Author’s Note: It has come to my attention that popular dating coaches (for women) Evan Marc Katz and Andrew of The Rules Revisted have been discussing the Manosphere of late – yet another in the very long line of blog posts, articles and the like seeking to “examine” our corner of the Internet this year.
The following was an open letter I wrote to EMK, after a series of articles was published about him and his work on my blog Just Four Guys last summer. In light of the recent articles he and Andrew have written, I felt it important that an official “response” was registered. I welcome any and all comments in response.
“We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock; Plymouth Rock, landed on us!”
OK, now that I’ve had a bit of time to sit down and reflect on our exchange over the past few weeks, I feel I’m in a better place to share my thoughts.
First, again, I want to thank you for taking the time out; I admit that I’m a persistent guy who can’t take “no” for an answer – but if I simply did what guys like you do, I’d never get anywhere or have anything in this world. For mere mortals like us, persistence pays.
The first thing I want to say is that I am deeply offended by your handling of me and more importantly, my website. My old Just 4 Guys (J4G) web site has gone out of its way to take your concerns seriously, addressing them many times. Moreover, I really do not appreciate the way you have repeatedly referred to the fellas over there in the most derisive terms – terms that are completely unfair and counterproductive. Indeed, many of the very same things you say about us, you claim to have been said about you(!). I can think of no bigger case study of Projection.
Two of the J4G team members, Ciaran and Morpheus, have gone out of their way to be fair and respectful on your own website – this, after both have been viciously personally attacked without nary a word from you to your regular readers not to do so or failing that, to at least tone it down. Yet they continued to engage your readers with grace and aplomb. I know this because I quietly read the comments.
Not only that, but your characterization of them, and more broadly, J4G itself, was patently dishonest and unfair. Both Ciaran and Morpheus are happily married men, and so are quite a few team members and regular contributors. For you to paint J4G as a bunch of lonely bitter basement dwellers is disingenuous, and I’ve had enough of it.
I will not have you besmirch the website I cofounded and helped to build with my bare hands any longer. Measure for measure we are more fair and objective than your readers, and unlike you, I went out of my way to ensure that you were not personally attacked – I personally deleted some two dozen comments referring to you in a derisive way, and that’s after I admonished everyone not to do so. I have upheld my word to you, Evan.
Moving to your “challenge”, there have been at least half a dozen lengthy and detailed responses from J4G readers, as to how your hypothetical 38-year-old woman could find love and kids – which, I might add, is far and away more helpful and constructive advice than I could find on your site from your readers, most of whom seem completely cool with dismissing the travails of men out in the mating market in our time.
A case in point is the short Men post you had up from some years back. Women on your site felt wholly justified in taking a “let him eat cake” stance, again, with nary a peep from you. I read a lot of what you write, Evan and I pay close attention to what your lady readers have to say. To say that I am disappointed, would be an understatement.
I also deeply resent your repeated attempts to compare and liken J4G and similar pro-male sites to Jezebel, something no reasonable person would do. For one thing, we don’t allow derisive comments about women to be said on the site – don’t take my word for it, go and do a bit of research, and see pointed comments to this effect by yours truly. We don’t allow gratuitous profanity, personal attacks or referring to women wholesale in profane ways, and not only have I, but also other team members have taken down comments from offenders as recently as a week ago(!). We are not bomb throwers and we seek to bring as much light as heat – we are nothing like Jezebel, and I resent, to the depths of my being, your repeated allegations in this regard. It is the height of disrespect, Evan. I want you to stop it.
Now, having said that: yes, as Morpheus has noted in your forum, there are indeed men at J4G who are in a bad place, as a result of their dealings with women. Some have said some harsh things along these lines. Neither I, nor Morpheus, Ciaran or any of the rest of the team, denies this fact.
On the other hand, and you can contact Dr. Jeremy Nicholson about this if you don’t believe me, as he would know firsthand: shortly after our second email exchange was posted at J4G, Dr. Jeremy wanted to post a comment that turned out to be too lengthy. So, we decided to run his comment-turned-article on J4G, which was based on our exchanges. The result was a near 1K(!) comments-thread, where several J4G team members, including Morpheus, had gone on the record in defending Dr. Jeremy’s piece from the more cynical commenters, and admonished them to ratchet back their derision. Again, where is the Jezebel equivalent? I reject out of hand your repeated attempts toward comparison in this regard. There is none.
On top of all of this, not only have J4G readers addressed your concerns about your typical woman client, I have done the same in my response to you, originally in email form and then in article form on J4G itself. I specifically said that it is not at all unusual to see women in Black America who were older than your example having relationships and some even kids as a result.
I told you about specific cases I knew of in this regard. I cited critically acclaimed research by nationally-known scholars who have noted the same thing. And I have said that this was true in some of America’s poorest and racially segregated sectors.
Finally, I offered no comment one way or another about an older woman looking for love and kids – but I’ll go on record right now. I have no problem in the least with it. In fact, I do not believe that simply because a woman is older, that she is no longer worthy of getting a relationship, love, sex or kids. I never felt this way, don’t now, nor do I foresee it for the future.
What I DO have a concern about, however, and here I think I can speak for many of the J4G readership, is the way many Women – not “all” but enough to make it a problem for guys like me –go about “switching lanes” in their mating choices. Many Women will, as a result of their no longer being able to appeal to more top shelf Men like you, then turn to guys like us – that’s the whole point of my essay “A Blue Collar Brotha Speaks”. We’re not the first, or even third choice – we’re their last stop on the way to spinsterhood. A lot of the older gals we’re talking about, first tried their hands at landing themselves a Mr. Big, got burned badly, got rode hard and hung out wet, and now toward the end of their reproductive attractiveness, turn to us. Oh, joy.
Which brings me to another point: J4G in particular, and the Manosphere more generally, is about the only place men in our time have to be heard in their own voices. Men in our time have been either inculcated or cowed, cajoled or coerced into saying things that the Ladies Want To Hear(TM) – under threat of job firings and expulsion from polite society, as the recent Stephen A. Smith situation aptly proves.
There is a huge incentive, quite a few actually, for men of your stature to tow the party line, Evan. Sure, there are True Believers, and I think you’re one of them but that fact doesn’t change what I’ve just pointed out, either.
The Manosphere provides a vital service in giving men who are disaffected, disabused and disrespected, a place to be heard, to vent, to let their feelings out and yes, to move toward solutions and becoming whole again – and I will not let those who couldn’t be bothered to give a damn about the inner lives of Men, for decades, to suddenly come riding in on their high horses and fix their mouths to “tell” us “what we ought to be doing” – Bunk. That.
As professional therapists of some decades like Dr. Tara and Dr. Helen, the former a regular contributor to A Voice For Men, the latter an author of a well-known book and regular at PJ Media have gone on record in saying, counseling services for men are, at this juncture in early 21st century life, paltry at best and downright demeaning to men at worst – as the recent suicide of the late Robin Williams(!) makes clear. We STILL treat men’s mental and emotional health issues like it was a cruel joke, the bodies of men littered hither and yon, with nary a mumbling word from the Cathedral about it. Had Williams known about the Manosphere, he just might be alive today. It’s hard to see how he could have been worse.
And the same can be said on the dating and relationship front. It beggars belief how so many people like you can talk about the Pickup Artist community like a dog, but none of you gave a damn about men in this regard, and still don’t – the majority of dating and relationship services are geared toward women, and that’s true on both sides of the Color Line, to this day, in 2014 – fact.
No one claims perfection with the Pickup community; I certainly don’t but as someone who has lived cheek by jowl with them for several years, I can say without any fear of rebuke or reprisal that they are the ONLY ones out there who not only give a damn about the mating needs of men, but who actually provide a system and network of services that actually WORK.
Meanwhile, dating coaches like you abandon men and leave them to their fates on the Freeway of Love, with nary a look back, justifying it with trite bromides about how “Men aren’t interested in really understanding women” and so forth. The Pickup community has shown all of you up for the failures that you truly are, proving that millions of men worldwide do indeed care deeply about connecting with women, and have had nowhere to turn to in order to get it done.
Many of you are deeply jealous of the Pickup Community’s massive success (Neil “Style” Strauss’ “The Game” has been a NYT bestseller, dwarfed only by the likes of Steve Harvey’s “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man”) in an area of the Self-Help market that Forbes magazine itself has said is all but impossible to break into – and they’ve done it without the stamp of approval from what we in the ‘sphere refers to as the Cathedral – the complex of media, academia and credentialed “experts” and talking head pundits – that you and others of your ilk are a part and parcel of.
Don’t hate the Player, hate the Game, indeed.
No one is a bigger critic of the Manosphere than me, Evan, and I’ve got the paper trail to prove it. As one of the relatively few Black voices in that space online, I have much to say about how and where the Manosphere can and should improve.
But I can also say, that without the Manosphere, I honestly don’t know where I would be. Because it’s clear that I don’t even exist to the likes of people like you – for all intents and purposes, you are a social, economic and sexual One Percenter. Guys like me – Black, working class and blue collar – aren’t even addressed by the Cathedral, unless it’s time to “examine” what is “wrong with us” this time – or when BABY BOOMER(!!) upper class Women are finally “ready” to “settle down” and turn to one of us to get’er done.
I can think of no bigger insult, no deeper dis, than this, and I blame people like you for it. The Manosphere helped me find my voice, helped me to refine it in the form of tens of thousands of comments logged in after teaching myself how to type, use the Internet and computers, and how to write, and, by popular demand of its denizens, gave me the encouragement to try my hand at blogging – something I didn’t even know existed before five years ago.
It was the Manosphere who gave my thoughts, my experiences, my feelings, my inner life, the time of day, when people like you, and a whole mess of Women, couldn’t be bothered or care less. It was the Manosphere who gave me the chance to be heard, in the form of being published (and soon, being heard literally, in the form of radio – stay tuned), in just about every major venue of note and record – the Spearhead, A Voice For Men, the Good Men Project (back when Tom Matlack was still actually the head of it and wasn’t forced out by the Feminist Lobby’s Digital Mob), and other outlets like the Urban Politico. People like you don’t even recognize my existence, and when you do it’s for cheap yuks and finger wagging – just ask Charles Ramsey about all of that.
So I consider my critique of the Manosphere to be far and away more valid and useful than anything you or anyone on your side of the aisle could fix your mouths to say.
As for your book, etc: I have no problem in the least with it, nor your “mission” with the ladies. In fact, I know of no one in the Manosphere, who does. The ladies have every right to avail themselves of the services you and others like you provide, and I for one wish them all the best in their search for love and happiness.
Moreover, I found your book to be very well presented and written, and yes, there is much truth within its pages. But then, I didn’t need to read your book to know that you try to engage the issues with a somewhat even hand – recall my citation of your “Curvy Women” post, for example. You were candid in a way that far too many in the Cathedral are not, and for that you are to be highly commended. It is in fact, one of the reasons why I chose to contact you in the first place.
But, and this is important to point out, when you say that me and mine are not being fair or “moderate” in our presentation of ideas at J4G, that we aren’t “caring enough” with regard to the ladies’ side of things, I have to respond with a look of incredulity – because, it has been my experience, that one, the whole of the culture in our time is inundated with the Concerns of Women(TM) – to the point that I for one, am drowning in it.
Everywhere I turn, from the street level to TED talks online, the concerns, interests, aspirations, fears and anxieties of women, are taken seriously, discussed at nauseating length openly, and we are all exhorted to do all we can to “care” – all the while, the very same people, and yes I am saying women here, do all they can to silence me and mine – from smear campaigns at the first ever Men’s Issues conference, to making up whole cloth outright lies about the supposed involvement the late spree shooter Eilliot Rodger had with the Manosphere (hint: it was a LIE), to attempts to paint the whole of the Pickup Community as a “rape academy”, to firing sportscasters for having the gall to say openly what we all have been actually thinking for quite sometime (please note the roaring applause from the virtually all-female audience of “The View” when Ms. Whoopie Goldberg came out in defense of Stephen A. Smith!), to attempts to silence anyone who questions shibboleths like “street harassment” and so forth (please see my recent email exchange with Ms. Lindsey, of Cards Against Harassment, for starters) – the list goes on and on and on.
What I’ve found, Evan, isn’t that guys on my side of the fence who are intemperate and extreme – but the other side, the ladies, and yes, their male allies, who want to silence me and mine, want to tar and feather us as deviants and want to run us out of the public square, by hook or by crook. It is them who do not want a full-throated, open debate, or even a conversation – you must buy, hook, line and sinker, what they’re selling, first, or you’re just a knuckle-dragging, foaming at the mouth woman-hater not worth giving the time of day to.
You say that I, and by extension, the rest of J4G and even the Manosphere itself, is “angry”; that much of what is said on J4G is “misogynistic”. I defy you, Evan Marc Katz, to find me proof, that I, Obsidian, am an “angry, bitter misogynist” – quote back to me direct statements, written by my own hand, where this is the case?
Quote me directly, the smoking gun evidence – or please cease and desist with these hateful and hurtful allegations, which serve no other purpose than to deflect the focus of my and my brothers’ arguments, and derail the discussion once again onto the Concerns of Women(TM), as if they haven’t had enough “focus, attention and caring” lo these many years already.
Nor do I or anyone I know in the ‘sphere want to see it altered or stopped in any way – we’re simply fighting for our own little corner of the world. And even that is now under threat, by those who claim to be so strong and independent, who proffer notions of Yo Go Grrlism, and “I don’t need no Man”ism, who are so fragile and weak that they can’t even handle a differing point of view.
No, men in our time must, in the words of Bill Maher, “make women nod” in approving and understanding “empathy” – an emotionally manipulative ploy if there ever was one – where men cannot speak in their own voices without fear of excommunication from the Cathedral.
And, in closing, I think this is why fate has chosen me, of all people, to do what it is that I am doing – I am not now, nor have I ever been, a part and parcel of said Cathedral. I cannot, and will not, be silenced, because those who oppose me cannot do anything to me that hasn’t already been done.
They cannot bludgeon me with shouts of “racist’, because I’m Black. They can’t tar and feather me with bromides of “elitistism” because I am on the bottom of the social and economic hierarchy of American life. And they can’t libel me with “misogynist” because some of my staunchest defenders have been and will continue to be, women themselves – many of whom do not agree with me on a great many things, I might add.
Not only that, but pouts of “patriarchy” is an utter joke when considering the fact that I hail from the most matriarchal sector of American life – the Black community – and has been thus for many decades running at this point. The Manosphere needed a voice that is hard to shut down, Evan.
Now, they have one.
I, and J4G, have answered your questions, Evan – now it is your turn to answer mine. What has Feminism done for the Blue Collar Brotha?
Why should he “court” in the manner of his father and grandfather, given the massive – and rapid – changes that have come down the pike in as many decades? What direct, tangible benefits accrue to him, for doing so?
This last question is hugely important, both because of your total evasion of it when I first asked you, and because of the notion of some of your readers, that for guys like me, “courting” is the “way to go” – I am here to tell you and to tell them, it is most assuredly NOT. All that will be done is wasting money and time, with precious little to show for it – either in terms of sex or relationships.
Being “bright and decent” simply doesn’t count for a lot in the Black American mating market. Go back and reread the leadoff quote by “Tyrone” from Hill Harper’s book “The Conversation” (yet another NYT bestseller, and, yet another in the umpteen tomes that cater solely to women, in this case Black) in my essay, “One of The Good Guys” – the Sistas, the same ones who bemoan “where all the good Black Men have gone?”, turn their noses up at him, and waste his time and money.
Yet, if Tyrone says anything about his hurt, his pain, his disappointment, he is told, both by Black society and certain parts of the White one, to “Man Up” – which really means to Shut Up. No wonder so many Black Men die early deaths, from having to hold in all their thoughts, emotions and concerns. Well, I won’t be another statistic.
Since I have asked you in plain language what’s in it for me, to “court” (Black) women in our time today, it’s only fair to answer the question, as to what’s in it for a (Black) woman to be involved with me – and unlike you, I can be much more specific in my response:
- I am fiercely loyal and faithful – something that any Black woman in particular that’s worth her salt would recognize and appreciate. Even in the Age of Obamacare, trips to the doctor for treatment of STDs can be expensive, time-consuming and emotionally embarrassing.
I am debt, disease, and Baby Mama Drama free – compare and contrast to so many Black women in our time. No Black woman ever went out of house and home because of me.
I have never raised my hand to hurt a (Black) woman, and wouldn’t consider doing so either – something else that ought to be of concern to Black women, given the extremely high levels of spousal and domestic violence in our time.
I believe in the values of education and hard work – they just don’t come in the form of high status/high visibility credentialed positions. Something Black women are especially enamoured with.
And those are just for starters. In short, I can honestly say that I bring real value into a Black woman’s life, measured in dollars and cents, among other things. But can the same be said in reverse?
Since so many Sistas have either refused to answer my questions along these lines outright, or have attempted to deflect them with abstract vagaries, I bring them to you to answer. Perhaps you will have succeeded where they have failed?
You say that you need to see the glass as half full. This I can respect.
But, I also see that it is a luxury people like you can afford. As for me, I am an empiricist and a cold-eyed realist, because where I come from there is precious little room for error. I’m as romantic as they come, but Life has taught me some harsh, but needed lessons, about how the real world works – and to see it for what it is, and not what I want it to be.
As a result of our conversations, more than 3K comments have been generated from Men across the country and from all walks of life. Many were first time commenters who had been lurking since our start on Jun 13, 2013. For anyone who claims to want to counsel women on how and why men think as they do when it comes to dating, sex and relationships, one would think that this would be a treasure trove for you, Evan.
But one thing is certain for sure – our conversation, and the intense response it generated, proves once and for all, that men are deeply interested in relationships and mating – they’ve just never had anyone who cared to listen.
That’s what J4G is all about.