By Rod Van Mechelen
"It's not whether you win or lose, but how you place the blame." - Annonymous
All Creatures, Great and Small
1992 Bellevue, Wash. - Loudly and often, pop feminists insist women don't like competition, and that competition is an act of aggression. (Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress, St. Martin's Press mass market edition, 1989, Shere Hite, p 650) Ironically, however, competition as aggression is inevitable in a society where men must compete for the attention of women. (Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape, Susan Brownmiller, p 272)
Women encourage this. Every time they passively wait for men to take the initiative, or reject nurturing men in deference to domineering men, they sustain the dynamic of dominance. Ignoring this, pop feminists contend competition is the capitalization of aggression, and men do it to the detriment of all.
Does this mean fighting for domination is the only way to compete? That competition is solely a product of masculine socialization and something we can do without?
Masculine socialization has nothing to do with it. In one way or another, all living things compete, because wanting creates competition. (Note: I didn't really clarify how other critters compete, but I hope it would be obvious.) You want to live, so you offer goods or services to others in exchange for the goods and services you need to survive. The better the goods and services you offer, the more you can get in exchange, and the better you will be able to live.
Competition As Validation
To live well, you make your "stuff" as good as possible relative to what your "competition" offers. That is the essence of competition in a free market. It respects the rights of others, and everybody wins because it works through validation rather than domination.
Competition as validation is the process by which the efficacy of ideas, knowledge, and products is validated by consumers. They choose what they value most. To the extent our economy encourages winning through validation, it works. Most women, however, encourage competition through domination by ignoring cooperative, nurturing men to give their love and sex to domineering, "virile" men.
What's more, women compete, and they compete to win. (What Do Women Want?, Eichenbaum and Orbach, p 178) This is especially evident in women's response to the invention of the rubber condom.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Prior to the 1870's, prostitution in Europe was prevalent. Victorian ladies' distaste for sex encouraged "an explosive increase in prostitution" that caused "an epidemic spread of venereal disease, and a morbid taste for masochism." (Sex in History, Reay Tannahill, p 347) Then, women began to compete sexually, and prostitution had to go: "(T)hey began to compete with prostitutes for their husbands' continuing attentions." (Sex in History, Reay Tannahill, p 411)
What changed? Men started using rubber condoms. This gave women the option of enjoying sex without risking pregnancy, and that meant women now viewed prostitutes as sexual competitors. Subsequently, they demanded laws prohibiting prostitution, belying the myth that women don't compete. (What Do Women Want?, Eichenbaum and Orbach, pp 171 - 172)
Pop feminists say this is men's fault. That men have forced the necessity of sexual competition upon women and that, left to themselves, women hearken to a more cooperative agenda. But the facts do not support this contention. Even among themselves, where male attention is not the objective, women still compete without compunction. (Women Vs. Women: The Uncivil Business War, Tara Roth Madden, p xvi)
Feminists Attack in Men What They Hate in Themselves
Generally, however, they compete within the context of relationship goals and processes. Understanding this reveals the source of pop feminism's loathing of male competitiveness. Projecting their own agenda onto men, they attack in men what they most despise in themselves.
Spite, malice, rancor and hostility characterize competition within the context of relationship goals and processes. This is unsavory, to say the least. Inasmuch as men commonly compete within the context of production goals and processes, and mock war, or sports, which often engenders admiration among adversaries, most will probably agree with pop feminists that female competitiveness in relationships is something the world can do without.
Rod Van Mechelen
Rod Van Mechelen is the author of What Everyone Should Know about Feminist Issues: The Male-Positive Perspective (the page now includes several articles by other authors), and the publisher of The Backlash! @ Backlash.com. He is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and served for 9-1/2 years on the Cowlitz Indian Tribal Council.