This week, Dan Pearce, blogger of Single Dad Laughing fame, posted a piece called “Worthless women and the men who make them.” (Dan, sorry about the title here. It was too clever to pass up. I don’t know you and am not really assessing your worth—though I’m afraid I have to take you to the woodshed on some of your thoughts.)
In his post, Dan promised to offer some important things for readers to ponder. On that he delivered. Copiously. Pearce often has some great things to say, though I generally wish he would use about half the number of words to do it. (You may be wishing the same of me by the time I’m finished here.) I have unceremoniously macheted his piece and I now offer the Reader’s Digest version (with ample commentary) to bring you up to speed, Readers.*
Dan begins by taking two paragraphs to tell his readers that he is about to say something really paradigm-shifting-ly awesome. Then in essence this:
Women are ugly, fat, bad mothers, wives and daughters. They are lousy cooks and poor housekeepers, they are fat… oh, wait—I already said that. They suck at singing, dancing, and speaking, and they are stupid too. They are weak and powerless. They’re ugly, wait—I already said that. They are flawed, thoroughly physically flawed. They are too bitchy. They are too nice. They totally suck. They are worthless.
These are the things women say about themselves.
This blogger has some women in his life with some serious sh*t self-esteem issues and he should take a hard look at the feminine company he is keeping and encourage them to work therapy into their budgets and schedules. Dan asks us (the ladies) to “get real” and go through the list and tick off the ones we have said to ourselves since we got out of bed this morning.
So I did it. My check list:
- bad daughter (Though I didn’t think of it until I read the list, I’ve got that one all sown up.)
- bad cook (I don’t cook much at all anymore.)
- bad housekeeper (Like I care.)
- bad some other things that I criticize myself for even though they aren’t on his list. (Therapy can be very handy.)
I’m pretty sure that men who are like Dan once was would have a much longer list of criticisms of me than I have of myself, which is basically his point.
Single Dad continues, “I’m not mad at you, ladies. I’m talking to the men. It’s our fault.”
Dan. Dude. (I can say that, he’s only thirty.) Not all women derive their sense of self-worth from men. I hate to be so blunt, but that’s a rather sexist assumption.
“We have destroyed the very beauty that women are.” This, by deciding what is hot and what is not, by rigidly defining feminine perfection. “We declare it, and we do so with little care for the tender women standing beside us.”
Is this guy trying to get laid here or what? My ex regularly sported a t-shirt which read, “Men of Quality Respect Women’s Equality.” At the same time he was surfing Asian porn and whacking-off in the carrels at the law library.
Pearce’s basic idea: Men make women hate themselves.
(At least straight women whose sense of self-worth is entirely dependent upon male validation.)
Warning. Danger. Rant forthcoming: Feminism is about CHOICE, dammit. That’s the thing. Those crazy seventies feminists had us thinking it was about hairy legs and doing men’s jobs for men’s pay in addition to our own terminally feminine domestic duties. Feminism isn’t about hairy legs or men’s jobs at all. It is about whatever we imagine it to be about. If a woman wants to stay home with her kids and it’s a choice, it can be a feminist choice. If a woman wants to wear high heels and tight pants because it makes her feel sexy, that can be a feminist choice, too. Our mothers didn’t fight for equality so that we could simply be confined in different roles. They fought for equality so we could choose whatever roles we wanted and they fought for equality so that we wouldn’t have to derive our worth from, well… from men like Dan.
In Dan’s version, women’s worth still comes from men. It just comes from nice ones like him.
More of Single Dad’s ideas:
Men don’t have to explicitly state that they expect an idealized perfection, they telegraph it (by ogling babes).
Um, yeah. Pretty much. Dan is a well-intended gent, but also, such a pup. This is fundamentally about respect. In years past, I stayed with Ex, who mistreated me in the many of the same ways Pearce has described. It made me crazy and yes, it whittled away at my sense of self-worth. Ultimately, I learned that to be worth my own salt, I had to live my life without shallow, hollow love interests. Women need to have self-respect and as a result demand respect from the men in their lives. If your guy isn’t the respecting sort, kick him to the friggin’ curb, girls. That might be what it takes for him to have a revelation like Dan Pearce. If your man doesn’t respect you, you can probably do better without him. Just sayin’
Dan’s shared epiphany:
“It is not the impossibly air brushed females on magazine covers who are causing women to hold themselves against a standard of perfection. No, it’s not that at all….”
“It is the men that stop and look at those magazines.”
It’s the men? It’s not the women? It’s not the women who buy the magazines and read them? (Disclosure: I have this months Vanity Fair with Marilyn Monroe on the cover on my bedside table and I picked through this month’s Vogue cover to cover at the hairdresser’s today.)
“And that simple, repeated act is how we constantly, and never-endingly declare to women that they are not good enough, and will never be good enough.
We stop, and we look.
And women notice.”
Well, he certainly got that right. Most of us do notice. However, what our man Dan thinks women think is “what he is looking at is obviously what men want, and I must have that or men won’t want me.” What I think (as a woman, if you happen to be taking a survey) is, “rude, not worth my time,” or “hot,” or just “ewww,” depending on the context. You see, Dan, women are complex creatures. We don’t all of us have the very same thought every time we see a guy notice someone or something that they find attractive. Our feelings are both varied and nuanced.
Single Dad pleads: “Come on guys, let’s give our “real” women a fighting chance.” Stop watching porn.
Yes, Readers, stop watching porn. I think you should, really. I mean, if you do watch porn. Largely because it contributes to so much human misery. If there were fair trade porn, I might even be interested. Probably not, but maybe.
Women notice every negative thing we say that reflects unkindly on their gender and they think, “that is perfect, and I must be that or people won’t want me”.
What I think when a man says something derogatory about my gender is, “What an asshat. This guy is worth neither my time nor attention.” Again, just sayin’ It’s really nice of Dan Pearce to take responsibility and all, and on behalf of his gender, but it leaves me thinking, “Is this guy wooing some sweet forward-thinking feminist hottie?” (I’m taking bets, Readers.)
Pearce takes responsibility for women’s worthlessness on behalf of the royal male “we.” He says that they (the royal male “we”) blame the victims, (women). Women are admonished:
“Women, love yourselves…. Learn to love who you are. Realize that you aren’t perfect and never will be. Realize that the women on magazine covers are fake.”
That quote is nice, really nice. Possibly the best part of the whole piece. Realize it, and not because Dan Pearce said so or because any man or anyone says so, but because it’s empirically true.
Dan goes on to admonish men to stop stopping, looking, fooling themselves, wanting women to live up to impossible ideals, stop indulging the fiction. (Which is a very good idea.)
“Let’s instead stop and look at something else. Let’s stop and look at the irrefutable beauty in the “real” women around us, just as men have for millennia. [sic] You see, it is only a recent phenomenon that “real” women no longer have the ability to be truly “beautiful” for the men of this world. It is only in recent history that women who have done everything they can to make themselves as attractive as they can, still feel ugly. Still feel imperfect. Still feel worthless.”
Not all women feel worthless. We all probably have our insecurities, but that isn’t the same as worthless. Some of us are actually pretty well aware of the dysfunctional interplay of society, culture, the media, and individuals on this issue. Some of us reject the B.S. that Dan Pearce has just had an epiphany about. Some of us have rejected it since he was in nursery school. Some of us aren’t even interested in being “truly beautiful for the men of this world.“ Some of us are cool with feeling “truly beautiful” just for ourselves.
Laughing Dad admonished his brothers to appreciate wrinkles, saggy breasts, and “softness” also known as “fat.” Men are supposed to “express … [their] excitement over the things that day in, and day out” women do selflessly. Tell women that their cooking is good and say nice things. You know, build ‘em up. I’m really all for it, as long as it is sincere.
According to Single Dad Laughing, women think they are worth their weight in excrement and:
“It is because of us, guys. It is because we leave them with no other option. We stop. We look. We comment. We joke. We implant those very thoughts into their way of thinking. We make sure they know that we agree with everything the media has brainwashed us to believe beauty to be.”
Because women have no thoughts other than those implanted and allowed by men. We have no thoughts of our own.
I admire that Dan Pearce is “taking a stand.” He “will no longer be stopping.” He “will no longer be looking.” (I hope he’s thought through the possibility that the occasional glance or raised eyebrow may also have been a periodic expression of his sexual potency.) Regardless, he will no longer engage in piggish, boorish behavior. He is trading in some of his sexist perceptions for political correctness. Why? Because he’s a heterosexual guy who, frankly, was just finding that “real” women didn’t make him hot anymore. It’s true. Here’s the quote:
“…I am a heterosexual man. And, as blunt and uncomfortable as this may seem, I realized recently that I am starting to lose my attraction to women. Over time, and after seeing enough of this concocted and concentrated hog wash surrounding me, I’ve almost completely lost my ability to truly want a “real” woman. Most of us have. We have somehow started wanting what we know we can never have. We want what we see on the cover of Cosmo and Maxim. We want what is displayed across calendars and centerfolds.”
Wow. Admiration retracted. I really wish he hadn’t shared that. (Almost as much as I wish I hadn’t shared my advice on sex toys.) I don’t know what “real” woman would want to mess in that. That is truly the mind set of a guy who is going to have a tough time getting laid, at least without paying for it. (Thus his epiphany and essay?) Oh, and fellas, he’s speaking for you. “Most of us have.” (That has not been my experience, but it could be that I’m running with the wrong crowd.)
Single Dad goes on to say that if men never stopped or looked, women wouldn’t have “this problem.” (The one that many of us don’t have, but those who do —It’s called MALE DEPENDENCY and with therapy, one can fully recover.)
“Women only feel a need to live up to a digital standard of beauty because men want it.”
I contend that women have been more involved than men in establishing, validating, and perpetuating this “digital standard of beauty.” I know that my exercises in vanity are more about the perspectives and opinions of other women than they are about men. Sorry to burst bubbles, but… um, the opinions of men just aren’t that important on “girl stuff,” and I am not talking about cute crafty sweatshirts with graphics of flowers and birdhouses like Dan’s mother probably wears. I’m talking about good old fashioned shallow girl things like shoes and hair styles and lipstick. I’m pretty sure that most men aren’t that sexually interested in the (I’m sure some would call it artfully) distorted rail-thin models in the Vogue spread this month. They certainly aren’t Victoria’s Secret sexy. (My god, one woman’s legs are three quarters of the length of her body and her arms are as long as her legs should be. It’s like they were shot through a fun house mirror.)
Single Dad apologizes and is turning over a new leaf. He’s going to stop stopping and looking, but… he needs our help, gals. He needs us to assert our own worth and
“…to go back to a time before the Internet. Before Playboy Magazine and before Marilyn Monroe. A time before Vogue or Elle. A time when far fewer women hated their bodies. … a time when far fewer women felt worthless.”
I’m sorry? …a time when women married too young, didn’t have access to health care, education or employment, couldn’t control their fertility or vote? …a time before tampons?
It gets worse:
“I think we need women to wear clothing that shows a little less instead of a little more. We need women to wear pants that are a little looser instead of a little tighter. We need women to put their boobs back inside of their shirts. I feel crazy even saying it (I’m a single guy for crying out loud), but maybe if women gave everybody a little less to compare, this whole thing would be a little easier for us all, no matter what our chromosomal make-up.”
Where is my burqa? Women are responsible for the degenerate behavior of men? Keep those ankles covered, girls, lest you provoke a peek. We don’t want Dan to fall off the feminist stop-stopping-stop-looking wagon!
Don’t worry, fellas. Single Dad says you can still appreciate beauty, it just has to be the “real” McCoy, tennis-balls-in-a-sock breasts and all.
There is a post script which includes this telling passage:
“Men, imagine the power you carry in what you will say and do after you read this. Imagine the men of this world doing something truly noble to fix the lives and hearts of our women.”
Men have the power to “fix the lives and hearts of our women.” (Our women. All self-rescuing princesses are now gagging.) He adds, “Imagine the ability to see beauty everywhere we look.” That, I’m all for.
I sent Pearce’s essay to a friend who responded with his sense that women are, indeed, too hard on themselves. He also pointed out that “the stereotypical guy vice is ill-founded hubris.” He suggested that women are doing more “self-appraisal,” something which men should do rather than trying to “fix” women to be more like men. My friend also expressed his preference for the company of women because they are significantly “stronger on the introspection front, where for the same issues guys give the look that says “huh?””
To his credit, Single Dad got me thinking. He also invited readers to share, comment and, yes, blog about it. (Knuckle bump, Readers.) His piece has almost forty thousand ‘likes’ already and has been ‘shared’ eleven thousand times at this posting. He’s touched a nerve here and ignited a cultural conversation that is long overdue. I’ve weighed in and so should you! (hint, hint.)
Oh, and Dan Pearce doesn’t “use the word “boobs” all the time. Only when it’s important.” And that’s awesome.
*Please note that unless in quotes, the words in block are mine giving the gist of the points made in Dan Pearce’s essay.