The price men pay for misogyny

Looks like I’m not the only one who thinks hating the opposite gender hurts the hater in the end. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach writes about the Duke lacrosse team assault on two exotic dancers which took place a few months ago Asexual Men and the Creeps Who Live on Campus, and comes to the same conclusion.

The article is really worth reading, and I encourage you to follow the link, but here are some highlights:

It is time for the Western world to accept the sad truth that universities are becoming bastions of female-hating lechers who spend four years trying to bed as many women as possible, while making the word “bitch” one of the most used in their vocabularies.

Yes, and I hereby declare that scoring with chicks for the sole purpose of impressing your male buddies is a homosexual act, so guys, please come out of the closet already! If you don’t even like women, but you’ll have sex with them to impress your friends… well, who exactly are you trying to seduce in that scenario?

But the good rabbi sensibly avoids blaming men alone:

The greatest cultural story since the 1960’s is the decline and fall of the Western male, and how women have accommodated that fall by allowing themselves to be treated like garbage by men.

I realize women have been conditioned to allow the garbage treatment, and I know it takes time to eradicate that programming. But who’s done the conditioning? It’s mothers who teach daughters their place. I know this because mine taught me I should never put up with shit from anybody, and I learned that lesson well.

And here we get into the effect on men:

To be a man today means having access to a seemingly endless array of women who take off their clothes on TV to sell you everything from beer to cars to hamburgers. But in becoming boastful beasts of female prey and losing their sense of awe for women, men have guaranteed their own boredom…. Most of the men I meet aren’t even that attracted to their wives and live in predictable and monotonous drudgery in their marriages as a result. Yes, there is a price to pay for disrespecting women.

Now we get down to the heart of the matter:

Male overexposure to women has even led to the death of the heterosexual man as we know him. If the definition of a heterosexual man is a male who is attracted to women, then most men today are barely heterosexual.

Because in the case of the men the rabbi is talking about, their interest in bedding women is entirely wound up in their power scrambles within the male hierarchy, or their desperately lacking sense of self. The former are are homosocial men whose thoughts during sex turn to fantasies about boasting to male friends. The latter are narcissists, asexuals who are masturbating with another person’s body while fantasizing that maybe this will be the score that will finally make them feel good about themselves.

The rabbi is questioning the sexuality of the misogynist who has sex with the gender he hates. Whether this is out of homophobia (?) or intended to ignite homophobic denials of homosexuality to start a conversation, the conversation needs to be had. How can you be sexually oriented toward someone who can’t possibly like, let alone love? And if you are, somehow, why is that normal instead of a personal tragedy?

The second great tragedy of the contemporary Western man is that since women no longer strongly attract him, he cannot separate himself from his male buddies and truly attach himself to a female soul mate.

While I don’t agree that everyone needs to be looking for a soulmate, I do second the spirit of what the rabbi’s trying to say: when men lose their ability to appreciate women, it is actually a loss.


  1. scarlett says

    I’m a big believer in patriarchy hurting everyone, and even when you get something that seems unfairly advantagous to one group of society, it usually hurts that group in more subtle ways. For example, men who spend their lives getting to the top of the heap, and can because they’re men, get there and find they’ve sacrified the time that could have been spent on emotional intimacy to get there, so now they’re lonely and the money doesn’t mean as much as the patriarchy said it would.

    This article is a great example of that. It may seem that men are getting a great deal, not having to respect women and still getting laid as much as they want, but I think they have to pay for that lack of respect at some point, and they pay for it in lonliness and lack of furfillment. In that regard, I feel a warped sense of pity for misogynists.

  2. Prosfilaes says

    The contemporary Western male? Exactly how contemporary are we talking here? What I hear of Victorian times had more male bonding and less respect for women, with the first sexual experience being with a prostitute. After which, he would marry someone to have on his arm at social functions and to raise his children, not a soulmate. If we accept “Most of the men I meet aren’t even that attracted to their wives and live in predictable and monotonous drudgery in their marriages as a result.” as an accurate description, has it ever been different? When he says “I meet husbands whose real confidantes are still their drinking and card-playing buddies, and who are lonely in their marriages as a result”, perhaps the big difference between these men and Victorians was their excessive expectation from their marriages, because it’s not who their real confidants are.

    ‘Nearly all the men I know are only attracted to about one in 10 women, that is, the 10 percent of women they consider “hot.”‘ I can not believe that in a world of coed education, that anyone, male or female, is going to walk down the halls and be honestly attracted to half the people there. Perhaps if they grew up in a single-sex environment, but you couldn’t survive if everyone of the opposite sex would take your breath away.

    There seems to be valid points in this article, but it seems very mixed in with a horribly unrealistic Good Old Days attitude, harking back to a day that never really existed.

  3. scarlett says

    I agree that you can’t be expected to be attracted to every single person out there, but still, 10% seems very narrow; if you rounded up ten random men around my age I think I’d find at least 3-4 reasonably attractive – that’s 30-40%. Are men so conditioned to seek a stereotyped idea of beauty – tall, toned, clear-skinned, shapely – that they CAN only find 10% of the population attractive?

  4. Jennifer Kesler says

    He’s talking about the encouragement of misogyny. Our society hates/fears women, just like the Victorian society (we have the very same prude/perv dynamic, and TV played no small part in crystalizing that). Most people buy into society’s party line, and that includes men.

    Men who don’t buy into society’s party line – and there are plenty of them, but not I fear a majority – may have trouble even comprehending what the article is talking about. The easiest ways to understand the sort of men the rabbi is talking about is be one, or date one. If you’re in a position to do neither, the article may not make as much sense to you.

  5. Firebird says

    I was talking to someone recently (I can’t remember who) and she told me she once had a friend who told her his favorite season was the first couple of weeks of autumn, just as it gets cold enough to wear long sleeves and jeans and boots. He said, according to my friend, that he loved the tailored coats and the curve-flattering long jeans and the boots and shiny belts – all the finery of winter before we get bored and cold and wrap up in any old thing that comes to hand.

    So this guy told his friends once – a group of guys – about his love of autumn and his appreciation of female attire in that season, and they accused him of being gay, can you believe that? Is it possible there are lots more of guys like this wandering around, afraid to voice their tastes because they can’t handle bucking their societal groups?


  6. Firebird says

    This might be a bit off-topic, but I wanted to explain the “soul-mate” comment. Kabbalah (the arena of mysticism and mystical interpretation in Judaism) holds that all human souls are the shattered bits of light from the primordial “shattering of the vessels”, more or less almost to be understood as tiny pieces of G-d’s love or light or character or something like that. It’s somewhat difficult to conceptualize in words.

    In any case, it’s thought that there are 613 families of souls, and “soul-mates” are half of the same soul inhabiting two different bodies – some say that any other soul piece from the same “family” would be a “soul-mate” and others say that there is only one “soul-mate” for any given soul in the world; however, it fairly universally taught that the soul now inhabiting your body is given the choice of accepting its task in tikkun olahm (roughly: repairing the world/universe/reality) before birth (“This is your mission, should you choose to accept it). Tikkun olahm involves “raising sparks” – among other things, joining and repairing the shattered souls.

    However, it is also thought that some souls have tasks to do in tikkun olahm that do not include finding and marrying a “soul-mate” and Judaism is very very heavy on the idea of free will. So the Rabbi would probably agree with you that some people may not need to be looking for a soul mate. :-)


  7. Jennifer Kesler says

    Scarlett told a story very much like that a while back.

    I do think what the rabbi’s saying doesn’t apply to every man. It’s just a significant enough percentage of them to worry.

  8. Firebird says

    EEK! Sorry, Scarlett, it was your story I was thinking of. Is it a compliment that I owned it enough to want to tell it as a story a friend told to me?

    Please forgive me for not remembering it was you that told that story. :-(


  9. scarlett says

    Yeah, I was reading your comment and thinking ‘that sounds like my story’. Pilfer away – they said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery :p

  10. scarlett says

    I was at work checking out the guys after my comment about being attracted to 10% of women seems rather low… and I thought, yeah, most of these guys I find at least a little attractive – I’d say about 80%. I may have just gotten a good mix but it made me wonder if women are far more broad in their definitions of attractive?

  11. daaargh says

    men grow up with ideas about what is attractive mouth fed to them by peers and media. funnily enough this being a male dominated society, a large portion of media “eye-candy” is catered toward men. at the same time women are not fed as much of that rubbish and hence have a more real and down to earth way of looking a men. perhaps this can go a small way in beginning to explain this interesting point you raised

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