MonkeyWerks has written an interesting article at his website The Reinvention of Man that I would like to respond to. MonkeyWerks seems to be a Men’s Rights Activist (MRA) particularly fond of Dalrock, The Rational Male, and Chateau Heartiste (judging by who he links to in his article) who also has generously added my blog to his blogroll, a first among MRAs to my knowledge. Still, I have to take exception to his article with the provocative title “Women Will Never Struggle as Much as a Man.” The general theme is women’s selfish orientation in regards to money and how they will never help a man out financially while expecting men to financially benefit them all the time. In my reading of the article the selfish orientation of MonkeyWerks regarding money is what strikes me the most even though I am supposed to be gnashing my teeth at the selfish ungrateful women MonkeyWerks is castigating. True the women don’t come off well in my opinion how MonkeyWerks is describing things but MonkeyWerks’ attitude strikes me as more bothersome and the more serious wrong.
First off the subject under discussion is specifically about money and lifestyle as it relates to money. This is the masculine sphere; money is specifically part of the masculine sphere. MonkeyWerks seems to be ignoring this or claiming it is unjust but making money is a specifically male responsibility. Money is a power related activity; it is about maximizing potential and performance and conquering and controlling resources and maximizing utility and efficiency. This is why making money is male, because making money is about maximizing and exercising and directing power. Because making money is masculine and therefore part of the male sphere making money is men’s responsibility and not women’s responsibility. Therefore all the “struggle” involved with making money and managing money should be male, should be born by men. The title of MonkeyWerks’ piece is “Women Will Never Struggle as Much as a Man” where the content of the article focuses specifically on money. Well I would say in response Of course! Thank God! Let us hope that women are protected and shielded from concerns related to money as much as possible. MonkeyWerks means the title however as a lament or as a way of illustrating how unfair life is to men. Being a man has its advantages, just because being a man has its downsides to doesn’t mean that life is unfair to men.
There is an aspect related to the issue of money however that reflects directly upon women. In the Christian Patriarchy subculture in the United States which I support there is a very strong emphasis on the virtues of living frugally and women take great pride and put great emphasis on homemade items of various sorts and the general pursuit of saving money whenever possible and doing it cheaper. It is very obvious that what these women are doing is guarding their husband’s money and going out of their way to make their burden on their husband as light as possible. A very strong emphasis that the man must earn the money goes along with the emphasis on frugality by the women culturally. So women do contribute to the household financially but they do so by living cheaply and engaging in money saving forms of labor or hobbies. A woman integrates saving money into her overall routine of caring for the children and maintaining the household; she saves a little bit of money here and there all over the place. The man however makes the money because making money is a power maximizing specialty and therefore is masculine in nature and therefore falls upon the man.
MonkeyWerks actually addresses frugality himself in his piece but he does so in a very different way; he states:
“Most of us [men] when we go through hard times pick ourselves up and work to fixing the problems. We scrimp and live frugally. We change our lifestyle in order to reduce the need for financial resources. In other words we adopt a simpler lifestyle. Sometimes this simpler lifestyle gives us a means to a sort of financial independence. I have seen many men who made large annual incomes yet although they had more “nice stuff” they did not have any independence and their overall happiness with their lives was lower.
As I see it financial independence is such that I could live my life and do what I want when I want. This may not entail having the resources to become a jetsetter but being able to live comfortably on a minimal annual income stream has always been a goal of mine. My current lifestyle allows me to work only a few hours per day. With the income that comes in I can tend my garden and pursue many of my other interests. Some of these pursuits also make money which offsets the costs of my various hobbies. As things in my life stabilize, I believe that in the next 24 months I will be living a much more carefree life filling my days with my children’s laughter and the satisfaction of doing the things I most want to do. That is freedom.”
Notice how the entire point of frugality how MonkeyWerks is presenting it is to create leisure for himself and to do “what I want when I want” as he puts it. In other words MonkeyWerks is advocating being frugal with the money he himself earned to benefit himself. When the woman in a traditional setting is being frugal she is making a sacrifice on behalf of her husband and her children; she is giving up something herself to benefit others. In this way you can see that the man being frugal to give himself more “freedom” is totally different from the woman being frugal with her husband’s earnings on behalf of her children. The man is being frugal to benefit himself while the woman is being frugal to benefit others. Also I find the reference that MonkeyWerks makes to enjoying the laughter of his children as he lives his lazy carefree lifestyle as his reward for being frugal interesting. Who is paying for the upkeep and needs of his children whose laughter he so enjoys? Is it himself? If so then I imagine his precious leisure will have to be reduced in order to pay for the needs of his children. Somehow however MonkeyWerks’ responsibility for his children seems to be missing from the idyllic fantasy MonkeyWerks is laying out, somehow his children’s laughter seems to be available to him for free.
Right after MonkeyWerks waxes poetic about the virtues of frugal living when it benefits himself he then sets up the contrast with the selfishness of the woman saying:
“However, for many women my ideal would never be enough. They would always want that big house, a big diamond and the expensive car to drive. In their gut they will desire to acquire the symbols of social status, including the hot alpha man if they can pull it off, but a beta will do if he makes enough money. Many women have been raised to expect this either by being brought up in a household with higher than average income or being married to or involved with successful (but beta) men. Of course they need a man to work his ass of so she can realize her ambitions, which is the common denominator in all of this. These women will trade whatever they need to and nothing more to secure a mans resources. This can be her conditional sexual intimacy, children and even a cleverly disguised feigned genuine interest in the man’s goals and ambitions. I have seen this far too often.”
What MonkeyWerks seems to be blind to here is that there is no moral difference between him living a frugal lifestyle to maximize his leisure time and a woman wanting to live large on her husband’s dime. In both cases the emphasis is on stealing from the opposite sex to maximize their own interests. The man is squandering the resource of his time which he should be using to better provide for women and the woman is squandering the man’s resources which it took time for the man to earn. In one case the man is stealing from the woman and in the other case the woman is stealing from the man; there is no moral difference between the two. MonkeyWerks is presenting the man’s selfishness as honorable and noble while condemning the woman’s selfishness and castigating women as the selfish sex based on the spurious dichotomy MonkeyWerks set up between the honorable man and the selfish greedy woman when in reality in both cases selfishness is the driving motive.
MonkeyWerks says “these women will trade whatever they need to and nothing more to secure a mans resources. This can be her conditional sexual intimacy, children and even a cleverly disguised feigned genuine interest in the man’s goals and ambitions.” This part strikes me as rather sad. Women shouldn’t have to “trade” anything to get a man’s resources; the man’s resources should be given to the woman freely simply because it is the man’s duty to the woman to support the woman. By the same token the woman should give to the man freely what the woman can give to the man. The relationship between the man and the woman should be based on a spirit of mutual generosity and mutual sacrifice on behalf of the other. The transfer of resources from the man to the woman should not be a struggle or a fight; it should happen as a matter of course. If the woman has to scheme and manipulate to get the man’s resources that is the man’s fault, not the woman’s, as the woman engaging in such behavior indicates that the man is not freely giving to the woman as he should. The problem in such behavior by women only comes if the woman is trying to gain control or gain the upper hand by withholding from the man what the man should be given freely. If the woman is seeking the man’s resources that is legitimate, if the woman is seeking power that is illegitimate.
I am also curious about this idea of women exhibiting “a cleverly disguised feigned genuine interest in the man’s goals and ambitions.” I wonder what “genuine interest” is supposed to mean here, is it supposed to mean free of self-interest? If a man has an ambition to make lots of money then of course a woman will be interested in that partly out of self-interest as the money a man makes will be presumably directed to the woman’s benefit to a significant degree. This is completely natural; it is completely natural for a man to use the power that he has for the woman’s benefit. The whole reason why men have a power advantage over women in the first place is to enable the man to better serve the woman.
As far as a man’s goals and ambitions, I would most certainly hope for a woman to be interested in my goals and ambitions simply as part of her interest in me and her admiration for me. If my goals and ambitious are intended for the woman’s benefit then I would certainly hope that the woman recognizes that and views me more highly because of it and that it would increase my romantic power over her better enabling me to either gain a relationship with her or make an already existing relationship with her better. Most of all I want to be admired for my goals and ambitions by a woman because they make me good and honorable. Another thing that should be kept in mind; the goals and ambitious of the man very often directly require the woman to implement. The very reason why a man would marry in the first place is because the man has a goal and ambition to have children or serve the world in some other way through the woman. Women are a part of men’s goals and ambitions; they are not separate from men’s goals and ambitions.
MonkeyWerks also makes this very outrageous declaration:
“My ex-wife admitted this to me one day in not so many words and C has also admitted to me that they were both very interested and supportive of my ambitions until it became apparent they too would need to work hard and help me if they were to benefit from my labors. These women acted the same differing only by degrees and detail in the execution of their overall plans to run away as soon as it became necessary that their hands might get dirty. Upon realizing this I had decided I will never work for a woman ever again. I will only work for me. She may follow me and even possibly enjoy SOME of the fruits of my labors if she helps out, but she will never be either the motivation or the sole recipient of these fruits.”
Apparently “ambitions” in this context have to do with MonkeyWerks’ business ambitions, his job or how he makes money. It is fine for MonkeyWerks’ wife and girlfriend post-divorce (“C”) to be interested in and supportive of his career as what a man does to make money is part of his identity as a man and it is also his expression of virtue and value as it relates to his ability to support women but the responsibility of MonkeyWerks’ job is MonkeyWerks’ alone, he should not be dragging his wife or his girlfriend into it in a way that harms their interests by expecting them to contribute to what is his duty and his project, not theirs. The purpose of MonkeyWerks’ business ambitions is the support of his wife and children, correct? It certainly should be. The idea that a wife is obligated to participate in her husband’s career in order to benefit from her husband’s career is outrageous; why drag the woman into the duty and the role of the man? So because the women in MonkeryWerks’ life weren’t excited about doing MonkeyWerks’ job for him he is now going to retaliate by refusing to ever work for a woman’s benefit again? Outrageous! A total shirking of MonkeyWerks’ duty as a man! Shameful!
Throughout the whole article I never see evidence of what a romantic relationship between a man and a woman (a husband and a wife) is for; namely the support of the woman’s heroic purpose as a woman. When I love a woman I love her most of all for her heroic mission and then I want to support and be a part of the woman’s heroic mission. I don’t think about what the woman is going to do for me, I think about what I want to do for her so that her heroism will be incorporated into me and become a part of my identity. This whole essay by MonkeyWerks seems to be about women trying to “pull one over on him” simply because they are trying to gain his support as a man for their lives as women when the entire foundation of romantic relationships is men supporting the lives of women. There is something very wrong with MonkeyWerks’ attitude here.