Power in Vulnerability

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Below is an excerpt of my book Models: Attract Women Through Honesty. This is a section is the opening section of Chapter 3: Power in Vulnerability. If you enjoy this, please consider purchasing the book here.

When most men hear the word “vulnerability,” their immediate reaction is to associate it with weakness. In general, men are raised to withhold their emotions, to not show weakness, and to ignore any hint of introspection. On top of that, most of the popular pick up advice out there encourages guys to be aloof, stand-offish, judgmental and at times scathing towards women.

Men have a lot of negative assumptions about the ideas of being more vulnerable and opening up to their emotions. Chances are it makes you a little skeptical or queazy to see this chapter.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to have you hold hands with some wimpy support group and recite lines like, “I love myself and am a happy person.”

I want you to think of vulnerability in a more broad way. Not just emotional vulnerability (although we’ll get to that), but physical vulnerability, social vulnerability.

For instance, making yourself vulnerable doesn’t just mean being willing to share your fears or insecurities. It can mean putting yourself in a position where you can be rejected, saying a joke that may not be funny, asserting an opinion that may offend others, joining a table of people you don’t know, telling a woman that you like her and want to date her. All of these things require you to stick your neck out on the line emotionally in some way. You’re making yourself vulnerable when you do them.

In this way, vulnerability represents a form of power, a deep and subtle form of power. A man who’s able to make himself vulnerable is saying to the world, “I don’t care what you think of me; this is who I am, and I refuse to be anyone else.” He’s saying he’s not needy and that he’s high status.

Most people think of a man who’s vulnerable as a man who cowers in the corner and begs others to accept him or not hurt him. This is not vulnerability, this is weakness and neediness.

Think of it this way, there are two men. One stands tall, looks straight ahead. Looks people in the eye when he speaks to them. Says what he thinks and is unconcerned with what others think of him. When he makes a mistake, he shrugs it off and maybe apologizes. When he sucks at something, he admits it. He’s unafraid to express his emotions, even if that means he gets rejected. He has no problem moving on to people who don’t reject him, but like him for who he is.

Now, the second man hunches over, eyes dart around and is unable to look someone in the eye without getting uncomfortable. He puts on a cool persona that is always aloof. He avoids saying things that may upset others, and sometimes even lies to avoid conflict. He’s always trying to impress people. When he makes a mistake, he tries to blame others or pretend like it didn’t happen. He hides his emotions and will smile and tell everyone he’s fine even when he’s not. He’s scared to death of rejection. And when he is rejected, it sends him reeling, angry, and desperate to find a way to win back the affection of the person who doesn’t like him.

Which one of these two men is more powerful? Which one is more vulnerable? Which one is more comfortable with himself? Which one do you think women would be more attracted to?

Going back to the evolutionary perspectives we discussed in Chapter 1, vulnerability makes perfect sense as an indicator to women of a male’s status and fitness. Let’s say there’s a tribe of 20 men, all hunter gatherers, all men with more or less equal possessions (or lack thereof).

Some of the men in the tribe are constantly reactive to what the other men tell them. They don’t admit faults. They change their behavior and what they say to win the approval of the other men. When something doesn’t go their way, they look to blame someone else. What would this say about their status in their tribe? If they’re basing all of their behavior on the approval of the other men and are constantly covering for their weaknesses, it says that they’re low status, not trustworthy, needy, and probably not going to be a dependable father.

Now imagine other men in the same tribe who are unfazed by the neediness or temper tantrums of the other men around them. They focus purely on their task at hand and don’t change their behavior based on what others think of them. When challenged, they stand up for themselves, but when wrong they also admit their fault, as they see no reason to hide their weakness. They have a sense of honor. They don’t react to any of the other men around them, rather, the other men react to him.

This behavior implies high status, a man who is dependable, comfortable in his strengths and weaknesses, a man who can be counted on and who is likely to rise through the ranks and provide for his family.

He’s likely to succeed and likely to be a dependable father.

My belief is that women have been naturally selected to choose high status men based on their behavior first, and then their looks and accomplishments second — as looks and accomplishments tend be products of high status behavior, not the other way around. This high status behavior is a man who is comfortable with his vulnerability, who isn’t afraid to express who he is, warts and all, to the world. This plays out in multiple arenas — in the life decisions he makes (Part III), the extent of his courage (Part IV) and the way he communicates to others (Part V).

Chances are, if you’re reading this and are bad with women, then you’re bad with women because you don’t express your true feelings and intentions very well at all. Perhaps you’re afraid to approach women you find attractive, or ask them out on a date. Perhaps you consistently fall into boring conversation topics because they’re “safe” and shallow and you don’t have to risk offending or inciting anyone with them. Perhaps you’re stuck in a job or lifestyle you don’t truly enjoy, but because other people always told you that it was a good idea and you didn’t want to upset or disappoint others. Perhaps you haven’t exercised or groomed yourself to the extent that you could because you didn’t want to stand out too much. Dressing extremely well makes you feel uncomfortable, smiling at strangers makes you feel creepy, and the idea of hitting on a woman openly scares you because of the possible rejection.

All of these are symptoms of a root problem: an inability to make yourself vulnerable.

Many men, like you, and like me, were raised in such a way as to not express our emotions freely. For whatever reason — maybe our home situation, maybe childhood trauma, maybe our parents didn’t ever express their emotions either — we’ve grown up with habits embedded deeply into us to keep us stifled and bottled up. Don’t be controversial. Don’t be unique. Don’t do anything “crazy” or “stupid” or “selfish.”

I was the same way. My entire young life I was terrified of anyone not liking me. The mere thought of someone hating me, girl or guy, would literally keep me up at night. As a result, every aspect of my life revolved around people-pleasing, hiding my faults, covering my tracks, blaming others. And needless to say, I barely had any success with women. And when I did finally get a girlfriend, she left my ass for a man who could actually express himself.

This all may sound hokey and new-agey. Trust me, it’s not. Connecting with women in this way, by being vulnerable — as opposed to compensating or becoming a fake alpha — will result in the some of the best interactions and relationships of your life. In the past three years I’ve had women thank me for having a one night stand with them; women tell me that our week together meant more to them than their entire four-year relationship with their ex-boyfriend; women ask me to take their virginity because I was the first guy they had ever met who they trusted enough to do it. I have beautiful women from all over the world that I keep in touch with years later and share wonderful memories with — some of whom I spent less than 48 hours with.

Vulnerability is the path of true human connection and becoming a truly attractive person. As Psychologist Robert Glover says: “Humans are attracted to each other’s rough edges.” Show your rough edges. Stop trying to be perfect. Expose yourself and share yourself without inhibition. Take the rejections and lumps and move on because you’re a bigger and stronger man. And when you find a woman who loves who you are (and you will), revel in her affection.

But opening oneself up to vulnerability, training oneself to become comfortable with your emotions, with your faults, and with expressing oneself without inhibitions doesn’t happen overnight. This entire book is kind of a how-to guide for vulnerability disguised as a seduction manual. But it’s a process, and at times is a grueling one.

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101 Comments

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  • Reply

    Leo

    5 months ago

    Could you make yourself vunerable about your personal issues, for example telling a girl that you have OCD? It seems to me that almost EVERYBODY is trying to hide their issues to the rest of the world because as you said we are afraid of not being liked for the another peson. The funny thing is that everybody has issues, just nobody wants to admit it.
    At what point of the interaction you make yourself vulnerable? You wait to get to know the person better to make yourself vulnerablo or making yourself vulnerable ASAP helps to get to know the another person better?

    • Reply

      Eugene

      5 months ago

      Don’t complain about it. Simply don’t complain.

    • Reply

      Jack

      3 months ago

      You don’t flat out state your flaws. Simple way of thinking about it is when it comes time for you to do something, and you know you’re terrible at whatever it is, you state so.

      For example: You’re with a girl you like and want to connect with her, but you’re terrible with girls. You turn to her, look her straight in the eye, and say “I’m terrible at talking to girls I like. How are you around people you’re infatuated with?”

      There has to be a purpose to expose your flaws. If you just randomly spout out your flaws, then you’re weak. With a purpose, you’re honest and strong.

  • Reply

    Ora

    5 months ago

    Wow, that was an amazing, eye-opening article! Thank you so much.

  • Reply

    Stanley

    5 months ago

    Is there a danger to get complaining/ whining?

    For me it`s couragous e. g. to admitting that I feel lonely. But I rarely admit it because I don’t want to be a complaining guy.

    But there also people who talking all the time about their problems and that could be annoying as well if it’s in a systematic way to get people caring for you. They talk about their problems, but they don`t change anything.

    You mentioned it in the don’t-cowering-in-the-corner-part (I know a guy who is successful getting girls because he plays the sad guy on the couch at a party – that’s sick).

    For me it’s the challenge showing wounds but not whining.

    • Reply

      Kartik

      4 months ago

      I think it’s only whining if it dominates every conversation you have with the person. If you keep complaining about your problems, and do nothing to remedy them, that is a much greater form of weakness. If you acknowledge them plainly and honestly for what they are, then it’s not as bad.

  • Reply

    Mark

    5 months ago

    @Leo and Stanley: This subject gets more complicated, and I know this is predictable, but buy the book. This article is maybe 20% of Chapter 3. I dedicate all of Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 12 to dealing with this topic and the questions you guys are asking.

  • Reply

    Philip

    5 months ago

    Ah, damn you. Now I want the book.

    Does it come free with coaching? :P

  • Reply

    Wyck

    5 months ago

    Wow. That’s the best I’ve see written on the subject of vulnerability, bar none. I’ve been wanting to write on this a long time, but I haven’t been able to do so in a way that addresses the obvious objections/questions. In short: The book is a sure-buy for me.

  • Reply

    Hernán

    5 months ago

    The links in further reading (2nd point) don’t work.

  • Reply

    Paul

    5 months ago

    Thoughtful writing, Mark. May I contribute one piece?

    “Many men, like you, and like me, were raised in such a way as to not express our emotions freely. For whatever reason…”

    A: Social conditioning of what (role) is expected in male behavior.

    On a related note to vulnerability, I think you and your readers would love this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o

    • Reply

      Mark

      5 months ago

      I would argue that post-feminist women are conditioned to be just as bad at being vulnerable. In Western culture, both genders seem to be awful at it these days.

      Seen that video and like it.

      • Reply

        Paul

        5 months ago

        While I don’t think vulnerability is as broad in scope as it is among men, I can think of a lot of reasons to back up what you just said. I have my opinions, but I want to hear yours. If you had to take a guess on the vulnerability issue, strictly speaking in terms of women, what influences would you suggest contribute to this?

  • Reply

    Paul

    5 months ago

    I messed up that first thought. It should have said…

    “While I don’t think the issue of vulnerability is as broad in scope…”

  • Reply

    Mark

    5 months ago

    I’d agree that it’s not as endemic in women as it is in men, but it’s still pretty bad (at least compared to women in non-feminist cultures).

    My hunch is that somewhere along the way, “empowering women” got mixed up with acting masculine and withholding vulnerability, whether intentional or not. But I can’t say for sure.

    • Reply

      hilanoga

      5 months ago

      I think you are making a bit of a concept-salad there, and I will explain.
      The radical-feminist* view is that in our society, manly traits are still valued more than feminin traits. This is why being assertive, tough and competitive is considered better than being compassionate, vulnerable and understanding, for instance.
      Now, the thing is that the feminist revolution enabled us, women, to achieve everything we want – we can (OMGOMG!!11) vote, study at the university and become professors or even run for president. However, it did not change the values we believe in as a society. So while it is technically possible for me, for instance, to become the dean of my university, in order to succeed in that I have to adopt some masculine traits so that I will not appear too feminine**.
      This is why we become more “masculine” (as you chose to put it) as we became more empowered – being a woman, you practically cannot win. If you are feminine, you are inadequate for whatever it is you try to achieve***, and if you are somewhat masuline then you are a butch.
      Now, a lot of the current femisit effort tries to change that. It challenges the notion that there are womanly and manly traits at all, it asks why we think that one is better than the other, and among other things, it argues that contrary to our beliefs about masculinity, it is also OK for a man to be vulnerable (where did I hear that before).
      I recommend http://noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz.wordpress.com for more reflections on feminism and the way it relates to men, and can even be empowering for you guys.

      * “radical” as in wanting to change society from the roots, not as in “extreme”.
      ** a.k.a weak and incompetent.
      *** If I had a penny for every time a man told me that a woman could not do something because she is a woman/thinks like a woman/is too sensitive/hysterical/not locigcal, or that I am good at what I do despite being a woman, I would probably have… Oh about 20-30 pennies by now ;)

      • Reply

        JJ

        5 months ago

        Although I’ve had my fair share of vehement feminist professors sharing their knowledge with me, I can’t say that I fully understand the nuances and intricacies of the feminist movement.

        Having said that, I’ve never doubted women’s ability or capacity to do the things that most men have said women are incapable of doing based on their bigoted, sexist viewpoints. I know firsthand women are strong, capable people, who are dynamic and intelligent thinkers that are no less qualified to take up high status and high level jobs, positions or whatnot.

        However, I think it’s difficult to try and measure the actual effects the feminist movement or the progressive ways of thinking have changed or shifted the roles of men and women in our society. It’s foolhardy to blame or generalize that the feminist movement is contributing to the notion that men are becoming more subservient and passive while women become more “dominant” and “masculine.” Even if that trend is true, there are too many different factors at play to determine which variable is accountable for any shifts or changes in trends.

        Although what I do commonly see is empty and pointless arguments that are usually started when an ignorant man says something along the lines of “women are X” — usually a rash, sexist generalization.

        What I’ve found curious is, despite moving towards equality (certainly still a work in progress), the women that I do know, ones that are strong, dominant, assertive types, still look for a man to lead them. If anything, these women demand an even more powerful man, a man who is fit to complement her personality. But I digress…

        • Reply

          hilanoga

          5 months ago

          “If anything, these women demand an even more powerful man, a man who is fit to complement her personality.”

          This is what I used to think, but then I found that it can lead to some nasty power struggles in the relationship.

          Now I am in the opinion that if you are a dominant woman, whoever you date should be confident enough not to be threatened by your character and success. My observation is that dominant people tend to have a big ego and there is only so much ego you can shove into one relationship, so a powerful woman will probably be better off with a guy who is not so powerful but has a smaller ego.

          Another options is to have two dominant people who take charge of different areas in the relationship and work in different professions (to minimize competition), but this can lead to problems if one of the partners changes status in a way that disrupts the power balance.

          • Mark

            5 months ago

            “If anything, these women demand an even more powerful man, a man who is fit to complement her personality.”

            Surveys and science indicate this is true. The increasing demographic of successful 30-something women who are still single in Western countries probably has something to do with this as well.

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            *shrug*
            I is just my personal experience.

            I have my thoughts on why surveys show what they show – social expectations from men and the way we think about power balance in relationships are the first that come to mind. You cannot detach these surveys from context of our social beliefs and norms.

            However, in my experience, the fact we believe in these ideas doesn’t make them right for everyone.

          • Mark

            5 months ago

            Ugh… that is such a cop out argument. I’m really, really, really tired of seeing it and I’ve only been reading feminist stuff for a few months.

            Surveys of large cross-cultural sample sizes are the most unbiased and objective data we can produce on social behavior. Sure, they may not be 100% perfect. But until you can show me a way to measure “social expectations from men” and “power balances in relationships,” we’ll just stick with statistical analysis.

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            Yeah well –
            the problem with statistical analysis is that it can only show you what the current preferences are, but it cannot tell you why we have these preferences.

            In order to answer that question, you will probably raise some evolutionary psychology claims, in which case I will ask something in the lines of “OK, but we are not hunters and gatherers any more, so why did these preferences stuck around?” and whoops! here we are with my social expectations and norms again.

            Besides, I don’t really understand what it is that we are arguing about. I didn’t say that women don’t want strong men, just that I’m not sure that strong-woman-stronger-man is the greatest combination for a healthy relationship (and that healthy relationship is not exactly what most people have in mind when they imagine what they want their partner to be).

          • Mark

            5 months ago

            Wait, so society makes feminine women act masculine to succeed? But it also forces masculine women act feminine?

            I don’t understand what you’re arguing either.

            Since I’m broadening my horizons at the moment, I invite you to as well hilanoga. Check out “The Evolution of Desire” by David Buss. It’s a bit dry at times. But I’d be interested to see your take on it.

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            Thanks :)
            I thought about buying your book next but couldn’t find it on Amazon*, so I’ll have something else to read while I wait. ;)

            Regarding your question, there’s a double standard toward women (this is why I wrote that women cannot win).

            Femininity is a desired trait for a woman in our society. We are expected to be pretty, compassionate caring, vulnerable, sensitive, emotional and what not.

            The catch is that if you are traditionally feminine, it is very likely that you will be considered incompetent for any high ranking, competitive or technical position. So in order to succeed there, you have to “man up”, become a bit more masculine and play the game.

            But once you do that, you are shamed for not being feminine enough**, and you are back to square #1.

            Now, us not-so-feminine-from-the-start girls, we have it hard both ways. We are shamed for not being feminine without even having all those billions of dollars in the bank.

            I will give you a real-life example –
            On one hand, as women, we are expected to be sensitive and emotional. On the other hand, my friend once told me that females cannot manage because they are too emotional and never think with their head (which is bullshit because you can be emotional in one situation and not in another, but that’s not the point).
            Now, assuming my closest circle is at work (or in the Army, as it was in this specific case), everybody knows everybody and I really want to get that managerial position – how should I present myself?
            If I let out my sensitive side with my friends, I will be considered a bad manager on account of not being logical enough.
            If I am more emotionally restrained and logical, like a man, I will be considered “not a real woman” and will not be able to, say, date any of the men around me.
            How can I win?

            * This is a question really – did I miss it or is it just not there?

            ** This is why, for instance, you will often see powerful women criticized for their looks but never powerful men.
            How dare you own the biggest bank in Israel but not be pretty for us?!

      • Reply

        Paul

        5 months ago

        @ hilanoga: No joke, you literally took the words right out of my mouth. The values of society are indeed masculine, and until society shifts its values, the most progress that can be made (and I say can in the sense that it still isn’t even at the following level) is for women to be granted equal liberties from the values which have been imposed historically by male rationality.

      • Reply

        hilanoga

        5 months ago

        And another thing – some women are just born more assertive and not so girly, and since the feminist movement told us that it is OK not to be frail lotus flowers, I guess less women try to conceal who they really are.

        And you know what – men benefit from this as well. Not everyone long for the (imagined, I guess, but that’s beside the point) days when women were little girls and boys were real men.

        • Reply

          Mark

          5 months ago

          I’m all for women being able to assert themselves. But I spend 8-9 months a year in non-feminist countries and I can’t help but feel we’ve lost sight of something. Just because you assert yourself at work doesn’t mean you have to assert yourself everywhere.

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            “Just because you assert yourself at work doesn’t mean you have to assert yourself everywhere.”

            What does that mean? Why shouldn’t I assert myself if I think it can do good?
            Can you think of a situation where a man should assert himself and a woman shouldn’t?

          • Mark

            5 months ago

            Depends. My point is simply that just because you SHOULD assert yourself and adopt traditionally “masculine” traits in the professional world doesn’t mean women have to adopt traditionally “masculine” traits everywhere else.

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            I want examples :)

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            I know what bothers me with what you wrote.

            We do not “adopt” masculine traits – we are just born the way we are and we are not afraid to show it because we are told that it is legitimate. If I lived in a “non-feminist” society (as you call it), I would be a very miserable person, and I know that for a fact because I grew up in a somewhat conservative environment.

            Now, you prefer girls of a certain kind, which is understandable. But in the name of that preference, you want society to enforce a certain behavior on all women, even if it makes them unhappy.

            It’s like society would shame you for being outgoing and speaking your mind all the time just because I (hila) prefer quite and shy men, for example.

            If you give specific examples I will be able to address them, but generally speaking, this is what gets to me about all this “girls should be girls” idea.

          • Mark

            5 months ago

            People should be people.

            And yes, you were born the way you are, but you even said yourself, “This is why we become more “masculine” (as you chose to put it) as we became more empowered – being a woman, you practically cannot win.”

            If a woman is born with “masculine” traits, that’s fine. If she wants to develop them and use them, that’s fine too. But there’s nothing wrong with feminine traits. In fact, in many aspects of life, they’re preferable.

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            I made two claims:
            1. In order to succeed, a lot of times you have to adopt masculine traits.
            2. Some of us are just not very feminine, and feminism simply allows us to be who we are without being shamed for it.

            I never said that being feminine is wrong, just that wanting society to enforce feminine behavior on us #2 girls is not very nice.

  • Reply

    Paul

    5 months ago

    When I tell people I’m a feminist, they think I’m either gay, hateful toward my own gender, or trying to ally with women to get into their pants. It drives me crazy when people assume that just because I’m a heterosexual male who is attracted to women, that I can’t possibly see them as equals. For me, feminism has not only opened up new windows of insight in regards to the subordination of women, or my own sexist beliefs, but has liberated me from the chains of ‘masculinity’ that society continuously imposes on me. I think if more individuals were able to move beyond their assumptions of feminism, they would see it benefits all of humankind, and a bigger conversation can begin. But in an increasingly sexist and violent world, what does it take to move closer toward that?

    • Reply

      Matt

      5 months ago

      In the U.S.:

      -Over 60% of the people that graduate from college are women.
      -Women make 93-95% of what men make for the same amount of work (source: http://www.consad.com/content/reports/Gender%20Wage%20Gap%20Final%20Report.pdf).
      -Women are beginning to make more money than men in large urban cities.
      -83% of women get full child custody in the divorce (let’s not forget alimony and child support).
      -93% of work related deaths are from men.
      -98% of war related deaths are from men.
      -The laws surrounding domestic abuse are entirely in favor of women even though around 40% of domestic abuse is by women.

      To top it off, the U.S. society is misandrist. It teaches men to hate themselves because they are “sexist dumb violent pigs” by nature.

      What more do you Goddamn feminists WANT?!

      • Reply

        hilanoga

        5 months ago

        It’s not a zero-sum game, you know.

        Some of the things you wrote are indeed successes of the feminist movement (high education and salary).

        Regarding military deaths – in Israel there is an ongoing feminist fight to let women into combat roles (which are considered more prestigious), but some claim we can’t do it (being women and all), so naturally – if we are not allowed to combat we never die in battle.

        Regarding work related deaths – same goes for the social construction of physical work as “men’s work”.

        Child support etc’ – when more men stay at home after birth and take care of their children (another goal of the feminist movement, that is) and it is more socially acceptable that men take as much part in it as the women, this will change. It is work in progress.

        Society is sexiest both ways. Feminism tries to change that for men and for women. You should really read some articles in the blog I linked to, I suspect you will find that some of your goals align pretty well with current feminist efforts.

        • Reply

          Mark

          5 months ago

          Have you ever considered that the lack of female infantry is tactical and not ideological?

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            I was commenting on the Matt’s remark that 98% of war related deaths are from men.

            And of course I’ve considered that, and it’s not that simple. However, this is a complicated discussion that is beside the point right now.

  • Reply

    Paul

    5 months ago

    Maybe some feminists are hateful toward others, just like some people are generally mean toward others (or certain groups). But I have also known other feminists, and especially people within my own career field, that you think would get along and don’t. There are plenty of feminists who do not harbour any ill feelings toward either sex, or believe in labels such as ‘right/wrong’, ‘good/bad’.

    And you’re right, there are plenty of instances in which western culture finds humilitation/embarrassing men to be entertaining, just as the same culture finds entertainment in physical and psychological violence, dominance, good/evil, and women as sex objects.

    I can’t say I speak for all feminists, but I want you to know there are feminists who are mindful of the consequences in male-bashing (for that would only restore the old gender opposition). Many feminists strive for mutual recognition between the sexes through educating others, and just as heartfelt for the situation of men as women.

  • Reply

    Mark

    5 months ago

    My jury is still out on the whole feminism thing. I’ve been doing some reading on it the past couple months as well as having some email conversations. I’m trying to keep an open mind about the whole thing and get exposed to as much as possible before making any clear statements.

    But right now my general feeling is this: I sympathize with the intent of the movement, but I am having trouble getting behind the methods and language it implements.

    I think a combination of JJ and Matt’s points are most pertinent: you can’t measure “equality of masculine/feminine values” in society, nor necessarily should you. And when you have a cause that cannot be measured and is purely ideological, then I’m always very, very, very weary of getting on board, regardless of what that cause is.

    But we’ll see. I’m still reading up on it.

  • Reply

    Geert

    5 months ago

    Arn’t we men just a bunch of chauvinistic pigs? I mean how can a man possibly act right given the following assumptios:

    a) In my library I find books like:
    “why women are much better then man”
    b) In the newspaper I read articles like:
    “men are guilty of the financial crisis”
    c) A european politician named neelie kroes said the following: women are so much better then man.
    d) if a woman isn’t progressing as quickly as a men in terms of carreer. Immediately she’s being discriminated.
    e) the next great idea, a quota of 50% men and women in high ranking positions.

    and my favourite one, women earn less money for the same amount of work. Which is simply not true. Here is how they measure it: sum up all the wages of men and women who are working and then compare them.
    This isn’t legit because:

    - We don’t take into account the economic sector. Most women work in social sectors such as nursing and education. Wages in that sector are mostly lower.

    I’m a very big critic of the feminist movement in its modern form. To give you another example. A tv-show in our country was debating on the topic on why there were so few women who were participating in the government negotiations. Here’s what the ladies were all saying: “this is so typical of men, if women were participating we would already have an agreement” or “men just don’t work as good as women”. I watched in disbelief.

    Another thing that the feminist movement is great at, is pointing out that all women should go for a high ranking position and by doing so indirectly implying that women who don’t want to do this are weak and can’t stand up for themselves. Empowered by delusional arguments such as “there are no biological differences between men and women”, claims like this keep existing.

    The entire idea of the feminist movement being all about “solidarity among women” is at the least laughable. How about feminist organizations were they explicitly say “only high educated women are allowed”.

    Yes solidarity can have different meanings, but so do equal opportunities, equality between the sexes and freedom of choice.

    Let’s not go from one extreme to the other, since I hope we’re smarter then that.

    • Reply

      Mark

      5 months ago

      It really is appalling how often statements such as, “Women are better than men at X,” are overlooked if not applauded in today’s Western society. Yet, if you say the opposite, you’re called a misogynist.

      There are a few more books I want to read, but I will probably do a big 3-part series of posts on feminism later this year. Still withholding judgment until I learn more.

      • Reply

        hilanoga

        5 months ago

        a) And my (female) boss got a book about “why are men so much better than women” as a child (which made her feminist). Idiots are everywhere.

        Stupid “women are better” claims – again you get idiots everywhere, even in the feminist movement. I am not going to protect every goddamned thing every stupid woman ever said, forget about it.

        And the rest of your post is filled with misconceptions about the movement and its goals:

        Salary gaps – I heard that they compare salary in the same sector. I can make sure if it really bothers you.

        d) and 50% positions: the claim is that you get a lot of average men in high ranking positions while only the really excellent women manage to advance. This is why we don’t have real equality – because if I have to be better than 95% of men to get the job as a manger but you have to be just average, then my chances to get it are lower than yours based on nothing by my gender. It’s called (translated freely from Hebrew) “the mediocracy test” – when we have as much mediocre women in high ranking positions as mediocre men, we will know we have achieved our goals.
        I am not sure if quotas are the way to deal with this issue, but this is the idea behind it.

        Government negotiations etc’ – as I said, society is sexiest both ways. Reverse sexism is not feminism, and as I said – I am not going to defend any stupid saying a woman ever said.
        The blog I linked to deals exactly with sexism towards men so I’m not going to address any more claims that this is feminism.

        As far as I can determine, most feminists will not tell you that you MUST go for high ranking positions, otherwise you are weak, only that if you do – you should have an equal chance. What you wrote is a misinterpretation of the movement’s goals.

        Feminist organizations for educated women – don’t know any.

        • Reply

          Mark

          5 months ago

          Unfortunately, there is a lot of misandry — subtle and overt — in the feminist movement. And as the blog’s local feminist voice hilanoga, you’re going to shoulder a lot of replies like this.

          This is, after all, a blog based on empowering men who have felt stepped on by women for most of their lives.

          Just know what you signed up for!

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            LOL!!! Correct.

            Being the woman who felt stepped on by many men probably doesn’t help my situation as well! LOL! :D

            I will just make a template response with HTML links and all and post it all over the place ;)

          • Paul

            5 months ago

            Mark, your point about men getting into this seduction community thing is valid, but consider an alternative viewpoint that could also be just as true:

            Men get into this thing because they feel less than the ‘man’ society says they should be. This applies both to the guy who isn’t ‘good with women’, as well as the guy who got cheated on by his girlfriend, feels like an emotional chump, and despises that he feels that way in part (unconsciously) because what he embodies doesn’t mold with the expectations of what he has learned is expected of him. He feels ‘less than’, and needs to overcompensate.

            And to address someone else who wrote, I have to say, again, that feminism is NOT about advancing women pass men. Feminism is not about hatred for the opposite sex. As someone who used to think it was until I studied and got into it a year ago, I can understand why you would think that way, but trust me, most feminists do not believe that because it would only be reinforcing the old gender dominant system that we feel has caused a problem in the first place.

            If you want to have a conversation about research sometime, I’m more than happy. I think the evidence of a society that looks down on women and reinforces patriarchy is overwhelming. Remember, I get paid to work with research and literally have to look at hundreds of studies every week in all area’s of psychology. I’m weary of methods as well, and examine those. I’ve seen really excellent studies that suggest social change is desparately needed. And not social change in the sense of women over men, no, but of mutuality and respect.

            Keep in mind, this is all coming from a guy who (although I cringe when I think about it) was involved in ‘seduction’ for 8 years, and had a life prior to that filled with cultural programming about male dominance.

            It’s not that I think what you are saying has zero validity to it, but I think you are missing a lot of valid points that could broaden your perspective.

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            I would love some links :)

          • Mark

            5 months ago

            I would too Paul. I have yet to stumble across a single reasonable explanation or evidence for this so-called “patriarchy” or “rape culture” that some of these writers go on and on about.

            I mean, in Saudi Arabia, the patriarchy is pretty obvious. But in 2011 United States or Sweden, I’m having trouble seeing it.

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            In Israel:
            - In certain parts of the country women faces are erased from public billboards.
            - In certain parts if you walk without proper coverage (long sleeved shirt, dress, head cover) you will be physically attacked.
            - Rabbis forbid women from taking part in city councils (I don’t know how to translate the reason they give without losing all its social meaning).
            - Your social status is tied strongly with your military role. Farther than that – in order to become prime minister, for instance, it is (socially, not legally) considered mandatory that you have combat experience.
            Yet women are not allowed into most of the meaningful roles in the army, and now that more orthodox soldiers are joining in and refusing to work with women, we are being pushed out from positions we previously could have.
            - There are bus lines in which women have to sit at the back of the bus.
            - Racist claims against minorities are often that they (foreign men) take “our” girls. Of course, our vaginas belongs to the Jewish men around us and it must be protected from thieving foreigners.

            I can go on with this for hours.

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            And of course, rape culture.

            I guess Paul will provide the hard data.

        • Reply

          Geert

          5 months ago

          The fact is that these types of “feminist” (I’ll put it in brackets if you insist), get tons of media exposure.

          - There is a feminist movement that writes a monthly magazine in our country. They had the idea that if a man wanted to get a promotion he would have to show evidence that he helped other women move up in the organization.

          - your quota argument. As far as I’m concerned we should be concerned with quality not quantity. You even say that there will only be equality when there are as much mediocre men (sexism towards men) in high ranking positions then mediocre women.

          Sorry, but I never figured out that you had to be mediocre in order to apply for a high ranking position.

          Again what it comes down to is this: do we have quality people in those positions, regardless of their gender.

          Any decent entrepreneur would want to have the best crew on board.

          - I personally know a couple of women who are feminists who I don’t have a problem hanging out with. But what bothers me so much is that it’s almost politically correct to start male bashing.

          I definetly believe you if you say that this not feminism. But you can learn a lot about a movement by the means they use to reach their objectives. After all Hitler wanted to make Germany powerfull and do well for the Germans. So all that we have left then is our perception.

          - I’ll check that blog I havn’t really read it.

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            You lost in the discussion!
            LOL! Just kidding.

            Regarding the quotas – I think you misunderstood. Probably I wasn’t clear in my explanation.

            - First assumption: equal rights doesn’t always imply equal opportunity.
            - Probably a fact of life: every profession has it’s normal distribution curve, so you will always have in each position a small amount of really incompetent people, lots of average people and a small amount of brilliant people.
            - Claim: most of the average people in high ranking positions are men.
            - Claim: all of the women in high ranking positions are very good.

            Now we ask ourselves – so why don’t we see an even distribution between average men and women in high ranking positions?

            I claim that this is because only really good women can get into them.

            Now – if *only* really good women can get into positions that average men can get into as well, this means that average women are being discriminated, because if two average people – a man and a women, will compete on the same position, the man will be more likely to get it.

            It doesn’t mean we *want* average people there, just that it’s a fact of life that there will always be, and given that, an even distribution among men and women means everyone have the same chance to succeed.

            As I said – I’m not sure that quotas are a good solution for that, but as far as understand I this is what it tries to achieve.

            Male bashing bothers me too, and I make a point of correcting people around me when I notice it.

            I don’t know about the means argument. There are many different groups in feminism, each doing different things. Me and my friends hardly ever agree on the right course of action for us as as feminists and we are a very small group with closely related views of feminism that belong in the same school of thought.
            The problem is that as always, the people that get most of the media coverage are the more provocative ones, and since most people who aren’t already bought into the idea of feminism will never go and check what other activities are out there, this is what shapes the public opinion on the movement.

            Besides – it is a known fact that the thing activists hate the most of all is other activists from different schools of thought ;)

      • Reply

        António

        5 months ago

        “It really is appalling how often statements such as, “Women are better than men at X,” are overlooked if not applauded in today’s Western society. Yet, if you say the opposite, you’re called a misogynist.”

        Give it to Bill Maher: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x64cy3Bcr98

  • Reply

    Mark

    5 months ago

    @hilanoga: The book will be available on Amazon at the end of the month. I’ll announce on the blog.

    As for the “double standard,” I don’t see it as a double standard. Different aspects of life require different sensibilities. Men have had a lot of pressure put on them the past few decades to be more sensitive, more passive, more understanding. Many have been, at a sacrifice of their more natural “masculine traits.” Is that a double standard?

    Just because a successful woman is made fun of for her looks doesn’t mean it’s sexism. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you are immune from being criticized. Prominent men are criticized constantly. There’s a governor in the US right now who is criticized constantly for being fat. Donald Trump’s hair has been the receiver of jokes for decades. Who cares?

    I’ve just never been able to get on board with the idea that gender roles = inequality. Why can’t we just respect the gender roles equally? And by the way, if you’re a woman who wants to behave more masculine, go for it, and if you’re an effeminate man, that’s fine too? If you’re a woman who really just wants to cook and clean all day and be pretty (yes, there are many who DO enjoy this), then that’s fine, and if you’re a man who wants to watch football and fart and build things, then that’s fine too.

    Live and let live.

    • Reply

      hilanoga

      5 months ago

      Regarding your first question – I don’t think anyone should be pressured to act in a way he is not comfortable with.
      I always thought about it as giving men more options rather than demanding that they will change their ways, but I see what bothers you.

      “I’ve just never been able to get on board with the idea that gender roles = inequality.”
      The problem with gender roles is that if you don’t conform to them, you get shamed for it. We want to expand the options we can comfortably choose without having to pay a heavy social price, that’s all.

      “Why can’t we just respect the gender roles equally?”
      Feminist struggle, right there (again, while expanding the available options).

      “And by the way, if you’re a woman who wants to behave more masculine, go for it, and if you’re an effeminate man, that’s fine too? If you’re a woman who really just wants to cook and clean all day and be pretty (yes, there are many who DO enjoy this), then that’s fine, and if you’re a man who wants to watch football and fart and build things, then that’s fine too.”
      Yes, yes, yes and yes.

      “Live and let live.”
      I hereby declare you feminist. :D

      • Reply

        Mark

        5 months ago

        Seriously, with the exception of Christina Sommers, I have yet to come across a single feminist writer who says the stuff I said above. And Sommers wrote a book which spent 300 pages bashing gynocentricism in feminism and was criticized heavily for it.

        Please, recommend me a book. I would *LOVE* to read a feminist writer who says the stuff I just said above.

        Add this to your reading list: David Deida’s “Intimate Communion.” It’s a little woo-woo, but his views on gender roles and how they exist within relationships are the closest reflection of my own views on the issue. I know Paul’s a big fan of him as well.

        • Reply

          hilanoga

          5 months ago

          Well,
          even you don’t always say what you just said above.

          (I will say that this is the least of this post’s problems, but it shows my point well).

          Anyway – I’m at work, so I’ll respond to the rest later.

          • Mark

            5 months ago

            Not sure how that story relates to any of this.

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            “Live and let live” vs. shaming people who do not conform to gender roles.

          • Mark

            5 months ago

            Not sure who I was shaming in that story… if anybody, it was myself, and for good reason. I was really immature, egotistical and needy.

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            “I was really immature, egotistical and needy.”
            I don’t see how this comes through in this story.

            I read it as a story that starts with fat-shaming, turns into a rape report and ends with lots of harmful misconceptions about male rape and rape in general.

          • Mark

            5 months ago

            I think that’s a really bizarre way to interpret that story, but OK.

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            I can analyze this story or leave it alone, if you prefer.

          • Mark

            5 months ago

            No, I can see HOW you interpret it that way. I just think it’s a pretty ridiculous and paranoid way to interpret it.

            That and the amazing condescension involved in telling me what my own life events should mean… why don’t you just let this one go.

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            “That and the amazing condescension involved in telling me what my own life events should mean”

            I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it that way.

          • brent

            2 months ago

            I have a feeling this might come off as offensive so I’m sorry, but I recommend that you read Mark’s article on Emotional Needs in Dating, especially Part 3. Just google it with his name. You seem to me to be able to benefit from that article. Cheers,

            brent

        • Reply

          Paul

          5 months ago

          Actually, I was a big fan of Deida (as in no longer). I eventually came to realize that for me he was indeed sexist, just on a benevolent level. I do like some of his ideas, but have mostly outgrown the material…especially because he asserts the notion of polarity so hardly.

      • Reply

        DB

        2 months ago

        “The problem with gender roles is that if you don’t conform to them, you get shamed for it. We want to expand the options we can comfortably choose without having to pay a heavy social price, that’s all.”

        Hey hilanoga, how are you? Quick question: The “social price” of which you speak, is it codified i.e. are laws enforcing gender roles/stereotypes and the shaming or are you talking about changing peoples perceptions of gender roles/stereotypes i.e. getting people to refrain from shaming?

        I know the thread is a few months old and my question might have already been asked and answered, but I’m a new reader and was just curious. Thanks in advance.

    • Reply

      hilanoga

      5 months ago

      Just a comment regarding the book you recommended:

      “Now, we know fairly well (though Buss never tells you) that self-reports tend to reflect both cultural norms and a bias toward presenting one’s self favorably (even, oddly enough, in anonymous questionnaires.)”

      This is my point exactly (taken from this review).

      • Reply

        Mark

        5 months ago

        Oh, don’t get me wrong, I take a issue with a lot of the surveys — both how they were administered and also how the results were interpreted. But I do think there are some significant results in there that can’t be ignored. I mean, the guy did survey over 100,000 men and women in 80 different countries of all ages, cultures, societies and across multiple decades. At some point, sheer sample size has to indicate something.

        • Reply

          hilanoga

          5 months ago

          We don’t have argument over what it shows, only over what it means.

    • Reply

      brent

      2 months ago

      “I’ve just never been able to get on board with the idea that gender roles = inequality. Why can’t we just respect the gender roles equally?”

      Because then “men would win” I imagine is the response some feminists and maybe Hilanoga really want to say. What are the emotions behind both sides arguments? Are both sides now just arguing because they want to win and feel validated? Check yourselves…

  • Reply

    Matt

    5 months ago

    Also, hilanoga, I still want to push forward this document: http://www.consad.com/content/reports/Gender Wage Gap Final Report.pdf. I noticed the link didn’t get posted properly. After you account for the fact that women take more time off (kids and the need for “a life”), have better healthcare among other factors, women make about 93-95% of what men make for the SAME AMOUNT OF WORK AND EXPERIENCE.

    Also, you say that women have jobs closed off to them. Where? Where are these jobs that are shut off from them? There are 15 female CEO’s of Fortune 500 Companies. There are female congressmen. I don’t see which jobs are closed off.

    Still hilanoga, I disagree entirely with your point of view. The idea that women NEED to compete in the workplace with men, government and in life in general is bullshit. If women are busy competing with men, who is going to give birth to children and raise them? I know the vast majority of men sure as hell won’t want to be home raising kids. Hmm, that only leaves 50% of the population with the choice to do so. Also, it seems that the more women rise in the workforce, the more men decline. Do you want men to decline? Is that it, men should decline in the workforce, so that women can have it all?

    I usually don’t comment on these blogs, even though I read them daily. It’s just this subject of feminism makes me so fucking angry to read about, I just feel like I have to say something.

    Young women are making more than young men now in urban cities. Women are the majority of voters. Men are declining in the U.S. I mean, shit, this economic recession hit men the hardest. How is feminism going to help with that? Feminism is only going to make it worse.

    • Reply

      Mark

      5 months ago

      Don’t forget that boys are performing at a historical low in school, getting into college less and less, while school curricula continues to be modified in “pro feminist” ways.

      • Reply

        Paul

        5 months ago

        Really? I think education is as far away as possible from pro-feminism, and more attention is devoted to males in science and mathematial settings. What makes you say otherwise?

        And I like what you said somewhere above, Mark, that people should be people. But I also like the statement hilanoga said when she suggested that just becase you (or anyone else) prefer certain traits doesn’t mean they should be prescribed across the board.

        Feminism doesn’t view what you would call ‘feminine traits’ as bad, not at all. Rather, it is the enforcement of those traits upon females that are oppressive. And who does it serve in the end to maintain that polarity, where one is dominant, and the other is complicit? Think about the implications here and what kind of society it upholds. But this is merely the surface of the issue…just the surface.

        With the internalization of normal gender roles that have been set before us, males not only become dominant, but their dominance positions them (and males in general) as the central ‘subject’. This happens at a very early age when boys are discouraged from identification with the mother, and slowly begin to internalize the cultural messages of ‘evilness’ in women, and to be cautious into not being seduced by what is feminine, or else they will (metaphorically) face castration. Naturally, such an emphasis on the male as ‘subject’ reveals the disregard for maternal values as equally important. When the male is ‘subject’, consequently, women become ‘object’. And what are women valued for? How do we see them? How has the world suggested we see them?

        I know some of this is whacky talk, and I think in order for you to understand the philosophies of feminism you will need to peel off a few more layers and get a paradigm shift or two in the process. To have someone tell you information doesn’t really do anything…just like if you were to tell your clients exactly what to do, it doesn’t have the same strength as them experiencing it and discovering it through their own process of experience. Make sense?

        Having said that, I want you to know that my reason for being the type of messenger that I am on all of this is void of the belief that I can magically change your mind with what I know. I see it more as my responsibility, both in the virtual world and even more so in the real one, to try and widen the perspective where it’s too narrow.

        In the end, I have immense respect for individuals and don’t see the fun in trying to change others. BUT…I do hold the position that the world favors men over women, and that a lot of bullshit comes out of that. I’ll email you the links to some abstracts and attach some articles sometimes. It’s not so much that any single study is world-changing, but after a while, you may notice some common threads running through them that point at a larger issue.

        I’m telling you man, I think you would really dig ‘The Bonds of Love’. Jessica Benjamin’s work is to me what Dawkins’ ‘The Selfish Gene’ was to the early PUA’s. Not just the feminist aspect of it, but her ideas in general, I think you would be intrigued.

        Finally, I want to make clear that this is not a right/wrong debate. I don’t think you (or any of your readers) are ‘wrong’ in beliefs and thought. Just because you don’t fit perfectly and see things as I do doesn’t give what I say any more power in my eyes. It just means we’re all in different places. So when I see people getting upset and more angry at feminists because of the discussion, it is saddening, because this isn’t about denigration. That would contradict the intent. And anger only breeds more anger.

        • Reply

          Mark

          5 months ago

          See, I just don’t see/buy most of what you just said. Bonds of Love is on my reading list. But unfortunately it’s not available for kindle so I’ve been having to wait until I get back to the US to grab it.

          • Paul

            5 months ago

            How come most psychologists, philosophers, anthropologists, and others who study the human condition identify as feminists? Is it a coincidence. Or do you think there might be something legit to it that you’re not totally seeing?

          • Mark

            5 months ago

            Most philosophers and scientists thought the earth was flat at one time too. So that’s not really a valid argument.

            Look, the issue of gender equality is not an issue in my mind. In my mind it’s a very easy answer, I’m absolutely for it.

            But there’s a difference between a theoretical issue and what a movement stands for. It’s the same reason I don’t identify myself as a conservative even though I fit a theoretical definition of a political conservative moreso than a liberal. It’s because what passes as “conservative” right now in the US is a bunch of fucked up, power-hungry, religious loons who I don’t care to be identified with.

            You could say I have the same type of concern with adapting the feminist label.

            As I said in my prior comment: the issue for feminism with me is not the intent or motivations behind it. The issue for me is the way in which the movement goes about its goals, how it sees the world and the language it uses.

            The jury’s still out.

          • hilanoga

            5 months ago

            I agree with Paul that hard data hardly ever changes people’s opinions.

            I often find that men (especially white middle class cis men) have a hard time imagining what it would be like not to be a white cis middle class man. Think about your post on how a pretty woman feel. You couldn’t know any of the things that you wrote there before you had the experience of being a “pretty girl” in a sense, and this is exactly why many men felt they could learn something new from it.

            Another good example is the Israeli Hollaback site. We collect reports of street harassment from women, and in the several months the site was up we published hundreds of such stories.
            The most common response we get from men is that before they read the site they didn’t know this problem even existed, and that they had no idea how different their experience is from the experience of a woman walking alone down the street.

            What you are trying to do is understand feminism through the eyes of a white cis male. It’s hard, I understand that.
            But most of us didn’t become feminists because we read lots of research data. We became feminists because we recognized that something in our life experience was wrong and wanted to change that (I think you can identify with this sentiment).
            So maybe what you need is not data. Maybe what you need is a bunch of stories that will illustrate to you what it feels like to be a woman, rather than how it shows in charts.

          • Paul

            5 months ago

            Right now I am staying in Providence with a close female friend of mine, and last night we went out to dinner and were talking about a mutual female friend of ours who has been struggling with some tough personal issues.

            A few minutes into the conversation, she drops a bomb on me that this woman was recently raped. She told me the story of how it happened and how the woman basically gave in to having sex with him because she feared for her safety and thought something worse would happen if she said ‘no’. The guy wasn’t letting her leave or anything.

            She is afraid to report it to the authorities for a number of reasons:

            1. Since it was a date, people will say she put herself in that situation.
            2. She is not a ‘goody’ girl, so she is less likely to be taken seriously
            3. She fears the backlash she’ll get from others
            4. She is afraid no one will believe her.

            I think hilanoga is right. Sometimes, it has to come from within. For me, a lot of it had to do with forming bonds with women that were not based on sex or ‘man’ and ‘woman’, and we talked in a different way. I heard their stories. I felt their pain. I imagined the helplessness in some of their situations. Having been through a lot of pain in my own life, I could only imagine the emotional toll it took on them, in addition to all the cultural programming that it’s done. I started working in clincal settings with women with eating disorders, all the result of trying to obtain the societal ideal. I thought about how I ‘seduced’ women and the potential perspectives they might have had during their experience with me, rather than the one I had. I had a feminist therapist who understood me more than any therapist I’d had.

            I guess what I’m saying is that I was touched on a deeper level than statistics, although my career field does direct me toward those numbers anyway, so it already might have had an effect on me.

            At the end of the day, hilanoga, just remember that we are talking among a group of people whose psychological schema’s are based on rationalities that allow them to get what they want from women and/or become more of a ‘man’. And I can totally understand why these guys feel the way they do because I was one of them at one point, and I had the same exact feelings toward feminism and its stance. The semantics change completely though once you understand the stories behind it. But I don’t think they are willing to understand it until it either hits closer to home.

            Mark, I have heard you say in various comments on other posts that you think the man should be dominant in the household. I think that is my main issue with the view you’re promoting. How much you choose to support feminism is irrelevant to me, but it’s the promotion of ideas like the one I just mentioned which have put too many of my clients in tears, and when I was coaching men, self-loathing and feelings of inadequacy. We obviously see something that you’re not.

          • Mark

            5 months ago

            I’ve dated girls who have been raped/molested in the past and seen their trauma first-hand. I’ve had friends who were raped or rape was attempted on them. I get it.

            Re: dominance, I never said that Paul. What you’re probably referring to is that, “Men and women deserve equal status politically and legally, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we should behave equally in all arenas.”

            Like I said, Deida is probably the closest to my perspective on gender roles. Whether the man occupies the masculine or the feminine polarity doesn’t really matter.

          • Paul

            5 months ago

            Why do you support the notion that certain personality traits should be assigned to men and others to women?

          • Paul

            5 months ago

            I really thought you said male’s should be dominant in the home. Maybe I’m wrong, and if so, can you explain what you mean by “Men and women deserve equal status politically and legally, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we should behave equally in all arenas” in a way that doesn’t prescribe dominance to one gender or another?

    • Reply

      hilanoga

      5 months ago

      Matt, your link is dead.
      I can provide you with a link to a research done by the Bank of Israel, which analyze the wage gap in the public sector according to position, period of service and skills, and shows that there are still wage gaps, but they are getting smaller. This is in Hebrew, though.
      So I would say that it is still work in process here, that I don’t know what feminist activists do in the US, and that naturally, I am more concerned about what’s going on where I live.

      “Still hilanoga, I disagree entirely with your point of view. The idea that women NEED to compete in the workplace with men, government and in life in general is bullshit. If women are busy competing with men, who is going to give birth to children and raise them? I know the vast majority of men sure as hell won’t want to be home raising kids. Hmm, that only leaves 50% of the population with the choice to do so.”

      I never said that *all* women *should* compete. You are attacking a straw man that I will not defend.
      I only said that those who want to compete should have equal opportunity.
      It seems like you think women (who do not want to sit at home and grow children) should set aside their dreams and hopes for career so that men can do what they may, uninterrupted. This is absurd. I can turn this whole argument around and it will make just as much sense (“We do all the work giving birth to children, so why don’t you sit at home and grow the kids so that we will be able to conveniently advance in the work force?”).

      Both views are silly. We want to maximize everyone’s benefit from the situation.

      “Also, it seems that the more women rise in the workforce, the more men decline. Do you want men to decline? Is that it, men should decline in the workforce, so that women can have it all?”

      Are you equally worried that black, Asian or fat men will compete with you on the work force because it means that white slim men will decline?
      I guess not.
      There will always be people competing with you on the work source, what’s wrong with some of them being women?

      As I said before – this is not a zero-sum game. Allowing more women into the workforce will allow more great *people* to take meaningful positions, and allowing more men to stay at home and raise children will give the world some great dads. Everyone benefit from having more options.

      “Young women are making more than young men now in urban cities. Women are the majority of voters. Men are declining in the U.S. I mean, shit, this economic recession hit men the hardest.”

      - But men are making more money than women overall.
      - Men are *allowed* to vote. Why don’t they do that, and what does that have to do with anything we discussed?
      - How did the economic recession hit men harder than women and what does that have to do with feminism?

      “How is feminism going to help with that? Feminism is only going to make it worse.”

      Feminism will also not solve world hunger and the global warming, I’m sorry to inform you that.
      But do tell me how feminism is going to make things worse.

      Besides, if you are so worried about men’s situation, where are all the men movements who fight to improve it? I know that in Israel all the men’s rights activists never do anything besides bashing feminists. They never try to influence government activity, never try to raise awareness to real men-related issues, never have a demonstration when there is a right cause. I’ve read that the situation is the same in the US.

      What have you done for men’s rights lately besides getting angry at feminists for not doing all your dirty job for you?

  • Reply

    Wyck

    5 months ago

    Wow, just a few days away and this whole thing has gone way off topic. Seems many guys here have the idea that vulnerability is an exclusively male trait. Is it the polarised culture of the States, or an epic failure of imagination?

    Hasn’t anyone ever been with a woman who’s unable to be vulnerable? Does the following woman sound “masculine” to you?

    She thinks of herself as a “nice person”. She never shares her fears or insecurities. She is aloof and the perfect ice queen. When she makes a mistake, she blames others or pretends like it didn’t happen. She hides her emotions and tells everyone she’s fine even when she’s not. She’s scared to death of rejection. So when she encounters rejection, it sends her reeling, angry, and desperate to find a way to win back the affection of the person–that is, any way but change her offending, denying behaviour.

    I’ve known two women like that in my life. One of them is my mother.

    Bottomline: Both men and women need to be vulnerable. If you see a red flag, get as far away from him/her as possible.

    • Reply

      Wyck

      5 months ago

      Argh, caught a major error in my post. Should have been, “Seems many guys here have the idea that THE LACK OF vulnerability is an exclusively male trait.”

  • Reply

    hilanoga

    5 months ago

    And Mark, you keep saying you don’t approve of the movement’s actions. What is it that bother you?
    Because the activists I know:
    - Join parties to influence legislation in women-related issues.
    - Volunteer in crisis support centers
    - Run internet sites against street harassment
    - Contact city councils and convince them to add street lights to aid women safety.
    - Run surveys to determine where we stand on various woman-related issues.
    - Publish opinion columns in local newspapers

    What’s wrong with all that?

    • Reply

      Ethan

      5 months ago

      Because you also get women that label themselves as “feminists” on tv and in the newspaper putting men down, blaming men for all the ills of the world. See that’s the problem with labels. Pick a random person and ask their definition of “feminist” and you’ll see it’s not stable idea and has plenty of room for interpretation. This is why it’s dangerous to use labels to describe yourself.. others might get the wrong idea. Similarly, if you hold some fiscally conservative ideals and then tell people you are conservative, they might interpret that as “you are a tea party whack-job.” I personally just hate labels like these. They’re at best lazy. You hold your core beliefs and I hold mine. When people interact, they share those beliefs.

      Besides, for a group that harps on equality they sure picked a polarizing name. The term “feminist” implies feminine, or female, and therefore implies that women were the ones who want equality. Well there were plenty of men who wanted women to be equal during the women’s movements. And nowadays more than ever men want women to have all the opportunities they can get. Just go out and get them for yourself, and let other women live how they want to live.

      • Reply

        Paul

        5 months ago

        So, because some people have a bad connotation of the term feminist, or a loose interpretation of it, we should not identify as feminist? Even when the actual aim of feminism is different than the preconceived and fallacious notions of what it stands for? And who says that people can’t benefit from the insights of feminism? Just remember, you don’t know what you don’t know.

  • Reply

    Pellaeon

    4 months ago

    I’m hoping that posting on a very old article doesn’t mean my comment will get lost.

    Ever Koniac posted that Rawness article, I’ve been doing a lot of reading on his site. A lot of his concepts about “being the alpha male” seem (at least at face value) to be in conflict with yours. I was wondering what your thoughts would be about the following article that seems to be in conflict with this one:

    http://therawness.com/31-days-of-game-day-6/#comment-22907

    • Reply

      Mark

      4 months ago

      Well, I very much disagree with that article. Here are a few points:

      1) He falsely equates having an open and strong friendship with your partner to the mythology of the “one true love,” this is a false equivalence.

      2) He claims women are hardwired to test for dominance, there is little to no anthropological or biological evidence that women do this in hunter/gatherer societies. That what is referred to as shit-testing only occurs in societies with gender roles. Either way, why is testing for dominance mutually exclusive with having an open and loving friendship?

      3) I would argue that divorce courts are full of people because they suck at relationships, not because women are bent on screwing over men. It seems pretty fucked up and misogynistic to imply this, actually. And believe it or not, but divorce rates have actually been going down the last decade.

      4) He claims that the problem with being completely open with your partner is that it “makes you equal to her.” And that once you’re equal to her, you’re unable to be her leader. Again, I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive. I talk quite a bit in my book how sharing yourself and being more open than your partner is actually a way to be LESS needy and dependent on the relationship than she is. I would also argue that true leadership is elevating those around you to your level, not keeping them below you.

      And I only read half of it, but I’ll stop there…

      I love the psychological articles on The Rawness, but I stopped reading him a long time ago for game advice. Too much misogyny for my tastes. Same story with Roosh. Great travel articles, but wow, is he angry with women. If you’ll notice, none of these guys’ blogs ever report a positive and happy relationship with the women they date, just how to fuck more girls and how to avoid getting screwed over. That’s not a mindset I find very appealing.

      No thanks, I’ll keep having my amazing, passionate, wildly intense emotional relationships with fucking amazing women who support me and trust me and keep in touch with me for years after I’ve stopped banging them. Yeah, it’s possible I could get hurt one day. But I’m OK with that. It’s more than worth the risk.

  • Reply

    Geo

    4 months ago

    Hey Mark,

    That was a nice read. I think many of the things you mention can be found in other articles both on this site and by other guys in the “community” if you want to call it that. That just underlines the importance of “being a man”, which I think is the core of being attractive.

    I agree that showing vulnerability, in the way you defined it, is a characteristic of a strong personality and is an alpha quality. This is what many of us are lacking. Personally I am working on that.

    I believe the only real failure in anything comes when you are not true to yourself. What you want, what you feel, what’s inside you. That doesn’t mean going around asking for things, it means going out there claiming them with actions and attitude.

    I just read your other article about masculinity. There is a strong connection between that and the vulnerability you mention. I think males from a young age, typically live in a bubble. Especially in the Western world. Overprotective mothers, father models that show little real emotions so indirectly teaching you to do the same, lack of mentors, demonizing mistakes and penalizing failures, suppresed social environment…Only a few of the things that form this shell, in which men are nothing but an image. And they go out to the real world at one point, knowing nothing, having little to no experiences, but most of all, having no clue how to fix the things that frustrate them. This is why the dating and self-improvement industry for men might have overgrown the one for women. They are much more socially and emotionally smart anyway. But this is a whole other topic.

    To finish up, I am a huge fan of balance. I believe there is place for everything as long as it is a part of a person’s real identity and true self. Showing vulnerability in your interactions is actually showing intent and that means power of character. Other times, just letting things slip and powering through is better for you. In my opinion, it all comes down to how you can combine all elements to form an identity that fits your personality and satisfies you first and foremost.

  • Reply

    Dominik

    4 months ago

    Thank you very, very much for this concept. It makes my life that much easier and also happier. I’m really glad that I discovered it. I was so much withholding from my personality (and also my problems, anxieties and so on). I’m looking forward to “practice” it even more.

  • Reply

    MARTIN

    4 months ago

  • Reply

    ashlee

    4 months ago

    Mark,

    I would just like to say as a straight female in my 20′s, this is a helpful and eye-opening article for me. Vulnerability is definitely a gender neutral issue, and we would all benefit from being a little more vulnerable and open with others. I’d love to read the whole chapter, but I’m not quite sure how applicable the rest of the book is to women.

  • Reply

    brent

    2 months ago

    Mark, be careful that you don’t get complacent with what you post now that you have so many supporters and enemies. I’m the former. In this article (and of course in your book) you say that you’ve had women tell you “our week together meant more to them than their entire four-year relationship with their ex-boyfriend.” I’ve recently read in another one of your articles (unfortunaley I can’t remember which one) a similar claim, but I recall you saying this about a one night stand rather than “our week together.”

    I realize this issue is rather petty on the surface, but it allows me warn you about much more serious instances. Now that you’ve got more people watching you, especially jealous and/or malicious people, you can’t be lazy when it comes to the little nuances of what you said and how you said it. Politics are important now. Although it may be a bitch, always proofread what you write, and double check your claims and facts even if you’re 90% certain of them. I’d hate for something stupid to hold you back.

    Now, I realize that my memory in this case could be wrong, and that I should practice what I preach by searching for the article I mentioned, but in this case I’m willing to accept the consequences of being wrong because this is still an important thing to be concerned about. Just trying to do what I’d want someone to do for me–help me be more aware of myself. Cheers Mark,

    Brent

  • Reply

    Kishon

    30 weeks ago

    First let me say great articles. I may pick up the book.
    Now what do I do if I just don’t care anymore and have focused on kids an work?
    I fully understand the freedom of being vulnerable, I also understand the pleasure of being an asshole and the pain of being by myself.
    Life is kicking my ass right now and short of starting a bunny ranch in my basement I see no need for a woman in my life that is not down for me like I can be for her.
    What do I do? I rarely go out, my time is limited, money is limited and I am not motivated to jump in any of the dating places around town.
    Give me another perspective because it’s all new to me. I’m in a new place in life.

    Thanks

  • Reply

    Athena

    24 weeks ago

    I’m a feminist, and I just wanted to say THANK YOU so much for this post. It’s EXACTLY right. Vulnerability is a signifier of emotional honesty and courage. It shows your true self. It is incredibly attractive.

    Men, be honest. About who you are, about how you feel. If you feel passionate about something, be passionate (that’s why geeks are sexy). If you feel deeply about something (even if you cry) it’s a sign to me that you are honest and brave in expressing yourself openly. I really, REALLY love it when guys do that. Every man I have ever been attracted to has been “vulnerable” in this way.

    And of course, people being equal – women should be equally open, brave and vulnerable. That’s emotional honesty. And without that, there can be no true love.

    Cheers everyone!

  • Reply

    snowman

    17 weeks ago

    Beautiful article, thank you very much. “you’re bad with women because you don’t express your true feelings and intentions very well at all.” I think that’s me, I need to express my true feelings about her, be more authentic and “vulnerable”.

  • Reply

    Rob

    4 weeks ago

    There’s a serious logical flaw in this whole argument. You write:

    ‘A man who’s able to make himself vulnerable is saying to the world, “I don’t care what you think of me; this is who I am, and I refuse to be anyone else.”’

    But if someone says “I don’t care what you think of me”, if they are “unconcerned with what others think of him”, then they’re not being vulnerable at all, because there are no consequences to their revelation. If they’re criticized or rejected, they don’t care. That’s not vulnerability. Nothing is at risk. “I don’t care” is a position of supreme invulnerability.

    In the same way, a billionaire who places a $5000 bet isn’t demonstrating vulnerability (and placing $5000 bets will not make you a billionaire). The billionaire can afford to jeopardize enough money to pay rent for several months because losing that money will have no effect on their life. That’s not a brave move, it’s of no consequence to them.

    The whole vulnerability thing strikes me as a classic confusion of correlation and causation. Vulnerability doesn’t build confidence. Vulnerability doesn’t demonstrate power. It’s the other way around: people who are very privileged, who have strong self-confidence, who are fortunate in life, can afford to take risks that seem large to people less fortunate or less successful, but that doesn’t mean that they’re proportionally any braver. It’s a false vulnerability, in the same way that when someone tells a story about being unattractive or awkward when they were younger, they’re not being vulnerable. They’re sharing that story because they no longer feel unattractive or awkward. It *sounds* vulnerable, because they’re telling a story that would have been humiliating at some point in their past, but they’re not sharing it now because they’re willing to be humiliated, they’re sharing it because it’s no longer capable of humiliating them. What’s vulnerable about that?

    Robert Glover says: “Humans are attracted to each other’s rough edges.”

    Bullshit. People didn’t find Marilyn Monroe attractive because of her mole, they found her attractive in *spite* of it. She was able to expose a (very minor) “flaw”, a “rough edge”, because she knew it would just contrast with everything else she had to offer and make it more apparent how beautiful she was. But another woman with the same mole but lacking Monroe’s other physical attributes would not have been considered equally beautiful. The same thing holds for personalities.

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