I’m a long-time reader of your most notorious publication, Return of Kings. Every day I patiently check through its articles for insights into the minds of those who, on the surface, most fervently disagree with my own views and, in some cases, my very existence. I never engage with commenters or authors, since it seems commenting on a website that specifically forbids the input of women would be rather futile for me. But today, dearest Roosh, I was at last inspired to respond to an article written by none other than your illustrious self – ‘The Time Is Right For Traditional Gender Roles To Return’. Why, you might ask? Well, because in this article you very nobly take time to inform readers of the seriousness of your commitment to the ideals of ROK. You solemnly swear that you are not a ‘troll’ website, as many infer, but that you and all your contributors truly believe in the ideals on which this forum is based. With that in mind, I felt it was incumbent upon me to shelve my natural feminine aversion to logic, and point out just a few of the flaws in this particular contribution to the ROK archives. After all accuracy is crucial, is it not?
Let’s start at the very beginning, which I hear is a very good place to start. You begin your piece with a list of “simple examples” of how traditional sex roles allow each gender to maximise their natural strengths and weaknesses. I assume that the conclusion we’re meant to draw is that by forsaking traditional sex roles, we’re forcing both men and women into jobs and behaviours to which they are not suited. But, alas, I do believe you’ve erred. For instance…
Which sex, thanks to a stronger nurturing component, makes for better nurses and caretakers? Which sex, thanks to a superior analytical faculty, makes for better engineers and programmers?
No offence, but you could’ve picked better examples. The fact is that nursing and care-taking professions are still female-dominated, whilst industries like engineering and programming are still very much dominated by men. But forget the details, let’s look at the core argument – that because of the inherent, evolutionary abilities of each gender, men and women are better suited to particular and often different professions. Well Roosh, getting rid of traditional gender roles doesn’t deny that. What it does deny is that any man or woman should be restricted only to taking on those jobs dictated by the so-called natural abilities shared by the majority of their gender. Nobody’s saying that all nurses should be men or all engineers should be women because that would somehow make society more equal. All that gender equality advocates are saying is that if an individual demonstrates a certain aptitude for a particular task or career, they should be allowed to follow that path regardless of their gender. Perhaps natural ability dictates that most nurses should be women and most engineers should be men – but when there are exceptions, it’d be pretty stupid to tell them that they can’t do something they’re good at, just because most people who are good at it have different genitals to them.
Which sex, thanks to its predisposition for accumulating power and resources, makes for better nation builders, state leaders, and executives?
I’m guessing the answer is ‘men’, right? Unfortunately this one’s a little off the mark as well. I won’t argue that men are more in the habit of accumulating power than women, but as for resources I can’t really agree. You later argue that women are naturally better homemakers – but surely a critical aspect of homemaking throughout the centuries has been accumulating and successfully managing resources to ensure survival? In an increasingly overpopulated world with limited natural resources, surely the ability to distribute and conserve those resources strategically is more important than the drive to go out and take someone else’s resources? If we’re going by your logic, women should be just as good if not better at this task than men. Which leads to my next point – politics is no longer about aggressive nation building. Developed nations are called that for a reason – they’re already built. As I said, the world has a finite amount of resources and constant aggressive expansion is not a sustainable political format. Maybe you’re right and men are naturally better at accumulating power and resources; but in this day and age, that’s not the only thing we need from our leaders and politicians. We also need diplomacy, tact, an awareness of our place in the world, and the ability to see the viewpoints of others and build strong relationships with other nations. Even if we accept that a person’s gender is what determines their abilities, there’s no reason why women and men should not be equally good at these tasks since they’re hardly gender specific. No nation can function healthily in the world unless its leaders have a variety of skills and perspectives – maybe having a government comprised entirely of heterosexual white men isn’t a super-great way to achieve that?
Which sex, thanks to a more innate ability at nesting and maintaining the hearth, makes for better home caretakers?
I won’t bore you with this one, because it pretty much fall under the same umbrella as your first two arguments. Yes, women have a long evolutionary tradition of creating and maintaining hearth and home, and the majority of stay-at-home parents and partners are still women. But as I said before, there are exceptions to the rule on both sides – women who have no domestic or maternal urges at all, and men who would much rather stay at home with their kids than slave away in an office. A reversion to traditional gender roles would mean that such people would be viewed as unnatural, and would almost certainly be discouraged from pursuing the paths which most appealed to them and their abilities. In fact, you only need to look at how few men are encouraged to work part-time to see that the stigma around being a ‘house-husband’ or ‘stay-at-home dad’ is still very real. Most homemakers are still women, and most full-time workers are still men. Would going back to the bad old days when pursuing any other option was almost impossible really make our lives better?
Which sex, due to its greater desensitization to fear, is better suited to take large risks?
Alas, Roosh, I think you’ll find that this predisposition to risk-taking is something of a double-edged sword. I won’t deny that it’s true; males are typically less risk-averse than females, especially when they’re younger. Many people argue that this makes them better at jobs like military service, firefighting, mining and police work. But the dark side of courage is stupidity, and being willing to take a risk (especially a large one) is not always the best option. Just look at the GFC – my understanding is that it was caused, among other things, by the people in charge of the stock market taking enormous risks with other people’s money which really, really didn’t pay off. So while males in general may be better suited to risk-taking behaviour, that’s not a reason to exclude all women from high-risk professions. As I keep reiterating, there are always exceptions to the rule; if a woman can prove that she’s just as capable of meeting the criteria for a job as a man, then why not employ her? When traditional gender roles are the dominant influence in the work force, people’s career paths are based more on social stigma about appropriate roles for each gender, rather than on the abilities of the individual in question. Encouraging the influence of traditional sex roles in the workplace will just lead to greater restriction for both genders.
Which sex, due to having a minuscule fluid contribution to the breeding process, is better suited at having a larger number of sexual partners?
You know what? I actually have no beef with this. I wouldn’t say that males were “better suited” to having multiple sexual partners than females, but I also don’t think a single man should have to hold off sex out of some kind of moral imperative. As long as it’s safe and consensual, and nobody’s being unnecessarily hurt or deceived, I’m happy for a dude to marinate his nether rod in as many different squish-mittens as he likes.
Which sex, due to having to risk its life through a 9-month gestation period, is better suited to monogamy?
I’m afraid this is perhaps your greatest logical fallacy. Sure, historically speaking it’s definitely been safer and more sensible for women to be monogamous. Being pregnant was difficult, giving birth was life-threatening, and having a child out of wedlock was pretty much catastrophic. I don’t think this was some kind of evil patriarchal conspiracy; it was quite practical, even if the double standard was pretty unfair. But unfortunately the crux of your argument is also its downfall, because science! Since I doubt you live in a cave, I can only assume you’re aware that we now have things like condoms, the pill, implants, and in more extreme cases abortion and the morning after pill. Anyone with half a brain, male or female, can and should use measures like these especially when having casual sex (and they should probably use condoms anyway, because sharing chlamydia isn’t really a fun first-date activity.) If the sole reason that women shouldn’t have lots of sex is because of the risk of pregnancy, then surely the advent of birth control completely negates the need for female monogamy. In a country like the U.S., where access to birth control measures is relatively widespread and affordable, there’s no practical reason why a female should not be allowed to have just as many sexual partners as a male. Add to that the enormous decline in maternal mortality in the last 100 years, and I’m afraid there’s really no scientific basis for this argument. Sorry, but it just ain’t logical. If you still don’t think that women should be allowed to have as many sexual partners as men because of your personal values or preferences, that’s fine. You’re perfectly entitled to think that way, and to encourage others to share your viewpoint. But please, don’t try to dress up your personal opinions as science. It’s dishonest to your readers, and it makes you look stupid.
Well Roosh, I’m afraid we’re nearing the end of this humble offering of mine. But before I say goodbye, I do have a few final points. First up, I do kind of get where you’re coming from. No, honestly! Quite often mainstream feminism is characterised by a ‘women can do anything men can do’ attitude which I quite sincerely find silly and annoying. Most women cannot do some of the things that most men can do, and no amount of rhetoric is going to change that. Likewise, there are some things most women can do that no man can do (but ovulation isn’t nearly as fun as it sounds). So I understand how you might think that scrapping traditional gender roles means that we’ll start stupidly shoe-horning people into professions and roles that they neither enjoy or succeed at, all in the name of equality. But as I said so many times, that’s not the case – and people who think that it should be, feminist or not, are idiots. The thing is, what you fear is basically what happens if traditional gender roles make a comeback. When society has been dominated by these norms, people have been forced to do and be things that do not come naturally to them. Many aspects of their lives, sometimes all of them, are moulded around a factor over which they had no choice or influence – their gender. A person’s career, sexuality, appearance, home life, hobbies and behaviour were all restricted by what society deemed acceptable to a person of that gender, even when conforming to such standards seriously compromised the health and happiness of the individual. Breaking away from these norms resulted in varying degrees of punishment, from public shaming and ostracism and sometimes even to death. We’re never going to live in a world where everyone is always happy and fulfilled and nobody ever has to make sacrifices. But shouldn’t we at least try to shape a society where a person is able to make their life choices based on their character and abilities, and not on what type of genitals they were born with?
Also, the hashtag. I have a serious problem with the hashtag. At the end of your post you encourage readers to comment on ROK or on Twitter using #BackToTheKitchen. My problem is not that it offends me, because it’s too ridiculous even to do that. My problem is that whether you realise it or not, you’ve effectively shot yourself in the foot. In this very piece you specifically state that ROK is not a troll website. Can you not understand that when you write an article about traditional gender roles featuring ‘#BackToTheKitchen’, it takes absolutely no imagination at all to picture ROK as a big fat joke? If your idea of traditional gender roles week does indeed go viral, all anyone’s going to remember about it is that stupid hashtag. The only people who will actually listen to your arguments are the people who already agreed with your ideas anyway. To everyone else, this sort of rubbish makes you look like a snotty teenager drawing dicks on the other kids’ lunch boxes because he thinks it makes him look clever. You claim that the aim of ROK is to provide answers to men struggling with their masculinity – surely they deserve a better response than self-sabotaging childishness?
And finally, just how far are you planning to go with this whole reviving traditional gender roles business? Because you see, these roles have meant different things at different times. You can’t just say “We need to go back to the way things were!” and hope that everyone will just magically agree on a new set of standards for social attitudes to gender. But more importantly, reviving traditional gender roles in the U.S. would not just affect gender politics at home. For better or worse, America’s biggest export is its culture, and the way Americans approach gender and equality can have a profound impact on the attitudes of other countries. In your article you imply that the traditional sex roles prevailing in regions like the Middle East are a positive thing: but I wonder if you’d still feel that way if you’d had the chance to speak to the 15-year-old Yemeni girl who was burned to death by her own father last year for daring to contact her fiance before their marriage. Or perhaps to any of the LGBTQ people who live in one of the 38 African countries where homosexuality is a criminal offence punishable by fines, imprisonment and even execution. Or maybe even to the men in this article who, having been raped by other men as part of wartime terror tactics, find themselves rejected by their wives, families and communities if they speak out about this trauma; they are viewed as emasculated failures, unable to live up to the traditional masculine ideals of dominance, aggression, protectiveness and strength. To you, Roosh, restoring traditional gender roles may mean having a pleasant, attractive wife to mix you a drink when you get home from work. But to many others in this world it can mean the difference between life and death, freedom and imprisonment, sanity and madness.
Well, that’s about it. Hopefully my humble feminine perspective has provided a little something to think about. And while I totally respect your right to whatever opinions you hold, I do wish that for your own sake and for that of your followers, you’d accept that traditional gender roles are not going to make a comeback anytime soon. Society can be pretty screwed up, but it doesn’t generally take a deliberate step backwards unless something super terrible happens, like the Roman empire collapsing or everyone getting killed by Africanised bees or whatever. Hoping and wishing that we can go back to the Mad Men era might make for pleasant daydreams, but it probably won’t do much to improve the lot of men in our society, or anywhere else in the world.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get #BackToTheKitchen.