Over on Boing Boing, Mark Frauenfelder has posted the excerpt below from A Love That Multiplies: An Up-Close View of How They Make It Work by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar — yes, those Duggars — explaining how women “defraud” men when they dress in a way that men find exciting (in their pants).
This, sadly, is not exactly an original or even unusual notion in reactionary religious circles.
Indeed, a couple of years back, I found a rather scary post on a radically pro-patriarchal site called the CoAlpha Brotherhood in which one young man calling himself Drealm lamented that, as a man living “in a university town that’s overrun with young girls” he was literally “forced to stare at hundreds if not thousands of women a day, all of whom bring sluttiness to all new pinnacle”
Like the Duggars, Drealm thought that “a woman dressing provocatively and leaving a man in an unfinished state of excitement … is an assault on men’s sexuality.”
When women dress like this, he argued, he and other men couldn’t help but want to rape them.
[T]he only thing I want to do to a slut is rape them. … dressing like sluts brings out murders, rapists and sadists in men. … A society based on sluts, might as well be a pro-rapist society.
Reading back over this now, it’s all a bit too reminiscent of the thinking of Elliot Rodger. Indeed, after Rodger went on his misogyny-driven murder spree, one CoAlpha Forum member wrote that Rodger “would have been a true hero” had he only killed more sorority women; the site now adorns its front page with an homage to Rodger.
But it isn’t just those on the margins of the manosphere who think this way. In The Myth of Male Power, the 1993 book that essentially provided the ideological blueprint for the Men’s Rights movement today, Warren Farrell famously wrote of the “miniskirt power” secretaries allegedly had over their male bosses.
Farrell is a couple of decades older now, and apparently it takes more than a miniskirt to render him powerless these days. And by “more than a miniskirt” I mean less. As in no clothing at all. When Farrell put out a new eBook edition of The Myth of Male Power last year, he had his publisher put a rear-view shot of a nude woman on the cover, “to illustrate,” as he explained in an appearance on Reddit,
that the heterosexual man’s attraction to the naked body of a beautiful woman takes the power out of our upper brain and transports it into our lower brain
This sort of logic, like that of the Duggars and of “Drealm” from the CoAlpha Brotherhood, also conveniently takes the blame for (heterosexual) male behavior and transports it into the bodies of women. With the Duggars, we’ve seen exactly where this sort of logic can lead.
Farrell, much like the Duggars and the excerable “Drealm,” also seems to think that women commit a kind of fraud against men when they “stir up sensual desires” that they don’t intend to fulfill. As Farrell wrote in The Myth of Male Power, when a man pays good money to take a woman out, and she doesn’t repay him, as it were, with sex, she is in his estimation committing a kind of “date fraud” or “date robbery.”
Or even a sort of date rape. Farrell wrote that
dating can feel to a man like robbery by social custom – the social custom of him taking money out of his pocket, giving it to her, and calling it a date. … Evenings of paying to be rejected can feel like a male version of date rape.
Emphasis mine, because holy fuck.
This is what happens when your ideology makes women responsible for (heterosexual) men’s desires. Hell, it’s what happens when you make anyone responsible for the desires of someone else, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Your pants feelings are your responsibility. Not anyone else’s. Full stop.