So as you may or may not know, Scott Adams, the creator of “Dilbert,” has a blog.
This likely doesn’t surprise you. After all, anybody who’s anybody — and most anybody who isn’t — has a blog these days. And if it is a surprise, it likely doesn’t interest you. And yet perhaps it should, because Adams has written something worth reading, if only because it says so very much about Adams himself.
Oh, don’t go looking for it on his blog — he pulled it down, and rather quickly. Which is, I must say, the first think that merits opprobrium. I’ve written all sorts of things I’ve later regretted. I’ve clarified and apologized and moved on, but I’ve never disappeared a post, because once you publish a post, it’s not yours anymore; it belongs to the world.
But I can’t blame Adams for wanting to disappear this one; it’s perhaps the most spectacularly awful argument in favor of women being treated unfairly that I’ve ever read.
No, you didn’t misread that sentence.
Adams, apparently responding to MRA-types who wanted him to write about Men’s Rights, starts off badly.
The topic my readers most want me to address is something calledmen’s rights. (See previous post.) This is a surprisingly good topic. It’s dangerous. It’s relevant. It isn’t overdone. And apparently you care.
It isn’t a good topic. It isn’t dangerous, unless by “dangerous” one means “dangerous to logic.” It isn’t relevant. It’s totally overdone. And nobody cares outside of a fringe group of guys looking for excuses to hate women.
But please, go on.
Let’s start with the laundry list.
According to my readers, examples of unfair treatment of men include many elements of the legal system, the military draft in some cases, the lower life expectancies of men, the higher suicide rates for men, circumcision, and the growing number of government agencies that are primarily for women.
Wow. That’s a really, really painfully weak list of complaints. Men get drafted? Well, not in my lifetime. And the reason men get drafted and women don’t is that women aren’t allowed to serve in combat roles — a decision that is not one supported by women. Men have lower life expectancies? A big part of that is due to male-on-male violence, and I don’t know any women who argue that it’s great that their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons die off early. Higher male suicide rate? I agree, it’s a problem — but what’s standing in the way of men getting psychological help? I mean other than the faux macho, suck-it-up-sissy, men-don’t-cry school of manliness?
As for the only complaint that might hold a thimbleful of water — the legal system — I’ll grant you that the system could be improved with regard to child custody. But the underlying reason for that is the old, ingrained, patriarchal ideal that women are primary child-rearers, and men are not. Don’t like that women get custody more often? Work to build a system where men are valued equally as parents — just as women worked to build a system where women were equally valued as workers.
As for “the growing number of government agencies that are primarily for women” — name one. Because I can’t. If this list is so long and expansive, then I, as part of the evil feminist conspiracy, should have heard of at least one program from the nefarious Ministry of Misandry.
Adams, perhaps recognizing that this is hardly the stuff of revolution, expands.
You might add to this list the entire area of manners. We take for granted that men should hold doors for women, and women should be served first in restaurants. Can you even imagine that situation in reverse?
What do you mean “we,” Kemosabe? I don’t take it for granted that I’m supposed to hold doors for women — and the women I know don’t take it for granted that I’ll hold doors for them. I will, if I’m going through first — just as I will for my male friends — and my female friends will as well.
As for getting served first in a restaurant — I didn’t even know that was a thing. And if it is a thing, it’s a dumb thing. But I think most women would gladly get served second in exchange for, say, the right to walk down the street without being harassed. Just sayin.’
Generally speaking, society discourages male behavior whereas female behavior is celebrated. Exceptions are the fields of sports, humor, and war. Men are allowed to do what they want in those areas.
Add to our list of inequities the fact that women have overtaken men in college attendance. If the situation were reversed it would be considered a national emergency.
What is “male behavior,” and when has it been discouraged? Is it getting drunk and hitting on women whether they want you to or not? Because that seems to be still going on. Being slovenly? That’s not a uniquely male behavior, nor is it a universally male behavior. Is it riding the rails like an itinerant hobo? Because that is discouraged, and kind of stupid.
So what are we talking about? Is it grilling out? Playing video games? Watching porn? What the hell are you talking about?
How about the higher rates for car insurance that young men pay compared to young women? Statistics support this inequity, but I don’t think anyone believes the situation would be legal if women were charged more for car insurance, no matter what the statistics said.
Well, women have been paying more for health insurance, thanks to their costy uteruses. They also pay more for all sorts of common items, frommortgages to hair cuts to moisturizer. Funny, this probably adds up to be far more of a penalty than car insurance, but I don’t hear women complaining. Probably because they’re too busy trying to defend their reproductive rights.
As for college — yes, men have fallen behind women in college enrollment, driven primarily by large gaps in the African American and Hispanic communities. And I’m not sanguine about that. But I don’t particularly blame women for it. Indeed, the problem has not been that men have been enrolling in college less, but that women’s enrollment has skyrocketed. I’m not going to blame women for going out and getting an education.
Anyhow, I’ve learned that if I’m a man, I don’t have much to complain about. But surely Scott Adams is not so blinkered as to have ignored the fact that, you know, women had to create an entire movement in order to secure basic rights, one that continues to work to secure them today? Well, sure, he’s noticed them, but their complaints are like the buzzing of flies.
Women will counter with their own list of wrongs, starting with the well-known statistic that women earn only 80 cents on the dollar, on average, compared to what men earn for the same jobs. My readers will argue that if any two groups of people act differently, on average, one group is likely to get better results. On average, men negotiate pay differently and approach risk differently than women.
How it’s different I’m not going to tell you.
Women will point out that few females are in top management jobs. Men will argue that if you ask a sample group of young men and young women if they would be willing to take the personal sacrifices needed to someday achieve such power, men are far more likely to say yes. In my personal non-scientific polling, men are about ten times more likely than women to trade family time for the highest level of career success.
Well! It’s his personal, non-scientific polling! Case closed, ladies!
What we know is that “the highest level of career success” carries with it a series of demands that are specifically designed to force one to trade family time for said success. Why could that be? I’m sure it wouldn’t be because that structure makes it easier for men — who society expects will work and provide — to get the jobs, and that it makes it harder for women — who society expects will parent and nurture — to get and keep them. And I’m sure that no woman who’s happy to make that tradeoff ever finds herself unable to take advantage of it, because her supervisor “just knows” she’ll end up quitting to have a baby. And I’m sure all the men who are “willing” to make that tradeoff are as willing as the women who stayed home in the 1950s, because it’s what you’re “supposed to do.” Clearly, this is all just in the imaginations of women.
At any rate, all this has shown me is that MRAs are, as per usual, whining about nothing, and that they should get over it. I hope that’s what Adams tells them.
Now I would like to speak directly to my male readers who feel unjustly treated by the widespread suppression of men’s rights:
Get over it, you bunch of pussies.
Well! Okay! Maybe I was wrong. Oh, sure, “pussies” is offensive, but maybe Adams, halfway through his post, realized that the women’s issues he raised (and the ones he didn’t, like sexual assault and reproductive freedom) pretty much trump those issues brought up by his MRA followers. Maybe he’s going to tell them that they don’t know what bad is. Maybe he’s going to tell them to stop whining, straighten up, and recognize that men still aren’t anywhere near second-class citizens in our society.
The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone.
You don’t argue with a four-year old about why he shouldn’t eat candy for dinner. You don’t punch a mentally handicapped guy even if he punches you first. And you don’t argue when a women tells you she’s only making 80 cents to your dollar. It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles.
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.
How many times do we men suppress our natural instincts for sex and aggression just to get something better in the long run? It’s called a strategy. Sometimes you sacrifice a pawn to nail the queen. If you’re still crying about your pawn when you’re having your way with the queen, there’s something wrong with you and it isn’t men’s rights.
Okay, seriously, this is the point at which I grow stabby. Because this rambling, incoherent mess of an argument is unbelievably offensive to any sentient being.
First off, it’s obviously about as misogynistic an argument as one can muster for…well, anything. Women should be treated like children, or like the mentally handicapped. Because they’re not rational beings. And if you just humor them when they complain about their silly little “wage gap” or “rape” or “inability to secure safe and legal health care,” well, then you might get laid! (I know, his metaphor is pretty obscure, but that’s what it meant, if you couldn’t figure it out with your childish lady brains.)
But as deeply offensive and awful as the argument is toward women, it is nearly as evil toward men. I don’t like the MRAs, and I think they’re wrong about just about everything. But telling them, “Hey, shut up and you can bang chicks” is patently offensive. Believe it or not, men have more interests than sex. Really! It’s true! And saying that all male concerns should vanish in service to the larger focus of gettin’ some — well, as usual, nobody hates men as much as an anti-feminist.
Fairness is an illusion. It’s unobtainable in the real world. I’m happy that I can open jars with my bare hands. I like being able to lift heavy objects. And I don’t mind that women get served first in restaurants because I don’t like staring at food that I can’t yet eat.
See? Women are much more likely to get raped by men, but men have towait for our food! Everybody’s got issues! Stop complaining!
If you’re feeling unfairly treated because women outlive men, try visiting an Assisted Living facility and see how delighted the old ladies are about the extra ten years of pushing the walker around. It makes dying look like a bargain.
Unless your alternative is being dead. I don’t want to suffer in my old age, but neither do I want to give up on life while I can still enjoy some of it; frankly, if I’m pushing a walker around, surfing the internet, and watching old “Battlestar Galactica” reruns on the Old Folks channel, and if my daughter brings herself and her partner and any kids they might have around to visit once in a while — well, I’m not going to be in any hurry to leave, no matter how often I have to pee at night.
Oh, and the gender gap isn’t ten years — it’s five. That’s down from a high of 7.8 years. Clearly, that decline is proof of something. Just not that there’s a conspiracy to keep women alive at the expense of men.
I don’t like the fact that the legal system treats men more harshly than women. But part of being male is the automatic feeling of team. If someone on the team screws up, we all take the hit. Don’t kid yourself that men haven’t earned some harsh treatment from the legal system. On the plus side, if I’m trapped in a burning car someday, a man will be the one pulling me out. That’s the team I want to be on.
Seriously, I don’t even know what he’s talking about here. I thought the evo-psych just-so story was that men were more competitive and less collaborative?
And why would it be a man pulling you out of a burning car? I ain’t pulling nobody out of a burning car. And yet many female firefighters and police officers will do so happily.
This isn’t argument-by-analogy. It’s argument-by-stupidity.
Anyhow, we’re mercifully to the closing paragraph. And it’s here that Scott Adams suddenly achieves self-awareness.
I realize I might take some heat for lumping women, children and the mentally handicapped in the same group.
Oh, I don’t know who would do that.
So I want to be perfectly clear. I’m not saying women are similar to either group.
No! Of course not!
I’m saying that a man’s best strategy for dealing with each group is disturbingly similar.
Right! He’s not saying that women are children, or mentally disabled. He’s just saying that if you’re a man, you should treat women like they’re children, or like they’re mentally disabled. See? I don’t know why anyone would be offended by that.
If he’s smart, he takes the path of least resistance most of the time, which involves considering the emotional realities of other people. A man only digs in for a good fight on the few issues that matter to him, and for which he has some chance of winning. This is a strategy that men are uniquely suited for because, on average, we genuinely don’t care about 90% of what is happening around us.
So sure, women get all upset about “not getting fair pay” and “being expected to stay home with the kids” and “being raped” and stupid stuff like that. Women! Amirite? Always with the drama! Not like men — we don’t sweat the small stuff, like women’s rights.
Now, you might think that this is the most asinine thing you ever read, and that Adams himself clearly felt so, since he pulled the post. Maybe you’re even hoping that this is some kind of scam, that Adams didn’t write this at all. Well, to the second point, sorry — there are screen shots.
But you’re right, maybe Adams feels bad about it. Maybe he went to sleep, and woke up, and thought, “Boy, that was stupid.”
Is this an entire website dedicated to poor reading comprehension? I don’t think one of you understood the writing. You’re all hopping mad about your own misinterpretations.
That’s the reason the original blog was pulled down. All writing is designed for specific readers. This piece was designed for regular readers of The Scott Adams blog. That group has an unusually high reading comprehension level.
Yes, clearly your highfalutin’ speechifyin’ was the problem here. It couldn’t possibly be that people read your post and comprehended that it was a mélange of misogyny with a soupçon of stupidity. It must be we stupids out here in the netherworld.
Oh, and incidentally — you can write for whomever you think you’re writing for, but once it’s written, anyone can read it. Even stupid feminists and our stupid girly emotions.
In this case, the content of the piece inspires so much emotion in some readers that they literally can’t understand it. The same would be true if the topic were about gun ownership or a dozen other topics. As emotion increases, reading comprehension decreases. This would be true of anyone, but regular readers of the Dilbert blog are pretty far along the bell curve toward rational thought, and relatively immune to emotional distortion.
Which is why so many MRAs read it. Gotcha.
Seriously, Scott? You wrote a post in which you said women should be treated like children, and you want to hang your defense on the fact that you used a simile, and people are treating you like you used a metaphor? Come on. That’s pathetic.
Nobody’s misunderstanding what you wrote. We may think it was written poorly, but you weren’t deliberately obtuse. You pretty much wrote a series of easily comprehensible sentences that people easily comprehended. You’re just mad that some of the people who understood it were people outside your little in-group — and that some of them, like the women (and men) you insulted, dared to get angry at being insulted. Well, tough. You wrote it. Own it.
I’ve written on the topic how you can’t mix incendiary images in the same piece without the readers’ brains treating the images as though they were connected, no matter how clearly you explain that they are not. My regular readers understand that I do that intentionally as part of the fun. When quoted out of context, the piece becomes dangerous.
Which is why I’ve repeated every line in your post, Scott. Every. Single. Line. Because I’m not taking it out of context. Indeed, it’s the totality of your post that’s the problem, not any particular line.
You can see that the comments about the piece were little more than name-calling. When confronted with that sort of reaction, would it be wiser to treat the name-callers as you might treat respected professors with opinions worthy of consideration, or should you treat the name-callers as you would angry children, by not debating and not taking it personally?
See, ladies and gents? If you’d just discuss Adams’ assertion — that women should be treated like children so that men can have more sex — in a rational, calm way, he’d be happy to discuss things with you. But you insist on getting angry. Thus proving that you’re just like children! Check, mate, Scott gets to nail the queen.
You’re angry, but I’ll bet every one of you agrees with me.
I don’t agree with you, Scott. I don’t agree that men have it worse than women. I don’t agree that men have nothing to complain about.
But more than anything, I don’t agree that anyone, women or men, should simply accept “the world isn’t fair” as an endpoint. Flying Spaghetti Monster, do you know how awful our society would be if we accepted that? We are the society we are because women, African Americans, Jews, Protestants, serfs, slaves, homosexuals, and yes, men — all of them stood up at times to say, simply, “The world isn’t fair — and that is unacceptable.” And you know what happened?
The world changed.
Serfs and slaves were freed. People could speak their minds. They could worship how they wanted. They could vote. They could work. They could live the lives they desired.
Oh, we’re not there yet. The world still isn’t fair, and perhaps it never will be, not totally. But it’s a lot more fair than it was long before our time, Scott, and it’s getting more fair every day. And I’ll be damned if you tell us that unfairness is something we should accept. Scott, it’s the one thing we shouldn’t.