Saturday, March 8, 2008

An offer to mediate

Little Miss Attila is at war with Ace and Rusty (actually Rusty's guest-blogger Ragnar) because they were dissing middle-aged celebrity women who evidently have decided that anabolic steroids are the best treatment for aging.

Here's part of Miss Attilla's rant:
What is it with some male bloggers?—"Too fat, too thin. Too out-of-shape. Too fat. Too buff. Too old. Too young." (Oops! That last one never happens. Just trying to see if you're paying attention.)
I mean, I like Ace and his crew. I even like Rusty and (most of) his crew (at least, when they aren't waxing anti-gay). But, WTF? Maybe their fans should be required to post pictures next to their comments—these fine gourmands of female flesh. I'm sure they are all prime beef. Uh-huh.
Bonus question: Which set of commenters is more hostile to women?—Rusty's, or Ace's?
That's the gist of it. And although Miss Attila says she's being hated for saying it, I think here comments are not entirely unreasonable. Something about the online environment causes some guys to display harsh judgmentalism toward women, so harsh at times as to qualify as genuine misogyny. This judgmentalism is by no means limited to aging celebrity chicks who are injecting testosterone and HGH.

I cite the example of Becky Banks, program coordinator of Students For Life (SFL). In January, SFL held its annual national conference of pro-life college students at Catholic University, and Becky appeared in a video at Hot Air. Being that Becky is a 20-something blonde, there was a good bit of "hubba-hubba" from the commenters, until a certain commenter named "Funky Chicken" weighed in with this remark:
You guys think she is attractive? I was thinking trout pout and kinda fugly.
Whoa! Where did that bit of venom come from?

OK, grant that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and de gustibus non est disputandum. Still ... "trout pout and kinda fugly"? Even if the full-lipped look isn't that fellow's cup of tea, the putdown seems unduly harsh. What could inspire such a hateful expression?

Let's start with peer pressure. Anybody who's ever hung out with a pack of guys knows that, in the pack environment, guys always strive to appear tough, cool and superior. Vulnerability and sensitivity are not exactly high on the list of personal traits valued in a scrum of guys who are trying to impress each other as "real men."

So if you want to know where "Funky Chicken" got the idea that it was tough and cool to put down chicks in such viciously derogatory language, it's that guy-pack mentality that is to blame. Trust me, that's hardly the worst put-down guys use in such environments. (Oh, what guys say about fat chicks ...)

The macho peer-pressure thing is one obvious factor behind "Funky Chicken's" derogation of Miss Banks. But wait -- remember, before that idiot added his two cents, the other guys commenting at Hot Air were all doing the hubba-hubba routine. So, if all the peer pressure at that point was positive toward Miss Banks, why did "Funky Chicken" go negative?

Here's your second factor: Rejection. Women, for all their claims to superior sensitivity, have no conception of the harm inflicted on the male ego by female rejection. Learning to deal with rejection is, I think, the essential sexual challenge of male adolescence.

I suppose there are exceptions to this rule -- guys so cool and sexy at age 14 or 15 that they never have to cope with rejection from some chick they really like. But for the other 99% of us, dealing with female rejection is a constant struggle from puberty onwards. And chicks are completely brutal and heartless when it comes to rejecting advances by poor lovestruck (or, at least, hormone-driven) teenage boys.

Different guys find different ways of coping with rejection. By the time I was 16, I was so emotionally traumatized, I had to learn how to play guitar. Chicks can't resist a guy strumming a guitar and singing a love song, you see. So over the course of the next decade, I kind of avenged myself on womankind. It didn't matter that the chicks whose hearts I was breaking weren't the same chicks who'd rejected me. It was symbolic vengeance, psychic payback.

Twisted? Sadistic? Evil? Yeah. But at least I got it out of my system. Some guys never do. And I'm serious about this. I know a guy who met his first really serious girlfriend at 18, dated her for three or four years, and then she broke up with him. Drugs, depression, suicide -- he died at age 30. She came to his funeral, and she cried, but those tears were a bit too late.

Rejection is a serious thing for guys to deal with, and they deal with it in different ways. I reckon "Funky Chicken" has been rejected a few times, too, so when the guys at Hot Air started making a big deal over Miss Banks, our friend Funky's response was: "I'll reject her before she can reject me."

It's a sour-grapes rationalization, and you see it all the time, especially within groups of young guys. If you get a bunch of frat boys sitting in the stands at a college football game, and they start "rating" the cheerleaders (all of whom are reasonably attractive, from an objective viewpoint), there's always one guy who will pronounce that the very prettiest cheerleader is a "whore," or a "skank," usually offering extensive graphic details of what a terrible slut she is. "Oh, she did such-and-so with this guy and that guy, and got drunk at a party and took on the entire starting offensive backfield," etc.

It's a defense mechanism, a reaction, OK? And something very similar takes place when anonymous guys on a blog are confronted with photos of 40-something celebrities like Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker.

A lot of those guys, you see, are 40-something themselves. And when they look at those aging celebrity chicks -- artificially pumped-up and striated like triathletes -- those guys have got to say to themselves, "Is this what's left to me now? Is this the best I can hope my future sexual conquests will look like? These spindly, leathery old hags?"

Consider the alternatives for these guys:
  • Buy a red convertible, get a hair-weave, and start dating a 24-year-old cocktail waitress.
  • Buy a home in the suburbs, get a minivan, and marry a 34-year-old English teacher.
  • Buy a loft in a trendy intown neighborhood, go to gay bars, and try to forget about women altogether.
You see, Miss Attila, these guys who make such brutally misogynistic remarks aren't to be scorned and hated. They are to be pitied, and nutured . . . with that special kind of nuturing that only a mature lady like yourself knows how to give.

I hope my mediation has been helpful. I feel that my work here is done. And now, if you'll excuse me, I must return to duty, mentoring the careers of promising young conservative activists in Washington.

UPDATE: Ace obviates the need for mediation by delivering a lecture to the morons, featuring several lines that only Ace could get away with, including:
I also don't think plainly over-the-top sexual language is off limits. "She's so hot I'd like to duct-tape her and stick her in my trunk" isn't offensive, or shouldn't be, because, I mean, come on. What are the odds any of the guys here could actually afford duct-tape? It's plainly a sexual fantasy, and a very, very hot one, but just a fantasy.
Unless I get my hands on some f---ing duct-tape. But I think that's obvious.
He's CPAC Blogger of the Year, and who can argue with that? OK, his parole officer, maybe ...

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