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Check out my review of Michael Kimmel’s Angry White Men on The American Prospect

What you'll say to yourself if you don't read my piece right away
What you’ll say to yourself if you don’t read my piece right away

I‘ve got a nice long review essay on Michael Kimmel’s new book Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era up at the American Prospect. Check it out!

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Hyena Girl
6 years ago

“The way of the tantrum. ”
Worst
Martial Art
Ever.

Alice Sanguinaria
6 years ago

How would a martial art based on a tantrum work? Do you get black belts for being Elam or Roosh? And white for some of the more reasonable MRAs that exist (they do exist somewhere, right?)?

serrana
serrana
6 years ago

Nice! And I’m glad to see you’re writing a book.

pillowinhell
pillowinhell
6 years ago

The way of the tantrum. Worst spiritual guide ever.

And why is it that people avoid mentioning mras?

Bonelady
Bonelady
6 years ago

Very nice, very nice review indeed. May I have my classes read it as part of an assignment?

DeutschundMusik
DeutschundMusik
6 years ago

Excellent article, David.

bodycrimes
6 years ago

Interesting review, particularly what you say at the end at how many of these men are in the STEM fields which are less affected by what’s happening economically. I’d come to believe that the rise in hate was linked to economic decline, but you’re making me rethink. Could it be that the personalities attracted to tech and some fields of science tend to be introverted? I’ve seen a lot of men in these sites say they’ve got the INTJ Myers-Brigg type – the type of personality least comfortable with other people (if you believe the MB scale). Maybe it’s their lack of romantic success with women that’s driving the rage?

ivyshoots
6 years ago

Well-written review; seems more informative than the book itself! Great job.

pillowinhell
pillowinhell
6 years ago

I’d these guys lack romantic success, I think it just adds to the rage rather than being the root cause. The root cause is that they aren’t socially and legally sanctioned in dominating the women and girls in their lives the way they used to be.

tedthefed
tedthefed
6 years ago

bodycrimes: I think part of it is in the typical male Nerd’s sense of perceived immunity. There’s this cultural sense that the people who REALLY treat women badly, who have dumb opinions, who aren’t in touch with their feelings, etc., are the JOCKS. So if you’re a nerd, how can anything you do be anything but good?

The other thing is the insecure need to assert your idea of traditional masculinity while living a life where that doesn’t apply at all.

Finally, the internet echo chamber of this kind of attitude perpetuates it.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

A practitioner of the Tao of the Tantrum is already in the comments over there. Seems World Toilet Day did not go over well with him.

leftwingfox
6 years ago

Finally, the internet echo chamber of this kind of attitude perpetuates it.

It’s not just the internet: plenty of books, games, movies and TV shows perpetuate a lot of that entitlement. Women in media are often shallow cliches of femininity and conform to the narrow hollywood standards of beauty. The outcast hero gets the girl, often by virtue of deeds, rather than interpersonal interaction. It’s pretty toxic.

Chie Satonaka
Chie Satonaka
6 years ago

I just raised the ire of a pack of fauxgressives at Raw Story for daring to point out that Joe Rogan’s use of the term “weak-ass bitches” to describe people who are against same-sex marriage just proves that even when he’s on the right side, he’s an asshole. The idea that the absolute worst insult you can give a man is to call him a woman is incredibly misogynistic.

Never had a comment receive that many replies and downvotes on that website, wow. This is why I’ve started posting under a completely separate pseudonym on feminist websites. Angry, vindictive men.

Rogan has a history of misogyny. Listen to ten minutes of his show, and he’ll call women “whores” and bitches” multiple times. I used to listen to his podcast because he had interesting guests, but like Adam Carolla, he’s such a raging asshole I just couldn’t stomach it anymore. Only one guest EVER challenged him on his casual misogyny, and that was Hal Sparks. That guy is a badass and I love him.

Chie Satonaka
Chie Satonaka
6 years ago

Also, regarding the STEM discussion — just saw a post on Buzzfeed the other day that said when you ask Siri what political party she belongs to, she says “libertarian.”

Wait, you mean the same doods who originally programmed her to know how to get blow jobs and happy ending massages but NOT how to find a women’s health clinic or birth control are libertarians? Color me SHOCKED.

leftwingfox
6 years ago

One thing that struck me while reading it, is that the reason they blame women and other races rather than the ultra-rich is because they’ve bought into the narrative of the ultra rich, the belief that hard work+determination=success.

The civil rights narrative recognizes that as bullshit; luck, class, discrimination and privilege all matter, and the deck is stacked against them. That idea that you have an advantage over others and still fail is rough on the ego, especially those who believe themselves to be unrecognized geniuses to begin with. It also means that the dreams they have of becoming the ultra-rich are not only impossible, but a lousy thing to actually wish for, since that sort of massive wealth inequality is incompatible with a just society.

If the system is stacked against you either way, then the lie that we can all someday be as rich as the Waltons is easier to swallow than the truth that we might not be as good as we think we are.

That said, I agree with the abuse narrative you point out with the MRA movement.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Not that MRAs give a shit for a just or equal society. The opposite, in fact.

cloudiah
6 years ago

This is a really good review — I mean, I can’t really speak to it as a review, since I haven’t read Kimmel’s book, so really I should just say it’s a really good piece on its own.

I think I saw something about how the job prospects for more recent STEM graduates aren’t actually as good as they’ve been previously; will see if I can dig that up. Not that it’s central to anything, but if I’m remembering correctly it’s an interesting wrinkle.

CassandraSays
6 years ago

I do think that frustration with their relationships with women not working out is what leads a lot of men to the MRM, but the thing is, if they weren’t already deeply misogynistic they wouldn’t buy the narrative that the MRM is selling. So in a way the MRM is capitalizing on their unhappiness, but otoh their willingness to blame all women for that unhappiness and their refusal to look inwards for a solution speaks volumes about what kind of people they are.

La Strega
6 years ago

Now I don’t feel such a pressing need to read the book (which I’d requested through interlibrary loan). Very informative review, David; however, I’m still skeptical about the STEM backgrounds you attribute to many of these MRM followers. They certainly hold such fields in high esteem, but I rarely get the impression that they themselves are working in high tech professions themselves. The impression I get from the comments I read (and I concede I have read very little compared to you) is that most of guys are not well educated at all. I have assumed most of them are working in rather low level service jobs. Even Matt Forney, who has some college, has always worked in unskilled labor jobs. I cannot escape the impression that many of them are marginally or under employed, if for no other reason than they have a lot of time on their hands to read and ruminate on these blogs.

Brodt
Brodt
6 years ago

I liked the review. I’m tempted to pick up the book itself at some point (sounds like it has its shortcomings, but I’m lacking a good read at the moment).
But holy fucking shit, the wackos sure came out of the woodwork in the comments over where you had it posted.
I really liked that angry asshole who felt the need to link a pastebin of their response after it was moderated out. Just amazing…
I especially liked where he claimed that the quotes were cherry-picked, then he provided the greater context, which only served to make Elam look like even more of an angry douchebag.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

The Way of the Tantrum: Volume 1 in the Warlike Couch Potato series! Sure to be a smash hit with aggrieved misogynists everywhere.

Great article, too!

naltia
naltia
6 years ago

I have another theory behind MRA anger, although I doubt it applies to all of them.

I mentioned I had a friend who’s deep in the manosphere. Before that, he was constantly complaining to us about his horrible boss and terrible job. It was stressing him out and making him extremely angry. We all begged him to find another job, but to this day he’s still working that terrible job with his terrible boss.

During this time he got into the manosphere, and his anger grew from just “I hate my boss” and “I hate the people I work with,” to “I HATE FEMINISTS!”

So I can’t help but think that he’s taking his anger and throw it at someone else, simply because he can’t throw it at those he considers “deserving.”

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

One thing that struck me while reading it, is that the reason they blame women and other races rather than the ultra-rich is because they’ve bought into the narrative of the ultra rich, the belief that hard work+determination=success.

That’s especially apparent in the PUA types…they think that with enough “game”, you can lay any woman, even ones who will never have the slightest interest in your schlong. And then you get ones like that “rape game” dude. Yeah, I guess if you go so far in your “game” as to rape her, then you technically get what you’re after all right, but like the guy who games Wall Street in the name of capitalist success, you’re also a criminal who risks jail time. The sociopathic ethos is the same in both cases.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Bina – just what I thought, it’s exactly the PUA attitude.

Rageboners, that’s it with most of these guys – no less the Men Allegedly Going Their Own Way If Only They Would than the ones saying upfront they’re out to rape women.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

Rageboners, that’s it with most of these guys – no less the Men Allegedly Going Their Own Way If Only They Would than the ones saying upfront they’re out to rape women.

Yup. They kvetch and they kvetch, but as David points out (repeatedly), they never do anything else. Or nothing constructive, at any rate. They seem to think that complaining and pissing (in concert! in contests!) all over the internets is legit activism for their weird brand of social justice. Except that it’s all just petty ugliness aimed at deepening the same status quo they’re kvetching about, with more chips for the guys who already have too may on their shoulders. I’m half tempted to offer them a crumpled pack of McDonald’s ketchup for those chips.

tedthefed
tedthefed
6 years ago

naltia: I think you’re exactly right… especially for highly authoritarian people, they need to find a group that they see as lower on the totem pole to blame and attack.

I seriously think a big part of the problem too is that they can’t reconcile the political reality with their own emotional experience (nor can they understand that their own emotional experience may be flawed or unimportant). “How can these people be talking about women’s disadvantages when my self-esteem in high school entirely depended on whether women liked me??”

kittehserf
6 years ago

And of course they will never, never admit that they, the common denominator in all these failed relationships, might just be unlikeable.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

…and that their lack of likability stems, in a large part, from being unable to see past the ends of their wieners.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Wiener Myopia!

Xanthë
6 years ago

I wonder if the jacques.cuze who’s having a tantrum over the moderation of his rants on the Prospect thread is the Slymepit-friendly troll of almost the same name who’s a sometime pest over at Freethought Blogs. It would not be in the least surprising given the number of anti-feminist MRAtheists.

Also, I have yet to see a comment over there that isn’t negative, a tantrum, or deluded. Wow, what a commentariat!

kittehserf
6 years ago

So the US is Sodom and Gomorrah and its capital is Versailles? (Not sure how city states have another city as capital, but never mind.)

Someone’s a tad confused.

La Strega
6 years ago

I just picked up my requested copy of Kimmel’s book this evening though I doubt it will tell me much you haven’t shared in your review.

mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

Ally Fogg gave a not entirely dis-similar review of the book in The Guardian.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/07/angry-white-men-gender-stereotyping

I’m still thinking that I’ll get the book anyway.

Gia
Gia
6 years ago

Great article, David! I’m looking forward for more on similar issues. By the way, I see that the mra minions have already attacked the comment section, wasn’t expecting anything less from them lol. I must say I love how you perfectly pointed out the fact that instead of building domestic violence shelters for men with the money they receive from donations or raise awarness about prison rape, male victims of domestic abuse etc. , all they do is whine and harass individual women out of their rage at women not being willing to submit to them, women being independent and demanding social equality. Civil right’s movement my ass.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

I had seen that book and thought it was another MRA manifesto. Now it looks like something I might actually want to read.

MRA comment swarms usually enrage me (sidenote: do they read the Prospect, or were they hatestalking this blog again?), but these are kind of hilarious:

So, radical feminists have set up front groups pretending to be concerned about mens’ issues. Is anybody surprised?

Yes, “radical” feminists are currently helping men and boys as part of their decades-long campaign to harm men and boys. It’s a really, really elaborate false flag!

Anyway David, as always, thanks for soaking the damage and filtering the MRM to us in a way that lets us laugh instead of cry. Allyship: ur doin it right.

I’m really looking forward to your book!

yaoi huntress earth
yaoi huntress earth
6 years ago

The one thing I noticed with the whole white man rage thing is that for decades we’ve had to drag these guys kicking and screaming to stop hating other white people (Irish, Italians, Polish, etc). And they’d still be hating them if they could.

Doug Spoonwood
Doug Spoonwood
6 years ago

“The men’s rights movement, for those who have yet to encounter it, has little in common with the so-called “mythopoetic” men’s movement of the 1980s and 1990s, which gathered in drum circles in the woods to reclaim their primal masculinity, poet Robert Bly at their helm. Its real roots lie in the anti-feminist backlash of the early ’90s, with ex-feminist Warren Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power as its Bible.”

Even if you don’t believe what Robert St. Estephe says about the history of the MHRM, your statement here ends up problematic. Here’s what Robert St. Estephe says: http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/setting-the-record-straight/

There’s ton of MRA issues that say can get found in David Benatar’s The Second Sexism and there’s NO reference to Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power in that book. There’s a journal called New Male Studies. There’s other books like Spreading Misandry and Legalizing Misandry. That doesn’t even get into studies done on issues like domestic violence or sexual assault (and books that reference those studies like those of Philip W. Cook) and how women’s violence against men in domestic situations gets ignored and how many definitions of rape in studies or in a legal system make it impossible for a woman to rape a man.

There’s also the fact that there exist plenty of MHRAs in India. Only a small fraction of them probably even have a faint clue about Farrell’s book. So, Futrelle’s claims (and the implicit claim made at The Spearhead) about the origins of the MHRM simply fails, as does his characterization of The Myth of Male Power.

Also, last I checked the National Coalition for Men is suing the federal government for discrimination against men in terms of the U. S. Selective Service System.

Ally S
6 years ago

>MHRM

LOL okay buddy just go away

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

Boring troll is boring.

Alice Sanguinaria
6 years ago

Has there ever been an “interesting” troll? Like, ever?

Galunadi
Galunadi
6 years ago

“One thing that struck me while reading it, is that the reason they blame women and other races rather than the ultra-rich is because they’ve bought into the narrative of the ultra rich, the belief that hard work+determination=success.”

Leftwingfox, I read somewhere that the attitudes of many US folks against social justice, healthcare, social safety nets, etc is because that group views itself as ‘temporarily distressed millionaires’ rather than the 99%

Wish I could recall where I read it.

Galunadi
Galunadi
6 years ago

Of course that’s a US centric comment & says nothing about MRAs in other countries

Galunadi
Galunadi
6 years ago

What if part of the issue is that MRAs realize at some level that they really aren’t special or talented and know they can’t compete if there is a level playing field for all? It’s easier to be last in the ‘awesome’ category (where certain undesirables are not permitted to enter) than to be last in general

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

“Has there ever been an “interesting” troll? Like, ever?”

Not really…but there might conceivably be one that could be fun to soccer-dribble around for a bit…

cloudiah
6 years ago

The NCFM is suing the govt about selective service? Huh. NOW did that back in the 80s.

LOL. MRAs are taking a page from the feminist playbook, 30 years later.

cloudiah
6 years ago

So, I know pecunium is fond of his glittery “citation needed” gif, and it is a thing of beauty and a joy forever, but since there are people here that love the water animals I decided to make a punny meme as an alternative to use when our trolls make unsupported allegations:

http://i.imgur.com/NSLrZ4I.jpg

Alice Sanguinaria
6 years ago

Bina – Yes, but then like many cheaply-made toys, they fall apart and become useless (and not fun to play with, since why would you want to kick a flat ball?).

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