Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Dark Side of the Manosphere

If you’re unfamiliar with “the manosphere,” it is a burgeoning internet subculture dedicated to men hashing out all things masculine. It’s a fascinating, diverse virtual world born of the damaging excesses of feminism, which have left many men sorting through the wreckage of gender relations and questioning what it means to be a man in this grave new world. Much of it – the Dalrock and Art of Manliness websites come to mind – is valuable in terms of shared advice, self-examination, healthy debate, and supportive fellowship in a culture that is often openly hostile to traditional notions of masculinity. But there is an ugly subset of the manosphere that gives the rest of it a bad name.

A prime example is the website Return of Kings, created and run by a controversial American PUA (that’s “pick-up artist” in manosphere acronyms) who goes by “Roosh V.” Considering that Roosh has more than a dozen books under his belt about “banging” women abroad, the site is popular for its advice on “game,” or getting laid.

I debated giving RoK any attention, but when its bluntly-titled article “How to Convince a Girl to Get an Abortion” from last year was brought to my attention, I decided to address it as an example of the depths to which RoK and its ilk in the manosphere can sink. Written not by Roosh but by the pseudonymous contributor “bacon,” it offers up three techniques that have gotten bacon off the hook in his personal experience impregnating sex partners.

“Let’s face it,” he begins, “sexually active people have accidents. Shit happens.” And when it does, “if you are not ready to be a father, the following arguments may help you convince a girl to get an abortion.” Actually, if you’re not ready to be a father, don’t put yourself in a position to have “an accident.” Take responsibility for the fact that even protected sex is no guarantee against pregnancy.

But if you’re not willing to do that, and “shit happens,” bacon can help. The first method is best, he says, “for a girl who believes there is an emotional element to your sexual relationship” – in other words, a young woman who has been misled into thinking that her boyfriend sees her as more than a sexual receptacle. When she discovers that she has conceived a child with this lying user, and hopes to take the relationship to the next level, here is bacon’s solution:

You should sound as sincere as possible and tell her that you want her to be the mother of your children one day, but that now is not the right time to start a family. Explain you want to wait until you are further along in your career/life goals and you can afford to give your future family all the comforts of life you cannot deliver today. Finally, explain if she has the abortion now, you will be able to plan your lives together so that everything is perfect. Then, after she agrees and has the abortion, dump her.

Problem solved! And in its wake are a dead child and a devastated young woman burdened with guilt over her complicity. Bravo, bacon.

“The second method,” he continues, “is best used on girls where minimal emotions were involved in the sexual relationship… I call it the asshole method.” Actually, that seems more like an apt description of the first method, but here is number two:

Make it clear that if she keeps the baby you will be opting out of fatherhood. Explain that while she may end up collecting the minimum in child support that the state can take from you, in no way will you participate in raising this kid or being a father to it...
Once you have laid out your position, get your car keys and tell her you will drive her to the abortion clinic, pay for it, and have her take care of it today so you both can move on with your lives.

Again, problem solved. Again, dead child and devastated young woman.

I can’t decide whether the third method is sick or just ridiculous. The gist of it is, tell the girl that you would love to have children but a rare genetic disease runs in your family: “Ideally use one which causes an early death and/or horrible lifestyle conditions while alive… Bring up a nonexistent sibling and tell her that you are still recovering from their painful passing a few years ago.”

To help convince her, “spend an afternoon volunteering at a hospital or center for developmentally disabled people. Take a picture of someone who could pass as a relative… Do whatever you think is necessary to sell the seriousness of this genetic disease to her.”

Is this manliness? Is it manly to lie to, manipulate, and emotionally brutalize women? This is not to say that many women aren’t also guilty of such behavior, but two wrongs don’t make a right, as the old saw goes, and the question here is, is this manly behavior? Is it manly to force the death of a baby born of your shared irresponsibility?

Some commenters, to their credit, expressed revulsion at the article. Others around the internet wondered whether it, and RoK itself, might be satire – no such luck, although the site does enjoy generating outrage. The sad fact is that Return of Kings and a few like it are disturbingly popular with angry, bitter guys who lament that all women today are whores and yet obsess over how to score with them – and trick them into abortions, if necessary.

Guys like Roosh and his acolytes have been around since the beginning of time, of course, but the internet enables such like-minded predators worldwide to find each other, create a community to share information like “8 Essential Rules for Banging a Single Mom” (it’s even worse than it sounds), and bond over their palpable hatred of women. But for all their posturing as “alphas” – and there is a lot of it – such creeps don’t qualify as real men, who understand that manhood is about character and values, not notches on a bedpost.

(This article originally appeared here on Acculturated, 4/17/14)