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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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Ozymandias
9 years ago

>I am going to have to back up and scream this now.PEDESTALS ARE OBJECTIFYING.It doesn't matter if you're treating a woman like a worthless sex object, or like a divine mother object. If you're not treating her as a person, you are being anti-feminist, stupid and wrong. GTFO.This is where a lot of the manosphere goes wrong, I think. They don't get that women want to be people, just like men; they think that women want to be better than men. I mean, if I thought feminism was about making women better than men, I'd hate it too. Thankfully it's not.P.S. David, it's okay if it's too much work, since you can get the gist of the video from the post, but would you mind doing a video transcript for people who can't see?

triplanetary
9 years ago

>Jesus Horatio Christ. So far I've only made it through the first minute of that video. It's so icky.Women, in their view, are inherently peaceful earth-mother types.Yeah, this is a problem I have with a lot of New Age spiritualism. I've read a number of New Age books (mainly on Wicca), largely because I've written several stories with at least one Wiccan character, and a lot of Wiccan authors believe that nature has these inherent masculine and feminine aspects to it. Oh don't worry, they rush to assure you, men can have feminine attributes and women can have masculine attributes.Doesn't matter. Referring to anything as inherently masculine or feminine, whether positive or negative, is sexist. Even feminist Wiccans are often guilty of this. They seem to think that "celebrating" the supposed nurturing, loving aspect of femininity is feminist. I disagree.

David Futrelle
9 years ago

>Oz, the video is just them reading their manifesto; the whole text of the manifesto is on their facebook page, which I linked to. I'll make this clearer in my post.

Marissa
9 years ago

>What is that phrase? "Neither saints nor whores; we are only women." Something like that.

e4919700-4d45-11e0-bbf3-000bcdcb8a73

>Once you use the word "creep" or any other form of feminine shaming language, your intellectual contribution to any exchange has ended. The same goes for the egregious usage of "sexist," "misogynist," or any other irrational, hormonal claim. Essentially you relegate your purpose to a tool to expose feminist bigotry and amuse your peers.Doesn't matter. Referring to anything as inherently masculine or feminine, whether positive or negative, is sexist.What a rational, logical, and thoughtful claim. Yes, even acknowledging tangible biological differences is sexist. Of course, that's kind of science-y, and science and engineering are evil misogynistic disciplines which somehow oppress women. And somehow being a feminist automatically makes you a better person than someone who actually contributes to society.I dunno, it's an honorary woman thing.

David Futrelle
9 years ago

>Ah, once again we are receiving transmissions from planet e4919!

Misanthropic_Buddhist
9 years ago

>*shivers* What a bunch of creepy woowoo garbage…and yes very objectifying! I want t be treated like a human being, not some goddess yuck! Trip, yes the labeling of every little thing as masculine and feminine is harmful and annoying. I should no better then to address this guy buthow can creepy or creep be feminine shaming language when it is used to describe certain behaviors of both men and women…also it is used by both men and women. Also ummmm when have feminists ever shamed science and engineering?

Tit for Tat
9 years ago

>Well, the wife and my daughter did have quite the laugh…..priceless.

Feyline
9 years ago

>When I first saw this (or at least saw the first three minutes of it; couldn't make it any further), I just wanted to throw up my hands and yell, "Is there no middle ground?!"It's like a third of a step in the direction of acknowledging their male privilege and ten steps away from not being sexist fucks.

DarkSideCat
9 years ago

>This video parrots the same old sexist stereotypes. This is the bullshit complementarism with a thin veneer of (fake) civility slapped on it. This is "A woman's place is in the kitchen/raising babies" expressed in different terms.For you data lovers:"According to Jackman (1994), engaging in stereotypic differentiation between men and women (along agentic and communal lines) accomplishes at least two things that are important for maintaining the system. First, as Hoffman and Hurst (1990) also noted, it treats each gender group as essentially well-suited to occupy the positions and roles that are prescribed for them by society. This type of “role justification” contributes to the perceived legitimacy of the status quo by characterizing cultural divisions of labor as not only fair but perhaps even natural and inevitable (Jost & Hamilton, 2005). Second, it prevents women from withdrawing completely from the system of gender relations in a societal context in which men’s competence is assumed and women’s is not (Glick & Fiske, 2001). Through the cultural ascription of favorable traits (such as warmth and virtue) to women and the assertion that feminine domains are highly valued, Jackman argues that women may be flattered into active cooperation with a patriarchal system. This process of cooptation, unlike role justification, works only on members of subordinated groups and pertains only to socially desirable trait ascriptions."(Details of a series of Standford studies that found results consistent with that theory and source here http://www.psych.nyu.edu/jost/Jost%20&%20Kay%20(2005)%20Exposure%20to%20Benevolent%20Sexism%20and%20Complem.pdf)These ideas of complimentarism do not reduce sexist justifications by men, but they do increase women going along. Complentarism, role justification, and "benevolent" sexism are key tools of patriarchy and misogyny.In short, David, I disagree with you that this is not "some weird misogynistic rant". On the contrary, it most definitely is.

nicko81m
9 years ago

>In David's perspective and the perspective of any feminist bigot, anyone is a "creep" who either disagrees with almighty feminism or has criticism against women as women are superior and perfect and all, it just can't be.But feminsists don't realise the extreme female chauvinism they present.

Sandy
9 years ago

>Hahaha, Nick, how do the makers of this video fit into either of those boxes?

triplanetary
9 years ago

>This type of “role justification” contributes to the perceived legitimacy of the status quo by characterizing cultural divisions of labor as not only fair but perhaps even natural and inevitableClassism also takes advantage of this principle. In medieval Europe, a great deal of words were written about why peasants are peasants and why lords are lords and why it has to stay that way. When the growing middle class began to reveal the falsehood of that notion, traditionalists were predicting that all these people breaking with their natural roles would mean the end of the world.Funny enough, traditionalists still claim that all these women and gays running around not doing as they're told will bring about the end of the world. The bigotry never really changes.

Ozymandias
9 years ago

>Nick, what part of "feminists want women to be people too" do you not understand?

clairedammit
9 years ago

>Women, in their view, are inherently peaceful earth-mother types.Uh, no, I'm inherently a burn your house down type. And while I haven't done it, because you know – ostracism and jail, I have burned some bridges. And you may not call me a bitch for it, but you may call me an asshole. Anytime someone claims that a group of people are "inherently" something or "hard-wired" to be something regardless of their individuality, they're wrong.

forweg
9 years ago

>The female reaction to this video has been very fascinating. The most common response is this:"I LOVE the idea of male slavery, collective male guilt, and all men worshiping all women as goddesses. But, the men in this video are cweeeeeepy (ie unattractive). If hawt thugs were saying these things instead, I'd be gulping it down."

Misanthropic_Buddhist
9 years ago

>Yeah…not exactly a peaceful earth-mother tye either….in fact I know no woman that is….just like I mhave never met a completly stoic, warrior manly man either…those are archatypes not real people. Which is another reason that those dudes are objectyfing…It would not suprise me if these two men were complete frauds trying to lure people into some sort of cult….they seem the sort…Extreme NEw Age types give me the creeps! Oops said that feminine shaming word again!

Elizabeth
9 years ago

>Apparently none of these men have met Mother Earth who can be a mighty tough lady when she wants to be.

Misanthropic_Buddhist
9 years ago

>Yep and look at most goddesses in ancient civilitations….they had many things they were goddess of war, wisdom, hunting, love, art, nature, and well pretty much anything you can think of….so yeah saying that there is only one type of woman is pretty fucking sexist.

Jeanette
9 years ago

>These things are always so horribly misguided. Really brings the whole "feminism is the radical idea that women are people" thing to mind. And wtf is feminine energy? I wasn't aware that mass times the speed of light squared could have a gender…gahhh the sheer bs of it all is enough to make my brain explode without the helpful side of sexism.

thefemalespectator
9 years ago

>e-string, by "creep" women usually mean a guy who uses obviously disingenuous tactics to manipulate women into emotional intimacy in order to achieve physical intimacy; he tries to manipulate them rather than making a sincere effort to interact with them. It describes a man who thinks women are too stupid to see past obvious ploys or that they don't care enough about themselves to resent this treatment. "Creep" describes behavior that is lazy, cowardly, and offensive. This type of behavior should be shamed. Having said that–I actually didn't see the men in this video as "creepy" until about half way through. In conservative circles you see a lot of these attempts to think through traditional gender roles in constructive ways. It's not always meant to be manipulative, it's an honest attempt to come to some sort of appreciation of women within a moral framework that the community doesn't feel it can reject. These kinds of productions are addressed to women but are actually intended for a predominantly male audience with essentialist notions of gender roles. BUT, I agree with what everyone has said about the essentialism of this view of women–it got really bad at the half-way mark for me and by the end of the video I was hard pressed not to gag and/or punch something. Seriously, women's "energy" is all about "intuition," and we need their inherent "process-oriented" view of life to get away from all the evils of civilization caused by unconscious masculine energy? So…civilization is male and nature is female. We're right back where we started then? Also, Ozy called it again, pedestals are objectifying–BINGO.

Captain Bathrobe
9 years ago

>Ozymandias said… Nick, what part of "feminists want women to be people too" do you not understand?Offhand, I'd say all of it.

Johnny Pez
9 years ago

>Usually, I'm annoyed that I can't watch videos at work. Now . . . I'm not.

Sandy
9 years ago

>Forweg, you're not listening. It's "the idea of male slavery, worship of women, and collective male guilt is creepy."

Discount
9 years ago

>As far as war we women are sorry that like the animal kingdom males don't carry value for the simple fact that they exist as females do and as such compete for territory and resources. We are sorry that male animals are born with horns and implements of battle to secure the things we females want and then blame you for the nature we demand in you. We are sorry for all the stacked bodies of dead 18 year old boys that come home in body bags. We are sorry that all the lines between tribes and countries since the beginning of time are drawn in your blood while we have been largely spared the burdens of the worst aspects of the human condition.Red0660 (3 minutes ago) SpamHow about dear men, we are sorry we women are pussies and have made you responsible for taking on all the burdens dangers and risks of forging human kind ahead and make you entirely responsible for the human condition because we prefer to use our inherent value in order to get you to do all these things for us and then blame you for anything we don't like about the nature we created in you. We are also sorry that women's health, wellbeing and needs in all regard are more important than men's and we would rather you die in order to save ourselves.

captainawkward.com
9 years ago

>Is this a parody? We are sure this isn't from the Onion? Because DO NOT WANT. I can feel parts of my body sewing themselves shut.

nicko81m
9 years ago

>I find it hilarious how feminists are delusional enough to believe women are not treated as "people" in western society.Wow so much bitterness and extreme paranoia there.

Discount
9 years ago

>Is there anyway we men can help these Kangaroos with their "toxic masculinity" while they fight to draw lines between territory and resources and the females surely blame them for their aggressive nature which like male humans has been mostly a creative and constructive force??? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVq7Mo6LY-A

nicko81m
9 years ago

>"We are sorry that male animals are born with horns and implements of battle to secure the things we females want and then blame you for the nature we demand in you"Men are blamed for every ill in the world by feminists. Little to nothing is ever the fault of women as they are perfect princesses. Ask David.

Johnny Pez
9 years ago

>Who else here thinks nick sounds just like Stewie Griffin?

glpiggy.net
9 years ago

>David,You blatantly call me a misoynist in this post. I'd like to first ask you how you define "misogyny" and then ask you to provide evidence for your claim.

briget
9 years ago

>http://lmgtfy.com/?q=what+is+the+definition+of+creepyhere maybe that will help some of you who don't understand this wonderful thing called google or a fucking dictionary

nicko81m
9 years ago

>Feminists just make up what misogyny and patriarchy is as they go along.When I have asked feminists in this blog to prove to me how patriarchy still exists in western societies like America in 2011, they usually just send me some link of what another feminist said.Riiight. So if I was an MRA, in this logic, I can say just because another MRA said this or that, this is proof.The idiocy of feminist bigotry is rife in here

David Futrelle
9 years ago

>Nick, did you read even a word of this post? Chuck, I linked to your blog because it had a handy set of links to a bunch of misogynists who have criticized the video, thus providing evidence for my assertion that misogynists have criticized it. That said, I thought your thing on women not being funny was misogynistic. And the fact that you link approvingly to a whole host of sites that are much more blatantly misogynistic on a regular basis.

Johnny Pez
9 years ago

>Nick, I'm going to break a longstanding rule of mine, and instead of mocking you, I'll actually try to explain.The reason you don't understand about misogyny and the patriarchy is because your ideological bias won't allow you to. It's that simple.

cboye
9 years ago

>I was creeped out by the 16 second mark.The de Becker analysis of what's creepy about this video is fascinating, but you missed the obvious part: staring that intently and continuously is creepy. Neither one of them blinked until 25 seconds in. My eyes were watering on their behalf.By way of comparison, here's a normal person sharing his thoughts normally (from the excellent I'm From Driftwood series). He's making eye contact with the interviewer, but he's also blinking and moving his eyes, looking around, moving his head, showing facial expressions, etc.The music was also creepy–not the music itself, but its continuous repetitiveness.

glpiggy.net
9 years ago

>David,And you still didn't define "misogyny". That being said, would it be misogynist for me to say that men are a lot better at basketball, on average, than women? Is it misogynist for me to scoff at any assertion that that is not the case? "Misogyny", as I understand it, involves some sort of irrational hatred of women, or a desire to keep them in a place against their will. But I don't hate women, and I'm all for them being comedians if they have the chops.I'm just not willing to lie about their abilities, especially as it pertains to humor. And if you disagree with me that women are just as funny as men, you'll have to cite evidence to support your case. So far, I win that battle. More stand-up male comedians, for one. Take your own straw-poll of non-ideological men and women, and ask them who is funnier between men and women. Dollars to dog nuts they'll say men are funnier. You think that women are just as funny, but you are ideologically biased towards women and feminists. The average Joe and Jane Blow are not ideological, and they are also the ones who determine what "funny" is. So you call something misogynist if it posits a differences between the sexes and if it says it in less-than-diplomatic terms. Which may make me crude, but it doesn't make me a misogynist. (For the record, I won't lose any sleep over the label; I just like to engage in these semantical debates.)

Valerie
9 years ago

>If it's a parody, it would have been funnier if a Klingon warrior appeared half way through and started kicking some ass. But maybe that's just my "feminine" humor coming through because I'm just sooo nurturing.

briget
9 years ago

>oh my fucking godshttp://lmgtfy.com/?q=definition+of+misogyny

David Futrelle
9 years ago

>Chuck, this is what you said in your post: "Women aren’t funny. Just ask anybody (besides women)." I'm not going to argue that there are more female comedians than male; obviously there are more male comedians. But I don't think this means that women are inherently less funny than men, much less that "women aren't funny."

glpiggy.net
9 years ago

>David, So even though there are more male basketball players who earn more money at the professional level, you wouldn't also argue that men are inherently better at basketball than women? And I miswrote in my piece. I shouldn't have implied that women would disagree with my statement; in fact, most *women* would agree that men are funnier than women.

nicko81m
9 years ago

>David, the point is, if patriarchy is so real in America 2011, it would be so damn easy to point out. Yet, no feminist can, instead, they just throw a link of what another feminist said and say this is proof.If patriarchy is right in your face, it would only take a few paragraphs or less to point it out.You people are a total fail

nicko81m
9 years ago

>Matriarchy exists because another MRA said so, I tell ya

David Futrelle
9 years ago

>Chuck, I'm not arguing with you about basketball (yes, men tend to be better at that, partly because they also tend to be taller). Meanwhile, women are better at lactation. Generally speaking, men will beat women in penis size contests, and women will beat men in vagina-having contests. None of this has much bearing on humor, which is something that involves the brain, not other physical characteristics which are different in men and women. And, as I said before, the fact that there are more male comedians doesn't mean that men are inherently funnier. It might have something to do with women not wanting to put up with obnoxious drunk dudes hitting on them or calling them "cunts" every time they do a show. Or not. All I know is that there are a lot of hilarious women out there, which seems to suggest to me that women ARE funny.

nicko81m
9 years ago

>"It might have something to do with women not wanting to put up with obnoxious drunk dudes hitting on them or calling them "cunts" every time they do a show."But when women call men "dickheads" it's a social norm.It's only bad in a feminist perspective when female genitalia is degraded

Elizabeth
9 years ago

>I laugh just as much at female comedians' jokes as I do male ones. And I watch a lot of comedy.

MertvayaRuka
9 years ago

>Soooo, anybody besides me really digging the irony here? e-string and friends show up to take you to task for criticizing this video even though it's full of stuff they'd normally slag off as being representative of slavish feminized manginas. They're so intent on the "Derp derp stop callin menz creepy!" routine it doesn't even register. Unadulterated comedy gold.

triplanetary
9 years ago

>Nicko, if you want an example of patriarchy, just read Chuck's comments in this very thread. It provides a good breakdown of one of the operations of patriarchy:1) Systematically bar women from professions that require merit or achievement2) Use lack of women in these professions as evidence that women are incapable3) Return to step 1

Prosey
9 years ago

>"Ewww" sums it up nicely.

e4919700-4d45-11e0-bbf3-000bcdcb8a73

>Systematically bar women from professions that require merit or achievementTime to break out the tinfoil hats!

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