The real reasons Get Out was the most profitable film of 2017: White absolution and toxic masculinity

‘Get Out’ makes white people feel good and plays into classic sexist tropes about masculinity.

Image: Daniel Kaluuya as “Chris” in Get Out

*spoilers*

Get Out is a delightful, genuinely scary “social thriller,” as its director Jordan Peele calls it, that cost $5 million and grossed $172 million. It is 2017’s most profitable film, according to TIME. That’s because Get Out does what every good horror movie should do: it pinpoints something about our culture that makes us feel really uncomfortable and then it makes us feel better about it, all while confirming a moral structure we already agree with.

Horror movies (at least the good ones) have always been “social thrillers.” Alien movies are actually about immigration. Killer robots represent a fear of science and technology. Vampires are about STIs. Zombies are the things we turn into when capitalism eats our brains. In the classic structure of a slasher film, our cultural bugaboos are killed in order: the black guy is killed first, then the biggest slut, then all the other sluts, and only the virgin with a golden heart survives. We learn: run away from immigrants, trust authority figures (never scientists!), keep it in your pants, and you’ll probably survive the terrifying world we live in.

Get Out is fascinating (and brilliant) partly because it makes itself accessible to white audiences. Despite the fact that the movie is about racial tension in America and ends with the violent murder of a whole bunch of white people, plenty of its profitable dollars came from white audiences. It tells a story to white liberals that starts by confirming our anxieties about being good allies. We see the characters that represent us behaving in ways that we have behaved (Should we not tell every black person we meet that we voted for Obama?), and we squirm in our seats. Almost as quickly, though, the film soothes those anxieties. As those same characters start to go far beyond the scope of anything we would do, we no longer see ourselves in those characters. Sure, we might be awkward at parties, but we’re not brain-stealing white supremacist scientists making zombies out of black people! Phew. The evil white villains are killed very dead by the end of Get Out. White folks can cheer! The bad white people are gone. The good white people can leave the movie theatre and keep being awkward at parties.

This feel-bad-feel-better cycle wouldn’t have worked quite as well if Get Out had stuck with its original ending. You know that moment when our hero Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is on the road with a nearly-dead Rose (Allison Williams) and a police car pulls up? And you’re just sure it’s going to be the white cop from earlier in the movie? But instead it’s Rod (Lil Rel Howery), our lovable TSA agent come to rescue his friend to physical safety and comedic relief? In the original script, the movie ended with the white cop arresting Chris as you would expect. In an interview with Tracy Clayton in the Buzzfeed podcast Another Round, Peele explains that his concept began during the Obama era when many people held the illusion that having a black president meant we were living in a post-racial world. As the movie was being made, news coverage of the deaths of black men by white cops was priming a more “woke” audience who could get the message and still be rewarded with a happy ending.

I thought about my own response to the movie (totally obsessed, went to see it several times, brought all my friends) as a well-meaning white person. How would I have felt if Chris had barely escaped the evil zombie-making scientist white supremacists only to be captured by a white authority figure? I probably would have felt blamed and implicated, my on-screen avatars living to oppress another day. I would have seen my discomfort with my own white guilt confirmed and expanded without the catharsis of my hero’s rescue. I probably wouldn’t have gone back to see it twice and brought all my white friends with me to see it again. The aspirational ending I saw made me feel so much better.

And this is, I think, part of what was so brilliant about this film. As uncomfortable as it definitely should make us, absolving white guilt through horror catharsis it is a brilliant way to get the film in front of a more diverse audience and call white people into the conversation. Pandering to people in power is annoying (if not rage-inducing), but it’s the people in power who need to get what it’s like to not be in power. The magic of film—especially delightful, witty popcorn films like Get Out—is that they can cultivate empathy across barriers like race, class, gender, and power.

This happens through a simple film technique called alignment. In the mild hypnotism of watching a movie, we enter the world of the protagonist. We see what Chris sees (sometimes even through his camera). We know what Chris knows, we feel what Chris feels. We don’t need a treatise on micro-aggressions, we actually kind of experience them. Of course a movie can’t entirely represent a person’s or a group’s experience, but stories can do something no explanation ever has: give a person someone else’s perspective. We’ve had enough practice empathizing with white men on big screens — representation matters.

As groundbreaking as it is, however, Get Out is still a classic horror film, so its catharsis must exist within a moral structure we already understand: patriarchy (what else?). Quick quiz: What makes men weak? a) girlfriends b) their emotions c) their mothers or d) all of the above? The answer is d) all of the above! Chris’s almost-fatal flaw is his love for Rose. She seems nice in the beginning, but turns out just like the rest of ‘em: a manipulative lying slut who will steal your life if you let her. If Chris hadn’t let his feelings about his mother’s tragic death or his feelings for Rose have any impact on him, he never would have entered this white supremacist Cabin in the Woods.

In his interview with Another Round, Peele explains that the reason the plot includes Chris loving Rose is that he needed a reason not to “get out” when his instincts tell him to run. As far as I can tell, that’s the only reason the relationship is in the script. While I highly doubt Peele is a misogynist human, it’s also highly likely that he’s subconsciously absorbed some of the deepest lessons of patriarchy, as we all have.

Psychologist Terrence Real has pointed out that “the very definition of manhood lies in ‘standing up’ to discomfort and pain […] As a society, we have more respect for the walking wounded — those who deny their difficulties — than we have for those who ‘let’ their conditions ‘get to them.’” It’s hard to think of any male protagonists who aren’t members of the walking wounded. When Chris makes the fatal mistake of letting his pain “get to him,” he must violently regain his manhood by murdering the fuck out of everyone in the film. Golden hearted female virgin survivors usually do more running away and getting rescued than murdering in their films. The contracts are different: men who show emotion, sensitivity, or vulnerability in contemporary films must buy back their masculinity by committing violence.

We all participate in patriarchy and white supremacy because that’s the air we breathe, though we certainly experience these realities in different ways. Movies like Get Out can, at least, help us feel with each other right at the heart of our cultural sore spots. What better place to explore and explode our social anxieties than in a bloody horror film where all the bad people die horrible deaths and our hero survives to fight another day?

Julie Peters is a writer and yoga studio owner in Vancouver, BC. She has an MA in Canadian literature from McGill University and writes about poetry, yoga, pop culture, and mythology from a feminist perspective. She has a bi-weekly column for Spirituality and Health Magazine, and her first book, Secrets of the Eternal Moon Phase Goddesses: Meditations on Desire, Relationships, and the Art of Being Broken was published by SkyLight Paths in 2016. Learn more at www.jcpeters.ca.

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  • ExceptionallyAnonymous

    “Get Out” is a remake of “The Stepford Wives”.

    • fragglerock

      I think Peele mentioned that in an interview, didn’t he? Or was it Rosemary’s Baby?

  • ohno

    I think Chris’ fatal flaw wasn’t so much that he fell for a woman but that he fell for a WHITE woman. The movie is a comment on the relationship between black men/white women as well.

    • fragglerock

      I wonder what that says about his marriage to a white woman….

  • Atheist

    While I highly doubt Peele is a misogynist human, it’s also highly likely that he’s subconsciously absorbed some of the deepest lessons of patriarchy, as we all have.

    Then:

    We all participate in patriarchy and white supremacy because that’s the air we breathe, though we certainly experience these realities in different ways.

    So let me get this straight. You don’t think Peele is a misogynist, even though he deliberately inserted old stereotypes about white women into his movie and made a shitload of money from it. The white-women-as-evil-temptresses came from the Witch Hunt eras where white men claimed white women seduce them and invade their minds and dreams to lead them astray to their doom. “Get out” portrays white women the same way as white men did hundreds of years ago. Same shit different century.

    Then you turn around and excuse this by saying that all people are participants in Patriarchy as if there’s a moral equivalence between a man who makes millions of dollars off of hating women and a poor woman who can’t afford to see the movie at all. Well that’s nice to know! Sooooo glad THAT was sorted out by a well meaning white person who paid not once, but multiple times to watch misogynist content.

    But you know what? Go on and keep patting yourself on the back and claiming some moral high ground because the misogynist you support happens to be a race minority. If you think it’s worth participating in your own oppression and rewarding men for being misogynist to get those leftist gold stars, then by all means keep doing it.

    • Rich Garcia

      @beefandbeanburrito:disqus As a “person of color” myself I’ll be the first to admit that it’s something of a trend for nonwhite men to vilify or fetishize white women because it’s acceptable for them to do so. A white woman genuflecting to a black man is still a woman genuflecting to a man if you subtract race from the equation.

      Cultural relativism in the West prevents white women from criticizing minority groups, no matter how glaringly misogynistic men like Jordan Peele, Dave Chapelle, or R. Kelly are. It’s also why black and brown men gravitate towards white women, since these women will never hold these men to a standard of responsibility and accountability that black and brown women hold them to.

      And as someone of Puerto Rican descent I am not above being criticized, and even maligned, ignored, and resented by the women in my culture because of our historical tendency for machismo. But I can always rely on women of other cultures (especially white women) to tell me how special I am because of something as arbitrary as skin color and the fact that white people are the majority in America, Canada, or wherever.

      Too often I see white feminists ignore, downplay, or make excuses for male behavior that doesn’t come from white men, because their favorite entertainer happens to be someone who calls women “bitches” and “hos” and believes women are their right. This doesn’t help women of minority groups, or women in general.

      • Alienigena

        Uhm, men are men are men in my universe. Always willing to criticize my university colleagues who are misogynists (the only women they really seem to like are the ones who are of service to them (or they have bred into existence), and maybe they don’t even like these women and girls either) and some are persons of colour. Some I criticize for their conspiracy theorist mania (on the political left and right), others for misogyny.

      • Christine

        As a white woman, I must admit I tend to be more reluctant to criticize misogyny out loud when it’s coming from a “PoC”. It’s something I’m working on.

        I try not to worry about how I am being perceived, but I believe most of the world either doesn’t care, or is unaware of (or in denial about, or delusional regarding) the continued oppression women face, and much more aware of “race” problems. So if the average person compares me with a black man or an Indigenous man, they think I’m the one with the power. (Which is a joke.) If I say anything critical, people (most of whom do not excel at critical thinking) will think I’m racist.

        So I can’t help myself… @Rich Garcia? You’re SO SPECIAL!!! Not because of your ethnic heritage, but because you always bring such worthwhile feminist analysis to the table.

      • Wren

        This is really interesting because I see a lot of what you’re saying in the anti-racist movement. I sense that I could get a “check your racism” warning any time I even think critically of the behavior of men of color.

        But in my extensive experience of men, I have found that the overwhelming majority of ALL men have some sort of pity routine: depression, bad childhood, drug history, career frustration, dick-too-small, ex-is-psycho conundrum, the-world-doesn’t-recognize-my-genius despair, I-need-your-love-to-save-me-from-myself syndrome, and on and on. In my dating life this has been the overarching theme, almost to the point of comedy. It’s how men try to gain the upper hand by claiming that they suffer more than I do, and that they will bond to me (which they think I really want them to do) if I take care of their fragility. It has taken me decades — and an epiphany while watching Dave Chapelle — to realize that men will use the tragedy of racial oppression in this same way. Thanks for your honesty.

    • Unree

      This is just one viewer speaking, but I cut Peele slack on the issue you raise–not on racial grounds but because “Get Out” falls in the genre of Hollywood horror, which fears and hates women more than Peele does. He is less misogynous than average among horror writer-directors. Peele’s female characters are not (just) EBIL BITCHEZ or blank doll-like virginal ingenues; they have personalities and opinions. For example, in an early scene Rose is sincerely outraged when she believes a cop is hassling her and Chris for Driving While Black. Low bar, I agree. (The movie, like most, doesn’t pass the Bechdel test.)

      • will

        Cool. So can I be racist because I’m so woke on the sexual hierarchy front?

        • kallaikoi

          As long as you are less racist than average…

        • FierceMild

          You’re awesome.

      • Atheist

        Hm. I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

        The white women have personalities and opinions. But so what? White women are already viewed as evil for having a mind of her own or personality that isn’t one of a doormat. That’s all the more reason this movie is misogynistic – white women can’t act independently without being portrayed as the literal devil. Classic Witch Hunt stuff.

  • Unree

    As someone who literally cannot imagine a horror movie that isn’t terrible about women–all of them that I’ve seen or heard of reserve empathy and humanity for their male characters, relegating women firmly to the Other–I salute Jordan Peele for making the genre better.

    Does he resort to a couple of misogynous tropes? Yes. Flatter and comfort the white liberals in his audience? Oh hell yes. But he also gives viewers something to think about. One scene that’s not a spoiler because most reviews mention it: Rose predicts to Chris that her father will tell Chris immediately that he voted more than once for Obama. By gum, five minutes later Dad says just that. With just the right peppy earnest self-congratulation.

    YMMV: but although “Get Out” was far from perfect on the gender front, seeing it made me feel slightly hopeful for the future.

    • OldPolarBear

      I may be wildly off here because I like zombie films for a bunch of reasons, but it seems like George Romero is not that terrible about women? I’m thinking of the four … of the Dead films and then also some later spinoffs that he made. The women in those films are neither helpless victims nor superheroines.

      In Diary of the Dead, he actually does some amusing deconstruction of the “helpless female victim” trope. The plot of the film involves a group of student filmmakers working on making a horror film when the real-life zombie outbreak occurs (it’s the same one as in the earlier films, but this is taking place more in eastern Pennsylvania instead of the Pittsburgh area. One scene has been written that the woman will be fleeing some situation when she falls down and the monster will catch her. The actress says how that’s BS, a tired cliche, women are always shown as helpless and incompetent, etc. Without spoiling too much, I can say that the same character handles things somewhat differently than just falling down helplessly when the situation arises in “real” life later in the film. Romero also put a lot of commentary about racism and white supremacy in his films, too. YMMV of course.

  • Just because they’re not understood, or are confusing, doesn’t make male rites of passage toxic. They’re actually really important and necessary to giving men meaning in their lives, giving them a sense of fraternity and a sense of identity.

    • will

      They are perfectly comprehensible and not confusing at all. They are, rather, crystal clear.

      “Fraternity” is not something that requires protection or feeding in this culture. Fraternal networks that excuse and promote violent behaviour are alive and well. Perhaps you’re having a hard time understanding this and are confused by it?

      Like the bonds that unite white supremacists, “male rites of passage” do give a sense of identity and meaning: one based on the objectification and debasement of the “other” and that is therefore anti-social, violent and evil.

    • FierceMild

      Yes. Their sense of fraternity and identity is exactly what they use to denigrate and dominate women. She understands perfectly.

      • Popilius

        Certain male rites can serve a useful purpose, as can female rites. Education being one of them.

        • FierceMild

          Name two.

          • Popilius
          • Tinfoil the Hat

            And the equivalents foe girls? That’s right – the don’t exist.

          • Wren

            You’re joking, right? Did you actually READ those rituals or did you just google “top ten male rituals” thinking you’d fine some good shit?
            Shit like:
            running naked through a row of cows
            consuming men’s semen as a a little boy (that’s fucked up)
            eating their own foreskin (that’s beyond fucked up)
            being circumcised by a drunk witch doctor with a sharp rock (my personal favorite)
            ingesting frog poison
            being repeatedly stung by bullet ants (I’d never heard of them, but apparently real)
            or killing a lion!! (if they fail, they are the lion’s lunch, which is fine by me)

            Anywho, thanks for the laugh.

    • Cassandra

      Fraternity *is* toxic. That’s the point.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Rose makes white women uncomfortable because it exposes her deliberate complicity in white supremacy, rather than showing her as an innocent victim of white male patriarchy as they’d prefer.”

    While I think you are right that white women are complicit in white supremacy, you are oversimplifying, here. White women still *are* victims of patriarchy, regardless of the fact that they hold white privilege. White women are still subjected to abuse, rape, sexism, sexual harassment, etc etc. From both white men and men of colour.

    • Popilius

      Patriarchy has a way of morphing in such a way so that the things that would benefit a white man actively hinders a non-white man. Being deemed a viciously aggressive animal and receiving the full brunt of police violence is not a good thing, and it stems completely from patriarchal norms ironically. It’s as if white patriarchy actually harms non-white men more than it benefits. That being said, when one enters the safety of one’s non-white community, the man will be the beneficiary of patriarchal dominance (unless of course he comes from a culture that isn’t patriarchal, which certain Indigenous and Asian cultures can be considered).

  • Raelee

    Wow. That’s one of the most misogynistic things I’ve heard. It’s not MEN’S fault they want to use women for status – white women are just unattractive gold diggers, “stealing” money back? Yuck. Again, men, ALL COLORS use women, and I’ll guarantee you that if whites vanished, ALL the MEN would still oppress women. Do you really think white women are considered that valuable? Men kill us, rape us, abuse us, etc. No matter what color. White women lose status for choosing a non white man. They aren’t part of a grand scheme – white men usually ostracize them for good. I assure you, white parents aren’t pimping out their daughters to steal the white man’s money back, likely they rather have they daughter single (racism).

    How gross.

  • Hanakai

    Your so-called “objective” analysis is rather incoherent, is not based on fact and contains much that is factually inaccurate.

    Yes, white privilege exists and racism permeates American society. So does sexism. Anyone who spends anytime in the courts sees that most criminality and violence comes from males and much of that violence focuses on women. Further, males of all races, nationalities and ethnic groups beat women, rape women, abuse women, murder women, prostitute women, rape children and benefit from having patriarchal power over women. Most of the male violence against women is committed against women of the same race as the perpetrator.

    Most marriages in the USA are between partners of the same race, and interracial marriages constitute about 4% of the total. Ninety-seven percent of white women are married to white men. Eighty-nine percent of married black men are married to black women.

    Your notion that white women collect all sorts of alimony is wrong and is the same kind of misogynistic twaddle posited by white supremacists neoNazis who hate women. Alimony, or spousal support, is rarely awarded to women these days, in fewer than 1% of divorce cases, and usually only when there is celebrity-type income involved. Most women are in the labor force these days and not eligible for spousal support. So the notion that somehow alimony being paid by men of color is getting plowed into the white population is incorrect, fallacious. Further, after divorce, men;s earnings and financial status goes up significantly, some 60%, while women and children fall into poverty. Look it up, there is lots of data on this.

    It is difficult enough to maneuver in these twisted times. When people spread falsehoods and do not have the integrity to check their facts making allegations, it only makes things more difficult. If we are ever to figure things out, we need facts, we need to look squarely at reality, and not be distracted by BS, falsehoods and inaccuracies.

    • FierceMild

      Everything you said is bang on, sister. There’s just one small part of your comment I’d like to give some numbers on because I think
      accuracy is really important in these matters. You mentioned that:

      “Further, after divorce, men;s earnings and financial status goes up significantly, some 60%, while women and children fall into poverty”

      While it’s true that men fare far better then women and children after divorces (from a financial viewpoint) the numbers vary. In England men’s income increase by about a third while women get about a fifth poorer and remain so for a long time https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/jan/25/divorce-women-research
      For the US women are 20% poorer and men 30% richer. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/the-divorce-gap/480333/
      It is devastating and a clear illustration of the systemic economic abuse of women, but I wasn’t able to find anything substantiating the 60% number.

      • Hanakai

        Yes, I get that there are various studies with various results.

        I was referring to the following, but did not have the cite on hand when I was writing the post: According to Lenore Weitzman’s book, The Divorce Revolution, women experience a 73% reduction in their standard of living after divorce. In contrast, men enjoy a 42% increase in standard of living.

        The other data is from US Census figures.

  • Cassandra

    Holy shit. Who let the MRA in? You sound like a very hateful white man.

  • Amy

    “parasitical arrangements” huh? You sound like an MRA in disguise. Seriously, more men “marry up” now. So I have no clue where you’re getting your info, if you have stats then please share.

  • jcpeters

    Thanks for your comment! I do think and write about that all the time. I’m aware it’s a complicated place to be and I interrogate it a lot in my own life and work. I’ve never called myself an expert! But I do think starting and having these conversations to think more deeply about all this stuff is really important.

  • M. Zoidberg

    Holy shit, you just reminded me of my first year of college as a teen. My 2nd or 3rd boyfriend ever (a student from Brazil) said flat out in front of our table of friends that I was “just practice.” But see, he said it while chuckling, and tapped me on the knee lightly, so it was just a joke.

    I swear to God, my whole life has been men saying insulting things to me in front of mutual friends. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because I’m ugly. I didn’t even realise it until a few years ago because I don’t really wear makeup or spend a lot of time in the mirror. But looking back now, I get it.

    I also met my fair share of Redpills/MRAs (back before they were even called that) in the early 2000’s, and my first boyfriend (ever!) was the one to send me both a link to “Ladder Theory” (It’s a do-not-link, so you won’t increase their search position by clicking it) and posted this “saying” prominently on his blog: A key that opens many locks is a master key; a lock that is opened by many keys is a shitty lock, i.e. Men who fuck a lot are masters of the world; women who fuck a lot are crappy and worthless. 17 year old me never stood a chance… :-/

    • Wren

      I had a lot of those same kinds of interactions with men I dated when I was very young. But I wasn’t ugly, and I doubt you are either. It wasn’t about that. Those statements were sadistic tests of their power to confirm my “willingness” to be submissive to them. Of course, I had been primed for that kind of abuse throughout my childhood.

    • Atheist

      Andrea Dworkin said something similar that the homely women end up doing the lions share of the fucking. Men don’t really care if women are pretty or not unless they form a relationship that affects their status among other men. Ever notice how manosphere misogynists are typically average to homely dudes that *could* have a girlfriend if only they weren’t obsessed with “Stacies” falling languidly into their laps? I’ve said it many times – there are plenty of plain, homely, and chubby girls that are nice to be around and have responsible attitudes that make perfectly good girlfriends. But they “dunna wanna” date them because they don’t impress their friends or their parents aren’t rich and he won’t be able to sponge off an inheritance later.

      This leaves poor women, women in trailer parks, and women in the ghetto being treated purely as pieces of meat and NSA hookups. It always results with women of lesser status doing the lion’s share of the fucking.

  • FierceMild

    Yoga isn’t a race. Culture and religion are not immune from either criticism or complement.

  • FierceMild

    So if tomorrow all white people died of, I don’t know, melanin deficiency or something; then patriarchy would immediately cease to exist?

    I mean, we all know that white women are responsible for electing Donald Trump, https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6830533c14bbd72707c5c141c379c64b3553be4ee252b7b6bba5af0b48b35edc.jpg for the ‘End of Men’ https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/78f6a095da6d31f4139c10c0e6cc1d9a56170ef4ebe87cbae2c480abb5c81f27.jpg and also for the migrant crisis http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/745170/Cologne-migrant-sex-attacks-Syrian-refugee-women-alone-night-Huffington-Post-blogger and prolly cholera as well. But are white women, in your opinion, truly responsible for indigenous patriarchy in African countries? How about Korea or Japan or China? Are white women responsible for Confucian philosophy? What about India? Are white women and their sexy sexy pedestals responsible for the Indian caste system as well?

  • Cassandra

    Oh bullshit.

  • Popilius

    Self-esteem, social cohesion, a sense of community, etc.

  • kallaikoi

    Unree already knows the formula to calculate average sexism, I am sure that one will work.

  • FierceMild

    Forcing children to eat semen isn’t an act of violent dominance? You need to have a good long think, bro.

  • Zuzanna Smith

    Why aren’t male rites to do charity work, help old ladies to cross the street, volunteer at soup kitchens etc.? You know, something useful to society? Why do men dismiss an identity of kindness and public service? Oh yeah they are cool being useless parasites who think they are entitled to more because they own dicks and society is fine with it as well.

  • kallaikoi

    The second. Isn´t sexism the root of racism, after all? In Ancient Egypt, they considered lighter skin as a symbol of beauty for women. But as far as I know, skin colour didn´t seem to have much relevance for men, so women with darker skin faced racism but men didn´t.

  • FierceMild

    You’re claiming that the way in which white women hold up white Patriarchy is by marrying men of colour, then divorcing them and cashing in on that sweet, sweet alimony. This is not a reasonable claim it’s a ludicrous and misogynistic conspiracy theory. It’s also very similar to conspiracy theories beloved of MRAs.

    There are lots of ways white women capitulate with and serve white Patriarchy. We could go ahead and talk about those, but you didn’t actually bring any up in your comment. And you are now saying that instead of engaging with other women what you’re going to do is trash the easiest target, stick your fingers in your ears and run away. Come back when you are ready to engage, but don’t accuse this forum of being unwilling to offer solidarity because that’s not what happened.

  • foamreality

    Is it always pity? Ive heard plenty of misogynist men say the same kind thing about women. Ive come to the conclusion that both men and women need a lot help from each other. Thats kind of what social animalism is. Mistaking social problems for pity routines is a problem in itself for both sexes. Suicide is the leading cause of death in men under 50 (UK). Women fair only slightly better – its the leading cause of death under 40 (UK). Few people need to manufacture pity. Not even men. I guess some will.