It’s no news that the dating and sex site AskMen isn’t exactly a haven for feminism. With articles like “How To Tell If Your Girlfriend Is A Psycho” and “Top 10 Traits of a Real Man,” this is not the place for an enlightened dialogue about gender roles and relationships. But the site hit a new low with its article, “Practical Ways to Control Women.”
Written by AskMen contributor Lawrence Mitchell, who terrifyingly refers to himself as a “relationship correspondent,” the article advocates for the kind of emotional terrorism that is usually only in the domain of domestic abusers. He starts off by claiming that his methods are inspired by Machiavelli, who he characterizes as “an exponent of unscrupulous action in the pursuit of political power.” (Mitchell conveniently leaves out the fact that Machiavelli was also a sad, lonely exile who wrote The Prince as an unsuccessful attempt to weasel his way back into the good graces of the Medici because he was on the side of a losing government.)
The entire article is pretty despicable, advocating for deceit and manipulation so subtle that the woman never knows it’s happening rather than operating on a basis of mutual trust, openness, and respect. Not only is it creepy, insulting, and sexist, the article is simply terribly written, brimming with such smug satisfaction as, “If you bend your woman to your will and she is oblivious to the fact, did you even manipulate her mind in the first place?” and “Women are intricate creatures and, unless vulnerable because of innate insecurity, trauma or low intelligence, resist deception with maddening ease.”
But Mitchell takes his amateurish piece of writing from terrible to worse when he dives into the seemingly endless depths of male entitlement. He complains, “Women question our judgment. They question our expertise. They question our intelligence…In our quest to carve a better life, all we want is an impression of obedience and submission to our masculine dominance. And I think we deserve it if we earn it.” This guy’s idea of the perfect relationship is straight out of Mad Men.
Mitchell continues writing the piece with various literary and pop culture references to support his blatant misogyny and lack of expertise in the realm of relationships. Ironically, he uses the movie “Mystic River” to illustrate his example, writing that Sean Penn’s character had a loyal wife because of his dedication to his family. Then he draws the conclusion that the best way to be respected as a man in a relationship is to be a manipulative, deceptive snake rather than working hard to be a respectable man.
It’s not just that AskMen published this trash, which is even worse than most of its offensive articles; it’s that the website published it as legitimate dating advice. There isn’t a dating advice code of ethics, but even the most questionable of publications should know better than to publish an article advocating for lying to a romantic partner – especially one brimming with as much resentment and disgust towards women as this one does. This kind of writing does nothing but further normalize the idea that women are not partners to be collaborated with, but a foreign enemy to be defeated into submission. Even the worst editor in the world should have been able to filter this crap instead of polishing it up and setting it loose on the world.
Of course AskMen realized their mistake, and promptly proceeded to take the article down. Apparently no one informed them that the internet is forever. Unfortunately, so is the culture of allowing and encouraging sexist men and subverting women, or at least it will be if sites like AskMen continue to promote this drivel.
Let me dispense some advice for everyone who can no longer get their relationship advice from Lawrence Mitchell’s shockingly bad article: if you find yourself in a relationship where the only way your partner will respect you is to manipulate them, get out of that relationship. If you yourself are incapable of communicating with a potential partner and would rather manipulate them to get your way, don’t be in a relationship until you figure out how to respect others. And if you ever look to a political theorist to give you a model for romantic relationships, even Rousseau is a better bet than Machiavelli.
Update: Lawsonry has archived the original article in plain text form. Read all the sexist, controlling filth here.