An Honest Review of Dave Chapelle’s Sticks and Stones

“Comedian Dave Chapelle’s newest comedy routine Sticks and Stones is a mixed bag of some underwhelming/underdeveloped concepts and some genuinely hilarious jokes and social commentary. He depends a bit too much on the meta-commentary of the state of ‘offensive comedy’ in 2019, but–given the internet outrage machine’s reaction to it–I guess he’s not wrong. It starts off slow but eventually ramps up into something consistently insightful and entertaining, and it’s worth a watch.”

That’s my elevator pitch review. If you don’t want to read any further, that above is all you need to know. For more details, though, read on!

So, I don’t really like Dave Chapelle. If I were to make a list of my favorite comedians, his name would be no where near it. That’s not to say I dislike him. He’s just up there with Lenny Bruce and Seinfeld and Richard Pryor as people who I understand the immense importance of but who I personally don’t find all that funny. That’s just not what my sense of humor is. His early stand-up and The Chapelle Show are pretty okay, as far as I’m concerned. I feel the need to bring that up because I was totally ready and willing to jump aboard the “This stand-up sucks,” train if it was warranted. But I really, genuinely do not understand all the hate Sticks and Stones as been getting. I’m not invested in Dave’s career. I didn’t know he was doing a new show. I wasn’t looking forward to it. When I saw it was getting bad ratings, I didn’t feel any kind of way about it. So I say this as someone who very firmly cannot be considered a “fangirl” of Dave Chapelle: I don’t get why people are so mad at this.

I watched this stand-up specifically because of the negative press it’s been getting. Like I said, I didn’t like Dave enough to seek out his stand-up on my own without reason. When I clicked on it, I still didn’t expect it to be good. I’m still subscribed to a few YouTubers in the “red pill” community, and they seemed to like Sticks and Stones, and that was not something I saw as a sign of quality. The last time I tried watching an hour-long comedy special that they liked for “sticking it to the SJWs,” I got about half-way through before turning it off. It was nothing but:

1.) Mention a left-leaning talking point

2.) Say it’s stupid and that people who believe it are pussies

3.) Call them snowflakes for getting mad at you

4.) Repeat until the end of time

Supposedly, something about that above set-up was supposed to contain jokes and be funny. I didn’t catch any. And before I’m accused on just not finding it funny because the comedian was a conservative making fun of liberals, I don’t like Trevor Noah or Samantha Bee’s left-wing “comedy” for literally the exact same reason. Call me crazy, but I like my comedy to contain jokes, not just smarmy condescension and the weird idea that mentioning the existence of dissenting opinions is funny. So, I was expecting Sticks and Stones to just be another under-inspired and unfunny whine-fest about how SJWs suck performed by a comedian who I didn’t find funny even back when he was in his prime, just based off of the attention it was getting. But it’s not. It’s actually really funny. And what’s more, I don’t even understand why the left-o-sphere is offended.

The “journalists” who’ve been reviewing this will insist they’re not offended, but it’s all said with the embarrassing, obvious air of something who just face-planted into the mud and who gets up and says, “I meant to do that, so by laughing at my embarrassment, you’re actually making me feel good! So there!” They’re offended. That much is obvious. As far as I can see, it’s yet another example of liberal gatekeeping and their slowly atrophying sense of humor. Because this is a very liberal stand-up special.

The fact that so many red-pillers like it confuses me, because the overwhelming majority of its jokes are about topics a lesser comedian would be called a snowflake for even bringing up. And the “offensive” jokes in question are just making fun of things that the left-o-sphere itself has brought up and critiqued before. One of the main things they’re totally not offended by, guys, are the jokes about the LGBTQ+ community. To be fun and ironic, I’m going to make a list of the things he joked about in that bit, and provide a link to a liberal media publication talking about the exact same thing:

But, for some reason, Dave Chapelle is being homophobic/transphobic for joking about those very real dynamics that they themselves want to discuss. I even saw one “review” that said he was making fun of bisexual and trans people even though bisexual and trans people were the ones he was defending in the joke. It very much just comes across as the “only we’re allowed to mention our problems with in-fighting” kind of outrage. I agree the following joke about transgender people where he joked about being a Chinese man trapped in a black man’s body wasn’t that funny, but that’s only because it was underdeveloped/underwritten. I think that people also missed that that particular joke wasn’t at the expense of transgender people, it was at the expense of his wife. He flat out says, “I wrote this joke because my wife is Asian and it annoys her, and I like annoying her.” So even though I didn’t think it was funny, even I can acknowledge that it was tongue-and-cheek and not meant to talk down to anyone.

There are a few jokes like that in the special that I just don’t think were written as well as they could have been because Chapelle was overtly relying on the meta-commentary about “people taking offense to what I just said” to be the punchline of the joke. One of the reviews said that it was “unnecessarily offensive,” and I don’t agree with that. I don’t think anything in this was overly offensive. I think Chapelle did unnecessarily bring up how supposedly offensive he was being too much, though. Especially in the first 20 or so minutes of the special, he relied a lot on the Big Joke(TM) being him pointing out that he just said something that would make someone mad. He wasn’t even wrong, given the totally-not-offended-but-I-still-hate-it response he’s been getting; I just think he wasted valuable minutes on meta-commentary that could have gone to fleshing the actual jokes out more.

He gets over that pretty quickly, however, and the special really hits the ground running. Once he says the line “I’m not a nigger either” (which is a fucking great punchline to the joke in context, in addition to being a very poignant commentary on “the n-word” debate) every joke becomes incredibly well-written and well-thought out. The majority of the special’s back half was him discussing the opioid epidemic in Middle America and how he alternatively sympathizes with poor white people, gives no fucks about them, and is afraid of them because he’s a black man living in poor, white Ohio and he’s prepping for him or his kids getting shot by some discontented white kid. That’s why the left-o-sphere hating this confuses me a lot, because I don’t think you’ll find better commentary on a black man living in White America(TM) than the last 30 minutes of Sticks and Stones by Dave Chapelle.

The bit about him going to K-Mart to buy a gun to defend his house from white heroin junkies is 5 minutes of hilarity. He managed to be very funny while simultaneously having reflective observations about what is happening to other people and his own emotional reactions to it. He points out it’s a lot like the crack epidemic, and is very honest about how his knee-jerk reaction is to give no fucks about their community being ravaged by opioids the same way white communities gave no fucks about black communities being ravaged by crack. He then flips things around by talking about his own background growing up poor and how it helps him empathize with the situation more. The final line/joke is a perfect ending that wraps up the entire show in a bit of reincorporation that was very well done.

All in all, the longer Sticks and Stones went on, the more I enjoyed it. It takes some time for Dave to get over the hump of tiring meta-commentary, but once he does, he’s pretty damn great. It’s a very back-loaded special, to be sure, but I can’t hold that against him too much. As I’ve already pointed out, Chapelle was apparently right to have so many asides about the state of “offensive comedy” seeing as how people responded to his relatively inoffensive jokes the exact way he said they would. I guess I’m happy the “red pillers” got tricked into watching a stand-up that makes fun of gun nuts and talks about race issues from the POV of a black person, and I’m sad that “progressives” couldn’t get over one underwritten gay joke and 1 minute of him making fun of internet feminists enough to appreciate the rest of the very well-done social commentary. I was very pleasantly surprised by this and am definitely going to go back to it again, although I’m probably going to click around to the best parts instead of watching it front-to-back.

Abortion (or How Alabama is Determined to Remain in Top 10 US States with Worst Health Care)

For all you “citation needed” folks: here you go.

I could talk about something funny. Ben Shapiro threw a bitch fit and made a fool of himself on international television because another conservative pundit . . . asked him basic questions during a Q&A. That’s fucking hilarious. But I guess I should probably comment on something that’s actually important.

Note: I do not use pro-choice/pro-life terminology because I think both of them fundamentally ignore what is actually being argued about–abortion–in order to make themselves look better and their opponent look worse. So, with that out of the way, here is this gargantuan, citation-heavy list.

1.) It’s very difficult to find an anti-abortion argument that doesn’t seem religiously rooted.

I’m getting this out of the way first because it is a.) the most obvious and b.) the least substantive. Even so, it is very relevant to bring up, so I’m doing it. Opposition to abortion seems almost entirely rooted in explicitly religious values and religious philosophies of life. I’m not saying secular anti-abortion talking points don’t exist, but they seem to be put on the back burner in favor of whatever arbitrary distinction God has supposedly made about when “a life” starts and stops mattering. For example, here’s a quote from one of the Republican state senators, Clyde Chambliss, who helped approve a bill that doesn’t even let rape victims have abortions:

“Human life has rights, and when someone takes those rights, that’s when we as government have to step in. When God creates that life, that miracle of life inside the woman’s womb, it’s not our place as humans to extinguish that life. That’s what I believe.”

The United States is not theocratic. We have the separation of church and state. Religious values and sensibilities can freely dictate how individual people choose to deal with unplanned pregnancies. If a woman doesn’t want an abortion because she thinks God has blessed her with the gift of life even if she wasn’t planning on it, good on her. I’m an atheist, though. I don’t care that God blessed my uterus with the miracle of life. I don’t think God exists, and I certainly don’t think “God created that life” is something that should impact legal and health policies.

2.) It’s a baby./Life begins at conception./Once it has a heartbeat, it’s a person./etc.

Here’s a website detailing the steps of pregnancy. Here’s another one. Read them. For a quick rundown: It goes from a zygote (a fertilized egg), to an embryo (around 4-11 weeks old), to a fetus (12 weeks and onward, when organs continue to develop and its nervous system is developed enough to allow movement and sensation). The 13th week marks the second trimester. The 27th week marks the third trimester, which is what most people think of when they think of “a baby.” Fetal viability–the point where the fetus could conceivably survive outside the womb–tentatively starts at 24 weeks, though only around 30% survive being born that early.

I’m just going to flat out say that the majority of anti-abortion talking points I’ve heard about when a life “begins” make no sense. From a strictly biological sense, “life” doesn’t stop or begin anywhere in this process. The sperm and the egg are just as much “alive” separate as they are together, so the proclamation that life doesn’t start until conception is odd. The heartbeat bill that has become so popular nowadays just comes across as a totally arbitrary defining point. I know we place symbolic significance on the heart, but the heart developing isn’t some flagship moment in development. The heart is formed enough for a heartbeat to begin when the embryo is less than an inch long and is also in the process of developing all of its other vital organs. The heart is no more or less vital than the liver in terms of survival, yet we for some reason decided that the heart’s chambers developing enough to start pumping blood kinda is when a fetus starts to super-extra be alive, like it wasn’t equally “alive” before that point. Here is what a fetus looks like at the time when the heartbeat bill would disallow an abortion, by the way:


According the CDC’s website, with data collected in 2015, the majority of of abortions-(91.1% of them) were performed during early gestation, by the 13-week mark at the latest. Almost 25% of those were performed before the 8-week mark and were non-surgical/non-invasive, i.e., the woman is given a stronger version of the Plan B pill which induces a very heavy period . . . and that’s the end of that. So, in short, the idea that full grown babies are being gorily scraped out of callous women’s wombs is inaccurate. The overwhelming majority of abortions happen within the first trimester, where the fetus doesn’t have a developed enough nervous system to be a conscious/sentient being, and when it isn’t even physically developed enough to warrant the horrible, bloody surgical removal that anti-abortion activists love to fear monger about. For the minority of late term abortions that do happen, I’ll get to those later.

A fetus is a baby the same way an egg is a chick and the same way an acorn is an oak tree. They can be those things, if the variables of the world line up in such a way to allow that potential development to happen. X having the potential to become Y does not mean that X=Y, and stopping X from becoming Y does not mean you killed Y.

3.) Children are not a “consequence” or a “punishment” or something to “teach people a lesson.”

This is my personal least favorite anti-abortion argument: “You got yourself pregnant, now it’s up to you to take responsibility for your actions. If you didn’t want a baby, you should have kept your legs closed. You shouldn’t be allowed to run away from the consequences of your actions by getting an abortion. You have to do the right, mature thing.”

Okay. Let’s just ignore that rape is a thing. Let’s just ignore that coerced sex is a thing. Let’s just ignore that abusive relationships are a thing. Let’s ignore all of that and the incredibly unfortunate implications that arise from painting pregnancy as something that is necessarily a consequence of a woman’s choices. Let’s also ignore the fact that a very large percentage of unplanned pregnancies happen within monogamous relationships where the birth control measures they take unexpectedly fail, so the implication that unplanned pregnancies are necessarily a result of irresponsible behavior is also not accurate.

Let’s ignore all of that. Let’s assume that every single abortion that has ever happened or will ever happen is undergone by a young, freewheeling, independent woman who just sluts around all the time, having constant unsafe sex and behaving in an incredibly irresponsible and immature manner. Okay. Why do you want those above women to be forced to have a child to take care of? You wouldn’t trust someone like that to dogsit for you. Rover not getting fresh water one afternoon is awful, but a human infant being raised for 18+ years in a household that didn’t want it, wasn’t emotionally or financially prepared for it, and has no idea how to go about it is fine. Who cares if they’re raised in a safe, healthy, supportive environment, as long as their slut mom can see them as a punishment for her own life mistakes and learns a valuable lesson about adulthood. It’s not like the cycle of poverty and just the general lasting effects of a poor childhood exist.

In summary: If you think someone is immature and irresponsible, forcibly entrusting that person with the well-being, safety, mental health, education, and life prospects of another human being who relies wholly upon them for support is not a fair and reasonable way to get them to “grow up.” I’m also having a difficult time understanding why going through the financial, emotional, and social hardship of abortion and then living with the stigma of being a woman who got an abortion doesn’t count as “accepting personal responsibility.” Also, for an anecdote to help back this claim up–I was born as an unplanned child to a young, emotionally unstable single mother in an economically destitute area. My mother did not suddenly become an adult who made better life choices just because I existed. I just became an adult with a crippling fear of poverty and lots of mental health problems! Fun times.

4.) Abortion is not birth control. It’s what you get when birth control fails.

I think there’s an odd misconception going around that women are using abortion as their go-to birth control option, like they’re sluttin’ around having mountains of unsafe sex, and abortion is how they contend with that problem. That’s just not how the world works. I’m sorry. I don’t know what universe you live in where women are totally down to drop at least $800 on an abortion as their chosen contraception method when condoms, birth control, and the Plan B pill exist. I don’t think abortions are some great, wonderful thing that everybody should be getting all the time. I’d rather as few abortions happen as possible. In my opinion, it should be the last resort of women who were unable, for whatever reason, to successfully use contraceptives. I’d much rather have a public that was informed and safe, in a society where contraceptive options are readily available and accessible, than a public that was poppin’ on over to Planned Parenthood for a quick aborsh.

If anything, abortion seems to be used as the go-to contraception method for teenage girls who overtly do not use any of the above mentioned contraception because a.) safe contraception materials are not accessible to them and/or b.) they have no concept of what safe sexual practices are because it was never something they were taught and they were highly discouraged to do any research on their own, and they wind up engaging in unprotected sex. The majority of abortions are performed in hyper-religious areas with limited to no legitimate sexual education, shock of all shocks. Also, for extra shock-points, the same people who don’t like abortion are the ones who don’t want Sex Ed taught, even though sufficient Sex Ed instruction and available contraception in high schools is highly correlated with a decrease in teen pregnancy and teen abortion.

5.) Why don’t you put it up for adoption instead?

American Child Protective Services is overburdened and rampant with internal and external abuse. There are already more kids than adults willing to foster/adopt them in the system right now. That won’t be helped by every unplanned pregnancy adding to the pile of unwanted kids with nowhere to go. To be fair, a newborn is far more likely to be adopted than a grown child because “people don’t want a kid with baggage,” but this is not a guarantee, especially if the newborn in question has developmental issues, which is common in unplanned teen pregnancies in particular. Many girls who get pregnant at 16 aren’t particularly opposed to drinking and smoking while they’re with child, as it turns out. Who’d a thunk it? Plus, adoptions in all demographics regardless of the child’s health are going down.

This is also ignoring the larger issue of a woman’s bodily autonomy. What happens to the child once it is out of her body is a separate issue entirely from the question of whether or not a woman should be required to carry a child to term.

Pregnancy isn’t some walk in the park where you get wacky cravings sometimes and pop a kid out, and whoop it’s over. Prepartum and postpartum depression are very real things that affect women with unplanned pregnancies at higher rates, with that risk rising even more if the woman has negative feelings about the unplanned pregnancy. And that study I linked is for married women with support systems in place to deal with the unplanned pregnancy, so you can imagine what women in less ideal circumstances go through. Ignoring the risk of depression, a normal, healthy pregnancy takes a huge toll on your body and hormones, oftentimes permanently. I’ve known multiple women who’ve had to have various knee and back surgeries that cost them thousands of dollars for problems associated with pregnancy. And you go through the rapidly changing body and hormone cycle of pregnancy for 9 months, before going into terrible pain, and then giving birth in a country (or in the cases of Alabama and Georgia–a state) with ridiculously high mortality rates for mothers in the cases of both natural births and c-sections. Doesn’t that sound fun!?

The United States medical sphere has a habit of disregarding women who want to exercise their own bodily autonomy whenever their reproductive organs are involved, and the “just carry the baby to term even though you in no way want to” argument is just the tip of that iceberg. For instance, many doctors refuse to perform tubal ligation surgery for women who request it–even if they’re already mothers, and even after they reach middle age–all under the presumption that the woman in question doesn’t really not want kids. I’ve had to deal with this personally. I can’t get my tubes tied even though my fiance and I know we aren’t having children, because I clearly don’t understand just how much I’m definitely going to have a baby later. I just can’t be trusted to make that decision about my body because a potential baby is involved, and whenever a potential baby is involved, I apparently don’t get to decide shit.

6.) But aren’t late term abortions bad?

Back to the CDC’s website! 7.6% of the abortions were performed at 14-20 weeks (the second trimester) and 1.3% were performed after 21 weeks. That’s roughly 9% of all reported abortions that count as “late term” in nature. So the most highly contested aspect of the morality of abortion is incredibly rare and in no way indicative of a typical abortion procedure. Ignoring how unrepresentative late-term abortions are, however, let’s actually examine why they happen.

There’s the issue that many people have already brought up–medical necessity. That’s a very legitimate reason and the one even the most hard-core anti-abortionists can usually agree with. From the very limited research that exists on the topic of abortion, however, medical necessity seems to be one of the less common reasons for late term abortions. According to this Washington Post article that has complied and linked to multiple outside data sources and studies, most late term abortions are essentially the direct result of a lack of access to health care.

One study loosely described late term abortions as being split 50/50: 50% women who would have aborted sooner had they been informed of a fetal abnormality within the early developmental stages but who weren’t, either because they couldn’t afford frequent medical checkups or because the medical checkups they did receive weren’t good enough; and the other 50% were women who wanted and tried to get an early term abortion but who couldn’t find a provider and/or obtain funding until after they were past the first trimester. The 50/50 number is obviously just a framework to talk about two of the most common reasons and not a real stat, but those general ideas are reflected elsewhere. Multiple other studies cited “inability to find abortion providers, difficulty funding the procedure, and difficulty traveling out-of-state to a provider” as major causes for delayed abortions. So, in short, if you think late term abortions are evil, making it so difficult to receive an abortion during the first trimester is not helping. It’s actually just making things worse.

Two of the studies mentioned also created a list of the kinds of women who they saw getting late term abortions. Most were unmarried, and very many of them were single mothers with one or more children already. Many of them had mental health or substance abuse issues, and many were from domestically abusive households. Domestic abuse and fear of violent retaliation from a domestic abuser were also commonly cited as a major reason for a delayed abortion.

The profile of a woman who gets a late term abortion for non-medical reasons, then, seems a lot less “evil and irresponsible” and a lot more “marginalized and systemically/individually abused to the point of having even more limited options.” I’m having a really difficult time villainizing the women in these situations even though I also have a knee-jerk negative response to the idea of a non-medically necessary late term abortion. It really just seems like another element of systematically enforced classism where women who have been socially and/or economically disenfranchised are given nothing but shitty options and then further stigmatized for choosing one of those shitty options. You want to be a welfare queen who just popped out a baby so you could get more food stamps, or do you want to be one of those evil women who got an abortion in the second trimester because you couldn’t afford to travel out of state?

8.) What if the father wants to keep the child?

I’m not a fan of some of the more antagonistic commentators who’s response to this question amounts to “FUCK U KILL URSELF!1!! NO VAGINA, NO SAY”. I think we, as a society, ignore and downplay and outright stigmatize the emotional needs of men far too frequently. I don’t think making sarcastic comments about “Male Tears” is all that helpful. That being said: The abortion debate is not the arena in which to talk about men’s emotional needs, even if I think doing so is important.

You have the right to your feelings. They are legitimate. They should be acknowledged. They also do not give you the right to dictate what other people do with their own body. Those feelings are an issue that will certainly have to be addressed before and after the fact between you and the woman if you wish to maintain any kind of relationship. But feeling some kinda way about it does not give you the right to usurp a woman’s body and use it for your purposes against her will. You do not have the right to force a woman to incubate and give birth to your child. Conversely, the woman is not obligated to give you a kid because you want one. If you want kids, if you “would never abort your baby,” good for you. Find a woman who also wants those things, because forcing that belief onto a woman who doesn’t is a bad thing.

9.) Is this all old, white men’s fault?

For reference, here is a very up-to-date Pew Poll that I’ll be taking data from.

That’s certainly the way the American Republican party makes it look. They’re really prone to having “discussions” about abortion between five Boomer-aged white dudes who consult literally nobody else in the decision making process and then decide that the thing they already agree about should be made law. And, in an American context, White Evangelical Christians and Conservative Republicans are really blazing the path when it comes to being vocally anti-abortion, both statistically and visibly.

That being said, the genders seem fairly well-balanced: around 60% of women think abortion “should be legal in most cases,” and around 60% of men agree. That means that there’s an equal proportion of anti-abortion women out there to anti-abortion men; there might actually be more anti-abortion women once you factor in the stat that there are more women in this country than men, though Pew polls typically have equal gender representation, so it’s difficult to say that definitively. The same goes for age: Proportionally speaking, “being old” doesn’t seem to make someone more likely to be anti-abortion. All four age brackets polled are essentially hovering at 60% approval for abortion. Being white also doesn’t seem like much of a determining factor: Both black and white demographics are hovering around that magic number 60% approval, with Hispanics actually being the most anti-abortion racial demographic polled. So saying “old, white men are the problem” doesn’t seem to be overly reflected in the actual stats.

I get why people are saying it–old, white men tend to be really over represented whenever a “discussion” takes place in a political or media sphere, especially when that “discussion” is held in a conservative-leaning forum. That being said, like “Male Tears” and other stereotypical third/fourth-wave feminist buzz phrases, “old, white men” may be the face of the problem, but they certainly aren’t the only ones involved. So talking about abortion in terms of old, white dudes trying to take away women’s rights just isn’t helpful. There are too many people who consider themselves anti-abortion who don’t fit into that easy-to-point-at-and-hate box, and you’re really not addressing them or their talking points when your go-to argument is that “an old, white man shouldn’t get to have an opinion on this.”

For things that actually do have a significant correlation with one’s stance on abortion, we have to look at education (the more education you have on the high school/college/grad school scale, the more likely you are to be pro-abortion) and religious affiliation. Those seem to be the two actual determining factors at play–not race, gender, or age. Another related Pew poll about religion specifically shows that increase in traditional religiosity is correlated with anti-abortion sentiments on almost every scale. Here’s this rundown that further breaks down abortion stances by religion to further back that up. I feel inclined to mention that many of the “oppose abortion with no exception” groups are not white/majority white (Southern Baptist, African Methodist, Hindus), so that’s yet another reason why we shouldn’t be equating “old, white men” with the face of religiously-informed patriarchal tendencies.

Aaaaaaaand, that brings me back around to point number one about this whole thing just being way to rooted in religion for me, as an atheist, to take it seriously. So that’s a wrap, folks.

Another Look at Toxic Masculinity

Hey, guys! I haven’t posted in a while because a.) grad school is hard and b.) I haven’t been overly inspired to comment on any recent events. I can only be sarcastically unsurprised about the wacky antics of my fellow man for so long. I need to start talking about stuff I like. . . . So Record Store Day was a thing that happened recently. It’s the first time I’ve participated in that event and it was a fun time. I got a Freddie Gibbs limited color pressing vinyl that’s pretty sweet. I live in Indiana, so I didn’t even have to try that hard. No one in Indiana was gonna stand in line for three hours and then fight me over a hip-hop album. Yay, capitalism! Oh, and I recently discovered Souls of Mischief, which is a hip-hop group from the early 90s that definitely deserves more credit for being a precursor to jazz rap, and I know I’m a good 30 years late on that hype train, but I’m on it now.

Alright, enough of that. I’m well aware of the internet’s low tolerance for hipster shit.

Let’s talk about toxic masculinity . . . again.

A while ago, I wrote an article called Let’s Talk About Toxic Masculinity. I actually don’t agree with everything I said there anymore. My overall thesis statement –“If prototypically gendered traits can be toxic, it stands to reason that toxic femininity exists in addition to toxic masculinity.”– is one I still agree with. I also haven’t changed on my stance that third/fourth-wave feminists oftentimes pathologize “maleness” as inherently domineering and oppressive, therefore making “toxic masculinity” an inescapable state of existence that doesn’t seem to have much to do with a man’s actual behavior but his mere presence.

That said, I’ve been trying to separate the worst actors of feminism from its base ideas, and while there are many notions about how the world works from feminist theory that I still fundamentally disagree with, “toxic masculinity” isn’t one of them. In my previous post on the topic, I called toxic masculinity “fictional” and said that “explicitly gendering negative behaviors and traits is useless.” Let it be known here that I don’t agree with those assertions anymore. After discussing the topic more with my fiance (who is not a feminist) and many male friends (some of whom consider themselves feminists, but who are all very reasonable humans irregardless of labels), I’ve come to believe that there is a very real case to be made for why addressing toxic gendered behavior is a thing that should happen.

I think attributing certain negative behaviors/traits to a particular gender is useful when we’re speaking of them in the context of social upbringing. The fact of the matter is that boys and girls are, more often than not, raised differently and disciplined differently, and that difference in treatment does lay the foundation for “gendered” traits that can potentially be more negative than positive. This isn’t me saying that girls can’t be stoic because that’s not a “girl” trait. It’s me saying that stoicism is regarded differently in women than it is in men, and men are more often than not raised to value it as an admirable trait whereas women aren’t. So when we’re talking about boys growing into men who aren’t comfortable expressing their emotions even when doing so would be helpful, you have to address that the reticence to express emotion stems partially from gender norms dictating how they, as a male, were raised. A woman being shitty at expressing her emotions is likely coming at that problem from a very different direction. Gendering stoicism as a trait, then, is actually somewhat necessary. Addressing the notion that they may have been brought up to think that talking about feelings “isn’t what men do” is a crucial motivation to go over if/when refusing to talk about their feelings is causing problems.

This is not something that “red pilled” people like to hear because they have, at least understandably, conflated any mention of “toxic masculinity” as an attack on men as a gender. I agree that feminists have largely dropped the ball on constructively addressing this *coughmaletearscough*

But it’s resulted in the red pill crowd essentially doubling down on defending gender norms, particularly in regards to men, in a way that I view as being actively detrimental. Take this article, for example. It’s from the Philly Inquirer, titled “Men’s cuddling group aims to redefine masculinity and heal trauma.” That is a clickbait title, by the way. The group, from what I can glean, is mostly about creating a space where men who are starved for human affection can be physically/emotionally affectionate without anyone calling them faggots for daring to be a guy who wants a hug. I’m okay with this. Babies from social species wither away from not being touched enough, and the negative impact of “touch deprivation” can continue into adulthood and have series psychological and even physical consequences. So if a bunch of guys want to get together to combat the very real stigma of it being “gay in a bad way” to want physical affection, I think that’s a good thing. What were some red-pilled reactions to this, though?


“We already have a men’s cuddle therapy; it’s called rugby, or for that more intimate experience, wrestling.”

I like how wrestling, aka the most homoerotic thing this side of Fast and Furious, is considered “manly” by the same people who scoff at the notion of men physically touching each other outside of a competitive context. Sitting close together and touching shoulders is too femmey, but groping each other’s ass and crotch-area is manly as fuck as long as you’re doing it in the context of fighting, I guess.

“Congratulations I guess? Doesn’t change the fact that this is not the way men typically connect with one another . . . and that’s coming from a gay guy. Point being, we don’t want your modes of engaging with one another.”

I love how men are treated here as a monolithic “we” that doesn’t want “your” gross, girly way of interacting with each other. Also, clearly some men do wish that they weren’t constrained by the gender norms of what constitutes an acceptable range of male affection. I agree with feminists like Christina Hoff Sommers, who point out that we shouldn’t be pathologizing many men’s preferred ways of interacting with each other. A man not being openly affectionate or not wanting to overtly talk about his feelings is not inherently negative; and a man not being as comfortable verbally/emotionally expressing himself as a woman is not automatically a sign of him being emotionally stunted. Having other, preferred means of working through emotional issues is fine.

That being said, there are certain situations where the typical man’s preferred way of dealing with emotions is not helpful (just like there are situations where the typical woman’s preferred way of dealing with emotions isn’t helpful). If this group of guys has decided that going outside to pass the football around isn’t sufficient for contending with their emotional/psychological needs, that is also fine. You are the same people who bite feminists’ heads off for not caring about male depression rates and male suicide rates. Clearly, the royal We of men isn’t doing that great when it comes to dealing with psychological distress, which logically should lead to the conclusion that, just maybe, the royal We should do some self reflection to see if his long-standing, preferred method of dealing with emotional issues could use some revamping.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” as people egregiously misquote Einstein as saying. If you care about the demonstrable problem men sinking into suicidal depression, maybe you should sit down and naval gaze for a few minutes to see if your “typical way of interacting with each other” is contributing to that problem even a little bit instead of looking at people who are at least trying to address the problem by trying something new and declaring it “too weird and not what ‘we’ do” by default.

I am grateful I am old enough to remember male bonding as getting drunk, and getting into trouble with my friends :)”

It’s still that. It’s not like being more openly affectionate sometimes precludes you from having drunken shenanigans. What world do you live in where feelings and booze are two circles that never intersect?

“Can we sing some gay songs too?😂😂”

“That’s another expression of their homosexuality”

Those are just two good ‘ole fashioned examples of 90s-style homophobia where we didn’t hate the gays anymore, but we did see the concept of gayness as a joke in of itself.

Knock, knock.

Who is there?

A gay guy.

Whaaaaaaat. That’s not what most people are! Fucking hilarious! 😂😂

“Why does masculinity need redefining? Do you hate men?”

See my above statement about how what your lot considers to be “traditionally masculine ways of interacting” don’t seem to be helping you all that much in the long run. I’m not saying you need to deal with your feelings “like women,” but clearly dealing with them “like men” could use a little redefining. Gender roles can and do change all the time, and not because evil feminists force them to. Masculinity is defined differently by different cultures at different times, and we seem to be in a transitory period in “the West” where people are coming to the realization that maybe “masculinity” can include more openly sympathetic behavior. Shifting cultural standards aren’t an attack of masculinity as a concept, even though loud internet armchair activists are obnoxious about it. You sound like the narrator from Money for Nothing who hates how “effeminate” glam rock singers are more successful than him, and the narrator of Money for Nothing is supposed to be a bitter asshole.

See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy that’s his own hair
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot, he’s a millionaire

Drag Queen Story Hour Exists: Pearl Clutching Commenced

I think we can all agree that the golden age of anti-SJW content is good and over with. That’s not to say that toxically shallow “progressive” outrage and talking points aren’t still a thing. They very much are. But, a lot like the atheism boom in the early days of YouTube, what can be said about the topic has been said 20 times over, and the prominent voices in the anti-SJW sphere have largely moved on and started producing a larger variety of content. More relevant to this post, though: the anti-SJW sphere, like all the other niche internet spaces before it, became over-saturated. What was once 10 people with quality content eventually turned into 1000 people with middling content. For the anti-SJW crowd, in particular, this over-saturation largely seemed to be caused by an influx of people–both internally and externally–who equated “the intellectual dark web” with conservatism.

Remember when Paul Joseph Watson said that conservatism was the new punk rock? We’re cool! We’re the new party of freedom and self-expression! Yeah . . . As it turns out, a large portion of the anti-SJW crowd disintegrated because it became reactionary and opposed to anything deemed to be “progressive” on principle. That is not counter culture.

According the the website:

Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.

Now, this is very cringely phrased and laden with buzzwords, as can be expected at this point. But once you peel back the veneer of Buzzfeed pandering, this is just a bunch of drag queens reading books to help expose kids to a diverse range of people before they age into being assholes to anyone who’s different. If you look more into the typical DQSH, the institution they’re visiting picks the books they read. They also train the reader beforehand. As someone who’s helped with these kind of guest programs before, I imagine the rules boil down to: no topics or language above PG rating, no politics, no religion, keep physical contact to a minimum, here’s how to handle a fire drill. From what I’ve seen, some story hours use “progressive” books where a prince is saving another prince from the dragon’s keep or some shit, but most of them seem to go for the classics. Dr. Seuss. The Hungry Caterpillar. That kind of thing.

This is apparently the worst thing ever, and horrible indoctrination, and propaganda. Here’s some quotes I pulled from people who got offended. You know, like you do:

  • What is happening to a child s ,childhood,days of innocence,fun ,role playing,politics should be left out until more mature
  • Those kids are too young. You can just teach them not to hate people who are different than them ffs.
  • Disgusting. Can we just start bring gimps into schools now as well then?
  • Normalizing deviancy into our kids’ brains instead of bringing on actual role models that contribute to society and the advancement of the human race
  • Why are they trying to expose children to drag? Adults, fine, let them do as they wish within reason but come on, there’s no way this is going to end well for children.

No, those are not from an angry Christian parenting Facebook page. Those are pulled from various “anti-SJW” sources. Oh joy. I guess I did miss the olden days of taking the piss out of social traditionalists who always wanted you to “think of the children.” I just wish it wasn’t people who I am implicitly associated with, but the world’s not perfect, and I take what I can get. We’re the new counter culture, guys! That’s why we’re pearl clutchin’ harder than Phil Donahue “interviewing” Marylin Manson about how he is toxic and destroying the poor, impressionable minds of the youth, and how he’s an affront to American values.

Marylin Manson is “counter cultural,” by the way. When your behavior is more reminiscent of the old man bitching about “our values,” you do not get to say you’re counter-anything. For the record, I don’t think Drag Queen Story Hour is counter culture either. This is literally two groups who both think they’re “underground” fighting over who is the most nonconformist when, in reality, they’re both fairly mainstream. Being accepting of LGBT people is not rare (at least in the countries where DQSHs take place). Being squicked out by the concept of gender non-conformity is not rare. Neither of you are representing an underdog in this situation.

All of those above quotes pull the classic move of associating anything that isn’t the norm with deviancy. More specifically, they see anything having to do with gender non-conformity or LGBT representation as something inherently sexual and therefore “inappropriate” to expose children to. These are the same people who hear the word “gay” and can only think of butt stuff, or who hear that someone is trans and become fixated on genitals and how having sex with them would work. The idea that there are other things involved besides sex is apparently a difficult one to wrap the mind around. The idea that gender expression is a social act having to do with far more than who you’re fucking at any given moment just boggles the mind!

Using this logic, we should get rid of “[Insert Guest Here] Story Hours” in general, because all of them are, to some extent, based around exposing young kids to people they wouldn’t otherwise see or hear from. Which is propaganda, I guess. My elementary school had soldier story hours where current or former US military members read books. And this was the fucking early 2000s, right after 9/11, when military fervor and rhetoric about how “you need to support our troops, and if you don’t, you hate America!” were at an all time high. Now, if people were consistent, they would have nearly identical complaints about how you need to keep politics away from our kids and stop conditioning them to be accepting of X. Something tells me they’d be alright with that, though. Just call it a hunch. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

As for the DQSH’s goal of having kids see people who “defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish,” that is perfectly fine by me. Child development psychologists refer to pre-school/kindergarten age children as “gender investigators.” This is because children at that age are actively observing the men and women around them to figure out “what boys do” or “what girls do,” so that they can incorporate those “right” behaviors into their own behavior. They do this because children at that age are oftentimes very insecure in their gender identity: They literally think they will stop being a boy if they do something “that girls do” or vice versa.

Their “gender investigations” typically lead to really arbitrary conclusions like, “I saw my mom drink orange juice and my dad drink milk, so orange juice is for just for girls and milk is just for boys.” When I worked with kids that age, I saw it a lot. One kid was flabbergasted by seeing one of the female teachers use a hammer to fix a clock and asked if she was a man “because only boys like my dad fix things.” This arbitrary gendering of literally everything is something most people grow out of by elementary school age, but it is what forms the basis of our understanding of our own gender.

So, with all of that background given as to what we know about developmental psychology and gender roles, I am personally of the opinion that seeing a drag queen would be helpful to a kid that age. These are kids who are in the process of creating a gender role schema in their own minds, a schema regarding how not only they are “supposed to act,” but how everyone else is. Being exposed to someone with very atypical gender presentation who preaches self-expression even if it goes against the norm, seems like it would be genuinely helpful. It’d be helpful for kids who will grow up to not be stereotypically masculine or stereotypically feminine. And it’d be helpful for the kids around them who, fingers crossed, would find a better, more solid reason to mercilessly bully one of their classmates instead of the half-assed, “Sally wears baggy clothes, let’s bully her for being a dyke, haha!”

Do better.

The Covington Ordeal and “Trump’s America”

So . . . Trump 2020, right? I am absolutely positive of that. I am mostly positive. I am 75-80% positive. That’s a solid C+/B- grade’s worth of surety on the matter. If Bush could get re-elected even after we had definitive proof that the war he catapulted us into was bullshit and he was illegally spying on American citizens; and Obama can get re-elected after deporting, drone striking, and spying on more people than his evil Republican predecessor, Trump can get a second term too. Better the devil you know, I guess.

Besides just generally being an embarrassing jackass, Trump hasn’t really done anything worse or more scandalous than what the previous two presidents have already done. Yes, he’s had plenty of scandals and plenty of shitty policies that, in a better world, would make him a one-term president. But if 21st century American politics has taught me anything, it’s that neither of those things matter as long as you manage to be more charming than the other guy once presidential debate season swings back around.

This is where I rant about the left wing.

What the FUCK is wrong with you people?! You’ve had so many chances, so many opportunities. The 2016 presidential election should have been gift wrapped for you. And after you dropped that ball entirely by placing the fate of the election in the hands of a shameless corporate shill who not even other Democrats liked, the proceeding years of Trump’s America *insert thunder clap* should have been easy to critique. It should have been easy to rise above the turmoil as the obviously saner and more competent group of people. Looking better than compulsive braggart Trump and corporate apologist, moralizing Republicans should have been the easiest thing you’ve ever had to do. I don’t get how you managed to fuck this up at all, let alone how you managed to fuck it up this bad. I just don’t. I don’t understand. I don’t get it. I am having a fucking aneurysm over how much your collective stupidity just doesn’t compute in my brain.

So Covington. You know what it is. I don’t need to go over. What I am going to go over is the fallout and how said fallout is indicative of a social climate that all but guarantees Donald Trump a place in the white house until 2024. Not just that, though: I don’t want to be overly hyperbolic, but I don’t think I’m jumping to conclusions when I say that the political polarization in the United States is not going to suddenly get better after God Emperor Donny Trump is out of office. I wouldn’t be surprised if we went the route of Japan, a country that has operated under a nearly uninterrupted 50+ year period of overtly right-wing governance after increasingly extremist, post-war left-wing activism ruined the reputation of the Japanese Socialist party and any party that considered itself liberal.

This is such a maddening time for me and anyone who considers themselves left-leaning because these past three years have done nothing but prove repeatedly, time and time again, that a prominent portion of the left wing has gone fucking nuts, and I am afraid we’re not going to recover from this tarnished image for quite some time. In the case of the Covington kids: They gave Trump’s empty buzzword further validity by spreading genuine “fake news” because that lie propagated their own sociopolitical insistence that white people (and Trump supporters, which they treat as synonymous) are evil racists. And when it was made immediately apparent that their commentary on the Covington kids was an outright lie (up to and including them utterly ignoring the actually confirmed evidence of the Black Isrealites spouting racism, because that brand of racism didn’t help the narrative) they quietly apologized in a way that no one noticed. In the meantime, the good, compassionate liberals reacted so reasonably to the bias-confirming fake news that the kids’ high school had to shut down under threats of violence. The kids in the video got doxed under the pretense of violence being done to their person now that we know who they are and where they live.

When people had to finally begrudgingly acknowledge that they fell victim to a fake news story, instead of genuinely admitting fault or doing literally anything reasonable, the good, compassionate liberals essentially just rose up and said in a united voice, “Yeah, well, they might not have actually done the thing we were calling for violence against them over. But look at them! They still deserve to be put under constant threat of violence because they just seem like racists, don’t they? And they’re probably also a bunch of budding rapists, too. I bet they are. Just look at them. I think maybe another kid who wasn’t a part of their group said a racist thing while they were standing in the general vicinity. So go ahead and punch them–they’re wearing MAGA hats! They did or will do something wrong.”

This is the rhetoric of a party that has lost the plot. It’s the rhetoric of a party that has lost all sense of honor or consistency. Even when our perceived opponents haven’t done anything wrong, they’ve done something wrong. Even when we’re wrong, we’re right. And since we’re always right, we can treat the people who are always wrong any way we want because we’re on “the right side of history.”

If something similar had happened, just the other way around–the MAGA hat crowd deciding to dox and call for violence against a minor who had differing political opinions–it’d be called a horrible symptom of bigotry and hatred and “Trump’s America.” I know that because something similar did happen: the conservative rhetoric surrounding the Parkland kids, and how ill-advisedly hateful and ad hominem the attacks against them were. The difference between the two situations, though, is that the Parkland school kids are at least willingly putting themselves in the public eye, while the Covington school kids just so happened to be the victims of a viral video campaign designed to defame them even if it wasn’t accurate. The same people making impassioned pleas about how “you shouldn’t be going after kids because you disagree with them” are the ones justifying fake news and calls to violence as long as the kids involved just look punchable.

In my opinion, this is the incident that lost the left our next presidential election. It’s the incident that proved to the rest of the country that the left doesn’t care about “fake news” if it’s fake news that supports their own hatred of the other. It’s the incident that proved that they are willing to justify horrible behavior against people who don’t deserve it–minors at that–as long as they’ve decided that the people represent something bad and should therefore be made an example of. It’s the incident that proved that they will find some reason to think you’re a deplorable and treat you accordingly even if they are proven to be wrong.

I hope you guys love ranting about the horrors of living in “Trump’s America,” because you’ve pretty much just guaranteed four more years of it thanks to your blind hatred of everyone you’ve deemed to be “part of the problem.”

Gillette’s Marketing Team is Drinking Golden Champagne Out of Diamond Flutes Right Now

This is going to be a very brief commentary on the “controversial” Gillette ad campaign called “We Believe: The Best a Man Can Be.”

It calls itself a “short film,” which is insulting. Paying Idris Elba 500k to show up in 30 frames of your razor commercial does not make it a film. That’s not to say commercials can’t be incredibly well done art pieces. They can. But The Best a Man Can Be is art the same way YouTube Rewind is art. Read: It’s not. It is very well-produced, shallow, pandery bullshit though! So it has that going for it.

A while ago, I wrote a post called Rebel Culture Prostitution and Pro-Capitalism Anti-Capitalists, and this new razor commercial is essentially part of that very same trend. I honestly do not understand why anyone is reacting to this, positively or negatively. Can people honestly not tell when something exists for shallow pandering and that the giant faceless company doesn’t actually care about social politics one way or the other as long as they continue selling their totally unrelated product? The Gillette marketing team deserves a collective raise and a golden plaque, because they managed to wring months of free, mainstream advertising out of media and the public when, one month ago, you probably couldn’t name a single razor company off the top of your head. By virtue of writing this post, I am giving them free marketing.

To progressives: One year ago, you fucking hated companies like Gillette because of them charging more for products marketed to women. Their razor prices have not changed since then, by the way. Also, Gillette is a company that works exclusively within the realm of profiting off of strictly gendered insecurities. Hey, women, buy our pink razors to shave your legs and this extra attachment for the armpits and bikini line–you don’t want to be a hairy beast, do you? Hey, men, buy our specialty grooming razors that constantly need to be refilled because women love a man who looks sharp! And I’m supposed to buy that anyone at Gillette gives two fucks about subverting gender norms?

To everyone being butthurt over the video: Gillette cares about toxic masculinity and #MeToo about as much as 1970’s Coco-Cola cared about racial harmony or 1980’s Apple cared about not being an evil technocracy (that’s hilarious in retrospect). Read: It doesn’t, and they didn’t. This is a calculated marketing move designed to associate the Gillette brand with certain ideas and feelings. They had a guy who’s sole purpose in the board meeting was to crunch the numbers and make sure that you being butthurt wasn’t going to effect their bottom line. You throwing away razors that you already bought does nothing. You refusing to buy Gillette razors ever again was leveled out by stupid liberals who now buy Gillette on principle. You making videos about how butthurt you are is giving them more money and more attention and more name recognition, which is what they wanted. Congrats.

As for the contents of the actual video–I actually don’t see anything as all that offensive. Yeah, its self-aggrandizing, overly serious tone is really cringey, but so is every car commercial that uses the exact same formula of “insert: imagery and voice over about something ‘important’ totally unrelated to what we’re peddling.” The thing it reminds me of the most is that one awful Justin Timberlake music video from his horrible last album. Humorless, superficially “woke,” and totally un-self aware.

Some of the stuff just doesn’t make much sense. The bullying segment, for instance, puts a huge spotlight on youth social media bullying, which we now know is something perpetrated by and victimizing mainly tween/teen girls, not boys. I’m fine with pointing out that bullying is wrong, but acting like that specific kind of bullying is a sign of toxic masculinity is kinda losing the plot. It also features “sexist” sit-com antics that haven’t been common tropes in mainstream media since the 1980s, so I’m not sure why that was focused on so much like it’s in any way relevant or up-to-date social commentary.

There’s a quick shot of general spring break-style debauchery, which I would actually agree perpetuates “toxically masculine” behavior. Lonely Island made this social commentary far more effectively and far more entertainingly six years ago, though. A bit late to the party on that one, Gillette. There’s a pretty hilarious shot of a woman thousand-yard staring at the camera like she’s seen war because some guy in a business meeting interrupted her. That is a dick move, and people who monopolize meetings need to learn basic teamwork skills; but that was such a ridiculously overacted and on-the-nose depiction of that issue. Also, the narration itself is very car-commercial-intense in a cringey way, and I actually think the commercial would be much better served if it didn’t have the voice over explaining how we should feel.

Those are really my only issues with it. I actually like the Terry Crews speech they referenced since it’s one of the few instances of anyone acknowledging that men can be sexually harrassed and/or victimized. The context of that speech is him talking about how fathers have a special responsibility to teach their sons not to be creeps since boys model their behavior after the men in their lives in particular. That’s a fine statement to make, and scientifically backed at that.

By the end of the commercial, the “lesson” boils down to” “Don’t approach random women and tell them to do things in a skeevy tone, and if one of your friends does that, tell him he’s being a dick. Teach boys that they shouldn’t automatically resort to violence to get their way. Don’t treat your kids like shit.”

I don’t see much wrong with any of that. My main issue with this commercial is the pretense of Gillette shamelessly marketing itself towards a counterculture it clearly doesn’t have any actual stake in, and people inexplicably falling for it hook-line-and-sinker. The content itself isn’t overly objectionable, though. It’s not like that one horrendous Super Bowl ad whose “moral” was “physically assaulting men and destroying their property is cool because feminism! Now buy our $2000 high heels.” This one is at least more even-keeled.

I’m forced to assume that the people getting up-in-arms about it are reacting to literally the first five seconds where the term “toxic masculinity” is mentioned. I understand that–I too have very, very many problems with how fourth-wave feminists use the term to pathologize maleness as a concept. That being said, though, the majority of specific cases this commercial shows actually would qualify under the genuine definition of “toxic masculinity:” not helping young boys effectively deal with their temper/conflicts because being unnecessarily violent is “just what boys do,” aggressively approaching women who obviously do not want to be approached because brashness is equated with confidence.

I understand the contention caused by mentioning #MeToo. Like I have said multiple times, referencing it is shallow, unanalytical pandering at best. But you can tell that it’s shallow and unanalytical pandering because literally nothing else in the video has anything to do with #MeToo besides some random clip of The Young Turks stating that #MeToo exists and the Terry Crews clip, which is him talking about how he was sexually assaulted. In short: Calm the fuck down. As far as shitty commercials trying to cash in on the hashtag activist crowd goes, this is probably the lease objectionable one. It’s also not some progressive Godsend that shows a company being “woke” either. Pull your heads out of your asses for two seconds, people.




Sargon’s Advice for Incels: A Response

Sargon of Akkad recently posted a video entitled Advice for Incels, wherein he tried to have a genuine sit-down with those of the incel (involuntary celibate) community. I am glad it exists since it is one of the few attempts I’ve seen to speak to incels in an understanding and caring fashion, without deriding or mocking them.

ContraPoints’ fantastic video on the subject is the only other one I can think of. She’s also the only woman I’ve seen give any substantive commentary on the subject that wasn’t just mocking and shaming incels for their existence. I get that. Incels come across as hateful and misogynistic. Not the ever-expanding fourth-wave feminist definition of “misogynistic,” but genuine, old-school hatred. The reaction of “Well, fuck you too, you fucking loser,” is pretty understandable.

That being said, it does kind of bother me that so few women have offered their non-sarcastic perspective on the topic. If you look up dating advice for incels, it’s almost exclusively dudes talking to other dudes about “what women want” like we’re some kind of elusive alien species that they can only guess at using anthropological studies and evolutionary psychology. I can’t help but wonder why these guys don’t just fucking ask their wives or girlfriends or female friends/family members what they find attractive. The incels certainly aren’t going to consult a real-life woman, so why don’t you?

So I’m going to give my two-cents on the topic by building upon what Sargon says in his advice video. Here we go!

 [I’m going to give some] worldly advice from an older man to younger men to talk to them about their fear of not getting laid. There is a lot that older men could teach younger men on the subject. There is a great deal of wisdom that should be passed down.

Alright, boys, let me tell you about women!

I agree with Sargon here that there are a lot of men in the world who really need positive male guidance in their lives that they just haven’t been getting. I actually think that’s one of the reasons Jordan B. Peterson is so popular despite his works being highly questionable: He provides an authoritative source on “how to be a man” that these guys aren’t getting elsewhere.

It sucks if you’re not good looking. I know this because I’m not good looking. There is a definitive and probably scientifically demonstrable advantage to being good looking.

It is true that there is a scientifically demonstrable advantage to being good looking. It’s called the Halo Effect–people project competency and other desirable qualities onto you far more readily if you are attractive. The Halo Effect is almost entirely something seen in first impressions/with strangers, however. If you know nothing else about the person besides how they look, their looks are going to be heavily weighted, but the Halo Effect is minimized once more information is known.

You also have to take into account that beauty is largely subjective. Sargon’s own comment about not finding himself to be good looking is the perfect example of this. He thinks that he is unattractive, but half of the comments on his video are people–men and women–telling him that he’s hot.

However, all is not lost, because women are honestly not very visual creatures. Women respond to behavior primarily, beyond anything else. You can see this because their favorite books are rape fantasies. Hey, I don’t buy these books, it’s women who buy these books.

This is actually accurate, scientifically speaking. Men are aroused by visuals far more than women. That’s why pictures/video pornography is consumed mostly by men and written porn/literotica is consumed almost entirely by women. Something like 50 Shades of Grey, which I agree is essentially a rape fantasy, is popular because women tend to enjoy the overall experience of romance and interplays of power more than just looking at nudie pics. Summary: Lots of women like foreplay more than appearance.

What they’re attracted to is masculinity itself, in my opinion. They’re attracted to the physical act and the motions. The fact that they are being acted upon is in many ways the more attractive thing to a woman. I’m pretty certain that this is more women than not who’d prefer a man to be manly, physical, and active than to be a soyboy frankly–a weak, passive male feminist. And I think that this is primarily the reason why male feminists have real trouble getting girlfriends, unless they’re pretty boys.

I take slight issue with this, and it’s essentially the one major issue I have with Sargon’s video as a whole. The problem I have is that it presupposes that there is one particular way to be masculine and it’s that one particular expression of masculinity that women are attracted to. And I just don’t think that is the case. I don’t think it’s ever been the case. “Masculinity” can mean different things and can be expressed in different ways. An old timey lumberjack and a football bro are both masculine, but not in the same ways.

Even being passive is not inherently at odds with the concept of masculinity. A very popular character archetype in literotica is a guy who is in some kind of submissive position, who has the power to act but the dedication and discipline to be led by someone else. It’s the discipline that is considered masculine and attractive. That’s just one example, but I think that establishes my point.

The issue I see with many male feminists is two-tiered. Firstly, there is a very justified stereotype surrounding the male feminist that he’s a creep who is compensating for being a creep by waving the feminist flag. Secondly, in my experience, it seems like male feminists have an issue with expressing any kind of masculinity. They don’t just dislike Sargon’s version of masculinity, they dislike any expression of maleness and are rendered perpetually insecure and anxiety-ridden about being “too manly” at any given point, cringely backpedaling whenever they cross whatever that constantly shifting line of “too manly” is. And, as Sargon says, being utterly lacking in confidence and self-assurance is a quick way to turn anyone off.

A lot of the things that make you attractive to a woman is your career, in many respects. The fact that you do an important or dangerous job is often a turn on for a woman even if you’re not very good looking.

I slightly disagree with this point. There are many, many women who are attracted to men who do “important, dangerous” jobs, as Sargon said. He brings up police officers and firemen as the example of the kind of women-attracting job incels should take up. I’m not saying this isn’t accurate, but it’s not the complete picture. There were many comments on his video of men stating that they don’t want to make themselves miserable in a dangerous or important job that they hate just because it’s the kind of job that attracts women. And I agree with that. You don’t have to put yourself in potentially life-threatening career fields or climb up the soul-crushing corporate ladder just to get a girl.

You don’t need a dangerous or important career to be attractive. You need a career. Being dedicated to something and passionate about what you do is attractive. Enthusiasm is infectious. You don’t have to run into burning buildings. You can work in fucking tech support, but if you’re really, genuinely interested in tech, there will be some girl somewhere who finds that charming. Why do you think artists get so much attention? Nine times out of ten, it’s not because they’re especially good looking or especially financially secure. No, it’s because people are attracted to people who invest their time and energy into something they care a lot about.

Also, Sargon is British and looking at things from the perspective. I am American, however, and from that perspective, I take some serious issue with telling incels–guys with some clear and deep-seated issues with power dynamics in their social interactions–to get one of the few jobs that puts them in authority over people they would otherwise feel lesser than. That is just asking for yet another news story about some cop overreaching his authority and violently abusing some random guy for giving him too much lip, or a cop getting some pretty woman to give him sexual favors in order to get a ticket dropped.

You might have to lower your standards. You’re not going to be going for the sevens and eights, but you can still find women who will be attracted to you on the basis of what you are, not who you are.

I am a woman. I know, have known, and will continue to know lots of other women. Pro-tip for all you guys out there: Nothing makes a woman think you’re a creep more than referring to them by the number-level of their hotness. I’m not a feminist, but if anything could be considered objectification, giving women a 1-10 rating to determine if they’re high enough up on the chart to be fuckable would be it.

This is also a problem I’ve seen from many an incel. They will lament how hurtful and unfair it is that Stacys only go after the hyper-attractive Chads, but then go on and refer to women who they deem to be unattractive as ugly slags. They’ve trapped themselves in a self-defeating loop. When the man is obsessed with looks–like incels–they’re going to only be attracted to women who are mutually obsessed with looks, which means they’re only attracted to the one group of women who would never date them because they’re not attractive enough. No wonder they’re having such a hard go at things.

Women will always take on men as a project, right? For example, my wife is desperately trying to make me less of a messy bastard. That is her goal. Women are forgiving of faults as long as the direction is correct. And you have to be heading in that direction.

I’d generally agree with this, especially his point about heading in the right direction. From what I’ve seen and experienced myself, that is true. Like anything, it can go wrong–a woman can overstep boundaries and try to actively control her boyfriend or husband more than he is comfortable with (if he’s into that, sure). At it’s best, though, this is how many women establish themselves as the support system for their man–she’ll stay by him despite his faults and help him grow as a person, and in doing so she also grows as a person and their relationship becomes stronger and more intimate. That’s the ideal. Just being kinda annoyed that your girlfriend wants you to clean your room more is the happy medium.

I think that’s a fine place to stop. He goes on about how stewing in pathological self-hatred is bad, shocker. So what do women want in a man? I don’t know. The most definitive, generalized statement I can think of is that women like men who are secure in whatever their particular expression of masculinity is, and they like men who know what they want and are on an honest path to getting there. You could probably talk to an evolutionary psychologist who will go on about how the female animal wants the strongest mate or some shit. Maybe that’s it.

But here you go, here is my totally qualified advice:

You have to know where you are going and what your goals are, and you have to find someone who’s goals dovetail with your own so that you can both pursue your own purposes without getting in each other’s way. If you want a careerwoman, do not pursue women who want to be homemakers. If you don’t want a gold digger do not chase after women who’s priming skill is digging for gold. Ideally, you’d be able to actively help each other reach your respective goals, but–at the very least–you need to not hinder each other. That’s not to say concessions will never be made, but they will be sacrifices that you’re prepared for and willing to deal with.

And as for the incelian misconception that you’re too ugly to get a girlfriend: the answer is no. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. When women interact with you, they see baggage and a guy with a very high chance of becoming a stalker. It’s the same thing that makes men avoid desperate women because they don’t want to wake up one morning to a rabbit boiling in their kitchen. It’s not your looks, it’s your attitude. And thankfully, attitudes are way less expensive to change.

I did not think my current long-term boyfriend was attractive when I first met him. I thought he looked like a dork. I still enjoyed our first date, though, because I thought he was funny, and he had interesting job. He was interesting, and he was interested in me, with an end goal that wasn’t just getting laid to prove his worth as a man. He had mental and emotional hangups. So do I. We talked about it. We talked about everything we could think of because we liked talking to each other. And now we live together. And he still looks like a dork, and I don’t care because he’s an amazing human.

So I guess my advice to incels is pretty straightforward:

1.) You probably look fine. Not everybody gets to be hot, but guess what, that puts you in the same boat as most of the planet, and most of the planet still manages to get laid. You might have body-dysmorphia. Maybe consider seeing a therapist about that.

2.) Being resentful and hateful towards women as a gender is not a good look. Women aren’t inclined to like people who view them as universally despicable subhumans, believe it or not.

3.) Cultivate your own interests and your own goals in life (outside of desperately wanting to get laid and earn a hot woman’s affection), and there is a very high chance that you will find a woman who likes you because your individual interests and life goals intersect.

4.) This.