The Patriarchy Will Always Have Its Revenge

I want to burn the frat house of America to the ground.

.. I was riveted by the hearings, and Professor Hill’s testimony about how her old boss, the Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, behaved — the references to pornographic movies, to his own sexual prowess, the way he would ask her out, again and again, and not take no for an answer.
.. It’s one thing to say #MeToo, but if I find out it’s them, too, I can picture myself hunting down the man who hurt them and dismembering him with my fingernails and burning the whole world down.
.. When Clarence Thomas won his seat, I felt like someone had taken an eraser to the core of my being, and had rubbed a bit of me away. I felt diminished, a little less real, and, certainly, a lot less likely to be believed if I had anything to say about male colleagues.
.. Bill Cosby was found guilty. Harvey Weinstein is going to trial. Les Moonves lost his job as chief executive of CBS, even if a CBS board member, Arnold Kopelson, said, “I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff.”
.. One by one, like bad dreams, the #MeToo men have come back from the allegations against them, having suffered — if that’s even the right word — the equivalent of a misbehaving child’s timeout.

.. Matt Lauer is swanning around Upper East Side steakhouses, reportedly assuring fans that soon he’ll be “back on TV.” Louis C.K. returned to the stage. John Hockenberry is telling his story in Harper’s Magazine, and Jian Ghomeshi is telling his in The New York Review of Books.

.. Women aren’t supposed to want revenge any more than we’re supposed to be angry. It’s not socially approved, not attractive, not ladylike. We swallow our pain and keep our own behavior exemplary while excusing the bad behavior of others, knowing, from examples like Professor Hill’s, what could happen if we speak up, and what we stand to lose.

.. There are famous novels, canonical plays, entire genres of movies centered around men seeking revenge (the “Iliad,” “Hamlet,” every western ever). There aren’t many stories about men righting their wrongs; even fewer about women making men sorry.

 

 

What Men Say About #MeToo in Therapy

“I have something I need to talk about and I’m afraid you’re going to judge me,” he said. He told me that he had been thinking about women he had slept with and that he felt terrible about some of the encounters.

“I didn’t rape anyone or anything like that, but I think I made them pretty uncomfortable.”

I’m a psychotherapist who works largely with men in New York City. Before last fall, I can’t remember hearing a statement like that — a voluntary admission of coercive or manipulative behavior with women. The #MeToo era has changed my work. If therapy has a reputation for navel gazing, this powerful moment has joined men in the room, forcing them to engage with topics that they would have earlier avoided.

.. But I am also heartened by the private work that men are doing in therapy and how it can help us understand the relationship between what has been called “toxic masculinity” and the reservoirs of shame that fuel these behaviors.

.. I began to feel the effect in my work not long after the stories about Harvey Weinstein broke, with a noticeable uptick after a report on the comedian Aziz Ansari. Though the accusations against famous men were in one sense far from the people I saw, they were relevant to the questions they often brought to therapy. Why did they so misunderstand the women in their lives? Why were they often being accused of hurting them?

.. He’d been experimenting with approaching women in a more “dominant” and assertive way, since he’d heard that’s what women wanted. He had made an aggressive move on a prospective date and was told that his approach was creepy.

.. he had been so focused on performing for dates that he wasn’t really connecting to them, unable to accurately read his date’s reactions.

.. appear either flat and emotionless or superficially engaged but hiding behind impenetrable niceness.

.. Most men have spent little time with their feelings and have very limited vocabulary to describe what is going on in their hearts.

.. has done such a good job of disconnecting from his feelings that he can’t ever really tell if he’s had a good time on a date.

.. Almost always, the men I work with notice a tight tension in their chests and stomachs — anxiety. They often admit that they feel this tension most of the time.

.. underneath the anxiety that is always humming along are layers of shame. Shame at having feelings at all, shame because they believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with them, shame that they are not men, they are just boys.

.. Shame is the emotional weapon that allows patriarchal behaviors to flourish. The fear of being emasculated leads men to rationalize awful behavior. This kind of toxic shame is in direct contradiction with the healthy shame that we all need to feel in order to acknowledge mistakes and take responsibility.

.. still a 15-year-old boy craving the approval of his peers: “I actually don’t even like the sex that much, but there’s something satisfying about adding a notch in the belt. I imagine other guys would be impressed if they knew.”

.. In their efforts to manage the feeling of shame, some men numb themselves. Others sink under it and slip into depression or chronic underachievement. And others take the pain that they feel and project it back out into the world with violent words and deeds.

.. They begin to heal when we can both embrace them and hold them accountable.

.. “I want you to know that I respect the courage it takes to acknowledge something like that and to share it with me, but I also don’t want you to numb yourself out, because then you’ll just forget about this and move on,” I said.

.. He began to cry and then sob. Waves of sadness emerged as he imagined the hurt that he caused these women. As the tears subsided and we began to process it, more tears came, this time tears of relief — that he’s not a monster, that he’s capable of remorse and empathy.

.. He had been desperate to boost his self-esteem through sexual conquests. He ultimately put his own pleasure before someone else’s discomfort, behavior that was forged in moments in which he had felt worthless

.. He had been thinking about one of the women he had told me about. He reached out, they met for coffee and he apologized.

Want More Babies? You Need Less Patriarchy

In the United States, where fertility has been below replacement for about a decade, the average woman now has 1.77.

.. Perhaps the United States is becoming more like the rest of the industrialized world, where declining birthrates are correlated with a lack of support for working mothers.

.. Developed countries that prioritize gender equality — including Sweden, Norway and France — have higher fertility rates than those that don’t.

.. The world’s lowest fertility rates are in countries that are economically developed but socially conservative, where women have professional opportunities but must shoulder most of the burdens of domestic life.

.. Peter McDonald theorized that if women have educational and employment opportunities nearly equal to those of men, “but these opportunities are severely curtailed by having children, then, on average, women will restrict the number of children that they have

.. in Sweden, women were more likely to have a second child if their male partner took paternity leave with their first child, a proxy for his willingness to share the work of parenting.

.. In Hungary, she told me, couples that shared housework equally had a higher probability of having a second kid.

.. This correlation between feminist social policy and higher fertility is widely recognized throughout the world

..  “feminism is the new natalism.”

.. fertility rates, after reaching a low of around 1.7 children per woman in 1976, rose over the next 30 years, even as Europe’s fertility fell.

.. There were several reasons for this, including substantial levels of Hispanic immigration, a high teen birthrate, and, some speculated, America’s exceptional religiosity.

Since then, however, the teen birthrate in the United States has fallen to an all-time low, Americans have become less religious, Hispanic immigration has slowed, and Hispanic fertility rates have declined.
.. rising cost of child care
.. If my theory is right, though, it will keep falling unless America invests in paid family leave and subsidized, high-quality child care
.. if a shrinking number of workers must support a growing elderly population, even our threadbare social safety net will be strained.
.. survey data shows that women actually desire more kids than they’re having.
.. the “gap between the number of children that women say they want to have (2.7) and the number of children they will probably actually have (1.8) has risen to the highest level in 40 years.”
.. One lesson of cratering fertility rates is that in the modern world, patriarchy is maladaptive.

A Reckoning with Women Awaits Trump

Omarosa Manigault-Newman, the unforgettably forgettable former White House aide in charge of nothing at all, tearfully confessing her global despair. “It’s not going to be O.K.,” she said.

.. Bannon, who is partial to grand pronouncements, acknowledged the political stakes, not least for the President. “You watch. The time has come,” he said. “Women are gonna take charge of society. And they couldn’t juxtapose a better villain than Trump. He is the patriarch. This is a definitional moment in the culture. It’ll never be the same going forward . . . The anti-patriarchy movement is going to undo ten thousand years of recorded history.”

.. When Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary, left his job after charges, and evidence, of abuse from his two ex-wives became public, the President showed not a trace of sympathy for anyone but Porter himself.

.. This was striking. One former wife had obtained a protective order against Porter; the other presented the F.B.I. with a photograph of herself with a black eye, the result, she said, of a beating Porter delivered her while on vacation in Italy. And yet Trump went to great lengths, in a public statement, to sympathize with the “tough time” that Porter was enduring, to praise the “very good job” he had done, and to express confidence that he had a “wonderful career” ahead of him.

.. Trump responded with similar fellow-feeling when charges were levelled at Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, late of Fox News, and Roy Moore, the right-wing former judge who had seemed headed to victory in an Alabama Senate race. (Trump, of course, is unforgiving when it comes to Democrats like Al Franken and John Conyers.)

.. Kellyanne Conway, whose defenses of Trump’s most preposterous statements are sometimes so tortured that they become the stuff of late-night satire, could not bear to back the President on this one. She told CNN that she saw “no reason not to believe” Porter’s former spouses. “In this case, you have contemporaneous police reports, you have women speaking to the FBI under threat of perjury,” Conway said. “You have photographs, and when you look at all of that pulled together, Rob Porter did the right thing by resigning.”

.. It has come to the point when even Trump’s closest aides know that a reckoning is coming. It’s not going to be O.K.