Advice for Young Men

This is not a bad piece.

I was not aware of the fedora phenomenon until I encountered the famous SlateStarCodex piece worrying over the way in which this kind of young man is being punished. Since then, I've seen a few examples of the intense mockery from young women that these young men endure. I can understand the point the author at SSC was trying to make.

That it is unkind to the young men is true, as they are as he says just trying to emulate the most courtly behaviors they have ever encountered in literature or film. Whether it is unfair to them is another question.

In any case, if you are one or know one, and don't understand the mockery, read the article. It might help you out.


MikeD said...

It's a good theory, and I don't even necessarily disagree with the article. But I think most of the mockery of the fedora-crowd has less to do with "not man enough" than it does with the mockers being of the opinion that courtly behavior is sexist. Generally, the memes of "m'lady" are created by and for the SJW types who think that holding a door open for someone implies that you don't think they can do it themselves (or some form of "microaggression" or other such nonsense). The courteous person isn't being mocked for the lack of manliness, they're being mocked for their courtesy. Thankfully, I still live in an area where I can hold the door open for someone (male or female) and it will be taken as a kindness, not a dominance play.

Grim said...

Well, I don't know. The video is pretty harsh on the manliness issue. I don't read the SJW stuff -- what I have read of it is too hostile to draw a coherent point out of it. I'd have to paraphrase it as sort of "Awk! Yuck!"

Texan99 said...

I think where this kind of argument (in the article) goes wrong is to try to sort out "who has it worst." There can be all kinds of things wrong with a social tradition that can't be resolved by that metric--can only be made worse, in fact, by competitive complaining.

It sounds like both the feminists and the fedora crowd Scott Alexander is describing would do well to treat each other more like people and less like sources of one-way gratification or reparations. There was a lot to be said for the way gently-reared people used to be taught to converse, including a strong prohibition against burdening one's conversational partner with one's most naked emotional compulsions and traumas. There's a time and a place for intimacy--like after one's companion has invited intimacy and one has accepted. A street corner or a party is no place to start shouting, in effect, "Please validate me sexually! I'm dyin' here!"

That's not to say people won't arouse strong emotional needs in each other, particularly in the context of sexual attraction, but they don't have to wear their hearts on their sleeves all the time. How about a respectful, friendly conversation, followed by, "My coffee cup is empty; can I bring you back one, too?" Someone might even go as far as "I'm enjoying this conversation. If you're free Friday night, I'd enjoy taking you to dinner," to which he or she can reply, "Thanks for asking, but I'm afraid not," and they can go on being friendly and polite to each other without either slut-shaming, or creep-shaming, or shrieking "My most urgent emotional needs aren't being met by this semi-stranger! Let me tell you more about my semi-suicidal teen years!"

Grim said...

There was a lot to be said for the way gently-reared people used to be taught to converse, including a strong prohibition against burdening one's conversational partner with one's most naked emotional compulsions and traumas.

That sounds like a problem whose answer dovetails the Manliness article with the SSC article. You're right: we used to teach people how to interact in such a way that they didn't have to feel validated to the core to interact pleasantly.

On the other hand, we also used to raise young men to express interest in a pretty straightforward manner. Even without the traditional courtship rituals in place, it is still possible at some point simply to state your interest and ask if it is shared. If it isn't, you ought to move on.

What is absent are those traditional virtues of moderation, physical strength gained by exercising one's person strenuously, self-discipline in emotion, and the capacity to be direct and forthright even at great risk to one's heart when appropriate. Also, the capacity to dare a blow means developing the capacity to take one: to get back up when the horse throws you, and ride on.

Texan99 said...

Right, with or without traditional courtship rituals, the important thing is to be to express interest forthrightly, but in a manner that befits people who don't yet know each other well, which is to say polite and reasonably self-contained. And as you say, if the answer is no, accept it in good grace, without seeking either revenge or a dramatic self-immolation. I don't know how this got so snarled up, but somewhere along the way we got the notion that any strong feeling must be immediately indulged and gratified. In the case of strong feelings that can find rightful expression only between two consenting adults, that's a recipe for disaster.

So often I read accounts of young confused men on this subject, amounting to the question, "But what am I supposed to do if she says no?"--as if there were a mystery there to be solved. What are we usually supposed to do when someone declines an offer? It's the same on the woman's side, for that matter: "What am I supposed to do if he doesn't offer a relationship on terms that I can accept, or if I offer one and he's not interested?" Well . . . . And all this gets tremendously ugly if they've hopped into bed before most of this has been worked out.

Ymar Sakar said...

The victims are guilty. Not of being the oppressor, although the SJWs are exactly that, but guilty of being weak.