FEMALE PRIVILEGE – Covert abuse as part of the traditional female role


Dr. Tara Palmatier had an article up about a month ago that I posted to the Men’s Rights subreddit. The article listed the specific tactics a female abuser uses:

1. Keep your Mask on at All Times
2. Damsels in Distress are Hawt!
3. Sex Bomb!
4. Rinse, Wash, Repeat and Put Him on a Long Silken Leash.
5. Let the Shit Tests Begin!
6. Escalate Shit Tests and Commence Blame Shifting and Gaslighting (Squee! Squee!)
7. The Carrot and the Whip.
8. Put the Lid on the Cookie Jar Half-Way.
9. Seal the Deal!
10. Pee on his Territory.
11. Isolate, Isolate, Isolate!
12. Crank the Dial on the FOG Machine.
13. Put the Cookie Jar Away and Only Break Out in Case of Emergency.
15. Instill a Sense of Learned Helplessness.
16. HOOVER! Because You Suck.

Yes, this behavior is sociopathic, but that hardly means that only sociopaths engage in it. Perfectly “normal” people act lie sociopaths when sociopathy is the cultural norm. In this case the gender norms, both toxic femininity and the traditional form of masculinity that licenses it, are themselves sociopathic.

When I posted the article to reddit, this comment was typical:

[+]AlexReynard 1 point2 points3 points 11 hours ago (0 children)
I’m reading this, and thinking, ‘This is the script for basically any mainstream comedy couple.’


It is. So let’s look at how closely Dr. Palmatier’s list follows traditional gender norms:

1. Keep your Mask on at All Times – because women are “socialized to please people”

2. Damsels in Distress are Hawt! – because a man’s utility is measured by his usefulness to women, and the way you activate his sense of agency is by downplaying your own and damseling for you life.

3. Sex Bomb! – again, because women are “socialized to please people”. And besides, men are all mindless horndogs you can manipulate with your Vaj, amirite?

4. Rinse, Wash, Repeat and Put Him on a Long Silken Leash. – because men need some breaking in, and that takes time. But the “love of a good women” is all he needs ot make a Real man of him, so he had better knuckle under.

5. Let the Shit Tests Begin! – because the precious Vaj is the Holy Grail (how Freudian is that?) and he damned well has to earn it. Folk tales, myths and pre-modern literatures are full of these tests. The one that comes to mind immediately is Hunting of Twrch Trwyth or the test Thingol sets Beren in the Tale of Beren and Lúthien.

What would be the female equivalent of proving yourself worthy of sex and a mate? “The path to a man’s heart is through his stomach” maybe – and how deep in the past is that? Who under 50 can even remember that saying?

6. Escalate Shit Tests and Commence Blame Shifting and Gaslighting (Squee! Squee!) – and blame shifting works because Woman is the moral guardian who judges the deeds and misdeeds of men and gets to decide who is and isn’t a Real Man, so regardless of what he thinks happened, you know better than him.

7. The Carrot and the Whip. – more of the same. This is why you start making him prove he’s better than all those other losers, those less-than-real Men who couldn’t hang onto your high maintenance ass.

8. Put the Lid on the Cookie Jar Half-Way. – because now it’s time to dial back on the sex, and your perfect cover is that “nice girls” don’t really like sex that much, they just submit to men’s animal desires, which they of course are above.

9. Seal the Deal! – because a real, mature man should want to play house with you and if he doesn’t, well, he’s just an immature commitphobe.

10. Pee on his Territory. – because you’re the lady of the house right? You are in charge, even if it’s his house. Men are just beasts anyway; restrict his access to his own house down until all he has left is a man cave and if you decide he ahs fucked up, you can send him to sleep on the couch.

11. Isolate, Isolate, Isolate! – because it’s more romantic to need only one person in life. What, aren’t I enough for you? You woman-hating brute, don’t you love me? Don’t you care about my feelings, my needs? Fine, go on, go wherever you think you need to go….

12. Crank the Dial on the FOG Machine. – because a real man is measured by how well he takes care of a women, you get to quit your job and feed off of him. Hell, half the time the law will consider him responsible for your upkeep and deny him the right to throw you out.

13. Put the Cookie Jar Away and Only Break Out in Case of Emergency. – because a really “nice girl” doesn’t like sex, remember? This is when you start shaming him for beating off and looking at porn too, because after all, you have a perfect right to shame him for his filthy needs.

14. CONTROL. – because he is really just a man-child after all, isn’t he, just a simple creature with simple needs…. Didn’t Dr. Phil tell us that women understand how to do relationships better than men do, by like a factor of ten?

15. Instill a Sense of Learned Helplessness. …. So he could never really take care of himself. He needs a strong, confident woman to do all that for him, and if he balks at that, why, he is just “threatened by a strong woman.”

16. HOOVER! Because You Suck. – he may push away, but what does he really know about who is the right person for him, and who is bad….?

See how easy this is? We all grew up to think this is perfectly normal! This is how men are supposed to submit to the higher

And for a taste of how gendered this is and how traditional gender roles shape the terrain, here’s an example from that thread of all the social and legal support a man subjected to this kind of abuse can count on:

[–]TorontoMike 6 points7 points8 points 16 hours ago

Yeah that sounded too familiar, I could not finish reading it,

Moving in together she did not like my furniture so it had to go.

Cutting me off from my friends and family, because she did not like them and not fighting and arguing and I wanting peace was more important than a relationship with a friend.

Cutting me off financially;, I was a student so was not that hard getting angry and jealous if I worked overtime or got extra work, creating drama or not telling some one called so then I was “unreliable” and did not get called for an extra shift

The physical abuse was intermittent before got worse; when I was cut off from every one she did not hold back and she would destroy all my few remaining possessions .

Was openly mocked by police and domestic assault help lines .

Finally left with no money and a bag of my dirty laundry as my only possessions to stay at a homeless shelter and find an old boss / friend that I knew to borrow some money to take a bus to a another city and live on my mother’s sofa .

How does this align with traditional gender roles? Do traditional gender roles license this in women more than in men? I think the police answered that for Toronto Mike pretty well.

dungone offers some analysis in this thread:

[–]dungone 4 points5 points6 points 1 month ago*

This doesn’t apply to all women, but it does apply to feminine gender roles. At the most basic, core level, the behaviors described here are all based around the principle of sunk cost. Increasing the other party’s sunk costs, while minimizing your own, creates a power imbalance that is described in this article in one of it’s more extreme manifestations. But it can be really subtle, and it’s pretty much always there to some extent as long as the traditional dating script is being followed.

The active person virtually always has the greater sunk costs than the passive person. And that’s virtually always the man. In fact, having the greater sunk costs means taking on the greater risks, paying for things, etc., and so by definition it puts you in the active role. And by definition, the passive role puts you in the position of trying to manipulate the active person to do your bidding. You can be really nice about it, you can be completely sincere, and you can in fact even love the man with all of your heart, but the dynamic remains, no matter how subtly. And that makes it especially hard for guys who have been through a relationship with a full-tilt manipulator to cope with even a normal, loving relationship for a long time afterwards.

The active person – male hyperagency; the pasive person – female hypoagency. This is how “The bottom is always in charge.”

dungone sums up:

[–]dungone 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago

Yes, you are correct. All relationships that follow traditional gender roles do look abusive, but it’s because they really are. The main difference is that a disordered woman can turn it into a science through a dispassionate and relentless application of the female gender role. Remember, this is describing what borderline, bpd, narcissistic, or sociopathic women would do. If it hits a little too close to home with what even normal, loving women also do, then perhaps it’s a good reason to think about whether or not some of those behaviors should be considered acceptable.


Yes, this behavior is sociopathic, but that hardly means that only sociopaths engage in it. Perfectly “normal” people act like sociopaths when sociopathy is the cultural norm. In this case the gender norms are sociopathic.


Jim Doyle
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<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="3167 http://www.genderratic.com/?p=3167">14 comments</span>

  • I was about to say I had a few things to say about that one, but then it turned out you already had me covered! 🙂 A long time ago I was going to try to do a guest post about this but my ideas never gelled until that article on shrink4men and the thread came up on Reddit.

    I really wanted to get into how I feel that a lot of the stress that men experience even in relationships aren’t just caused by misogyny or men growing bitter due to past trauma, but because it’s actually the same exact dynamic at work in both healthy and sociopathic relationships. Picture a woman who thinks it’s acceptable for her boyfriend to buy her countless dinners and gifts worth tens of thousands of dollars but yet feels like he’s excessively jealous when she innocently flirts with other men. The same goes for expecting men to do all the risky approaching, which is stressful for anyone. When women get in groups and compare the size of the diamonds in their engagement rings, they’re effectively comparing how much power they have to manipulate a man’s behavior. Women don’t just compare, they actually compete with one another to see who can get the biggest one.

    The only difference is that the sociopath does it on purpose in a calculated manner, increasing the amount of abuse she dishes out in proportion to the amount of sunk costs she’d been able to get her victim to commit to. Traditional gender roles make men especially susceptible to sociopathic women, but sociopathic women also make it difficult for men to trust healthy women. I’m not here to blame women for the existence of female sociopaths. I’m here to say that healthy women should reevaluate whether or not they will support or even *tolerate* traditional dating scripts on this basis. After all, who wants to be confused with a heartless sociopath?

  • Dungone, if ooyu could expand on this one comment, that would be a fine guest post. it covers a lot of ground.

  • This is off-topic, but Ginkgo, have you seen the article in the Guardian from the UK, about “10 rules for managing your penis”?


    The _really_ interesting bit was point no. 7 “do not share your penis with other men”. Well it’s official now – the gay and bisexual men of the world have BROKEN THE RULES and all those protections of law so hard fought for can be safely done away with.

    What a reprehensible toad she is.

  • I’m not even sure you can say that “normal” women who adhere to traditional gender roles are any better than sociopaths. For all intents and purposes, the effects of their behaviour for their partners is the same. They might as well be dating an actual sociopath because the behaviour is the same, wether consciously decided or not.

    Which always makes me baffled that men create and stay in those relationships. There is nothing to gain.

  • Cicero, that is right down the middle of what I am getting at. There you have perfectly normal, basically decent women engaging in what is plainly sociopathic objectification.

    And bonus! It suggests a whole slough of great “Don’t Be That Girl” posters.

    – If he’s drunk and you have sex, that’s rape and you’re a rapist – Don’t be that girl.

    – If he’s asleep and you grab him and get him hard and have sex, that’s rape and you’re a rapist. don’t be that girl.

    – If you say he’s gay unless he has sex with you to get him to have sex, that’s rape and you’re a rapist. Don’t be that girl.

    Etc. I bet those would stir the pot up in Edmonton.

  • NeMi,
    “Which always makes me baffled that men create and stay in those relationships. There is nothing to gain.”

    As I say, that self-lubricating feature is not worth the pain.

    Two problems here. One is the mal-socialized women who think this shit is normal and enageg in it. The other is the mal-socialized men who think this shit is normal and tolerate it.

    Why do they do it? Let’s list the cultural messages that reinforce this kind of self-destructive tolerance. I think a lot of the Real Man discourse plays into this. Also the actual family law legal regime plays a role.

    Help me out here, everyone.

  • Ginkgo: “Help me out here, everyone.”

    People genuinely want to to meet someone and have a family. The best chance people have of achieving this is to go along with the gender scripts, and the benefits are seen to outweigh the drawbacks. If they’re lucky they’ll, by coincidence, end up with someone else who is just ‘going along with it’ and drop the scripts after getting together.

    This is the one factor feminists forget when they get perplexed about women not going along with their “crushing of the patriarchy”. And I bet you most of these “angry feminists” are out on a Friday/Saturday night dolled up and fluttering their eyelashes at whichever cute guy buys them a drink. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ll hide the fact that they’re a feminist from him until he’s sufficiently invested in the relationship as well. That’s if they just don’t grow out of it after meeting him.

  • Adiabat, well that’s spoiling the fun, cutting to the chase like that.

    There is also the way policing of these roles, and conforming to them, is built into people’s self-image

  • “People genuinely want to to meet someone and have a family… and the benefits are seen to outweigh the drawbacks. If they’re lucky they’ll, by ”

    But that’s precisely the point. What on earth do you gain from a partner/family that only leeches off you?

  • @NeMi:

    Codependent traits probably factor into the answer. I recommend the blog Savory Dish for discussion on Cluster Bs, with emphasis on borderlines. TorontoMike seems to have run afoul of one. I can regurgitate a little, but it’s better to go to the source.

    A tangent and maybe added incentive: right now Savory Dish’s got a post about Sady Doyle up. It turns out she’s diagnosed with a mental illness, bipolar II.

    I’m sorry, but it’s striking to me that Noah Brand banned people from NSWATM for taking issue with a woman who has since characterized herself as “acting like a terrible monster.” I think that was Brand, at least. Maybe someone can correct me here.

  • People genuinely want to to meet someone and have a family. The best chance people have of achieving this is to go along with the gender scripts

    This shouldn’t mean that the ends justify the means. Many men fall into an Icarus Paradox in their relationships. When things seem to go well, they start to think that it’s because they’ve figured out how to do everything the right way and that they were smart to ignore all of the red flags they’ve seen up until then. They seem to be oblivious to the incredible amounts of risk they are exposing themselves to by complying with male gender roles. Those gender roles are also the fractures along which relationships fail – ignore them at your own peril.

  • “The best chance people have of achieving this is to go along with the gender scripts”

    That may be the easiest way. It’s probably not the best way. Dungone concludes with a very good point.

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