Släpp Snubbar by Tanja Suhinina

Släpp Snubbar by Tanja Suhinina

On the average, Tanja Suhinina is monogamous. Whereas she used to be a voice for polyamorous, her latest book is all about how to eliminate men from your life. On the average, this is a slightly above average book.

Släpp Snubbar

Släpp Snubbar
Tanja Suhinina

ISBN: 9789189097384
Vulkan Bokförlag, 2019

A mixed bag that often swerves off from the expertly crafted into the ditch of the cartoonish. While Tanja retains the intelligence, wit and sheer mind-blowingly impressive audacity of her previous book, it's also obvious that all that brainpower sometimes misfires and misfires badly. (4/5)

Släpp Snubbar ("Dump Dudes") is a mixed bag that often swerves off from the expertly crafted into the ditch of the cartoonish. From what I can see it's self-published, and while Tanja retains the intelligence, wit and sheer mind-blowingly impressive audacity of her previous book[1], it's also obvious that all that brainpower sometimes misfires and misfires badly. There are layout and proof errors scattered throughout, but an editor would mostly have helped refine the text.

The book consists of multiple threads following a cast of characters as they survey their lives, decide which aspects of them have too many men or too much dependence on men, and then go about reducing that. The threads range from the very prudent (a woman wants to be able to support herself instead of being completely dependent on her husband), over the sensible (women wanting equal distribution of housework, equal sexual satisfaction), to the dumb: when faced with the premise to reduce dependence on men, it's easy to heckle and ask the question "are the women expected to go lesbian?" but as far as this book is concerned the answer is "yes".

It makes sense to review this book by thread, so let's start with the aforementioned thread about how straight women should dump dudes from their sex life.

This thread of the book should never have been published. If we assume that our sexual orientation is reprogrammable then we end up in gay conversion therapy land, which makes the thread proven harmful. If we instead assume it's fixed then the thread is written for bisexuals who don't know they are bisexual and who need a push to embrace that part of themselves - a minuscule sliver in the pie chart of readers - and the thread becomes pointless. Much better is the thread where a heterosexual couple tries to achieve a mutually satisfying sex life - while it doesn't physically dump dudes, it makes a one-sided relationship mutual and that is often a more optimal outcome.

Which brings us to the inevitable parallels between this book and the MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) movement, which basically is what you get when men decide to "dump dudettes" and live a life free from women. The result can without loss of validity be summarized as "angry and bitter men becoming a danger to society and themselves". In short, the idea that the presence of the opposite sex in your life can be arbitrarily reduced, and that this is the relevant measure, is deeply flawed - the best you can do is reach a more equitable relation.

The threads that set the goals for women at "decent dudes" are far more realistic. These deal with economy (not being economically dependent on a partner), household responsibilities (not being, in effect, a housewife with a full-time job), and sexual satisfaction (getting it).

In particular, the thread about economic independence is one that should be taught to everyone, because if you are not free to leave you will never be equal. (Any negotiation you can't walk away from is lost before it even starts.) You have no freedom if you can't feed, clothe, and house yourself. Being able to do that is therefore the starting point for controlling your own life. It's not a coincidence that patriarchal cultures like the concept of keeping women at home - it keeps them easy to control.

Finally, there is one single thread that follows a dude: Johan is a preachy feminist who discovers that he's not that feminist at all. (I regret to inform that the little twit doesn't die a horrible cartoon death. Maybe in the next book.) In the book Johan's main failure is that he mostly consumes culture made by men, and it's easy to dismiss this by concluding that if we just made our playlists 50/50 we'd be fine.

I would however argue that the problem goes deeper and that this book only skims the surface of male involvement in a more equal world: our partially sex-segregated bubbles are not limited to culture. They're also in the workplace. Some jobs are typically female, some typically male, and something has to uphold this otherwise it wouldn't be upheld. An example is the IT sector: we're good at hiring women, but we're awful at keeping them. I have theories about this related to how we give access to the informal networks at any workplace, but to summarize: I don't think we help lift all people equally. We lift those who are like us - help our coworkers with work, help promote our friends - but that is often a very homogeneous bubble. It's not helped by the belief that men and women can't be friends; that there must be some sexual attraction there, which brings up the specters of hidden motives, workplace conflicts, and rumors of infidelity. While the book does touch on the habit of men to interrupt women, it stops short of asking the questions: do you help men and women equally to become part of the team, and do you help them equally with their careers (promotions, attractive tasks, mentioned and encouraged at meetings, listened to when important decisions are to be made, etc.)?

For those interested, see slides 18 and 26-onwards in the Women in the Workplace 2015 presentation[a], and read 7 Tips for Men Who Want to Support Equality[b]. No, you are probably not in a position to do them all, and maybe not in a position to do any - but when you've read a bit there are some clear patterns emerging and that knowledge can help you do the right things. You can also help your manager and others do the right thing - a manager may not notice an employee's contributions unless someone else mention them in a meeting.

By having Johan being this cartoon character it misses out on a lot. Although the book is intended primarily for "heterosexual cis-women", it gives a skewed and limited picture of what men do and can do. If you're left with the idea that your boyfriend's biggest problem is listening to pods made by other men and not shutting up among women you miss the far bigger picture.

In total then, Släpp Snubbar is a somewhat mixed bag: there are sections I'd like for everyone to read and there are sections that I think should be left unread.