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Check out my review of Laura Bates’ “Men Who Hate Women” on NPR

I‘ve got a review up on NPR.com of Laura Bates’ new book Men Who Hate Women, an often disturbing deep dive into the worlds of incels, MGTOWs, Red Pillers and assorted other manosphere misogynists.

Here’s a snippet of the review:

Laura Bates … the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project and author of a number of other books about misogyny, spent a year immersed in what’s called the “manosphere,” a vast online world in which incels rub elbows with an assortment of other misogynists — from “pickup artists” with little respect for the concept of consent, to the male separatists who call themselves Men Going Their Own Way (but who can’t seem to stop talking about women). …

Bates is deft in sorting through the angry, hostile, and self-pitying rhetoric of the incels, who manage, as she notes, to be both victims of and purveyors of hate. But she’s also expert in taking apart the self-serving nonsense of the seemingly more respectable Men’s Rights movement, which not only does “vanishingly little to tackle the many very real issues affecting men today” but actually makes them worse by reinforcing the most toxic and backwards elements of toxic masculinity — all the while promoting the nonsense notion that men, not women, are the truly oppressed gender in the world today.

Check it out!

In case you’re wondering, I will be resuming my regular daily posts here shortly. Thanks, everyone, for your support; it means a lot to me.

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Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
6 months ago

Good to see you, David. Please continue to take care of yourself.

Alan Robertshaw
6 months ago

Hi David

That’s a really great article; and all the more impressive for you working during this so awful time for you. Look after yourself, and take all the time you need.

Last edited 6 months ago by Alan Robertshaw
Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
6 months ago

It’s great to have you back. Take care of yourself. 😊

Contrapangloss
Contrapangloss
6 months ago

Good review! While I’m glad to see you back, please take good care of yourself.

Sol
Sol
6 months ago

You just want to barf sometimes.

Hope you’re doing well.

personalpest
personalpest
6 months ago

Thanks for sharing this, David. Hope you’re doing okay.

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
6 months ago

I read your review and this books looks great (well, for “great” read “horrifying”, but you know what I mean). I’m going to order a copy. I feel bad for the author, though; I imagine she’ll be in for even more harassment now.

Tara
Tara
6 months ago

David, it looks as though they misspelled your website at the bottom of the NPR review (well done, btw!). Can you get them to correct this? Sending good wishes to you.

Last edited 6 months ago by Tara
Vic
Vic
6 months ago

Nice review. Congratulations on another very fine feather in your cap.

ObSidJag
ObSidJag
6 months ago

Welcome back, Jefe (or “boss” for those of us whose high school Spanish is rusty–or non-existent).

Echoing Ms. VP: please continue to take care of *you* during this time.

We’ll be here.

Last edited 6 months ago by ObSidJag
GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
6 months ago

David, good on you for plowing through at this terrible time. Even if they think you’re hunting “mammoh”. My spellcheck says it’s wrong, why not theirs? Is it bespoke, artisanal, and hand-crafted? 🙂

We managed to keep ourselves amused while you were away. I think you can still get your blog damage deposit back.

I just can’t even with the book, though. Not enough spoons after a year in confinement.

Idea of Person
Idea of Person
6 months ago

Great review! I am currently reading that book and while it is good I find little there that I don’t already know from your blog.

I’d like to point you at a very interesting German book that also touches on the issue. It’s called “Female Choice” and written by a feminist evolutionary biologist. She tries to wrest the biological perspective on this away from the misogynist scene (not sure that she is entirely succesfull in this but I think her contribution to the debate is well worth reading).

She points out that from an evolutionary standpoint humans would do what most animals do, leave evolution to female choice. Our culture destroyed this principle after switching from a nomad lifestyle to settling down, by having fathers select the mates for their daughters and enforcing monogamy. In most western countries this culture has been breaking up for roughly a 100 years, finally allowing women to select as they want but also leading to more men no longer finding someone who wants to have sex with them (which is similar for a lot of other species). Her theory is that this needs to be accknowledged by culture. That it should kind of prepare men for the fact that a lot of them are not going to find someone and that that doesn’t make them losers or worse people (unless they turn to hate because of it).

It’s an odd book. On one hand I find it interesting because it acknowledges biology as part of the equation but doesn’t draw the same misogynist conclusions (like Peterson and the like who basically say upholding a sort of equal outcome sex distribution via patriarchy is the only solution). She turns a lot of right wing principles against the people who perpetuate them.

Naglfar
Naglfar
6 months ago

Good to see you back, David.

Elaine The Witch
Elaine The Witch
6 months ago

I’m glad your back David, I hope your doing well.

Mrs Morley
Mrs Morley
6 months ago

Excellent review. Thank you for your hard work.

katster
katster
6 months ago

Hey David,

My sympathy for you. I’m about to go through the same walk — my mom is on the knife’s edge of death and while she’s a fighter who’s already beaten tough odds, these odds may be insurmountable. It’s the hardest thing, I think, to lose a parent. So virtual hugs to you.

-kat

Expose the Manosphere
Expose the Manosphere
6 months ago

I’ve been waiting to read this book.

Steph
Steph
6 months ago

Firstly nice to see you David. My condolences for your loss and I hope you are taking care of YOU.

Secondly this book is definitely on my list and I look forward to reading it.

Steph
Steph
6 months ago

@Idea of Person

The book you mention sounds very interesting and I shall add it to my kindle list.

I am very confused by this though:

“In most western countries this culture has been breaking up for roughly a 100 years, finally allowing women to select as they want but also leading to more men no longer finding someone who wants to have sex with them (which is similar for a lot of other species). Her theory is that this needs to be accknowledged by culture. That it should kind of prepare men for the fact that a lot of them are not going to find someone and that that doesn’t make them losers or worse people (unless they turn to hate because of it).”

Surely as we don’t live in polygamous societies (mainly) then large numbers of women also won’t find people to have sex with? I often find that people suggest women’s sexual selection means a lot of men won’t find partners but with roughly even numbers of straight men / women won’t this mean equal numbers of people who aren’t having sex / relationships?

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
6 months ago

@Idea of person : while that might be because of being a summary, the hypothesis your book have the issue that animal mate selection is a lot more complex than that already, with few animals where female “have the evolutionary choice”. (remember rape is actually decently common in animals, for example). It look a lot like evolutionary psychology where people try to make the facts fit their worldviews, even if for once it’s not for conservative purpose.

There’s also the issue that cultural views of society and what actually happen are two very different beasts. In the Middle age, people were significantly less monoganous and families chose husbands and wife significantly less than we have come to believe. Similarly the population of black people in Europe were alway significantly higher than conservative thinks, homosexuals were much more common and somewhat more public than pop culture say, etc etc. In a lot of way, our society did much more about making “fringe” lifestyle acceptable than actually accepting them.

Dalillama
6 months ago

@Steph

The book you mention sounds very interesting and I shall add it to my kindle list.

I wouldn’t. It’s a load of utter crap.

Naglfar
Naglfar
6 months ago

I admit I’m getting some kind of TERFy vibes from the description of the “Female Choice” book. TERFs are very into evo-psych and biological ideas about women and men.

Last edited 6 months ago by Naglfar
Who?
Who?
6 months ago

Welcome back David.
I have heared enough about the book mentioned in the comments, that I think crap. Nope we shouldn’t all be ants or bees. Not so harmful as the greakalphabetsoup, but no human beeings are humans.
I have heared from a familymember about that female choicebook, from what I heared it is nothink good. It reminded me (from his discription) about a certain (conservative) kandidate who wanted to let every mariage last only 7 years. She got to idea from listening to comedy. Not a very sucesful candidate.

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
6 months ago

@Ohlmann:

It look a lot like evolutionary psychology where people try to make the facts fit their worldviews, even if for once it’s not for conservative purpose.

Actually, from what I’ve gleaned from the comments in this thread, it still is for a conservative purpose.

The world sketched out is clearly an unequal one: women have it better than men do, from the sounds of things.

Keeping the pyramid of privilege in place is not progressive, whether you do the “status quo conservative” thing of keeping everyone in their current places on it, or you do the “revolutionary conservative” thing of knocking the guys who currently occupy the top tier down a peg or two to replace them with your own group.

This remains the case if your own group is currently a fairly oppressed group (below, say, the midway point up the pyramid, to say nothing of below the elites cavorting on its apex).

The only truly non-conservative position is to want to knock down, rather than conserve, the pyramid itself. Swapping out one group of bosses at its top for another is, in the end, just a cosmetic change. It’s the same shitty system underneath.

On the basis of the above, I would then bet dollars to doughnuts that the author of the thingy in question is a) at least middle class (well, they got a book published through traditional channels, so that one’s a gimme) and b) a TERF, or TERF-adjacent (e.g. SWERF) at the very least.

“Let’s replace those lecherous old creepy wealthy men like McConnell with wealthy women! That’ll show those misogynist pigs! And once elevated to our rightful place, we’ll show them! Oh, yes, we’ll show them! We’ll take over big pharma and Goldman Sachs and laugh all the way to the bank! Our turn to turf little old men out of their homes when they miss one bill payment! To command the tanks and the missiles! To make everyone else work to enrich us! Chelsea Clinton for President 2024!!”

Would that really be an improvement on the current state of affairs?

Dalillama
6 months ago

@Idea of Person

On one hand I find it interesting because it acknowledges biology as part of the equation

The first and most important part of that is to know something about biology, which the author failed massively at.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
6 months ago

Yep, that’s another book I can pass on.

Not like I don’t already have more than I could ever read if I did nothing but read the rest of my life, most of which won’t make me angry.

ginger
ginger
6 months ago

A very nice review, David. Thank you for sharing it with us. Please take all the time you need.

Naglfar
Naglfar
6 months ago

@Surplus

“Let’s replace those lecherous old creepy wealthy men like McConnell with wealthy women! That’ll show those misogynist pigs! And once elevated to our rightful place, we’ll show them! Oh, yes, we’ll show them! We’ll take over big pharma and Goldman Sachs and laugh all the way to the bank! Our turn to turf little old men out of their homes when they miss one bill payment! To command the tanks and the missiles! To make everyone else work to enrich us! Chelsea Clinton for President 2024!!”

Well, that’s white feminism for you. In the UK this is in large part why TERFism has become so common there, because the most prominent UK feminist groups are meant for upper class women only, so they care about things like “more women inheriting aristocracy positions” and transphobia and other stuff that doesn’t help women.

Aachen
Aachen
6 months ago

Gladdened to see you active, again, David, and hopefully setting your own pace. You’ve been in my thoughts.

Steph
Steph
6 months ago

@Dallilama

Thanks for the heads up!

Full Metal Ox
6 months ago

@Who?

It reminded me (from his discription) about a certain (conservative) kandidate who wanted to let every mariage last only 7 years. She got to idea from listening to comedy. 

The Sabaean Order, a mystical sect in Chicago blending Santeria with ancient Egyptian, Ancient Greek, and ancient Sumerian mythoi, used to have something like that: their weddings were termed “eclipses” (when the feminine solar and masculine lunar principle would unite—and yes, that’s the right way around) and were partnerings lasting for a set period—which the couple could then renew if they saw fit to remain together. (Source: Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler, 1979 edition.)

Last edited 6 months ago by Full Metal Ox
.45
.45
6 months ago

@Full Metal Ox

That sounds like a fairly reasonable system. On the other hand, since it sounds like a cult, I assume there are some hidden clauses that make it less appealing in practice…

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
6 months ago

.45 : if the duration is fixed or determined by something else than the will of the wed, then it’s probably not terribly good anyhow. While the idea that relationship evolve is true, their length is also extremely variable.

The current system of “last until broken” make it probably a tad too hard to break it but is otherwise on the right track, especially since it include protections for when one of the partner have become dependant on the other.

Who?
Who?
6 months ago

@Full Metal Ox:

Interesting. Of course you are talking about a group, marriage there hasn’t the legal implication that make an end to a marriage a lot of work in our times.
The problem that I had with the idea of marriage for a time was that I think most people who mary, want to be married not for a short time, but believe they will be maried for a long time. I think that at this time of their live many are still romantics, so I don’t think the marriage for a time would be popular.
Second: I am also not sure, that it is reasonable to tell people who mary you are maried for a few years, that they have to do x to stay maried, problems with ilness not withstanding.
Third: It is very much work to split a mariage, it should get easier but to give the people work is not a good think.
Fourth: It would be a discrimination of poor people, because staying maried would probably cost a bit for the birocracy.
Fith: That was not made clear enough, the idea came up in a conservative part of Germany (Bavaria) in a vote as a leader of a conservative party (The CSU), it was not popular.

I made the point that the theory in the book is unrealistic, because it is not what people want I think (and a society were 80% of men have never sex, because the women couse only the best 20% is provokant rubish not a realistic future world, I reminds me of the Chat stuff posted here)

I don’t know if a marriage for a time is realistic, if then as a choice (I have read that in a SFSeries, but there humans can easily live for 200 years), as a plan for all nope. Sorry for the long post.

Dalillama
6 months ago

Term-limited marriages have been (and are) a thing in numerous cultures/times, ranging from one night to a year and a day traditionally. (there’s also a ‘camp marriage,’ where a soldier on campaign takes a partner with the expectation that the relationship will last as long as the soldier away from home, but I’m not aware of any culture that legally formalized those.) Sometimes it’s so people can sleep around without worrying about the legal/financial status of any child that might result, sometimes it’s basically a test marriage, and at the end of the year either party can decide it was a bad idea and end it.
My favorite story regarding such a marriage is when Grainne O’Malley, ruler of a chunk of Irish coast with some well placed fortifications, married Iron Richard Burke, owner of a well-placed fortification across the bay from hers. She moved into the said castle with him, and they lived there some months before Richard was called away by duties elsewhere. When he got back, he found that all the troops at the castle were now O’Malleys who wouldn’t let him in. Grainne leaned out the window and explained that the year was over, the marriage was over, and she was keeping the castle. Which she did, the O’Malleys still own that castle.

Last edited 6 months ago by Dalillama
GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
6 months ago

@Dalillama: Ancient Roman soldiers weren’t allowed to marry, but plenty of them had “wives” who followed them from camp to camp. When the soldier retired, he was able to marry the woman, and the kids were retroactively declared legitimate (as long as he wasn’t bigamous). If the soldier died before that, his buddies usually gave his savings to the woman.

Dalillama
6 months ago

@GSS ex-noob
I almost said “but if anyone did it was probably Rome”, and what do you know, I should’ve.

Alan Robertshaw
6 months ago

@ GSS ex Noob

If the soldier died before that, his buddies usually gave his savings to the woman.

Quite a few memorial stones to Roman legionaries refer to and appear to have been erected by “unrelated heirs”. That’s literally what the inscriptions say.

Now of course children born in casta were technically illegitimate; and thus were not considered heirs under Roman law with the automatic right to inherit etc.

However Roman law did allow you to override the intestacy rules, and bequeath your legacy to any heir you cared to nominate, even if they weren’t *wink wink* family.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
6 months ago

@Alan:
There’s a lot of law (Roman or otherwise) where you just look at how a law is written and pretty much have to say to yourself, “This was obviously written for a specific problem that people were facing at the time; I wonder what that was.”

(I mean, most laws are written to deal with problems, but sometimes a law is just so… oddly specific or apparently unconnected to other laws in the same general field that it seems obvious there must have been one particular event or series of events that resulted in its creation.)

Edited to add: I suppose this makes the legal system kind of a fossil record of society…

Last edited 6 months ago by Jenora Feuer
Dalillama
6 months ago

@Jenora Feuer
Irish traditional law defined several specific grounds for divorce, one of which is if your husband spends too much time boning his boyfriend to perform his marital duties (defined legally as spending enough time in his wife’s bed to impregnate her*), you can ditch him for a more heterosexual husband.

*If a husband does have sex with his wife and still doesn’t get her pregnant, she’s legally allowed to either divorce him or find someone else to get her pregnant, the children being legally the husband’s. Our lad from a few posts back who was on about cuckoldry would love it.

numerobis
numerobis
6 months ago

David: I appreciate the review, but I have to admit being a bit uncomfortable at just how many times you said the killers’ names. We try to avoid doing so in Canada.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meani
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meani
6 months ago

@Jenora Feuer,

Years ago SF writer CJ Cherryh once made a case on her blog that the only way to get a (relatively) unbiased look at what Ancient Roman life/society was really like was to look at the laws they passed, and the reasoning behind them. In fact, at one point in her life (when she was somewhere around grad student rank) she was actually writing such a paper, but lost the work (this was in the pre-personal computer age), and wasn’t able to find time to do it all again. Would have been an interesting read I think, if she had been able to complete it.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
6 months ago

@Redsilkphoenix:
I can see that argument. And it would have been an interesting paper.

(I think my first exposure to Cherryh was Gate of Ivrel, back before I knew why so many people were going after the Chanur books.)

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meani
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meani
6 months ago

@Jenora Feuer,

The Chanur books were my introduction to Cherryh’s writing (kitties!! 😀 ), though I have yet to read the last/latest in that series (the one where Hilfy has her own ship and crew). If/when I ever get the latest stimulus check in my hands, I’ll have to at least download that one to my Kindle. Then find time to read it, and the other books I have on it. /:

I think Cherryh’s most popular work right now is the Foreigner series, which is up to about book #19 now. A pretty good antidote to main characters who shoot and fight their way out of problems, at least in my opinion. (The MC is a human guy who’s an ambassador to an alien race whose culture is a cross between medieval Japan and the Mafia, with almost everyone wearing Renaissance clothing, if anyone was wondering.)