Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay, Uncategorized

A Conversation About Men, Male Behavior, Feminism, Fear, and Bacon (Yes. Bacon)

A couple weekends ago, I went out with a group of a dozen or so people to celebrate my homegirl’s birthday. And, as people in the greater Pittsburgh-area are wont to do after a night of drunken, WorldStarHipHop-worthy ratchetness, we went to Eat & Park afterwards to soak up our alcohol with pancakes and half-assed cheese eggs.

While most others usually opt for the menu food, I always choose to buy the breakfast buffet; a vast decrease in quality, but, when it’s 3:13am, quantity has a way of making you not give a f*ck.

There were so many of us there (I’m guessing 15) that the server put three tables together to accommodate all of us. And, since I was the only one who chose the buffet food, it meant…

A) I would be the only one eating food for the next 15 minutes.

B) I’d have to fight off a clawing pack of drunken and hungry zombies every time I returned to the table from the buffet.

The second part actually became a bit of a running joke. I’d go to the buffet, return with some bacon, and I’d have to smack the hands of my friends away as they tried to grab a slice. Sometimes I was successful in guarding my bacon, and sometimes the bacon zombies would get me. (I know this doesn’t sound like a very fun game to play, but we were all five exits past drunk, and the bacon game happened to be the funniest thing on Earth at the time. Only God can judge me.)

Anyway, although the table was filled with people who all were at the party I was just at, I didn’t know a couple of the people sitting at the other end of the table. I’m bringing this up because all the fun and games stopped when, while returning to the table after one of my bacon runs, one of these unfamiliar hands reached and attempted to grab the food on my plate.

When I made it back to my seat, I called this person out, asking what the f*ck was wrong with them (I think my exact words were “What the f*ck is wrong with you? I don’t know you, n*gga“), and basically put a slight damper on the mood.

(In hindsight, it was funny remembering the reactions of the people sitting around me, their expressions going from “Wait, Champ’s not serious, is he?” to “Um, yeah, he’s serious. This is getting uncomfortable. And entertaining. This is uncomfortably entertaining” and finally landing on “Wait, um, we’re not able to witness a couple dudes in suits fight over some bacon, are we?“)

I eventually forgave this person for their indiscretion. (We actually stood up and shook each other’s hands) The next day, as I was reflecting on the evening and remembering exactly how ridiculous that near fight was, it dawned on me that none of that would have happened if he was a woman.

You see, I was perfectly cool playing the bacon game with the people sitting close to me — all women that I knew. In fact, even if dude had been a woman I didn’t know, I wouldn’t have reacted the same way. I probably would have laughed, flirted, or perhaps even tried to steal some food off her plate when it finally came. But, because he was a guy doing something that guys aren’t supposed to do to other guys, it pissed me off enough to have the following absurd exchange with him

“Where are you from?” 

“Don’t worry about where I’m from. I’m from a place where n*ggas don’t take food off of n*ggas they don’t know plates.” 

(I apparently say n*gga a lot when I’m drunk and/or angry. Perhaps there’s another post in there somewhere)

If you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering what the hell a story about two drunk men having a pissing contest over some soggy bacon has to do with feminism, a concept defined as a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.

Actually, that definition is a bit too bulky to work with. I prefer the one coined by Cheris Kramarae

“Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.”

Regardless of how you choose to define it, feminism has some roots in the idea that (most) men, even (most) well-intentioned men, don’t regard women with the same respect we do other men.

Thing is, as shitty as men historically have been and currently still are to women, we are pretty much just as shitty (if not shittier) to men.

As history continues to prove, men will regularly intimidate, embarrass, ridicule, mock, taunt, dominate, and even sexually humiliate other men if given the opportunity.

Think about this: Wherever you’re currently reading this, you’re at a place that was “founded” some time ago as a result of a group of men invading the land of a weaker group of men and subsequently murdering and colonizing them.

Even many “educated” and “domesticated” men still regularly do this in their own way. For instance, as ridiculous as that bacon story sounded, most men reading it probably laughed at first and then thought to themselves “You know what? I probably would have reacted the same way The Champ did.” 

Why? Well, although it may have seemed innocent, that guy reaching on my plate was his way of attempting to assert some dominance over me. His fat ass didn’t want any bacon, but he did want everyone to see him taking a slice of bacon off my plate — alpha male-ing me, in a sense.

I (over) reacted the way I did because, frankly, I wanted him to be scared. Not pissing in his pants scared, but “Hmm. This guy’s tone and body language suggests that there’s a possibility that he might actually get up and punch me in the face. It’s a slight chance, but still. Perhaps I should apologize to him.” scared.

Most people would probably consider bacon boy’s act a violation of some “man code” or some other unspoken kinship between men. While this is true, the creation of “man codes” aren’t really about any male kinship or spiritual brotherhoods or anything like that. We have these rules of decorum when dealing with each other because of fear of possible physical danger, and we treat each other with this tenuous respect because there’s always the possibility that we might get our ass kicked if we don’t.

Now, I’m (obviously) no feminist scholar, but it seems like the root cause behind man’s historically unjust treatment of women has something to do with the control and suppression of female sexuality and sexual freedom. It also seems like the only reason why (many) men are “nicer” to women than they are to other men is because they want sexual access to them, and getting women to agree to want to be with you is the socially acceptable way of gaining this access.

I don’t want to believe that the only things motivating us to be kind to each other are fear and sex, but history and any read of any newspaper continues to prove that this may be true. Am I completely off-base here, or are we (men) too f*cked up to evolve to a point where the majority of things the majority of men do are done, not because we can do them or can get away with doing them, but because they’re just the right and just things to do?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • MissShell

    As a woman attending a women’s college, basically always surrounded by women and feminist theory, I always did kinda think about this… and about why women (feminist women!) are still so quick to pull in all the benefits that the patriarchy bestows (read: chivalry and free drinks at the bar). But it’s interesting to read this post from a man’s perspective that the different treatment towards women comes from a lack of fear, which I guess also means a lack of respect? Crappy, but true.

    I don’t know where I’m going with this, cause it’s mad late, but it all reminds me of the plain and simple fact of feminism: the patriarchy, meaning the power structure of men over women, is bad for everyone.


  • That Ugly Kid

    Yep. Men are pretty f*cked up. We treat each other like sh*t. However, I think this is balanced that men who have formed some sort of close bond, have a VERY strong bond. We’ll punch each other’s teeth out one moment, and the next moment we’re getting drunk and laughing about it. So yes, while men are inherently mean, even violent towards other men, we’ve managed to somehow balance the animosity we feel towards a stranger with the strong companionship.

    Oh and when you talk about Feminists, you’re not talking about the bad kind right? Or pseudo-feminists as I call them. You know, the ones that bashes and hates men, fight for superiority but disguise it as equality, and will throw the word “sexist” at you more often than pedophiles throw candy at small children. I’m assuming you’re talking about actual, real feminists.

  • Iceprincess

    He called dude “bacon boy” lmfao bwahaahaaaa!

  • If you see this message, please re-read the post. I hit publish before I was completely done, and I made a couple edits.

    Good night and shit

  • Word and co-sign.

    I DEFINITELY would react the same way to anyone trying to grab food from my plate, especially when I’m drunk. However, if it was a woman I wouldn’t be violent or aggressive — I’d be resentful and secretly calling her all kinds of dirty ish in my head. Probably because I’d feel she used her female privilege (yes, there is such a thing as female privilege — look it up) in order to avoid the normal consequences that come with snatching food for a hungry man’s plate. True, this does mean I don’t hold her to the same standard I would a man, but would she want me to? I feel most women would be offended if I smacked their hand which was reaching for my kosher turkey bacon and puffed my chest asking her to BTFU.

    Meanwhile, I feel bad that I’d so willingly cut a dude over some meat, but there it is. When you’re hungry — or thirsty — we all do some silly things. Though I doubt I’d REALLY get into a fight. Shoot, I haven’t gotten into a fight since 10th grade P.E. class! But I the threat of violence is enough for most dudes to recognize the situation is just not worth all that potential aggravation. Plus, for some reason even so-called enlightened men respect other men who don’t back down from confrontation. Happened with my neighbor when I refused to move my car from the parking spot I used which he claimed was his absent any nameplate or registration number. Now the dude gives me the nod everyday! Go figure.

    Anyhoo, what was my point? Oh yeah, don’t take food from other people’s plates whether your a man OR a woman.

  • Jay

    Very thought provoking post. I seriously wonder how the world would be if it were ran by women or how a society of only women would run. Here come the jokes about everlasting utopia or World Wars during that time of the month, but all cliches aside how different would the world actually be?? Would they fall into the same patterns, stronger women dominating the weaker ones?? I know that a lot of women would argue NO. But I believe that nothing would change. To argue that women are different (read: better) is counterintuitive to the “notion that women are human beings”. Human beings are animals, even with all our so called consciousness and enlightenment and all animals have patterns of establishing dominance.

  • Iceprincess

    Thats the weird thing about feminism. Wouldnt a true feminst WANT you not to give her a pass for snatching the bacon? Wouldnt she want you to go off on her the same as if she were male? You know, equality & sh*t. *kanye shrug*

  • I for one know I would react the same way you did to that dude. Relating this to feminist, which is something i really find hard to wrap my finger around (forgive my third world-ness), if the premise is equality of the genders does that mean we should give women or ladies the same treatment we give men and yes that includes the good as well as the bad. Someone enlighten me.

    On a primal level I think your assertion that we treat the sexes based on fear and sex might be true. It is nature’s way of ensuring pro-creation and the continuity of our species. We ward off potential competitors and woo potential mates in hopes of copulation and coitus. I have always wanted to use coitus in a sentence. Yay!

    On a secondary level, our different treatment of men and women are based on societal dictates and upbringing. I was brought up to be a gentleman for the most part so I am particularly nice to ladies and men unless I feel they have stepped some arbitrary line.

  • Jay

    I have a SERIOUS question people. LISTEN UP!!

    Um… why is bacon so delicious?? Seriously why? #Iwantanswers

  • Yo, I just came from fighting a feminist battle!!!! This Moroccan brother-urrrrgh, can’t stand him or his ilk, has been driving me crazy since Sunday. He has very outdated views about women, plus he was making empty threats that were driving up the wall, and needed to be addressed ASAP. So, I scheduled a meeting today and guess what, this brother had the AUDACITY to tell us that he was running the show! Ninja what?!

    He kept interjecting my homegirl while aired her grievances with him, and was downright rude and condescending. Guess what, Poquinqui and em came out. I went off! What?! I hate when SOME motherlovers from the motherland come over here, and think they are here to step on women. FUG outta here with that nonsense!!!! Swim the Atlantic back home. Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid.

    *I LOVE African men, but not this one.

    Respect my womaness!

    For the love of bacon and all things pig, I do not know why feminism is reduced to nothingness-basically sex…URRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!

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