No matter their skill level, or how the game went — men tended to be pretty cordial to each other. Male players who were good at the game also tended to pay compliments to other male and female players.
Some male players, however — the ones who were less-skilled at the game, and performing worse relative their peers — made frequent, nasty comments to the female gamers. In other words, sexist dudes are literally losers.
So why do losers lash out at women? Because they resent having to compete with them.
In each of these environments, Kasumovic suggests, a recent influx of female participants has disrupted a pre-existing social hierarchy. That’s okay for the guys at the top — but for the guys at the bottom, who stand to lose more status, that’s very threatening.
Where else have female participants disrupted a pre-existing social hierarchy? Oh, right, the economy.
Men and women were hit unevenly by the recession. Women recovered job losses this spring. Men did not. Women are outpacing men in college enrollment, with 71% of women enrolling in a university immediately after high school, compared with only 61% of men, a 2012 Pew Research Center survey found. The suicide rate among men is four times the rate of women, with males accounting for 79% of all U.S. suicides, according to a 2010 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control. Frequently boys do not have the same support network as girls their age (the cost of this deficit was detailed by Rosalind Wiseman in TIME last December).
Women are getting skills and education and kicking low-skill, low-education men’s asses in the game of life. But instead of hurling random insults at individual players, they’re lashing out through “men’s rights” and anti-feminism.
Think about it. How many CEOs are really angry about feminism?
There’s a reason the anti-feminist International Conference on Men’s Issues was held in Detroit, Michigan, ground zero of the evisceration of status endured by the low-education, low-skill Western man.
Detroit, Michigan epitomizes an inevitable macroeconomic trend. In an economy based on information and service, the economic value of brute strength in negligible. Women are especially suited to an information and service economy because they are more educated on average and socialized to succeed in service roles.
Which means low-skill, low-education men aren’t very valuable in the market economy anymore.
But because low-status people aren’t educated, they don’t understand that a girl didn’t do this to you, technological innovation did.
Anti-feminism is low-education people scapegoating women for the inevitable decline in economic status of low-skill, low-education, low-intelligence men.
Now we can look at these “losers” at the game of life and laugh. And, indeed, anti-feminism should be as embarrassing as white supremacy. After all, it’s all the same instinct.
Bigotry in five steps:
- See someone doing better than you
- Resent them
- Construct complicated and inane reasons you shouldn’t have to compete with them
- Band together with other losers
- Try to make life harder for your competitors
BUT, laughing at losers doesn’t really solve the problem. The fact is that we’re going to have to DO something with low-skill, low-education men, or they’re going to continue to hurl insults because they’re angry and bored.
“I think you’re hearing real anxiety about not being able to fulfill this basic commandment of manhood as they define it,” Wood says.
This angst was palpable in Farrell’s remarks during the press conference. “Women don’t marry men in unemployment lines,” he said. The audience nodded in agreement.
Of course it would require education to grasp that “manhood” understood as material provider is itself a sexist gender norm which feminism actively fights.
One thing we can do for loser men is to redefine what winning is. In other words, marry men in unemployment lines. We’re never going back to an economy in which strong backs are an essential part of work, thank God. So why put the onus on men to earn more, or earn at all? If children are benefitted from a parent at home, why does that parent need to be a mother?
Another thing that would be extremely helpful would be to end the public education monopoly. The entire point of public education is to facilitate class mobility and yet our public schools fail children in the lower classes almost as a rule. Not only that, but the model is biased against the ways boys are socialized. Ending the monopoly would allow parents of boys to find schools in which they can succeed.
I wish every man were high-skill, high-education. But of course high is relative. Every economy has relative losers. It used to be in the West that those losers were women. Now, they are more likely to be men. This isn’t cause for cursing or celebration. It just is. The direct sexism against female labor participants has been replaced by a subtle sexism against boys in school and men in homes. Losers are probably not going to understand this. So we’re going to have to fight the sexism ourselves.