Women, the Public Square, and Cancel Culture

A few years ago I read about German sociologist Georg Simmel. He wrote a century ago about women and the public square.

The public square, he argued, had been created by men for men. But with women coming into the public square, they would transform it to suit “a more feminine sensibility.” Ever since then my mind has been pondering what this means.

And then suddenly this week I realized. It is not working, this public square with a more feminine sensibility. What’s more it will never work. And this has to do with the radically different way in which men and women experience “honor.”

From Honor: A History by James Bowman:

[T]he basic honor of the savage -- bravery for men, chastity for women -- is still recognizable beneath the surfaces of the popular culture that has done so much to efface it. If you doubt it, try calling a man a wimp or a woman a slut.

Now, the whole point of today’s public square is to adapt the male honor culture, in which a man knows he must defend his reputation for bravery to the death, to a modern civic culture in which men exchange insults and establish status in what I call an Insult Culture. Thus, if you will, men now prove their bravery by the brilliance of their ideas and their devastating repartee.

In my view, this adaptation is an astonishing and remarkable achievement of human culture.

But women hate it. That is why educated suburban women hate President Trump’s Twitter insults.

Why is that? It is because women do not have a Culture of Insult. They have a Culture of Complaint.

In other words, women don’t confront someone that has insulted them. No. They complain about it to a third person, as in “I can’t believe President Trump tweeted that.” And the complaint ripples through the “hive mind” of the community of women, and sooner or later the culprit is named, shamed, and shunned. Or, as we now say, “impeached.”

Do you see what I am saying? I am saying that the whole cancel culture, from “he’s a racist” to “he hurt my feelings” is a girl thing. It issues from the fact that woman’s honor derives from her reputation for chastity, for being a good little girl, for always doing what teacher says.

Okay. Not just girls, but Pajama Boys too. So don’t call me a sexist, you sexists.

This is how women are transforming the public square to suit “a more feminine sensibility.” And how! They are transforming the public square’s Culture of Insult into their feminine Culture of Complaint.

But I am here to say that if you transform the public square by transforming its masculine Culture of Insult into a feminine Culture of Complaint you no longer have a public square.

In fact, women do not like the public square. They tried, with “I am woman, hear me roar” of the Seventies. But now women complain about “microaggressions” and demand safe spaces.

Women do not want to live and work in the public square. They want -- they expect -- to be protected from harm and live in a comfortable private world that is free from masculine insult. So long as they are “chaste” -- in the broadest sense -- then women expect to be coddled and protected. And their actions, from cancel culture to diversity and inclusion, prove it.

The whole “preferred pronouns” debacle confirms it. Gentry liberal LGBTQ+ people “expect” the rest of the world to address them with the pronoun they have selected. If you do not address them using the preferred pronoun, then they will complain to authority and have you canceled.

In the male world, you would be expected to defend your “preferred pronoun” on your own. You would achieve this by directly intimidating people that refused to use your preferred pronoun. And if a high-status man addresses you, a lowly Pajama Boy, with your preferred pronoun he does it because, as a Naked Ape and man of honor, he is gentle with mortals lower in the status hierarchy, because noblesse oblige.

And so, I issue this challenge to all the world. The question is not how women will transform the public square to suit “a more feminine sensibility.” That is not working and it will not work.

The question is when are women going to start transforming their pre-modern -- one might say “savage” -- Complaint Culture to conform to the necessary give and take of the public square? Because it is perfectly clear that the stab-in-the-back witch hunts, the namings and shamings and shunnings, the cancelings  that are the norm in the Complaint Culture of the community of women are just not appropriate in the modern, civilized public square.

Your turn, ladies.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.

A few years ago I read about German sociologist Georg Simmel. He wrote a century ago about women and the public square.

The public square, he argued, had been created by men for men. But with women coming into the public square, they would transform it to suit “a more feminine sensibility.” Ever since then my mind has been pondering what this means.

And then suddenly this week I realized. It is not working, this public square with a more feminine sensibility. What’s more it will never work. And this has to do with the radically different way in which men and women experience “honor.”

From Honor: A History by James Bowman:

[T]he basic honor of the savage -- bravery for men, chastity for women -- is still recognizable beneath the surfaces of the popular culture that has done so much to efface it. If you doubt it, try calling a man a wimp or a woman a slut.

Now, the whole point of today’s public square is to adapt the male honor culture, in which a man knows he must defend his reputation for bravery to the death, to a modern civic culture in which men exchange insults and establish status in what I call an Insult Culture. Thus, if you will, men now prove their bravery by the brilliance of their ideas and their devastating repartee.

In my view, this adaptation is an astonishing and remarkable achievement of human culture.

But women hate it. That is why educated suburban women hate President Trump’s Twitter insults.

Why is that? It is because women do not have a Culture of Insult. They have a Culture of Complaint.

In other words, women don’t confront someone that has insulted them. No. They complain about it to a third person, as in “I can’t believe President Trump tweeted that.” And the complaint ripples through the “hive mind” of the community of women, and sooner or later the culprit is named, shamed, and shunned. Or, as we now say, “impeached.”

Do you see what I am saying? I am saying that the whole cancel culture, from “he’s a racist” to “he hurt my feelings” is a girl thing. It issues from the fact that woman’s honor derives from her reputation for chastity, for being a good little girl, for always doing what teacher says.

Okay. Not just girls, but Pajama Boys too. So don’t call me a sexist, you sexists.

This is how women are transforming the public square to suit “a more feminine sensibility.” And how! They are transforming the public square’s Culture of Insult into their feminine Culture of Complaint.

But I am here to say that if you transform the public square by transforming its masculine Culture of Insult into a feminine Culture of Complaint you no longer have a public square.

In fact, women do not like the public square. They tried, with “I am woman, hear me roar” of the Seventies. But now women complain about “microaggressions” and demand safe spaces.

Women do not want to live and work in the public square. They want -- they expect -- to be protected from harm and live in a comfortable private world that is free from masculine insult. So long as they are “chaste” -- in the broadest sense -- then women expect to be coddled and protected. And their actions, from cancel culture to diversity and inclusion, prove it.

The whole “preferred pronouns” debacle confirms it. Gentry liberal LGBTQ+ people “expect” the rest of the world to address them with the pronoun they have selected. If you do not address them using the preferred pronoun, then they will complain to authority and have you canceled.

In the male world, you would be expected to defend your “preferred pronoun” on your own. You would achieve this by directly intimidating people that refused to use your preferred pronoun. And if a high-status man addresses you, a lowly Pajama Boy, with your preferred pronoun he does it because, as a Naked Ape and man of honor, he is gentle with mortals lower in the status hierarchy, because noblesse oblige.

And so, I issue this challenge to all the world. The question is not how women will transform the public square to suit “a more feminine sensibility.” That is not working and it will not work.

The question is when are women going to start transforming their pre-modern -- one might say “savage” -- Complaint Culture to conform to the necessary give and take of the public square? Because it is perfectly clear that the stab-in-the-back witch hunts, the namings and shamings and shunnings, the cancelings  that are the norm in the Complaint Culture of the community of women are just not appropriate in the modern, civilized public square.

Your turn, ladies.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.