"Stephen Marche’s “The Contempt of Women” in Esquire and Women’s Right to Judge"
It is, apparently, not okay for women to want clarity about the status of their relationships and sex that is fulfilling for them as well as their partners, as Hannah does on Girls, to attempt to negotiate the terms of their relationship as Anastasia Steele does in Fifty Shades of Grey, tease the president of the United States, who is also your husband and probably comes equipped with his own set of domestic idiosyncrasies and slight annoyances, or appreciate Louis C.K.’s self-examination. The thing is, there’s a lot of stupid in our culture, and contempt for women is embedded in that very stupid. I’m not sure why women are supposed to accord a heightened level of respect for narratives that tell us we should fall for inconsiderate schlubs whose inattentiveness is a theoretical down payment in future awesome, or the idea that sexual harassment is part of video game culture, or assertions that female incompetence is adorable and endearing. If people and concepts are going to treat women with utter, logic-boggling disrespect, I have no idea why I should bring deference to a contempt-fight.
But we are in luck! Because it turns out that even if I’m not supposed to feel contempt for things and behaviors, and men are supposed to ignore me, Marche is allowed to visit judgement down on his fellow men, and they’d do well to fall in line. “I suppose I should feel compassion, or some kind of weird gender loyalty, for the guys who can’t figure this out,” he writes. “In all honesty, I don’t. There is no masculinity crisis. There’s a crisis for idiots. The Tucker Maxes of the world are doomed. That’s not the end of men. It’s the beginning.” What a relief that someone is allowed to name nonsense for what it is! I hope Marche is ready and able to serve. Because I have a list of things I’d like him to hold in contempt for me.