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>Guys, you’re not helping: The Dear Woman video

The video above, which has been making the rounds of the manosphere, is one of the creepiest and most off-putting things I’ve seen since watching Dogtooth a couple of weeks ago. Actually, I take that back: Dogtooth was much less creepy and off-putting. I was so repelled by what I saw in this video that it literally took me several tries to get through the whole thing. And no, it’s not some weird misogynistic rant by the likes of Bernard Chapin. Oh, no no no. The misogynists of the world are as repelled by the video as I am, though for radically different reasons. Titled “Dear Woman,” the video was actually put together by a couple of self-described “conscious men” who think they’re doing a great favor to the women of the world.

To which I can only say: Guys, stop it, you’re not helping.

If you can stomach it, the video is worth watching in its entirety. If not, here’s what you’re missing: The video is the work of a couple of New Age gurus — Arjuna Ardagh and Gay Hendricks, Ph.D – who, with the help of a little gaggle of guys, have written a little manifesto “apologizing” to the women of the world for all the bad shit done by men to women over the centuries. Or, as they put it:

I feel deep love, great respect and a growing sense of worship for the gifts of the feminine. I also feel deep sorrow about the destructive actions of the unconscious masculine in the past and present. I want to apologize to you and make amends for those actions, in order to bring forth a new era of co-creation with you.

The first step in “making amends,” evidently, was to gather together a group of men – some of whom seem to have been roped into it in the middle of a garden party — and to somehow convince them to read out loud the entire text of this manifesto. (The full text is here, but it’s much creepier when it’s read out loud.)

There is something about this manifesto, and the men reading it, that is so “off” that it may well make your skin crawl, and make you wonder how many of the men in the video have dead bodies secreted away in the crawl spaces under their homes. A female friend I showed the video to could only make it through the first couple of minutes before switching it off in horror; one commenter on Metafilter reported that it “made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and not in a good way. Eeew.”

The creepyist, skin-crawliest part of the video has to be the section in which the assembled men talk about women’s bodies:

I honor the beauty and integrity of your body. When we worship each other through our bodies with awareness and devotion, there are no boundaries to the love that we can generate. I feel sorrow that men have used your beauty as a form of commerce in prostitution and pornography. In the grip of lust we have often lacked the skills to ask gracefully for intimacy or to take ‘No’ for an answer. I take a stand against any form of enforced or soulless commercialization of woman’s beauty, and I respect that your body belongs to you.

I honor your capacity to listen to your body and its needs for food, rest and playtime.

I feel confident that I speak for many when I say “ewww.” Somehow I’m reminded of Saturday Night Live’s hot-tub-loving “lovers.”

It’s worth pointing out that the written manifesto refers to men and women “nurture[ing]” one another’s body; apparently no one noticed that the dude reading this passage in the video had turned nurturing into “worship.”

As one commenter on Metafilter put it:

“We worship women” sounds like something Buffalo Bill would have said if he had a PR agent. My guess is that they’re sickos who seem really earnest at first but it turns out that they’re actually trying to collect used tampons for onanistic purposes or something.

So what is it, aside from all this worshiping, that makes the video so creepy? Part of the problem is that these “conscious men” are, in their own way, as patronizing and sexist as any manosphere dudes “mansplaining” about how all women only want to fuck alpha guys. Women, in their view, are inherently peaceful earth-mother types. “I commit now to … honoring the spirituality of the divine feminine,” the guys tell us. “I honor your deep connection to the earth.” 

The manifesto is overflowing with this kind of shit. No matter how “New Age” these guys think they are, these are some truly ancient, and quite thoroughly retrograde, notions.
But that’s just what makes them wrong and misguided. What is it that causes viewers to pick up that whole serial-killer vibe?
I think the answer to this can be found in a book called The Gif tof Fear by security expert Gavin de Becker. The book attempts to explain why our intuitions about creepy people are so often correct. There’s a good reason you feel uneasy around certain people; that’s your unconscious picking up on real, if hard to pin down, signals of danger.
De Becker also lays out some of the techniques predators use in an attempt to allay the suspicions of those they’re trying to victimize. One of the sneakiest? The unsolicited promise, which often means the very opposite of what is said. When someone tells you, out of the blue, that they “aren’t going to hurt you,” it’s often a very good sign that that’s exactly what they’re going to do. When someone feels the need to tell you, apropos of nothing, that he “honor[s] the beauty and integrity of your body” and “respect[s] that your body belongs to you,” you may well want to run screaming. 
Even more than the unsolicited promises, I think it’s the unsolicited apologies in the Dear Woman video – so similar in intent to unsolicited promises — are a large part of what is setting off alarm bells in so many viewers. When a young guy in the video takes personal responsibility “for dragging you into … wars, and for the rape, murder, broken hearts and damaged families that resulted from them,” that’s just plain … weird, given that (unless he’s some young despot I’ve never heard of) he’s not actually responsible for any of this.
The “unsolicited promise” is similar to what de Becker calls “loan sharking” – offering unsolicited “help” in order to make victims feel obligated in some way to their unwanted helpers. In the manifesto/video, this “help” is abstract, but the strategy seems to be the same:
From this day, moving forward, I vow to treat your heart as the sacred temple it is, and I commit to honoring the feminine in you and me and in my relationship to all life.
 
Uh, who the fuck asked you to treat anyone’s heart as a “sacred temple?”
The manifesto/video is also filled with examples of “forced teaming,” another strategy favored by predators who want to convince their victims that they are in fact working together to do the very same thing:
I know that by leaving the past behind and joining hands in the present, we can create a synergy of our strengths. Together, there is nothing we cannot do.
(For a fuller explanation of some of de Becker’s ideas, take a look at this post on saying “no” on Captain Awkward’s excellent blog, which I’ve drawn on heavily here.)
But there’s something else about the video that adds to the sense that something is not right here: no matter how earnest all the men in the video are trying to sound, none of them (except perhaps the two ringleaders) seem to really believe the ridiculous things they’re saying. Instead, they seem to be, with varying degrees of insincerity, mouthing a series of essentially meaningless New Age platitudes – in short, simply saying what they think women want to hear.
No one is buying this bullshit, guys. Give it up.

If you enjoyed this post, would you kindly* use the “Share This” or one of the other buttons below to share it on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or wherever else you want. I appreciate it.

*Yes, that was a Bioshock reference.

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cboye
9 years ago

>In Discount's defense, Justin Bieber is male, and I do prefer watching him die.

SallyStrange
9 years ago

>I really need to know if the man in the burning car is Brad Pitt. Also, who is the woman? Because if it's Uma Thurman then I'm definitely getting her out first. Would it be less feminist to pull the woman out first if she's Phyllis Schlafly? What if both people in the car are members of Congress? What then?

SallyStrange
9 years ago

>cboye – that was awesome.

Elizabeth
9 years ago

>I would pull the first person I get to out of the car. Male, female, who cares? A burning car is an immediate danger that requires a quick response.

cboye
9 years ago

>I'm teeny, so assuming they were equally accessible, I would try to pull the smallest person out first because they'd be the person I'd be most likely to actually successfully get out.So, statistically, it would most likely be female, but not with a very high degree of precision.Alternately, if the passengers weren't injured, I might try to help the biggest/strongest so he or she could help me with the rest of them.

DarkSideCat
9 years ago

>@discount, you cited source does not contain the statistic you claim it does. It is also an opinion piece without citation in a conservative publication. Also, your second link is not really a source, but rather a blurry photo making vague claims to be sourcing from the census beaureu. However, even if accurate, it does not address my claims regarding the issue of single and childless being a crucial factor in said numbers.On affirmitive action and university campuses: Actually, men currently benefit from these admissions policies. Women graduate high school at higher rates and apply to university at higher rates. A man can get into university with lower grades and lower test scores due to affirmitive action. Elimination of such a system in preference of a true gender neutral system would actually increase, not decrease, the numbers of women.On unemployment calculations: The traditional method of figuring out unemployment rates is to look at those who are collecting under federal unemployment. However, the chronically unemployed and those who work many temporary jobs often are left out of such numbers. Women only just passed the fify percent threshold for labor participation, which means that women who are not working outside of the home are roughly equivalent in number to men who are not working outside of the home.PS, women are not exempt from child support either.

Avicenna
9 years ago

>@Discounthttp://a-million-gods.blogspot.com/2011/03/rights-of-silent-majority-forgotten.htmlYou still think that women have it easy? This is how women are treated like in a lot of the world. As slaves. You have it really easy. They do not. No one has threatened to burn you with acid. Your movement supports the men who have done this. http://www.ansarburney.org/images/womens_rights-violence_page_pic2.jpgYou have it good mate, you really do. I do too. Women do not have it good at all. Across the world women are treated like this. Your movement is a serious throwback to this.And the worst bit is, I am not a feminist. I just want women to have equal rights. I have no other ideas about gender theory and often make mistakes because I simply don't know what it's like. Most men are like me, we often do things because we "simply don't think about it". We hit on drunk women because that's "expected of us". We behave like Barney off How I met your Mother, for the exact same reason. We do need to take a long hard look at ourselves and our behaviour before we decided to start blaming women only for our problems. A lot of it is on our hands. I would say most. Yes there are problem women but their number is rather low. Maybe we run into one or two on occasion. But for the most part it's us.

SallyStrange
9 years ago

>I am not a feminist. I just want women to have equal rights.Make up your mind, which is it?

triplanetary
9 years ago

>While men lost 82% of all jobs in this RecessionChristina Hoff Sommers isn't really a good source of information. Or anything else.Oh, what's this…http://www.nownys.org/docs/slowrecoveryfactsheetjan2011.pdfHeavy job losses in public sector employment disproportionately affected women and contributed to the dismal employment picture for women throughout the recovery. While women represented just over half (57.0 percent) of the public workforce at the end of the recession, they lost virtually all (99.6 percent) of the 257,000 jobs cut in this sector during the recovery.I'll just leave this here.

Avicenna
9 years ago

>Well in retrospect probably a feminist but a very incompetent one.

Amnesia
9 years ago

>"Ask any woman who she would rather see a man pull out of a burning wreckage a man or a woman."That depends. Which one, the man or the woman, needs more assistance? Is the man in a wheelchair, is the woman pregnant, are either of them having an asthma attack, do either of them have severe injuries from the wreckage? I'd want them to pull out the one in the most trouble first, because the other person is more likely to survive a delay in help.Does there even have to be a choice? Is that one guy the only person trying to rescue anybody? I'd rather see them both get pulled out alive.

Babalka
8 years ago

Wow. Even when men are self-castratingly nice as these two are, you denigrate and insult them. This is why men will never, ever take your feminists seriously. No matter what men do, they just will not be allowed to gain not even one minuscule point.

Christina M. Jones
8 years ago

Babalka, I’m very sorry that you cannot understand that we want to be neither above you nor below you and that yes, it is possible to be neither but instead to just all be people together. I’m very sorry that you’ve been so brainwashed as to believe that one gender has to be one way and another the other and it’s all immutable.

It’s odd. Humans are the only species on the planet to whom we do that. We don’t expect female tigers to behave differently than male ones–we expect both gender to behave as tigers. Humans are strange.

INTJ
INTJ
8 years ago

@ Christina

“It’s odd. Humans are the only species on the planet to whom we do that. We don’t expect female tigers to behave differently than male ones–we expect both gender to behave as tigers. Humans are strange.”

That’s plain ridiculous. Humans are one of the few species with anything approaching gender equality. And yes, female tigers behave very differently from the male ones.

silvereyes1945
silvereyes1945
7 years ago

“And yes, female tigers behave very differently from the male ones.”

Yeah, they rear the cubs, protect them from male tigers, and teach them how to hunt. Male tigers would never learn survival skills if it wasn’t for their mommies.

sorry
sorry
5 years ago

I’m really sorry the male tigers don’t man up to take on their roles.

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