May 22 2009

Hugs, Twisty: join us as we curl our lip at whiny dads

Dear Twisty,

I just read a book review, titled “From Patriarch to Patsy,” linked by Ann Bartow at feministlawprofessors.com and I’m excited to let you know that, not only has feminism succeeded in gaining us equality, we really are now oppressing the men. I am so excited about my total control of reproduction and my new ability to quietly victimize men! It’s like we’re all superheroes now! I just wanted to let you know so you don’t waste any more time blaming the patriarchy.

One of the comments made it all clear to me:

Due to our code of law that still needs a major adjustment to the modern realities, men do not nearly have the same protections and rights as women do. This coupled with reproduction being controlled by women and disinformation by the popular media, especially daytime TV that mostly caters to its female consumer, women have nearly all the leverage. In this day and age, men and husbands are really the largely quiet victim.

Well, no time to blame, I gotta head out – I have to subjugate the hubby!


A former blamer

Dear A former blamer,

A year or two ago I almost shut down the Blamateria. That was when about a million feminist women wrote in to explain that giving blow jobs was the most empowering thing ever invented. I figured, well heck, if they’ve found the solution to women’s oppression, what am I still doing here? But I lingered on, mostly out of habit, the way obsolete old people do, updating the blog with the occasional wackaloon theory about how perhaps the white American feminist’s devotion to fellatio had not completely eradicated global male domination.

But now? Well, I have just finished reading “From Patriarch to Patsy,” the book review to which you allude, and you know? It looks like I can fully retire after all. Feminism, apparently while I was busy shaking my head over the ratio of rapes to rape convictions, has put American mothers in the driver’s seat. These ass-kicking women don’t need anything so prosaic as fellatio to control their men. They merely have to have a couple of babies. The instant they become mothers, their husbands mutate from noble human beings into broken men, cosmic joke-butts who have to touch dirty diapers and show their faces at Gymboree.

In the WSJ, Toby Young reviews Home Game by Michael Lewis, a whataboutthemen?! compilation of Lewis’ Slate columns wherein, apparently, he whines humorously about being pussywhipped. Boy, is it ever devastating to read of the degradation of the American father at the hands of the condescending American wife. Here is an excerpt from Young’s review, which begins with an excerpt from Lewis’ book.

‘At some point in the last few decades, the American male sat down at the negotiating table with the American female and — let us be frank — got fleeced,’ [Lewis] writes.

The poor sucker agreed to take on responsibility for all sorts of menial tasks — tasks that his own father was barely aware of — and received nothing in return. If he was hoping for some gratitude, he was mistaken. According to Mr. Lewis: ‘Women may smile at a man pushing a baby stroller, but it is with the gentle condescension of a high officer of an army toward a village that surrendered without a fight.'”

Toby Young, himself a father of four, loves Lewis like a long-lost millionaire uncle. He concurs that family men are not only doing the humiliating work of women, they are doing it without sufficient compensation. Taking the kid to swimming class! With other men in bathing suits! Cripes, is his wife-mandated vasectomy showing?

Excuse me a second, I have to get a fresh hankie to wipe the tear from my eye.

I checked out this Lewis dude, by the way. The very first thing I found was one of his Slate essays on fatherhood, probably one he recycled for his book. In this essay Lewis joyfully alludes to his penis about 87 times, considers dressing his 3-year-old daughter every morning an act of heroism, calls this daughter a “vixen,” and, as a treat for his pedophile readers, actually publishes a Femininity2K-compliant photo of the tot posing in a hula skirt and bra.

What a class act.



Skip to comment form

  1. Jezebella

    It may be time for a “Cry me a fucking river” tag.

  2. zelda1

    Here’s the thing: I wash the dishes, clean the house, wash the clothes, all while teaching five composition classes, and writing several long papers, including one that turned into a book chapter. I never said or say to Mr. Zelda, oh, btw, I washed the dishes. Or, did you see that I washed the clothes. No, never. I do it and sometimes might complain about all of the shit I do but I don’t brag to him about it. No. But he did the dishes one day. Yeah, one day. Oh, btw, he works eight hours and that’s it. Yeah, comes home and plays on the internet in the name of genealogy. But, he did the dishes one day and comes down the hall with this big ass grin. He says, I did the dishes. I say, yeah. He says, yeah, come see. I say, don’t need to. He says, you don’t appreciate nothing. I say, double negative. He says, what. I say, nothing. My point is that some men must tout the hard work of meaningless labor to anyone who will listen. I changed the diaper, I took the kid to the park, I, I, I…please. I’ve been doing this shit for years and never feel the need to report to anyone that I am doing what needs to be done.
    And as far as getting on my knees for the sake of pleasuring my man, hell to the no. I don’t care what woman says what about sucking dick. It’s disgusting, it’s humiliating, and it’s all for the man. I love Mr. Zelda and all, but there is no way that I would even consider putting that in my mouth. YUCK. Oh, for all of you who are a fan of getting on your knees to pleasure your man, please don’t take offense, but if you had something on your body that was hard and gagging and shot out nasty shit, I guarantee, your partner would not be so eager to say, you do me and I’ll do you.

  3. JenniferRuth

    I think Michael Lewis gets a feminist cookie

  4. Felicity

    Great rebuttal and writing generally!

    Was this woman joking??

    Men sure have been ‘fleeced’ – their racist- homophobic- sexist fathers had way more privilege. Excuse the tear from my eye also! Because the pathetic blood- curdling whine about the loss of privilege from white male middle class nobodies, is all I’m hearing in anything I read right about now.

    I always wonder if they really expect sympathy, or just desire to make us want to throw spitfire when they come out with this bull? Is it just an act or does male privilege actually systematically churn out whining pouty morons every time it’s threatened?

  5. ambivalent academic

    “The poor sucker agreed to take on responsibility for all sorts of menial tasks — tasks that his own father was barely aware of — and received nothing in return. If he was hoping for some gratitude, he was mistaken.”

    Oh shit! Did we forget to give him a fucking cookie for finally stepping up and taking some responsibility for the infinite amount of extra work he helped to create!?!?

    Oh good – I see JenniferRuth took care of it.

  6. XtinaS

    The poor sucker agreed to take on responsibility for all sorts of menial tasks — tasks that his own father was barely aware of — and received nothing in return.

    Truly, we must all weep for the male, who is not given high accolades for doing, get this, menial tasks, which is clearly a code phrase for “women’s work”.  If he’s not lauded for this sacrifice to the domesticity altar, if he receives no compensation (that he doesn’t already take as his due) from women for doing their work for them, how will he ever be able to continue to believe that he’s the center of the universe?

    Next we’ll be expecting him to not assume that men are the default in all things.  That is just crazy talk!

  7. Orange

    Those poor fellas! Being roped into doing menial housework for no pay! Everyone knows that doing menial housework for no pay is a sucker’s deal, unless the sucker is a woman, in which case all is right with the world. Young and Lewis are so frightfully obtuse. It’s as if they thought these menial tasks arose from the morning dew and had never had to be done by anyone before, or that they have been under the impression that women find unpaid labor to be much more rewarding than men do.

    Kudos to “A former blamer” for an entertaining letter.

    Zelda, I am totally gonna start boasting to my husband about the domestic chores I’ve done and expecting praise. “I did laundry! Again! It’s astonishing and true!”


    FWIW, I brag and exclaim and make Mr Overlady examine every domestic chore I accomplish. (I have a personality defect.)

    Whether this has anything to do with it or not, I cannot say; but Mr O does a shitload of housework, unasked.

    Perhaps so he won’t have to listen to me?

    Ladies, this can work for us as a MO. After all, it seems to work for them! Let us all demand accolades for even the tiniest domestic task.

    “Look, Honey, I made some Iced Tea!”

  9. Shopstewardess

    The final paragraph of the review by Toby Young is a very neat summary of patriarchal thinking –

    taking part in some of the more playful parts of bringing up a child (swimming classes, gym classes and parties are the only child-rearing activities mentioned in the review) is humiliating for a man, a “metaphorical castration”,

    getting a vasectomy is an actual castration,

    a vasectomy for a man is equivalent to a lobotomy for a woman.

    The Wall Street Journal has presumably paid Toby Young for this shining display of rigorous intellectualism. Anyone still wondering why newspapers are in such financial trouble these days? IBTP.

  10. joytulip

    Mr. Tulip is annoyingly unsympathetic to feminism at times, but he does take personal responsibility seriously. This extends to household chores, for which he neither seeks validation nor complains.

    We do equitable chore negotiation according to preference and convenience. I clean the shower; he cleans the toilets. I vaccuum; he mops. I get up with the baby on weekends while he sleeps in, but he does all the laundry. One person does dinner & clean-up while the other bathes the baby and puts him to bed, alternating nights.

    Neither of us understand how caring for your own needs or those of your children constitutes being in any way less-than-a-man (i.e. womanish *horrors*). But, for the fact that others persist in being sexist tools, IBTP.

  11. Jezebella

    Oh, how this bachelor blamer grows tired of hearing how lovely and egalitarian the Nigels of married blamers are. The exception does not negate the rule.

  12. MLH

    Well, that’s the thing. When a guy does chores, it’s called “helping around the house.” When a woman does it, she is just doing her job. A guy is not “helping,” damn it, he is doing his shares. Otherwise, it implies that it’s the woman’s duty to clean and cook.

  13. Kali

    I read the Michael Lewis series when it was first written. It came across (to me at least) as written by someone who really enjoys taking hands-on care of his kids but is making fun of himself by play-acting as if he has been duped into doing it.

    Toby Young, on the other hand is an entitled jerk, attempting to align himself with Lewis by taking Lewis too literally.

  14. ChelseaWantsOut

    Hey, Overlady, when I read this:

    “Look, Honey, I made some Iced Tea!”

    I lol’d. Putting this into practice immediately. For science.

  15. birkwearingblamer

    Just tried, “Honey, I did the dishes.” Nigel got down on his knees and said he was my groupie. I should have tried this ages ago!

    Yes, Jez, good Nigels are an exception to the rule. IBTP for that.

  16. birkwearingblamer

    Love the killer turkey header, too.

  17. Twisty

    Oh, how this bachelor blamer grows tired of hearing how lovely and egalitarian the Nigels of married blamers are. The exception does not negate the rule.

    It is repellent, isn’t it? Not my Nigel! He “helps”!

  18. rootlesscosmo

    Citing RadFem Family Lawyer (Oakland CA) again, there is one limited, contingent upside to this, which is that (because the capacity of oppressors to feel sorry for themselves knows no limits) men believe it’s true. Thus in the very early stages of a divorce, especially if they haven’t talked to a lawyer yet (who explains Rule One, “boys win, girls lose”), they can be bluffed into accepting something like a fair agreement on property, child and spousal support, custody and visitation etc. They are so convinced that Feminist Harpies from Savage Death Island (like RadFemlawyer) actually run the world that they fold. Once a lawyer explains the way things actually work, of course, their resistance stiffens, and (because people don’t like cognitive dissonance) they persuade themselves that their heroic mission is to resist the insidious advance of women’s global conquest, by making outrageous demands, making pointless motions that have to be (expensively) replied to, etc. Still, there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing that this pernicious myth actually helps a few women, in unusual combinations of circumstances, get better deals.

  19. ivyleaves

    Women can also profit from calling his bluff. I had a friend who needed more child support and the ex was fighting it, so she said that she guessed she would have to give up custody to him because she couldn’t afford to raise the kid. He coughed up the dough right quick. Know your enemy.

  20. JetGirl

    You know, I am not a violent person, but I have a sudden strong urge to set these kinds of men on fire. I would cut them up and stew them in my largest pot, but then I would have to clean up after, and no one would give me a cookie. No, fire is the answer.
    My apologies for going from advanced patriarchy blaming to violence, but I am just fed up with the asshattery today.

  21. minervaK

    Twisty, damn it, I love you. Again.

  22. xtimu

    I can hardly stomach the schlocky writing of Michael Lewis. Twas like having putrid slime shoved down my throat. The fact that he has a column and a book contract is proof of that the patriarchy still calls the shots even though a few pawns may have to have to actually participate in the raising of their spawn. Now I have a tummy ache. IBTP.

  23. humanbein

    What is love to these men? What emotional hole do they have instead of a heart that allows them to feel humiliated by playing with their own children? Being a man is like living without a soul, in a world of logic, selfishness, and robotic objects that seldom manage to service you in the manner you imagine they ought.

  24. birkwearingblamer

    Women who are in community property states have more leverage up front in a divorce. The menz are very angry when they realize that half of “his” money belongs to the woman. Because those things like washing the man’s socks and doing the dishes weren’t really contributions to the relationship even though this left the man free to pursue monetary compensation. Sometimes when the woman merely consults with an attorney in a community property state, the man snaps to and behaves. Why don’t women who live in a community property state *know* that they own half of all community property?

  25. ambivalent academic

    Why don’t women who live in a community property state *know* that they own half of all community property?

    I don’t know if you meant that to be rhetorical or not…to me, the answer is pretty obvious. Women everywhere have been conditioned by the P to assume that the man wins (and this is reinforced by the fact that he usually does). Women who don’t know that they get half in community property states don’t know this because it never occurred to them that such an absurdity would be possible.

  26. mir

    This gimme-a-cookie-for-parenting-my-own-children crap is just the next phase in the dudebro continuum. Before spouse/children they’re violent Apatovian manchildren. Post, they’re this kind of My Grownup Wang Entitles Me To a Lifetime of Whiny Adolescence fuckface. The precedes the Ain’t He Adorable lecherous old shithead phase.

    As to the my Nigel-sharing, I don’t see that it’s impertinent to talk about your own in response to a post about husbands. We all talk about our own pets when Twisty posts about Bert or her lovely horses.

  27. Sutton

    “I read the Michael Lewis series . . . as written by someone who really enjoys taking hands-on care of his kids but is making fun of himself by play-acting as if he has been duped into doing it.”

    It’s a shame he can’t just be a good dad and enjoy it without the aw shucks shit.

    When my Nigel tried to be a Dad, he got all kinds of shit for it. He’s no shining example of feminism, and I’m not about to claim he is, so y’all can put up yer barf bags. But he did do most home-sick-from-school days and doctor’s appointments and such because he had paid leave. I was self-employed: I didn’t work, I didn’t eat. On one such occasion, his boss asked him if that wasn’t what he had a wife for.

    On another occasion, he was in the kitchen, after dinner, wearing an apron when the air conditioning repair man arrived. The memory fades with time, thank God, but I think the guy actually called Nigel a pussy.

    These incidents were 20 and 30+ years ago, respectively, but not much has changed. Lewis may be trying to have his cake (full parenthood, or some facsimile thereof) and still remain one of the boys. IBTP.

  28. larkspur

    OMG, Twisty, when will the statute of limitations run with regard to the aforementioned hideous blow job discussion, my participation in which I regret terribly, and only posted anything at all because I told the “Uh-oh” voice in my head to shut up for a minute and didn’t really listen to it until after I pressed Blame, and then it was too late. But cyberspace don’t know from “too late”, and this episode has gone from painful recollection to full-fledged horrifyin’ flashback. I knew better, because of the Uh-Oh voice, and I still pressed Blame. Oh, thank you very much for freshening up my humiliation.

    Wait. Someone is on the other line. Collect call from Uh-Oh? O jeepers I

  29. Spiders

    “As to the my Nigel-sharing, I don’t see that it’s impertinent to talk about your own in response to a post about husbands. We all talk about our own pets when Twisty posts about Bert or her lovely horses.”
    I don’t know. I don’t count dogs and cats among my oppressors. Backing up a review of a hetcentric book with yet more hetcentricity is nowhere near as interesting, to me.

  30. Cycles

    Won’t someone please think of the children?

    Young’s article is self-centered all around, but I want to call him out on a particular thread: parenting as menial task. Being present and available to your kids when they need you, performing housework that makes their space liveable, taking them to activities that expand their worlds: menial, menial, menial.

    When you look at it a certain way, demonstrating love for anybody is really just a bunch of chores.

    How short-sighted to view this role as nothing but an inconvenience to himself.

  31. yttik

    I have kid with a nigel, all very “progressive” and “egalitarian”, they both work part time so as to split the housework and the childcare. After two years of this she finally called me up to wail, “This is bunch of crap! I’m so sick and tired of having to act grateful just because he does 20% of the work!” I had to stiffle a laugh because it was just so true.

  32. virago

    “Why don’t women who live in a community property state *know* that they own half of all community property?”

    I live in a community property state, and you have to be careful because you also are responsible for each other’s debts as well. My ex-husband and I didn’t have much in the way of property (nor did we have kids) because we rented our house and we had more debt than property. Debt, I might add, that came mostly from him. He could take out a loan without my knowledge, or my signature, but I was still legally responsible for it. The creditor was bound by law to send me a “spousal notification” about the loans that were taken out, but it was too late, the money was already spent and the damage was done. Anyway, I usually made sure that the bills were paid every month, and I really had the stretch the money to cover the minimum monthly payments even though we both worked. We argued about all the loans he was taking out, and I haven’t any idea where the money actually went because he didn’t seem to have anything to show for it. Anway, I filed for divorce, and we filled out a marital property agreement that stated each of us was responsible for each of our own debts that we took out without the other’s knowledge or signature during the marriage AND we were each responsible for our own debt that we took out during the time the divorce was filed and the time the divorce was finalized (about 3 months). However, this was considered an AGREEMENT BETWEEN HIM AND I. Any creditors were not bound by this, and I found this out the hard way. When I filed for divorce, I made sure that ALL debts that were incurred during our marriage were paid off whether it it was his, mine, or ours. Unfortuantely, while our divorce was pending, we were living apart, and he took out a huge $30,000 that I found out about accidently long after our divorce was final. This loan was taken out about three weeks before the divorce was final, and I was still considered responsible for it bewcause I was still legally his wife. This was during the time covered by the marital property agreement, and I could use it to sue my ex-husband for the debt IF I COULD FIND HIM. Unfortunately, he skipped town, and the creditors were legally able to come after me, and they did. I thought I would have to claim bankruptcy. There was only one thing that saved my ass, and that was because my ex-husband told the creditors that we were already divorced when we weren’t. Because the creditor believed this, they failed to send me a “spousal notification”, and I was let off the hook because they were suppose to notify me and they didn’t. Also, my ex committed fraud when he lied to them about being divorced, and a debt incurred by fraud can’t be discharged even in a court of bankruptcy. I was able to get out of paying the debt, but it still cost me a lot of money to defend myself against these jerks, and I couldn’t find the bigger jerk to sue him to recover these costs. IBTP.

  33. slythwolf

    zelda1, you are playing my song. I have learned that I have to trumpet any housework I do, or Nigel will not realize either that I have done it or that it existed to be done in the first place. And then he will complain, from his seat at his computer with his Budweiser in his hand, that I don’t ever do any housework and he has to do it all, since apparently taking the trash out twice a week (after it has overflowed all over the goddamn floor and stunk up the place) and doing a sinkful of dishes when there are three sinkfuls on the counter constitutes “all” the housework.

  34. birkwearingblamer

    virago, sounds like ex put you through the ringer! You make an excellent point. And I’ve seen cases in which one spouse takes out credit lines and loans without the other spouse’s knowledge. Often, discovery of this precipitates the divorce. Moral of this story is to know what your spouse is doing, which is dang hard when one spouse gets a P.O. Box and deceives the other spouse.

  35. Jezebella

    Also the IRS could not give a crap what your divorce papers say. If he owes money, you owe money, even if you got divorced on, say, January 2 of the tax year in question. Married women, put his name first on that income tax return. They hassle the person on the first line all out of proportion to the person on the second line.

  36. virago

    There are two idiot MRAs that were arguing with me on another blog, and they seem to think that women shouldn’t break up a marriage unless there is physical violence (which they than say are usually false allegations). Anyway, these guys actually think that women who complain about having all the housework/childcare dumped on them are making a mountain out of a molehill, and women should just put up with it for the sake of the kids or whatever rather than get a divorce. I told them it’s easier to be a single mom and clean up after your kids than it is to be married and have to clean up after your kids and husband. Anway, to make a point, I posted a link to Twisty’s post on marriage because I was hoping they would get a clue about how women feel about these issues. I don’t know why I even bothered. They posted comments about how they read Twisty’s post and all the comments were just a bunch of women complaining about how they don’t like housework. I mean get a fucking clue. Are these guys really that dumb? I have come to the conclusion that Yes, these guys are really that dumb. IBTP.

  37. Citizen Jane

    Well, I guess I’m glad at least that some men are starting to understand a little bit of what it has felt like to be female for thousands of years.

    The only problem is that their reaction to this experience isn’t “Wow, doing this drudgery even for a little bit is pretty horrible. Nobody should have to go through it all day every day.” Instead, their reaction is “Wow, doing this drudgery even for a little bit every day is pretty horrible. Nobody male should have to go through this even a little.”

  38. PandanCat

    When I see drek like this, I reach for my violin. The little one.

    The labor film Salt of the Earth has a very funny scene where the male workers end up doing the housework while their wives are helping with the strike. It turns into a real eye-opener for them. Seconding Citizen Jane, if only that’s the way it worked in the real world.

    Oh, and praise the lard that my favorite turkey is now the mascot of the Savage Death Island!

  39. speedbudget

    I still have no clue why anybody ever gets married.

  40. Twisty

    “I still have no clue why anybody ever gets married.”

    I feel ya. Everything about it just seems inconvenient.

  41. Comrade PhysioProf

    “I still have no clue why anybody ever gets married.”

    I feel ya. Everything about it just seems inconvenient.

    You do get to have a fun party, which can include people holding you up in the air on a chair and dancing around you in circles as you hold on for dear life.

  42. StillWater

    I have been living with another woman for over six years now and we always cheer each other on for the small stuff. We’re not being infantile. Okay maybe a little. But those little verbal pats on the back feel good! Chores are a pain and it’s nice when someone does one of them for you. If she doesn’t notice what I did I will point it out and she’ll do the same to me. Usually I end up cooking/general cleaning and she does the laundry (which I hate) and we share the dishes. One of us will be the total housekeeper though if the other one is not feeling well, or work is being difficult, etc. It is dysfunctional how most straight relationships don’t have a realistic division of labor.

    I find myself hoping that things aren’t really as the commercials tell, and that most men pitch in but it’s not shown because of how messed up our culture is.

    It is also incredibly idiotic that females are expected to take care of the males. We rent out a part of a house and for awhile my brother rented another room in the same house. She would see my brother loading up the washer and was aghast at the fact that we did not do his laundry (or his dishes, actually). She would go as far as to tell us that we were picking on him and bullying him. Because we weren’t doing his chores! How the heck was doing his own laundry going to hurt him?

    Anyway I’m off to make some iced tea. Bet I’ll get a cookie after.

  43. joytulip

    “Oh, how this bachelor blamer grows tired of hearing how lovely and egalitarian the Nigels of married blamers are. The exception does not negate the rule.

    It is repellent, isn’t it? Not my Nigel! He “helps”!”

    -ok. relationship-affirming personal stories not welcome. sorry, forgot this was the death island where we’re all blame, all the time, and no happy thoughts allowed. unless they’re about cute birdies.

  44. Twisty

    Well, joytulip, this isn’t the Happy Heterosexual Relationship Blog. I wouldn’t go a-commenting at some fat blog and say “gosh, I’m so thin and contented — can’t you fatties just be happy for me that I fit in?”

    The rush to defend the Nigels against the gripey sourpuss lesbos, — what’s that all about, anyway? I address this not to you personally, joytulip, but to anyone who feels it necessary to emphasize the many ways in which their personal dude does not fit the antifeminist stereotype. It’s like, yall know he’s throwin’ that privilege around somewhere, so you’re making up for it by illuminating his laundro-literacy. But check this out: your Nigels’ psuedo-feminist proclivities are not nearly as interesting as your own.

  45. Genevieve

    One of the things that really irked me were his complaints about the ‘condescending’ smiles he’d get from women when out in public with his kids-as if women entering traditionally male spheres don’t get far more condescension, from “wow, you’re a feisty lil’ lady” to “even though you’re way better than any man who’s done this job before, we’re still only saying you’re half as good.”

    Also, who says these women are smiling about the men?

  46. Jenn

    God, this reminds me of my life: I live with my Mom to save for law school. Whenever there is something to be done, mother calls across the house for my help. I can be in the middle of a brief or a paper, but she needs help with dinner and the dishes, and they simply must get done. She works full-time. I work part-time and go to school full-time. My brother is in high school with a 2.5 GPA. Homework doesn’t compute with his porn-addled mind. Mother has given up asking him to help because all she earns is verbal abuse. If he cooks once, with the barbecue, he expects no part in the clean-up and our everlasting gratitude for the remainder of the night. My mother, long since being beaten by the patriarchy and the misogyny of her own offspring, pats my brother on the head and metaphorically prostrates herself to him because he took time out of his busy schedule of stealing from his sister, masturbating to porn, playing violent videogames until 2am to cook once a month.

    Then he whines that my mother and I “gang up” on him when my mother briefly recovers her long-lost self-esteem to notice that the men in her life (such as my father, her ex-husband, my grandfather and my brother) do absolutely nothing and expect the world for the few times they behave slightly less disrespectfully and forget that they have a quota of daily verbal abuse to uphold.

    On that note, I’m very happy for you all that your Nigels are so kind and wonderful, but I must have gotten the bizarre notion that this is a space for blaming the patriarchy, not giving it a big pat on the back for the few instances in which it fails to manifest.

  47. Joolya

    Hm. I am the opposite of a domestic goddess, it is true. As such, I have been known to trumpet my domestic achievements – look, I repotted a plant! – to Mr. J, especially now that I am between gigs and feel like I need to be accomplishing something tangible during the day. But actually, we both point out our chore-accomplishing skills to one another, because we both hate doing chore and want some kudos/commiseration/appreciation for doing them.

  48. Julia

    StilWater – yes! When I lived with good girl friend roomies, we would also do this.
    Mon Nigel knows my mess-tolerance threshhold is pretty high (and consequently, frequency of cleaning is pretty low), which annoys him – but I did point out that since he couldn’t recall the last time he’d purchased toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, detergent, scrubbies, tape, q-tips, advil, etc, that I might not be quite the slacker I seemed to be for failing to do the things he happened to notice not being done.
    But there is not a lot to BTP for about my particular Nigel, cause his mama raised him right. ;)

  49. Julia/Joolya

    Julia = Joolya.

  50. speedbudget

    My dog gets excited whenever I clean anything.

    Beats having a Nigel around.

    Comrade, I’m going to have that party without the annoyance of marriage. I’m buying a house. Those fuckers I bought presents for for their damn baby showers and friggin weddings by dog are going to buy me useless shit. I’m even going to register.

  51. nails

    mehhh my deleted comment was made in contrast to the cynicism over so and so’s nephew doing laundry when they grow up. they just might.

    is hope unwelcome here?

  52. joytulip

    Demanding equal status in your personal relationships is a feminist act. Leaving the asshole Nigels who sit around in their pajamas playing playstation while you do all the chores plus work full-time to put them through law school is also a feminist act. I could’ve written about the latter just as easily and gotten affirmation from the blametariat instead.

    To continue the fat blog example, a comment about how I personally deal with my fatness in an anti-fat society and create relationships with pro-fat people would probably not be considered repellent.

    No, my example alone doesn’t disprove “the rule.” But neither do Lewis & Young exemplify fatherhood. The media advertise the examples that reinforce sexist stereotypes, that serve the patriarchy. They represent real fathers as inaccurately as media portrayals do real women. But, since Twisty and my fellow blamers don’t want to hear about it, I’ll gladly stfu from now on.

    Peace out.

  53. Twisty

    “is hope unwelcome here?”

    Not if she brings beer.

  54. Comrade PhysioProf

    Comrade, I’m going to have that party without the annoyance of marriage. I’m buying a house. Those fuckers I bought presents for for their damn baby showers and friggin weddings by dog are going to buy me useless shit. I’m even going to register.

    Tell those fuckers that they better lift you up in the air on a chair and dance around you in circles! That shit kicks fucking ass!

  55. Human Bean

    What’s lulzy to me as I read these lamentations is how d00dz who do housework and childcare don’t hesitate to complain about what fucking thankless unpaid drudgery it is and demand — DEMAND — their right to be compensated for it or alleviated from the duties by the slave class, who really oughta know better than to make master do all this humiliating scullery work. What’s funny in a “ha ha – fuck you” kind of way is how they just articulated the feminist argument with all that explaining of how crappy it is to have to do unpaid unnoticed scut work when you’re a thinking human. But there ain’t no percentage in them seeing that. They want their slaves, dammit! They have Important Human Things to do! Cognitive dissonance ftw!

  56. Human Bean

    “They represent real fathers as inaccurately as media portrayals do real women.”

    Alright sister, I’ll see your Unicorn and raise you a: checked your privilege lately? “Real father” is not some kind of metaphysical term. Anyone who inseminates a woman is a real father, since it results in a real child. Maybe your Nigel wouldn’t dream of exercising his privilege consciously over you but that falls under the heading of: How Nice For You, But Not Terribly Relevant To Most Women Who Are Not The Proud Partners of Unicorns. I guess you can condescend to us about how not all men are thus and so, but if your definition of “real” means “Nigels Like Yours” (and you aren’t just dissembling about his unicorn state) then, well, you’re being a bit of a snot, since you aren’t the arbiter of reality.

  57. Citizen Jane

    Thank you, Human Bean. That’s what I was trying to say but you said it so much better. It drives me up the wall that the anti-feminist argument up till now was “Women have it so nice because they only do housework which is so easy and luxurious while men do all the hard work.” Now that men are finally finding out how much housework sucks, the anti-feminist argument seems to have changed to “Housework is so awful that it’s oppressive. But only when it’s men doing it.”

    The anti-feminist argument actually made more sense before. It was ignorant and insulting, but at least it wasn’t so nonsensical.

  58. The Menstruator

    I say good.
    I say let’s strip man of everything he’s ever had and force him into domestic gigs.
    They say the blue collar worker is losing his job and he will turn to violence towards women (more).
    Meanwhile, he can get a job with merry maids, but that’s women’s work.
    I hope every white male starves and is so oppressed that they start to eat their own children. Takes care of 2 really nasty things, men and children.

  59. V.

    The scenario that catapulted ‘My Nigel’ into ‘my Ex-Nigel’ status was this:

    I came home to find clean dishes laid out on the countertop.

    “What’s going on?” I asked.

    “I put the dirty dishes into the dishwasher,” he said proudly.

    “Why didn’t you put the clean ones away?” I asked, baffled, gesturing at the cabinet approximately 18 inches above the countertop where the clean dishes rested.

    “That wasn’t my job!” he said.

    At that moment, it all became clear: If I stayed with Nigel, I would be having that conversation for the rest of my life. And I had better things to do with it.

  60. mustelid

    My ex-Nigel had an interesting take on the whole housework thing. Not only did he dislike housework, he didn’t like to see me doing housework. Because the mere act of vacuuming/picking up/dusting/etc. in his presence was tantamount to a long, drawn-out, high volume nagging. But if company was coming, we both had to break out the shovels and Hazmat suits, and try to make the place look livable. Yay, half an hour to clean two months of clutter! Apparently I was supposed to find a way to stealth-clean so it didn’t always come to that.

    This is just one small part of why he’s an ex.

  61. Babs

    It seems like a change in advertising would be as good as a place to start as any in re-defining the gender status of housework. I have the tv on all the time in the background the way more cultured people have music on- so I see a lot of commercials. And I have seen ONLY ONE commercial in all of my recent thinking that features a man cleaning- it is for the swifter long-handled duster and I haven’t seen the commercial for a year. Every other commercial for every other product features a woman in neatly ironed slacks and a pressed blouse operating the product being sold. Many times the creatures who created the mess (kids, spouse, sometimes pets) sit idly by, sometimes even comically remarking on the mom’s fabulous cleaning abilities. I like to use my “what would aliens think?” test. If aliens came to Earth and their first stop was my living room and a nice dose of commercials, they would assume that men are physically incapable of cleaning, and that it is WITHOUT QUESTION “women’s work.”

  62. janna

    How about those commercials that has the studly man teaching hoards of astonished women how to do laundry? I hate that shit.

  63. denelian

    i overheard the bestest, most interesting conversation the other day…

    a friend of my boyfriend’s came over while boyfriend was doing the dishes. friend walks into kitchen and is apparently stunned at the sight of BF doing dishes. it went something like this.
    Friend: what the hell are you doing?
    BF: are you stupid? i’m doing the dishes
    F: yes, but why are you doing the dishes?
    BF: they need to be washed.
    F: why doesn’t your girlfriend do the dishes?
    BF: because i would rather her pay half the bills than do all the housework.

    which is actually true. when we moved in together, i spoke very bluntly and said for ever 5% over half of the household chores that i had to do, i was pay $100 less of the bills. we live in the cheapest part of town. if it ever got to where i was doing 80% of the housework, i wasn’t paying any bills.

    but i will be honest. i physically can’t do many things, and so the housework is sitting about 60% him – and i pay extra. which we both deem totally fair. (i don’t pay $200 extra. because some of the things that add into that 60% are things i wouldn’t do no matter what, and there are things that don’t get done that i *would* do if i could. and because he doesn’t mind doing what he does and would have to do it if i weren’t here, so… sometimes i think i should pay $200 extra, and he always talks me out of it. i console myself with the fact that i buy most of the groceries and that pretty much makes up for it)

    aside from my anedote that is not data and is untypical (but i invite anyone to try it. it might work! and i hope it does!) i really have to say:
    Twisty, you are awesome. and i adore this response.

  64. denelian

    just to explain:
    while the above example does make me feel good because i have found a boyfriend who is a lot less misogynistic than most, that wasn’t the point.

    i was neither trying to brag nor excuse men in general.
    i was (and i am worried that it came off in a patronizing tone, i did not mean it to be so!) telling blamers what has worked for me wrt: dividing “menial chores”. it’s actually the same thing i did while i was married (and is a good chunk of what led to my divorce, because ex-husband did not follow this plan, refused to follow this plan, and was often mad because i would *not* do all the housework. i was working 70 hours a week at 2 jobs – for the first year we were married he was in the AF, then was kicked out, and did not work for 6 months. in those 6 months, i did *no* housework for him at all. if i wanted to eat, i did enough dishes to cook for me, and only cooked for me. i did *my* laundry, thats it. i cleaned up only after myself. we had the same fight every fucking week “this places is a pigsty!” and i’d stand there and listen, and when he took a breathe i’d say “i work, you don’t. you want it clean, you have time. or get a job making more than i do.”)

    it *can* work, because it has worked for me and other women i know who have implemented it. i don’t know that it will work for everyone.
    the other thing i did (with former roommates, not a boyfriend/husband/Nigel, so i don’t know how well it will work *there*) is sit down, list all the household chores and assign them costs. like, 1 load of dishes was $4, vacuuming the livingroom was $7, and the total cost for keeping a clean house was added to the rent. the last time, the rent on the apt was $600 and the chores came out to about $450. we each had to do $150 worth of chores, or pay the amount we didn’t do (so if i only did $100 worth, then i paid an extra $50 in rent, and each of the roomates paid $25 less in rent for that month).

    but… i will add the note – i have never needed to do this with *female* roommates. but, once male roommates see a cost to chores, they start to view them as “real work”, at least most of the times i have tried it.

  65. Rosa

    “Why don’t women who live in a community property state *know* that they own half of all community property?”

    This is how I win money arguments with my Nigel. Whenever we come to a stalemate that’s a matter of principle (such as whether we need to replace the stove just because it is leaking natural gas all over & threatening to kill us), a part of the discussion is “well, if we can’t work this out I’ll just have to leave so I get to control half the cash” (we’re not even married, but I *do* own half the house).

    His answer, gratifyingly, has been “No! Stay!” But it makes him a little more aware of the imbalance of power he claims does not exist.

    p.s. along with asking for praise for housework, ignoring anything that’s not your job can also be very helpful – the second or third time the diaperless baby pees on the kitchen floor, Daddy starts thinking “hey, diaperless baby! I should put a diaper on that!” Men are not stupid – any technique they use for getting out of housework is probably effective.

  66. joytulip

    @ Human Bean, re: definition of “real”
    Real as opposed to fictional. Multi-faceted rather than one-dimensional. A person and not a caricature. So, “real fathers,” by my usage above, covers a wide range from completely absent to present but useless to fully participating. Simplistic father tropes (the wise provider, the bumbling idiot, the baby-daddy fuck-up) like the one Lewis capitalizes on are just as much scripted bullshit as everything else. Lewis probably doesn’t even believe all the stuff he writes but does it because it sells (which would make him a whole nother kind of icky).

    Also ftr, I don’t believe in unicorns, I hate “dissembling”, I’m not heterosexual, and I’m really not a snotty bitch floating on a privilege cloud. But apparently I do have to work on my commenting tone (and content) so I don’t come off as any of those things. I’m trying real hard to be a good feminist, honest I am.

  67. Amananta

    When I was still with my son’s worthless, lazy, asshole father, a point came when it was obvious that if I didn’t go out and make some money we were going to starve to death, because he couldn’t be bothered, and whenever he could be induced, by starvation and nicotine withdrawal, to go out and find a way to make a few bucks, the purchase of cigarettes and coffee came before feeding his family. SO I had to put my foot down and say look, I’m going out to work, you HAVE to stay home with the baby. This was less than an ideal situation since he treated the baby like shit, got annoyed when he cried, did zero housework and wouldn’t change the diapers, so I had to come home after a few hours to take care of the baby before going out again.
    Guess who got sympathy from our friends?
    HE DID.
    Because, my god, I was keeping him locked up in the house with the baby all day. The horror. What a horrific wench I am.
    This was in the late 90s, lest you think this be some horrible tale of the 1800s. Also, the friends in question were not raving Christian right wingers, but Nader and Clinton supporters who fancied themselves non-sexist and liberal.

  68. terese

    Just wanted to weigh in here re joytulip : yep, this probably isn’t the place for ‘I’ve defeated the patriarchy in my house’ posts – it’s so not the forum for it. You should, however, bring up your experience always and often outside IBTP.

    From a personal perspective, I did ten years with a same-old-story- housework-is-beneath-me asshole (to the point where if I even asked him to close the kitchen cupboard after getting something out of it he’d respond with ‘I do the boilder-making’. Hands up who’s familiar with the ‘tradesman trail’? It’s the evidence lots of working class men leave behind them when they get home from work.. where is the man of the house? – boot, sock, boot, sock, crumbs, knife, butter still out of the fridge, cupboard doors open, plate on the lounge floor … and there he is ! playing xbox in front of the tv..) … sorry, got a little side tracked there. My point is, during this ten years my younger sister had (and still has) a guy who did half the house work like joytulips Nigel. Hearing and knowing about this phenomenon over time led to me thinking more and more – maybe my situation isn’t the natural order of things… and to the eventual ex-ing of my Nigel (though if i ever needed to find him I suspect my finely tuned senses could still identify his socks and breadcrumbs a mile away..).
    More broadly, as a committed social constructivist, it is important to articulate and demonstrate that this behaviour is LEARNT by men, not embedded deep in their DNA. This is such as important point – I often have conversations with women who have suffered under the hands of abusive men who skip straight to biological justifications, which is depressing and defeating. It needs to be reiterated constantly that men CAN change, it just isn’t in thier INTERESTS to do so.(as the world is curently constructed under the patriarchy etc etc) Making that point with women (outside the enlightened ones on IBTP) is half the battle I think.

  69. Tigs

    @The Menstruator
    Woah, hey there buddy. What did the kiddles ever do to you?

  70. Cathy

    a vasectomy for a man is equivalent to a lobotomy for a woman/i>

    Indeed, Shopstewardess, they would be equivalent if the vasectomy worked like neutering a pet (making them lose interest, not just sterile), since they’re always “thinking with the little head.”

    Speedbudget, people still get married because The P, aided by fairy tales, still dupes little girls into thinking they are nothing without a man. Worked on me. Guys always kvetching about their wives, saying bachelorhood is SOO much better – it’s all an act, to keep the myth going. They aren’t really that dumb. They refuse to even try to empathize with women, which makes them seem dumb, but actually it’s selfish, inconsiderate, deliberate oppression.

    Human Bean and Citizen Jane said exactly what I wanted to say: Men must be compensated for doing the shit women do for free (and often without thanks).

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