Jo22 of I can’t fly has issued a challenge: will someone please explain in simple terms why Nirpal Dhaliwal isn’t right about feminism, for her friend who is hard of understanding. This is going to be fun.
The particular article we are talking about is this one – Daily Mail, naturally, featuring Dhaliwal – who actually claims to be a feminist! – on how feminism destroyed real men by turning them all (except him) into useless wimps, and on how women are now on the verge of waking up to the sad reality that they don’t fancy girly men after all.
The article begins by recounting a coupling which Dhaliwal considers to be doomed from the outset – a strong, successful woman engaged to a “diffident, overweight, shrinking violet” who had, according to Dhaliwal, been selected for his willingness to submit to her will rather than for any actual attractive qualities.
The fact that so many marriages are similarly doomed is, according to Dhaliwal, the fault of feminism.
Back in the Nineties, emboldened by the successes of feminism, women sought to slay the dragon of patriarchy by turning men into ridiculous cissies who would cry with them through chick-flicks and then cook up a decent lasagne…. No doubt at the time, millions of misguided single women thought that having a man who could feel their pain and emote for Britain was a Good Thing. Now, over a decade later, women are waking up to the fact that these men are drippy, sexless bores. The feminisation of men hasn’t produced the well-rounded uber-males women were hoping for. Instead, women are now lumped with flabby invertebrates, little more than doormats, whom they secretly despise but are too proud to admit it... These are cardboard cut-out men who gush with empathy whenever their wives and girlfriends need to dump their professional stresses and female angst on them: weak and soulless men who haven’t the guts to make a mark themselves, who take the passenger seat in their women’s juggernaut journey to post-feminist Nirvana…. Men are now generally terrified of women. They hold their tongues for fear of being misinterpreted as sexist; they constantly attempt to secondguess their partner in order to avoid giving offence... In recent years, men have been trained like circus seals to be inoffensive to women, and no longer know how to entice them and turn them on.
Dhaliwal is wrong about this because his clumsy description of the “feminised” men that he so despises is just plain inaccurate. There is not a strict binary code: be a real man like Dhaliwal (shiver) or else you are a terrified cardboard cut-out, deserving every kick that is dished out to you. Of course, there may be some men who fall into the flabby doormat category, but not many. Most men are, like most women, layered and complex individuals with personalities. You know, human beings. Men are not the two-dimensional caricatures that Dhaliwal says they are – all Dhaliwal proves is that he hates men as much as he clearly hates women.
I don’t need to pick apart the rest of this article or make any more points because the whole idea that men have turned into supplicant wimps and it’s all feminism’s fault, and the joke is on women because now they’re stuck with crap men – it all falls down right at the start, right at the men have turned into supplicant wimps stage – because they just haven’t.
However, now that I’ve started, I can’t help but guide you through the rest of the article, which draws you on like so much bad TV.
Deep down, women love men who stand up to them, who won’t be pushed around. They love men who will look them in the eye and tell them to shut up when their hormonal bickering has become too much…. I’m always telling my wife… to shut up. She gets into a prissy huff about it, but I know she respects me for not indulging her neuroticism… Women secretly long for a man with swagger, who is cocky and selfassured and has the cheek to stand up them and make fun of their feminine foibles. They long for the rakish charm of a man who knows there’s a whole ocean of fish out there, who isn’t afraid of being himself in case he is rejected.
We must put out of our minds right at the start the obvious, exasperated response – what do you mean, “what women love”? women are all different and they want different things you moron! – because that one is going to drag us down at every turn. Dhaliwal assumes at every step that, basically, all women are the same.
Personally, I don’t want to be in a relationship with anyone who I can push around, because I seek equality with anyone I hope to spend time with. Nor do I want to be anywhere near someone who is cocky, swaggering or who makes fun of me – especially not if he makes fun by telling sexist jokes at my expense.
I especially don’t want to be with someone who is “always” telling me to shut up. Being told to shut up may be something that all people need now and then (women and men) but it really isn’t a relationship strategy and it rarely inspires love – especially not if the person being told to shut up is in that state popularly derided as “hormonal”. I am far from surprised that the wife gets annoyed when he tells her to shut up, and I suspect that “I know she respects me for not indulging her neuroticism” is a cover. Has she ever said so? I’m sure he would have mentioned it if she were ever explicit about that. He is projecting onto her his own assumption that she likes it when he is rude to her, because it means he doesn’t have to start questioning his selfishness or, maybe, making the effort to be nicer to her when she feels upset.
And “hormonal bickering”? Those two words right there tell you all you need to know about how Dhaliwal thinks about women.
Long ago, I realised it is unhealthy for a man to embroil himself in arguments with women. While men want an argument to make sense and have a rational conclusion, women solely want the argument itself: it’s a pressure valve for their emotions, and once they get started there is no stopping them.
Because all men and, as noted above, all women are the basically the same, and have the same approach to arguments and disputes. And, of course, if you refuse to engage in any argument with a woman, you never have to hear that you are a sexist pig who hates both men and women, because blah blah blah nothing any woman says means anything blah blah blah she is just picking an argument to vent her entirely pointless, irrational and unimportant emotional nonsense blah blah blah don’t even listen to what she is saying blah blah blah.
People might call me a sexist pig, but I am the opposite. I love women, and I love my wife because she is brilliant and incredibly strong. I am a true feminist, because I only want to be with a powerful and capable woman. No sexist could cope with having a wife as intelligent and independent as mine.
This whole section is just a lie. Dhaliwal is a sexist pig, as the rest of the article proves. He does not love women: he thinks they are all the same and they whine and bicker a lot, not to mention trying to feminise every man they come across, and that you should basically not listen to anything they say. I won’t comment on his love for his wife except to say that love (whether generally for all women or specifically for one wife) means nothing without respect – he does not respect women in general, and he does not respect his wife in particular. Dhaliwal is not a true feminist, because that just isn’t compatible with being a sexist pig – “only wanting to be with a powerful and capable woman” ≠ feminism anyway. White men who only want to sleep with black women don’t get a magical antiracist badge either.
The extent to which Dhaliwal can “cope” with his “independent and intelligent” wife is also moot – their very public marriage was clearly dysfunctional. Also, she supported him while he stayed at home and wrote his novel and then, within the space of a year after it was published and he had his own income, they split up.
And now we come to What Makes a Real Man.
The truth is, a real man doesn’t care what any woman thinks of him. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him: he answers solely to his spirit. Real men don’t pretend or even try to understand women. They simply love them for being the mysterious, capricious creatures that they are. And they don’t take them too seriously, either. They know the vicissitudes of the female mind, its constant insecurities and the fluctuations in mood. Rather than pander to them, they simply watch them drift by like so many clouds on the horizon. They don’t get entangled in a woman’s feelings and listen to her prattling on and on until she’s talked herself out. Such strong and stoic men are exactly what women need to anchor themselves amid the chaos of their emotions.
If a real man’s spirit leads him to be like Dhaliwal, then lord help mankind. Fortunately, I’m pretty sure that most men are less repulsive than him, and some of them are even “real”. Wow.
It’s funny too, how Dhaliwal thinks that most of what a real man is about (even though real men don’t care about other people or what they think) is defined by reference to how they view and treat women. Want to be a real man? Then ignore women and treat them as the heterogenous-but-mysterious mass of pointless emotion that they really are. That’s what they love. No, really. They do. Honest. Not that we in any way care about what they think or want.
That Dhaliwal, sounds like the perfect real man to me. I wonder what he’s like in bed? No need to wonder, since he treats us to his vision of the ideal sex life…
Men who put women on a pedestal can’t make love to them in the way that women want. A man who is too in awe of his woman isn’t going to tear her blouse open and ravish her on the couch; he isn’t going to pull her hair and whisper profanities in her ear. Whenever my marriage is at a crisis point, and my wife’s ego and mine are jostling for a position of supremacy, we inevitably have strenuous, battling sex. My wife is older and more successful than I am, but the bedroom has always been the arena in which I have brought her down to earth. The female orgasm is the natural mechanism by which men assert dominion over women: a man who appreciates this can negotiate whatever difficulties arise in his relationships with them.
That’s right. We women all want to be dominated, we want our clothes torn open, our hair pulled, profanities whispered into our ear. We want to be brought down, dominated by Teh Almighty Cock. Since Dhaliwal knows how to negotiate any difficulties in his marriage, let’s see how he deals with being caught cheating on her.
I don’t believe in working on relationships and making artificial efforts to give them substance…. Unfaithful as I’d been, I was not going to let her have me over a barrel for the rest of our marriage… I needed to let her know what she would be missing if we broke up for ever. I gave her a manful bravura performance that night, and at the height of her passion, I asked her: ‘Who’s the boss?’ The question threw her. Initially she wouldn’t give me a reply, but I enticed it from her. ‘You are,’ she finally gasped. ‘You are!’
As noted above, “the rest of their marriage” turned out to be rather short.
Since we’re in the mood, here are some other Dhaliwal gems.
As a bit of background, in case you didn’t think that this carcrash could get any worse, it may be worth knowing that (as Dhaliwal can’t stop reminding us) the wife referred to is Liz Jones, a popular columnist whose column was largely devoted it seems to telling the world about what a crap husband Dhaliwal is. Their very public marriage and breakup have been accompanied by each of them regularly publishing inside dirt on each other (did I mention dysfunctional?) and his book is a thinly disguised account of his life as a man who married rich and treated his wife like dirt.
March 2006 – An interview in the Guardian, in which Dhaliwal talks about his life, his marriage, and his book. He says fuck a lot, talks about going to prostitutes and being unfaithful to his wife, and praises Liz Jones for being like a little Indian woman. How nice. And here’s a nice quote on his writing inspiration: “I was writing fucking shite, just shillyshallying, pussyfooting around all the issues that Puppy actually deals with – you know, race, the family, sex, all this stuff. I read Houellebecq and I thought if this nerdy white dude has got the guts to write this stuff, then fucking hell, I should have the bottle as well, you know. Just let go, don’t give a fuck about fucking people off.”
March 2006 – The Guardian gives Dhaliwal a platform which he uses primarily to promote his view that there’s nothing stopping brown people from succeeding except themselves, the barriers in their own heads. Well, after all, Dhaliwal pulled himself up by his bootstraps, didn’t he? Why can’t anyone else do exactly the same thing? [Your answer right here – because not everyone is as lucky as you, and in any case why shouldn’t they have a level playing field just because you have been moderately successful without one?] Here is the quote from his own book that Dhaliwal chose to publish: “white chicks love dark cock.” So now we know.
March 2006 – “Man about the house” in The Times almost deserves the dissection treatment but it would be too easy. Read this if you are in any remaining doubt about what a total sexist bastard Dhaliwal is, or about how much he despises both men and women. How does this dirtbag get published? Here is a gem – not just offensive but also hopelessly self-contradictory and just plain stupid: “Never listen to her problems. Her success is driven by a need for attention… Never give her that attention. It’s the distance she craves. A guy who gives her the empathy she asks for only incites her intrinsic hatred of wimps. Besides, listen and you’ll die of boredom.”
April 2006 – Short article by Kismet Hardy on Pickled Politics in which he discusses Dhaliwal’s infantile review of Gautam Malkani’s novel Londonstani. I’ve included this post for its enlightening summary of Dhaliwal’s own book, Tourism. He says: “Dhaliwal’s book, which can be summed up thus – I’m a monster shagger, me, and Asian don’t you know, which makes the explicit descriptions of my screwing blonde birds all the more revolutionary – certainly shows a great disdain for all things Asian… [Dhaliwal] literally wanks over himself on every page.”
July 2006 – “What’s a girl to do?” in The Times again, featuring Dhaliwal’s arguments in favour of polygamy (several women to one man, naturally), his prurient ignorance about homosexuality, his suggestion that bored white women should get their men from the third world where men still know how to be men (and, of course, are far less choosy because who wouldn’t want to get a UK passport) and, finally, his lesson for the day. Women in other countries are treated worse than you, so just stop moaning!
Jan 2007 – “I hate yummy mummies” – Dhaliwal takes an opportunity granted by The Times to slag off and caricature women who meet their friends in coffee shops to talk about their children. He’s such a feminist, he even takes time to mention less fortunate mothers: “chavvy mums of the underclass get blamed for all of society’s ills, but at least they give birth naturally and raise their children themselves. Unlike yummy mummies, they are the real deal… Fat, dishevelled and exhausted mums are the ones that matter.” Got that? If you’re not fat, dishevelled and exhausted then you’re not the real deal.
May 2007 – The Ex-Files – A nice collection of he-said, she-said quotes from Dhaliwal and his wife, in the Observer. My favourite is one of hers, which is particularly telling given Dhaliwal’s insistence on the essential role of Teh Cock in maintaining successful relationships: He rarely initiates sex, preferring to download porn.
There’s more, lots more, where all that came from. But there’s only so much energy I have for sexist, racist, manhating, womanhating, everyonehating idiots and I’ve already used too much.