Lords of their Dingalings: Men’s Rightsers outraged at Time writer for noting the lack of female characters in The Hobbit

Can you find the woman in this picture?

Can you find the woman in this picture?

Uh oh! It seems that some woman is offering some opinions about Tolkien!

Over on Time.com, Ruth Davis Konigsberg has a brief personal essay reflecting on the almost complete lack of female characters in the new Hobbit film, and in Tolkien’s ouvre generally. As she notes, it’s not until about two hours in to the nearly three-hour movie that “we finally meet someone without a Y chromosome,” namely Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel — and she was added into the originally all-male story by the screenwriters. Blanchette’s is the only female name out of 37 named in the cast list – though there are a couple of unnamed female characters who make brief appearances.

“I did not read The Hobbit or the The Lord of the Rings trilogy as a child, and I have always felt a bit alienated from the fandom surrounding them,” Konigsberg observes.

Now I think I know why: Tolkien seems to have wiped women off the face of Middle-earth. I suppose it’s understandable that a story in which the primary activity seems to be chopping off each other’s body parts for no particular reason might be a little heavy on male characters — although it’s not as though Tolkien had to hew to historical accuracy when he created his fantastical world. The problem is one of biological accuracy. Tolkien’s characters defy the basics of reproduction: dwarf fathers beget dwarf sons, hobbit uncles pass rings down to hobbit nephews. If there are any mothers or daughters, aunts or nieces, they make no appearances. Trolls and orcs especially seem to rely on asexual reproduction, breeding whole male populations, which of course come in handy when amassing an army to attack the dwarves and elves.

Yes, yes, as she admits, Tolkien’s few female characters tend to be powerful. But that hardly changes the basic fact that the Hobbit, and Tolkien generally, is overloaded with dudes.

These fairly commonplace observations have, naturally, sent the orcs and the elf princesses of the Men’s Rights subreddit into an uproar. Naturally, none of them seem to have bothered to read any of  Konigsberg’s brief piece before setting forth their opinions, which sometimes accuse her of ignoring things she specifically acknowledged (like that whole powerful-female-character thing), and completely miss that the bit about reproduction is, you know, a joke on Konigsberg’s part.

Here are some of my favorite idiotic comments from the “discussion.” (Click on the yellow comments to see the originals on Reddit.)






Uh, Jane Austen’s books are filled with dudes. Especially Pride and Prejudice 2: Mr. Darcy’s Revenge, which was later adapted into a buddy cop movie starring Robin Williams and Danny Glover.

EDITED TO ADD: Somehow forgot to include two of my favorite comments:



Oh, and if you were unable to find a woman in the picture above, try this one instead:


About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon, Time.com, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on December 31, 2012, in all about the menz, antifeminism, dozens of upvotes, I am making a joke, misogyny, MRA, no girls allowed, patriarchy, reddit, straw feminists and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 792 Comments.

  1. It took a while, but Abnoy’s devolved into a hot, blubbering mess. LOL.

  2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Which is about the most interesting thing he’s ever done!😀

  3. RE: Merv

    What are you on about? I’m a feminist, and I have happy natural sex all the time. (Unless you believe gayness is unnatural, in which case I have happy unnatural sex all the time.)

  4. Merv: sex is natural. The MRA rape directive, not so much.

  5. “And you apparently live in a hippy commune, no?”

    Pecunium, you don’t right? Cuz I can sew!

    “Feminists completely ignore the fact that sex is natural.”

    Wait, we do? That was what was up with the rounds of condolences over various breakups the other night? You were all actually thrilled?!

  6. I’m kinda befuddled by Merv’s statement. I mean, it was feminism that helped me deal with sex more healthily. You know, so I could have it. What the hell is he babbling on about?

  7. Remember, when merv says “sex” what he means is “rape” which is why it sounds so backwards to the non-batshit people.

  8. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    drst – I get the feeling MRAs think male-on-female rape is the only natural sex.

  9. What with Abnoy going on about tearboners… (though I still don’t think he BELIEVES the shit he says)

  10. Kittehs’ – yeah me too. They certain think “consent is for pussy manginas I get whatever I want when I want” is the default male sexuality instead of being a horrific minority.

  11. Feminists completely ignore the fact that sex is natural.

    Someone hasn’t heard of sex-positive feminism. Or read any of the post about how hot radical consent is (some of which are fairly graphic).

    I know Merv is just dropping his little turds of wisdom and not engaging with the responses, but it chaps my hide when people accuse feminists of things we don’t actually say/think/support. How can you hate something properly if you don’t even know what you’re hating?

  12. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Merv was Pell – David booted him before we even got a chance for a meltdown.

    What am I gonna do with all this popcorn now?

  13. @Kittehs’, Make garlands?

    I has a sad face because I didn’t get a chance to bat Pell around with my (barely) sheathed claws. [Angry purring commences.]

  14. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Edible jewellery!

    ::nom nom nom::

    Hmm, I wonder if angry purring is what Mads does when she’s thrashing her tail and purring at the same time? Pat me!/ Don’t pat me!

  15. Popcorn and raw cranberry garlands make lovely outdoor Christmas decorations, for anyone who has evergreen trees or the like. Birds and squirrels love them.

  16. Mmmm, popcorn!

  17. You guys! Small changes to his favorite pastimes and people talking about equality on the internet make Abnoy literally vomit.

    That is the weirdest allergy I’ve ever heard of.

  18. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    The secret is out: the internet is really a small lifeboat and all those wimminz are jumping around making poor Abnoy’s seasickness even worse.

  19. Abnoy favors the terms “womyn” and “females.” Have these grown in popularity among MRA asshats or should we be asking about his morning height?

  20. LBT | January 11, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Much to my horror, I find myself… admiring Rorschach, in a demented way. Like, he’s a horrible human being, with horrible views… but in a perverse way, I envy his sheer raw drive. (And yes, I realize that probably the only reason he MAINTAINS that drive is because he’s a wingnut.) Especially compared to Dan, who is more humane but I constantly wanted to throttle.

    Rorschach is driven by personal tragedy–he’s more a first-hand victim than any of the other “heroes.” And he’s become utterly committed to protecting and saving others.

    But he falls into a belief system that leaves him a toxic stew of beliefs. (why, yes, that’s kind of relevant to the rest of what we’re talking about, isn’t it?) And in this final way he is re-victimized.

    (now, if I really wanted to bloviate I’d start going on about Objectivism as practised by Steve Ditko, the obvious Rand/Libertarian connection, how that pervades the Republican movement, how that is part and parcel of most MRA beliefs, the misogyny inside all of that… but instead I will go for a walk, because it is really nice outside)

  21. RE: howardbann1ster

    Well said. And I hope you enjoyed your walk.

  22. You know, I love LOTR and am fine with the fact that there are hardly any women in the movies because there were hardly any in the books. I’m a book purist (to an extent, I don’t go crazy like some do).

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