For the Record

With all due respect for Vox, I have to agree with Rollory here, at least in theory. Not sure he puts it very well though. Vox Day here:

Now, where do you suppose feral young women come from, families where men protect their daughters or families where men simply throw their daughters to the vagaries of sexual selection, to fend off the predators as best they can on their own? The symbolism of the t-shirt is less about winnowing the suitable young grooms, than it is about giving the daughter the strength and the permission to say “no” to the wrong ones in the full knowledge that her father will have her back.

But as it happens, the real target of the message is not men. The t-shirt is actually status-signaling on the part of the daughter, or the wife, when that version of the t-shirt is ready. It is less a warning to young men than it is bragging to other young women that she is valued, that she is loved, and that she is worthy of protection by a man who is strong enough to provide it for her.

The reference is to this shirt, and this earlier post.

It’s always something of a minefield to try and disagree with Vox, because his thinking tends to be so out of the box that any assumptions you’re making about what he’s trying to get at are probably wrong. You need to be more careful than with most not to put words in his mouth.

Anyway, now I’m going to disagree with Vox.

Vox first tries to frame it as “Daddy is watching his little girl go off to school”:

 It may help to keep in mind that this is the original context of the phrase.

  1. Take a position on high ground somewhere in the middle with clean sight lines of the entire route.

  2. Load a round into your .50 caliber rifle.

  3. Take the lens covers off the scope.

  4. Watch as your little girl walks off to school by herself.

Except that isn’t the context Vox is using. He himself explicitly recommends that you give it to your teenage daughter:

Perfect for any daughter, particularly of the teenage variety.

If it’s about Daddy watching his daughter go to school, why recommend it to a teenager at all? Isn’t it actually BETTER if it’s a little girl wearing the shirt in that case? Or at least just as important?

The context the shirt exists in is much more obviously in the vein of songs like “Daddy’s got a Shotgun”…which is exactly where we get into problems.

Because if the context is supposed to be “I’m keeping an eye on the people my daughter dates”, the shirt is bullshit.

Nobody buying that shirt is going to shoot a kid because he keeps his daughter out until midnight instead of 10:00. Actions have consequences, and we all know this. You don’t just get away with this because you live in the boonies.

Maybe you should! Seriously. But you don’t.

This was in fact Dalrock’s original point (he is quoting someone else, whose blog seems to have unfortunately disappeared):

First, you can’t be serious. Set aside all the stuff you tell yourself and probably your wife about “traditional values and gender roles” or whatever. You cannot, in todays world seriously plan on carrying out any of these threats. You are puffing out your chest to “scare” off the “bad” boys, who know you are full of crap. It feels good, because all the women around you pat you on the head and nod approvingly. You have earned your cookie.

Scott contrasts this “traditional” bluster with his own view as a father who will one day be looking for a husband for his daughter.

When the time comes for her to start looking for a husband, she already knows we are interested in helping her find one and this makes her very happy. And when a young man comes around, he will not be met with a silly cartoon shotgun dad, but a father who wants to help them both succeed at what they are trying to do. We are not setting up an automatic adversarial relationship with him before we meet. I am aware that many young men will be at a very tenuous starting point in their career, development and so forth and I will approach the situation with that kind of sobriety.

The different approaches to suitors reflects the corresponding differences in roles and objectives.  Scott will be looking to find a husband for his daughter, while large numbers of “traditional” men are instead hoping to delay their daughter’s marriage by acting as their daughter’s surrogate husband.

And notice too how Vox frames it later: the shirt empowers women. They get to use it to feel worthy.

Because that’s what modern women are lacking: The concept that they’re worthy of male attention.

The irony here being that the whole thing in the end accomplishes the exact opposite of what it’s intended to. As Cane Caldo puts it:

And if the date in question really is a bad boy this attitude is helpful to him for a couple reasons. First of all, any girl who is entertaining a bad boy is expressing to her father that his approval is meaningless. Attempts to warn off a bad boy heighten the stakes of the game she is playing. The most likely outcome is that she will do more with the bad boy, and sooner. Second, bad boys don’t want permission. They are planning to leave after they’ve had their fun any way. A father who falsely threatens is dancing to the same song as the bad boy.

And the shirt is of course completely useless against someone who is NOT a bad boy anyway, except insofar as it might scare some people off.

Vox is, of course, correct that the shirt will be a bestseller. But I don’t think that means what he seems to think it means.

The advice Dalrock quotes seems sound to me, though obviously I speak from no area of expertise: Make it clear to your daughter that you support her finding a husband, and then when she brings home a boy she likes try to understand the difficult position they’re in themselves.

This opinion and $2.50 gets you a small coffee at Dunkin Donuts.

Addendum: Dalrock addressed the whole thing himself. TL;DR: “Vox meant well, and maybe it’s a cultural thing, but I still think I was right.”

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18 Responses to For the Record

  1. jvangeld says:

    Thanks for pointing out Vox’s two-step.

  2. Mike T says:

    In terms of context, don’t forget that Vox Day hates white knights. He hates them to the point of essentially laughing at them when they get monkey stomped into rat chow by the men they try to attack.

  3. This is something I was talking with Jagi a bit on.
    We started with this:

    And came to a realization. Women need obstacles to test men against so they know if he’s worthy or not. In theory (obviously maybe different in practice), a woman’s father would provide that role. Overcome his disapproval and you are worthy.

    Nowadays there are none, so as pointed out in the above link, women must try to put obstacles up themselves. HOWEVER, this is the problem: with the father, a woman could still say, “Oh I would love to [whatever] with you, but my father won’t approve.” as a signal to the man that he should continue to put in effort to win her. With herself? What separates a straight out rejection from a test from the perspective of an outsider who can’t read the woman’s mind? How is a guy supposed to tell the difference between, “I am interested, but must push you away” from “I am not interested, please go away”?

    Put all the pieces together, and suddenly all modern relationship problems seem to follow, don’t they?

  4. lampwright says:

    I offen do not agree with Vox…but here I agree 100%. It is like the brothers cleaning their guns while the boy picks up theie sisters.

    Himan being value what other human beings value. The more something ia valued, the more importance is placed on it.

    When young men know Tha someone cares about the value and virtue of tye girl, they act differently. In our modern age, where noys are not trained to value girls, thos is even more important.

    • lampwright says:

      Ngah! Stupid tablet…humam, not himan and boys. Not noys. Sorry

    • Actually what I find really interesting is how this sort of works as a Rorscach test.

      I quote Dalrock here and once you get past the bluster in the comments sections It’s fascinating to see how much contempt each side has for the other…when they both probably agree on the fundamental issues (as I do).

      • Mike T says:

        Consider how the users tend to view MGTOW on both sites. The average MGTOW is a man who says “I got hurt, so I quit.” The proper response from a man is to try, risk failure and if he fails, push the experience through the OODA Loop and move on. If he’s a Christian and cannot remarry, he should try to be bold in his life and celibacy and not whimper “mean womynz.”

      • Mike T says:

        Also, I know someone IRL who is openly sympathetic to MGTOW. He absolutely cannot accept the fact that his divorces were his fault for choosing very badly. The last one was a real winner. If she had any more red flags, you’d think she was a one woman parade in Moscow. He even saw some of the worst ones and had someone personally tell him: “stay the f#$% away from that family, they breed new levels of crazy.” Didn’t stop him…

    • It may help, though, if I say that I also find the whole “brothers cleaning their guns” thing rather silly.

      The only time I’d ever actually worry about being shot is if the girl came from a family of actual criminals, in which case, I’m not dating them. Otherwise I at least think of it as faintly comical.

      But this apparently resonates with people, so what do I know.

      • Well it’s also an issue that neither side is acknowledging: the modern lack of male societal power.

        Imagine back to a more classic world and a father could threaten a suitor in more ways than one. Unless the older man was a complete lout, he would have some pull within the community that the younger man would be becoming a part of very soon. So if the father disproved of the boy, he could ruin his life in many subtle ways of the “you’ll never work in this town again” variety.

        Now? What can fathers do? The only real ways they can threaten the boy is in physical ways which society would then punish the father – like you said, a family of criminals.

      • I fully agree. The classic way?

        Trap a bad boy into commitment.

        No longer an option.

      • John says:

        Trap a bad boy into commitment.

        Are you suggesting that the suitor should be forced into the marriage or something? The way you say it implies that the father should literally force the potential husband into a commitment with the girl against his will, because he wasn’t actually planning on staying commited to the girl in the first place and was lying to her.

        And what exactly do we mean with bad boy here that the father would apparently disapprove of? Someone who is deceiving both the girl and her family and only wants to use the young lady for some sort of personal gain or as an instrument for wealth or whatever? Someone who lacks certain skills or characteristics and is thus simply unsuitable for her without being an intentional threat? Someone who is quite literally looking to hurt her in some way, or will be hurtful in the future, or who wants a short marriage for the enjoyment of it, or who is unserious about the whole thing?

  5. lampwright says:

    I think you are taking the gun image too seriously. No one seeing the shirt (or the gun cleaners) thinks “Gee he is going to shoot me now”. Rather, they are made aware that the family is serious, that someone cares.

    Just imagine that a young mannhas come to date your sister…and you are not sure about him. Wouldn’t you want to let him know that you are serious about protecting her and he better not mistreat her?

    You don’t need him to think, “Gee he is going to shoot me”… you just need him to be impressed that you are serious.

    • But if the girl is dating someone her family doesn’t approve of, she won’t care what I think…and my threats will be hollow.

      If I’m not sure instead of scaring the kid I’d try to get to know him first and understand his also difficult position. Nobody thinks of the awkward guys. A bad first impression with a family hostile from the word go can ruin your chances from the start.

    • We’re no longer in a position where the wise thing to do is attempt to scare people away. Maybe once upon a time a shirt like this made sense, but Now? Counterproductive.

  6. c matt says:

    Having raised two daughters (one now married, the other just finishing college), I don’t really see the shirts being all that helpful. The best thing that can be done for your daughters is, as the song says, teach your children well. The role you should be developing is one of trust, so that they trust your judgment. Then, when the time comes, your evaluation of the suitor will be taken as a fair assessment, and will be recognized as made in the daughter’s best interest. If you don’t have that relationship with your daughter, a cheesy t-shirt ain’t gonna fix it.

    Anyway, if you really want to scare the kid, do a background check on him and demonstrate your knowledge of his past.

    • Coming from a small(ish) town, can confirm few things more terrifying to a young man than, “I know your parents.”

      Hey, you the same C Matt that comments sometimes on the-american-catholic?

  7. c matt says:

    “I will shoot you” does not seem to me as intimidating to a cad as “I know what you did last summer.”

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