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Are American men being cucked by v-neck sweaters? One Dilbert cartoonist says yes

V-Neck Sweaters: The Revenge
V-Neck Sweaters: The Revenge?

Of all the obnoxious responses to my post last night on #Brexit, the most puzzling one came from former Honey Badger Brigader Rachel Edwards:

My first reaction? DonDraperSaysWhat.gif.

draper

I asked my Twitter followers if they had any idea what she was talking about. It turns out she was referring to a recent blog post by our dear old friend Scott “Yeah, the guy who does Dilbert” Adams in which Mr. Adams suggested that v-neck sweaters are “the uniform of a man who is owned by a woman.”

So Ms. Edwards was evidently trying to suggest that I’m so totally owned by women that I not only wear v-neck sweaters but … I really really like it. Which would be a rather weird insult even if I did own any v-neck sweaters. I mean, I’m not going to lie, I have owned v-neck sweaters before, but I’m pretty sure I got rid of them all in my last big clothes purge after realizing I hadn’t worn any of them in maybe 15 years.

But enough about my sweater preferences. The big question is: why on earth does Scott Adams think that v-neck sweaters are some kind of dire threat to American masculinity?

Let’s take a look at Adams’ blog post on the subject yesterday, titled (and I’m not making this up) “The Humiliation of the American Male in 2016.”

Perhaps the biggest unreported story of this presidential election is the humiliation of the American male. Unless I’m blinded by confirmation bias – which is entirely possible – it seems to me that the humiliation of American men is now institutionalized in the media.

His evidence? A TV commercial in which a henpecked husband gets sent back to the store after buying the wrong brand of dishwasher detergent.

[T]ake careful note of the American man’s v-neck sweater,” Adams writes. “That’s the uniform of a man who is owned by a woman.”

Dun-Dun-Woof!
Dun-Dun-Woof!

Adams continues:

You’re laughing because you know it’s true.

Wrong on both counts.

How many of the married men reading this blog have received those same sweaters as “gifts” from women? Personally, I’ve received about 25 over the years. None from men.

25 sweaters? Twenty. Five. Why … are women giving Scott Adams so many goddamn sweaters? Who are these women?

I received three of those sweaters so far this year. I throw them away. Nice try.

Note to self: Never buy anything for Scott Adams, ever.

Many of you can’t talk about this topic without being accused of sexism, losing your jobs, and being cast out of your social groups.

First they came for the sweater-talker-abouters …

But I can talk about it because I endorse Hillary Clinton for president. I did that for my personal safety, because I live in California, but still, I’m on the progressive side now. That gives me some extra freedom of speech.

This is a reference to Adams’ hi-larious fake endorsement for Hillary Clinton that was really an endorsement for Trump — who Adams thinks will win the election in a landslide by rallying a silent majority of men who are too afraid to talk about sweaters publicly.

The dishwasher soap commercial should give you a hint of how big that turnout might be. You might not notice the size of the coming tsunami because American men generally don’t voice their humiliation in public. …

But in the privacy of the polling booth, the men who don’t talk are free to act.

Take that, mean imaginary ladies who force men in v-neck sweaters to go back to the store to buy the correct soap!

You can criticize Donald Trump on many dimensions. You can say he’s not really a great businessman. You can say he’s offensive. You can say he lies. You can hate his position on issues. You can say he has insufficient policy details. And lots more. But I think we all agree that Melania never asks Donald to go back to the store because he’s too dumb to buy the right kind of soap on the first try.

I predict you will see the largest male turnout of any presidential election in American history. 

I’m not so sure, Scott. I can think of one thing that might derail the Trump Train: Photographic evidence of Donald Trump wearing the V-Neck Sweater of Male Humiliation.

But surely there can’t be such … oh, wait a minute. Literally 30 seconds of Googling produces this:

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Congratulations, Hillary, on your impending landslide victory!

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Lea
Lea
6 years ago

Masculinity is so fragile, the wrong sweater neck can destroy it.

Kootiepatra
6 years ago

I think the commercial is distasteful, too, but egads Adams is a delicate little flower if he thinks it depicts “humiliation”. Sheepish embarrassment, maybe–but that’s about it. I hate the whole “men can’t dishes” trope, but this is probably the least offensive example of it I’ve seen, since he knew which brand to get and just decided to try something cheaper (as opposed to, say, flailing about helplessly while suds gush out of the incorrectly loaded dishwasher, and also the toaster is smoking and the baby is covered in oatmeal).

It also strikes me that, if Adams assumes he can extrapolate his V-neck sweater surplus to an entire generation of henpecked men, it suggests that he has real conversations with just as few men as he does women.

My family buys my dad short-sleeved, button down shirts (with pockets; pockets are a must), because that’s what he likes. We buy my grandpa baseball caps, because he collects them. We buy my brother snarky t-shirts, because that is all he ever wears. I mean, I’ve got triple Adams’ sample size right there, and there’s not a sweater of any description in it.

It’s got to feel like a depressingly tiny world if you can’t fathom people who aren’t exactly like you existing in it.

gelar
gelar
6 years ago

(There was a period in the 90s when cargo pants and carpenter jeans were fashionable for women, I was soooo happy.)

Yes! Pockets ALL down my legs! I was like a walking pencil case.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
6 years ago

@Neremanth

Sooo… you can’t tuck it into your pants because it isn’t long enough. And it needs to be that short because you’re not going to tuck it into your pants.

You’re twisting my words. :p

It’s more like: I won’t tuck it into my pants because it’s uncomfortable and ugly. And it needs to be that short because I bought a damn shirt and not a dress.

@EJ

Do you mean it’s itchy? I had a lot of trouble with that in the beginning, but none anymore.

newbie
newbie
6 years ago

That was hilarious, David. And dun-dun-woof was a very nice touch.

Poor Adams, emasculated by a sweater. How little it takes for some…

EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

Warning: Possible TMI.

@IP:
It’s not just itchy. I’m getting reddened, flaky skin under the beard. It gets especially bad on hot days when I’ve been perspiring and that skin can’t breathe easily.

EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

@Kootiepatra:
Humiliation is a running theme throughout Adams’s work. He’s commented on how humiliating it is to be short, for example, or to go bald.

People have commented before that these things, like v-neck sweaters, are not inherently humiliating but only become so if one sees masculinity as inherently a competition between men. However, it is blindingly obvious that this is exactly how he sees masculinity. He then compounds this by assuming that his arbitrary metrics for masculinity are also those used for workplace promotion and dating success. Scott Adams is a strange man.

Adams, if you’re reading this, I’m a tall man who still has all his hair and I do not believe that these are the things which make me a better person than you.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
6 years ago

@EJ

I’ve had minor problems like that, occasionally. At the time I just assumed it was the same kind of skin problem as I had above my ears and in my scalp, which was (at that time) undiagnosed psoriasis. Do you ever have similar issues with other parts of your body, or is it just the beard?

EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

@IP:
I’ve had similar things due to allergies when I was a child, but not much into adulthood.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
6 years ago

@EJ

Sounds exactly like seborrhoeic dermatitis to me.

pitshade
pitshade
6 years ago

@ katz

Yeah, but they’re damn near the only thing you can wear these days if you’re a woman and you want to cross-dress.

Dilbert shirt?

mrex
mrex
6 years ago

@cleverforagirl

“Women can’t be trusted with pockets, I know I can’t be trusted. If I have functional pockets I’ll put stuff in them and then the lines of my butt will just be ruined.”

Yes this, I was once told that real pockets will make women teh fat with their added bulk. Of course, I was one of those functional pocket ruiners because I used to keep my wallet in my back pocket until I got sick of being called a lesbian for it- by men.

Now I see that v-neck sweaters *literally* equal slavery? Man, these guys care more about fashion rules than the Plastics did in Mean Girls.

@PI

“And speaking of that, I read an interesting article about the idea that buying small luxuries (like a new purse or whathaveyou) costs you SO MUCH MONEY and if you just didn’t buy five dollar lattes all the time, you could have A MILLION DOLLARS someday if you just SAVED that money instead of buying a small thing that makes you happy.”

I actually like the Latte Rule in general. One of the biases that plagues human minds is to view current pleasures that are small as inconsequential to the future, when they’re not. What I don’t like about the Latte Rule are the literal-minded people who follow it. People who think Starbucks coffees and purses are “bad” but, for example, steaks and beers are not.

Chris O
Chris O
6 years ago

Now I remember why I don’t read “Dilbert” anymore.

kupo
kupo
6 years ago

@Scildfreja
But are the assholes the ones wearing the sweaters or the ones not wearing them? Because Mr. Dilberthole seems to think we’re marking our territory with them, so clearly the ones not wearing V-necks are the assholes.

(((Hambeast))) now, with more parentheses!
(((Hambeast))) now, with more parentheses!
6 years ago

I still wear cargo pants (or luggage pants, as I like to call them) it’s just that I have to get them in the men’s dept. I confess that, in addition to being a real-life hambeast, I’m also rather a frump as well! But, I have carpal tunnel in both hands and tendinitis in both shoulders* (thanks, retail job!) so any sort of purse** is out. Especially now that purses the size of actual luggage is the style!

*as well as plantar faciitis in both feet, so cute heels are out, too >:(

**although, I’ve heard that fanny*** packs are coming back into style; I live in hope!

***sorry, British folks (maybe Aussies and NZ’ers too?) don’t know what else to call them!

Tara the Antisocial Social Worker
Tara the Antisocial Social Worker
6 years ago

I’m told the Brits call them “bum bags.”

(((Hambeast))) now, with more parentheses!
(((Hambeast))) now, with more parentheses!
6 years ago

Tara – That actually works; they hang over your bum, after all. Even though I’m one of those who wears the bag part in front!

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
6 years ago

Yeah, they’re bum bags over here in Aus.

cleverforagirl
cleverforagirl
6 years ago

I still wear cargo pants (or luggage pants, as I like to call them) it’s just that I have to get them in the men’s dept. I confess that, in addition to being a real-life hambeast, I’m also rather a frump as well!

I too am a hambeast, or as I like to call myself Fattie McFatterson, but butt is significantly wider than my waist, so men’s pants are a no-go for me. 🙁 When lane bryant had big butt, medium butt and small butt jeans I was in fucking heaven. If only I could get those in carpenter jeans. (I need a loop for a hammer, there is just no way around it.)

(((Hambeast))) now, with more parentheses!
(((Hambeast))) now, with more parentheses!
6 years ago

I tried on pants at LB, but they were all peg-legged and/or cropped which makes me look like a lollipop. They were all too short, too. I have better luck with fullbeauty.com, although the jeans are way too high-waisted for me. FB even had a great cargo jean, but they seem to have stopped carrying it. >:(

le sigh, I wish I were better at sewing. Zippers are a bugbear for me.

katz
6 years ago

Does he actually think people would lose their job for talking about sweaters? Maybe if he was loud and constantly brought it up and caused a hostile work environment with his daily rants about sweaters being the shackles of the married man… But maybe that’s what he means?

I rather think “If I spend the entire workday ranting incessantly about every perceived slight against me, others will consider me an unpleasant person” is exactly what he means.

tessa
tessa
6 years ago

kupo:

@Scildfreja
But are the assholes the ones wearing the sweaters or the ones not wearing them? Because Mr. Dilberthole seems to think we’re marking our territory with them, so clearly the ones not wearing V-necks are the assholes.

Obviously Adams just misinterpreted. Think about it, why else are so many women giving him all those V-necks? So others will know he’s an asshole. He’s just so much of one, the throws them away as soon as he gets them. Also, see David’s picture of Trump.

ColeYote
ColeYote
6 years ago

Oh, I wish I could go back and time and prevent myself from finding out how much of an idiot Scott Adams is.

Paradoxical Intention - Resident Cheeseburger Slut

mrex | June 25, 2016 at 10:17 am
I actually like the Latte Rule in general. One of the biases that plagues human minds is to view current pleasures that are small as inconsequential to the future, when they’re not. What I don’t like about the Latte Rule are the literal-minded people who follow it. People who think Starbucks coffees and purses are “bad” but, for example, steaks and beers are not.

Even the article I linked admits that if you did do what he says, you’ll get a rather impressive amount of money, but it’s nowhere near the amount of money promised.

The actual amount is 170k, but the guy promises a cool million, without taking inflation into account, and he was rounding up the amount of money people spend on lattes significantly. He said they cost five dollars (where an average latte might be three depending on where you live, what shop you go to, and what kind of latte you get), and 5×365=1825, which he rounded UP to 2000.

It’s not that the rule itself is bad, just that the guy’s really exaggerating the math and stretching the truth to the point of absurdity in order to sell books.

The article also points out that the kind of savings account with the interest you’d need to get that million dollars that was promised is only there for a few select upper class individuals, and they’d need to have an account started as a baby so they can actually collect on it and use it when they’re starting their own lives.

The Latte Rule also doesn’t take people into account who only have liquid assets, like many people living paycheck-to-paycheck. Some people don’t have access to a savings account (let alone a good one with good interest because most people with liquid assets also might have poor credit), because all their money is eaten up by bills anyways, so they have just enough to maybe get themselves a nice latte to give themselves a bit of momentary pleasure.

However, the thing that bugs me most about this Latte Rule stuff is the amount of class-shaming that comes with it.

Poor people, in my experience (as a poor person myself), are constantly shamed for having small luxuries.

How dare I have an XBox and some games when I have bills to pay! Why don’t I just sell something that gives me a little escape from my stress and pay my bills? Why do you have luxury items when you’re constantly complaining about being broke?! Don’t you know THAT must be the reason why you’re broke, and not the price of your bills and the shitty economy?!

Two facts: 1. Even if I did sell my consoles and games, I still wouldn’t have enough to scratch the surface of my debt, so what’s the fucking point? (Especially since the exchange rate for used games is so fucking shit, and I can’t even sell most of my PC games because of DRM.)

2. A lot of those games were either bought at a discount (Humble Bundle’s great if you’ve got at least a dollar and like PC gaming), or they were gifts given to me by other people.

We’re asked why we’re complaining about constantly being broke or why we want to raise the minimum wage, but we still have things like REFRIGERATORS, MICROWAVES, and AIR CONDITIONING.

http://images.complex.com/complex/image/upload/c_limit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_680/li4bukz5zqlp363dbkpt.jpg

comment image

comment image

So yeah, TL;DR: The Latte Rule is good in theory, but I don’t think many people would put it into practice, especially if their cheap latte is one small pleasure in their otherwise not-so-happy, constantly broke lives, and I especially don’t like the veneer of “You’re not really poor if you can afford a cheap latte instead of investing that money” that comes with it.

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