Laurie Toby Edison

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AskMen Is Really Asking for It

Laurie and Debbie say:

You know you’re in trouble when the site is called askmen.com and claims to have 5 million readers per month. The home page is bad enough, starting with a quotation (today’s is about how getting money is more important than being honest) and a fact (today’s is about Sheryl Crow’s false teeth). Are you impressed yet?

If not, go to their relationship columnist advising men on the six best ways to get their girlfriends (oh, no, excuse us, their “girls”) to lose weight. There’s a link at the bottom called “Suggest an article,” and believe us, it’s tempting.

Chris Lumsden, relationship expert extraordinaire gives away his strategy at the bottom of this repulsive article. He makes suggestions such as lying about your own body image so your girlfriend will be sympathetic, or prompting jealousy by hinting that you have a really hot trainer at the gym. Honestly, we were surprised that the end of the article could be more offensive than the list. But here it is:

Remember men, to influence her decision to lose weight while avoiding any sore feelings is to make everything about you. How you feel, what you think, what your opinion is; these are the things that will separate you just enough from the battle that is ultimately hers.

Okay, for those of you playing along at home, here’s what he’s really saying.

1) Being self-centered and controlling isn’t just fun, it’s a strategy for managing your relationships.
2) You get to decide which “battle is ultimately hers,” and you have the right, if not the obligation, to push her into fighting that battle your way. How she wants to look is not in the picture.
3) It’s really important to make your girlfriend feel bad about herself, rather than feeling that she has any agency or choice in what happens to her.

We know men we’d rather ask.

Thanks to meloukhia at this ain’t livin’ for the link.

<br /> <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/body+image" rel="tag">body image</a><br /> <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/feminism" rel="tag">feminism</a><br /> <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/fat" rel="tag">fat</a><br /> <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/masculinity" rel="tag">masculinity</a><br /> <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/diet" rel="tag">diet</a><br /> <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/girlfriends" rel="tag">girlfriends</a><br /> <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/Body+Impolitic" rel="tag">Body Impolitic</a><br />

11 Responses to “AskMen Is Really Asking for It”

  1. Pearl Says:

    Hm, so I hearing that your not finding it funny. He does start making the point of how men are ridden and forced into emasculated raw deal accomodating women which sets the tone of seriousness doesn’t it?

    It *is* an entertainment site with advice from the mafia guy and cheesy pickup line of the day. and decidedly politically incorrect jokes. It is popular because of it’s breezy feel, something for everyone, with unapologetic fast and light fare.

    I found his article hilarious. It’s human psyche.

  2. Dan'l Says:

    Good lord >chokehow to train your girlfriend. And reading it, well, if the tongue is in the cheek, it’s so far in it’s poking out through; if it’s humor, it’s not dry, it’s dessicated. Parody fails when it becomes indistinguishable from what is being parodied, neh?, and I can’t find the funny here.

    Your mileage, obviously, didn’t much vary.

  3. Laurie Says:

    I’m with Daniel on this.

    The parody feels way too much like reality.

    And yes, it is some human’s psyche.

  4. Lynne Murray Says:

    This is male pack behavior.
    This resonated for me similarly to the “would you ever date a fat woman” survey via a craigslist ad done by the women at fattymcblog
    http://fattymcblog.blogspot.com/2006/03/fatastical-experiment-would-you-ever.html

    What similarities do I see? That women are valued as objects with a certain image that affects a man’s status with other men. I’ve personally known at least two men who pursued damaging and destructive relationships with insane or drug addicted women, although a sexual relationship was not feasible, because the women were attractive enough to lend status to the man in public. Even if there was a risk of a dangerous meltdown, it was worth the risk.

    I see these views as shallow and dehumanizing, but not inherently specific to either sex. Women can flaunt their partners as an object that other women envy, although usually the status comes from the man’s professional status–the “look I’m dating a doctor” thing. And the new boom in hair coloring for men is one of many signs that men can cultivate their image as visually attractive objects.

    But I’m not surprised that in the land of the lowest common denominator, men are encouraging each other to manipulate their girlfriends into higher status (i.e., thinner) objects, just as women are sharing tips about how playing the game to get the slippery weasel to commit. How does Dr. Phil put it? Something like: “Tag him and bag him and haul him in.”

    That’s life in vast stretches of the hetero jungle. Meanwhile in another part of the forest–I don’t know if there is similar manipulation in the gay and lesbian culture or what form it takes.

  5. Pearl Says:

    Too much like reality? I don’t know people like this. For long. No use getting mad. It only amuses. They’re just words and do not mean that the writer has some construction of malevolent intent imo.

    I suppose it depends on one’s relation to reality. One of my studies in life lessons now is this: If reality is absurd, should I urge it to be serious and correct? Does reality threaten me? Then where is the source of the threat? It or me?

    My target perspective is: If reality is not what I want, laugh at it, step outside it, game it, understand it.

    If someone manipulates like that in reality, it’s best to know the game and tip it, call it, laugh at it, reset the rules. One can use knowledge to deflate the game, avoid it, or bounce with it.

    Putting it another way, do I gain or lose my energy by shaking my finger at it from a superior position? That makes me in a submissive position, or a dominant position but in a dynamic of power deferential, and really life is too short to not live loose enough to laugh when we can.

    That help you see where I’m coming from?

  6. Pearl Says:

    Lynne says gaming for social gain isn’t male only. It’s not het only. Some people, in some moments, use other people as accessories and tools, no question. A person may want another to be what s/he wants the other(s) to be rather than letting those around them autonomously self-actualize to whatever shape the other would take.

    But if others say jump because I want you to be sexy and you will be if you jump, so?

    Shrug it off, laugh it off, find people who nourish the way one wants to be nourished. Can’t blame the manipulators or the victims. Each person is responsible for the choices s/he makes, whether manipulated/pressured from outside or not.

    I’m still on another wave-length I know but adding 2c to dialogue anyway.

  7. Lynne Murray Says:

    Right on, Pearl! I totally get how you balance your psycho-economy in the face of games people play, and if the article brought laughter, that’s not bad. Humor is very individual. The only real “proof” of humor is did you laugh (and that is as delicate as a cherry blossom), but don’t get me started on that!

    What would have made me laugh is if one of those bozos tried to manipulate his girlfriend using these suggestions, and she played the game right back at him–replacing his shorts with one size smaller (carefully switching labels), “tactfully” leaving samples of Rogaine, or ads for Viagra in strategic places where he could find them. Okay, that’s just what would make me laugh. One person’s meat is another person’s tofu sandwich.

  8. Laurie Says:

    Pearl,
    I think it’s great that your ” ..target perspective is: If reality is not what I want, laugh at it, step outside it, game it, understand it.”

    It’s a really good strong way to deal with this.

    But a lot of people who don’t have your perspective are being hammered into self hatred by the barrage of weight obsessed media stuff. That’s their reality.

    Always glad to hear your 2c

    Lynne,

    Rogaine and too small shorts. I love it.

  9. nerdlet Says:

    It’s *not* a parody. The entire site is filled with things like that – how women are unloveable unless they’re skinny with large breasts and utterly submissive. It’s more extreme than what you’ll see in a lot of other mainstream magazines, but not by much.

  10. P.Grant Says:

    For those that triumph this article concerning Askmen.com…

    There are opinions that sway just as wildly for Women, online and in print… and there’s MUCH of it. As a guy, I’m constantly bombarded by media that portrays men as bumbling idiots with no mind beyond their manhood, but enter the brave and allknowing woman/supermom, who, as a CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation, comes home to make dinner for all and still has time to read a bedtime story to her 5 kids. To single out a single Male site shows a certain contempt for any issues not lady-approved for men. Is the site a bit over the top? Yes, it’s guilty as charged. But when weighed against the onslaught of the same from the other end of the genepool, it’s refreshing, and almost lighthearted comedy to read.

    But what do I know, I’m just a man? :)

    P.Grant – Toronto

  11. P.Grant Says:

    For those that triumph this article condemning AskMen.com…

    There are opinions that sway just as wildly for Women, on-line and in print… and there’s MUCH of it. As a guy, I’m constantly bombarded by media that portrays Men as bumbling idiots with no mind beyond their manhood. Consider the obvious over-the-top presentation that, although made up, could easily be a montage of years of negative male Advertising I’ve had to endure…

    …Enter the brave and all-knowing Woman/SuperMom, who, as a CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation, comes home to make dinner for the whole family. Meanwhile, couch potato Dad has had trouble all day trying to use simple product X to either cook/clean/etc., in between watching the Superbowl, drinking beer, and eating junk food. Thankfully, SuperMom knows how to use product X, and shows him how to use it, in a childlike manner. After mental defeat, the hapless caveman slunks into his Lazyboy or Kitchen chair, etc. If we’re lucky, the last few scenes show the all-knowing Mother tucking in her 5 children and reading bedtime stories while the Man is absent… Have I just beat this with a sledgehammer? Yes, yes I have – if only for the simple fact that, as a guy, I feel Women’s opinions against Men can be just as superficial as this commercial, just as Askmen.com may be about you. There’s more than just a site or a single sex that’s guilty here.

    In conclusion, to single out a single Male site shows a certain contempt for any issues not Lady-approved for men. Is the site a bit over the top? YES, it’s guilty as charged. But when weighed against the onslaught of the same from the other end of the gene pool, it’s refreshing, and almost lighthearted comedy to read. It really is time to lighten up, Ladies. We have minds too, and can decide when and what we’re reading will be good for us personally, or just good for a good laugh.

    But what do I know, I’m just a man? :)

    P.Grant – Toronto

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