A Long-Overdue Reply to Bb Re: Entitled Wives

In comments on a recent post I criticized a particular pattern of thinking with regard to modern marriage:

“I was mostly referring to women who have a warped concept of marriage as an institution where she gets to live her empowered independent lifestyle but her husband is obligated to bend to her wishes…it’s a one-way process.”

Commenter Bb asked (twice in the thread, in fact) if I was theorizing or had actually seen this behavior.

“Out of curiosity, how many women in real life have you met like this, Badger? (I’ve been out of SMP for quite a while.)”

My answer has two parts: the Internet and “real life.”

I have seen an enormous amount of this attitude on the Internet. My informal perusal of Internet discussion on marriage (manosphere and otherwise) suggests to me that this may be the single biggest non-sexual complaint men have about their marriages. You can also find it on the women’s side. Innumerable advice columns field questions of the form “how can I make my husband do/think/be what I want?” You can find it in the petulant complaints at Dating A Banker Anonymous, DateMeDC or the inscrutable Lilly (who without a lick of irony lists cats and shoes as her two loves). Those in the so-called sex poz community also have a deep streak of viewing men as dildos-on-call, where women hold all the freedoms and benefits and men all the responsibilities and accountabilities.

One caveat to this is that we don’t know how many of these women actually feel this way, and how many of them are just running nuclear fitness testing in an attempt to get their man to be more of a leader.

As to my personal life: I know a handful of people like this. Though I try not to. I can’t say I ever chose my friends based on their views on gender roles in marriage, but people with this sort of attitude seem to have other toxic traits, and so I have weeded many of the flightly, flaky entitled people (of both genders) out of my life. However, the stories I hear from coupled and dating men in my life let me know I’m only two degrees of separation from a whole nother crop of them. (I do know a couple of married guys who are not victims of controlling wives but instead are just willingly pussywhipped.)

Keeping away takes some effort though. There are plenty of Sex And The City wannabes walking around the streets of urban America. They can get away with it, for a time, usually because they are hot and surrounded by men who will prostrate themselves for sexual access. They may even snag a relationship or two from a guy who offers “commitment” to hold onto his supply of sex. But there is no real “relationship” where one person thinks they have the right to boss the other person around. As they approach their 30’s, the balance shifts quickly as their looks decline and the “testosterone fog” of sexual desperation lifts among the men around them. The landing can be hard indeed.

Bb continued:

“Even with non-traditional ideas of marriage, it would seem that a woman who’d want to be completely in control of their own destiny wouldn’t think that marriage would be logical. Cuts out of a lot of choice and options for self.”

This does sound like cognitive dissonance. The simple answer to this is that humans are not solely logical; we make life decisions based on a combination of logical, emotional and social factors; even our instinctual mating strategies have a lot of conflict within them. Women want the imprimatur, the impregnable social status symbol, of having a husband (“somebody chose me!!!”) but culture has also told them they shouldn’t take any shit from a man, men are stupid and should be manipulated to her end, and that sets up a conflict when it comes time to actually be married.

That’s why it’s hard to take a person at their word wrt these issues; women can talk a good game about wanting an “equal” relationship or a Captain-First Officer setup or whatever, but whenever conflict comes up still assert that theirs is the only view that should matter. Often it’s not that they overtly, logically think the relationship should work this way, it’s that whenever the chips are down, they viscerally turn to this one-sided ideology that popular culture has pumped into them – one where they are sweet and special ipso facto and the man should grovel for her approval. (People in general are just not very good at thinking in the heat of battle.)

It’s not that it’s young women’s fault, per se, but at some point they need to take responsibility for their own predicament and start to turn in the right direction – toss out Cosmo and actually come to view men as ends in themselves. The first step is recognizing toxic modes of thinking and setting yourself straight. That’s nothing more than we in the Manosphere ask men to do today – turn off the cultural nonsense being pumped into your head, throw away the pretty lies, and learn enough game to be an honest success in today’s SMP.

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46 Comments

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46 responses to “A Long-Overdue Reply to Bb Re: Entitled Wives

  1. modernguy

    It’s a testament to how strong the mating drive is that men willingly marry these women and submit themselves to their childish tyranny.

  2. Doug1

    Badger—

    Often it’s not that they overtly, logically think the relationship should work this way, it’s that whenever the chips are down, they viscerally turn to this one-sided ideology that popular culture has pumped into them – one where they are sweet and special ipso facto and the man should grovel for her approval.

    Yes.

    Husbands are accused by women of being controlling or even emotionally abuse, when the same behavior of hers towards him will be excused by most American women as his being unable to handle a strong woman, or as wanting a submissive doormat.

    It’s a truism in American sit coms and even rom coms that “all men are dogs” or at least the large majority are, and arguments are best settled by the husband apologizing strongly, taking all the blame, and admitting she’s right, even when she’s not. Men are often expected by post feminist American women, even when they don’t consider themselves strong feminists, to do half the housework or other work around the house, and child care, even when she’s working only part time or much fewer hours. Hell even stay at home mothers often expect lots of male help in these areas even with very young children. For virtually every reasonable complaint a man might have about his wife, there’s a post feminist entertainment and other culture comeback and greater counter complaint. There are almost none generated by our current culture for complaints husbands have about wives.

    Hell even female cheating is blamed at least partly on the husband all the time regardless of lack of evidence, but rather by suppositions and hypotheses, while it’s an outrage to blame male cheating partly on the wife’s providing mere trickles of sex, or being a nagging and non supportive, emotionally abusive wife.

  3. Doug1

    modernguy–

    It’s largely our post feminist culture that’s creating this phenomenon ModernGuy. Yeah there are female tendencies in this direction but many other cultures strongly counteract those tendencies, with post feminist America strongly defends and encourages them.

  4. Doug1

    The feminist view at bottom, embraced by our post feminist culture, though rarely articulated in this way, is that men should have to become damn near perfect from women’s point of view before women should be blamed for much of anything, or have to change from the current post feminist views and actions, and laws.

  5. Aldonza

    There are entitled wives and entitled husbands. The funny thing is, the “givers” among us seem to be most attracted to their polar opposites when it comes time to mate.

  6. “There are entitled wives and entitled husbands.”

    You won’t hear me say differently – in this post I was just responding to Bb’s question about wives.

  7. Blues

    It’s not that it’s young women’s fault, per se, but at some point they need to take responsibility for their own predicament and start to turn in the right direction – toss out Cosmo and actually come to view men as ends in themselves

    You could have just posted this and would’ve been enough. This is to this very day my main problem with women attitudes when dealing with cads, they seemingly act like a guy that keeps bumping with the same rock over and over and instead of moving it out of the way they start yelling “Why are all rocks against me damn it!”

  8. Bb

    Badger,
    I thank you for your thoughtful and insightful response. I was really wanting to know how typical this attitude was from women in the SMP (hence me asking about it twice—made me laugh that you noticed).

    My informal perusal of Internet discussion on marriage (manosphere and otherwise) suggests to me that this may be the single biggest non-sexual complaint men have about their marriages. …You can also find it on the women’s side. Innumerable advice columns field questions of the form “how can I make my husband do/think/be what I want?”

    …but this idea of controlling /manipulating men is not new. It’s surprising to me that it’s still so pervasive, and you’re referencing it to modern marriage. If women have more control of their own lives (hold their own jobs, make their own money, etc, etc.), wouldn’t it stand to reason they’d need to control others less? Why is it not working this way?

    Now, more than ever, women can choose who to date: out of their own class, out of their own race, etc. Why are they not choosing to date / marry men who they don’t have to “fix”? Maybe I’m missing the big point: women think men are inherently flawed and need to be fixed? This is very disheartening.

    However, the stories I hear from coupled and dating men in my life let me know I’m only two degrees of separation from a whole nother crop of them. (I do know a couple of married guys who are not victims of controlling wives but instead are just willingly pussywhipped.)

    Ah, the controlling wife and the pussywhipped husband i.e. wife=mother. I see this attitude with some of my girlfriends. “It’s like I’m living in a house where I’m the only adult!” “When he comes home, I have to clean up after him and now I have four children instead of three!” I think a couple like this is in a relationship dynamic that satisfies both their emotional needs. She gets to control everything and complain about it, he gets to be passive and do less (one of my BIL’s once confessed to screwing up the first load of laundry he did, just to get out of ever doing it again), but has to put up with the whining.

    …That’s why it’s hard to take a person at their word wrt these issues; women can talk a good game about wanting an “equal” relationship or a Captain-First Officer setup or whatever, but whenever conflict comes up still assert that theirs is the only view that should matter.

    This is a real question, not a rhetorical one: in what way do men decide whose viewpoint should matter? Is it more of a “what’s best for the team” or an “I am the Captain / Team Leader and I have decided that…”

    It’s not that it’s young women’s fault, per se, but at some point they need to take responsibility for their own predicament and start to turn in the right direction

    Can I blame Disney? And tv shows like Modern Family? (Maybe I should just blame corporate ABC). Seriously, think about movies like “Beauty and the Beast”, where the male is featured as a rough lout who needs the care and concern of a woman to become wholly human…or in Modern Family, Jay, who is the AMOG, is slowly but surely being “humanized”—getting a dog, interacting with his children better, because his efforts as an Alpha aren’t good enough (money, great house, hot wife.) I sure do miss Thomas Magnum…

    – toss out Cosmo and actually come to view men as ends in themselves.

    I completely agree. If I could give any advice to any woman out there it is: men are not rehab projects or make-overs waiting to happen. Pick someone you respect, admire and like, just the way he is. Anything else is a waste of time.

  9. dannyfrom504

    damn, i really liked this thread. sum’s my tossing the ex to a T. she wanted all the glories of a husband and provider, but didn’t want to put forth the effort of a wife. and i grew sick of putting forth all the effort in said relationship. the pussy was bomb, but the day to day was nill.

    thus…….she’s my ex.

    exellent thread Badger. a very good read.

  10. There’s this notion that “if momma ain’t happy, no one is happy” which seems to be the standard, cultural norm in North America.

    I happen to be reading a semi-autobiographical novel written by a friend who comes from a very traditional Lebanese family. In the book is this line quoted by his grandmother who lived in a small, mountain village in northern Lebanon:

    “If pappa isn’t happy, no one in the family is happy.”

    It’s interesting that the traditional (Antioch Orthodox Christianity) family places the emphasis of happiness on the father of the family.

    Of course, the gender roles in those traditional family structures are quite clear and non-negotiable.

  11. Aldonza,

    “The funny thing is, the “givers” among us seem to be most attracted to their polar opposites when it comes time to mate.”

    Just last week I was listening to a podcast with Tara J Palmatier (Shrink4Men, listed in my blogroll) and she noted that narcissistic, high-conflict people seem expert at seeking out and pairing with “givers” they can take advantage of. The psychological processes in both partners that lead to this phenomenon are beyond the scope of my blog, but suffice it to say that many of us beta-male types have found ourselves in such a situation at one time or another.

  12. dannyfrom504

    privateman- but then again 99.9% of the middle east is in a TRUE patriarchial state. i mean, if pappa ain’t happy, you’ll get stoned would probably have most women toe’ing the line.

    now i will admit, in my own personal relationships, i tend to fare better with more “the man leads women” type women and yes they do still exist in the states. but i typically don’t date white american women. i prefer latinas and mexican women. with them alpha is the only thing that works. they typically EXPECT you to be a ballsy asshole. just show them some appreciation and respect and you’re good.

    i have 4 nieces. STRAIGHT mexican. the 2 oldest (16 and 15) are gorgeous. they DO NOT want to see me upset with them. they have zero dad’s in their lives and “tio danny” had to step in. brother, when i get stern with them they fall right back in line. lol.

  13. Michel

    I think young men could learn much more from you, danny.

    Whether sharing through a guest post, resources/books that helped you, lessons you’ve learned, etc.

  14. dannyfrom504

    michel-

    NAH, badger’s on point. i don’t mind sharing my own drama. but Badg is MUCH better at this shit than i am. i’m ALRIGHT. Badg is money.

  15. It’s extremely normal for women to Fitness Test men for dominance, and men are taught to actively fail those tests by defering to her, or otherwise being non-dominant. In a marriage repeated Fitness Tests result in repeated failures, and in short order the wife takes over. The trouble is that once firmly in charge, she isn’t attracted to her husband nearly as much. Which kinda ticks her off and starts filling her with contempt for his weakness. Which leads to nastiness. Which leads to the husband starting to grovel.

    Pretty soon she is an unhappy momma, and under the rules established… if momma is unhappy, everyone is unhappy.

  16. Bb

    I did Fitness Tests while dating. I married the one man that passed with flying colors—barely even had to test, he had it all for me, just the way he was.

    I don’t want to Fitness Test in marriage. It sounds exhausting and manipulative.

  17. dannyfrom504

    athol-

    ok. that makes perfect sense. i guess it’s just hard for me to envision b/c i just don’t fall for that crap. saw my sister do that all the time to her bf’s and tought to myself, “oh, HEEEELL no.” she taught me a lot, whatever her bf at the time did (cave in to her bs), i did the opposite. and it worked.

  18. Brendan

    I don’t want to Fitness Test in marriage. It sounds exhausting and manipulative.

    Good, but Athol is talking about unconscious fitness tests. Not conscious testing of a prospective spouse. Many/most women unconsciously test all the time in marriages. It’s not manipulative because it isn’t conscious or intentional and neither is the response — it’s automatic and often even she is not entirely clear as to what the underlying reason for her discontent is, so she blames it on the dishes and diapers. And then when he does the dishes and the diapers more, and she’s still unhappy, she begins to think that “he just isn’t the one” and so on. All of that can be mitigated by the man being aware that his wife will unconsciously fitness test him, and that he needs to pass the tests, otherwise it’s going to be trouble eventually and she will mark it up to him not doing enough dishes, when it really has to do with having failed fitness tests.

  19. Bb

    @Brendan I digressed. I should have responded with this: I don’t think women setting out to marry someone they can control is the same as typical relationship Fitness Testing.

  20. detinennui32

    The words every woman needs to hear from her man are:

    “No.”
    “You’re not going to do that/go there/buy that.”
    “We’re not doing that/taking that course of action.”

    Simple.

    I think females instinctively know how to fitness test men. Even my daughter does this. “Can I have that?” “No.” “Why not?” “Because that’s what I’ve decided. No.”
    “But …”
    “But nothing. NO. And if you keep asking me, your doll collection is going to the local charity.”
    And you have to keep at it and stick to your guns. She gets mad. She pouts. She sulks. And then in a few days, she’s OK with it.

    My wife will do the same thing.
    The answer’s no. You can ask again, but it’s still NO.

    And she sulks, and pouts, and even closes her legs a day or two. That’s fine The answer is still NO. And then she falls in line pronto. (H/T Danny504, heh)

  21. Aldonza

    My wife will do the same thing.
    The answer’s no. You can ask again, but it’s still NO.

    And what if she did it anyway?

  22. Passer_By

    @Aldonza

    “And what if she did it anyway?”

  23. dannyfrom504

    detinennui32-
    “h/t”? what’s that mean? lol, sorry.

    aldonza- then she’d need to be “corrected”.

  24. I think it means “hat tip.”

  25. dannyfrom504

    “I think it means “hat tip.”

    AAAAAH, thanks for clarifying.

    thanks detin (if that’s what you were saying).

    i really hate the acronyms associated with these sites. :/

  26. Aldonza

    It’s one thing to spank in the bedroom in a playful way. But a man who tried to spank me to punish me for what he termed misbehavior? That’s not sexy. That’s assault.

    Frankly, if the “captain” has to resort to physical discipline to keep order, that’s a failure on his part.

  27. detinennui32

    H/T does mean hat tip. Just means Dannyfrom504 had a great idea and my comment was sort of a continuation of his. The point is to give credit where it’s due.
    @ Aldonza: “What if she did it anyway?” If it’s my daughter, appropriate penalties, such as taking away possessions. If it’s my wife, then we have to talk seriously about our functions in our marriage. If she does it anyway, she wants to be the captain, and there can only be one captain. So her willingness to be first officer is in question.

    Of course there’s no physical discipline. That’s just silly. I think passerby is being facetious.

  28. Aldonza,

    “It’s one thing to spank in the bedroom in a playful way. But a man who tried to spank me to punish me for what he termed misbehavior? That’s not sexy. That’s assault.”

    I think you know there’s a huge difference between these two. Leaders are defined by having followers, so if a man’s lady is resisting his leadership (in the big picture, not in terms of little items) he’s got to look at both sides of the equation.

    Bb,

    I read this phrase again: “toss out Cosmo and actually come to view men as ends in themselves.” and I think it really gets to the core problem of those particular young women who are not relationship material. They view men as means to their ends, walking wallets/dildos/handymen, tools for women’s enjoyment on their terms. It’s very dehumanizing, and it’s sad and enraging to hear young women talk about men as automatons put on Earth to please them. Get over yourselves.

  29. Aldonza

    Leaders are defined by having followers, so if a man’s lady is resisting his leadership (in the big picture, not in terms of little items) he’s got to look at both sides of the equation.

    I was married for 14 years. I was definitely not a “surrendered wife”. But I also wasn’t a bullish taskmaster. I was raised with the idea that the man led, so I expected that when I got married. What I didn’t realize at the time is that not every man is capable of always making the best, well-reasoned decisions. And not every man *wants* to have to lead in all matters.

    A man who felt the need to impose his will on me in most or all things would meet significant resistance, up to and including active insubordination. But a man who never *has* a will would be met with a yawn and apathy at best, or pity and revulsion at worst.

    I believe strongly in encouraging, supporting, and generally doing everything I can to make a man feel like a man. That includes not criticizing him in public, being happy and grateful for any “manly duties” he performs, sexing him up regularly, and trying my best to understand the burdens he carries. In return I expect to be treated like a woman…not a child. That includes some archaic things like opening doors and jars, choosing restaurants and date activities, telling me I look nice and that dinner tasted good, and occasionally slapping me on the ass when I walk by.

    If we come to an impasse, we talk about it. Generally speaking, reminding one another of common goals does wonders. But if there isn’t an easy answer, then the one who cares more should prevail.

    As for leadership, I like the “Star Trek:TNG” model. We have a situation, all of the officers have their input, the captain listens, decides, and says to “make it so”. He’s also willing and able to admit when the decision was wrong and change course. I certainly can’t picture Picard spanking any of his officers…but according to Rule 34, I’m sure somebody has.

  30. Aldonza,

    That’s about the response I expected from you. I think we’re on the same page, by “both sides of the equation” I mean that a man whose leadership isn’t being followed might need to examine whether his expectations are appropriate. A woman worth being with doesn’t need to be gamed 24/7, and he can’t demand that everything be done his way.

  31. Tim

    Aldonza sounds like the perfect woman.

  32. Bb

    @Badger if I were male out in the SMP, a gal that reads Cosmo would be a straight up deal breaker. That magazine is a piece of trash.

    “They view men as means to their ends, walking wallets/dildos/handymen, tools for women’s enjoyment on their terms. It’s very dehumanizing, and it’s sad and enraging to hear young women talk about men as automatons put on Earth to please them. Get over yourselves.”

    I can completely relate, especially after reading some of the other manosphere blogs. Women are not valued very highly at all. Very demoralizing all around.

  33. Bb

    @Aldonza Picard is not a spanker. I can’t even imagine Riker spanking anyone. Spanker captains: Kirk, Cisco, even Janeway (but she would be telling you the whole time how disappointed she was in you. Would take most of the fun out of it).

    I bet Spock would spank, too. If he could get enough emotion up.

  34. Aldonza

    Aldonza sounds like the perfect woman.

    Eh, I’m far from perfect. I cook like a demon, but housekeeping makes me cranky. I get broody and introspective sometimes, and have been told by more than one man that I “think too much.” I drive too fast, have an uncontrollable addiction to obscenely high-heeled shoes, and consider debate to be a full-contact sport.

    But I love beer, playoff hockey, sexing up my man and I can quote Caddyshack with the best of ‘em. Hmmm…maybe I am perfect. :-D

  35. Damn, you just described me…except for the full-contact debating.

  36. Aldonza

    @Aldonza Picard is not a spanker. I can’t even imagine Riker spanking anyone. Spanker captains: Kirk, Cisco, even Janeway (but she would be telling you the whole time how disappointed she was in you. Would take most of the fun out of it).

    I bet Spock would spank, too. If he could get enough emotion up.

    LOL at the Janeway image! What about if she told you that you were a naughty, naughty boy, and that you had to be worthy to service her?

    Worf was always my favorite though.
    Lieutenant Worf: No. Men do not roar. Women roar. Then they hurl heavy objects… and claw at you.
    Wesley Crusher: What does the man do?
    Lieutenant Worf: [dreamily] He reads love poetry…
    Lieutenant Worf: [back to his serious self] He ducks a lot.

  37. “LOL at the Janeway image! What about if she told you that you were a naughty, naughty boy, and that you had to be worthy to service her?”

    Call Jack Nicholson.

  38. OffTheCuff

    I can completely relate, especially after reading some of the other manosphere blogs. Women are not valued very highly at all. Very demoralizing all around.

    I don’t think to the two are even close. Cosmo is everywhere, in every magazine rack. Everyone knows about Cosmo. If walk into any house, there’s a big chance there’s a Cosmo in the living room or bathroom.

    Now, ask how many people know of the best-known blog, Roissy. Compare that to how many people know Cosmo! I bet if I asked 100 people, I’d get 0 or 1 people who even KNOWS who Roissy is, let alone reads it, let alone subscribes to his applications.

    Yes, it’s demoralizing if I read radical feminist blogs. However, my big brain realizes that based on my experience in the Real World, not so many of them out there, compared to typical women.

    Finally, just because someone reads it, doesn’t mean they take it to all heart. I read Roissy because of his mastery of the fundamentals and writing style, but obviously don’t subscribe to his application of Game. My wife reads Cosmo, but really only pays attention to the makeup section. I believe it, her behaviors are pretty much the opposite of what Cosmo recommends.

  39. Bb

    @OffTheCuff

    Yes, Cosmo is considered mainstream, and some places in the manosphere are radical. I’m not conflating the two in terms of reach, I was sympathizing about dehumanization: it’s demoralizing wherever it comes from.

    Finally, just because someone reads it, doesn’t mean they take it to all heart.

    Well, duh. And Roissy has been helpful in the Bb House as well, but Cosmo is still a deal breaker for me. It’s the Ke$ha of magazines.

  40. Bb,

    “@Badger if I were male out in the SMP, a gal that reads Cosmo would be a straight up deal breaker. That magazine is a piece of trash. ”

    One step ahead of you. Any woman whose online dating profile lists Cosmo on the reading list is passed over on the spot.

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  42. youarenotthebossofme

    This article describes my ex-wife to a T. A classic ESFJ.

    She was unhappy that I was still the guy she married. I was unhappy that she was turning into her own mother.

    Me: “You used to be cool”.
    Ex: “I thought you would grow up”.
    Me: “Well, you signed up for this didn’t you? You married the guy that I still am, but now you are unhappy. How am I to blame for this? I married somebody completely different that who you are now yet I am the one who needs to change.”

    I am SO much happier now without her nonsense.

  43. Jennifer

    One of the best posts.

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