January 14, 2013

No Self-Respecting Woman Would Go Out Without Make Up

diane sawyer senators croatoan.jpg

For some reason, one of the most emailed articles from the NYT was an article about whether women should or should not wear make up.  "New York Times? Sounds progressive."  Yes. 

Seven people were asked their opinion in a column called "Room For Debate," liars, there was no debate, all of them said "I guess so", their main contribution was the hedge: "it's a woman's choice."  So while pretending this was some kind of debate with contrasting opinions, all of them had the same opinion, which should automatically signal to you it is the wrong one.

When they say, "it's a woman's choice" what they mean is "it's not a man's choice, it is thoroughly stupid to wear make up just for men, the only acceptable reason is if you do it for yourself, if it makes you feel better about yourself."

Let me offer a contrary position, unpalatable but worth considering: the only appropriate time to wear make up is to look attractive to men.   Or women, depending on which genitals you want to lick, hopefully it's both.  "Ugh, women are not objects."  Then why are you painting them?  I'm not saying you have to look good for men, I'm saying that if wearing makeup not for men makes you feel better about yourself, you don't have a strong self, and no, yelling won't change this.  Everyone knows you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, now you're saying the cover of the book influences how the book feels about itself?

I am not doubting that in fact you do feel better about yourself, I am saying that that fact is both pathological and totally on purpose.  Since this cognitive trick does help you feel better about yourself, by all means go ahead,  but at what point will you stop pressuring other women to go along with it?  When will you stop "requiring" it, like when you say, "oh, she's so pretty even without makeup" as if the default was makeup?

The fraud women now believe is that it is wrong to look good for men only, as an end in itself; the progressive delusion is that looking good for men is synonymous with submissiveness, so while you're allowed to look good to men, it should always be secondary to looking good for yourself.  This is madness.  You are enhancing your outward appearance, which is great, but then you pretend it's for internal reasons?   

How would you like to live in a world where men had to wear make up?  "Oh, I love make up on a guy, especially eyeliner."  Of course you do, you're having a stroke.  Ask it this way: how would you like to be in a world where men said," oh, I feel so much better about myself when I'm wearing makeup."  You'd run for the nearest totalitarian regime.

The trick to the makeup debate is that it pretends to want to be free of male pressure, yet the pressure to look a certain way is actually much worse from women.  So this result is that a  "patriarchical", controlling force, unacceptable if coming directly from men, is maintained by giving the whip to other women.  No boss man would survive if he said, "ugh, you should put on some makeup, doll yourself up a little bit" but women say this to other women all the time-- especially at work.  "You look really tired," says a woman in MAC Greensmoke to another who isn't.  Just once I wish the reply would be, "I am, your husband kept me up all night."  Not very progressive, but hilarious. 

The evolution from "enhances sexual attractiveness" to "doing it for yourself" is definitely a regressive step, and by regressive I here mean "regressing to age two", but it's the next step which reveals the presence of a neurosis: recruiting science as a justification for behavior: "Study finds makeup makes you appear more competent."  Can't wait to read about that study in a Jonah Lehrer book.  Ugh.  So here's the evolution of feminist theory, take notes: "I want to look better" to "I want to feel better about myself" to "I want people to think I am better."  Madness. 

The further clue that the problem is not gender but... you... is that you find this pseudoscience while you are browsing the internet, i.e. it is your entertainment, your free time; your leisure time is spent justifying a behavior you can't not do.  "But I wasn't looking for those articles, I just stumbled on them."  Exactly.

The reason the makeup debate is insoluble is that it's not yours to solute. The choice to wear makeup is no choice at all, I know you think you came to it on your own but you live in America, you don't make free choices here, freedom is a brand.  Makeup is an $8B/yr industry, that's face makeup alone, no way is it going to allow you to make a choice that doesn't involve a credit card, fine, if you don't like makeup here's a remover for $30, just remember that you're not doing it for men, you're doing it for yourself. 


I had used all the porn on the internet, so I turn on the TV, and there's a marionette called Diane Sawyer interviewing 20 female Senators, the most in history, applauding and giggling as if cold fusion had finally been discovered.  Of course it's a "good thing" that women are Senators in as much as not allowing them to be Senators is the bad thing, but other than that, what does it mean?  That women are finally brave enough to run, or America is brave enough to hire them?  It's not like the Capitol Building was turning them away, so why is this important?  I knew I was being scammed because I was being told this was a historic accomplishment by the ABC Network.  The ABC demo is not ever going to be a Senator, I would bet ten bazillion dollars they couldn't even name one of their Senators and a gazillion bazillion dollars they have no real idea what Senators do, so why is this on prime time ABC? 

I think the answer is supposed to be, "it's empowering to women", but you should wonder: when more women enter a field, it means less men did, and if the men stopped going there, where did they go?  Why did they leave?  I assume they aren't home with the kids, right?

I don't want to be cynical, but boy oh boy is it hard not to observe that at the very moment in our history when we have the most women in the Senate, Congress is perceived to be pathetic, bickering, easily manipulated and powerless, and I'll risk the blowback and say that those are all stereotypes of women.  Easy, HuffPo, I know it's not causal, I am saying the reverse: that if some field keeps the trappings of power but loses actual power, women enter it in droves and men abandon it like the Roanoke Colony.  Again we must ask the question: if power seeking men aren't running for Senate, where did they go?  Meanwhile all the lobbyists and Wall Street bankers are men, isn't that odd?  "Women aren't as corrupt or money hungry."  Yes, that's been my experience with women as well.

This works in reverse, too, take a field traditionally XX-only, like nursing, and, huh, what do you know-- at the time where nursing is more powerful than it has ever been, there are also more XY in it than ever.  But who made it more powerful?  It wasn't nurses.  And if you're playing that game, ask if the reason "sexy nurses" as a fetish dropped out somewhere around the 90s had nothing to do with females finally getting control over their sexualization but exactly the opposite, men came in and unsexualized the joint.  "I'm not gay."  Easy, Focker, no one was implying anything. 

I know to a woman it must feel good, "yay, I'm a Senator!" and I do not minimize the individual accomplishment of a woman becoming a Senator.  But for everyone else, what is the significance?  One of the Yay-Women senators suggested that the government would benefit from all the makeup because "women's styles tend to be more collaborative," and at the exact same moment she repeated the conventional wisdom's horrendous banality she simultaneously got married to the head of a lobbying firm.  That's progress, I guess.

The problem isn't with women in the Senate, but rather its celebration, which these dummies blindly participate in.  Is it putting on a face for the American public, the way the first face I see on Goldman Sachs's website is a black woman?   Is it cosmetic?  She's probably proud, she should be proud, that she made it to GS, but for the rest of blacks and women, what is the significance?  It may be regressive to ask this, but it is illuminating: "hey.... why did they let so many of us in?"
This is part of a larger, systemic problem with the way power has shifted not from Group A to Group B, but from ground up to top down, and top down works in a very specific way: it concedes the trappings of power while it retains the actual power.  


In this case, you are seeing a shift of power be repackaged as a gender battle.  And it's quite apparent that power is a generation or so ahead of you, so in 1990 a 40 year old who grew up around successful lawyers then says to his 5 year old, "daughter, you should become a lawyer!" and she probably at one point collaborates to decry the lack of female role models, and then by the time she graduates law school she discovers she's a dime a dozen, power has been withdrawn, one step ahead; and at this rate I fully expect 2013's Aspirational 14% to nudge their 5 year old daughters towards investment banking so they can be part of the big Women In Investment Banking conference of 2033.  Don't bother, it'll be in Newark.

I can't predict the next field of power, I'm happy to hear your projections, the point for now is that while power moves ahead of you and your family, it leaves behind the appearance of a gender (or racial) struggle; and the immediate result of this is that people consider it a societal achievement that they are merely playing, even if what they are doing is ultimately meaningless.  So while women (appropriately) fought for, and got, equal access to college educations-- and now women even outnumber men in colleges-- today we find that college is irrelevant.  Huh.   NB: what women did not fight for, and this is to my point, is the specific power of being taken seriously without a college education. "But how will the world know we're equal?"

The focus here, again, is why did/do women fight so much for what became irrelevant?  Why does this happen all the time?  More specifically, did they pursue it because they thought it had power, or did they pursue it because it had the trappings of power?   I'm not being a jerk, it is a deadly serious question.  If some dentist fires his hygenist because she's too pretty the United States Of America goes to Defcon 1, but if Goldman Sachs doesn't hire enough women some idiot at The Atlantic writes a fluff piece.  "They apparently have a sexist culture there."  You know they rule the world, right? 

I know, I know, women get paid less then men.  Sigh.  There are a million reasons for this, but the most important is the simplest: some people want to get more money from the job, and some other people want the job to offer them more money, and they are not the same people.  Typically the former is men and the latter is women, but the point isn't gender but the mindset: the latter group wants the job to want to pay them more, they don't want to have to have any input in deciding their own reimbursement.  I have this conversation with women a lot, every time it goes exactly like this:

Her: They only offered me $X.
Me: Why didn't you ask for more? 
Her: I don't know... I was just happy to get the job.

And I throw up my hands, nothing I say will convince this senator to try harder for herself.  I have this same conversation with men as well, less frequently but not never, though the conversation is slightly different:

Him: They only offered me $X.
Me: Why didn't you ask for more? 
Him: I don't know... I was just happy to get the job. 
Me: What are you, a girl?

Works every time.


Everything you need to know about how the system sees you is expressed in its purest way in ads.  So, completely off topic, here's an ad, relax, this has nothing to do with guns:

bushmaster ad.jpg

I had never seen this ad, because the ad was not for me. The ad targets men who need a gun to feel like a real man, the gun validates their masculinity-- or so the ordinary, pseudo-feminist deconstruction would go.    Except that's not what the ad says.  It says, quite clearly, that the highest validator of masculinity isn't the gun, it is the card

You've been trained to look at these things in terms of gender, forget it, the pathology of the generation is narcissism, the ad knows about, and works only on, a society eyeballs deep in narcissism, that requires its identity broadcast by branded objects but validated by other people.  Because what this ad says, explicitly, is that owning the gun doesn't make you a man; when you own the gun, some other omnipotent entity will declare you a man. 

I'm not saying that gun owners need to show their guns off, I'm saying this ad assumes that.  There was a time where merely possessing the fetishized object was enough to self-identify ("I'm awesome, I'm having sex with a blonde"; "just having my 9mm inside my jacket makes me feel bad ass"), but this is no longer sufficient, it is no longer powerful enough to penetrate your thick skull, you have to be able to show it to someone else, to watch their eyes light up in recognition for you to know you have convinced them of who you are

Is it cosmetic?  Note the logic has evolved from "you'll feel better about yourself" to "other people will see you as more competent."

Forget about the gun/masculinity interaction, it is a red herring; the problem is the cycle of wanting outsiders to tell you who you are, which is why empty celebrity works just as well as accomplished celebrity, which is why you can't tell if Kanye West is downgrading to Kim Kardashian or she is downgrading to him.

But right on cue, the most deluded of women, not just a feminist but a self-proclaimed "feminist evangelist," showed up and completely missed the point, so she changed what was a clear example of the generational pathology of narcissism, and repackaged it as a gender issue:

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"We?"  As in, "we at Feministing?"

If you follow that the consumer unconsciously understands that his masculinity is approved from the outside, by other people, then Valenti is the very person that the ad is arguing against: "these bitches think you're not a man.  We at Busmaster tell you differently.  Who are you going to believe?"  Hell, I'lI believe a Sleestak before I listen to Jessica Valenti, really, those are my only two choices? The ad had no effect on me; her tweet makes me want to join a militia.

Note she doesn't really want to discuss it, she assumes it's self-explanatory, as if the very fact that masculinity and guns are related is itself bad, as if the solution was to uncouple the two.  But what would happen next?  The problem, as above, isn't the gun but the need for external validation, which means if you take the gun away something else must replace it, and it won't be what works for her, e.g. exposed brick and that great show Girls.  "It's great!"  It's horrendous. 


To understand exactly why "feminism" or whatever Valenti thinks she has re-invented has not only stalled, but is damaging to all humanity, all you need to do is go to the source.  Totally at random, I went to Huffington Post Women.  Let's see what the feminists are up to, here are the top five articles:

1. The Reason The Academy Passed On Kathryn Bigelow (answer: sexism.)

2. Confessions Of A Mistress (protip: "Here's the wisdom I can offer to mistresses out there: do not get too attached.")

3. Why You Should Be Nervous-- And Yet Not-- About Sunday Night (since the Golden Globes conflict with Girls, just DVR Girls, and anyway Lena Dunham will be at the Globes.)

4. 'Girls' Star Talks Nudity And Season 2 (I refused to even click it)

5. Meet The Woman Who's Only Eating From Starbucks

Look, it's easy to make fun of these articles, my point isn't that sometimes women read nonsense.  The point here is that they are branded as for women, this is what the Huffington Post Women thinks of women, they suspect, apparently rightly, that women will respond better to these articles if they are told they are "For Women."

Here's a quote from #5, the woman who is eating Starbucks for a year:

So how can eating only one company's products impact me, anybody? Well Mr. McDonald's already proved that question years ago with his documentary and Mr. Subway did his take on the loosing weight portion of the food challenges too. But when I watched those guys doing their thing I asked myself "where are the WOMEN challenging themselves in the world?" "Where are the effects being shown on a woman's culture? A woman's family & children? A woman's diet, weight, fashion, checkbook, community and world through challenges?" "Where is HER VOICE on how an international company is directly or indirectly impacting everything from her waistline to her bottom line and every other woman's, man's, child's, societies and planets world with their presence?"

What's crazy about this crazy person is that she's crazy, if she did this in the name of her own psychopathology we could happily ignore her, but she's doing this for women, she's saying it's for women, when what you want to say is, "you know this makes people hate women, right?"  Mr. McDonalds didn't do it for men, or even as a man, he just did it, why do you have to drag the rest of the women into your delusions?

But this is the kind of solidarity popularized by Lori Gottlieb and the rest-- and I am asking, at what expense?  Sites like Jezebel and Feministing are much, much worse than pornography, every article they write sets women back a week, do the math, they do such a disservice to women because they take their narcissism and repackage it as gender issues, and you're locked into it.  What if I don't think gun control is a gender issue?  What if watching Girls makes me want to make a snuff film?  To use your impossible language, "where is my safe space to challenge your privilege?"

My point isn't that women don't have legitimate gripes with the system, or that there isn't sexism still around, my point is that most of what you think is "feminism" is really a work, a gimmick, a marketing scheme.  It is straight up consumerism, repackaged as a gender issue.  Case in point: season 1 and 2 of Girls.

And most importantly of all: if this is what women's solidarity is made of, how much support can they really expect from each other?  Is this solidarity power, or the trappings of power?  "Did you see Girls last night?"  No, I'm sorry, I was being raped.  "Oh, too bad.  It was a good one."


In Django Unchained, evil slaveowner Leonardo DiCaprio asks a question.  Sorry, back up: why does everyone call him an evil slaveowner?  As far as I can tell, he was a pretty average slaveowner, I'd even say he was "kind", in the sense that all his slaves "like" him, and he rarely "tortures" anyone and by the use of quotes you can see I'm hedging, my point here is how quickly people have to broadcast  their indignancy.  "He's evil."  So what you're saying is you're against slavery?  Thanks for clarifying.

This explains the near-universal anxiety over the movie's frequent use of the word nigger, and someone asked Tarantino if he thought he had used it too much in the movie, and his response was perfect: "too much, in comparison to how much it was used back then?"  Nigger, and the violence, was all anyone was upset about.  Terry Gross, NPR's mental Fleshlight, asked Tarantino her typically insightful and nuanced questions: "do you enjoy violent movies less after what happened at Sandy Hook?"  Sigh.  So there's the Terry Gross checklist for reviewing Django: gun=bad and saying nigger=bad.  Check and check.  You know what no one thought badworthy?  When the white guy asked to have a certain slave sent to his room to try out her ample vagina, and the prim white lady of the house happily escorted her up.  "Go on, do what you're told, girl."

I'd venture that Terry Gross and and the gang at HuffPoWo would rather be whipped than be-- that's rape, right?-- but that scene didn't light up their amygdalas, only hearing "nigger" did.  I find that highly suspicious, or astoundingly obtuse, or both.

Anyway, perfectly ordinary slaveowner DiCaprio asks a rhetorical question, a fundamental question, that has occurred to every 7th grade white boy and about 10% of 7th grade white girls, and the profound question he asked was: "Why don't they just rise up?"

Kneel down, Quentin Tarantino is a genius.  That question should properly come from the mouth of the German dentist: this isn't his country, he doesn't really have an instinctive feel for the system, so it's completely legitimate for a guy who doesn't know the score to ask this question, which is why 7th grade boys ask it; they themselves haven't yet felt the crushing weight of the system, so immediately you should ask, how early have girls been crushed that they don't think to ask this?   But Tarantino puts this question in the mouth of the power, it is spoken by the very lips of that system; because of course the reason they don't rise up is that he-- that system-- taught them not to.  When the system tells you what to do, you have no choice but to obey.

If "the system tells you what to do" doesn't seem very compelling, remember that the movie you are watching is Django UNCHAINED.   Why did Django rise up?  He went from whipped slave to stylish gunman in 15 minutes.  How come Django was so quickly freed not just from physical slavery, but from the 40 years of repeated psychological oppression that still keeps every other slave in self-check?  Did he swallow the Red Pill? How did he suddenly acquire the emotional courage to kill white people? 

"The dentist freed him."  So?  Lots of free blacks in the South, no uprisings.  "He's 'one in ten thousand'?"  Everybody is 1 in 10000, check a chart.  "He got a gun?"  Doesn't help, even today there are gun owners all over America who feel that they aren't free.  No.  You should read this next sentence, get yourself a drink, and consider your own slavery: the system told Django that he was allowed to.   He was given a document that said he was a bounty hunter, and as an agent of the system, he was allowed to kill white people.  That his new job happened to coincide with the trappings of power is 100% an accident, the system decided what he was worth and what he could do with his life.  His powers were on loan, he wasn't even a vassal, he was a tool.  

This is not to minimize the individual accomplishment of a Django becoming a free man.  But for the other slaves, what is the significance?

Of course Tarantino knew that the evil slaveowner's question has a hidden, repressed dark side:  DiCaprio is a third generation slave owner, he doesn't own slaves because he hates blacks, he owns them because that's the system; so powerful is that system that he spends his free time not on coke or hookers but on researching scientific justifications for the slavery-- trying to rationalize what he is doing.   That is not the behavior of a man at peace with himself, regardless of how much he thinks he likes white cake, it is the behavior of a man in conflict, who suspects he is not free; who realizes, somehow, that the fact that his job happens to coincide with the trappings of power is 100% an accident... do you see?   "Why don't they just rise up?" is revealed to be a symptom of the question that has been repressed: "why do the whites own slaves?  Why don't they just... stop?"  And it never occurs to 7th graders to ask this question because they are too young, yet every adult thinks if he lived back then, he would have been the exception.  1 in 10000, I guess.  And here we see how repression always leaves behind a signal of what's been repressed-- how else do you explain the modern need to add the qualifier "evil" to "slaveowner" if not for the deeply buried suspicion that, in fact, you would have been a slaveowner back then?  "But at least I wouldn't be evil."  Keep telling yourself that.  And if some guy in a Tardis showed up and asked, what's up with you and all the slaves, seems like a lot?  You'd say what everybody says, "look wildman, don't ask me, that's just the system.  Can't change it.  Want to rape a black chick?"


Speaking of no one being upset about rape, here's a story, starts out bad and gets even worse in ways you won't expect: a 16 year old girl is passed out drunk at a party, she is then allegedly raped by a/two high school football players, and carried unconscious to other parties and displayed and/or raped, and apparently because the town has a "football culture" no arrests are made, it's hushed up, the boys are protected, and I think to myself, oh, that's weird, is that town still in 1986?  True story: in 1986, at a mixer at the Delta Gamma sorority house, Lacoste Football Guy gets hard for 16 year old sister of Benetton Girl, and in order to get her jeans off he hits her in the head with a lamp, so in order to keep her jeans on she kicks him in the mouth, and through the blood and fury he's screaming he'll sue her, do you know who my father is?  NB: he went on to become a lawyer and no I am not making that up.

"Ugh, even now, 25 years later, it's still a hypermasculine rape culture."  Ha!  No.  Hypermasculine?  Where are you, the Dominican?  No, what's amazing/obvious is how after 25 years of Diane Sawyer and makeup debates, not one other girl at this party came to the victim's aid; not one girl saw what was happening at the party and simultaneously called 911 and Facetimed the crime; not one girl called all the women she knew and brought the wrath of Athena down on that town.  Nope.  Nothing.   A lot of laughing and giggling though, turns out rape is funny, someone owes Daniel Tosh a huge apology.  "Women's styles tend to be more collaborative."  I can tell, they collaborated to keep their mouth shut.  In 1986 the sorority girls also collaborated to blame the victim for for being so rough with Lacoste Guy:  "How could you do that to him?  His face is like, totally corroded."  Hey, come on, look how he was dressed, he was asking for it.  

"We need more women in power." Wrong preposition, dummy, but anyway you have them.  You have judges and prosecutors and twenty female senators, what has it gotten you?  Your own ground floor women don't protect each other, you know who had to come to this teen's aid?  Anonymous.  Men.
Of course I don't know if the boys really did these things or not, ok?  But if the reason the boys were protected was the "football culture," that means people in the town were taught to protect them.  And if the girls did nothing, it means they were taught to do nothing, and the people most responsible for that lesson was other women.

"No, the town was corrupt, they swept these kinds of things under the rug for years."  If you've known for years the town isn't going to help women, if you've known for years it's a "hypermasculine rape culture,"  wouldn't that make women want to stick together more?

It's not like these teen girls were denied an education or had to endure sexual harrassment at work or had to go to Sweden to get abortions, if there was ever a generation that should feel most empowered it would be them, yet they-- not just one of them; all of them-- "knew", somehow, that they could/should do nothing.  Which means that they were taught that from somewhere, and the only place that it could have come was older women.  "The other lesson is: makeup is a choice."  Today I learned nothing.

There's your female empowerment, there's you feminist progress, catastrophically subverted from the top down, like it's in an abusive relationship, satisfied with the house and the car and the 4/7 good days and simply doesn't want to rock the boat so it expends frantic energy on what is ultimately nonsense.   Every stupid parent teaches their girls not to get raped, duh, but have any mothers spent any time indoctrinating their daughters what to do if another woman is being raped?  Have they made it a reflex to defend, to attack?  "Isn't that obvious?"  Ask the town.  "We need to support each other!" sure, as long as it's from the safety of a computer monitor or a 5K, yay women.  Have you explicitly told your daughters that if a woman is passed out drunk and you see a Notre Dame Hat climbing over her couch, it is your responsibility to grab an aerosol can and a lighter and threaten Armageddon, or at the very least yell stop?    "Well, that's kind of dangerous."  Yeah, that's kind of the point, but I grant you that it's safer to giggle and let boys be boys.  Do you want power, or the trappings of power?  Somebody's going to have it, you can't make it vanish.  I wasn't at this particular rape, the town's defense amazingly appears to be she was a slut and she was asking for it, and my point is: so what?  Why didn't the other women stop it anyway?  Why didn't they just rise up?