Saturday, June 13, 2009

(Some) Men Are Real Buffoons.

I loved this rant I found on the blog "The Girl Works" ( We at RF have posted some of her other entries before. (One about what she wants to do with her life that was amazing called "The Way My Mother Was When She Was Young" that was posted on Rough Fractals on March 28, 2009 and can be found in the archives on the right side of the page or at She is a young woman who lets words rip and is smart and funny and observant.

"Just listened to the most infuriating segment on Tell Me More: the flaccid opinions of two advocates for men. Never have I ever witnesses such a potently impotent admixture of chauvinism, racial ignorance, homophobia, lack of self-knowledge, and whining. In fact, sexism might be the least of the charges to lay at the door of this group of selfish motherfuckers.*

Sample soundbytes:

“All this talk today about rights for this group, rights for that group… when I was growing up we didn’t talk about rights; men in my day had responsibilities.”

Yeah, you had the responsibility of a high-paying, secure white collar job because you and your cracker family never lacked any of those rights you now sneer at women and people of color for working so damn hard to achieve. Responsibility? You don’t even know how light your burden is. You find it so easy to dismiss the value of your rights because no social majority ever dictated that you earn them to its satisfaction.


“Tell us about your book, The Myth of Male Power. What exactly do you mean by power?”
“What I mean by power is the responsibility to work hard at making a living and earning money that is then spent by other people.”

FUCK you. I can’t come up with an applicable epithet that doesn’t also denigrate women, so just… fuck you.

“Its not about entitlement.”

The hell it ain’t. I feel real entitled to punch you in the face for that statement.

Oh, and I’m calling it homophobia but not sexism because the entire conversation was couched in terms of the supposed enmity between men and women, in which men are alleged to be losing. “The women’s liberation movement has done so much for women’s confidence and success in education, business, and other fields, that we wanted to form an organization that could do the same for men.” Are you extending the disadvantages you perceive and the brotherhood you offer to gay men as well as straight? And do you hate lesbians for ostensibly bringing you down, or is that rancor (strong words for such a weak sentiment) reserved for straight women?

I’m guessing more eloquent representatives of the White Male Empowerment Movement could have been dug out from under a rock somewhere, but next time let’s focus on statistics for men of color, and see how much you white boys have to complain about then.

It’s a blessing I didn’t destroy my car radio with evil looks. The funny thing, though, is that I rather like men. They make excellent snacks.

*My mom’s got better taste than that, I like to think."



  1. You find this writing funny and smart? All I see is an immature, superficial reaction to something she hasn't bothered to think about with any effort. The best she can do is lame penis jokes and vulgarity.

    Some men are real buffoons--agreed. And some women are feckless idiots. Thanks for pointing one out.

  2. I guess people can really see things in different ways. What I saw was an honest reaction (including vulgarity) to what was a very offensive concept parading as a "new idea" (i.e. men's liberation) without any historical context resulting in a one sided and I think very mean spirited dimunition of what has been a real struggle for equality. As a young woman and a minority I imagine that the - thegirlworks - is appreciative of some of the generational progress that she is both proud of and benefits from. The notion that some light weight non minority men can be so dismissive struck me as anger provoking (that was my reaction). Expressing anger is an art - was she caustic and biting yes but she also gave vent to how she felt - deep down - not superficially. I applaud that. As for funny - "its not about entitlement." "The hell its not I feel entitled to punch you in the face." is updated Groucho Marx - that ability to turn a statement that is obviously self serving around to show it for exactly what it is. As for smart - "lets focus on statistics for men of color, and see how much you white boys have to complain about then." - That's the point - you want to start a movement you better know what you're talking about - facts and information are what matters and these pampered and entitled guys presented neither. As for both smart and funny - "I rather like men - they make excellent snacks." That;s the way men talk about women all the time - therefore a perfect end point to emphasize the gender inequality that is the whole point of her rant.

  3. I'm critical of Saltarelli's Men in Power group. In this NPR program he does not present a cohesive argument for why this group exists. The name is questionable and certainly serves as a nice target.

    But let's look at the bigger picture and look at a sample of some issues that men's advocacy groups seek to address in general:

    - 94% of people that die in the workplace are men.
    - The most dangerous jobs are done by men.
    - The majority of homeless are men.
    - Women earn far more bachelor's and master's degrees than do men.
    - Programs already exist to help minorities and to help women with the issues they face, as do support groups.
    - Higher rates of violence, substance abuse and suicide in men.

    Although Saltarelli's group seems questionable (both the name and his explanation for the group), is it unreasonable for men to create their own advocacy and support groups to help them address the issues that they face?

    Let's get back to the Girl Works rant. She refers to whites as "crackers". That *is* in fact racist. But there is nothing racist or homophobic in the NPR program. Is she projecting her own values?

    And how is a man a "selfish motherfucker" for wanting to address the issues that he sees before him (see the list above)?

    When women seek to address these issues is it ok to think of them as "selfish motherfuckers" too?

    The assumptions the Girl Works writer makes about gay and minority men (as well as lesbians) in relation to men's advocacy are... well, assumptions. Where is she getting them from? Certainly not the NPR program.

    Her rant is barely coherent. As I said before, it is immature, superficial and vulgar. I'll now add that it is also racist. It is mere blustering. All she has done is get angry over something she doesn't understand and blow off some steam. She has wasted an opportunity to learn something and to grow. She has drawn some attention to the subject however. For that I thank her.

  4. I guess I just saw a young woman offended by the underlying us vs them mentality that she perceived as the impetus behind what the men were espousing. Not unlike the way anti immigrant groups disguise (and deny) their underlying bigotry. Maybe its just my temperment (see that leads me to see it that way.

    Thanks for writing - great to hear from you. Hope you will continue to Read Rough Fractals and comment.

  5. RobS: I am still trying to figure out why you and I read GirlWorks rant so differently. You present good facts about the woes of men that are no doubt correct but that miss the point of what I see as, at its core, staking out a "we at the center of power are oppressed" position. Its like slave owners lamenting the expense burden of maintaing orderly plantations in the face of an uncertain tobacco market and resenting the free room and board that they have to give to their slaves. That may be an extreme interpretation but subtle sexism (or racism) is no less wrong by virtue of being less obvious.



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