The manosphere has its attendant jargon: there are men’s rights activists (MRA), pick-up artists (PUA), and Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW, a male-separatist movement). The Red Pill (TRP, a reference to the 1999 movie The Matrix, in which the protagonist swallows a red pill to enter the real world) is often invoked, as are “alpha” and “beta” males (but not omega males).
The Manosphere is an angry place. Feminists love to talk dismissively about the anger there, as if male anger invalidates any reasonable point behind the anger. But that anger is understandable by any objective measure. That’s because our culture has treated men, as a class, very poorly while asking so much for them. …
For the last 40 years, men have been trying to adapt to the chaotic result of the Sexual Revolution and the dictates of feminism, and at long last they’re getting fed up.
In late June a Washington Post reporter, Monica Hesse, attended the first International Conference on Men’s Issues in St. Clair Shores, Michigan where, she writes, about 200 attendees—“mostly white, college-through-retirement-age”—found confirmation for their belief that “the world had become a hostile and dangerous place for males”:
This conference, billed as the first of its kind, was sponsored by A Voice for Men, an online publication for the men’s rights movement and one of the more prominent outlets in the “manosphere.” Originally, it was to take place at a Doubletree in Detroit, a city picked because it was an “iconic testament to masculinity,” according to promotional materials. But then something happened to the original plans. A Voice for Men said the hotel was issued death threats by feminists for agreeing to hold the conference; the hotel never confirmed or denied these reports. The conference was moved from the Doubletree to the suburban VFW, a yellowish linoleum room that organizers argued was even more appropriate and more masculine of a location.
Advocates of the men’s rights movement are united by their belief that feminism is the enemy. It’s made up of a mix of men – pick-up artists, male victims of abuse, father's rights proponents – who come together online. One of the most successful communities in the “manosphere” is Reddit's Red Pill. It has almost 53,000 subscribers who believe that women are designed solely for sex and sandwich-making. (I’m paraphrasing, but barely – one email I got this week suggested that “the women’s movement is breaking the circle of life, and our humanity”).
Although the online manosphere is often characterized by vitriolic anti-woman language, the Post’s Monica Hesse saw something else when she attended the ICMI conference: “an island of misfit boys and damaged men, who claimed to have believed in the system until it failed them.”
There’s always something peculiar, and peculiarly gratifying, to see at Pharmaca, the Western U.S. alt-pharmacy chain. This is, after all, a store that stocks Fruitrients, W3LL PEOPLE [sic], Topricin*, Alaffia (ha ha!), Cowgirl Skincare, and GladRags (“eco-friendly menstruation support made simple”).
But if I had to pick a current favorite from the Pharmaca shelves, it would be Mandelay “climax control gel.”
Man … delay.
I’m tickled that it’s a man-word I hadn’t yet encountered. I’m amused by the punctuation after the name (a full stop, really?). And I can’t resist a name that has me Kipling—you’ve Kippled, haven’t you?—all the way home.
As for the product itself, here’s what a reviewer said on the CVS site: “It works, but a little too well.”
When you think of boudoir photography, the picture that probably comes to mind is women striking pinup poses in classic Frederick’s of Hollywood lingerie. But what if, instead of a woman, it’s a man seducing the camera in his skivvies? Then it’s dudeoir, of course.
Sure enough, the subject of the story, Oakland photographer Mariah Carle, devotes a section of her website to “Men Dudeoir” (sic; content reproduced verbatim):
Boudoir is for men too, Call it Dudeoir, call it nude photos, call it anything you like. You and your partner will love seeing professional high quality photos of you in your best-dressed or undressed look.
Why dudeoir and not, say, boydoir? Your guess is as good as mine; maybe the rhyme with boudoir makes dudeoir irresistible. The French word boudoir—“a lady’s private sitting room or bedroom”—comes from an Old French verb, bouder, that means “to sulk,” so it’s literally “a room for sulking.” “Boudoir photography”—in which the (female) subject is scantily clothed, softly lit, and posed (sulking?) amid bedroom trappings—is as old as photography itself, but the term seems to have been created in recent decades. According to a thinly researched Wikipedia entry, a California studio, Motherlode Photography, coined “boudoir photography” in 1980. No link is provided, but there’s a Motherlode Photography in California Gold Country—which explains but doesn’t excuse the name—that was established in 1976 and still lists “boudoir photography” among its services.
Yes, I’m observing Festivus a few days early this year. The aluminum pole is looking handsomely unadorned (I find tinsel distracting), and I’m feeling confident about my chances in the Feats of Strength. But first, my favorite part of the Seinfeld-inspired holiday: The Airing of Grievances.
I’ll start with the most grievous of my 2012 grievances. Stick around – they get funnier and less lethal, I promise. (Past grievances: 2011, 2010, 2009.)
Maximus is a Polish vodka brand acquired last year by Brown-Forman Corporation, which also owns the Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort brands. If you think “man throat” and “rise and conquer” are suggestive, you should see the old European TV spots, which really put the gluteus in the Maximus.
See more kitschy-cool Maximus print ads by 81-year-old Civil War painter Mort Künstler at Buzzfeed.
Remember MEN-trepreneurs, man irons, and manllows? It’s been a while since I’ve reported on a new man-word sighting, but now Brut steps up with its Mantervention Facebook app, in which (according to AdFreak) “some guy with George Michael stubble lectures you about spending too much time on Facebook.” I can’t say for sure, but I’m guessing the Mantervention movie scheduled for 2013 release is about something else.
I have so far managed to resist the 50 Shades of Greyphenomenon—although yes, I am aware there will be a movie—but a display at a local Barnes & Noble store (inner goddess! sex whisperer!) did exert a certain pull.
Fifty Shades of American Women Who Love the Book and Live the Life, the magazine, is a must for completists. (For more on “The X Whisperer,” read Jan Freeman’s recent blog post, “Whisperer Campaign,” which covers a lot of ground but doesn’t answer the question “Is a young, sadistic, cranky sex whisperer a sex whisperer-whipper-snapper?”)
A dozen made up words related to your product that will “draw consumers in.” These shall include, but not be limited to, words with the following suffixes: “-tastic,” “-tacular,” and “-riffic.” Also, while you probably already know this, I was the one who came up with the word “crumbelievable” in 2007 to describe the Keebler company’s new line of coffee cake cookies.
Preglimony: Financial support paid to a pregnant woman by the father of the unborn child. Coined from pregnant and alimony.
Alimony came into English in the 1650s from Latin alimonia, meaning “nourishment.” (The same root also gave us “alimentary.”) Preglimonyappears to have been coined by Shari Motro, a law professor at the University of Richmond who has been using the word since 2010 in scholarly articles and op-ed columns like the one published in the New York Times on July 7:
Former spouses are often required to pay alimony; former cohabiting partners may have to pay palimony; why not ask men who conceive with a woman to whom they are not married to pay “preglimony”? Alternatively, we might simply encourage preglimony through the tax code, by allowing pregnancy-support payments to be deductible (which is how alimony is treated). – “Responsibility Begins at Conception”
The need may be evident, but preglimony doesn’t roll off the tongue as smoothly as the earlier X-imony coinage, palimony, does. Palimonymade headlines in 1977, when divorce lawyer Marvin Mitchelson used it to describe the demand of his client, Michelle Triola Marvin, who sued the actor Lee Marvin for spousal support although the pair had never legally married. (With all those Marvins, it really could have been marvinomy.) But the OED cites a much earlier first usage, in 1927, when the word meant “alimony paid to a former spouse with whom one remains on friendly terms.” As late as 1961, the Newport (Rhode Island) Daily News observed that “[d]ivorces are getting so friendly … that alimony should be called ‘palimony’.” Both senses are “chiefly North American.”
Trendwatching’s list of “12 crucial consumer trends for 2012” includes, as usual, some over-the-top coinages, including flaw-some (“To consumers, brands that behave more humanly, including exposing their flaws, will be awesome”), eco-cycology (“Brands will increasingly take back all of their products for recycling … and recycle them responsibly and innovatively”), and emerging maturialism (“Expect frank, risqué or non-corporate products, services and campaigns from emerging markets to be on the rise”).
Last year the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan organization that lobbies for government transparency, published a tongue-in-cheek name generator for political action committees (PACs). The generator randomly spews out names like Fanciful Floridians Against Cruella de Vil and Captains of Industry for Growth—names you’d never expect to see in real life. Except … it turns out that dozens of real PACs lifted their names from the Sunlight Foundation generator.
Linguist Lauren Gawne, who blogs as Superlinguo, recently presented what may be the world’s first academic paper on LOLcats and language. (“Don’t call it kitty pidgin!”) Watch the presentation.
Speaking of linguists doing cool stuff, Erin McKean wrote earlier this month about “the secret language of bros”—aka the dudeification of English—for the Boston Globe. “Perhaps the most unlikely bro- blend,” she reports, “is Bronies, used to refer to male fans of the ‘My Little Pony’ television cartoon and toys.”
And speaking of manly lingo, Old Spice has a new holiday ad campaign that brings back the original “man your man could smell like,” Isaiah Mustafa. As “MANta Claus,” Mustafa promises to buy gifts for all 7 billion people on Earth. See all 36 MANta Claus videos here, and read my February 2010 post on Mustafa’s original work for Old Spice.
Lowering the Bar, the legal blog, reports (in a post titled “Assorted Stupidity #32”) on two new government-project names. PRODIGAL is being developed by Georgia Tech for the Pentagon; the name is an acronym for “Proactive Discovery of Insider Threats Using Graph Analysis and Learning.” (LtB: “Translation: it reads your mail.”) And Palantir is the name of a company that’s working with the CIA on data-mining. LtB: “Nerds like myself will know that palantir is taken from ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ in which a palantir is a crystal-ball-type item that was created with good intentions but virtually always deceived and corrupted the user. And that’s the name they picked.”
Earls White Peach Bellini | $4.50 | made with all natural peach syrup, appleton estate vx rum, peach liqueur and sparkling white wine
Earls White Peach BRO-llini | $7.25 | same great Bellini - always a double, always in a man glass
I’d venture to say it takes a whole lot of confidence—or a heaping helping of man irony—to step up to the bar and order a BRO-llini. By the way, if you need to ask what a “man glass” is, you probably should stick to cream soda.
(Yes, that’s Patrick Gallagher, who plays Ken Tanaka on “Glee.”)