Luck and the emotional mule


Professor Richard Wiseman–a proffessor of psychology–gave a newspaper to two groups of people. The first group described themselves as unlucky. The second group as lucky.

Professor Wiseman told both groups to look through and see how many photographs were inside the newspaper. The unlucky group on average took about two minutes to count all the photographs.

The lucky group took only seconds.


Because on the second page of the newspaper there was the message “Stop counting there are 43 photographs in this newspaper.”

Our reality is 95% perception. If you control people’s perceptions of themselves and the world around them, you control the reality that they create for themselves.

Components of luck identified by Professor Wiseman include, not dwelling on misfortune, feeling the world is full of benefit, and feelling like you can take action to effect positive change.

If you look at the science of luck you could also call luck a psychological toolkit for taking advantage of opportunities the world provides you.

Now whenever I talk to men who aren’t men’s rights activists, I find in response to the vulnerabilities I bring up that men have, they say roughly the same thing “yes, but women have it worse.”

You see what they’re doing? They are evading taking on the emotional burden of being vulnerable, of having insecurities, of realizing there are parts of the world that arainst you… by mentally pushing the burden onto women.

As long as women “have it worse” men don’t have to bear the emotional burden of their own vulnerability.

When it comes to situations in which men are victims and need others to help them, this behaviour leads to very negative outcomes for men, but day to day this framing allows men an emotional freedom on the backs of women.

And that emotional freedom is identical to the same emotional freedom the lucky enjoy over the unlucky. The process of turning women to men’s emotional mules affords men the exaggerated ability to see their actions as effecting positive benefit for themselves in the world; see the world as beneficial to men; and of course, most important, it allows men to not have to dwell on misfortune.

By way of contrast, women have to bear the weight of believing the work is against them, that their actions do not matter, and that misfortune is their lot in life. This weight leads to women not just curtailing their own opportunities—simply because they miss them—but also stunts their innovation, ability to negotiate, ability to build.

All sacrificed so that men can have the emotional freedom to do those very things.

Of course in order to maintain this system that turns women into men’s emotional mules, we have to convince everyone that women have it worse.

When men tell me “women have it worse” and I challenge them on it the first three things they pull out are the wage gap, patriarchy, or male privilege.

But the most common first thing that men pull out to inform me my proper role is as their emotional mule is rape.

Because you are more likely to be raped, they say. Therefore you have it worse.

Rape culture is an extension of this. Not only are women more likely to be victimized by individual men, culture as a whole victimizes them as well!

Women have it worse. Women have it worse. Women have it worse.

As a woman who has no interest in functioning as men’s emotional mule, the question for me is this.

Is that a legitimate thing to assert? I mean in maintaining my belief that I have it worse as a woman, I have to forgo the entire toolkit of emotional freedom that allows me to be innovative, creative, proactive and have faith both in the world around me and myself.

And I don’t particularly want to do that.

So is legitimate to assert that women are more likely to be raped? And make no mistake this assertion is the cornerstone of the entire process of turning women into emotional mules for men. But is it consistent with the evidence?

I would think that just one iota of doubt about this assertion would be enough to throw it out as justification to turn women into men’s emotional mules.

And although this one justification is the one I like to focus on, because this is the one that, in the end, afforded me my greatest emotional catharsis.

I’d like to propose that all justifications for why “women have it worse” be subject to the same rigour.

One iota of doubt should be enough to throw them out.

This is what I’m saying. By promoting a mythology of “women have it worse” you are constraining their emotional freedom. You are sacrificing women’s lives to focus on them on as rape victims and only rape victims.

You are reducing women down to rape victims every day of their lives.

Focusing on their victimhood and not their personhood.

Alison Tieman
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Alison Tieman

<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="152659">9 comments</span>

  • A very interesting read. It even seems that making women emotional mules is made more or less a necessity by society–men are not only supposed to have this emotional freedom, they are barely allowed any sort of range of emotion, less they become not-men. Feminists are complicit in this regard, I think.

  • This is a very interesting text and i wish i had something smart to say about it. But i don’t. I just want to say that this is a new perspective i have never thought about. Very thought provoking. Thank you for this.

  • “So is legitimate to assert that women are more likely to be raped? And make no mistake this assertion is the cornerstone of the entire process of turning women into emotional mules for men. But is it consistent with the evidence?”
    And this is exactly why rape is such a sacred cow for feminists. The idea that men get raped, and by women, puts a crack right through their foundation.

  • “As long as women “have it worse” men don’t have to bear the emotional burden of their own vulnerability.”

    If this is your premise, I would say that it is incorrect. What it actually means is that men are never permitted to relieve themselves of their emotional burden. they must forever carry it buried deep within themselves. It also means that they must carry the burden of women as well. The very existence of the white knight is to relieve the woman of her burden. It is also used by feminists to make all men responsible for rape, thus relieving women of the emotional burden that comes with the responsibility to protect themselves and placing it directly on men. The anger and outrage of men is used to motivate them to protect women. Men must never be permitted to let go of this. It must always be at the fore which is why the expression of their own emotions must be held in check. it is the male that is the emotional mule. Women are permitted to express their feelings, to let go of them, and to transfer them to men to be expressed as anger and outrage in the belief that “women have it worse.”

    This also serves society at large. When men, en masse, begin to express their feelings revolutions tend to happen. The “women have it worse” meme keeps men too busy protecting women to overthrow governments.

    • I agree completely. It is because men carry that burden that we feel compelled to help others, to help the weak, and to look out for women. By serving others we sublimate our own pain, and hope that in kind someone will help us.

      More often than not, that help never arrives.

  • Females don’t especially want to be understood as persons because it makes them less “mysterious” and less acceptable as capricious and emotional and therefore more responsible for their own behavior.

  • I’ve always considered myself unfairly lucky. I score near 100% when playing “privilege bingo” (white, male, able-bodied etc)… but even for my cohort I feel lucky. As a result I’m constantly on the look out for opportunities to do stuff and innovate. I fail quite a bit – that’s the nature of innovation, but sometimes I don’t. This post makes me wonder if it’s by feeling of being lucky that’s helped this… and if it can be usefully taught. I have been told (by g/f and coworkers) that the pony I most resemble is Pinky Pie.

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