The myth of the male bumbler – The Week

Allow me to make a controversial proposition: Men are every bit as sneaky and calculating and venomous as women are widely suspected to be. And the bumbler — the very figure that shelters them from this ugly truth — is the best and hardest proof.

It’s counterintuitive, I know. For decades now, the very idea of a duplicitous, calculating man has been so exceptional as to be almost monstrous; this is the domain of cult leaders, of con artists, of evil men like the husband in Gaslight. And while folks provisionally accept that there are men who “groom” children and “gaslight” women, the reluctance to attach that behavior to any real, flesh-and-blood man we know is extreme. Many people don’t actually believe that normal men are capable of it.

Predatory men normalize their predation and support each other.

Most of us know that when a politician sits on the stand and insists that he “does not recall,” that it’s a political performance, a manipulative pretense intended to obfuscate. Let’s apply that intelligent skepticism toward this rash of professions of male incompetence. To put it in pragmatic terms: You can be a bumbler, or you can keep your job. You can’t have both.

Source: The myth of the male bumbler

3 thoughts on “The myth of the male bumbler – The Week”

  1. I cannot believe I am disagreeing with this. I am 93 and my early life say first thirty years was full of bumbling men from Jackie Gleason, Laurel and Hardy, even Charlie Chaplin, up to say, Abbott and Costello, mostEnglish comedians. The problem I suppose is that we saw it as funny but living with it may not be amusing at all! Bumbling politicians of present day are constantly being called out; Tony Abbott,The President of USA, and so on. Gaslighting is a different matter but then again I watched Gaslight when I was in my twenties and it had a huge influence! And then we had a great example of the Stockholm Syndrome with Patti Hearst. I am not sure just what you are suggesting?

    1. Being a “bumbler” may be a pretence and a manipulative cover used by men to escape being called out for predatory behaviour. These men know what they are doing. Its worth reading the article in its entirety. The extracts may not be sufficient to make its thesis clear.

      1. Re bumbling and previous comment? As you must realise I have come across them ‘all’ in my lifetime either personally or partners of siblings and friends and casual meetings. More dangerous that the ‘bumbler’ I think is the , well today you call him a ‘gaslighter’ ? I knew , very closely(not myself because I think(and I could be wrong , I doubt that I would EVER fall for that person). I demanded freedom. And I think my husband suffered from that but on the other hand he also benefitted. Back to the Gaslighter; first he was,in most ways,the opposite of the ideal for this person. She was very tall and declared she would NEVER marry a short man but did so! However, he was passionate, very clever, could do anything, make anything. He managed to keep his’ victim’under his control for over twenty years until she joined a political organisation…..cut a very long story short she died of a mysterious illness. I feel guilty even writing this but women MUST be informed and the lily NOT gilded!

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