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The Manipulated Man by Esther Vilar
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A Masterpiece of Unmitigated Misogyny
H.L. Mencken defined a misogynist as “A man who hates women almost as much as women hate one another”. It is therefore unsurprising that most misogynistic book ever written was penned by a woman.

Women, to Vilar, are overpriced prostitutes. However, compared to the street prostitutes whom they so despise for undercutting their prices, they lack even the virtue of honesty.
“The old saying that a woman’s fate is her body is true insofar as fate has a positive meaning. But in the negative sense, it is better applied to men… A woman profits from her anatomical peculiarities whenever she can, while a man is an eternal slave to his.”
The Wealth of Women
Vilar exposes the fundamental fallacy of feminism – the belief that, since men, on average, earn more than women, this means we are better off.

This ignores:
1) The greater sacrifices men endure in return for higher wages; and

2) The fact that much of the money earned by men is spent on and by their wives and girlfriends
Thus, as Warren Farrell demonstrates in Why Men Earn More (review here), men work longer hours, in more dangerous and unpleasant conditions and for a greater portion of their lives.

Thus, Vilar reports:
“The army of suppressed women eagerly awaiting the moment of liberation simply never materialised. As soon as the first American woman had climbed a telephone pole; the first female. plumber, construction worker, and furniture mover had been photographed and the photos printed in newspapers all over the world; the uproar died down. Why should it have gone any further? After all, it is not much fun to repair water pipes, to lay bricks, or to lug furniture. Unlike men, women can choose whether they want to do drudgery or not. It is logical that most of them decide against it.”
Yet, if men earn more money, they do not have more money. Vilar reports:
“According to statistics, it is the female sector of the population who spends the most money – money men earn for them”.
Thus, marketing expert Bernice Kanner reports that women make approximately 88% of retail purchases in the US (Pocketbook Power: p5), while Marti Barletta reports that women are responsible for about 80% of household spending (Marketing to Women: p6).

This data comes from researchers in the marketing industry.

Whereas feminist academics, ensconced in universities at the taxpayer expense, are free to manipulate, misinterpret and suppress their findings for political reasons, researchers in the marketing industry have no such luxury. They are subject to the relentless falsification process known as ‘market forces’. If they are wrong, they find themselves out of a job.

Thus, Vilar reports:
“The advertising man does not idealise women from any masochistic tendency. It is purely a question of survival. Only his exploiters, women, have sufficient time and money to buy and consume all of his products. To supply the woman inhabiting his ranch home with purchasing power, he has no choice but to cultivate legions of other women who have as much satisfaction as his own wife in spending. They will then buy his goods and keep his wife in pocket money. This is the beginning of a vicious cycle.”
Consumers are conventionally viewed as the victims of advertising, manipulated and deceived by advertising executives into wasting their money on the latest fad. Vilar turns this logic on its head.
“Who is really being exploited[?] Is it the creature whose innermost wishes are sought out, coddled and fulfilled, or is it he who in his desire to retain the affections of the woman, seeks out coddles and fulfils them?”
Thus, Vilar observers:
“It is interesting that nearly the only products sold are those of benefit to women: sports cars (with which to entice her), luxury goods (for women), or household appliances (also for women, since the house actually belongs to her – man is, in fact, a homeless creature, moving constantly between office and house).”
How, then, are women able to spend more than men while earning less? The answer is that the entire process of human courtship works to redistribute wealth from men to women – from the social expectation that the man pay for dinner on the first date to the legal obligation that he financially support his ex-wife and her children for anything up to twenty years after he has belatedly rid himself of her.

As Schopenhauer observed
“Women believe in their hearts that a man’s duty is to earn money and theirs is to spend it.”
Housework: Unpaid Labor or Overpaid Laziness?
Feminists would claim that this analysis ignores women’s so-called unpaid labor in the home. Yet Vilar questions whether husbands actually benefit from their wives’ housework.
“Men, who in fact prefer the plain and functional, every day find themselves more deeply entangled in the undergrowth of superfluous ornamentation and all kinds of embellishments.”
Ultimately, however, “he has no need of lace curtains or rubber plants in the living room”.

Vilar is right. The claim that wives do housework for the benefit of their husbands is falsified by the fact single women do more housework than men too. Single women do between one third and one half more house work than do single men (see Biology at Work: Rethinking Sexual Equality: p169; South & Spitze 1994).

Indeed, as recently as the 1960s, single women did three times as much housework as single men (Key Issues in Women’s Work: p48).

Clearly, single women living alone are not doing housework for the benefit of anyone other than themselves. Therefore, that women do more housework than single men suggests that women simply like cleaner houses more, or dislike doing housework less, and that they do housework primarily for their own benefit, not that of a husband.

Indeed, it is doubtful that the husband receives much benefit, since married men do only one hour less housework per week than do single men (Biology at Work: p169 South & Spitze 1994).

Housework therefore seems to be, not so much unpaid labor as it is overpaid laziness.

A person is no more entitled to remuneration for cleaning their own house than they are for cleaning behind their own ears in the bath.

(See my blog post: Unpaid Labor or Overpaid Laziness: Why Housework in Your Own House Isn’t Really Work.)

Children as Hostages
Much the same can be said of childcare. After all, women have children by choice – unlike men, who are denied any say over whether to abort a foetus yet nevertheless obliged to pay maintenance for the resulting offspring for the next two decades.

Presumably, then, women regard child-rearing as inherently rewarding rather than as work. Otherwise, why do they choose to have children?

Perhaps they have children precisely to give them an excuse to expropriate more of men’s money.

Thus, one of Vilar’s chapters is titled “Children as Hostages”.

On this view, offspring serve a function analogous to a hostage taken by a kidnapper in order to demand ransom money in return for their release. They represent merely a further excuse to demand monies from the unfortunate father.

Thus, women almost invariably win child custody cases – and child maintenance is paid to the mother, not the child.

Moreover, whereas there exist extensive draconian mechanisms to ensure the prompt payment of such monies, there are no mechanisms to ensure that the money paid is actually spent for the benefit of the child.

Instead, the mother is at liberty to spend the money however she chooses (e.g. clothes, handbags, perfume, cigarettes).

(Again, I elaborate on this issue in my blog post, Unpaid Labor or Overpaid Laziness: Why Housework in Your Own House Isn't Really Work, in the section entitled Why Childcare for Your Own Children Isn’t Work Either.)

Feminism
Vilar sees feminism as missing the point entirely. Feminists were interested only in the purported privileges of a small minority of men – “the highly paid positions of men and not the ‘prerogatives’ of, say, soldiers”.

The early feminists, she argues, were bitter because they had failed to attract a man to support them and therefore had to financially support themselves – rather like men do, though without the additional obligation to support a wife and children.

However, Vilar sees them as, morally, no better than other women, since it was only their ugliness, not moral scruple, that disadvantaged them.
“There is no virtue in ugliness.”
Nowadays, however, feminists are no longer always ugly. Some are quite attractive (on the outside, that is).
“Enticed by the extensive publicity awaiting them, a number of attractive ‘emancipated’ women joined the movement… although these attractive women could not possibly imagine themselves having the problems they were discussing (discrimination against an attractive woman does not exist, either in her profession or in her private life)”
. In the process, however, feminism ultimately became simply:
“A branch of American show business”.
Outdated?
It may be protested that Vilar's views are outdated. She describes a situation where the majority of married women are not in paid employment.

Obviously things have changed since Vilar first wrote her book 40 years ago. But they have changed less than you might think.

In the UK in the 21st century, whereas 95% of married men work full-time, the majority of married women do not work at all, and, even among married women without children, only 58% work (Liddle 2003 p18).

In the US, even those who do work earn only earn about a quarter of the total household income of the couple, and this pattern has remained stable since the 1950s. (Work-Lifestyle Choices in the 21st Century: Preference Theory: p111).

In short, although much has changed, the reality of women’s exploitation of men has changed but little. This suggests, I would argue, that it is rooted, not in arbitrary social conventions, but in biology.

It is here that I part company from Vilar, who claimed, in a much-quoted passage, that:
“Men have been trained and conditioned by women [i.e. mothers, girlfriends, wives], not unlike Pavlov conditioned his dogs, into becoming their slaves”.
My view is that the exploitation of men by women is not conditioned, but based in biology.

Sociobiologists have shown that, since females make the greater initial investment in offspring (an egg plus 9 months gestation, followed by nursing), it is males who compete for females, not vice versa (Bateman 1948; Trivers 1972; see Symons 1979).

As evolutionary psychologist David Buss writes:
“The evolution of the female preference for males who offer resources may be the most ancient and pervasive basis for female choice in the animal kingdom” (The Evolution Of Desire: p22).
Since it is innate, the key female advantage, namely their control over, what might be termed in quasi-Marxian terms, the means of reproduction, is likely permanant.

Sexbots & The Salvation of Man
Therefore, perhaps the only hope for the salvation of men lies not in social reform or revolution, but in technological progress which may eventually liberate men from the need for women.

With the development of virtual reality pornography and ‘sexbots’, men can achieve sexual satisfaction without the expense and inconvenience of real women.

Already, sex dolls can be designed according to the precise specifications of their owners, will not nag, cheat, spend your money nor even grow older, fatter and uglier with each passing year and can be handily stored in a cupboard when not required, which is cheaper than divorce and easier to get away with than strangulation.

Admittedly, these dolls are completely inert, unresponsive and incapable of conversation. However, on the plus side, this also means they already have a personality more pleasant than the average woman.

Given that, like all significant technological advancement, sexbots will surely be invented, designed, built and repaired by males, women will be bypassed and cut out of the equation altogether. (See my blog post, Pornographic Progress, Sexbots and the Salvation of Man.)

Indeed, Vilar herself anticipated this development:
“If men would only stop for a moment in their blind productivity and think... surely it would take them only a couple of days, considering their own intelligence, imagination and determination, to construct a machine, a kind of human female robot to take the place of women.”
Women will be obsolete – just another once useful technology that has been wholly supplanted, like typewriters, video recorders, the Commodore 64 and the long drop toilet.

A few women may be retained for reproductive purposes, perhaps housed in battery cages for maximum efficiency.

From cobblers and scribes to thatchers and blacksmiths, technological progress has already rendered countless professions obsolete. Soon perhaps the oldest profession will go the same way.

The REAL sexual revolution has but barely begun...

References
Bateman 1948 Intra-sexual selection in Drosophila, Heredity, 2(3):349–368
Liddle 2003 Women who won't. Spectator 29 November
South & Spitze 1994 Housework in Marital and Nonmarital Households. American Sociological Review 59:327-347
Trivers 1972 Parental investment and sexual selection. In B. Campbell (Ed.), Sexual selection and the descent of man, 1871-1971 (pp. 136-179). Chicago, IL: Aldine
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November 3, 2018 – Shelved

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