or anyone) to provide any kind of reassurance to Real Progressive Feminist Guys that they've never engaged in Ted-like behavior, especially because so many RPFGs actually have.

Straight white guys are a group of people who tend to behave as though their voices must be heard in feminist discussions -- not that they could or should be heard, but that they must. Straight white guys are also a group of people who tend to lack the ability to usefully or meaningfully contribute to feminist discussions even a fraction as much as they think they can.
posted by divined by radio at 8:10 AM on November 22, 2014 [20 favorites]


Huh. I just noticed that "thing" is only ever used as a compliment to women.
posted by halifix at 8:19 AM on November 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Hard to imagine a female housemate doing that instead of throughly cussing him out at the very least.

True, but on the other hand it is 100% totally reasonable to imagine her sending the alleged response sarcastically and having him take it as a legit compliment, which is a thing that very un-self-aware but very self-important people do on a daily (and hilarious) basis.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:14 AM on November 22, 2014 [9 favorites]


I can't contribute to feminist discussion because I'm a straight white guy.

No, you can't contribute to feminist discussion because there is literally no one in the legion of men who say things like "I can't contribute to feminist discussion because I'm a straight white guy" who has anything new or interesting or relevant to say. This does not mean that legion is prevented from speaking up, of course, just that to use the noun "contribution" to describe any of what they may say is such a stretch that the word no longer has any meaning.
posted by NoraReed at 11:45 AM on November 22, 2014 [10 favorites]


True, but on the other hand it is 100% totally reasonable to imagine her sending the alleged response sarcastically and having him take it as a legit compliment, which is a thing that very un-self-aware but very self-important people do on a daily (and hilarious) basis.

I think quite a few of us women are socialized to be very gentle with the male ego and be nice when they do something/say something utterly fucking stupid because we're embarrassed for them and simultaneously trying not to hurt their feelings.
posted by discopolo at 11:52 AM on November 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


Ladies, as a straight black man I can clearly contribute to feminism discussions, just let me know what you need.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:13 PM on November 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


That's great Brandon, and (speaking for the feminists here) I'm sure we all appreciate it. It raises an important issue of intersectionality, though. We don't want to confuse things, and it might be better if the convener wasn't a Person of Color. That's not to say that we need a convener at all - does anyone else here want to share their thoughts on this?
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:40 PM on November 22, 2014


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