The Abuse of the Western Children of Misogynist Attention-Seekers

One of the more bizarre sub-plots from the bizarre story that is the faked balloon voyage of Falcon Heene is the YouTube video in which Falcon and his brothers claimed to be “not pussified.”

It’s a lovely video about how three young boys aren’t being “pussified,” and also, how they hate gay people. Hard to see how a family where dad has his children opine about how much they don’t want to be girls could go wrong, and so surprising that there have been, at the very least, allegations of domestic abuse against Richard Heene, the boys’ father.

Now obviously, this video is all about hating on the soi disant “feminizing” of American men, but it was the title of it — “Not Pussified” — that caught my eye. Because that links Heene back to one of the great moments in blog history.

Those of you who are newer denizens of the blogosphere may not be familiar with what is perhaps the ur-Men’s Rights screed, Kim duToit’s “The Pussification of the Western Male.” It is glorious in its awfulness, and I still hold to my initial response that it is the worst thing I have ever read, an opinion shared by many.

I don’t know that Heene read du Toit’s screed, but it seems pretty likely. At the very least, he picked up the word pussified from one du Toit’s readers, and then cheerfully passed it along to his sons. And that says something — for du Toit’s ideals are, to be blunt, awful.

The essay really should be read by anyone seeking to understand the mind of someone like Richard Heene, although I caution that it should not be read without a vomit bag by one’s side. It can’t be summarized, but here are a few choice passages:

We have become a nation of women.

It wasn’t always this way, of course. There was a time when men put their signatures to a document, knowing full well that this single act would result in their execution if captured, and in the forfeiture of their property to the State. Their wives and children would be turned out by the soldiers, and their farms and businesses most probably given to someone who didn’t sign the document.

[Several other examples of manly manliness deleted]

There was even a time when a President of the United States threatened to punch a man in the face and kick him in the balls, because the man had the temerity to say bad things about the President’s daughter’s singing.

We’re not like that anymore.

Quick interjection — du Toit is from South Africa. Yes, he now lives in America; still, I can’t help reading this and thinking, “who are you calling ‘we?'”

Now, little boys in grade school are suspended for playing cowboys and Indians, cops and crooks, and all the other familiar variations of “good guy vs. bad guy” that helped them learn, at an early age, what it was like to have decent men hunt you down, because you were a lawbreaker.

Now, men are taught that violence is bad—that when a thief breaks into your house, or threatens you in the street, that the proper way to deal with this is to “give him what he wants”, instead of taking a horsewhip to the rascal or shooting him dead where he stands.

[Several paragraphs of “proof” that modern men are weaklings deleted]

And finally, our President, who happens to have been a qualified fighter pilot, lands on an aircraft carrier wearing a flight suit, and is immediately dismissed with words like “swaggering”, “macho” and the favorite epithet of Euro girly-men, “cowboy”. Of course he was bound to get that reaction—and most especially from the Press in Europe, because the process of male pussification Over There is almost complete.

How did we get to this?

Remember, this was back in 2003, when our President was at his apex of manliness. Still, it says something that du Toit was swooning at the Mission Accomplished landing, doesn’t it?

In the first instance, what we have to understand is that America is first and foremost, a culture dominated by one figure: Mother. It wasn’t always so: there was a time when it was Father who ruled the home, worked at his job, and voted.

But in the twentieth century, women became more and more involved in the body politic, and in industry, and in the media—and mostly, this has not been a good thing. When women got the vote, it was inevitable that government was going to become more powerful, more intrusive, and more “protective” (ie. more coddling), because women are hard-wired to treasure security more than uncertainty and danger. It was therefore inevitable that their feminine influence on politics was going to emphasize (lowercase “s”) social security.

Yes, ladies — it’s your fault! Your fault that men no longer fight duels! Your fault that we no longer engage in fisticuffs, or drink until our livers explode! Blast you, and your belief that maybe it’s okay if drunken bar fights are not a daily occurrence in one’s life!

Kim du Toit whines for several more paragraphs about how television commercials show men as big doofuses, and therefore women are castrating bitches who deserve to be lonely (no, seriously: “What this guy is going to do is smile ruefully, finish his cereal, and then go and fuck his secretary, who doesn’t try to cut his balls off on a daily basis. Then, when the affair is discovered, people are going to rally around the castrating bitch called his wife, and call him all sorts of names. He’ll lose custody of his kids, and they will be brought up by our ultimate modern-day figure of sympathy: The Single Mom. You know what? Some women deserve to be single moms.”) and ranting about Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (“A bunch of homosexuals trying to “improve” ordinary men into something “better” [ie. more acceptable to women]: changing the guy’s clothes, his home decor, his music—for fuck’s sake, what kind of girly-man would allow these simpering butt-bandits to change his life around?”) and embracing misandry (“Yes, the men are, by and large, slobs. Big fucking deal. Last time I looked, that’s normal. Men are slobs, and that only changes when women try to civilize them by marriage. That’s the natural order of things.”) Oh, and also supporting sports like dog- and cock-fighting. And claiming that George W. Bush is a real man who doesn’t have to prove it. And making racist statements. And then comes perhaps the most asinine four paragraphs ever written in the English language.

Speaking of rap music, do you want to know why more White boys buy that crap than Black boys do? You know why rape is such a problem on college campuses? Why binge drinking is a problem among college freshmen?

It’s a reaction: a reaction against being pussified. And I understand it, completely. Young males are aggressive, they do fight amongst themselves, they are destructive, and all this does happen for a purpose.

Because only the strong men propagate.

And women know it. You want to know why I know this to be true? Because powerful men still attract women. Women, even liberal women, swooned over George Bush in a naval aviator’s uniform. Donald Trump still gets access to some of the most beautiful pussy available, despite looking like a medieval gargoyle. Donald Rumsfeld, if he wanted to, could fuck 90% of all women over 50 if he wanted to, and a goodly portion of younger ones too.

This is what Kim du Toit called for: the manliness of Donald Rumsfeld, and the condoning of rape — for rape is understandable, given how mean women are. And only the strong propagate — those strong enough to take by force what is not given.

That is what manhood is to men like this. Compare with the “pussification” seen by sneering troglodytes like Heene and du Toit: men taking responsibility for themselves. Choosing to think before acting, talk before fighting. Picking up the floor, maybe washing the dishes. Cleaning ourselves. Not putting our children heedlessly into harm’s way. Behaving, in short, like civilized human beings are supposed to.

It does not surprise me that a man who would raise his sons to declare that they weren’t going to be pussified would be the same kind of man who would beat his wife. Would be the same kind of man who would use his children to get ahead. Would be the same kind of man who would commit several felonies, and lie to the police, in a vain effort to get on television. It doesn’t surprise me at all, because the kind of man du Toit praised, and the kind of man Heene claimed to be, is at heart a narcissist, far more interested in himself than anyone else in the world, far more willing to risk himself and his family than to change course and admit fault. If the pussification of the Western male means fewer men like Heene and du Toit, then all I can say is that we can’t get pussified fast enough.

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35 Responses to The Abuse of the Western Children of Misogynist Attention-Seekers

  1. 1
    Jake Squid says:

    … the same kind of man who would beat his wife.

    Yeah. Although my initial reaction to the words scrolling by (put in a corner for “Time Out”) was, “This man beats his children and wants every other parent to beat their children. I hope that CPS takes those children out of that man’s reach immediately.” Granted, my own background makes me sensitive to this but this was as blatant as you can ask for without him saying, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” Then as the video crawled by, I thought, “Joel Steinberg & Hedda Nussbaum.” I hope to thing that I’m wrong in making that connection.

    I feel so very sorry for the kids and his wife.

    I need to stop hearing about Heene because it’s creeping me out.

  2. 2
    Ruchama says:

    I had a bout of insomnia a few nights ago and ended up watching both of their Wife Swap episodes. We never really saw Richard Heene interacting with his actual wife much, but we saw him screaming at the “new wives” plenty. Also, at least twice, he threw something at her when he didn’t get his way. In one of those instances, some of the crew had to step in and restrain him. My thought was, “If he’s doing this to a stranger in front of the camera, what the HELL is he doing when his wife is home and the cameras are gone?”

    On one of the episodes, the “new wife” said something to him that he didn’t like (I think it was that it was dangerous for him to leave some of his science equipment lying around when he had little kids running around the house), and he started screaming at her, ending with something like, “You know what? Every man in America who is watching this is saying, ‘Yeah, Heene! Yeah, Heene! You tell her! Because that nagging bitch sounds just like my wife!'” He concluded another similar rant with “I am SO glad my wife was born in Japan.”

    On his wife’s side of the swap, she told her “new husband” that he’s not a real man because he cooks breakfast for his kids.

  3. 3
    Myca says:

    What a lovely opportunity to link Philosoraptor’s ‘The duToitification of the Western Conservative‘.


  4. 4
    Elusis says:

    He concluded another similar rant with “I am SO glad my wife was born in Japan.”

    Yes, Heene manages the sexism/racism/homophobia trifecta quite beautifully, and using his kids in a public attention-gathering stunt just sticks the landing.

  5. 5
    Jeff Fecke says:


    Thanks for linking that. That takedown never gets old, and I’ve probably read it two or three times a year over the past six years.

    My favorite passage among many:

    Here’s another textbook fallacy (note: sounds like “phallus,” but means something different. And, although I know you think that using a phallus makes you smart, using a fallacy does the opposite.) This fallacy is called the “post hoc fallacy” from post hoc ergo propter hoc. That’s Latin, which is an old language that smart people used to use. It means after this, therefore because of this. See, what you are saying is that government got bad after we foolishly started treating women as if they were human beings, letting them vote and suchlike. So, since it happened after women got the vote, it must have been women’s voting that caused it. Textbook fallacy. Oops…I meant: textbook fallacy, dumbass.


  6. 6
    Joy-Mari Cloete says:

    Oh god, I feel awful right now. That du Toit guy is from my country! If only his mother had had an abortion instead. But, back in Apartheid South Africa, abortion was not a feasible choice. Such a pity.

    I just need to point out one or two inconsistencies in his hysterical rant.

    1) Men control media. That means that yes, sure there are women writers who might write men-bashing episodes but surely the upper dogs can veto such episodes, no?

    2) I forget what I wanted to say…Oh, yeah, our culture is very much male-centric. Perhaps he lives on a different planet than I do.

  7. 7
    AndiF says:

    If women getting the vote is responsible for everything involving the big bad government that happened after, then I guess these folks are also unhappy about things like the huge increase in life expectancy (from 192o’s Male 53.6, Female 54.6 to 2008’s Male 74.1, Female 79.6), electrification of the entire country, and computers and the internet. So I guess they could show us all just how serious they are about resisting this terrible pussification by never posting another thing to the internet, giving up all computer use, cutting the power to their houses, and committing suicide before age 60.

    But this attitude does explain why so many on the far right think Obama is Hitler. Since it was after women got the vote, winning World War II is clearly a bad thing that should have never happened.

  8. 8
    Susan says:

    Wow. I don’t watch television, so I had never heard of this guy. I was worried about the child, then miffed when it looked like a hoax.

    But now I’m glad he’s headed for jail.

  9. 9
    Mandolin says:

    The beginning of that take down — about how there is a real danger of us undervaluing men and becoming wimpy (I hate that construction. If we undervalue women, then we’re too butch and aggressive. If we undervalue men, then we’re wimps! Not words that have any positive connotation, oh no. Just wimps. Because women are wimps. Yay.) — was pretty obnoxious.

  10. 10
    PG says:


    I think you might have misread the “take down” — he says,

    I actually agree with a certain idea buried in du Toit’s screed: certain parts of our culture undervalue virtues traditionally thought of as masculine–values like courage and self-reliance–and overvalue virtues traditionally thought of as feminine—values like kindness and cooperation. But it’s important to remember that certain other sectors do just the reverse. If we were rational, of course, we’d value them all to the right degree, which might be equally or might not; but these issues are shrouded in mystery. It’s important to get this right, lest we turn boys and girls into either louts or sissies. Strangely, we’ve always recognized that it’s bad to be a loutish woman or a sissified man—in fact, we’ve traditionally exaggerated the badness of those things. But to this day some people still think that it’s o.k. to be a loutish man or a sissified woman. It isn’t. Everybody should be at least moderately self-reliant and courageous, and everybody should be at least moderately kind and cooperative. Du Toit claims that he doesn’t want to defend caricatures of masculinity, but that, as we’ll see, doesn’t really seem to be true.

    He’s not endorsing the idea that courage and self-reliance actually are masculine virtues; indeed, he’s criticizing our culture’s past acceptance of women who lacked those virtues, and saying that everyone ought to have them. (I remember writing much the same thing to my cousin when he sent me a stupid Peggy Noonan op-ed after 9/11 in which she praised the re-emergence of “masculine” virtues — if they are virtues, they are good for everyone, not just men.)

  11. 11
    Mandolin says:


    You’re right. I misread him. (Or at least, misremembered him this morning when i decided to comment and complain about what I read yesterday. :-P)

    I found these two sentences grating:

    I’d put the point this way: we’re in danger of undervaluing virtues like courage and self-reliance that are traditionally thought of as masculine.


    So I see the problem of wimpification as a relatively minor, relatively recent and eminently correctable phenomenon, a predictable case of the pendulum swinging a bit too far in the other direction as we try to correct a bigger and more long-term problem.

    He refers to overblown traditionally masculine behaviors as loutish, and overblown traditionally feminine behaviors as wimpy. So that’s definitely turn-about is fair play.

    But I don’t really buy that we’re in danger of becoming “too feminine” and “too wimpy.” I think it’s a stretch to say duToit has a point about that.

    But whatever, not a big deal; even if I disagree with that point, I’m sure he only spends a couple sentences on it before going on to awesomeness. I just didn’t feel like finishing the essay after that. Maybe I will at some point tonight when I’m on my nightly hunt for reading material.

  12. 12
    hf says:

    Well, I agree with him in a way. But the people who seem cowardly to me may consider themselves courageous for supporting torture.

  13. 13
    Politicalguineapig says:

    This whole thing proves that testosterone ought to be regarded as a pre-existing condition- dangerous to kids, women and society at large. I wonder how many criminals got away while all the police were out looking for that kid?

  14. 14
    Winston Smith says:

    Wow, tough crowd.

  15. 15
    Mandolin says:

    “This whole thing proves that testosterone ought to be regarded as a pre-existing condition-”

    Not even close to appropriate.

  16. 16
    Politicalguineapig says:

    Why is it not appropriate? Because of one guy’s raging hormones and attention-seeking tendencies, a whole lot of cops were tied up, endangering the population. What if another kid had gotten lost and was in immediate danger? How many criminals managed to commit a crime because the cops weren’t there?
    I’ll be happy to take this to the health threads, but men are a real danger to women’s and children’s health.

  17. 17
    Ampersand says:

    “One guy” doesn’t equal “men as a group.” It’s sexist to generalize to all men from this one man’s actions, or even from the actions of the minority of men who commit crimes.

  18. 18
    Myca says:

    Hey Politicalguineapig … I’m a man. So’s Ampersand. So’s Jeff Fecke.

    So when you write:

    This whole thing proves that testosterone ought to be regarded as a pre-existing condition- dangerous to kids, women and society at large.

    That’s us you’re talking about. Because, thanks to our genital configuration, we’ve got more testosterone, on average than women.

    And yet I’ve never hoaxed the police with a fake balloon kidnapping, and to the best of my knowledge, neither has Amp or Jeff.

    I don’t think I’m dangerous to kids, women and society at large, and I don’t think they are either.

    Blaming testosterone is both too harsh and too lenient here.

    It’s too harsh to the many men who might have a lot of testosterone but who are not dangerous to those around them, and it’s ironically, too lenient to the actual target of your criticism, Richard Heene. It’s too lenient to him because it offers him an easy excuse for his behavior … a gender-based twinkie-defense. “It wasn’t me! It was the testosterone!”

    Well, I disagree. It wasn’t the testosterone here, it was him.


  19. 19
    Joy-Mari Cloete says:

    Never mind that women, too, have testosterone. And intersex people such as Caster Semenya. So no, testosterone isn’t the problem.

  20. 20
    Myca says:

    I think that Winston is basically correct when he says:

    I actually agree with a certain idea buried in du Toit’s screed: certain parts of our culture undervalue virtues traditionally thought of as masculine–values like courage and self-reliance–and overvalue virtues traditionally thought of as feminine—values like kindness and cooperation. But it’s important to remember that certain other sectors do just the reverse.

    Think of politicalguineapig’s testosterone comment.

    The thing is, that as a young feminist/feminist-allied man, I remember clearly the moment at which I realized that being strong, was not, in itself, abusive, and that was the use to which that strength was put that mattered. It was a powerful moment. Last 15 minutes of The Iron Giant powerful.


  21. 21
    Mandolin says:

    I’m trying to remember if I deleted a similar comment from politicalguineapig that was in moderation for another thread which was similar, unthinking misandrist drivel. (Hey, look, I said misandrist. Do I get a feminist critics cookie?) Anyway, I’m not sure if it was her or someone else. If it was her, I’d consider banning her now, but since I’m not sure, let’s call that a draw.

    So, yeah, either way — Politicalguineapig, please avoid language that attributes fundamental qualities to individuals based on their sex.

    While I understand that people’s great frustration with situations that echo ways in which they are oppressed in society can lead to people saying things they don’t mean later (I know there was one point when, after reading about some very nasty murders that men committed against women, children, and pets, I commented, “I hate men!” to a friend of mine who immediately responded, “No, you don’t”), it’s not really appropriate to let “Men suck” be your first and last opinion on the subject.

    Among other things, I really doubt that it IS your first or last opinion on the subject. You can probably conjure a man from your life that you don’t think is “poisoned by testosterone.” If you can, then please spare everyone your reasons for why Nigel is exempt from your edict about all men, and skip to the “you’re right, obviously the behavior I’m citing is not an intrinsic quality of all men.” (If you can’t think of any men that you don’t feel are “poisoned by testosterone”, then that places you in an abnormal situation, I think. I won’t say regrettable, because what the hell do I know about your situation? Could be awesome. But it would be unusual, I think.)

    So that’s the compassionate, I-know-we-all-get-frustrated reaction. I could also give you the logical, argh please do some research on biology before stating obviously counterfactual shit reaction, but I won’t say more than that.

    Let me just repeat the moderator reaction: no bigotry on alas pls. kthx.

  22. 22
    Mandolin says:

    “Think of politicalguineapig’s testosterone comment.”

    Nah. I think her POV is fringe of the fringe. I mean, I’m not really ready to concede it has power in society.

  23. 23
    Myca says:

    Nah. I think her POV is fringe of the fringe. I mean, I’m not really ready to concede it has power in society.

    Well, yes. I’m certainly not arguing that that specific belief is widely held.


  24. 24
    Tessombra says:

    I’m curious as to why this man feels in such a way–I mean, I can’t simply accept that a person’s beliefs and values are manipulated by a certain hormone to that extent. I go off the deep end every once a month, but it doesn’t alter my MORAL standing–it just makes me cranky. It has to be something deeply ingrained over time, reinforced by certain forces over and over. What happened to him that has frustrated him to this point? And yes, it sounds like utter frustration–something FAILED here, he doesn’t know WHY, so he’s found and accepted a dogma that he feels covers it, without having to assume personal blame–the way of least resistance. I mean, the man wants to be famous obviously–it means success to him–perhaps this is just a case of bad societal influences perpetuating itself in the people it failed.

  25. 25
    Politicalguineapig says:

    Mandolin: I do know some awesome guys. But when I see a guy like this, it really makes me despair. (Thank god, his kids will eventually be moved to a better environment.)
    And coupled with the recent events, and knowing that as the holiday season approaches and there’s more economic stress that I’m going to hear about more men killing their spouses and children- well it just puts me in a really growly mood. Sorry for the comments, I really don’t mean to troll.

  26. 26
    PG says:

    Nah. I think her POV is fringe of the fringe. I mean, I’m not really ready to concede it has power in society.

    I’m not sure it has power in society, but it’s certainly something I’ve heard from a lot of women, and even a few men (who are generally using it in the crap evolutionary psychology/ biology excuse-making way).

    I think chemicals in the brain can possibly have such a severe effect as to impair someone’s ability to be a moral actor — this is a reasonable conclusion from the combination of an insanity defense to criminal prosecution, and our growing understanding of severe mental illness as being tied to problems in brain structure and chemistry — but there’s a reason we view this as an exception to the rule: most people do bad things because they think it will obtain for them something they want, and that indicates that they’re rational actors whose brains are working well enough.

  27. 27
    Mandolin says:

    “well it just puts me in a really growly mood. Sorry for the comments, I really don’t mean to troll.”

    Yeah, I think it’s natural to have a growly backlash once in a while.

  28. 28
    Crys T says:

    Oh boy. Here we go: OK, first off, I agree with the points PG makes at #26. Also, I think that, for those reasons, it’s completely pointless from a feminist point of view to make statements like that. Also, they’re not useful because, as has been pointed out by several commenters, they’re not true. Finally, despite the fact that I haven’t shaved my legs for, oh, at least four or five days, there are men in my life whom I both like and love, and I don’t really get off on trashing them due to the ridiculous actions of one buffoon.

    I concede all of that.

    But “misandrist”? Really? We’re taking the “reverse discrimination” line here now? What happened to the idea that the “-ism” in question required bigotry plus power? Or does that only apply when it’s someone we like/feel the need appear righteous in front of making the “offensive” remark?

  29. 29
    Mandolin says:

    “Oh boy. Here we go:”


    “Or does that only apply when it’s someone we like/feel the need appear righteous in front of making the “offensive” remark?”

    You want to back that up, Chrys T? Or are you just accusing me for fun and games?

    I used the word misandrist because the remark qualified as being prejudiced against men based on qualities assumed to be intrinsic to the male sex, which is what I feel is intended by the term “misandry” when it’s applied to a specific remark, as opposed to, say, a social dynamic. Oppression requires prejudice plus power. I did not suggest politicalguineapig was oppressing men. Nor did I invoke the spector of reverse discrimination.

    Take further remarks to an open thread.

  30. 30
    Mandolin says:

    Chrys T: I don’t know how to move comments into other threads, so you’ll have to wait for Barry to get home and do it for you. In the meantime, I’ve moved your comment into moderation.

    If you want to put it into an open thread yourself, as was plainly requested, then go for it.

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  32. 31
    Jewell says:

    As much as I disagree with what Politicalguineapig has said, when I hear stories like I too am guilty of being a pessimist.

  33. 32
    sanabituranima says:

    There was even a time when a President of the United States threatened to punch a man in the face and kick him in the balls, because the man had the temerity to say bad things about the President’s daughter’s singing.

    We’re not like that anymore.

    And that’s a terrible, terrible thing.

  34. 33
    PG says:


    Funny that Du Toit picked that as his example, since it last came up when William Safire wrote in his NYT column that Hillary Clinton was “a congenital liar,” and then-President Clinton said that if he weren’t president, he’d punch Safire in the nose.

    Interestingly, when it was a female music critic, May Craig, who gave Margaret Truman’s singing a poor review, Truman’s response was not the threat of assault but what Craig called “a personal, kindly, sad reproach.” Alas that President Truman did not properly uphold the honor of his daughter’s singing by slapping Ms. Craig!

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