There’s a small group of men, like Roosh V, trying to push gender equality back centuries, and Giselle Storm thinks they’re afraid…
I’m sure most of you are by now acquainted with the delightful soul who calls himself Roosh V, along with his blog Return of Kings (It sounds like a good ITV drama, but it isn’t). His entirely unnecessary presence has been cluttering my timeline for the past few weeks and if you haven’t read any of his views I strongly recommend it, if only if it inspires you to make a dartboard of his face. His blog features among other wholly enlightening articles, ‘Why You Should Avoid Dating Girls Who Claim They Were Raped’, ‘American Women are Only Good for One Thing’ (you can probably guess the thing, hint: he doesn’t think it is intelligent contribution to society), and most infamously ‘How To Stop Rape’ which provides a brief outline as to why rape should be legalised on private property.
I personally felt physically sick reading most of this man’s articles and have recently come to the conclusion that, Hopkins-esque, while he probably does believe the majority of what he says, he also plays the media and phrases his opinions in the most inflammatory way he possibly can – in the process generating more publicity and more money. As a result as little time should be spent on him as possible, as we are only gratifying his wish to shock and fuelling his notorious fame. Sexism is bad, propagating sexism for money is maybe worse. Maybe. But beyond this, I have also decided that this man and his followers of the creed of ‘neo-masculinity’ are absolutely terrified. They sit quaking in their mother’s basements, cowering behind computer screens, shaking in abject terror at the idea of an empowered and independent woman.
Roosh V’s views and opinions have something inherently medieval to them: men are the dominant sex and women should succumb to them, listen to them unconditionally and fulfill their aesthetic ideals. In short women should belong to and bow to their male counterparts. It’s all very old-school patriarchy, a fight which generations of women have gradually been winning. But what lies at the heart of patriarchy is power, and beyond this the threat of losing that power. This is what women are to Roosh V: a threat. What else would provoke such a response besides abject terror? Claiming that every human has the right to say ‘no’ to sex and have that right respected isn’t exactly a radical ideology, and certainly doesn’t seem to warrant such a radical response.
The idea of a strong, independent women who ‘don’t need no man’ is for Roosh and others like him a terrifying prospect. A woman who is able to act as she wishes, unhindered by his needs, who has the capacity to reject him and to go about her life with little to no thought of him is just something that the neo-masculanist cannot cope with. His means of defence is to try and subjugate women and in a way reclaim power over them; to try and reinstate the perceived reliance he believes that women should have to men. In one of my favourite pieces ‘Women Must Have Their Behaviour and Decision Controlled by Men’ Roosh V states; ‘After a long period in society of women having unlimited personal freedom to pursue life as they wish, they have shown to consistently fail in making the right decision’. The right decisions presumably being the ones that most benefit him. The idea of female autonomy and empowerment just doesn’t seem to sit right with him, so he argues we return to the good old days where the threat of women running rampant and following their every whim is curtailed by the obviously more intelligent gender. After all, the idea of an independent woman is no doubt akin to a horror flick; no wonder the poor man is left feeling bereft of the power he believes so fervently he is entitled to.
Roosh V can believe what Roosh V wants to believe, but the alarming thing is the relative popularity that his views seem to have. Across the world men are relating to his insecurities and fears, dreaming of days gone by when women were subject to them. I won’t call this a back-lash of feminism, which after all is in its simplest terms the idea of equality. It is the backlash of a small sect of men scared and threatened in an age where women are able to act as they wish, men who feel a perceived power slipping through their fingers and to whom women pose a threat. There seems at the heart of it all to be a slightly bizarre idea of women as the ‘enemy’ and as the ‘other’, dehumanised as people and seen merely as something to be scared of and to try and dominate and claim. These men are threatened by the notion women as actual humans, as seeing them as their equal with their own rights, lives and responsibilities. Wouldn’t it all just be so much easier if they succumbed to us and were ‘ours’ again.
Of course, this small sect of men is by no means representative, yet there is something horribly appealing about it. Rape, it has to be remembered, has huge repercussions for men too (beyond the sense that it also happens to them). I was talking to a friend recently who commented that he feels guilty and slightly angry that rape is so prevalent in our culture. The idea that men simply can’t control themselves and feel the need to bone anything in a skirt is clearly ridiculous and this is exactly Roosh V’s argument: most men know right from wrong and know (I hate that there is even a need to type this) that rape is wrong. Where the neo-masculinist slips up is to try and shift the blame onto women. The insinuation that poor silly women need to ‘learn’ that when they enter private property then she has effectively given her consent. It is as derogatory a notion to men as it is to women, as soon as a women crosses their threshold they are unable to contain themselves… after all she presumably agreed to be there, so presumably has agreed to have a penis inside her. Most people know that murder is wrong, but that doesn’t justify decriminalising it, even on private property.
The irony of course of all of this is that the creed of neo-masculinity is to try and reinforce gender stereotypes. Women as the weak helpless maidens and men as the strong knights in shining armour, protecting women from their own foolish natures. But all it really seems to amount to is fear and to the last resort of the scared, lashing out with nonsensical arguments and aggression. The last remark in a Facebook argument when all rationality has long gone out the window and all that remains is idiocy. These ‘manly’ dominant men are terrified and unable to cope in a changing world where they feel their perceived power leaving them and women as some kind of unnamed threat who no longer rely on them. After all, we women are scary creatures when left to our own devices.
Follow Giselle on instagram: @GiselleStorms
Illustration: Mitucami Mituca