Two Anti-Feminism Books By Women

Paleo Retiree writes:

  • The Manipulated Man by Esther Vilar. A rant from the early ’70s that has acquired an underground rep as an anti-feminism classic. Short, elegantly organized and composed; bristling with shrewdness and indignation; and far more insightful about women and the shit they get up to than any Game guy I’ve read. This is very worldly stuff composed in the tradition of the Euro literary essay, and in its ice-hot tone and its often scornfully ironic sophistication it reminded me of such classics as “La Princesse de Clèves” and “Les Liaisons Dangéreuses.” It’s a fun, super-stimulating read, but do come prepared: this ain’t no all-on-one-level, bullet-pointed self-help book. The case that Vilar makes is that in modern societies men don’t oppress women; instead, women use men’s needs and cluelessness to control us. Men want sex and praise so badly, and are so blind to the games women play, that, despite our rep for running the world, we’re basically women’s slaves. Me, I’ve been known to mutter “If only men wanted sex half as badly as we do, we’d make out a lot better for ourselves in the battle of the sexes,” and I suspect Vilar would agree. Fun to learn from Wikipedia that, inevitably I suppose, a feminist once accused Vilar of being “not only sexist but fascist.” Here’s a webpage devoted to Vilar.
  • The Sex Diaries: Why Women Go Off Sex and Other Bedroom Battles by Bettina Arndt. Arndt is an Australian sex therapist and magazine editor, but despite these qualifications she isn’t a member of The Cathedral: instead, she’s honest and down-to-earth about women, men, relationships and sex. (Her tone is very different, but her view of these things isn’t far from Camille Paglia’s.) Arndt based this book on contributions from numerous Aussie couples, who kept sex journals for her, and I found it valuable in two main ways. The first is the book’s main theme: how hard it can be for a woman and a man to stay in sexual sync over the long haul. The glimpses of grownup frustrations and relationship-struggles are fascinating and often moving, as well as very easy to relate to. The second great thing about the book is Arndt’s main argument, which is an attack on an idea that feminists have crammed into women’s brains in recent generations, namely: that, even in marriage, whether sex happens or not should be almost entirely up to the woman. (Traditionally, a wife was understood to owe her husband regular sex.) Arndt makes the point that it seems to be among life’s givens that many women lose a lot of their interest in sex once the initial seduction-and-falling-in-love, “limerance” period is over; and that as time passes, concerns such as kids ‘n’ jobs ‘n’  money ‘n’ houses often push sex ever futher down their to-do list. Meanwhile, many if not most guys marry in the expectation that access to sex will be simpler than when they were single, and despite life’s ups and downs maintain an eager interest in everyday bonking. The result is often mucho misery and despair, and a couple at loggerheads with each other. Arndt urges married women to move beyond the idea that they need to be in the mood (since they so seldom are) and to consider returning to the traditional view that they should agree to regular sex with their men whether they initially feel like it or not. The marriage will be happier, and practically speaking many women will find themselves enjoying the sex anyway. (FWIW, I’ve been amazed by the number of friends’ marriages that have broken up mainly because the wives cut off sex. How on earth does a wife who cuts off sex expect her husband to react?) As you might imagine, Arndt’s point of view has won her many feminist enemies; she’s been accused of being, among other things, a “rape apologist.” My verdict on the book: pop relationship journalism of a very rewarding kind. The world would be a far better, and far happier, place if it were inhabited by more rape apologists like Bettina Arndt. Here’s Arndt’s website, where you can find a lot of good interviews with her and blogpostings by her.
  • Bonus reading: Is Monogamy Insane?

Late edit: Much valuable life-wisdom from Dave Chappelle in this clip:

About Paleo Retiree

Onetime media flunky and movie buff and very glad to have left that mess behind. Formerly Michael Blowhard of the cultureblog Now a rootless parasite and bon vivant on a quest to find the perfectly-crafted artisanal cocktail.
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12 Responses to Two Anti-Feminism Books By Women

  1. agnostic says:

    Worth noting that both authors are Jews, and are coming from a background where the default spousal interaction is the neurotic wife busting the balls of the diffident husband.

    They are primarily working out their issues about “Why didn’t my father stand up to my nag of a mother?” and “Why doesn’t my husband ever stand up for himself when I bust his balls?” Feminism is to blame! If only there had been no feminism, my dear Uncle Morty wouldn’t have died at age 50 from Aunt Ruthie’s constant nagging!

    The authors may be on to something for non-Jews who resemble Jews in lifestyle — overeducated, godless, urban-dwelling transplants.

    But it’s a stretch to apply the “insights,” let alone proposed solutions, to married folks who are outside of the Jewish way of life.


    • I’m not someone who minds a discussion about what Jewish people tend to get up to — practically speaking it’s hard to get a grip on (say) psychoanalysis or mid-century American literary criticism without understanding the Jewish element in them. And I’m at least semi-sensitive to the “where is this person coming from culturally?” question, especially where advice-hander-outers go. But I don’t get the relevance here. Vilar’s view of man/woman dynamics is a trad-Euro one, and her book could easily be mistaken for one by a French author; Arndt based her book on lots of freely-volunteered evidence, and I didn’t catch her imposing any pre-cooked thesis on it. Like a good shrink or journalist she seemed to be reacting simply and humanly to what was in front of her eyes.


      • As far as cliché Jewish characterstics go, in both these writers I can definitely see plenty of brains, earthiness, drive, interest in psychology, verbal flair, debating fearlessness and lack of inhibition. But I suspect you’re thinking less about characteristics and more about a tendency to impose a certain script or two on their material. I didn’t notice any of that.


  2. slumlord. says:

    I’m glad you reviewed Arndt’s book and I think you gave it a fair treatment. I thought the book painted a fairly accurate picture of the love-lives of the couples that I see through work and I thought the work was a timely reminder that the sexual revolution has not been all beer and skittles.

    When the book came out it caused a bit of a stir here as phenomena of sexless marriages was thought to be far less frequent than what the book presented. There was a sort of deafening silence when men reported that even though they helped with chores, cuddled and engaged in endless foreplay they got nowhere in the sack. The media sidestepped the issue preferring to criticise Arndt for her solutions to the problem.

    Arndt’s views seem certainly to have changed from when she was a pioneering sexual liberationist in the early Seventies but she seems to have become much more “conservative” as she got older. The feminists really hate her now, especially since she gives male desire a legitimacy that many men even fail to acknowledge. Kind of ironic given that she was one of Australia’s early promoters of female sexual liberation. She has also become hostile to the concept of easy divorce.

    I had a lightbulb moment after reading her book. I thought to myself, where has female desire gone? And it was really interesting to see the traditional approaches for kindling it as being ineffective in real life. I mean this is a really important question since mismatched libido really kills a marriage. I had really gotten into reading Roissy at this time and I realised that despite being a sex therapist she really did not have a grasp of the problem.

    Her solution, just do it for the sake of your husband, drew furious ire from the basilisks of misandry
    and for once, I must admit I have to agree with them. Making a woman have sex with a man when she does not feel like is a recipe for disaster.

    I’m no macho man but reading the stories of men who described their despair at the sexlessness of the marriages, I thought to myself, why do you put up with this shit? I can understand wanting to stay together for the sake of the kids in an unhappy marriage but when the kids have left why stay. The reason they did so was because they were beta males and female sexual desire abhors a beta.

    Arndt had the solution the wrong way around. Instead of asking women to do it for the sake of their husbands she should have told them to “alpha-up” so that their wives would want to have sex with them. To her credit, Arndt seems to have wisened up a bit and has apparently been lurking around some of the manosphere, citing some of the more prominent writers but I think the notion of a natural hypergamous hierarchy seems a bit hard for her to openly advocate given her past credentials.


    • “Making a woman have sex with a man when she does not feel like is a recipe for disaster.”

      I agree. But at the same time women really do need to wake up to the fact that where the sex part of marriage goes they’ve got some responsibilities too. Just gritting their teeth thru a couple of bonks a week isn’t going to make anyone happy. But taking some care with their figures, remembering that one of the main reasons the guy is sharing a life with her at all is for relatively easy and regular sex, not letting chores or resentment get in the way of responsiveness and receptiveness … Too many women these days see all of that as unimportant. Personally I think their husbands should walk out on them, and the sooner the better. But there are often complicating factors, mostly children and the fear of getting financially wrecked. My guy friends whose marriages broke up because the wives cut off sex told me that they wound up feeling like support staff and dray horses. And good for them for finally walking out.

      “To her credit, Arndt seems to have wisened up a bit and has apparently been lurking around some of the manosphere, citing some of the more prominent writers …”

      (Puffing up a bit…) I can take credit for at least a bit of that. She and I were in touch back in the day — I think I linked to her from 2Blowhards and she emailed me, and we struck up an ongoing conversation. Anyway, at the time she was unaware of the Game scene, so I explained it to her and steered her to some of the better writers and thinkers. If I remember right she was quite open to it and was pretty impressed by how lively the scene was. The worldwide reach of 2Blowhards, right? I liked her — she was smart, funny, generous and unpretentious.

      Liked by 2 people

      • slumlord. says:

        I can take credit for at least a bit of that.

        Round of applause.

        By and large I’ve been quite impressed with her recently. She is quite a skillful media performer and holds her own quite well but I think she has become “on the nose” with the Cathedral, espousing views that one is not meant to have.

        But at the same time women really do need to wake up to the fact that where the sex part of marriage goes they’ve got some responsibilities too.

        The problem though, is that desire is a response and not a responsibility. There is some really interesting neuropsyche research by Charmaine Borg linking non-arousal and disgust. The bottom line is that non-aroused women find sex disgusting, aroused women don’t, and trying to compel them to have sex when not aroused is likely to form a negative association with sex and lead to psychophysical pathology. In order to overcome this natural barrier, you have to elicit desire.

        I’m a male family physician so its not like a have a huge clientele of women with dysfunctional libido’s but even in my small pool there are women who have gone from frigid to “anything goes” once a new man is introduced into the picture.

        However, I do agree with you that the sexual dimension of a marriage needs to emphasised but we’re living with a cultural legacy which was hostile to sex seeing it as a debased form of love. Women could co-opt this cultural legacy to justify sexual denial whilst at the same time gaining moral brownie points. The flipside to this is that sexual desire was never given the legitimacy in respectable Western Culture in the same way that food was. The religious thought it an “optional dimension” of the human person which the person was better rid of.

        The more I’ve thought about this the more I’ve realised what a fatal mistake to Western Culture this was, as the erotic dimension of our being forms a vital component of sexual polarity. Women who don’t look after themselves are less feminine that those who do, likewise for men. When you de-eroticise the sexes you end up with bland androgyny. Look around you; Wimpy men and fat and aggressive women.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Toddy Cat says:

        It’s genuinely astonishing to me how many married people under the age of 35 or so seem to see their marriage as some sort of power play, or arena for winning and losing, or a competition. No wonder no one wants to get married anymore. This does seem like a generational thing to me – I mean, I’m not bragging or anything, but I’ve been married almost twenty years, and my wife has never “withheld sex” (and needless to say, I haven’t). Sure, we’ve had our problems, lots of them, but neither one of us sees our sex lives as an arena of competition. Or maybe we’re just lucky…

        Liked by 2 people

  3. slumlord. says:

    The case that Vilar makes is that in modern societies men don’t oppress women; instead, women use men’s needs and cluelessness to control us. Men want sex and praise so badly, and are so blind to the games women play, that, despite our rep for running the world, we’re basically women’s slaves.

    This should be drummed into every man when he reaches adulthood. Being able to say no to the golden-pussy restores the natural order. I used to think that the Christian prohibition against fornication was an anti-sexual tendency. Now I see it as a check to pussy-pedastalisation. The social engineers of the sixites only saw fun and boundless sexual pleasure but what they got was men with out balls and women with them.


    • When should boys be told this, do you think? Freshman year of high school? Of college? Schools may be a hopeless case, though. But I definitely think fathers should be handing copies of Vilar’s books to their sons …


  4. Toddy Cat says:

    “not only sexist but fascist.”
    If this isn’t a slogan for a new American political party, it should be. Two great tastes that go great together! Put me down for a t-shirt, a bumper sticker, and a possible yard sign.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: The UR Syllabus of Shitlordery | Uncouth Reflections

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