Friday, January 6, 2012

Disrespect? Or a covert display of submissiveness?

Men and women.
They really do live on different planets, don't they?

If it weren't for the often tragic misunderstandings that can result from this, it would be funny.

Poor old Michelle Obama got into big trouble recently.
She offended the Manosphere crowd.
I don't know if she knows or cares though.

Now, I know that if someone feels a certain emotion, be it positive or negative, it's no good telling them otherwise. They feel what they feel.

Sexual harrassment laws use this principle, for example.
If a person feels sexually harrassed, they are.

So I am not going to tell men to not feel offended by Michelle Obama.
To do so would be to get their back up and alienate them.
I don't want that.

But, I can see something they cannot.
And I know that other women can see what I see. I have proof of this on some Manosphere blogs.
I am sure if men see what I am seeing they would rethink their position.

The situation I am referring to is this video of an interview with both the Obamas by Barbara Walters (stolen from Dalrock).

In this clip, she asks Mr Obama what his biggest peeve about his wife is.
He replies: "I don't have one".
In answer to the same question, Michelle Obama replies:
"My list is too long".

This last statement caused all kinds of furore in the Manosphere.
Men from all over the globe felt 'disrespected' on behalf of Barack Obama. Many accused him of being a 'beta'.

I get it.
Michelle Obama is married to the most powerful man on Earth.
And yet, she is not happy with him.


One could only come to the above conclusion if one sees and hears the interview with masculine eyes and ears.

A little background check on Michelle Obama also gave me further insight into her comment.

Understand this.
(And I tried to make this point as a commenter on some Manosphere sites, but it fell on deaf ears.)

Michelle Obama is a woman best placed to respect a man.
She grew up in a home with both parents. That means she had her father around, growing up.
She asked her 6 ft 6 brother to vet Barack before she married him.
She is unlikely to have man-hating issues. She had a loving father and brother that she got on very well with in her early years.

Understand that this woman's early upbringing is rare in today's world.
Having said that, many women develop good inter-relational skills with men even in the absence of this kind of environment, but with it, a woman is well ahead of the game.

So it should not surprise anyone that this woman got to be the wife of the President of the United States of America. She was already onto a winning streak just from having the kind of home she had as a child.

Back to the interview itself, only a woman can see that Michelle's statement is the female equivalent of chimpanzee-type chest-beating.

Michelle Obama is talking to other women in this interview.
And she is bragging.

And what's more, Barack knows that.

What Michelle O is doing is saying to other women:
'My husband is such hard work..he is such a pain in the ****, but I still love him'.

That last part is important. Look how she smiles when she says "my list is too long".
Look how Barack laughs at the same time.

Michelle Obama knows women. Because she is a woman.

The best way for a woman to boast about her alpha male (if she really really loves him) to other women is to give the impression that he is 'hard work', a jerk (translation into manspeak: alpha) but despite that she still loves him! She is prepared to take his 'crap' because he is special.

In other words, she submits to his dominance of her. And she delights in it.

Because he is special. Full stop.

Mrs. Obama really would have 'disrespected' her husband if she had given the same answer as he had. If she had said something about how "nice" he was. Women all over the world would have been secretly unimpressed. Because as you all know, women don't really want plain old 'nice', at least not all the time.
Women want a mxiture of alpha and beta, in the right sequence.

Michelle Obama is boasting to other women that she got the prize bull and kept him.
She is telling us that she was never a reluctant bride.

That is the ultimate compliment to a man.
Barack was laughing for a reason.
He gets it.
What's more, he also tells us that he got the 'nice girl' who loves him, so he has no complaints.
No need to be angry on his behalf.

Men and women really are different in what they want in a relationship, how they see the world and how they think.
This couple is doing it right.
Long may their marriage last.


Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting interpretation! I haven't seen the interview and read the "transcript" only on Manosphere sites, where, of course, it was presented as unequivocally horrible.

I've said this elsewhere, but it seems to bear repeating . . . When you're carrying a hammer, no matter how reasonable and righteous, soon everything will look like a nail. I once left a comment on a Manosphere blog to share a lighthearted joke from a novel, and another commenter took issue with it, saying it was more evidence of misandry in popular culture. While I think it could be spun that way, I also believe he was overreacting and insisting that something that is very gray be black or white.

Spacetraveller said...

Ah Bellita, you make my heart sing.

Welcome to The Sanctuary.
(Hope computer issues are now resolved).

Your comment makes my point even better than my post! I am well aware that my interpretation of Mrs Obama's words could be described as 'outlier' at best. 'Off-the-scale-crazy' at worst.
But the point is, (and you make this so beautifully) there are usually many interpretations for any given scenario.
One has to be just a little bit open-minded...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the welcome, JT! I like what you've been blogging and am happy I had the leisure to comment on some posts today.

Unfortunately, my computer woes have not been resolved, and I find that if I want to blog anything, I have to draft the post by hand and type it up as fast as I can in an Internet cafe. :/

Anonymous said...

Good point. Enlightening reading a different point of view that gets it.

Anonymous said...

commenting on blogspot is the most horrible experience there is

Spacetraveller said...

Thank you, Datingonthemove.

I really enjoyed reading your blog too...can I add you to my blog roll?

"commenting on blogspot is the most horrible experience there is"

Oh? I am relatively new to will have to explain further...

Anonymous said...

Another unforeseen issue for commenting, i didn't know this before but you have to jump through quite a few hoops like capcha and the likes.

Please call me Lost
And by all means, feel free to add me to your blogroll, i'll return the favor

Anonymous said...

Re: commenting

It's easy for someone with a Blogger account, but WP users have to select a profile, type in the WP URL, then go to another page where we write what user name we'd like to go with the link on our comments. And since you also have the captcha system in place, we have to do this twice, first for the comment and second for the captcha.

My own opinion . . . I'm a Blogger user myself and don't really care about making WP users jump through hoops on my own blog. (Hahahaha!) But the flipside is that I don't mind jumping through the hoops on others' blogs when I'm logged into my WP account. It's obviously less justifiable to those who have never been Blogger users.

If you're worried about getting spam if you drop the captchas, JT, perhaps you could send all comments into moderation? (Just a suggestion. I know how annoying it is when other people tell you how to blog.)

Spacetraveller said...

Thanks Bellita and Lost,

As a novice, I am very much open to advice, so don't worry about offending :-)

Will see how I can improve things...perhaps I shall try dropping the captcha..

Anonymous said...

Well this was my first attempt at commenting on a blogspot blog, and it took me quite by surprise. Oh well i survived haha

Anonymous said...

just so you ladies know: A LOT of the commenters on the male blogs tend be a tad bitter. and a lighthearted joke can be interpreted as an attack.

why do you think i'm not on a lot of guys sites.

Spacetraveller said...

@ Danny,

We are finding out the hard way :-(

It's so refreshing to see that not everyone has swallowed the bitter pill.

Red pill is one thing, but the bitter pill? That's a whole different ballgame...

Anonymous said...

Wow, talk about justifying putting someone down. OK, let's imagine Barack Obama had said what Michelle had said "Oh, the list of the gripes I have about her is too long..." Writers like yourself would be protesting in the streets that Barack Obama is a member of the male patriarchy and he's a misogynist and he should be forcibly removed from office. Would his remarks NOT be classified as "disrespectful"? Certainly they would have been. Rightly so.

What he actually said was carefully chosen to be as respectful as he could manage. Almost to the point of grovelling. Anything else would have been political suicide.

But Michelle? She knew she could Get Away with doing him down. And indeed, with apologists like yourself, hey, he'd better take what she dishes out Or Else. What Michelle Obama said was utterly disrespectful, not just because of who Barack Obama is, but because of what he has done for her (heck, her hubby gave her the White House for at least four years - how much envy will their be in her "home town" towards her?). That took a lot of work on his part, and few get that privilege.

Michelle Obama's remarks reveal a level of ingratitude that is breath-taking in the extreme. It also shows Barack Obama dare not utter one word of complaint against his boss, erm, wife. It shows that disrespecting men is now "a joke" and to be swept under the table, hey, nothing was meant by it. Lighten up! What's wrong with a bit of humour?

Yep, now reverse the remarks and see how hilarious it is.

Spacetraveller said...


I feel your pain. I really do.
Misandry is rife in this world. It has not escaped my notice.

'The Simpsons' is not a programme I watch anymore.
Most TV commercials smack of rampant and unashamed mockery of manhood.
I am on-side. It is not my goal to add to the misandry. You are just going to have to take my word on that.

I really would have hoped that it was clear that I do not see the Obama interview as even remotely 'funny'. I am not laughing off Mrs Obama's comment as a humorous one.
I am merely pointing out that her comments may not necessarily imply disrespect for her husband.

Because the body language that goes with her words is rather telling.
It is said that women are rather good at picking up body language cues. For me, I didn't just hear the words...and that's what makes the difference , in this case.

I would never have written this post if her body language (which qualifies her words communicated disrespect. Her smile, the closeness with which they are sitting on the couch, his smile when she said what she did, all give (at least to me) positive clues as to her affection for him.

I have heard Mrs Obama speak in public on several occasions. I stand by what I say when I say that she respects him. HE may have won her the ultimate house - The White House - but guess what? She was right by his side when he was trying to get there. I think this particular woman has earned the right to share the spoils with her husband.

YOU might think she is a b****, but the point I am making here is, her husband does not appear to think so. At least not on camera.

Like you, I cringe at jokes made at the expense of men.
I know there are lots of ungrateful women. I know there are 'dragon-wives' out there.
I can personally give you plenty of examples of THOSE...except I don't need to: you already have bagfuls.

But occasionally, what may seem like just another case of misandry...might not be.

I think this is one of those, for reasons I have outlined above.

You are, however entitled to your opinion. Like I said in the post, I cannot and do not seek to tell you how to think or feel. I will just present my case, as I see it, whilst fully respecting your case, as you see it.


Anonymous said...

see. told you.

Spacetraveller said...

You did indeed, Danny! You certainly warned me :-)

I walked into a snakepit...I need you to come pull me out!

yrralde said...

Lets see, In your opinion insult translates into I Love You. Good Grief Charlie Brown.

Spacetraveller said...

@ Yrralde,

If done teasingly, maybe flirtingly...then yes.
It doesn't make sense, does it? None of the SMP issues we all face make sense! That's the point.

In this case, context is everything.
We will have to agree to disagree.

Anonymous said...

Yep, now reverse the remarks and see how hilarious it is.

It would still be hysterical. I know I would be disappointed if my significant other had nothing "to complain" about my special quirks. There is one sense in which complaining really is bragging--or a kind of "negging" affection. (My own mother likes to say to other people, when they make some remark about how bright I seem, "Bellita is intelligent, but not smart.") It can even make a woman feel more secure, because it's as if the man is saying, "She's a real headache . . . but I love her anyway." (Yes, the "oneitis" fantasy.)

It's worth noting woman projecting her own security triggers on a man is not the same as a woman insulting a man.

Right now I'm reminded of another interaction between a male and female in which (fake) insults became the medium for true affection. A grown up Annabella Sciorra (sp?) and a very young Joseph Mazzello (who had just finished playing mother and son in a movie) were asked what it was like to work with each other. Sciorra started "complaining" about how often Mazzello wanted his makeup touched up, as if he were some prissy, fussy git, but doing it in such a way that it was clear that he wasn't. When Mazzello's turn came, he just had a one liner: "Oh, don't even ask me!" And everyone laughed.

One may argue that it was "equal" in Sciorra and Mazzello's case but not in Obama and Michelle's, because the latter wasn't also making a teasing joke at his wife's expense . . . but isn't equality a feminist pipe dream anyway? ;)

Unknown said...

So happy to be given a privilege to post a comment here. You have a wonderful site. Thank you for the effort to publish this.

Pat Riarchy said...

Might I humbly suggest that females find a new way of bragging to each other.

To a man who is not the president of the united states Ms Obama's comments just come across as more whinging and whining.

To men, this is just more proof that A Man Needs a Female like a Fish Needs a Lobotomy.

What can a female offer a man other than a 75% chance she will ruin his life?

Unknown said...

Do one thing everyday that scares you.

Unknown said...

Do one thing everyday that scares you.