We’ve reached peak stupid

Which, of course, means that from now on there should be less stupid.

A good friend sent me a link to what is quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve seen on a news site in a long time.

The. Dumberest.

It’s on Yahoo, with captions by Kathryn Eisman: Twenty secrets every woman keeps:

A woman may give you her body and her heart, but there are parts she’ll never give up. Pieces woven into the very fibre of her being. Mysteries only hinted at in a brief, sly smile, an inscrutable laugh.

These are the secrets of lovers past, hidden fantasies and unshared longings. A woman’s deepest secrets that don’t – and never will – include you. You’re about to sample this hidden knowledge. But like any man who seeks it, you’d better be prepared for what you’re about to find.


The problem with putting together a gallery like this, is that it tends to say a lot more about the author than it does about “every woman”. Plus, it’s eye-wateringly predictastupid. Here are the highlights:

Secret six
You’ve made me cry more times than you’ll ever know.

Lady, this is not how you judge a good relationship. It’s really not.

Secret eight
I obsess about when you’re going to call me again. The period of time between our first date and your “I had a great time the other night. Would you like to go out again this weekend?” always seems stretched into slow motion. So don’t worry about appearing eager. Call.

Or, you know, you could call him. After all, it’s 2012 and this gallery is sooooo 2011. Feminism is so hot right now.

Secret nine
At the beginning of our relationship, I save all of your voicemails and listen to them repeatedly.

Ok, the combination of eight and nine makes me suspect that you might need to see a counsellor.

Secret 10
I’m constantly testing you. I observe, analyse and judge every action, word, gesture, e-mail and facial expression. When I ask you if you want to have a threesome, I don’t mean it. If you want me to speak to you again, let alone sleep with you after this conversation, the answer should always be: “Why would I want to sleep with another woman when I have you?”.

Any relationship that involves one person “constantly testing” the other person, particularly with trick questions, is not a good relationship.

Secret 12
I need constant indications that you want me around. That’s why it’s better, for example, to say, “I want you to come away with me for the weekend. Could you come with me?” than to ask, “What are you up to this weekend?”.

I wasn’t kidding about the counsellor.

Secret 14
Twenty secrets every woman keeps

Um. I think you missed one.

Secret 16
I start fights with you because I’m feeling ignored. Don’t retreat into your cave; just give me what I want: some attention. And never tell me to “calm down”, unless you want to guarantee that I absolutely won’t.

There’s a Medicare rebate for psychological services.

My comments about seeing a psychologist were for comedic value at first, but there’s a lot of benefit in talking to a trained stranger. It might stop you picking fights with someone you care about, and to see what’s really going on. If you do feel like you’re being ignored, then you should talk about that with your partner. I’ve googled you, Kathryn Eisman, so I know you’re an adult and not a teenager who is figuring shit out while being bombarded with cultural messages that are usually not good for anyone. Cultural messages like this gallery of yours. Or it could be time to leave that relationship. I once had a boyfriend who told me several times a day that he loved me, but I never felt more lonely. So I stopped seeing him. It was an excellent decision. I recommend that shit.

Secret 18
I may find your best friend repulsive, but I’ve fantasised about sleeping with him. Not because I want him, but because I want a piece of a bloke who is so close to you.

What the actual fuck? This is the one my friend warned me about. As he said, “I can’t imagine any other company so willing to insult half the population”.

I don’t believe that everything published by women about women has to be reasonably intelligent and/or feminist. I’m not interested in taking away someone’s right to publish something stupid. Because then where would Miranda Devine be? And I know there are plenty of women who denigrate feminism while enjoying the benefits of feminism. Oh hey look, it’s Miranda Devine again. But, really, Yahoo, this is what you think of your female readers? It’s not even on trend.

58 responses to “We’ve reached peak stupid

  1. I absolutely love that this post is tagged “bullshit”. You have a really enjoyable blog.


  2. Number 16 – been there, done that. If it goes for too long it really SHOULD be ‘Numb-er 16’.
    I second your recommendation to see a trained counsellor or psych!
    Number 10 – FFS. There are a LOT of women who would actually mean a question like that, and it’s not really fair on them (Or for that matter, Eisman’s hapless victims) to make people second-guess them and assume that they are being dishonest and manipulative. What a load of old cobblers.

  3. I once had a boyfriend who told me several times a day that he loved me, but I never felt more lonely. So I stopped seeing him. It was an excellent decision. I recommend that shit.

    Oh yeah, been there. In my case he actually asked me to marry him several times a day until he wore me down to saying “yes” just so he’d stop bloody asking! It took me a while to admit that to myself and see exactly how unhealthy that was, but eventually I did and the wedding never happened. Phew.

  4. You read the whole thing without retching?

    I salute you, comrade!

  5. #10. Yuck. This is so disrespectful of the other person and the relationship itself. The whole thing is all about the misery of not being able to trust someone. Well I’ve had relationships without trust and relationships with trust (or at least one – fortunately, the current one) and I can tell ya which is better. And which requires psychological game-playing and which does not. (Hint: trust needs no psycho games). And which rots your soul and which does not (Hint:…. er, you get the idea). Poor self-loathing child-woman.

    #18 is just… worse than yuck.

    • It is very disrespectful. I imagine that Eisman isn’t too serious about any of these “secrets” and that she’s just fancying herself as a bit of a Carrie Bradshaw, but my lordy, what manipulative rubbish it is.

  6. Good fucking grief, Nipples. I’m despair vomiting as I shake my head in disbelief. You can imagine what that looks like. Talk about making the rest of us vagina-carriers look… ah, psychotic. You do the good work, you do. I’m always applauding even if I only an occasionally comment.

  7. Amen to all that you’ve written.

    I very stupidly checked out the link, and was also appalled by #1 – my best friend knows everything. I don’t think I’m the only woman without a BFF (I think my last best friend was a teenager). I have a few close female friends all of whom I refer to as besties, but there are certain things that are between my partner and me which I don’t need to share with one or all of them.

    I also find #13 disturbing: ‘carry me into the bedroom and take without asking’ is rather creepy.

  8. If I hadn’t botoxed the shit out of my face thanks to a previous gallery of twaddle, I’d have an expression of horror on my perfectly polished visage. This woman is so dumb Dolly Doctor thought she needed help and Cleo thought she may send the wrong message. I am more stupid for having read her words. I’m going to get drunk.

  9. Number 13 could see you hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy.

  10. What the ever-loving fuck?

    And that is about as articulate a response as I can manage …

  11. Has Yahoo been taken over by Cosmopolitan magazine? This so sounds like a Cosmo article.

    Also, I’m new to this blog (thanks to DtJ) but it looks great so far!

    • I could be wrong, but I don’t think Cosmo has run articles like that in a while. That mag tends to be more about positive image. I think.

      Photondancer, welcome to the News with Nipples.

  12. I can’t decide if this is depressing or funny..or perhaps I’m just annoyed at the use of we. If I ever become part of this collective ‘we’ the world has my permission to force me into iron pants and throw away the key. After archaic thought deserves archaic punishment 😉

  13. Gawd, what a depressing, toxic article. Even if the author isn’t taking herself entirely seriously I can’t help but think it’s irresponsible to put such bullshit out into the world for stupid people to read and possibly believe. Or people on the edge of reality reading it and thinking it validates their unhealthy relationships or behaviours. I need brain bleach to wash it away.

  14. I’d like to push for more honesty in ‘article’ titles, maybe something like “nineteen ridiculous statements attention-seeking wannabe writers make”. Because if we break down that title:
    Twenty: Nope, quoting the title doesn’t count as one.
    Secrets: Sorry, you just told the world.
    Every: Nah, pretty sure my partner has more respect for me than that. Either that, or she’s just been making it up for the last seven years. Did you actually check with her?
    Woman: Sorry, you’re writing that as someone who comes across as a bit dysfunctional. Let’s leave your gender out of this, and focus on your issues.
    Keeps: Err… what part of keeping a secret did you not understand.

    Though I have to admit in some ways I’m glad of this… Todd Akin and co. have been making it look like crazy is limited to men lately.

    • Ha!

      I have seen some studies recently about how headlines don’t relate to the body copy, and how that’s a bad thing for democracy. I touched on it a few months ago in a post about Grant Hackett, but perhaps I should go into it in more detail?

      • Well, it’d probably be an interesting read, and would save me doing my own research (that’s what the internet’s for, right?).

        The level of insult to the intellect (and mental stability) of every woman I know got to me, when she was claiming to know their secrets. It’s like Barnaby Joyce claiming to speak for all men or something.

  15. As this article originally came from men’s health magazine I decided to ask Women’s Health magazine what they thought of their male counterparts portraying women this way. Unfortunately it didn’t even rate a reply to my email! It seems that unless you are complaining publicly on their Facebook page or twitter it doesn’t count as a real complaint. I am not on either but if anyone who is wants to ask why their male counterparts are insulting women while they try to push a positive lifestyle I would love to see if you at least get a response. Thanks

    • Hello friend! Sadly, it’s unlikely that someone from Women’s Health will criticise Men’s Health because they’re the same publishing company. It would be in their contracts that they can’t say anything negative about anyone one else working for the company or anything the company produces. The best you can hope for is that someone from WH will say “oi, lift your game” to someone from MH.

  16. Re Secret 10, why do they assume it’s with another woman???

  17. You know what really bothers me? That I see this sort of stuff on the facebook walls of loads of teenaged girls, who treat this as some sort of gospel.

    Yep, this is what the future of feminism looks like and it’s a worry.

    • Ah, what makes you think it’s the future of feminism? Seems to me that feminism has yet to really be introduced to these young women. I think many young women don’t see a need for feminism as a movement (as opposed to its benefits, of course) because when you’re in school, things do seem pretty equal. It’s not until you’ve been in the workplace for a few years that you realise, “hang on, things AREN’T equal”.

      Sharon Alger, welcome to the News with Nipples. I guess all we can do is point out to the young women reading that stuff that they’re being sold a bunch of bullshit. That it’s manipulative and dishonest and a really bad way to conduct a relationship.

  18. Numbers 10, 12 and 16 remind me of my ex-missus a bit.

  19. I think Anthony has something there with the Barnaby-Joyce-Speaking-For all men idea. I thought we had Peak Stupid a few weeks ago (of course you have proved me wrong with this egregious example in the OP) when Fairfax published a thinkpiece on the editorial page, again from a woman I’d never heard of and whose name I can’t remember and can’t even be bothered googling; who complained about the unladylike tendency of late to call out sexism and the advisability of using our “feminine” “wiles” to get what we want whether in the home or the workplace. I think you can pretty much gauge how out of touch a writer is by their use of the word “wiles” (i.e. if they use it at all!). Talk about a female Barnaby Joyce! Where do they get these people and why aren’t they publishing thinkpieces by you, Bluemilk, Tigtog et al??

    • Aww, thanks. I remember that piece. I started to write a post about it, went and found the original study to see if the reporting was bollocks, and then just found the whole thing too depressing.

  20. You should read Bettina Arndt’s latest.

  21. Poor Kathryn Eisman. But she didn’t invent this shit. She’s only regurgitating patriarchy’s primary narrative of women, that all women are biologically hard-wired to be submissive to males. A narrative that conveniently normalises, pathologises, and in fact, fetishises sex-based inequality. It’s the same fucking narrative that forms the basis of pretty much every expression of pop culture that we get assaulted with every day. It seems unfair to deride the women who internalise these messages too well. Because history has shown that as silly as these women appear to be when they take on the values of the dominant class, the penalties for rejecting them are in reality much harsher.

    • Thoroughly agree, Linda. At least you’ve tried to put Eisman’s article into some social context. Dismissing it as merely the confessions of a stupid woman is to take potshots at an easy target. I also suspect many of the women here protesteth too much.

      • Psst, Justine, the “protest too much” comment is a lazy insult. It also makes me suspect you didn’t actually read the comments. No one’s taking pot shots at Eisman. We’re discussing how harmful this stuff is for relationships. And also for women.

        I agree that Linda is putting this sort of writing in a social context, but we do need to discuss this sort of thing in order to make it known that we’re not ok with it. Simply saying “oh well, she has internalised the patriarchy’s messages” isn’t very useful unless you also point out the problem with those messages. It’s also possible that, patriarchy aside, Eisman is perfectly happy with these ideas, that this IS how she conducts her relationships, and so to dismiss her ideas as simply replicating the patriarchy is condescending. All of this is to say that we do need to discuss things like this.

        Welcome to the News with Nipples, by the way.

        • ‘…the “protest too much” comment is a lazy insult.’

          Whaddya mean ‘lazy’? I put a lot of effort into that insult.

          If you wish to argue that it’s ‘condescending’ to ‘dismiss Eisman’s ideas as simply replicating the patriarchy’, how then is it NOT condescending to dismiss her ideas as ‘eye-wateringly predictastupid’ and with eye-rolling reactions like ‘BAHAHAHAHAHAHA WUT ‘?

          Masochism and manipulative behaviour in women have been traditionally considered ‘normal’ feminine traits, even attractive and empowering. If we want these phony attitudes to change, it’s more constructive in my view to shame and mock the system, not the individuals who internalise its messages.

          • I’m going to have to disagree with you on that one. Not because I want to mock the women who internalise those messages – I don’t. And by the way, I was mocking the writing, not the writer – but because I think that saying “when you say this thing, this is the message you’re sending” is more useful than saying, “oh, I blame the patriarchy” every time someone writes something I disagree with.

            • ‘… I think that saying “when you say this thing, this is the message you’r
              sending” is more useful than saying, “oh, I blame the patriarchy” every time someone writes something I disagree with.

              Firstly, I did not ‘blame’ anything, patriarchal or otherwise (and neither did Linda, from what I can see). I put this article within the CONTEXT of a wider system of behaviours and attitudes. The concept of ‘blaming the patriarchy’ here is YOUR interpretation. So own it; don’t project it onto others.

              Secondly, no one appreciates being told that they are simply writing something as an ‘every time’ reaction to something they ‘disagree with’. This is Trolling 101.

              The fact is that I DON’T ‘disagree’ with this article. Every woman I’ve ever known has exhibited these behaviours and attitudes to a greater or lesser degree in their relationships with men. To subject the article to so much ridicule and scorn is to degrade women both as a gender and as individuals.

              • Well, your experience is different to mine. I don’t know many women at all who have exhibited these behaviours in their relationships. That doesn’t mean that I am right and you are wrong. Nor does your experience mean that you are right and I am wrong. It just means that we have different experiences.

                I disagree wholeheartedly with your last sentence: “To subject the article to so much ridicule and scorn is to degrade women both as a gender and as individuals”. Um, you do realise that holding an entire gender to account for the actions of one falls under the male privilege checklist, right?

        • “Simply saying “oh well, she has internalised the patriarchy’s messages” isn’t very useful unless you also point out the problem with those messages.”

          I thought I covered that with this:

          ” A narrative that conveniently normalises, pathologises, and in fact, fetishises sex-based inequality.”

          But I could have gone on to talk about how sex-based inequality informs relational dynamics in het partnerships which leads to all kinds of unhealthy/destructive/dangerous outcomes, from low self-esteem to murder.There was absolutely nothing dismissive or condescending in applying a feminist analysis to the article, in order to try to understand where she’s coming from. That’s a more constructive and compassionate way of discussing it than laughing and pointing at the stoopid and the crazy. To do that is to buy into the same bullshit that Eisman and other women buy into. If you knew how many women I’ve worked professionally with who actually do develop mental health problems because of unhealthy/abusive relationships with men, you’d understand why I’m passionate about these discussions.

          • Yes Linda, I am aware of your job and I think it must be a very stressful job. However, it doesn’t mean you’re the only one allowed to speak about abusive relationships.

            When it comes to stupid writing, I think that sometimes all you can do is point and laugh. Sometimes, there’s a lot more power in laughing at something, than in getting angry at it. Eisman’s gallery is about relationships, so I wrote about it at a relationship level.

            • “Sometimes, there’s a lot more power in laughing at something, than in getting angry at it.”

              No. Historically, struggles against oppression are fuelled by anger.
              You write about sexism, and generate discussion about sexism. I don’t know where you intend for that discussion to go but I don’t believe it’s useful, or even possible to discuss sexism without using feminist analysis. That’s all I did here.

  22. ‘You write about sexism, and generate discussion about sexism. I don’t know where you intend for that discussion to go but I don’t believe it’s useful, or even possible to discuss sexism without using feminist analysis.’

    Exactly. I get the feeling that this site is sending mixed messages. On the one hand, individuals – male or female – who exhibit sexist attitudes and behaviours are fair game for criticism and scorn. On the other hand, criticising and scorning the patriarchy, the whole basis of feminist analysis of sexist attitudes and behaviours, is out of bounds.

    • Just because I disagree with some of your points hardly means certain topics are out of bounds. I think perhaps something has been lost in the typing. I got the impression that you were saying I shouldn’t criticise what Eisman wrote because she has internalised the patriarchy’s message. To me, that sounds like a “there there, you’re not smart enough to think for yourself” pat on the head. That’s very condescending and it means that any female writer who writes something anti-feminist – like Miranda Devine – or something that presents women as manipulative idiots – like Eisman – can’t have that writing criticised.

      Sure, we can talk about the patriarchy, but that’s never my starting point. This is a small-l liberal feminist blog that aims to make feminism accessible to everyone, particularly those who wouldn’t describe themselves as feminist. Considering the lack of nastiness and trolling in the comments, and the number of emails and twitter DMs from people saying they’d never considered themselves feminist until they started reading NWN, I’d say I’m doing something right.

  23. “To me, that sounds like a “there there, you’re not smart enough to think for yourself” pat on the head.

    This is a standard anti-feminist reaction employed by MRAs and other conservatives in order to squash any talk of structural inequality. Just sayin’.

    If my commentary is based on any assumptions about women’s intelligence then that assumption, in fact knowledge, is that all women have great capacity to grasp the principles of radical theory and how they explain their personal experience. We know this for a fact.

    It seems rude to me to dismiss libraries full of theory and decades of women’s hard work as just silly patriarchy blaming. Radical theory is at the core of all feminist theory even small l liberal interpretations. To refer to patriarchy in these terms also treats it as just some benign abstract concept rather than a vast global system of domination that informs the personal experiences of all women every day.

    Of course your blog will enlighten people about feminism, but that enlightenment comes from the comments threads as well as in your posts. I don’t understand why you can’t let alternative perspectives sit within the discussion as extra layers of understanding. It all adds to the overall discussion. Its not about saying your perspective is wrong, its just adding another layer. It’s all good. It’s not about saying you shouldn’t criticise articles like Eisman’s, but about aiming the criticism more precisely, otherwise we can’t go to the ends of our thoughts.

    • I don’t understand why you can’t let alternative perspectives sit within the discussion as extra layers of understanding.

      Um, Linda, I AM letting alternative perspectives sit within the discussion. What do you think we’re doing here? You and Justine put forward your perspectives, and we’re discussing them. If I wasn’t going to let different perspectives be a part of the discussion, I wouldn’t publish your comments. Just because I disagree with some of your points doesn’t mean I’m not allowing you to make them. That seems pretty obvious to me.

      Whenever I disagree with you, you accuse me of shutting down discussion. It’s rather boring.

      • I don’t think you’re shutting down discussion, just being hostile to certain perspectives. Which is the right of a blog owner. But I don’t think you’re as cool with disagreement and accessibility for all, as you state you are. Comments that go against the tide of general consensus even just a little bit, seem to annoy you. I get that hairy radical lesbian feminist perspectives might mess up the appeal of your blog, but its not made clear in your comments policy. I think a radical perspective enhances some discussions here, but if its not ok with you, you just have to say.

        • Linda, get your hand off it. I think that it’s you who is not cool with anyone disagreeing with you. Your views are always discussed here, and you’re given ample opportunity to put forward your points, and those points are taken seriously. I’m not sure what you think discussion of ideas is. But if you want to have a whinge because I don’t say “oh yes Linda, I agree with you on EVERYTHING”, then you’re welcome to go and blog at your place about what a bad feminist I am. Again.

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